I lost 36 kg (80 lb) eating whatever I most wanted within my calorie limit. No dieting. And I’ve kept the weight off for over 2 years so far the same way.
Most people fail at weight loss because they try to follow a restrictive diet. They deprive themselves of things they love, and they think being healthy means one meal of kale and boiled chicken a day. Then they wonder why they crash and burn and binge it all back.
I stuck to my calorie limit and lost the weight in 12 months, and I had chocolate and alcohol almost every day. I would never have lasted that long otherwise.
The Healthy Food Pyramid allows for 20% of treats. Treats are still protein, fats, and carbohydrates, the building blocks of nutrition.
I used the free app, My Fitness Pal (MFP), to keep track of my calorie intake.
I also used a Fitbit watch to sync my exercise calories to MFP (I now use a Garmin), and those calories allowed me to eat more while still eating less calories than I burned. You set your MFP goal to lose weight, and you stick to those net calories, and any exercises you do are bonus yummy calories to fuel your exercise.
MFP is an amazing resource. It’s got a massive worldwide database of nutritional information on foods – raw, cooked, and purchased. It has a Community – multiple forums where I have made friends, learned from successful people, and participated in fascinating discussions on general health, weight loss, fitness, and food.
To use the MFP app, you enter in your height, weight, and age, and how much you want to lose per week, and it tells you how many calories or kilojoules you need to eat daily to achieve your goal.
You might be thinking, “But counting calories sounds so time-consuming!” No, it only takes a couple of minutes per day. 3 minutes less time spent scrolling on Facebook, yay! MFP remembers your most recent entries, so your favourites are easy to find. You can also scan food barcodes for quick data entry.
You don’t have to spend hours preparing smoothies for every meal (unless you like doing that), or pay thousands of dollars for someone to tell you to eat things you hate. MFP is free, and you can eat whatever foods keep you satisfied!
It’s a simple concept, though there are lots of questions people ask. MFP has a noticeable presence of members who debunk the many annoying myths of the fitness industry, and these people have helped me immensely.
The Community has a list of Most Helpful Posts at the top of each forum, which guide you through the process, and I highly recommend people read them. I’m proud that a few of my posts also made it onto lists.
I’m honest with myself about what I eat. I choose what I enjoy, and log it accurately, and my MFP calorie limit does the rest.
I look at my calorie limit like my bank balance. I need to keep an eye on it, and not spend calories I haven’t earned yet. I don’t need motivation to do it, it’s just a daily habit – like being aware of my bank balance, the news, or the weather. A couple of taps on the phone can help so much.
Better health through technology!