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How I lost 50 pounds: No more yo-yo dieting for this emotional eater

Kit Flynn, after her weight loss, right, poses for a photo at her home Feb. 19, 2013 in Ottawa.

Dave Chan/The Globe and Mail

Kit Flynn

54, Ottawa

Pounds dropped: 50

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My turning point: I was 50 pounds heavier, again. A chronic yo-yo dieter, I had dropped, then regained the same 50 pounds twice. I was on a horrible pattern of eating: If I had emotions, I fed them. I had survived a traumatic marriage and the death of my husband – for every pound he lost during his illness, I gained. At 5-foot-9, I grew to 210 pounds before finally ending the war with my weight in 2006. One day, I just made the decision to change my life, from the inside out. I was 47 years old and didn't want to live with self-loathing and self-disgust for the rest of my life. I promised myself on that day that my emotions would no longer dictate the physical shape of my body

My method: I rejoined Weight Watchers and followed it – and this time I signed up to be a lifetime member. For me, being active and following an eating plan were both straightforward. My battle was all mental: Changing my thoughts and attitudes, now that was a huge challenge. If this was going to stick, I had to start to think differently about myself, my worthiness, my health, and my right to happiness. I began to practise new behaviour and adopted new thought processes.

I began by simply noticing the negative messages I told myself – things that I would never dream of saying to a friend, or to anyone else. For example, I would think, "You'll never lose weight because you are weak. You will always be a yo-yo-er." I began to stop allowing those thoughts to enter my head. What's more, I chose not even to delve into any analysis about why I was thinking that way. I immediately stopped those negative ideas by envisioning a red stop sign. I then substituted the destructive thoughts with a constructive positive one such as: "I am losing weight and I can get to my goal weight and stay there for the rest of my life." By repeating positive messages often, I eventually replaced the negative thoughts, which changed my weight gain/loss pattern.

My life is different now. I don't have "big clothes" waiting for me in my closet. I fuel my body with high-quality, life-affirming food and, most important, I treat myself with the tenderness and care I treat all my loved ones.

My kryptonite: Dark chocolate, anything with caramel or butterscotch and a glass of red wine. I love my treats – and I deserve them! – in moderation, of course.

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