I have made a couple of posts before about working on losing weight and some of its effects. Now that I’m down to a happy weight and holding, I have been asked how to do that. Having lost 80 pounds and really like feeling the benefit of that, I never want to go back, so this is a continuing process.
- Ask God for help with motivation and self-control. Seriously, this is first in the list for a reason.
- Log what you eat and drink and count Calories (or kilojoules, if that is how food is labeled in your country). This is not all that hard with MyFitnessPal or something similar.
- Exercise regularly with some serious cardiovascular exercise (at least 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week). I started with an elliptical trainer and walking, then graduated to jogging and bicycling. (I couldn’t bike much at first, because I live on a mountain with almost no level places to ride, and I was too fat to ride uphill.) While it is theoretically possible to lose weight without regular exercise, just eating less than your basal metabolic rate burns, it is harder when it comes to the willpower battle. Besides, the exercise brings additional benefits beyond just not being as fat.
- Log the calories you burn in exercise. The biggest help for me in that regard is my smart watch/fitness tracker, which helps me get a reasonable estimate of calories burned with a variety of exercises. (Mine is an Apple Watch Series 3, but if I used an Android phone as my primary phone, I would probably use a Fitbit Ionic instead.)
- To lose weight at a healthy rate of about 1 pound per week, total Calories consumed must be about 500 less than the total Calories burned with exercise + basal metabolic rate. I use MyFitnessPal to keep a running total during the day.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet, with a total Calorie count that fits your activity level and weight loss goals.
- Avoid processed sugar. Sugary soft drinks are the only food I totally eliminated.
- Avoid fad diets. They all work if you do them all the time, but some of them can mess up your body by getting your food groups out of balance.
- Make healthy, permanent lifestyle changes. Don’t think that this is a diet that you just do until your weight is at your goal then you go back to your old ways.
- Keep doing all of the above once you reach your weight goal, except that your Calorie intake restriction can be increased to match (but not exceed) the Calories you burn.
So how is this working for me? Well, thank you. It is a bit of an ongoing struggle, to be honest, and it is hard to maintain all of the above good habits while traveling, but I keep at it, because the health benefits are amazing. I feel younger than I did 2 years ago. I don’t need any maintenance medications. I don’t need the CPAP machine. I have more energy. I think more clearly. I’m not going back to the old, obese Michael.