This is the third update for my Tech Outbound Ship Shape Challenge. If you are catching up, the challenge is to lose 56 pounds of unhealthy body mass with an additional 4 pounds tied to a side bet with Kevin Kline. I started the beginning of March, and I now have about 2 months left to reach the goal. In my last update I reported a total loss of 34 pounds. Here is what happened in May.
May turned out to be an excellent challenge month. Based on the pace of things in April, and my strength training I decided to increase my daily calorie intake. It seems to be dialed in now. I shed an additional 14 pounds in May for a total of 48 pounds since March.
I'm extremely excited about these results, but May was the hardest month since the beginning. The process is becoming routine, and some of the rituals and diet limitations are starting to wear on my nerves. I miss out on things in the name of avoiding temptation, and there is some friction at home being the only one on a strict plan.
My commitment is still strong, but I am looking forward to going into maintenance mode instead of loss mode for a while.
I keep my mind thinking forward, and consider how far I've come already. It keeps me on course. 12 pounds to go – There's no way I can relent when I am this close, but I am definitely starting to consider the adjustments to make that transition into maintaining.
Many have asked for details on the changes I've made to get things moving in the right direction. I thought I would share it here, so maybe it can benefit others.
Before you change anything see a doctor, and ask them to refer you to a reputable nutritionist. Armed with a specific panel of tests from your physician the nutritionist will be able to help you determine the balance of macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs) to plan for.
Anything you read or hear from a friend should be suspect, because those results are not YOUR results. You are a special snowflake just like everyone else in the world, and your body will not be guaranteed to respond exactly the same way mine does.
Don't worry about expense for this. It's a whole lot cheaper than the medication and doctors you'll be paying for later if you aren't living clean.
In short, don't just do what I do. I don't think any of it is bad, but find out what is going to work best for you specifically.
My protein requirement borders on insane. I need nearly 300 grams per day. I discovered a supplement called collagen peptide. If you are vegan you will want to skip this one, because the jury is out on the non-animal based versions.
I have 2 servings of this powder in a cup of coffee every morning. It mixes with anything, tastes like nothing, smells like nothing, and every single calorie in it is from protein.
Other than this, I have no food until after noon each day – even on weekends and holidays.
I log everything I eat. If I bite it, I write it. This has several benefits for me.
Deep inside, I think I'll always be software developer, which means documenting things feels like it is slowing me down. The very idea of having to document eating something makes me avoid snacking and unplanned meals.
Knowing at all times what I've put into my body so far for the day helps me make wise choices. For example, I went out for Mexican food at lunch yesterday. I checked my log when I got home and had to skip dinner. Sure, I was hungry, but rules are rules. Without that log, I promise I would have overeaten for the day.
Low carb or calorie counting? I hear that one nearly every week. The answer is so obvious, and I don't understand why it's still a debate.
Do both! You are not losing without a calorie defecit, and if carbs are a problem for you, then limit them appropriately. Carbs are definitely a problem for me, and I limit them to 100 each day.
I do not differentiate between different kinds of carbs, except for processed sugar (including sugar that used to be corn). Processed sugar is poison. Period.
I try to stay under 1800 calories. When I started it was 2100. Don't forget that as you lose, your calorie requirements go down. Move your daily goals down as well to keep losing.
Do something that builds muscle. I don't care what it is. I like full body power-lifts, but anything that makes you have bigger muscles is good. The muscle simply helps you burn more all day long.
If you need to lose a lot of weight, like me, don't worry about your beach body. Trying to sculpt your abs, biceps, or butt is the least of your concerns right now. Just do anything that gets you more muscle.
Lastly, commit! Tell everyone what you're doing. Put as much accountability in place as possible. Block every exit. Crush any excuse. It's hard, but it makes your life better.
Make sure the people close to you know what you're doing, because it will cause noticable changes in your behavior, your availability, your mood, and your social activity.
If you don't talk to your friends, colleagues, and loved ones about it – they are going to think you are angry, depressed, or crazy. This actually happened to me. Sadly, many people in my life don't follow technology and software blogs – and I had some explaining/apologizing to do.
That is really it. I do take multivitamins, and a fiber supplement, but it is really a simple plan. Simple to understand, not so easy to follow. When you discover how many carbs come from eating a simple ham and cheese sandwich, you'll understand how tough meal planning can be. If you like to cook (I don't), you've won half the battle though!
Until next time,