33 Pounds Lost!
Height: 5'6", Age: 62
From San Diego, CA
Pat's healthy lifestyle changes catapulted her to weight-loss success on the South Beach Diet and helped make her the grand prize winner of our 2012 New Year's Challenge. Her passion and dedication to lead a healthier lifestyle made her a standout. During the six weeks of the Challenge, Pat made strides in several areas of her life, including eating well-balanced breakfasts, making the right food choices at work, and committing to a regular exercise routine.
"I taught at a community college. My days were full of meetings and committee work, and I would teach until 9 p.m. As a result, I lived on school-cafeteria food, which is not very healthy. When I got home at night, I was always hungry and would eat whatever I could find. I had no plan. I played softball, but I didn't do much more exercise than that. I used work as an excuse," says Pat.
Through the New Year's Challenge assignments, Pat adopted healthier habits, including reaping the benefits of eating meatless meals at least once a week, snacking strategically to curb hunger, and living a greener lifestyle. Moreover, she learned how to plan her meals ahead of time, use nutritious foods and ingredients, and make exercise a priority.
"My new healthy habits include better food choices and more activity and exercise. Before starting the South Beach Diet, I would grab a coffee and a scone in the mornings, but now, I always take time to prepare a nutritious breakfast — I have a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, or eggs with vegetables for breakfast," Pat says.
Pat's family has also benefitted from following the South Beach Diet. They've learned how to incorporate healthy foods into their meals and make smart choices when dining out. These days, Pat prepares nutritious meals using a variety of colors and textures. Taking the time to prepare each of her meals has helped her savor her food and feel more satisfied after eating.
"Relatives have nicknamed our house 'The South Beach House.' When we have family gatherings, we always include healthy food choices. We have family members who are vegetarians and others who need to be more careful about what they eat due to health reasons. The beauty of the South Beach Diet is that it is easy to accommodate a variety of food preferences while providing tasty and nutritious meals," Pat says.
The biggest reward for Pat has been the motivation and support she has received — it has played a big role in helping her accomplish her goals. The South Beach Diet Community Challenges have inspired her to continue her weight-loss journey and make new friends along the way.
"I love the South Beach Diet Community Challenges because the online community is very supportive. The Challenges also add an element of fun to our weight-loss journeys. The South Beach Diet doesn't feel like a diet anymore. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I'm convinced that it is the key to my success," Pat says.
"My biggest surprise is that while following the South Beach Diet, it suddenly didn’t feel like a diet anymore. The transition from diet to lifestyle took place somewhere on Phase 2, and it has influenced my thinking and behavior since that time."
"One of my favorite snacks is an apple with almond butter. I also enjoy a cottage cheese and horseradish dip with baby bell peppers. I recently experimented with toasting pumpkin seeds with a little unsweetened cocoa powder, and they were delicious."
Most Effective Strategy
"I use visualization as a weight-loss strategy. I envision a rider atop an elephant. The rider (my rational self) needs to control the elephant (my animal self). I then envision an elephant on the plate. The tempting food no longer looks appetizing. My rational self wins. Eventually, with practice and determination, my rational self is successful and the elephant is tamed."
“Another strategy I enjoy is playing with my food. I love to make the dish aesthetically appealing. I enjoy showcasing the beautiful colors and textures of food. Taking the time to prepare beautiful dishes is a strategy that helps me treat each meal like a special occasion."
"My advice for anyone who is struggling to lose weight is to have patience and be kind to yourself. Little changes lead to big differences. Rather than making drastic changes for a short period of time, take small steps and see permanent changes over a long period of time."