Helen Stein loves to eat. These days, the 73-year-old Larchmont, New York, resident eats more than ever—and she hasn't gained back an ounce of the 38 pounds that she lost 15 years ago.
How? By choosing foods that fill her up, not out.
Helen's battle of the bulge began 65 years ago, when she was just 8 years old. At the time, she turned to food to help ease the pain of her mother's death. That led to an unhealthy pattern of using food for comfort—and putting on pounds. She reached 180 pounds while a freshman in college and remained at that weight for years.
Even though she was heavier than she should have been, Helen didn't worry about it. She never liked the idea of dieting. The prospect of giving up her favorite foods and eating less repeatedly dissuaded her from slimming down.
Then, one morning, everything changed. "When I woke up, I said to myself, 'I'm tired of this/" Helen recalls. "I didn't want to be heavy anymore. I wanted to be thin."
Looking back? Helen realizes that her decision to lose weight had been brewing for some time. "I had grown unhappy with my appearance, and deep down, I wanted to be thin," she says. "The time had come to do something about it, and I knew it."
As she planned her weight-loss strategy, Helen admitted to herself that she would have a hard time changing her diet. So instead of trying to eat less, she ate differently. She sought out foods that would leave her feeling full without supplying a lot of fat or calories. Most of Helen's lunches and dinners started out with a great big salad flavored with balsamic vinegar. She thought nothing of snacking on a big pink grapefruit, a whole cantaloupe, or a chunk of watermelon. She cooked with plenty of onions, oregano, and other herbs to increase the satiety of her meals. "I discovered that the right seasonings could make low-fat foods quite satisfying," she says.
These simple changes allowed Helen to lose what she called her extra baggage in about 6 months. These days, she eats whenever she wants to, without worrying about her weight. She just makes sure to choose "skinny" foods that satisfy.
Fill up on fiber-rich foods. Helen's strategy of eating filling low-fat, low-calorie, high-fiber foods is smart for two reasons. First, fiber helps absorb fat calories and eliminate them from your body before they end up on
your belly or thighs. In fact, gram of fiber can absorb calories of fat. Second, fiber fills you up. Avoiding feelings of deprivation is critical to adopting permanent dietary changes.
Weight Loss