Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Few Thoughts About Losing Weight

As I mentioned in my spot on Good Day Columbus, which I linked to in my previous post, I recently lost a little over 50 pounds.  Here is how I did it and what I learned: 

  • I set a goal for myself to drop from 257 to 200 pounds.
    • I think it is hugely important to have a goal from day one to work towards, whether it's 10 pounds or 50.  
    • I also knew if  I hit my goal I was going to appear on TV.  Figure out what your reward will be for success.  Have it be something concrete and tangible.
    • I attempted to lose two pounds a week. 
    • 200 pounds is still above my ideal BMI and I should probably eventually lose another 20 pounds.
    • I spent seven months and lost 50 pounds or about 1.67 pounds per week.
  • Find a strategy that works for you.  
    • My strategy was simple, eat fewer calories.
    • While technically I could eat whatever I want, when a candy bar is the same amount of calories as an entire salad, and you're hungry, you start shifting your priorities
    • By virtue of needing to fill your stomach with something, but having to limit calories, you naturally start gravitating towards more fruits, vegetables, and lean meats and away from carbs, dairy, and fats.
  • I used an app called myfitnesspal.
    • Based on my goal weight, current weight, height, gender, fitness level, and how many pounds I wanted to lose in a week it told me how many calories to eat in a day and how long the process would take.
    • By inputting what I ate throughout the day and how much I exercised it was calculated how many calories I took in and worked off.
    • It also has the ability to save custom meals for quick access if you often eat the same thing at a particular meal.
    • Overall it was the most important tool at my disposal as I went through the long process of learning how many calories were in different foods.  Near the end, I had a pretty good idea of what I could/should eat and found the app to no longer be necessary.
  • Mental toughness is the key to success
    • You will be hungry, a lot, especially at the beginning.  Hunger is pain, but you can learn to deal with it.  But with my weight loss goal and reward firmly in my mind I pressed on through the pain.  Just remember what Shia LaBoeuf says
    • Don't be discouraged by setbacks, because they will come.  Figure out where the problem is and work to fix it.
    • Spend time learning why you overeat.  Is it when you're stressed? Do you always find an excuse to celebrate with food? Do you eat when you're bored? Does having a variety of foods available (i.e. a buffet) lead you to overindulge? 
  • I allowed myself to have a cheat day once a week.
    • This meant that mentally I just had to keep it together for six days, knowing that I could satisfy a less-healthy craving on that seventh day.
    • I kept a craving log so I would remember what foods I was really in the mood for.
    • Cheat days are not about eating as much as you want for the entire day, but rather about eating some higher calorie foods you avoid the rest of the week.  To start I read this great article on the pros and cons of cheat days.
  • Have a support group you can talk to
    • Find others who are on the same journey.  
    • For me, I spent a few hours a day in Mobiletrak with Mike Kilburn, who introduced me to these weight loss strategies.  
    • We were able to give each other advice and support every day and it was very valuable.
I'm no nutritionist or dietitian, but this is what worked for me.  Hopefully, it will work for some of you too. 

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