When I last left off in part one of my 100+ pound weight loss story, I was explaining that what finally motivated me to lose the weight was a passage I read in an employment book. The passage basically said “you’ll never get a job if you’re fat.”
I was now motivated because I wanted a job and graduation from graduate school was coming soon, but I lacked the skills to be successful in losing weight.
I remember looking at my wife and dog every day during that period in time and worrying I would let them down. I imagined my dog with an empty dog bowl crying. I was near depression but I knew I had to fight on and struggle. Failure really was not an option.
Trying to remain calm, but inside panicking about money, paying off our six figure student loan debt, and basically just being a huge failure–I embarked upon my lifestyle change and started the process that resulted in me losing more than 100 pounds and maintaining that weight loss for 3+ years and counting.
But How Do You Lose Weight?
I will be going over a lot of specifics in the coming weeks and months, so for now I just want to review some of the core themes of my weight loss mentality. The most important decision I made was to be through with diets. I decided what I would be embarking upon was a change in lifestyle, not a diet. I reminded myself of that difference everyday. This new mindset granted me freedom. Before, when I would have a bad day, I would let that snowball into a bad week and beyond.
Change in Lifestyle
By calling this a change in my lifestyle rather than a diet I now had the freedom to have a bad day and not let it extend any further. After all–if my plan is to exercise and eat healthy for the rest of my life, then of course I would at times have bad days. Nobody can eat perfect everyday or exercise as much as they should each week. I was freed from the perfectionism dieting plans tend to create.
No Food Is Off Limits
Another freedom I gained by ditching the D word was allowing myself to eat any food. No food is off limits for me. I try to eat healthy everyday. I try not to consume more calories than I burn. However, I can’t go the rest of my life without fast food. Or without chocolate. I know I definitely can’t do it without getting to eat dessert once in a while. There have been days where I have craved fast food and eaten nothing but fast food all day. The difference is I still made sure I ate less calories than I consumed. Most days, however, I try to eat nothing but whole foods–a benefit I will explain in the months ahead.
I’m a big believer in calorie counting. After a while you will have an idea of how many calories you are consuming without having to count calories, but in the beginning your internal calorie calculator will probably be way off. There are several ways to count calories that I will explain in more detail in upcoming posts.
I noticed a major change in my ability to lose weight and keep it off once I started incorporating three 40 minute exercise sessions each week. Within each session I do 20 minutes of weight-lifting followed by 20 minutes of aerobics. I believe both women and men benefit from strength-training. When I first started weight-training I had no idea what I was doing. I’m still not a master of strength training. In fact I probably look silly half the time. The other day a trainer walking by told me I was sitting in the exact opposite direction of what I should have been doing (I was pulling the bar down in front of me instead of behind me).
I definitely feel better and have a higher metabolism thanks to strength training–whether I look ridiculous or not. As the story will explain later on–I definitely need to get back on track with exercise myself. It is just as important as eating healthy, in my opinion.
A Boring Weight-Loss Plan
When people ask me how I lost so much weight they are often disappointed by my answer. They want the miracle weight-loss cure or an easy way to lose weight. In my opinion there is no easy way to lose weight and keep it off. You can’t cheat your body. Most fad diets or pills will only put you on a path to yo-yo dieting–destroying your metabolism in the process. I know because I have been there.
Please always note that everything I say is my opinion and based upon what works or worked for me. You should consult with a doctor or other appropriate professional to determine what works best for you and prior to implementing anything me or this site talk about.
In part 3 of the story I am going to discuss how these core principles played out as I began losing weight. I look forward to answering your comments.