For years I had been telling myself that I was going to lose weight. I had tried to lose weight by exercising or eating less, but nothing serious enough to make an impact. In fact the problem was getting worse while I went on with my daily life. One day I stepped on the scale and realized it had gone completely out of control, and now I was seriously at risk for health problems. The time to act was now, and the longer I waited the worse the situation became. I needed to lose 60 pounds now, not just a few. I dropped everything and decided to lose it quick. This is the method I used to achieve that goal in about 3 months and 3 weeks. Yes, 60 pounds in 117 days, a half pound of fat leaving my body daily on average. No special diet, gimmick or pill.
The goal was simple: lose the weight and keep it off. I also wanted to do this quickly, because the less time I was hungry and dieting, the better.
The plan was also simple: Eat a lot less and exercise to burn fat. No special fad diets or pills. To eat less, I kept track of calories. For exercise, I simply tried to move around more, walk around at my job and just do anything thing to stay active. I started walking to work when I could and went swimming. I figured every bit helped, even small bits of exercise.
This first thing I did was limit my calories and count them. This is really easy, I am sure most everyone knows to check the package for the serving size and calories or search the Internet for calories amounts when you cook something from scratch. Right away I learned what foods to stay away from based on how many calories were in them. I also learned what food was low in calories that I could eat to fill up with. This is so important because you are hungry quite a lot, and if you are like me, you want to head into the kitchen and eat everything in sight when your are very hungry. I didn’t care what type of food I ate, just as long as I stayed under the calorie limit. Consequently, I started eating lots of salad and vegetables because I could fill up on them and not use up my allotted calories for the day. On some days, I would eat something high in fat (and tasty), but then would be hungry all day because the calories were maxed out. I began avoiding this and thus ate healthier! I also drank a lot of water and diet soda, increasing the metabolism slightly and filling me up as well.
RECORDING THE PROGRESS
I started a spreadsheet to keep track of my weight in the morning, weight in the evening, calories consumed and miles walked each day. This let me keep track of my weight in a nice record to review and see my weight dropping. My weight was typically less in the morning by about two pounds, which is caused in part by losing moisture through breathing through the night I am told. Entering the miles walked made me feel good about the exercise I was getting. There were also many times of frustration because my weight would drop a pound everyday for three or four days, then the next day it would jump up four pounds overnight. The key is to remember your body weight varies up and down, but the trend will be heading down when you eat less calories then you need.
The heavier your body is, the more calories a day you burn doing absolute nothing. As you lose weight you begin to burn less calories doing nothing, making weight loss harder. I used a BMR calculator, easily found on the Internet to track this. This factors your age, weight, and sex to give you a baseline of calories used in one day doing absolutely nothing. This means to maintain the rate of loss you want you have to lower calories as you become lighter. I slowly lowered my calorie intake to 800 per day and began taking vitamin supplements. Many will not recommend eating this amount of calories so be careful. When I began losing weight, I simply did not care and just wanted to get it done. I am not a medical expert, but merely relating my story.
When you do this kind of diet, commonly called a VLC (very low calorie) diet, at first you will lose weight rather easily. I initially dropped my intake to 1300 calories per day and lost well over a half pound of fat per day. My stomach shrank, and on the few days I put my diet on hold I could not eat anything close to what I had eaten before. I needed a lot of self control to also not eat or snack when I was very hungry, essentially starving. This is where my self control took over because I really wanted to lose weight. There is also the infamous “starvation mode” where the body begins lowering the metabolism to conserve stored fat. This begins anywhere from a few weeks to few months after being on the VLC diet. This lowers the rate your body burns calories, studies show up to 20%, making it a little harder to lose weight. Your body is going to try to hold on to it’s fat because it is not being nourished properly. This is why I always made sure I took vitamin supplements.
Eventually my weight loss began to diminish while eating the same amount. I began to suspect I had entered starvation mode and in addition I was now much lighter and burning less calories in general. For nearly 2 weeks I weighted the same while eating 800 calories per day. To break this, I began getting some more exercise by walking more and drinking more water. Eventually, I began to lose weight again and it started to drop again.
As you lose weight you will no doubt begin to look better. But also there may be some concerns with loose skin or flabby muscle that may result for quickly losing weight. Thankfully I did not suffer from any of these, but they were definitely concerns. Your body cannot get all the nutrients from stored fat, so if you do not get what it needs to operate, it will scavenge them from the muscles and other tissues as it needs them. Because of this you may lose a lot of muscle mass. I accepted the fact that I would probably lose some muscle mass, but the weight loss was worth it. Muscle can be gained and built again. Visually, I did not see any difference or feel any decrease in strength, but numerous studies say that most people do lose at least some percentage. How your skin looks after quickly losing weight depends on your age and genetics. Skin becomes much less elastic with age.
EXITING THE DIET
Once I stabilized on my goal weight, I began slowing adding healthy food to my diet to a normal calorie intake of 2000 per day of healthy food. I did this over the course of two weeks slowly adding things. I still keep track of my calories and weight to make sure I am still on track every day. This was a life style change of eating less and more healthy food.