Weight Loss: How Did I Do It?

In a previous post, I told of “My (year-long) Weight Loss Saga“: from just over 205 pounds to 170 in a year (Ash Wednesday – also Valentine’s Day – February 14, 2018, to mid-February, 2019). Now, I’m committed to another DietBet “game” during Lent to get down to 165. So committed, in fact, that I’ve organized a DietBet Game, “Fr. Tom’s Lenten DietBet.” Please check it out and join me if you need to lose a few pounds. DietBet provides the motivation; but a big question remains, “How?” What method am I following?

There’s one obvious fact: to lose weight you have to eat less. Period.

Then, what and how to eat? I can’t describe it in too much detail, but I draw the principles of several popular diets.

Basically, I follow a moderate protein, moderate fat, low (and good) carbohydrate regimen. That, combined with occasional fasting (intentionally skipping a meal now and then) and eliminating between meal snacks, does it. If I’m coming off a time of not watching what I eat too closely, the first week can require a bit of discipline. But after that, cravings are tamed and the routine becomes petty natural.

In practice what does this mean? Well, I’m careful to have about 4 ounces of protein at each meal; they say that’s usually a piece of meat or fish about the size of a deck of cards. That’s easy enough. And no limit on green or colored vegetables. (I can eat all I want of the stuff I don’t care that much for! But no need to punish myself by forcing down what I really.)

I live at Nazareth House, a retirement community with meals prepared for us, so I don’t have to worry much about cooking. The food is generally pretty healthy and there’s some choice and variety. I’m moderate but consistent at breakfast: oatmeal with raisins and nuts, and one steamed egg and one strip of bacon. No bread or pancakes or pastry; nor sweet stuff, like jam or syrup. It’s actually pretty satisfying and easily gets me through the morning.

The main meal is at noon, and here I’ll follow the 4-oz. protein + vegetable rule. No bread, potatoes, rice, or pasta. Evening meal pretty much the same. I don’t worry much about most fat that accompanies these things, including occasional fried meats – just not too much. A cup of soup or a green salad is OK, but I only use a bit of olive oil as a dressing. Basically, I try to avoid foods with a high glycemic index – all potatoes, refined flour and sweets of all sorts. Generally, I’m not a big dessert eater, so that part’s not har.

I’ve read the principles of diabetic, ketonic, protein, and low-carb diets, and adapted them in a way that I think is reasonable for my health and lifestyle. A Google search will easily reveal reliable sources of information and guidance. Whenever I find “eat-this-don’t-eat-that” directions, I try to discover the principles behind them.

I think basic vitamin supplements in moderation are important. Ideally, a balanced diet should supply all the vitamins you need, but the standard Ameican diet at best falls short, and when we add restrictions to promote weight loss, I think supplements can be important to maintain good health.

I also use StepBet, a companion program to DietBet, to give me an incentive to stay active every day. It uses my iPhone to track my steps. I try to walk 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

I also think it’s important to track your weight every day. I weigh myself every morning after my shower and write it on a chart. There will be plateaus and occasional increases, and that’s OK. And it’s so gratifying when you see that long term effort is actually producing a loss.

Finally, I find a glass or two of wine a day has not been detrimental to weight loss. A 5-oz. glass of red wine has only about 125 calories, and some studies say wine with the meal actually helps weight loss. (During Lent, however, I’m avoiding all alcohol, including wine.

The picture at the top of this page is my lunch today. I’ll probably have a cup of soup and a small salad for dinner. Remember this is a weight-loss regimen. I look forward to being a little less stringent when I’m trying to maintain a consistent weight, but it’s important to keep up good habits.


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