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Published on July 11, 2017

Lisa Leuning before and after

One Year on Ideal Living: Lisa's Update 

It was one year ago that I started the Ideal Living diet with Avera. I apologize for not updating everyone sooner, but if you haven’t read my other entries on this journey, here’s a short recap:

I stayed on the program’s Phase 1 for about 6 months, and I met my weight loss goal. But then I decided to do an additional week of Phase 1 to give myself a little breathing room with my weight loss.

My final numbers were great: I ended up losing 77 pounds and 71.75 inches!

You can see in the photos on this page that my journey from one year ago, that I am happy with my progress. I’m also happy to say that I’m within five pounds of my goal weight an additional six months later.

Nerves But Successes

I was really nervous about maintaining my weight loss, but found it was easier to do after losing the weight. Having more energy to play with my boys made it all worth it. I have to admit, I’ve had struggles finding a good balance for maintenance. Adding more carbs to my diet increased my weight by a few pounds, which my health coaches told me to expect.

When I first started maintenance, I allowed myself one crazy cheat day a week. This didn’t work out so well. One cheat day a week apparently doesn’t mean I eat as much dessert, pasta and everything else I may want in one day … I sometimes found myself five pounds up after just that one cheat day. When that happened, I would go back to Phase 1 guidelines for a few days until I was back down to my comfortable level.

I still allow myself a cheat day, but I don’t go crazy, and I don’t do it all day. I pick one meal or one dessert to allow myself to enjoy this special cheats.

I have given myself a 10- pound “wiggle room” space because my weight fluctuates pretty dramatically day-to-day. But as soon as I get close to that limit, I hop back on Phase 1 until I lose the weight.

My eating lifestyle has changed dramatically, and it’s also changed for my family. We eat a salad with most meals, now and both my 4- and 2-year-old sons eat salads with us. We also eat vegetables regularly. I have also experimented with grilling my own food, the first few times I did this were very interesting and resulted in some very overcooked steaks and some very undercooked steaks.

But I found that you can find helpful advice on grilling any type of food on YouTube.com. I’m a much better cook than I was when I started this journey.

Many Changes

How has life changed for me since losing the weight? Here are some key points:

  • To celebrate my weight loss goal, I took my two oldest boys snow tubing. This is not something I had the confidence to do prior, and while my coworkers had gone tubing in the past, I had always opted out or stayed back and just drank hot chocolate in the lodge. This time, I took my boys and we had a blast! We created memories we will always have, and I have the confidence to do it again.
  • I go kayaking all the time and even bought my oldest son a child’s kayak so we could go together. It is a great way for us to spend time together.
  • I have more confidence is everything I do, from my personal life to my professional life. This is something I really value. I’m more open to trying new things and I feel like it has transformed my personality to some degree.
  • Eating healthy and making good choices when I go out to eat is no longer difficult. When I would go out to eat before, I wanted something special and worth my money. Now, I just look for foods that are healthy and always substitute vegetables carbs – except on my cheat days! You can go out to eat and still eat healthy. If I go to a restaurant that has a salad bar, I order a meal and ask for box right away. Then I eat the salad bar for that meal and eat my to-go order for my next meal.
  • I now can keep up with my kids more than ever. I used to be tired all the time, and now I have more energy and do more. My four-year old got tired at the zoo the other day long before I did.
  • I have never been a big fan of exercise, but I do make sure I exercise three days a week by doing 10-minute workouts. I have purchased several different 10 minute DVDs, and they work for me. If I have time, I’ll sometimes do two or three in one session, but most often I just get up 10 minutes early and do one of these workouts in the morning.

I highly recommend the Ideal Living plan to anyone who really wants to make a change in life. I still listen to weight loss mediation videos almost every night. It is a good reminder of how far I’ve come and where I want to stay, and I still have essential oils with me everywhere I go and at home.

When I’m stressed out, I know it’s time to go have another acupuncture session. I feel so much better after a treatment – like I can take on the world!

While Ideal Living worked for me, I’d mention that I never cheated during the six months of my plan. I set that expectation for myself upfront, and I think doing so made it easier for me. I was not to be tempted to cheat.

The benefits and staying strict were really worth it. I noticed the payoff every week on the scale, and I believe doing this for six month really helped to change the way I eat long term. Thanks for reading my blog!

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

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