How I Lost 49 Pounds Without Counting Calories
June Weight Loss Weigh In
Confession: I tried out for the Biggest Loser. And to this day I’m convinced I was on the short list (y’all my papers went in the special drawer during auditions). But that season Rachel Frederickson who 100% fit my demographic went on to win the series with a jaw dropping and very controversial 60% loss in body weight. A final weigh in of just 105 pounds.
At the time I was engaged.
If I was single, I am certain I would have been on the show.
But now I’m more thankful than ever that I wasn’t. I was seriously obsessed with this show. And always impressed by the double digit losses week after week. Only to realize years later how insane the diet and exercise routine these contestants (or lab rats) were put through.
What they were doing was and is not sustainable.
When I was finally ready to say enough is enough (for real this time), I knew I had to go about it in a sustainable way.
From day one I haven’t counted calories or macros. And I only occasionally measure or weigh my food (just to put back into perspective what a true serving is).
I needed a lifestyle that I could maintain. And eating real food was THE ONLY way it felt realistic.
As a family we’ve done things that now are so routine it just feels like our life 6 months later. I meal plan every week. I grocery shop for what we need and limit bringing what we want into the house - especially if it is a trigger or an easy food to overindulge on. I’ve stopped drinking all soda. And I cook nearly every meal (that last one was the hardest to wrap my head around).
But we’ve come so far. Sure, the weight off is amazing, but it’s really only a part of the journey.
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Percentage of Body Fat Loss
A scale tells you how much gross weight you carry, but it can't tell you what type of tissue comprises that weight. Even if you have a healthy weight, your body fat levels might pose a health risk. A percentage of more than 30 percent for women, and 20 percent for men, makes it more likely for you to be vulnerable to the diseases that usually afflict people who are overweight or obese.
Fit, healthy women generally have a body fat percentage of 21 to 24 percent, while men have 14 to 17 percent body fat.
Example: A 155-pound female who has a body fat percentage of 30% would have 46.5 pounds of fat tissue. The remaining 108.5 pounds of her body weight would be composed of water, blood, muscle, bone, nerves, skin, and other tissues.
Throughout our weight loss journey I’ve been measuring percentage of fat loss using bioelectrical impedance.
This method works by measuring the speed of an electrical current as it travels through your body. It is one of the least expensive methods of measuring body fat. It is less subject to human error than calipers, but its accuracy depends on a number of factors, including hydration, the fullness of the stomach, and how recently a person has exercised. If you are looking for a way to keep track of your body fat percentage at home, you can buy a bioelectrical impedance scale. Keep in mind though, that these scales are not always accurate and are probably better for monitoring changes in your body fat than giving you precise numbers.
With that in mind I’ve focused less on the day to day and more on the averages over time.
In 6-months I’ve lost 8% body fat, but overall 18% body weight.
Out of pure curiosity I tried to find body fat loss tied to health benefits and over and over again I came up empty handed.
While this number is personally fascinating and can be indicative of potential health risks over and over again it comes back to simply weight.
Weight being the most important risk factor for health.
Losing weight doesn't always mean fat loss. If you don't strength train as you reduce your calorie intake, 25 percent of every pound you lose will likely be in the form of lean muscle mass.
To lose body fat primarily, you must create a calorie deficit by moving more and eating fewer calories.
My rule of thumb is just to move more than you did before and to gradually challenge yourself in new ways. I find 30-minutes a couple times a week a good starting point for people - even if it’s just a couple loops around the neighborhood.
Couch to 5k
I’m still pretty convinced I’ll be frustrated with myself later that I announced mid-month that I started running.
Not only did I run for the first time in half a decade. But I told the internet I was going to train for a 5k.
There’s a lot in life I’m sure I can do - running an entire 5k is still not one I’m sure of. Can I finish? Absolutely! Will I be able to run continuously? Only time will tell.
I decided the best and fastest way to get started was to follow the Couch to 5k training schedule. It starts out with light intervals where you are jogging 1 min at a time. And works you up over 8 weeks to run a full 5k.
Now I have to say after working out daily since the beginning of the year you’d think this would be an easy thing to slide into, but in 60% humidity and many mornings in 90 degree heat it’s a straight up struggle.
I’m thankful there are 11 weeks left until my 30th birthday - my personal deadline for running this race publically. But even with repeating workouts I still can’t quite imagine this all falling into place.
But I’ve made a lot of progress quickly so I’m going to keep working toward my goal.
The Scale is Just a Number
A couple days ago I ran across a picture of myself from 4 years ago. I’m just 8 pounds heavier in the photo than I am now. But am completely shocked by the night and day difference in my body.
In the post, I reflected on the mental and emotional toll I was under.
But honestly simply looking at body composition I’m still a bit surprised.
In the past when people have said “that looks like way more than X pounds” I’ve shrugged my shoulders and at times been offended. How dare they think I look heavier than I am?
But I have to remind myself that the scale is just a number. It is not a representation of me. It doesn’t take into consideration when I’m bloated or how much inflammation I have in my body. It doesn’t tell me my muscle strength or how toned I am.
It’s seriously just a number.
While it’s a number I’ve been slightly obsessed with, I’m trying (seriously everyday) to look it as a tool to see progress and understand my body a little more.
And if I look even better or worse one day or another the scale doesn’t need to represent that good or bad.
Now the moment y’all have been waiting for, here are our numbers at the end of June:
-5lbs for June (-49.0lbs Total Since 1/1/19)
-2.75” for June (-54.5” Total Since 1/1/19)
Started Training for a 5k
-5.3lbs for June (-35.7lbs Total Since 1/1/19)
-2.5” for June (-34” Total Since 1/1/19)