Everyone has an ideal weight - a weight they would like to be. For me, it is 83-85kg, which is what I weighed in my early thirties and is also a healthy weight:height ratio for me.
In my early thirties there were a number of factors contributing to my ideal weight:
- Exercise - I used to cycle, run and swim a lot
- I didn’t have kids, so free time could be devoted to exercise
- I had just spent 6 months doing building work, rather than my usual desk-bound job
- My metabolism was probably faster than it is now
I started thinking about how I could get back to my ideal weight, or at least get close to it, without resorting to crash dieting or becoming a gym junkie (not that that would ever be like to happen). Losing weight would need to be a slow and steady process; it would need to fit in with my lifestyle and moreover, it would need to be sustainable in the long term.
Creating a Calorie Deficit
I read a number of books and articles, including one on the 5:2 Diet. While intermittent fasting piqued my interest, the thought of only eating 600 calories twice a week and not being able to eat meals with my family was not that appealing.
Then I happened across an article on skipping breakfast - although perhaps not entirely scientific, it struck a chord with me. The premise was to create a calorie deficit, allowing the body to use up excess stores of energy. Here was a way that could maybe
- Reduce calorie intake, without fasting
- Get my body to use up excess stores of fat
- Was slow and steady
- Was sustainable long term (it’s a meal I can go without as I’m rarely that hungry in the morning)
The goal was to create about a 3,500 calorie deficit each week, so I worked out what my typical breakfast intake was:
|2 Shredded Wheat||306|
|1 cup full-fat milk||149|
Weekly, this would be 3,808 calories - enough to create the deficit I needed.
I decided to keep a record of my weight, plus any exercise I did each day.
Going into the first month, I did not have high expectations. Initially, I wanted to see what the diet alone would do, so the plan was not to increase my exercise. If my body needed a bit of a push, I would increase my exercise later on.
I never felt particularly hungry at breakfast anyway, so about a week into not eating that meal, my body began to adjust and I started to feel hungry coming up to lunchtime at about 11:30am.
Weighing myself each day, I found there was a variance of about 1kg depending on the time of day I took the measurement, so I resolved to always weigh myself in the morning when I got up to eliminate the variance.
My weight over the first month
At the end of the month I was pleasantly surprised - following the first week where there was little change, my weight slowly started to creep down over the course of the next 3 weeks. By the end of the month I had lost 4.4kg!
I had continued to eat my regular lunch and dinner each day; I drank coffee and even had the occasional beer without impacting my calorie deficit.
At the start of the second month I suffered a setback - the first day into the month my weight started to creep back up again, continuing to do so over 4 days and wiping out the gains over the past 2 weeks.
On these days I had been out for dinner, with perhaps just a little overindulgence. By the fourth day, I had realised that there was a very small difference between calorie deficit and calorie surplus, so I resolved to trim any future excesses and by day 5 of the month I was back on track again.
Month 2 weight chart
Slower progress was made in the second month. Though the downward trend continued, I only lost 2kg, or less than half what I lost the previous month, bringing my total loss to 6.6kg since I started.
Still, there were some positive signs such as my jeans starting to feel loose around the waist. I did not have expectations of any rapid weight loss - this needed to be a slow and sustainable process - so I was very pleased with my continued progress.
The third month was disappointing as I only lost 0.2kg over the course of the month. Half way through the month I had made some good progress, losing 0.7kg. This was slower than the previous 2 months of my diet, but nonetheless it was progress.
Then Easter came, along with chocolate and a holiday which cancelled out the gains I had made over that month. It took till the end of the month to get things back to what I weighed at the end of month 2.
Month 3 weight chart
I resolved to try a fourth month with diet alone to see if I could lose further weight before I try increasing my exercise.