Update: Thanksgiving 2017
This Thanksgiving I celebrate 3 years since I began to lose weight.
I would like to share a bit of a background of the story, an update, as well as some plans for next year.
I had been overweight for 20+ years, ever since my 20s. Basically, my college years left me FAT, and in spite of a couple failed attempts to get fit again, I ended up carrying 320lbs around into my 40th birthday.
Three years ago I decided, one more time, to change my body, and decided to remove all refined Carbs and Sugars from my diet. Period. I did not read this in a book or online; I simply decided to remove all foods with refined Carbs and Sugars, and see what happens by Christmas. I began two weeks before Thanksgiving.
By Christmas, I had lost some 30lbs. I then knew that this would work and decided to make the change permanent. For me, no refined Carbs and no refined Sugars (hence my online name NoCarbsNoSugar) meant the complete removal of all these foods and ingredients:
- anything with grains: bread, pasta, pizza, pastries, etc.
- anything with added sugars: pastries/cakes, donuts, candy, etc.
- that was it: nothing else, nothing more
At first, I did not even count my calories and I did not really exercise. The pounds were coming off steadily, and most importantly, I was never hungry anymore! That was the best part of the entire deal, and that was the part that made this new way of eating sustainable.
I later started adding Cardio and weights in 3-4 weekly sessions, and also learned how to count macros and to consider my TDEE and BMR for proper weight loss. At this point, I joined bodybuilding.com/ which was a great motivator for me. Being on the forums and getting support (and criticism) from different members there provided me with lots of information and motivation.
Within 18 months or so, I had dropped from 320lbs down to 167lbs, so my total weight loss was 153lbs. Not bad, eh? I felt a bit weak in the 160s so I decided to move up on the scale a bit, so I increased my calories. I can say that I felt my best in the 180s. Yes, that was a very comfortable place for me to be.
I am now hovering above 200lbs. Throughout 2017, I have been moving up and down, but did not reach under 200lbs. I am not happy with that, and I am dealing with it.
I was trying to figure out what did it… what caused me to get up above 200lbs and stay there for an entire year, and then it hit me… Protein Bars! Some of my readers will disagree, but I don’t care 🙂 For me, eating higher amounts of refined Carbs and Sugar cause me to be more hungry throughout the day, and also to crave more foods with refined Carbs and Sugar.
I began by eating protein bars in moderation: 1-2 a day. I let myself get away with this because … protein! 🙂 And then the amount slowly increased, where I’d eat 4-5 bars a day. I now know what that did to me.
At 5 bars a day, that would usually add up to some 1000 extra calories, and the added amounts of refined Carbs and Sugar (and grains) in those bars made those 1000 calories feel like I ate nothing, left me craving for more food, so in the end I’d eat about 1000 extra calories each day. Sometimes more.
At 1000 added calories each day, it is not difficult what that would do to my weight in the course of a month or a year. Yup, that’s what happened. I blame Protein Bars! All of them! 🙂
Now… Protein Bars will not make you fat! Nor will Carbohydrates or Sugar. This is true! However, high amounts of refined Carbs and Sugar, as well as grain products, will leave me hungry and wanting more, so in the end I’d end up eating more food. There is at least some scientific evidence for this, but I won’t get into this right now.
The bottom line for me is to focus on those foods that fill me up well and try to stay away from those foods that leave me hungry and wanting for more…
- a large platter of grilled chicken with steamed veggies
- two jelly donuts
Both meals yield the same amount of calories, give or take a few. However, the chicken platter will keep me satiated for hours while the two donuts will bring me back to the kitchen within the hour.
I believe this is what happened. I believe this is why I struggled in 2017 to get back below 200lbs. While I did not reintroduce bread/pasta/pizza/etc. into my diet, I did eat TONS of protein bars and protein cookies. In the end, there is not much difference between a Snickers Bar and a Protein bar besides maybe a few extra calories in the Snickers Bar. In the end, both of them will leave me just as hungry, resulting in extra food that day.
For 2018, I will remove all protein bars and protein cookies from my diet, focusing on foods that are very low in refined Carbs & Sugar. If I find a protein bar/cookie that is Carb/Sugar free, I might consider it, but I don’t think there are any good tasting ones out there. That begins now.
I will elaborate more on my 2018 nutrition/fitness goals in a future post. For now I will just say that in 2018, if God keeps me alive and healthy, I will get below 200lbs again, and will reach 180lbs again.
Well, here we have it. This was a bit of a longer writeup than my usual. If you read this far, thank you.
Happy Thanksgiving and a happy holiday season!