Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Losing Weight Without a Diet Plan?


With beginning a new year, and a new plan to lose weight, comes the age old question:  What diet plan should I use?

The fact of the matter is, my history has told me that in order to lose weight, I have to follow some kind of diet plan and exercise.  Whether it be one of the fancy, read all the books, diet plans or the simple "eat this many calories" diet plan, something has to be done in order to drop the pounds.

But, what if there was a way to lose weight without being on some strict diet plan?

And didn't that just sound like one of those commercials pushing the Miracle Diet Pills?

What I mean is, wouldn't it be fantastic if I could lose weight without counting calories, writing down everything that goes in my mouth, not having to eliminate certain foods from my diet, or picking a plan that seems to work for everyone else?

The truth is, when it comes to losing weight, I fail because it's too much work.  All the calculating, the logging, the checking ingredient lists, etc.  I hate it.  I do really well for a while, and then I get so tired of all the work... I give up. 

There's just no way to sugar coat it:  I'm lazy.  Plain and simple.  Not about my life in general, but doing the extra work involved with curbing out a diet plan and sticking to it.

For the past two years, my weight loss focus has all been directed to my eating.  What I should and shouldn't eat, when I should eat it, how much I should eat.  Out comes the fancy logging apps on my phone, grocery store visits take twice as long because I'm checking ingredient labels, and I make sure all the measuring cups in my house get used to portion out my food.  And for the most part, each time I've gone to these extremes, I've lost weight.  Then, I start getting lazy, the app doesn't get any use for a couple of days, I'm in and out of the grocery store and hoping I'm getting the right stuff, and my eyes become my measuring cups because it takes too long to measure stuff out.  And then you know what happens?  The weight starts coming back again.

But, when I really think about the time I lost the most weight...and I'm talking the 80lbs I dropped in a year... it wasn't really the food that got me through all of that.  It was the exercise.  

Sure, I logged here and there.  I drank a lot more water.  I swayed away from fatty, fried foods and focused on more healthier choices... but I worked out.  Hard.  A lot.

So, this year, I'm going to try a little experiment.  

It may fail, big time.  And I'm sure plenty of naysayers will be standing in line taking bets on my weight loss demise, but I'm going to give it a go.  See what happens.  Run with it.  Literally.

This year, I am absolutely, 100% refusing any form of diet plan.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.

I'm going to eat what I eat, when I eat it.  I'm going to try and be more health conscious with my choices, but there will be NO counting, logging, or measuring.  

What I am going to do is start incorporating more exercise.  Walking.  Jogging.  Get-Fit games on my PS3. Yoga.  And work-out DVDs.  All stuff I enjoyed doing three years ago when I lost the most weight.

I don't recall a single time of my exercise past where I got tired of exercising.  Was it a struggle to make myself do it?  Sure.  But, once I got started, I wanted more.  And was always very happy and felt great once it was over.  The biggest struggle was always the get-up and go.  Which, I've decided, is the one and only struggle I'm going to get over this year.

I know that if I have any chance whatsoever of my little experiment working, I have to make myself exercise.  I really don't want to be sitting here next year lapping up the "I told you so" from every person who will have something negative to say about my thought process.  If there's one thing I hate more than anything, it's being wrong.  Not because I'm wrong, but because I could have been right but didn't follow through enough to prove it.

If I want this experiment to work, I'm going to have to get off my rear end and make it happen.  

I think it would be so awesome to share the story of a girl that didn't go in to crazy diet mode in order to lose weight, but simply started adding exercise in to her routine.  She didn't have to buy special foods, didn't have to log all that food, didn't have to eliminate all the stuff she loved to eat... but still managed to lose weight just by exercising a little more.

And, yes, I know that if I just lose weight by exercising more and not changing my eating habits, I will gain all the weight back the minute I stop exercising.  But, what if I learned to eat better without all the crazy diet expectations, and maintained a routine of exercise?  Made it a habit?

That could work, right?

I know I've said it a thousand times before: I'm going to eat better and exercise more.  But, at the end of the day, the "eat better" always revolved around some form of diet plan and the "exercise more" was a wishy-washy way of saying that if I'm eating right, I really don't have to exercise all that much.

I've always been told that the first step to weight loss was diet.  Exercise is only a small factor in losing weight.  Really?  Then how come I lost 80lbs the year I got my fat behind off the couch 3 to 5 times a week and pushed myself to the limits? I've worked on the diet part every year since... and the weight has all come back. I know, I know, I didn't stick with the eating plan.  THAT'S why I gained it back, right?

I don't think so.  I fully believe that had I stuck with my exercise plan, even fudging on my diet as much as I did, the weight would have stayed away.  It was giving up that active lifestyle that truly did me in.  

So, call me crazy (I know many will), but this year I'm ditching the diet.  No more diets.  Whatever freaking food I want to eat, when I want to eat it.... with a HUGE side dish of exercise. 

On January 1st, I weighed 252lbs.  

Today, I weigh 250lbs.  I've lost 2lbs in a week.  I haven't changed my eating patterns.  I haven't stopped snacking.  I haven't counted a single calorie.  But, I've moved a little more.  I've gotten off the couch a few times and made myself move a bit.

So... weight loss plan #4,327 shall commence.  

Something's got to work.  Something's got to make the weight come off.  And I'm going to try, once again, to see if this is the year I can make it happen.

Call me crazy, if you will... but there's a reason my blog is titled what it is.

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  1. I initially lost 60 pounds, bringing me from obese to normal BMI, by simply getting up every morning and walking 3 miles AND making a concerted effort not to eat junk and to eat way more healthy (meaning veggies with every meal, fruit for snacks, etc). But there was no plan, no apps (there weren't even apps 10 years ago haha), and I didn't read about weight loss at all. I just wanted a change, and did it. I dropped 60 pounds in a little over half a year. Only in the past couple years, when I wanted to go to the next step (ie. have the body of my dreams), did I jump into heavy nutrition studying and planning. But I think this idea of yours is very do-able and realistic, if you are honest with yourself about how much you are moving and what you are eating!!

    1. Thanks for the support, Jeanette!!

  2. No workout can out-work a poor diet. You're a not-exactly-young female with a history of being overweight/obese. Your weight is determined by 80% diet, 10% exercise, 10% genetics. Your health is influenced tremendously by your are your children's choices. Eating what you feel like and thinking you can burn it off doesn't work, 1) because of physiology and 2) because if you're like the vast majority of people, the workouts happen sporadically, if at all, while the food intake is steady and voluminous. The only "plan" you need is to eat real food that contributes nutrition to your body. The portions will adjust themselves shortly as you find that you are much more easily and continuously satiated by eating whole foods and drinking plenty of water (a gallon a day). Exercise is to increase fitness; i.e., strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, etc. --not to burn off crap you ate or buy you permission to eat crap/eat more.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I deleted my last comment, because I decided I may have been a little harsh. But, really...I've heard all this before. You're right, I'm lazy, I don't commit as much as I should, but that doesn't mean I don't have the willpower to lose weight. I've heard the whole 80/10/10 thing before, and I'm so tired of being fed statistics and science and everything else that's been crammed down my throat. Apparently, there are other people that have lost lots of weight by simply eating better and exercising more. Why can't I be one of them?

  3. Hi, being new to your blog I wish you well in your 2014 goal.

    Exercise is important for us all, as are good sleep patterns. With regard to food I think it should be called lifestyle choices and not diet. Over the last five years or so I have been following or living the LCHF lifestyle and I now wouldn't go back to any other choice. I have reduced my carbohydrate intake to about 50 grams per day mainly from non starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach. I eat fats such as butter, avocados, cheese etc and moderate protein from eggs, fish, meat.

    We obviously have to take account of any underlying health issues but for me this lifestyle works.

    Good luck in your exercise and eating - I'm sure you can make 2014 a good year for you.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thank for the support, Jan. I intend to eat better foods, just do away with all the counting. The main focus is going to be on my exercise.. I've tried the "80% diet/10% exercise" thing and it doesn't do me any good. When I was focused on 80% exercise and 10% diet (meaning just eating healthier), I lost 80lbs. That's what I'm going to try again.

  4. When I ran 5 miles a day, I could eat whatever I wanted. Literally. One hour of running a day and I didn't give a damn about enjoying whatever food I wanted. It was very freeing and I came to love the runner's high so it was a win-win all the way around. In the beginning, before I could run 5 miles/an hour at a time - I did watch my food a bit more. Stayed away from candy and such - but once I could burn a good 500/600 calories in an hour - I could whatever I wanted. I'd always burn it off and my metabolism was running well. I'm with you on this. All the way.

    1. Thanks, Draz!! Maybe I should have been a little more specific in the fact that I don't plan on sitting around and eating cheeseburger and fries all day. I do plan on eating better, just not doing all the counting and measuring and stuff. I know I lost so much weight when I was running...and that's what I really want to do this time. Thanks for the support, my friend. :)

  5. Who could possibly hate on you for resolving to get more exercise?

    Everyone has a different chemistry. What works perfectly for one person will not work for another. This 80% diet/10% exercise/10% genetics algorithm is nothing more than a gross estimation of the mean average for the general population. If exercise is what works for you, do it! Even if you didn't lose a single pound there is plenty of evidence suggesting that increasing your activity will a) boost overall health, b) boost longevity, and c) boost your mood and sense of well-being.

    And what exactly is wrong with that?

    Best of luck to you on your journey!


    1. I couldn't have said it any better myself, Bonnie. Thanks for the encouragement!! It means a lot to me. :)

  6. Thank you for your blog and for your post here. I wish you all the best with your experiment and as others have said, every person's body and metabolism is different, so whatever works for you is great.

    I've just been on the classic hospital-developed kickstart/vegetable soup diet for two weeks but I've just discovered that I've hardly lost any weight. That diet has just KILLED me to stick to... it has been so hard to do and I was expecting to have lost SO much more weight after two weeks of suffering. I feel so dejected right now, BUT I have just read your post here and feel a lot better. I don't feel so alone in worrying about my weight. I have pre-diabetes and have put on a stone over the past couple of years, which is really dangerous for me -- as opposed to skinny chicks who 'worry' about their weight when they are only a couple of pounds over their ideal....

    My problem is I'm never going to be able to exercise in an intense fashion because a) I just don't enjoy it nor have the motivation to do it, and b) every single time I try to do some running or some other aerobic exercise (eg zumba) I sprain my ankles almost immediately (I have unstable ankles, obviously) and then can't walk for weeks.

    Anyhow, I just want to say that I really admire your determination and your anger-motivation and that makes me think that maybe I could use my utter frustration and anger with myself (I have a problem with late-night binge eating) and redirect that into some form of exercise...just gotta find something where I don't get injured at the get-go : /


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