How I Lost Twenty Pounds

A few weeks ago, I hit the twenty-pound mark in my weight-loss efforts. I had been trying to lose weight for a number of years, but I have only been successful in the last six months. The weight-loss method I am using is traditional calorie counting.

Here’s what I did that was different.

1. Enlist a partner. My husband had some bad news from his doctor, and we knew it was time for him to lose weight. I have been on high blood pressure medicine for about five years, so we decided to do this together. It has been SO much easier–especially since we are both committed. I was unable to stick to a plan until my husband and I started this together.

2. Find a calorie counting app with reminders. I’ve had MyFitnessPal on my iPhone for a couple of years now. I selected it because it was the only one that enabled me to set food tracking reminders throughout the day. This is important when you are establishing the food-tracking habit, because it really does take 21 days to establish a habit. Now, we both use it.

3. Find a daily goal I could stick with for month after month. This is important. You need to be able to cut enough calories to lose weight, but you don’t want it to be so difficult that it is discouraging. It took me six months to lose twenty pounds. I’m good with that. It took years for me to pack on this weight, after all. If I lose a total of forty pounds after one year, I will be totally thrilled.

MyFitnessPal suggests a goal for you based on your activity level. Because I know I have a somewhat active metabolism–I can’t blame my weight on my glands–I chose Lightly Active as my activity level. This is even though I am probably not that active. Because I chose Lightly Active, I don’t carry around my iPhone with me so it can track steps. I only let it track steps when I have my purse with me. If I happen to be more active than usual, it will count those steps. If not, the few steps I take won’t have much of an impact. My husband chose Sedentary even though he probably is Lightly Active. But he carries around his cell-phone, and it records every step he takes.

Important take-away here–I have managed to lose 20 pounds even though I have not stepped up my activity level.

4. I Track every day–even when I go over my calorie goal. Face it–you will go over your calorie count from time to time. I find that I need to eat more when I have a bad headache, or when I have lost more than 1 pound in a week. But the important thing is to track the calories anyway. If you stop, it will just make it harder to start up again. So I don’t care about blowing it on the days that I go over–I just make sure I track everything.

MyFitnessPal has this wonderful Complete Entry feature, which tells me what I will weigh in five weeks if I eat that many calories every day. It is motivating both ways–when I go over, I see that I will gain if I keep eating that much, and it puts me back on-track. When I am under or on-target, I see how much more I will lose, and I am motivated.

BTW, the predictions have been fairly accurate. It now predicts that I can lose 4 pounds in a month, which is pretty much the rate at which I have been losing, excepting for a plateau or two.

5. Weigh-in over a three-day period, and record the lowest weight. I started weighing myself on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I record the lowest weight. Why? Because your weight fluctuates so much over the course of a few days. This way, you don’t have to record a discouraging gain on a day when you may be constipated or retaining water. This goes with number 6 …

6. Only record losses. This will probably fly in the face of most advice. I found that when I plateau or have a slight gain, if I record it, it is demotivating. Sometimes, I now reason, it takes me two weeks to lose a pound, instead of just one. So if after a week of faithful calorie counting, if I am at the same weight or slightly over, I wait another week and try again. This gives me another week to lose that pound, and keeps me motivated.

Now if you go two or three weeks without losing any weight at all, or if you gain, you may have to re-evaluate your daily calorie goal, or perhaps stop indulging in so many over-limit days. However–important point, here–this has not happened to me yet. The most I have ever had to go without recording a loss is 2 weeks.

And so, that is what has worked for me.

As ever, if you have health issues, please discuss any potential diet with your doctor before starting. As for me, my doctor told me to lose 20 pounds when he first put me on these blood pressure meds. So I am just about 5 years late in following his advice.

Better late than never?

9 thoughts on “How I Lost Twenty Pounds

  1. CONGRATULATIONS! on finally losing the weight! {SMILE}

    One thing Dad insists on is weighing when you first get up in the morning, before you eat or drink anything. He claims that the time when weight varies the least, as well as when it’s liable to be lowest in the 24-hour period. It’s that second promise that keeps me cooperative on this… {wink, Smile}

    Also, until I got on the diuretic – which is supposed to make me lose water I’m retaining – I was usually 1-3 pounds heavier just before my period as I was just after it began. So if it’s coming soon, try again when it’s come for a mood-lifter. {wink, Smile}

    I’m glad you aren’t taking it too fast. I’ve been told that anything you lose over 2 pounds a week is water anyway. That’s great if you’re retaining water, but usually when folks are losing weight, they want to lose more than that. {Smile}

    A.E.B.

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    • Yes, I agree with your dad. To weigh in at any other time of day is just going to be discouraging.

      It sounds like you had a real problem with swelling. For some reason, I don’t retain water very often. I didn’t even swell when I was pregnant. I took a diuretic for a few weeks when they were trying to figure out which blood pressure med to use on me, and it made me dizzy. So I guess I just didn’t retain enough water for it to be effective.

      Thanks!

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      • Yes, I think Dad has a good point there. {Smile}

        I’m glad you don’t have trouble with retaining water. It can get really mean when it gets out of control. The right diuretic helps a lot, at least in my case. The trick was getting a doctor to find the right one. {Smile}

        You’re welcome. Keep up the good work. It wounds like you’re doing very well. {SMILE}

        A.E.B.

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  2. I like your last piece of advice -to only record losses. I think that applies to other things too. I get so discouraged when I plan out what to do with my day and only meet half the list. If I could make myself only record what I accomplished instead of beating myself up over what I didn’t get done I’d be better off -but that’s harder to say than to do. :s.

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    • I often give myself the entire week to finish things, especially at work. Of course, a lot of times, I am waiting on other people to finish things or make decisions. But when I set a deadline, I’m pretty good about meeting them. When other people set them for me–not so much.

      Just remember not everything is in your control. Sometimes, you just can’t get it all done.

      Shortly after I wrote that post I had one of those two-week weigh-ins. I hope I’m beyond that, now. It did help that I cut another hundred calories–which is also hard!

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