The one you stay on, of course. I set a goal, this year to lose 15% of my body weight. With a BMI (body mass index) of 38.7, I was well into obesity—that begins at a BMI of 30. How big was I? Well, check out the before picture, taken last summer. Losing 15% would take me down to about 33.Much better, but not down to merely overweight—in other words, not great. At age 70, I’d like to another 20 years. While a statin and an ACE inhibitor kept my cholesterol and blood pressure in healthy ranges, being obese might make enjoying those years unlikely. So what to do?
Membership plans that deliver meals? No way! Any of the wacky but popular diets? Counting calories, eating stuff that I don’t like and not what I do—NO! What then? Simple arithmetic: eat fewer calories than you burn or burn more than you eat. The result is weight loss. It’s not complicated; it just requires a change in habits and some self-discipline.
Here’s what we did. Your circumstances, your lifestyle will likely differ. But it worked well for us. Take it as an example of how simple this really can be.
We never got into weighing our food or calculating calories. We relied on gradually reducing the portion sizes of our meals. Most importantly, we ate the biggest meal of the day at lunchtime—not at dinner. Dinner became smaller than breakfast. Half a sandwich, half an apple and maybe four or five potato chips. We also cut out most of the fattening snacks. We reserved cookies, donuts and ice cream for special occasions—that never occurred in the evening.
A study compared two groups of people. Both groups ate the same foods, with the same calories. One group had a modest lunch and a larger dinner. The other group followed the change that we did. Surprise, the group eating less of their food lost more weight than the folks keeping dinner as the main meal did. Again, same food/same calories. It’s the circadian rhythm affecting metabolism—calorie burn goes down in the evening.
I began exercising more consistently. I built up to exercising 5-6 days a week on an underwater treadmill, at least 45 minutes. There’s no speed or distance monitor on the machine, but a reasonable estimate came to 1.5 miles at a 3 to 3.5 MPH rate.
I reached my weight loss goal in six and one half months! I had expected it to take the entire year. Can I up the goal to 20%? The “set point” theory says you can lose 10% of your weight before your body slows your metabolism to keep you from losing more. Maybe I’ve reached it, but if I have, I’ll just maintain the current weight for however long it takes and start losing again. Some say that’s six weeks, some say six months. Whichever is correct, I’ll persist.
Will this work for you? Remember the math. Calories consumed/calories burned. If you have nutritional issues, incorporate those. Don’t try to lose more than about 1.5 pounds per week. Some weeks I lost nearly two pounds, but NEVER more. Consult your physician if you are uncertain how to proceed or have medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or metabolic disorders before starting an exercise program or making significant changes to your diet. I informed mine and he approved.
Don’t take my word for the results, here’s the famous before and after pictures. No, no photo-shopping. The one on the left from June 2016. The one on the right, August 7, 2017. I didn’t begin losing weight until the end of December 2016, so that summer photo was how I looked then.