This post appears as part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three WebMD team members as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their journeys here.
By Bill Kimm
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to start eating healthy again!”
Lloyd Bridges’ hilarious running joke from the 1980 movie Airplane! kept popping into my head this week as I officially began my journey to lose weight and get healthy. If there was ever a time to stress eat and maybe enjoy a few adult beverages, the first week of 2021 may have been it.
But, I’m happy to say, I didn’t succumb to the temptation, and Week 1 will go down as a success! That’s not to say things went perfectly — my exercise plan didn’t exactly take off the way I had hoped (or at all) — but I will celebrate my wins and aim for improvement next week.
I lost 8 pounds! I know that’s a big number for one week, and I can’t expect that every week, but still — I LOST 8 POUNDS! As I said last week, I know how to do this, I just need to DO it. It’s rewarding to see the hard work pay off.
One big factor for my weight loss is I consistently log all of my food and stay under my calorie goal each day. Everything I eat and drink, even if it is zero calories, is logged (I use the app Lose It!, which I find works best for me, but there are many options out there). The moment I started gaining weight again was when I stopped logging my food, and this is for a couple of reasons. One, logging my food makes me more aware of what I am eating. You would be surprised by how much you eat without realizing it. A snack here, some chocolate there — it adds up quickly. When I log everything, it forces me to be accountable.
Logging my food also forces me to be exact. I like to think I’m pretty good at eyeballing what a cup of rice looks like, or 4 ounces of steak, or a serving of chips. Fun fact: I’m not. At all. The truth is we all eat much more food than we realize. I couldn’t lose weight without a food scale. It’s nothing fancy, a simple digital scale that lets me know how much my serving is in grams or ounces. But it’s imperative because I can’t trust my eyes and stomach, as they will deceive me.
This past week, I had the privilege of speaking to one of WebMD’s doctors — Dr. Bruni, who specializes in weight loss — and she said something that really stuck with me. She said, “The older you get, calories are different, and the calories I consumed 10 years ago won’t be utilized in my body the same way now.” I didn’t realize this. I thought calories were calories and the less I consume, the more I will lose. But it’s not that simple. I also have to be selective in what I eat. So while logging and weighing everything is great, and a necessity, I now need to be more vigilant in WHAT I eat, not just how much I eat. That will be a challenge.
So heading into Week 2, not only do I need to continue what I’m doing, but I have homework. I need to focus more on the quality of food I’m eating, not just the quantity. More importantly, I also need to quit making excuses and start exercising! I see my friend Mark has a head start on me, so knowing that he is crushing it on his Peloton is just the butt-kicking I need to hit the pavement and start running again! This cheer dad will NOT be outdone by a softball dad!