Unbelievable: I Lost 30 Pounds
Gosh darn it, this was not that hard or impossible. I lost 30 pounds without much sweat! However, it took a shock, some time, and patience to get me back to normal. And it can happen to you as well.
Shock & Resolve
During an annual medical in February 2019, a nurse practitioner stated that I was now considered obese. I had just turned 65 years and, at 5′ 10″, measured 224 lbs on that nasty, lying scale.
I did not like being called obese. For most of my younger and mid-age life, I was more of a skinny type. In all honesty, being called obese did hurt the image of my sex appeal and that truly bothered me — even at 65 years of age. That was the shock that helped generate my resolve to not be obese. Since then, I lost 30 pounds.
Yes, resolve. Not just one of many fishy year-end goals. However, I did not resolve to just lose weight, rather, I resolved to not be obese! Some might call that distinction as splitting hair, but it makes a big difference for me.
Here is why: a person resolving to lose weight engages in weight loss behavior and, once having lost enough weight, the person stops the behavior and gains weight again. That type of behavior is temporary by nature, and therefore weak and no good.
My resolve was not to be obese. That is not a behavior, but a bad-ass attitude, a permanent state of mind. Much stronger, and it works wonders for me. Without an attitude to back it up, weight loss behavior is nothing. NOTHING!
Hunger Is Misery And Suffering
I admit it was a bit hard in the beginning. After starting to shun certain foods, I began to freak out a bit: “I am hungry, what else could I eat so as not to be miserable or even starve?” Bakery sections of many a food store beckoned instantly, making me cringe.
Yeah, are we not all entitled to be feeling full and satisfied at all times in this day and age? Why do we have all that food if it is not to be eaten? Must we not eat, eat, and eat? Is it not the new normal?
So, what got me into trouble, I think, was that I had been in the habit of eating too much out of boredom, out of the abundance of accessible foods, out of habit and the sheer pleasure of gluttony or over-indulgence.
I simply consumed too many calories, way more than I burnt each day. Often, I felt bloated. It was kind of mindless behavior that got my body to pile on the pounds day after day around my waist.
Well, I made friends with a feeling of “being a little bit hungry.” It is a good friend of mine now. To hell with that bourgeois herd mentality of having to eat a full plate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is nothing wrong with skipping a meal once in a while, or eating smaller portions to keep feeling “a little bit hungry.”
Obviously, my newly-adopted kind of hunger is pathetic, and nothing compared to what many people experience in poor countries or low-income families. I am not under- or malnourished by all means — I am eating well enough, in spite of having lost 30 pounds.
Here’s How I Lost 30 Pounds
So, what did I do after all to have lost 30 pounds? I quit sugars and enriched flour (all simple carbohydrates) in my meals. That’s all. It took a good year, for sure, and some patience, of course, before the scale read 193 lbs in May 2020. I have been able to maintain this weight ever since.
My weight loss did not happen overnight or in 30 days. No hype here. But I was not on someone’s regimented program; I did not really stress it in a gym; I did not do it for someone else; I did not pay an arm and a leg to someone to coax me into it. I am on a sustainable trajectory.
Basically, I adopted my own version of a Keto or Atkins diet in the first four month to kick-start weight loss. I quit all sugary ice cream. I quit all flavored yogurt (it’s full of added sugar) in favor of the plain type. I replaced my sugary granola breakfast with peanut butter on celery sticks. And I quit most breads, bagels, pastries, pumpkin pies, cookies, pizzas and pasta — all full of simple carbohydrates, that sort of thing.
Unbelievably, after 4 month and some amazing progress (down to 202 lbs in July 2019), this diet, this way of life became really normal to me — so normal that I do not call it a diet anymore. I keep at it, it is just who I am. Instead of carefully counting carbs, I now simply watch my calories and do not worry about carbs as much — together with my new friend A-Little-Bit-Hungry. I shifted from weight loss to weight control.
What I Ate And Eat Now
I do miss fresh-baked bread. Instead of wheat crackers for my cheeses, I break for Wasa’s Sourdough crispbread — pretty low carb and the only “bread” in my pantry. I buy cauliflower crust at Trader Joe’s and make my own pizza. I go with Mission’s versatile and low net-carb tortilla wraps. I grill all kinds of meats and fish — that is protein.
Hardly any hamburger buns for me. Low-carb whole wheat bread might not be so bad after all, but having it in my pantry is too tempting for me. It makes it too easy to just have too many of a calorie-rich snack.
How about fat? No, I do not load up on bacon. 80/20 Angus ground beef for hamburgers (with potato salad or tater tots on the side) is fat enough for me. I love extra-sharp Cheddar cheese on my crispbread, fresh mozzarella cheese with my sliced cucumbers, and all kinds of other cheeses. There is plenty of mayo and sour cream in my tuna salads.
Regarding vegetables, on top of my shopping list are avocados for fiber, spinach and celery. And so are tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, cucumbers and beans. It is amazing how many delicious salads can be made quickly with these goodies. Try spinach, goat cheese, raspberries, avocado, red onions, almond slices, bacon bits and some olive oil and vinegar. Hmmm… I snack on plenty of apples and nuts covered in bittersweet chocolate.
However, after having lost 30 pounds, potatoes (they are surprisingly low carb) are now okay with me, as well as corn tortillas and chips with salsa. I do not feel bloated anymore.
Diets Are Not Necessarily Evil
Some health professionals advocate Keto and Atkins diets, others warn about them. Fine, I was and am not fanatic about them as I do not like high-fat meals. After having lost 30 pounds by leaning on Keto and Atkins — that is instead of living by them, I seem to be able to keep weight at bay. What could be wrong with eliminating added sugars and other simple carbohydrates for an otherwise healthy guy like me. I did not need to do a strict Keto or Atkins diet to lose 30 pounds.
And I still drink a cold beer! Yeah, perhaps one hoppy IPA a day — not more. Often it is a Session IPA cause it has fewer carbs and less alcohol. While wine has calories, a glass of a red has no carbs at all.
A Word About Net Carbs
When shopping for food, I actually count grams of net carbs, which represent the total carbohydrate content of the food minus the fiber content and sugar alcohols (if in the product). Net carbs are the total amount of digestible carbohydrates in a food product or meal. Fiber is not digested, and its carbs are therefore dismissible.
Foods that are low in net carbs such as nutrient-dense vegetables and low glycemic fruits such as berries don’t have a significant impact on my blood sugar and therefore are less likely to interfere with my weight loss.
The idea for me is that by depriving my body of added sugars and simple carbohydrates, my body does not convert unburnt calories to fat and store it around my waist, but instead must resort to burning my stored fat for energy. Well, I am not a nutritional scientist, so please bear with my lay explanation.
What Else Likely Made Me Lose Weight
Well, I do not go out as much anymore for lunch or dinner. Having retired from my career job and all that related stress, I now have more time to cook for myself and my spouse. I prepare no sugar, moderate calorie meals. That means, I also do the shopping and am not defaulting on many a restaurant’s or fast food joint’s high-calorie menu.
Shopping and cooking and doing the dishes are activities that actually burn calories and also take time — enough for me to not feel overly bored. I do watch the labels on the back of food packaging for sugar, carbs and calories. I do not buy anything with high amounts of added sugar, period. Again, I look at net carbs.
As a matter of opinion, there are really good sugar alternatives on the market. My favorite is Whole Earth Sweetener Co.’s with Erythritol, Stevia and Monk Fruit extract. It goes in my home-brewed coffee every morning.
Shopping and cooking are real pleasures and do not add to any stress that would need to be “eaten away.” I appreciate more of what goes into a good meal, all of which seem to lower my appetite and makes me eat less.
Nowadays, I eat for the pleasures of flavor, and not for the bulk to kill my hunger! And I have lost 30 pounds.
What About My Sex Appeal Now
Well, please ask my spouse. I believe that she thinks that I look better. Other people also tell me that I look good, and none of them need to say that as a white lie. And why not, I have lost 30 pounds.
I have come to think that weight loss and weight control are not only beneficial health-wise, but are also part and parcel of maintaining a loving relationship.
I opened my dusty cloth cabinet and dug up my favorite casual jeans from 8 years ago, size 34. Being down from a size 38 waist, they fit me again…
Sugar And Enriched Flours Are Simple Carbohydrates And Evil
More about this evil here. And more about this evil there.
Can You Do It?
I have lost 30 pounds, and so can you. Well, that is if you are generally healthy like me and packed the pounds at some time simply by overeating. If you have diabetes or any other health issues related to obesity, don’t listen to me as I am not a healthcare professional.
Otherwise, get on with ditching at least added sugars FOREVER and lose 30 pounds and keep them off.
I think that the main reason why a low-carb diet is so effective for weight loss is that a reduction in carbs and increased protein intake leads to reduced appetite, making a person eat fewer calories (click the link for calorie calculator) without having to think about it.
I can wholeheartedly attest to that.