If you’re reading this article, you probably fall into two categories. You either want to know “How did you do it? What diet?” or “What happened when you did it? I bet you feel great!”
I will attempt to answer both questions within the body of this text — hopefully to the satisfaction of both groups of readers — as well as share other interesting insights that I encountered along the way.
What diet are you on?
Those looking for a diet to follow — I’m going to give you the best advice you’ll get from any article anywhere.
Diets aren’t real.
They are figments of your imagination. They are fairy tales that provide some sort of feigned easy, reproducible path to weight loss that will somehow remove all need for actually participating directly in your quest for health.
Over the last 8 months, I’ve been asked this question over and over again. Here is my canned answer:
I changed my eating habits to match the lowest possible needs of my body.
That doesn’t have a cool trendy name like Ketogenic, Atkins, The Zone, South Beach. Sorry. There is no silver bullet for fighting your fat — your dietary needs and mine are not going to be the same. What worked for me, isn’t going to necessarily work for you.
The right answer: What your body needs — and nothing else.
If you want to lose weight — you will need to listen to the needs of your body. Not the dopamine receptors that fire off when you eat a Twinkie. If you listen carefully and give your body what it wants without excess? You’ll lose weight.
Well, what do YOU eat?
You don’t get to 300 pounds eating food you should be eating, typically. You get there eating food that is terrible for you — and lots of it — often after 8pm at night.
Chances are likely there is something in your diet that isn’t slowly killing you. For me? It was salads. I love salads. Meat, egg, cheese, dressing, something crunchy inside …
I love lean meats too. After some introspective analysis, I found I like greek lowfat yogurt. Oatmeal. Blueberries. Truly a perfect breakfast.
The trick to changing your lifestyle is to not force yourself to eat stuff you hate but limit that which you love.
That is sustainable.
I managed to find 1200 calories a day that I enjoyed eating that didn’t feel like I was depriving myself of life’s blood every single meal.
Oh, don’t eat after 8pm (6pm if you can help it) and eat the same time every day. Your body is depending on regularity in food provisions.
You work at the gym like crazy to lose that much weight, right?
Have you ever lived on 1200 calories per day when you weigh that much? Working out at the gym isn’t even on the table (much like all the food you used to eat).
See, your metabolism is probably screwed up too. That’s what happens to we, the morbidly obese. We eat too much, don’t exercise enough and eventually we become barely content to get up in the morning.
Walking three times a day for thirty minutes each — morning, noon and night. Not power walking. Not “walking that is actually running”. Just getting out there and forcing yourself to jump-start your poor body.
Walk and eat at the same time every day? That’s it? No kettle balls — no elliptical. No spinning? You can reasonably eat stuff you at least sort of enjoy?
That’s it. Bam — you have the secrets of the ages. At least, that was my secret. Your mileage may vary — and that is my point. You have to invest time in finding you what you and your body needs.
Holy crap! 70 pounds lost! You must feel amazing!
To quote Norman Bates’ mother.
It’s all lies.
You would think that dropping that much weight so fast would feel AMAZING, right? Wrong.
Remember we said that the concept of the diet is just a lie? To sell the lie, you have to provide rewards at the end of all your hard work. Looking great, feeling great — healthy!
Truth is — when you’ve abused your body for so long, even dropping the weight in those numbers isn’t enough to reverse all the nonsense.
That isn’t to say there aren’t benefits. In fact, there are a lot of them. Here is but a short list:
- A lot of my old clothes fit again; just in time for them to come back in style. Oh and I can buy off the rack again. It sucks having to special order fat clothing because you can’t wear anything but socks from Target, Wal-mart or Costco.
- My blood work went from RED-YOU-WILL-SOON-BE-DEAD to BACK-IN-BLACK. That’s right — in 4 months, I went from one foot in the grave to “good scores” on my labs. That includes the ugly glucose and triglyceride values that tend to plague the obese.
- I can see my penis in the shower again. Strange, but true how this means something to men.
- Speaking of penises — sex is better across the board, er bed.
- I’m not ashamed to have photos taken of me anymore.
- I am more willing to use said photos above as my avatar — instead of one from ten years ago.
- My life is no longer planned around when I get to eat next. Strange how much food becomes the focus of your life when you’re fat.
- I’m officially just “fat” now; not MORBIDLY OBESE (what an UGLY expression, isn’t it?)
- Weight restrictions no longer apply to me. It is astounding what you can’t do/ride/experience when you’re greater than 250 pounds.
- I don’t dread flying; or going to lunch with my co-workers where seating is tight in the car.
- My snoring is gone. My wife has to nudge me in bed some nights to make sure I’m still alive.
- I haven’t had acid reflux since I started.
- There are probably a hundred other things worth listing that I forgot.
But do I feel amazing? Not really. Not eating whatever you want is a lot like going out with your old drinking buddies but being on the wagon.
Did something happen with your vision?
Yeah, here is a little something you don’t hear about very much — but can really affect people undergoing rapid weight loss.
When your glucose drastically changes because you stopped eating candy, cake, cookies and crackers all the time — something crazy happens with your eyes. The pressure behind them changes. Diabetics going on insulin seem to initially experience this phenomenon.
In my case — almost over night — I changed from a near sighted mess to a far sighted one. With corrective lenses on (or in; I wear contacts) I was damn near blind. When I took them off, I could literally see great distances. In fact, I don’t remember ever having that great of distance vision …. ever. It was like a super power. The down side, of course, was that my near vision was a complete mess. I also don’t remember ever NOT being able to see close up.
Truth? It scared the living crap out of me. I’ve never heard of anything like this before and it took a lot of Googling to figure out what was going on. My wife was begging me to see the eye doctor, but it soon became apparent that this was a temporary thing and after my body calmed down — my eye site would revert mostly (if not all the way) back to the way it was.
After about four weeks, my eyes returned to their normal near-sighted selves and I could ditch the reading glasses and wear my contacts again.
This must require a lot of discipline, right?
Alright, the other secret to losing weight is accountability; understanding every single calorie and its composition as you’re putting it in your body.
You can’t do this alone.
Some people hire dietitians — some enlist a spouse or friend. The bottom line is — you have to hold yourself accountable or you can’t congratulate yourself when you win. Get an app. MyFitnessPal.com was my tool of choice. I got a Samsung Gear Sport watch (came with a year of MyFitnessPal Premium) and every single solitary morsel that went in my body got logged, counted and tallied. Don’t let someone else be responsible. You need to do it. YOU need to see what nonsense is going into your body so you can hold yourself accountable.
Hey, do yourself a huge favor. Take an opportunity to look at how much salt you’re eating. There are a lot of lies going on about how “healthy food” is .. you know, good for you food. Yet, as you start looking at these calories with “low fat” and “low carbs” — you might just be stunned to realize your salt intake is through the roof. Cottage cheese should be pretty healthy, no? Go see how much salt is in a single serving. Damn.
Isn’t it unsafe to lose that much weight so fast?
Well, went I went to Urgent Care with a little heart scare the week before Thanksgiving 2017, the fat-shaming on-call (I’ve had him before; he loves to pick on the overweight) basically told me I was a mess and I better get this weight off fast.
Since I started this rapid weight loss, I’ve been to the GPs, the cardiologist, the urologist. They all have said “Whatever you’re doing, keep it up!”
I have some “skin husk” I’m working to get off, but nowhere in my blood work, in my examinations or anything else related to my health has any professional said, “You’re losing too fast”.
My GP did say that she didn’t like my eating only 1150 calories some days — but my target is always 1200.
How much more are you going to lose?
I’m going to lose weight until I am no longer branded “fat” by the medical community. I’m 6'1" tall which means I have to weigh 189 pounds to be at the VERY TOP EDGE of “normal weight”. Right now at 219? I’m “fat”. At least I dropped off the “obese” scale.
That’s right. 189. It’s hard to believe. When I got out of the military at aged 19 — that’s how much I weighed.
What happens when you hit your target weight?
Maintain. You know those really skinny women who complain about the extra 1–2 pounds they put on over the holidays? That’s going to be me.
Once I hit my target, I can try to re-instate some of the food I gave up; working on creating an “everything in moderation” scenario. Unfortunately, as any addict of any substance will tell you — some things just have to be off the list forever.
I fully expect maintenance to be a hundred times harder than the weight loss — and I’m ready for it.
Have you had any negative effects from the weight loss?
Well, the first couple of months — the hunger pangs got pretty bad a few times. You know, when you’re obese (or even “just fat”) you tend to forget what actual hunger feels like. These are fleeting, though.
I was diagnosed with low testosterone a few months into the lifestyle change. It may or may not be a byproduct of the weight loss, but it would be “journalistically irresponsible” of me not to mention it.
Try living on a serum count of 175 and 1200 calories a day.
Overall, though — along with the above mentioned vision changes, it honestly has not been the most horrible experience.
Well, I guess that’s it. If you are just starting your journey — I wish you all the luck I have to offer. If you’re in the middle of your journey — it is great to see you here. If you’re at the end, I hope to see you soon.
Oh, you want an after picture? Okay … I’ll do a mirror selfie like the skinny girls do …
Do you have questions? I’ll be happy to answer them below.