A year ago, I decided I should lose weight.
Over the past few years - especially during college, I abandoned activities that got me moving in exchange for playing FPS games and sitting at my desk writing code. Not only that, I had also moved out of my parents' house so I was eating out a lot and snacking more often. I did not like washing dishes which really put me off from wanting to cook for myself. As a college student taking on 21 hours of courses, a part-time job, and a part-time internship... I didn't have that much time anyway. Trust me, I had all my excuses down pretty well.
But I regress. I realized I needed to lose weight and took to the internet to find the right eating plan and exercise regime to help me achieve my goal. Eventually, it all kind of led back to the same, seemingly simple idea.
Eat less. Move more.
Whoa! Is it really that simple?
Actually, yes, it does come down to simple math. Burn off more calories than you consume. Though, there's some adjusting to do - mostly mentally, of course.
- You don't have to feel like crap to know you're full.
- Finishing every crumb on your plate does not solve world hunger.
- Beverages do indeed have calories. Most have a lot more than you think.
- Exercising can be boring. Find something you enjoy doing!
it starts with your grocery cart
The first change to be made starts at the grocery store. I absolutely dread going to the store so I only go once a week. Therefore, I know that what I put into my pantry is pretty much my only option throughout the week so it's better to make the decision at the store rather than at home when I am hungry/tired/whatever.
I didn't bother swearing off any food or anything -- that is not manageable long term for me. It's easier just to do two things: eat smaller portions of what I do like and make adjustments to recipes that give me less calories. For example, replacing ground beef with ground turkey breast and buying almond or fat free milk instead of regular milk.
The Best Workout Is The One You Will Do
Being a developer... I'm sitting all day. No complaints - I absolutely love what I do. However, due to that taking up 8 hours of my day, I can go the whole day hitting less than 1000 steps if I don't put in some effort. That's only 10% of what an adult should be aiming for per day (10,000)!
One thing I found super easy to work into my schedule was taking a walk during my lunch break. I don't like eating anything heavy for lunch because then, I'll feel all bleh for the rest of my time at work. For lunch, I keep it pretty light with a Kashi Blueberry & Almond bar, a cup of mixed fruit, and a banana. Total Calories: 300. There's a park nearby that has a trail that is about 3/4 miles around. Not much, but hey, it's better than nothing. I do 2 laps around to get me to 1.5 miles before I even get home -- great!
While I don't take every opportunity I can at work to get up and walk around, I do make sure to park in the back that ends up doubling the steps I would have taken had I parked in the front. Good enough.
An hour after I get home from work, I'm in the kitchen cooking whole grain pasta, making burgers with the ground turkey breast and whole wheat buns, making some chicken salad, or whatever it is I want to eat for dinner -- all in smaller portions than I used to consume, of course. I tend to keep it between 900-1000 calories since during the day I rarely go over 350 calories.
At that point, I have about 4000 steps for the day. I definitely aim to reach 10,000, though, so, once the sun goes down, I'm outside to hit that step goal.
As it turns out, I love hiking and running outside. I hate treadmills (too boring). I enjoy playing tennis and going kayaking. Oh, walking definitely counts... and it can be the easiest way to really burn some of those calories.
During weekdays, my boyfriend and I were doing the couch25k program which we just finished. It had us running 3 times/week for 20-30 minutes for 9 weeks. The program is for people that haven't run before to work them up to being able to run a 5k -- I highly recommend it. Our routine was typically to go on the runs during NBA games that we watched at home - we'd take off right before half-time and then, be back in time for the 4th quarter.
On days that we weren't running, we would walk around the neighborhood at least twice with each lap being 1 mile. Since we finished the running program, we have mostly been walking but I'll go off running for 3 miles every once in a while.
On Sundays, we go to White Rock Lake and walk around the entire lake -- about 8 miles, in case you were wondering.
I guess you may be wondering how this all has worked out for me. I reached my first weight goal a few weeks ago and am now reaching for my next weight goal.
I had some gradual/consistent progress in the past year. Earlier this year, I began to push for faster results which you can observe on this chart. While the progress initially seemed slowed, I know that I am making manageable, long-term changes. My next goal is to lose 10 more pounds.
Get a Fitbit device. I have a Charge HR and it makes it so much easier to have something automatically tracking everything for me except my food. However, I easily track my food on the app which takes the calories into consideration when calculating how much I need to burn.
Get a food scale. I just now got one and it didn't take long to realize I had been underestimating some of my portions in the food log. You don't need to get one but it definitely helps with accuracy.
It's normal to have times where you eat something that wasn't on your food budget. Make sure you burn that off, though.