Victory! Analytical Dieting Success

On June 28, 2012 I reached my weight loss goal! Meeting this goal meant I had dropped by body weight by 12% and reduce my body fat by 29%. And I’m still this weight today almost a month later. Details on how I did this can be found in in my other article Analytical Dieting but I just want to highlight some final numbers as it’s always about what we can measure. Here is what my weight loss looked like over these 126 days:

As you can see a lot of ups and downs but there is a long term trend, just like the stock market. In fact losting weight is a lot like personal finance and it’s easy to look at the short term but you have to stay focused on the long term. Here are some other highlights of my change in those 126 days:

As far as weight, I am only 89.9% of the man I used to be! Woot! I went from 187 pounds down to 166.2 pounds which is a change of 20.8 pounds. Now, ideal weight is a hard measurement to make and it will be different for everyone. If you want to find your own ideal weight forget the internet and do what I did to find mine which is to work with your general practice physician to determined where you should be. For me, we settled on between 162 and 167 as the ideal for my body type, age, and activity level. One other measurement of interest is that I did drop 3 inches off my waist which means nothing I own fits me anymore.

Moving on to percent body fat, my starting body fat was 22.4% and after this quest it now sits at 16.0%. This means of the 20.8 pounds I lost, 15.3 pounds, or 73.5% of my weight loss, was fat. Unfortunately this is the one goal I didn’t meet as I was targeting a body fat percentage of  less than 14%. The reason why I didn’t lose more fat is simple, I didn’t exercise at all during these 126 days. So now I’ll be adding some weight lifting (the best way to convert fat in to other tissue) and getting that in line.

The last key measure was my Body Mass Index (BMI). Starting out I was at a BMI of 25 which put me ever-so-slightly in the overweight category. By the time this experiment was done my new BMI was 22.5 which is solidly in the normal range.

One last thing. I know I can get on a rant sometimes but you can do this too and the secret is simple! During this time I did read a lot on healthy living and on weight loss and it comes down to two major factors in life that shape our bodies. A lack of understanding of what even constitutes good diet and exercise, common sense is so wrong, challenge it! Also having the psychological control to resisting the urge to do things we know are bad, it does take willpower and strength. If you want to know more, I found a great video during this time that sums this all up nicely. If you can spend 60 minutes do yourself a favor and check it out and watch all 6 ten minute segments.

Analytical Dieting

So two months ago I changed the way I ate, worked, and exercised. Simply put, I started paying attention to what I ate and how much physical activity I expended. This change was brought on by a visit to my doctor and his not so subtle way of telling me that the numbers don’t lie, you’re overweight! Right on the line, I indeed had a BMI of 25 which put me in the overweight category.

So this is a progress report of sorts and we’ll focus on the numbers since the numbers started this whole journey and numbers is how I am succeeding.

In the first two months, I have lost 13 pounds (5.9kg). To track my progress and get this information I record my weight everyday, first thing in the morning. As you can see it is an up and down journey by the trend is what is important not the daily successes or failures.

This weight loss is result of my activities and what led to this was methodical tracking of everything I ate. To set my baseline I crunched some numbers online and I set myself a goal of 1537 net calories a day. Net calories are important as this is what it would take for me to just live my normal day. If I exercise in any fashion I get to add calories to this total to make up for the extra energy expended. So this is my last two months of eating by weekly intake.

As the chart shows, I often have ended the day or week eating less than my net calorie total but this eating less is how you end up losing weight. How much is good but what you eat is also important. So to track this goal not only did I log how what I ate and how many calories, I also logged the carlorie distribution from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. As you can see, like more Americas, I do have a high carbohydrate diet. It must be the beer! The top five foods I’ve logged were tea, Fiber One bar, beer, onions, and chicken breast.

The other side of the equation is the extra energy expended. Here is my exercise log from the past two months. This is everything I’ve done the past two months other than living. Everything here is the result of physical activity and represent extra calories I can consume. The top five activities I’ve logged were walking, yard work, house cleaning, carpentry, and hiking.

So all this diligent data collection on myself has allowed me to know exactly how many calories I need to eat and when to stop in order to lose weight. Today my BMI is 23.8 and falling. I don’t record my percent body fat every day but when I started it was 22.4% and today is was 18.2%. My goal is 167 pounds (76 kg) and given the current trend I’m on I should be reaching that in about 4 more weeks!

It’s said that in order to make any change you need to be able to measure that change. By tracking my eating, exercise, and weight loss I have enabled myself to make better decisions to direct myself and my health.