How I Lost 100 Pounds In a Year

I’ve lost 100 pounds.
I’ve got at least 50, maybe 75 more to go to get to where I want to be.

A lot of you have asked me how I did it.

It goes pretty deep.

The first thing to understand is the formula for weight loss is really simple.

Eat Less.
Move More.

That’s all that there is to it.

Everything else is about your mind. And for me – that was where the real battle took place.

I started putting on weight when my wife got pregnant with the twins, right after we got married. They were born on our one year wedding anniversary.

When we got married, I was a fairly muscular 225 pounds at 6’5”.

Within that year, I crept up to 280. Within the next year, I was 300.

Over the course of the next 20 years, my weight made its way up to 430 pounds. I may have been more at a few points, when I refused to step on a scale because I didn’t want to know.

At least once a year for the past 15 years, I’ve decided to “Get Serious” and lose weight.
I’d try a diet, tracking calories, working out… and I’d lose 30-40 pounds every time.

Then I’d get tired of it. Distracted. Bored. Hungry. And I’d put it back on again.
I lost the same 40 pounds at least 20 times.

I was in a lot of pain. Diagnosed with arthritis in my feet. My ankles would randomly swell up really large – like double or triple in size. I didn’t have energy. My lower back hurt all the time. In fact, my sagging belly fat would put so much strain on my back that it curved forward and pushed my belly forward even more – making me look even fatter, and I lost an inch or more of height. I couldn’t even stand up straight without pain.

The truth is – I had a serious food addiction that I wasn’t admitting to myself that I had.

A couple years ago, my friends were doing a “Whole 30” and I made fun of them.
I don’t know why. They’re hippies and it’s just fun to make fun of them.
Eventually – my wife and I agreed to try it ourselves.

30 days of strict paleo. Black Coffee. No Dairy. No Grains. No Artificial anything. Just whole foods and clean eating for a month. No Cheat Days. That was the first time in my life that I did anything like that. The first week was hell. Detox. Inflammation. Hunger pains. I could eat ALL I WANTED of the right foods, but my body was kicking out the bad stuff, and my brain was crying out for my fix.

I typically would hit up the convenience store for 2 pieces of pizza, a coke, and a king size Reese’s Sticks. Sometimes I’d get it once a day. Sometimes, I’d do it twice a day.
I’d eat healthy meals at home that my wife made, and then I’d go out and hit up the junk food.

And during that Whole 30 – my body was literally screaming for it.

It was very clear to me that this was psychological addiction.

I’m a Christian, so I see things through a spiritual lens. I decided I needed some supernatural help, so I asked God to show me the root. Why was I addicted? What was the root?

And then some weird stuff started to happen.

I started having flashbacks. It was surreal and bizarre… but I could feel the hunger, the craving, and then I could see clearly where the feelings came from.  Experiences in my past. Things I had buried and forgotten about.

(Not trying to promote here – but I’m going to share this link because I think it helps tell the story – http://www.manlihood.com/toxic-by-josh-hatcher-rise-x-up/ )

Flashbacks, not only of childhood trauma, but adult shame for stupid things I had done later.

It was all there, like the candy wrappers and soda cans that I had crammed under my seats to hide so I wouldn’t have to deal with it.

I concluded that really, I had been living with some deep depression my entire life. Instead of feeling it, I was using food to numb it instantly. I didn’t know I was depressed – because I’ve been a jolly old elf. I’m not one of those emo whiny kids who gets triggered and snowflakes out on everybody. I honestly smile and laugh a lot, because I do have a lot of joy. But I also had a lot of pain, and instead of processing that pain, I was filling that pain with processed foods…. Before I could even feel it.

30 days of strict clean eating allowed me to SEE the times when I was triggered, when the cravings would come, I felt like they were cravings, and I would treat them. But they were coming for a reason – because I had some deep pain that I needed to work through.

Whole 30 helped me get down 30 pounds in one month. I transitioned to a less strict but similar paleo eating plan – with a weekly cheat meal. I lost another 10 pounds, but then hit a plateau. I was committed to working through my issues – and I was going through it slowly but surely.

Then I had a series of hard circumstances hit – I lost a job that I was working – and hit a very stressful time. I did continue to work on my stuff – but I had to recognize that I couldn’t do both at the same time. I couldn’t pay the bills, and get emotionally healthy and physically healthy at the same time. That may sound sabotaging, but it’s true.

So I took the time to work through the emotional things. I talked about some of my past with some good friends. I prayed. I read my Bible. I journaled, and walked through some of that pain.

I also put that 40 pounds back on.

Meanwhile, my friends Brian, Dennis, and Justin were watching. All three of them called me out.

Brian told me that basically, what we were doing was slow suicide. We were killing ourselves – just a little slower than other people.

Justin, who has lost 600 pounds. (http://justinwilloughby.com) just kept encouraging me, and never gave up on me.

Dennis had recently had a major transormation of his own – he started eating keto and making massive changes in his life and mindset. He called me up, and that ultimately let to my D-Day moment ( http://www.manlihood.com/d-day-josh-hatcherrise-x-up/ )

So. How did I lose the weight? It took a lot of long hard mental changes before I could even do it. Honestly, I’ll tell you what I did – but I need you to understand – it couldn’t happen until I understood how I got there. I couldn’t go back until I knew where I was and where I was going.

So – the last year.

I weighed in at 430 pounds.

I ate a ketogenic diet.
There are many types of keto. I basically ate lazy / dirty keto.
You don’t need to subscribe to an MLM or buy shakes.

All I did was eat in such a way to pull my energy from fat, rather than carbs.

I ate less than 20g of carbs a day. For the past few months, I don’t even count them. I just try not to eat them.

A very rare or occasional cheat meal, or even cheat day would happen. Usually, if this happens, it’s once a month or every couple of months. I still avoided certain things that I know would cause me to just slip into old habits. No Reese’s Sticks. No Pizza from the Convenience Store. No sugared soda. Cheats were rare, but I still had to be careful — if I went overboard, I’d pay for it with painful toilet time. What’s that? TMI? Ah well. I won’t varnish the truth.

Sometimes, I’ll do intermittent fasting for a day or so- drinking water and black coffee from morning until 3PM. I’ll eat a snack at 3, dinner at 6. A snack at 9. Then I do the same thing for a day or two. If I’m at a plateau, or if I have had a cheat day – it always kicks me back into ketosis.

Strict Keto is counting macros, eating more specific counts of food. I may have to do that later.to help me lose more as it will get harder as I have less to lose.

Lazy Keto is still eating more whole and less processed foods, but not worried so much about the macros and the detail counting.

Dirty Keto is basically – eat WHATEVER YOU WANT as long as your carbs are less than 20 grams of net carbs a day. This is typically where I have landed this last year.

I drink diet soda. I don’t eat enough veggies. I eat way too much processed foods like pepperoni and cheese. BUT – I was able to lose weight doing it, because I kept my carbs low enough to force my body into ketosis to burn the fat.

I do exercise, but not consistently. I walk, with little bursts of running – for about half an hour a few times a week. I lift – very inconsistently.

Most people don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose. It’s a lot easier to shed a lot of weight early on for guys who start out weighing 300, 400, 500 pounds.

And it gets incrementally harder as I continue to shrink. I WILL have to get stricter with what I eat, more disciplined with my workouts. And I’ve been starting to do that a little at a time.

In terms of resisting temptation – I have to call sugary carby foods what they are – poison.
It’s really annoying to everyone – because I make a big vocal deal about it when someone offers me birthday cake – NO! GET THAT AWAY FROM ME! IT’S POISON! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?  Overly dramatic? Sure. But it reminds everyone around me that if they care about me, they can’t offer me that stuff.

My wife eats fairly healthy, but not low carb – so she prepares meals in such a way that there is a low carb version of it for me. My breakfasts and lunches are usually things like tuna salad, hardboiled eggs, meat and cheese, salad, cheeseburgers without the bun. I eat a lot of pork rinds, almonds, pistachios, cashews, skinny chocolate (basically, you mix equal parts stevia, cocoa, and coconut oil, pour it in an ice cube tray and keep it in the freezer) and sugar free pudding made with heavy cream and almond milk. I eat avocados, though I struggle mastering the art of getting them ripe but not too ripe. I eat mayo like it’s no one’s business. Sometimes, I’ll wake up craving it – and eat it with a spoon. I think that’s because it’s fat, and my body needs the fat. I can’t eat much fruit, because it’s full of sugars – but I do eat blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. They are lower in carbs and higher in fiber. A few in moderation are good for me.

I drink a lot of water. When I don’t drink water, my body needs the water, and I have inflammation and pain.

Keto has been a little hard on me. When I’m in ketosis – I pee – a LOT.

I’ll wake up every hour and have to pee. And my pee smells bad.

Because I don’t care for veggies, and I don’t eat a lot of them,.I do have some issues with my hemorrhoids. I need more fiber, and I’m working on making that better.

That’s the “skinny” on my keto experience.

Once I hit my goal, I plan to transition from keto to paleo. I really liked eating paleo – lower carbs, but I could have some potatoes and more fruit. I loved the food, and it was easier to follow. The only thing is that I didn’t lose weight, but I maintained. So I plan to end out with a paleo lifestyle.

I have 50-75 more pounds to lose. I will shoot for 50 pounds in the next six months. Once I get there, I’ll determine how I feel, and if I want to push ahead for the additional 25. I want to be muscular, and I’ve got a large frame – so I want to feel comfortable in that. But I don’t want to be fat. Weight isn’t the best measurement of health – so I want to make my end goal work with me.

My Own Personal D-Day

75 years ago, 73,000 American heroes prepared to change the world. Loaded down with 100 pounds of gear and ammo, soldiers were dumped on the shore of France, sprayed with salt water and German lead.

In the chaos, thousands of Allied troops fell. It wasn’t one of those victories that felt good. It was a sacrifice made for a greater good– knocking out a genocidal tyrant with a massive army bent on world domination.

Read Josh’s Rise X Up D-Day Post at Manlihood.com

D-Day wasn’t the end of the war. It wasn’t the day that brought ticker-tape parades and sailors kissing nurses in the streets. Rather, it was a battle that turned the tide of the war. Up until that day, a world controlled by Nazis was a very real possibility. D-Day means “Decision Day.” The battle at Normandy marked the day of decisive victory in World War II.

 

Before the battle, General Dwight D Eisenhower remarked, “This operation is not being planned with any alternatives. This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success.”

Read Josh’s Rise X Up D-Day Post at Manlihood.com

As we celebrate this anniversary, I want to salute the heroism of the men who risked and gave it all that day to secure liberty for us all. D-Day has another significance for me personally.

One year ago, I was in a tough spot. I was undisciplined, depressed, overweight, and struggling. I have always tried to pursue bettering myself, but I had been through a series of defeats and failures, and I didn’t know where to start to make it right.

 

Good friends had noticed my weight creeping up. They noticed that I was distant. They noticed that I was distracted. Most of them had gotten tired of trying to encourage me. I can still hear the words of my friend Brian, “Josh, what we’re doing here, eating junk food, putting on weight– it’s just slow suicide.”

I wish I could say I let it sink in right away, but it took some time before I had enough pain. And as I’ve heard from other wise friends, “We don’t change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.”

I had enough. 

So June 6, 2018, was my own personal D-Day. I set my intention on change. I reached out to get help. I changed my diet. I changed my schedule. I started working hard to speak and think differently. I put systems in place to keep my accountable and on track. Like Eisenhower, I said, “There is no alternative. This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”


Mindset is the first thing that had to change. I used to say, “I am fat.” That directly linked my identity to my problem. Now I say, “I have fat, and I’m working on losing it.” It’s a much more accurate statement. It doesn’t attach my struggle to my identity. It gives me the freedom to see myself and my problems more clearly. I am not my failures. My problems are not me.

Read Josh’s Rise X Up D-Day Post at Manlihood.com

It’s been a year. I’m certainly not perfect. I still have a lot of changes to make. I have, though, lost 100 pounds. I have made tremendous strides in my attitude. I have started to become more disciplined, and started accomplishing many of the goals I set for myself a year ago.


I am not writing my successes to be braggadocios, but rather to demonstrate the power of choosing to change. I wasn’t happy with who I was. I wasn’t happy with where I was in my life. I couldn’t make the change on my own, even though I was the only one who could decide to change. I reached out. I got help. I worked my tail off to change the way I thought, spoke, and behaved. 

We all have different struggles. We all have parts of our lives that are holding us back, and left unchecked, could destroy us.

What does this have to do with D-Day? Everything. 

Maybe what we need  is to declare war. Maybe what we need is to rise up and storm the beach.


I recently saw an internet meme that captured my attention. It read, “If you want to honor our military, be the kind of American worth fighting for.”

Maybe that starts with each of us striving to be better– with each of us making a decision– our own personal D-Day.

Read Josh’s Rise X Up D-Day Post at Manlihood.com

Josh Hatcher - Founder of Manlihood.com - Author - Speaker


Josh Hatcher lives in Bradford Pennsylvania, has authored several books including  Manlihood: The 12 Pillars of Masculinity American Poetry: Poems for a Wounded Nation  and is the founder of Manlihood.com

Finals Week?

Dear students. Finals week may seem like doomsday. But it’s really not.

Probably way more important than the curriculum you are being tested on is the lessons you learn about time management, stress management, and maybe even learning how to recover from failure. Education is “training” for life. But in the end – passing a calculus final or completing that final research paper, no matter how stressful it may be – means nothing compared to the man going through chemo, or the woman whose husband is leaving her and the kids, or  the mother who lost a child to addiction.

 
You think FINALS week is stressful? Sure. It is. But so is life out here in the real world. Think of this as a workout that prepares you for it. There is real life out there. And while it’s full of potholes and stress and struggle – YOU ARE STRONG ENOUGH. Finals week is about making sure that you know it.
 
The funny thing about stress is that it reveals your character. If you are a sponge – stress is the pressure applied that makes what is on the inside come out. When stressful times come your way – if you don’t like what comes out – then you need to be making sure that you have better stuff on the inside! The good thing – stress pushes out the bad stuff…. just make sure you’ve done your part to fill yourself back up with the good stuff!
 
Work hard. Do your best. You’ll survive this.

The election got you stressed? Chill out. Don’t Worry Be Happy. Let it Go.

Phillipians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

After scrolling through my facebook feed and seeing all of the anxiety and fear and stress about the election –

I thought this was a fitting reminder.
In a day and age when we view anxiety as a condition (and I’m not trying to downplay the clinical condition that we call anxiety) I fear we hear this exortation and we hear what sounds like an impossible task.

Let’s call the condition of “anxiety” something else – it may need to be treated with therapy or medication…

But the majority of Americans don’t have such a condition – they have a choice.

You choose what you feel. You choose what you think. You choose what you believe.

And if you don’t LIKE what you feel, think, or believe – there are some clear directives for what to do about it.

Let me give you the “Hatcher Translation” of the above scripture.

Take Joy in God all the time. Yeah. Did you hear me? Take joy!
Make sure that everyone that comes into contact with you sees your kindness. Because God is close.
Don’t worry or stress about anything, instead, no matter what’s going on, talk to God about it, thanking Him, and telling your concerns.
If you do that – he’ll give you a peace that you can’t even begin to understand will be like the secret service for your thoughts and emotions – guarding them to remain close to Jesus.

to sum it up, y’all –
Here’s a list of things to think about if you want to cultivate that peace.

Stuff that is true
Stuff that is good
Stuff that is right
Stuff that is pure
Stuff that is lovely
Stuff that is admirable
Stuff that is done well and that people can say good things about.

Just like I taught you.

God is peace. And He is close.

The Sun Shining on a Cool Misty Morning #poetrythursday

On a cool misty morning,
the spritz of rain accompanied by the decrescendo of the orange October temperature,
makes gray the vibrant reds and burgundies as they hang on to their hardwoods.

The dust cloud behind the humming street sweeper is knocked down, and instead becomes a trail of brackish oily froth. He hums along, erasing a year’s worth of road grime – or at least relocating it to the curb.

And the little boys, with tousled blonde curls, ready to climb and leap and play in the cool autumn morning are imprisoned by bars of near icy mist and currents of water dripping from the roofs.

“Why can’t I go outside, mother? Why is the sun not shining?”
And the mothers, at least the wisest of mothers, with their infinite knowledge of what happens above the clouds, and on the other side of the earth while their sons are sleeping, tell the little boys,

“Sons, the sun is always shining. He is always shining somewhere.”

Etiquette for School Concerts: 10 steps to enjoy a concert without wrecking it for everybody

EtiquetteforschoolconcertsI’ve been to a lot of different kinds of concerts, and the etiquette often depends on the venue, the kind of music, etc.

But there is a universal decorum for school choral and band concerts.

1. You don’t need to dress fancy, but you should at least wear clean clothes that are presentable in public. You should also make sure that you are free of any offensive odors. People will be sitting in close proximity to you. Please don’t smell like old cat urine, Axe Body Spray, or general filth.

2. This concert is about the kids. It is not about you. Yelling your child’s name, standing up and waving. Conducting from the back row, holding babies up in the air so that they can be seen, waving the flashlight of your cell phone back and forth so that the child can see you are unacceptable.

3. The only sounds that should happen in that auditorium is the children’s performance, the director’s announcements, and the appropriately timed applause. If your small child can’t sit still and quiet for the 1 hour performance, you should probably hire a babysitter, or take a parenting class.  If you cheer and yell your child’s name, rather than clap – you will distract them, embarrass them – as well as embarrass the people sitting near you – and in actuality, it SHOULD embarrass yourself. Unfortunately, because people may not have realized that it is not acceptable behavior – they aren’t embarrassed.

4. If you plan on taking pictures or video taping – please do so with courtesy for the people behind you. Don’t hold your cellphone or tablet or camera in the field of view of the people behind you. Don’t stand up at your seat. If you are concerned about getting a good shot, you should probably politely excuse yourself inbetween songs from your seat, and make your way to the side wall, in order to get a controlled shot that doesn’t distract others.

 

5. Please don’t leave until the entire performance is over. Your child is not the only child performing tonight. And while your child’s performance is important to you – the other children’s performance is important to their parents. Standing up, gathering coats, telling your entire family loudly, “IT’S TIME TO GO! C’MON!” isn’t really appropriate concert etiquette.

6. We all understand that sometimes bladders can’t handle a full hour. Try to prepare for this by emptying it before the performance. If it’s not enough, and you must leave to go to the restroom. Hold it until a pause between songs. If you come back in the auditorium during another song, please stand in the back until that song is over, and then make your way back to your seat. If you KNOW that you are the kind of person whose bladder is unable to withstand a torturous hour of sitting in an auditorium, sit in an aisle seat.

7. Please don’t try to clap along in time to the music. These kids are working hard and concentrating trying to keep the beat on their own. 600 people, no matter how good their sense of rhythm is – cannot clap in time together. The mass clapping will slow down or speed up the performance.

8. When leaving the auditorium. Please do so with courtesy. Let the older person  using a walker get by you. Don’t push, or shove, or rush your way out. If you have other plans on the night of a concert that involve you leaving quickly – you should cancel them, and take your time.

9. This one is so important, it deserves another mention. This concert is about the kids. Don’t make it about you. Do not draw attention to yourself in any way. If you want your child to know you are there – tell her AFTER the concert.

10. Tell your child afterward that he did a good job. Even if it stunk. Let him know that his efforts were appreciated, and that you enjoyed the concert. Don’t berate them for their mistakes. Don’t laugh at them and tell them they looked funny. Give them a hug and let them know that you are proud of them, and their hard work.  Also – when you see your kids friends, give them a high five and tell them “Great Job!” as well.

You matter…

I don’t know if you realize this or not. But you matter.

I can’t honestly say that you matter to ME. I may or may not know you. Our paths may never cross.

But I can promise you this.

Whether or not you think you deserve it…
Whether or not you identify yourself in a positive way…
Whether or not you think you are talented…
Whether or not your family truly loves you…
Whether or not you are lonely and empty…

Even if you feel content and happy and fullfilled…
Even if you feel broken and lost…
Even if you have no known need for it…
Even if you can’t even breathe without it…

No matter who you are, where you are, or what you’ve done…

YOU ARE LOVED BEYOND MEASURE.

The One who made you loves you more than you can even fathom. You matter to Him. whether or not you believe in or him, or ever will believe in Him…. He loves you.

So suck it in like a kid smelling the 2nd of June on his last day of school. It’s freedom, it’s hope, it’s purpose, it’s love.

And it comes from God.
You matter.

Good Friday

On this day 2.000 years ago, a deed was done that changed my life forever. If you are looking or freedom, hope, fulfillment, purpose, passion, and forgiveness… it can be found in the work that was done on Good Friday. ‪#‎thankyoujesus‬