Water, Water Everywhere, So Remember to Have a Drink!

It’s easy to forget about drinking enough water when you spend your time counting calories or planning meals. Do yourself a favor and put yourself in a situation where a lot of water is in arm’s reach at all times!

I personally use a 1.5 liter container and keep it next to my keyboard when I’m on the computer, and I always have it with me at the gym. It gets a lot of stares and funny comments, but that makes it all the better. 

Depending on how much time you spent outside or doing exercise, you may need more or less water than another person. As a general rule of thumb, yellow urine often means you aren’t drinking enough. Try to see what works for you!  

 

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Weigh-in #1: 250 lbs. 26.4 Body Fat %

I figured this would be a great way to keep progress too. My weight was hovering between 250 and 258 for the last few weeks, usually closer to 258 lbs. On my last weigh-in I hit 250 lbs on the head. 

I noticed in the past sometimes i was stuck hovering around the low 10s of something before I finally broke into the next 10, usually when I push through it’s easier to lose weight for the next little while. 

I hope for Friday, August 29th I will have broken into the lower half of 200s with a 24X reading!

A tablespoon too many

If you are just starting off, I really recommend picking up a basic food scale. You can add hundreds of calories to a meal by simply estimating sometimes. For instance, if you scoop out a ‘tablespoon’ of Nutella or Peanut Butter with a regular large spoon, you’re more likely to get double the amount, at both being about 100 calories per tablespoon, you’re looking at an extra 100 or more! Add to that the fact some sliced breads tell you ‘for 40 grams’ but then you weigh them, and it ends up being 60 or 70 grams per slice, it becomes 50% or more calories for that slice of bread than the ‘serving suggestion’. 

You won’t need to weigh everything all the time, but start with your most commonly eaten foods to give yourself an idea. After you do it for a few weeks, you’ll start to have an idea for what a serving looks like. From there, you’ll be able to further maximize your healthy eating!

Another meal that has much smaller serving sizes than you may suspect is cereal, a ‘bowl’ may end up being 2 or 3 servings if you fill it up. If you’re not sure, measure!

The power of persistence

You step on the scale Monday morning, you went up a half pound, all of a sudden lots of things run through your mind; “Am I doing something wrong?”, “What’s going on?”. 

It takes will power to push through those weeks, I found over time that not all weeks are made equally. Some times I’d gain a half pound, other weeks lose four pounds, when doing the same general diet. This is where persistence comes in. Your short term goals should not determine your commitment. 

Know beyond any reasonable doubt that what you are doing is correct and keep doing it. Take monthly photos to prove to yourself that the scale is not the most important thing. This is especially true if you are doing any muscle building sort of workouts. I haven’t lost weight in the last 3 or 4 months, but there have been very drastic differences to my face. 

New Behaviours

As time goes on and you have stabilized in the department of eating healthier and working out in some way or another, it is sometimes important to reflect on the behaviors of the previous and unhealthier you. 

For example, if you spent a lot of time playing video games or watching Netflix, these are certainly contributors to a less than optimal life style. You shouldn’t give up what you enjoy, but reflect on how much time you spend doing that activity and see if it may have been a cause to your unwanted lifestyle. 

Consider trying out something like Yoga, Swimming, a sport or martial art you may have always wanted to try. New activities will help redefine your identity, keep you on track, and they’re a great way to meet new like minded people! 

 

Aren’t you on a diet?

The title is a phrase I never liked to hear. As soon as you tell some people you’ve been eating better or you’ve been losing weight, they start to judge you as soon as they see you with a chocolate bar or doughnut. 

It can be a bit annoying to have someone give unwarranted advice, especially when you’re doing something that works for you. And if it works for you, chances are it isn’t a plan that eliminates things like chocolate bars in the first place. 

It’s usually good to tell people about your plans as it helps you keep yourself accountable, but don’t let phrases like that bother you. I usually just tell the person saying it “I’m not on a diet, diets are stupid, I’m eating better and I can afford to eat unhealthy things once in a while too”. There is also a nice completely unscientific 80/20 rule of eating well 80% of the time, that’s sustainable enough! 

Sometimes an autopilot is bad

It’s great when you do something for long enough that your body starts to automatically perform in ways you are hoping. This happened to me after the first few months of using MyFitnessPal and it was great. 

Unfortunately the autopilot can change over time without you noticing, but it continues to run automatically. Without actually counting calories, I decided to look at tracking what I ate again since my progress was slowing down a bit. Surely enough, I was snacking a bit too much.

Snacking turned out to be the real killer for me when I got so fat initially, I never ate massive meals, I just kept eating throughout the day out of boredom. I seem to have regained the habit a bit lately, though I have not put on weight, it has kind of made things level out.

Self-awareness is a massive part of progress, so when things aren’t going well, evaluate yourself and see what you can change! 

Don’t start tomorrow

This is a bit more of an obvious tip, I remember I started countless ‘diets’ before I found out the proper way to maintain my weight loss and fitness. Often I would go out on a Sunday night, have a huge meal, with a dessert, and everything because “I’m going to start tomorrow, so I’ll indulge now!”. No, that’s terrible logic! 

I remember when I finally committed properly and maintained my progress, It was April 28th, 2012, I didn’t ‘wait until May’, I started with the very next meal. 

The reason the logic is terrible, is because you should still pig out, 100% ‘eating healthy’ is not manageable. If you can eat properly ‘most of the time’, then you’re doing well. ‘Most of the time’ is manageable forever, ‘all of the time’ is manageable for like a week before you’re sick of salads. 

Salads are gross

I had started some diets in the past and failed them pretty fast when I would eat so much salad, that I eventually got completely sick of seeing a salad. These days I’ll accept it as a side on occasion, but never too much at once. 

That’s not to say I don’t love my greens, spinach, kale, arugula, green peppers, are a few I like to use quite often. There is nothing wrong with simply chopping up some veggies and putting them on the your plate. 

It is pretty easy to buy a box of salad and some grilled chicken and throw together a salad with a few extra things, perhaps you LOVE salads, I certainly understand the convenience.

But no, me and salad broke up and we are never getting back together… but I will totally just have the contents of a salad in wrap form.. whoops. 

The other half: MFP

The other half of the big first step is MyFitnessPal or MFP. It’s a site to keep track of your calories and it includes user generated content. If you find an obscure type of sausage at your local deli, go ahead and add it to the site. If you know the label of something but don’t quite feel like filling everything in, you can always ‘quick add calories’ to just put in a number to keep track.

Don’t fall into the trap of just ‘quick add calories’ though, it may be you’re getting too much salt, fat, or carbohydrates, so try to honestly complete your menu for each day.

The site was how I realized how easy it is to add calories to a meal or snack even accidentally. Things like cream, sugar, and oil are used in every day foods and are usually used in such a way that it’s easy to slip in a little ‘excess’.

If you consider the constant tracking a hassle or it’s hard to motivate yourself to do it, I would recommend at least forcing yourself to do it for a month or two, until you’ve essentially memorized the impact of all your most common foods. It’s not something I consider a long term solution, more like an eye opener! It was a huge one for me.