When I decided to quit my job, one of the benefits of my newfound freedom I expected to enjoy was the ability to set my own schedule, which also means being able to eat better and go to the gym more often.
A month later, I still haven’t perfected that routine, because having an open-ended schedule without clear goals or deadlines can make it hard to make progress. Forming new habits requires constant attention, and I’ve always had more success under the pressure of a deadline.
In the Spring of 2005, I lost around 30 pounds and was down to my healthiest weight ever, but in the past 6 years and several over-feeding tech companies later, it’s pretty much all come back.
Now that I’ve got the time, and no excuses, I’ve decided to start a personal challenge: to lose 30 pounds in 12 weeks (from August 8 until October 31, 2011).
Past Weight Loss, And Where I Am Today
My first weigh-in with my Withings wireless scale was on February 24, 2010. I weighed 210.4 lbs. with 59.8 lbs. of fat mass.
Today, I’m at 186.8 lbs. with a fat mass of 43.2 lbs. That’s about a 16.6 lb. fat loss in about a year and a half. While any decrease in those numbers is great, I achieved that loss without a ton of effort. I stopped eating grains for a month or two, to which I can attribute the biggest amount of weight loss during that period.
Earlier this year, inspired by Tim Ferriss’s bestselling book, The 4-Hour Body, I decided to start a slow-carb eating plan. I also two DEXA body scans (one in January, and one a few weeks later in March) done at the Body Composition Center in Redwood City to check accuracy of the body fat calculations done by my scale. I was in for a shock.
While I’m not ready to post my “before” pictures just yet, I have no problem sharing my “creepy x-ray blob” photos below:
The good news is that I made some good progress from January to March. In fact, I even put on a few pounds of lean mass, muscle, which I didn’t expect. The bad news is that while my scale had been reporting overall body fat calculations in the high 27% range in January, this more accurate scan shows that more than 40% of me is made of fat. Yuck.
Since then, I haven’t had another body scan, but I’ve been focused on trying to eat a low-carb diet on a daily basis, thanks to the science presented by the fascinating book by Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It (if you don’t want to read the book, watch the talk he gave at Google in May).
As you can see from the graph, I’ve continued to slowly drop weight, even though admittedly, I haven’t participated in very much physical activity. I’ve done some walking here and there, but I haven’t really been going to the gym on a regular basis.
I’ve decided it’s time to step it up, which brings us to today.
The Ground Rules
For twelve weeks, from August 8 to October 31, I’m going to follow these rules:
- I will be following the Duke University “No Sugar, No Starch” Diet, which is a fairly standard low-carb diet, consisting of mostly protein and fat, and very few carbohydrates.
- I will perform some kind of physical activity a minimum of 5 days per week. I prefer cardio, so I’ll do 3 days of cardio and 2 days of strength training.
- I will limit any drinking to 1 day per week, with a maximum of 3 lower-carb drinks (diet soda/vodka, wine, etc.).
- I will drink at least 1L of water per day (but more would be better).
- I will weigh myself daily and post the weight to the Internet via my Withings scale.
- I will update my progress here at least once per week.
- I will take a front-facing and profile photo every day, and at the end of this challenge I will post a time-lapse video of the result.
- The week of November 1, I will undergo another body scan to measure my body composition and assess my progress.
The goal is 30 pounds lost, putting my final weight at 156.8 pounds.
Let’s do this!