I’m 4 months into my weight loss plan and it’s going great so far.
The main reason I started this is because a radio presenter that I listen to regularly started a daily podcast on weight loss that is tracking his own weight loss journey. It’s really helped me out by keeping weight loss at the forefront of my mind daily, and a couple of the ideas below have come from this show. Here’s a link if you want to give it a listen. #365 – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-alex-baker-show-podcast/id446798798.
I started on 14/01/2019 weighing in at 130.3kg (287 lbs) and thought to myself that is way too much.
Prior to this, aside from a couple of mile stroll to work each day I did no exercise, I ate crap food that was easy to cook like oven pizzas and frozen chicken and chips, and that doesn’t even include the stuff I’d buy from the bakery or chocolate bars etc. (I can cook really well but if I’m being honest, I was pretty depressed and didn’t have the energy).
So, I put in my numbers into myfitnesspal and it churned 1720 calories a day without any exercise to lose 1kg a week. So far, I’m averaging a bit under that per day while doing some running and it’s been going great. I’m down to 105kg (231 lbs), I’m no longer obese and I need a significantly smaller belt.
Here’s a few tips and other things that I’ve worked out along the way that really helped me.
1 – Keep track of your calories.
This is really obvious but most people are pretty bad at knowing how many calories are in their food. Weigh your food, and don’t lie to yourself. myfitnesspal is a great tool for this and there are others as well. If you do use myfitnesspal, look at the reports, I feel you are really missing out if you don’t. Seeing the graph can really work for visual people who aren’t driven by numbers.
2 – Learn to cook.
This is another obvious one. If you know what's in the food you're eating, it's much easier to control. Lean meat and vegetables are a great way to get nutrition you need while keeping the calories low. You get a great sense of accomplishment when you learn to cook something, it'll be better for you than the store-bought/restaurant equivalent and it is a great life skill for you to have. You can make your own "ready-meals" for the freezer, and there are plenty of under 20 minute recipes for the times when you don't have the effort. And it's usually cheaper too.
3 – Have micro goals.
If your goal is to lose 50 lbs over the next year, that is great but a number that high can be daunting. Set yourself up to enjoy successes over the year with small weekly/monthly/quarterly goals and you’ll feel better for it because you are winning battles.
4 – It’s OK to start slow.
Losing weight isn’t easy. Many people are practically addicted to food (just listen to the justifications you give for that takeout/cake and try telling me you don’t sound like a drug addict/alcoholic). If you struggle to exercise, start taking mild walks. You’ll be happier for it, the walking will boost your endurance, and the weight loss will make the exercise easier.
5 -There is nearly always room for exercise.
If you have an hour lunch, take a walk for a couple of miles. If you get the bus, get off a stop earlier. Jogging is great and once you’ve built yourself up to it a 5km jog is under half an hour which you can probably fit in your busy schedule three times a week.
6 – Alcohol can ruin a day.
You lose your inhibitions and with it, your willpower and you will order that kebab/burger/pizza. Also, alcohol and other drinks have calories in them that need to be accounted for. I'd rather eat my calories rather than drinking them.
7 – Weight isn’t everything.
How do you feel? What’s your neck/waist measurement? Do your clothes fit better? If you do strength training this can be incredibly relevant as muscle gain = weight gain. Also work out how often you should weigh yourself. Daily will keep it at the forefront of your mind but can be toxic if you put on weight. Weekly can be easier to see weight loss but it may be even more devastating if you put on weight/don’t lose any. Also weight yourself at the same time of the day when you do weigh yourself. Monthly, you’ll definitely see a fairly accurate difference but you might not have it at the forefront of your mind regularly.
8 – Mondays aren’t special.
The amount of times someone says “I’ll start again on Monday” boggles me. Hell, I used to do it. Get back on the horse immediately. If you overeat on Wednesday, that’s not an excuse to not carry on with the diet till Monday. One day doesn’t ruin a week.
9 – Beware calorie creep.
It doesn’t matter if the sweets were brought in for the office by a coworker, they still have calories. Also, ketchup/mayonnaise/oil/drinks all have calories. Keep track of them.
10 – Control the chimp.
The idea is that you have your conscious brain and your subconscious (the chimp). Your conscious brain is sensible and tries to lose weight. The chimp is terrified that you’re not eating as much as usual and will do its utmost to convince you to eat more. You'll be craving food and depleting your willpower. Do what you can to not let it win. Put plans in place to stop it before it starts. If you always stop by the bakery on the way home from work, change your walking route. Delete your Just Eat account. Eat some food before you go food shopping so you’re not buying food when hungry. Make it a lot of effort to do the things you know you shouldn’t do. After a while you will get better at it.
11 – Keep hydrated.
Some people have real difficulty knowing if they’re thirsty/hungry. Drink a glass of water if you feel hungry then wait twenty minutes. See if you’re still hungry. (Also waiting 20 minutes before you get food if you’re hungry is a great way to train your ability to resist temptation. If you can wait twenty minutes, odds are you won’t be craving that donut anymore.)
12 – You need routine.
Routine is willpower’s best friend. If you go running on Monday and that is the default in your mind, it becomes easier to put your shoes on and go running. If you are intermittent fasting, then saying no to the donuts at work is much easier as you don’t eat at that time.
13 – What works for you is all that’s important.
I’m currently doing Intermittent fasting and it works for me. It might not work for you. With these sorts of things, the only golden rule i've ever seen not disproved is calories out > calories in = weight loss. But this isn’t necessarily healthy as you need a certain amount of protein/fibre/vitamins/etc. If you keep track of those and keep track of your calories, odds are you’ll do fine.
I’m not close to done yet (my target is 90kg). I still crave belgian chocolate shortbread from the bakery, I’m still struggling with the running and I’m still not happy with my body, but it really has been going well and I think that if you can break past the first few weeks the rest will be a lot easier that you could believe.
Keep on pushing yourself to where you want to be. This isn’t a Sisyphean task and you can finish it.
PS if you have any more tips, let me know below. I'm no expert and don't claim to be and any help would be appreciated, I've been doing this by myself for the last 4 months.