How I dropped some pounds

In the past 18 months I’ve lost 54 lbs. Which isn’t the quickest weight loss, ever but it’s still pretty significant. I’ve gone from having a BMI (body mass index) of “obese” to “overweight” to just recently “normal”. It’s not easy to lose weight, but no change is easy.

What triggered my desire to lose weight was that I couldn’t find pants that fit me anymore. Men’s size 44 were seeming too small. I couldn’t find bathing trunks at target that fit around by big butt. I didn’t want to be sized out of normal clothes shopping.

Before

After

Hypnosis

The first thing I did was buy Paul McKenna’s “I can make you thin” book, cd and app. Paul McKenna is a self help hypnotist who is a doctor via diploma mill school. His books and hypnosis tracks helped me a lot when I spiraled into a really deep depression six years ago. “I can make you happy” is the book I used for depression. I did start losing pounds with McKenna’s system. His system is

  • Listen to his hypnosis track once a day
  • When you eat, eat alone, without distraction. Pay attention to the food, focus on it and savor it. Eat slowly. When you first start to feel full, stop eating immediately. Don’t finish what’s on your plate.
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day

Seems simple enough. I found it impossible to eat alone, in silence. I have a job, and I don’t have a room I can lock myself into to eat in a zen meditation type state. Still it got the process started. It gave me the confidence to know I could lose weight and start more conventional approaches.

I don’t think this approach is for everyone, but I would be remiss if I didn’t say I tried it.

Track your weight daily

As I lived my life I’d slowly put on pounds. For a while I was like “I’m 200ish lbs” that number went to 205, 210, until I weighed my self and was 234lbs. I use a program called “Happy Scale”. I weigh myself every morning after going to the bathroom. I punch it into the app and check out my trends. Happy Scale uses something called a “Moving Average” which is their algorithm for removing normal weight fluctuations from your daily weigh in. Sometimes your weight will go up a bit, but if your moving average is going down, you know that weight gain is just temporary. Your body gains and adds weights depending on a lot of things.

Easy habit fixes

I stopped drinking soda, both diet and sugared. I started drinking iced tea, even though it’s totally gross, and now I like it. Diet soda effects your stomach bacteria and can make you feel more hungry. I don’t need that in my life.

I avoid heavily processed foods, and fried foods. I don’t eat french fries anymore, no donuts, other things covered in sugars and deliciousness.

I used to drink a six pack to just get a buzz. When me and my wife started dating we’d go through 2 to 3 bottles of wine on a date. Removing alcohol when I wasn’t going out was pretty easy. My wife has completely quit drinking (👍). If I go out with some people to a bar, I’ll limit myself to 3 liquor drinks (though I’ll usually have one). I drink whisky/whiskey/scotch typically (if you were wondering).

If you have depression, regular drinking will make it a million times worse. Even if you don’t have a drinking problem per se. Similarly, adding those empty calories is not going to help your diet.

Weed

I tried the Weed diet for a bit. The idea is that smoking pot increases your metabolism. When you get the munchies, eat healthy, and not crap. Specifically you want strains that have THCV and lower your appetite like Green Crack, Pineapple Purps, Master Kush. If you try this technique, get a medical marijuana card, and make sure you’re buying the correct strains.

I did see a big weight loss through this, but it was untenable. I’m a programmer, and I can’t do my job intoxicated (wish I could!). Also, while I do like getting stoned, I don’t want to be all the time, it feels gross (personally).

Calorie Tracking

When my wife started doing this, I was like “That’s overboard, just make sure you eat well!”. I was completely wrong. What did you eat yesterday? If you can’t list everything, you’re doing it wrong. If I eat a chocolate chip cookie with lunch, I won’t remember after dinner when I opt to eat a piece of pie. It has as much to do with tracking my calories as remembering what I ate.

For calorie tracking I use “Lose It!” app, my wife prefers MyFitnessPal. I can scan the barcode of any food I’m going to eat. I can lookup how many calories are in a food if I’m at a chain restaurant. I can find out the totals of home made foods by punching in the ingredients.

If you eat out a lot at restaurants that don’t have calories posted, this is tough. It’s really difficult when you don’t know what’s in your food. The point is here to do your best. If you’re tracking accurately 80% of your food intake, the 20% that’s less accurate isn’t going to be as bad.

This is still a struggle, but it’s been probably the best single help. CICO (Calories in/Calories Out) is probably the best and most accurate way to lose weight.

If you’re starting this, I suggest you don’t have a calorie goal. See how many you eat on average in a week. Let’s say this number is 2500. Then, once you have your baseline. Go to 2450 or 2400. Once you’re comfortable in that, drop it another hundred. Lot’s of websites will tell you how many calories you should aim for to lose no more than 2 lbs a week.

Water

Drink 100oz a day. No excuses. You’ll feel amazing. I track my water consumption on my:

Apple Watch

I bought an apple watch to track my movements. It’s nice because it tells you how many calories you’ve burned, how many steps you’ve taken, how many flights of stairs you’ve traveled, automatically, and it holds the data forever.

The apple watch will also connect to Lose It, so when I burn a few hundred calories working out, I get a few hundred calories added to my calorie allowance for the day.

It also tracks sleep, which is good for promoting weight loss, but I don’t have a set limit on how much sleep I must get or anything, I just let it get tracked on its own and pay no attention to it.

Boot Camp / Exorcise

My work has a lovely fitness boot camp twice a week that I opted into. It’s about 10 people doing different drills for 30 seconds to 45 seconds at a time. Exhausting stuff, like body-builders, push ups, running stairs, Muay Thai boxing. It’s a very open and friendly atmosphere with people of different body shapes and ages. People are expected to push themselves a little bit past their limit, but no one is expected to 100% do the drills perfectly.

Class 1, I was sore, head to toe. Class 2, pretty close to destroyed. Class 3 was way easier, Class 4 I was barely feeling it. The more regularly you exercise the quicker your recovery time will be.

Take a class. Please. It will be the best thing you do. Without someone there encouraging me to try harder, I’d do the laziest groups of self-exorcise possible and call it quits.

Out of the 54 lbs I dropped, 20 of it was in 6 months when I started regularly exercising. It really took my weight loss to the next level, though I’m not sure how long I would have stuck with it, if I hadn’t gotten some healthy eating habits before I started.

Author: Steve Barman

A writer of javascripts and movie scripts. Twitter, Github, Tumblr.

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