So, if you haven’t seen me since the winter, I’ve lost 60 pounds this year, most of it from January to March. I went from 315 to 255 pounds! I kick started my weight loss by doing one small thing: stop eating sugars.
I lost 40 pounds in one month by taking sweets and candies out of my diet. It was tough. I surprised my wife when she came home with my favorite piece of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and I said “No thank you, I’m not eating desserts anymore.” After that, she was incredibly supportive and I greatly appreciate her through all of this.
I stopped desserts, candies, CoffeeMate creamer in my coffee, mixed coffees from Starbucks, candy drinks, sodas, and whatever else I could determine had sugar in it. Once I was committed and had my wife supporting me, it became easier and easier. I’m now 9 months in and have yet to have candy or a brownie. I enjoy my coffee black with Splenda. I’ve had birthdays, parties and other festivities where the cakes and sweets looked delicious, but I refrained.
After the first 40 fell off, the next 20 were a little more stubborn. I walked once a week with a close friend of mine. I started trying to eat frequently, like small snacks every 2 to 3 hours during the day. I minimized my meal sizes, pulled back from going for 3rds. This seemed to help and it took a good two months to lose the other 20.
So now I’m at March and lost 60 pounds, and then my weight loss would plateau for the next 5 months, which brings me to September, weighing in at 255 pounds.
I want to lose at least another 20 pounds, and I’ve decided to use the gym to do so. I could cut additional foods out of my diet (like yummy sausages, hot dogs, cheese, breads, bbq chips, pizza, etc.) but I don’t want to. I love an Italian sausage from a street cart in Boston, and my Baby Bell cheese snacks and pizza from AJ’s Kitchen, YUM! If I really wanted to I could cut these and probably shave some more weight off, but again, I don’t want to.
So now to the gym I go, at least twice a week, focusing on running, with some weight lifting. High heart rate to help burn the fat, and low reps high weight for muscle growth. At meal time I eat healthier foods first (like salad, fruit, Larabar) before the main course, which fills me up faster and minimized the amount of other foods I take on. I’ve decided that if I can lose the next 20 pounds by staying in a routine with the gym, then I’d consider enjoying some small desserts once in a while. I want to make sure I’ve set myself up to win, and once in a routine, it should be easy to keep the weight off.
What changed? Why did I lose the weight? My quick answer is “I just felt like it, so I did it”. I wish it were that simple. A few things in my life finally pushed me to do it.
Leading up to the decision and the change to lose the weight, I was battling with how. How can I lose weight? What’s the best method? I researched some options, and looked hard at options that lowered my responsibility in the entire process. Things like health supplements, like hoodia, which helps curb my appetite intrigued me. Also the idea of taking a pill which would fill my stomach so I feel full longer was cool.
I also checked out a more hands on approach, a surgical process like lap-band, to help shrink my stomach. I quickly dismissed this for a couple reasons: one I don’t like needles, so surgery isn’t on my top ten list of things to do, and I was afraid of the embarrassment of telling people about it later on. Being out of work for a few days and then suddenly losing weight would be hard to hide.
I was able to agree that controlling my appetite would definitely cause me to lose weight, but did I want to use something else to do it for me? Couldn’t I just do it myself? If I used something else, would I be dependent on that forever? Could I ever say I lost the weight, or was it just hiding, waiting for me to forget to take the pill again?
The reasonable side of me thought if pills will help curb my appetite, and surgery would basically do the same, I narrowed down the solution: I need to cut back on how much food I eat. Simple.
So I figured out the how, and I began to try it, without telling anyone. That was a big mistake. Not telling anyone set me up for failure. But I didn’t want to tell anyone, that would admit I was fat and that’s embarrassing, or so I thought. So instead, friends and family would simply assume I’d eat the last piece of pizza, or cake, and so I would. They didn’t know I was trying to lose weight so we all continued down the already paved road.
I finally committed and stuck to it because of others.
A friend at church lost a lot of weight, I didn’t know how, but he looked good and I wanted to too.
A customer of mine that I highly respected was in the process of losing weight, and he talked about it. That was inspiring and loosened up my fears.
My good friend who I previously mentioned lost a lot of weight right before I started. He was then diagnosed with diabetes. That was scary. He’s come a long way and has it under control, but it was a little bit of a wake up call for me.
And probably most important, my kids. Funny thing about kids, they aren’t up on the whole “politically correct” thing, so they would say daddy’s fat, or I don’t want to be fat like you. What a great wake up call. I didn’t lose the weight only because of what they’ve said, I want to be healthy to have fun with them, to play and chase them around (or be able to carry both of them up 2 flights of stairs when it’s bed time, what a workout!)
My commitment to weight loss and eating healthy isn’t just a “diet”, it’s a change of life. Saying it’s a diet implies it’ll end, that it’s a temporary phase. So many people, including my self, have tried different diets for a period of time. Instead, I’ve changed my diet (what I eat day to day) and my choices. I’m not looking at this like once I lose 80 pounds I’ll go back to what I use to do. Instead I will always be mindful of what I eat, pay attention to amounts, keep exercising, and maybe sneak in a sweet here or there.
Where do I go from here?
Regardless of the next 20 pounds, I’m going out and up! My life has changed so significantly that I love spending time outdoors, hiking, playing with the kids, walking, going to the beach and more. I get antsy if I sit around too long on a Saturday or Sunday (no fear of that anymore with a new house ;), I need to be doing something, and I love to with my family. This weekend I’m going up Mt Washington via Tuckerman’s Ravine, I can’t wait (not with the family, a few friends). Expect a post on that one!
I hope this helps if you’re looking to lose weight. I hope I am some sort of motivation to someone, like I’ve had motivators in my own life. I’m sorry if I down play pills or surgery. They may work for you and that is great, I know someone who has a lap-band, and I never think less of him/her. These options just wouldn’t work for me, and I hope they do for you.