Things That Have Helped Me

As of this morning I’m down over 77 lbs.  I’ve still got weight to lose, but I will reach my goal.  I am offering a few things I have done that worked for me.  These ideas aren’t the only way to lose weight, but I’m offering in the hope they will work for you.

Calorie Spreadsheet

I track everything I eat in a spreadsheet, and total up the calories.  This allows me to eat what I want (within reason), and analyze it later to determine what I could have done better.  Early on, I had decided I didn’t need to do this anymore and my weight loss faltered, so I went back to doing it.

Deal with Depression

I’ve suffered from depression my entire life.  It is partly to blame for my weight gain to begin with.  I truly believe my depression is caused by a combination of genetics and dietary deficiencies.  There isn’t much that can be done about genetics (pick new parents?), but I started taking general vitamin supplement and fish oil pills months before my weight loss attempt, and it eased the depression substantially.

Buy a Scale

Small changes in weight add up.  It’s hard to determine what direction the change is going unless you have an objective way to measure it.  You don’t need a fancy scale that calculates BMI (I don’t have one), but you will need something that will handle your weight.  Many top out at 300 lbs, I found one that goes to 330, and that’s what I bought.  I believe it was less than $20.

Quit Drinking Soda and Beer

There is some evidence that artificial sweeteners aren’t good for weight loss.  Play it safe and give up regular and diet soda.  Beer has quite a few empty calories also.  Although I haven’t had a beer in a while, I still haven’t managed to completely give it up.

Eat Breakfast

Having a good breakfast means you need less food throughout the rest of the day.  I don’t follow a low-carb diet, so I have a high-fiber, high-carb, high-protein breakfast cereal (Kashi GoLean Crunch).  Choose whatever works for you, but high-fiber has heart-health benefits.


Yum – Bananas.  They are high in potassium, and are good.  They are a great snack when you would otherwise eat something less healthy.  I usually eat two a day.


Calcium, vitamins, low-carb, great for digestion.  Once my diet became high-fiber and had yogurt, I had way fewer issues with, ummm, bathroom stuff.

Air-Popped Popcorn

Air-popped popcorn is another high-fiber snack.  This one does have carbs, but not too many.  Don’t use microwave popcorn or add anything too it.  If you don’t like the taste, keep with it.  You may find many of your tastes changing.


Yeah, this is obvious.  Pick something you enjoy, and won’t hurt you too bad.  If you are over 300 lbs, running probably shouldn’t be your first choice.  Lose some weight before doing anything hard on the knees.

I started with an elliptical, which is easy on the knees and back, but I found it extremely boring.  Then I bought a bicycle.  I fell in love with bicycling, but I initially found the saddle uncomfortable, so I bought a recumbent.  I’ve now learned that with the proper saddle, and upright bike can be fine on the rear-end.  You’ll still have more pressure on your back and hands though.

Don’t Give Up When You Screw Up

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve screwed up.  Ate too much at Asian Buffett?  Don’t worry, unless you keep eating too much on a regular basis it won’t matter.  Didn’t exercise for a week?  Don’t worry, just get back into it.  You have the rest of your life to get it right.

Be Careful of Your Social Activities

If everytime you are around family or friends, you eating and/or drinking, maybe you should consider new social activities.  I’m still struggling with this one, as it’s pretty ingrained in our culture.  It is possible to go out to eat, and still eat well, but it is difficult.

Set Goals, and Don’t be Afraid to Adjust Them

Without goals, you don’t know where you are going.  You can set weight goals, calorie goals, exercise goals, or all of them.  However, be sure to revisit them occasionally, and adjust as necessary.

This is for Life

This isn’t a “diet”.  It isn’t a way to look better for hanging out a the beach.  This is a way to change the way that you live.  It will affect your life in many positive ways.  It will take time, and the changes will be gradual.  In November of 2007, I was writing about how difficult it was to tie my shoes.  Now, I can ride my 33-mile round-trip commute to work and back on my bike.  Compared to now, I was an invalid.

Don’t Make it a New’s Years Resolution

Those always seem doomed to fail.  Just do it.  Now.  I started near the end of 2007.  I didn’t have a New Years Resolution.  Just Do It (says the guy with no Nike products).

Remember, the stuff above was just my suggestions.  If low-carb is you way, so be it.  If you’re going to drink diet soda, well, others have managed.  There is no one-size-fits-all plan.  Change your life for the better, and it’ll eventually fall into place.

3 thoughts on “Things That Have Helped Me”

  1. All good points, David. What works for you may work well for others–certainly some would work well for me if I ever get serious about losing some of the extra weight I carry.

    Some years ago, a friend suggested I read “Body for Life” by Bill Phillips (?). I’ve read it, and taken a few of its points to heart from time to time. I find its dietary plan hard to do with my work schedule, but have incorporated some of its ideas into my own life, with good results. Lots of common sense ways to lose weight are out there. The simplest way to put any of them is to “eat sensibly, and burn more calories than you eat.”

    I find that after a time of being a bit more careful about what I eat, I don’t want the junk food when I can have better quality food available. It can truly be a positive spiral effect for me.

  2. Dave,

    I haven’t seen you around here much recently. Welcome back!

    Thank you. Sustained effort with a few screw-ups mixed in seems to do the trick. The screw-ups probably aren’t necessary, but the sustained effort is.

    On some days I feel like a completely different person. My body has changed, and many of my ideas about who I am have changed. Also riding a bike has changed my opinion about driving.

    So, yeah, a lot of work, and a lot of changes.

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