Today’s post will address the ever-present, demanding, and outstandingly important topic; what we consume. A topic more commonly referred to using a word that historically makes many of us cringe- our DIET.
For all types of individuals, maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle is both as rewarding as it is exhausting. It’s that nagging voice in our head that essentially just wants the best for us, but we often want to politely, or not so politely, ask to GO AWAY AND LET ME EAT THIS PIZZA.
Unfortunately, obesity among adults with Down syndrome is very common. Thyroid complications, among many other situations experienced by individuals with Down syndrome as they get older, require extreme attention to diet and physical activity.
Now don’t get me wrong, this is universal, folks. Every single person will benefit from being attentive to what we put into our bodies.
We love to share stories about our personal journeys here at Upside Down, so I asked Leah to write about her experience with finding a healthy, balanced lifestyle and how she lost 40 POUNDS over about a year span.
…Keep in mind, the little lady is 4’11’’ – shedding 40 pounds off that tiny frame is an incredible achievement! As always, I am so proud of the woman Leah continues to grow into. She has now maintained the weight loss for over FIVE YEARS.
Here’s how Leah is doing it.
Right before I lose weight, some of my clothes and things were not able to fit me right and we had to put them aside for a while. This made me sad to do this and put them off the side.
In 2010 when we lived in San Antonio, Texas I start to lose the weight by doing a Weight Loss Challenge with My Mom and My Dad. This is a fun thing for me to do and it’s kind of like a game to see who can lose the most weight. My Mom and My Dad and Me too we make a chart that has the days and the dates together of the month. It’s called The Stodden Family Challenge.
First we see where we are at in our weight and then make a goal and then we start to see what we lose from that. We do 5 pounds at a time for every month goal. Some months I did it and some months I did not but that’s okay and I keep my focus. I weigh myself every day in the morning if I have time and if I don’t have time then I make sure I do it before dinner or before bed. I do it every day. We try to check it every day.
It takes a while and time and it takes a long time to reach the goal. We been doing The Stodden Family Challenge for a long time. Sometimes we have good months and sometimes we have not so good months but that’s okay because we start again the next month.
It is important to stop eating when you’re full and that is really hard thing to do. When I first was starting to get hungry, I get hungry and then when I am at the tail end of it when I don’t have much room left but still a little then I stop. I want to make sure to have room if I want to have a dessert item. I stop myself before I eat too much. When you eat too much or eat bad foods like French fries it can feel uncomfortable and can also hurt your stomach too.
When I start to eat something that upset my stomach I will have stomach attacks and it will really hurt and then I have to use the bathroom. And then afterwards it feels good for a little bit and then it hurts again and it’s still there. I don’t know how long it takes to be all better from that after a stomach attack or when it got really hurt. I don’t like how it makes me feel to eat foods that hurt my stomach.
One thing that I want to say that really helps me is to save leftovers so I can have them the next day. I love to have and do half portions and smaller things. I only have a small appetite now and not to eat too much or quite as much. I get leftovers for lunch or dinner and things the next day. And when I have dessert items then I have leftovers of the desserts for a treat the next day.
Also when I go out to eat or sometimes when we cook at home breakfast or lunch or dinner and once in a while or sometimes an afternoon snack then I make sure to wait 3-4 hours to wait to eat again.
There is a lot of food that I like to eat. I starting to like the cauliflower mashed potatoes and butternut squash bake with blue cheese crumbles. I think we try black bean vegetable soup and I like that too. I also love couscous salad and black bean burger. I also like hamburgers sometimes I do it with no bun on a plate with ketchup and I also like them on a bun but then I eat half and then I save the other half for leftovers. If I get it from a fast food place and it is a small Kid’s Meal size then I eat the whole thing. I like to eat grilled chicken sandwich and a chocolate chip cookie from Chik-Fil-A and with the small chocolate milk. I like to have fruits too. I like bananas and grapes. I like watermelon and honeydew melon and cantelope and peaches and pears. I do also have broccoli and green string beans or corn or peas sometimes. I starting to like butternut squash as one of my favorites.
The last thing that is important is to limit my drinks and not drink too much milk but just some. I drink as much water as I want though that’s okay still. I also can just have a little tiny juice sometimes but if I have too much that’s too much sugar and my stomach hurts. I don’t drink coffee but sometimes Iced Tea if I have a headache and it’s helps a little with the caffeine. But I don’t have it late in the day because then I won’t sleep as good. I never drink alcohol or wine or beer because it does not make me feel good.
When my clothes start to fit again that I put aside to the side I get happy and also excited. I get really happy when My Mom says do you feel good about it and I am. I do feel good about that. And I love to go to celebrate after and have a dessert item to share a carrot cake with My Mom and My Dad to celebrate at the end of the month. I win The Stodden Family Challenge a lot.
The last thing I want to say is when a person is wanting to and trying to lose weight it can be hard to be able to do that. It will be hard to eat small portions and have leftovers. It will be hard not to eat bad food. And also to weigh yourself that can be hard and to be patient because it takes time. It will make you happy in your heart and in your body too when you come back into the clothes that you put off the side.
That is all. I hope everyone enjoy to read about my Journey and The Stodden Family Challenge and thank you all to read our blog post.
In summary, Leah was able to lose 40 pounds over the course of one year and keep it off for FIVE YEARS by employing the following actions:
- Limiting drink intake except for water
- Eating smaller portions
- Stopping eating before being stuffed
- Taking home leftovers
- Clean eating; mainly meat & veggies. Some fruit. Limited bread. Occasional treats but always using portion control!
- No alcohol…not that she was ever much of a boozer:)
- Listening to her body and its reaction to bad foods…then staying away from them
- Waiting 3-4 hours between meals
- Setting small, attainable goals with other people and a reward at the end of each month
- Putting aside the clothes that didn’t fit but determined to get back into them
- PATIENCE and HARD WORK
Here’s to turning our minds Upside Down.