It’s time for Part 3 of the Weight Loss Challenge Grand Finale. If you haven’t already, check out parts 1 and 2 below.
This post will focus on what I did that led to my success. I’m hoping this and all my other posts will help me in the future, so I can remember what it takes to lose the weight, as I work to keep the weight off. It’s easy to forget, so writing it down will hopefully make it harder forget.
Things that worked
- Setting small goals were essential to success. I had my overall goal of 30 lbs. but I also set weekly goals and even daily goals. I didn’t always write about them, but they were always on the top of my mind.
- Tracking my food intake was probably the second most important thing I did that worked for me. I started by using a spreadsheet and that worked ok, but that got a bit complicated and inconvenient, so I switched to using the MyFitnessPal app on my phone and that was the best decision I ever made.
- Allowing myself any food I want, so long as it fits in my calorie intake was super important to me. Having the freedom to eat a candy bar if I really wanted was so liberating. More often than not, however, I’d still choose not to eat the candy bar. I found myself budgeting those calories very much like you might budget a very tight household budget. There wasn’t a lot of room for luxuries.
- I had an interesting discussion via one of my posts with another WordPress blogger (Caronbot) who had a really great recommendation to increase the amount of protein I was eating. I decided to take his advice and created a goal to be around 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein. Just keeping track of the protein really helped give me some structure to my diet. I was able to plan for expected cravings by eating more protein around that time. It was a huge change that helped a lot.
- Blogging. Having this challenge and writing about it has definitely been a very positive tool. Having the support system, as well as some accountability has been a really big part of why I’ve been able to keep on losing weight. Knowing that I could get called out for quitting was a big factor. Interesting fact, before I started the challenge I had been blogging for about 5 years and I had 64 followers, I now have 184. That’s 120 new followers in just 6 months. Whoo Hoo! I hope everyone has enjoyed what I’ve been writing.
- I’ve been using my Fitbit for quite some time, even before I started the challenge, but I’ve incorporated the data from that device into my daily calories burned calculations. I’ve linked my Fitbit account to my MyFitnessPal account and I let them calculate how many calories I’ve burned during the day and I let it come up with how many extra calories I get to eat over my allotted daily goal. This has been a huge success.
- Being willing to change what I’m doing to achieve my goals has been a surprisingly positive part of my tool bag. I don’t know if others have issues with losing weight because they think they cannot augment their plans, but if they do, they might want to think about analyzing their strategies to ensure they are actually working and make changes regularly when they find things aren’t working. Perhaps I’m the only one that is just now discovering this.
- Early on, I chose not to talk about how I’m dieting and trying to lose weight to those around me unless asked. There were 2 primary purposes to this, 1. I didn’t want to be “That Guy” who can never do anything because he’s on a diet. To everyone else, that can be really annoying. 2. I just didn’t want it to be such a focus of my life with everyone. It gives the impression that there is an end to the diet and my intention is to never stop doing what I’m doing, just change the goal. As a third unofficial reason, which is similar to number one is I didn’t want to be annoying. Sometimes when you put everything into something, that’s all you ever talk about and that just gets old.
- Preparation the night before of my breakfast and lunch has turned out to be a big helper. I’ll be honest, I don’t always pack my lunch the night before, but I’ve planned it out the night before so I know exactly what I’m putting in the bag in the morning.
- Consistency with my food choices has been pretty important. Many will find this to be unacceptable, but for the most part, I eat the same breakfast and lunch 5 days a week. Yes, it can get old, but in the end, I’m working really hard to achieve a goal, not have some amazing culinary experience, so I can live with yogurt and granola 5 days a week.
- At a certain point, I knew I was going to succeed. I don’t know if you can call that “something that worked” but at some point, you have to believe you can lose weight and I did. Other times I’ve tried losing weight, I wasn’t that committed and I don’t know that I really believed I could do it.
I already posted my before and after pics, but here are some more pictures I took yesterday. Be kind everyone. I’m not used to taking my shirt off, let alone taking a picture of myself doing it. Yes, I’m hairy and overly white. Deal with it. If nothing else, there should be plenty of sympathy for my wife who has to see it, possibly even on a daily basis, except on the weekends when I may not change out of my pajamas all day.
Well, now that my challenge is done, hamburgers and cake all around, on me! No, I’m kidding. Though I did eat 2 hamburgers last night for dinner. They were so good. That’s right, I had 2, count em 2 hamburgers. One was a beef/turkey mix and the other was a straight turkey burger, but the buns were full calorie buns. That of course, was not what a typical meal looked like, but my daily calories were only 2 calories over for the day. Not too bad. Stop back tomorrow. I plan on announcing what my next challenge will be.