The Incredible Shrinking Me

Matt Orlando
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Matt Orlando

Matt is a 30 something year old runner/father/husband from New Jersey. Along with writing for TheRunnerDad.com, he occasionally writes articles for other blogs and websites. He is an IT guy by day, with a passion for running, traveling, and photography.
Matt Orlando
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shrinking

On or about April 25th, I went to get my new driver’s license. After a surprisingly quick visit, I walked back out to my car and decided to compare photos of my old and new license. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe the fat face looking back at me from my new license. I decided right then and there that it was time to stop saying I was going to get back into shape and actually do it.

I began the following Monday, April 29th.  Since then I’ve lost 12 lbs.  That’s around 0.3lbs a day.  My goal?  18lbs by June 30th.  If you do the math (which I did because I’m a nerd like that), my current weight loss trend puts me at 18lbs on June 25th.  That gives me a nice 5 day cushion…not too shabby.

How, you might ask, have I achieved such a feat?  Easy!  Eat Less, Move More!  “But Runner Dad, it can’t be that simple…can it?”  I assure you my friends, it is.  Barring any major health issues (such as a thyroid issue), eating less and moving more will help you lose weight.

My secret weapon has been MyFitnessPal.com (you can follow me here).  I can’t sing this website’s praises loud enough.  You put in your current stats, what you want to lose, how fast you want to lose it, and BOOM!  It gives you a break down of how many calories you should eat per day, including a breakdown of different nutritional categories (fat, carbs, protein, etc.).  You login each day to use their extensive database to track your meals…and boy is it eye-opening.  That grilled chicken salad from your favorite chain restaurant that you thought was healthy…yeah, not so much.  (I’m talking to you, TGI Fridays).  You quickly see what foods you need to eliminate or find healthier alternatives for in your diet (such as replacing 120cal per slice “healthy” wheat bread with 7-grain Pepperidge Farm bread for 45cal per slice).

The other awesome thing this site does is allows you to earn calories by exercising.  So let’s say your daily goal is 1200 net calories.  Sounds tough…until you realize that if you do a 3 mile run you’ve earned 380 – 400+ calories (depending on your weight and pace).  So your 1200 calorie goal just became 1600!  It really gives you a great incentive to get out the door and move move move!  It lets you see how exercising really benefits your weight loss goals.

I’ll be honest, the first week was rough, mainly because I was in “sweet” withdrawal.  I had been eating ice cream or something equally as bad every night…so I really needed to change that anyway.  But I am in no way starving myself.  Here’s a sample day that included 2 miles of walking:

menu

As you can see I’m still satisfying my sweet tooth.

So if you want to lose weight, I’d definitely suggest trying out this website.  It’s free, easy to use, and just awesome.  Good luck in your journey!

Leave your weight loss stories below!

18 Comments

  1. Clay

    Love the app, it has really opened my eyes to foods that are actually good compared to foods from places that you think are good (most salads aren’t that healthy for you from most places!). Love how you can add in your workouts to gain more calories. Keep up the good work and keep posting your progress on Twitter!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Thanks! Yeah, it’s crazy the calories of foods that you think are healthy…makes you realize eating at home not only saves you money but is so much healthier!

      Reply
  2. david bibiloni

    Over the past year, I’ve used that app/site combined with cycling and running to lose 75 pounds (235-160). It is just about “that simple” !

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      That’s incredible! Love to hear about people taking control of their lives and losing the weight. And you’re right, it is very simple as long as you have the discipline to do it. Also helps that my wife is doing it with me!

      Reply
      1. david bibiloni

        Yeah my wife was totally onboard as well. About 6 months in I sold my car and got a few different kinds of bikes and a cart so I can run errands like groceries. With twin 1 year olds, I can’t says it hasn’t been challenging, but it has been exciting and rewarding. We now eat a very clean diet and due to some food allergies in the family have decided to make our own foods and cut out processed foods that come in a box/package and all meats. We limit seafood and eggs still but overall we vowed to keep it green in 2013!

        The kids seem to love kale and cauliflower, berries, and garbanzos. They still drink their milk and think daddy’s homemade yogurt and keifer is ice cream 🙂 (althought they never had ice cream).

        But yeah, it literLly all started with my fitness pal and a food scale and reading every label before it crossed my lips. Best to you runner dad! I started following you on Twitter when I began my running program in January and love what you’re doing! Peace.

        Reply
  3. Richard

    A friend showed me myFitnessPal last September and I immediately started using it. I set it to 1.5 lbs per week and was religious about tracking everything. I started using our treadmill (which had gotten little use in 9 months) to gain calories back so I could eat more. By the time 9 weeks had gone by, I had lost 18 lbs. In an effort to keep it off, I started running thanks to a friend introducing me to Couch to 5k. I now run 15-20 miles per week. I have gained back a few lbs. I stopped tracking things and there has definitely been a lot going on of late (graduation parties, etc) where there are too many bad things to eat, but for the most part, I’ve kept it off. I will say this, seeing the math makes all the difference if you want to lose weight, and combining myFitnessPal with running or at least interval running/walking is extremely effective.

    Check out the 90 calorie Fiber One brownie. I ate a lot of those for dessert. Also, lots of 100 calorie tortillas with turkey, lettuce, tomato and light mayo.

    Also, buy a food scale. Great tool for really knowing how much to eat.

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Yeah, celebrations will definitely mess with your diet. But as long as you are sensible and get in some exercise that day it’s not too bad.

      Reply
  4. Kristy @ PghRunner.com

    Congrats!

    Love My Fitness Pal!

    Reply
  5. Erin

    I lost 30 pounds of baby and nursing school weight using myfitnesspal!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Great Job!

      Reply
  6. Chris Hale

    It’s is a great story; you’ve clearly made some super changes in your life. I’ve been working to lose weight also, first with c25k app to get me moving and now with Nike+. My biggest challenge is moving enough after winter sports are over to keep the wieght off. Thanks for reminding me to keep it simple and move!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  7. Pete Olson

    Last January (2012), I weighed 275.6 pounds and started the South Beach Diet. Last Summer, I had dropped to 243 pounds and started running again for the first time in 25 years.

    When I got into longer runs in December/January, my body needed more carbs, so I switched to Weight Watchers, which is essentially the same thing as MyFitnessPal…but calls everything Points rather than calories. Also, I earn Points every time I exercise…earned 13 this morning, in fact, for a 5+ Mile run.

    Proud to say that this past Monday, I weighed 184.4 pounds – total weight loss of 91.2 pounds – and have run a 6K, the Disney 5K, a Five Miler, a 15K (longest race to date), a 10K, and two other 5Ks. Right now, I’m taking a break from racing because I’m starting my training for my first half marathon (Disney’s Wine & Dine) and first Full Marathon (Disney also) on July 1st!

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      That’s incredible! Great to hear you’ve made such an amazing transformation!

      Reply
  8. Richard

    I’m back on MyFitnessPal now, but only for 2-3 weeks this time in order to drop about 5 lbs which I gained back.. Last time was 9 weeks. It’s way easier for 2-3 weeks rather than gain it all back and have to do 9, especially when you can mix in running so you can eat more.

    Reply
    1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

      Yeah, I’m interested to see how long I continue to use the site after I hit my goal weight. I’m hoping it teaches me enough so that I can maintain on my own…though the site is relatively easy to use, so it wouldn’t be a complete burden.

      Reply
      1. Richard

        I can share my experience with that. My 9th and final week of dieting last year ended on 11/18. At that time, I was allowed 1320 calories per day in order to lose 1.5 lbs a week. I went from 186 to 168 or so, so 18 lbs in 9 weeks. After that, I changed the setting to just maintain my weight and I was allowed 2100 calories per day. I kept going with that until January or so, and then decided that I was just going to run 3 days a week and eat what I wanted just to see what would happen.

        It does get a little tedious after a few months, and sometimes a bit complicated. You get tired of worrying about how to quantify certain things as well as what’s in certain foods. If you’re not making the meal and don’t have a label, then you probably have to guess a lot. I got tired of that and just wanted to be free from it. My wife was also annoyed that I was always using my phone.

        I think the key is just to keep up the running and try to stay reasonable with desserts and junk food. Never grab the whole bag of chips and take it with you. Count out a serving and leave the bag behind. Skip the 2nd piece of cake. If there are multiple dessert options, pick just one. The exercise should take care of any other overages. Also, if you have a really bad day, use the app for 2 days and try to have a few of those 1300 calorie days, then go back to normal again.

        Reply
        1. The Runner Dad (Post author)

          Well said. I let myself go for a while, wasn’t exercising, eating whatever…and that’s why I packed on the weight. Glad it’s going away.

          Reply
  9. profkf

    MFPal was key to my weight loss. I had sleeve surgery July 2015, am down 170lbs from a high of 366, completed a 1/2 marathon in Oct 2016, now run 3 miles most mornings, 5-6 on the weekends, feel GREAT, at 64 I feel better than I did at 34. Using the app on my phone, to this very day, keeps me focused on my necessary protein intake and allows me to keep a close watch on my calories and even to look ahead if there’s something I want but am not sure how it will fit in!

    Reply

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