Slimming Is Simple
"Slimming is simple – burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis." These are the words that are the cornerstone of Tsjej's journey to lose weight. Here, he shares how watching his calorie intake and keeping himself accountable online through a Calorie Count weight loss group have helped him lose 97lbs.
He contacted us through our Share Your Story feature and provided the following answers to our questionnaire.
1. What made you decide to lose weight this time?
It really just happened by chance. In Jan of 2008, I saw the bathroom scales in the closet and decided to step on and see how much I weighed. I knew I had put on weight. I would have guessed maybe 245lbs. I almost fell over when the digital scales flashed 282lbs. I could not believe it. At that rate, I would hit 300lbs by the end of the year. I decided right then that things were going to change.
2. What other "diets" (programs, products, plans, or services) had you tried in the past?
Several years ago, I dropped about 35-40lbs by cutting carbs, but put it right back on as I didn't have a long term plan for success. In my opinion, there is only one way to lose weight and that is to burn more than you consume. It is such a simple concept, yet it can be so hard. I wasn't as worried about losing weight as I was about keeping it off. Most people have at least some success at dieting, but fail at keeping it off.
3. What changes did you make to your usual diet, activity, lifestyle, and attitude?
I changed everything. The first thing that had to change was my diet. I was consuming roughly 4000-4500 cals a day before. I cut my daily intake down to about 1900-2000 and I started hiking. I love the outdoors and walking was one of the few things I could handle in the beginning. I tried to get in about 3 miles a day. I usually walked at a local park, but when it was raining or snowing, I would walk inside the mall. I tried to keep a positive attitude throughout. I mean there were times when I was frustrated, but for the most part I had the mentality that failing wasn't an option. I wasn't going to lose this battle.
4. How did Calorie Count help you to lose weight?
The support forums played a huge roll in my success. It was good to be able to share the journey with others facing the same challenges. It was great to be able to read how other people got past obstacles along the way. Being part of a Calorie Count weight loss group really provided a sense of accountability. Knowing that I had to post my weight on Friday and share the results made me think twice about having that extra snack or skipping a workout.
5. What was most challenging about losing weight?
I would say not getting frustrated. My original goal was 199. That meant I had to lose 83lbs! That is a mountain of a goal when you think about it. I decided that I would break it down into smaller goals and reward myself as I hit each goal along the way. I decided that the last thing I needed was food rewards, so I opted for rewards that would help me lose or maintain my weight. When I lost 20lbs, I bought a pedometer…when I hit 40lbs, I bought hiking poles. I did this up to the day I finally hit my goal of 199 when I rewarded myself with a new bicycle.
6. How long did it take you to see results?
I saw results right away. I think I lost like 5-6lbs the first week. Think about that for a minute. I started eating a healthy diet and started exercising and my weight dropped. I know that is a pretty simple concept, but think how powerful that is! I mean here is proof that diet and exercise work. We already know what sitting on our butts and eating everything in sight will get us. At that point, we really have no excuse for failing. We can choose to stick with it and be successful or we can choose to go back to our old ways and put the weight back on. It is all about decisions. I decided to stick with it.
7. When did you realize that you were a success?
Buying my first pair of size 34 pants was a big deal. I went from a size 42 pants and 3XL shirt to currently wearing a size 32 pants and a medium shirt. My original goal was to get down to 199. I did that back in May. Since then I decided to drop down to my current weight of 185. At 5'11", I think that is a good comfortable weight for me. Even though I feel I have been successful so far, I’m not ready to proclaim myself a success just yet. I mean I am really just beginning this new way of life.
8. How do you prevent relapse?
I feel I have changed my attitude and my way of life. I didn't just "go on a diet". As long as I continue to monitor my weight, make healthy food choices, watch my daily intake and stay active, I'll be fine. I also know that if I go back to being a couch potato and eat everything in sight, I will gain weight back. Do I want to stay active and healthy or do I want to go back to being the 280lb guy? Seems like an easy decision to make.
9. How has your life changed now that you've lost weight?
I am not sure I could begin to tell you all the ways my life has changed. I feel better than I have felt in decades! I am healthy, I am super confident and I am really happy with myself. I am wearing the same size clothes I wore in high school. I am a cyclist. I rode over 2500 miles this past year. I ride on the road and I ride mountain bikes. I have also picked up snow skiing as a way to stay in shape in the winter months. I am having a blast living life.
10. What five tips do you have for other dieters?
- Stop looking for that magic weight loss product or magic diet and get on with a healthy lifestyle. It is the only way to long term success.
- Take the time to research the foods you eat. I think most people
would be surprised that the salad they had for lunch could have more
calories than a cheeseburger!
- Ever heard the saying that "if you enjoy what you do for a living,
you'll never have to work a day in your life"? Well, the same is true
for working out. Find an activity that you really enjoy and you'll
look forward to your workouts. Cycling is one of the highlights of my
- Tell everyone what you are doing. Tell your friends, family, and
co-workers that you are changing your life and you are going to drop
the weight and be healthy. Yeah, they will have doubts and roll their
eyes, but this will give you some added pressure and accountability to
- Don't get frustrated. It took a long time to put the weight on and
it is going to take a while to take it off. The key is to stick with
it and you'll be at your goal in no time.
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