How I Did It: Doing My Homework
Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Once I decided it was time to do something about my weight, I started by doing my homework. I summoned my courage and stepped on my digital scales and saw the verdict. During my heavy years, there were two things I avoided: my reflection and scales. I always knew that neither were things I wanted to see. But I digress. I had the number from the scales (305 lbs) which I input into the health app on my iPhone. The next thing I did required a bit of research. I wanted to come up with a goal weight, but I didn’t want it to be arbitrary. I did some online research, and as is always, Google was my friend. I consulted several online health websites and input my age, gender, height, and frame size to determine what I should weigh. The range showed that I should weigh between 155 lbs and 189 lbs. I wanted my goal to be ambitions but attainable and realistic, so I decided on 185 for my goal.
The next thing I did was to research the basic science and math of weight loss and weight gain. When you consume more calories than you burn, your body converts the excess unused calories into fat. In order to lose weight, you have to burn your excess stored fat, and that happens when you burn more calories than you consume which forces your body in to ketosis, which is the state when your body burns stored fat to be used as energy. Here is a fun little fact for the journey. It takes approximately 3,500 calories burned to lose 1 pound. Think about that the next time you reach for your favorite sugary snack, fatty entree, starchy side dish, or 700 calorie beverage. Next, I started looking at labels on everything I consumed. When you read labels, you see that foods and beverages list a product’s calories and other ingredients including its percentage of daily intake, always based on 2,000 calorie per day, which is what the USDA has used for years as the average daily ideal diet for Americans. Since this is a very generic average, it is key to do your research based on your gender, your age, your height and your frame size to determine your ideal weight. All of this leads to the one most important thing I had to do to lose 120 lbs. I created a daily calorie deficit. That simply means that every day, seven days a week, I made sure that I burned more calories than I consumed. I created my daily calorie deficit in two ways. I reduced my daily calorie intake from food and beverages, and I increased the number of calories burned daily through walking. This meant I needed to do a lot of tracking. I started tracking the calories that I consumed by reading labels on all food and beverages. I also started tracking the calories that I burned on my iPhone, in two ways. The health app in the iPhone does a great job of doing this for you, but it is greatly enhanced when you get an Apple Watch which tracks your every movement, heart rate and a number of other useful metrics. The Apple health app automatically tracks your daily activity and comes up with your daily metrics based on the numbers that you input. It will tell you how many steps and miles you are walking and how many calories you are burning. I also used the Adidas Runtastic exercise app to capture data from my daily lap-walking. This gives me very specific data on miles, minutes, calories, heart rate, and lots of other useful metrics.
In the first six months of my journey, I had a very regimented daily plan. I ate 500 calories at lunch, 1,000 calories at dinner, and I walked 4 miles of laps. In the final 5.5 months, I increased the intensity of both my walking and my calorie restriction, which I will detail for you in later posts. Suffice it to say for now, that I laid a foundation of a daily calorie deficit through a reduction in calorie intake and increase in calorie burn through walking laps.
For those interested in my weight loss journey, I've started sharing details on my new platforms. Follow me on Facebook at Weddings and Weight Loss and on Instagram @WeddingsAndWeightLoss.