In my last post, I described why I decided to lose 25 pounds. Today I plan to go into the details of how I accomplished this feat. But we won’t start with the last 25 pounds. Let’s begin way back at 215 pounds, just after my 41st birthday.
I knew it was about calories consumed versus calories burned. No magic pills or weight-loss supplement would do the trick long-term. So to begin with, I dropped the sugary sodas (one 20-ounce drink has 250 calories, 69 grams of carbohydrates and 69 grams, or 14 teaspoons, of sugar). I also took on a low-carb diet. No sugars or starches. Potatoes, pastas, desserts, rice, breads – all went missing in action from my diet. That yummy looking plate of food above was now taboo. It was cool because I could eat as much as I wanted of whatever was allowed. Not a good long-term plan but it worked for awhile, maybe three months. These helped me drop some weight but not enough.
Once I reached a plateau I had to add exercise to my regimen. I began to walk at first, then run, amounting to 30 minutes a day four days a week. I used a “Couch to 5K” program that you can find all over the internet to help me get to running. The rest of the weight came off, a total of 55 pounds altogether and I leveled off around 160 pounds. That took just under a year.
Then I began to get careless. I thought exercise was enough – that it was letting me eat anything I wanted. I even had a doctor tell me that one time. Over the next four years, my weight crept back up so that I reached 173 this past spring. Not bad, mind you, but according to the BMI calculators I was in the overweight range once more. Too bad I didn’t get the tall genes in the family. It was time to do something different again.
I went back to the low-carb diet (remember, still running four times a week), which helped me lose 10 pounds. But I wanted to go further. My goal this time was to get in the middle of the healthy BMI range for my weight, which meant I had to reach 148 pounds. I had always heard that I need to be active 5-6 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, but my knees wouldn’t take that much running. So my wife and I began to do a program called Turbo Jam, which is a mix of dance and kickboxing, in between running days. I’ll probably get a little bit of flack from some of you who tackled P90X or some of those macho-type programs, but that’s OK.
Another change I made was to my diet. The first decision was to add more water to my diet. During the week, I strive to drink 8 cups of water per day. I still love my Diet Dr. Pepper but adding the water helped. I found that it tends to flush out the salt and sodium from my body, helping me to retain less water. It also helps me stay fuller so I don’t snack as often.
The other dietary change was to eat better. As I mentioned, a long-term plan of low-carb isn’t very healthy. And it’s a pretty boring diet. I found ways to begin to watch my calories and still eat whatever I wanted, in moderation. I’ll talk more about that in my next post.
Sticking with these steps paid off. In just under five months I was able to lose 25 pounds and reach my goal of 148 pounds. I cannot remember the last time I felt this good or had this much energy. I sleep well at night and I feel like I’m absolutely in control of my weight.
Net changes – 38″ waist to 30″, Dress shirt from 17-1/2″ neck to 16-1/2″ (could be 16″). No more snoring. No more huffing and puffing when I climbed the stairs.
But not every day was a success. Somedays the scale went the wrong direction. Some days I just blew the diet out of the water. But I kept at it, getting back on the next day. The key was persistance and perseverance.
So that covers the mechanics of how I lost 25 pounds. I discussed the dietary changes and the exercise that I worked on over the last five years. More specifically, I gave you the steps that I took in the last five months to lose the last 25 pounds. Setting the goal isn’t enough – you have to put steps in place that will take you towards the goal. In the next and last post in this series, I’ll talk about the behaviors that made a huge difference in the success of my weight loss journey. And I’ll share before and after photos.
Discussion Question – Would you share a story where you set a goal, put steps in place, overcame obstacles and reached your desired outcome?