So for the first time in many years, I'm feeling pretty good about my body. I still have a bit to go to reach my goal weight, but my confidence in regards to my appearance is higher than it's ever been.
I'm still "overweight" according to BMI, though I strength train, so that may be somewhat skewed.
Unfortunately I never took proper "before" pictures (and I was very photo-shy back then), so this is the best I could find. It's not actually at my highest weight, but it's fairly close.
My previous pant's waist size was 36 but was rather tight (I had some 38 pants) - my new pant's waist size is 31, though the waistband is kind of loose, so I could probably fit into 30. I was in L size shirts in the "before" picture, but they were fairly tight to the point where the button-up shirt couldn't be buttoned (a lot of my clothing was XL to 2XL) - now I fit M shirts comfortably, often opting for "slim fit" if available.
As for how I got to this point:
For the first 40lbs, I didn't actually track calories. I simply decided to eat "less" than I had been up to that point - approximating what I felt to be roughly "half" of what I was eating before. This applied to both foods eaten at home, and in restaurants. When going out, I'd get only a single entree, instead of an entree, an appetizer, and frequently a desert - I'd also try to order stuff that was a 'bit' healthier (while still being tasty sounding). This worked for about 6 months, but my weight loss ended up stalling around 185lbs-190lbs, where I ended up hovering for a few months.
After that initial period, I finally decided to get into calorie tracking, which got me to where I am now. I cut down the amount I went to restaurant visits significantly (since they're hard to track). I'm not a great cook, but I got a bit more into it than I had been before. Truthfully, a lot of the portion control/calorie tracking came from healthy frozen meals (mostly Healthy Choice and Luvo brand ones), which are abundant and fairly cheap at some nearby grocery stores. About a month ago, I also discovered Halo Top is in Canada now, which has been a nice treat to have here and there.
I started off by just walking a lot. I was completely sedentary prior to this, so even some short walks that had hills were a bit rough at the time. Despite how simple it was as a form of exercise, I started feeling better health-wise pretty quickly from this. I would often go on walks through parks, or down to/along a waterfront/beach. I'd often also do so in-place of driving/transiting somewhere (if it wasn't unreasonably long). I still walk, but not as often as I did when I first started.
After I reached about 190lbs, I started strength training, 3 times a week initially, but cut back to 2 times a week due to costs. The training consisted primarily of the core barbell lifts (deadlifts, squats, bench presses, overhead presses, rows), along with accessory work. This improved my strength, posture, and body coordination significantly over time. Recently I've replaced the 3rd workout I dropped with a home body-weight fitness session , which I've been enjoying quite a bit. I also try to do cardio work at least 2 days a week on off-days.
I don't think anything I did here is particularly "special" - I believe anyone here could accomplish the same with some perseverance. That said, I'm proud of my progress.
My remaining goals at this point are:
Reach my goal weight of 158 lbs (putting me at a nice healthy BMI of 24) and maintain it.
Reduce my body fat % further (would like to be somewhere in the 8%-12% range). I plan to take a DEXA scan when I reach my goal weight to see where I'm at.
Get better at making my own meals.