I used to be pretty big. At one point, I tipped the scale at 212 lbs (96kg). I’m 5’6″ (167cm). That’s big for a small guy.
To be clear, I tipped 212 in 2013. By mid-2014, at my wedding, I was down to about 185. But I pretty much stopped there, and bounced between 185 and 200 for the next two years. By end of 2015, I was back to 200. That Winter I started doing some moderate activity, when I felt like it, but did not really do anything about my diet or my inactivity.
As I’ve said in my About Me section, in early Spring of 2016, I started to get serious about weight loss. Once I got serious it didn’t take long to start to see some rather significant improvements. I felt that I had been too big for too long, and wanted to feel healthy again. By “serious” I mean that I did the following three things.
- I got a FitBit. I can’t say enough positive things about FitBit, both the product and the company, for a typical person. In my opinion, everyone should have a FitBit. It’s an incredible reminder to be active, and really only encourages walking. Yeah, some of them can do lots of neat things that attempt to be proper fitness devices but really the segment of the market that they can help the most is people that were like me – wanting to do something, just not exactly sure what. The FitBit tracks activity. I’m a data junkie, big time, so this appealed to me greatly. Seeing how many steps I took in a day, and then tracking with graphs and heart rate and sleep metrics. Amazing, coming from nothing at all. Got me moving, which eventually got me moving faster. After a few weeks of wearing it I was trying to run again. Eventually I got up to 5k, then 10. And before I knew it I was running regularly. Results. But the great thing is that this segment of the market is now so competitive that it doesn’t even ahve to be a FitBit device. Jawbone, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, Apple, Garmin, among probably dozens of others are capable of doing this exact thing, and for cheap too.
- I tracked my calories meticulously. MyFitnessPal and I have a love hate relationship. Yes, it is a giant pain in the ass to track calories. Yes, it absolutely does work. Yes, counting calories properly and honestly will get you results, guaranteed. The “science” basically boils down to this: eat less than you burn, and you will lose weight. You can also get into sites like IIFYM.com which help to track macronutrient requirements based on your fitness goals, though I didn’t go there. From what I’ve read, those that use IIFYM love it, and it does work too. MFP has great integration with FitBit, and that helped a ton. Again, data junkie. For me, I set a daily calorie goal that was aggressive – 1200 cals. Then, when I worked out, I added calories burned to that total, which in theory provides enough calorie intake to recover from workouts while still maintaining a calorie deficit every day. This works. I’m proof.
- I set attainable goals, and then when I hit them, I set new ones. And that’s really as simple as it sounds. Not much to say on that one!
I can guarantee that anyone wanting to drop pounds that does these three things will get results. It doesn’t have to be a FitBit, and there are lots of apps that do what MFP does. #1 is about awareness, and #2 is about diligence, and both are about consistency.
That’s one thing I learned from losing 55 lbs, going from 212 to 152 pounds last season. Consistency is more important than random bursts, even if those bursts are amazing. That is equally true for fitness as it is for weight loss. It’s better to do an average workout every day than it is to do a great workout twice a week and sit on the couch the rest of the time, or half-ass it for four days inbetween.
I got my life back. And I’m here, swimming biking running with a smile on. Setting goals. Hitting them. Setting new ones.
Speaking of goals, I still aim to drop a few more pounds this year. I’ve now included body fat percentage as a metric I’m tracking, and have an awesome Excel sheet that I’ve built that plots my weight and BF% on a chart with some projected weights based on moving averages, as well as some target weights based on moving averages of BF% changes. Basically, it measures my weight loss so I have a pretty accurate idea of when I’m going to hit my weight goals. And, since I can, my weight goals are now actually based entirely on body fat percentage. I’ve selected a BF% that I think will be optimal, and I’ve got a plan to get there.
And I will, because my plan works.
And not that it’s all that important, but I want to add that as much as I love and support FitBit, I have moved on to a more capable fitness tracking device. I now use a Garmin Fenix 3HR on the daily. Also amazing. But that’s for another day.
Cheers! (Yes, you can drink beer and still lose weight, if you follow these three steps!)