Ever since I was a child, I had an enormous appetite. Or perhaps I didn't, but I did enjoy eating. My weight has been up and down since my late teen years, but my "down" was still overweight. And despite fluctuations in between, I always seemed to weigh more than I did five years before.

I decided it was time for a change because the trend was unsustainable. While many people my age enjoy very active lifestyles, there were things I wanted to do but couldn't. I was simply too fat, and I decided to take steps toward weight loss.

I didn't have a target weight. My goal, instead, was to fit into smaller clothing sizes. As a result of my changes, I've lost 12% of my body weight in 32 weeks and am halfway toward my size goals.

I had setbacks and periods of stagnancy, but they provided lessons. There are some things I have learned along the way and will be mindful of going forward. In these "Ten Commandments for Weight Loss," I have five about attitude and five about practical behaviors.

Ten commandments for weight loss

1- The body is the temple of my soul, but it is not my soul. The body is temporary. I will maintain it, honor it, and express myself through it. But the body was made for the soul, not the soul for the body. It is to be used and enjoyed to our heart's delight, not to be kept in a pristine condition.
2- The point of good health isn't longer life, but to be able to do what I want to do. In this sense, good health is like money. Do I want money to feel financially secure in the future, in my old age? Of course. But that doesn't mean I become a miser, saving every penny. The best thing about having money is getting what I want, right away. Likewise, the best thing about good health is feeling good and having plenty of energy in the present moment.
3- "Before you lose the pounds, you must lose the weight." This quote is from the comedian Monique Marvez. By "weight," she means emotional baggage: anxiety, stress, bitterness, low self-esteem. It's easier to lose pounds when I'm thinking positively, and not worrying about it.
4- If I like how I look and feel, I will look good to others. Attractive people come in all shapes and sizes.
5- If someone offers me a cookie and it looks good, I shall accept it. Graciousness and fellowship are more important than calorie counting. Likewise, parties, celebrations, and family gatherings are a time to enjoy the food and beverages presented. If you won't have fun on these occasions, when will you?

The following rules are guiding me in day-to-day living.

6- Make losing weight an intention, a top priority with attainable, measurable goals. If it isn't a top priority, it will be neglected.
7- Abstain from beverages with calories unless they have nutritious content, and do not purchase processed snack foods, candy, or desserts.
8- Follow standard nutritional guidelines; do not be led astray by fad diets. Every day, get at least the minimum of fruits, vegetables, and protein.
9- At most one sandwich, or two slices of bread, per day and, without being a stickler, stay mindful of other high-carb food portions.
10- Walk as much as possible and drink as much water as possible.

For the most part, my intention to reach my goals has kept my appetite in check. Since I'll eat whatever I want in social settings, including sweets and chips, I don't crave them or feel the urge to purchase them for my home. I don't want these foods as much as I used to.

My goals are no longer distant. Because my intention is clear, I am free from feelings of sacrifice or deprivation. Because I refused to be strict, my discipline improved.

By forming the lessons learned into these ten commandments, I anticipate reaching my goal with ease.