Last January I reached a low weight of 180 lbs for the first time in many years. Unfortunately, over the last 15 months I’ve allowed my weight to balloon back up to just under 220 lbs. While I would love losing weight to be motivation by itself, in early March I learned that I’ll be joining my family in Hawaii for Thanksgiving and I really, really don’t want to look like a pile of mashed potatoes when I go to the beach. To avoid that dreaded situation, I’ve figured out that I need to lose about 0.13 lbs per day (0.91 lbs per week) between now and Thanksgiving.
To help me reach my goal, I have implemented a weight tracking regimen. Each morning when I step on the scale my weight is uploaded to a spreadsheet. During the day, I write down everything I consume so that I can tally my estimated calorie intake before bed. This data is then automatically represented in the chart below:
As expected, when my calorie count is high, my weight rises on the following day. However, I’ve been surprised to learn just how much I’m consuming every day. A healthy male my age with my physical activity level needs roughly 1,750 calories per day to neither lose nor gain weight. I am averaging 3,000 calories per day, almost double what my body needs.
A life lesson I’ve learned is that goals are not achieved through the exercising of raw motivation. Like any emotion, motivation waxes and wanes. Some days it will flow abundantly, but on many other days motivation will be lacking or absent. Instead of hoping for motivation to carry efforts to success, goals are achieved by making a habit which is performed regularly regardless of motivation.
In my case specifically, losing 40 lbs is a very tall order. That’s not something I can easily wrap my mind around achieving. On the other hand, losing 0.13 lbs per day or 0.91 lbs per week should be doable. I can incorporate actions into my daily and weekly schedule to lose the necessary weight. Since weight change is simply the result of calories consumed versus calories expended, I need to focus on what I’m consuming and how much I exercise. Success now depends on my ability to stick to a schedule so that lots of small wins add up to a big win in November.