I’ve been wanting to lose some weight for the past few years and not doing very well at it. Well I learned a couple things during the past week about how to lose weight that so far have really turned things around.
What I’m Not Doing
First, let me share some things that I’m not doing to lose weight. I’m not going to the gym. I have enough on my plate without having to add something else. The idea of going to the gym just does not appeal to me. Movement for the sake of movement seems really boring to me. The whole time I would be thinking about all of the other things I could be doing. And, there aren’t any gyms anywhere close to me, so that isn’t an option anyway.
I’m not doing any of the name brand fad diets. I believe that they work for losing weight, but they don’t work for keeping the weight off. I’ve seen my wife and my mother both get on various diet programs, lose a bunch of weight, then gain it right back again once the program ended. Most of the ones that I’m aware of have you eat a certain way to achieve a certain result. Those altered ways of eating aren’t sustainable though, so when you are done you go back to how you ate before, with the same result as you had before. To keep the weight off, you have to build new habits around eating and exercise.
My Goal for Losing Weight
My intention is to lose weight slowly and alter my lifestyle in small ways. I figure by doing that I can build new habits of eating and exercising as I go. Big changes may have big results but they don’t usually last because the changes are too radical. By making small changes and adjustments they don’t seem as big of a deal and you can absorb them more easily into you daily life.
The challenge so far is that my changes haven’t been dramatic enough to have any effect. No, that’s not true. I made some changes and they did have an effect. I dropped to my first goal, but I got stuck there. What I did worked to a point. I had trouble figuring out the next step to reach my next goal.
What I’m Doing Now to Lose Weight
Last week I wrote a post about the benefits of getting enough sleep every night. I’ve known for a long time that getting enough sleep at night could help you lose weight, or at least help you to not gain weight. I hadn’t looked into how that works. It turns out that while you sleep your body secretes several hormones to help with the growth and repair process. One or more of those hormones also help to suppress hunger.
Basically, if you get enough sleep at night, about eight hours for an adult, then you really shouldn’t wake up too hungry. That’s part one, get as close as you can to your eight hours of sleep at night.
The second part came curtesy of Dr. Becky Gillaspy in her blog post last week about fasting at night.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of fasting, but it always sounded uncomfortable to me. I don’t want to go all day without eating. I feel like I should eat if I’m hungry. In her post though, Dr. Becky talks about fasting at night, which we all already do. If you’re getting your eight hours of sleep at night then you are fasting for eight hours. That’s why the call your morning meal “breakfast.” You are breaking your fast.
Dr. Becky suggests that you extend your nightly fast from eight hours out to twelve hours. That turns out to not be all that hard really. I generally sleep from around 11PM until 7AM if all goes well. I’ll go to bed a little sooner if I have to get up a little earlier. To incorporate Dr. Becky’s recommendation, I stop eating at 8PM every night and don’t eat anything in the morning until at least 8AM.
The idea with fasting is that your body uses up the easy energy, sugar, rather quickly and then moves on to burning fat for energy. By stopping your food intake three hours before bed, you hopefully start burning fat before you even fall asleep, continue to burn fat all night long, and burn still more during the first hour your are awake in the morning and starting to get active.
I’ve only been doing this for a few nights. So far, the hardest thing has been to make sure that I remember to eat something in the evening. I tend to get busy doing things in the evening and lose track of the time. All of a sudden it is almost 8 and I haven’t eaten anything for most of the afternoon. Dinner last night was a PB&J at 7:50PM. Maybe that wasn’t the best but it was better than a bowl of vanilla ice cream and Oreos.
I don’t do a lot of exercise. I spend most of my days working here on my computer, so I make sure that I move around often and not stay in one place or position. My wife and I walk three miles on the days when we have time (her work schedule is a bit screwy) and about half of that if we don’t have the time.
My Results So Far.
Like I said, I’ve only been doing this for a few nights, so you wouldn’t expect to see much yet. The scale says that I have lost a handful of pounds already, which is encouraging. More importantly for my long-term results, I’m not hungry. When I wake up in the morning I get to work while everyone else is still asleep. I might not get hungry until 9AM or later, and I eat less. I have a smaller portion at lunch and at dinner.
We ordered pizza for Mother’s Day this past Sunday. I can usually put away most of a large pizza all by myself. This time there was enough pizza left for lunch on Monday and Tuesday. That’s just incredible. I also find that I’m not snacking as much between meals either. I have a serious sweet tooth but the snacks just aren’t calling me now.
I think this morning was the first time that we’ve had the time to do the full three mile walk since I started this plan. I found that I had more energy for conquering the hill on the last stretch of our path.
Of course, not eating the sugary snacks between meals and the smaller portions at the meals is going to produce big results down the road.
Recap How to Lose Weight
The plan is to make sure you are getting your full eight hours of sleep every night. You really need to do that regardless of whether you are trying to trim your image or not.
If you do want to shed some of your extra packaging, then extend your nightly fast out to twelve hours. Stop eating three hours before you go to bed and wait until you have been up for an hour before you eat.
Have you struggled with losing weight? Would you give this a try? It turns out to be really easy, I promise. I’m not one who can easily resist a sugary treat, but they just aren’t calling to me now. Leave me your thoughts in a comment below. I’d love to hear from you. And thank you for sharing this post with your followers on Facebook and Twitter. I really appreciate that.