How I lost 30lbs and kept it off
Over the last year and a half I have focused on improving my health. I can’t say I was significantly over weight, but each year it was a little too easy to add a pound or two. Over the last 10 years my weight has bounce around, anywhere from 185 to 210, at 5’ 9”.
Maybe it has something to do with turning 40, who knows, I could have bought a sports car, but I decided to do something about my overall health instead. I had taken steps in the past to work out, and eat better, but for the first time I have been able to keep my weight under control, and I believe I am now in the best shape since I was in high school.
These are the practices that have worked for me. But you should do your own research and see what works for you. I’d love to hear if you have additional suggestions.
##Switch to a standing desk## As I posted last year, I just got fed up sitting all day. When working an office job it is way too easy to be inactive for the majority of the day. It may not seem like much but switching my work station to a standing position really helped kick start my weight loss behavior.
If you work at a large company chances are there are ways to get ergonomic furniture that will enable you to switch to a standing position. And if you can’t get a specialized desk, you should try raising your desk with some bricks. The best part about the adjustable desks is that you can ease your way into standing all day. I don’t ever switch to sitting mode but it does take a few weeks to get used to standing all day.
##Diet## The word diet has such a negative connotation. But how I look at it, sure you can work out like crazy and justify eating anything you want. Or you can look at what you eat and decide if it is part of the problem or part of the solution.
My personal road to changing my diet started by reading a few books. I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma and it really had an impact on how I think about food, and how crazy some of the things we call food are really manufactured food-like substances. After my wife read the book, the next thing I knew we were receiving a quarter of a grass fed cow, from a local farmer. Then a local pig, chickens and a lamb, yeah my wife went a little overboard. But we knew what we were eating.
Next I started reading 4-hour body. I had heard good things about the book, and was impressed with Tim Ferris’ marketing style. Tim’s book covers several topics, but there are three major things that really sunk in with me, 1) keeping your blood sugar consistent, 2) get at least 30 grams of protein first thing in the morning and 3) measure your progress.
##Removing Sugar## Cutting out sugar was one of the more difficult aspects of my diet change. And I don’t just mean standard sugar that you would think of in various forms, high fructose corn syrup or cane sugar. But this also includes foods that quickly are converted into sugar such has bread and other complex carbohydrates.
I won’t lie, this was not easy at first. I gradually worked into reducing sugar in my diet. I started minimizing the sugar I added to things like coffee, until over time I was drinking it black. Also during the first four months or so, I allowed myself to have a cheat day, I would eat what ever I wanted one day per week. The cheat day really helped to know that I had an outlet. Tim talks a good bit about the benefit of a cheat day. I no longer find the need to have a cheat day, but this really helped as I was transitioning into this new diet.
##Morning Protein## Until I read the Four Hour Body, I normally would have a bowl of oatmeal each morning before work. There are two problems with this, not enough protein and the grains quickly convert into sugars. Since, I have followed Tim’s advice and start each day with a breakfast consisting of four eggs from pastured chickens, two small turkey sausages and as much spinach as I can fit within a pan. I add a little bit of goat cheese and a couple of teaspoons of habanero salsa and I am set.
##Measuring Progress## Tim Ferris is pretty crazy when it comes to measuring everything, weight, blood sugar fluctuations, and vitamin levels. I did not go that far, but I measured my body dimensions each month, and kept track of my weight each day. Measuring and weighing is a great way to stay motivated. And weighing in every morning did something to keep me honest. The daily weigh in is a powerful motivator, I could quickly see progress and each morning it gave me a bit of reward for my new eating habits.
##Exercise## After I had lost about 25 pounds by changing my diet, I started to add at bit of running into my weekly routine. I had been a runner in high school. OK, I had been a sprinter in high school, but distance running was not my thing in any way.
I became inspired to give running another try after reading Born to Run and talking to my cousin who had just finished an ultra-marathon. It took me several months to build up my endurance but now I am running 20-30 miles per week at a decent pace. I really enjoy running, it has been a great way to get out and clear my head.
##Wrap up## At this point I believe I’m likely in the best shape of my life since leaving high school over twenty years ago. I feel great, I have more energy and I sleep great each night. And I was able to lose enough weight to require a new wardrobe.
I hope my story will help inspire others. We don’t need to be a nation that is overweight. We can change, we just need a little bit of information and the motivation to take to first steps to build healthier habits.