How I lost 10 pounds!


Earlier this year I set a goal to lose 19 pounds in 2013, which would put me at a weight of just under 120 pounds.  My lack of willpower (why must chocolate be so tasty?) finally caught up with me over the holidays last year, and I knew I had to make my weight a top priority or else I would lose control of it completely. 

I am pleased to report that as of last week I have lost 10 pounds.  I am now just over halfway to my goal!   And I thought I would share how I did it.  The journey started out sort of rough, but now things are going much better. 

The beginning...
I started out in January by following a Weight Watchers-like plan.  Between friends who are in the program and stuff I have found on the web, I was able to follow the Weight Watchers plan for free without having to buy a membership.  I've done it before to drop a couple pounds so I thought I would give it shot this time.  For exercise, I used my Wii Fit Plus nearly every day doing mainly the jogging, step aerobics, kick boxing, cycling, and hoola hoop activities.  I dropped 4 pounds FAST, but then I plateaued.  And on top of that, I was starving and exhausted (I have later learned that the starving and exhaustion was due to not getting enough calories, but more on that in a bit....). 

I wasn't happy, and knew something had to change or else I was going to give up.  Weight Watchers was not fitting into my life.  That's when I found "My Fitness Pal."

My Fitness Pal...
Late in January I signed up for a free account on myfitnesspal.com.  It is a program that allows you to track your calories consumed and calories burned through exercise.  In addition, they have a very active online community.  It was through this online community that I learned a few useful things. 

First of all, your body needs a certain number of calories just to function.  This is your BMR... which is basically the number of calories your body needs to function if you are in a coma.  Eating below this number will mess up your metabolism and make weight loss (after an initial drop) very difficult.  As weight watchers was having me eat less calories than my BMR, I now understood why I dropped the initial weight but had then stalled.  I also understand why I was so exhausted.  My body simply wasn't getting enough energy to fully function.

Secondly, there is another important number we need to know - TDEE.  TDEE is the number of calories your body actually uses in a day.  Factors such as weight, age, body fat percentage, and activity level go into determining your TDEE.  Eating more calories than your TDEE results in weight gain, eating less results in weight loss.  And eating less calories than your BMR causes your body to panic and stall any weight loss.  Pretty simple, eh?

Switching to this new way of thinking meant that I needed to up my calorie intake by 300-400 calories a day.  Everything I had been taught over the years told me that this is a bad idea, but the science behind it made sense so I decided I would try it out for a week or two.  To my amazement, I didn't gain any weight and soon I was actually losing again!  And best of all, I was no longer hungry! 

Not being hungry is a BIG plus for me.  I like food, and I don't like being restricted to what I can or can't eat.   I also like the fact that this approach has you losing weight at a safe and sustainable pace of around a pound a week, and that will decrease the closer I get to my goal weight. 

Another big plus is that I have been able to cut my exercising back to 3-4 times a week.  I now mix up what I do to keep things interesting (Wii Fit Plus, Leslie Sansone DVDs, treadmill, and elliptical). 

Why I am sharing....
I am sharing this info here - on a personal finance blog - because this weight loss journey has been completely FREE!  No need to join an expensive program.  No need to buy expensive food.  All it required was some basic knowledge and the ability to track my calories. 

If I can do it, so can you!  And did I mention, I did it for FREE?

How are your health and fitness goals coming along for 2013?  What approaches do you use to lose weight?



12 comments:

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Jeremy Norton said...

Congratulations for losing that much weight. I'll try to do follow how you did it especially the using of weight watcher.

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