Calorie Restriction – It Has Been Working for Me
After all these years of trying to lose weight and going up and down in body fat and fitness levels I find it hard to believe that it took me so long to understand “the” most important rule in weight loss. I have been very focused on my eating over the past two months and the results have been incredible. I now know for sure that it is not all about the biking to work, the running, or other cardio that I used to be so focused on. What has been working has been the calorie restriction that I have instilled in my life.
I track everything I eat 99% of the time in DailyBurn. Not everyday because I travel a lot and it can be hard on the road, but most days. I am very diligent to measure, keep track, and most importantly write down everything I eat so that I know as close as humanly possible about the number of calories that are going into my body. It was a lot of work at first, but over time it has become much easier and I now have routines and even specific meals that I eat to (more on that in another post) keep the calorie tracking as easy as possible. I have found that it is all about routines 99% of the time and the results will come.
Can I show you some of the evidence of the results? Sure. Here are two pictures – one from February 2008 and one from this past weekend (November 7, 2009). As you can see I am proud to show that I am down significantly in weight and my primary focus has been on eating a much lower number of calories.
Don’t get me wrong, the exercise has been important – especially the body weight exercises I have been doing. I have definitely noticed that I am much more muscular than I have ever been. I am in phase 3 of the 6-month Turbulence Training by Craig Ballantyne. This bodyweight-only exercise program has been kicking my ass.
That being said, I spend most of my energy keeping my calories low. I am not a tall guy (5′ 6) and with my current weight of 148 pounds I have found that keeping my caloric intake to about 1200 – 1500 calories has been working to continue to lose weight. The important thing I have learned is that I do not need as much food as I thought I did. I am still putting on muscle with much less food. I also have been eating less carbs, although that has not been the focus of the diet. I do attribute that habit to helping me not feel hungry very often as I strongly believe from personal experience that the more carbs (breads, etc) I eat the hungrier I get.
As I reflect on it, like many others I believe that losing weight was a complex thing of managing proteins, carbs, and fats and then killing myself in the gym. I thought that was the only way to get results. It is much more simple than that – just keep the calories lower and the results will come.
There is a good podcast available now over at the Adonis Lifestyle Blog about how many calories you need if you want to learn more about watching what you eat.