How I Lost 50 pounds in six months and
found back pain relief:
Adam found himself nearing the age of 50 with a few extra unwanted pounds. He was also experiencing lower back pain, finding it harder to sleep and exercise. After visiting Dr. Slosar, he tried a normal course of non-surgical options including anti-inflammatories, but the pain did not subside. Fed up with his increasing weight, he set upon a serious course of weight loss, and discovered a surprise side benefit - his back pain was gone!
Several years later, Adam continues to keep the weight off with diet and a lot of biking, tennis, and kite-surfing.
Here is how Adam did it:
- Set a realistic goal. My first goal was to see the number on the scale begin with a “1”. Modify your goal as your body changes.
- Slash calories. The only thing that really matters is food intake. Exercise is useful, but a second-order effect. You cannot realistically burn off enough calories to offset the typical American diet. I averaged 1,400 net calories (total calories minus modest exercise) a day for 6 months. This was down from what I found to be about 4,000 calories/day prior to recognizing the issue.
- Eat 5 times a day. I found that a snack at 10:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. made a huge difference. Almonds saved me – they naturally curb your appetite, and it is easy to eat an ounce twice a day.
- Don’t eat after 7:00 p.m. Try and bias larger meals toward breakfast and lunch.
- Drink enormous amounts of water. Ask yourself when you want to eat, “Am I really hungry or just thirsty?” Most of us do not drink nearly enough.
- Use a food diary. I used www.myfooddiary.com, but others (www.loseit.com) are available. The theory behind using a food diary is that once you fully understand what you are putting in your body, you will modify your behavior more rapidly for the better. It definitely shaped my thinking.
- Listen to your body. I found that beef quickly began to be less tasty, and leafy greens that I’d never eaten (kale, chard, collard greens) tasted remarkable.
- Plan ahead for meals and snacks away from home. Restaurant meals are brutal. If you think I’m overstating this, look at the online nutrition guide from the Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Panera, or any other chain restaurant. If I had to eat at a restaurant while traveling, I would research and understand exactly what I was going to eat before I arrived. There would typically only be one choice that was acceptable to my program on the entire menu. I also found that bringing my own food for lunch and snacks was hugely beneficial at remaining consistent.
- Exercise – but differently. For the average middle-aged person to lose weight, a useful tactic is to exercise for longer duration at a lower intensity. (High-intensity exercise has other benefits, but will actually slow your weight loss – do it after you’ve completed the low intensity/long duration portion.)
- Pace yourself. It will take a long time (it took me 6 months). Aim for 1 pound/week. Most of the weight that comes flying off in the first week of a diet is water bound by glycogen – and it can come back equally quickly if you don’t make systemic changes.
- Stay with it. You will be hungry for the first 3 weeks. You will be grumpy. You will crave sugar and fats. You will plateau for periods of 2-3 weeks and begin to question yourself. But if you are diligent and have will power, you will break through and get to your goal.