Weight Loss One Step at a Time
Hello! My name is Kory.
It started happening right around I hit 30. Up until then I didn’t have a weight problem at all. Actually, quite the opposite was true. Through my teens and 20s, no matter how much I ate or lifted weights in the gym, my body weight didn’t change very much. I desperately tried to build bulk to no avail. I would lift weights five to six days a week and frequent my favorite all you can eat buffets, but not much would happen. Luckily the very metabolic factors that kept me from building muscle also kept me from gaining unwanted weight in the form of fat.
But I had a feeling all along that my luck would change down the line. The fateful day I realized that the tides have turned came shortly after my 30th birthday. I tipped the scale at 186 pounds when I was used to seeing numbers around 175. Within a year I reached an all time high of 210 pounds. It became clear to me that this was a trend on the up-and-up with no clear end in sight. My pants started to become so tight around the waist that it was becoming ridiculous. Friends who haven’t seen me for a while all pointed out how my face has become fuller.
Then I remembered a promise I made to myself a few years back. After seeing how people tended to let go of themselves beyond a certain age and knowing my own family history, I vowed that I, for one, would never let things get out of hand. I thought about this as I stepped off the scale one day, and decided that it was time to put my proverbial money where my mouth was.
As I was trying to figure out how to go about losing weight, I remembered a quote by the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates: “Success is a habit.” My interpretation of this phrase is that success is achieved by performing action that produces the desired results day in and day out. In other words, one must form a habit of doing the right things. Success, then, becomes not only automatic, but also virtually effortless. I have had a few achievements in my life, not the least of which are my web design and programming skills that have been putting food on the table for several years now. This is despite the fact that I have a business degree and art and math have never been my strong suits (this is putting it mildly). My chances for success in this field (or any other field for that matter) were further hindered by my inability to do anything for any length of time. To put it simply: I’m also lazy. Nonetheless, I have achieved my current level of success by breaking down the task at hand into small baby steps and slowly integrating them into my life one by one thus forming a habit of success. I decided to apply the same principles to weight loss.
However, I had to come up with a plan that enabled me to loose weight first. When I looked into existing diet plans, certain things became apparent very quickly. One, there were a lot of conflicting theories out there. Two, I found that there was a tendency to exaggerate the importance of certain scientific findings in order to gain an edge over the competition when promoting a diet philosophy or product.
So, I decided to filter through the clutter of theories and information out there, and come up with a method that really worked and did that consistently. Firstly, I decided to establish the things that I was not willing to sacrifice while dieting:
In other words, I was faced with developing a diet plan that:
- There was no way that I was going to starve myself. A full stomach is essential to my emotional well-being.
- I love food. Parting with my favorite foods for the rest of my life was out of the question.
- I also didn’t want to spend hours shopping for groceries for my special diet or spend ungodly amounts of time in the kitchen cooking for myself. I lack not only the skill, but also the willpower and the time.
- I wasn’t willing make calorie counting my new hobby. I knew that would drive me crazy.
- Required me to make the least amount of the change in my life but was still effective,
- Whatever changes I was going to make, they had to occur little by little to help me form a habit of losing weight and keeping it off.
One thing all schools of thought seemed to agree on (once you’ve managed to read between the lines) was that if you are taking in more than you are getting rid of you are likely to gain weight. Turn it around, and you are likely to lose weight. So, what it basically boils down to is calories in versus calories out.
Calories in is simple. It is the food that you consume. Calories out is a little bit more complex. It will depend on the individual’s ability to process food and how active he or she is.
The more you deviate from the way you live your life right now the greater the chances are for failure in any endeavor you might undertake. Therefore, I decided to focus on food intake exclusively and put exercise on the backburner for the time being. This is not to say that regular exercise is not essential to healthy living. It is, but weight loss is absolutely possible without it.
I decided that sandwiches were the way to go. This is for a number of reasons:
- Sandwiches are generally light,
- They are fairly large in terms of their volume compared to the amount of nutrients they contain, therefore more likely to give one the feeling of fullness at the end of the meal,
- They also tend to be the same size if you get them from the same source, therefore allowing one’s stomach to shrink and stay that way, which I believe is paramount to the success of any diet,
- Constant volume also enables you to fine tune your consumption. Finding your “sweet spot” means finding just the right amount of food to eat that will also allow you to start losing weight without sacrificing satisfaction.
- Like most people, I was already eating a lot of sandwiches.
Now that I knew what I was going to eat, I needed to decide where I was going to get my sandwiches. I decided to go with Subway®. They seemed to be an ideal candidate for the following reasons:
You might be wondering: how is this different from what Jared is doing? (Jared Fogle is the young gentleman who managed to go from 425 to 190 lbs in a year eating low-fat Subway® sandwiches, and is now a spokesperson for Subway®.) While actively dieting, he would have a six-inch turkey sandwich for lunch – no mayo and no cheese. For dinner he would eat a footlong veggie sub - again no mayonnaise or cheese. I may be wrong, but I am pretty sure that you don’t need Subway® if you want to starve yourself skinny. A guy his size would have lost weight fast eating a lot more than that. Folks, there is an easier way of doing this.
- They are located all over the country. They have over 20,000 restaurants in the U.S. alone. Doesn’t matter where you are - let it be at home, at work or on the road - chances are there is a Subway® Restaurant nearby.
- They make an effort to offer a number of sandwiches that are low in fat.
- The nutritional information they have on their products is very extensive. Knowing exactly how many calories etc. are in the food is absolutely essential when it comes to fine tuning a diet so that it produces the best results with the least amount of effort.
- They have a lot of different sandwiches. The variety of breads, vegetables and condiments they offer help decrease the chances of one abandoning the diet due to boredom.
- Their sandwiches are actually quite good.
I found that the kind of sandwich I have is less important then keeping the volume constant. Meaning, if it’s on the menu you can have it. Just because you are on a diet, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only have low-fat sandwiches. When I started out, I didn’t hold back. I had a footlong sandwich for lunch, and a footlong sandwich for dinner. (I even had mayo and a bag of chips. It turned out that I was losing two pounds a week on over 3,000 calories a day!). And I picked whatever I felt like eating at the time. And so should you. It is very important that you don’t restrict yourself too much at least in the beginning. The same goes for the bread. Having sandwiches six days a week (more on what you do on the seventh day later) is challenging enough. You don’t want to make it harder on yourself than it has to be, remember? Volume, it appears, is more important. If, for instance, you decided to start out with three 6-inch sandwiches a day to see where it takes you, it’s better to stick with that. Don’t worry; I will walk you through how to determine the best course of action for you in The Program section.
However, I realized that no one can do any one thing all the time. Everyone needs a break. It is just like a job. We go to work to make a living. We try to make it as enjoyable as possible, but it is still just a job. We need to get away, so we don’t feel imprisoned, and so that we can go on for a long time to come. This is why I decided to integrate a day off into the program. On this day, I celebrate a week of “job well done.” Thus the name Reward Diet(TM). My day off is my opportunity to eat whatever and however much I desire. I’ve learned that it is impossible to undo an entire week’s progress in just one day. (Not to mention that in about two weeks time my stomach shrunk so much that I was only able to eat a fraction of what I was used to consuming in the past. It can be quite frustrating at times, actually.) At the same time, it has proven to be an incredible tool when it comes to keeping my focus during the week. My day off is the carrot to my donkey. It is absolutely crucial to my success.
So, I managed to achieve all of my objectives. Subway sandwiches are big, and eating the same amount of food all the time allowed my stomach to shrink. I am never hungry. That is not to say that cravings don’t rear their ugly heads. The carbs in Subway® sandwiches are complex carbohydrates and therefore take time to seep into your system. Until that happens, which takes about an hour and a half or so, you might find yourself craving sweets and fatty foods. I found that the first few days were rough. After that, I was fine as long as I kept the snacks out of my sight.
In addition, I still get to eat whatever I want one day a week.
There are no time-consuming preparations to make or cooking to do. All I have to do is show up at the Subway® Restaurant down the road and pick whatever I feel like having. Everything is fresh and made right there.
And finally, I monitor my progress using the online software I wrote that utilizes genuine nutritional data from Subway® making calorie counting a no-brainer. It tracks 16 different pieces of nutritional information ranging from calories to vitamins. I just plug in the sandwich into the calculator, click “save” and the data is stored in the database. Color charts help me keep track of whether or not I am getting closer to my goals. This software is available to Reward Diet™ members free of charge.
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