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Mailbag: Strategies for Lasting Weight Loss Results

Mailbag Mondays - Our answers to readers' questions

Hi, Jennifer.

Hope you are enjoying your family over the Christmas break. I know we won’t have many more trips with the whole family so I’m soaking it up.

I’ve thought of asking you many questions recently. I saw you liked The Daniel Plan [on Facebook]. Have you tried it? It’s by Rick Warren and some other doctors. I really want to lose about 20 lbs and find that I’m stuck….


Hi, Susan.

The Daniel PlanIf I liked The Daniel Plan, it was from a looks-interesting-I-should-check-this-out point of view rather than a tried-it-and-have-personal-success-with-the-plan. My husband bought the book a couple of years ago, and I keep intending to read it (in hopes it will help me lose weight), but that hasn’t happened yet.

The book reading, that is. I’m happy to report that the weight loss did happen this year — at least the first forty pounds of it.

Want to know how I did it?

I swore off sugar for six months. From the day I turned fifty in April until the day my son got married in October:

  • I said no to all desserts
  • I didn’t worry about added sugar in things like peanut butter or natural sugars in fresh fruits, but I avoided all cakes, candies, pies, ice cream, granola bars, sugary cereals, and other treats loaded with refined sugar. Having a six-month time limit really helped me remain committed. As a bonus, once the six months were over, many of the things that would have tripped me up before had largely lost their appeal and were no longer even a temptation… so I haven’t bothered trying to reacquire a taste for them!

  • I eliminated liquid calories
  • I’ve never been fond of sodas or sweet tea, but I love milk and orange juice. However, I gave up drinking those for six months, too (although I would occasionally have a cup of milk on whole grain cereal or in a fresh fruit smoothie). It’s amazing how many calories you can guzzle when you reach for anything besides water to slake your thirst. I stopped doing that, and am still very careful about it, although now that the six months are over, I do allow myself a little orange juice with my Sunday bagel and enjoy a small cup of milk whenever I eat a little chocolate.

  • I drank lots and lots of water
  • A minimum of eight full glasses a day was my goal. I would occasionally add a squirt of lemon or a slice of cucumber for flavoring, but I usually drank my water straight from the tap. Since I’m prone to get bad headaches whenever I become dehydrated, drinking lots of water is a no-brainer for me.

Those few simple changes were all it took to shed 35 pounds. No exercise. No other dietary changes. And I’ve lost an additional five pounds since the wedding, even after adding a little sugar back into my diet (and despite the holidays).

But at this point, I feel like I’ve lost about as much as I can without increasing my activity level. At fifty, I have such an efficient metabolism that those last stubborn pounds are going to hang on even through faithful calorie counting and drastic dietary changes, unless I add some regular exercise to my routine.

The only thing that I’ve ever had any long-lasting success with — at least in recent years — is TTapp’s Basic Workout Plus, so that’s my plan for the New Year: Just 12 minutes a day for 5-6 days a week.

Even running that marathon the year I delivered #8 didn’t give me the results I’ve gotten with TTapp — I lost more toenails than pounds logging all those miles!

If you’re interested in learning more about TTapp (named after it’s creater, Teresa Tapp), you can Google the moves on YouTube. The exercises look deceptively easy, but they really get my heart racing. Just give these Hoe Downs a try and see if they don’t do the same for you:

The entire workout is comprised of similar no-impact moves that are easy on joints, but still great for toning muscle and burning fat.

As for The Daniel Plan, I’ve moved that book from my husband’s shelf to my nightstand now. I just finished the first chapter and really liked it.

The gist: “Everyone wants to be healthy, but very few people choose to be healthy. It takes more than desire or a dream to get healthy… it takes a decision.” I like the book’s focus on the fact that taking care of our health is one way of exercising good stewardship over our bodies, and that we’ll need God’s help if we want to make lasting changes to our health habits.

So I think I’ll give it a try and see if the combination of The Daniel Plan and TTapp can help me lose those last twenty pounds I need to shed in the New Year — maybe even before I turn 51 in April.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Let me know if you decide to join me in my journey to better fitness. Leave a comment with the amount you want to lose and how you plan to lose it, then we can pray for and encourage one another along the way.

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