It has taken a LOT to get from 240 to 185, but with each stubborn waddle, I'm moving my humongous butt into smaller pants. TENACITY is the secret. Stick with it! I still have a long way to go, but I'm half way there! I have a discernible jaw line now! You don't have that at 240 lbs... unless you're Big Tex.

One thing I’ve always wanted to know when someone has lost a lot of weight is – how in the heck did they do that? Everyone remembers Oprah getting into that size 12 where she looked so frail – and it all came back, because she used a gimmick – a liquid diet for MONTHS, and after a while, it all comes back.

My success can be your success. It isn’t so hard, it’s unattainable, but challenging enough to work. I am just an individual with a blog here – it costs you nothing to read this information. I haven’t invented a large rubber-band or ball you have to buy to get fit. No matter how big you are and how out of shape you are, if you can support your own weight enough to walk to your refrigerator, you can do what I have done (and am continuing to do) – but of course, check with your doctor before you do ANYTHING to change your diet and/or physical activity level. That bit of legalese out of the way, here’s my strategy for weight loss, the good, habit-forming, no-frills way:

  1. WALK.
    Not a casual “I’ll get there when I get there” walk – a brisk, goal-driven walk. You are walking toward a smaller pair of jeans, a smaller shadow and better health. Walk like you freaking mean it. Walk like you’re in a hurry to get somewhere other than your own grave. The only person you need to impress is yourself. Don’t worry what you look like in front of others when you move. When you’re giant fat like I was when I started this journey, you look silly, pitiful and sometimes revolting while moving – I know I did. Doesn’t matter. Move your tush!
    I use a hydration pack – I wear  this back-pack like gizmo that holds about 32 oz. of water and comes with a giant hose/straw that snaps onto the shoulder straps. My load decreases as I consume water. I do not have to carry a water bottle in my fat hands. Without being properly hydrated during the day and during your routine, your muscles will hurt sooner and heal slower. In today’s culture, we drink way too much soda, tea and coffee – and we don’t get enough water to make our cells healthy. The cells in our bodies need water to function properly. You cannot burn fat efficiently if you are not hydrated. My hydration backpack has pockets for other items, so my car and house keys are in there, my phone (in case I need to call 911!), my iPod, etc… without chafing me in my pockets or having to clutch anything in my hands… I also carry Buzz Away mosquito repellant when I’m walking outside. No DEET, and it works great!

    Hydration Packs keep your hands free and your body hydrated.

  3. SLEEP.
    Everyone needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep DAILY. You cannot lose weight efficiently without sleep. Period. I know from experience, when you’re obese, you don’t sleep well. If you have to take a sleeping aid (again, check w/ your physician), whatever it takes – you need a RESTFUL sleep every evening, or you will not lose weight. Melatonin can be gotten at Wal-Mart – it’s a natural, non-habit-forming sleep aid that can help you get a kick-start into a restful, non-jittery sleep. The good thing about exercising – if you’re not used to it, it will wear you out and you’ll sleep like someone smacked you in the skull with a brick… it’s awesome!
    You need to stretch the muscles you’re using – BEFORE, DURING and AFTER you exercise. Stretching BEFORE is moderate – your muscles are not yet limber enough to stretch that far – stretch and hold, don’t over-extend and don’t bounce – but STRETCH.  When you get to a point in your workout where you want or need to stop for a breather, do so in less than 30 seconds so you keep your heart-rate up and stretch during your break. When you have reached muscle fatigue and ended your workout – your muscles are sufficiently warm enough to stretch further. Gentle, yet firm (like tofu) – stretch those hams, quads and glutes as best as you can to keep yourself better toned and injury free. Stretching looks stupid and seems like a silly waste of time until you pull something. Look how limber cats are – and look at how often they stretch. Do you want to move like a hippo or a cat? Yeah, that’s what I thought you’d say.
    Unless you are a brain surgeon, there is no way you do not have time for exercise. If you have time to watch TV, read a magazine or read this blog, you have time to exercise. You have to decide what is more important – your soap opera or your waistline. Only you can come to this decision – no one else can make it for you – you must have the right mental attitude to make this work, or you will burn out. Sacrifice that baby into the volcano. Even if you have two jobs (like I do) and you just need something to occupy your time as brainless activity and just watch your one TV show to unwind – trade in one of your shows for exercise. We’re talking 30 minutes or an hour each day. That’s it. If you can exercise while watching your show – all the better – but if not, throw it in the volcano. You’re fat because you burn fewer calories than you consume. The more fit you are and the more you exercise, the more you can eat! You don’t make time by sacrificing meals or sleep any more than you would sacrifice breathing. Eating, sleeping & exercise is the 3 legged stool of success. Sacrifice that stupid thing you do every day that won’t make a lick of difference at your funeral, or you’ll be at your funeral sooner than you had planned.
  6. Don’t eat ANYTHING right before you go to bed.
    You WILL NOT die of starvation overnight if you don’t heed the desire of your grumbling belly. You will not toss and turn all night because you’re hungry. If you go to bed hungry, you WILL LIVE. When you eat right before bed, you’re asking your tired body to digest food all night instead of repairing muscle and burning fat – instead, you’re making more fat. Stop it! Sleepiness often mimics hunger. Sometimes when you’re really tired, you’ll think you’re hungry. Sleeping is a good way to make the hunger pangs go away.
    This one is hard if you’re used to skipping this meal. Those of us who are in a habit of stuffing our faces right before bed are typically not that hungry when we wake up. When you go to bed slightly hungry, you WANT breakfast. Skipping breakfast slows your metabolism – we want that clock revving – eat something healthy – but eat!
    There is no crying in baseball, and there are NO SHORTCUTS in long-term, life-changing weight loss. If you go UNDER your calorie allotment for losing a reasonable amount of weight per week, you will burn muscle instead of fat and you will be hungry all the time and binge.
  9. EQUIP.
    Don’t go to El Cheapo’s for walking shoes. You are investing in your future. You wouldn’t put bare-treaded tires on your car – don’t be chincy on your shoes. Go to a professional shoe store like Run On! and get a salesperson who knows what they’re doing to recommend shoes for the surface area you’ll be using (track, treadmill, concrete, grass, etc.) and for your gait. Get moisture-wicking socks. If you have to spend $200 on a good pair of walking shoes, it’s still less than $1 per day – and you need comfortable, properly designed shoes for YOUR foot. If you try on shoes in a shoe store and you feel seams or anything else other than your own foot, try on a different pair. If you have the slightest annoyance in the store, it will be magnified a million-fold once you really start going – blisters aplenty. At Run On!, they will watch you walking in your bare feet to see how your foot moves and how your legs and hips move when you’re walking – so they can suggest the brand of shoe that will work best for your feet and gait. Instead of using the Nike+ shoes, I use the Runaway by Switcheasy and it works with any shoe that has laces on the top of your foot.

    You don't need Nike+ shoes to use the Nike + iPod Sports Kit that works with the iPod Nano and the 2nd Generation iPod Touch. I use the Runaway by Switcheasy. Click on the photo to get one.

    While your goal to lose may be genuine, it can easily be overtaken by your desire to eat ice cream or sit on your couch. Our brains are connected to the rest of us and our brains will get bored. I use an iPod Nano when I’m walking outside for 2 reasons:
    1.) Music keeps my mind going – I can listen to upbeat music while sweating off my fat
    2.) With the Nike Sports Kit, I can keep track of my mileage, pace and calories burned and track my progress online… you can even create online challenges with for people around the world to have a level of friendly competition and accountability.
    When I’m in the gym, I still use my Nano to log my miles, but I watch movies on my iPhone placed on the treadmill’s reading rack so I can keep my mind engaged instead of getting hypnotized by walking endlessly without a scenery change.
  11. REWARD.
    This does not mean reward yourself with ice cream or cookies. This would be like saying the serpent ‘rewarded’ Eve with the forbidden fruit. You’ve sacrificed some of your foods and habits – perhaps your favorite TV show. Buy yourself some smaller pants – whether or not you can fit in them… you know you’ll fit in them eventually.
    Say goodbye to your old clothes. If you’ve been obese as long as I have, you hold onto your clothes of every size, because you’ve been all those sizes and know you’ll be those sizes again – and it saves you the time of trying things on – doesn’t matter if they’re 20 years out of style, you hold onto them. When you lose 2 pant sizes, give the biggest pant sizes away. They are no longer your big-butt safety net. This is a psychological move that has snapped me out of my mindset for failure. I cannot afford to buy bigger pants. I either must lose – or be naked – and NOBODY wants that!
  13. SNACK.
    Not Oreos, not Snickers bars – bring celery and carrots with you to work. Don’t like them? Tough. People don’t like beer, either – they acquire a taste for it. Acquire a taste for carrots and celery. You can learn to love it – I promise – and it keeps your teeth healthy, keeps you healthy, and is high in fiber, vitamins and is more water than anything else – you can eat a bag of each and not have it make a big impact on your daily calories, but it keeps your mouth busy.
    God gave you a day off for more than one reason. If you exercise 7 days a week, you will not get thinner faster – you will get thinner slower. Your muscles need a good solid day off every week to recover, rest and build up. THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS. Short cuts are for punks. Short cuts ALWAYS lead to rebounds.
  15. SHARE.
    You may have crazy family members you can’t share anything with, but you should have at least friend who is an encourager you can share your successes with. There is nothing like the motivation boost you get from a friend’s honest, encouraging word – and it gives you accountability.