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Data Driven Weight Loss: Losing 66 pounds and gaining a six pack in 8 months (debarghyadas.com)
87 points by dd367 on Aug 4, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 95 comments



Don't let the fact that he was 24 deter you. Over at r/bodyweightfitness, there are hundreds of people who started above 45 and are in better shapes than 20 year olds.

Obesity is now a taboo topic in tech because you might unfortunately step on the toes of a few sensitive people and be labelled a fat shamer. This is not the case.Obesity in tech is a disease on it's own and it needs to be fought with a sharp edged pitchfork. We need to help our colleagues who have lost hope and given up on ever being fit again.

It is never too late to get healthy again. If you're overweight and believe your work schedule cannot allow you to lose weight, give yourself a 6 - 8 month break. Step over to the r/bodyweightfitness Recommended beginner routine and make a big change in your life. You don't need an expensive gym membership. You can use the floor, parks, chairs, tables, doors, ledges, trees etc.

Sustainable weight loss is achievable by everyone, whether you're 40 or 50 years or 400 pounds or 600 pounds.

Consistency over time is the key!


Some obesity is a disease, and some (perhaps much) in the western world is brought on by the combination of available foods and the lifestyle driven by our culture as it relates to compensation and work "ethic." Quality, healthy nutrition is hard to come by in America, either because it's scarce in an area or else the basic mechanics of putting together healthy things isn't really taught or socialized.

The whole concept of "fat shaming" is outrageous. It is quite hurtful and, if the object is to motivate change, unhelpful anyway. On the other hand, the concept of "fat but fit" is also not helpful. Being fat isn't healthy, period. As one gets fatter one gets even less healthy and it also starts to impact hygiene (which itself negatively impacts health).


If it's a disease, it's a social one. We've normalized what used to be fairly abnormal. Today, the person who is 75 lbs over weight looks around, readily sees someone 150 lbs,200 lbs or more over weight. The +75'er thinks "I'm not overweight."

Humans do that. We adjust. We assimilate. We make presumptuous about validity based on what we see. That's the disease.

That said, it doesn't help that people like Oprah have led the "love your body" parade. Sure. Do it! It's your body. But that doesn't make it healthy. That does mitigate the broader societal damager you're doing.

Sure. Let's stop fat shaming. But let's also stop being in denial about the personal health implication of carrying too much extra weight.

I don't understand how we can discuss healthcare, the cost of healthcare, but then not talk about (personal) health. We want lower costs and we want to be more and more unhealthy. It doesn't work that way.


> On the other hand, the concept of "fat but fit" is also not helpful.

I don't know. One of my friends is fat, but she's also an incredibly competent rower (including doing it as a varsity sport in college). If that's not fit, I don't know what is.


Counterpoint: strongman competitors are often incredibly unhealthy. They are also literally the strongest humans on earth, who dedicate their lives to the singular pursuit of being able to pick up more weight than anyone else on the planet. Eddie Hall, this year's WSM, retired from the sport after achieving the win, because he has been destroying his health in pursuit of the title. Strongmen are famously at elevated cardiovascular risk, and they nearly universally require CPAP machines to sleep because their weight puts them at serious risk of death by obstructive sleep apnea. NFL defensive linemen tend to be in a similar position - very strong, very athletic, and at very elevated risk of fatal or debilitating health conditions.

One can be extremely strong and extremely competent - world class, even - and still not be fit.


Of course there are always outliers. However, the older you get the less likely you are to be overweight. That is, you'll typically die sooner, not later. I'd say ("premature") death qualifies as unhealthy ;)


I discovered /r/bwf six months ago. I love it. Doing the recommended routine (RR). I am 49 and 1.72m; Went from 75kg to 76kg. Which means that I lost some fat and gained some muscle. It is very entertaining to figure out what is the next progression. I look better but not great. But I feel great.


"Sustainable weight loss is achievable by everyone, whether you're 40 or 50 years or 400 pounds or 600 pounds."

While I applaud those individuals that have kept off weight long term, the science disagrees that is an achievable goal for everyone.(only about 5% of people who successfully lose large amounts of weight will keep it off long term)

For example here is what happened to the contestants on the biggest loser.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weig...

The body will fight very hard to get back up the heavier level. It play nasty tricks such as increasing hunger, decreasing metabolism, and nastiest of all physiologically sabotage the part of the brain that is responsible for conscience regulation of food intake(it turns off willpower specifically for food).


Do you have any sources for the 5%?

More often than not, the cause of the weight gain is because they fall back to bad eating habits. If you can lose it, you can keep it off. Changing to long-term good habits is extremely difficult though.


http://m.ajcn.nutrition.org/content/82/1/222S.full

Here's one that mentions 20%. But that's at a year. The % changes depending on how long you follow up(drops all the way out to 5 years.). This is study uses keeping off 10% of body weight as the definition of success which is far less than the amount that it takes to move an individual from obese into the normal healthy range.

If you can find a study where a majority of the individuals experienced significant and long term(3 yrs+) weight loss I would be happy to see it.


The "Biggest Loser" contestants undergo an extremely rapid weightloss regimen. It's not clear that similar slowdowns would impact more gradual weight loss regimens, or that it would affect people who start dieting at a lower (but still fat) weight.


Why would you think different rates of weight loss would have different effects? I'm not aware of any studies that say that. Also the hypothesized reason weight loss maintenance is so hard is changes to leptin level which related to absolute level of body fat, not rate of body fat loss.


This is known for decades. If you drop too fast over too long period of time your metabolism changes base burn rate and you will have a hard time losing fat/staying the same weight once your normalize your diet. There is a reason diets like PSMF at restricted to 1-2 weeks. Not healthy over time.


I've now read several studies about successful long term weight loss maintenance. And none of them mention speed of weight loss as a factor. The Wikipedia article on it doesn't mention it.

Also here's a study that suggests the exact opposite, that rapid weight loss is correlated with long term success.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780395/


I am not an expert in this area. I speculate the rate is important due to hysteresis in the system.


The system definitely experiences hysteresis.(if you drop and regain weight you're metabolism will be slower) But I haven't seen any evidence that the rate of weight loss has any influence on it. I can see the intuitive appeal, but I haven't seen theoretical, epidemiological, or any other empirical evidence for it.


From my understanding, they dropped body weight very quickly, not allowing their body to adjust to new eating and exercise habits. They (seem) to go to extremes -- either all or nothing.


Not everyone can afford to take a 6-8 month break......


I lost 40lbs in 12 months while working. I did a bodyweight routine at home 4x a week for 30 minutes and calculated calories in and out. 4 months in, I eyeballed everything.

I was a pretty experienced athlete in high school/college, so I knew the basics well and knew if I worked at it I'd lose it, so that helped a lot, but I didn't do anything magic.


Kudos.

But the point is, you changed your lifestyle, and stuck with it. I think most who lose weight put it back on because they don't change anything. As if being thinner makes bad food less bad :)


a 6-8 month break from work? Who can afford that?


If your health is really important to you, you'll take a 3 year break(Not realistic, I know) if you have to. I know people who quit jobs so they can focus on weight loss. Moved to cheap areas/countries and made their weight a priority. I'll rather go broke a few months than spend the rest of my life with mounting medical bills that pile up as a result of my weight.


Know of any blogs/stories like that to read, particularly of people moving to a cheaper area while quitting?


If you're data-inclined, it's a powerful tool to drive health and fitness. Extracting actionable meaning from your data isn't that hard, as long as you understand the basic mechanics of what you're doing and can compute things like percentages and moving averages.

I'm 34, spent the last ~15 years at sedentary desk jobs, and became quite out of shape. I've lost 70lb over the last year doing little more than just logging what I eat in MyFitnessPal, sticking to caloric and macro budgets, and recomputing my TDEE based on moving averages of my caloric inputs and weight readings. I lift for 45-60 minutes 4 times a week, no cardio.

In that same time period, I've started lifting and seen excellent progress (bench 1RM ~260, squat 1RM ~320, deadlift 1RM ~465), again by thoroughly logging my workout data and using that to identify where I'm weak and strong (which lets me select exercises to improve my weaknesses), to help set and adjust training maxes, and to help set achievable goals on a daily basis. Symmetric Strength is a great tool here - it's incredibly gratifying to see my progress presented in several ways, and it helps me understand my strengths and weaknesses, as well as my progression relative to others, which can be very motivating.

I attribute just about all of this to the fact that I adopted eating and lifting plans which were based on data collection and specific goals and targets to reach for and hit on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. I've tried dieting and fitness regimes in the past that were basically coached as "just do this and try really hard", without laying out why, or what I could expect at a granular level, and those become really discouraging once the initial hit of motivation wears off. By contrast, having a year's worth of data to analyze any time I start to feel discouraged provides immediate reinforcement as to what does and doesn't work, and helps keep me on track.


Data-based exercise rocks. I never knew I'd enjoy the rowing machine quite so much until I got into the stats side of thing. It helps that the major manufacturer has a beyond awesome online logbook for analysing and comparing with other real people, plus challenges and so on.

If you're looking at creating an exercise app or community, take a look at what Concept2 do, it's lean yet pretty much well perfect.


I'm not at all aware of Concept2 - I'll have to take a look at it. I know there's been something of a revolution lately in resistance rowing and biking tech (some of my friends are SUPER into the Twitch subculture with people who do these competitive resistance bike ride video games), but I'm not really too aware of most of it. I'm generally happy just picking up heavy-ass things. :)


Hah, I'd no idea about this revolution, I'll also have to take a look! While rowing's tedious, I find it much less so than eg treadmill, and calories per hour makes it pretty efficient.

Funnily enough though, concept2 have just released an entirely new machine, the BikeErg, which as the name implies, is a mix of bike and rowing machine.

Only downside of rowing is that there are a ridiculous number of ways to do it wrong and seriously ruin parts of your body. Nowadays you can do well with YouTube and a mirror / reflective window or iPhone-with-advance-permission in the gym.


+1 on having a lifting routine. Cardio by itself doesn't seem too sustainable as compared to watching what you eat and building muscle.


Cardio works for some people, but I think a lot of people go run for 20 minutes and then decide they've earned a Big Mac with Behemoth Fries. Data has completely freed me of that delusion - I've learned that I'm not willing to do enough cardio to outrun my diet. I'd rather just not have cheese on my salad than have to go hate the world for an hour on the treadmill. There are the people who run 10 miles on a daily basis because they enjoy it - I am not one of them! :)

Lifting for me is less about weight loss than it is just about personal improvement, though. I want to be strong (and hey, if I'm losing this weight, I want to look good!), and lifting moves the ball towards that goal. I've found that I really enjoy it, too - it's not something that I tolerate as some grueling price I have to pay to get the body I want, it's a hobby that I genuinely enjoy and derive a lot of satisfaction from. The fact that it helps me lose weight is a great bonus, but I've found that lifting lets me hack my internal tendency to "try for a high score" by giving me a whole suite of metrics that I can rate, rank, and compare myself on. I love it.


I completely agree with the first paragraph. I should have made that clear in my comment :)


Cardio on its own is very sustainable.


Yes in general. What I meant to say is for someone like me, I had trouble with what I ate, for example overeating after a cardio session. Understanding this and changing behaviour is a lot harder as compared to building more muscle which is "sustainable" in terms of a larger TDEE that's evenly spread out. Unless I'm mistaken building muscle is far more efficient than bursts of cardio. HIIT seems to work on a similar idea.


I wasn't sure how big that "larger TDEE" really is, so I googled around for some values. I found some claims for between 10 and 30kcal per day for each extra kg of muscle mass. If we assume that most people will not build up more than 10kg of extra muscle mass that will not be a lot (but neverthless it's a nice effect).

Cardio training can burn lots of calories. But you have to take it seriously and should not assume that moving around for 20minutes was already a big workout. My current personal workout is about 10hours of biking on average per week. Calculating with ~500kcal/h of energy consumption that sums up to 5000kcal/h. That's a quite nice number, which can also be interpreted as: Enough to lose nearly 1kg of fat if calory intake stays constant. Or at least enough to compensate for a lot of non-perfect meals. In the end it's a compromise between ones diet and the amount of workout. One can lose weight by increasing consumption or by reducing intake. For some people the first thing works better, for others the second.


> One can lose weight by increasing consumption or by reducing intake. For some people the first thing works better, for others the second.

I complete agree here. I don't think popular advice seems to be doing a good job of explaining this.

Going on anecdotal data. On my wrist HR monitor I seem to be easily hitting around 500 Kcal per weight training session. Assuming on the worst case that the monitor is off by about half, I have burned 250 Kcal per session. This in addition to a easily achievable cut of 250 Kcal with my diet leads me to ~500 Kcal a day. Which would fall in the realm of the calculation you make with biking. I find this easier to perform than an hour of biking :) Plus an additional goal is to increase muscle mass. So as a tradeoff it seems to work.


I'm a little confused by what you mean. I'm not a nutritionist, but I am very active in both running and weight lifting (in other words, I have a lot of personal results, but take my opinions as qualified observations, not educated prescriptions). They're targeted to sufficiently different goals that I wouldn't agree you can make an efficiency comparison for weight loss. Realistically I wouldn't prescribe either for weight loss, and I'd personally suggest anyone looking to partake in one of those activities reach a healthy weight first. The likelihood of injury in distance running, sprinting and weight lifting is far higher for someone starting with a poor base weight.

As for the specific exercises: HIIT will train fast twitch muscle fibers, which is more similar to weight training than long distance cardio is, but neither is really comparable to weight training (precisely because of the TDEE increase, which you mentioned). Sprinting and weight training complement each other but quickly diverge in outcomes if you do one or the other.

If I understand you correctly, you're talking about the way in which additional muscle on the body increases daily energy expenditure overall, which cardio does not achieve in the same way. But that's (in my opinion) a poor way to calibrate your training - if you're optimizing for weight loss and you find yourself hungrier when you exercise, you're likely going to find yourself hungrier when your caloric needs increase in general. This will happen regardless of which particular exercise you engage in, which means it's a problem to be conquered independent of the exercise.

Controlled weight loss (or gain) is most effectively achieved by understanding what your body actually needs for survival and strategically increasing or decreasing that. Exercise is helpful for altering the composition of your mass, but it's relatively negligible (hundreds of calories per day) for controlling the amount of mass you have.


> if you're optimizing for weight loss and you find yourself hungrier when you exercise, you're likely going to find yourself hungrier when your caloric needs increase in general

What I'm observing is that with a cardio session there's an increased craving for food in that moment that is quite intense. While in both cases (weight training and cardio) there is a need for additional energy, its easier to manage through weight training is my point. Building muscle overall would need me to consume additional calories but over the period of a day, which in turn makes it easier to manage what I eat.

Taking one step back, to lose weight I really only need a caloric deficit. What I'm trying to achieve is to follow a diet about 5-10% lower than what I would need to maintain my current weight, and add on weight training on top of this to increase TDEE.

This to me seems more sustainable and something I can easily follow, given that I love weight training and find it easier than monotonous cardio.

> Controlled weight loss (or gain) is most effectively achieved by understanding what your body actually needs for survival and strategically increasing or decreasing that. Exercise is helpful for altering the composition of your mass, but it's relatively negligible (hundreds of calories per day) for controlling the amount of mass you have.

I'm not sure I agree here. A deficit of about 4000 calories a week is healthy for a loss of about a pound. I would think those hundreds of calories would easily help hitting a deficit of 500 odd calories a day.


> A deficit of about 4000 calories a week is healthy for a loss of about a pound.

There isn't really a hard and fast rule here, it depends on the person. If you are obese enough, you can engage in an extended fast with no food whatsoever (just water, vitamins and electrolytes) and lose up to a pound per day in ketosis.

But obviously that should only be done with the supervision of a doctor.


That is true. Ideally one would shoot for change that is healthy and sustainable.


I lost about that amount of weight in 7 months a couple of years ago (and kept it off), there was very little data driving, I just wrote down what I ate and ate the same thing 6 days a week, porridge made with water, cottage cheese and salad for lunch and chicken and veg/beef and veg for tea.

Came out to about 1450 calories a day which is a deficit of 1050.

1050 * 7 * 4 * 7/3500 comes to 58.8lbs, I lost 62lbs (I slightly increased my exercise rate), it was almost scary how accurate the 3500 calories to a pound thing was in my case.

It wasn't that hard at the time either, just required a clear goal and keeping at it.

I quite smoking on my 30th birthday (7 years and counting) by just stopping.

No messing with patches, therapy, my mum got ill from smoking related illness, I realised how stupid it was (or more correctly woke up and truly realised) my 30th was a few weeks later so I made a note and stopped cold turkey.

You can do pretty cool things when you draw a line and just go for it.

As for keeping the weight off, I just run a mental tally of what I've eaten and approximate calories, if I get close to 2500 I stop eating for the day, if I go slightly over I go under the next day, 1 day a week I eat whatever I want if I want it (rarely do, I've lost a lot of my cravings for junk over the last couple of years, it always leaves me feeling shitty the next day).


You call this "data driven"? Look at his explanation of the supplements he takes:

>Grenade Thermo Detonator: A scary name, but essentially a dosage of caffeine from concentrated green tea extract that's meant to be a fat-burner/pre-workout pill. It gives you some energy to focus, and suppresses your appetite. It is not very different from simply taking a packet of coffee. I used these for the first 4 months.

>Multivitamin: Just to ensure you get your vitamin requirements for the day, but there is evidence to show this might not really be necessary.

>Fish Oil: I heard from many sources that omega-3s are good for you so I thought I'd get some

>Whey Protein: If you don't consume enough protein a day and are on a weight loss plan, you will lose muscle with your weight. 1 - 1.5g/lb of body weight is the general recommendation. Because it's not always easy to make sure you get that much pure protein, a protein shake is an easy way to quickly gulp down 50g of protein regardless of how hungry/full you are.

So of the four he takes, one he takes may not be backed by any data, and another he takes because he heard that it's good for you.


We do not really need as much protein as the supplements industry would have us believe.

https://intensivedietarymanagement.com/how-much-protein-is-e...


The protein numbers are rather incorrect, too. Research supports 0.82g/lb (https://bayesianbodybuilding.com/the-myth-of-1glb-optimal-pr...) - though you're not going to hurt anything if you're getting more than that (unless you start taking in several multiples of that quantity - then renal failure can become a concern).

Protein tends to be more expensive on a per-calorie basis than other macronutrients, though, so it can be advantageous to not overconsume it relative to fat/carbs, presuming you're getting enough to optimally support muscle synthesis.


His advice reminds me a lot of things Mr Berkham has to say over at leangains.com. IF, multivitamin, fish oil, cutting/bulking phases - those are not all things exclusive to advice given by Berkham, but it's a quite similar subset.

Here's a post from another software developer having similarly spectacular success: http://merowing.info/2014/02/fit-geek/

I lost ~20kg myself by following Leangains loosely over a period of 18 months, but in the end I seem to have worn out something in my endocrine/metabolic system, from which I've been slowly recovering for most of last year (having regained a lot of the weight and suffering from fatigue). So.. just be careful, your body might not like rapid weightloss, everybody is different.

Ah and one tip: If you cannot lose weight even if you try really really hard, inflammation might be the culprit. Lots of fish oil, grape seed extract, magnesium etc should improve this a lot, and as a side effect might also save you from having a heart attack or cancer in your 50s. DHA (eg from fish oil) has a lot to do with mitochondrial function in the body, thus affecting all organs and energy production.


I don't buy into your endocrine/metabolic system theory whatsoever. Do you have any evidence that this is even possible?


Hi. Neuroendocrinologist here. Body fat is regulated by specialized circuits in the hypothalamus. We now know that inflammation of these central nuclei is a key feature of weight gain in both animals and humans.

There are two sets of neurons: those that promote feeding and slow metabolic rate, and those that suppress feeding and increase metabolic rate. The former class of neurons is GABAergic (inhibitory in neuroscience) and the latter is glutaminergic (stimulatory). Generally in animal experiments, the gabaergic neurons that drive feeding and conserve stored energy outnumber the glutaminergic neurons by a great deal, and over the lifespan of an organism, they increase in number.

Its been noted in some animal models that weight loss interventions are not permanent because they lead to alterations in this circuit to further promote weight gain and energy conservation. This may be why most humans also regain weight after losing it. If you think about it, it makes sense for most control loops in the body to "fail safe", IE, its much preferrable to gain weight than starve to death. This circuit thus fights to preserve fat mass.

Some "food for thought"

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2017/07/407571/brains-immune-cells...

https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/02/123466/ucsf-researchers-re...


Sure but that's all still about 'overeating' and 'hunger' (you feed a mice high fat foods, it triggers overeating)?

So it's still the case that if you keep your calorie intake below your TDEE, you won't regain the weight, whereas a lot of weight re-gainers like GGP claim some vague 'endocrine/metabolic' thing, when we have no evidence for that.


Thanks for the clarification! Do you think rapid weight loss could lead to HPA axis dysfunction as a result, i.e. lowered corticosteroid output (what some call adrenal fatigue, but is actually regulated by the hypothalamus)?


I don't focus on the whole HPA axis much, and in general the "adrenal fatigue" phrase doesn't have a great reputation among most of my colleagues. I hesitate to write it all off though.

From my diabetes work, its clear that corticosteroids definitely have a strong role in the development of metabolic syndrome, but I'm not sure about its ties to hypothalamic functioning. In the hypothalamus, the effects can be a lot more direct. Eventually its decision-making feed into the sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous systems which directly regulate metabolism and fat release in peripheral tissues. IE, your fat and muscle cells take direct neural firings from the autonomic nervous system as marching orders of whether or not its time to store energy or burn it.

So if the central neurons in the hypothalamus adjust to promote a higher setpoint body weight, that central point in control will direct weight gain via many downstream factors, some of which may be hormonal. Right now a central focus in research is figuring out why the hell the hypothalamus is driving the setpoint higher and higher. It seems like inflammation there might be a strong culprit.

Hopefully someday we will figure out what about our mass produced consumables are gumming up the works there.


Well take it as my own working theory, I was careful enough to not state it as if I knew for sure. No need to attack and downvote me.


>your body might not like rapid weightloss, everybody is different.

For people doing it for health rather than competition weigh-ins or whatnot, no reason to be rapid and risk negative effects. Slow and steady.


Coincidentally I am on the same diet: keto, plus IF. No supplements, no workouts. Lost 10 kg (22 lbs) in 2.5 months. Expensive, 'cause new wardrobe.

For one week, I reverted to my old high carb diet because I was on a camp and could not maintain it. My weight loss plateau'ed, but resumed after that. Daily calorie max is set to 1250, (I live a sedentary life).

Keto works. Workouts not needed.

I'm struggling to take enough protein though.


The canonical “engineer studies the problem of being fat and works on it like any other problem” story is The Hacker’s Diet by John Walker. There’s no secret formula necessary, just eat less. I found it very inspirational (and effective). https://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/


Amazing transformation, both in the article and the comments.

When has rapid weight loss ever been sustainable?

I'd love to see follow up article w/ comments in 2 years.


It's easy to maintain your goal weight if you truly enjoy the lifestyle you've created. Obviously, if you get up one day and say, 'Well I don't actually like going to the gym / tracking calories / etc., so I'll skip today', you've started to gain the weight already. The trick is finding a healthy lifestyle activity that can keep you active and that you can stick with. Climbing, running, hiking, kayaking / canoeing, cycling, tennis, etc etc are all great options if going to the gym to lift weights isn't your thing.


ah to be 24 again


I'm 32 and I found a free-weight system for upper body I've had success with. It auto-adjusts the weight over time whether you want it to or not so you are forced to continually improve. It also forces you to do repetitions every day whether you want to or not. Sometimes I do extra reps and the system responds with positive reinforcement. It gives extra positive reinforcement if I hold it over my head and fly it around like an airplane.

It's not exclusive to older people (teenagers can do it too but it's not recommended)

It's called "having a baby".

My daughter weights 28 Ibs now and I have to lift her a couple dozen times a day. My upper body has definitely improved.

But seriously, I've found staying fit is MUCH harder than it was 5 years ago but still possible. The hardest part is finding the time. I don't know many 30-somethings (especially in tech) that can work out for a half hour uninterrupted, nevermind an hour.


You're not alone dude - I know several people, myself included, whose waistlines rapidly expanded when in their 30s and with kids < 3.

I'm only now starting to have a chance to go to the gym regularly again and am praying nothing changes!


> I don't know many 30-somethings (especially in tech) that can work out for a half hour uninterrupted, nevermind an hour.

Sounds like a major lifestyle problem that needs to be solved before considering embarking on a fitness program. If you can't find a half-hour for a leisurely self-improvement activity, consider focusing really hard on making that change first.

If you don't have a kid, finding an hour to yourself every day should be no problem. If it is - consider improving your time management or just working less.


> I don't know many 30-somethings (especially in tech) that can work out for a half hour uninterrupted, nevermind an hour.

I work full-time in tech, have a wife, two kids, two dogs, and work on my book [1] writing every single day. I still definitely have 30 minutes of free time every day to work out.

What I don't have as much of is will-power/discipline/execute function whatever you want to call it. I workout twice a week and run once a week and with that on top of working and writing I really do feel like I'm at the limit of what I'm able to motivate myself to do.

If I wasn't writing a book, exercising even more would be pretty easy.

Try tracking how much time you spend staring at your phone and/or the Internet. Cut that and you'll be very surprised how much long the day gets.

[1]: http://craftinginterpreters.com


Kudos on the book. I have two myself (one with Wrox and one with O'Reilly). It's a lot of work and you should be proud.

I didn't say I couldn't find an hour just that most people in their 30s I know in tech can't.

You also lowered the requirement from the hour the author and I said to a half hour. Keep in mind too unless you want to sit in sweat all day that hour does not include changing cloths and showering.

I also didn't say "ever" I said "reliably" and "uninterrupted" which are key qualifiers. One work out day where you have to spend two hours at the doctor's office and there goes you're whole routine.

Edit: autocorrect changed sweat to suite for some weird reason.


Yeah, I had all of your qualifiers in mind. I can definitely reliably find 30 minutes or even an hour of uninterrupted time. It's not always at the same time, but I can find it if I gotta.

I think most people can. What's harder is summoning the willpower to use that hour effectively.


Have you read The Power of Habit?

The focus on willpower is almost inherently demoralizing and absolutely not the best strategy. You should focus on building habits, even one at a time, so that you can let the habits take over without expending much in the way of willpower.

The building of habits is what takes energy, but once they've been built, they almost run on autopilot.

And on a different note, there's a difference between exercise and training. Training for a goal can be a much more productive use of your time and will probably get you better results in terms of fitness and body composition depending on the goal chosen.


The book Starting Strength has an anecdote which I found here - https://www.athlegan.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-starting-stre....

> There's a famous story about a greek wrestler, back in the 6th century BC – Milo of Croton. He'd train by lifting up and carry around a newborn calf. Every day he continued doing so and as the calf grew into a bull, so did he. This is linear progression.


Ain't that the truth. Motivation and time for exercise are my largest daily struggles. I am older but those two are far more important factors than just age.


That's a valid complaint, in that the body generally experiences a somewhat rapid slowdown in metabolism around the age of 25-26, but after that it appears to be a relatively slow decline and is definitely no excuse to let yourself go.

To give you another data point, I've started a similar exercise routine around 27 and have kept it up until ~29, and while it has gotten harder to maintain the same weights, I still feel great.

Certainly better than my younger self that did no exercise at all and led a completely sedentary lifestyle.

It follows the tree quote: the best time to start exercising was "x" years ago, the 2nd best time is now.


I've achieved similar results by following a self-directed nutritional and exercise program characterised, as here, by careful measurement of CICO and body fat %age. I am in my forties.


TRT can help.

ETA: It can also certainly hurt too.


Underrated but the real truth here.


If you're lactose intolerant / milk protein intolerant like me, I've found Vega Performance to be the best protein powder, though not cheap. I am not affiliated with them.


Vega is a good supplement for those who cannot digest the milky whey.


> I used an intermittent fasting and ketogenic diet approach, and several supplements.

Can't speak for the supplements, but I'm down 45 pounds in 6 months following the same procedure. Going back to a sugar-based diet is frankly kind of horrifying to me at this point.


Another self-quantified in a similar spirit - machine learning and ketosis: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12279415


Losing 30 kg (66 pounds) in 6 months is not normal and this guy definitely did crazy stuff. I would say 3-4 years would be "the norm" to do this transformation, so don't let yourself be discouraged.


How is it not normal? His regimen apparently consisted of eating fewer calories than he expended by exercise and exercising for 3-4 hours a week, and as a result cut approximately 1.25kg per week for 6 months. That's definitely a bit high (for reference, "rapid weight loss" is generally considered to be losing more than 1kg per week), but it's not outlandish.

The weight loss by itself, with no additional work for the physique, shouldn't take more than about 8-9 months (at a loss of ~0.8kg / week, well within the bounds of gradual weight loss). It shouldn't take 27-39 months beyond that to build lean muscle and lose fat to reduce that level of body fat percentage.

One wouldn't even need to follow the fad diets or take the supplements this guy did.


Nice job and all but the sheer amount of shirtless photos at different angles just shows how narcissistic you are.


He's proud of what he's accomplished, in a weightloss post-mortem. How does that make him narcissistic?


Look at the number of photos and angles this guy has of himself on the page. We've all seen before / after photos of people who've lost weight. I've never seen this many photos of one dude. It's super narcissistic.


If he is super narcissistic, what does that make all the actresses and actors strutting the stages of public shows with a buttload of face paint, hair dyes, plastic surgeries and the like?

Or is it that you casually use the word 'narcissistic' only when disapproving of something you don't like?


Whether actors and actresses are narcissistic or not has nothing to do with the fact that this guy is super narcissistic. Look up "logical fallacy".


The real key to weight loss is a non-insulin-stimulating diet in conjunction with strength and cardiovascular exercise. Even with minimal exercise I lost 7 kg since March. My weight loss hits a plateau when I am not exercising. It is essential to move your ass or lift things if you want more gains. Weight loss is not practical without some exercise.

A lot of Westerners are rediscovering amazing gains from the ketogenic diet, a low-carb diet. Foods with a very high glycemic index are the most commonly available foods in the Western world. These foods are largely responsible for health problems in the Western world. One has to go out of his/her way to avoid foods with a high glycemic index whereas it should be the default.


> The real key to weight loss is a non-insulin-stimulating diet

That was debunked recently [1].

> Weight loss is not practical without some exercise.

Nonsense. Do you have any evidence for that?

[1] https://www.vox.com/2016/7/6/12105660/do-low-carb-diets-work


Quoted from the article:

It lacked a control for comparison, and while the baseline diet was designed to keep participants at about the same levels of energy burn they experienced outside of the study, the participants started to lose weight on that diet too. So they were already slimming down by the time they started their low-carb month.

And while the study was designed to overcome some of the limitations of real-world diet studies, a highly controlled setting that amounts to confining people to a hospital and lab isn’t exactly representative of how people actually live and eat.

"These points, along with the small sample size and short-term follow-up, prevent the ability to draw conclusions about the effects of a very low-carbohydrate versus usual carbohydrate diet," said Deirdre Tobias, an associate epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Men's Hospital.

What’s more, one of the promises of the low-carb, high-fat diet is that when people start eating this way, they naturally cut back on calories because they’re more satiated (from the protein and fat in their diet). This study didn’t measure that either, since the participants were forced to stick to strictly measured menus.


Anyone who clicks through to that link and reads is going to see that it doesn't "debunk" anything, and is in fact careful not to claim that it does.


Note the bit of GGP I quoted was around the the insulin hypothesis. That supposed connection between insulin from high GI foods causing weight gain (or reducing weight loss), that is what the studies referenced in the article disprove.

"According to the insulin-carbohydrate model, we should have seen an acceleration in the rate of body fat loss when we cut insulin by 50 percent," Hall said. But they didn’t, which he thinks suggests that the regulation of fat tissue storage in the body has to do with more than just insulin levels and their relationship with the carbs we eat.

The new results also echo a previous study of the insulin-carbohydrate model, where Hall found that people who cut fat in their diets have equal or greater body fat loss than those who cut carbs. (Here’s Hall’s new review of the literature on the carb-insulin model of obesity.)

"These studies represent the first rigorous scientific tests of the carb-insulin model in humans," Hall added. "The public needs to understand that this [insulin-carbohydrate] model now has pretty strong evidence against it."


You've conveniently stopped quoting right before the "Can pasta and bread lovers now rejoice?" section detailing the limitations of the study.


(Sorry, I edited my post to clarify. I'm specifically referring to the 'insulin hypothesis', so the rest of the article's ramblings aren't all that relevant).

(And the so-called 'limitations of the study' according to the article, are that it was a controlled, scientific study apparently, yay journalism).


shameless plug: just started a curated newsletter for keto enthusiasts here - https://keto.fm


If you're a pro, you take Deer Antler spray


I stopped reading when I saw this hilarious bad photoshopped first image.


Why would you say so?


The upper part of the door in the background doesn't fit to the lower part.

Addendum: I was wrong with my accusation.


Nonsense. The door is ajar, and the camera isn't in perfect vertical alignment with the door. I just checked this by drawing a line in photoshop. It's a straight line at an angle. And your "broken carpet" looks like a reflection on the carpet trim to me. The tile pattern is also consistent around the "break."

The photo with the line: https://www.dropbox.com/s/v6bxpfedcdeotyg/beforeafter.jpg?dl...


I don't see it.


Look at the first image (beforeafter.jpg), photo on the right (Dec 2016). The corner of the door is over his right shoulder. If you go straight down, it should come out behind him somewhere around the break between his first and second fingers. But it doesn't. The door sticks out below his 3rd finger. If you look below that, the break in the carpet doesn't line up either.

He probably photoshopped his abdomen to make himself appear skinnier, which is a shame. He's made incredible progress, and dishonesty only detracts from the hard work he's obviously put in.


Wow...you're right. Thanks for pointing it out out!




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