*sings* Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to staaaaart…
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*
Well, I knew three things:
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.
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?
Welcome to AMeasuredLife.com!
My name is Andrea, and I live in a vast world where many things are quantifiable. (*ahem* For the record, so do you.) The word measured has a special meaning for me: it describes the way in which I live my life every day. What’s funny is that I didn’t even realize it: it took a friend’s observation of my behavior for me to see this side of my life. Dictionary.reference.com defines measured in the following ways:
- ascertained or apportioned by measure :
The race was over the course of a measured mile.
2.accurately regulated or proportioned.
3.regular or uniform, as in movement; rhythmical:
to walk with measured strides.
4.deliberate and restrained; careful; carefully weighed or considered:
measured language; measured terms.
5.in the form of meter or verse; metrical.
In my life, measure is everywhere. I’ve spent the last 3+ years regaining control of my health. In October 2011 I was a 275 lb pre-hypertensive, pre-diabetic woman barely making more than minimum wage. In the process of losing more than 100 lbs, there have been many things that required measurement: my weight, inches lost, the weight and volume of the foods I ate, the volume of water I drank, the calories I consumed and the ones I burned, the miles I walked, the stairs I climbed, the reps I lifted, the seconds I planked, the days I’d worked, the new recipes I learned, the money I spent on healthier food, workout equipment and (*gasp*) new clothes, the new friends I made, loved ones I lost, times I cried, times I raged, times I laughed and smiled. (Holy moly that’s a buttload of measuring!) And while I measured all these things, I, myself, was measured, controlled. I walked the line between lazy bum and overachiever. I found a middle ground that worked for me in all aspects of my life: emotional, financial, physical and dietary. I found that being measured worked for me.
I still don’t have a large income. Money will always be something that needs to be carefully budgeted in my household. But instead of using this as an excuse to buy cheap junk food, I thought of it as a challenge: how can I get the best results out of the least expenditure while still feeling like I wasn’t depriving myself? How can I still enjoy the things I love while bettering my health? I didn’t spend any money joining a gym, or using a diet club like Weight Watchers, or buying food from Jenny Craig. All of these things can, and have worked for people. But each of them represented a financial cost that I wasn’t willing to spend. What did I have that I was willing to spend? Time. I learned to budget and plan for meals. I learned I loved to walk outside when it was nice, or jog in place at my computer when it wasn’t. I learned, with the help of a few friends, to love kettlebells, a workout that I could do consistently from my living room. I learned that I could still enjoy all of the exotic foods I loved to eat by making them at home in a healthier way. I learned that eating healthier and saving money could go hand in hand. I learned I could enjoy my life and lose weight without feeling I was giving up everything I loved. I learned so many wonderful things about living and about myself. I have grown as a person on the inside as I shrunk on the outside.
This blog is not about telling you how to lose 100 lbs, or how to be measured. Sure, you could get those things from here if you wanted, and I hope you do. But what this blog is about is me, exploring the world as only I can: with measure, through budgeting, food, physical activity, culture and, perhaps most importantly, observation and thought. I hope, in the process of reading my recipes and stories, that you can garner some insight into yourself and your life, and expand your views of the world at large through your own exploration. There’s a lot to learn out there, a lot we can measure on our own terms. You just have to seek it.
Dare to know. Dare to learn. Dare to measure.