New Year Resolutions
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog and one of my New Year Resolutions is to keep it more up to date. Each year I also promise myself to lose weight and get fit following the eating and drinking excesses of Christmas. And you know what? In 2013, I actually did. This was not however the result of a resolution made in January, but a decision made in the middle of October following a lecture from my doctor. For once, I decided to listen and actually do something about it and by Christmas morning, I was 16 lbs lighter. Many people have asked me how I did it, and since it is that time of year when interest in diets and fitness programmes hits a seasonal peak, I thought I’d write a blog post or two on the subject.
The first question people have is usually “which diet plan did you follow?”. And there are many fashionable options. 5:2, Atkins, Paleo and so on. But the truth is, I didn’t follow any of them. I went with the “eat less, drink less, exercise more” plan. Simple really. But of course if it was that simple, we wouldn’t have the boom that we do in obesity and related health problems. So over the course of a few posts, I’m going to set out what worked for me and why. Today I’ll cover the first three steps.
Step 1: Make a decision and mean it
This was probably the most important step of all for me. On many previous occasions, I have “decided” to drink less, to lose weight and to get fit. I’d bought the cross-trainer and even used it from time to time. But in truth, what I’d decided to do was to try to do these things. The difference this time was that I decided to do it, not just try.
Step 2: Set a target
This is the easy bit, but no less important for that. In my case it was to lose 15 lbs by Christmas Day, which would get me to the lower bound of the “overweight” category of BMI. This would mean losing about 1½ lbs a week, which my web research said was a reasonable target. This was to be an interim step along the way to getting to the middle of the “normal range” of BMI before my 50th birthday. So a total of 22 lbs before September 2014. After a couple of weeks and some more internet research, I decided that it was also important to target a “fat %” figure to make sure that any weight loss was the “right kind of weight”.
Step 3: Tracking inputs and outputs
Having decided to treat the task as a project with clear goals, regular tracking of progress was clearly going to be key. But as well as tracking output measures like weight, it is also key to target and track input measures – calories consumed and burned. Weight gain or loss is actually pretty simple. Calories in < calories out = weight loss. Set targets and track progress on all three parts. Fortunately, technology has made it easy to do just that and being a tech enthusiast, I think this topic deserves to be covered properly, so that will be the subject of my next post.