It’s unavoidable – the weight loss hype is all around us on television, radio, and Internet advertisements. I cannot speak for the legitimacy of those advertisements because I’ve never tried any of them. Today, on Vedstudio.com, I’d like to share with you an alternate method of weight loss, which may make far more sense for your situation than anything being advertised on the above mediums.
One year ago I weighed 246 pounds. I am proud to announce that I’m now down to 181, give or take a pound. I feel physically and mentally healthier than I’ve felt in years. I feel like I have put an early stake into the heart of diabetes, cancer and coronary diseases, all which run in my family.
Frequently, I am asked how I accomplished this. I’d like to explain, but first, a disclaimer: I’m a computer programmer. I’m not a doctor, dietician or therapist. Please don’t use this information as scientific or medical advice. I’m also certain that there are many people who have medical or metabolic issues that prevent weight loss, and this article likely cannot apply if that’s your situation. I wish you the best and I’m sorry that I can’t help.
I wasn’t a chubby kid. I was wound-up and energetic and spent most days running around our neighborhood with friends. In fact, I can’t remember a single neighborhood kid that was overweight. When coupled with my mother offering me a healthy balanced diet each day, I stayed at a healthy weight.
As a teenager, I’d indulge in the worst school lunches you can imagine. Looking back, I absolutely cannot believe that our school fed us this garbage. It was huge portions of greasy pizza and oil-soaked French fries. Alternatively, we were offered a deep-fried chicken sandwich topped with a single piece of iceberg lettuce and slathered with ten ounces of mayonnaise. My classmates and I washed it all down with chocolate milk and for desert, a chocolate chip cookie the size of a Frisbee. Sadly, that was about as healthy as it got.
In high school, my body was naturally requiring more calories. When I got home from school each day I’d frequently eat unhealthy snacks before my mother got home from work to ward off the hunger. So in my late teens I put on a few pounds but still wouldn’t consider myself to have been obese by any means.
It was after my brief attempt at a college education when I gained a lot of weight. It was when I got my own place and started cooking my own meals. It was years of dollar-menu fast food and caffeine packed sodas for lunch. It was day after day of not being able to afford healthy meals.
Identifying the Problem
America is obese. And here’s the real down-to-earth reason why. Many “average-Joe’s” simply cannot spare a few extra dollars per week to purchase healthy meals. I can take you into any grocery store right now and prove it to you. The fixings for a healthy, filling salad cost far more than hamburger helper and bagged French fries. Do the math, it may surprise you.
I’m not going to provide you with any statistical analysis or proof of this. If you debate this, go have a look for yourself. And be realistic.
It’s sad that the economy has driven up food prices and dropped working-wages to a point where this has happened. When I look at my current salary combined with that of my girlfriend’s, subtract out taxes, bills, insurance and other necessary expenses, it leaves a very small margin for food. And we make more money than the average family and probably have less expenses. Only with very careful budgeting and dedication are we able to eat regular healthy meals. I believe most young adults don’t have this kind of dedication, and the effect is now showing up in their children, who are fed the alternative.
Until we can provide inexpensive vegetables and meats to feed average families, America as a whole will continue to be obese. I have no idea how that needs to happen – I’m not a politician. I know for sure that most American families will choose to keep their few extra dollars in savings or put the money towards things that are far more attractive than fresh vegetables. I’ll leave it at that.
So, How Did I Lose the Weight?
Back to the original point of this article, I’d like to answer the question that I’ve been asked many times over the past few months. I had to ponder on what the correct answer is for quite a while because I went through so many dramatic lifestyle changes in parallel. There were several contributing factors.
First, I quit drinking regular soda. There has been a lot of recent hype about diet soda being just as bad, but this was the first step for me. I didn’t change the amount; I simply substituted regular for diet soda. I recommend disregarding the hype because that’s realistically where my first 25-30 pounds went. Keep in mind I drank no less than 48 ounces per day. There’s probably an explanation why my results differ from the studies, but I don’t know what it is. A word of advice: Diet soda tastes terrible in comparison to non-diet. If you’re trying to make the switch, just realize that eventually you will get used to it and enjoy it more – like beer, wine, or coffee.
Second, I became a snacker. Never in my life had I indulged in candy bars – I hated candy. I didn’t like quick snacks. When I was hungry I ate a meal. But about 9 months ago I started snacking when I got hungry. I’d eat a candy bar or a bag of trail mix between lunch and dinner. Sometimes, I’d eat two. If I was hungry, I’d eat a snack. This caused me to eat significantly smaller portions at mealtime, and even skip a few unneeded meals. This is when I dropped the majority of my weight, believe it or not. Imagine that…eating candy and junk food frequently caused me to lose weight! It’s true, but only because the large meals that I was eating were more calorie-packed than the candy.
Lastly, for a six-month period, I became disgusted with most processed foods. I’m not sure what happened; it just felt as if I had reached the biological breaking point of how much crap-food a person could consume in a lifetime. At the age of 27, the Boy Scout in me came back out and started eating what I like to call the “Caveman Diet”. I ate only naturally prepared (grilled, baked, or raw) meats and vegetables. No carbohydrates. It came at a price though. Steak and bell peppers several times per week gets expensive for a working-man. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to be able to afford it for this short period.
I didn’t actively set out to lose weight at all. I had no diet plan, no doctor’s recommendation, and I actually lost most of the weight before I even realized it was happening. I did, however, make conscious decisions to improve the quality of what was going into my body. Some biological trigger happened in me, and I just started craving better food. As a computer programmer, I know that output is a simple manipulation of input; that goes for food as well.
At this point in time, I’m proud to say that I have quit drinking soda completely. It hasn’t caused me to lose any more weight, but I do feel better without that addiction. I have a cup of coffee each morning to satisfy the caffeine cravings, which I don’t personally consider to be unhealthy.
I’ve eaten fast food once since Tina and I moved to Florida. I had a Checker’s burger in memory of my Grandfather. It was pretty good, but I also now realize that I can cook a far better burger.
My meals are smaller, healthier, and less supplemented with carbohydrates. Tina and I cook stir-fry frequently. I’m not sure what it is about stir-fry, but we both feel so much better eating it than if we had consumed a lot of other things. We love sushi. It’s filling, healthy, and is a great new genre of foods. It was difficult, but I have found myself becoming much more brave trying new foods. I even ate a grilled mushroom the other night (can you believe it, Mom?) It wasn’t half-bad.
It’s probably worth mentioning (and again, I have no medical proof, this is just my own theory) that years of abusive food intake seems to have caused me to develop lactose intolerance. For about a year, I would get the most terrible stomach cramps following most meals. I didn’t pinpoint dairy products as the cause until recently. I’ve tested this theory again and again and I can confidently say that I now have fully developed lactose intolerance. My best guess for what caused it is years of completely unnatural, highly processed foods.
As with many things in life, the solution may be drastically different than what is hypothesized. I feel like I accomplished a goal that many people seek without even trying. I just did what my body told me to do. If you want to lose weight simply follow my three step plan: Listen to your biology, plan to spend more money on food, and buy my cookbook when it’s done. Good luck!