Updated: Apr 30, 2022
Last year I found myself at a crossroads. I had ‘ballooned” to 230 pounds. At 6’4’’, most people still told me I looked slender. But my midsection told a different story.
My breaking point? For the first time in my life, I noticed that I couldn’t bend over to put my socks on. I really wasn't feeling the weight-induced gymnastics class at 7:30 in the morning. I had to maneuver my body to make sure my hands could reach my feet so I could go about my day. I thought to myself, “This can’t be life.”
I had tried dieting before. Looking at the backs of boxes to find out how many calories were in the items I consumed. Despite my diligence in counting calories, my scale continued to treat me like I was a stand-up comedian—letting out a laugh from its belly at me as it displayed very little progress.
Something had to change. Counting calories wasn’t working. And the diet fads weren’t appealing to me because they didn’t seem sustainable over a long period of time.
So I called for reinforcements. I had a friend who was both a preacher and a trainer. We had met in seminary, and in the years since, he had become a bodybuilding professional and personal trainer.
I called in a lifeline. And he taught me something I had NEVER heard before. What was the secret? He basically said, “Stop tracking your calories, man. That’s the problem.”
Wait, what? He then explained to me the importance of tracking macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) as part of the Is It In Your Macros? plan.
After we talked, I felt like the dude in Scripture where Jesus took some mud, spit on it, put it in the dude’s eyes, and restored his vision. When it came to losing weight, I once was blind. But now…I could see.
Three Practices I Adopted
So I want to help y’all. I spent three months doing three things that helped me drop thirty pounds. I hope this helps anyone who is looking for a sustainable weight loss system.
1. Cut out the sugary drinks
I loved soda, sweet tea, and anything else that had some sugary goodness in it. The toughest thing I had to do was cut all of that out and drink all water. All the time. For three months.
Drinking water has several benefits when you look to lose weight. When you drink at least 96 ounces of water a day, it helps cut down on cravings throughout the day. It also helps you to flush your system as you go through your day. Of all the changes I made, I think this was the most significant that helped me drop weight.
2. Track your meals
Tracking your macros isn’t a guessing game. There’s an app for that. Download the MyFitnessPal app. Once you download it, it gives you an option (though it may just be in the paid version) to set your macronutrients for the day based on your height and weight.
As you fill in your meals throughout the day, you’ll see how many macros you have left as you ask yourself, “Is it in my macros?” It’s a great way to keep yourself accountable and drop weight. I always enjoyed getting to the end of the day, marking my diary as done, and seeing the projected weight loss given my eating habits. The MyFitnessPal app was an indispensable part of my fitness journey.
3. Work out…for real.
Dieting is great. But to really see results, you need to have a workout schedule. For real. Thankfully, my friend sent me a seven-day routine that I used for over three months. That plan included cardio and weight lifting and helped me to tone up in areas that I haven’t seen tone since I was in high school.
I know what you’re saying. Seven days? This is where the heart check comes in. Do you really want it? How much time do you waste on other things throughout the day? Dieting without working out might get you some results but won’t likely get you the right results.
Even if you start with a 3-days a week workout, start somewhere. Combine that with eliminating sugary drinks (and snacks) and tracking your macronutrients and, trust me, you’re well on your way to dropping that weight you’ve wanted to drop for years.
What are you waiting on? Get to it!
Questions: What diets have you tried in the past? What caused them not to work?