Maria’s Weight Loss “Secrets”

April 10, 2010

So many people have been asking what I’m doing to shed the LBs. Instead of being coy, I’ll share what has been working for me.  But, like anyone offering diet advice, I must add a disclaimer: Before starting any weight loss or exercise regimen, talk to your doctor.


1.  Eliminate temptation from your diet. This is a no-brainer. If there are certain foods you absolutely cannot resist, cut them out 100 percent. Don’t tell yourself you’ll only have one Oreo if that is your weakness. For me, it’s carbs – bread, pasta, rice, crackers, bagels, pancakes, cornbread, muffins, donuts, noodles, stuffing, etc. I adore carbs. Unfortunately, they attach themselves to my arse and thighs with industrial strength fixative. I also have zero impulse control when it comes to these food items, so I simply stopped eating them. That simple.

2.  Move. You gain weight for two reasons – too much food and not enough movement. I was guilty of both. The elliptical is a great choice for those just starting out; it is low impact and you can actually do a decent chunk of time on it without dying, which creates powerful, positive feelings of success. Walk, bike, swim, run, dance, ice skate, canoe, tumble down a hill in a giant hamster wheel. Just get thyself off the sofa and start using all those soft, mushy muscles.

3.  Document. Virtually every diet plan recommends tracking your food intake and activity. I record what I eat for two reasons: the first is so I can look back and review my eating habits if I’m not losing to identify trouble spots (like the time I was eating three Clif bars a day — too many!); the second is that days and weeks of eating healthy create powerful, positive feelings of success.

4.  Support system. Losing weight requires change – frequently significant, lifestyle-altering, permanent change. That’s hard to do alone, so surround yourself with supportive, encouraging, knowledgeable, positive people. Get yourself some cheerleaders. Tell people about your challenges and your accomplishments, and allow yourself  to bask in the glow of their praise. Team Maria includes Mammy Jammy, sister ShaSha,  BFF Shannon and Ricardo Amore.  When my powerful, positive feelings of success are waning, they remind me of what I’ve accomplished and give me a nice kick in the arse to stay on track.

5. Walk the talk. Forty pounds ago I didn’t feel like a person who made healthy lifestyle choices. I didn’t feel active. I didn’t feel self-disciplined. I didn’t feel like I could just say no to Arby’s. But it helped to “pretend” I was this sort of person – I bought cute athletic wear for the gym, I started drinking my coffee black, I even started “pretending” to enjoy edamame and tofu. And you know what? I still hate tofu, but I am a person who makes healthy choices and is active and can say no to potato cakes and a jamocha shake.

6. Be selfish. I struggle with this one, because sometimes my new lifestyle infringes on others. The kids don’t get to have donuts on Sunday morning, and Number Two Son can’t take off in the car because I have to get to the gym. I get mad when my husband monitors my eating, even when he’s just kidding around. I fear friends feel self conscious in restaurants when I order a salad, hold the cheese/croutons/dressing. I recognize that I’m rocking the boat and it makes some folks sea sick. But ultimately we are each responsible for ourselves, and while disconcerting, this change is really a good thing!

7. It’s not a diet. I think the top reason people fail at weight loss is because of the negative connotation to dieting, the sense of deprivation and restriction. They have to forfeit foods they love, foods that soothe them and satisfy them. I’ve been there — looking longingly at a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger and chili fries while I resentfully consume a tasteless hunk of iceberg lettuce. BUT…when I began creating healthful, flavorful meals with quality ingredients, it no longer felt punitive. Now, instead of having that burger and fries, I tempt myself with a spinach salad made of fresh sliced strawberries, toasted almonds, crumbled feta cheese and a drizzle of Asian sesame dressing. In the past, I never took the time to realize that a  pint of blueberries probably cost the same as a gallon of ice cream, yet I argued that the berries were too expensive. However, I had no qualms about buying one, two or three gallons of ice cream!

8. Love yourself now. Think about how you treat your best friend or your child. You are patient, kind, supportive, forgive faults and encourage them when they are down. You accept them as they are, while helping them to become better people and live up to their potential. You go out of your way to express your affection and gift them with special tokens. Sometimes you even make difficult choices because you know it is in their best interest (that’s called tough love). So why aren’t you treating yourself the same way? Whether you weight 350 pounds or 150 pounds, you are a wonderful, talented, amazing person. Don’t be afraid to celebrate that magnificence, for while a trim figure goes a long way, it is by no means the full measure of a person. Dare to dance now, even if you jiggle.


4 Responses to “Maria’s Weight Loss “Secrets””

  1. Eden Glenn Says:

    Say Amen. I still fail at times. But I feel everything you say. I’m making nutritious choices day by day.

    Love ya. You keep up the good work. You are looking fab and feeling better. It gets better and better.

  2. Claire Fadden Says:

    I was with you until the part about black coffee. I don’t think I can face the day with out my creamer. But because of you I am now taking a serious look at removing white breads from my diet. Continue to inspire us, Maria.

    • Maria Connor Says:

      Don’t tell anyone but sometimes I treat myself to a little creamer. Read a tip about making your own “lattes” at Starbuck’s – get a plain black coffee, add half-n-half and a sprinkle of cinnamon. DELISH! And inspiration is mutual – I’m thinking of giving yoga a try!

  3. I haven’t had chocolate in about seven weeks. The other night I had a dream that I ate this coconut chocolate cookie cake type thing and while it was SO GOOD, I felt SO GUILTY afterwards. Thankfully it was just a dream. 🙂

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