I’ve made mention now and again that I’ve been trying to lose weight, inspired as I have been to do so by seeing pictures and videos of me at the Phoenix ComicCon looking rather a bit more pear-shaped than I would like. Folks have been asking me how that’s been coming along. So here’s an update, and those of you who aren’t interested in weight loss neepery should probably just skip along.
The short version of it is that in fact I’ve pretty much hit my goal: At the end of May I was about 185 pounds, and I hoped to lose 20 pounds or so. Last week, I hit 165, and at my weigh-in this morning I was 164.4. The chart above shows my general progress from the end of May through today. I plan to try to lose maybe a couple more pounds through December and then from there to generally maintain in the 160 to 165 area of things, which is a weight at which I am comfortable with how I both look and feel.
How did I lose the weight?
1. I ate less and exercised more. Which I understand people hate to hear, because it’s the boring way of losing weight; people want to hear about how you lose weight only by eating fried pineapple, or by some manner of “power cleanse” or whatever. But you know what, if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. It’s not romantic but it works.
For eating less, as I’ve noted before, I downloaded the Livestrong calorie counter app onto my iPod Touch, put in my then-current vitals, my weight loss goals (approximately a pound a week), and then tried to keep to the number of calories it told me to each day. That number was between 1,750 and 1,650 calories, depending on my then-current weight, which was not an amount that made me feel like I was starving.
For exercising more, I bought a young dog whose idea of fun is to run around the yard very fast, chasing me, three or so times a day. It works.
2. I did it slowly. You know how long it takes to lose 20 pounds if you’re aiming for losing a pound a week? If you say, “oh, probably 20 weeks, give or take,” then you’d be largely correct. My own time frame was closer to 24 weeks, but the basic concept is the same. Taking six months to lose 20 pounds is a congenial length of time — it keeps your body from freaking out about shedding pounds while at the same time allowing one not to feel one is suffering unduly to lose weight. Not being in a rush also gives you more margin for error and slippage as well; for example, when you’re obliged to eat several thousand more calories than you would usually do because it’s Thanksgiving. Which is the third point:
3. I didn’t freak out when I slipped because I knew it was a long term project. Which meant that on the occasional days I ate more calories than I was supposed to, I didn’t get OCD about it. I just kept to the schedule after that. Alternately, while I did make a general effort to eat better, I didn’t feel guilty about ice cream or other empty calories when I had them. I just tried to keep the portions from being stupidly gargantuan, and compensated later with better, healthier foods. Over time everything balanced and I lost weight on a fairly steady basis, as the chart suggests.
And that’s pretty much how I did it: Ate less, exercised more, did it over time, didn’t stress my brain or my body over it. It’s worked so far for me.