My Weight Gain and Weight Loss
If you’re anything like me you enjoy eating. But you don’t enjoy dieting. I have always tried to eat healthy but have to admit that I would occasionally indulge myself. If offered a treat I would rarely turn it down. This habit of occasionally indulging slowly progressed to where it was no longer so occasional. My sedentary lifestyle combined with my eating habits resulted in a weight gain of over 50 pounds by the time I reached forty.
In my early twenties I did not worry about my weight. My active lifestyle maintained my weight at a healthy level for my age and height. I went to the gym regularly and rode my bike everywhere. As the years went by, my lifestyle changed. In my mid twenties I started an office job and with that came the ever present food. Offices seem to always have cake, cookies, pop and other treats available.
I got married when I was thirty and by the time I was thirty-six I had 4 children. I started to work more and more and no longer went to the gym. By the time I was forty, my weight had ballooned to 189 pounds. That is way too much for a 5′ 4″ male.
My Wake-Up Call
My weight gain happened so slowly that I hardly noticed it. I had always been fit and this idea that I was healthy stuck with me even though it was no longer true. I convinced myself that I wasn’t overweight; it was muscle not fat. I convinced myself that I wasn’t out of shape; I was tired because I didn’t sleep enough. But every now and then I would see myself in the mirror as I dressed to go to work and reality would briefly sink in. I was not happy with what I saw. My solution was to avoid mirrors whenever possible. This way I could avoid reality.
One day I was on my way to work and while climbing the subway station stairs, I noticed that my knees hurt with every step. Again I went into denial. I convinced myself that it was normal because after all I was getting older.
One evening I suddenly became ill. I developed an extremely high fever. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. I became disoriented and I was barely able to call my wife for help. I felt like I was going to die. I now realized how precious life was and how easily and quickly it can all be taken away. I didn’t want my children to grow up without a father. I vowed that if I made it through the night that I would change. This was my wake up call.
I was sick for over a month but slowly got better. After recovering from my illness I began to make changes in my life. I began with my eating habits. I started slowly. My first step was to reduce the amount of pop I consumed. I then moved on to reduce cakes, cookies and other pastries from my diet. This was not easy but I eventually got to the point where I rarely consumed these items. I found that doing things slowly and in stages helped me to stick to these changes. I then began to reduce the amount of meat I ate and gradually switched to a vegetarian diet. The changes in my diet alone helped me to lose weight, but it was not enough. After losing 15 lbs, my weight plateaued. I was stuck at 174lbs. I soon realized that I would have to start an exercise program if I wanted to continue with my weight loss.
As luck would have it, the local gym (Goodlife Fitness) began to offer a corporate discount to my workplace. I took advantage of this and began to exercise regularly. I started off slowly and gradually increased the intensity, type and amount of my exercises. I now exercise at least 3 times per week.
A New Me
My weight loss happened slowly over a period of 2 years. During this time I tried various things to see what worked best for me. My weight loss happened slowly because I did not starve myself. At no point in time was I ever hungry. I think that the slow approach is best. I found that fad diets do not work. They only give you temporary results. My goal was not to lose weight temporarily, but to keep it off permanently, without being hungry or starving myself in the process. The way that I have been able to achieve this is through a change in my lifestyle.
I have gone from 189 pounds to my current weight of 162 pounds. I have lost 27 pounds so far. I still have weight to lose, but I already feel a lot better. My knees no longer hurt when I climb stairs. I now have more endurance than my kids. I can manage stress a lot better. My overall mood is also much better. I am committed to my new lifestyle and to the “New Me”.
If you have realized that a change is needed in your life but don’t know where to start or you feel discouraged. I want you to know that change is possible. It is not always easy. You may stumble on the way. But that’s okay, if you keep focused on your goal, you can do it. I hope that my story is helpful to you. I encourage you to share your successes and advice with me as well. Maybe we can inspire each other.
What Worked for Me: Tips for Success
Have Two Shakes A Day
Every morning and afternoon I use my Magic Bullet to make a shake. I use one banana, soy milk, soy protein powder and flax seeds.
Drink Lime Water
Every day I use my Citrus Zinger to extract juice from half a lime. I drink one bottle of lime water per day. I find that this reduces bloating, keeps me hydrated and suppresses food cravings.
Make Changes Slowly
I have found that making changes slowly helped me to stick to the program. I have tried going cold turkey but it does not work for me.
Do Not Eat At Night
I make it a point not to eat after 6:00pm. I find that I sleep better and lose more weight when I do not eat at night.
Eat Five Meals per Day
I use to eat two big meals per day with snacks in between. I now have five smaller healthy meals per day. This has helped to increase my metabolism and regulate my blood sugar which helps with my overall energy levels.
Eat Snacks (Occasionally)
This may seem like an odd thing to say to someone who is trying to lose weight. But I found that having the occasional snack actually helps me with my weigh loss goal. The reason for this is that having the occasional snack helps to prevent binge eating. What I want is a lifestyle change that I can maintain. Having the occasional snack (without guilt) keeps me on track with my goal for a healthy life. When I first started my change in diet, I allocated myself a weekly cheat day. On that cheat day, I could eat whatever I wanted. This worked for me. As I progressed in my lifestyle change my cheat days became less frequent.
Make an exercise schedule and stick to it. I work out at least 3 times per week with a focus on cardio-vascular exercise. As I progressed in my exercise routine, I started to incorporate resistance training as well. But at the beginning, I focused on cardio-vascular exercise as this gave me quick results and kept me motivated.
See The Big Picture
It is normal for body weight to fluctuate up and down as much as 5 pounds from one day to the next. Do not get discouraged because of temporary weight gains. Do not weigh yourself every day. It is better to use a weekly average. It will give you a better picture of where you are with your progress and keep you motivated.
Do Not Get Discouraged
As you exercise you will develop some muscle. Muscle weighs more that fat so it can seem as though you are not losing weight. The best gauge of your progress is how your clothes fit. If your clothes fit better, you are making progress. Using the scale alone can be misleading and discouraging. But above all, DO NOT GIVE UP. Stick with the changes in your diet and your exercise program and you will have success.