What works for me is habit building. Forgive me if I leave the math to you but I reached my point of enough-is-enough with 42" pants and weighing over 230lbs.
At first I tried low carb diets. Wrong direction. Dr. McDougall, John McDougall, Esselstyn, Neal Barnard, they shined the light on the holy grail, plant based, no added oils. The right diet was not discovered, or should I say properly implemented until later stages.
My first valuable new habit was the habit of drinking water. It was tough at first. The habit I was replacing was diet coke. Soda is not water. Milk is not water. Coffee is not water. Gatorade is not water. When you start drinking water it only takes a few days for your tastes to recalibrate. Soon the clear, clean, refreshing taste of water becomes the effortless preferred choice.
I soon thereafter became more physically active. In due time I realized a 30lb weight loss. It was gradual. Like putting weight on, putting weight off is a process.
After I went under 200 lbs I started doing Bikram yoga. I did Bikram yoga oftentimes daily for seven years. You would think that after a year of that a man would be lean as a beanpole. My conclusion is that you can’t out exercise bad diet. Even though I was doing 90 minutes of hot yoga a day I was nursing a sugar habit, eating pizza, putting cream in my coffee, and who knows what else was sabotaging me.
At one point in about the fifth year of yoga I gave up sugar. It only lasted for 30 days, but during that time I started becoming noticeably lean. Girls were flirting with me… yoga girls dude! But, being all cocky I decided that a couple of cookies from one of my favorite bakeries was no big deal. Turns out it was. Anyone who has ever given up cigarettes can relate to this. If you quit smoking then one day decide that it’s okay to smoke just one you find back in the habit fully immersed. It takes forever to get back to enough-is-enough. That’s what happened with me and sugar.
So the couple of cookies turned into whoopie pies, pizza slices, burgers with fries, and so on and so on. For two years!
It’s been almost a year since I’ve done Bikram yoga in the studio. One reason is I want to find a way to exercise without it taking up a major portion of the day.
Similarly, with food I want to lose weight without skipping meals, going hungry or feeling deprived.
This post is about habits. About six weeks ago I finally reached the stage of enough-is-enough with sugar. I gave up sugar. I’m talking about cookies, ice-cream and so on. I also stopped putting cream in my coffee. Knowing what not to do is not enough.
I was at 194 when I decided enough is enough with the sugar and junk food. Two years ago my weight had reached a low of 162 before pride and a fall with cookies. I got on the scale and took a before picture. Two days later my weight went up to 196. That’s the funny thing about the scale. It throws you curves. So be it. I was eating a lot of fruit and making an adjustment coming off sugar. Fruit is good but I try to keep it in check.
This is my routine, and it’s working. I do yoga when I get up. It’s a sequence that takes about ten minutes. That’s followed by a couple minutes of bodyweight exercises doing bicycles on my back, leg lifts, pushups and pull ups. My pullup bar has a swing down configuration that I use. Makes it possible for anyone to do pullups. I only do a set or two of ten reps.
I like intermittent fasting. That means I create a deliberate space between dinner and breakfast and sometimes extend it. I like to exercise before breakfast. The morning exercise routine is a habit. I’m starting to implement an evening session, early evening. It helps set the tone for not eating at night.
My first meal of the day is oatmeal. If you want to lose weight, cook. Eat at home. I boil water for coffee. I have a cup of black coffee. Oatmeal is one cup of oatmeal to two cups of water. The measure for oatmeal is a little under a cup. Water is two full cups. This makes oatmeal that’s not too thick. My oatmeal blend includes some bulgur and chia seeds for texture. I add a handful of raisins, a dollop of chunky applesauce, a splash of orange juice and sometimes banana or other fruit. Do not add milk or yogurt! Milk makes you fat!
Late in the day I have rice and beans, or potato, or whole wheat spaghetti, or chickpea pumpkin fritters… a starch and a vegetable. I like to batch cook for two or three days. I frequently make coleslaw or kaleslaw. Thinly sliced cabbage with carrot, onion pepper to which I add sea salt, cider vinegar, and lime. No mayonnaise. If you have mayonnaise in your cupboard, throw it away. Always having something ready to eat is critical. Or a plan. Don’t get caught out and about with excuses to grab junk food.
I keep pieces of fruit available for snacking. I like to chop dates into a paste with a knife then roll them in peanuts to make date-nut bars. Go sparingly with this idea.
Compared to what you may now be eating my recommendations are probably raising some eyebrows. I find plant based foods to be very satisfying, easy to prepare and economical.
In the little over four weeks since reaching the point of enough-is-enough my weight went down to 194, then 192, then under 190, 187, 185 and is currently in the low 180’s soon to begin dropping down through the 170’s.
I’m very happy to lose two or three pounds a month but find that weighing myself daily or every other day often results in drops of several ounces. Some days the scale tosses out a wakeup call. I agree totally with the advice of this board to monitor closely. It keeps my mindset focused on nutrition and exercise.
Go for the habit changes. And the beer? Throw it away! Stop being a pawn. You’re making someone rich at the expense of your health. Is enough-enough? Only you can decide.