Wednesday, May 3, 2017

5 pound fat loss - how I did it in 4 weeks

Yep. It's official. I have lost 5lbs of FAT!!

I can't even tell you how proud and excited I am. If you only knew how long I have wanted to get the fat loss ball rolling.....well, maybe you already do know. I certainly have talked about it for a while. But I FINALLY decided to get serious and commit to it.

Yesterday I wore a pair of jeans that I haven't worn in probably 5 years. And that's only after 5lbs of fat loss! I'm sorry, I don't mean to say "only". It's a big deal. Especially coming from someone who was already on the smaller side to begin with. It took me 4 weeks to do it.

I remember thinking in the beginning that I would be happy with even 1/2 a pound loss per week. And I was ecstatic to see the numbers drop steadily each week. The second week I lost 2lbs! I don't know what I did differently to make that happen. But each week (with that one week being an exception), I have lost 1 pound. I am beyond thrilled.


So, people have been asking me how I finally did it. Well, one huge first step was, like I said before, finally deciding I was ready to commit to doing it. I knew it would take me out of my comfort zone, and before, I just wasn't ready to be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable (for me) being - not getting to drink wine daily, not getting to eat desserts daily, not getting to eat pizza, lavosh, French fries, etc at will. It meant that I would have to carefully watch what I was eating and how much.

This is not easy.

Fat loss never is.

So how did I end up feeling ready and finally deciding to commit? I had a metabolism test.

But that doesn't mean I hadn't tried to change other things first. I am no stranger to the gym and I workout 5 times a week. The decision to get tested came after two months of grueling circuit work that was designed to get your metabolism kicking and help the fat come off.

It didn't.


So I went to get tested. And as I assumed, my metabolism is great. Always has been.

So what was the deal? How did that change anything?

Well, based on the read outs from my test, I was able to see how many calories my body burns every day and know exactly what I needed to stay under in order for fat loss to occur. To put it simply, I had just been eating way too much.

Online calculators and tools where you enter in your data (age, weight, sex, activity level) are great to get an idea, but it's just an estimate, and as I've found out, usually wrong. Every single *free* calculator I tried out was telling me I could easily eat way more calories and still lose weight. It was very eye opening to find out that wasn't the case.

So, the woman who tested me also told me how many of each macro nutrient to eat as well. So instead of (for example) eating all of my allowed calories in bread and peanut butter (I know, bad example), I have to make sure I'm getting a certain amount of those allowed calories from Fats, a certain amount from Carbs, and a certain amount from Proteins.


The second thing that has helped, besides finally having a correct number to go by, is keeping track of my food. And I don't mean just writing down what I eat. I mean, going a step beyond that. I have a log book that I write down not only the type of food I eat, but how many calories, fat grams, carbs, proteins, etc. are in the food, how much I ate, and then I calculate what I have left for the rest of the day. So at each meal, I am aware of what I have left in the daily allowance, so there is absolutely NO GUESSING. I believe that has been KEY in my success.

Yes it's a pain at first.
Yes it's a bit time consuming at first.

But you get into a groove and it gets easier and easier. Because you find that you are eating a lot of the same foods. You can look back to past days to get the info instead of reading labels and calculating. Sure there is a lot of that in the very beginning, but I don't vary a whole lot. I usually have the same thing for breakfast, my smoothies are always the same, I cycle through maybe 4-5 different things for lunch and I eat a lot of the same veggies (no more buying a ton of stuff that spoils in the fridge because I don't eat it). You have to buy the stuff you like so that you know you will eat it. The only thing that changes more often is dinner, since that is the meal I will eat with the rest of my family, and I don't want them to get bored.

Here's an example of how I break things down for a meal:

Egg - 1 whole.... 70 cal, 5 fat, 0 carb, 6 protein
Egg whites - 3.... 51 cal, 0 fat, 0 carb, 10.8 protein
Ezekiel Sprouted Grain toast - 1 slice.... 80 cal, .5 fat, 15 carb, 4 protein
Natural (no sugar or oil added) Peanut Butter - 1 tsp... 32 cal, 2.6 fat, 1.2 carb, 1.3 protein
Spinach - 1/3 bag.... 10 cal, 0 fat, 1.5 carb, 1 protein

Totals: 243 cal, 8.1 fat, 17.7 carb, 23.1 protein

Allowed budget for the day: 1500 cal, 50g fat, 100g carb, 112g protein

Left for the day:  1257 cal, 41.9 fat, 82.3 carb, 88.9 protein

It is true, there is a certain amount of willpower to be used. HOWEVER, if I am really craving something, say I want a glass of wine, I will make sure I allow room for it in my daily calories and carbs. A 4oz pour is only 100 calories and about 3 carbs so it's not going to set me back all that much. I might skip a piece of toast for breakfast that day and just have spinach with my eggs, for instance. Or if I want a piece of cake (and try to go for the healthier dessert options if you need a splurge), and I know the cake is 300 calories and 25 carbs, I have to make sure I have room for it in my budget.

It's as simple as that.

And one thing about splurging, just make sure you aren't doing it every day. Obviously the quality of the food you are eating has it's place. Which is why we can't say a calorie is a calories. You can't eat 1500 calories worth of cake every day and expect to see a positive change. 

I have even had a couple of "cheats". One of them being 2 days after starting, because there was a dinner party I had been planning on going to for over a month and I wasn't going to skip it. I also had Easter in there, where I didn't eat what I normally would. Although to make up for it, I skipped the wine that I would normally have during a holiday with family. And neither of those things set me back at all.

In fact, I can honestly say that there were a few other days that I was less than perfect. I went over budget a few hundred calories or ate something I hadn't planned on. Or just felt extra hungry one day. It hasn't impacted my efforts at all so far. Because overall, I am eating WAY BETTER than I was before. I am mindful of the amount of food I intake. And it has worked.


The third and last thing that I can attribute to my success is I have added an hour long brisk walk to my daily routine. I usually walk 15 minutes prior to my strength training routine (which is anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes)and then I finish with a 45 minute walk. I walk at least 6 days per week and leave 1 day a week as a total rest day.

Also, the strength workouts are less grueling. They are shorter and not so intense and taxing on the body. Because before, I thought killing myself in the gym was better, when really all it was doing was putting more stress on my body and leaving me tired and hungry all the time. While the new routine I have is still challenging and working my muscles hard (in a good way), I don't dread doing them. They are enjoyable. And the walk is also a feel good form of exercise that is very good on the body and the mind.


This has been the key to my success. I have wanted to lose the extra little bit of fat that I've gained for  5 years. And I've finally done it. YOU CAN TOO!

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