Losing weight is the hardest and easiest challenge I’ve ever completed.
Hey, it’s me, the fat kid from high school. Coming in at 286 pounds, I was ‘that guy.’
My teens consisted of playing World of Warcraft, chugging Monster, and eating lots of frozen food.
When you’re slaying demons in an online game with your friends, who cares about weight? Nobody saw what I looked like. They only heard my voice. I was happy.
Or so I thought.
In 2017 I went on a trip to Africa. Due to a thunderstorm, our luggage got lost. We couldn’t wait because our connecting flight was departing.
Airline employees told us we would get our belongings the next day.
Of course, that didn’t happen.
After spending a night in our lodge, the hotel staff told us that they heard nothing about our suitcases. No worries, they said. You can borrow some clothes from our gift shop.
My dad, medium-sized, instantly put on his fresh safari clothes and was happy.
I was an XXL. They had nothing for me except for a button-down shirt. It was tight, I was uncomfortable.
After three days, my father got his luggage. They couldn’t find my suitcase.
He was willing to share his clothes, but nothing would fit. I felt depressed and left out.
I wore the same clothes for six days straight. My suitcase arrived two days before our return flight. It wasn’t very comfortable.
During our last few days in another hotel, there was a swimming pool. I love playing in the water, so I wanted to dive in.
I noticed just one elderly couple by the pool. I wasn’t going to swim.
Suddenly, I realized that I was ashamed of my body. I felt fat, I looked fat, and I was fat.
No more excuses. I was going to do something about it.
I instantly sent a message to my most buff friend and asked for help.
And that’s how my journey started.
Why should you lose weight?
There’s a bunch of reasons why you want to lose weight. It could be:
- Being more healthy
- Looking better naked
- Fitting in regular clothes
- Not dying when you run up a flight of stairs
- Fixing those sweat issues
- Or just because you want to make a change
I started my journey because all those reasons above apply to me.
Losing weight is a journey. It’s a long term investment in yourself.
Participating in the latest diet hype is not losing weight; it’s a temporary project. Once you quit, those extra pounds fly back on.
If you want to lose weight, you have to change your mindset. You are deciding to be healthy instead of going for the quick fix route.
How to easily lose 20 pounds in a few simple steps
This mostly applies to people who are obese. You can lose a quick 20 pounds with a few simple steps, without going on a crash diet or starving yourself.
- Replace soda with water
- Don’t use butter for cooking, use a spray instead
- Take a 15-minute walk every morning
- Avoid alcohol (and if you do, drink clear drinks)
- Do five pushups when you are in a loading screen for a video game (worked for me!)
If you often drink sugary drinks, you can quickly lose a bunch of pounds by cutting that out. Your body needs water, and you shouldn’t drink calories.
Butter often adds another 100 calories to your meal. Cut it out, and you save 700 to 1400 calories a week, depending on how often you cook.
Walking is exercise. When you’re obese, don’t train for a marathon. Take baby steps.
Alcohol contains a lot of calories, gives you a hangover, and makes you dancy funny (good cardio though!). I switched from sugary cocktails to gin and vodka. I still drink sometimes, but I try to keep it lean and clean.
As a gamer, I’m often stuck in loading screens (even with an SSD!). I take the opportunity to either crank out some push-ups or refill my water bottle. If you can’t do push-ups yet, do some on your knees. Even when I just started working out, I was able to do those.
How to lose 112 pounds in 1 year
Now that you’re familiar with the quick fixes let’s take you along the long term journey of losing weight.
After messaging my buff friend (he’s enormous!) and arriving back in my home country, I signed up for a gym membership.
He took me along for a few classed and taught me some important things about working out:
- When you don’t feel like going, you should go. The gym will fix most of your daily issues. It clears your head, and physical activity releases dopamine, which makes you happy.
- Start slow — no need to deadlift on day one. Baby steps, remember?
- Drink water during your workout. I chugged about 50 ounces for an hour worth of cardio/weight lifting.
- I’d rather have you go for 30 minutes than not at all. Once you’re in the gym, you’re there to complete your workout. It has only happened to me twice that I cut it short.
Combining the quick fix tips and going to the gym allowed me to lose more than 30 pounds in just a few weeks.
A gym is a daunting place. That’s why I kept it super simple. I went for an hour and did the following:
5 minutes: Quick warmup (yoga exercises or riding a stationary bike)
35 minutes: Weight lifting. He showed me some exercises. If you don’t have a gym rat friend, opt for compound exercises (Bench, squat, …) or a more accessible variant. Those exercises allow you to work multiple muscle groups at once and are efficient. A good starting point is Stronglifts, a weight lifting program made for beginners.
20 minutes: Decompress by doing cardio. I loved the elliptical as it burned a lot of calories but didn’t crush my fat knees. I usually mounted my phone on the machine and watched Netflix. That’s fine. Whatever gets you through the 20 minutes of boring cardio (still hate it!)
An hour of work and you’re done. Repeat three to four times a week, and you will see results in no-time.
You will hit a plateau
So demotivating. You’re crushing it in the gym, you have to buy a new set of clothes every three months, and suddenly you’re stuck. Ever happened to you?
I knew I had to go to the next level and contacted a personal trainer. I know this is not an option for everyone. They’re expensive but worth every penny.
He set me up with a meal plan, thaught me about macros (get that protein!), and offered to train twice a week with me.
By investing in a trainer, I was more serious about losing weight. I know that if I didn’t do what he asked, I would have spent a lot of hard-earned money on nothing.
So I did exactly what he asked of me and lost the other 80 pounds in just eight months.
Hiring a trainer is better than watching motivational gym videos on YouTube. I had to learn the hard way. To this day, I still train with him weekly to improve my body and mindset.
What about loose skin when losing weight?
It will happen.
When you’re young, there’s a bigger chance to recover, but when you are losing 30% of your body mass, there’s always some skin.
I fixed most of those issues by weight lifting from the start. Muscles fill up the areas where you lost fat. I only have some loose skin around my belly and under my arms. I’m okay with that. It shows where I come from, and I have a loving girlfriend who doesn’t care at all.
I tried rubbing a special cream for pregnant women (that was weird!), but it did absolutely nothing. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles. I prefer health and loose skin over being obese.
What you should eat to lose weight
Let me start by saying that everybody is different, especially with allergies and personal beliefs (vegan, vegetarian…), but a few basic things are the same for everybody.
When you want to lose weight, you will want to eat the right amount of protein. There’s a lot of controversy about how much protein you need, but a good starting point is 0.65 grams for every pound of body weight.
Which foods contain a lot of protein?
A lot of food options contain protein:
- dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and milk
- lean meat, poultry, and most fish
- eggs (scrambled, please!)
- seeds or nuts
- soy products (like tofu)
- beans and legumes
I love chicken. So that was easy.
Supplementing my love for chicken with protein powder helped me reach my goals. I take two scoops daily with water. My personal preference is Gold Standard, but pick any reputable brand. They don’t vary that much.
For breakfast, I always opted for protein yogurt (Greek or Skyr) and a piece of fruit (bananas to kill my muscle cramps).
Remember: most of your weight loss comes from diet changes. So eating protein and drinking water already helps a lot. You don’t have to hit the gym, but it helps you with being active and prevents some loose skin.
Losing weight is a journey, not a race. I did it in a year because I was highly motivated. It doesn’t matter if it takes you three years or if you only need to lose ten pounds. Make sure you do it for the right reasons: becoming more healthy and increasing your life-span.
If you have any questions, feel free to reply in the comments below. I will answer every question!