This post is the first installment of a series of posts sharing my various attempts at dieting.
I recently lost 21 lbs and counting, which I’ve become very proud of. I managed to accomplish this through a variety of different methods mostly revolving around an improved diet. Some worked better than others. Some drove me more insane than others. But I am pleased with the end result. I know there are many different points of view on how to diet/lose weight. This is just how I got there.
After high school, I noticed my body started being less impervious to the crap I put into it day by day. In my first couple years of college, when I packed on those initial 15 lbs, it annoyed me, but at the same time, I just couldn’t help but enjoy eating deliciously and freely. Eventually after graduation, those pounds kept adding up, but I just tried to not let it bother me. Two years later, I had just let myself go too far. This is a story that many probably empathize with. It’s something many go through as their teenage metabolism fades away, but those eating habits stick.
Alright, I can’t take all the credit for my motivation. The man-friend started dieting and exercise first to whip himself back into shape after getting out of the Army. After a couple months, I got tired of him not wanting to eat all of my home-cooked meals. I realized it’d be easier to cook the same thing for both of us, and this might be the kick in the ass I needed to start eating healthier. And thus it began…
The first step was to put into perspective how much I was actually putting into my body. Food diaries are a way to keep tabs on everything you’re consuming. It’s not a new concept, but it works really well for seeing your daily caloric intake laid out in front of you. MyFitnessPal is a free app available on iPhone and Android as well as web browser. It has a large user-contributed database of food including popular restaurant dishes. If you can’t find the meal you’re eating, you can add up the individual ingredients, or if you’re lucky and the restaurant you’re eating at has the nutritional info, you can add to their database. It also allows you to setup your profile with your gender, weight, your weight goal, how often you exercise, and how many pounds a week you’d like to lose or gain or maintain. From there, it will tell you how many calories per day you should consume in order to reach that goal. Add in any exercises to estimate how many extra calories you’ve afforded yourself that day.
After you’ve entered your food intake for the day, when you complete the entry, it tells you what weight you’ll be in 5 weeks if you continue eating like this. You can keep a progress diary, where you input your weight along with other measurements (neck, waist, hips), and it will map out your progress in a line graph. You can compile meals or recipes for quick calorie references to things you eat frequently. It also has a social aspect with status updates on your progress as well as sharing your food diary posts, so others can get ideas on how to eat low cal. Pretty much, there are a lot of options!
Yeah, I know, losing weight isn’t entirely based on your caloric intake, but it’s a good starting point for dieting. This app makes it blatantly clear that if you are a petite woman and eat a cheeseburger from a fast food place twice in one day, you are more likely than not going to be over on your necessary calories to maintain a healthy weight. It gives you a reality check on just how unhealthy some foods really are. It’s also only as accurate as you make it. There’s naturally a margin of error when estimating what ingredients are in different recipes and estimating the quantity of each entry.
Stay tuned for some other dieting tricks. Part 2 The Carb Nite Solution… the diet that obligates you to binge on pizza, donuts, cake, and much more!