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Tipping the Scales – The Trend Line of Weight Loss6 min read

Chunky McFatty Pants

About a month ago I was about 50 lbs overweight. Why? I eat more than I should. I don’t exercise. I work too much. I sleep too little. I get busy at work, maybe even stressed, and then I eat too much because it’s satisfying. When you eat more than you should, your body stores that as energy for later. The more you eat, the more you store. Then your pants don’t fit. Boo.

Keep a Trendline

I weigh myself every morning and have done so for a few years. I figured out back then that visibility is the first step in maintaining or losing weight (or improving almost anything for that matter). Checking my weight and watching the trend line of the chart is a good way for me to remind myself how I am doing. I don’t personally worry so much about WHAT I weigh as much as I worry about if I am getting fatter or not.

Apparently I didn’t care that much about my trend from Jan through September of this year. Holy cow. The truth is that while I recorded my weight every day I was so busy and focused on work I didn’t slow down to do anything about it. In fact, I don’t even remember looking at the “Year” view to see the long term trend until just a month or so ago.

Weight Chart

The line must be drawn here

About a month ago I got back from vacation and had gained 3% of my total body weight – in 2 weeks. I got on the scale and was the highest weight of my life at 229.5 lbs. I thought … no. Just no. This isn’t going to work for me. The line must be drawn heeaauuu. This far, no farther.

Small changes

For a week or so I pondered the ponderables about what to do. What I decided was to start making small changes right away to capture their benefits while I decided how to go forward with a for real weight loss plan.

I was used to going to Bojangles in the morning on the way to work and having a steak and egg biscuit, and a coffee with honey (I’ve been drinking honey in my coffee for a decade or more, something I learned from my mom at a young age).

What I did was fairly simple. I instead went to McDonalds and ordered the yogurt parfait and black coffee. I did that several days in a row and all of a sudden I started looking forward to it. At lunchtime I was getting pretty hungry. It felt good to feel like I had burned off my breakfast and actually needed my next meal.

That’s all I changed and within a week I had lost 4 lbs. There is a chance I was subconsciously making the most of the sacrifice I had been making by cutting back in other areas without even realizing it. And if that’s the case I am fine with it because it’s working.

Better for me than white knuckling

I’ve done it both ways; gradual and sudden. In times when I have lost weight I have found that making changes toward better habits (eating, exercise) are more effective for me than white knuckling. I remember my wife and I deciding to go to one of those quick weight loss places about 15 years ago and after about a week of it we sat in the parking lot of the place one day starving and said “screw it, let’s go to Outback!” lol.

So, instead of making radical changes I know I won’t stick to I simply make GOOD changes in the RIGHT direction. The example of changing my breakfast from a steak and egg biscuit to yogurt is a good example.

Make cheating not cheating

When deciding to go from big fat delicious biscuit to tiny little yogurt I told myself was that if I got ridiculously hungry before lunch I would just eat a snack – no big deal. By not telling myself “you can’t”, I no longer have to fight to not do something. Instead, I just try to make good choices, but if I want ice cream I eat ice cream. I just don’t go in search of it.

I haven’t committed to change anything about lunch or dinner, but I do make small changes. For instance, instead of eating half a pizza for dinner tonight I ate about 2/3 of what I normally do. Still pizza, just a little less of it. I have had a few salads here and there for lunch but they had normal dressing and meat on them, along with egg and all sorts of other goodies. Not as good as eating a sack of raw carrots but better than a hamburger and fries (which I had for lunch today). The point is making small changes in the right direction and seeing what happens.

Change the trend line

My main goal right now is to keep the trend line heading in the right direction. I don’t much care if I lose 1 lb a month or 5 lbs a month. The faster the better for my mind, but the slower the better for my ability to sustain it. If I lose 1lb a month over a year that means I am likely to KEEP loosing 1lb a month. If I try to make all sorts of radical changes that I won’t continue doing, what will happen when I stop doing them? I will rebound like crazy.

Don’t lose what you lose

A few years ago I went from 226lbs to 199lbs in about 9 months (27 lb loss). I ate a lot better and walked 3 miles 3 times a week. Nothing nutty, but I was consistent. Something happened, I don’t remember what, and I allowed what I had lost to be lost. My trend line turned in the wrong direction and I didn’t do anything to stop it…. and here I am. So, I am back at it again. This time I need to stick with it and keep it off.

Slowly but surely

I am starting with the changes I made around what I eat for breakfast. Later I will change what I eat for one of the other meals, and then I’ll make changes to the third meal. I will modulate how aggressive I am depending on what else is going on in life. If we end up at an italian restaurant I’ll eat italian. I won’t / can’t be legalistic or I will fail.

In summary

  • Weigh yourself every day (at the same time – like right after your morning “business”)
  • Record daily in an app that has a chart/graph
  • Lose weight by changing the trend line.
  • Make minor changes to get it headed in the right direction.
  • Trying harder is ok – but only as hard as you want. It should be ok to eat what you want. It’s your choice.
  • The harder you try the better you will do, but being legalistic is failure waiting to happen

Craig McChunk

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