Friday, January 18, 2013

In part1, I provided 4 actions I took that paved a path for me to lose 150+ lbs.  The entire list (now with what is included below) is not in any type of ranked order but this is what I believe assisted make me lose a lot of weight within a short period of time.  Remember, it was no special diet, no magic diet pill and no surgery.  It was through re-training the mind, hard work and discipline.  Yes, of course it was more than 9 items that got me to where I am today.  However, I decided to keep the list to 9, but I did add a few miscellaneous new habits at the end of the list that I believe did have an impact on my results.

EDIT: My new book about life after weight loss has been released.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind while reading the below that I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer. I am just a person with knowledge that was gained through experience. Also, what worked for me, may not for you.

  5 - Track Calories, Plan One Cheat Meal/Day

     What didn't work: Eating fast food everyday did not work.  Eating sweets all night, didn't help either.  All it did was balloon me up to 355 lbs.  At that point of my life, I did not know how to eat right.  I had no idea what healthy eating was about.  I just ate.
     What worked: Once I learned about calories, nutritious food and healthy eating, I started eating good.  On a daily basis I determined the number of calories I needed, ate good, but not perfect and always tried to stay below a certain calorie amount.  However, ONE day per week, I would eat what I wanted to eat.  If that meant pizza, I ate that.  If it meant a Brazilian steakhouse, that is what I did.  Some weeks it was out to eat for breakfast, Subway for lunch and then pizza for dinner and some ice cream at night.  Yes, it is a lot of calories, but for me, I believed I earned it and I had read quite a few books that this actually helped kick up your metabolism.  Again, I did it all the time and I still was losing 5-7 lbs per week during my big weight loss phase.  As the months went on, I learned that I actually felt sick from eating that much so I slowly limited how much I was eating those days.  Nowadays, it is more like a cheat meal.  So for example on a Saturday, I may eat very good during the entire day, but then we will go out for pizza at night and then ice cream or I will have a couple of beers.  Yes, the scale goes up quite a bit the following day, but it will drop within a couple of days.
     You Can Do It! If you do not know how many calories you need to get to the weight loss goal you have, then I suggest you visit MyFitnesspal and signup for an account.  Input some initial data, then it will calculate what you need per day.  There are other similar websites out there, but that is the one I have used in the past.  End result is that you learn a LOT about calories and you realize how many you much you consume and how much you truly need.  Then, if you want to add a cheat day like I did, do it carefully and make sure it is only one day.  If you want cookies, I would suggest you buy some and then get rid of any leftovers.  Or buy just enough to last you that one day.   What you will realize in the future is that you will not feel good, not sleep good on your cheat days/nights.  Then you can decide if want to continue doing it.
6 - Drink a Lot of Water
     What didn't work: Not drinking water.  Drinking some type of sugary drink all the time. Drinking soda.  When I was a kid, it was lemonade, cool-aid or soda.  When I was an adult it was any type of soda or newest sugary drink at the convenience store. 
     What worked: At first switching to diet soda, helped cut the calories.  I had it reduced to about 2 cans/bottles of diet soda per day.  What I added to that was water all day.  The general rule of thumb is drink half of your weight in ounces.  So when I was 350 lbs, I was shooting for 175 ounces.  I typically would end up stopping around 150, because it was hard to drink that much.  There are so many benefits to water but I will let you Google that or you can refer to the picture above.  However, one of the important impacts is that it keeps your metabolism going and helps you feel full.  Cold water is good for metabolism, warm water helps you keep a full feeling.  I eventually cut out ALL soda and as of 2013 I have been almost 3 years soda free.
      You Can Do It! If you barely drink water now, add it asap.  It helps tremendously.  There is no flavor to it, so you can not hate it.  Is it boring?  Sure, but get used to it or add some water.  If you are consuming soda now, try to cut it in half and then eventually only have it a few times a week.  I do suggest you have a goal of eliminating it from your life.  Why? There is NOTHING nutritious about soda and it could be very dangerous for you.  Every time you leave the house have a bottle of water with you.  Have it with you in the office, in the house, in the car, wherever.  Are you forgetting to drink it?  Add it to your smartphone or Outlook as a reminder every 1-3 hours.

7 - Learn to Say No

     What didn't work: Saying yes to every food opportunity.  Every time it was offered to me, answer was yes.  Relative says you have to eat this...okay.  You need to have betcha.  Guys want to order pizza with the beer...sounds good.  Dessert is offered at a party...why not.
     What worked:  Saying NO!  People bringing donuts to work, the answer is no now.  People bringing in homemade cake, the answer is, no thanks.  Relative says, "you need to eat this", I just ate before I got here.
      You Can Do It!  It takes practice, but you can say no.  You might offend some people, but you and they will live.  Try it at the office, at the next birthday party celebration.  What you eventually will realize is you get stronger every time you say no and you successfully resist the temptation.  You know you will regret it if you don't say no.  Now don't underestimate the power of resistance.  It is exhausting and I understand it is not easy, but...eventually it pays off and gets easier.

8 - Find Support

     What didn't work: Trying to lose weight by myself.  No one around me was trying to lose as much weight as I was so how could they understand my thoughts, feelings, goals, etc.  It can be difficult to start and continue the journey
     What worked: Joining a online community.  Back in the day, there was no Facebook, twitter or any social media.  There was a website called Traineo.  I just looked and it appears it is still around.  These are people from all over the world who are trying to lose weight for the first time or have successfully lost weight.  They were an audience that could understand the frustrations when the scale didn't move, appreciate the small successes and help you deal with the hard days.
      You Can Do It!  Nowadays, there are people you can follow on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook that can be inspire or motivate you.  There are Youtube videos and reality shows to watch.  There are also some support groups/pages on these social media platforms that you can join.  The point is...Just because you don't physically have someone to talk to about your struggles, doesn't give you an excuse.  There are many virtual options.  You could also try Traineo, you might even make some great friends there, like I did and they are are still in my life, right JC? ;-)

9 - Fall Down, Get Back Up

     What didn't work: Falling down and not getting back up.  Giving up.  Quitting.  Being scared to fail again.  Believing others that I would always be fat.  Scale didn't move one week after hard work and responding with, "I guess I was just meant to be fat."  Not realizing that even as I found some success, there would still be some failures along the way.
     What worked:  Not giving up.  Keep going.  Dropping the people out of my life that brought nothing to the table.  Understanding that injuries, small diet issues, failures are not the end of the world.  I had to stop beating myself up over small things and continue to build confidence and visualize where I wanted to be.
      You Can Do It!  You have to understand even after you lose some weight, there will be some bad days, some plateaus.  This is where it gets tough and where some people give up because that is the easy way out.  If you make a mistake, fail at something, get injured...get back up and keep walking in the direction you were heading.

What else worked...
  • High protein.  I know this is debatable, but when I was eating/drinking a lot protein, I lost a lot of weight.  Protein powder, chicken, fish, protein bars, it all assisted me.
  • No soda and sugary drinks.  This drastically minimizes the amount of calories I take in.  The only drinks with calories that I drink now are: almond milk, coffee, coconut water and once in a great while sugar-free energy drinks.  Alcohol consumption is minimized to once to twice a month and on special occasions.
  • I consume VERY little dairy.  I never drink regular milk.  I hardly ever add cheese to anything. 
  • I also do not eat pasta.  They now have whole grain pasta; however, every time I eat pasta I always feel bloated.  I was tired of feeling like that, so I stopped eating it. 
  • I weigh myself daily.  Some days the numbers make sense, other days I have no clue why it is telling me a certain result.  Regardless I do it, to keep me honest. 
  • I use a heart rate monitor.  I like to see how many calories I burn during each workout.  It gives me good feedback of when to increase or decrease intensity.
I do not have all the answers. I can not make you lose weight or get healthy.  I have gone through the struggles and successes and I am willing to support others.  Feel free to message me on my Facebook page or send me an an email.  I was overweight for 30 years.  It took my entire childhood and part of my adult life to finally wake up and do something about it.  So what I did with this post and part 1 was share with you a part of my journey.  This blog will continue to be about past experiences and stories about how running and good eating saved my life.  However, I want to also share other people successes too on this page.

I hope you enjoyed it, but more importantly if you are a person who needs to make changes, believe me it can be done!  Hard work, be strong, be determined and it will happen.  Stop saying, next Monday, I will start.  Stop waiting until next year, do it now and become who you truly deserve to be.

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