I knew I would be back in the 220s by Monday when I stepped on the scale last Friday. And here I am…228.6 after I lost 7 pounds in a bit over a week and a half. Why couldn’t I lose it this fast at the beginning of the year? Well, let’s take a look at the two primary factors this month.
In reality, I still weighed more than 235 at the beginning of last week, so this may have been more of 7 pounds in 7 days. Unfortunately, I didn’t record the data then so I can’t use it to make that claim.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that everyone burns calories and fat at a different rate. And what works for one person to shed the pounds may not necessarily work for you. However, learning how other people have succeeded gives you a chance to create your own method that does work.
Everyone’s personal needs and abilities are different.
Muscle Mass vs Fat
I haven’t increased my activity like I wanted to this month. So far, I am still maintaining the workout routine I started this year. However, I now have far greater skeletal muscle than I did a couple of months ago.
Muscle weighs more than fat. When you exercise or lift weights, you’re creating density within muscles while burning away excess calories. It’s not uncommon to build muscle about the same time you’re melting fat. While the scale says you haven’t lost anything, you’ve probably shrunk and inch or two around various parts of the body.
Once you hit a kind of critical mass for muscle development during a specific routine, you’ll begin to see the pounds melt away from the scale. Don’t get discouraged if after a week or so the scale’s numbers don’t drastically move. Take measurements of your body and pictures for visual confirmation.
Less Midnight Snacking
One of my biggest problems is snacking at night. I do extremely well on my Net 600 calorie diet plan only to go into a flaming spiral after dinner. This month, I’ve paid more attention to how I eat at night and forcing myself to drink more water instead.
This is perhaps the biggest contributor to how I lost 7 pounds so quickly this month as opposed to the last two. I limit how many sugars and carbs I consume at night. This is because the body really doesn’t use the glucose created for energy as I am usually sitting at my desk before bed.
When the body doesn’t use the components you eat for energy, they become stored. It’s all about finding a balance between what you eat versus what you’ll use. If you sit on your ass all day eating Reese’s chocolate eggs, it’s going to add inches to the waistline.
It takes a degree of self-control, especially in a house filled with goodies. But when I do feel a bit peckish at night, I try to eat something that is more healthy than something laden with sugars and carbs. Usually, it’s a serving of dark chocolate covered blueberries or veggie chips from Trader Joe’s.
How I lost 7 Pounds in Just Under Two Weeks
So, what have I done this month so far to lose the weight? Well, a lot of it has to do with my March challenge. If you haven’t read my stuff in the past, it’s a process of challenging myself to meet certain goals based on my personal history.
Perhaps these will give you some ideas to help you lose weight as well.
Monitor Portion Sizes
One of the key elements to losing weight in any diet is maintaining proper portion sizes. In many instances, this will reduce your intake exponentially. After all, many people in the United States are extremely overfed without really noticing it.
For instance, do you know how many calories are in an average $5 meal box from Taco Bell? It’s really more food than you’ll need for most of the day crammed into a single sitting.
Monitoring portion sizes is how I can still eat a lot of the food I did at 290 pounds and still lose weight. Of course I added a few healthier choices throughout the day, but I still eat chocolate, donuts and pizza. It’s the amount of which I eat that makes the difference.
My favorite fitness app by far is MyFitnessPal. With it, I monitor both food intake and calorie burn to see how much I can “afford” to eat the rest of the day. It’s also extremely helpful that my Fitbit Charge 2 connects with MyFitnessPal to deliver those burnt calories.
Increased Physical Activity
Remember when I said you need to balance activity with intake? This is one of the more important aspects to how I lost 7 pounds so far this month. And the best part is that I don’t maintain a strict traditional exercise routine.
I play the Xbox Kinect every morning.
You don’t have to exercise by going to the gym to lose weight. In reality, any physical activity beyond your normal routine is beneficial. This could mean going for a walk around the neighborhood every morning or walking to a nearby store instead of driving.
The more active you are, the more you’ll burn. Get into an active hobby and benefit from the movement. Personally, I’d like to golf more or head out to the bowling alley when I can afford it.
Cut Down on Snacks After 8 pm
It only makes sense to cut out eating after a certain amount of time in the day. You don’t really burn a lot of calories while sleeping. In fact, I burn about 1.4 per minute according to my Fitbit. Eating food late at night just means you’re consuming fuel you’re likely not going to use.
Speaking from personal experience, this is one factor that made the most difference. It can take up to 3.5 hours for food to move from the stomach to your digestive system…and then another four hours or so to move through your intestines. All the while, you’ll absorb elements you’re not using while sleeping.
Not eating after 8 pm will probably help a lot of people who suffer from nausea in the morning. Some get sick in the morning if they eat late at night or too much the day before.
For example, I consumed an entire can of bean dip with Fritos and a small tub of butter cream frosting on Saturday because I had a craving. Needless to say, I spent Sunday on the toilet.
Even though I over-ate on Saturday, I still lost weight two days later. This just goes to show that a single day of being “bad” isn’t going to throw your weight into the crapper.
That’s where the bean dip and butter cream frosting comes into play.
Sticking to a Solid Schedule
An important factor in how I lost 7 pounds is keeping to a daily schedule. I’m not just talking about scheduling exercises and defining good meals throughout the day. I created a working schedule for myself to simply get more done and be productive.
How has this helped me lose weight? By keeping my mind occupied. If I am working on a particular project or playing a game, I don’t really think about snacking at all. In reality, this probably shaved about 200 calories worth of junk food from my daily routine.
So far, the schedule has worked great and I am getting far more done throughout the day than I used to. So, I’ve lost weight and made more money just by having a decent schedule as a freelance writer.
It’s Not Overly Difficult to Shed the Weight
Perhaps the hardest part of trying to lose 7 pounds in 12 days is motivation and determination. Most people are capable of losing fat just by merely changing how they eat or increasing physical activity. Where many fail is being motivated to do so.
The next time you reach for the TV remote or ask your children to do something for you, consider doing it yourself. Keeping your body in motion is key to losing weight and strengthening the cardiovascular system.