My Secret to Weight Loss (What a horrible title!)

Easter 2015: dinner
Soba spaghetti, crab salad, and an orange blossom

OK. The secret to weight loss, for me anyway, has been this: Eat less. Exercise.

And now you’re thinking: What a douche?! But, it’s true. There is a little more to it, but it’s basically what I’ve been doing. I’m around 112 lbs today, and was at 116 when I started trying to lose weight a couple of months ago, so I’m losing about 1/2 a pound a week.

So, here’s my thing, and maybe it’ll help you too, so I’ll post it.

I use daily. I log all my foods consumed and exercises completed into it. I make sure to have a calorie deficit every day, or at least 6 out of 7. Along with calories, I watch my macros. That’s fat, carbs, and protein intake. You can easily calculate your suggested intake by going here: IIFYM Calculator.

I took the numbers from IIFYM, and programmed them into my account. I try to live by it. When it comes to fat, I feel OK with monounsaturated fat, and eat 1/2 a small avocado almost daily in a big, crab or ham with lettuce and mushroom, salad, for dinner. I stopped eating rice and bread as often (by choice) and eat poi as my primary starch. Poi, I like, since it’s a complex carbohydrate and is good for you.

If you don’t own a food scale, I highly suggest you get one. This is important since your accuracy on recording what’s eaten will help you out as well.

Exercise: Instead of long, sustained cardio, I try to do HIITS at least 3 or 4 times a week. I only do long cardio (like a 2.5 hour walk) maybe once a week. You can program the cardio machines to do interval training. I tend to program 2-minute intervals and try to max it out on the high-impact intervals.

Weight training is done weekly. I exercise my main muscle groups once a week: chest/back/triceps/biceps/hamstrings/quads/abs/back. I tend to be in the gym lifting weights or using the machines for about 1.5 hours, at least twice a week. One day is upper body, the other is lower. Sometimes I throw in a third day that is abs only. I never do more than two days in a row for strength training. At the end of a weight-lifting session, I will do cardio for AT LEAST 20 minutes. Generally, I like to do 30 minutes of HIITS. I also walk to and from the gym, about 1.5 miles… I walk to school and work (also on campus) just about 6 days a week.

It sounds like a lot, and I suppose it is. But, It’s working for me right now. I don’t know if any of this is helpful to you, but I know weight-loss is easy to mess up with just one too many cheat-days in a week. Oh yeah, a “cheat day” is a day when I don’t worry so much if I go over on calories a bit. However, I don’t go more than 500 calories over my daily usual. In the past, I’d exercise hard and then undo the work by eating too much.

It’s hard, but keep at your diet and try not to cheat since it will only hinder your results. I didn’t see any real improvements for the first three weeks or so… don’t get discouraged. When you do start to see the results, then you’ll feel more enthusiastic. Don’t give up. I should mention… you don’t have to exercise as much as I do, but I think as long as you adhere to the IIFYM macros suggestions, and log everything into MyFitnessPal, you should also be fine. On days when I exercise, I still try to only eat around 1200 calories, and not too much over it. Even though I’ll burn 500 calories at the gym… making it 1200 + 500 = 1700 calories that I can consume, I’ll stop myself at maybe 1200 – 1500. I leave some kind of deficit. I should mention I am short — only 5 feet tall, and a little over, but not quite an inch, so I tend to just input 5′ on these calculators. I don’t know my body fat percentage, and don’t own a tape measure, or I’d have probably tried to calculate that.

I use a tight test-skirt to measure my size, as well as using the scale to weigh myself. The skirt, used to fit me well 2 years ago, but slowly got tighter and tighter. Now, it fits again. Hooray!

I wish you luck if you’re trying to lose weight. It isn’t easy to do, and it takes lots of patience, and at times, multiple tries. Oh, and maintenance! When I went back to school and stopped exercising for almost a year, then went on a super long summer vacation where I ate crazy amounts of food, I went from about 113 – 120. Working back down took a lot of time and energy, and I’m aware it can be easily lost without maintenance. So, it’s easier (imo) if it’s approached as a lifestyle change and not just a crash diet. You probably don’t have cut so many calories when you reach your target weight, but you do have to keep exercising, and not eat crazy amounts above what you currently are. I’d recommend going back to the IIFYM site periodically to calculate what your intake should be for maintenance when you get to your desired state. Good luck!

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