Since my introductory post last week I’ve had many emails expressing interest in how I lost weight last year. Although I don’t want this to be a dieting blog, I acknowledge that maintaining a healthy weight is of interest and for me this has had a real connection with the garden. So I’ll be posting more about this DIY weight loss plan every Monday.
After my moment of being ready, I needed to develop a plan. At the end of March 2013 I weighed 181 and my idea was to get down to 150 by the end of August. (I ended up getting down to 140 by early September.) First I researched how much weight it was safe to lose per week. I knew that those supermarket checkout magazines with headlines of “lose ten pounds in one week!” were not promising something that was either safe or sustainable.
I found out that losing between one and two pounds per week is reasonable. So it was completely realistic to think that I could lose 30 pounds between the beginning of April and mid-August.
Secondly, I went online and found one of those calorie calculators where you enter your age, current weight, and level of activity, along with how much weight you want to lose. Those told me that in order to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week I needed to eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories a day depending on my level of activity. The fewer the calories or the more active I was, the faster the weight loss.
My target became 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day. Note that this target might be different for everyone depending on your age and activity levels. Most women wouldn’t want to eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day.
I didn’t use a book or calorie app. My strategy was to Google everything. “How many calories in avocado,” I’d type, and then I’d eat the right amount of that food to fit in with my goal. “Calories in….” became an entry that my computer and Google were very familiar with.
I ate very little sugar, no artificial sweeteners or fake/substitute foods. More about this later.
Since my husband and I eat dinner at home most nights, and I love to cook, I wanted to save most of my calorie intake for the evening meal. And no, the time of day that you consume your calories doesn’t matter when you’re eating less food.
I would aim for a breakfast of between 200 and 250 calories and a lunch of the same amount, leaving 700 to 800 calories for dinner if I was keeping it at 1,200 and more on a higher calorie day.
Next Monday I’ll write about becoming accustomed to a change of eating habits, and the week after about finding your “G-Force.” I’ll also be posting about my go-to foods, the role of the garden, and weight loss myths.
Cooking every day,
In case you need reminding: Every person is different so what’s right for one isn’t right for all. If you’re going to go on a reduced calorie diet you should go see your doctor and get an all-clear for your plans. This blog is talking about my experience and in no way should take the place of professional, medical advice.