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How I lost One And A Half Stone In Just Eight Weeks!
I'm not one for click-bait so this is a proper blog post. I'm not trying to sell you anything, just show you what works for me.
It doesn't matter who you are, if you're a normal, everyday human being like me, then you'll probably want to shed a few pounds. I've always had a sedentary job (I'm a web developer at heart) and, to be honest, a little lazy. I also had cancer a few years back and during treatment, they damaged my thyroid.
"So, the cards were stacked against me!"
I lost my taste buds during my cancer treatment. I did get them back after a few months, and swore that I'd never deprive myself of anything I wanted to eat because losing your sense of taste, especially if you're a foodie, is just awful. Combine that with a massive post-cancer depression and my waistline was doomed to expand, and expand, and expand. I went from size 10 jeans and 18 tops (I'm a little top heavy naturally) to size 18 jeans and 24 tops. My cancer treatment left me 50lb underweight ... now I was 50lb overweight and my muffin-top was getting worse by the day.
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My best friend Kirsty was incredibly worried about me, and to be honest, I was too, but didn't want to admit it. We agreed that I needed to lose weight, but I wasn't sure how to do it. The gym was out of the picture as I had a brain aneurysm years ago and I'm not allowed to do machines or go running as it sends my blood pressure spiralling.
So, we agreed that eating sensibly and taking some gentle exercise would be the best course of action. Kirsty bought me a Fitbit Charge 3 for Christmas and I also installed a food app called CalorieCounter from the Apple App Store.
"The first thing I discovered was horrifying!"
Everyone likes a Chinese takeaway on a Friday night. I'd hit the sofa after a hard week's work. Order a takeaway, crack open a bottle of Merlot and watch a couple of films. If Kirsty was joining me, we'd order even more food. Sometimes we'd have cake and chocolate as well.
Well ... and this completely blew my mind, when I entered in the dishes into my app, I discovered that I'd just consumed 4,000 calories and 300gm of carbs! Even if I was eating to recommended guidelines, I'd just eaten two days worth of food. And I'd also had lunch that day too. I was horrified. No wonder I'd put so much weight on ... without even thinking about it.
After some research and experimentation, I realised that I needed to restrict what I eat and do more exercise. It's not hard either. Just restrict you calorific and carbohydrate intake and do more steps!
It really isn't that hard. I linked my Fitbit to my CalorieCounter app and set a goal of 3,000 steps a day (I was very unfit, trust me, at first reaching 3K was a challenge). I then told my CalorieCounter app that I wanted to eat 1,200 calories a day with 120g of carbs.
For the first few weeks, I did find it hard to hit those goals. Foodwise, I was craving McDonalds, craving Costa toasted sandwiches, and certainly craving Chinese Food. I had a dry January and found a footpath in my village that would take me for a wander into the fields. Reaching 3,000 steps was relatively easy. Even wandering around my house I'd get 1,500 in a day, so I felt a sense of achievement when I hit 3K after even a short walk.
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I decided that I needed to cook more at home. Only wholewheat bread and pasta was allowed, cut down on rice and potatoes (although they was still allowed, just in smaller portions). From February, I allowed myself a bottle of wine a week and if I wanted a chinese meal then I'd have to cook it myself!
And cooking yourself means you can have all the dishes you like as long as you think about what goes into them and understand your potion sizes. I cook chilli con carne, I cook spaghetti Bolognese and I cook Chinese dishes too. But I control what goes into them and whereas before my fitness push I'd eat all of it, now I usually end up freezing a couple of silver trays filled up and labelled with excess food because I'm thinking about potion sizes.
"And it's working! Slowly, but that's what you need!"
On average, I'm losing 2lb a week. That's with a 1,200 calorie base intake with 120g of carbs. If I go for a walk (only need to hit 2 miles) and it'll add a couple of hundred more calories I can use if I want to. If I'm busy or the weather is foul then I don't go for a walk, so I simply figure out what I can eat that day to keep me within my limits.
And I only weigh myself once a week. As the 1st January was on a Tuesday then that's when I weight myself. I get up, go to the loo, empty out and get on the scales. The first few weeks I lost 5-7 pounds, then it settled down to an average of 2lb a week.
Some weeks I've lost 1lb, some I've lost 3 or 4. One week I didn't lose anything, so I upped my walking that week and lost it the next. The key to this is not to give up! I have a weight goal for my birthday this summer and I have a final goal for Christmas as this is a year-long challenge for me.
And I will get there. Hitting my targets is a real joy now and when I'm out on a walk and my Fitbit buzzes to let me know I've hit my steps target for the day always makes me cheer. I'll be upping my targets soon because it's all getting easier for me.
So, dear reader, you are who you are. You either want to lose weight or you don't. I'm simply telling you how I am doing it and what works for me. Your plan will differ, your results will differ. But, to be honest, if I can do it ... someone who is a little lazy, loves her food and sits all day working at a computer ... then you certainly can do it too.
I do 4,000 steps a day and aim to restrict my diet to 1,200 calories and 120g of carbs a day. I don't go hungry, I never crave anything. If I want a treat, I'll check my CalorieCounter app and see if I have the capacity for that day based on what I've already eaten and what I plan to eat later. If I go out networking and I don't control the food I'm getting then I simply guess what the calories and carbs are. I know I'm not completely accurate all the time, but I don't care.
Don't weight yourself every day and don't be rigid with your limits. You don't have to accurately account for every single calorie and every single gram of carb every single day. It'll drive you mad!
As long as at the end of the week your app shows you in deficit then you'll lose some weight. You'll know if you're being honest with yourself and if you're not, you're the one who's not going to lose anything that week.
But I will tell you this. People have started to notice. I'm looking thinner around my face and neck, I'm feeling more confident in myself and I have more energy. And when I look down, my muffin-top is no longer bigger than my boobs are, so even I can see a difference.
Go on ... do it. Find a way. Set yourself a weight loss goal and go for it. There are many fitness trackers out there, and there are many calorie counting apps out there too. Stick to the plan and I promise you that notice it working within a matter of weeks.
Let me know how you do!
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