Eat Less and Move More
The title is one tip that this week’s featured member, Beltiebandit would like to share with you. Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis – a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, he’s using Calorie Count not only to lose weight but also to gain more muscle strength. Currently he has lost 55lbs, which is halfway to his goal weight.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
My motivation to lose weight is mostly medical. I have Multiple Sclerosis, and so far, have made it through the relapsing/remitting stage of the disease, although I had to leave the workforce. The secondary phase of the disease can be relatively benign, or it can be extremely progressive. I could lose my sight, the use of parts, or even most of my motor functions, and also have cognitive issues. Statistically, I am more likely to have progressive issues than not. I have seen many inspirational stories of athletes, people in the armed services, and others where the loss of limbs, or paralysis had been overcome with near miraculos results. I have never seen or heard the story where a fat guy landed in a wheelchair, and then lost 100 pounds and regained the use of his legs. I know I have to lose the weight, gain the muscle strength and discipline BEFORE I had problems, or I wouldn’t even be strong enough to do the Physical Therapy I would need in order to even have a chance at overcoming it.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I have tried several “diets”, and had even lost a lot of weight before. Mostly it was low-fat diets with exercise 2-4 times each week. Never before had I stayed on the diet/fitness program longer than six to nine months.
3. Please describe how you reached your weight loss goal. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude? Did you implement any other strategies besides Calorie Count? What was the most important change?
I have not yet reached my goal weight, but I have passed the halfway point, and I am not at a point where I could withstand the rigors of Physical Therapy should my MS relapse, and I am in better health than before. I have been able to discipline myself to complete the exercise portion, which I do daily, six days per week. I still struggle a little with the diet portion, although nowhere near as poorly as I have struggled in the past. I am more conscious of the needs of my body now.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
Before I left the workforce, I had developed an appreciation for statistic’s or metrics as a means to measure innovation, quality and efficiency. By applying these same principles to my Diet/Fitness program, I get better results. CC helps me do that in several areas such as logging the exact foods that I consume, the calories that I burn, and of course my weight. I am able to see the effect of my performance against the bright light of critical measures.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
I did, and still do, struggle with eating the right amounts of food. I enjoy many things that are just not good for me. I have more success on the workout side of my program, so when I eat too heavy on a day, I try to do more than normal to burn off part of the extra. This strategy would not be possible if I did not have the statistics to know how badly I was off for the day.
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
I saw results after about three to four months, but when you are as big as I was, results are more noticeable. The first year, I tried to use a six-month on, six-month off approach, taking the fair weather months off. My rationale was that I would be more active during those months, and I could just loosely monitor my food intake. As you can see by my weight loss history, I gained back half of what I had lost. So during the second year I am continuing without taking any “breaks”.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
By continuing the program every day, even if I mess up in the morning. I remind myself that the problem, for me, is simple and requires a simple strategy. My strategy, which I call E.L.M.O. is simply to Eat Less & Move More!
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
I am more active now, and I feel better about how I look. I know that I will be better equipped to handle whatever my MS throws at me, and even if I still end up with mobility challenges, I will be stronger, lighter and require less assistance then I would have two years ago.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I have been struggling to get past a period where my weight-loss has leveled off, but I am still reducing my size. I started the resistance training recently, and I suspect that I am building muscle tone while losing fat, which is slowing my total weight loss down. I plan to continue to plow through this phase of my program, and continue at a slower pace. I will just have to reset my expectations.
10. What tips do you have for other dieters?
- Be honest with yourself. I was fat, physically weak, and willing to stay that way. That is why my actions spoke much more loudly than excuses.
- Keep good records of anything you are capable of tracking. Calories consumed, exercise, weight. Keep them daily, but try to only review them maybe weekly, but you can review them daily also. Just do not let them get you discouraged. It is GOOD if they show your bad habits.
- Try not to over think your program. Come up with a set routine, one that you can do daily, then do it. Increase the duration or intensity as you are able to handle it. Find ways to eat food you like, but still have a daily deficit on calories.
- Don’t be afraid to go public with your goals, and your progress. I post my exercise routine on Facebook every day, and find that it keeps me honest. Most of my friends put up with the daily posts, and some encourage me on.
- Most of all, be very clear about what your motivations are. If you have a good understanding of this, the entire process becomes more focused. I am doing this for three very simple reasons. I need to 1) weigh less, and 2) be stronger, so that I can 3) be prepared for physical challenges from MS without burdening my family any more than necessary.