I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t concerned about weight gain. As kid, I know I was a healthy weight but I always considered myself the “fat one”. In college I was 5’5” tall, weighed 117 lbs. and thought I was fat. Over the years my weight has crept up and up. From time to time I go on a strict diet and lose lots of weight, only to regain it over time. Many, many days I begin the day thinking this is the day that I will get my diet under control and begin losing weight again. I can safely say that every year, losing weight, usually with a goal attached, is a New Years resolution.
Looking back, I don’t feel that my obsession with my weight was a good one. But in a family like mine where everyone loves to eat and we seem to pack on the pounds with ease, it is an issue. If young people asked me for health advice, I would say, keep your weight at a healthy level through your life. As you age it seems to get much more difficult to lose weight. When I was younger, I could quickly lose weight to get back into a particular outfit or for an event where I was concerned about my appearance.
Now that I am a grandmother, losing weight quickly, using the same techniques that I used to use, takes much, much longer. My adult children have done a great job of keeping their weight under control in spite of their heritage. They are very physically active people and I think that helps a lot.
I expect there are many other people like me who are obsessed with their weight, judging from conversations with friends and colleagues, articles in magazines, feedback from research and the social media. One popular natural health magazine always features a story on how to lose “….” pounds in some short time. Right now I am not terribly overweight but losing 20 pounds would be a healthy thing for me to do. And I have to be really careful to not add any weight. How am I going to do it?
In the past I have included my weight loss Wellness Tools in the WRAP I use to guide all of my life. Now I am ready to develop a separate WRAP for Weight Loss, similar to the sample that is in WRAP for Life (Copeland, M. 2014. Dummerston, VT: Peach Press, p ). I have had so much experience over the years using my WRAP and learning from others that I think I can now easily manage having two WRAP’s. I am getting lots of ideas for this new WRAP for Weight Loss from a recent Facebook post where I asked people for ideas. You can click through to those responses from this e-newsletter.
Let me share with you some of the things I am going to include in my WRAP for Weight Loss list of Wellness Tools, Tools I am going to use to develop the rest of this new WRAP:
- Review the diet books that I have collected over the years for ideas and inspiration
- Do an internet search for information on diets that meet my specific health needs
- Fill a 3 qt. pitcher with water every morning and drink it through the day
- 1/2 hour of walking or riding my stationary bike each day
- Daily yoga stretches every day
- Attend exercise class 3 days a week
- Take supplements recommended by my naturopathic physician
- Avoid sugar or foods containing sugar
- Limit my dairy intake to plain yogurt for breakfast and a small piece of cheese for a snack
- Have 3 healthy meals and 3 healthy snacks every day
- Eat slowly and mindfully
- Only eat when I am sitting down
- Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables a day
- Focus my diet on nutrient dense foods–avoiding foods with little nutritive value and processed foods
These days it seems like more and more people are more and more overweight. WRAP is great way to get on top of this issue. It has worked for me in the past and I will keep you posted on how my separate WRAP for weight Loss is working for me.
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Here are some additional comments from Facebook on Using WRAP for Weight Loss:
“Yoga has been my best wellness tool for weight loss. I have struggled since they gave me all the meds and gained almost 60 pounds from before my crisis and even though I don’t take meds anymore I still have the weight. I also say I am who I am and my weight does not reflect who the beautiful person is inside of me. Life transitions like menopause is part of life and so I stay positive and say I can’t control everything (which is hard for me especially with my trauma) but because of the WRAP I don’t feel like I have to have that much control anymore. Of course being mindful of replacing food with better food and not eating as much is a tough one for me but in the end, I am alive and happy even with a clotting disorder. Life is beautiful, enjoy it even a little over weight.”
“I am going to be following this and your plan in WRAP for Life sometime, but I know it is diet, eating sensibly, which you are good at and exercise, which I have always hated! Sometime when I am feeling more able, I’ll have to address this! The first time I was in Japan for three months I was very well fed by my daughter-in-law (the second time too, but I was taken out for fantastic meals every week by friends from Evening Classes). but the first time I did lose weight, much to Kika’s delight and I loved the food! It is very hard for me because , even after giving birth, I was never over 8 and a half stone, then my metabolism changed when I got my gall bladder out in 1980, but I have never really been very very overweight till now, have put on more than 3 stones because of Quetiapine I could almost feel myself expanding and had to buy new clothes. I reckon that when I need the meds I’ll just have to put up with this, maybe if I could have more Japanese food!!?? Have just enjoyed ramen for lunch!”
“Weight Loss support group. Lots of strength-based support, fun challenges, weigh-in each week, you work with your doctor. I knew it was for me the first time I went and heard the words “there’s a little more of me this week” and everyone clapped and said “that’s okay, you still came”. Started in March, have a walking buddy and we touch base a couple of times a week by texting or messaging through FB. It motivated me, I walk twice a day for 30-45 mins, watch what I eat, all in moderation, don’t ‘deny’ myself anything, but did pretty much eliminate sugar. It’s helped me by ‘seeing’ when I’m craving carbs. I take a look at what’s going on stress wise, I am definitely an emotion eater, so while not denying myself, I can at least substitute other things, like peanut butter or some type of heavy duty protein, which seems to work for me. August held a lot of losses for me, was a tough time and found myself really craving chocolate and carbs. My action plan, yes, have something and enjoy every bite by eating really slow, create a really nice atmosphere, make it something special. This has helped me since the surgery (heart), I had quit smoking and gained weight. Since starting in March, I’ve lost almost 40 lbs.”
“I try to Mindfully eat when I am fueling my body. I look at food and think o.k. this is a source of fuel, not entertainment.”
“I am 5’11/2 in and now 170 lbs. I was 234lbs 5 years ago. I lost 64 pounds mostly by moving around more and using portion control. I still eat what I want including cake and ice cream once in a while. But I limit myself to once a week or so not everyday. I have to use crutches to walk more than a block or two. But I forced my self to start with one block and added one a week until now (still use crutches) I can walk about one mile in one direction. It’s helped my arthritis and my depression. Try making small changes you can stick with, and as long as you’re healthy, no high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes. Don’t obsess over a few extra pounds.”
“Its not magic! Its all about Exercise and smaller portions. Sometimes we have emotional reasons why we eat. I gave up basically the chips(Crack cocaine of the ghetto food) for fresh salsa and corn chips(not Doritos) and celery stick and hummus.”
“I try not to focus on the number on the scale…instead I pay attention to my pedometer. I’m a size 15, but I’m healthy and happy.”
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.