I want to make this very clear. I was a food addict. There wasn’t one particular food I was “addicted” to but it was more about the love of eating. The euphoria of being extremely full. The taste of certain foods like pasta, brownies, salt and sugar. I lived to eat. I would plan days, events, celebrations all around food. So when I decided to lose weight I knew it was going to be a war. My habits had become so bad that I was literally addicted to the foods I was eating.
So, just like any other addict my approach was harsh but simple. I needed to quit COLD TURKEY. No: Mountain Dew, refined sugar, complex carbohydrates, Sweet Tea, foods with high sodium, and certainly no more greasy pizza, fast food or Chinese take out. This might seem a little over board, but I knew I needed to change my habits or better yet, change my mindset.
The mind is extremely powerful. Learn to control it and you can conquer anything.
I fully prepared to integrate some of these foods back into my diet at some point but in moderation. I can tell you I haven’t had a Mountain Dew in over 14 months (remember I use to drink 2-3 20 oz bottles a day) and at this point I don’t want one. Even after a year and 80 lbs I still don’t eat pasta all that much, I maybe drink a couple of glasses of milk a week and I maybe have one fast food meal a month, if that. I literally detoxed from food. I have no regrets and no plan on going back.
So how did I start out?
Well, first off I drank nothing but water. At least 64 oz a day. This was probably the hardest thing to do. Water has no flavor, it doesn’t add anything to the foods we eat. But I did my research and found that nothing…and I mean nothing is more important than drinking water. Yes it was hard to adjust at first but now I LOVE IT.
I do allow myself two cups of coffee every morning. Coffee has great antioxidants and is a known metabolism jump starter. A great substitute for coffee would be Green Tea. Some might be tempted to drink Diet soda. After all, its diet. NO!!!!! This is a terrible idea. Your body needs water not chemically sweetened, caffeine filled, over processed crap. I can not stress this enough. WATER IS THE KEY TO GOOD HEALTH. You don’t need diet coke…you just want it.
My next step was to cut my sodium intake by 2/3’s. I was getting about 4,000 mg’s a day before. I cut that down to about 1,400. Combine cutting back on sodium and drinking water and I was flushing the fat right out of my body.
Lastly, the secret to my success was one I found completely by surprise. It was the website www.livestrong.com. My habits were so bad I needed something to keep me accountable. Developed by Lance Armstrong, I used this site daily to track my calorie intake. I ate about 1,500 calories a day to start off. Admittedly, that was very low and not healthy. But as I lost more weight I up’d my calories to about 2,000. (this was a learning process) I learned quickly it wasn’t enough to count calories but ensure those calories were coming from the right sources. The most important revelation was that I needed fat, carbs, sodium, and even the dreaded Cholesterol in my diet. Many “diets” warn against eating them which is just plain dumb. Your body needs each of these nutrients to function properly. Of course, moderation is the key but they are essential for a healthy lifestyle.
Remember I want to be a healthy person. Not just some guy who lost weight. Sure I could reduce my calories, eat yogurt 4 times a day, get some fiber and drink water to lose weight. That would work. But does that create a healthy lifestyle or is it just a means to an end? If you want to be successful and keep the weight off for a lifetime, you have to learn to eat right. The people who take a pill, starve themselves or worse almost always gain the weight back.
So my nutritional plan was simple. Eat less and eat right. That’s it. No magic pill just hard work and self-discipline. I ate my carbs/ fiber early for breakfast. 2-3 snacks a day. Lunch was protein, veggie and maybe a carb. Dinner was typically just protein and veg. There was a lot of trial and error. Adjustments and learning what not to do. But I feel by doing my research and attacking this like it was a research project, I set myself up for long-term success not just short term gains..
If you have any questions, concerns, comment or you just plain disagree feel free to leave them in the comment section below.