The two weeks since my last weigh-in have marked a notable shift in my attitude and approach to my weight loss. In these two weeks I have lost 8.6 pounds, an average of about 1.2% per week of my body weight. The two weeks prior showed a drop of only 4 pounds, less than half the progress of these past two weeks. What's the difference? The two weeks prior were weeks I admit I was simply too busy to put any thought or effort into my weight loss. I was on auto-pilot. I consider it great news that I could sail through two weeks on total autopilot, putting no effort into diet or exercise, and still lose 4 pounds! I am thrilled that this way of eating is so ingrained in my brain that it requires no conscious effort, and still lose weight! Wouldn't you like to be able to do that? It's a good feeling! But I know I can't sail through the rest of this journey on autopilot! So I thought about it and wondered, if I could lose 4 pounds on autopilot, how much could I lose if I actually put some effort into it?
I came up with a two pronged strategy. The first was to make a conscious effort to get more exercise. I did that. I walked 3 miles most days in the past 2 weeks, and walked 6 miles twice a week. The second part of my strategy was to adopt Dr. McDougall's advice for volume eaters. In short, his advice is to not eat large meals all at once, but to break them up into medium sized portions with at least 20 minutes in between. You can still eat as much as you want to, but you have to spread it out. The idea is to give the body time to send signals to the brain and throughout the body that you've eaten, to prevent overeating before you realize you're no longer hungry. I talked more about this in my blog entry titled A License To Eat. I have to say... this eating technique WORKS!! Last night I jokingly lamented to my wife that it was ruining my Tuesday Night Soup, as I wanted to eat my normal amount of soup but couldn't. I was too full. My volume of food intake is noticeably less this past week, yet I've eaten to satisfaction and have not deprived myself, gone to bed hungry, or felt like I was "dieting".
This opens up a whole new world for me, as I've not made the slightest effort in over a year to eat less food. No calorie counting. No portion control. No depriving myself. So even the idea of eating less is new to me. But the thought that I actually CAN eat less food... and be HAPPY about it, amazes me! How many diets have I been on in my life where that's all I did! Count calories! Limit food intake! Starve myself and hope my willpower lasts long enough to lose all the weight I needed to. It never did. Weeks or months of torture were always followed with binge eating and more weight gain. I am at the very beginning of the learning curve for this. I can think of several days in the past two weeks where I ate more than I was comfortable with simply because I was used to eating so much more. My goal is to work with this new way of eating my meals and learn how to get it just right and find the perfect balance between satisfying my appetite without eating too much, all while continuing to lose weight!
This leads me to my outlook for the future. Looking at the chart at the top of the blog page you'll see a graph with 2 plotted lines. The red line is my actual weight loss to date. The green line is my projected future weight loss using a goal of 1% weight loss per week. Why 1%? My experience to date and my research on the subject tells me that I can reasonably and safely lose 1% of my body weight per week without any problems. I've had quite a few weeks where I've exceeded that, but over all my trend has been slightly less than that. My goal from here on is to follow that green line right on down to it's end.