That’s how much weight I’ve lost with barely even trying at all and without exercising—a statement that is literally true. The secret? Keeping track of what I eat—nothing more.
To do that, I use the free LoseIt! app for the iPhone, pictured right. The app asks you how much you weigh, how tall you are, and what your goal weight is. Based on losing two pounds a week, which is what I heard somewhere is a healthy amount (not too fast, not too slow, but just right) it assigns you an amount of calories to eat per day. All you need to do is record what you eat so you meet that goal.
Keyword: Meet. Do not go way below it, do not go way above it, that’s just the right amount.
Apparently, if you dramatically reduce the amount of calories you take in your body thinks you’re starving and so it clings tightly to every calorie it can get its mitts on, terrified that it’s the last calorie it’s ever going to see and any weight loss you might’ve enjoyed until that point vanishes and becomes a horrific crawl. But if you give it plenty, just not a lot, then it doesn’t notice and you’ll steadily, surely, lose weight at two pounds a week.
An even more surprising truth is that there are many nights where I notice I’m way under my calories and choose to eat something even though I’m not really all that hungry. So I’ll microwave some kettle-flavored popcorn (sweet!) and eat a couple Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups™ and I’m golden. (More on those cups later.)
I heard somewhere that if you write down everything you eat every day you’d be surprised in a bad way because it’s always more than you idly think. That was true with me. I knew that on Saturday and Sunday I indulged but I was thinking that things roughly balanced out during the week. Untrue. Oh, goodness, so untrue. Those two days were horrific.
Is this a diet?
I…guess? See, here’s the thing: I actually have not cut anything out of what I have always eaten, with the sole exception of a hot fudge sundae every Sunday (but even that has exceptions). I have merely throttled back on everything I was eating already, and even that’s been a light throttle. A little goes a long way.
Speaking of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups™, I found out that five of the miniature ones are equal to a Hershey’s chocolate bar, which was my typical dessert every day. I decided to switch to the cups because I was adding peanut butter to my choco bar every now and again. Being horrifically lazy when it comes to food preparation the cups were obviously the way to go: all the labor of mixing ingredients done for me.
So I bought a jumbo bag of them and assigned myself five per night, same as a bar. But then I got it in my head to throttle back on the number of cups. Do you want to know the terribly embarrassing reason? Of course you do! It’s awesome! It’s that I got tired of unwrapping so many of the damn things every night. Yes. I’m am that lazy when it comes to food that if given the choice I will choose not to unwrap candy if I don’t have to. Also they leave an oily residue on my fingertips that doesn’t quite come off unless I go wash my hands. Which is gross. And because they’re impossible to eat unless fully unwrapped I can’t use silverware to keep my distance from the infernal things. Geh.
Sheer laziness combined with fastidiousness and aversion to touching food has me down to two cups. The win-win is I get more donuts earlier in the day and less hassle at night. This whole watching what I eat thing is rocking!
Do I constantly think about food?
Not in a bad way. Whenever I encounter food I ask myself: “Is this within budget?” If it is, I eat it. If not, not. That’s all there is to it. Part of this reason is that I didn’t have an unhealthy attitude toward food in the first place (the above paragraphs not withstanding) in that it’s not a particular craving and I don’t “use” it for anything psychologically. But what was unhealthy is that I didn’t regard it either. Hot fudge sundaes all around! Well, that ain’t no good.
Since I’m looking purely at the calories in food I don’t, in the slightest, feel guilty about eating a donut or something. If someone brings in donuts at work (which happens a lot) I’ll eat one no problem. In the back of my mind I’ll think I’ll skip dessert at lunch because I want to have dessert after dinner.
That’s not a difficult compromise, it takes virtually no willpower, and of course is easy and allows me to eat donuts. Anything that green lights free donuts is aces in my book.
LoseIt! comes with a vast library of foods from restaurants and grocery stores as well as staples. What freaked me out were some things that I didn’t think were as bad as they actually are, like breadsticks from Olive Garden—they’re 150 each. 150 is kind of a lot for a single item like that, especially when I used to eat three or four over the course of lunch.
How many calories is the Berry Burger I eat every Sunday at Jay Berry’s Café? Good question. Unfortunately, LoseIt! doesn’t have all food everywhere so in situations like that you have to input the ingredients of the item. Meat, buns, &c. That can be a pain but here’s the thing: Once you’ve done it you never have to do it again because LoseIt! stores all that.
If you can get over the monumental hump of spending 1.5 minutes every day tracking what you eat in an iPhone app then you can lose weight without even trying.
You can’t tell by looking at me (still a fatty!) but the scale—which we bought expressly because of LoseIt! because we’ve gone our whole lives without one before—doesn’t lie. It’s digital and everything!
Friendship and support
If you have friends you can add each other and then look and see how much weight’s being lost and who’s coming in at their goal. Peer pressure, m’boy, peer pressure. It can be a good motivator.
If you would like to add me, please do! Use my gmail address and I’ll add you back.
LoseIt! has a website where you can turn on Twitter and Facebook notifications if you like as well as a whole host of other neat-o features that I don’t happen to use.
Anyway, I can’t envision an easier way of losing weight, other than someone preparing all my meals for me so all I have to do is open a package and consume and not think or do anything—for free.
So until that becomes reality (spoiler: it won’t!) this is really just a super-duper easy awesome way of losing weight.
I was told that I’d feel great after losing weight. Untrue. The reason is that I felt great before. I feel just as good now as I did before I heard of LoseIt! And since I can’t see (yet) any appreciable cosmetic change there’s really no physical evidence that I’ve lost any weight at all except for some numbers on a digital scale every morning.
So, assuming that’s not a terrible lie, I can attest to the effectiveness of easily, lazily, idly merely keeping track of what you eat every day as a way to lose weight, lots of it.
Well, I dunno, 25 pounds seems like a lot to me…