How I Lost 50 Pounds in Nine Months

On January 3, 2011, I weighed 213 pounds.

That’s overweight.

My Body Mass Index (BMI) was 28.93. As a reference, an obese level BMI is 30.

This morning, (October 21) I weighed in at 163 pounds. My BMI is 22.15.

That’s in the normal range.

Hooray!

People are asking me, “How have you lost so much weight?”

Here’s how:

Goal Visualization: I made a New Year’s resolution in January that I was going to weigh 180 pounds this year. Each day for following two months, I looked at a picture of a scale that read ‘180 pounds.’

Inspiration. When Karen, a bride I was doing wedding planning with earlier this year, said she was losing some weight before her wedding, I publicly said I was going to piggy back on her goal. When Greg started losing weight and looking good, I decided to go along with him on his journey. I continue to keep Ken, a ’70 something’ member of my congregation, in my mind as an inspirational vision. He is trim, healthy, active and full of life. I want to be healthy like he is as I continue to grow older.

Coaching: I had a great and knowledgeable health coach through the Mayo Clinic (sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church Board of Pensions). She was someone I could check in with on a regular basis, ask health related questions, and hear great words of encouragement and support. This is a positive example of how your congregation’s support of their pastor’s health care can make a difference.

Workout: I now have a workout routine that works for me. I jog in our basement for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. I use this time to look out the window, watch documentaries on TV, listen to audiobooks, plan the day and review my long term goals. I also do some pushups and sit-ups each day. Believe me, I’m not an exercise nut or a body builder. I think I’m doing common sense activity. Health clubs work for some people — they don’t work for me.

Weigh: I weigh myself almost every day. I learned that my body weight fluctuates from day to day and I have experienced some weight loss plateaus, so I have tried not to get wrapped up in the daily numbers. But by plotting my daily results I have been able to judge the long term trend of my weight loss. I am much more in tune with my body now because I weigh in almost every day.

Relationship: I have worked extremely hard on changing my relationship with food by reflecting on the emotional and spiritual aspects of my eating. Now, I try not to eat when I am bored or tired. I try not to eat a lot of sweets at night. I give myself permission to leave some food on my plate when I go out to dinner because restaurant portion sizes are so huge. I push myself away from the table when I am feeling satisfied, rather than overeating to the point of being stuffed. I have also learned that there is a time to eat and a time to stop eating and do other things. Don’t get me wrong, I like to eat and have a pretty mean sweet tooth. But I now I truly know that I can stop eating when I am satisfied because there will always be another opportunity to eat when I get hungry in a few hours. “People do not live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4) There is so much more to live for than just food.

Counting Calories: Yes, I have spent time counting calories. I came to the conclusion that, if I was going to loose weight, I needed to know how many calories I needed to cut from my diet. Reading nutrition labels and judging portion sizes showed me that I was eating too much food at meals and my portion sizes were way too high. Now, I have cut my portion sizes and try to choose lower calorie alternatives (i.e. pretzels vs. potato chips or fruit vs. fries). If none of these more nutritious choices are available, I just eat smaller portions of the higher calorie foods that are available. There were so many places I was taking on extra calories and I just wasn’t aware of it. For instance, I would eat eight cookies, rather than be satisfied with just three or four. I’ve closed those calorie loopholes, and now I feel good about the amount of food I eat.

No special diets: If I go to a party and all they have are high fat / high calorie hot dogs or hamburgers, I’ll eat one of them (not three!) but I’ll also load up my plate with veggies or other lower calorie items. I never want to set myself apart in my eating and make my food choices a barrier to people’s hospitality. I don’t believe in bad foods but allow myself to enjoy just about anything, in moderation.

So that’s it . . . that’s how I lost 50 pounds in nine months.

For me there have been no magic formulas and no special diets.

I’m just eat less and staying active.

I’m becoming better aware of my emotional relationship with food.

I believe that God will always give my daily bread. So I’ll just eat today’s food today, knowing that I don’t have to worry – God will bless me with more tomorrow.

+ “There are four signs of approaching age: baldness, bifocals, bridges, and bulges! You may not be able to prevent the first three, but you ca do something about the last one.” — E. Stanley Jones in Abundant Living

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