Disclaimer: Please note that I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, so I can’t tell you what to do to lose weight. You should consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting any diet plan.
Back in November, I had to go to the doctor because I was suffering from episodes of vertigo. Turns out, it wasn’t anything to be worried about, but I got the shock of my life when I got on the scale at the doctor’s office.
We hadn’t had a scale in the house in over a year, after our last one got broken. So I hadn’t been keeping track of my weight. I knew I needed to lose weight because my clothes (especially my pants) were too tight. Plus, I wasn’t exercising at all, whereas before Chaos died, I was walking with him 4-5 times a day.
But I still wasn’t prepared to see the number on the scale: 192 pounds. I was shocked, and also horrified that I’d let things get that bad.
So the next day, I bought a fancy Weight Watchers scale that not only tells you how much you weigh, but also tells you your BMI (Body Mass Index), percentage of body fat, percentage of body water, and percentage of bone mass. I did my baseline weight the next morning, which was 190.1 pounds with a body fat percentage of 36.6 (my target range is 24.1 – 29), and a BMI of 30.5 (my target range is 20 – 25).
I wasn’t actively tracking my caloric intake at that point, but I was trying to eat smaller portions. A little over two weeks later, I was seeing some progress, but I wanted an easier way to track what I was eating. I discovered the myfitnesspal app after reading about it in Cosmopolitan, so I decided to give it a try since it was free. At the time I started using the app, I weighed 186 pounds, with body fat of 35.4% and a BMI of 29.7. I also purchased a digital food scale in order to weigh things like meat, since many times a chicken breast or steak weighs more than the standard serving size (which is 4 ounces).
The app works for me because you put in your height, current weight, age, and activity level and it calculates how many calories you can consume each day. Exercise ups your caloric intake, so I exercise five days a week for at least 25 minutes a day. Based on my activity level (sedentary), it calculated that my max was 1420 calories per day, with a minimum of 1200. (Any less than 1200 and my body could go into “starvation” mode and stop losing weight.) I’ll be honest, at first I was hungry all the time. So I started drinking more water, and in doing so, realized that what I took for hunger was actually my body telling me to drink more. Another good thing about tracking everything that goes in your mouth is that you become aware of what amounts to empty calories. I love chocolate, but I had to pretty much stop eating it, at least at first.
But as I adjusted to my new eating pattern, I noticed that I didn’t have cravings like I used to. I also didn’t experience the after lunch “crash” either. Because I was eating smaller meals, and eating more often, my blood sugar was stable.
Eating out requires a bit of research first, but it is doable. I usually Google the nutritional info for wherever we’re planning to go and narrow my choices down that way. Then I can’t get sidetracked by something that looks good but is too high in calories. For the record, we eat steak maybe once a week. Pork is another that we eat maybe once a week. If we’re eating pork in a given week, we won’t have a steak later in that same week. We stick mainly to chicken and fish, since both are both fairly low in calories.
As of this writing, I weigh 158.2 pounds. My BMI is 25.4, and my percentage of body fat is 28.9. For those of you keeping count, that’s 31.9 pounds lost, 4.3 points lost on BMI, and a 6.5% drop in body fat. I’m just outside the upper range of my target number for BMI, and my body fat is actually in the upper range of acceptable. Counting calories is working for me and part of that is being aware of portion/serving sizes. Plus, if I have an event or special occasion and exceed my daily intake, it’s no biggie. Unlike fad diets, I won’t completely wreck my weight loss plan if I go off the rails once in awhile. The biggest reason diets fail is because they make you change what you eat in addition to how much. By tracking calories instead, I can eat the foods I love, just in smaller amounts.
My current goal is to get down to 145 pounds. Once I’ve reached that goal, I’m going to decide whether to keep losing or to start maintaining. Considering how much I’ve already lost, another 13 pounds is a cakewalk. I don’t even consider what I’m doing a diet. I even got my husband to use the app and he’s lost over 50 pounds! I’m proud of both of us for sticking with it over the last six months.