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Losing Weight in the Land of Rice: My Success Story

Submitted on Nov 1, 2011
  • My Story
  • Turning Point
  • Support System
  • Biggest Challenge
  • Secret

My Success Story is:

Over the last year and a half, I have lost 30 pounds! I have also become a runner, now logging three 2.5-mile runs in a typical week. I learned how to manage my portion sizes and make good food choices while living in the Dominican Republic, where the diet consists mostly of rice and fried foods.

I got tired of looking at my body in a bathing suit, and I got tired of making excuses for myself.

My Turning Point was:

I live on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, so I spend a fair amount of time at the beach. I got tired of looking at my body in a bathing suit, and I got tired of making excuses for myself. That was the initial motivation for losing weight and eating well. Along the way, however, other things have motivated me, like going on a hike that made me feel more winded and tired than it should have.

My Support System Was:

My family (parents and sisters) have been a huge support, encouraging me and celebrating with me at each weight-loss milestone. My roommate for the past two years also supported me by reminding me that my goal was to eat well and feel good about myself, whether or not the scale budged that week. She also encouraged me to exercise. My boyfriend is an important part of my support system, too, as he asks me about my running and tells me I'm beautiful!

I live in a small town, and I don't have a car, so it's sometimes difficult to find good, fresh produce.

My biggest challenge on the road to success was:

Limited food options. I live in a small town, and I don't have a car, so it's sometimes difficult to find good, fresh produce. Also, living in a third world country means we have to disinfect and bleach our produce to kill any bacteria, so preparing fresh food takes longer. Salads are rare. My lunch is dictated by my employer, since I work at a school where we all eat the same food, and lunch each day is 90% rice.

My secret to success that I hope to share with others is

Losing weight is not about depriving myself. It's about choosing to stick to a certain number of calories, and then making decisions during the day based on that number. At the end of the day, if my total is over my goal, I'll try to make up for it the next day, but I won't feel guilty. Losing weight is about feeling good about myself and learning to make healthy choices. Thanks to LIVESTRONG.COM's Dares and MyPlate, I have become a conscious eater. I have learned to eat well without making myself feel guilty or deprived, because MyPlate makes it easy to see how different food choices will affect my body. Once I see the effects, it's easier for me to say no to food that won't really satisfy me or has too many calories. MyPlate provides a place for me to hold myself accountable to my choices about food and exercise, and as I track my food, I learn more about portion sizes, which foods are nutrient-rich, and my eating habits. LIVESTRONG.COM provided an easy-to-use format for me to consistently track my food and exercise - I love it!

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