In September last year I got weighed at my local GP. 126Kg! Up until the visit to the doctor I'd been deluding myself that I was fit and healthy (relatively, for a fat older guy). Chest pains and shortness of breath brought on by stress at work had prompted me to get a checkup, after which I was given a clean bill of health plus the regular mantra of "Marc, you really should lose weight."
Of course I made the usual excuses to myself during the following few days after the checkup - "Yeah, yeah, but I'm so busy right now...", "I don't feel motivated yet, but maybe in a few days..." etc.
One day soon after, my boss wandered past my desk, stared at the plate with my lunch of two bread rolls dripping with olives and oil, meat, tomato and cheese and suggested I "not go on a diet, but perhaps try this 'Low G.I.' eating plan" he'd been on for the past few months.
So I did, just for the hell of it. And also started regular 5-10Km walks on weekends. I figured it couldn't hurt, and wasn't too painful - I still occasionally binged, and still ate and drank things I really shouldn't have (I love good food!). I never weighed myself until the next visit to my GP last February. 118Kg.
I never noticed losing those 8Kg over the course of five months. Just as I'd never noticed gaining 38Kg in the preceding five years!
Those 8Kg shed were negligible, however. I'd recently turned 40, had been obese much of my life, and my body was rapidly turning into a ticking time bomb. To be honest, it had been a time bomb since my late teens, but recently it had started to tick loudly and clearly.
On March 1 I snapped and calmly told myself, "That's enough.", then began to educate myself about weight loss - how to do it, why it should be done. This forum was one of the first websites I visited and I've lurked here regularly since then. Basically, I increased the frequency, tempo and length of my main form of exercise (walking the excellent bush tracks and shared cycleways we have in this region) and broke my bad eating habits by eating less, understanding portions, counting kilojoules and removing processed food that contained salt, fat and sugar in excess amounts.
My weight is currently 105Kg. Since early march I've lost a kilo each week on average, and my improvement in general health and fitness is noticable to me and the people around me.
With the information and suggestions found at weightloss.com.au and elsewhere I think I've found the method that works for me. Below are the major features:
1) Don't eat crap
It may seem simple, but has been difficult for me because there's so much yummy food available everywhere. What I did during March was that every time I had a craving for a meat pie or chocolate slice or banana cake or whatever I stared at part of my body and imagined all the sugar and fat coursing through my veins and depositing fat in fat cells and plaque in my arteries and heart - there, just inches beneath my chest. I imagined what a heart attack would feel like, and what the other lifestyle related diseases such as some cancers, diabetes and reflux disease could do to me. I also told myself that even a small pie was not worth pushing my weight goal several more days away and requiring even more of that annoying thing called "exercise".
It worked. I now cannot even force myself to eat something I shouldn't. My junkfood-switch is turned off.
2) Make incidental exercise necessary
A round trip (brisk walk) from my place of employment to the local shopping centre is about 30 minutes if I take the long way. So nearly every lunchtime I go shopping but don't do everything I need to do (banking, buying lunch items for the week, etc). I do just a few things - then go back the next day and do a bit more. It all adds up.
3) Live life as a healthy thin person
I exercise and eat as I think a healthy thin person might do. As a result I am a healthy thin person inside. My body is slowly reforming about me to match my new lifestyle.
4) Understand what's in food
Until recently I had no idea food portions were that small! Crikey. I had no idea some foods were so full of fat and sugar. More crikey.
So with the help of an old Calorie King booklet I found at the op-shop, a $5 set of kitchen scales, a $2 set of measuring spoons and cup I can now work out how many kilojoules is in any food or drink I consume. It really is an eye opener that just a small handful of oven chips can be 150g, or just how small a 75g serve of rye bread is.
5) Eat less
I'm constantly surprised how much I was eating compared to now. I'm even more surprised at how little food bulk is required as long as a few basic rules of nutrition are followed. I'm super-surprised about how little money I now spend on food.
6) Keep a food diary
Writing down everything I eat and doing a rough kilojoule count on it keeps me from both bingeing and gradually increasing my food intake unconsciously. I use a line or two in my diary each day. A simple format - brackets enclose a main meal (breakfast, lunch, tea), and outside are snacks. Parentheses indicate estimated Kj. Today's entry looks like this:
[2x sl rye bread (700), banana (350)], banana (350), [0.5x onion (100), tomato (150), 0.5x srv TVP mince (200)], 2x pear (600), [srv crn kernels (300), 2x srv nutloaf (1400), tomato (150), 2x sl rye bread (700)]
One evening each week I'll do an audit of the past 7 days entries, correcting any estimates and also do some weighing to ensure there's no creep in portion size.
The internal switch off from junk food has surprised me more than the weight loss. I don't quite understand how it has become so permanent (so far), or what the underlying psychology is. Would anyone care to explain?
In early May I think I may have encountered the oft-mentioned plateau during which my weight wavered for about a fortnight. I'd read in this forum that the best way to handle it was be alert, not alarmed, and change things - vary exercise, food, etc. It seems to have been passed and I'm now losing weight steadily again. My question though is - are these plateaux different for each individual? Are they fully in the individual's control (perhaps complacency resulting in overeating or reduced exercise) or are they more of a physiological response to complex internal stimuli (perhaps all the easily reduced fat is done, so then blood chemistry and hormone levels change resulting in the body requiring a harder push to start on mining the difficult sections). I have no idea, but am curious about this.
I consider my start date March 1 and my start weight 118Kg. Current weight 105Kg. End of year goal 85Kg. Eventual weight would be nice around 70-75Kg (I'm male, about 185cm in height). My daily food energy intake is 5000-7000Kj. Exercise is about 30-45 mins of fast walking most days, and on weekends I'll do one or two sessions of walking 10-15Km in 2-2.5Hrs.