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A Half-Marathoner's Winning Weight-Loss Plan

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I'm Number 465 in a Race at Converse, Indiana


There are many diets available today with the most popular including The Biggest Loser, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. All of these are good diets; however, you are required to either eat a certain food or have a membership to have success.

Not everyone can afford to join a club or buy special food, so here is what I used to lose extra weight. This program is not designed to turn you into an athlete, but it will get you on track to lose weight and improve your overall health. If you can find a family member or friend to get on board with you, that can only help you on your weight-loss journey. Even if you have to go it alone, you can still have success if you keep your eye on your goal.

How Much Should You Weigh?


The Basic Plan

In the summer of 2002 I got on the scale and weighed 194 pounds. Holy cow! I had never weighed that much in my life! I was very irritated at myself for getting this far out of shape. I decided I needed to do something about it.

This is the basic plan I used in 2002 to lose 27 pounds in 3 months. It is a calorie counting plan. Do not get discouraged, this is not as tough as it sounds. Your first step is to go to a web site that will tell you how many calories you should be eating. I suggest that you go to the free calorie counter and enter your information. This site will ask you your age, height, weight and sex.

When it asks for your weight, put in your goal weight. I suggest that if you have a goal to lose a lot of weight, to do it in increments. For example if you weigh 300 pounds and your goal is 180, start by setting your goal at 250. When you reach 250 enter 210. When you reach 210 enter 180.

You will then click next and the screen will ask you your activity level. You will want to select either somewhat active or active because later in this article we will talk about exercise. Don't panic-if you haven't been exercising, you can start slowly to develop and enjoyable, moderate routine.

How to Count Calories

Keep in mind that a serving is roughly the size of your fist. Foods containing the lowest calorie density are raw and steamed-only vegetables without anything added. Next, are the fruits, such as citrus and green apples. The sweeter fruits, such as pears and grapes, are slightly higher in their calorie count. Steamed fish and poultry follow, with fats (oils, nuts, avocados and bananas) leading in high calorie content. The good news is that culinary seasonings, such as basil, thyme, rosemary, onion and garlic are negligible. You can use these to add interest to your diet.

When you buy at the grocery store, most foods have the calorie count per serving right on the nutritional label along with protein, carbohydrate, and fat content. This makes diet planning a little easier because the calories are given. You don't have to research the food on any list.

When you go out to eat, that's a different story. Some restaurants have a "heart healthy" select list or code that helps you choose the lowest calorie meal. Go with one of those and skip dessert. Keep restaurant trips down to two or three times a month.

If no heart-healthy select list is available at your restaurant, you can research meal calories online. Many of the major restaurants carry menu listings with the calorie count for each entree. Note two or three choices or print out the menu page. You can then carry then menu with you so you have then information available when you enter the restaurant.

Personal Drawbacks

When I did my calorie counting, I got online and found out how many calories were in the various foods that I ate. Fortunately I was a bachelor so I could control my eating habits fairly easily. I know this isn't for most people but I had basically the same thing for breakfast and lunch. I changed things up for supper. Since I was dating someone at the time, it was important to know how many calories were in various meals and sandwiches. For me, that was the toughest part to keep track of.

How to Check Your Weight

It is a good idea to check your weight on a regular basis. I suggest once a week. Try and weigh yourself the same time of day and on the same day of the week. Your weight fluctuates at various times during the day. Your weight at 7:00 AM will most likely be different that at 5:00 PM. Do not be discouraged if you weigh a little more on occasion. You will sometime have off weeks. Overall, you should be consistently losing weight.

Free Calorie Counting Apps

In today's world there are many apps that will keep track of calories for you. According to Good Housekeeping, here are the 6 best calorie counting apps:

1) FitBit- Input foods either manually or with their barcode scanner. A daily breakdown of your carb, protein, and fat intake allows you to better understand how your food choices impact your overall health.

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2) HealthyOut-Helps you manage the options when dining out. For instance, it can suggest only the restaurant dishes that don’t exceed your chosen calorie count

3) Lose It!-You have a choice of how to log in meals: searching their food database, scanning barcodes, or using the new Snap It feature, which allows you to send a photo of your dish.

4) MyFitnessPal-It has over five million foods in the system so it's easy to enter what you ate.

5) Nutritionix Track-Users praise Nutritionix Track for its straightforward calorie-tracking.

6) Rise-The app matches you with a registered dietician for personalized coaching and daily support, advice, and encouragement. Just snap photos of your meals and snacks for your dietician to review and share specific feedback. You can also discuss your exercise routine and any other weight-loss challenges. The one catch: A monthly subscription starts at $49.

Don't Forget to Exercise

The final step is to add exercise. I'm not talking about strenuous exercise here. Remember I said this was going to be fairly easy. Just walk for 30 minutes per day. Ideally you should be going at between 3-3.5 miles per hour. That means you are doing a mile in somewhere between 17:30-20:00 minutes. Another way to look at it is in 30 minutes you should be going anywhere from 1.5 miles to about 1.75 miles. You most likely won't be able to do that the first time you walk. That is fine. Do the best you can and try to improve from there. If you can only walk for 15 minutes at 2 miles per hour, don't worry, at least you are starting to exercise. It is also important to get on a schedule when you exercise. In my case, I walk every morning, the first thing in the morning.

For those who live in a colder climate, walking outside is not an option year-round. When the weather is bad you have other choices. You can buy a treadmill or bicycle and exercise on that. Since you are looking for a cheap way to lose weight, you should check out rummage sales, your local Goodwill Store or a local store that sells used items for those. Another option is exercise DVDs. I personally think the Leslie Sansone "Walk Away The Pounds" series is excellent. Another option is to find an exercise program on TV that you like, record it and exercise when you normally do.

Like I said earlier, this program is not designed to turn you into an athlete, but it will help you to lose weight and start you on a path to better health.

Mayo Clinic Advice

Amount of Calories Burned in 30 Minutes Based on Body Weight

The above information was adapted from the Health Line website

Exercise/Body Weight155 Pounds185 Pounds







Stationary Bicycling



Aerobic Dance



Swimming (Casual)






For Further Reading

Exercising in Winter

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2009 Art West


VMAF on September 17, 2020:

This is helpful and inspirational. I remember when JFK was president, he promoted fitness for all Americans.

When personal habits are imbalanced, health problems are triggered.

Thank you for sharing.

Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on September 04, 2020:

I am notoriously thin, but I remember the difficulty my mother had with thyroid and losing weight. Hormonal imbalances can be extremely difficult to overcome. Sea vegetables, such as kelp and dulse, added to the diet are helpful. Visual aids, such as pictures on the refrigerator or inside a readily used closet door of how you'd like your body to look help reprogram the subconscious.

Weight is a touchy subject for many. Your shared experience may be inspirational.

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