How I Lost 42lbs of Weight in 4 Months

At some point you start to realize something: your belly’s bigger and the thunder thighs are back.

You’ve let yourself go. Daily trips to the donut shop and poor food choice run rampant in your life. You got fat.

I fell into that trap too, but I also found a way out. I lost 42lbs in 4 months and what I realized was crazy: losing weight is easy, starting is the hardest part.

My Background

I graduated college in mid 2013. During my last semester of classes I became lazy with my food choices. I dedicated the majority of my time to my thesis project and had no time to think about healthy food choices. I choose the quickest and most convenient food around: fast food. Top that with sodas and energy drinks and you get obesity in just 4 months! By the time I graduated, I was a 242lb fat slob.

I spent the majority of the year being depressed with my life choices and my degree in useless. It’s a graphic design degree if you’re wondering; no one takes it seriously. To quote Fat Bastard from Austin Powers, “I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat.”

I Lost 12lbs in 1 Month

stupid ass looking pigI carried on being fat and depressed until late in the year. One day I decided I had to do something. I didn’t wait for the New Year to start my resolution; no one ever follows it through anyway. I started on a random day at a random time about a month before the year ended.

By the end of December, I had stopped drinking soda and juice completely. A small step, but worth it. I also started cutting down on the amount of snacks I ate daily (chips, chocolates, candy). Lastly, discovered the ketogenic diet and started experimenting with it. In a nutshell, you stop eating carbohydrates (like bread and pasta) and load up on a ton of meat, like bacon. I lost 10 pounds in the first week. I later found it was mostly water weight, but when you’re obese and you drop 10lbs, you feel incredible.

Then I Lost 28lbs in 3 Months

I kicked off 2014 by buying Tim Feriss’s book, The 4-Hour Body. It’s not a book you read from cover to cover. You pick a chapter for your needs, read it, then do it.

Mine was Chapter 1, weight loss. The general basis was simple: you eat a strict diet for 6 days of the week, and then on day 7 you pig out with garbage. 6 days of torture, 1 day of salvation. It’s an up and down process, but in the end you lose more than you gain back on your junk food day. It was a win/win diet.

I started the diet and logged everything I ate on MyFitnessPal. It’s a web/mobile application that keeps track of what you eat each day in relation to your weight loss goals. MyFitnessPal was vital to my weight loss success. You’ll be surprised how many calories all your “just a little bit” daily snacks have once you start using it. I was over eating on snacks alone. If you’re not using this app, get it right now.

shitty ice cream barWhen I first started the 4 Hour Body diet, I loved day 7. It’s whole day of eating junk food without worrying about it disrupting your weight loss goals. Sounds counterproductive, but it’s not.

However, by the end of the first month, you’ll hate day 7. You’ll get used to eating clean, and adding junk food kills that feeling. Ever eat 4,000 calories of junk food in a day? No? Well you feel terrible the next day. It’s like a hangover for food. Sometimes I felt like I was dying. You learn to hate junk food fast.

It also helped me see junk food in a new light: the more you eat, the more you feel terrible later. Sure it tastes great and it makes you feel good on a daily basis. But keep that up, and a few years down the line you discover you’re a 300lb fat slob, your life’s a mess, and you want to kill yourself. Don’t kill yourself; stop eating garbage today.

I lost 28lbs in 3 months following the diet and modifying it around a bit.

Don’t believe me? Check out my MyFitnessPal logs:
weight loss chartThat’s almost 10lbs a month. Not bad, not bad at all. In total (counting last December’s progress), I lost 42 lbs in 4 months.

(You can also see I lost around another 10lbs from the start of June to mid-July. This was done experimenting with the ketogenic diet again and starting a running regimen described below.)

Here are some of the perks I gained from losing weight:

  • Smaller man boobs
  • A ton of confidence
  • Depression levels drastically declined
  • Not having to worry about getting diabetes
  • “Woah, weren’t you fat?” type compliments
  • Ability to walk 10 blocks without losing breath
  • Ability to not care about people judging my body

The downside of losing weight is that you’re stuck with a ton of fat people clothes and you have to buy new fitting clothes. But the positives greatly outweigh the negatives.

Thinner But Useless

i like birds, fuck youI did zero exercise and lost 42 pounds on diet alone, but I was still out of shape. The first part’s pretty amazing in itself, but in the long run it’s pretty lazy and stupid in terms of fitness. That doesn’t mean don’t lose weight on diet alone; go for it, especially if you’re obese and prone to death by being fat. Lose the weight, worry about getting in shape later.

That’s what I did. That’s what I’m still doing.

A few months passed after I stopped my diet in April. It’s now summer and in came Couch to 5K (C25K).

C25K is a beginner running program that turns coach potatoes like me into marathon runners in only 9 weeks. Amazing, right?

My C25K Journey

I did C25K for about 7 weeks before I quit. No, I didn’t become a marathon runner, but I strengthened my stamina like never before. Ever seen a fat guy walk up a flight up stairs and get tired? Now take that fat guy and make him jog for 20 minutes. It looks pathetic. That was me.

Week 1 was torture. I never ran (or jogged) in my life, how am I supposed to do it for 20 minutes? I was breathless after every 60 second jogging interval. There’s 8 of those a day within a 20 minute period, 3 days a week for the first week then it gets harder. I gasped for air out of my mouth while running: shallow breathing. It sucked, but that’s where I was with my fitness.

I’d like to take this time to thank my brother for doing C25K with me. My success with the program couldn’t have happened if he didn’t motivate me to get out of bed every morning and continue the routine. He’s in pretty good shape already, but some days got to him too. It’s intense and it helps having a training buddy.

No friends? I also kept Bruce Lee’s advice in mind during those moments where I felt like stopping during the longer sessions. Bruce’s running friend complains that if he continues, he’ll have a heart attack and die. Bruce’s response? “Then die.” After hearing that, his friend made it through on anger alone. Here’s Bruce’s reasoning behind it:

“You might as well be dead. Seriously, if you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

oh shit i'm running. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!Anyway, here’s everything I gained after about 7 weeks:

  • I gained more confidence
  • I lost 8 pounds
  • I can jog for 15 minutes straight
  • I don’t lose my breath instantly anymore
  • I learned to breathe better during cardio

Oh, and if anyone’s interested, here’s my running gear:

  • Nike Free 5.0 Running Shoes – These are super comfortable to run in.
  • Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor – A heart rate monitor to make sure I don’t die. It also keeps track of time so I know when to switch walking/jogging intervals.
  • Fitbit Flex – A wristband activity tracker. A friend gifted it to me during my training weeks and it was fun tracking my steps taken and striving to hit more goals. You can check out our Fitbit comparison chart here if you’re interested.

That’s it. Only the running shoes are required, the rest is optional but helpful.

Closing Thoughts

The hardest part about losing weight is starting.

Once you start, little by little you’ll start getting better.

Here, do this exercise to help motivate yourself to start: take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror completely naked (because your clothes hide your fat and make you feel more comfortable about being fat), and ask yourself what are you missing out on by looking and feeling this way.

Write a list of every negative thought you feel about yourself on a piece of paper. Also write a list of all the things that would happen or that you’d be capable of doing if you were fitter. Now write down today’s date. Your new goal starting today is to have everything on that list crossed out in 6 months. Get to it.

The only thing that’s holding you back is yourself.

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