Weight-Loss involves a lot of Math and Discipline. Notice that these two factors are what most Americans lack/fear. And with this in mind, think of all of the celebrity endorsements of equipment that will more likely gather dust in your house or of those milk-shakes/prepared meals that will make you spend more money on than actual groceries! Keep in mind that they are getting paid to lose the weight (with huge amounts of money!) whereas all you have is well…none of that. But it can be done on the cheap as long as you can keep in mind how much work it really takes.
The First Part of Discipline: Math and A lot of Digging!
There is no way around it. After loosing 5 lbs so far (no..not in water weight!) I found out why the Dieting Industry is filled with pills, juices, powers, canned foods, prepared meals and support groups. The cheapest way to loose weight lies in your own damn kitchen, but it involves using A LOT OF MATH:
If you are lucky enough to use the FitBit basic free program, you can enter all kinds of common brand-name foods and ingredients you can find in your local supermarket or even at a fast food place. And depending on your weight loss goals, your jaw will drop as you find out how much one “serving” of your favorite food is versus how much you think you can eat. Hence, the use of a food scale that easily converts to ounces, grams, and milliliters will have you cutting your burgers into quarters or tacos in halves before eating any of them. In short, eating out is a pain when restaurants can’t be honest about how much food they serve you or not willing to post their nutritional value. Which is why eating out became sporadic and almost none-existent to us. The hardest part (when away from home) is resisting temptation. This is especially true when you are focused on mentally-draining tasks and you can’t really gauge accurately between wanting to snack or needing to eat due to real hunger. :( So you have to resort to more home cooked meals instead of buying those prepared frozen meals that have more sodium than a bottle of soy sauce.
Home cooked meals are your best aid to healthier eating and weight loss, but once again, it involves A LOT OF MATH and DISCIPLINE! Hell, my cooking has changed from healthy, flavor-heavy cooking to healthy/portion controlled cooking to minimize caloric intake:
It is still daunting for me because I can’t be as liberal with oils or other flavor enhancers unless they have ZERO calories (like spices and vinegar). And once a home cooked meal is made, it has to weighted to know exactly how much of a serving really is, calorie-wise. Writing down every single ingredient of the meal also helps with this tedious process. I call it tedious because after a long-exhausting day, you just want to give into instinct and grab a bowl-full or a plate-full of food, damned the consequences.
The Second Part of Discipline: A Condescending Pedometer
My pedometer, which counts steps, shows how many calories I burn based on age and weight, also likes to remind me when I need to be more active:
If I am standing or sitting too long, the display screen will show the above image within the 2-3 hour period. If more time passes, it will show the image of a dead spider or what looks like a digital turd/rock/bean/whatever it really is. It changes to a happy face after 2 hours in the gym or long-walk on the nearby trail. But the little thing is only happy for about 15 minutes until it goes back to its condescending nature.
The Third Part: Avoid suffering alone!
Since weight loss is mentally and physically taxing, it takes a lot of will power and determination to stay on track and not to cheat (or cheat too much!). This is why paid support groups/weight-loss programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers make a lot of money while offering people help/encouragement/reminders to avoid temptation and re-program one’s eating habits. If you have ever tried dieting alone, one thing that always happens is trying to eat a tiny salad while the person sitting next to you eats a plate full of Chicken Alfredo. The feelings of resentment/temptation can urge you to quit! This is why I am lucky to have Cutie on board with this: if you or your partner wants/needs to loose weight, the only way to succeed is to do so as a team. He helps me with the cooking while I help him stay more active because this journey is hard as hell, which brings to another discovery…
On your least active days, you WILL go hungry else you will go over your caloric consumption.
On days when I hit the gym, then go walking 3-4 miles with Cutie, I can indulge on either more than one serving of dinner or a freaking desert (our favorite has become ice cream sandwiches because they are satisfying and low-caloric). Reason being is that your body works like a furnace: the more it works, the more fuel it needs. If that furnace is not working that hard, that left-over fuel will just sit there, insulating you or be stored for reserves. So in order for Cutie and I not to feel famished, we walk as often as daylight is present, damned the weather. With that being said, you will notice the difference in the weirdest of ways:
When a man looses weight: “Hey my belt is getting looser!”
When a woman looses weight: “Oh crap my boobs just got smaller. Other parts of body are still the same.” :(
Fourth Part: Being realistic
Vanity is not my reason to refrain myself from living towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s being more genetically cursed than anything else. Fear, perhaps is the biggest factor, although illness cannot truly be prevented. Maybe the goal is to have the odds in my favor. But, so what? When you are surrounded by loved ones who are getting closer to death what can you do? Or when you know you will need to be physically able to take care of loved ones when that time comes. Will you be able to handle it well or will you drop dead from a heart attack when life throws an unexpected surprise at you? I want to be able, as anyone should, to respond to a fight/flight response and survive what life throws at me. Because you never really know…