I could make this short and sweet: the secret to losing weight is to move more and eat less. Funny thing is, it really is that easy. I know, because that’s what I’m doing.
Not knocking whatever diet may have worked for you. You can do a paleo diet, no-carbs, all-carbs, go vegan, Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, whatever. I’m just saying that it doesn’t have to be that hard.
The morning of Jan. 19, my wife, Crystal, and I had a 200-calorie fruit smoothie for breakfast. That was the baby step toward where we are today: she’s 35 pounds lighter, and I’m down 65 pounds.
I tipped the scales that morning at 270.4 pounds. This morning, I was at 205.2. That was before our 200-calorie fruit smoothie breakfast. Lunch, as it has been for the past four-plus months, was a sandwich and low-calorie chips, at around 550 calories. Dinner tonight was two hamburgers hot off the grill, no bread, just the burgers, with some chips, at around 550 calories.
The fruit smoothies usually include orange juice, strawberries, bananas and protein powder. The sandwiches always have a full tomato, sliced. Plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep hydrated. Low-calorie snacks in 100-calorie increments when necessary.
We have cheat days, but within reason. Monday, I had two slices of pizza from one of our favorite Italian places, roughly 600 calories. (I used to be able to eat an entire pizza in a sitting, roughly 2,000.)
While at ballgames over the weekend, we shared chicken tenders and fries baskets and waffle cones for dessert on back-to-back nights. I didn’t even try to track those calories, but the important part of that was that we shared. As in, we used to each get our own chicken tenders and fries basket and our own waffle cone. Eating bad, but eating half, is a fair compromise.
Moderation is the key with the eating part. Finding at least an hour a day for vigorous exercise is key to the moving more part. Every day means no exceptions. It means finding motivation when you don’t feel like it, and you often don’t feel like it, at least until you start doing it.
To make it easier, in addition to gym memberships, we also went out and bought a used elliptical and treadmill to go along with the exercise bike and punching bag that I’d been using in my home gym for years. That way there are no excuses if work keeps us at the desk late and we can’t get to the gym.
At least an hour a day of moving, and 2,000 calories of food and beverage intake. That’s it. Simple. And the weight has melted off me.
Strange thing is that I don’t notice it looking in a mirror, because I look in the same mirror practically every morning brushing my teeth. The reflection looking back at me looks like the same guy there, but it’s in photos that Crystal takes of us and posts to Facebook and Instagram that I really notice it.
Damn, that’s me? Seriously?
I also notice it in my clothes. I was wearing 40-inch waist dress pants and XXL gym shorts on Jan. 19. Now my dress pants are 32s, and I need a belt, and my gym shorts are … smalls. Smalls! Yes, holy crap, I agree.
I still have another 10 pounds to lose to hit my target weight, which has changed over time. I remember at 270 setting my target weight at 225, and thinking that was preposterous. I hit 225 in April, and decided then to get down to 210.
Now at 205, I’m gaming for 195, and have set some other goals as well. About a month ago, I decided while at the gym to take a run around the indoor track just to do something different. To that point, I had never run more than one mile at one time in my entire 41 years, and I had accomplished that feat a grand total of once, three years ago.
This particular Sunday, I got to the one-mile mark and felt like pushing on. I stopped at three. A couple of nights later, I stopped at three and a half.
Now I’m up to four miles. My goal is to run a half-marathon next spring.
The compliments from people about how good I look are a nice reward. The bigger, though unnoticed, reward is my health. My blood pressure is regularly in the 105/60 range, which is huge considering my family history with high blood pressure. The weight that has melted off is also big with a family history of diabetes.
It all started with a fruit smoothie and just a small amount of faith. It’s hard some days to do an hour on the elliptical, to resist the enticing smells at a ballgame, but if you can do it for just one week, and lose maybe three, four pounds at the end of it, you’ll see that it can work.
This is the way I’m going to live the rest of my life, however long that is. I’ve given away all of my fat clothes, anything with an XL or XXL. Those 40-inch dress pants are long gone. A pair of 34 jeans might have to soon go if I don’t watch out.
There’s no reason that you can’t do what we’ve done. Speaking for me, I never thought I’d be able to do it, but it’s actually been easier than I’d thought for years it would be.
So give it a try yourself. An hour of moving around and 2,000 calories a day. You’ll lose weight, I promise.
– Column by Chris Graham