Have you tried everything to lose weight; every gimmick, every pill, every device, every diet? I have too and as you and I both know, none of them work. Well, I shouldn’t say that. Some do work for some people, but most don’t work for most people. Last May at two-hundred eighty pounds and well over thirty percent body fat I decided it was time for a change. Today, as of this writing, I average two-hundred twenty-three pounds and just under twenty percent body fat. Want to know how I did it? Read on.
- Cut out the sugary drinks.
This was the very first thing I did and in my case, it was Coca-Cola. I had a twelve can a day habit at the time I quit. At one-hundred fifty-five calories per can, I cut out 13,020 calories a week, cold turkey. One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. As you can imagine, with a caloric deficit that large, I dropped weight rather quickly. In my first month alone I dropped twenty pounds.
- Cut out the alcohol.
If you’re one who enjoys partaking in alcoholic beverages, cut those out. Or at a minimum, cut them to a minimum. The biggest contributor to fat is beer. Next time you pick one up, just read the label and think about how many you drink on a regular basis. You might be surprised.
- Water, water, water.
And oh, yeah. Water. Remember what I said about cutting out the sugary drinks? Replace them with water. At first it won’t taste good; I won’t lie to you. If it helps, add some sort of flavoring to it, like Crystal Light packets. They helped me out tremendously. Before you know it, you’ll be drinking nothing but water and everything else will become completely foreign to you. The only things I ever drink nowadays are water (with nothing added), orange juice, and milk.
- Put the kibosh on fried foods.
Fried foods are responsible for a large part of the weight you’re carrying around. What did I do? In addition to cutting out the sodas, I vowed to cut down my eating at restaurants with a drive-thru window to just once a week. Those long, thin sticks of golden fried potato goodness called my name and I gave in every time. Just this past month I decided to experiment – I went completely cold turkey on them – and much to my surprise I made it four whole weeks without eating the first French fry before my loving wife managed to convince me that waffle cut fries baked in the oven didn’t count. Know what I found? I found I didn’t miss them and wasn’t eager to eat more. Now I won’t lie and say I don’t eat fried foods anymore because I do, I just don’t eat them nearly as often as I used to. It’s actually pretty rare I will eat anything fried.
- Throw out all your fat clothes.
When I made the transition from XXL to XL shirts and size 38 to 36 jeans, I culled out my closet and made a huge donation to Goodwill. There are now no more XXL shirts or size 38 pants in my wardrobe at all. One year later, I am nearing the point I can do the same with my XL shirts. Over the year I’ve also gone from size 36 to size 34 pants. The pants and shirts will get thrown out together when I make the transition. Why throw out all these perfectly good clothes? It is my belief that by the mere act of having them, you subconsciously set yourself up for failure. If I drop off my lifestyle for a while and get a little fatter, I can always throw on a size larger. Do that and you get comfortable in the larger size again. See where I’m going?
- Change your eating habits.
Three meals a day is all well and good if you stick to a “normal” dietary intake appropriate to your weight. We all know though, that never happens. I sat down and figured out one day that I was eating, on average, well over three-thousand calories per meal. That’s nine-thousand a day, not counting the twelve sodas I was drinking. I switched to a six meal a day plan, wherein I would prepare six small meals and take them to work with me in my cooler. That worked pretty well, but I found it mundane after a while. What really worked for me was what I like to call foraging. I would fill my cooler with fruits and vegetables and other healthy stuff and just nitpick throughout the day. I was eating about every half hour and I never found myself full or hungry. It was the perfect balance. I did that for a long time before settling into a three meal a day plan again. Although I’m back on three a day again, my caloric intake doesn’t exceed the “maintenance” requirement for my weight.
- Get involved. Move.
I joined a gym. Anything you can do to get your body moving, do it. Make all the excuses you want, but if you have time to sit down and watch TV or otherwise fool around, you have time to get up and move around. Admittedly, I feel lethargic and sometimes dread going to the gym but when I get there and start working out, I don’t want to leave. Try it. I guarantee you’ll get the same feeling.
- Set goals.
But don’t set large goals. If you want to lose fifty pounds, don’t set a goal to lose fifty pounds. It’s self defeating and you’ll fail rather quickly. Instead, try something like I did. For instance, make it a goal to fit into one size smaller, or to lose just five pounds by the end of the month. When you’ve reached that goal, set another small goal. Keep tackling those small goals and eventually you’ll find you’ve met that big goal that you wanted to set in the first place.
- Pay no attention to the scale.
Whatever you do, don’t step on the scale every day. Instead, weigh yourself on a schedule – say once a week. Keep track of things that way. Seeing your weight every day tends to be a source of discouragement and you’ll find disappointment in yourself seeing how much you fluctuate throughout the week (in my case, several pounds a day due to my water intake). Try paying more attention to the mirror.
Yes, making the commitment to lose weight and be healthy is a lifestyle change. And I’m not going to lie to you – it’s hard. When I first started I went through serious withdrawals from the Cokes: headaches, disorientation, dizziness, and sweats to name a few. It sure was easy to give up and go back to my old ways, but I didn’t. There are still days I want to throw it all out the window and go home and down a large meat lover’s pizza to relieve the day’s stresses like the good old days, but I keep in the back of my mind my goals. I don’t have larger clothes to fit into, I like how women look my way, and I’m starting to like the way my body looks in the mirror.
Do this and you’ll find you can move around better, you don’t get sick nearly as often, you will feel more energetic and have more drive to do things, and your sense of self worth will skyrocket.
My next goal is to make the move from XL to L shirts and throw out all the XL ones. What’s yours?