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I’m Done Being the Fat Guy

I’m eating a lot of beef jerky these days. A decent high protein, low calorie snack. I know it’s probably a net “bad for me,” with all the sodium, but I love it. I’m hooked on the [Worlds Kitchen brand, Natural style](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001EO6CLW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001EO6CLW). All the other jerkys (jerkies?) I’ve tried taste like they’re coated in dried up ketchup or something else gross. This one is pretty close to natural, though there’s still a bit of residue. It’s $9 for a 3/4 pound bag at Fred Meyer, which it turns out, is a pretty good deal. It’s something like $13 a bag on Amazon and at Thriftway. I looked into subscribing to some on Amazon, just because I could, but it turns out I’d save more money just picking up a couple bags at Fred Meyer once in a while. I did subscribe to some [Nature Valley Oat & Chocolate granola bars](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032GMRBO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0032GMRBO) on Amazon, though. Those are yummy. Every month, Amazon’s going to deliver a box of them to my doorstep. What a wonderful world.

Why am I writing about food? I’ve been way too fat for way too long now. I’ve sworn to myself over and over that I’m done being that guy. The fat guy on the airplane that no one wants to sit next to. The one who sometimes has to ask for a seat belt extension. The one who is so fat his back muscles can’t let him stand up or walk anywhere for more than a couple minutes at a time without intense pain and lots of sweating. I’ve asked my doctor for help. I’ve considered surgery or medication or whatever magic wand treatment could make it better. I’ve felt entitled to some help from our modern technological world, and resentful when it didn’t materialize. And I felt incredibly stupid when I finally realized that I needed to take a data based approach to the whole thing. I’m a nerd. Why didn’t I figure this out before? Duh.

When we were in Medford, Oregon visiting family at the end of 2010 (our niece Erin got married, and all the aunts, uncles, and cousins were in town for the festivities), we all took a snow day to go up to the mountains and go sledding. Of course, I never planned to actually go down the hill. I doubted I could even make it up the hill. Initially, I just stayed in the car and screwed around on my iPhone. But I was alone with my thoughts, and the thought of my kids out there having fun without me, of me missing out on that special time with them, was enough to propel me out of the car and toward the hill. In between the parking area and the actual sledding hill, the snow was probably 4 feet deep. I was wearing my usual outfit of cargo pants, Nikes, and my Scott e-Vest windbreaker. I had some gloves, and I borrowed a hat from someone, but I was not exactly prepared to go muck around in the deep snow. What was I going to do when I got there? I couldn’t stand for very long, so I brought a little saucer sled to sit on once I got out there. I never made it.

About half way between the car and the hill (mind you, it was only about 100 yards away), I had already fallen down twice. I was so heavy that my feet kept breaking through the packed snow that everyone else was walking on with no problems. Finally, on my side in the snow, with snow all the way down my pants, up my pants, up my shirt, and other places, I conceded defeat. Not just to the whole snow endeavor, but to my weight. I had reached the point where I was so fat, I was practically handicapped. I could’t do the things a normal person could do. My kids had a handicapped dad that couldn’t play in the snow, or do much of anything else with them. I gave up. I was certain that I had to change, or be utterly miserable for the rest of my (probably greatly shortened) life. I weighed 350 pounds.

That’s how I came to decide two things that I’ve been forcing myself to do since the beginning of 2011. They’ve now become habits. The first thing I decided was that I was done drinking soda. No more bottles of Mt Dew on trips (I had my brother in law pick some up for me while we were in Medford, and it was stashed in the basement like some sort of drug). No more Pepsi when we went out to eat. No more filling up my bottle from the Mt Dew fountain at work 2 or 3 times a day. I have done it before, so I knew it was possible. So, no more sugary drinks. Not even diet soda (which I hate anyway).

The second thing I decided was that I was going to approach my eating/weight like a nerd. To a nerd, everything is a system, with inputs and outputs, that can be learned. I decided to record everything I ate, no exceptions. I had played with several apps on my phone for helping with this, and I knew it was a popular and successful tactic for a lot of people. I wasn’t even tracking my weight before, let alone what I ate. How on earth could I expect to make changes without a way to measure them? Looking back now, three months in, that’s the part that makes me feel so stupid. I mean, what the heck was I thinking? No wonder all the advice I got from my doctor about “just eat a low fat, low salt diet” never worked. I had no idea what I was eating. I decided to try an app called [Lose It](http://loseit.com) for iPhone. It’s free, syncs with the web, has a decent food database (which I supplement with [DailyBurn’s FoodScanner app](http://dailyburn.com/foodscanner), or plain old Google searches when Lose It doesn’t have food data I need). I also bought [the companion book to Lose It](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1605290947/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1605290947). I can’t say enough good things about Lose It.

At a fundamental level, I knew that in order to lose weight, you have to take in fewer calories than you burn. Obvious, right? I remember reading about one of my Internet nerd friends, Jeremy Zawodny, losing lots of weight back in 2005 simply by tracking his weight and calorie intake over time with a spreadsheet (start [here](http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/006836.html); there are several good posts linked from that one). He figured out how many calories per day he was burning by measuring his total calorie intake and weight, and based on the fact that it takes about 3500 calories to add 1 pound, doing the math and getting a starting point. From there, it’s just a matter of taking in less than that amount. That really was the key piece of data that made me feel like I could attack this with all my geek faculties. A system to be solved. Thanks, Jeremy, for sharing your experience.

In the beginning, I wasn’t even going to try to change what I ate. I was just going to track it. I had no idea how many calories I was eating per day. 3000? 5000? 6000? On January 1 I committed myself to logging everything in Lose It. A few remarkable things happened. First, I never really did get a good picture of how many calories I was taking in before, because the simple act of being mindful of how much I was eating made me reduce my calories. The first thing Lose It does when you start using it is ask you some questions about your age, height, weight, and goal weight. You can choose the rate at which you want to lose weight, up to 2 pounds per week (which, I’m told is the most it’s really healthy to lose per week). What I didn’t know was that Lose It was going to take that data and calculate a daily calorie budget for me. I didn’t know how much to trust it at first, but as I read the book, I learned how it calculates how many calories you burn just by existing at a very low level of activity (that’s me). It’s called your [Basal Metabolic Rate](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_metabolic_rate). It turns out that by knowing your weight, height, age, and sex, that formula can pretty accurate give you a baseline for how many calories you burn in a day. Bigger people burn more just from the extra effort of moving, breathing, and pumping blood around a big body. So, with all that in place, and a goal of losing about 2 pounds per week, Lose It told me that I could eat about 2500 calories a day and lose weight. As I logged the things I was eating, and my little calorie meter filled up toward the daily budget limit, I found that I really didn’t want to cross into the red, and took steps to make sure that I didn’t. I may never know exactly how bad my eating habits were, with all the fast food, candy, soda, and other stuff I’d eat every day. But I know it must have been bad.

The second interesting thing that happened was that I started to lose weight right away. I had to buy a scale, because I didn’t own one. Weighing myself daily is a critical data point. And the initial success I saw really gave me hope and motivation to keep going. I learned pretty quickly that over the course of any given week, my weight fluctuates within a few pounds. I had to learn not to be disappointed when I stepped on the scale in the morning and weighed a pound or two more than the day before. Here’s another place Jeremy Zawodny helped me. He warned of this, and said to focus on the running 5-day trend for your weight. If it wasn’t for that, I might have despaired and given up. I’m so glad I didn’t. The plateaus are still irritating (I’ve been hovering around 317 for two weeks, even though I’ve been well under my calorie budget every day), but it helps if I try to see them as an opportunity to learn more about the system by experimentation. Is it certain food types that make my weight stall out, even when I’m under my overall calories? Are there trends in my activity level that might give a clue that my metabolism is slowing down? There’s still so much about how all this works that I don’t understand. I feel like a newbie, because I am. But I’m building habits, and making progress, and figuring it out as I go along.

Here are a few other important things I observed.

Advertising, culture, fast food, and society are a really bad path for your health. “Duh,” right? I never would have argued that any of that is good for you, but the fact is, I used to enjoy the hell out of a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese Extra Value Meal (a Number 3, no onions, Large size with a Coke). When I looked at the calories contained in the stuff I used to eat, though, I had to stop. I was blowing three quarters of my daily calorie budget on a typical trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru. And any other restaurant is probably just as bad. It sounds cliché, but now I try to make better choices. A 10 piece Chicken McNuggets is only 425 calories. Still not exactly health food, but better than before. Now, I almost never eat at fast food places anymore.

I had to find snacks I like and not let myself get hungry. Besides the fact that it’s easier to pig out when you’re feeling starved, when you let your body get really hungry, you’re telling it “I live in a place where famine happens, so you’d better store up every last bit of the next thing I eat. It could be a while before we get to eat again.” I almost never used to eat breakfast – a bad habit I developed in high school (I preferred to trade sleep for the time it took to make and eat breakfast). Now, I make sure to eat at least something in the morning: a banana, a cheese stick, a hard boiled egg, etc. I try to get some protein in the morning, because it’s fuel for my brain, and makes me feel full longer. I make sure I eat a snack at about 10AM and 2PM, usually a Nature Valley granola bar (the crunchy kind, not the chewy candy bar kind). They’re only 190 calories for a 2-bar pack. I make sure to keep 2 or 3 of them in my [man purse](http://www.tombihn.com/page/001/PROD/300/TB0222) at all times. The [Oat & Chocolate](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032GMRBO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0032GMRBO) flavor is my favorite. It tastes better than a candy bar, still only 190 calories.

Find a way to deal with your sweet tooth. I am a candy lover. I have a reputation at work for the “candy drawer,” always stocked with something sweet to snack on. Pretzel M&Ms. Starbursts. Holiday candy, chocolates, and everything else you can imagine. People would come by to grab a handful, but most often, I’d reach down and have a handful or three for myself. I knew I couldn’t just cut out candy altogether. I discovered that Jolly Ranchers are actually pretty low calorie – only 70 calories for 3, or 23 calories a pop. So I’ve started buying [the big 5 pound bags of them](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001PNW85G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001PNW85G), and making sure I always have a few in my bag, at my desk, and in my pocket. They last a long time, don’t taste funny like “diet” candy, and I usually only end up eating only 2 or 3 of them in a day. That takes care of my candy craving for now.

Since I gave up on soda, I’ve been drinking a lot of water. A LOT. Usually 2-3 liters a day. I picked up a nice [Camelbak water bottle](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019DCD7U/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0019DCD7U), and it goes with me everywhere. I’ve talked with people who are trying to avoid soda, and they say they just can’t stand to drink water without some sort of flavor in it. They go for diet soda, or sports drinks, or whatever. Personally, I’ve always liked plain old tap water, so it suits me just fine. I don’t know if it’s done anything to my weight, but I know it’s good for my overall health, and it has the added bonus of making me get up and walk to the bathroom a few more times per day.

I am a creature of habit. Once I find a meal I like at a restaurant, that’s usually the only thing I order. Just ask the staff at the places I go – Monster Burger at Red Robin, Pad See Ew, mild, with beef at eSan Thai, Arroz con Camarones at La Fogata. At work, I’m the same way for lunch. There are two cafeterias at our campus, and even with all the choices available, I usually end up getting the same deli sandwich (if I eat at JF3) or a double bacon cheeseburger with tots (if I eat at JF5). When I started counting calories, I started making better choices in my sandwiches (whole grain bread, light mayo, etc.), but when I added it up, even that “lower calorie” sandwich was still about 700 calories. That’s when I remembered that my friend and coworker Jerry eats oatmeal every day for lunch. I decided to give it a try. I keep a couple of boxes of instant (“just add hot water”) oatmeal in my desk. At lunchtime, I eat a couple of those with a packet or two of raw turbinado sugar, and I love it. Fills me up, takes mere seconds to make (there’s hot water on tap at the coffee machine around the corner), and it’s only about 200 calories. It’s my new lunchtime habit. I try to keep some beef jerky and pretzels in my cabinet, too, in case I get hungry during the day, and my regular 10AM and 2PM granola bars aren’t cutting it.

The Lose It app allows you to log any and all exercise you do during the day, and counts it as “negative calories”. That is, if your daily calorie budget is 2500 calories, and you do 500 calories worth of exercise, you can eat 3000 calories (2500+500) that day, and still be on track. Plus, tracking calories burned presented another opportunity to get a new gadget. I looked at pedometers, the [FitBit](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0031P3HY2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0031P3HY2), [BodyBugg](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0049POHK6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=tinyscreenful-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0049POHK6), and more before I finally decided that I wasn’t going to log my exercise. That does NOT mean that I’m not exercising – in fact, I’m walking more than I ever could before. After losing thirty plus pounds, my back doesn’t hurt so much when I stand or walk. I actually enjoy walking now. I decided not to log the “negative” exercise calories because the net result would be giving myself permission to eat more. I figure exercising but not logging is sort of like getting a raise, but pretending you didn’t, and putting the extra income straight into savings instead. Hopefully, it will manifest itself as speedier reduction in pounds.

Another thing I learned very quickly is how many people I know are already using Lose It (or something similar), and how positive their experiences have been. I didn’t go around announcing what I’m doing, but in conversation, I’ve discovered about a dozen people that are Lose It users, and in some instances, we’ve been using the social features of the app to monitor and encourage each other. It’s been a great help and morale boost. If you’re a Lose It user, and we know each other, drop me an invite.

So what now? This is only the beginning. I’ve got a long way to go until I hit my goal weight (185 by next summer, if everything stays on track). I know there will be bumps in the road (I’m already starting to get discouraged with a “plateau” I’ve been fighting). I didn’t want to write about this until I was actually doing it; until it had become a habit. I’ll probably post updates occasionally, but since this is a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary project, I’m not going to be going on and on about it, any more than I’d bore you with the details of what shoes I wear day to day. Thanks for reading this whole thing. I hope it was at least entertaining. I’d never presume to think that it will be inspirational, but it was quite therapeutic for me to write. Drop me a note, or write up something of your own if you have thoughts to share.

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56 thoughts on “I’m Done Being the Fat Guy

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. It takes a lot of courage to be this open about something so personal. I really like your geeky approach and wish you the best of luck :)

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love this post, and I’m glad you’re doing so well! I’ve been doing Weight Watchers since October, because they started offering it for free at work, and it’s essentially the same method.

  3. Alana Wright says:

    Norm,
    If I had read this a couple of years ago, I would not have believed you were the author! You are an inspiration and I am so proud of you.

    Alana

  4. Misty_wallace2003 says:

    Good for you Josh!! I have been on a “weight loss journey,” myself. I used the Lose it app, it was my best asset to keeping track of my calories. I have lost 114 lbs since starting and I can tell you, it has been the best reward I have ever given myself. I completely understand everything your going through, the highs and lows, the frustrating plateaus! If there are any tricks you wanna know, I would be happy to share. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to reading more about your experience. With love, your cousin Misty

  5. Jeff says:

    Go Josh Go! I did the same thing when I became concerned about my cholesterol. I’m much more mindful of what I eat now, dropped 14 lbs and grabbed the basketball rim last night for the first time in DECADES. I’ll send some good JF5 and JF3 cafeteria options your way. I used myfitnesspal.com w/ the iphone app add-on.

    • Thanks Jeff. I’ve heard good things about myfitnesspal, and honestly, there are an abundance of good choices out there (Livestrong, FitDay, DailyBurn, etc.). Lose It just happened to be the one I went with. :-)

  6. Cami Kaos says:

    Fantastic, both that you’re doing this for yourself and your family and that you’re talking about it. it’s a hard subject for so many.

  7. Wow Josh – this is awesome. I love the Jolly Rancher idea – Its great because you can’t really chew them very easily. I like the dark chocolate idea that a lot of folks adhere to (eat a little piece of dark chocolate for dessert), but its too easy to just give in and eat the whole thing because it’s so easy to chew.

    Super inspiring. Thanks for being so frank. Guess I better go get another glass of water.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Josh! Good for you, man! To make a life change like this everyone has to find their own motivation and their own method. There is no one size fits all. Approaching it as a system to be analyzed definitely fits that bill. :) And the payoffs will be great – not just feeling better and being able to play with your kids more now, but being here longer for them as they grow up.

    I wish you nothing but the best, Josh! Cheers!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is such a humble and courageous post. I am just exited for you to see all the things you’ll be able to share with your kids.

    You mentioned it was not the intent but this is very inspirational. Your tipping point in the snow is such a metaphor for many failures we are living because we are just letting ourself drift into complacency. Thanks for sharing that scene.

    Don’t let the plateaus discourage you. Out of a plateau usually comes a new perspective and even more exiting times.

    Enjoy the ride as you are transforming yourself.

  10. Jtrudeaux says:

    If you are still hovering for another week, 3 weeks in a row around the same weight, try altering your diet to Tim Ferriss’ Slow Carb Diet, or a variation thereof. Essentially you would just cut all grains/bread/milk/cheese/fruit out of your diet and one day a week eat whatever you want. You end up eating a lot of meat, beans, and vegetables, but it works, works well, and works fast.

  11. Good for you for taking proactively taking action for you and your kids and not after some horrible medical wake-up call. As someone who has struggled with weight issues her whole life, I empathize with your struggle. Plateaus are horribly unfair biological tricks, but you seem to have a very pragmatic response to them which should help carry you through them. Just remember to try to stay focused on the big picture and take the inevitable small setbacks in stride.

    Just from reading the comments to your post, you have some great people in your corner, and I am honored to be one of them. I look forward to seeing the thinner, healthier version of you in the not-to-distant future!

  12. RenMartin Health Coach says:

    Josh – your post is very practical and inspiring! I think that “ah-ha” moment in the snow happens to a lot of people, and they are too overwhelmed to know where to start. I like the fact that you took two specific actions and those very first two actions have BIG results. I wish more people would take baby-steps as opposed to finding “diets” – simple things like cutting out pop, refined sugar, the supersized size of everything can make an immediate difference.

    As a health coach, there are two things I’d like to offer. First is, we use a term called “crowding out”. What that means, is that instead of focusing solely on taking things out of your diet, you focus on adding good healthy things into your diet. That approach allows you to eventually “crowd out” the less healthy food with more healthy choices.

    The second idea is that when we find ourselves either over eating or over drinking, we usually have one of our primary foods out of whack. When I say primary foods I would say there are four major categories (relationship, career, exercise, spirituality – there are more detailed categories under that). If we take a look at where we are with each of those, we sometimes find areas we’d like to improve. I’d suggest we choose one of those areas and find 1-3 things we can do this week to improve or change how we feel about the area in our life where we are not as satisfied. What I’ve found, is that by addressing and acknowledging our primary food issues, we can then more easily address our secondary food issues.

    Josh – you are an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing!

  13. Nick says:

    Good luck Josh. Stay focused on the end goal. Don’t let the bumps along the way deter you. As you progress and introduce more physical activity into your routine you’ll see that “fat” can also mean powerful!

    • I’d like to second Greg’s list of links. They are just a few that I follow on a rather extensive RSS feed collection related to health and fitness. I’ve seen so many great results for people who’ve embraced “real food” that it’s hard to fight the science there. If I had one piece of advice vis-a-vis food, it would be to learn to love cooking. While it does matter what you eat, it matters more that you avoid the heavily processed foods for many reasons.

  14. Peat says:

    Well done, and thanks for pointing out the Lose It app — I’m trying it out, and I figure it can’t hurt to have friends doing it as well, regardless of their goals! Cheers!

  15. Jona Titus says:

    Josh,
    I’m so happy for you that youve made this decision. You’re such a great guy and deserve the best in life. It take a lot of courage to write about your experience and all youve been through. You are such an inspiration too. I’m also on a weight loss journey. I’m using Lose It too and getting the BodyBug.

  16. nick says:

    Good for you Josh! From personal experience, getting over the hump of making yourself do it (the first few weeks/months/whatever) is generally the hardest. Sounds like you’ve settled into your new routines. Keep it up!

    In the past I’ve used Lose It, and similar applications – It’s funny, but besides seeing how much I was actually taking it, it almost became a pain in the butt to enter everything. The result was deciding not to eat that handful of almonds because I didn’t want to count them out, and then have to record it. Ha! One might call it laziness, but it helped the cause. :)

    Good luck, and keep us posted as you continue one.

  17. mikefrancis says:

    Josh, this is very brave. Congratulations on your progress so far, and on the progress to come. All the best to you.

  18. Memory says:

    Awesome, Josh! Seriously, way to go! You have made a lot of really positive changes already and losing 30 pounds is a huge accomplishment. You are well on your way. The Bybee family will cheer you on all the way! :-)

  19. Petegrillo says:

    Good for you Josh. This is a very inspirational piece. He’ll, I have the attention span of a knat and I could not put it down! But seriously, looking at the number of comments on this post it is clear you have touched a lot of people and have a lot of fans cheering you on. This is a great journey for you and think how great it will feel to get to the top of this mountain. And you will defeat this dragon. I can just tell.
    Pete

  20. Anonymous says:

    You know, after reading this, i downloaded the app, and started thinking…

    I have always been a large guy. Last December, went to a different doctor and he suggested i loose weight… i dident even know what i weighed at the time… He told me i was about 310lbs, and at the age of 28, that was too much… I never though of it that way. i wouldent say i am happy with the way i am, but i could be better… I go to college at night and last week the lift was out of order. my class was on the 4th floor…. it took me 10 min to get my breath back and stop sweating… and that cant be good for a 28 year old…

    after reading your post last night, i logged my data for today and yesterday, and was surprised at the amount of calories that are in the foods and drinks i consume daily!

    Its a bit odd though: My doctor and my family have been suggesting loosing weight for a while now, but it takes a blog post like this for me to start thinking, and hopefully doing, something about it…

    Thanks man. And Good luck!

    –Tiernan

  21. Andrew says:

    Nice work, man. I’ve been using LoseIt! for a while now. I got up to a max of 376, then down to 231, then slacked off for the last year and went back to 260. Now I’m using LoseIt! again and am trying to get back on track. I have a serious love affair with candy so I know how you feel. That’s my biggest temptation. :)

    I’m going to request you on LoseIt!. Watch for Andrew.

  22. Hi Josh,

    Many people have let many helpful comments, so I will just chime in with 4 points that I have found the most helpful in my own fitness journey.

    1. 70% of your struggle will be in your mind. If you have a list of reason why you are improving your fitness level (lower cholesterol, fit in airplane seats better, etc.) rather than just superficial reasons (“I want to look hot in a bikini”) you can refer to them when you get frustrated and want to give up (TRUTH: This will happen a lot.)

    2. Vegetables are your friend! Low in calorie, and high in fiber and other nutrients, they are fabulous for keeping you full. Yes, you can find some that you like, I promise. (Try a different cooking method if you hate them raw.)

    3. Don’t compare your progress to other’s. Everyone has a different body and a different journey. If you have reached the goals (brutally honest ones, I might add) you set for yourself, you are doing great.

    4. When you hit a plateau (which you will) it’s time to mix something up: reduce more calories, up the exercise, something. Your body is setting in to it’s new weight and you don’t want that. You want it to be constantly challenged.

    Oh, and HAVE FUN! – Lia

  23. Josh, This post is very inspiring and encouraging. I’m proud of you for taking on this endeavor. It’s no doubt a lot of work and something that I’ve been trying to get into myself for quite some time. Somewhere psychologically I still need to resolve that being healthy is more desirable than having what I want when I want it.

    I drink diet soda all the time so that’s not a big issue for me, but like you I like to have a bag of candy and some savory snacks on hand at all times. What’s it costing me? I don’t know, I’ve never checked. I’ve always pushed it to the back of my mind because I really like sweet stuff and I really like salty stuff.

    Sitting next to me at this moment is a bag of Easter chocolate and it’s probably the forth or fifth that I’ve had in the past month. Some quick math shows that it’s probably responsible for half a pound which I’m now carrying around every day.

    I stumbled across something earlier this year called “The Hacker’s Diet”

    It’s dieting and weight loss taken from an engineering perspective, and it points out a lot of the things that you bring up here. I recommend you take a look at it (even if it does take you back to the web circa 1994) http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdiet.html

    As for your plateau, don’t give it too much thought. Your Body is probably still trying to work out what happened to the Mammoth population that was so plentiful before :)

    As a curiosity, I wonder if not including exercise would have an impact beyond the additional calorie allowance. If you do an hour of reasonably strong exercise 6 days a week, that’s roughly an extra pound a week. Does Lose It! account for something like that? Should it?

    Anyway, Good job Josh. This a is a good, noble effort and I applaud you for taking it on.

  24. This post is so great – thanks Josh! I’ve been there before and know how frustrating it can be at times. I have faith that you can do it. Good luck to you in your weight loss endeavors!

  25. Huzzah for you Josh, both for your achievement and for having the chutzpah to share the story! I hope you’ll keep us up to date.

  26. Josh, this is impressive! Kudos to you and how interesting seeing the “geek” approach to a typically emotionally charged challenge.

  27. Awesome, Josh! Not only was it courageous and kind of you to share this innermost sanctum, it was a brilliant. This community really loves you and needs you for just this sort of galvanizing. Only someone with your reflex-like generosity can generate that.

    Thank you for stepping out to be the unlikely hero of so much shared, yet unspoken!

  28. Seriously. This post is awesome.

    I’m going through the same battle myself. I’m making small changes as I get older, and they help somewhat. But you have some great tips here…and you’ve inspired me to get more serious about losing weight.

    Thanks for being real, Josh.

  29. I lost 46 pounds on hCG. I know it’s controversial to some people, but I like the instant results (ave. 1 pound per day lost), and because I don’t want to get that heavy again I’ve changed my diet to be more healthy, and I’m not hungry.

  30. Josh,

    I don’t know you and the only reason I know about this blog post is because my sister FB Liked it.

    May 15th, 2010 is when I started using I loose it myself and started tracking things just like you. Did really well, plateaus and all. Great software for just being aware. As a fellow geek, good job.

    That said, I think you need to geek a little further as was suggested by keithelder. The book referenced is backed up with a ton of science and really provided me a gestalt in how I think about food and how so many do not understand the chemistry of the body.

    It would be cool if calories in equaled calories out, but we are not a furnace producing power. We are a complex chemical process and as a geek like me you will enjoy the science presented and the logic behind it.

    Good luck on your journey.

    Perry

  31. Awesome, Josh! I so often hear people complain about some aspect of their life — and then keep complaining, never actually taking action. Often they never even identifying the root-cause of the thing they’re complaining about. It’s so great that you have not only recognized a problem, but have researched solutions and are taking an active role in turning things around. Good for you!

    I can’t say I have ever found myself in your position, but I do try to eat healthy and exercise several times a week. I don’t do the granola bar thing, but used to be the guy who stocks candy at his desk, too. A number of years back, I switched to trail mix — the kind you can get from the bulk bins at New Seasons or Whole Foods. There are a number of varieties available and you can get ones with or without bits of chocolate. Between the chocolate and dried fruit in there, that satisfies the sweet-tooth craving. Of course, you don’t have to keep buying the same kind — you can ween yourself off of one with chocolate and switch to one with just fruit and nuts. It’s great to just graze on a handful a couple of times a day (like you mention: about 10AM and 2PM). I also keep a few other things from the bulk bins within arms reach — dried apricots, dried pineapple rings, etc. One of these days, I want to learn how to dehydrate fruit so I can just buy a bunch of stuff from the farmer’s market to preserve.

    If you find you’re getting tired of plain water, you might look into teas. I cut soda out of my diet about ten years ago, but there are some herbal teas that naturally satisfy a sweet tooth. I really like Adagio’s Fruit Medley as well as their Blood Orange. You can make them hot or iced and they end up being like all-natural red or orange Kool-Aid. Actual full-strength Kool-Aid, not watered down stuff, though there’s no sugar beyond what’s naturally in the flowers and fruits.

    If you’re ever on the SE side of town, you might look into the jerkey at the little Russian meat market where Holgate crosses Foster. They make it there, you’d be supporting the local economy, etc. I don’t normally eat cow (I make an exception for something as cured as jerky or salami, otherwise it upsets my stomach), and don’t even eat all that much jerky, but I find it the most natural and flavorful I’ve tasted. And if you do find yourself in that area, DM me. I’ll invite you over for tea. :)

    I don’t know what your exercise plans are, but you might take a peek at Yin-style yoga. It’s not as hardcore as other styles of yoga. In fact, it’s designed to be somewhat mellow. It’s all floor work, so lots of sitting and lying and none of the standing poses (which can be hard on the legs of larger folks). That’s not to say it’s easy. It can still be a pretty deep and stressful workout, but as with all yoga, you take it at your pace, your neighbor takes it at their pace, etc. It’s not a competition. Also, like all yoga, it helps “exercise” your mind and emotions, hopefully bringing everything in your life in balance.

    I know you said you looked at various gadgety things, but I have a friend who swears by that BodyMedia armband you linked to. It counts calorie expenditures as well as sleep patterns (which, I guess, is also important to weight loss). Bluetooth, iPhone app, website, and all those bells and whistles. I guess the Mac software is a little more clunky than the Windows, but he loves that thing.

    Holy cow, so I started this meaning to write just a little congratulatory note and ended up writing a whole novel. Once again: good work!

  32. Momof2 says:

    I googled “i’m done with this extra weight” and our blog came up. You’re blog is inspiring! I’m going to start using the LoseIt app again and start weighing myself everyday.  Can you explain the runner 5-day trend please?

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  34. Josh, what an amazing journey. I think that in the future once you starting working with your kids about being healthy that your story will be a great one to tell them. You are losing weight to be there for them, to be able to do things with them, and so that you’ll be there for them a lot longer than if you never dealt with your weight. 

    My father-in-law had a heart attack back at New Years. He said something like “It only takes 20 minutes a day to keep a healthy heart.” And after that experience I knew it was utterly ridiculous that I wasn’t doing something every day. Even if it wasn’t every day, at least 20 minutes three times a week. That’s manageable. I just kind of fell of the wagon and so tomorrow I think I’m going to have to get back into that habit. 

    I personally used the MyFitnessPal app for the iPhone. It’s great at tracking everything, syncs to their website, and keeps track of negative calories. The people who created it and the people who created LoseIt, as my Dad would say “had their head on straight.” 

    Thanks for writing about this. It takes a lot of courage to open up about all this. Keep going!

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