Anyhow, lots of cool things happened in 2013, the biggest of which for me personally was losing 40 pounds. Five years of public accounting made me kinda lazy and I decided in January 2013 I would finally do a few things to change that. I was initially concerned I wouldn't succeed and my desk job had doomed me to be a fatty the rest of my life so I kept my intentions a secret. After a couple small accomplishments in early January I decided I could handle it and informed Sara of my detailed but easy to follow master plan. Before I say anything else, and at the risk of sounding corny, I should mention that her participation in all of this was extremely beneficial to my success. She didn't have much weight to lose but ended up shedding a few pounds and enjoying the process right along with me. So, as people like to do these days, it's time to share my thoughts with the world!
There were three major factors that worked for me:
- Set a very attainable realistic goal to avoid getting lazy or discouraged. Mine was 2 pounds per month for 12 months, figuring at 5'6" and 194 pounds I could stand to lose at least 24 pounds. Setting a goal of losing 24 pounds without attaching a measurement interval sounded too open ended and difficult to determine if I was on the right track so 2 pounds per month simplified that considerably and I ended up losing 40 pounds instead of 24! My advice is do something you can legitimately stick to and it will just become part of your lifestyle rather than a hassle you have to deal with.
- Weigh in a minimum of every two weeks and record it somewhere. Seriously. Do it.
- Set different but simple weekly challenges at least for the first couple months to keep motivation up. Rather than cutting out everything unhealthy all at once, I found it to be very helpful to focus on one thing for just 7 days. That way you don't end up feeling like you have to pass on everything that's even slightly bad for you. Some examples I randomly circulated for a week at a time are:
Trying to do all of the above at once would be miserable but focusing on just one for only 7 days isn't bad at all and taught me some discipline I was previously lacking.
- Fruit and veggie based meals
- No/low carbs
- No second helpings
- No restaurants
- No processed foods
- No alcohol
- No chocolate/candy/sweets/processed sugar
- No cheese
- No snacks
- No eating after dinner (or a specified time of day)
After several months of success, Sara and I decided to take things to another level and switch to a generally paleo lifestyle. Going paleo might not be for everyone but it should be. We really don't know why we didn't eat this way in the past. If you're curious, a quick summary is:
You'll notice the paleo (or caveman) diet essentially involves eating natural (non-processed) foods. Following it 100% would be ideal but we found it beneficial to use the 85/15 rule (85% paleo and 15% non). Sometimes it's just hard to avoid processed foods or find time to cook in today's society. And there's nothing that annoys me more than the girl at a restaurant sending her food back asking for light dressing, no carbs, and diet everything. Not to mention sometimes you just gotta consume a 1/2 pound burger on a big fat bun with a huge slice of cheese and a side of greasy fries fully dunked in ketchup, all washed down with a tall brewski! Like with most things, moderation is key!
- Heavy veggies and fruits
- Lean meats
- Healthful oils (olive, flaxseed, coconut, avocado)
- A surprisingly good dairy substitute is almond milk
- You can add coconut milk to a lot of dishes (especially rice) for good flavor
Probably too much information so do with it what you want and let us know how it goes!