About two years ago, I lost 20 pounds. I compared experiences recently with a friend who had lost a bunch of weight and our experiences were so different that I thought I'd write them down. I'm also writing this down because my eldest son just enlisted in the Marines and he needs to drop weight before he goes to boot camp.
Here's what worked for me:
- Weigh Yourself Every Day.
- Whole 30.
- Zero App.
- Exercise At Least 3 times Per Week.
- No Dining Out.
Each of these is discussed below.
Weigh Yourself Every Day
I'm an engineer, not a weight loss person, but, to my way of thinking, if you're going to try and lose weight then you need a metric and that metric is your weight. I've now been weighing myself daily since 2017 and I can tell you that weighing daily really helps prevent you from gaining weight.
Note 1: If you need a way to track your weight on a daily basis, reach out to me. I have a new product coming out that helps with this.
Note 2: If you are going to weigh daily then you need to come up with a standard approach. For me that is:
- Wake up.
- Use the bathroom.
- Weigh; always using the same scale.
- Log my weight.
I used the Whole 30 approach to diet. This basically boils down to:
- Whole Foods - simple proteins and vegetables
- Nothing artificial; everything made from scratch right down to mayonnaise
- No sugar at all including sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.
- No grains
- No alcohol
- No beans / legumes
- No dairy (including milk, cheese, yogurt, butter)
- No beverages other than water
Here's the quick list of what you can eat:
- Vegetables including potatoes (but not corn as that's a grain)
- Fruits but in moderation
- Unprocessed Meats
- Seafood both fish and shellfish
- Nuts and Seeds but not peanuts (legumes)
- Olive Oil
- Coffee (but black; no sugar, no dairy)
Here is a good reference to Whole 30.
The only sweet that I had on Whole 30 was Lara Bars (which are mostly made of cashews) and fruits / dates. The only drink I had other than water was LaCroix sparkling waters.
One of the more interesting things I did was use an app called the Zero app:
The idea of Zero app is that if you give your body more time to digest the food you consume then you will metabolize it better. I focused on reducing my eating window to lunch and an early dinner (i.e. 5 or 6). This reduced the window I ate in down to 17 to 18 hours. And while this is initially hard, after the first few days, it actually isn't bad.
I've never been a big exercise person but I did do 15 to 20 minutes on an elliptical 2 or 3 times per week.
Dining Out - Just Say No!
I know that the U.S. has moved to a food culture that is largely based around dining outside the home / your personal kitchen. If you're going to do Whole 30 then you pretty much can't dine out at all. There is the rare occasion when you can find something simple like a piece of broiled fish or a steak but most restaurant dining is optimized towards flavor and that generally means copious amounts of butter / fat / sugar.