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I have tried to reach my ideal body weight for my build and height for the past few years, actually since just before college started almost a decade ago. I have slowly gained weight, but have been pretty steady with slight fluctuations. Much of this is due to being eating on an American diet, where one eats until not hungry. Of course people can decide for themselves what is a good weight to be at and I am not saying that anyone else needs to change. However this post is for anyone who does want to lose (or gain) those 10-30 pounds. I’m not saying they’ll have an easy time reaching it either. Leaving all notions of normality, social acceptance, and any other bias including hollywood, I will continue with a discussion of my attempt at reaching my goal.
It’s all just calories
There is a basic fact of life that we burn so many calories, kilo-calories (kcals or Calories) to be precise, in a day. Also, every 3500 kcals in deficit or excess is a pound lost or gained, respectively. This allows me to calculate my Calories my body burns by just living. I used The Daily Plate online tool to calculate that at my current body weight of 215, and being lightly active throughout the day, my body burns about 2650 Calories a day. So without getting to technical, I need to get around 1700 net calories to lose 2 pounds each week, this accounts for burned Calories from exercise as well).
Now focus and perseverance comes into play, once the “diet” starts. 1700 Calories worth of food is not very much, especially if eating unhealthy food. So focus is needed in order to not eat too much during the day, and perseverance is needed to not give up if you do have one day where you consume too many Calories.
Here are some tips I have come up with to help me remember, and maybe help someone else out there!
My 5 Tips (for weight loss)
- QualityH2O – Drink water, and lots of it, well don’t go overboard. Your body can get confused between hunger and thirst, so you might as well make it much easier for you to know when you’re actually hungry. Weigh yourself at the same time with as close to the same circumstances as possible. Water weight definitely affects how much you weight, so the best time to weigh would be in the morning as it’s probably the most consistent in terms of amount of water in your system.
- OverUnder – Over estimate the amount you eat, and underestimate your exercise. I find that by putting 2 servings down instead of 1.75 or even 1.5 I am better off when I eat the small handful of peanuts or a couple chips that I don’t count or forget about. Same goes with exercise, forget the bike ride to the gym, or the walking or stair climbing done while out shopping. This tip is to help you lose slightly faster.
- LessButMore – Instead of doing 45+ minutes of exercise 3 times a week, try doing 30 minutes or less daily. I find that I can burn about 400 kcals in about 30 min, depending on your weight and type of exercise your numbers will differ. That 400 cals will help me to burn almost an extra pound a week, or allow me that weekend dessert.
- KeepFocus – Have reminders of your goal weight, motivational quotes, photos, or any other thing that will help you stay focused. It might even help to put something on the refrigerator. It also helps to have a partner, for motivation, and to help keep you accountable. You might notice differences in the first few weeks, but it will take at least a month before any significant measurements will change.
- Clog – Keep a daily calorie blog. Use whatever works for you, I prefer online tools. I really enjoy using The Daily Plate (TDP) as it has a rich database of foods and exercises. It allows you to track calories, body measurements, weight, and more. YOU MUST keep track of your progress so you know when you are succeeding, faultering. It will also serve as a device to keep you motivated to stay at your new weight, as you know how much work you did to get there.
I hope this helps; I’m only 5 days into my journey, and already I’m feeling better and more confident that the weight will come off and stay off. I’m already at 212 pounds. Remember that there is water-based fluctuations of +- 2.5 pounds (on average), and also muscle weighs more than fat, so don’t be alarmed if you gain a few pounds first (due to exercise) before you start losing it.
The last thing I’ll leave is that this is a good way to slowly lose those pounds as you can only lose a couple pounds a week without changing too many habits. Just eat less, or exercise a little more. You will have days where you go way over your alloted calories, but just hang in there and rest assured if you stick to this guide and use these tips you should have a better chance at succeeding in the long run, it is all about the long-term.
I finished a book a few weeks ago called Busting Vega$ which is basically a story of a small group of MIT students who took down casinos around the world by playing skilled blackjack. They visited Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and even the Monte Cristo. Well a movie is coming out in late March (the 28th to be specific) entitled “21” which is based on the true story, which the book is based on. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and recommend it to anyone who has been to Vegas, gambled, played cards, or is a Math geek! Everything about the book was entertaining, thrilling, dramatic, and most of all fun! It has it all: Science, Math, Gambling, Money, Sex, and Violence.