As of this morning, I'm pleased to announce that I've lost 50 pounds and have 16 to go. There's no magic formula for this, no special diet, no pills. It's simply a matter of math and consistency.
The math part is that if you expend more calories than you're consuming, you will lose weight. This is where the MyFitnessPal app has been so useful. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a simple, straightforward way to keep track of their eating habits. You start off by inputting your age, your general activity level, how much you weigh, how much you want to weigh, and how much weight you'd like to lose every week. (It caps off at 2 pounds per week, and you can also set it for weight maintenance or weight gain.) It starts off each new day by letting you know how many calories you can consume. You add your meals and snacks as you go, and it also factors in your exercise. Once I've factored in an hour of cranking away on the stationary bike, it's satisfying to see 700 more calories added to my daily intake!
For me, using MyFitnessPal isn't so much about the exact numbers as it is about monitoring my own eating habits. As long as I'm eating healthy foods and staying in the ballpark, I'm losing weight.
Consistency is king! MyFitnessPal helps a lot with my food consumption, but I also have to make sure that I exercise on a regular basis. I hop on my stationary bike 6 times a week. I usually pedal an hour a day (yay for Netflix), but if I don't have the time, I'll settle for as few as 30 minutes. As long as I'm doing something 6 days a week, I'm making progress. In addition to the cardio, I'm also doing some basic strength training every other day…nothing fancy…crunches, planks, push-ups, curls, and lateral dumbbell raises. My legs get plenty of workout on the bike. I've added strength training partly out of vanity and partly for its extra calorie burning effects. Vanity…When I've melted away my excess fat, I'd like to have a few manly muscles to show for it. Calorie burning…Having extra muscle boosts your metabolism. Your body requires extra calories to maintain muscle mass, and simply carrying around more muscle is a big help in maintaining a healthy body weight.
As I get closer to my target weight, I'm gradually slowing down the weight loss. I've already begun to allow a few more calories each day. When I have about 10 more pounds to go, I'll allow a few more. I'm trying to come in for a soft landing. I've lost significant amounts of weight before, but one mistake I made was that once I hit my target weight, I convinced myself that I could eat whatever I wanted since I was exercising so much. Wrong! This time, I'm gradually increasing my food intake so that, by the time I've reached my goal, I'll already be consuming my calories at a normal, sustainable level. There won't be any sudden switch from weight loss to maintenance mode. That's the plan, anyway. As I've stated before, I want this to be the LAST time I ever have to lose such a significant amount of weight. After this go round, I want to keep it on an even keel.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.