Regular readers of this blog (all, well… ME of you…) will remember that a few months ago I went through a transformative personal crisis. As part of that experience, I took stock of my life, looked around, and realized that I really was not happy – with my circumstances or with myself. So I sat down and I made a list of the things about my life that made me unhappy. Then I made another list, of steps I could take to improve or fix those things. It’s been three and a half months since I began that process, and I’m glad to say I’ve made progress on several fronts.
Running and Fitness
Perhaps most impressively, in three months I’ve managed to lose almost 30 pounds and reduce my body fat by about 5 percent. According to Fitday, which I use to religiously track my caloric intake and exercise, I’ve gone from “obese” to “overweight,” and I’m steadily approaching “healthy” weight.
The secret to my success? First I stopped eating so much. For the first few weeks I was making the most of depression-inspired loss of appetite, and eating 800 calories a day or fewer. But I took advantage of that time and realized that it was possible to really significantly reduce my caloric intake. Until June, my average caloric intake each day was between 2,500 and 3,500 calories. Depending how much exercise I did, I’d burn between 3,000 and 4,000 calories a day. Today, because of my reduced body mass, I burn fewer calories even doing more exercise – generally between 2,200 and 4,000 calories daily. Unless I’m really indulging, though, I generally eat between 1,200 and 2,000 calories each day. I’ve cut out fats and processed carbohydrates as much as possible, and focus on vegetables and “natural” proteins from sources like eggs, lentils, and beans.
The other component, of course, is exercise. Since early May I have been lifting weights three times a week almost every week, and I credit that with a lot of my body fat reduction. I can easily see the differences in the mirror. The one thing this experience has taught me, though, is that no amount of exercise will lead to weight loss by itself – the majority of successful weight loss is in reducing your diet. Continue Reading