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  • When you make a mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.

     Phyllis Bottome

    (1884-1963, American Writer)

     I recently received an e-mail from a woman I’d met several years ago when I had my Plus-Size clothing design company, Dion-Jones, Ltd. I made her a gorgeous custom wedding gown ensemble, so we were more than just casual acquaintances. I remembered her instantly.

    The gist of this gal’s letter was: “Even though I’ve recently lost 90 pounds with a gastric bypass, my compulsive eating is as strong an impulse as ever . . . It’s so easy for me to gain weight. If there’s any way you can help me, I’d forever be thankful!”

    This is a woman who not only wanted to lose more weight than she already had, but was also scared to death of regaining what she’d lost with the gastric by-pass. Can’t say I blame her. She’s stuck, all right, and I’m afraid it isn’t on a plateau, but on finding a way to eat and exercise for the rest of her life. She went through all the pain, suffering and rigmarole of surgically altering her innards only to learn the hard way that a gastric by-pass nor a lap-band are not the magic panacea she and a lot of others hope they will be.

    It is said that 80% of gastric by-pass and lap-band procedures fail. I know a whole lot of people who are not happy with their surgery results and struggle with every single morsel they put into their mouths, every single pound that they go up (or down), and are desperate for my help. And I know others, still, who’ve had the surgery and regained every single pound they’ve lost, and then some. I personally know of four women who each had a gastric by-pass three times! (Where is their doctor’s head?)

    I knew I had to work fast to help this gal.

    With Easter almost upon us, candy, sweets, desserts, and all manner of white starch and comfort carbs abound. I also knew I faced the same demons she did. These impulses never really go away for good; they’re always there, lurking under your skin, waiting – but they are manageable and the only way through it is to do it.

    For the entire Easter weekend, I will be acutely aware of a very special, homemade Easter lamb cake softly whispering my name. I’m notoriously crazy for these cakes and I try to resist every year, but that luscious cake will be on my mind till I satisfy that itch.

    lambI can see that little lambie cake right now. Divine butter cream frosting layered lovingly in row upon perfect row of granulated sugary fleece, sprinkled with fresh, soft, arctic white coconut curls. I can smell it – butter-laden, made-from-scratch yellow pound cake, moist as all get out. I can even taste it – that fantastic frosting combined with the perfect pound cake and soft, scrumptious coconut . . . the mere thought of that creamy, crunchy sugar-mixture gritting between my teeth is enough to send me into apoplexy.

    And, heck yeah, I still think about stuff like that. I still have those compulsive, impulse cravings swirling around me even after losing 150 pounds the old-fashioned way, but they don’t paralyze me with passion nor annihilate me with a binge. I don’t let them. In the long run, it ain’t worth it. Huge difference from the “old me.” But I didn’t get this way overnight.

    One of the first things you need to do, I advised my friend, is to start keeping a daily fitness journal, a place to record your progress on the steps you take toward your new, forever lifestyle change.

    Next, it’s imperative to weigh yourself every day. I cannot stress this enough. Learn to use the numbers you see on your scale every morning to motivate you, not defeat you.

    And do not look at weighing every day as being a slave to anything other than moving step by step toward mastering your improved health and fitness. Knowledge is power – know what you weigh. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have to help resist eating things you should not be eating.

    By not weighing myself every day, by “listening to my body’s needs,” by “trusting my body’s awareness,” and, my very favorite, “by eating what I need to eat to get along,” my butt skyrocketed all the way up to 317 pounds. Never again. I learned my lesson and hope you’ll learn from me before it’s too late.

    Most overweight people’s body sense has gone haywire – their body awareness is buried under years of dieting failures and physical neglect. If your life stays the way it is now, so will your weight.

    Take my advice and you’ll knock those excess pounds down – this time for good.

    Relax and give yourself some time. Take it one step at a time, one pound at a time. Hell, there are times I take it one-quarter pound at a time. Whatever works, do it.  Just walk and weigh every single day, record it and get over it, already.

    Remember: not one of us are overweight because aliens swooped down from the sky, captured us in our sleep, whisked us off to the mother ship and force-fed us milk shakes, pizzas, cookies, popcorn, and cheese cakes before returning us to our beds and unsuspecting families.

    We each do it to ourselves – some of us knowingly and some of us unwittingly. Either way, it’s time to dig our way out of this bottomless pit together and learn to live and enjoy our lives the way we were intended to – healthy, joyfully, gorgeously and above all, unencumbered.

    When you make a diet mistake, don’t look back at it long. Take the reason of that mistake into your mind, and then look forward.

    Mistakes are lessons of wisdom.

    The past cannot be changed.

    Your future health is in your power.

    More so than you know.