Agile Experiment: Losing the 30 lbs

In June of 2014 it occurred to me that I was ready and willing to lose the 30 lbs that has stubbornly stuck to my frame for nearly 20 years. Because I was willing to take any and all action toward that goal and because I was willing to examine habits I was attached to, I felt I was ready to undertake this mission.

My initial goal was to lose 15 lbs by October and the rest by the end of the year. I engaged the help of a nutritionist, a personal trainer and also a weight loss coach to help with any of the emotional things that might come up from changing my habits.

My nutritionist did a survey of my eating habits and suggested several small adjustments to how I was putting my meals together. Additionally I started by seeing my trainer twice a week and checking in with my coach every 2 weeks. The first 12 lbs came off with very little trouble.

I noticed in my workouts I was doing alright but I wanted to see more improvements—they were pretty intense and I was getting tired in the middle. I thought this meant I should eat more carbs before hand. My trainer suggested instead to have 3 more lower intensity workouts between the ones I had with her. I had weights and a strike bag at home so I worked in sessions over the weekend and mid week. Also, I changed my diet up and changed my smoothie breakfast to oatmeal. My energy lifted and my workouts improved but my weight stayed stationary despite my effort in the gym.

Could it be muscle vs fat? There was no way for me to check that conclusively without doing something like a hydrostatic test for my body composition. My sense was that I may have taken on some additional muscle it probably wasn’t a great deal.

My nutritionist pointed out that I take a lot of meals out in the evening. This was the hardest area for me to change—just tired at night and going out is a diversion as well as a way to get food. I made an effort to eat at least of my evening meals at home. Gradually another two pounds came off.

Still my weight was stalling. I tried another tactic and severely limited starches and sugars. In the meantime I allowed myself to have more fat including eating bacon and eggs (a small portion). My hunger stabilized and I lost another two pounds in short order.

Each change was gradual and added only when I was ready to adopt the change. I could have changed everything all at once but it wouldn’t have been sustainable for me. Most behaviors feel normal and the old way of eating (larger portions, higher starches) feel alien now.