I started my recent weight loss journey in January 2019 and lost 55 pounds in 2019 to get to just below 300. A weight plateau that I had been above since college to my undying embarrassment. In 2020 I set a goal to hit 200, but limped out of the gate only losing 12 lbs through March. I’ve recently started a new plan that has catapulted me to 33 lbs lost since early April and about to hit 8 straight weeks at the goal 3 lbs/week. Thanks to this recent success and the resulting confidence I’m well on track to get to 200 by the end of the year now.
With that progress update completed; I will now list out the tools I’ve used along the way and their effects on my journey.
Tool #1 – Counting Calories: I found this tool May of 2019 after only losing 10 lbs through the first 5 months of the year. I decided that no matter what I would track calories every day for the remainder of my diet. The idea was to keep accurate progress tracking and to keep my on the wagon even when having down days. Tracking every day helps keep a bad day (usually 4-6k calories for me) from turning into a bad week or month. It also allows me to track my progress, which helps motivate me to do better or remind me of goals I’ve achieved so far on the diet. I personally input everything on a spreadsheet where I also track mini goals, BMI, and microlives (essentially how long I’ve prolonged my life by losing a pound). You can ask me for more details on those in the comments if you wish.
Tool #2 – Intermittent Fasting: I can’t remember exactly when I started doing IF, but it was definitely somewhere around August or September of 2019. IF helps me out in a few ways: 1) It lets me skip breakfast and I’ve never personally liked / wanted to eat breakfast, 2) It lest me be lazy with lunch meal prep – just prep a snack instead or even nothing and do OMAD that day, 3) Most importantly it suppresses my hunger to a 4-6 hour segment of the day. I basically never get hungry until 2 pm at the earliest now and am done eating by 7-8 each day. This is the amazing part, I don’t think it works for everyone but I think everyone should try it for a few weeks to see, because the payoff is huge.
Tool #3 – Streaks & Self Control Training: I’ve always struggled with sugar. My worst moment may have been in college when I got and ate a full gallon (2 half gallons) of Bluebell ice cream in one day, 6,000 calories of pure sugar. I decided in early September that I was going to not have any added sugars for 100 days. My mom, who struggles with similar issues, was in OA: Over-eaters Anonymous where you can’t have sugar ever and I did consider that, but I thought that 100 days was more doable and would reset my sever want for sugar every day. I achieved the goal on December 14th and it was great. Way less sugar temptations and I did also lose more weight over that time. However, the main takeaway was how confident I was during the middle and end of the streak, I knew I wasn’t going to touch sugar instead of the daily struggle it was in September. I’ve had plenty of sugar since but I’ve also had more control over the temptation and had it less on average. This tools carries over to the next few tools as well. Attempting and achieving streaks has been great self control training and a confidence booster through this diet.
Tool #4 – Daily Exercise: Early in December I listened to a TED talk about how you should exercise every day, in the morning if possible, and have a fitness goal. I chose passing the FBI fitness test as my goal and committed to exercising every day for at least 30 minutes. It could be as easy as a walk or as difficult as I wanted but always had to do 30 minutes. Yesterday was 211 days in a row exercising and it’s helped me gain muscle, lose weight, improved my energy and mental outlook, and helped me get out of high blood pressure(weight loss helped too). My initial goal was through this year, but it has been so nice that I’m not sure if I’ll ever stop.
Tool #5 – Daily Decision: I had a lot of success on weight loss peripheral streaks as you’ve read above, but I struggled to start a food or calorie specific streak for months. This makes sense since that is my main struggle to begin with. I never did achieve one of them. However, my most recent streak has helped a ton in the ability to meet my weekly or monthly weight loss goals. It starts with an idea on decisions and how it relates to self control or willpower. The more decisions that need to be made to achieve a goal the harder it is to achieve that goal. This was told to me by a family member and is generally backed by the science. If the mind has to fight tooth and nail 5 times a day to stick to your weight loss plans every day it will be extremely hard to even get through one day, much less weeks or months of it. I decided to start a streak with a simple idea: the only requirement is to stick to a daily calorie decision, example being yesterday I committed to 2,000 calories under maintenance, today I’m having a “cheat day” (earned the calories and on track with the 3 lbs a week goal) and committed to 600 above maintenance. Tomorrow I can do whatever I want. If I’m tempted to go above my decision today I tell myself I can do it tomorrow, but I don’t decide to do it tomorrow either, I leave that decision to tomorrow. This goes on every day. For me it has worked extremely well and led to the 8 straight successful 3 lbs lost weeks. The plan doesn’t guarantee such long-term success obviously but it helps a ton on the short-term daily goals. No more deciding to stick to the diet in the morning, thinking through temptation at noon, 2 pm, 4 pm, and eventually getting cheat food at 6, or even succeeding that day but being mentally fatigued and giving in easy the next day. I personally bought mini erase boards and write the goal and sign it each morning, usually after exercising, with the idea that then is when I’m in the healthiest mindset. Today’s Example.
I still have a long way to go on my journey, but these tools have helped me and will help me a long the way. I hope some of you find them helpful and thanks for letting my share. I love this community and the positive and helpful mentality it fosters.