Via Don Watkins at Anger Management comes this article on people who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for more than five years. I’ve been working on losing weight myself for about the past four months. As of today I’ve lost just under 20 pounds, which takes me to my first medium-term milestone. I haven’t been following any particular diet; I’ve just been using what I refer to as the ‘traditional method’, i.e. eating less and exercising more. (Pretty much every diet program I’ve ever heard of seems to ultimately reduce down to this. Losing weight is kind of like getting rich — the fundamental requirements are simple and obvious, but everybody wants to find a shortcut. To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. To get rich, earn more money and spend less. But I digress.)

The thing I find fascinating about this article is how many of the characteristics common to the “Successful Losers” I seem to have stumbled across on my own. Specifically:

  • No quick fixes. Losing weight is not a project with a completion date. It’s a lifestyle change. I’ve approached it not so much in terms of reducing my weight directly as altering my lifestyle in a way that results in my weighing less.
  • Exercise. It doesn’t even take that much. I’m just putting in about 90 minutes a week on treadmill and exercycle. It’s really just a matter of making the time, systematically and regularly.
  • Weight tracking. I check my weight every day. I consider this a concrete aspect of a larger issue — increasing body awareness. I was really surprised to discover how frequently I was eating when I didn’t need to, once I started paying attention. And now that I’ve stopped doing that, I don’t miss it. Habits can be sneaky little bastards once they’re automatized.

A couple of the other points in the article also map onto my own experience, such as being motivated to start losing weight by hitting an all-time high, and the experience of hitting weight-loss plateaus followed by rapid loss down to another plateau.

As with many things in life, I’ve found that simple focus and willpower is the key ingredient to success. Once the decision to act is made, the action itself is fairly straightforward.

(And speaking of decisions to act, I’ve been meaning to add Don’s blog to the blogroll for about a month. This seems like as good an excuse as any, so in he goes. And while I’m in there, since Eric Raymond has started blogging again he goes back in the blogroll too, along with Belmont Club’s new location and a new Ayn Rand forum I’ve started reading. Whee! Minor site maintenance is fun!)

8 Responses to “Weight Loss”
  1. David Arceneaux says:

    ESR is a real piece of work. He is one of the hacker idols, a legendary computer programmer, so he should be a master of logic and reason, and for the most part, he is. One of his posts develops a theory of free will that strongly resembles the one described in OPAR.

    He is also a pagan libertarian, and his articles suffer for that. He’s the sort that takes the noninitiation of force principle as an axiom. It’s so frustrating.

  2. Kyle Haight says:

    Agreed. But he is an insightful writer on a number of issues, as long as you stay away from deep philosophy. In that regard he reminds me of Steven Den Beste. Solid, logical analysis on derivative issues, but when they start writing about philosophical fundamentals it’s tune-out time.

    I do enjoy my copy of The Hacker’s Dictionary, which Raymond edited, and the work he’s done on the foundations of Open Source is a valuable counterbalance to the ravings of Richard M. Stallman.

  3. ashly says:

    i also agree with you that “eating less and exercising more”. i also think that how much you try weight loss methods, you will not achive results unless you do follow a proper weight loss plan.
    If you need more details check below link:
    Fat loosing Weight Loss Recipes


  4. Tamara Jones says:

    I think that it’s not how much but what kinds of foods are being consumed that make the difference between a healthy adult and an obese patient. I have been working through this in my own life and I can say that what Mr. Haight stresses between eating more healthy and exercising more with calisthenics and weight training is right on the money. There is no problem with eating an abundance of vegetables (avoiding avocado) and lean pieces of meat coupled with exercise to compensate for the caloric intake will not only make one’s body more susceptible for weight-loss, but change the body from being the lazy sod to a burst of energy and power. Thank you for sharing this article and the Washington Post article link. Much appreciated.

  5. Weight Loss says:

    I also agree. Without the proper basics (diet and exercise), you will only get minimal results. However, there are some natural products out there that can help such as the green herbal teas from Japan. Along with proper diet they can help to cleanse the body and stabilize your metabolism to maximise weight loss efforts. Good luck and keep on trying.

  6. Kyle Haight says:

    A bit more than three years since this post, I have an update. Over the first year I lost 75 pounds, at an average rate of about 1.7 pounds per week. That put me at a healthy weight level as measured by BHI. At that point I stopped trying to lose weight and shifted to maintenance mode. In the two+ years since, my weight has been essentially flat, within a five pound range one way or the other, and I don’t see that changing as long as I keep paying attention.

    Overall I’d consider my weight loss project a success, and I’m quite pleased with the results. It can be done, and it’s absolutely worth it.

  7. farhan akhtar says:

    maybe its all about eating everything in moderation. this is what a balanced diet is composed of after all. and as far as exercising is concerned quality not quantity is the name of the game. occassional high intensity weight training and sprints not to mention some stretching, walking and isometrics on the off days will get you there. finally maintenance is the more difficult part since there is always a tendency to backtrack after you have achieved your goal of weight loss. also personality re-form is re-quired since you won’t be the same person after all those pounds have been shed.

  8. Valeria Kelly says:

    Exercise and strict dieting can do magic if you are trying to lose weight. I did a lot of cardio just to lose weight.-;;

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