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How I’m Shedding the Body Fat: 202 => 185 Pounds in 103 days

So I’m proud of myself: 17+ pounds of body fat gone in 103 days. 15 pounds of fat to go to a target of 170 pounds, down from 202 pounds. Plus some muscle for a target weight of 172..

I feel better, I’m much faster up the hills, and my heart rate for the same level of exertion is down by about 10 beats. I expect it to drop another 5-8 beats within 2 months.

Here’s what works for me:

  • Exercise at least 1000 kilojoules per day (1040 kilocalories). For a 180 pound male, this is about 80 minutes of moderately hard cycling. That way you can eat and enjoy your diet, while still running an 15% energy deficit; the fat drops off. It’s just too darn hard to cut calories alone and live with a growling stomach, and worse, run the self-defeating risk of muscle loss.
  • Eat foods low in calories that taste good, such as frozen wild blueberries (180 cal for a whole pound). Eat chocolate and nuts too— but track all calories. My spreadsheet adds food in, base metabolic rate (an estimate) and exercise energy expended.
    Daily food calorie log
  • Track what you eat throughout the day so you know if you’re on target for an energy deficit. That way, by dinner time you can either splurge (a little) or avoid consuming a little too much. I weigh my food by the gram with a lab scale, and calculate it precisely whenever possible. Since a gram of nuts is almost 6 calories, weighing to within 10 grams, or even 5, just does not cut it if you’re serious.
  • Think nuts— black walnuts and pistachios. I get mine at nuts.com.
  • Use protein powder to ensure intake of high quality protein so that muscle is not lost. Losing muscle is self-defeating, and it makes you slow and weak too.
  • Graph your weight so you can see the trend. This offers a big psychological boost and positive feedback loop when the trend is down, and if the trend moves up, it can be caught and corrected before more than a week passes. Weigh yourself every day so that the normal variations don’t freak you out and provide a better trendline.. I use a scale good to 0.1 pound.

I had to self-correct around mid-March, as shown below where my weight started tracking sideways in early March. I started tracking calories to make sure I wasn’t eating too much, an the results are compelling. Yet I wasn’t hungry.

Body weight from Dec 31, 2010 onwards, training for the Everest Challenge
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