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Living in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Fear is the Best Motivation

I think most of us have faced weight issues over the years and keeping slim certainly does not get any easier as we get older.

I was at an ideal weight when I first came to Mexico 15 years ago but soon put on 40 pounds. That’s right I said 40 pounds.

I was golfing and playing tennis and finally got it off using the, then very popular, Cabbage Soup Diet.

Over the years it slowly came back even though I was walking five times a week. I have tried all the diets from Fit for Life to Atkins and, although, they did work in the short term these diets were hard to maintain over time.

The last five years or so I have been very unhappy with my weight but seemed unable to find the motivation to do anything long lasting about it.

When we move to Mexico from the frozen north, in particular, it is like living in endless summer and some of us let ourselves go as if we were on permanent vacation. By the time we realize this wonderful weather and relaxed culture we now live in is a fact of life we have gained more weight that we would like.

I am very disciplined about going to my doctor (Dr. Carlos Garcia at Maskaras Clinic) regularly and he always suggested I should love some weight as I now suffered from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and all the other wonderful symptoms that come with carrying too much weight. Still nothing was working for me.

At my last complete check up mid October all my tests were fine except that he told me that I was pre-diabetic. The thought of getting diabetes was devastating to me and for me this was all I needed to do something positive for myself and my health.

I immediately went online to find out what I could do so that I would not get diabetes and the recurring theme was to lose 15-20% of your body weight.

I am a great lover of desserts, chocolate and sugar in any form as many of us are. The thought of a sugar-free and salt free diet was not particularly enticing but I made the decision if this is what I needed to do to avoid diabetes so be it.

I have stopped eating desserts altogether and if I cannot resist the temptation of some delightful sugary concoction I will have one bite as opposed to two pieces with whipped cream, of course. I have stopped cooking with salt and use other spices instead such at Spike. There are other salt-free combinations of spices available too.

I do not miss sugar as much as I thought I would and still have such treats as sugar-free cookies, sugar-free chocolate pudding etc. There are many sugar-free options available if you look for them.

I have lot 25 pounds so far and my goal is another five so I have a buffer as we have entered the holiday season of overeating and partaking of the odd cordial.

I have changed from white wine to red wine as it is lower in sugar and contains lots of lovely polyphenols which are an excellent anti-oxidant source. Anti-oxidants are vitamins that stabilize free radicals in our body and we now know free radicals cause all disease.

When I was much younger and wanted to shed a few pounds my mantra was “no bread, no potatoes and no goodies”. This always worked for me and so it does today.

Another change I have made is from white bread, bagels, pasta, tortillas to multi-grain products and I consume them a lot less frequently. I may have a multi-grain bagel once a week instead of once a day.

I have always had a love affair with all carbs but now I will have spoonful of mashed potatoes instead of two ladlesful.

As we get older, as many of us are in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, the best defense is prevention and, although I do not wish any of you to hear the words from your doctor “pre-diabetic” I want you to find whatever it is to motivate you to a healthier, happier and longer life.

It is a question of a simple change of focus from “what will I have for breakfast?” to how much weight have I lost today when I step on the scale.

The compliments you will receive far outweighs (no pun intended) any sense of depriving yourself of the foods you love and soon you will not even miss sugar.

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