Eating Myself Thin

This year is the first time that I have been able to lose a significant amount of weight, about 40 pounds so far. The reason for this loss if a many headed beast that turns out to be fairly tame to deal with. The underlying reasons though are pretty straight forward.

  1. I don’t like the way I look in the mirror.
  2. I don’t want to become diabetic or get some other condition I have to maintain the rest of my life.

I haven’t really “struggled” per se with my weight but it has been a concern of mine since I left college and started working in desk jobs. I slowly got fatter over the years and my activity slowly became less and less. When I saw what was happening to me I really tried to get out more and eat less but it wasn’t working.

The science behind healthy weight loss is pretty simple. Eat only the calories you need for the day and expend more calories than you take in. Over time you will “burn” off the fat and your body will readjust to compensate for the change.

Too many times I have seen people try the fad diets that completely exclude certain foods and they take it to such an extreme level that they cannot maintain it forever and eventually fail. It’s too easy for people to cheat on their plan and then get carried away and forget what they were trying to accomplish. Also, it doesn’t help that life can also sabotage your plans with depression to where you suddenly find  yourself eating to comfort a never ending need.

One thing that really helps me is not to take my diet to an extreme level. However, there are certain foods that I have to completely avoid not because they would compromise my weight loss but because I have become allergic to their ingredients and eating them leads to excruciating pain. The major items on this list include various nuts and seeds plus anything with raw dairy in it. Because most everything comes with cheese nowadays, it really cuts down on my food selection process.

Another thing that has helped is making sure my hormone levels are in check. Because of my genetic condition and tumor, my testosterone has to be supplemented and now that it has risen to an almost-normal level it will help with losing fat. Slight variations in any hormone level can rob you of the energy you need to be active and lose weight that is gathering in your system.

They key for me was having someone else I know start on a plan that I was sensible and didn’t include any hokey “detox” or “purge” routines that I know are not only dumb but also harmful to your body. The local Sanford Profile by one of the local hospitals provided them with the key foods to eat and not eat and still remain healthy. I looked at the lists that they were provided with and saw that if I could cut out most of the consumed sugars, I would lose a bunch of weight rather quickly. I took notes but I did get on the plan.

Initially I had a hard time cutting out everything I should have. The more I told myself to stop eating something the more I continued to eat those special treats that I was going to lose. Then, I had a couple things that shocked me out of my bad habits. Chocolate covered gem donut habit ended when I found out I was eating a moldy one. Drinking liquids with Sucralose instead of sugar ended after getting sick and finding that water tasted strangely sweet for a month.

Another process that keeps me going is not eating at home. I know this sounds completely backwards but I have a good reason for it. If you present me with a large plate of food, I will eat it all and probably seek out the remainders in the bowls. My self-control around meals is zero and for me to make a dish at home usually means that I will eat it all in one setting as I have no ability to save leftovers for later. So although buying groceries and eating at home may be cheaper, it just gives me a reason to over eat.

Being on the go all of the time gives me access to a few gas stations which carry food items I enjoy. Every day I get a bottle of water, a high protein sandwich, and some fruit on the way to work and I might have a snack during the workday and then I grab a sandwich from BK or Arby’s on the way home. If I’m eating 1,000 calories a day I’m not eating much more.

On the weekends I eat a little more because I still allow myself some treats but always keeping in mind that I not eat a whole lot of carbs and stay heavy on protein and veggie/fruit options. 90% of the time I drink just water but every once in awhile I have a root beer or a Sucralose drink.

Other things that have helped along the way include having a job where I move around a lot. My work has me sitting, standing, walking, crawling, and climbing stairs randomly throughout the day depending on my ticketing needs. I also keep an eye on my progress with a FitBit step counter and a hand-me-down FitBit Aria smart scale. Everything together gives me a way to see myself making progress and letting me see when maybe I’ve been snacking on Apple-O’s too much.

One last factor that helps me is that I am not competing with anyone but myself. It is depressing to compete with someone and find that you are losing less than the other person and it can throw you off course. But if you do compare, the key is not to look at the weight itself. This is because everyone is built a little different with different muscle mass, bone density, water retention, et cetera. Instead look at the percentage lost (or gained) to make it fair.

For me, the real numbers are that I went from 353 to 307 as of this morning. That means I have lost 13% in about 10 months, or 1.3% a month. This percentage is the item you need to compare against because for someone else 1.3% a month might be completely doable because it translates into a lower amount of weight for their size. But it could also mean a larger amount but at least it is better than looking at the weight itself.

So that’s a basic look at what I have been doing to lose this much weight so far. My current goal is to get down to 300 pounds and maybe a little further … 250 ish.

I know I’ll never be high-school thin though … I love Chocolate Chip Cookies too much.

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