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Thursday, October 12, 2017

How to Lose 40 Pounds in 10 Months, and Keep It Off Forever


I never really was one to worry about my weight. I was always a pretty average-sized kid, and when I was a teenager, I ate all I wanted and my body never changed. But after getting married, the pounds slowly started packing on. I didn't really think much of it. I felt fine and took pride in my love of all foods and willingness to lick my plate clean with every meal so nothing was wasted. Besides, all my weight seemed to just go to my gut. I didn't really "look" fat at a glance. But once I hit 210 pounds, I decided it was time to lose some weight. Fast forward to today, nine months later, and I'm 40 pounds lighter! Let me tell you the keys to my incredibly successful weight loss story and you may find something that works for you.

1. It's all about the calories—not working out


That "before" picture was actually taken a bit earlier than when my weight loss journey this year started. I took it because I decided I was going to start going to the gym each morning before work. I began a discounted gym membership with my work and went and worked out each morning. I lifted weights one day and then ran on the eliptical every other day. After working out, I'd come back home ravenous and reward myself with a huge breakfast. I told myself all the while that I would lose weight from turning fat into muscle, and that at the end of the summer I'd be fit and back to a healthy weight.

It didn't work. I got a little bit stronger (for the first time in my life someone asked me "Have you been working out?"), but I weighed the same and still had my paunch. Eventually I gave up, mostly because I didn't feel like I fit in at the gym, but mostly because it just didn't seem to be making a big difference. Then my dad showed me the app LoseIt. I started counting my calories every day with a calorie budget, subtracting calories that I lost from exercising (all built in the app), and the results were immediate, significant, and satisfying.

I learned from experience that dieting is for your weight. Working out is for your shape. And the best part was, I didn't need to cut anything out of my diet. Just eat less of it. I could never stick to a routine where I couldn't eat my favorite foods ever again, or where I had to exercise a ton every day just to stay the same weight. One day I'd slip up, and that'd be the end of it. I'd just get right back to my old routines.

2. Smart eating


Using LoseIt, I learned a lot about how much I really needed to eat to get full, and eventually it even became a game to me, seeing how few calories I could consume each day while still feeling healthy. Turns out, we eat a lot more than we really need to. And on top of all that, I learned about which foods were calorie-rich and not worth eating. I've since cut a lot of cheese, dairy, and carbs out of my diet, and it's helped me make good habits that will help me keep my weight off. Forever. Did I ever splurge? Sure, I ate at Chuck-A-Rama with my wife once and gained 4 pounds in one day, but the next day I skipped breakfast, ate a salad for lunch, and drank lots of cleansing lemon water and was back on track the next day.

One trick I learned to stay full around lunch time is to eat two mini-lunches instead of one big one. If you eat half of your lunch at 11:30 and the other half at 1:30, you stay full for a bigger part of the afternoon, and eliminate time that you usually spend snacking. Losing weight is all about covering all your weight-loss bases, whether that be eliminating bad habits, planning ahead for different situations, and so forth.

3. Slow and steady


Everyone wants to lose weight immediately. Everyone wants to be instantly and eternally skinny or fit. But the fact is, your body likes being fat. It's still got its caveman tendencies of "I don't know when my next meal will be, so better stock up!", so it'll turn against you time and time again unless y
ou take it slow. When I stuck to a calorie budget over the period of 9 or 10 months, my body slowly adapted to me eating less, trusting me and forming a new base weight where it could enjoy homeostasis. So many diets make you lose a ton at once, which your body is fine with because it just thinks you're going through a food famine. But as soon as you make one mistake, you blow up like a balloon and are back at square one. I got to my goal weight of 170, and it's been easy as pie for me to stay at or around that weight, even if I'm eating pie. As long as you weigh yourself every morning and never let yourself get more than 5 pounds over your goal weight, it's a piece of cake to stay at your goal weight. Even if you eat cake.

That's another thing—weigh yourself every day. For the rest of your life. I've heard some people say they get anxiety or get frustrated when they weigh themselves every day because they get worried when they don't see results, but that's ridiculous. If you don't weigh yourself, you're not being accountable to yourself on a regular basis. Of course you're going to plateau sometimes, but the trick is to look at the long-term. Don't get discouraged if at the 10% mark you haven't lost 10% of your goal weight. Just keep doing the same things day after day, and one day you'll look at yourself in the mirror and see your collarbone again, or you'll have to drill a new hole in your belt, or your pajama pants will start falling down.

Conclusion


Weight loss doesn't have to be impossible or hard. You don't have to accept your heavy body the way it is. If you just commit to a steady, simple calorie budget; weigh yourself every day, and work on changing your habits, your body will do all the work for you in creating a new body for yourself. If you take it slow, it'll trust you more, and you'll find a new baseline for your body to feel comfortable at. It'll make it a lot harder for your body to bounce back to your old ways. The best part of all is that once you're done losing, you're done! Forever! You can splurge more often, eat those desserts you crave, and indulge on the things that other diets say are forbidden. Your habits will ensure that you don't go back to the way you used to eat, and you'll enjoy feeling better on a regular basis, thinner and in control.

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