Man Diet: How to Lose Some Damn Weight
(Note: This diet only works for men, because I’m told that men lose weight so unfairly easily. I have no idea what it takes for a woman to lose weight. Sorry!)
The problem was the smaller belt. I’d bought it about a year ago after losing 30 pounds, and was happy to have a 34″ instead of a 36″ belt. In my new “skinny” waist size, the end of the belt tucked nicely into the belt loop to the left of the buckle and all was well.
Then I started eating like in the old days. And before I knew it, some pants seemed to require me to use the next “larger” (i.e. “fatter”) belt hole. This caused the end of the belt to no longer quite reach the belt loop, so it flapped around like a constant reminder that Fried Food Makes You Fat. The straw that broke this camel’s back was when my scale had a highly offensive number on it one morning after eating way too much the night before.
Then we started going to the pool. Last year, I proudly yanked my shirt off and hopped in the the kids, showing off my skinny belly. This year, uh, not so much. Maybe I’ll just read for a while and let you kids play in the pool. Sure, that water is chilly sometimes, but being up a few pounds wasn’t helping my interest level.
We go to Colorado the first week of August most years, and I like to hike there. Being skinny made hiking a breeze the past couple of years, and I was clearly not on a trajectory for such ease this year.
So I started dieting. Here’s how:
- Set a goal. I want to lose 10 pounds by Colorado.
- Change behavior. I’m cutting way down on calories.
- Set a reward. Mmmm, reward.
- Track performance. Bleh, tracking.
- Tell people. Yuck, accountability.
My goal was pretty straightforward. I’ve been as low as 15 pounds lower recently, so getting down 10 would be good. Getting down 15 would be great, but we’ll see how it goes. Getting down 20+ would be as amazing as my father-in-law, and is pretty damned unlikely.
Behavior-wise I’m doing a few things:
- When eating out, set aside half of the meal up front. Even if it’s a small salad, go ahead and ask for a takeout box, cut that sucker in half, and put it in the box for lunch the next day. There is no way a normal human needs to eat the vast volume of food most suburban Kansas restaurants feel compelled to put on a plate.
- I learned this from awesome nutritionist Cheryl Sindell: If food is not pleasing, toss it. Apple too soft? Toss it. Banana all nasty and brown? Toss it. Yes, I feel a pang of guilt when I do this, but life’s too short and calories too precious to waste on bad food.
- Cut out alcohol. I loves me some wine. And some rum. And some margaritas. And some whatever else. But that’s a lot of calories I can do without.
- Don’t count calories. Seriously. If it is fried, it is bad for you. If it is bigger than your head, it is bad for you. If it is half bread, it is bad for you. If it is smothered in cheese, it is bad for you. There is no great mystery to this. There are no hidden calories waiting to fatten you up in a salad, even if it has goat cheese, pecans, and tasty dressing. They are fine. Just don’t eat a volume of them equivalent to a movie theater popcorn container and You Will Lose Weight.
Dieting is in many ways its own reward, but there are a few specific ones I’m interested in:
- Friends telling you “Damn, you are a skinny bastard.”
- Moving back to the “skinny” belt hole
- I really want a reprap 3d Printer, so I’m setting aside my wine money to put into one of those. Unfortunately, if I lose weight too fast I won’t have enough $, but that’s just a risk I’ll have to take!
- Hiking easier in Colorado.
- Being a bit more willing to shuck my shirt off and swim with my kids at the community pool.
To track performance I set up a Google Spreadsheet with columns for: Date, weight, whether I avoided wine and get my 3d printer $ for that day, and comments (“Party at Bough’s”, “Sangria at Spin“, etc.). I can update the spreadsheet on my iPhone after I weigh myself in the morning, so it’s easy.
Telling others always helps when you’re trying to accomplish something, because there’s a tiny bit of accountability once others know what you’re trying to accomplish. So I told my wife and kids, and wrote this post.
Combining the above two ideas, I decided I really should embed some view of the Google Spreadsheet here, so here’s my weight loss chart:
God, I love Google Spreadsheets.
So, guys, just follow the above and you can lose some weight. My wife tells me that none of this works for women and all that works for women is to stop eating anything and go running twice a day. I’m sure that’s true, because my wife told me.