How I lost X kg in Y days, and how you can do too
I deliberately kept the title X kg and Y days :) I lost approx 6.5 kg in close to 100 days. But this post is pretty much applicable for anyone who wants to lose any practical amount of weight in a particular time period (which is not infinite). A 100 day / 3 month time period is a good duration also because it gives enough buffer for any binges as well as enough time to consistently get to a particular weight. Obviously, for those on crash goals, this may not be applicable as much.
My own achievement is probably not a big one if you just look at the magnitude or the pace, but believe me, this was my lowest weight in ~15 years. And that’s a big achievement for someone who has never prioritised weight loss though I have known it’s important.
My 10 learnings from this 100 day phase
- Announce it publicly / get into a bet — I had a bet with 7 of my friends for Rs. 7000 each (that’s approx Rs. 50000) that I will get / give, which is a large sum of money. That surely did push me to do it, more than a situation where there was no carrot or stick. More than the magnitude, the thought of winning or losing the bet meant a lot. Also publicly announcing that I am doing a bet like this or just about announcing the deadline and the challenge can also have a positive impact in terms of motivation to go through with it
- Water first thing morning — I would have approx. a bottle of water first thing in the morning. I would have at least 1.5-2 more bottles through the rest of the day. This helped give a sense of fullness in the stomach, and also possibly helped digest the food better or create lesser acidity through the day. I have heard that water has a lot of benefits to the body, so that certainly did help in me feeling better and eating lesser overall through the day.
- Intermittent fasting — I had my first meal only around 11 am and the last meal around 7 pm. That meant that I was not eating for approx. 16 hours. While it was tough to follow this approach during the weekends, it was pretty easy to do this in the weekdays. We are all taught that breakfast is the most important meal — that’s a whole load of fad. While this was tough to follow for the first week (hunger pangs!), it became easier as time progressed and by the end of the 2nd week, it was super simple to follow this.
- Counting calories — Probably the single biggest impact was from counting calories of every food item that I ate. I used the ‘MyFitnessPal’ app to track every single food item, even the smallest of nibbles through the day. With time, you get a sense of which items are really adding junk calories and which are not. You also get a sense of what to save up for, in case you want to eat a bigger meal later. Overall, diligently using this app had a massive positive impact, and I could predict with better accuracy through the duration on what I should not be eating!
- Eating a lot of veggies / proteins — My first meal of the day became a good salad from Freshmenu / Goodness Kitchen / Subway etc. You can add in egg / chicken / fish as per your desire and make this a protein rich meal. Avoiding carbohydrates in the first meal (next point) also had its massive impact. Additionally, adding fruits and veggies to the diet through the day makes sure that you get the necessary vitamins and minerals that the body needs without having to resort to pills. I also reduced coffee intake to twice a day, and had at least two glasses of green tea.
- Avoid the dessert / carbs first thing — While I did not have any specific diet (like keto / GM etc.), I avoided carbs the first thing in the morning and desserts pretty much through the day. A lot of science says that carbs in the morning (which unfortunately is there in every Indian hot breakfast) stops the body from burning the fat. So avoiding carbs (in addition to intermittent diet and doing exercise) does help the body to burn fat first. And as you get better at the process, you start avoiding carbs through the day, and stick to protein and fats. The extreme edition of this is when you actually have such less carbs that you are getting ketosis in the body (but that’s for another day, and I personally have never been able to get there)
- Some exercise in the morning keeps the muscles burning— If you are a big exercise freak or a weights addict, then that’s awesome. But if you are like me, and were in the camp of ‘exercise is a pain’, then the only way to get off it is to make the morning interesting. Now, whether that’s swimming or tennis or squash, that’s your choice. For me, I took a liking to yoga and dance (thanks to cult.fit being very close to my house) Now, I at least go 4–5 days a week for a basic workout in the morning. This keeps the muscle burning, and helps digest the sugar / carbs (and the fats) first thing in the morning. The good part for all the exercise haters — this really only helped 20% of the weight loss, but this helps in keeping the other body parameters (cholesterol etc.) in check and overall just makes you feel good about yourself.
- A cheat day is OK — A cheat day every week is OK. You do need some balance through the week after all! Just make sure that you don’t eat too much during those binge days or drink too much. Stick to whiskey with ice / soda if you want to drink up! Avoid cocktails like a plague — also avoid beer and wine. Also, in case you want to have a dessert any other day, just count back the calories for that day and ensure that the single dessert does not jeopardise your calorie goals for the day.
- Buffer for those birthday weeks — What’s life without the odd celebration or that birthday drinking binge! Make sure that you factor in those times during the period in which you are losing weight. 1 day of binge will need at least 2–3 days of pulling back — so if you have one birthday weekend for yourself or your spouse / girlfriend, then at least write off a week or so of needing to just pull back. That’s because you not only gain some weight during those drinking binges, you also lose the intermittent fasting schedule. But don’t take life too seriously also — factor these in!
- There’s positivity in other aspects of life — When you achieve your calorie goal for the day or do that exercise in the morning, it can help you have an overall positive day in other aspects of your life too — like relationships or work. If you are on track for your weight loss goal for the week, then it can have a tremendous morale boost for the whole of the following week and the weekend! So losing weight (when you are over the index) has mighty optimism and energy on pretty much every aspect of life. It also physically makes you have more energy to do the things you want to do throughout the day.
I am not a food expert or a health expert (so this is not some health expert / medical advice). In fact, I am the last person that people would have expected to give weight loss advice. The above are things that personally worked for me. All my health parameters are largely on track, so that’s all that I would know of the efficacy of this. My next goal is to get to my lowest weight all my adult life — which is to lose 5 more kgs. in the next 6–9 months. This time, I don’t have a particular bet that I am getting into but pretty much the rest of the steps are activities that I would probably continue doing.
P.S 1: If there’s any other tip that’s worked for you during your weight loss, do mention it in the Comments section!
P.S 2: If this article was useful for you on your journey, do share it / recommend it to your networks! Thanks in advance!