In 2008, one year after my son was born, I weighed 230lbs. At 34 years old and 5'10", I felt, you know, fat and tired and shit. So I resolved to loose weight. Year one I made two changes: 1) no more soda, and 2) if a restaurant had a drive through, it's not a real restaurant, don't eat there ever again. Since making those vows five years ago, I might have had six or eight sodas and, mostly, I don't eat at restaurants with drive thrus (I will get a coffee from a Starbucks drive through and I'll eat at Boston Market because I get the steamed veggies).
After one year, with zero exercise, I lost 10lbs. Great. Easy.
Then I did something dumb. I started to diet. I went on the Tim Ferris Four Hour Body diet and guess what? It worked. I lost another 20lbs. It was pretty quick and at 200lbs I felt pretty good. So good that I decided I didn't need to diet. A year and a half later I had gained back about 18lbs.
Sad me. Those size 34's that were so close to feeling good stopped buttoning. Interestingly, I knew I was gaining weight, but because I wasn't dieting, I wasn't weighing in, so I still felt thinner. You know, kinda self-delusional.
Here's the thing, my diet changes had all stuck. I don't eat sweets, soda, fast food, much fried food. And, because I have a mild wheat allergy, I eat very little bread, pizza, beer, etc. And! The Tim Ferris diet lead me to Paleo and I eat about 1/3rd organic. How am I gaining weight? Better yet, if I'm eating well, how can I loose it?
Three things. First, James Maxey recommended an app called MyFitnessPal. James and his wife have lost more than 100lbs combined using it, so I gave it a shot. It's a pretty boring app, actually. You set it up and it tells you how many calories you should eat in order to reach your goal. So I'm like, all right, whatever. James said it works, so whatever.
Second. The app made me think, for the first time in my life, about portion size. I was all like, If I'm going to actually do this shit, I should do it correctly. I haven't eaten anything that I couldn't measure(except for cheat days). I put numbers in and get numbers out. Kind of like a math game or, as James likes to say, it's like RPG stats. Crunch some numbers and level up. I now look at a hunk of meat and can estimate how many ounces it is. In go the numbers. One serving of this corn chip is 14 chips so just eat 14 chips. And that means I can eat organic corn chips as long as I don't eat all of them. Right? Make sense?
Third. It doesn't feel like a diet, if feels like eating. With Tim Ferris, eating mostly beans, greens, and protein worked. It worked well and fast, but it was work. It was strict. It was all I thought about. This is eating whatever (for me, mostly Paleo), just as long as I finally in my life pay attention to portion size. And that Tim Ferris stuff still works, I just learned how to be normal about it and not a freak.
Today I weighed in at 199lbs. I don't really have a weight goal. I was in the 180's through high school and a part of me wonders if I could weigh that little again, but that's not really a goal. My real goal is to be a solid size L T-shirt and a 34 waist. I don't know how much weight that is. Maybe 5 or 8 more pounds.
That's all great. Here's the controversial part. I think that if your goal is to burn fat, do not start exercising. Get your stupid diet under control. If you can't control your food, you can't control your exercise. I still do no real exercise, however, when I hit sizes L and 34 I plan to. At that point I will have proven that I understand food and now it's time to get back into a volleyball league or something.
So, do that.