Here’s a Before’s & After from 2016 (I stopped using scale once I saw 301), 2018, 2019 (when I started) and where I am now. Here is an old progress pic I made when I was 209 pounds. Here are my pants from the first picture and my modified belt with new holes. TLTR @ bottom.
Firstly I would like to say that if you have found something that works for you, awesome! There are so many ways we can all try to lose fat, however, I found that instead of looking it as just trying to lose fat we should instead aim at trying to become healthy so that we may enjoy whatever it life has to offer us. Losing fat (to me) is a byproduct of getting healthy, once you start to look at it this way I believe it becomes much more manageable. I was tired of the discomforts that came with being obese, waking up gasping for air middle of the night, I wanted to live longer so I started making small changes that overall helped me tremendously.
I don’t want to derail this by talking about why I don’t go to the gym, but basically couple of years ago when I was around 230 pounds I was at the gym and broke one of the cardio machines that I was using. I still remember it to this day how everything just stopped and everybody turned their eyes on me, it was the most awkward silence I have ever experienced. Even though the people working there told me that it wasn’t a big deal because machines do break at the gym often, it still ruined me mentally.
If you have access to the gym, and enjoy going then I am absolutely happy for you. If you are like I used to be, and extremely self conscious as to the point of avoiding eye contact… then this is for you. I came from the same place, and I have gained so much that I would like to tell you that you too can come out of the uncomfortable and enjoy life. Maybe what worked for me will work for you, maybe you can learn from my mistakes and pick whatever you like out of it and improve on it, all up to you.
RULE 1: KISS (Keep It Stupid Simple) look, I am an average guy. I hated gym class in high school. I stopped being shirtless at the age of 14 because of how embarrassed I was. I never done any diets or sports or whatever. Most people will probably tell you to start a diet you know CICO, you lose weight by being in a calorie deficit, etc. They are right, you will lose weight but I think the way I started might encourage other individuals to actually stick to it. My meals are nothing special, I season my stuff, cook it and eat it nothing fancy.
If you haven’t already please get a bathroom scale. I know it sucks, the relationship with scales don’t really change from love/hate until you begin to understand your body as you learn more about yourself, but you really need a way to keep track of your initial progress and the scale helps tremendously at the beginning. Also try to get progress pictures and body measurements for those times the scale does not move.
The ONLY thing I will ask of you at the start is that you stop drinking calories. Sorry, no more sugary drinks, no more juice (unless you are making it yourself of course from fruits / veggies), and no more added sugar to your coffee, tea, etc… If you are not already drinking a good amount of water, NOW is your time. I personally started drinking a gallon of water at first, and I hated it at the start. I am so glad I did that because it helps in a couple of ways… 1) your body will stop being dehydrated all the time and stop retaining water weight. 2) I don’t have scientific data, but I believe it helped minimized the ‘loose skin’ that I was afraid of at start. 3) It will make your skin look pretty good / healthy. I get compliments all the time, also it will keep you full. 4) It will make you get up and go to the bathroom… lots. You don’t have to drink a gallon, but figure out your recommended amount with your weight, height, age, gender, etc.
Weigh yourself the first day you begin to cut out all liquid calories, then wait a week or a couple of weeks and weigh yourself again. I guarantee that you will see progress even at the first week. Now you know you are capable of losing weight, you haven’t even started to diet or exercise. When you feel comfortable and would like to get started with the actual diet (for me it was about week 3 of removing liquid calories) then it’s time to find a TDEE calculator online, put your information and find your maintenance calories. Try to aim for a calorie deficit of 300-500 your maintenance. I just want to make sure you don’t make the same mistake I did and think that diet = less eating. Look into volume eating, there are so many ways to keep your stomach packed full while on a diet if you are a person that gets hungry all the time. Incorporate more whole foods into your diet… nuts, veggies, fruits, etc. My first meal when I started consisted of branded cereal, yogurt, apple, banana, oranges, strawberries, honey, etc… For dinner I would have one main protein source (Chicken, Beef, Pork, Salmon, Tilapia, Hamburger, etc) coupled with sometimes lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, potatoes, rice, smashed potatoes, etc… I did eat bread occasionally as well when I started and it was fine. As long as you count your CALORIES, and try not to focus too much on macros then you will be good.
RULE 2: Don’t Rush It. You will have so many tools available to you in your process just as I did. I find that if you do too much at once it all ends up in failure at the end due to burning out. Win small victories over time and gradually incorporate additional tools to your lifestyle. Move forward by trying something new, and test to see if you feel comfortable… if not then take some steps back and try again later. There are no deadlines for this thing, go at your own pace, and don’t worry about others. The only one you should be competing against is yourself.
So now it’s been some time since you cut out liquid calories, started counting just calories (no macros), and have lost some significant weight… Pretty awesome. Hopefully you gained some encouragement and want to start doing some activity… If you are able then please… go for a walk. Walk whatever feels comfortable for you, if you can only walk 10-15 minutes like I did, then that do… one time or however many times you can do it a day. You will notice as days goes by the less out of breath you are. I can’t exactly say how long or how fast you should walk, we are all different… but I can recommend that if you find the walk a bit too easy, try going for a longer walk or consider going a bit faster… That’s what I did until I found myself brisk walking 1-2 hours a day. Of course this is how I started at near 300 pounds with a BMI of 40. Maybe walking is easy for you, perhaps even brisk walking won’t be effective for you… you should try whatever other activities that will help you get your heart going. Maybe go for a jog or sprint, jump rope, swim, go up and down the stairs as fast as you can, go bike riding, play sports… Whatever it is that gives you a challenge and you enjoy it, go for it.
If I could go back in time, I would encourage myself to do body weight workouts at home much earlier than I did, no matter how ridiculous I appear while performing them. I think I would have been able to build more muscle on a deficit while I was still trying to get healthy earlier in the process and was heavier. I couldn’t do one push-up and I would give up, couldn’t plank if life depended on it. Here’s a tip, look into progressions of whatever exercise it is that you want to be able to do. Literally anybody is able to progress just doing baby steps at first. And please, don’t be an idiot like me and HOLD YOUR BREATH while you exercise or workout… I don’t know why I did but it’s so dumb and you should always be breathing getting oxygen to those muscle fibers. Breathe and do progressive workout / exercise at home or at the gym. I have a pair of dumbbells with adjustable weight I bought years ago, a set of resistance bands, and used my own body-weight to workout from home. Lastly on workouts, just because you do one workout it does not mean you are going to work the entire muscle you want to improve. Chest you gotta do 3 separate workouts to target your upper, mid, and lower chest. Same for the shoulders, you gotta do 3 workouts for front, mid, and rear delts. I had no idea about this crap and I ended up having to go back to lower weights / resistance to make them all equally strong later on. I am actually still in the process of doing this for my chest.
So we been cutting out liquid calories, started counting calories (no macros), been frisk walking (or w/e exercise you prefer), and some home workouts here and there. You heard about this thing called “Intermittent Fasting“, everybody and their grandma swear by it. So that’s exactly what I did and what I suggest for the following reason: self discipline / control. Out of all the things I have done in this process, IF has taught me moderation control discipline… I really do recommend it as an additional tool to get healthier, there are tons of benefits such as helping with insulin resistance. I started the standard 16:8 (Fasted 16 hours / eat in 8 hour window) while gradually increasing / reducing my windows by 1 hour whenever I felt comfortable… This took me all the way to OMAD (One Meal A Day) where I did it for a large portion of my process. Sometimes I would do 2 hour eating window, sometimes 4. Don’t worry about not having a perfect week, month etc fasting. Shit happens and you will always be able to pick it right up, which is what I did.
After gradually cutting liquid calories, counting calories, doing activity such as brisk walking, doing home workouts (or gym if you have access), becoming intermittent fasting GURU and telling everybody about it I found myself at a pretty good place… I was feeling great. I am not going to sit here and lie to you by telling you I followed my diet strictly, because maybe a couple of times a month I did not. There were birthdays, social gatherings, insert any life event that requires you to be with other people. Sometimes I would follow my diet on these events, sometimes I just felt like eating a piece or two of cake, maybe a pizza. Or maybe instead of getting the Cesar salad at the restaurant I would go for something more… not so good for you (fried shrimps or w/e). The point is, it’s FINE to take a day or two off and if you feel like eating something, don’t ever feel regretful afterwards. You are going to eat that slice of pizza and you will enjoy it, because you know exactly what you are doing and whenever you get home you will get right back into it.
When I first started this, I printed out a piece of paper… it was a list from 290 all the way down to 190 every 10 pounds. I had no particular date for any specific one, just numbers. They started to get crossed off rather fast, then it slowed up, then it got fast again. Even though I know I shouldn’t have done it, I wrote down for 190 something like “before 2020 by dec 20″… I fucked up. As soon as you set some sort deadline during this process you are doomed. You start worrying about stupid things and your head gets filled up with unnecessary thoughts it just backfires so hard that I really wished I hadn’t done that. I ended up taking a break in the later half of November, entirety of December, and first half of January… by break I mean not really weighing my foods or counting calories, but I was still out brisk walking some days and working out at home here and there. Somehow I managed to just gain some water weight which I quickly got off as soon as I got back into it. It’s not like I was indulging myself in foods, I was just eating the stuff I felt like eating… if someone brought doughnuts I would have one. Someone ordered pizza? Sure I will have 2-3 slices. Dessert? why not. Maybe subconsciously I was counting calories while I was doing this I have no clue but if there was anything I wanted to eat, I would eat it. After a week of getting back to it I lost the 4-5 pounds of water weight I gained from all the carbs / sodium rich foods I ate. Maybe you thrive on deadlines, but looking at the stories others have share, and my own personal experience, deadlines are definitely not a good thing when you are changing your lifestyle.
I started this to get healthy, I feel healthy now. I think I look healthy, if you told me 2 years ago I would be able to jog for 20 minutes straight without stopping I would probably have laughed at you, but I do. becoming healthier has opened some doors for me that would just wouldn’t have been there previously. I always wanted to be able to control my body as I was able to when I was a young kid… I miss the days I would be climbing up trees or whatever or putting my body in specific poses like handstands. I do not want to be the bigger guy in the room, that has never been in my mind… I would like to have complete control of my body and get into calisthenics which is something that I will do this year. I have been training my core pretty much since I was about 250 or so pounds. If you want to be big, you probably should go to the gym. There is a saying that you get healthy at the kitchen and fit at the gym, I like to believe that you are capable of getting both healthy and fit in both places. Whatever you have access to and works for you, go for it. I am nobody to crap on your method and what works for you. But, if you are just starting out, and are obese here are my tips.
TLTR: Keep it stupid simple: Don’t rush it: don’t do everything at once combining all the methods available to get healthy (Cut liquid calories, counting calories (No Macros), doing activities like walking, starting working out at home or gym, intermittent fasting, etc) . I think it’s too much to handle at the start and it will eventually lead to you burning out. Take small victories along the way, you have so many tools under your belt, use them over time and combine them gradually. Keep it simple, if you are not comfortable doing something then just go back until you are. You will learn so much about how your body works just have to give it time. BREATHE when you workout, like seriously (and work all parts of muscle like chest/shoulder). Look at things in long term, don’t get too hung up on just the scale. Take progress pictures or you will end up regretting it, same as body measurements. When the scale doesn’t move, most likely due to body re-composition. Don’t give yourself dates / deadlines unless you thrive in them.
And for those of you who have already lost some weight, but have gotten stuck in a plateau. Are you REALLY doing the stuff you know you should be doing? if yes, then try shocking your body by doing stuff you haven’t done before. Maybe try another activity that keeps your heart going, maybe fast a bit longer than usual… perhaps change your diet a bit. There is a reason low carb and keto diets work, it’s backed by a ton of science… give it a try if you feel like it and read into it, I did and I am doing fine. Just change things up.
My biggest motivation in all of this have to be all of the negatives that came with obesity slowly going away one at a time. I don’t hurt when standing longer than 15 minutes, too many to list but some of you probably know what they are.
My inspirations? I mean you are all here so you probably know. But the people at loseit, progresspics, and intermittentfasting have all given me the strength and push I needed when feeling down or things weren’t working. So thank you. Thank you to those who posted a year and a half a ago till now and thank you to those who shared their stories, sometimes it’s easy to think you are in this alone… but someone out there is struggling just as much as you.