With New Years Eve so close, I’ve started seeing a lot of discussion about weight loss and diets. I lost about 25 pounds a couple years ago and I’ve been asked what I did quite a bit. I thought it was a good time to share how I lost the weight and why I chose that method.
I counted calories! I know a lot of people avoid this method because it sounds pretty labor intensive. With modern technology, I didn’t find it to be that complicated. I started by using a TDEE calculator to get an estimate for how many calories my body uses in a day. I read that you should cut 500 calories per day from your base need in order to lose 1 pound per week.
I am only 5’1″ and I am fairly sedentary so my calorie needs per day are about 1,466. I would be under 1000 calories a day if I cut 500 a day. It’s often recommended that people cut no to no lower than 1200 calories a day, so that’s what I did even though it meant the weight would come off slower than 1 pound per week. It’s just harder for shorter people to lose weight as quickly.
Once I knew my calorie goal was 1200 a day I used MyFitnessPal to track my calories. It does take some time early on. However, you can create meals so that you don’t have to add each item individually in the future. For example, I frequently eat sandwiches with the same brand of bread, 5 slices of the same brand/type of ham, the same amount of mayo and lettuce, etc so I can simply save that sandwich and add it when I eat that. I do the same thing for chicken salad, toast, and other meals that I commonly repeat. Once you get your common meals loaded in, counting calories happens in just a few minutes per day.
Why count calories?
Well, I believed in the basic concept that weight loss is about burning more calories than you consume so I wanted to mak sure I was at a calorie deficit. However, I also am a picky eater. I was severely picky as a child and thankfully I have become open to more foods as an adult. I would still say I am picky, though. Many meal plans eliminate large categories of food such as carbs, sugar or gluten. I believe I am just too picky of an eater to restrict myself entirely from certain categories. I wanted a way of eating that I could maintain longterm and I didn’t think I could avoid eating carbs, sugar, etc forever so I avoided those concepts. While I realize it is not the healthiest option, I like how calorie counting means I can save calories from lunch or dinner so that I can make room for an extra snack or a dessert if I’m craving something “bad”. I like how there is a bit of wiggle room to “cheat” without actually going over calories and risking weight gain. I just don’t have the self-discipline to avoid cheating ever, so having a plan that gives me wiggle room for treats here or there was important to me.
Are you aiming to lose weight in 2018? What method(s) are you focusing on and why?
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