The most frequent question I get asked is, “How did you lose so much weight?” My answer is “counting calories.” Taking in less that you burn is the simple equation.  Of course, you have to make sure you’re eating enough—you can’t starve yourself—but the basic equation is pretty simple.  Find something to estimate your BMR (basic metabolic rate) and cut calories from there.

I know some of this may be a bit of a recap, but there is plenty of new stuff here.  Without really realizing it, we have essentially been following a glycemic index type of diet.  You can read more about this diet here (WebMD) and here (wiki).  While I haven’t cut carbs, I have limited them somewhat by the things I choose to eat.  I can eat pasta, but my portion size will be much smaller.  At this point in my weight loss, I’d rather have quinoa or something like that because it is more filling for a similar amount of calories.  I find that I’m eating a lot more vegetables and fruit now because I get more substance for less calories.  This also cuts out a lot of processed and pre-made foods.  These have plenty of added ingredients that, while they taste good, only add calories.  These calories come in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), added sugar, added fat, added sodium, or other added chemicals that do bad things to your guts.  Try not to drink your calories—sugar added fruit juice, soda, and half and half in your coffee are big calorie bombs.

The second question I get is, “how have you kept it off?” Well, technically, I haven’t kept it off yet, I’m still trying to get it off.  Follow the above, and the weight will be easier to keep off.  Allow yourself a treat from time to time, but don’t go crazy.  If you fall off for a meal, don’t ruin the rest of the day.  Just count that meal up to a learning experience and get back on the wagon.  And as much as I hate the phrase, it really is a lifestyle change.  Get used to eating good stuff and it will taste better to you.  Use spices.  Tons of spices.  They have no calories and add a lot of flavor to your food.

There are basically two problems (barring medical issues) to losing weight and keeping it off.  The first is portion control, the second is food choice.  Portion control is a big one in America.  Other countries don’t seem to have the epidemic that we have here in terms of gigantic plates full of food.  There are a few practical steps you can take to avoid portion issues.

  1. Avoid the buffet! You are guaranteed to overeat at a buffet.
  2. Use smaller plates. If you use a smaller plate, you can’t get the same amount of calories on it.
  3. Measure your food out from the start and be satisfied with what you have on your plate.
  4. Do NOT put the serving dishes on the table.  You’ll be tempted to pick and eat a bite here and there until you’ve added 100-200 calories.
  5. With the above, go ahead and separate the leftovers out for future meals and put them in the refrigerator.  Plan on those to get you through the week.
  6. PLAN YOUR MEALS! This one is huge. I know about what I’m eating every day before I roll out of bed and have it entered into Lose It.  We also have a shared calendar in iCloud just for meals.  I know what my wife is planning and we talk about any special considerations before we get to that day.
  7. When you eat out, do some research before you go. Plan what you will order and be prepared.
  8. If you’re going to cheat, have a cheat meal, not a cheat day.  Everyone needs a bite of cake sometimes—just don’t eat half of it.
  9. My new one—drink at least one whole glass of water before you sit down to eat.  Sometimes I drink two.  It helps you to feel fuller from the start.

The second problem is food choices.  This one is a bit harder to give tips for, because in reality, it all comes down to your willpower.  There are a few things that help:

  1. Get rid of the junk in the pantry and fridge.  Just ditch the chips, sodas, cakes, candy bars, etc.
  2. Go ahead and throw out the sauces and condiments with the above. Mustard and hot sauce are your friends.  Use lots of spices in your cooking so no sauces are needed.
  3. Put your lunch together the night before so you aren’t tempted to eat out when you’re running late in the morning.
  4. Use a meal calendar! You’ll buy groceries based on that calendar.  Just don’t skip the calendar altogether and eat out.
  5. In restaurants, skip the added butter, oil and sauces.

Hopefully these help.  These are things that have helped me with weight loss.  What are some tips that have helped you?

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