Millions of people struggle with their weight everyday, and the battle with controlling weight gain and striving for weight loss is the topic of many, many articles, books and television shows. But what better way to get the best possible pointers about losing weight, than from someone who has been through the battle themselves. Diane Naylor, now 63 years old, used to weigh 400 pounds. This is her story, and the 7 steps she suggests for losing weight.
Diane retired four years ago and moved into a new home around the same time. She was determined to take advantage of all the activities available in her new town: hiking, biking on trails, and overall enjoying the outdoors as much as possible. But it wasn’t so easy to start. Being 400 pounds, Diane did not even want to leave her house.
“I felt miserable and depressed because of my weight,” Diane told TODAY. “I wasn’t active at all and I couldn’t do all of the things I wanted to.”
Like so many before her, she tried several times to lose weight, only to feel like a failure. The turning point came when she was watching an episode of the television show Castle. “One of the medical examiners was telling the lead actress she should follow her dreams,” Naylor remembers. “He pointed to the corpses and said, ‘All those people had dreams, but their time ran out, so don’t let that happen to you.’ It was like a light bulb went off — I had a lot of dreams, too, and I wanted to accomplish them.”
From that moment on, Diane began a weight loss journey that helped her shed 225 pounds.
Here is her advice for anyone looking to follow in her footsteps:
1. Start NOW
There’s no time like the present, and there will be no perfect time to start changing your life for the better. The simple act of beginning a new habit, or shedding an old one, is what is truly important and uplifting. Don’t be perfect, don’t be intimidated, just get started.
Diane says, “Don’t put it off. No one gets any younger, and the younger you are, the easier it is. I started at 59, which proves anyone can do it. Why start six months from now? Start today!”
2. Make small changes to your lifestyle
You don’t have to become a triathelete to start being healthier. Diane had trouble walking to the end of her driveway and back when she started exercising. She is now able to hike and bike several miles a day, but because she started small she didn’t get discouraged and give up!
3. Support, support, support
Find a support network. Diane herself joined a support club called Taking Off Pounds Sensibly, “The Monday meetings help me keep myself in check during the weekends, when I’d be most likely to cheat,” Diane said to TODAY. “If you don’t have access to a similar group — start one yourself! Find similar-minded people who will understand and support you.” Knowing you are not alone and that there are others out there rooting for you can make a huge difference.
4. Try eating new things
Eating certain foods, especially unhealthy foods, can become a hard habit to break. Try something you’re skeptical about, or try a food you aren’t fond of but prepared in a different way. Diane didn’t like fish much but she figured out she enjoys it when prepared in a healthy way using an air fryer.
5. Don’t go on a diet
Diets don’t work, especially not in the long run. Losing weight and keeping it off requires a lifestyle change, a shift toward living healthy in many different ways, so you just have to figure out what works for you.
6. Stick with it
Perseverance is much more important than perfection. There will be days that things don’t go according to plan, and you may disappoint yourself, but remember, this is a long-term shift, so don’t give up! Don’t let the scale determine how you feel. “It might take six or eight weeks for the scale to move, but during that time, you’ll see the inches coming off of your body,” says Diane. That number on the scale is less important than striving to feel strong, more agile, and more healthy.
7. Take it one meal at a time
Stay in the moment–don’t punish yourself for past mistakes and don’t fear the future decisions. Make your meal and exercise decisions one at a time. “Staying healthy is a constant, everyday decision,” says Diane.
Diane has also said that her Christian faith is something she has relied heavily upon. Today, Diane Naylor weighs 155 pounds. She continues to pursue her dreams and have fun, including travelling and becoming more active in her church.