I graduated highschool weighing around 165 lbs. By the time I graduated college I was up to 178. On January 1st, 2014, I came in at 192.
As of yesterday, I’m down to 172.
In the past I’ve tried various ways to lose weight. I’m not the world’s most motivated person, and I hate working out. It’s not that it’s painful, it’s just so incredibly boring. “I’m just gonna go run for an hour…. on a machine with a rotating belt… and stare at a wall.” Maybe if Minnesota weren’t a frozen wasteland, and running outside were more of an option, it wouldn’t be so bad. After failing to train for a 5k several times, I decided there had to be an alternative way.
Step 1. Eat Better
Food is delicious. No, seriously. Have you ever eaten and Fogo de Chao? If yes, I don’t need to explain the word “meatgasm” to you. And the Melting Pot? Skip the fondue forks and just give me a ladle. I don’t even care if it results in third degree burns.
The quality of food I normally eat is not exactly “healthy”. A double stacked bacon cheeseburger with a side order of sweet potato fries is mostly on par with a normal dinner. Oh, and don’t forget an appetizer! The starting point for being more health conscious has been making small adjustments to what I eat. Side of fries? Replaced with a side salad. Large soda usually refilled twice? Water. Burger? Well, that stayed. Any time I’ve tried to go 100% with my meal options, they stop being so tasty and I give up.
Step 2. Eat Less
I eat fast. Stupidly fast. On one of the first dates with my now-girlfriend, I finished my entrée before she finished cutting her chicken breast. Maybe that speaks more about her cutting capabilities, but I digress.
My eyes are almost always larger than my stomach, but I also hate leaving an empty plate. Reminding myself that my stomach doesn’t need as much food as I normally order before opening up a menu has helped me to keep my portions smaller. Also to help curb my appetite I’ve also been drinking a lot more water, all throughout the day.
Step 3. Optional Workouts
Working out is great for you, but like I said, I hate it. For the past few weeks I’ve tried to run on the treadmills in our apartment facility. In the past I’ve treated working out as a work/reward system: workout, eat something not necessarily good for me but delicious. The problem with that has been it being a net-0 system.
Losing weight, for the most part, can be simplified down to an easy equation: burn more calories than you consume and you lose weight. Working out burns off more calories, and the reward is now the endorphins that flood my system afterwards.
Step 4. Sweet Sugary Drugs
One of the biggest things that has helped has been a mentality change. I’ve mentally classified sweets and sugary snacks as “drugs”. “Drugs” encompasses anything that tastes delicious, makes me happy, but isn’t good for my body. Beer & ice cream are now on the same plane.
It’s easier to say “no” to something when you can look at it and think, “Yea, that’s delicious, but it’s not good for me.” Do I still eat junk food? Of course I do! Just not as frequent and in as large of quantities as before.
Step 5. Moderate
The important thing has been to moderate everything. If there is an option to take stairs over an elevator, I’ll do it. One beer instead of two. Salad instead of fries. But as my father once told me, “Everything requires moderation, even moderation itself.” My will still isn’t strong enough to always resist snacks, or being lazy for a day. Instead of breaking, I allow myself to bend. A day off from the strict regime is totally fine, and I can get back into the swing of things the next day. I’ve found this is exceptionally helpful in keeping up with things long term.
With these things in mind, I’ve lost 20lbs. While I don’t consider this journey “done”, I’ve been exceptionally happy with the progress. Hopefully be the time summer rolls around I’ll be ready to sport a new swimsuit!