Huge Weight Loss At The Beginning of a Diet

It’s been one week since I started Operation: Fat Dad Slim, my weight loss project for 2018. It’s really been a great week. I had lots of fun time with Angela and the kids this weekend. This blog is exceeding all of my expectations (we had our first day topping 100 daily views yesterday, and we’re over 260 followers on Twitter). And through it all, my weight loss journey has been going really well. This week, I’ve had some huge weight loss at the beginning of my diet, and I’m feeling really good about it.

I’ll share how much weight I’ve lost at the end of this article, but first I want to talk about some of the dieting challenges I’ve faced, plus share what’s been on my plate.

Challenges

Steroids = THE MUNCHIES

I started an oral steroid pack this week to finally kick this upper respiratory infection I’ve had since before Christmas. It did the job and I’m feeling a lot better, but every time I’ve been on a steroid pack, it leads to two things: I can’t sleep and I want to EAT EVERYTHING.

I think, for the most part, I’ve handled it well. I haven’t really denied myself anything — if I was hungry, I ate something. I just focused on selecting healthy options like fruits and veggies instead of junk. I only had one day where I chose poorly. I’ll talk about that in a bit.

No Gym Yet

I still haven’t signed up for a gym membership. I’d hoped to start that near the first of the year, but this respiratory infection pretty much made that a no-go. I’m feeling a lot better, but I haven’t quite shaken the cough entirely yet, so I’m going to wait another few days and look into signing up for a membership next week.

Hydration

Hitting my 1 gallon a day hydration goal is still a challenge, but mostly out of laziness and distraction. When I get busy — and I’ve been really busy this week taking care of family and managing this blog — I tend to neglect drinking.

I followed @hydrate_bot on Twitter to give myself a periodic reminder — every so often, it tweets out a reminder to drink some water. Since I’m spending a lot of time on Twitter promoting the blog, it’s been a good way to keep myself on it.

If I had tons of disposable income, I’d love one of these hydration-tracking water bottles from STYR labs.

This thing has built-in sensors that detect how much water you’re drinking and automatically syncs it up with an app. The cap on the bottle even has a little digital readout to show how much water you’ve had to drink.

At $49.95, it’s beyond my price range right now, but maybe one day.

Gas and Bloating

Okay, this is probably TMI, but I’ve had some gnarly bloating this week. I woke up last night with a bad stomach ache from it and had to get up and move around a bit to get comfortable again.

I added a probiotic at the beginning of the week, and I think that’s the culprit, especially combined with the dietary shift towards more veggies and legumes. The steroid pack might also have something to do with it. Thankfully, I finish up the steroids tomorrow morning, and I’m going to skip the probiotic for a day or two until things settle down.

What I’ve Eaten This Week

I shared a quicko food journal a few days ago, so I’m not going to break it down day-by-day and meal-by-meal this time. But here’s the tasty food I’ve been eating this week that’s helped me lose weight.

Salads

Photo by Eugene Kim.

Salads. Lots of salads. Really, salads have been my primary source of meals.

I try to aim for as much nutritional diversity as possible when it comes to my salads, with 7-8 different ingredients each. Here’s a list of some of the things my salads have included this week:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Green bell pepper
  • Diced red onion
  • Guacamole
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Diced apple
  • Diced tomato
  • Celery
  • Carrot shreds
  • Grilled chicken
  • Turkey breast
  • Sliced sirloin steak
  • Crumbled hard boiled egg
  • Sun-dried tomato hummus
  • Black beans
  • Light Caesar dressing
  • Tortilla strips

Obviously, if you’re not careful, even a salad can be unhealthy — I try to stick to a minimal amount of salad dressing, and I don’t add tons of croutons or cheese. I make a point to go big with my salads — I don’t mind having a second helping. I want the salad to fill me up and keep me from snacking later on.

Soup

Cold salads are hard to keep up all the time, especially when it’s chilly and rainy outside. I’ve also tried to have more soups — mostly chicken noodle and black bean. They’re low in calories, but I try to limit them to avoid too much sodium. The biggest challenge has been avoiding add-ons — I’m the kind of person that likes to have a lot of crackers or crusty bread with my soup, so I’ve tried to avoid that entirely.

That has had the great side effect of making me focus more on the soup itself and really enjoying the flavor.

Pizza

I had two slices of cold pizza for breakfast one morning. I don’t feel bad about this one — I like my pizza packed with veggies, so it started my morning with a nice dose of peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and basil.

Corndogs & Potato Chips

One day, the steroid cravings got the better of me, so I grabbed a pair of corndogs out of the freezer and had them with some potato chips. Honestly, they weren’t that good. They left me with a greasy feeling in my mouth, and I was still hungry later on.

It also left me with some crummy food guilt — it was a crappy food choice; I knew it was a crappy food choice; it wasn’t my cheat day — and I ate it anyway. Lesson learned: healthy food is better at filling you up.

The Payoff – 8 Pounds Lost!

I weighed in today for the first time since starting this weight loss thing. I’m down from 354 lbs to 345.8 lbs. That’s 8.2 pounds of weight loss at the beginning of my diet. I actually got on the scale twice to make sure it was correct.

I don’t really feel any thinner, but my fat dad pants are slightly less uncomfortable, so, y’know, win.

8 pounds in one week feels like a lot. It almost feels like TOO much. That’s the kind of huge weight loss all those stupid fad cleanses claim they can give you if you drown yourself in beet and onion juice for a week. But there’s some key things to remember that explain why I lost so much weight:

I’m a big dude

At 6ft 2in and 350-ish pounds, my body uses a lot of energy just to keep itself moving. While I’m not muscular by any means, my body does have a lot of muscle from years and years of carrying my own body weight. My body has a BIG resting metabolic rate — a term which basically means “how many calories you burn just being alive.”

According to this calculator on ShapeSense, my resting metabolic rate is a little over 3200 calories a day. By focusing on salads, I’m definitely eating a lot less than that.

Drinking more water helps you lose weight

According to this Healthline article, your resting energy expenditure increases by 24-30% after drinking water. That makes sense when you think of all the things water does to your body — it helps repair cells, flushes toxins, promotes more efficient blood flow, and a lot more. All of those processes take energy, and that means more calories burned.

It won’t keep dropping so quickly

As my weight drops, so will my resting metabolic rate. That means I’ll burn less calories on a day-to-day basis, so the gap between my caloric intake and my energy expenditure will close and I’ll lose weight slower. I’ll have less weeks with huge weight loss and more weeks where my weight slowly dwindles.

Once I hit the gym and start my StrongLifts 5×5 routine, I’ll also start building muscle. Muscle is denser than fat, so it weighs more. It also burns more calories than fat, so I’ll still lose weight, but it may slow things down.

How’s Your Weight Loss Going?

If you’re losing weight this year, tell me how it’s going. What are you struggling with? What’s helping?

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