Dream Even Bigger: How to Lose 100 Pounds

First of all, thanks so much for your comments and thoughts on the last post. I, too, am an infrequent blog commenter, but I think I am going to make a better effort to comment on all of your blogs out there, even if just to say an occasional “hello” or “that’s funny.” It goes a long way, I think. So thanks.

Anyway, let’s move on to the real topic here: How to Lose 100 Pounds! Now, if you were foolish enough to take my advice below and you have managed to put on 100 pounds through an ingenious combination of sloth, gluttony, depression, and boozing, never fear! I have your remedy here! I’ll also note that this process will be just as successful for losing smaller amount of weight, should you only have, say forty pounds or fifteen pounds to lose. Just stop when you get there, see? Do not continue on to lose the full century unless you need to.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, an RD, or a fitness expert of any kind. I have absolutely zero qualifications to be advising anyone on fitness or nutrition. Consult your doctor. I am Not That Kind of Doctor.

All right. I don’t have any weight loss secrets or any information you haven’t heard before, but I am going to tell you a bit about my philosophy and what worked for me.

My basic plan boils down to this: FUCK THE BULLSHIT.

How does one go about fucking said bullshit? Like this:

First of all, take every bullshit diet or weight loss plan you have ever heard of and promptly forget it. Just fuck that bullshit.

  • Slim Fast
  • Low Carb
  • Low Fat
  • Atkins
  • Nutri-System
  • Jenny Craig
  • Grapefruit and Bacon
  • All-Liquid Cleanse
  • Any Type of Pill
  • Açai Berry
  • Only Eat While Hanging Upside-Down

These are not weight-loss plans. These are bullshit. Fuck the bullshit.

That kind of thing is unsustainable, often costly, and often reliant on processed crap masquerading as food. Speaking of processed crap masquerading as food, I am also going to suggest that you say fuck it to the following bullshit:

  • Fast food. Poison in a paper bag. Just say no.
  • Most ridiculous restaurant food. Thousand-calorie “salads”? Hell to the no, thank you.
  • Processed frozen dinners.
  • Anything dehydrated or processed or preserved and sold in a colorful box.
  • Animal products. Unsustainable, inhumane, unhealthy, unnecessary.

These items are not food; they are bullshit. Fuck that bullshit.

“But they are delicious,” you say? Isn’t deliciousness how you got here in the first place? Too much deliciousness? Well, eat them if you must, but know that a very stern and disapproving glance is coming your way. I will cut you. With my eyes.

One final category of bullshit I am going to suggest that you also fuck: bullshit “small steps” advice.

  • Just park farther away from the store.
  • Just take the stairs.
  • Just walk for 15 minutes, three times a week.
  • Just switch to diet sodas.
  • Just eat more greens.

This is the worst kind of bullshit out there. Of course you can and should do any and all of the things on this list — but not “just.” This kind of thinking (and we are told these kinds of things all the time) caters to and reinscribes the idea that overweight people are incompetent, lazy, or unwilling to take real steps and to make real changes and to really work. Running is probably too hard for you, fatty, so just park farther away from the store when you go in to buy your ice cream. Oh, and pick up some spinach while you’re in there. Now you’re all set.

Also, these things are lies. Walking an extra 50 yards to the Target entrance is not going to help you. You might burn 10-20 extra calories — certainly not enough to counterbalance the giant scone you are going to buy yourself at the Target/Starbucks pastry counter to reward yourself for that extra-long parking-lot hike. These things are bullshit. Fuck the bullshit.

Here’s how to lose weight, in one easy step: burn more calories than you eat.

That is the one and only way to lose weight. It works 100% of the time. Just do that.

I promise.

Here’s the thing, though: Yes, you will have to count calories. You will have to figure out how many calories you burn and how many you eat. You will have to do math. You will have to track your food and exercise.

“But that’s so tedious,” you say? Well, then don’t bother. Just don’t use the single best weight loss strategy out there. I would hate for tedium to get in the way of your pizza party.

(Side note: I keep using the pronoun “you” here, in keeping with the snarky advice thing I am going for, but it’s starting to sound insulting. I hope you know I mean “me” here. I am the asshole who thought calorie counting was too tedious.)

My favorite way for tracking calories in and calories out is the “Lose It!” app for iPhone (or iPod touch or probably also iPad by now) — it’s simple, easy, well designed, and it runs all the numbers for you. If you know me in person you have no doubt seen me entering in my food or exercise on this thing. I have been using it daily for the past year — every bite of food, every mile run, everything, every day, for a year. It works.

There’s also sparkpeople.com, a website that does the same thing, and many other websites and apps out there, I’m sure. If you have a favorite, enter it in the comments!

Anyway, I recommend using one of these. It helps me see how I’m doing over a day or a week and helps me plan my meals. For example, if I know I’m going to have cocktails at the pool with my friend B., like I did last night, I can add those into my calories ahead of time and see how many calories I have left for dinner and snacks, then plan an appropriate dinner. I get to have those cocktails but not mess up my balance for the day. I love it.

I can’t and won’t tell anyone how many calories they should eat because that’s just not my field and I’m not qualified to advise you there. But look online for one of these types of services (most are free) and they will do the math for you, based on your age, height, weight, sex, and pounds to lose. Then all you have to do is stick to the plan!

So what do I do and what do I eat?

My favorite things to eat are:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains (no white flour or rice)
  • Plant-based proteins (nuts, beans, grains, etc.)
  • Fats from sources like olive oil, avocado, nuts

My indulgences, which I do have occasionally:

  • Wine
  • Whiskey
  • Sweet potato Terra brand chips
  • Dark chocolate
  • Purely Decadent brand dairy-free ice cream
  • French fries or tater tots

If I want to indulge, I just run the numbers and work it into my calories for the day, no biggie.

You already know what I do for exercise, and you already know what you yourself do or don’t like to do for exercise, so I don’t have much specific advice there. I will say I am lucky to have found one sport I really really love to do (running) and several more that I love almost as much (swimming, biking, yoga). If you find a sport you love, just fucking do it all the time. You’ll burn even more calories, have happy chemicals coursing through your brain, and feel like a badass. Many benefits to sport, I tell you.

So for the past year I have basically just followed the calorie recommendations of the Lose It! app and exercised my butt off. It took about a year to lose 100 pounds. In that year, the only times I ever went over my allotted calories for the day were on my birthday, Christmas, or a big race day. Accordingly, I never had a week where I gained weight. I had a week or two in there where I either did not lose or only lost a half pound, or something, but I never gained. If you follow the guidelines of the calorie math, it really does work. Really.

You could probably follow the calorie guidelines while still eating bullshit processed crap masquerading as food, and still lose weight, in fact. But that’s not how I roll. I like to eat clean, plant-based food. It feels great, keeps my energy level steady throughout the day (no crazy hills and valleys and sugar crashes), and gives me the fuel to get out there and do shit. Recommended.

And, well, that’s it. That’s the plan. Take all the bullshit — the bullshit miracle cures and lame advice and phony diets — and say fuck it. Fuck the bullshit. Eat real food. Eat plants. Eat fewer calories than you burn. Go out there and do things. This works.

And I guess the humiliating before and after pictures will have to come later because I haven’t gotten them all together yet.

I know I’m not the only one trying to get fit here, so I’m sure many people reading this would appreciate any tips, advice, websites, or whatever that you could share. Also, I am happy to answer any questions I can, so ask away.

13 thoughts on “Dream Even Bigger: How to Lose 100 Pounds

  1. Kerri Anne June 19, 2010 / 11:31 am

    Hi! I’m new to you on Twitter (I seriously don’t know how I missed following you back before this week; shenanigans, I say!), and this is my first time visiting your site, and I just have to say: YES. FUCKING YES. This advice is PERFECT, and awesome, and I’m sitting here wishing I could high-five you right now.

    I was once a faithful LoseIt app user, but fell off the calorie-counting wagon. You’ve inspired me to give it another shot. And I’ve been using DailyMile.com (iPhone app coming soon!) to track my daily workouts: runs, walks, hikes, squats, whatever! It’s a pretty sweet interface, and quite a few of my bloggy friends already use it so it’s fun to have a support system already in place, too.

    I think the only other advice for serious weight loss I would share: TELL EVERYONE. Share your goals! Because the more people you tell (family, friends, the guy who makes small talk with you at you at Trader Joe’s), the more people you’ll have checking up on your progress and encouraging you along the way. I decided I’m trying out for Roller Derby July 15th and the second I decided I announced it on my site, and now have a crew of friends ready to cheer me on even when I’m sitting here crapping my pants in fear.

  2. MC Etcher June 19, 2010 / 12:51 pm

    Great! I wish more of the fitness guru’s would talk this way. No gimmicks, nothing to buy. Eat less than you burn. I feel the exact same way.

    You may have already read this, but if not: In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan is really interesting.

  3. Kate June 19, 2010 / 12:55 pm

    Kerri Anne — Thanks! I think your points are so spot on. Telling other people is HUGE in how helpful it is. I have a few friends who very graciously have listened to me talking (and talking and talking) about whatever health/fitness business was going on in my life, and they have been supportive all the way. I also think that telling people you are signing up for a race or trying out for a team is a great thing too. Accountability through the fear of embarrassment! Or, just through supportive friends. Anyway, Roller Derby! Rock ON! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    MC – I have been meaning to read some of Pollan’s stuff — it’s on the plan for this fall due to one of the courses I am teaching (which deals w/ sustainability and food systems). But yeah, the straightforward way of doing it is really what works! It seems like everyone with their gimmicks and schemes is just trying to make money — not to get too cynical!

  4. cazza June 20, 2010 / 12:03 pm

    I’m happy that you’re feeling happy & healthy these days! Way to go!

  5. cazza June 20, 2010 / 12:07 pm

    Actually, I just realized that I’m assuming greater happiness, but I hope it’s the case. Losing that much weight is quite an accomplishment.

  6. melanie June 21, 2010 / 10:01 am

    ha, i hear some jillian in there, with the “just take the stairs” chatter. congratulations, miss lady! your advice is spot-on. counting calories seems daunting at first, but i found that i pretty quicly learned what was what, so i wasn’t constantly flipping through the pages of the unwieldly reference book i carry with me everywhere. it helps when you don’t eat out. BUT it’s also nice that lots of restaurants have nutritional info online, so it’s easy to plan ahead. and planning is crucial. it’s like a budget, but with food and exercise instead of money and bills. to which you may respond, “yes, thank you, captain obvious,” but this seemingly-simple thought was such a foreign concept to me. also i have found that the recording is essential, as you say. the weeks i don’t lose (no gaining, thankfully, but maintaining sucks, because the progress is SO MOTIVATING) are the weeks i’ve gotten cocky re: my success, and i think, “i got this!” when, clearly, not yet. so in summation, everything you said is true; you have officially reached guru status. high five!

  7. Kristen June 21, 2010 / 10:09 am

    I love this. I don’t have time to write the well thought out comment I’d like to right now, but wanted to let you know I think it’s just great. And so are you.

  8. Kate June 21, 2010 / 9:43 pm

    Cazza – You’re right — I definitely am feeling better and just plain happier. For one thing, the regular exercise has my happy chemicals just bubbling cheerily along, and for another thing, I guess I just feel more like my usual self. Thanks!

    Melanie – You are right on with the budgeting and planning. I like to do that too — If I can check out a menu online, I can go into the restaurant feeling confident that I’ll make a good choice. Also, yeah, that concept did not ever really occur to me back in the day, either. It sounds like you are doing great, too! Keep it up!

    Kristen – Thanks for the kind words!

  9. Danimal June 21, 2010 / 10:55 pm

    “Fuck the bullshit” is exactly a million dozen times better than “Stop the insanity.” Fuck Susan Powter!

  10. Kate June 22, 2010 / 7:11 am

    Oh man, Susan Powter! Wasn’t she the one to blame for that whole fat-free craze in the 80s? Yeah fuck THAT for SURE.

  11. melanie June 22, 2010 / 1:19 pm

    oh! i thought of a question! any weird skin issues after losing so much weight? did it all shrink back into place?

  12. Kate June 28, 2010 / 8:00 pm

    If anyone is following this thread, I emailed Melanie about her question. If you want to know too just email me. Kateoblog at Gmail.

  13. Em July 18, 2010 / 2:20 pm

    Wow! This is really good advice. And I should’ve commented on the last post but, to be honest, it was too hard to read and made me cry a little, to be super-honest, esp. with all that’s going on right now, and especially since I am now on my THIRD go-round with the weight. I think it’s just such a difficult thing to talk about, you know? Because a person’s reaction to what you talk and write about really has nothing to do with what you said, but with that person’s experience and weight and state of mind and so forth. Because if you’re on the other side — and especially if the weight came back or came on because of medicine or health issues — it hurts to think about it at all. But oh, my God, it was funny, and hopefully, in a year or so, I’ll have cut the bullshit, followed these tips, be able to read it and send the RIGHT ON it deserves.

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