Nancy Adamczyk thought she would be overweight all her life. How she proved herself wrong.
Name: Nancy Adamczyk
Lives: Southborough, Massachusetts
Kept it off: 33 years
I was overweight as a child, and felt as though I was destined to be fat all of my life. My doctor worked with my mother to put me on a diet when I was 10 years old. I remember charting my weight each week! I went on many diets through grammar, middle and high school. I always lost some weight, then started regaining as I stopped the diet. In college, I gained more during freshman and sophomore years. My peak weight was at least 175–I didn't get on scales then. It was hard for me to keep weight off because I liked to eat a lot of food. I always had "seconds" at dinner and we always had at least one homemade dessert in the house. Plus, my hobbies were things like sewing and other handwork, puzzles, lots of sedentary past times. I also love to bake.
What finally clicked for me was starting to exercise every day, which I did by jumping rope in my apartment before work and walking after work. (I was a math teacher at the time). I also created a diet for myself where I tried to eat lower-fat items so that I didn't "starve.” I even had a small sweet at the end of the day. This combination helped me to lose 60 pounds over about 15 months, so it was gradual. The fact that I kept exercising helped me to keep at it. In 1987, about eight years later, I started working as a weight loss counselor. I know a lot more now about calories and nutrition, and keeping the weight off has become much easier. Over the years I've continued to find ways to help me maintain my weight both on the food end and the exercise end.
The tricky part for me is that I need a pretty high volume of food–I've never done well by cutting down my portion sizes. To help me keep my calories lower and feel full I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits. I eat about 10 cups a day! I add fruit to my oatmeal in the morning, I have two to three vegetables with my lunch and three to four vegetables with my dinner. I focus on low-fat sources of protein like fish, beans, and occasionally chicken. Most of the grains I eat are whole grains.
I exercise every day. I'm very consistent with doing something when I first get up. I use a treadmill most mornings for about 40 minutes. During that time I walk, walk at an incline and run. I try to do one or two additional bouts during the day. Those are usually walks in the neighborhood for 15 to 30 minutes. In summer I'm an avid golfer–walking 18 holes, no cart! As I've gotten older, I also stretch every day and do resistance training 2-3 times a week.