Monday, October 12, 2009

So ya wanna lose some weight, a beginners guide to losing weight by no one special.

I get asked all of the time "How do you do it? how have you managed to lose more than 200 pounds?" and my answer is always the same, I had a decision to make and it was my choice. At 534 pounds life is not a bowl of cherries but if I was asked that question at that weight my answer would have been "I am totally happy right now" mostly because of pride and not wanting to admit how weak I was in that time of my life, I was NOT happy. I was thinking about this a bit over the weekend and was going through all of the things that I did to get going down this road and thought I would write a "So ya wanna lose some weight" post for those people that may stumble on my blog that are thinking about starting down the same path and have that lost in the woods feeling.

Like most things I find the jump right in approach the best and I figured I had dipped my toes into many a "diet" pool throughout my life so this time it had to be different. Making excuses as to why we can't start just delays and stalls our progress so why do it? I happened to start on Jan 1st but honestly it was a long time coming and the 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's is what tipped me into the had too much category, here are a few things to consider when you start:

The start of things

  1. Decide what approach will be taken - I chose to count calories but there are many different weight loss methods out there to choose from and each will mean purchasing a different variation or foods, so decide which path you will wander down and go from there with your shopping list.
  2. Go shopping - This is extremely important because if you have cookies, cakes and the phone number to the local pizza house on hand it will be that much harder to eat healthy meals, toss that number out and get rid of the stockpile of sweets as they will only hinder progress and offer chances to fall off of plan.
  3. Plan meals ahead of time - This is critical in the beginning, breaking the habit of grazing at the refrigerator is number one on your list of things to do right now, you are not a cattle so stop acting like one and step away from that fridge! if you have your day down on paper (or in my case an excel sheet) it is easy to anticipate when and what we will eat when you can see it written down.
  4. Start a food diary ie a Blog - I did this step on a whim and as it turned out here I am still writing in it 650 days later. The importance of cataloging and preserving what has been done so that you can go back and look at where you came from in your own words and feel some of the same feelings I cannot stress enough. having a blog is like creating a mirror image of the way you felt and is a strong reminder on those not so strong days not to mention the accountability factor because you never know just who is having a peek into your struggles.

Now that you are started and we are chugging along slightly tired, somewhat aggravated and really craving some of aunt Maude's home made double chocolate chocolate chip cookies its time to pat ourselves on our backs because the first step has been taken. There is really a feeling of empowerment that comes across after we have made it through a few days of what seems like agony, furthermore you have just proven that it can in fact be done with minimal effort and you quite like the way you are feeling lately.

The first week

You've made it through an entire seven days and are starting to realize that this is not as hard as it once felt while all at the same time really wanting to tear into a double bacon and onion pizza, you are waking up less tired while feeling that this just might work this time around but boy do you miss that giant cup of joe with Cream and sugar. Now its time to start thinking about adding some exercise to your days and take a look back at what you have done this week and decide what could be better or if anything needs to be tweaked, did I mention that I can swear that the Ronald McDonald statue waved at me when I drove by this afternoon?

  1. Exercise - You have to start somewhere, run if you can walk if its what you can do and crawl if you must but you have to start moving. At hyper obese weights 500 pounds plus it can be extremely difficult to exercise but it is a must so do it. I started off at 534 pounds and a walk to the corner felt like it was going to kill me but I did it because I had to, you can too. Of course talking to a doc before starting an exercise regimen is probably a good idea so I would recommend that step (even though I did not) but exercise is key to healthy weight loss so make sure its getting added in.
  2. Weigh yourself often - I find that weighing myself often helps immensely, besides the fact that it is a gauge to let you know how your progress is moving along it can be a huge motivator whether you are up in weight or down, on the one hand if you weigh less its proving that the hard work is paying off and that confidence boost can throw you into hyper drive and you forget that you are "dieting" and the urges are lessened. The other side to that coin is that if the scale shows a gain you know that you have to look at what you are doing closer or in some (I would guess most from experience) cases you know that you did not do your part and it forces you to refocus, but whatever you do do not give up if you see a gain consistency is key.
  3. Read other people blogs - I can obviously only speak for myself but when I first started down this road I made myself obsess over reading as many weight related articles and blogs as I could fit into my days. Seeing others struggle and conquer, obsess and fight with all of the same things that I was dealing with helped me realize that I was not the only fat dude on the block and that helped me stay focused, hearing about how they handled a situation or pushed through a hard spot can really keep things in perspective. I have since I started blogging met some pretty great people that have struggled through the same things that I have and having the support of like minded people huffing down the same trail is a very powerful thing.

We are now starting to get the hang of things and making better choices in our meals and snacking much less than we were, feeling pretty good about the whole process and most likely have dropped a bit of weight. Exercise is getting easier and shopping for healthy choices is becoming second nature, our confidence is rising and we are smiling more than ever because things are starting to feel good again, I might be able to stick to this you think and off you go for a walk around the neighborhood.

Month three

Now you're chugging along and have a few months behind you, you have certainly dropped some weight by now if you are doing your part and are feeling better. No more refrigerator grazing and you look for opportunities to get some exercise into the day all while noticing that your food tastes better when its not covered in salt, sugary sauces and fried batter, who wouldda thunk that chicken could taste so good without the greasy coating of bread crumbs on it? the pizza delivery guy cruises slowly past your home looking quizzically at the door wondering if you moved out of the neighborhood or were kid napped as you grill some chicken breast and veggies for that nights dinner.

By now things should be starting to get pretty automated and routine for you, walking past the cookie isle in the supermarket without craving a whole pound bag of Oreos is getting easier and soon enough will fade completely. Getting out for some daily exercise is no longer a chore but something you sort of want to do, before long you may even find yourself joining a gym and quickly becoming addicted to going there and working out, the whole world is yours again. No longer leashed to that dented couch You wonder why it took so long for you to get started and with just a couple months of success things start falling into place and the path to better health is clear and open for you to walk down as you taste the success of losing some extra baggage.

I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be one, I also do not claim to be an expert in weight loss so with a grain of salt this post is offered, always consult a physician before starting in on new exercise and or diet plans.

Thanks for reading along and I hope that you took something away from this that could help you in a positive way.

As Ever


  1. Wow, coming from someone who IS just starting out on my weight loss journey, this is one AWESOME post. There's some great advice in this post, some of which I am doing...some of which I need to do. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Good post and I agree with it whole-heartedley (maybe that is a word). It took me a few weeks to actually throw away my chips and snack cakes, but I did it and havent looked back!!
    You've come a long way and I enjoy your blog.

  3. Great tips. I can't really add much myself.

    I do think getting support is important - and that's where blogging has been fantastic for me.

    I'd also say celebrate every moment! Just not with food. :)

  4. Great topic! This is very helpful not only to me but also to everyone else.

  5. Well I AM a doc and your advise is spot-on. And several points I'm going to add to my own plan. You can't argue with your success.