Monday, October 5, 2015

5 Ways I Lost 50 Pounds in 5 Months (Don't do this)

Last time I mentioned that I lost 50 pounds a few years ago. I gained 40 of them back, but that's not the point. I'm sure a number of you are curious about my weight loss secrets, and I'm always of the mind that "you gotta give the public what they want." So without further ado, here is what I did to lose 50 pounds in 5 months!

(Note: DO NOT DO THIS. I cannot stress this enough. This was idiotic and while a couple of these points may be practical, points #2 and #4 were borderline psychotic. Once again, if you do what I did, you're a goddamn fool.)

1. I drank a shitload of coffee

Coffee is the ultimate appetite suppressant, and best of all gives you the jittery energy to go out and face your day. I typically drank two cups before I worked out and then another cup or two later in the day. A big reason why I never eat breakfast is because with coffee, I don't need to. Even though I woke up at 5, coffee ensured that I wouldn't be hungry until at least noon. It truly is a magical drink of the gods. Really, I have no idea how the hell Balzac was able to stay fat while allegedly drinking 50 cups of coffee every day.

2. I starved myself

I consumed 1,200 calories at most every day. If I went over, I ate even less the following day. When I got really hungry, I took a nap. If I couldn't sleep, I'd drink a glass of water. The crazy thing is that this didn't lead to me eating better, because I would still eat Chick-fil-A sandwiches and whatnot. You wouldn't believe the kind of garbage you can eat that will technically fall until the 1,200 mark.

3. I logged every calorie I consumed into MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal is a wonderful calorie-logging app that I used religiously to log every last calorie I consumed. It also has a feature to log in exercise and calories burned off. This was one of the biggest things that kept me in check during my diet, because the numbers would be staring me in the face every single day, and whether or not I ate depended on how close I was to the magic 1,200. Logging calories is a serious pain in the ass, but guess what? So's being fat.
4. I did the elliptical machine every single day without missing a day

Cranking the resistance up to the max, every single morning I went to the gym and used the elliptical machine for 70 minutes. According to the calorie counter, I typically burned off 900 calories every day. Keep in mind, I was doing this at the same time that I was consuming under 1,200 calories a day. The way my mind worked at this time was that the elliptical machine was taking away the calories consumed from whatever meal I logged in the previous day. I would imagine that number disappearing with every ten-minute stretch on the machine. Sometimes I would get light headed. Sometimes my chest would hurt and I'd feel like either puking or passing out. I still did it because goddamn it I was determined to lose weight, health be damned.

5. I weighed myself every week, sometimes every day

It's usually not recommended that you weigh yourself too frequently, because your body weight changes due to a variety of factors, and the scale is not an accurate sign of your body fat percentage. Still, my goal at this time was weight loss, plain and simple, and if the number on the scale went down, I felt like I was making progress. If I plateaued, or if the number somehow went up, it kept me in check and forced me to work harder (i.e. starve myself more and nearly kill myself with cardio).

So after doing all this and hitting the magic goal number on the scale, I was ready to bask in the kudos and soak in all the compliments on how great I looked now that I lost all that weight. Instead, I had people asking me if I was sick, if I was OK, and what was going on. People were legitimately concerned because THIS ISN'T NORMAL. I looked gaunt, and here's the kicker, I still had a gut. Sure, I was thinner and could fit into clothes that I used to wear when I was in my early 20s, but I looked like shit. I didn't lift a single weight during those five months, and I undoubtedly lost a lot of muscle during this period. Also, as I've already mentioned, I gained back nearly every pound I lost.

Moral of the story? It's not hard to lose a lot of weight, but if you do it stupidly, it will have been all for nothing. Don't do what I did.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

How I Became a Fat Ass in 5 Steps

Sorry, this isn't going to be as exciting as some superhero origin story. I wasn't bitten by a manatee, nor was I inspired to eat by a bag of potato chips crashing through my window at night. No, my transformation from a scrawny dude with a gut to a full-on fatass was a much longer process, and happened so slowly that I felt like a casual smack user waking up and discovering that I was an addict.

First off, from puberty on, I have always had a gut. My arms and legs were scrawny, but I still had a little bulbous bag of fat protruding under my chest. I never even noticed until one time I was at my friend's house and he decided that we should work out. I took my shirt off and him and his asshole brother both started laughing at my gut, immediately giving me a complex (I got revenge by not becoming an alcoholic and just in general being more successful in life. FUCK YOU, BUDDY). From puberty to my mid-twenties, I'd had pretty much the same overall shape. Thin arms and legs and a gut of varying sizes. It was never really anything for me to take notice of, since my clothing never hugged it and my pant size stayed in the 32" range. Then, all of a sudden, a perfect storm of events happened:

1. I became a library tech, and spent most of my time at work sitting down.

If you work in a library it's almost by design that as you move up the ladder and get paid more you start having to do less moving around. That in combination with continuous birthday pot lucks, candy jars, and other button-bursting bullshit leads one down the path of expanded waists and fuller faces.

2. I stopped walking to places and relied more on driving.

I used to love going for walks. For a while it was by necessity because if I needed to go to a video store I couldn't always depend on a ride there, but when I got a car I started getting lazy. Why spend half an hour on a walk when I can get the movie in ten minutes? Sadly, my reliance on a car instead of my feet also took away an activity that felt meditative most of the time and kept me in generally good health.

3. I spent hours upon hours on the internet, in addition to the hours I spent watching movies.

I used to brag about not watching TV, all the while being planted firmly on my ass clicking away on a keyboard. If I turned on the TV at all, it was to pop in a movie, one of the arts I'm the most passionate about. So after a work day of sitting down, I would sit in my car to drive home, only to come in and sit on a chair to go online, or sit on my bed to watch a movie. Seriously, it's like I was picking hobbies that would specifically limit the amount of movement I had to do. Hell, I love writing, and that activity only requires the slightest finger movements.

4. I felt less guilt, and in fact took a degree of pride in, being able to eat an entire bag of chips.

Instead of feeling some justified shame that I could finish an entire jumbo-sized bag of Doritos in one sitting, I pounded my chest in pride about it. Look at how talented I am at mashing up and swallowing large amount of cheese flavored corn!  Hey, it was a weird time in my life. Doritos were like corn angels that used my tongue as a water slide down my throat, leaving a cheesy film in their paths. I can't stress enough how much I fucking love those chips.

5. I stopped going to clubs entirely, which was my only form of exercise at that point.

My favorite dance clubs in LA stopped existing, and I started feeling a tad on the old side for it. I'll still go out every now and then, but my enthusiasm has tapered off considerably. If I'm going to be perfectly honest here, being in a relationship did take away some of my desire to hit up mediocre night spots where the primary purpose was meeting people for either sex, love, or both. It's like pulling teeth to get me to go to the few good night spots I know about just because I'm so out of the loop that I feel like an outsider there. Plus I don't drink anymore. So there went the one exercise I was sure to do at least once a week, but usually twice.

So for a few years I started eating more crap, and the majority of my time was either sitting in a car, sitting at a desk, sitting in front of a computer, or sitting in front of a TV. At that point my ass started taking on a Persistence of Time quality as it dangled loosely off the sides of my seat. Ok, maybe it never got that bad, but the point remains: I got fat and gross. Hell, you could hear my goddamn breathing, need I say more? My girlfriend and I started dieting, and by starving myself and exercising like a madman I was able to drop 50 pounds. Granted, I gained almost all of it back in the span of a couple years, but that's life for you. Being fat is no fun, especially if you're not into Hawaiian shirts and your body's all out of proportion. Some people can wear a suit of fat well, but I'm not one of those people since my body takes on a Weeble-esque appearance. I'm not as fat as I once was, but similar to my constant battles with trying to learn French and Spanish, the fat battle rages on.