July 04 2020 15:51:56
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Weight Loss
PersonalToday is a pretty special day for me. After a lifetime of being overweight and unhealthy, I've finally reached my target weight of 75kg - actually, I overshot a bit down to 74.3kg (11st10lbs or 164lbs). When I first started dieting and being more active 18 months ago, I weighed in at 114.5kg (18st or 252lbs) meaning that I've lost a whopping 40.2kg (6st5lbs or 89lbs). This puts my BMI right in the middle of the "normal" band (21.7, where normal is defined as 18.5..24.9). Basically, I did it in 6 month stints of dieting where I'd eat no more than 1000kcal a day. I know that many will consider this unhealthy, but I never felt lethargic or malnourished. My meals would consist of the following:

Breakfast: Banana (90kcal)
Lunch: Ginsters Chicken and Mushroom Slice (439kcal)
Snack: Apple (72kcal)
Dinner: Heinz Chilli and Tomato Soup (146kcal)
Snack: Tomatoes/Cucumber/Oatibix cereal/Celery/Beetroot/Grapes to top-up to 1000kcal
(Yes, I know those caloric values off by heart!)

It's a fairly boring (yes, no alcohol, but plenty of water) and repetitive diet, but it works! Dieting alone isn't enough to be healthy, though. So I gave up driving to get my lunch every day at work, instead I now walk 2 miles every day to the local BP garage (one of the guys there thinks I'm a bit strange always buying the same Ginsters slice every day). I also walk 6-14 miles every weekend. All of my walking is done at ~4mph. Thanks to my iPhone and TrailGuru, I've been able to track my walks. There have been some days where I've been unable to complete my exercises due to being out on business, but those have generally been few and far between! Also, believe it or not, playing guitar burns a fair few calories, so I've tried to play for at least 30 minutes a day (though often quite a bit more).

After the first 6 months, I pretty much stopped dieting for 8 months after losing 20kg (3st2lbs or 44lbs). Then in April of this year I started again and managed to lose the same amount of weight in 4 months.

I expect to carry on with this diet until September, when I head out to Las Vegas for my annual vacation, where I plan on "relaxing" the diet quite a bit ;). Hopefully, with a bit of self control, I'll be able to maintain around 70-75kg.

Anyway, as they say... "A picture is worth a thousand words" so here is a collage of before/after shots. Hopefully you'll be able to tell which ones are which!

A very helpful tool that I discovered during my second dieting stint has been Calorie Count. This free (usually you find people trying to make quick money off of dieting schemes!) website allows you to keep track of your caloric intake and expenditure. The great thing about calorie counting is that you get to choose what you eat. You could trade a few low calorie foodstuffs for some more rich treats, just so long as you don't go over your daily limit.

One thing that I found quite important was to treat myself once a week (but without going over my calorie limit). On Sundays, I normally have 3 slices of eggy bread (French toast) with a scrambled egg and a pint of Jelly (Jello) for dinner. This alone is about 600kcal, which means eating lightly throughout the rest of the day. In addition to this, I found it bad going to bed hungry (it'd keep me from falling asleep, so I'd usually save about 100kcal until 30 minutes before bed time. People often say that eating after 6pm is a bad thing to do, but I disagree. It means you're not hungry through the night (so are likely to get a decent night's sleep) and it keeps your digestive system going, thus keeps your metabolism working. I'm not suggesting a three course meal right before bed, that'd probably keep you awake from having to digest the meal and from all of the energy being consumed... but just something to keep you from feeling hungry.

Of course, don't take anything I say as a proper "diet plan". I'm not a qualified dietician at all and I make no guarantees that what I've been doing is at all safe.
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