It’s a strange irony of life. When you are around someone all the time, day in and day out, sometimes little things go unnoticed. Actually, sometimes big things go unnoticed. I didn’t notice that over many years, my husband put on a significant amount of weight. The picture below is exactly two years ago.
Regardless of how it happened, it happened and it happens to a lot of people. The weight slowly creeps up, almost unknowingly. The clothes get a little tighter, so you buy one size up and in the course of 10 years, you’ve gone up 6 pant sizes. Yikes.
I knew he was losing weight. He no longer has any clothes that fit and can I say it? He looks damn good. His face is visibly thinner and muscles are more defined. He’s also happier and more self-confident. The picture below is from 2 months ago.
The questions have started coming. People who haven’t seen him in a while are shocked at his transformation, they are in disbelief at how he looks. Everyone wants to know – how did he do it?
It didn’t happen overnight. There were no magic supplements or pills. He didn’t portion out his food in special colorful containers or follow any special gimmicky diet. He ate healthy and exercised. For 8 months he stayed on track with his goal. Not a goal for weight loss, but to be healthy again. There was never a weight loss goal, no number to assign to himself to achieve success. He simply wanted to feel better in his own skin – to feel healthy again and get back to a level of physical fitness that he could be proud of.
If you are curious as to the changes he made, read on:
- He stopped snacking excessively at night. We don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house, but even seemingly healthy food can add up to unneeded calories when eaten in excess. The culprit? Dried fruit. He would pound down some dried fruit at night. Any nighttime snacking changed to air popped popcorn or an apple with sparkling water.
- Little to no alcohol. Henry is not a huge drinker in the first place, but when we lived in Germany, Henry would routinely have a beer every night. It’s Germany, it’s almost sacrilegious not to partake. Those calories can add up fast and pack on the pounds without fail if there is not compensatory exercise working to take it off. Henry rarely drinks during the week and has maybe one or two drinks on the weekends, when with friends. Drinking is purely a social activity and not a habit.
- He exercised…a lot. Henry found a co-worker that pushed him hard 8 months ago and he never looked back. They ran, swam, and biked. At first, it was every other morning, then up to 5-6 days/week. The excuse of not having time stopped being an excuse. I always say that anyone will make time for the things that are important. Getting physically fit again was important. Early morning wake-ups were the norm and joining our two girls at swim practice became routine. No moment in the day was wasted.
- He started showing more attention to nutrition. Oddly enough, living with a dietitian may actually repel someone from eating healthy…until you are committed to change. Most people think that dietitians are preachy and that we are really want you to live a miserable life void of everything that tastes good. Henry finally started practicing what he has heard for years. Eat in moderation.
He began with a good solid start to the day with breakfast. Sometimes it’s a grab and go on the way to work. Most mornings start out with a protein shake/bar, yogurt and a piece of fruit. Drinks consist of black coffee and water. No soda, no sugar sweetened drinks, no sweet tea. Dessert was purposeful. There was no grabbing a candy bar for an afternoon snack at work. Dessert was reserved for special occasions and there was no guilt.
As a general rule in our family, we don’t eat out a lot. Henry definitely lived by this rule. No more going out for lunches unless there is a good reason, such as a going away lunch or mandatory fun. Why is this important? Consistently eating out at restaurants bring larger than normal portion sizes, large amounts of sodium, and low intakes of fiber. All of which can cause havoc on healthy eating goals.
So, what can you do to lose a large amount of weight? Well, I can tell you one thing. You don’t need a special diet that tells you to cut out healthy foods like fruits and whole grains. You don’t need a gimmick, but you do need to make a change. Small changes turn into big changes and in a few months, people around you will start to ask you what you did to lose weight and the compliments will overflow.
- You must make diet changes.
Limit eating away from home. If you work, take a lunch from home.
Increase fruits and vegetables in the diet
Reduce portion sizes
Reduce added sugars everyday
- You must exercise
Do something. Any physical activity is better than being sedentary. Be active for at least 60 minutes every day. Three of those days should be moderate to vigorous exercise and 2 of those days should incorporate strength training
I guess it probably helps Henry a little to live with someone who cares about cooking healthy meals. I don’t buy a crazy amount of junk food, or soda, and I don’t drink alcohol in excess. One of the keys in achieving a healthy lifestyle is to surround yourself with supportive people who help enhance your goals, wishes, and desires, instead of trying to sabotage them. Surround yourself with positive friends and family and your goals will go even further.
If you want to lose weight, but you don’t think you can do it alone, seek out the help of a dietitian or nutrition coach. Guidance and accountability are sometimes necessary to stay on track.
If you are local to me, I would love to work with you to achieve your weight loss goals or just get back on a healthy track. It’s never too late and it is definitely possible.