Sometimes I get emails from people who have watched some of my weight loss videos on YouTube. Tonight I received one from someone across the pond. I won’t share their message out of respect for their privacy, but this person was clearly frustrated with their lack of progress – even though they had lost a fair amount of weight and managed to keep it off for nearly six months!
Their email caught me at the right moment, and I’ve just spent the last hour composing a response. I’m not sure if the response was for them or for me. Either way, if you’ve been fat for your whole life, maybe you’ll find it helpful too.
Thanks for reaching out. My heart goes to you – I know how frustrating it can be, especially when you’ve struggled with weight for your whole life. I’m right there with you. I’ve been a husky since 11-12 and have been that way for most of my life!
Obviously, I am not a doctor and none of what I’m about to say is medical advice. Let’s call it, “the perspective of someone fatter than you” 😊. As far as asking for my perspective, your timing couldn’t be better.
At this exact moment, I am at 280lbs or 20 stone! I achieved this massive weight by experimenting with The Croissant Diet for 3 weeks (no alcohol) and an additional week WITH GOBS OF IT (unplanned)! I’m 38 years old and getting to the point where I really need to start taking this stuff seriously, otherwise I’m in for some rough health consequences as I get older. Basically, I can’t be screwin’ around much longer.
Reflecting on the whole experience, the research, and a whole lot of thinking – here are my current conclusions in bullet format.
- Calories in/Calories out is real*
- * = That doesn’t mean you should try to lose weight eating twinkies, but in a caloric deficit.
- Protein should be prioritized over other macros (P:E)
- Carbs will not kill you
- Fat will not kill you
- Resistance Training > Cardio
- Liquid calories should be avoided
- Seed oils are the devil
- Walking is underrated
- Weight loss is a delicate balancing act of nourishing your body while maintaining a caloric deficit that does NOT
- Make you uncomfortably hungry
- Tank your endocrine system (metabolism/hormones/etc.)
Here’s an imperfect analogy re: calories in/calories out – think about it like the speedometer on a car. When you’re on the highway, what do you pay the most attention to – the road or the speedometer? If you stare at the speedometer for the whole trip, you’re going to crash. If you periodically glance at it, you’ll get a sense of if you’re going too fast or too slow. The speedometer helps you drive, but it’s not driving the car. Does that make sense?
The brilliance of Ted’s PE approach is that it bridges a gap for traditional low-carbers/keto-ers. Ted himself says that he’s eating 200g protein, 100g carbs, 100g fat every day for maintenance. His carb sources are vegetables, including POTATOS. If you watch his interviews, he’ll say “tubers”. I think he does this on purpose to avoid triggering the low carb community (where he initially found his D-list celebrity status). By the way I don’t mean that offensively. I love Ted and his approach!
He doesn’t encourage people to count calories. I can’t know this but I think the primary reason is to avoid getting himself lumped in with the dogmatic thermodynamics crowd. Ted also has never had the experience of being a legit fat person. He went from skinny fat to shredded. It’s commendable and I don’t doubt his program, but he doesn’t know what it’s like to be an actual fat person for a long period of time. If you tell a fat person (like me), just eat more protein than you eat carbs/fats… I will eat POUNDS of meat. I will also delude myself about the actual fat levels of the meat I’m eating or the amount of cream I put in my coffee. Deluding myself is a skill that I’ve been honing since I was 12. I’m sorry – but it’s sinfully easy to delude myself into thinking I am engaging in “healthy” eating when really, I’m eating too much to sustain any kind of “non-reboundable” weight loss.
If you’ve made it this long, you’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about. Long story short, my problem is not my mouth or digestive system or my protein vs energy ratio. My problem is in between my ears. It’s me. I am sabotaging myself. Here’s how it usually goes:
- I get hyper focused on something, usually weight loss.
- I make videos about it, I write about it, I live stream about it. I’m so excited, I could explode.
- I get stressed out
- The very thing that was bringing me so much joy is now making me miserable.
- This usually happens after a day or two of no progress on the scale.
- I say “fuck it” and begin the cycle of coping which involves:
- Binge drinking
- I resolve that this cannot continue, and I find some new plan to hyper focus on and the whole journey starts over again.
I don’t know if any of that resonates with you. I can tell you that I have VERY RARELY ever stuck to something hard for four solid months. If that’s you and you’re still stuck, I would address the other areas of your life. Stress is a killer. This past year of COVID was absolutely brutal! I’m kind of surprised that I only gained 30lbs!
This is the new plan that I am embarking on. If I have any kind of success with it, maybe I’ll post a video about it. I’m trying very hard not to get obsessive about it, because it’s something I need to be able to sustain for longer than a few weeks.
The plan works in 4 week cycles with a 1 week break in between.
For 4 weeks I will:
- Maintain a caloric deficit of 300-500 calories
- Rough rule of thumb – Take your current body weight in pounds and multiply it by 10. That’s maintenance cals.
- You could test the theory by eating maintenance cals for a week and see if you stayed the same weight. If so, remove 300-500 cals from that number. If not, eat more until you find maintenance, then remove 300-500 cals.
- Eat 1g of protein/day per lb of desired lean body mass (for me, that’s like 200g/day = 800 cals)
- Eat less than 200 TOTAL grams of fat + carbs.
- 200g of pure carbs is 800 cals
- 200g of pure fat is 1800 cals
- So even if I ate pure carnivore and ate 200g of protein and 200g of fat = 2600 cals (pretty close to my maintenance)
- Resistance train for 20 minutes a day, 4 days per week.
- I am following the Nothing Barred Fitness 20-minute muscle program.
- Most of it is covered in this twitter thread
- M (Upper body vertical/horizontal push/pull)
- T (Lower body squat/hip hinge)
- W (rest)
- Th (Upper body vertical/horizontal push/pull)
- F (Lower body squat/hip hinge)
- Sat (rest)
- Sun (rest)
- WALK EVERY DAY
- Minimum 20 minutes. Ideally 45-60.
For the 1 weak break, I do everything the exact same except I allow myself to eat maintenance cals. It’s a break for the body and my endocrine system. It also will keep my body from adapting to the lower caloric intake (that’s the theory anyway).
Fortunately for me, I found an easy way to remove 300-500 cals a day from my diet. I found a way to drink my coffee BLACK without reverting to the embrace of my saturated fat mistress….HEAVY CREAM! Seriously, I could easily drink 300-600 cals of cream per day between my morning coffee and afternoon decaf from dunkin’ donuts. I have never been able to break this cream habit and it’s driven me mad.
I bought a Chemex coffee carafe. Chemex Coffemakers and Filters (chemexcoffeemaker.com) OMG I am in love. I make my coffee with a good pinch of kosher salt in the grinds and I AM GOOD. HEAVEN. I have never looked forward to black coffee until now. Seriously a life saver and worth every penny.
Anyway, I’m sure you weren’t expecting all this. Honestly, I wasn’t either. All I can tell you is that we legit fat people have a different struggle than our skinny-fat counterparts. And since we’ve been fat FOREVER, it’s not going to change overnight. I can tell you that stressing about it won’t help. If I were you, I’d review this plan and compare it to your own. Pick ONE THING that you’re not currently doing and just add it in for a month. See what happens. Human nutrition is so horrifically complicated, there’s no way I or you could pinpoint the exact cause of your stall. Instead, I would embrace it and relax. You’ve dropped a fair amount of weight and have managed to keep the bulk of it off. That’s an accomplishment! Relax and be gentle with yourself. We are all living on a giant rock, circling an even bigger ball of fire in the middle of near-infinite space. None of us are getting out of here alive! Relax. Get outside. WALK. It’ll come.
I hope you found this at least a little helpful. Good luck!