It wasn’t difficult math – consume less, burn more.
Sometimes the hardest things in life are simple… but not easy!
Over the years I halfheartedly tried some dietary changes which usually ended silently when a convenient excuse arose. The determination was real this time, it was “do or die” (literally). On a podcast, I had heard Michael Hyatt mention an app he was using called LoseIt which helped him manage his food and exercise. I found there was a free version for the web and mobile devices, so I created an account to track my intake and outflows. It’s a great tool that provides a composite of your health efforts, and I became a zealot user, it was always in use.
I really didn’t get down to the minutia of tracking every carb, sugar, or salt, but I was tracking the high-level calories in and out.
Of course, I was hungry all-the-time! I found low-calorie foods to help me curb some of my cravings. While the sodium levels probably went too high, I found beef jerky, pickles, and of course veggies could help with the need to chew on something yet keep the calories fairly low. I switched to almond milk. I found a low-calorie bread that didn’t taste like cardboard (which I still eat years later) and had light mayonnaise with thin deli ham or turkey. Cereal was fairly easy to measure and in a large variety and was often used as a meal other than just breakfast. I found that wrapping a quarter of a boiled egg in a slice of 15 calorie thin deli ham was a delightful treat. Pretzels were a lower fat filler. And so on I went, recording everything I consumed. There were no restrictions other than the calorie count had to stay on target.
On the calorie burn-side, I knew I had to get moving in order to burn something more than the basic metabolic rate, so I started with walking. I walked two to three times a day. I walked a few blocks at a time at first, then kept adding distance as time and energy allowed.
After a few weeks of walking, I tried jogging. Here is this overweight late forties “plumpkin” trying to jog around the block. I couldn’t do it! I could barely jog one side of a city block, so I’d keep walking the block until I got the energy to jog a bit more, then continue walking and so on. This seemed to go on forever, but I’m guessing it was less than a month now looking back. When I had the jog-mostly-around-the-block thing under control, I opted to try longer walks.
On the south-side of our community is a 2 mile square around some farmland, this became my new workout course. First to walk it, then to jog between power-poles, and alternate jogging and walking around this square. Again, this took time and repetition, but eventually, I could jog one side of the square (.5 miles) walk one side, jog another, etc. I remember seeing a runner out on a country road beyond the square and wondering if I could ever get strong enough to go beyond this track I had yet to conquer. All in time and all with effort…