I used to be overweight. Not just a little. When I’d walk down the street, people would go “Damn, that’s a fat ….” (you can fill out the dots with some creative swearing. I’ve heard them all). At my highest level of fatness, I weighed in at a 145 kilograms, which equals about 320 pounds for everybody on the other side of the Atlantic. I’m roughly a 193 centimetres tall (6.3 feet), which left my BMI at an alarming 38.9 (with 30 being the “obese” level). So the people on the street were more than right.
People often ask me how I got so corpulent. My answer isn’t laden with lame excuses. Not anymore at least. I became a pot-bellied burger gobbler because I ate. I ate a lot. I ate a lot, and as often as I could. No exercise apart from walking a couple of feet to school, university or the supermarket. I can’t exactly recall when this started, but by judging photographic evidence it started during my tween years. And from that point in time I just grew, and grew, until one day I lifted my chubby feet onto the scale for the first time in years. And then it hit me.
Dude, you will die of heart disease or worse before your 30th birthday.
After this major epiphany I started wondering how the hell I should start losing weight. You see, from my early teens up until that moment I tried numerous diets and forms of exercise to lose weight. None of them had any effect. Diets are boring. They won’t let you eat anything, or eat all kinds of weird combinations invented by diet gurus, ‘medical experts’ or - wait for it - lifestyle consultants. I figured that the only way for me to lose weight is to prohibit myself from eating or drinking anything with a high amount of calories. Which basically meant that I didn’t allow myself to eat anything good. No sodas, no snacks and nothing deep fried. I limited my caloric intake to about 1000-1300 calories per day. Experts will probably say that that had been very unhealthy since a matured male body needs about 2500 calories per day. But I felt I didn’t have time to take things easy.
And then came the touchy subject of exercise. I detest going to the gym. I can’t stand the bags of douche that hang out there every single day to make small talk, or the TVs hanging over treadmills which always seem to be tuned to MTV, airing depressing reality shows. But, slapping down cash for a gym subscription forced me to go there. I trained almost every day for two hours. One hour of cardio, to burn fat. Literally running my ass off. And one hour of muscular training, to help me burn fat faster. Building up muscle tissue also helps you burn calories faster when not working out. Cool little details I learned at the gym.
Now, the worst enemy for anyone who’s trying to lose weight is not seeing any progress. Especially when you’re as overweight as I was. You will see a decrease in weight on the scale, but when you look in the mirror after losing a substantial amount of pounds, you won’t see any difference. Even after two or three months. And that is extremely demotivating. I bet that most people that start losing weight just stop because they’re not noticing a difference after all that hard work. I had the same problem, but stuck to the programme. And eventually, my shirt size went from XXXL to S.
To burn it down: an interesting list of what I did, including some tips:
- Become disciplined.
Head out to the Discipline store and get yourself some. Seriously, this is almost the only thing you need to lose weight.
- Become super disciplined.
Becoming disciplined is not enough. You need to head back to the Discipline store and get the uber-package. Make sure you hang on to that for the rest of your life.
- Don’t set a starting date.
“Next tuesday I’ll start. So before that, I still have the chance enjoy a shitload of these deep-fried Mars bars.” Don’t do that. Start immediately. Setting a date will only lead to postponing, making those Mars bars even harder to lose.
- Set a goal.
Goals are important. I originally wanted to go from 145 kg (320 pounds) to 100 kg (220 pounds). I achieved that a year later, and decided to continue until I’d reach my optimal BMI. 6 months later and 20 kg (44 pounds) lighter, I achieved a BMI of 22.2.
- Pay for exercise.
I can’t tell you how much I hate the gym. But paying the damn subscription fee made me feel guilty if I wouldn’t go. If you can’t stand treadmills, weights and those weird guys that hang around the gym all day, then pay for another form of exercise. The money you lose is so much worth it.
- Lose the sodas.
Coke, Fanta, Mountain Dew, but also milkshakes, smoothies, sugar laden Starbucks coffee, and any sweet drinks overall will make your butt humongous. All these liquid calories won’t satisfy you, have close to no nutritional value. Keep drinking them while you’re fat, and you might as well inject butter straight into your ass.
- Drink water.
Water rocks. It contains no calories whatsoever. You should drink at least 2 litres of it every day, but a lot more if you start working out as well. And for me, it was an important catalyst: each time I’d get really hungry, I drank two glasses of water. That will fill up your stomach, giving you the sensation you’re satisfied.
- Don’t reward yourself with something good.
Lots of diets tell you to reward yourself with one good meal or a really yummy snack after a week of successful dieting and exercise. Fuck that. You’re fat. Punish yourself until you lose the weight. This ain’t no picnic. Reward yourself with an extra glass of water, a few more bench presses or an ultra awesome outfit at the end of the road.
- Light products are for pussies.
Don’t eat or drink that crap. Not only do aspartame and sweeteners taste like dog poo compared to proper sugar, but there’s a chance you’ll grow Chernobyl-style mutations by eating too much. Stick to fruit and normal food. Eat little of everything. Eat a regular meal during the night but don’t have seconds.
- Stay disciplined.
Take these 10 tips into consideration, but find your own way of losing weight. Remember that the key to getting rid of those love handles is to keep doing it. No excuses, no time-outs or breaks. Not even on vacation. If you’re a gargantuan fat bastard like I was, you won’t notice any change (in the mirror) in the beginning. This can be really demotivating. Make sure you keep going, because the first kilos/pounds you lose will fly off like the goddamn Millennium Falcon. The final bunch of kilos are the hardest, but discipline will help you for the rest of your life.
So that’s how I did it. No excuses to being fat, unless you’re seriously ill. All it takes is discipline and perseverance. It’s not important which diet you follow, or what kind of exercise you do, as long as you do it. And keep doing it until you’ve reached your goal.
Disclaimer: This is a repost of an entry I wrote a few years back. Since I’m working on Human.co nowadays it’s become relevant again, and a great post to start with Medium. Also, my shirt size went up from S to M thanks to pushups & protein.