Six Months, Fifty Pounds

On July 2, 2011, I weighed myself, like I do every morning since I started [trying to be healthy and lose weight](, and I weighed 300 pounds. Six months earlier, at the start of the year, I weighed 350 pounds. Six months, fifty pounds. I’m proud of what I have accomplished, but I have a long way to go still. 115 more pounds until my goal, which I should hit by summer of next year. But this feels like a milestone, so here’s some of what I’ve learned in the last six months.

## Mindfulness and Quantification

I don’t consider myself “on a diet”. I’m not. I just eat. But I am mindful of what I eat. I record and quantify it. Recording all this data about myself (everything I eat, my daily weight, along with daily blood pressure and heart rate) pushes the happy button in my nerd brain. I can totally understand the [quantified self movement]( “Lifelog – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia”). I want to get a [Fitbit]( “Fitbit”) device to track my daily activity and sleep, especially now that it integrates with [Lose It](, the app/site I use to keep track of everything.

## Habits

I’ve been doing this long enough now that I have a feel for how many calories I should be eating each day, and if I had to, I think I could continue without explicitly logging all my food and activity. I’m not going to stop logging, since as I mentioned, I find it fun. It’s like a game now. But I think I’ve started to retrain away years of bad habits. And that feels like real progress.

## Bending Over

I can bend over and pick things up off the floor now, and breathe at the same time. I can tie my shoelaces. There are a whole bunch of other changes I’ve noticed with my body. I won’t detail them all here. But the best of all is that I feel better than I have in at least a decade. I have more energy. I don’t hurt when I stand up or walk for more than a few minutes. I actually feel good when I go for a walk. Walking used to be torture, and forget about anything more strenuous than that. I still don’t do much more than walking, but hey. Progress.

## Protein is Your Friend

I never really paid much attention to nutrition before. As in, what function things like protein, fat, and carbs have. I knew the basics, like carbs get turned into stored fat, etc. And I’m still no expert. But one thing I have learned is that protein is awesome. When I eat a lot of protein for breakfast (an egg, some jerky), I don’t feel hungry until at least lunch time. And protein is fuel for your brain. I’m sure this is incorrect in at least three different ways, but sometimes I figure if I can keep my brain fueled with protein, the rest of my body can fend for itself, and raid my ample fat stores for energy.

## Clothes

All my pants (cargos) are waist size 48. If I’m not wearing a belt cinched really tight, they drop straight to my ankles. Sorry for the mental picture. They don’t sag, they’re not baggy – they fall straight off. I need to get some new pants, but since I’m “in transition” to my destination weight, I don’t want to spend a lot on new clothes, so I’m going to hang on as long as I can. The other nice thing is that I can fit into shirts that I haven’t been able to wear in a while. I have many geeky t-shirts that have been hanging in my closet since I outgrew them that now have the added benefit of being vintage geeky when I wear them. And I look much better in a t-shirt too. Not as much “tenting” at the bottom, where my belly bulges.

## Onward

I’ve still got a **long** way to go. I’ve set my goal weight at 185, which is what I weighed when I came home from two years in Brasil as a missionary, when I was the most healthy and fit I’ve ever been in my life. Then, I wasn’t even trying – my daily routine of walking about 15km a day, and eating mostly beans and rice took care of changing my flabby self into something resembling a fit human being. I had muscle definition. I had a flat stomach. I don’t want to be a model or anything. I just want to be healthy and fit. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement, sympathy, suggestions, and support. It means more than you know. Hopefully I’ll be posting another milestone update soon.


17 thoughts on “Six Months, Fifty Pounds

    • Thanks, Gabe. I find I am enjoying food more and more, as I move away from the “bad” choices that used to be habit. I look forward to finding more new favorites.

  1. Kasey says:

    Hey there. I don’t know you, but you’re awesome. Good for you. Don’t stop writing about this whole journey, because when that last 115 pounds falls off (not to imply that it ever just falls off. Lord knows you will have earned every fucking ounce of it) you’ll have even more satisfaction being able to see how you did it and how far you’ve come. Totally inspiring, dude. Seriously. 

  2. Anonymous says:

    Way to go, Josh! That’s incredible progress, and I’m glad to see you’re still at it. Hang in there, and I’m looking forward to your next update!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations! Sounds like you’re really making a life-long lifestyle change, which is great.

  4. Congrats! I’m so proud of you. You’re doing a great job. I need to jump on the bandwagon and “get to gettin”. Thanks for the inspiring story.

  5. Katherine Gray says:

    Yay!! It’s so exciting to see you make all these changes. I’m going to check out the tools you listed. I know logging food and exercise is the best way to stay accountable and it’s where I always fall down. 

    I think you deserve new pants. 🙂 A few pairs won’t break the bank and I bet you’ll be even more motivated when you see how good they look. Dress the awesome body you have! 

  6. David C Stewart says:

    Good going, Josh. An important decision (and one I wished more people would make), and nice to see measurable progress along the way. Your rate of loss seems pretty healthy to me, so the changes in habits should be permanent. One of the tricks to this kind of thing is understanding adaptation – both the good and the bad of it. If you are interested, I wrote something about this at

  7. Have followed your Apple & technology reviews for years and more recently your weigh loss posts.  These last posts about not being able to do things you wanted to do (sledding with the kids, sleeping well) are very close to others including myself but more importantly, very inspirational.  I haven’t lost 50 but happy with -21 so far and will work harder to get there. 

  8. Congrats Josh! I’m around 250lbs now, having dropped about 60lbs since I got serious about shedding weight in January and 110lbs since spring ’09 when I started on my “Let’s avoid the diabetes” sweets-and-double-cheeseburgers reduction plan.

    For me, replacing pants and belts are great milestones and totally worth the expense! I’ve always bought pants a little large and it feels so great to be buying pants that fit just right for a change!

  9. Hi Josh,  I’m still following your career success and your personal success.  I’m so happy for you in both departments! Congrats for the corporate recognition as a social media leader, and for your personal health milestone!  You’re an inspiration!

  10. Carreen says:

    Hi Josh.  When my mom passed away it made me think about the health concerns I could have some control over and I lost 45 pounds and that put me in a realistic range for being 60 years old.  I know what a struggle it is so keep up the good work and i’ll be reading on your progress!  Thanks for posting.  Carreen Lindebak

  11. That’s amazing. Congratulations! I’m a new reader. You have a very honest, direct tone and I really admire that. Keep with it. It’s really inspiring to see people hunker down, take care of themselves and lose bad habits without losing their minds over it. I’ve lost a bit of weight recently as well through Paleo and it’s been a life changing experience for me. Also, those food tracking apps are lifesavers!

    Keep at it! You’re doing so well.

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