How Do I Start Losing Weight in the New Year?

I wrote in December about how 2011 was a two-steps-backward year for me in terms of weight and my health. After a physical in late 2010 showed that my blood pressure was still high despite the fact that I had spent two years going from 227 pounds down to 203, I lost focus on my goal of lowering my weight in order to end my reliance on blood pressure medications.

I fell back into old eating habits, turning to junk food in reaction to increasing stress in my life.

But I have realized what I did and have vowed to get back on track this year. My goal is to drop at least a pound a month this year.

You might ask, why not a pound a week, it should only take 3,500 calories less eating or more exercising? My body has never shown that direct mathematical connection between what I eat and what happens to my weight. Indeed, most weeks last year I was under the calorie level that should have been allowing me to lose weight rather than gain, but gain I did.

So this year, I need to go back to basics. I’ve started that process by reviewing what I ate most often last year. LoseIt!, the app Tony and I have discussed using to track our daily calorie intake and usage, provides great reports, including one in which you can see which items you recorded eating the most often in the past year.

I just ran my 2011 report and found good news at the very top of the list. The foods I ate most frequently in 2011 were bananas (No. 1), Trader Joe’s High Fiber Cereal and Cheerios, in that order. Those make up my usual breakfast.

I ate TJ’s cereal 303 of the 365 days in the year, missing it on days I was traveling for work, mostly. I ate a banana on 308 days, grabbing those even when I was on the road. I ate Cherrios 298 days; I usually mix about one-eighth of a cup of those in with a cup of fiber cereal to address cholesterol issues.

If I stopped there, my weight gain last year would really be a mystery. But, unfortunately, the list goes on to all of my favorite junk/stress foods.

Hostess HoHos ranked No. 4 on my 2011 food list. I recorded eating those 176 times, just slightly shy of every other day for an entire year. One pack of HoHos (three cakes) has about 400 calories and about the recommended amount of sugar a male adult should have in an entire day.

But LoseIt! shows I had an average daily intake of 593 calories of HoHos which means that I would often eat two packages, usually on my way to work each morning while driving in my car.

More stunning is the total number of calories I consumed in HoHos last year — 104,338! That’s 29.8 pounds of empty calories. In calorie terms, HoHo’s were the single largest calorie item I ate last year. My banana calorie count was 48,966 and my high fiber cereal calorie count was 45,397, so those together represented 94,363 calories, less than my HoHo consumption, even though I ate them more frequently.

Obviously I need to change my relationship with HoHos. My goal this year is to limit them to one day a week, likely Sunday. If I have two packs only once a week, my calorie intake from HoHos will fall to 41,600 calories this year, a drop of 62,738 on an annual basis. All else being equal, that should mean a weight drop of 17.9 pounds. I’m not expecting that but wouldn’t mind it either.

As I’m writing this, I’ve had one package of HoHos today so I can only have one more this week. Wish me luck and try to find your worst junk food and cut back on it as I’m doing.

And HoHos are only the beginning, read more of my plans tomorrow.

1 Comment

Filed under blood pressure, cholesterol, healthy eating, life challenges

One response to “How Do I Start Losing Weight in the New Year?

  1. Pingback: How Do You Cope with Workplace Stress? | Two Regular Guys Talking about Food, Exercise and Men's Health

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