Anyone looking for a fitness challenge only has to glance at my before and after photo to get it. The process of losing over 75 pounds takes time and getting started was just part of the story.
The first part of my weight loss story starts with the true decision that I was ready to make a change.
That does not mean that the rest was easy.
I knew I would need some type of instigator, motivation, and feedback to kick my butt out of bed every morning. The solution appeared in my life at just the right time.
The weight loss journey had started and I was moving. Sort of.
The treadmill was my go-to workout and I religiously walked on it three times a week. There wasn’t a lot of speed yet, but I was attempting to kick it up a notch.
This is when I was first introduced to the fitbit.
It was the first week of August, a few months into my new weight loss goals. My better half brought home a new gadget and I was immediately addicted. After seeing the stats Ray was getting I had one of my own in my hand within 2 weeks.
Tracking needs to be easy. Anyone who has tried to lose weight know that any moving around you do is offset by the food you take in is vital to the painful reality that you have to burn 3000 more calories than you take in to lose 1 pound.
Not fair, but true.
When I got my fitbit I immediately started using their website to keep up on what my activity level was. At this point I was still maintaining my weight, not losing and not wanting to do everything at once.
Could I be moving more? Yes.
The fitbit let me know how I was doing with those goals. It doesn’t hurt that the constant (friendly) competition between Ray and I on who got the most step that day. We are total geeks, I am aware.
It took another couple weeks for the reality to set in that if even if I was moving, if wanted to my weight to drop, I had to track food and figure out where I was at.
The whole concept of tracking everything I eat is just annoying.
Now I’ve been methodical and hands on in the past with food calorie books and protein-to-carb ratio tracking. I just wanted to get started.
Picking up a box of Kelloggs Special K Red Berries for my cereal one morning reminded me of the “Special K Diet” commercials. I know, fairly lame, but it was a start. I stared at the side of the box and decided to just go for it. They do have a few more options now.
I was not in a place to think too much about my food. I had to find something to keep it beyond simple. I followed the new, updated, and Special K meal plan to get going. I do love how easy it is to get started with something simple. I truly did not want to have to think.
This took me through my first month of weight loss! All the moving, tracking food and keeping it simple paid off.
Now I had the energy and motivation to kick it up a notch.
Track it ALL
You gotta know where you are to know where you are going. Seriously.
The fitbit online community and food tracking tool (which is FREE to anyone whether you own a fitbit device or not) was the easiest way for me to keep on top of what I was eating. Like any new habit, the first few weeks were a huge pain. I just wanted to be able to put my food on a plate and eat it like a normal human being.
Instead my family and I adjusted while I weighed and measured everything, took notes, figured out ratios and remembered all the things I’ve learned has worked for me in the past. Thank goodness for online tools and an iPhone app that let me take care of this lifestyle change wherever I am now.
When I got serious back in August 2011 I had one daily goal: Burn twice as many calories as what I take in.
The simple math? Take in 1200 a day, burn 2400 through normal activities and exercise. That added up to 7000 calories down a week. Potentially a healthy 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week.
Once I started losing and people started noticing, I had some really interesting conversations.
Q: “Only 1200 calories a day?? That can’t be healthy!”
A: It’s working for me now and I am track everything to make sure I’m getting enough carbohydrate and protein to keep going.
Q: “Well too bad you can’t enjoy real food anymore!”
A: Actually I eat better than I ever did with my plate overflowing with vegetables, a small carbohydrate portion and lean protein. Real food is really all I do eat these days.
Q: “I had a [friend/sister/mother] that lost a ton of weight, but they did [insert diet plan here] and didn’t have to work out!”
A: That’s great! I know I can’t personally cut my calories enough to do it without exercising.
Not everyone was positive, not everyone had great things to say about what I was doing for myself. The trick was to stay confident knowing that I was on a path that seemed to working quite well for me.
Here’s a little proof of how the path went. This is an annual graph of my weight loss tracking from my own fitbit.com account where I have some of my fitness information available for public viewing.
Of course this is a whole year in review, so you can’t see the plateau-to-gain sections very well. Believe me, they are in there. It does give you an idea of how long it has taken to lose this amount of weight and what my progress was like. The red line at the bottom is my goal weight… and yes, it has moved down a couple times.
Before you jump on me for not weighing enough, my real goal is tied to my body fat percentage, not what the scale says in pounds. I just happen to have a scale that is kind enough to provide that information. And on most days I try not to throw it through the bathroom window.
The Tanita InnerScan scale is pretty cool and we’ve had this one for years. I love their new design and the multiple user feature? Don’t buy one without it.
Where from here?
You may be wondering how I can recall all the details about when and how I was doing something on my way to losing 75 pounds. In addition to using fitbit for the lat 10 months, I have a personal notebook that I’ve kept for years. Even when I have not been focusing on fitness or my health, I have written down my weight and/or body fat percentage at least once a month. Occasionally I jotted down what I’ve been doing with food and movement.
From these notes I can pretty much recount the trials and tribulations of my battle to get back on track. In case you are wondering, the struggle to stay on track still happens. Weekly — if not daily — the little voice is trying its best to convince me to hit the snooze button, have those cookies, accept another cocktail. Just because I’m where I am today, those internal monologues don’t switch off.
I’ve had so much positive response and a million questions on the details of how I got here. I apologize for keeping you waiting but next week I will be wrapping up with a ton more details on my weight loss journey. Check back next Friday for the continuing saga!
What have you done to improve your health recently? I’ll be watching for your story in the comments.
Go get your fit on!
Just getting started – continue reading the details:
- Weight Loss Story: How I Lost Weight 75 Pounds – Part 1
- Weight Loss Story: How I Lost Weight 75 Pounds – Part 2
- Weight Loss Story: How I Lost Weight 75 Pounds – Part 3
- Weight Loss Story: How I Lost Weight 75 Pounds – Part 4
- Weight Loss Story: How I Lost Weight 75 Pounds – Part 5