That big, red 1,800 represents how many calories per day I have been eating since April 17. I am pleased to report that the weight is falling off me as leaves drop from trees on windy October days.
In 2007, after receiving stents to open two blockages in my heart, I needed to lose weight. Though I was a runner, I gradually added a few pounds a year. Having reached age fifty, I didn’t burn calories as efficiently. I ate too much. You know how it goes.
I decided I would count my daily calorie intake and keep it at 1,800, which would be well under what I would burn in a day even without jogging. I love statistics, keeping track of things, and competition. By counting every calorie, I hoped the three things—statistics, keeping track, and competing with myself—would result in success.
Boy, did it.
I ate 1,800 calories a day, usually six days a week. I gave myself a rest day mostly each Friday. Yes, that’s pizza day at our house. I jogged four to six times a week, usually five miles per run.
I lost an average of 2.5 pounds a week, ten per month, for seven months. From June to January, I went from 268 pounds to 198. It was the first time I was under 200 pounds since I was in my early twenties.
(If you’re curious, at my 6’2″ height, the government says I should have weighed no more than 190. Now, I’m 6’1″, so…)
I didn’t maintain the 198. I stopped counting calories. Until last year, my weight fluctuated between the 210s and 240s.
When I decided to transition, I wanted to look my best as a woman. I worked on losing weight. I did okay with it, but couldn’t hold it. I didn’t return to counting calories.
Last year, when I resumed living as a guy, I had to deal with a holdover from my transition: breasts that are too large for a man. That created a unique challenge.
So that I could be in public without feeling that folks were noticing my too-large breasts, I did something I had never done: I deliberately put on weight. I wanted to be fat, so that it appeared I had man boobs. In 2018, I gained twenty-five pounds.
The man-boob part of the plan worked pretty well. The other part didn’t. I hated being fat. When I had my yearly visit with my cardiologist in December, he noted my bulk. I explained it. He wasn’t pleased, but thankfully my blood pressure and cholesterol were good, and he was impressed with how much I run, so he didn’t press me to lose weight.
But I got tired of being fat. I longed to be in good shape. I want to be healthy for myself and for my family. I want to be here for Julie, and for my kids and grandchildren. It’s long been my goal to keep jogging to my eightieth birthday, and that won’t happen if I’m carrying bulk. I don’t want to have a heart attack. Or get diabetes. Or have high blood pressure.
This spring, I tried to use portion control to harness my calorie intake. I did okay, but was not consistent. Thankfully, I’m not a snacker—I rarely have anything outside of breakfast, lunch, and supper—but, when I do eat, I keep going till I’ve had plenty. And I love sweets, so I was eating too much dessert.
Finally, in mid-April, I found the resolve to count my calories, and to return to the 1,800 per day of 2007’s successful run.
May 17 marked one month on the plan. I am pleased to report that my efforts have exceeded my expectations. I’d like to tell you exactly how many pounds I’ve lost, but I made a mistake at the beginning: I didn’t weigh myself!
I had been so disgusted with my weight that I stopped my Monday get-on-the-scale routine in February. The last couple of times I dared to check, I clocked in around 260, the most I have weighed since 2007’s peak. Thus, I don’t know what I weighed the day I began this plan.
Next time, I’ll tell you what my weigh-ins have been since I resumed mounting the scale on April 22. And I’ll begin telling you my approach to consuming 1,800 calories per day.
Since this is my plan to lose pounds—Greg’s weight loss plan—a mash-up of the first two words provides a nifty name: Greight.
Greg + weight.
Rhymes with great
Thus, you have the Greight Loss Plan!