I hit my first major goal today, a healthy BMI of 24.8. It’s been a little over 3 months and I’ve lost 20kg. This averages out to 1.4kg per week which is pretty fast. I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned.
When I set out to do this I decided I wasn’t going to ban any food, I wanted to try and develop a healthy relationship with unhealthy food. I’m in two minds as to whether I’ve done that. On one hand, yes I now eat these foods in healthy portions, but I still crave them and need to watch myself. I did a test just after my son’s birthday called “30 Days of Cake” where I cut up the leftover cake and had a little every night as long as I was within my caloric limit. Still lost weight.
I lost weight too quickly, it’s hard not to obsess over something like this. You’re making a big change in your life and getting results tends to feed the obsession. I worried about this and visited my doctor who said I was fine as long as I didn’t lose any faster than I already was.
Still, I can feel the an unhealthy attitude towards food beginning. I would refuse things because “I just wanted to be X weight by this date” when I shouldn’t have been setting time based goals. The latest case was that I wanted to tell my family at Christmas that I was a healthy weight. As a result I’ve decided that my final goal will be to sit no lower the middle of my Healthy BMI range but I’m considering setting an additional goal of “Lose no more than 0.5 kg per week” to try to keep myself in check.
Please consider your relationship with food in all of this as reaching my goal is a little overshadowed with what I did to my food relationship to get here.
How My Food Changed
At the start there wasn’t a lot of changes other than portions. I avoided tracking macros or doing anything above CICO out of fear of falling off the plan due to complexity. This worked and I lost weight. However I found myself getting hungry so I started to look at my calorie limit like a budget, how could I get as much food as possible for my calories?
Almost straight away snacks went from biscuits to strawberries and blueberries as I could eat double the amount for the same calories, I could also play with portions. Lunch went from a cheese sandwich to a single slice of un-buttered toast with reduced sugar baked beans. Eventually the slice of toast went too and was replaced with a potato, you can eat the same amount of calories in 90g of potato for 30g bread (two slices). Sometimes I replace the baked beans with grated cheese if I’m feeling like being a little indulgent.
In this manner I was driven towards healthier eating by hunger, I needed more filling food and the only way to get there was to take some of my calories and make sure they were spent on wholesome food that was filling. I started to look at what was in my food, how much of it I was allowed and what I would get for my budget.
I still eat unhealthy food there’s just less of it, or I have it less often. Packets of biscuits would last for weeks, not days. There were no cheat days because I would allow myself to have that stuff as long as I could fit it into CICO. There were a few days where I went over as it was a special night out or a celebration. I just got back on it the next day and things continued as normal.
I would groan whenever someone gave me a gift of chocolate because it would take forever to go through it. I’ve decided that if everyone ate confectionery at the recommended portions the companies making them would probably go out of business.
I didn’t plan on exercising because I’m not really an active person, I don’t like playing or watching sport. However after I dropped the first 10kg I felt like moving more and took up Couch to 5K, which I had done back in 2003. I’m on week 6 and ran 3km yesterday, that felt pretty good. I do Yoga on my off days and have been considering body-weight exercise. I don’t really factor this into my food intake yet.
I feel pretty good at the moment. I feel sharper and I can move a lot more easily than I used to, I went from a size 38 jeans to a size 34. T-shirts dropped from extra large to large. I put all my old clothes in a box in the garage with a note on top telling me that if I ever have to open this I need to sort myself out. I spend a lot of time feeling my stomach with my hand because it’s been a while since it’s been this flat. It must look weird when people catch me doing it.
I’m about 2cm above a healthy waist circumference for diabetes risk and I’d like to get there but I know there’s pretty much nothing I can do other than burn fat and build muscle so it’s just a matter of staying the course.
I want to get down to the middle of my healthy BMI range and from there I plan to switch to maintaining and try to figure out what a healthy diet looks like there. I switched my app to maintain this morning just to see what would happen and I went from a 6500 kJ budget to 9000 kJ. I laughed as I had no idea what to spend the rest of the calories on. It seems that getting used to eating at maintenance might take as much practice as learning how to eat at a deficit.