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.
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.