How I Lost 32 Pounds in 6 Weeks

As of this morning’s weigh-in, I’ve lost 32.2 pounds in the past 6 weeks.

If this were a late night infomercial, I’d follow that statement up by saying:  “By only working out 3 times a day on the Big Daddy aerobics machine!” or “By taking 3 pills a day of the revolutionary new weight loss pill!”

The sales pitch isn’t coming.  Neither is the miracle cure for losing weight, sorry.  Every time a friend, family member, or colleague finds out how much I’ve weight I loss, the question is always the same:

“What’s the secret?”

I become a little perturbed when I hear this question.  It devalues what I’ve done the past 6 weeks.  I didn’t lose this weight by joining the carrot soup diet, taking some pill, or getting on some exercise machine for 5 minutes a day 3 days a week — I’ve worked hard.  I’ve made smart eating choices, worked out every single day (in and out of the gym), and fought the urges and cravings to quit it all.

That’s the  truth, but it’s hard to respond to the “What’s the secret?” question with that diatribe.  People need more details.  They need specifics to follow — a list, if you will.  So, here you go.  Here’s your list.  This is how I’ve lost my weight.

No fad diets, no magic pills, no bull:

Burn more calories than you take in. I’m not on the low carb diet, carrot soup diet, or sugar busters — I don’t count points or tokens or whatever either.  I lost weight by burning more calories than I’ve taken in every day, it’s as simple as that.  For every 3,500 calories you burn, you lose a pound.  If you eat 2,000 calories today but burn 3,750 during your day, you’ll lose 1/2 a pound.

Drink water all day.
I don’t want to hear it:  “Waah, I need my coffee/soda/juice!”  I went from drinking 75-150 ounces of soda a day on January 14th to now where I drink nothing but water all day long.  I drink at least 50 ounces of water every day and have it as a beverage for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to carrying a water bottle around with me everywhere I go.

Moderate, not eliminate. You can’t tell yourself that you can’t have certain things — you’ll eventually break and binge.  You can eat anything your heart desires and still lose weight, as long as it’s in moderation.  Things I moderate include mayo, butter, ranch, ketchup, cheese, candy, and all fried foods — that’s about it.

Gradually make the switch. I cut out soda cold turkey, but some people can’t — it’s understandable if that’s not an option for you.  One thing where I didn’t make the switch overnight is milk.  I’ve drank whole milk since birth and when I started my new lifestyle I switched to 2%.  Then 1%.  Now, I’m drinking skim milk and I don’t notice any difference.

Wheat is sweet and white ain’t right. That’s so corny, I’m sorry.  Another thing I’ve had since birth:  white bread.  This is something else I’ve quit cold turkey — I made the switch from white to wheat.  Before my new lifestyle my wife would have me try her wheat bread — I absolutely hated it.  Now, wheat tastes wonderful and white bread tastes like candy, chalk full of sugar — disgusting.

Learn to love the gym. If you haven’t worked out for a while, the gym is going to be terrible for you at first.  Your body will ache, you’ll be bored, you’ll want to be anywhere but there — tough.  Stick with it.  Once your body gets used to moving around it and starts getting physically fit, you’ll forget all about those first two weeks when you would rather visit the in-law’s instead of going to the gym.

Make gym mandatory. With my past attempts to lose weight I thought going to the gym was optional.  Not this time.  I make the gym every single day after work, and if something comes up, I go to the gym later that night.  You need to think of the gym as a basic necessity, like food, water, or shelter.  You need the gym.  It needs you.  Be there everyday at least 4 days a week.  I go 6, but that’s up to you.

Use your newly found fitness. Once you have been going to the gym and your body starts being “useful” again, have fun.  Since I’ve become a lot more physically fit and active, I’ve been doing all kinds of intensive projects around the house, playing basketball, running around more with the dogs, etc.  The more fun you have with your refined body, the more motivation you’ll have to continue working out.

It’s no fun training your body all the time just to park it every night in front of the television.  Go out and enjoy your body.

Keep increasing your workout intensity. I increase my workout intensity on the elliptical machine about once a week.  As soon as my body gets comfortable with one setting, I dial it up a notch.  You have to keep increasing the intensity of your workouts or you’ll keep burning less and less calories every workout.

Avoid mirrors. My diet tells me I’m healthy.  My workout tells me I’m healthy.  My habits tell me I’m healthy.  So why does that stupid mirror in my bathroom every morning tell me I’m fat?  I’ve been on my new lifestyle for over 6 weeks and have lost 30+ pounds, but in reality, I’m still 300+ pounds.  There is a huge lag in my perception and reality.

Don’t get caught up in your appearance until the end.  I know I’m losing weight and I know I’m healthy — it just takes a little time for our bodies to catch up.

Tell people about your weight loss. Everyone I know is holding me accountable for my weight.  You may think telling people you’re trying to lose weight is scary — it is, I won’t lie.  But that’s where the value is — you’re scared to death of being embarassed.  Once people know all the intimate details of your struggle to lose weight you have no choice but to succeed.

That’s what this whole charade here is all about, my friends.

31 thoughts on “How I Lost 32 Pounds in 6 Weeks”

  1. Keep it up! I topped out at 261 lbs a year ago and I managed to lose almost 25 lbs last summer doing the same thing: eat less calories and be more active, as in EVERYDAY. Nothing feels better than to hear someone say, “You’ve lost weight!” when you really have.

  2. You said…

    “Burn more calories than you take in. I’m not on the low carb diet, carrot soup diet, or sugar busters — I don’t count points or tokens or whatever either.”

    If you’re irritated by people devaluing what you’ve done, be careful that you don’t do the same to someone else. I was overweight for most of my life, and the simple act of “burn more calories that [I was] taking in” was much easier said than done. I had no idea how many calories many common foods had, or how many calories I was burning through regular activities or exercise. Food can be high in calories but low in fat, or vice versa… something which can be confusing to someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how much a tablespoon of this, or a quarter-cup of that is really important in the grand scheme of weight loss and diet.

    My husband and I joined Weight Watchers, which taught us a very simple method through which we could determine thee “value” of the foods we were eating, that we could apply on the fly, no matter what we ate. So yes, we “count points.” It also tells us when to STOP eating, and helps us understand what portions are appropriate (something that is NOT automatic.)

    My husband dropped almost a hundred pounds, and I dropped more than 30, and we’ve been able to maintain our weightloss. We too heard the “what’s your secret” line, but more frustrating than the question itself was the automatic dismissal of the fact that counting “points” worked for us — and continues to work for us — and that clearly, despite our success, we’re fools for doing it.

    Counting Points may seem like a marketing “fad diet” to you, but for many, myself and my husband included, it was a means to learn how to better regulate what we eat.

  3. Way to go!

    One thing to watch for: Many breads labeled wheat or whole wheat aren’t much better than white bread nutritionally. Try whole grain breads instead. You may have to try a few to find one that tastes good to you.

    Good luck!

  4. Yeah, don’t look in the mirror ~ it’s hard to see the minor changes that are happening. When you see yourself every day, you don’t see them. At your size it will also take some time to really make a noticeable change on how you look.

    HINT: TAKE PICTURES! Take at least one full body shot each week. You’ll be glad you did. PICTURES don’t lie.

    Good luck and good going!

  5. I’m glad your blog showed up on Consumerist today. Yesterday I went to my doctor and my BP was way too high. I made a pact with myself that I would start losing weight – and this is a great inspiration. I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed and will keep up with your progress!!!

  6. Good for you! I did the same thing several years ago — dropped from 290 to 195 pounds over the course of about 18 months. Whenever people asked me how I did it, my answer was simple: “The hard way.” Your method looks almost exactly like mine, nice to see the old ways work best! Good luck keeping it moving on down, and if there’s one lesson I have for you it’s this: you WILL hit a plateau at some point, probably at a weight you maintained at some point in your past. I describe it as kind of a metabolic memory. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED. You know that your method works, don’t get frustrated if it stops working for a while. GOOD LUCK!

  7. Everything that you outlined in this article clicked on like a light bulb for me back in February. So far Ive shed 15lbs and it keeps getting better. There is no secret to success, you just have to do the right things. Thanks and good luck on your goals.

  8. Dude, i am really envious of you. i wish you all the best. I’m in the same boat as you (well not 344 lbs, but 255 lbs). Been trying to lose the gut for ages but no luck and this current economic climate doesn’t help either. My hrs have been cut to the bone (1/3rd ) and a gym membership is out of the question.
    Since water is cheap (at least from the tap) i drink more of that now, but eat mostly cheap food. It’s already 2 pm and all i’ve had to eat all day is 3 slices of bread and O.J, not because i’m dieting but ’cause i’m broke as hell.

  9. Well I say well done to you!

    The way to lose weight is just so obvious, and you’ve outlined it perfectly. The problem is that it’s plainly difficult. Congrats on sticking to it. You’ve inspired me to try.

  10. Good for you. I went through a similar process once (though to a lesser extent. 210 -> 170 in many 2 months or so) following pretty much the same guide.

    The only thing I have to say is this: don’t get discouraged. You made a lot of changes fairly quickly, and your body is just figuring out that it can drop weight because of this. The weight will drop quickly at first, especially just upping your activity level. But it will plateau. Don’t get discouraged.

    One of the things that I find/found important, especially when you plateau: take a day off the diet. Just one day. It will “shock” your system out of whatever funk it is in. And let’s face it, you can’t eat enough in one day to ruin the progress you made throughout the week.

    A note of caution on the “free day” thing – most people think “saturday” right off the bat. That’s lame, you’re usually at home and free all saturday. Pick a work day where you don’t have constant access to crap foods.

  11. Great job! When I started my diet, I was at 215lbs. I hated the way I looked, and I was always self-conscious. I pretty much followed the same routine that you did, and I have lost 40 pounds. I’m down to 175lbs now, and I feel great. I didn’t really tell that many people that I was trying to lose weight. It’s nice to have people who I have not seen in several months ask me if I’ve lost weight. Every time I see someone who is overweight at the gym, I am always impressed at their determination and courage to work hard and lose the weight. When people ask me what the “secret” is, I tell them that I eat less an exercise more. Then, the look of disappointment comes over their faces. The truth is that most people are just too lazy to do what you and I have done. It’s very sad.

  12. Awesome job! Congratulations!!! I love your energy and attitude, and you practical tips for lifestyle changes are great. Keep up the hard work!

  13. Isn’t losing this much weight so quickly not recommended my doctors? In fact I understood that it was worse for then being fat.

  14. Good for you, man! I feel like even if you weren’t exercising, a lot of your diet changes would have helped melt the fat away. I’m all about watching what you eat… my best tips there:

    -Look at labels to see if they use high fructose corn syrup. Usually those things have more sugar than products that use cane sugar.

    -Get into eating foods with lots of fiber. I’ve started eating lots of beans that I cooked from dry beans. The fiber is filling and low-fat, and it helps you clear bad cholesterol.

    -Quit (or cut back on) meat. I started living in a vegetarian household, and now I eat a LOT less meat. I feel like ditching a lot of the animal fat has helped me a lot. I still take on some fat, but it’s usually dairy or olive oil. I suggest tofu or the like as a good meat alternative.

    I love your tip to eat smaller portions, too. I was a member of the “clean plate club” when I was little and it’s tough for me to get over the mentality of having to eat everything that I bought or everything that’s sitting on my plate. I’m much better off cutting portions.

    Lastly, thanks for the inspiration. I need to lose a little weight myself, but I ESPECIALLY need to hit the gym. Your hard work is going to be my reminder to go.

  15. Tyler: I read your story on Consumerist and have to give you kudos for making the commitment to lead a healthy lifestyle. Three years ago I decided to do the same. I was nearing 200 pounds and decided to take control of my life. I’ve lost 60 pounds total since then and am training to run my first 5K on 3/21. Your weblog is an inspiration.

    In regards to the comment above about cutting out meat, I have to say that sticking with lean meats (fish, pork, chicken) is really important because protein is a necessity for building muscle. Soy protein is fine, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping lean meats in your diet.

    Also, I’m curious to know if you take any group classes at the gym?

  16. i started a similar program in July 08 and so far have shed 74 lbs… Keep it up man… its hard but little choices in your day to day routine go a long way…

  17. Way to go! Keep it up! I just quit drinking soda entirely about a week and a half ago. So far, I don’t miss it too much. My wife watches calories for us and as the weather gets nicer, we’ll be getting out and will hopefully be ready for the Komen 5k.

  18. Are you using a heart rate monitor to measure the calories burned? Also, have you considered interval training? According to my instructor, interval training is far more conducive to fat loss, cardiovascular health and muscle gain. It’s also a lot better at preventing injury. Safer + more effective. You should try it.

  19. Wow – Too funny I came across this website. I too am on the same journey as Tyler. I started at 340 pounds 7 weeks ago and now I too am down 32 pounds with 68 to go.

    You know it is going to get tougher from here on out so keep a lid on the calories and up the workouts if you want to keep up this losing pace.

    Good luck and I will be checking in on you!

  20. “Isn’t losing this much weight so quickly not recommended my doctors?”

    I believe the recommendations are under 2%/week for the first 8 weeks or two, and under 1%/week long term. He’s within that limit.

    That said, burning enough calories to lose that much weight while still eating a reasonable number of calories is hard. You do not want to drop below a floor or your body will go into starvation mode and you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. I’m a large guy so I should never drop below 1500 cal/day, and ideally never below 2000 cal/day. It’s hard to burn 5000 cal/day, especially if you’re older and can’t ramp up your workouts quickly.

  21. Your weight loss is remarkable! I’ve heard all the same marketing spiel that you have, all promising the same thing:

    “Drop 10 pounds in 4 weeks!”
    “Drop 20 pounds in 6 weeks!”
    “Drop 30 pounds in 8 weeks!”

    You just have to buy their product, of course.

    I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am of these marketing people preying on people who are trying to lose weight and don’t know any better. I lost weight just like you did, just diet and exercise. The RIGHT way and the ONLY way.

    And you know what, I have my own slogan now:

    “Drop 20 pounds in 4 weeks — with diet and exercise, nothing else!”

    Keep up the good fight, man!

  22. Hi Tyler, like you I have been doing what you are doing except for the gym. I have been walking 3 – 4 times a week for more than 40 minutes. I lost about 30 lbs in 3 months. Congratulations and I know what you are going through so you have my admiration and applause for all your hard work. All the best and looking forward to reading your continued success. :-)

  23. Keep up the great job, boy! Keep shedding those pounds!! I just found your blog and have the goal to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks and you provide me with inspiration and motivation to keep going!

    Good luck!

  24. Tyler, you are such an inspiration!!

    I’m almost near 300 pounds, i went to the doctor and found that out today. That’s fine though, I am motivated and ready to start. I’m setting small goals, for starters I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks… then 20 pounds in 4 weeks, then 30 pounds in 6 weeks. I’m going to try and follow the schedule that you had!

    I know it’s harder for women to lose weight, but I know I have to try… I don’t want to be overweight anymore, this weight needs to go!!!

  25. wtg
    I just finished 6 weeks at <2000 cal per day,
    5 to six hours exercise per week 60-65%
    target heart rate and started at 314 lbs and now
    am 290 and 58 years old. I just apply the same
    obsessive behaviour that got me here, and have kept a log for both myself and the doctor. I plan
    to lose 100 lbs within 18 monts which I believe
    is do-able. Good luck with your new lifestyle.

  26. Im happy to find out that what im doing is right because I do the same thing as you, in may i started at 279 and today im at 241, you lost it a lot quicker but im trying, I found this blog by googling when will I notice that I have lost weight, and I guess the no mirror thing is what I am gonna have to do cuz I cant notice anything, but people tell me they do. Good luck with the 40 pounds more i still have another 60!

  27. Do you hate soda? If you do, why had you drunk so much before your weight loss program began? If you dont, why did you cut out soda cold turkey, instead of ‘Moderate, not eliminate’?

  28. So many well meaning and not so well meaning try to sabotage my efforts!!! I have work so damn hard to lose 30 lbs . I work out 60-90 min. daily. My husband thinks what kind of life do I have. Well a hell of a lot better now that my blood sugar is normal and my BP is great.I still have 20 + to go . I never want to feel that bad and obese again. I feel so wonderful and no longer embarassed to be out in public. SO NEVER LET ANYONE TAKE THE JOY OUT OF WHAT HARD WORK HAS GOTTEN YOU HEALTHY!!! GOOD LUCK HANG TOUGH!!

  29. Wow. :D You’ve completely inspired me! I want to lose about 32 pounds or so.. and reading you’re methods has really opened my eyes. It’s going to be tough at the start.. but if I just keep thinking.. that nothing bad lasts forever.. and that I WILL accomplish my goal with hard work… then it will pay off! (: Thank you so much for putting this new inspiration in my heart. Really. (: (:

  30. Wow. Straight to the point. No sugar coating, and no BS!! I loved reading this. Very inspiring. This is exactly how I’ve been losing weight. I’ve only lost 3 lbs in 2 weeks. But, that’s better than nothing!! I am wanting to lose a total of 25lbs. I’m not following any diets, or taking any “magic” pills. I’m just simply excersising, cutting back (not totally eliminating) what I eat & drink, and as hard as it was (like you said…who doesn’t whine about it?…HA) added LOTS of water to my daily fluid intake. The 3 lbs so far are great, but the best part is how great I feel!!!! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>