How to Lose 100 Lbs Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking the Bank: Part I – Drinking Your Calories

*sings* Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to staaaaart…

 Heeeeeeey, it’s the New Year!

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The holidays are over and you’ve decided to lose weight. You’ve made a resolution to do so, but you realize: you don’t know how!

Well, unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to lose weight. You may be confused by this statement. “Andrea,” you say, “You’ve lost more than a hundred pounds, surely you can tell me how to lose weight?” Nope, sorry, I can’t. What I *can* do is tell you how *I* lost weight. And no, it’s not the same thing. I am not you, and you are not me. This blog is called A Measured Life, and everything I do is measured. If you’re looking for a Get Thin Quick scheme, then my method of weight loss will not be for you. It took me almost three years to get to my goal weight. I did it my way: without a gym membership, without spending money on a weight loss club, without buying special “diet” food. When people ask me how I did it, I often tell them I lost weight in the most mind-numbingly boring way possible.

This will be a series of entries where I outline my weight loss story and what worked (or didn’t work) for me. I repeat: this is MY story, and just one way to lose those extra pounds. It is by no means the be all end all of weight loss, and it was not EASY. It is, however, pretty simple. These are guidelines, baby steps. Adjust it to your needs: if a step doesn’t apply to you, skip it, or add something that does apply to you. Adaptation, determination and consistency are your tools, use them.

HOW TO LOSE 100 LBS WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND (OR BREAKING THE BANK): PART I – DRINKING YOUR CALORIES

Picture this: October 2011. I was 275 lbs. I was 30 years old with pre-hypertension and nearly pre-diabetic. I was addicted to Coca-Cola and Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Coolattas. I drank my coffee in the morning with half and half, and I often drank an entire 12-cup pot by myself. My doctor was seriously worried about my health, and in truth, so was I. In the past, I had made half-hearted attempts to lose weight: SlimFast shakes, the South Beach Diet, a liquid cleanse that looked AND tasted like bile. I even tried one of those belts that you wear that are supposed to give you a six-pack while sitting on your ass. Many of my friends and family were obese, and it was often mentioned that I “carried it well”. Hell, even the medical assistants at the doctors office were often surprised by my weight. But that didn’t change the fact that I was, indeed, morbidly obese. *insert music from the shower scene of Psycho here*

Black Friday, 2011.
Black Friday, 2011.

Ugh.

Well, I knew three things:

  1. I had a tight budget.
  2. I was lazy. (I stand by this fact, despite numerous protests from friends.)
  3. I didn’t want to deprive myself.

So I decided to start small by cutting out calorie-laden drinks. An attempt to cold turkey Coca-Cola yielded nothing but agonizing headaches. (Note: do NOT cold turkey caffeinated soda, it will cause you to shake your fist at the sky and then groan in pain and go lie down because it huuuurts, it huuuurts!) So once again, I decided to start small, and I replaced one 12 oz. can of Coke a day with an equivalent amount of plain tap water. (For the record, a 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola Classic has 140 calories.) Each week, I cut back yet another Coke until I no longer drank any soda on a regular basis. (I drank a LOT of Coke.) Phasing out Coolattas was easier, as drinking a frozen beverage in the middle of winter is not my idea of a good time, plus, at $4+ apiece, they were expensive. I still drank my morning coffee, but over time I replaced sugar and half and half with agave and almond milk.

December 2014 - A happier, healthier me!
December 2014 – A happier, healthier me!

This is the ONLY STEP I took towards a healthier me for 6 months. That’s it. So what happened in that 6 month period of making one tiny change?

I lost 23 pounds. TWENTY-THREE POUNDS. Think about it: a pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories. That’s 80,500 calories I didn’t consume in that 6 month period. If those calories were just from my Coca-Cola consumption alone, that’s 575 cans of Coke I didn’t drink. If you assume each of those months has an average of 30 days, which makes a 6 month period approximately 180 days, that’s 3.19 Cokes a day. A DAY. That’s 447 calories I was consuming in liquid form alone. Considering the average woman should be consuming 2,000 calories a day according to the FDA, that’s nearly a quarter of my daily requirement of calories that is nutritionally void.

Note: Coke was my caloric liquid of choice. There are millions of caloric beverages out there that are drunk on a daily basis without the drinker even considering how many calories are involved. You go right ahead and check Google for the calories in a Starbucks Frappuccino, I’ll wait. Yup. A Grande Mocha Frappuccino will set you back 410 calories. That’s almost what you should be consuming for an entire meal. In the years since, I’ve cut my liquid calories down to fewer than 50 a day on average, and most of that is in the form of the unsweetened coconut milk I use in my coffee.

So think about it: how many calories do you drink on a regular basis, and how many can you avoid in the new year?

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19 comments

  1. Wow. When you do the math those calories really do add up. I don’t drink regular coke but I’m trying to cut diet soda out too because even though it doesn’t add calories its still not good for you. Instead of drinking one a day I’m not drinking only 1-2 a week but like you said, small steps. What you did over the three years is amazing.

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    • Thanks, Susan! I still occasionally drink a diet soda here and there, in fits and spurts. But I don’t buy them and keep them in the house anymore. In fact, when people come over I’m sort of embarrassed when I offer them something to drink, because I usually only have water and coconut milk, haha.

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  2. I was never really one to drink my calories (though I would have been if I didn’t find cola utterly disgusting! Lol), but it’s funny because I did almost the same exact thing at the beginning. I sat back and said ‘what is the absolute worst thing I’m doing to myself?’ I replaced that one thing with something healthy, and it was like I blinked away 20 lbs.

    So much of why we don’t get healthy is because it’s intimidating, but if you break it down, it’s just one thing. It’s a series of one thing at a times.

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  3. LOL You know I always hate people asking how because I know they don’t really want to hear the answer I have just want to know a shortcut. So I might just adapt your “in the most mind-numbingly boring way possible” answer for myself!!! LOL That way they’ll know it was all hard work and no shortcuts right off the bat! I know it’s hard but for some reason my brain has switched to thinking it’s easy, but I think it’s more how you look at things and choose to think of living your life as healthy and not “on a diet” that makes me feel it’s easy now for me when for so many years I always saw it as impossibly hard! LOL It really is simple though! I guess I’m succeeding in changing up my neuropathways!!! LOL

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  4. I’ll second your post by saying the switch from pop to water (with lemon at first) was hard but SO worth it. It won’t just change your weight. It will change your skin, hair, nails, energy level, sinuses, and so much more… for the better

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  5. Such a good point about drinking your calories. I have made that recommendation to many of my patients and if they do it, the pounds drop off.

    I love the fact that’s all you did for 6 months. I probably try to change too many things all at once. Carbs are my downfall!!!

    Great blog so far. Can’t wait to learn more!

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  6. Off to an awesome start with your blog! I already love that you are breaking everything down by taking small steps. People seem to think to lose weight or to make better, healthy choices, it’s all or nothing – ‘as of today, no more XYZ.” or the quick fix. Even the small steps can have a major health benefit (example – what you just posted 🙂 and before you know it, all those small steps have added up.

    Also, if something doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. I still need 1/2 and 1/2 in my coffee but I use fat free 1/2 and 1/2 if it’s available and I switched to Truvia or Splenda instead of sugar.

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  7. So, so true about the amount of calories we consume when we drink those sugary beverages, and do not forget lots of “juice” drinks. We have to read those labels! Also, making one or two changes to one’s diet at a time is a lot less intimidating. Thanks Andrea

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  8. Andrea – The part that really hit me is that just such a little change can make – over time – a huge
    difference. It’s very encouraging and something we can do long-term. Like Einstein said when
    asked what was the most remarkable fact and answered, “compounding.” We want our money to
    do it; but don’t realize that our weight can do it too and that’s “not a good thing.” Thanks for the big
    reminder. I love this!

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  9. I’m just starting this part of your blog. I saw today’s and decided to head back to part one. I think it’s great that this worked for you. I’m a major water drinker (100 ounces a day) so there isn’t much to cut out here for me. I did make the transition months ago from coffee with milk and a tablespoon of sugar to coffee with vanilla almond milk and now to coffee with reg. almond milk. Outside of that….well……step away from my vodka tonic…ya here? 🙂

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