On October 24th of 2009, I stepped on a scale and didn’t like what I saw. No wait, it goes back even further than that. Before I even decided to take that fateful first step something prompted me to take it. Earlier in the year I had a bit of a medical false alarm. I have written on this in another article that you can find here. The scare that gave me really started to make me think about how I was living and how I had gotten to this point in my life. I also noticed that my clothes were once again not fitting very well. I was about to go up another size, and these two events were my line in the sand that I refused to cross.
Okay, so back to that scale. I stepped on that scale and the number there really made me stop and think about myself. I am a pretty slight man. I am only 5’4″, and of pretty small build. If you plug in those numbers, I should weigh in somewhere around 140 pounds. The scale teetered and creaked at a whopping 187 pounds. I had known for years that I had been carrying a few extra pounds, but the gigantic eating binge I had been on coupled with my age was leading me down a dark and short-lived path.
I had the problem pinned down to how much I was eating every day. I figured that if I simply watched my calorie intake, and stuck with it, the pounds would come off. For me, I needed to have something that would allow me to track my progress. I found this very cool website that allowed me to do just that. It was free, and seemed to have everything I needed to make this happen. There are lots of these types of sites available out there, but I use one called Calorie Count. It had tools to establish my goals, and more tools to help me stay on course with my own personal program. I honestly believe that too many people hand over responsibility for their bodies to someone or something else and then feel like the weight loss will just magically happen without any effort.
Okay so I started to work with this site. I decided that for this effort I was simply going to focus on the “fuel” going in. I know everyone says that you need to exercise and everything, and I agree to a point. In my case I have a fairly active job, so I reasoned that I was getting a pretty good workout from that. Weight loss is a pretty simple equation really. Your body is a machine. If you give your body too much fuel, the machine will store that fuel for later use. If you give it less fuel than it needs it will start to burn up those reserves. I know it sounds simplistic, but that is essentially all that I did. Now let me be clear here, I am not endorsing starving myself or anyone for that matter. For me, I resolved that I would have an intake of no more than around 1550 calories a day. Basically I was eating only 450 calories less than the 2000 calorie average recommended by the government. I also kept it very simple…the calories were all I was focusing on right now. I wasn’t looking to change everything I ate right off the bat. You shock your habits too hard right away, and you are just looking to fail.
Remember, I wanted to tap into those reserves of fat that had accumulated. As long as I was burning more than I was eating, I would lose weight. Seriously it is that simple folks. I knew that this wasn’t going to happen overnight. I also knew that I would generally never lose more than a pound or two in a given week. This was going to take a long time to reach my goal, but I knew it could happen if I stuck to it. The first few weeks were going to be the toughest, because like anyone I wanted to see the results. I resolved to weigh myself once a week. The first time I stepped on the scale after I had begun, I was more nervous than I had ever been I think. I had lost about two pounds that first week. You would have thought I had lost 20 with how excited I got.
I didn’t really notice anything of physically until I had been at this for about 3 weeks or so. No one else noticed, but I sure did. Another thing I did to keep me motivated was to alert people of my progress through Facebook. It was amazing how much a few kind words of encouragement would carry you forward to the next week. It was like having a multitude of motivation coaches guiding you along to the next update I could give them. I didn’t want to let them down, and I didn’t want to let myself down.
After the first month people started to make some comments about my appearance. At first it was just a few here and there, but as the months passed, and even more weight came off people really started to notice. This too became motivation for me to continue to progress towards my goal. I also noticed that I was feeling better. My endurance was coming back up, a nagging knee issue seemed to disappear, and I wasn’t sweating bullets every time I exerted myself.
The path I chose was slow and steady. In my mind anyway that is the only way to truly do this. Quick fixes are often ineffective or they can even do harm. I knew that it had taken me years to get to this point. It was going to take time to fix the damage. I have lost 40 pounds so far (eight months into my program). I have gone from size 38 pants to a size 30, and interestingly enough I can see a faint outline to my abs for the very first time in my entire life.
I believe that this will work for absolutely anyone. It is just simple math…you eat less in calories than output in energy, and the weight will come off. Everyone says that we are an obese nation because of portion sizes. I can honestly say that I believe this is the truth. I was very surprised how little I needed to eat to be satisfied and not hungry anymore.
If this has inspired anyone to give it a go, don’t hesitate to let me know how you are doing. I would love to hear how anyone else is doing.