Calorie Counting and Disc Golf

“Are you ok?” “How’d you do it?” Those are the 2 questions people ask me about the 60 pounds I’ve lost in the last 20 months. It kind of catches me off guard when people think my weight loss is an unhealthy thing. But the answer to the first question is “YES!” I’m awesome. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. The answer to the second question is “calorie counting and disc golf.”

Other than the 4-5 years I played high school sports, I was overweight all of my childhood. In adulthood, I did off and on diet modifications, dropping 10-15 pounds here and there. I went through spells where I’d hit the gym pretty hard for three or four months. But the weight always came back. I hovered around an unhealthy 220 since my early 20’s, and I was always in a state of knowing I needed to lose some weight.

Here’s the thing; I love to eat. Here’s the other thing; I hate to work out. So, nothing I ever did lasted because I was ignoring two major things about my personality.

So, June 2010 was a God-send. I had made fun of disc golf for years. I have no idea why. I guess disc golfers seemed like an easy target. But as it turns out, disc golf is a lot of fun. So, I bought gear, joined a league, and lost 20 pounds. Bing, bang, boom. I wasn’t even trying. I didn’t even notice until November that I had lost weight. I found something to do that I just wanted to do. And while I was doing it, I was exercising; walking 1-3 miles, 2-3 times a week.

When I did take notice of the weight loss, I also took notice of calorie counting. It seemed a lot of heavy-turned-skinny people knew of this practice, including my health guru friend Linda Goff (read her blog). I saw her speak a few times and she mentioned this bizarre new ritual. So I thought I’d try it. And turns out, it’s not as scientific as it sounds and there are a lot of SIMPLE online and phone-app ways to do it (I use livestrong.com). By taking a hard, detailed look at my diet, I found a few tweaks to make that made the jump from 220 to 160 a piece of cake. I didn’t have to change what I ate, just how much I ate. And when I did indulge, I just had to change what I ate around it. So, I still got (get) to eat good food. No diet mods!

I did have one thing going for me in the food department; variety. I do love to eat, but I don’t have a lot of food discrimination. I have always eaten a lot of salads. Plain oatmeal is a pretty regular part of my morning meal rotation. I have a piece of fruit as a snack just about everyday. But in the balance, there was imbalance, and I had no idea how the food I ate related to how much I needed. So, even though I ate “right,” I realized having mayo on my sandwich at lunch, drinking one soda in the afternoon, finishing my wife’s pasta for dinner, and having one extra scoop of ice cream in a single day put me 1200 calories over what I needed. And I did things like that all the time. And those actions just turn into extra weight. I realized that it’s just not worth it.

There’s no real way to drive the point home here. I don’t have a 5 step process, set of buzz words, or meal plan to give you. All I know is that my life didn’t need major overhaul. Just a slight adjustment to food input / energy output. I ate the same, just less. I found one activity I like (one that can BARELY be called a sport). And on a long enough timeline, it has equalled major weight loss, a healthier me, and a rhythm to my life where I have no doubt that I can keep it up.

Nathan

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