Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Weight Loss Experience

I don't have anything new to add to this particular topic (not that this is the first time), but I figured I'd add one more anecdote on the pile.

Around Christmastime last year, I weighed nearly 200 pounds. Now, I weigh 160. How did I do that? Short answer: Eat less, move more.

Easier said than done, of course. But there are some tricks I used to make it easier. I think one of the most important things I did is to work on reducing my appetite and learn to stop eating when satisfied instead of full.  This is based on the idea that how much you eat now affects how much you want to eat tomorrow. The more you eat now, the more it will take to fill you up later on and vice versa. I used to be able to eat an entire frozen pizza (over 1400 Calories!) in one sitting. Frozen pizzas are convenient because they're the same size each time, so it's easy to gauge how much you're eating compared to before. So, one of the first things I did was decide that I was only going to eat half of a pizza in one sitting. At first, that left me still wanting more. Eventually, it became difficult for me to eat even that much.

That ties into the other part, stopping when satisfied, instead of full. If you feel like "Well, I could eat more", stop, you're satisfied. You won't feel full, but that's ok. Eventually satisfied feels much more satisfying. And an instrumental part of that is to pause while eating. It takes some time for that feeling to sink in, so pause for a couple minutes and consider how you feel now. If you're still hungry, eat some more. If you're satisfied, stop.

And related to that, use smaller dishes, and keep the remaining food farther away from you. This is helpful for giving you that time to pause and think. I still have a hard time not finishing what's left on the plate.

While eating less was important, eating healthier also helped. Instead of frozen pizza, I had rice. Instead of processed macaroni and cheese, I had spaghetti. Instead of beef, I had beans. I still don't have any much in the way of fruits and vegetables as I should, but it's better than before. And this also had an pleasant side-effect of costing less too.

And then there's the moving part. Not too much to say about this except stick with it. I was stuck in a plateau between 170 and 172 pounds for most of the month of May. It took me a while to figure out why, since the effect was delayed about a week after the cause, but it turned out to be because I wasn't exercising. At the beginning of May, I got a cold, and stopped going to the gym while I had it. After that, I had a hard time going back for nearly a month. But about a week after I started exercising again, I started losing weight again.

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