I’ve tried to lose weight every year for the past few years. I went back to look at earlier entries, and I’ve been historically excited about losing a pound or two after going to the gym. Using hindsight, it’s ironic to read how excited I was, but then note that the weight came back, and I was back to square one. I exercised, I lost a nominal amount of weight, but I reversed it somehow. At the end of the year, I would then vow to “finally lose the weight” next year. Lather, rinse, repeat. This would be comical if this wasn’t sad and pathetic.

What’s the problem? Earlier this month, I began wondering what was going on again. Here I am — I’m working out 2-3 times a week, I’m “eating better”, but the weight loss slowed to a crawl. A weight loss of 3 lbs in over a month is not that impressive. Isn’t there an old adage that the sign of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. I’m eating more salad and protein, less carbs, but the weight loss wasn’t dramatic. What was wrong with this picture?

I realized it was my diet. Every year, I start a workout regimen, but my diet never changes. I work out, and then undo the good work with overeating. A little less than two weeks ago, I realized how many calories I’m gorging on daily with abandon. I was going to take the kids out for dinner at Taco Bell, and I checked out the number of servings and calories in my favorite menu items like nachos and burritos. Perusing the nutritional info online, I was appalled by the number of calories. Volcano nachos, burritos, chalupas, etc, are loaded with calories. One order of volcano nachos or the grilled stuft burrito were nearly 1,0000 calories each. If I take into account the 2,000 calories a day guideline, just one item on the dinner menu would account for half of my calories for the entire day. JUST ONE ITEM!

It was my “Eureka!” moment. As a result, I recently re-examined my diet by using the 2,000 calories a day guideline, and come Monday, I checked out the nutritional info at other fast-food restaurants. You should try this sometime, and I guarantee you would be appalled and surprised.

  • At Taco Bell, if you don’t eat off the “Fresco” menu, you’ll be in trouble.
  • At McDonald’s or Burger King, if you get fries, you are in trouble.
  • Mayo? Trouble.
  • Sour cream? Trouble.
  • You get anything with bacon, you are in trouble.

I thought I was so smart recently for eating a small chicken sandwich, side salad, and nuggets from Wendy’s, but even that is throwing out my calorie budget. I can’t believe how much I was overeating. No wonder I never accomplished much weight loss all these years. I would work out the night before, then go and eat a 600 calorie BK Whopper and a 400 calories in french fries at lunch the next day. Oh, and drink a Diet Coke. Add in calories ingested at breakfast, snacks, 2 servings at dinner, and maybe dessert. Consider that I can burn maybe 400 calories on the treadmill in 30 mins, and it’s all a recipe for weight gain.

Last week, I weighed myself at back up to 202 lbs on Monday afternoon. I watched my calories intake and portions throughout the rest of the week, and I broke 199 by Friday. I didn’t even have time to work out all last week, but the cut in calories was monumental. These past two weeks, I’ve been sticking to the actual serving sizes for snacks, baby carrots with lite ranch or hummus dips as snacks, and serious calorie watching. Before I go out, I know where I’m going, and what I’m going to eat. 500-550 calories for lunch, and a lot less for breakfast and snacks. I’m doing my best a dinner to eat more protein and veggies, and just a fistful of rice. It’s tough, but I think I’ve figured it out.