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The Skinny You, Unleashed

Updated on March 28, 2017

Me, Failing

When I began trying to lose weight I was 6'1 and 225 lbs at the age of 18. I ate fast food daily and couldn't run a quarter of a mile without stopping to walk and catch my breath. I was beginning to lift weights and had begun changing shape slowly, from fat and slouchy to fat and sturdy-looking. Try and try again, I couldn't shake that body fat despite working out all the time and using all kinds of go-go pills and dubious supplements.

Into my 20s, I was finally starting to learn how to run. I could run a mile or so, but was still pretty hefty. The more cardio I did, the better I would get at doing cardio, but my weight never really changed much. My legs developed decent muscles, but always under a layer of fat. I just assumed it was due to my family having fatty genes.

Afterall, my dad was a big guy. He was 6 inches shorter, but had a gut that stuck out maybe a foot and a half. My brother is about my dad's height, and maybe his weight too, but wears it more spread out throughout his body. My mom is a bit chubby too. So it stood to reason that maybe it was just a family problem.

Approaching my 30s, I began actually reading books on the subject as a part of studying medical information for my job in healthcare and I began to form new opinions on dieting and food and the cause and effect relationships that govern metabolism. Eventually, I came up with a strategy for losing weight and decided i had nothing to lose. I couldn't believe how effective it ended up being, and so now I want to share it with as many people as possible.

A New Lifestyle

There's a lot of misinformation out there, which makes giving someone dieting advice difficult. People read things like this, and have all sorts of preconceived notions and opinions that are founded on infomercial information and daytime TV funfacts that are all basically garbage.

What worked for me wasn't fun at first.

I wrote out everything that I eat in a day. I noticed a lot of empty calories: sodas, beer, chips (I love chips), muffins, donuts. I was working in healthcare. People bring medical offices all kinds of awful food. Saying no to free greasy lunches and free pastry breakfast every day was hard, but I decided to cross those foods off my daily "things I eat" list.

I realized that I would want to eat something while everyone was eating cupcakes, so I brought some veggies and started grilling meat and carrots and potatoes in bulk on Sundays. Getting in the habit of making 3 days to a week worth of food at a time is important. This lifestyle change is gradual, but the effects add up fast and the weight loss is immediate.

At first, it felt bad. People think it's neat that you're dieting for about a day and then they start telling you that you're starving yourself. You're not, as long as you're just replacing junk food with healthy food. I watched my calories. I was eating 1500-2000 calories per day, which was enough to start seeing immediate weight loss even on the first day.

I was also hungry at first, but stuck to it and eventually the hunger got better. Luckily, your body is very adaptable and after a week or so, your tastes begin to change. Suddenly, the sodas and candies you used to like don;t really taste as good anymore.

You'll feel the weight loss before you can see it. Right away, I started feeling better in general. My achey knees stopped hurting, my hips got better, the old disc injury in my back stopped hurting on the drive to work. I was still running, and suddenly began feeling like my speed was improving. I'm very big into running still, but it has nothing to do with actually losing weight.

At 15 lbs I began to see the difference and weighing myself in the mornings became my favorite ritual. Seeing an improvement day after day felt so good, and honestly it wasn't amazingly fast, but time passes pretty quickly when you aren't paying attention.

Some days I'd eat an even lighter diet, opting for a tuna and broccoli dish instead of chili to save a couple hundred extra calories and really jump start my process. A friend of mine doing weight watchers said that their system is similar, but they use points instead of just counting calories.

If you want to get really scientific, you can take your height and weight and use an online calculator to find your BRM (Basal metabolic rate) and then add in your activity level to figure out your expected calorie expenditure and eat about 500 less than that. Guaranteed weight loss, and you aren't starving yourself.

People are just jerks. One time I ate 8 tacos and my coworkers were impressed. These are all adult women with degrees, but they seemed to agree that packing away food like there's no tomorrow is acceptable. Whenever I start eating small lunches and mostly light food consisting of salads, grilled meat and vegetables suddenly they say that's killing yourself. For me, that was the hardest part.

Personally, I think I was closer to killing myself eating the 8 tacos.

The Brand New You

Only you can decide for yourself what your goals should be, but to do it safely you should try and simply replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones. This is a willpower exercise, and there's not need to start running or lifting weights: those are just things I like doing anyway. It's natural to want to exercise once you've lost the weight, however. My wife is getting into jogging and is, as of the writing of this, down 30 lbs using the same system.

Remember:

  • Begin by writing down what you eat and drink for several days
  • Strike a thing or two off the list and replace it with something better every week or so
  • Count your typical calories up and subtract a few hundred
  • Stick to your guns! You deserve this
  • The best time to start is today

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