I Wanted to Be Hella Skinny But I Didn’t Know How
Weight loss has always been tough for me. I don’t eat junk food, although I did like to drink soda a couple of times a week. Other than that I really ate pretty healthy. My serving sizes were probably larger than they needed to be, but I wasn’t eating double cheeseburgers. I tried a couple of different diets and products but I never seemed to be able to get the weight to drop.
The last time I successfully dropped weight in my adult life I was working as a gymnastics coach, spotting kids four hours a day and eating a very slim, controlled diet that had limited carbs, limited fat, and moderate protein. That plan worked pretty well, but as soon as I deviated from that diet plan I gained my weight back. Outside of that extreme eating plan, nothing else worked. I cut down on servings, didn’t eat fast food, and seriously limited sweets and still the scale refused to move. It was very hard for me to lose weight and I wasn’t sure why - I maintained around 215 pounds. I thought maybe I had a slow metabolism, or maybe my body just didn’t want to skinny up. I think there is a little truth to that and we will discuss it later.
I Decided to Get Hella Skinny
Then in December of 2016 I had some issues with my heart and blood pressure, my A1c was elevated and I realized that my weight and inactive lifestyle was not helping my health at all so I made a decision - I was going to lose weight - period. I committed to eating cardboard if necessary to drop the pounds. Fortunately it did not come to that, but I did have to alter my eating habits quite a bit. I started with a straight keto diet (you can learn more about that here https://www.ruled.me/start-here/ ). The keto diet provided a solid starting point for me. It made sense - cut carbs and sugar out and force your body to burn its fat for energy. I liked it. I could certainly eat fat and protein to lose weight. The only problem was - I didn’t lose any weight. I didn’t gain any additional weight and that was good, but I wasn’t losing any weight - and that was bad. I needed to figure out why in the world my weight would not budge.
How I Got Hella Skinny
Many proponents of the keto diet will tell you all you need to do is cut the carbs and the weight will melt once you are in a state of ketosis. In my case that simply was not true. I had all of my macros in line (80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carbs), I was at or under 20 grams of carbs per day and in ketosis, but my weight would not drop. So, I decided to use the gray matter between my ears to step through the problem. If my macros were in line, and I was in ketosis there was really only one other variable at play here and that was my daily calorie intake.
As I began to cut my calorie intake I noticed that the stupid scale would still not move. However, I was committed to losing the weight, so I decided to give it some time. End of week one - nothing. End of week two - a little movement. End of week three - two pounds gone. It turns out there were a couple of levers I had to pull to get my body to lose weight. First, I had to REALLY cut calories (1200 a day), and second - I had to give my body time to adjust. The mechanics of it all are a little more involved than just those two steps, but it really all boils down to that.
The Truth About BMR and Getting Hella Skinny
One of the challenges I had when I started down this path was that all of the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculators I found were telling me that I was burning 2500 calories a day. There is just no way that was the case. I measured every bite I ate and basic math says that if I am only eating 1700 calories a day (that was before I got serious about my weight loss) and I was supposedly burning 2500 calories a day I should have a 800 calorie a day deficit. I have read that a pound of fat consists of about 3500 calories. A deficit of 800 calories a day would mean I was burning 5600 extra calories a week - almost two pounds. Yet the scale was not moving. That is when I realized - all bodies are not made equal.
Just like anything else dealing with our anatomies, our weight loss path is unique to each of us. BMR calculators are based off of numbers that should work for the masses, but for those of us with slower metabolism, insulin resistance or other medical conditions we just don’t burn calories at the same rate as everyone else. After having that epiphany I decided to continue to ratchet my calories down until the scale started to move. I found my weight loss point at 1200 calories a day. There is a dark side to cutting your calories like this and I cover those concerns in a blog post here, but cutting my calories got the train rolling again.
As a part of this site I am building out a calculator that you can use to help figure out what your real calorie burn each day needs to look like. One of the most important tools to get this information is a food tracking app for your phone - this is CRITICAL. I use MyFitnessPal, but there are others out there that are very good as well. I will share more on the calculator later.
Building Your Plan to Get Hella Skinny
As discussed above - your weight loss is unique to you and your situation. I am going to share what worked well for me and what helped me succeed, but many parts of this journey are solely up to you.
First you have to build a conviction deep down in your soul that you are tired of being fat. Yes, I said the “F” word - FAT. I own my fatness. I look back and I think - how the heck did I let that happen? NO ONE can make you lose that weight except you. You have to be the one to walk past the chocolate chip cookies (my kryptonite) and say - is that cookie really worth setting back my progress? No one else can answer that question for you.
Next, you have to be committed to doing WHATEVER IT TAKES to lose the weight. No sugar, no starches, no grains, eat cardboard, drink UNSWEETENED coconut milk (I know, that is drastic) - whatever is required YOU have to be committed to making it happen. How bad do you want it? Do you want to punch your fat in the throat? You are the only one that can make it happen.
Finally you have to be willing to experiment. The most important first step here is that you need to figure out how many calories your body is really burning on a daily basis. By counting your calories, taking measurements with a tape, and doing daily weigh-ins you can figure out how many calories a day you need to maintain your weight. That is the sweet spot. Once you have figured that out you are ready to determine how big of a calorie deficit you need to create to round-house kick your fat into oblivion.
Now stop reading and go get hella skinny 🙂