Why I got more aggressive with my weight loss
Between early 2011 and 2014, my weight never exceeded 305lbs. I was happy, sort of. As a tall guy, I carried the weight well, but I knew I could lose more. So I read up on sugar and its effects.
Never before in human history have we ingested refined sugar in the quantities we do today. While the full ramifications of this consumption aren't totally understood, I learned that excessive sugar intake is linked to type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, dementia, and even yeast infections! Though alarming, it wasn't so easy to implement what I was reading because of my raging sweet tooth, but I wanted a real change. I wasn't perfect, but I began, in earnest, to limit simple carbs and sugar. Soda tasted too sweet to me at this point; I stopped drinking it and never looked back. Gone were the days of eating as much free bread at restaurants as I could get. I still ate plenty of junk food, but I told myself I was doing a good job because I was trying somewhat. My weight stayed consistently in the 290s.
The sugar-reduction strategies that actually work for me
There are plenty of techniques out there to reduce your reliance on sugar, but I've found these to be useful. Planning ahead is crucial for me. Now, I can often be found traveling with snacks! When I won't be around healthy food options I carry homemade trail mix or fruit. The times I'm feeling spiffy, I even bring veggies and hummus.
I refuse to buy the candy at the register, no matter how badly I want it. At brunch, I substitute fruit for the toast. They're seemingly small changes, but in totality they make a huge difference.
Because I grew up eating dessert after dinner, it was strange, at first, to avoid sweets so much. But the more I did it, the better I felt. I use that as motivation when sugar cravings are strongest.
I'm a simple man who wants a simple plan. I just decided to break the cycle. Breakfast became an apple rather than a donut. Quinoa replaced rice during lunch or dinner. Fruit is a natural source of sugar and comes with a full spectrum of nutrients, like fiber, which helps your body process sugar. Sugar from a strawberry is not the potent, distilled version found in, say, strawberry Skittles.
Reach out to a friend when you're struggling. Being open and honest with my girlfriend throughout the process was a huge help for me.
Know that there will be setbacks, but they don't doom you to failure
In March 2014, I quit nicotine. I had tried before and knew it would be hard. Nervous to fail, I gave myself some pep by eating any junk food I wanted. I was gluttonous. I knew I was gaining weight, knew I had gone back over 300lbs, but told myself it was all to save willpower for nicotine.
One day in May, I hopped on the scale after a large meal. 320lbs. Shit. No, Fuck! I was so frustrated with myself. Being below 300lbs made me happy, and here I was. In the mirror I saw myself going back to being 340lbs or more.
Enough was enough; I refocused my willpower on making healthy food choices. I dropped the added sugar and processed foods from my daily diet. The needle on the scale couldn't have fallen any faster.
Within a year of May 2014, I was down to 250lbs. Seventy pounds lighter with a lot more energy. People on the street kept asking me if I "liked to party?" I found out later that means "do loads of cocaine." Which must be a compliment!
By September 2015 I was down to 230, and I've been there ever since. From my heaviest of 360lbs to a maintained weight of 230lbs was a slow process, at first, but the majority of the bulk was lost in a little over one year. Almost entirely due to my removal of excess sugar.