We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, July 9. 2013
For several years, I've felt the need to drop most of the spare pounds I've been carrying. At six feet tall and weighing anywhere from 208 to 215, I was never obese but I was definitely overweight. My doctor would ask the same question every year, "You don't look like you're over 200, where are you hiding it?"
It was true. I am naturally thin and once I reached about 185 pounds, the difference between that weight and 210 was not terribly noticeable. Except to me. I was slower on the tennis court, my back gave me problems on a regular basis, and my clothing might still fit but was awfully tight. I used to play two man beach volleyball in tournaments, but there was no way I could even consider this after I passed the 185 mark. I would have been worn out in no time.
I'm pleased to say I recently returned to the 185 pound level and I have a goal of 178 pounds. I remember crossing the 200 line the day I was heading down to attend the Preakness, and feeling proud of that small achievement. So far, I've lost 25 pounds in about 16 weeks.
The only sure and healthy way to lose weight is diet and exercise. However, there are more diets on the market than you can shake a stick at and plenty of exercise gurus who want you to give them money. I chose to focus on reducing caloric intake rather than just removing carbs. I wasn't interested in changing my diet radically.
My method was to engage portion control and self-discipline. I downloaded an iPhone app called "LoseIt". It's free, and all you do is set your goals (I wanted to lose 1 1/2 pounds per week). It's simple. You log your exercise and the food you eat. It will calculate the carbohydrates, protein and fats as well as the calories. I've had an average intake of about 20% protein and 50% fat for the last 16 weeks. I've been going to the gym at least 4 times a week for an hour and a half and mixing bike work with lifting weights. Early on, I did more cardio, and as I lost weight I began to focus on muscle development (which can burn slightly more calories over the course of the day).
There are plenty of apps which do the same thing, and ultimately it will come down to desire, discipline and will-power. I haven't skimped, I haven't starved, and I haven't changed my diet dramatically. All it took was the realization that this would be a good thing to do for myself. I've learned that being aware of what you eat, and counting the calories, actually helps you eat less. Weight Watchers is on to something, it would seem. I don't see the need to pay anyone to help me lose the weight. Except the gym, and only because I sit at a desk for at least 40 hours a week, and usually more.
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I also used "Lose It" over the last year to lose about 15 pounds. FYI, be careful with their pre-set calorie setups for weight loss. I tried this app earlier, set my weight loss for 1 pound per week. Got NO results. I was frustrated.
My doctor basically made me use my brain and told me, if that calorie level is not working for you, reduce your calories further. I did, and voila, weight came off.
"Lose It" settings are not full proof for weight loss. Adjust your daily calorie count if you aren't seeing results after a few weeks.
I thought there might've been a problem when, after 2 weeks, I hadn't seen a change. Then at weeks 3 and 4, it came off fast!
I settled into a 3 week groove at about 200, then dropped again. Hit the next flatline around 192, and suddenly it dropped again.
I usually undercount my calorie burn and overcount the caloric intake, just to offset any potential differential calorie counts the program might have.
We all have different metabolisms, so I'm guessing that was my problem. But once I reduced my calorie intake by another 200 calories, it was easy.
I have since flatlined, but I also have not been as consistent as I was a year ago with tracking my eating. Whenever I am feeling 'off' I just start keeping track.
The best part has been adjusting some of my meals in permanent ways so now it has become a part of my daily routine. 'Lose It' has been great for me!
I've lost about 300 pounds, 20-30 at a time over the last 60 years doing basically what Bulldog describes. Just take small portions, cut out all between meal stuff, all sweets and all alcohol, and pay attention to portion size. For a typical restaurant meal, just eat about two-thirds of it and skip any desert. Personal computers, let alone apps had not been invented the first several times I did it.
Nice to read something in Maggie's Farm which isn't pushing low carb. Low carb/high protein is unhealthy in many many ways, and, in my observation, people who lose weight on it end up gaining it back.
I'm not a fan of low carb diets. I understand why people push them, but I'm skeptical of their long term value.
I stick with balance, but portion control. Also, as BillH points out, removing the extras (some, not all). I still snack. I've just changed how I snack.
I have enough calories at the end of most days to still have ice cream.
But I snack during the day on almonds and freeze-dried fruit (I've been a fan of this since I was a teen hiking the Appalachian Trail).
I start most days with cereal, but have just switched to eggs. More protein to start, less carb. I'd rather start out the day burning fat.
I guess you could call my diet a form of slow-carb. I've been on it for about 18 months and lost around 55 pounds [six feet tall, down from 250 or so to 195]. The weight loss stopped about 3 months ago. I had several plateaus on the way down.
I gave up sugar [not a problem since I never really cared for it much] along with most milled grain products, white rice, potatoes, and corn chips.
I have no trouble sticking to it since I eat a lot of what I like. I don't count calories [I have no idea at all how many I consume on an average day]. I eat meat, fats, quite a few veggies, and not a whole lot of starch. I allow myself a 'free' day once a week but rarely use it.
I ride a stationary bike twice a day for about an hour total and around 18 miles. It's a FitDesk that I can use my laptop on.
Different things work for different people. What I've seen is that those who feel deprived by their diet don't stick to them. I hope to avoid that. So far, so good.
No question different things work for different people. But one thing will work for everybody.
More calories burned than calories taken in. While metabolisms vary, and I believe mine is fairly high, we only burn a limited amount in an average, at-rest, day (or working at a desk all day).
If this is working for you, that's tremendous. I'm actually reducing my carbs for more protein, but keeping the balance. I won't go below 40% carb. They are essential, but getting below 55% should help burn more fat in faster fashion.
It sounds like you're quite active, or you're not eating as much as you used to, or some other mix of the two if you've lost that much weight. In the end, it's always about intake versus the burn.
Congratulations! It does take commitment and accountability (logging on every bite) for me. I've lost 40 lbs since the Super Bowl with the Lose It! app. Now that I'm in good shape again, I'm still looking for just the right level of caloric intake. Lose It! assumes a sedentary life when calculating your weight loss plan - I've never been an exerciser, but have a pretty high metabolism rate, so that was what worked for me. Skipping out on all that evening wine, and getting as far from processed foods as possible, but still eating everything in smaller portions works. And my sweet hubby hasn't even complained about the new clothes!
I have blood sugar problems (no, not diabetic, just female...look it up), so I have to spread out my food intake and snack. My breakfast for the past year has been 1/8 of a cup of trail mix and 1 egg. Less than 200 calories. Keeps me full until an early lunch at 11:30.
I also was able to have a pudding cup, one large cookie or a 1/2 cup of ice cream every night. Did not feel I was deprived. Also discovered you can eat a LOT more chicken/fish than you can beef.
YES! I was surprised how much shrimp I could eat! I do like shrimp....
What ingenious concept; watching what yall eat.
Meself can watch what i'm about to eat but once it passes the cookie duster, it's anybody's guess what it looks like.
Cognisance; when yall are fat and yall know it get over it.
One of me girls stays trim making money while spinning.
Meself pedal around town daily but avoid hills unless going down them.
Not sure if you're being sarcastic, but even if you are, watching what you eat is not a simple thing, nor is exercising.
I've gone through bouts in the past of doing one or the other, sometimes both. But there was no regimen, nothing I could rely on to keep track effectively and reasonably (hence my hat tip to Weight Watchers, though I'm unwilling to join).
With the app, you find yourself much more acutely aware of what you're eating and how you're exercising, and you can manage both efficiently.
I agree there's nothing new here. Which is why I commented that you essentially need desire and willpower. These, unfortunately, are often in short order. I've always had both in large amounts, but they needed marshaling. I now have a means by which to marshal them.
More lack of empathy than sarcasm but thanks for opportunity to have a chuckle.
Meself never had such malady.
i chuckle at one of the boys at cafe when he's voicing conflict about attending his AA meeting, too.
Meself never played well with other folks children but like givin' it a go.
Yall's app sounds kool and good luck.
I highly recommend the following book: "The High Metabolism Diet" by Haylee Pomroy. Works for me.
Bulldog, I began counting calories around 14 months ago and lost 140 lbs. I've regained around 7 of that in muscle by doing physical labor.
Some people, family and close friends, were throwing conniptions about my being "too thin", but I weigh what I did in high school. Fortunately, that nonsense has subsided as everyone has gotten used to the change.
On the upside, one of the benefits of being a new man is I bump into people who've known me for years and they don't recognize me. A few have introduced themselves! That's a lot of fun.
Another plus is the energy. Getting things done isn't weight lifting anymore. And after I get home from work I can still do the things that need to get done. It's a win-win.
New clothes...I have a new wardrobe and I'm able to dress to be presentable. That's a hoot.
As far as how I did it, well, I didn't make any radical changes either; I just counted calories and ate what I wanted. Now, since I'm below my original target-weight I'm working on improving my diet. That's another matter...I still count, though. I'm fine tuning my maintenance number at this point. I've been coming in a little low for a consistent intake and keep making up for the deficit over the weekends. It's funny, even if I wasn't counting now I can gauge how far overboard I went by looking at the veins in my arms. I don't know if it's fat or what, but I watch it burn during the week and the veins pop. It's pretty cool.
The current goal is to up my daily intake while still running a 300-400 calorie deficit for a few months to burn off the left-over adipose tissue, or at least as much of it as I can. As it sits I think I'm running like 700 to 1000 low on weekdays. That's why I end up getting out for fun too much on the weekends. I suspect a 300 to 400 average calorie deficit will be much more agreeable; I just have to match up my intake with current output. No problem.
The most disappointing aspect of this business is friends keep asking me what the trick is...there is no trick. It's just lifestyle. Counting becomes a habit after a while. All of the people who wanted to join me after I started are back to where they began, though they tried their own plans. It's frustrating, because I'd really like to be able to help friends lose weight, but apparently the whole you-can-lead-a-horse-to-water rule applies. No one wanted to hear you have eat less than you output. I guess it sounds too much like work.
As for the question of motivation, My only trick is a personal thing: I filed for divorce from my wife; I took a year after the divorce came through to ask myself what just happened; and then I wanted my life back. I gained over a hundred pounds of that heft over the duration of the relationship. My bad. I just wanted it gone.
Anyway, I'm excited to hear the testimony of someone who's getting it done with numbers. I was starting to feel a little isolated. Heh. Congratulations on your success and I hope you continue on to your goal. If you hit your goal and stay there you've got something to talk about!
Congrats to you, as well.
I am keeping my first wife, though I have gained all this with her by my side. I was in my best shape before I met her. Somebody said to me "if you build it, they will come" and sure enough, THEY did. Lots of theys, back then.
Still, I'll hang on to her for a while longer and just try to make myself happy with the changes I'm making. If I'm happy, I'm hoping she's going to be happy.
Yes, sharing stories is why I wrote this. We all tend to live in a bubble sometimes and feel like we're doing things on our own. It's nice to share with people, makes you more motivated. Again, a hat tip to Weight Watchers on that note. But you CAN do it yourself, and you just have to decide to do it....as you have.
"If you hit your goal and stay there you've got something to talk about!"
Uh, that last sentence...upon re-reading not quite what I hoped. What I was trying to say was, you know, good job that's great! And keep up the good work!
I downloaded the app after reading this and was disappointed to find calories used as the baseline for a day's worth of food. Am I missing something?
A hundred calories of leafy green vegetables are not the same as a hundred from cookies, etc.
To lose weight and (more importantly) gain health, read and follow "Eat to Live" by Dr. Fuhrman.
Calories ARE the baseline for losing weight. You can eat 3000 calories of anything and only burn 900 and you're going to gain weight, even if you're eating leafy greens or cookies. I just don't think you can actually EAT 3000 calories of leafy greens.
More to the point regarding LoseIt, study the program more closely. There is a breakdown for Protein, Carbs, and Fats. You can monitor your intake there.
However, caloric intake and burn is the essential guide to losing weight. How you mix the food you eat is up to you if you want to burn more fat or build more muscle.
I defy you to eat more calories of any "healthy", "organic" or "low carb" food than than you burn and still lose weight.