I recently blogged about my lifestyle change, and the consequent positive improvements (weight loss, increased physical activity, and increase in energy level) in my own health.
With any goal of weight loss, it's important to maintain an awareness of what you are eating, and particularly the nutritional content of the foods you are putting into your body. While trying to get calorie figures for a BLT sandwich, on wheat, I ran across the blog of a gentleman named Tyler, who is on his own personal health journey.
Back in January, 2009, Tyler weighed 344 pounds. Since then, he has lost 102+ pounds and his through his blog, he's been detailing his progress and dispensing with observations, tips, and advice that comes from his own experiences. One tip is that diet/exercise programs set you up for failure. Real change comes when you adopt a healthy lifestyle. He also lists his personal food log, with calorie counts. He's eating foods that are not abnormal, or living on bacon and cheese (ala Atkins), or even regulating his eating patterns by the cycles of the moon. I think this is important because once again, its about lifestyle, not dieting.
I've also come up with a bromide that I believe has multiple applications. Awareness, to be meaningful, must translate into action. Tyler is an example of awareness translating into action. Way to go, Tyler!
Is it easy to change direction and begin swimming upstream? I'm not sure "easy" is what any of us should be aiming for. Easy allowed my weight to balloon to the highest it's ever been. Easy was eating a large dinner, and then, two hours later, having a 500 calorie snack on top of a 3,500-4,000 calorie day. Easy is what made me dread seeing photos of myself, with my developing double chin, and protruding gut.
My new routine does require some effort. I track my calories, which means reading labels, compiling data at FitDay.com, which helps me with my efforts. It also means packing a healthy lunch every day (foregoing fast food, and convenience store sandwiches and other empty calories), limiting myself to one beer most evenings, no snacking, eating dinner at the table, not eating in front of the television, and getting out on my bike a minimum of four times per week (plus some treadmill work in the morning).
Here are some of the benefits from my minimal efforts. I'm down 16.5 pounds since June 23. One of the nice perks from this is that my dress shirts for work, as well as my slacks, and some of my other clothes fit much better, and aren't too snug. Even better, I feel better about myself and it enhances my self-confidence, and the way that I carry myself, which are attributes that translate into a better focus for me in my work, as well as my writing (not to mention my relationships).