Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weight Loss, tips from someone actually doing it

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to weigh about 265 lbs. One Xmas, I was home with my parents contemplating going up to size 42 pants when I said "no". Instead of new pants, I started counting every single calorie and exercising regularly. Over the following 12-18 months, I dropped 70 pounds and weighed in at 195. Since then I have become the avid runner I am today, and the weight has stayed off.

That intro aside, I have been following Tyler's story at: He has been trying to drop from 344 lbs, and presently is down to 215 (awesome!). He recently posted 50 thoughts about weight loss. What I especially like about the list is that it is coming from someone who is ACTUALLY WORKING TO LOSE WEIGHT. Better still are his two first points, 1) read everything you can, and 2) be skeptical of everything. I could not agree more, especially when I see how many "quick, easy" fixes are out there being pimped and sold, but have no evidence of benefit beyond just getting out there and doing exercise or just eating less. There are no magic formulas!

The one thing missing from his list which I would add is: "Just do it". This is not an endorsement of Nike (one day I will get around to writing a post about Team Sweat) but it is advice on the observation that being committed is simultaneously the most important advice to accept and the hardest to employ.

What I mean is, how many people think you can eat whatever you want, never exercise, and have the perfect body? It just can't be done, we all know this in our hearts, but many people spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on gear, DVDs, books, diets, supplements, and more to find the magic answer, when the magic answer is to "just do it". Imagine, instead of spending hours shopping online for the next great fad workout video, you just went outside and went running, or cycling, or even just walking. Instead of going to GNC trying to find the bestest protein bars and shakes, you just had an apple, or a glass of water and waited until it was time for your next meal. That's why I like #18 as well. Finding an accountability partner can make the process a lot easier.

The rest of the list has some great practical advice as well. Some are psychological tactics (throw away your 'fat' clothes), but I am not sure all of them would work for me (buy clothes that are too small for you, as an encouragement). He recommends taking a multivitamin, which I cannot imagine being harmful, but don't spend a lot of money on yet another thing that sounds like a good idea but has no science behind it (also, if you eat healthy with lots of fruits/veg, you will get more than enough of all your nutrients). He recommends carbs, but I would temper the advice by saying the right carbs. In my opinion the nutritional value from same number of carb calories in bananas and a bowl of Cap'n Crunch is not the same. The mint idea is a good hack and makers all other food taste lousy for hours after a meal (I still do this sometimes).

I don't mean to say that this process is easy, I know it is not, but what is important is getting out there. Learn, but be skeptical. Because in the end, you know the answers, now you need to "just do it".

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