Calorie restriction diet: my journey from fatmaster to beefcake
Back when I was 23 years old I clocked in at 255 pounds on a height of 6'0. I was all cookie-dough. The doctor told me my blood pressure was in the danger zone and wanted to put me on medication to control it. It was pretty shocking. I refused the medication and instead took action.
I took up a martial art.
I've joined gyms before and I've always given up after a few weeks, but this was different. It was interesting, and it was hard. One day it dawned on me that I'd stuck a martial art out for six whole months. I thought if I had the willpower to stick to that, I might also have the willpower to diet.
My diet was a bit unconventional*. Eat anything you want but stop at 1500 calories. At my size that kind of diet will really torpedo your metabolism which made the classes and getting up in the morning SO HARD. It was simple as hell though, and when you're already so overweight feeling like crap is pretty typical so it wasn't so bad.
Oh, and fast food wasn't off-limits either, although it was eaten with the bigger picture in mind. If I had a big McDonalds breakfast, it meant my diet later in the day would have to reflect the excess calories in the morning: celery sticks and tuna out of the can for the rest of the day, etc.
I didn't always stop at 1500, but I did keep the goal in mind and slowly but steadily change happened. It took a little more than a year, but I eventually got my weight down to an all time low of 200!
Nowadays it hovers at around 210 and I've settled on a diet that's approximately 3000 calories a day. I don't really have to try hard to keep the diet going since I have a pretty good idea of what foods contain what (although I'm still regularly surprised). Also nowadays I've increased martial arts attendance and started weight lifting as well, so I'm sure that even though I've only lost ~50 pounds, I've probably increased the proportion of muscle to fat as well. The really good news is that the blood pressure is back within normal and my resting heart rate is somewhere in the 50s, which is a normal "athletic" heart rate.
* The unconventional diet was the Hacker's Diet, if you need to know.
July 26th, 2007 8:54am
when you're that heavy, a weight training supplement has really great returns. ie. thin people need to eat more, but fat people are already at a high caloric intake for muscle gain.
>>My diet was a bit unconventional*. Eat anything you want but stop at 1500 calories
that's a bit extreme. i would have recommended around 2100, high fat and protein. you lose a lot of potential muscle gain if you're not getting enough calories.
July 26th, 2007 9:02am
Nice work, Michael B.
In the end there is no magic diet. It's all about lifestyle changes that become permanent.
My biggest problem in the past was being unable to resist cravings. I'd want something "bad" to eat, resist for a while, finally succumb, then feel guilty, which would make me feel so out of control that I'd want food again to feel better.
Finally I realized that if I had a craving and gave into it, feeling guilty was only making it worse. So I stopped feeling guilty, and instead would pat myself on the back for giving myself something I really wanted. In so doing, the food would actually satisfy me and I wouldn't need to keep on eating.
It's counterintuitive, but eventually the cravings pretty much went away. If I wanted something, I'd just eat it right away without going through hours of struggle.
July 26th, 2007 9:05am
>>My biggest problem in the past was being unable to resist cravings.
one really good way to diet is to eat when you're not hungry.
it's counterintuitive, but it works because you stop thinking of food something that satisfies a need, and instead you start thinking of food as fuel.
July 26th, 2007 9:09am
Only suggestion I can give is drink lots and lots of water. By several gallon jugs and drink them straight out. Dont worry about glasses.
++ hacker's diet. I was at 1350 calories for a couple months.
it sucks. but it sucks at 1500 or 2000 as well, so may as well get it over with faster. thought at 1350 I had to count protein and vitamin intake as well in order get enough. at 1500, 2000 one can be much more relaxed about it. (I think my recommended amount is 2300. which is about right, I was losing 2-3 pounds a week.)
> one really good way to diet is to eat when you're not hungry.
if you're losing weight, you're kinda hungry all the time, so this won't work. It is a good maintenance strategy though. also don't go to the grocery store hungry.
the best part of the hacker's diet website is that he prepares you to feel like shit. I do think it's a tad OCD to keep 5000 days of calorie history in an Excel worksheet.
July 26th, 2007 9:58am
I have to eat whole foods/natural foods/good solid protein/fats etc. because muscle building requires it. I don't burn enough calories without muscle, and my appetite is what it is. I have to eat a certain volume or I don't feel good, period.
Fast food just makes me hungry.
You guys know your own bodies though.
I know too many people who have failed because they give up too much of what they love, or too little.
The easiest way to stay on a diet, if that's what you want to do, is to eat properly on weekdays, and on weekends, eat what you want without gorging yourself.
My goals are different than most. I see older people who are thin, but have gross cheese under their skin from carrying too much fat. I saw a woman yesterday, about 45-50, very pale, very thin, wearing shorts and a tank.
Her mottled, marbled, bleu cheesecake thighs were thin, but still nasty. I could make her into a goddess if she were only willing to stop eating crap food, develop a proper metabolism, and do weight training 3X a week.
It isn't enough to be not fat, for me. I like being an example of the glowing health you can achieve without being thin.
Any diet will work. The problem is people no more stick to a diet than they stick to anything else.
son of parnas
July 26th, 2007 10:45am
You can't stick to a diet forever, especially if it's very restricted in some way. You have to find a way to eat moderately long-term.
Weighing yourself every day works for some people. Gain a pound, eat a little less that day. That way your weight never gets out of hand.
July 26th, 2007 10:47am
I can't hear the word beefcake without thinking of Cartman in that one episode of South Park.
...beefcake, .....Beefcake, ......BEEEEFCAAAAAAKE
July 26th, 2007 11:01am
> My goals are different than most.
you arent fat. like the OP or I were.
July 26th, 2007 11:03am
Haha JoC that's exactly what I had in mind when I wrote it.
July 26th, 2007 3:41pm