Losing weight is tough to do!  I’ve been battling this one for nearly two years. While I carry the weight well, it doesn’t change the fact that at my peak of 196 lbs, I’m 20 pounds heavier than I should be! I don’t like how I feel nor the look of my floppy jowls. In this posting, I’ll share the two methods I have used to shed 12 pounds, with another 10 to go!

I first woke up to the significance of body fat when I caught a show on PBS about a new diet called The Fast Diet. British doctor Michael Mosley, a man in his 50s decided to test the effect that fasting has on men’s heart health. After several painful trials using himself as the guinea pig, he concludes that fasting has powerful health effects on your blood health. He recommends 2 days per week of fasting at 600 calories per day. The rest of the week, you can eat whatever you like. So I tried it last year with my best friend Rob.

It worked amazingly well! I lost 3 pounds per week and soon dropped from 196 to 188 lbs.  The only problem was that it was killing me! By the end of the first day, my mental energy plummetted and by the end of the second day I was wiped out.  After three weeks of doing this, I quit. Rob quit too. We agreed that this way of dieting sucked.

This past winter, I packed the weight back on, up to 194. Yuk.  I began watching my calorie intake and continuing my once per week weight lifting exercise program. By spring, I was down to 189, feeling discouraged at my lack of progress despite daily thinking about my calories.  To top it off, Rob challenged me to a new 5 lb weight loss in 6 weeks. I accepted. Six weeks later, I had not lost a single pound.

Two weeks ago, a trainer at my gym, LA Fitness, spotted me on the scales.  A young man with 225 lbs of pure muscle on his 5′-10″ frame, he asked me if I wanted to do a body fat test. I readily agreed. I held the game controller-like device in my hands and a minute later he reported the results. “You weigh 189 lbs and your body fat is 27%. That’s high.”  He then pulled out a graphic chart showing a range of body fat pictures with trim being in the 8% to 12% range. When he pulled out his calculator and determined that 27% of 189 equals 51 pounds of fat, I cringed.

Then he asked me to come in the next day with a write-up of my normal diet. I did.  Then he did the math. I need about 2300 calories per day for my size and weight. My fat content was okay at about 80 grams but my carbs were about 280g and my protein about 70g.  These needed to be about 180g each. EACH!  He explained how protein builds muscle and makes you fuller. He introduced me to “whey shakes” that have about 24g in one drink.

I bought in, lock, stock and barrel.  In the past two weeks, my meat eating and milk drinking has skyrocketed while my bread, pasta and orange juice consumption have plummetted. I also commit to not eating for 12 hours of each 24 hour day. The great news is that I have lost 5 pounds, down to 184! Most importantly, I have hope. My determination to make it to 175 has risen dramatically as I can see a light at the end of this tunnel.

This past weekend, I was at a social function and let myself eat a full and delicious meal. The next day, I was up a pound. :-(  Like anything that involves self-discipline, letting yourself off the hook only makes things harder. Quite frankly, I didn’t enjoy the meal enough to justify the setback.

The truth is, this high protein diet leaves me feeling full, making the temptation to munch far less than before. Indeed, I have come to see that eating carbs like sugar in particular (I love chocolate!), simply stimulates my appetite to want more.  So out with the cookies and the chocolate chips! In with the pepperettes and vegetables and …cheese! (in small doses).

One of the things that will help you succeed is to have a reward of some kind that matters physically. For me, that reward is playing hockey. At 57, I’m still out there enjoying a great skate with guys 30 years younger than me (and a few my age too!). I feel the rush and come off the ice like a teenager. That’s my pay-off. What’s yours? The beach? Bouncing up a set of stairs? Running or biking long distances? Or just a hike or walk.  My wife wants to walk the El Camino de Santiago in Spain, an 800km, 5 week walk. That’s what spurs her on.

Along the way, it helps to remember that doing anything difficult under your own strength is, well, difficult! Personally, my faith in Jesus and my belief that in him I can do all things and apart from him I can do nothing (of meaning, anyway), helps me greatly. I pray for strength in my moments of weakness. What I’ve noticed in dieting is that it is ALWAYS the moments of weakness that kill our success.

May the peace of Christ be with you!