I lost 40lbs in 3 Months Walking Around Livingston County

Ted Rivers

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When it came down to it, I found losing weight to be rather easy. I’ve said I wanted to lose weight since I was 16. However, I never made much progress, instead, my weight steadily increased as I got older.

I’d tried going to the gym but with little to no guidance I never got anywhere — I didn’t know what I was doing. I tried going on diets, but life at university was full of temptations.

Eventually, I resigned myself to the idea that my metabolism was just bad and I was never going to do it.

I always enjoyed reading about people’s weight loss success. Resources like the Obese To Beast Youtube channel were inspiring. Stories about people significantly more overweight than me dropping hundreds of pounds filled me with joy.

I started to follow the r/progresspics page on Reddit. This was a turning point for my own journey. This subreddit is full of ordinary people reaching their weight loss goals daily. Holy shit.

The most amazing thing about seeing before and after pictures is people’s smiles. Check out the subreddit to see what I mean.

Information Overload

The generous people on this subreddit share how they started and what worked for them. It is a veritable gold mine of information on losing weight. The type of people varies as well, people trying to cut, bulk, or overhaul their entire body shape.

The most exciting part was seeing people who posted pictures who were my age, height, and a similar weight. They were literally showing me my own potential after the picture.

The one thing all posts have in common is a simple phrase.

If I can do it so can you.

They all mean it because everyone thinks they can’t at the start. Just like how I felt because nothing had worked before. People posting to this board all had different goals and achieved them at different times.

This highlights one of the most important lessons you need to know before you start losing weight.

There is no timeframe.

Everyone’s body is different and if you expect your own journey to mimic someone else’s you will only be disappointed. It’s also not a race, by losing too much weight too quickly you can cause yourself harm. I lost 40lbs in 3 months, that’s a lot but I was morbidly obese.

If you’re lighter than me, you should expect your first 3 months to be more reserved. I’ll explain this more shortly.

Identifying My Problem Areas

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I had a newfound desire to try and lose weight again, this time I wanted to succeed. I collated some of the best advice I could find on the subreddit and came up with a plan.

The first thing I needed to do was figure out my stumbling blocks. These were the reasons I felt I was failing to lose weight:

  • Low energy — I don’t have a lot of excess energy, so when it comes to trying to go for a run I struggled to find the motivation. I needed something low impact.
  • Buying food — Whenever I go shopping to buy food for the week I get very overwhelmed and make poor choices. I needed a solution to get me cooking whole foods.
  • Work hours — I work 10 hours a day from 11am till 9pm. The hours made it hard to find the time.
  • Depression — I’ve been dealing with depression for a long time. I’d developed a binge eating disorder because of this. The solution needed to address this.
  • Gym newbie — I had no idea what I was doing at the gym. All I knew is that I wanted weightlifting to be a part of this journey.

These were the things holding me back, or the things that would lead me to eat rubbish food. Your stumbling blocks might be completely different. I encourage you to jot them down and have a plan to deal with them.

How to Start

With my problem areas identified it was time to work on my plan. I had lofty goals, I needed to lose 80–100lbs to be within my ideal weight range.

The first thing I did was to work out my total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). You take your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and adjust it depending on your daily exercise levels. Your TDEE is the maintenance calorie level you need to stay the same weight.

Here are my stats:

Age: 29
Gender: Male
Weight: 269lbs
Height: 6 foot
BMR: 2223 calories per day
TDEE: 2668 calories per day.

Since I worked at the office for 10 hours a day, most of my time is spent sitting down. I selected my exercise as sedentary, but there are other options if you have a more demanding job.

The next thing I did was learn about macros — the nutrients that make up our food. I had two goals, to lose weight and to gain muscle so I needed to up my protein intake significantly.

There are three types of macros:

  • Protein
  • Carbs
  • Fats

Many diets focus on cutting out carbs or fats as a way to lose weight. Let me tell you now, these fad diets are not worth your time. Both carbs and fats should be an essential part of your weight loss journey.

What you need to do is be more considered in the foods that you choose. Brown bread is better than white bread. Going to the butchers for meat is better than going to McDonald’s.

I tried to follow a diet that had a 40/30/30 split. 40% of my calories would come from protein. Carbs and fats would be around 30% each. Weight lifting was going to be a major part of my life going forward. The increased protein would help my muscles recover and grow.

You need to burn 3500 to lose one pound. The best medical advice suggests that you lose no more than 2lb per week. So to do this you should create a calorie deficit of between 3500–7000, aka, 500–1000 calories per day.

You can choose to do this through what you eat, how much exercise you do, or a mixture of both.

As you can probably guess I lost weight at a significantly higher rate than this. At the end of 3 months, if I had lost 2lbs my total would have been 24lb. That’s almost half of my actual total — so was I being reckless?

No.

Your first couple of weeks of weight loss are likely to see more weight loss than you expect. That’s because you lose water weight when you’re first in a deficit. Since I was morbidly obese, the first two weeks lead to a significant drop in weight.

What I Did to Lose 40lbs

Now we’re getting the juicy stuff — what exactly I did to lose all that weight.

I’d done my research properly, I now knew exactly how weight loss works and what I needed to do. I even started to feel confident in my knowledge of the gym.

Walking

I started walking a lot more. Walking is an amazing way to lose weight because of its low impact. Walking can be even more effective than running. There’s no real barrier to entry and you can go for a lot longer.

I stopped getting taxi’s to work and instead walked the 40-minute journey there and the same on the way back. This easily added 600 calories to my TDEE. I walked on my break — another 400. On my days off I’d go for long walks, regularly hitting 30,000 steps.

I ended up falling in love with walking, it’s easy to push yourself harder as well. You can speed up, or walk up hills, which burns even more calories.

There was so much to see and experience around Livingston County that I had never seen before. I didn't stick to my hometown of Leicester, I got out and I saw it all. You never really stop to appreciate the beauty of your surroundings until you get out there and live it.

If you’re looking to lose some weight but you don’t want to start running, just walk instead. You will need to set some time aside to do this, to really make progress you should aim for 10,000 steps a day. This took me around 90 minutes to achieve.

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Lifting Heavy Things

Lifting weights is among the best things you can do to lose weight. I knew I needed to incorporate strength training to help with my strength and definition.

The effects of strength training on weight loss is thought to be even better than cardio. Compound movements are the holy grail of weight lifting for losing weight and gaining muscle. I joined a 24-hour gym and went after work, the gym was on the way home making it easy to convince myself to go.

Using Brad Newton’s advice I put together a routine that saw me go to the gym 3 days a week. I would do a push, pull, legs split and the results were obvious immediately. I was stronger, I could feel my muscles and the weight was dropping off.

You use a lot of energy when lifting heavy objects, so weight lifting helps you burn calories while you do it. However, there’s a hidden benefit of lifting weights called the afterburn effect.

On the days following your workout, your body is hard at work repairing the tissue damage, which involves increased oxygen flow. While in afterburn your body is burning more calories than it usually would. So by lifting weights on Monday, your TDEE on Tuesday and Wednesday will be higher.

Another benefit of lifting weights is that it builds muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat is. This means that the more muscle you have the more calories you burn as a standard.

Meal Boxes

To address my issues with buying food I decided to join up to a meal box service. Instead of trying to find recipes online, write a shopping list, and buy the food, it would all be sent to me. Shopping trips were always very difficult, I don’t really care for frozen food but I don’t know that much about cooking.

When I went shopping I’d always end up feeling overwhelmed and I’d fall back on ordering food instead. Not only was this disastrous for my wallet, but it led to significant weight gain.

I liked cooking, it was the pre-cooking stuff I was rubbish out. By signing up for a meal box service I completely eliminated this issue from my life. I just logged in once a week and selected a bunch of meals. The next week everything I needed was there.

I now eat whole foods, nothing processed. The food is varied and guaranteed to be delicious. There’s no more decision fatigue, I’m quite fussy so there is usually only a small selection for me to choose from.

The service I use is Gousto, this an affiliate link that gets us both money off. If you’re feeling inspired, go and take a look!

One Meal A Day

One meal a day (OMAD) is a type of fasting that restricts your eating window to 1 hour. That means for 23 hours a day you don’t eat anything at all. It’s quite extreme and is certainly not for everyone.

Fasting is thought by some to be quite good for you. So is OMAD. When I first heard of this diet from r/progresspics I was skeptical. Only 1 hour a day to eat, that seemed crazy.

I first started with a simpler intermittent fasting, the 16/8 diet. This allows for an 8-hour window which seemed much more manageable. The issue was my working hours made it kind of hard to plan properly.

I decided to try OMAD because it was very simple to follow. It also meant I didn’t have to worry about overeating. I could plan my daily calories to the letter as I wouldn’t be eating anything else.

The first few days were hard, but after that, the OMAD diet is surprisingly tolerable. I found myself able to focus better throughout the day, as I knew when I would be eating. Before I never had much of a plan and would just eat when I was hungry.

OMAD meant that I didn’t have to worry about the kind of foods I was eating. I was careful to get approximately my 40/30/30 split, but I didn’t have to too obsessive about it.

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Weighed Myself Daily

The last thing I did that helped me achieve my 40lb in 3 months was weighing myself every day. I did this because of my need to see progress. I look at myself in the mirror and I can’t see any difference. Despite being a t-shirt size down and two sizes smaller around my waist.

The man in the mirror looks the same as he ever did. To avoid giving up too early I weighed myself every morning. This helped me to monitor my progress and if things were going in the wrong direction I knew to act.

There are some things to be mindful of if you decide to do this too — the scales don’t tell the full story. Fluctuations in your weight happen all the time because of a variety of factors. If you have too much salt one day, you’ll be retaining more water.

You might have overeaten on one day, but it didn’t show on the scales for a couple of days. You’re fat loss and muscle gain might overlap. The point is, not to obsess over what the scale says, even if its the wrong thing for days at a time.

To gauge a more accurate view of your weight loss, take the individual scores for a week, and find the mean. You should just use this as another motivational tool. Don’t take it too personally.

Half Way to the Goal

I got halfway to my goal within 3 months, which is faster than I thought I would. I know that the next half will take a lot longer, there is no way I can lose weight at the same pace. That’s okay though, I want to be as healthy as possible during this process.

Here is a look at the weight loss I posted each week.

  • Week 1–268.6lbs
  • Week 2–259lbs — Down 9.6lbs — 9.6lbs
  • Week 3–251.2lbs — Down 7.8lbs — 17.4lbs
  • Week 4–248.2lbs — Down 3lbs — 20.4lbs
  • Week 5–247.2lbs — Down 1lbs — 21.4lbs
  • Week 6–243.8lbs — Down 3.4lbs — 24.8lbs
  • Week 7–240.8lbs — Down 3lbs — 27.8lbs
  • Week 8–240.2lbs — Down 0.6lbs — 28.4lbs
  • Week 9–237.9lbs — Down 2.3lbs — 30.7lbs
  • Week 10–235.7lbs — Down 2.2lbs — 32.9lbs
  • Week 11–232.7lbs — Down 3lbs — 35.9lbs
  • Week 12–229.1lbs — Down 3.6lbs — 39.5lbs

On average I lost 3.6lbs a week, but as you can see the first two weeks were highly irregular. I lost a lot of weight during this time, but it was down to the water weight and my body readjusting. If we remove the first two weeks, on average I lost 2.5lbs per week.

That’s about the sweet spot for someone of my weight. Although 1–2lbs is recommending, the more you way, the more you can lose. Now that I am at the halfway point I would expect my weight loss to be between 1–2lbs.

I’m going to continue to increase my muscle mass while trying to maintain a steady fat loss. I expect to reach my ultimate goal weight in the next 6–9 months. At which point I will assess whether I need to bulk again to put on more muscle.

The Takeaways

Here’s my advice for anyone who’s looking to lose weight, whether you have a significant amount to lose or not.

  1. Do your research. Use r/progresspics to find inspiration. Look for people with a similar build to you. Learn from them.
  2. Find an exercise that works for you. For me, it was walking and lifting weights. You might enjoy sports like football, or tennis. Incorporate that into your plan.
  3. Don’t rely on the scales. They don’t tell you the full story. Use it only as a guide and trust your body to know what it is doing.
  4. Remove your stumbling blocks. Think about where you have failed before. Was there something that triggered it?
  5. Build on your success. Once you start getting fitter, increase the intensity to keep your body moving.
  6. Eat properly. You can treat yourself, don’t feel like you can’t. However, the bulk of your food should come from whole foods.
  7. Don’t give up. The scales won’t always say what you want. You won’t always feel like it. It’s okay if you give in for a day, or a week, or a month. Just don’t give up.

The last thing I can say is to just get started. Go for a week, order a meal box, lift a stack of magazines. Literally, anything will help you lose weight. Calories can be burned just by swinging your arms around.

Oh and one more thing.

If I can do it, so can you.

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