Losing Weight Sustainably
There are plenty of ways that work to help you lose weight. The problem is not losing weight, it is keeping it off once you become less of a land whale.
Medifast, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers—all of the diet plans work on the downside. I twice lost more than 40 pounds using Medifast and Nutrisystem. I guess you can say that with Medifast, I lost more than 80 pounds! The crushing disappointment for me came after “transition,” as they call it in Medifast, which I “failed” both times, gradually seeing my scale results edge up until I was right back where I had started, more or less. You can imagine how I felt about myself, and the hundreds of dollars I wasted.
So why do I imagine that this time will be different? I’m still on the down escalator.
1. I’m not paying $200–$300 a month to consume unnatural products.
2. I’m eating real food. When I get to a target bf%/BMI/weight, I’ll eat more.
3. I’m not doing this through exercise. I’ve started exercising more, rowing and doing weights a couple times a week, while still walking 7000 steps per day, but the calorie expenditures there are negligible, and if I get laid up through an injury I’m not SOL.
4. I’m eating only food that I really like.
5. I’m not hungry.
So what’s the “trick”?
There are actually four approaches involved. Together, they work. They entail gradually developing new habits. In the order of what you address, here’s what works. If you search the web/Youtube, you’ll find that I am not alone in having benefited from these approaches.
1. Start tracking your weight and what you shove into your mouth, every day.
2. Carbohydrate, not fat or inactivity is what made you fat. Carbs under 50g/day. Eventually you will knock this down further. The ketogenic diet is essential. And delicious.
3. Intermittent fasting. Not miserable every-other-day fasting, which I also tried for a goodly period and which makes you feel sorry for yourself. Start by fasting 16 hours, eating within an 8 hour window. This means you eat first around 11 a.m. for breakfast/lunch, finish eating by 7. Or 9 a.m to 5 p.m. You’ll tighten this up for greater benefits eventually. 19 hours/5 hours is better, one meal a day is best, but progress, not perfection. After all, you like to eat, right? So work on this gradually.
4. Caloric restriction. This only means eating less than you burn. This is also the downfall of exercise (the Biggest Loser approach, which is for losers). It is far easier to attain a 700 kcal caloric deficit daily by eating fewer Ho-Hos than by exercising madly. The efficiency of the body in turning calories into work is prodigious, and frankly the time to eat less (nothing) vs the time to exercise off 700 kcal (70 minutes doing 12-minute miles, and good luck with that, fatty) should get your attention. Add to that the time to change and shower. Yeah, no contest.
I’ll get into how to develop these new habits next time. It is not hard. The alternative is life in an ugly, suboptimal body that will eventually repay you with premature disease and death.
I think maybe we can work on painlessly changing a few habits, don’t you?