Weight loss can be challenging but you can make it easier on yourself. Many people only want to find a shortcut and that’s the wrong approach. If all you look for in life are shortcuts you’re likely destined to fail. I’m not going to claim that it was easy for me but it definitely wasn’t that difficult. I’m a believer in that nothing is learned when something is simply given to you. What’s to stop you from ruining it? There are some people who go through medical procedures to slim down, while it successfully changes their appearance it doesn’t change behavior, thus go back to being unhealthy. Why not invest in something that you know is guaranteed to work? Weight loss requires nothing more than following through with a plan. My weight loss journey tips and story will shed light on what’s possible and you should expect.
From 160 lbs to 210
As many people can relate, I gained a lot of weight over a few years of bad habits. Between about the ages of 18 and 22 I gained over 40 pounds, some of it was muscle. I did hit the gym here and there but never did never did any cardio. All I knew was that I wanted to be big and I didn’t care if I got fat, just as long as I looked big and strong. With that simple goal in mind that was the perfect excuse to eat anything and everything.
My best friend and I have always been big eaters. Once a week we’d get together for dinner and a movie. For these hangouts we’d order Chinese food. Each one would order a large order of fried chicken with fried rice, an egg roll, and a side order of chicken with broccoli (a variation of this was actually sustainable during our weight loss journey). If we wanted to actually pig out, we’d go to Wendy’s and each order up to 3 triple Baconators (look that one up), fries, five piece nuggets, a frosty, and a soda.
On top of having a pretty bad diet we loved frequenting parties, it was the thing to do on weekends. We’d pregame before going out and drink for the rest of the night. We had some good times but I definitely wouldn’t live like that anymore. One of the biggest contributors to obesity is alcohol consumption, needless to say that was a part of my lifestyle I decided to clean up.
After learning the basic principle of weight loss which is calories in v calories out, I started tracking my calories on an app called Lose it. I credit most of my weight loss to the ability to track my calories consumed. My first challenge was making a habit out of tracking calories, it’s something you have to get used to.
I also struggled with having to eat less calories, I tried to lose weight while still eating fast food on a regular basis. Bad idea of course. In fact, whenever I went over my budget for the day I used it as an excuse to start over the following week. I didn’t stick to my diet for many weeks. I looked for any excuse to say, ‘I’ll start over again on Monday’. Lastly one of my biggest challenges was my sweet tooth. I’ve been known to eat over 50 cookies in one sitting easily, no need to mention how that’s bad on sooo many levels..
After some trial and error here’s what worked for me:
This allowed me to push my meals back later in the day. My first meal of the day was usually at 2 pm. I don’t necessarily recommend this but it definitely helped me and it has been a useful tool for many others. It’s not for everyone. For me intermittent fasting was great for suppressing my hunger. Before then I noticed that after eating breakfast my appetite would open up, so pushing my meals back was a good solution. I’ll be writing more about Intermittent fasting in a future post.
I would supplement my fasting with drinking coffee as it is a hunger suppressant as well. Too much caffeine is hazardous to your health, please consume responsibly.
Instead of just winging my meals as most people do, I planned my meals first thing in the morning or the night before. I would know exactly what I was eating from meal one to meal five. It worked great for keeping me on track.
Measuring my food
Every meal I prepared at home was measured with either a food scale, measuring spoons, measuring cups, or a combination of the three. I measured everything- sugar, condiments, beverages, meat, grains, oil etc. Everything with calories was accounted for. I recommend that most of your meals are homemade.
One of the most important things I learned to do was move on. If I gave in to donuts one day or decided to have a few beers with someone on the fly I’d either- 1. Accept it. 2. Fix it (burn those calories off) or 3. Adjust my future calories accordingly.
Planning cheat meals
Aside from eating sweets when I messed up, I also scheduled them into my diet. I gave myself the freedom to have the things that I enjoyed. If I wanted to pig out at Wendy’s for example, I was able to do that by essentially saving those calories for a future date. It’s not how many calories you eat in a day that matters, it’s how many calories you eat over the course of a week.
Making healthier alternatives
I love burgers, fries and pastries so much I started making them myself. Making things you enjoy at home is much better for you and you can have more of it. The burgers I make at home have nearly half the calories for the same size you’d get a fast food place. Instead of frying my potatoes I’d bake them. Instead of using whole milk and sugar in my pastries I’d use almond milk and sweeteners.
Switching from hard liquor to light beer
Quite frankly I left the party scene early, it just wasn’t the person I was becoming. By age 23 I had enough of the party life. Though I didn’t party anywhere near as much I still liked having a few drinks, whenever I drank I preferred light beers. With light beer I was able to drink longer without as many calories as normal beer or hard alcohol.
I wasn’t perfect and you don’t have to be either. sometimes you just want a little break. To lose weight you have to be in a calorie deficit. Sometimes it felt great just to take a week off and maintain weight for a week or two. If the holidays came around I let myself gain a pound. No big deal.
So I stuck with it
Ultimately I kept it flexible. There was no special diet and I didn’t take any “special supplements”. I learned how to eat and I ate responsibly. I took breaks and fit in junk food but I was consciously making those decisions. Breaks don’t come free, but they’re great to help you keep your sanity. It may not be the fastest way but it’s what worked for me. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Try it this way, weigh yourself week by week and watch the numbers on the scale go down and stay down.
Many good things come out of a successful weight loss journey. Not only do you come away from it a healthier you but it also gives you the opportunity to grow as a person. You learn valuable lessons in sticking to a goal when things gets tough. A Weight loss journey solidifies what it took to get there, it also makes you appreciate it because you worked for it. There is no quick fix that will give you the value of experience. The journey has its benefits, from my journey I am able to share with you what I was able to learn.
Did my story make weight loss seem a little bit easier to handle?
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Related Post: Part 1 of 3: How To Diet Tracking Calories
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I am not a healthcare professional. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new diet or exercise program. This is for educational purposes only, I am speaking from my own experience and from what I have learned through my own research.
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