Weight Loss Vs a Perfect Storm
My weight gain was compounded by several problems, and as I rolled into my mid-thirties, they smacked into each other like a perfect storm. As a teenager and twenty-something, I enjoyed high metabolism. I could eat fried rice and egg rolls three times a day and not gain an ounce.
That made people jealous when I was young, but as I got older, my eating habits didn’t change, but my metabolism did. My second problem was I was a volume eater. Whatever I ate, I had to eat a lot of it. Put those together. At seventeen, I was 175 lbs. and 6′ 2″ tall. At 30, I was still 6′ 2″, but ballooned to 260 pounds. That’s a severe gain.
I Decide to Lose Weight
I remember the moment I decided to lose weight very clearly. During a visit to my mother in February ’12 (just after Valentine’s Day), she was sorting through my high school report cards and plucked out my old passport. Its picture was taken was I was sixteen. As soon as it appeared in her hand, it disappeared into the pile. Obviously, she was trying to hide it. I asked her why. “I didn’t want you to get depressed looking at the picture,” she said. Then she reluctantly handed it over.
She was right. The picture was a bright-eyed kid with long, red-blond hair and chiseled cheeks. A strong jaw and no hint of a double-chin. Very different than the person looking at the picture. I was horrified. After a sleepless night, I decided to try out Weight Watchers.
Weight Watchers Online: A Diet Plan Without Gimmicks
This is not an ad for Weight Watchers. I do not work for them, but I know the program well. My mother lost 110 pounds on the plan, and my father lost 80. My grandmother lost 30 and my sister lost 45. It’s in the family.
I say ‘No Gimmicks’ and you might shout “Hey, don’t they do that Points thing? That’s a gimmick.” Technically, it is, but really it’s a shortcut to weighing the contents of food. Protein versus fat, fiber versus carbs. That’s it. Sure you have all the trappings that come with the plan, but when you compare it to the juicing diets, crash diets and fasting diets (and the shysters that promote them), the cost is minimal. Really, Weight Watchers meetings are about conscious eating and community more than anything else.
A Five-Month Struggle: Working the Weight Watchers Points List
You learn very quickly which foods aren’t worth the Points cost. Candy bars? Right out. But granola bars were okay. Some foods I could virtually eat as much as I wanted and they cost no Points. Luckily, they were foods I liked: baby carrots, green beans, spinach salad, refried beans and many others. You would also be amazed to find out what doesn’t change. I still had sugar in my morning coffee, along with a dollop of half-and-half (but I skipped the Starbucks Cafe Mocha). I continued visiting Panera Bread for lunch, only I had a plain bagel with reduced-fat cream cheese. Still delicious.
Slowly but surely, I saw my weight drop. At first it was nearly five pounds a week, but then it tapered to three and then two a week. Not every week was a win. Sometimes I cheated on points or “forgot” to log that half of a pepperoni pizza. Sometimes I gave myself a free weekend, which was like giving a kid the run of Toys R’ Us. A Very, very bad idea. But 90% of the time, I stuck with it. Once a month I would attend an actual meeting, just to refocus myself. And exercise? Not really. Three or four times a week I would go for an hour walk, but that was more entertainment than exercise.
Hitting my Goal Weight (and Staying There)
When the Weight Watchers meeting scale attendant told me I hit my goal weight, I just slumped. It wasn’t like reaching the top of a mountain, but actually getting back to the base for a cup of hot cocoa. Sweet relief. Certainly I felt better. My clothes didn’t pinch. I didn’t get winded so easily. I sweat much less. I was cold more often than hot. I once thought those were just part of me. Now I know it was because I was fat, plain and simple.
Weight Loss Tips (But No Tricks)
No crash diet, fasting diet, juicing diet or all-protein diet is a “healthy diet.” A healthy diet is one that lets you lose weight, stay healthy and change your eating habits, not just suspend them.
I thought of myself as a food addict and approached it like that. A food addict is always a food addict, and I will always struggle with weight gain. Accepting that makes it a concrete problem and concrete problems always have solutions.
Give Weight Watchers a try. Really. This isn’t a plug. It’s genuine gratitude for the people and program that help so many men and women with weight issues. I think of it more like AA for food addicts.
You cannot fool or trick your body into losing weight. Anyone that says you can is either lying or brainwashed.
The Best Piece of Weight Loss Advice
The best piece of weight loss advice I ever heard was from bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno (who is about the nicest guy you’ll ever meet). I’ll have to paraphrase. There’s only one way to lose weight: you burn more calories than you take in. That’s it. Everything else is meaningless.