Monday, July 20, 2015


How to lose weight — and celebrate your success

It’s very hard work to lose weight, as many of us are well aware. Between Jazzercise and Thin’s In, in the past 6 months I have lost 35 pounds, with six more to lose to reach my goal weight.

This morning I found a pair of pants in the back of my closet that I have not been able to squeeze into until now. When I reached into the pocket, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a folded up and forgotten $20 bill. Bonanza! I took that as a reward for the hard work of weight loss.

That reminded me of Dianne Rubin, owner of Thin’s In weight loss program. Dianne has a few rules that everyone on the program must abide by for successful weight loss. One of them is not to reward yourself with food each time you reach a milestone. Celebrating with a big bowl of double chocolate ice cream is not the appropriate reward, no matter how delicious it would be. To some, buying a new pair of shoes would be a reward for reaching a milestone. Perhaps tickets to the latest movie or concert is a good reward for others.

Another rule is never to eat in front of the TV — all meals and snacks must be consumed sitting at the table — and not in front of the computer, either. This would result in mindless eating and subsequent over-eating. Sitting at the table encourages one to focus on the food, conversation with others, and making the dining experience more mindful and pleasant.

The key to good nutrition is balance and portion control. On June 2, 2011, First Lady Michelle Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack released the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate. It’s an easy to understand icon — a dinner plate — that emphasizes the balance of fruit, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy groups we all need to eat every day. My dietitian friends all agree: diets that eliminate an entire food group are foolish, like the current fad that eliminates all dairy and carbohydrates for 30 days. For a wealth of information about MyPlate, healthy eating on a budget, and more, visit

Exercise is a crucial component for good health, regardless of weight. I enjoy the camaraderie of Jazzercise, where we all move and dance and sweat together for an hour. The fun we have is a bonus, and it keeps us coming back. Friends who do Zumba or attend Yoga classes say the same thing.

One tip I have learned is the value of teaming up with a friend or family member. Joining forces with a buddy is similar to a support group dynamic. More importantly, when your enthusiasm lags, you will summon the energy to honor your commitment to meet and exercise together because you won’t want to disappoint your buddy.

When I reach my next milestone I will have to check all of the pants in my closet to see if there are any more forgotten $20 bills in the pockets.

Alice Facente is a community health nurse for the Backus Health System. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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