How I lost 50 pounds this summer.

Okay, 49 pounds, but close enough for the headline and I need a blog post.

Short version, I got really fat, but I’ve recently lost a bunch of weight with:

A. Intermittent Fasting
B. Low Carb
C. Caloric Restriction (not really on purpose, but because of A and B.

Long version:
I’ve always been a big guy. I’m 6’5″. In college I weighed 270, but that was with a lot of muscle mass. After I started doing an office job, I went up to 300 and stayed around that for a long time. I was comfortably plump, but still big and strong enough that I didn’t look super fat.

But as I got older, that weight started creeping up on me. A couple of years ago I started lifting weights again to stay in some semblance of shape, which was nice, but then at the beginning of 2018 I injured my elbow badly (It turns out when you’re 42 you can’t do a bunch of fast reps curling a 75 pound dumbbell in one hand like you did when you were 22. And yes, I was doing it to show off to my teenage son).

I had to stop lifting and go to physical therapy. Unfortunately, I kept eating like I was still lifting weights and I kind of ballooned up. When I got on the scale at the physical therapists office, instead of being just over 300 like I’ve been for a very long time, I weighed 335! That was a shock.

My dad passed away last year after having a ton of health problems for a long time. He was only six foot even, but at one point he weighed over 400. He collected heart attacks like some kids collect Pokemon. Hell, he had one heart attack and WALKED IT OFF (Correias are remarkably tough).

But with my dad in mind, and realizing that I was getting super fat, not getting any younger, and being mostly unable to do my favorite forms of exercise because of my stupid arm (weights and punching bag), I knew I needed to do something.

Then one day I met John D. Brown for lunch. He’s another author and we’re working on a science fiction novel together (it is going to be awesome. Think space pirates who steal giant fighting robots for a living, get sucked into a revolt on an awful colony world). John’s another big guy, normally built like me, but he was looking really fit. He said it was because he was doing intermittent fasting.

I hate hate hate dieting, and I love food. I looked intermittent fasting up online. The idea there was to skip breakfast, and do all your eating between like noon and 8. That way your body has a 16 hour fasting period to burn fat.  It’s supposed to burn fat and lower insulin levels.

I’m not much of a breakfast guy anyway (but I do love to snack) so I gave it a shot.  The hardest part was not snacking during the morning or drinking soda. You’ve got to understand that writers love snacks. Most of my books have been created by a steady supply of potato chips and Coke. Man, I love me some chippos.

At the same time, everybody is talking about how bad carbs are. Okay. I know from previous experience that if I eat less sugar and bread, I lose some weight. So I decided to go low carb too. Not zero carb mind you, because A. That sounds really hard. and B. My wife still has to cook dinner for the whole family, we have four kids, and that would be a nightmare for her.

So I drastically cut down on the carbs. I quit buying chips and cookies. So now I don’t eat at all until 11 or noon. Then I make myself lunch (and it’s all meat and vegetables). Then at dinner I eat whatever we are having for family dinner, and I try to go easy on whatever the carby parts are. Then nothing after dinner until lunch the next day. And since you’re asleep for half of it, it doesn’t even seem like that long.

The last part of this is that because I’m only eating two meals a day, and no snacking at all outside the 8 hour window, I’m also eating fewer calories overall. That doesn’t really feel like dieting. It’s more like a function of time, and I still get to eat good and be full, just in a narrower window.

I started this in May weighing 335. This morning I was 286. My goal is 270 because that’s what I weighed in college (and I have a wager with my wife). Only I was far more muscular then, so when I get to 270 now I’ll have to assess if I want to keep going.

It hasn’t been too bad either.

First off, lunch. We’ve got a good local butcher shop. So basically I just go there once a month and buy a ton of meat. Usually frozen sausages. And they’ve got like 30 kinds. Then for lunch I have a couple sausages (different flavor every couple days) on top of a bag of frozen vegetables. It’s fast, I eat a bunch of protein, and go back to work.

But because I keep switching up the sausages of the world, I haven’t gotten tired of it yet.

I’ve dropped close to 50 pounds over 4 months, but during that I’ve had LibertyCon and GenCon. Now when you go to a con, you’ve got travel/flight days, where your schedule is all weird. And then you’ve got the actual event days when you are on a goofy schedule that runs for weird hours, and you basically eat whatever is available whenever you’ve got an open space in your schedule. So for nearly two weeks of the summer I didn’t fast, and I ate a lot of carbs.

(oh yeah, and one pizza and ice cream date, because Bridget and I wanted to be bad)

Dinner I still eat whatever we are having, but Bridget has been mixing a bag of salad every night too for filler. Then I go light on the rice/potatoes/noodles etc and try to fill up on whatever the meat is. Most of my carb intake now is from things like peas, green beans, and whatever sauce I put on the vegetables to make them not horribly boring. (man, vegetables suck, but luckily meat is awesome).

I’ve also cut my soda intake. A couple of years ago I switched to Coke Zero instead of Coke, but I was still drinking about a two liter bottle a day. That sounds like a lot, but you’ve got to realize that writer’s brains run on caffeine. I know very few writers who don’t have some form of massive caffeine intake.

But I’m now down to one cup of diet soda a day after lunch. And if you try to take that from me, I will cut you.

I tried to cut soda cold turkey a few years ago, but my family had to have an intervention and tell me that I was being a cranky bastard. However this time I’ve been able to cut down because I discovered the miracle of “squirty juice” (I think it’s actually called Mio) and you put a few drops of this stuff in a big cup of water so it has a bit of flavor and isn’t boring. So you don’t feel picked one because you’re drinking it instead of a proper Coke.

Since the skinny pictures of me have been floating around, people have asked me if I’ve been exercising. Not particularly. I go on brain storming walks maybe once or twice a week, but that’s a couple miles tops. My arm is healing nicely (I actually had to shoot with my left hand for a few months. It was good practice) and my plan is once I hit 270, to start pumping iron again.

I’ve gone from size 44 pants to size 38.  Keep in mind the size 44 waist was baggy because I carry a gun inside the waistband. But they had gotten so tent like that my pants started falling off whenever I walked. I went to 40s and was using a hole on my belt that I’d never used before (like hey there little fella, haven’t seen you before). That lasted all of a month before my new pants were falling off again. I’ve gone to 38s, and have had to poke a new hole into my belt.

So I don’t know if it’s the fasting, the calorie restriction, the low carb, or the combo of the three, but this is best I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve not weighed this much since my 16 year old was born.  I hit 270 and I’ll weigh what I did when I was a buffed college student and my 18 year old was born.

August Update Post

Here is what is going on in August.

Book Stuff 

My next release is Target Rich Environment in September. It is the first volume of my short fiction collection. This one is a lot of fun, and has quite possibly the best cover ever.

The sequel to Son of the Black Sword is called House of Assassins, and it will be out in February.  Despite me saying that for the last year, I’m still getting one star reviews from people on Amazon who loved the first one, but who are apparently so blinded by their entitled butt hurt that they can’t use google.  But anyways, it’s out in February, and it’s awesome.

I’m currently working on three things at the same time.

Today I’m writing my short story for the Noir Fatale anthology that I’m editing with Kacey Ezell. We just got stories in from Mike Massa, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Hinkley Correia, so I am now the last one we’re waiting for. But one of the perks of being the editor is that I get to see what everybody else did and then write mine last so I can plug gaps or avoid stepping on anyone else’s toes.

Sarah Hoyt just sent me back her revision of Monster Hunter Guardian. This one is about 3/4 done, and what she was tweaking was the last act. Now it’s my turn to go through it again. MHG should be done pretty soon, which is exciting.

And I’m 30,000 words into Destroyer of Worlds, the 3rd book after Son of the Black Sword and House of Assassins.

Appearances

I just got back from GenCon. Up next I’m going to be a guest at DragonCon and Salt Lake City ComicCon.

On that note, you can go vote for the Dragon Awards now. Do it! It’s free, open to everybody, and the more fans involved, the better.

Personal Stuff

The Yard Moose Mountain project is still plodding along. We’re past the waiting for permit parts, and now we’re in the exciting waiting for various work crews parts.

And my oldest daughter, Correia 2.1 will be leaving us to go to college this month. It is weird having an adult kid all of a sudden. She’s super sharp, and I’m proud of her, but it’s odd having one of them move out.

Back from GenCon

I got back from GenCon yesterday. This was the first year I went as a vendor instead of an author/panelist, which meant that I spent a lot more time in the Big Room of Spending Money. My total luggage for the flight home weighed in at 110 pounds.

I had a great time, ran the MHI RPG for the KS backers (I’ll write up a recap when I get a chance), had some business meetings, and got to demo a lot of products. I presented the Baen Fantasy Adventure awards on Saturday (I was too busy to be a judge this year, but I read the winners and they’re all really good).

Going as a vendor means that you get into the room early. For most people that would mean getting in line early for the super in demand stuff… For me, it means going to the War Store and picking through their bargain bins early before all the really awesome oddball stuff is taken. (I bought like 100 misc minis there for kitbashing purposes). I picked up all the new Infinity stuff, the new Witcher RPG, the entire run of Shadows of Esteren (no, seriously, they had a mega bundle of every single product, that was like 50 pounds of my luggage right there), the board game Fallen Land, the new L5R quick start from Fantasy Flight (this was the one thing that was disappointing. It’s a good size box, but inside is just a tiny quick start rule set, some pregens, a map, and some dice for $50. It felt like a bait and switch for all the suckers like me who love the old L5R), the 30th anniversary reprint of the old Star Wars RPG (flashbacks!), and a ton of other stuff.

One of the coolest products there (which was sold out by Saturday morning) was the Big Trouble in Little China board game from Everything Epic. I kid you not, it’s Jack Burton and the Porkchop Express putting boot to ass against the evil forces of Lo Pan. It’s awesome.

It’s weird for me. Normally I come home from GenCon with minis, but this year it was mostly books. SO MANY BOOKS. Now I just need to figure out when I’m actually going to find the time to play some of these. When you impulse buy 50 pounds of one game you’re kind of obligated to play. 🙂

On an unhappy note, there was an incident involving an Antifa jackass suckerpunching Jeremy from the Quartering (he was one of the Youtubers who reported on me getting kicked out of Origins). As far as I know the violent stupidity was from one lone dipstick, and he fled the con. I don’t know who the guy is, but apparently he’s some game designer, and he was MIA from his booth and from all his panels afterwards (I’m guessing he didn’t want the Indy PD to handcuff him on stage) I look forward to the guy getting charged with Battery, and then Jeremy suing him into oblivion. Stupid should hurt.

I wasn’t anywhere near that event, but as soon as word went out I got a bunch of messages from people worried about my safety in case punching people you disagree with politically was going to be the new hotness this year. Nope, it was just the one random moron. I had no issue with anyone the whole time. That isn’t really a surprise though, since chickenshits rarely try anything with us big guys they’d have to stand on their tippy toes to sucker punch. I only interacted with 50,000 other nerds having a good time.

There was another rumor flying around the con about how a GAMA bigwig tried a Don’t You Know Who I Am to bully his way onto the loading dock without his ID badge, the volunteers wouldn’t let him in, and he shoved them, then got thrown out because of it. Now I’ll admit, this one got me all excited because I was initially told it was the GAMA president, so I thought John Ward (who disinvited me from Origins) and how ironic it would be if the guy who said I created an unsafe environment for a family friendly event ended up pushing down poor volunteers who were just trying to do their jobs, but it turned out to be a different GAMA person. Bummer. Because that would’ve been hilarious. Still, way to cover yourself in glory there, guys.

Mercedes Lackey had a health scare. I got a call that night from a mutual friend who was at the emergency room with her. From the initial symptoms it sounded like a stroke, and that’s scary, but luckily it turned out to be a toxic shock reaction to chemicals (her hotel room had just been remodeled). Thankfully she was doing much better when I saw her briefly on Saturday.

I had a great GenCon this year. One of the guys I was staying with won the hotel lottery and we were actually walking distance, rather than the hotel 12 miles away I was stuck with last time. That sucked. I roomed with two old friends, one of whom I’d not been able to talk with much for a long time, so it was nice just to sit around and catch up.

My Official Comment on WorldCon 2018’s Social Justice Cannibal Feeding Frenzy

People keep asking me what I think about the recent WorldCon 2018 freak out and the usual suspects currently beclowning themselves in an effort to see who is the most offended, and who can virtue signal the hardest about how they’re offended too… but after exposing the Hugos as a politically biased circle jerk, I retired from Hugoing years ago.  I proved my point. All my people moved on with life. We’d rather go someplace actually fun.

However when you’ve got a culture addicted to outrage, if the people they’re usually outraged about aren’t around anymore, they’ve still got to get outraged at somebody.  They chased away everybody with the wrong politics, got the all-progressive paradise they’ve always wanted, and then promptly started yelling at each other for being insufficiently woke.

I’m curious to see if any of my left wing author friends will actually stand up and say enough with this nonsense, you’re killing our con, grow up.  But I’m betting not, because they’re scared of the angry mobs they helped create. Wimps.

So the entirety of my official statement on this latest WorldCon clusterfuck is:

Ha! 

Told you so. 

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch. Y’all deserve each other.  

Last Chance to Nominate for the Dragon Awards

Anybody can nominate books for the Dragon Awards, but the nomination period cuts off tomorrow. If you read a book that came out during the eligible period, and you thought it was awesome* now is your chance to plug it.

The Dragon Award is open to everybody. It doesn’t cost anything to participate.

http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php 

And authors, unlike certain other snooty awards, the Dragon wants you to promote your stuff to your fans.

* but don’t nominate me. I’ve won already. Spread the love! There are lots of other awesome writers out there who deserve the recognition.