The First Step

So how do you even start when you decide “Hey, I need to lose [10, 50, 200] pounds?”. It will depend on the individual, some may have external stress factors that are causing them to act a certain way, and I am no psychologist! For the majority though, there are a few things you can do to get started right away. 

Firstly, I recommend reading the stories of those who have succeeded in the past. In the Loseit Subreddit there are [SV] or Scale Victories and [NSV] or Non-Scale Victories where winners like yourself will talk about weight loss progress or other things they’ve noticed since losing weight. An NSV might be ‘Needed to buy a new belt!’. I could feel the success of these individuals and it drove me to do the same.

In fact, I had found a guy who was the EXACT SAME WEIGHT as me and he had just written a success story for his first 100 pounds. It was world shattering for me, when I thought I had to perform some magical ritual to lose any weight when I was 385 pounds, but here was a guy doing easy things like ‘not drinking pop/soda, taking coffee black, going on 15 minute walks’. WHAT!? How could it be so easy!? I could have done that ages ago!

This was exactly how I started, I severely limited my intake of drinkable calories (you might not be able to take your coffee black, but try different combinations of less sugar and low fat milk to see what you can stand). It’s really easy to see a lot of progress quickly at that weight, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see huge changes right away if you only need to lose 10 or 15 pounds, but cutting out things you know can’t be helping you is a start. 

Read through the stories of others, and see if you can find some inspirational parallels. 

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Saturday Links Part #1: Starting Your Health Journey

I’ve decided since Saturdays are more likely to be lazy, but I still want to make it useful, I’ll provide some of the links I’ve found over the years.

Loseit Subreddit

For those who may not know, Reddit is a set of communities which allows people to post links or start discussions on those topics. The ‘Lose It’ subreddit is all about weight loss and is what led me to the next link and the biggest aid to my journey.

My Fitness Pal

Calorie and cardio tracking. This is the magical tool that helped me the most in the first year. By now I can keep track of things myself, but it helped me realize how a muffin and latte can be like 700 calories, and horribly unfulfilling (even if delicious).

Simply Taralynn (Formerly Undressed Skeleton)

This site provides a lot of useful recipes, I’ve tried many myself. They provide you with calorie counts and most tend to be quite low.

This is a great start for anyone who doesn’t quite know where to go yet, these 3 things alone were a huge part of my success. Though I tend to freestyle recipes more often than not!

I’ll likely have a full post soon on the first two links and how I used them.

 

 

Little cheats I learned along the way

At times it gets tough to stick to a healthier way of eating, so I found some strategies that worked for me over the years to convince myself to stay on track. There is no science here, mathematicians may cry, but heck, it worked for me.

  • If you skip eating a 200 calorie chocolate bar, and you burn 200 calories on the treadmill, that’s 400 calories burned than if you had eaten the chocolate bar which would have brought you to 0. 
  • A more obvious one, simply don’t make it available to yourself. Go shopping full and with a list, if it isn’t in arm’s reach, you’re unlikely to crave it or ‘cheat’. 
  • That said, go ahead and cheat once in a while. If you prevent yourself from eating your favorite foods that’s not long term sustainable. The plans that work best are ones you can do for the rest of your life. 
  • Don’t completely remove anything from your diet either, unless you have a strong health concern or don’t trust yourself. If you used to drink a can of pop a day, it’s okay to still have one once in a while, to prevent yourself from saying ‘screw it, I’m not following anything that prevents me from having pop’ and then spiraling back into a pop per day. 
  • Use competition wherever you can, if your a competitive person, and you think you’re beating someone or something by going to the gym or eating healthier. Perhaps you have a friend or co-worker with a nasty habit they want to kick, well help them do so by challenging them to stop, while you do something healthy in return, whoever stops first, loses, except you should absolutely keep going once you’ve won!

These come to mind on occasion, I will probably remember more and create some future posts from it in the future. 

The secret to not ruining your progress while traveling

As I walk down the streets of old Prague, the smell of Belgian chocolate and goulash fills my nostrils and warms my soul. I stop to think, “Man, I’ve been going to the gym for three months now, if I indulge myself, won’t I be back peddling?”.

Thankfully, what I’ve learned from my previous long distance ventures, is that when I walk everywhere and take transit only when I’m really tired or the destination is longer than an hour away, I tend to lose weight at the end, regardless of how much I ate. In the two weeks I spent between Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and Vienna, I not only managed to not gain weight, but lost a couple of pounds even. I overindulged at times and even had desert after a large meal, but it’s a vacation, enjoy it!

Alternatively, if you feel walking everywhere will cut down on the length of your trip, try to find a 20 or 25 minute ‘travel workout’ you can do at the end of each day. YouTube will give you lots of hits, but generally as long as you do something to keep active each day, it will cut back on any ‘lost progress’.

But really, it’s a vacation, don’t stress about these things, enjoy everything you can, if you are like me and are recovering from many years of being overweight, a few weeks is a drop in the bucket!

 

 

A wee introduction

Who am I? That question is a little too deep for this kind of introduction. I am here to detail my journey and the things I’ve learned along the way. I started off at 385 pounds (175 kg) and I’m now 255 pounds (116 kg).

Yes, I started this blog with only 70 pounds left to go, perhaps you are disappointed, I am quite happy though! I am here to document happenings because of all of this, as well as to create a retrospect for myself on what worked and what failed along the way.

What kind of things will I be talking about? Food and exercise are obvious, but the more subtle changes in confidence I’ll be talking about here too. I have gained somewhat of an obsession with self improvement, so it’s likely those things will make it too. Travel too, as it happens. I just returned from a two week European tour, so I’m sure that will have a nice detailed post too.

Okay a little about myself now, born in Romania, but I’ve been in Canada since 1995. I love to travel and have a passion for Information Security. I love to read both fiction (Fantasy and Sci-Fi) and non-fiction (Self-improvement and Information Security). I am ambitious and motivated (big words, huh?), I love seeing something I start progress, evolve, and complete.

I am here primarily for myself, so at worst this will still be a journal!