A few years ago, I was a fatty:
At my heaviest, I was 104kg (230lbs). And that was 104kg with absolutely no muscle mass (I couldn’t do a single pushup, or a chinup, or a body-weight squat); so I was really, really, really unhealthy.
I told myself enough was enough, and over the next 9 months I lost 35kg (77lbs), dropping down to 69kg (152lbs) at my lightest:
And then once I gained some muscle, I looked even better:
Some more before/afters:
How’d I do it?
All diets fall into 1 of 2 groups: restrictive diets, and non-restrictive diets. Restrictive diets are the vast majority of diets – the ones that tell you what foods you can eat, and which ones are off limits. Things like keto diet, Zone diet, Atkins diet, vegetarian/vegan diet, MIND diet, Raw food diet, etc.
Non-restrictive diets are still technically restrictive (losing fatis always a factor of restricting how much food you eat) but they don’t restrict which foods you can eat. Examples are IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and Weight Watchers. Both of these give you a limit to how many calories you can consume (or “points” in the case of Weight Watchers), but as long as you stay within those calories/points, you can eat literally whatever the hell you want.
I know myself; I hate being told what to do and I hate having my freedom limited. I went with a non-restrictive diet, IIFYM. I started off by eating 1500 calories a day, and counted my calories using an app called FatSecret (MyFitnessPal and Cronometer are much better options, I later realised).
I set myself a deadline (gave myself about 9 months to lose the fat) and got to work. Every day I tracked absolutely everything I ate, which becomes very easy after a week or two and barely takes any time at all (a few seconds, a few times a day whenever you eat something).
I also walked a tonne during those 9 months, usually walking for a minimum 4 hours a day but often up to 8hrs a day. I bought myself a Fitbit (you can buy them pretty cheap on Amazon (that’s an affilliate link by the way – I earn a small commission if you buy). I just bought a really basic fitbit). If you can’t afford one, there are free apps on your phone that track your steps, and from what other people have told me, they seem to do a reasonable job. So you can always just use those.
I made sure I hit at least 10,000 steps a day absolute minimum; but most days it was 40,000 or more. I really went hard.
My job was also on my feet, and I bought a standing desk so I was never sitting down while at home. I took the stairs all the time instead of elevators. I walked to places instead of taking public transport. I played as much sport as I could, and went to the gym once or twice a week.
All of this was a slow buildup, by the way; I didn’t just start out walking 8hrs a day. It’s much easier to build up a habit slowly – start by walking 30 minutes a day, then an hour, then 2, etc. That way you’re building a habit you’ll easily stick to, instead of relying on motivation and pumping yourself up.
Slowly the fat started to come off, and eventually people started noticing and mentioning it, which was awesome motivation. One of my mates asked what I was eating to lose all the fat. When I told him “Mostly pizza and doughnuts” his face was priceless. “You get to eat pizza and lose weight?”
I wasn’t entirely sensible the whole time. I had a few weeks where I ate 1200cals, a few weeks of 800 cals, and quite a few days where I’d eat literally nothing but lettuce and diet cola, which was less than 500 cals a day. Definitely not something other people should do – it was hell on my body and mind and energy levels.
My body sort of gave up and I could barely function – I spent most of my free time on the couch and had no energy for sports or going to the gym. I lost a lot of fat those 2 weeks (2kg/week) – though I wouldn’t recommend it.
Finally in the last week I had something like 2kg to lose. I went crazy with it, walking 12 hours a day, barely eating anything, pushing myself beyond what I “should” have. On the last day I had a massive 0.8kg left to lose. I literally ate nothing the entire day, dehydrated myself, I even shaved my head bald and shaved my legs to get the last tiny little bit of fat off. I must have weighed myself like 50 times that day, I was so desperate to hit my goal.
Finally, at about 10pm that night, with only a few hours left to go in the day I hit my goal of 69kg.
Fast-forward 3 years later: I’m now about 75kg with a lot of extra muscle, and actually a little leaner. So it’s definitely been sustainable, and I plan to stay lean and healthy for the rest of my life. It’s had a HUGE impact on my entire life – people are nicer to me, I actually get compliments on my appearance now (which is still so incredibly surreal to me), and my girlfriend is always telling me how good I look. What a little sweetheart she is 🙂
Resources to Lose Weight Yourself
Everything you need to know about fat loss has been written on two great sites that helped me a tonne – ACalorieCounter.com and AWorkoutRoutine.com. They’re both by the same author and he absolutely knows his shit – I’ve used his articles to lose fat. Start here:
That second link in particular is incredibly comprehensive – it’s a list of 30 or so in-depth articles he’s written that answer every single question you could ever have about fat loss. It’s absolutely everything you’ll ever need to get leaner, so don’t make excuses.
If you’ve got a little fat to lose, or maybe a lot of fat to lose, it’s definitely possible. Make it your number 1 goal and you’ll absolutely succeed. It’s not even really that hard – as long as you count your calories and log absolutely everything you eat (even condiments), you can eat whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t go over your daily calories.
Start right this second – just download MyFitnessPal/one of the other apps, and start recording your calories.
If you want to lose weight never deprived yourself of eating but just eat in moderation, also make sure you’re eating only the healthy foods,drink plenty of water (lemon or other fruit infused water), you can also bulletproof your coffee in the morning it will satisfy your hunger, do not skip a meal and have enough sleep ..
You wrote so much and yet said so little.
“Eat in moderation” doesn’t mean anything; it’s just a vague cliche people spout. A lot of overweight people will consider “moderation” to be 4000 calories – you won’t lose weight eating that much. You need to define an actual AMOUNT, otherwise you’re not really serious.
Weight loss is simply: eat less calories than you burn. Nothing else. Counting calories is the easiest way to know how much you’re eating, and it’s easy to make adjustments depending on if you’re losing weight or not.
As for: “eat only the healthy foods”, no. Sure, healthy foods are beneficial for other reasons, but you’ll lose weight eating nothing but chocolate if you eat below your maintenance calories. See this study where a professor ate ONLY junk food and lost weight:
“Do not skip a meal”
Intermittent fasting is very popular – and effective – and literally involves skipping all meals except dinner.
You’re a good example of what I talked about in my Proof article – you’re just repeating stuff you read somewhere online, and it’s very clear you haven’t tried any of the things you’re talking about.
Nice article Andy! I love your content!
I agree, he didn’t have much of substance, but I will slightly disagree with you on intermittent fasting depending on your goal. It is NOT meant for muscle building, at least not for me.
I say this as a huge proponent of it (and still am for fat loss/health benefits).
I worked my ass off for years trying to build muscle. I did everything right, counted calories, make sure I hit my macros, followed a good strength/volume plan. (reverse pyramid training). I had the strength, but never looked like I did.
The only thing I changed was the meal frequency, and I’ve started building muscle.
I try to eat every 4 hours, 30ish grams of protein. It really sucks, I miss having huge meals, and hate “wasting” the time to eat but the results are worth it.