I’ve been asked this a few times recently now, so I thought I’d write a short explanation of how I did it.
First off, exercise doesn’t work. You can do press-ups and sit-ups and all the running in the world, and every gram that you lose through your panting and sweating will be regained as soon as you stop to eat, because exercise makes you hungry.
To understand how the body loses weight, you should do a little experiment. Measure your weight just before you sleep at night, then measure again in the morning as soon as you wake up. If you’re overweight like me, you’ll probably lose about 500g. Half a kilogram. (1.1 pounds, for those of you living in a backwards country.)
People lose weight through expiration. You literally breath the weight off you. You don’t poo it out, you don’t sweat it off. In a way, you do piss it out, but mostly you lose weight by breathing.
When fat is used to generate energy, it is broken apart into carbon dioxide and water. 84% of the fat’s weight is expelled through the lungs (the reason you lose weight at night), and 16% is lost through urine.
For the first few months of the year, I followed a pretty simple diet – during the week, have whatever you want for lunch and breakfast, don’t have dinner, and if you’re peckish later in the evening, have some popcorn. For drinks, avoid anything which has lots of calories. I drank a lot of water, and a lot of Coke Zero. On the weekend, eat whatever you feel like.
Also, you must religiously record your weight as soon as you wake up. As soon as. I’ve found that if you wait a few minutes, the act of waking up seems to add grams of weight as you breath in the morning air and absorb it.
Drink a lot of water. I’ve seen recommendations that say that every male should drink 3.7 litres of water a day. Every female, 3.2 litres. Those are crazy numbers. But try to anyway.
Chill the water before drinking. When your body absorbs water, it must be raised to body temperature (37°C). The definition of calorie is “the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1°C”, so to raise 3.7 litres of water from just over freezing to body temperature burns up 136900 calories (or 137kcal).
The standard adult daily calorie intake is 2000kcal.
If you eat normal food, you don’t know how many calories you are consuming. But if you eat a future food such as Jimmy Joy, Huel, Jake, Soylent or any of the other similar all-in-ones that are available, then you know /exactly/ how much you are consuming.
For the last month, I have consumed about 1000kcal of Jimmy Joy per day, popcorn at night to soothe the savage beast, and only the occasional snack in between when I can’t occupy myself with something distracting. My weight has dropped on average about 100g per day because of that.
I said that exercise will not make you lose weight, but I find that a little exercise is enough to get you breathing hard enough that you will lose some weight through breathing (and it also measurably helps your chance of surviving the next few years). Too much, and you’ll be tempted to engorge yourself afterwards, but if you go for a brisk walk (I walk about 1.5 hours every day to/from work), that should be enough. by “brisk”, I mean you should exert a little effort.
If you have any other tips that are backed up by science (don’t talk to me about avocados…), please mention them below.