Paul Reynolds

Lost 50lb (22%) and maintained after 345 days

Before MyNetDiary
The ability to track using MyNetDiary has been so important.

What made you decide to lose weight? What was the moment that made it "real"?

I've tried to lose weight several times before but have never been able to sustain the effort – even when I got to my goal weight it wouldn't last. I had wanted to lose weight for a while and had not been able to summon the motivation, but this time around there were several motivating factors. The first was medical, in particular my cholesterol reading which showed I was beginning to put myself at real risk for heart disease – that was the latest in a long line of wake-up calls. Also, I want to be around for my kids (currently ages 10 and 6), and to be able to play with them. I also thought that as a Christian, I was setting a terrible example, not just for my kids, but friends and acquaintances too – some people are very heavy because of health/gland issues, but I wasn't – I was very heavy purely and simply because I ate much too much.

What diets or programs have you tried in the past? What results did you see with those?

I've not been on a bunch of different diets – most of them seemed too "faddish" – i.e. they'd help you lose weight but they weren't sustainable, they weren't a lifestyle change, just a shortcut to temporary weight loss.

Tell us how you have made progress so far. What specific changes did you make to your daily routine and lifestyle to achieve success? What strategies did you employ to make calorie tracking work for you?

The first thing I tried was the "eat less, exercise more diet", which is to say I just thought to myself, "How hard can this be? If I eat less and I exercise more, I'll lose weight...right?". The first time I tried this I crash-dieted and lost about 50 lbs., only to find myself gaunt-looking but with a little pot belly and not much muscle. Successive attempts without the help of a system of some kind never lasted, as I could never come close to quantifying how much was too much, and what kinds of food were OK versus bad, and so on.

One thing that did work for me though was Weight Watchers, as it offered a balanced way of losing weight along with the accountability of weekly weigh-ins, and I built myself a spreadsheet to help track what I was eating. However, I simply got out of the habit of tracking the points on everything I ate, and in the end the weight just piled back on.

Tell us how you have made progress so far. What specific changes did you make to your daily routine and lifestyle to achieve success? What strategies did you employ to make calorie tracking work for you?

I've made a number of lifestyle changes that have helped. The first was seeing a nutritionist. She helped me to understand the balance I needed between fats, proteins and carbohydrates, and educated me as to the types of foods I should be focusing on. Bizarre as it sounded, I wasn't eating enough fat. So, I've introduced more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats into my diet while keeping clear of the saturated fats (which reminds me – I'm due a handful of almonds...excuse me a moment...that's better).

Other than eating a handful of almonds every day, I now use more olive oil in cooking, I've been eating more salmon and tuna, and have been getting into avocados and hummus. For example, I didn't realize it but I'd been eating a LOT of zero-fat yogurts thinking that was a good thing, and not realizing that they contain a lot of carbohydrates and not much protein, so they were helping me put ON weight! One little change I made then was to switch to zero-fat Greek yogurt: high in protein, low in carbohydrates.

How has MyNetDiary been instrumental in your achievements so far?

MyNetDiary has been (and continues to be) crucial for my success because it enables me to easily track everything I eat, including all my exercise. Getting a detailed nutritional breakdown is invaluable, as I try to get the best balance of fat/carb/protein, and I ensure I'm getting all the vitamins and minerals I need. The iPod Touch app has been especially important for me so that wherever I am, I can input what I'm eating. The reports and graphs are really useful for providing a visual indication of my progress.

What roadblocks did you face while losing weight?

    Roadblocks to losing weight:
  • My food addiction. It's the reason I've needed MyNetDiary in the first place, and it doesn't go away. I just try to manage it, which is why the ability to track using MyNetDiary has been so important.
  • Three times during the six months it took me to lose most of the weight, my weight loss tapered off for no apparent reason. I was still well overweight, and I was eating only what I was supposed to be eating, and yet the weight leveled off or even increased slightly. I had to remain patient and keep reminding myself that that's just how the body works – weight loss can happen in fits and starts, even if your eating and exercise habits are consistent.
  • Well-meaning and kind people who'd tell me – 20-25 lbs. before goal weight, that I shouldn't or didn't need to lose any more weight.

When did you start seeing results? What will be your definition of success?

I started seeing results immediately, because once I started using MyNetDiary I was rigorous about keeping to my calorie limit, which meant I was eating 500-1,000 calories less than before every day! I have several definitions of success. The first was getting to my goal weight, which I achieved in March. The second is to keep the weight off for longer than I've ever done before, which would mean keeping it off for six months – I'm five months in now and so far so good. Ultimately, my definition of success will be to keep the weight off permanently!

What do you do when you start feeling yourself slipping?

When I start feeling myself slipping, it's usually because I rationalize to myself that one dessert, or even one binge, isn't a big deal. I just have to remind myself that it never stops there with me – that one binge always leads to another, and another, and before I know it I've put on a few pounds, I'm feeling fat, and it just gets worse from there. Now that I'm at my goal weight it pays to remind myself of how good I feel now, physically and emotionally, compared to how I was feeling before.

What have been the biggest improvements in your life since losing weight?

    The biggest improvements in my life since losing weight have been:
  • Massive increase in energy levels, which helps with pretty much everything, including obvious things like the ability to play with my kids and be very hands-on when coaching my son's baseball team
  • My wife appreciates it!
  • Less worry about getting sick. There's heart disease on both sides of my family, and being very overweight made me worry about getting heart disease through not looking after myself properly.
  • Less joint pain (particularly in my back, knees and ankles), and less prone to picking up nagging injuries because of the stress on my joints
  • I'm no longer paranoid about people staring at me for being fat.
  • My doctor's very happy with my dramatically lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels!

How long have you kept off your lost weight?

I had an initial target of getting to 189 lbs., which I accomplished 5 months ago, and getting to my revised target of 186 lbs. a few weeks after that.

Please share with the MyNetDiary Community your top three tips to help them on their journeys!

    Top 3 tips:
  • Be patient.
    Don't expect, or even hope, that you'll lose more than 2lbs in a week. It's not healthy and you can't keep up that pace, which may lead to discouragement and the risk of giving up.
  • Don't go on a diet.
    Change your lifestyle in a way that's sustainable. Anything faddish that takes a lot of effort, or involves leaving out entire food groups, is almost impossible to sustain in the long run and may not even be healthy. And you certainly don't need to waste your money on specially-branded diet foods. Normal food is just fine!
  • Track everything.
    If you don't track everything, you're just kidding yourself. Drinks, nibbles, snacks, correct portion sizes...everything. People sometimes feel like if they haven't put it in MyNetDiary then it didn't really happen...but it did! Far better to be honest with yourself, and build in those treats to your calorie allowance. You can build in treats; just don't pretend they didn't happen because it'll just lead to disappointment when you weigh yourself.