Finding the Right Balance
An inactive lifestyle led Ffirestine to be 50 pounds overweight. In July 2009 he joined Calorie Count to lose those last 17 pounds and was amazed at how easy the weight came off. He has been maintaining his weight loss ever since November 2009.
1. What prompted you to begin this weight loss journey? Did you have an “Aha!” moment?
I was a skinny kid until my late 20s, when a desk job and a less active lifestyle started to take its toll. I tracked my weight and waist size for years, hoping that would encourage me to eat less and exercise more. At my heaviest (2008), I was about 50 pounds overweight. I walked and ran on the treadmill a few miles per day as my primary exercise, eventually wearing it out (replaced under warranty!), but not really losing my pot belly.
2. What other “diets” (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
I borrowed my wife’s Weight Watchers materials and “tried” (not very hard) to use the Points system. I also tried “eating healthier” or “less” without really measuring, and saying that tomorrow I would do better.
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?
One of the podcasters I follow started talking about calorie counting a few years ago, and I decided to start using Calorie Count. It was free, and I was familiar with About.com. I also liked the extensive food database.
Right around that time, I switched from all the miles on the treadmill, to workout DVDs which included body weight exercises and light weights. I started with Jillian Michaels, because I knew about her from The Biggest Loser and her radio show/podcast. Then I saw the P90X infomercial, and I became “best friends” with Tony Horton too.
The important point is that I lost the last 15 pounds in three months after joining Calorie Count, and I have maintained my weight since 2009. I am a user of the Food and Activity Logs almost every day.
4. Please describe how Calorie Count was instrumental to your weight loss.
First of all, just knowing how many calories I was eating per day vs my activity level was very helpful. Looking at the breakdown of carbs/protein/fat, I also decided to learn about macronutrient ratios to decide what worked best for me. (Fewer carbs, more protein.) Another benefit of counting calories was that I could figure how to eat as much as possible in a healthy way, and still lose weight, rather than starving myself and hoping for good results.
5. What difficulties did you experience losing weight?
As I said before, I kept a paper log of my weight and waist size for years, hoping it would motivate me to change. I didn’t see any significant changes until I was willing to admit I was not able to eat just anything I wanted anymore. My body just couldn’t handle it in the same way as when I was a kid. The good news is that I have discovered how to eat healthy without feeling like I am “on a diet.”
6. How long did it take you to see results? When did you realize that you were a success?
My highest weight was about 195 lbs, in 2008. I joined Calorie Count about a year later, at 170 lbs, so I was about halfway to my goal. I was amazed to see the quick results from July to November 2009, when I hit my goal weight after losing the last 15-20 lbs, which are supposed to be the toughest.
7. How do you prevent relapse?
I use the Calorie Count Food Log and Activity Log most days. There are exceptions, if I know it’s been a high calorie day (holidays or vacations, for example), but in general I use Calorie Count to keep me on track and keep a record of my eating habits.
8. How has your life changed now that you’ve lost weight?
My clothes fit better, of course. I can keep up with my kids (and even outrun them, if I want!). I have developed an interest in health and fitness, including home workouts, nutrition, and weight training. I have a lot of online friends with similar interests, including cast members from fitness DVDs.
9. How long have you maintained your current weight?
I set my goal weight at 155 lbs in 2009. I have been between 150 and 162 lbs since then, as I have been working on gaining muscle. Currently I am back around that 155 lb mark.
10. What tips do you have for other dieters?
- Keep track of what you eat, even if it with a pen and paper. Just knowing you have to write it down will help you make better decisions.
- Find a variety of exercises to do during the week. I really like fitness videos because there are so many options. If that’s not your thing, then walk one day, lift weights another day, take a class, etc. Don’t just sit on an exercise bike or walk on the treadmill.
- Find people who will encourage you and be tough enough to help you reach your goals.
- Encourage and educate yourself with websites like Calorie Count, podcasts, books, etc.
- Help someone else to reach their health and fitness goals. You can motivate each other to succeed.