Weight Loss So Far
It's been 67 days since I've started tracking weight loss seriously. In that time I've only had two days where I fell like I failed myself, and even then I've only failed by a factor of maybe 300-400 calories extra intake, which in the long run really isn't too much.
I started my journey after stepping on the scale and realizing that it was going well over the 300-pound mark and I stepped off before it landed on its final number. I told myself, "Meh, it's not seriously that bad. I'm sure my scale needs calibration. I mean, I am running on the treadmill often and going to the gym to lift weights every once in a while when I feel like it."
It wasn't until I had a series of health scares that I finally realized that I was living a dangerous life. I was eating myself to death and I was finally starting to see concrete consequences of my behavior.
"Enough is enough," I thought, and decided to make some serious life changes. I downloaded My Fitness Pal and started tracking calories religiously.
Separation of Duties
This simple fact was difficult for me to grasp for some reason. It seems obvious to a lot of you out there, but to me it never really clicked until recently: You adjust your diet for weight loss, and exercise for health.
Exercise alone will not let you lose weight. If you jog for 30 minutes and maybe burn 300 calories, it's not going to offset the 1200 calorie burger from your favorite fast food joint. It just won't work. You have to make dietary changes if you want to seriously lose weight.
Tricking the Brain
Another problem I had was the fact that in the past, when I was on a diet, I felt like a prisoner. I was restricting myself to eating certain foods, and usually restricting my calories way too much. A 300+ pound fat man is going to be grumpy on a 1200 calorie per day diet, and won't likely be able to stick with it.
So yes, it is a good idea to "track your macros" and control the intake of major numbers like sodium, carbohydrates, fats, etc. But really weight loss at the most basic level boils down to "Calories In < Calories Out".
So for now, while I'm still a Fatty McFatterson Fat Face, I'm only tracking calories. Screw the rest of the numbers (within reason, of course). All I'm doing is sticking to the calorie goal that MFP calculates for me. I treat my daily calorie allowance like an ATM balance, and each thing I eat is a debit on my calorie account.
Treating it like a balance really, really helps. It works for me like no other method has.
Side Effect of the Calorie Debit Account
I could pig out and eat a single meal that's around 2000 calories and not eat the rest of the day. But that isn't fun. I could have two meals around 1000 calories each, and that works some days. But not all days. The point is that this method is fairly flexible.
The side effect I've noticed is that I tend to gravitate to healthier, less calorie-dense foods without restricting the kinds of food I can eat. The reason? I want to get full so if I can have a large plate of something healthier versus a tiny portion of something super calorie dense, I'm starting to make the better decision. So yeah, I'm eating more vegetables and less sugar, which is what you'd do on a normal "diet", but it doesn't feel like one.
It feels great.
After 67 days, I've lost 36 pounds. I've gone from wearing XXXL shirts to having XXL shirts fit and be a bit baggy. I've tightened my belt by 4 notches. My shoes even fit better. They aren't tight on the tops. I even had to tighten my Apple Watch by a notch.
I told myself when I hit 30 pounds lost, I'd make a change to my facial hair. So yeah, I've shaved my head and I'm starting to grow a goatee.
When I hit 50 pounds lost, I'm going to buy some new clothes.
At 75 pounds lost, I plan on letting myself get a piercing or some ink.
At 100 pounds lost I'm thinking about getting a suit tailored. I might wait until 120 pounds for that though, since its my end goal and suits can be pretty expensive. But it's a thought.
Sticking With It
Hopefully by giving myself rewards I'll be more inclined to stick with this new lifestyle. All I know is that right now it doesn't feel difficult and I don't feel like stopping. I don't miss the fact that I'm not eating the biggest chicken strip combo from Zaxby's Chicken or that I'm not binging on pints of Ben and Jerry's ice cream all the time.
I'm pretty content. And I feel healthier. My doctor is weaning me off my blood pressure medicine, because it has decreased fairly dramatically. It's a good feeling and I hope that my current progress has inspired you to consider setting some goals for yourself.
Header image: Phalinn Ool - CC-BY-2