In July of 2010 I turned 40 years old and ate a whole cake and 2 pints of ice cream by myself. 3 days later I played a 35th wedding anniversary for a friend’s parents who are beef ranchers. After that gig, stocked heavily with barbeque beef, I started my new lifestyle.
When I started, on Monday July 25th I weighed in at 225 lbs, down from 245 at the height of my drunkenness circa 2003 and up from a brief period at 205 in 2006. I had been holding 225 for close to 5 years. During the entire time I was an exercise junky, teaching 3 burly / sweaty kungfu classes per week, commuting by bike every day, and working physical job. More on that later.
In my 20’s I was a vegan for a couple three years. In that time I lost weight, partially because I didn’t know what to eat at first, and I was just starting my martial arts career. I was quite slender.
I decided I wanted to lose 26lbs and weigh 199lbs by the end of 2010. I achieved my goal in less than one month, and in less than 2 months I had coined the phrase “187 bitchess!!” in my doctor’s office.
I have now leveled out at 170 lbs plus or minus 3 to 4 lbs on any given day.
HOW DID I DO IT?
I was an obese child in an obese family. Everyone in my family is massively obese and I was too. My father, and therefore I, tried EVERY SINGLE fad diet this, Atkins that, low carb whatever. In order to lose weight you simply MUST disabuse yourself of this notion.
There is only one way and it is portion control. Sorry… But wait, it’s not that bad and it’s quite simple. Stick with me.
I noticed that when I cooked, I ate while I cooked and I was rarely hungry when I served a meal. Keep in mind that I rarely was ever “full” in my life. I could ALWAYS eat another slice, helping, etc.
So I decided to see JUST HOW LITTLE I COULD EAT WITHOUT BEING MISERABLE OR PATHOLOGICAL. You don’t need that much, and being a LITTLE hungry is not that bad.
I work a physically demanding job. I cannot afford to be low blood sugar dragging ass. That said, a LITTLE bit hungry between breakfast and lunch is not the end of the world.
So see how little you can eat and not be miserable. If you get too hungry EAT JUST A LITTLE. Eat just enough to not be hungry anymore. I suggest having an apple, and or a small bag of raisins and nuts about.
Feeling a little hungry is feeling alive. Most of the time you’ll forget about it in a few minutes and the next time you think of it, it will be lunch time, and time to eat. You should be hungry at lunchtime.
And let’s be honest about being hungry. There are times when we all eat and it’s clearly boredom or other emotional eating. But true hunger is hard to achieve. In fact, when you start losing weight, you’ll start to feel hunger as “the medicine working”. You will start to have positive associations with mild hunger.
Here is some unpleasant science. Calories in calories out…PERIOD. As far as weight gain and loss is concerned nothing else matters. The kinds of calories you eat (Twinkies vs. spinach salad) have other nutritional implications, but are only mildly related to weight loss. Eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is second only to being a non-smoker when it comes to reducing your risk of most cancers. If you drink a 2000-calorie soda diet, you’ll get your calories, even potentially gain weight but be hungry, and need to eat more calories resulting in weight gain. These are both examples of the kinds of calories having a health effect, but not for weight loss.
Here is an unpleasant assertion. Exercise plays a very small role in weight loss. There is epidemiological research that supports this assertion and my own experience in which I was massively overweight while being a super active exercise junky.
When I quit drinking in 2003 I was 245 lbs. During that time I was “methadoning” with 2 liter bottles of sugared soda and giant chocolate bars, 2 per day at least on top of my normal eating. With no change in exercise 25lbs FELL OFF my body and I didn’t even know it until I weighed in at the doctor’s office. Restricting the thousands of beer calories I was consuming resulted in the weight loss. Even the soda and candy was not enough to “sustain” my obesity.
Restricting calories makes the biggest and I would say only difference.
If you take in 2000 calories and expend 2000 calories your weight will stabilize.
If you take in 2500 calories and expend 2000 you will gain weight quickly.
If you take in 1800 and expend 2000 you will lose weight.
If you eat one piece of cake over your balanced calorie in calorie out situation, you will have to exercise your ASS OFF above and beyond your normal exercise output just to equal the cake, never mind lose weight beyond it.
We all should have the luxury of being able to work out MANY HOURS a day so that we can overeat but it’s neither realistic nor sustainable for most people.
What I am saying is that exercise has many scientific medical benefits, and it’s a great thing to do to take your mind off of eating, and it will burn some calories.
But exercise must NOT BE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS PLAN. YOU WILL NOT LOSE WEIGHT BY SIMPLY ADDING EXERCISE. YOU MUST RESTRICT CALORIES.
Try it for one month. You are not banishing large portions of fun fatty foods from the planet. You can always go back. But, if you simply eat only when you are hungry, you can still eat anything you want just small amounts. Not only will you lose weight but your need for more food will diminish, and you will start to get much fuller much faster.
The important thing is to be honest about your hunger.
Are you really hungry?
Thanks to everyone who supported me in this endeavor.