Key to losing weight

Losing weight is a journey - do you know the key to success?

Several years ago I went in for an annual checkup and my doctor told me that my cholesterol was dangerously high. I had two choices:

  1. Change my lifestyle
  2. Permanently take pretty serious medication

I really didn’t want to take medication every day if I could at all avoid it.

There was a big problem, though. Regular exercise, caloric restriction, caring about my weight and health had never been on my radar. It would take considerable effort to change that.

I began the journey and made it work. Within 4 months I’d started a dietary change, regular exercise for the first time, and lost nearly 40 pounds. See the first sharp decline in the weight graph below.

Like most people, keeping the weight off was tough. It slowly began to grow and fluctuated unpredicatably. I wanted to keep it off but struggled. I knew I couldn’t go back to where I was. I wasn’t sure what would get me there, though. Then, a few months ago, I was able to begin the second decline in the chart. Something was finally working - I was able to shed what I’d slowly gained over time - a dozen pounds in two months.

Weight loss chart

One large and one medium weight loss periods. What fueled them?

I really want to avoid see-sawing again and have been thinking about what helped my in those two stretches. What caused change in a few months that I couldn’t do in the many years before the initil loss and the nearly 2 years of oscillating in the middle of the chart?

The key to the change wasn’t about exercise - I was running and cycling at points throughout this chart. It wasn’t food consumption willpower. I had periods of ups and downs on that front, too. There was only one constant, one thing I did perfectly in both stretches of serious weight loss.

I weighed myself every day.

That’s it. I stepped on the scale every day and was accountable to myself. Prior to my weight loss I literally never weighed myself - and in the stretch when I was putting the pounds on, I didn’t consistently check my weight, checking in every week or two.

That which is measured improves.
That which is measured and reported improves exponentially.

—Karl Pearson

People vary. So do their motivation. Measurement works for me. If I set a goal and measure it every day, I see improvements. I never connected that drive to the specific reason for my weight loss, but looking back it makes sense.

The best news is now that I know, I have a better chance at keeping my weight stable. I’ll keep stepping on the scale every day.

What are your motivators? Maybe doing one of those as often as you can will help you to your next goal.