Saturday, May 17, 2008

How to Lose 12 Pounds in 7 Weeks

Yup, I lost 12 pounds in the last 7 weeks. My goal wasn't to lose any wieght, but I am now at the lowest weight I have been at in the last 7 years.

When I returned from my trip to China on March 30th, I was at 159 pounds. A couple of which I got while I was on vacation. Yesterday I weighed in at 147 pound. How did I do it? Diet and excercise.

Diet: By diet, I mean what I have been eating, and not so much that I am on a diet. I have not been counting my calories, but I have simply been making better choices. As per Tim Ferriss's advice on a healthy breakfast, I have been having egg whites scrambled with chopped spinach and salsa. Sometimes I add mushrooms, and other times I don't feel like cooking and have a 250 calorie Clif Bar. The big difference here is that I AM eating breakfast. I have not been a regular breakfast eater since junior high. The rest of my meals have only changed in that I am trying to have more vegetables and fruits with my meals. Generally lunch is leftovers with a yogurt and a banana. Dinner is usually some sort of meat, or pasta, with vegetables. When we go out to eat, I am just trying to steer clear of most fried foods. I have cut down my coffee to only a cup or so a week (that eliminates all that sugar and cream that made up about a sixth of my daily cups), cut out sweets, soda, fries, and beer. This may seem extreme, but is quickly becoming routine. It also gives me a good personal feeling of accomplishment everytime I resist one of the "bad" things, and make good choices.

Excercise: I read something recently reminding me that when I was a kid I was skinny just because I played and was always active. I thought to myself that if I were to ride my bike to school, play at recess for 15-20 minutes a couple times a day, and run around the neighborhood playing hide-and-seek and chasing the other neighbors on my bike, that I would probably just waste away from all the activity. While not taking things quite to that extreme, I have tried to pull pieces of that idea out and integrate them into life...and start really excercising. Since Julie is off on maternity leave I don't have to drop Isabella off in the mornings. Since it is only 3 miles to work, I have ridden to work and back all but one day in the last 3 weeks. I have also been running very consistently since February, and have really stepped it up in the last 2 months. Increasing my average monthly mileage from about 30 miles, to closer to 50. That amounts to about 12 miles per week, usually spread out to 3 30-60 minute runs. The only other excercises I have done are the 50+ pushups that I have been doing most days before I take a shower each day. I have skipped a few days, but have otherwise been very consistent.

Where do I go from here? While I do not yet have a completely flat stomach, I plan to keep up all the good habits I have been developing to eliminate a little bit more fat. However, the next faze is to build more muscle, particularly in my chest, arms, and shoulders. I do not plan to start going to the gym, but may incorporate more pushups, maybe yoga, and hopefully some other equipmentless excercises into my routines.