I have lost almost thirty pounds over the last year. When I turned 40 in 2008, I made it a point to start visiting the doctor regularly (prior to this appointment it had been over five years since I saw a doctor). He ordered a blood test, and the cholesterol numbers that came back were high. With a glib note on the test results, he said "cut out dairy and meat fats."
My wife looked at the results, winced, then showed me exactly how much half and half cream I use in my coffee. Let me tell you: it's more than two tablespoons. "From now on, no cream in your coffee," she said. So...this was how it was going to be.
Since that change, I've made other adjustments, all of which I've accepted grudgingly. I've eliminated butter and toast for breakfast, favoring yogurt or cereal (and just a cup of cereal at that). I've stopped eating peanut butter. Every now and then, I'll enjoy a salad for lunch.
Just these few changes caused my pants to feel loose in a few months. We made other changes, including dropping out or greatly reducing certain take-out choices (good bye lovely Chinese food; good bye tasty sandwiches from Panera; good bye McDonald's; good bye Dunkin' Donut breakfast sandwiches). Over this period, I've become a fan of reading the nutrition label of anything I eat.
My next blood test seven months later showed a marked improvement, but the doctor still saw some high numbers, and he recommended a meeting with a nutritionist. This meeting was eye-opening. The nutritionist diagrammed how the body digests food, and how "bad" fat is created. He pointed me towards the South Beach diet for other principles. He introduced me to "heart-smart fats". He told me about the work of Dr. William Castelli and the Framingham Heart Study.
I didn't necessarily get "diet religion", but I have started taking Omega-3 pills, and redoubled my effort to eat more fruit instead of sugary or overly salty snacks (mixed nuts are good, in moderation).
My next cholesterol test will be sometime in late April or May. Who knows how these changes will affect those numbers, but the weight loss is undeniable evidence that these changes are having effect. The weight loss has been uneasy to me. I associate my weight with prosperity. Or maybe I justified it? Either way, tightening the belt is an easier thing for me today.