How it started
I used to be obese. Actually, when I entered my weight in the NHS BMI calculator about 6 months ago, I was "officially" obese. No longer overweight. I think that was the trigger. The location of my BMI on the X-axis in the "obese" region, was what motivated me to start my diet. I no longer wanted to be obese. I was not sure about "what" I wanted to be in terms of weight, but definitely not obese.
I weighed 94.4kg on May 20th. This was a lot. I was never 94.4 before but this was not quite a surprise for me. I used to eat a lot. I ate when I was happy. I ate when I was sad. I ate when I was angry, anxious, tired, sleepy. And of course, I ate when I was hungry. And the thing is I was eating unhealthy stuff. Things like chocolate, cake, sugary or oily stuff. It was time to start a change.
Calorie counting diet
Initially, I was thinking of the Keto diet but after doing some research I noticed it is not good for long term. So I decided to use CICO (Calorie-in Calorie-out) or Calorie counting diet. The essence of this diet is:
- Your body is like a machine that has an input (things you eat) and output (energy consumption for your daily life).
- Your body also has a reserve of energy (Fat) in case input is not enough.
- If input is too much (more than output), your body will save the extra in the reserve (Fat cells) which means increase in weight. Long term, this makes you obese.
- If input is too little your body will use the reserve and burn fat cells to accommodate the required output.
The whole point of CICO diet is making sure input is way lower than output. In my case output (Energy my body needed) was about 2100 kcal. So I started with a diet of 1800 kcal per day (For one or two weeks). Then I moved to 1500 for another 1-2 weeks and then lowered my calorie consumption to 1200 kcal per day. This stage continued for about 3-4 months. Somewhere in the middle I also joined a gym. This was mainly because I wanted to eat more, and going to the gym (burning calories on a treadmil) meant, I can add those calories to my daily kcal allowance.
I had to calculate everything (I love numbers :-) ). So 250 grams of melon + 2 medium boiled eggs was my breakfast. For lunch, it was tuna chunks (100g drained, usually 180 kcal) + half of Henz Beanz can (175 kcal). Everything was calculated and at the end of the day I had consumed 1200 kcal. In case I went to gym, I would also measure calories. Because of this I could only use machines that could show me my calorie consumption (Treadmill and Rowing). I usually burn 440-460 kcal in each session which were added to my daily calorie allowance.
The results were amazing. I started losing weight immediately after the diet. I used to weigh myself each Friday morning after the gym. Same scale, same clothes, same time. Actually, I lost ~2kg per week in the first few weeks, this was down to 800-600g in the last weeks.
There were many things that helped me stay in course for my diet. The most important ones:
- CalorieCounter app helped me enter and track my daily calorie consumptions. This was the most used app on my iPhone, even more than Spotify :-)
- Fruits: I started to love fruits. Melon, Mango, Plum, Pear, ...
- Gym: This was really helpful in giving me extra kcal per day and making me feel better about myself.
- Robinson fruit shots: There were days that I had used up all of my calories, but still felt hungry. In these days, Robinson fruit shorts (mixed with lots of water), helped me stay on course.
- Avoiding rice and bread: These two are really high-calorie and it was much more difficult to stop eating bread. There are many nice meals that I was used to eating and they all needed bread.
Where am I now?
With ~66kg, I am well within the "Normal/Healthy" weight. So I have switched to "maintain" mode where I just consume as much as my body needs. No more calorie deficit.
Is it over?
Of course not. Diet is not about losing weight. It is about changing your lifestyle. Because if you don't, after you stop your diet you will gain back the lost weight. It may take some time like 1-2 years but sooner or later it will come back. The only real solution is to change your lifestyle so you don't eat unhealthy and too much.