On success at weight loss.

This post is a bit more stream of thought than I normally like to publish, however there didn’t seem to be a great organizational structure other than detailing the story of how I did what I did. With respect to that, I’ve left it as is because I think it reflects the trial-and-error, on-the-fly, nature of my experience.

Those of you that know me personally have likely noticed my 60 lb weight loss over the past year or so. I’ve also gotten a number of questions about my “secret sauce” when it came to weight loss. I started tracking my weight about 10 lbs down from my peak weight. I managed to change my BMI by 6.3 points.

BMI chart via Fitbit
Here’s the data showing the drop in my BMI.

I’m likely writing this as much for myself as I am for those people. The secret, I tell them, is exercise and diet heavily sprinkled with dedication.

My journey started with a second trip to the doctor after the first which had an impetus to change my lifestyle. What I had tried in the three months between visits was not working.

I wasn’t exactly unhealthy, but I was far heavier than I would have wanted at 29 years old. My diet wasn’t terrible either, but it did lack a significant amount of vegetables. And so the start of my change went something like this:

Creating a Plan of Action

My first shot at it failed, so in my second attempt I decided to focus on implementing routine slowly, here was my basic plan:

  1. Focus on a single goal with the most impact.
  2. Implement a new goal each time one has become routine.
  3. ????
  4. Profit (lose weight)

My first goal was to hit the AHA recommended activity time/step count. I used a Fitbit flex to track my steps. For 6 months I hit 10,000 steps every day.

While my first plan had been to change one thing at a time, my diet took a wild swing too. I was really afraid of eating nearly anything. As that evolved, the goal took shape: eat salad at least five times a week. Eat more chicken and salmon. Eat less fatty meat. As of this writing, I still maintain the above advice, with a bit of variety thrown in to keep it interesting. I even won the chili cook off at the NKADD with a veggie lentil chili.

As my step count hit the 10,000 stride, I started to change things a bit. I added running and dropped step counts in favor of time (20-30 minutes vigorous) when I was running. I downloaded Hal Higdon’s beginner half marathon training schedule and followed that. I missed only 5 days out of the schedule’s 15 weeks. By the end I adopted the overall pattern of the training schedule and follow it still.

After almost a year, and having turned 30, I feel better now than I did at 25. I could also probably outrun my 25-year-old self fairly easily. My diet is better and my last visit to the doctor in May showed I’d improved everything. I’ve held things at steady state for nearly 3 months, showing myself I can keep the weight off, and I’m getting ready to ramp up in the fall to try to get my weight down even further. It all started, though, with an unwavering commitment to hit my targets and meet a simple goal first, before doing anything else. That seemed hard then, but looking back now I wonder how I had never done that before.