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.
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.