Last year, Ash Wednesday, which was also St. Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018. I weighed 206 pounds and I figured I needed to do something about it. I tried my best to fast (and pray) and eat properly during Lent, and by Easter Sunday, April 1, I was just under 200. I was happy, but knew it wouldn’t last unless I did something positive to keep up the momentum. Even at 200 pounds, my Body Mass Index was 32.3 – still well into the obese range.
It was then I discovered DietBet.com. By means of 4-week-long “Kickstarter” games which you pay to enter, you are given a goal of losing 4% of your current weight. Let’s see. Four percent of 200 is 8 pounds. I joined a DietBet game for$30 on April 6 at 198 pounds, and when it ended on April 30, I was 189.2 – a loss of 8.8 pounds. That energized me. From last April until January, I joined a total of 7 DietBet games – always (naturally) gaining a few pounds in between games. Here’s a chart of my progress.
I’m now just under 170, and my goal is 165. Then my BMI will be 26.6 – still moderately overweight, but in a healthy range for a 76-year-old senior. (My overall cholesterol was just measured at 168, and blood pressure 120/68.) I’m also walking 8-10K steps per day. I’m very grateful for the gift of good health, and trying to use it for God’s glory!)
I often say that the advantage of the DietBet program is that it includes a very powerful motivator: greed. (Yeah, that coming from a Catholic priest . . . but realistic nonetheless!) The way it works is that you “bet” a certain amount, say $20-$35 (depending on the “game”). If you fail to meet our weight-loss goal, bye-bye money. If you do meet your goal, you get your original bet (I prefer to say “investment”) back, plus a share of the amount forfeited by those who did not make their goal. Here are the 7 games I entered (and won) over the past year:
I invested a total of $205 and got back a total of 272.70. Not too shabby. It’s not a lot of profit, but if you make your goals, you are guaranteed not to lose your money.
There is a companion program, StepBet, which helps me to keep active and in decent shape for my age. Basically, it’s a series of betting games based on a certain number of steps walked per day – for me, the goal is usually between 7000 and 9000.
Now, of course, the question is, how have I lost this weight, and – perhaps more important – how will I keep it off? I can only share with you my plan which has worked for me. Everybody is different.
First, I found out very quickly that exercise itself does not bring about weight loss. It’s an important component of overall good health, and a healthy metabolism is a key element in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. So, yes, I try to walk at least 2-4 miles a day. (I’m humbled by Katherine, a fellow resident of Nazareth House who just turned 104, who walks 2 miles every day – rain or shine!)
Secondly, to lose weight one must eat less – period. Actually, that’s not so hard once you get used to it. Really! The key then, of course, is what you eat.
I’ve looked at the low-carb, keto, and diabetic diets and adapted their principles. I never skip breakfast and do not eat between meals. Breakfast is nearly always oatmeal plus one egg and one strip of bacon – a nice flavor combination that leaves me satisfied for the morning. Complex carb (oatmeal) plus protein and a bit of fat. Lunch and dinner will be about four ounces of protein and a vegetable. No potatoes, no bread, and no dessert. Low glycemic index foods, basically. Here at Nazareth House, we are served a variety of good meals, and it’s not too difficult to make good choices. (Of course, it’s easy to make bad choices too, and that requires some will power.)
This Lent, I’ve initiated my own DietBet game, beginning Ash Wednesday. And I’d like to invite you to join me. Details here.
More to come in a subsequent post. Stay tuned.