by Jason Ovryn
The first change I made was my eating habits — but I didn’t go on a diet. That’s an important distinction. I don’t support the concept of “diets” because they might work for the short term, but they’re not conducive for losing weight and keeping it off forever. Instead, I changed what I ate and drank.
First, I cut out all juice, soda, and chocolate milk. That was huge. I was drinking roughly 500 calories a day — or more — with essentially no benefit.
Secondly, I significantly reduced the amount of pasta and bread I ate. Note: I am a vegetarian and I have been my whole life, so carbs were a huge part of my diet.
Third, I reduced the number of sweet and unhealthy things I ate, such as ice cream, chips, cookies, etc. I emphasis reduced because I do like those foods and it would be really unlikely for me to stop eating them completely, nor do I think anyone needs to. It’s just about moderation. Also, I substituted ice cream with sorbet and frozen fruit, which are both just as delicious.
One other tip: I think an easy way for many people to gain weight is through constant snacking, and I can say firsthand that such was true for me. However, we’ll never eradicate man’s urge to snack. The answer then? Change the snacks! Instead of cookies or chips, eat fresh fruit like bananas and apples. One of my favorites, which I snack on all the time, is baby carrots.
A typical day of eating for me:
Breakfast: 3 eggs and 3 egg whites scrambled with salsa
Snack: A few bananas or an apple, Chobani yogurt
Lunch: A peanut butter and honey sandwich on multi-grain bread, or a burrito with beans and mushrooms mostly
Snack: A red pepper, baby carrots, a banana, or a pear. Alternatively, a Kind bar, trail mix, or Chobani yogurt
Dinner: A protein-packed vegetable (e.g., soy beans, lentils, and broccoli) or meat substitute (e.g., tofu, seitan, and tempeh) thrown together with whatever looks tasty in my fridge
I started exercising more, a lot more. At first, running was really hard — hard on the lungs, hard on the knees, but mostly hard on my shins. But then I went to a running store and purchased better running shoes with insoles that were supportive for my ankles when landing each step. The shin pain went away, then the knee pain went away, and then, before I knew it, I could run without huffing and puffing at all! I went from running one mile at 7:20 and nearly collapsing afterwards to running five miles at sub-7-minute-miles within about six to eight months.
On top of that, I also did a lot of biking and swimming.
Get Out Of Your House
The third, and slightly less obvious, thing I did was stay out of my house. That’s because when I am home, I am often eating or snacking, and while that’s OK sometimes (for meals), it often leads to mindlessly snacking, which is no good. So I would go outside and spend time doing any number of things outdoors. This trick provides so many benefits. I get to enjoy the outdoors, I’m not snacking, and I’m burning some calories, too!
The combination of all these little life changes allowed me to lose pounds with ease, and feel really good. It’s extremely hard to see progress within one or two days, but over a week, or a month, or a year, you would be amazed what you can do.
The truth is, I was not perfect in my year-long journey. There were days I didn’t work out. There were days when I ate more than I should’ve. There were days I felt like it wasn’t working. But that’s all OK! It’s a journey, a slow and difficult journey. As long as you stick to the goals you set for yourself, it will feel incredibly rewarding and gratifying to know you’re achieving them.