How I Lost Eight Pounds in Four Weeks

Every winter I gain 10–12 pounds. I lose it every spring, but it’s a struggle. It usually takes me until August to lose it all. This year I refactored my diet and the weight is easily coming off. I’m enjoying every meal and I don’t have hunger or cravings.

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Me, finishing the 2012 Pikes Peak Ascent (13.32 miles, 7,815' elevation gain, finishing at 14,115') in 2:50 for 25th place overall, top five masters.

Two Big Ideas

1. Eat the same foods every day, at the same times. Go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. Do the same exercise workouts every day. Don’t give yourself choices. You’ll usually choose the eat more/exercise less choice, then come up with an excuse to justify the choice.

2. Protein and fiber make me feel full (satiety). After I eat I continue to feel hungry for up to an hour. I eat packaged foods so that when I finish a meal there’s no more to eat. I have to force myself to not eat for an hour. Then I feel great for four, five, or even six hours. I don’t feel cravings, and I feel like my brain is firing on all cylinders. (I don’t drink caffeine.)

I thought that I was eating sufficient protein, typically 15–20 grams per meal, or about 100 grams per day. This year I refactored my diet for 50–70 grams of protein per meal, or about 150 grams per day.

Fiber also makes me feel full. Acacia fiber is especially effective for slowing digestion and making protein shakes keep you full for hours. I eat about 60 grams of fiber daily.

The Other Ideas

3. Dieting without exercising is stupid. Make exercise a habit. Take stairs instead of elevators. Walk or ride your bike instead of driving. If you hate exercising, join a running club or other social exercise club.

4. Weigh yourself on a digital scale that analyzes your body fat. Every day my weight goes up and my fat goes down, or vice versa, or both. As long as one goes down I’m happy. These scales start at about $35.

5. Get a microbiome test if you have a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, metabolic disorder (e.g., chronic obesity), or mental illness. You can read my blog post about my microbiome test.

6. Saturdays I take my dog hiking five hours (1750 calories) and eat whatever I want. This “reset day” keeps me motivated and I don’t gain weight that day because of the exercise. If I want to eat something off my diet during the week, I make a mental note to eat it on Saturday.

7. Backpacking is the best sport for losing weight. Eight to twelve hours a day of medium-level exercise feels right for my body.

8. I gave away both my televisions. I’d rather walk with my dog.

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Walking my dog (pond above Upper Boulder Lake, Gore Range, Colorado).

My Daily Routine

I get up at 6:30am. First I do 36 pull-ups and 36 dips (six sets of six; 200 calories). I have a pull-up bar outside my front door. Then I make a protein shake with plant protein, greens powder, prebiotic powder, bone broth, chia seed, flax seed, and water. It tastes disgusting but I’m hungry in the morning. 280 calories, 30g protein, 15g fiber.

I walk my dog half an hour (150 calories) and then run half an hour (350 calories). Then around 9:30am I eat four ounces of fish (160 calories, 24g protein. Around 11:30am I drink a chocolate protein shake (plant protein, greens powder, acacia powder, chia seed, flax seed, cocoa powder, chocolate almond milk; 250 calories, 15g protein, 17g fiber). This powers me until mid-afternoon.

I walk the dog for twenty minutes at noon (100 calories), then eat lunch at 2pm. I often go until 3pm or even 4pm. Lunch is usually high-protein pasta, part-skim mozzarella cheese, pasta sauce, a chicken Italian sausage, black olives and roasted red pepper (725 calories, 70g protein, 23g fiber).

At least once a week I get sushi (400 calories, 25g protein) and an Odwalla protein shake (410 calories, 32g protein), totaling 810 calories and 57g protein.

I walk the dog for an hour after work (300 calories). I lift weights twice a week (300 calories) after work. Some days I ride my bike to do errands. I take the dog hiking for two hours one evening a week. If I don’t lift or ride or hike then I run half an hour in the evening (350 calories).

At 7pm I eat a salad with low-fat dressing, plus cranberries, sunflower seeds, etc. (250 calories, 4g protein, 5g fiber.).

At 8:30pm I make a small plate of sauerkraut and pickles (50 calories). I try the different types of sauerkraut and pickled things (beets, mushrooms, green beans, okra, artichokes, pepperoncinis) at the supermarket, so this provides some excitement in my dull life.

Then the dog gets a bedtime walk around the block, I do twelve pull-ups, and we get to bed by 9:30pm.

That totals about 1650 calories, 150g protein, and 60g fiber. My basal metabolism is about 1650 calories, plus I my exercise burns about 1200 calories. I’m losing two pounds per week, which is 1000 calories per day.

My Favorite Foods

Taylor Farms Chopped Salads are made with cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, radicchio, carrots, etc. They’re crunchy and come in ten varieties. I throw out the included salad dressing and instead use three tablespoons of low-fat dressing. Half a bag is about 250 calories.

Newman’s Own Light Dressings. Three flavors, 90 calories for three tablespoons.

Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Fat Free Honey Dijon Dressing. 60 calories in three tablespoons.

Explore Cuisine bean pastas. Their Organic Edamame & Mung Bean Fettuccine is delicious, and three ounces has 270 calories, 36g protein, and 21g fiber! They also have black bean, chickpea, and lentil pastas.

Banza Chickpea Pasta comes as boxes of mac and cheese or just pasta. All are good except the “rich and creamy cheddar,” which tastes like Velveeta. One box of mac and cheese is about 320 calories, 36g protein, and 16g fiber.

Modern Table Meals are made with lentil pasta. They have a variety pack of six flavors. Half a box is about 475 calories, 27g protein, and 8g fiber. They also have three flavors of mac and cheese.

Paradise Herbs Orac-Energy Protein & Greens is the base of my protein shakes. It’s pea protein plus a zillion greens and herbs. Unlike most of the protein powders it doesn’t have fake sweeteners such as stevia, which makes the inside of my mouth feel like rubber.

Heather’s Organic Acacia Fiber. This slows digestion and makes me feel full longer after drinking a protein shake.

Odwalla Protein Shakes, 310 to 410 calories, 19 to 32g protein.

Larry & Lenny’s Double Chocolate Complete Cookie. 400 calories, 16g protein, 10g fiber. These are high-calorie but don’t have fake sweeteners. I try to eat only half a cookie.

Low-fat cottage cheese (1/2 cup) and pineapple (1/2 cup). Richard Nixon’s favorite lunch! 170 calories, 14g protein, 1g fiber.

I haven’t found any high protein snacks that I like. Many are loaded with fake sweeteners and other chemicals.

Written by

I make technology for speech clinics to treat stuttering and other disorders. I like backpacking with my dog, running competitively, and Russian jokes.

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