What I did: Cut Calories!
Walking and other forms of exercise are important to lose weight, but actually not nearly as important as cutting calories. I am presenting all of this information in the realm of “weddings & weight loss“ for a reason. I am a big believer in providing the backstory. There are specific reasons that I got up to 305 pounds. It’s good for anyone to understand how they got fat so that they can better understand how to get fit. Left to my own devices, I am not an athletic person. I have never enjoyed sports, neither as a spectator nor as a participant. I have never gravitated toward any outdoorsy activities like running, hiking, camping, group sport activities or anything physically active. Making things worse, I am from the south and I love greasy fried foods, and I have an extremely sweet “sweet tooth.” Over the years as a busy wedding coordinator, I have found myself working lots of odd hours, early mornings and late nights, which have made it quite difficult to eat on a regular schedule, much less trying to eat healthy. So many Friday nights, Saturday nights and some Sunday nights of my life, I have found myself working 12 and 18 hour days and going through the buffet line at a wedding chowing down on all of the high calorie, high fat and sugary delights that one typically finds at a wedding reception. There have also been many times when I’ve been too busy to even take a moment to eat dinner at a wedding reception and found myself driving home at nearly midnight and stopping at the nearest drive-through window to pick up something to eat, which almost always means high fat, high calorie and low nutrition. When you combine zero exercise with that type of eating and a naturally slow metabolism, weight gain resulted. For too many years, when I would go grocery shopping I would simply buy the things that I wanted with no thought to calories. All of this came to a screeching halt on August 6, 2019 when I decided that it was time to do something. As I mentioned in a previous post, the USDA gives a working average of 2000 calories per day as an average diet for the average person. I shudder to think how many calories per day I was eating up through August 5, 2019. I don’t know and I really don’t want to know. I do know how many calories I ate per day starting August 6, 2019. After I did all of my research, I started counting calories. I gave myself a daily allotment of no more than 1500 cal per day to be consumed: 500 cal for lunch and 1,000 cal for dinner. Count calories. COUNT CALORIES. COUNT CALORIES! Did you get that? If you consume it, count it. If you drink it, eat it, pour it on something that you eat, squeeze it into something that you drink, or in anyway put it in your mouth and swallow it, you need to count its calorie content. Chewing gum has calories. Breath mints have calories. Even herbal supplements and vitamins have calories. Read labels and count calories. This is a must!
It has been my observation that too many people who have a lot of weight to lose fall into the trap of trying to find the easy answer, the quick fix or some sort of hack to lose weight without doing hard work. There are lots of supposed diet plans out there that will allow you to eat “all you want” of a certain category of food and still lose weight. In my personal experience, that’s ridiculous. Every single thing that you can eat has calories. Some more than others, some less than others, but almost everything with the exception of water and diet beverages have calories. I have not followed any of the popular or fad diet plans that encourage consumption of large amounts of proteins or fat or complete avoidance of carbohydrates, nor have I followed any of the well-known weight loss programs. I simply did the research, cut my calories and started walking. I have tried to eat restricted calories and eat healthy foods. Lean proteins, leafy vegetables, good amounts of fiber, very low amounts of sugar and a low amount of fat. One of the few categories of food that I have virtually eliminated is sugar. I have already alluded to my sweet tooth, which was a huge component in my weight gain. Pretty much overnight, I quit eating anything with added sugar. No cakes, no pies, no cookies, no ice cream, no candy, no candy bars. Certainly no sugar in tea, coffee or anything else. I still like to sweeten things, so I use Stevia as it is a natural sweetener with 0 cal that is a much healthier alternative to some of the other Franken-food sweeteners out there.
Cook and prepare your own food. Eat at home. Take your lunch to work. Avoid drive-through anything. If you do find yourself eating in restaurants, try to go to places that have healthy options and that post calories on their menus. If they don’t post them inside the restaurant, go on the web and look up calorie information whenever you have the opportunity. I can guarantee that you will be shocked to see how many calories are in some of your favorite foods, beverages, milkshakes, sandwiches and other favorite foods. I will never name or disparage specific companies or their products, but suffice it to say that one of my favorite restaurants has a milkshake that I love that is over 1,000 cal. That same restaurant has a very popular lemonade that is over 600 cal. My favorite latte, the white chocolate mocha, has over 700 cal. That’s a lot of calories for a cup of coffee! These can be some of the best ways to cut out massive amounts of unnecessary calories in your daily diet, by illuminating high calorie beverages. Focus your calories on nutritional food, not empty calories from beverages. or desserts.
In the beginning, it will be very difficult. You will get hungry. You will have cravings. Count on it. The addiction to sugar is very powerful, but you can defeat it. Once you get used to not eating sugar and not eating high quantities of food in general, you will become accustomed to it, your stomach will adjust, and eventually you’ll be able to be satisfied with less food. There is no hack. I offer no easy answers. This is hard work. in my next post, I will talk about the types of foods and beverages that I have consumed on a regular basis in the course of the past year.
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. You can also go to my website, WeddingsAndWeightLoss.com.