I was able to drop 17 lbs in 17 weeks (181 -> 164) and even got featured on a fitness YouTuber's before and after video!
Key contributors to my success
It's been an interesting journey but working from home and staying inside on the weekends during the Covid outbreak has allowed me to build good habits and stick to them. I plan on going further in-depth on my diet and routines in separate articles (update: diet) but the biggest contributors to my success were:
1. Tracking diligently on MyFitnessPal (Currently on a 90 day streak!)
2. Tracking week-over-week weight change instead of day-to-day
3. Going on more walks
1. MyFitnessPal & FitBit
MyFitnessPal and my FitBit allowed me to determine my real BMR (Base metabolic rate, or the calories I burn at rest). There are a ton of ways to estimate this number but the only way you can really determine it is by tracking it yourself.
If you're on MFP, add me @ chr1sbest! It's been nice to have friends on the app to keep each other accountable and celebrate successes.
2. Week over Week vs. Day over Day
I realized quickly that my weight fluctuates throughout the week up to around a difference of 6 lbs. Obviously, I wasn't eating 6 lbs worth of food in a day, but the scale showing +6 lbs after a weekend of looser eating always made me feel like shit. There are a ton of factors that can contribute to these temporary weight fluctations -- meal timing, carbs and water weight, sleep, stress, inflammation etc.
What mattered the most was my consistent week over week weight loss -- so I started focusing more on that and using a whiteboard to track my progress.
3. Going on more walks
I always considered walking as just a way to move from point A to point B, but it actually burns a ton of calories. I burn more calories on a 1 hour walk than I do in an hour at the gym lifting weights..
So, I tried to go on a walk or two every day. I'd walk to the grocery store, walk to a park, etc. On cheat days I'd walk a little further to burn off the pizza and ice cream.
Speaking of pizza and ice cream.. more info on my diet here!
I'm currently reverse dieting and adding 250 calories to my target for 4 consecutive weeks. I'm now on week 2 and should be at maintenance calories (since I started at -500). I might start to go on less walks and add more carbs into my diet (yay rice).
I'm going to see how my body reacts to a +500 calorie surplus over a month to determine if I'm going at the right rate to pack on muscle with minimal fat. Supposedly, I'll only be able to pack on about 1-2 lbs of muscle per month, so at a +500 calorie surplus I'll be packing on 50% muscle and 50% fat.
I think this is going to be a lot tougher than cutting. It's easy to eat at a deficit but its hard to eat over maintenance but NO more than +500 calories over maintenance. It's going to require really dilligent tracking.