Friday, January 29, 2016

Weight Loss

I think I've got this weight loss thing figured out.

In Montreal in 2011, I started writing a blog post called "Losing weight with common sense", because I was going to make all of these "sensible" changes to melt off the pounds, and hold myself accountable by blogging. Thankfully, I never hit the submit button, and those sensible changes - like eating an enormous plate of salmon and broccoli with a side of four beers and a half bag of chips for an evening snack - never paid off.

I've been overweight since my early teens. By World Health Organization standards, that means having a BMI of >25. In at least part of my high school years I was obese (>30 BMI - at 6'5" that's >114.7 kg or >253 lbs). I wasn't interested in sports, and I sure wasn't interested in moderation. I didn't particularly care, and I didn't have the understanding/knowledge to do anything differently.

In October 2014 I got a Fitbit One to use as a silent wake-up alarm, because Robyn couldn't stand my old alarm clock. Putting a step tracker in my pocket piqued some interest in weight management and I started occasionally tracking my weight for the heck of it. I clocked in at 113.4 kg; just a hair under "obese" on the BMI scale.

In November of that year, Robyn's dad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He was in his 50's, healthy and active. This was shocking. I started thinking - a lot - about the limited time we have on Planet Earth. I was 28; about half Paul's age.

By Spring of 2015 I had been fiddling with the Fitbit app, and mustering up inspiration to get serious about changing my habits, health and appearance. I had been reading posts in reddit's r/Fitness, r/loseit and r/fatlogic. r/fatlogic was actually the best inspiration - the subreddit showcases examples of anything that "deviates from the scientific facts of body weight management". It was a wake-up call to recognize some of those behaviours in myself (those small internal justifications I made before smashing a whole bag of Ruffles All-Dressed potato chips).

I learned that diet is the key to weight management, not exercise (although I do not dispute the value of exercise!). I learned about calories, got a food scale, and started counting.

I couldn't believe how effective it was. I plugged in a weight loss target into the MyFitnessPal app (0.5 kg/week) and it gave me a calorie allowance. By maintaining the discipline to weigh and count everything that went into my body (and estimating generously when nutritional info was unavailable), the weight disappeared at a perfectly consistent rate:

Weight loss target was 0.5 kg/week from April to December. Slowed down to 0.25 kg/week in December. Almost at my "maintenance weight" target of 85kg. 

RESULTS

Starting weight: 113.4 kg (250 lbs) - October 2014
Starting BMI: 29.6
Starting waist: 38-40"

Current weight: 85.7 kg (189 lbs) - Today
Current BMI: 22.4
Current waist: 34"

A couple tricks I used to stay motivated:

  • Daily weigh-ins, but ignore daily fluctuations. This built a rich data set and let me see that the day-to-day doesn't matter so much as the week-to-week and month-to-month. It's about lifestyle changes, not daily changes. 
  • Didn't give up up my love for snacks, just found different snacks. Tomato basil rice cakes smothered in hot sauce and beef jerky, mmm. 
  • Log absolutely everything. Estimate high if unsure. 
  • Try my best to avoid going over daily calorie limits. If I go over, it's not the end of the world. Just hit my limit the next day. 
  • Ditched the calorie counting features in Fitbit for MyFitnessPal - a much better app and food database. 
  • The key has really been education and understanding. I failed in 2011 because I thought motivation was enough to succeed. Success, at least for me, is dependent on knowledge, goal-setting, and data. 
  • Because I have the knowledge, I feel I can maintain these habits indefinitely. It's not a quick fix, it's a lifestyle change. 
Next steps - turn 30 in April with a healthy BMI for the first time in over half of my life, maintain current weight around the 85kg mark, turn remaining fat stores into muscle starting this spring when I can get out and start running again. That's a blog post for another day! 

Feels good, man. 

6 comments:

  1. Woah! I'm really loving the template/theme of this blog. It's simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's very difficult to get that "perfect balance" between superb usability and visual appeal. I must say you've done a awesome job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super quick for me on Chrome. Excellent Blog! t shirts for men

    ReplyDelete
  2. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it! facebook marketing agency singapore

    ReplyDelete
  3. Simply want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity for your post is simply excellent and i could suppose you're an expert on this subject. Well along with your permission let me to grab your feed to stay up to date with approaching post. Thanks 1,000,000 and please keep up the gratifying work. e commerce companies in singapore

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my web site so i came to “go back the choose”.I am attempting to find things to improve my site!I assume its adequate to use some of your concepts!!
    web designer

    ReplyDelete
  5. I’ll right away grasp your rss feed as I can not in finding your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks. Exide Battery Dealers in Chennai

    ReplyDelete