As you all know, I’m in the middle of a weight-loss competition called “Fat Slap.” To date, I’ve lost more than 25 lbs in 6 weeks. That’s good not great, but I’m working on it. So some of you might be thinking to yourself “Who the hell is this asshole to be doling out weight loss advice when he’s still a fat fuck himself?!” It’s a valid question and the answer is simple: I’m not giving out advice. I haven’t accomplished my goals yet, so I’m in no position to tell anyone what to do or how to do it.
But a few of you have emailed/tweeted and asked me how I’ve lost the weight so far. And seeing as I’m hard-up for blogging material, I figured I’d answer. This isn’t advice, it’s just personal reflections from a fat guy who’s actively trying not to be so fat. Take it with a grain of salt (actually don’t eat salt, it’s not good for losing weight).
1. You Have to Be Ready
Don’t start trying to lose weight until you’re truly committed to it. If you do, you’ll do it for a day (or less) and then give up. And if you’re anything like me, that defeat will make you feel so shitty you’ll go right back to eating monstrous amounts of food to comfort yourself. I really believe, for me and many others, half the weight loss battle occurs before you ever hit the gym. If you commit to it in your head and make a workout schedule and map out your caloric intake beforehand, it’ll be much less of a shock to the system and your chances of success are optimized.
2. Have a Plan
It’s really hard to “wing it” and be successful. Thankfully with today’s technology, this part is really easy. First of all go find yourself a calorie counting app. I use MyFitnessPal and it’s really good and simple. Most of the things we eat have bar codes on the packaging, so just scan the code with your phone and it automatically imports all the nutritional information. If not, their database is huge and you can search for any food you need. You have to track what you eat every single day. Once you fill in your personal information it will give you a calorie limit to stay under. From there you can track your weight and even input exercise and calories burned. The biggest eye-opener for me to this point has been closely examining what I put in my body. Frankly, I was horrified once I saw the nutritional content of the things I ate. And there’s something about having to input that junk into your phone that makes you feel guilty about consuming it, and eventually I started eating better because of that guilt. Whatever works.
3. Keep It Simple
A lot of people like fad diets. South Beach, Atkins, etc. People and companies have made millions off convincing people they can lose a shitload of weight just by cutting out carbs or changing their diet in a certain way. I know, I’ve tried them. And while they worked for a little bit, I always ended up gaining more weight than ever when I fell off the wagon. No matter what anyone tried to tell me, I’ve found the only way to truly get the results I want is to eat less, eat right and work out more. That’s it. No need to complicate matters. If I live by that motto, I eventually get the results I want.
4. It’s All About Portion Control
Personally, my biggest problem was portion control. I ate WAY too much. For instance, I will eat an entire box of Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies in one sitting. I can also devour an entire large pizza and a whole box of pasta all by myself without even blinking. And that’s a real killer because even if you’re eating fairly healthy food, consuming that much of it will put your over your calorie limit. It’s tough to cut down on what you eat because you still feel hungry. The only thing I can tell you is put your head down and muddle through it. It’ll pass. Eventually your appetite gets smaller and the cravings aren’t so bad. And just remember, the saying “too much of a good thing” really does apply.
5. Be Active
Eating right will only get you so far. You really do have to engage in some sort of physical activity to truly bring your weight loss to the proper level. It can be something as simple as walking or joining the gym. For me, it’s running. I ran cross-country in high school and so I’m trying to get back into it. I won’t lie, it was rough at first. REALLY rough. The first day I couldn’t jog more than 1/4-mile before I was wheezing like crazy and doubled over. It was devastating because I felt so shitty about myself I wanted to quit right then and there. So you have to make yourself do it again. That 1/4-mile turned into a 1/2-mile the second time. Then I cut a couple of minutes off my overall time. Now I worked up the nerve to join a gym and I’m doing 3 miles at a time, as well as hitting the free weights.
6. You Have to Find the Time
As a parent who works full-time and has a bitch of a commute, this was my fallback excuse. When could I possibly work out? I get up at 6:30 a.m., drive 90 minutes to work, work until at least 5 p.m. and then 90 minutes home. Once I walk in the door it’s dinner, playing with Will, bathtime, a story and then bed. After that I have to work on the blog and other freelance projects. When I looked at my day I just shook my head and thought “impossible.” But if you’re really committed to losing weight and want to make it a priority, you simply have to find the time whenever you can. For me that means getting up at 4:45 a.m. and going to the gym before work. And it sucks. There’s no way around it. It also requires lifestyle changes because I have to go to bed earlier and my wife needs to pick up some of my slack when it comes to taking care of Will. But I want to live longer and be with my family for years to come, so right now this is my priority. You find the time. I repeat, you find the time. No excuses. It’s not easy, but it’s the only way.
7. Don’t Weigh Yourself Daily
I want to start by saying I fail miserably at this one. I weigh myself every day and it’s completely counterproductive. Ideally I’d weigh myself on a weekly basis at the same time of day because the daily fluctuations in weight can be pretty harsh. Sometimes I’ve lost/gained 6 lbs in a 24-hour span. But the point is, your weight isn’t the only factor that should matter. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. Maybe you fit better in your clothes. Perhaps you no longer wheeze when you walk up a flight of stairs. Or you’re not out of breath anymore when you play with your kid. Those things are important and indicative of success. The scale will eventually come to agree with you, but if you drive yourself nuts with daily weigh-ins you’ll constantly be at war with yourself. Like I am.
So that’s my advice as a fat guy. I don’t have all the answers and as you can see, I still have a ton of work to do. But if you have any additional tips, leave them in the comments section. I need all the help I can get.