I’ve gone through a few transformations in my life. When people see me, they likely see a tall, pasty, dorky dude with smudged glasses dressed in sweats and typically hiding in a baseball hat. Three years ago if you saw me it would have been in a button down shirt with sleeves that don’t quite fit my 6’4” height and pleated dress pants that could be a hand-me-down from my grandfather.
Rewind even further, to high school, and I was a foot shorter and weighed the same. Even my school principal called me cherub. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional bullying, but holy shit that can do a lot to a kids mental image of himself. It did for me.
So when I eventually hit puberty in college (yeah I was a late bloomer) I grew 10” and actually lost a little weight. But I was from then on, what I call, “skinny-fat”. I looked skinny with my clothes on but if you put my in a swimsuit you can see all my fat. I never really lost my spare tire around my waist. So…yeah…whatever I’m an adult now and Dad-bods are cool. Even the skinny-fat ones. Or so I tell myself. And I have a girlfriend who is apparently attracted to me so I’m doing something right.
Anyway… Back on topic… I recently went on vacation with Grace to Jamaica. This was our first actual solo vacation together. Super romantic. Treehouse above the sea. Like…holy moly this could be a honeymoon. And then I tried on my swimsuit.
Tried on my other swimsuit.
Thank goodness I had a backup XL swimsuit that I accidentally bought from lululemon on their markdown rack because I was about to spend my vacation in sweatpants. That was the moment I realized that I may have picked up a little bit of “happy weight” in the 3 years Grace and I have been together. Accepting was step one and dealing was step 2.
When we got back from Jamaica I weighed myself at 228 lbs. This was close to the heaviest I have ever been. Grace and I, along with our newly acquired roommate (her twin sister Sophie) put a plan together to go through a transformation together. The rules were simple.
1. Stop eating out – we typically ate out 2-3 meals per day. This was going to need to be the biggest transformation.
2. Workout 3x per week minimum
3. Throw away any foods in the house that may tempt us.
4. NO SNACKS WITH CALORIES
Ok. I know what you’re thinking. “Tom, this article says ‘how you ate out and lost 32 lbs’ I am already 6 paragraphs in and now you’re saying rule number one is don’t eat out”. Here is the deal. I can’t not eat out. I just can’t do it. I love it way way too much. I love good tasting food. I love the atmosphere and I love the company you can enjoy while out to eat. So yeah. I broke rule number one on day number 1.
Well…yeah. I ramble a lot. So let me just prove it first.
I had 42 days of dieting and I lost 32 lbs. There is no secret to how this happened. Dietitians/nutritionists please look away now. What I’m talking about has nothing to do with health – it has only to do with how you lose weight.
I did some math and determined I could eat about 800 calories per day to reach my goal. If I wanted to eat more, I would need to add in exercise. Pretty simple stuff when you think about it. “But Tom, that’s not healthy” – Don’t get me started and don’t lecture me. I’m not an elite athlete needing to manage my micros and macros. I’m a skinny fat guy who wants to lose weight quickly.
Nearly every restaurant has a low calorie option. You just need to be able to find it and sift through all of the “healthy” options to get to it. If your goal is weight-loss, don’t confuse “healthy” with “low calorie”. Even salads can be LOADED with calories if you aren’t careful. So what I learned to look for was a small portion of protein and a small serving of veggies. That was until I found the holy grail of diet foods in the most unlikely place.
Lincoln’s Haberdashery is known for its house baked breads, gourmet ice creams, beer and wine selections and mouth watering sandwiches. It also happens to be pretty close to where I live. You’re not ordering many things on this menu for less than 1000 calories (I have no evidence to support this – it’s a matter of speaking). But that was until I discovered the “came together”. What’s that you ask? Sounds dirty! It’s basically just chicken and egg whites with a tasty green salsa on top with avocado and tomatoes added that I never ate.
“But Tom that doesn’t sound that amazing”. Well that’s because I’m not a food blogger or a great writer to begin with. Go taste it and let’s talk. You will thank me.
I ate at Lincoln’s 4-5 times per week, never changing my order. The staff and management at Lincoln’s quickly got to know (put up with) me and knew my order simply by walking in the door. They eventually learned to just stop giving me the tomatoes and avocado and to put a little extra salsa on because I am a basic B like that.
So an average day would look pretty simple. An egg white omelette made with some veggies mixed in for breakfast. TONS of Diet Coke throughout the day. Lots and lots of 0 calorie pickles. And then a really nice early dinner at Lincolns.
The weight just poured off of me.
I drank as much 0 calorie fluids throughout the day as I could. Sometimes finishing a 12-pack of diet cherry coke in a single day. I’ve built 3ft towers out of the cans stacked on my desk…yeah ok I’m a slob and I guess I should be ashamed. But really people are quicker to shame me for the Diet Coke and not the cans. 0 calories is 0 calories (or technically less than 5). This means it’s effectively the same as water.
Moral of the story. I ate around 1000 calories per day and added about 200-400 calories worth of exercise daily putting me at my deficit goal. It bothers me when people tell me “oh well you’re a boy you lose weight so easily”. The hardest part for me was convincing my body I didn’t NEED to eat so much. After the first week, I barely felt hungry. The Diet Coke kept me full while the pickles gave me something with a crunch to chew on. Lincoln’s gave me everything I craved.
I treated myself and checked off all of my needs. Because of this, I didn’t need to cheat. I didn’t need to eat a pizza or binge at Taco Bell because my needs were met every day.
So – what am I saying? I don’t really know. I guess that’s the point. There is no “secret” to weight-loss. I literally ate out on most days of this diet and still shed 32 lbs. Find what works for you. Also remember that weight-loss and health/nutrition are not the same thing! Losing weight this quickly CAN be very unhealthy – but also carrying a significant amount of extra weight can also be even more unhealthy. Before you start any diet or exercise you should absolutely talk to a Doctor first!
If you are looking for a treat and/or a cheat… try Lincolns Haberdashery – order the “came together” and tell them Tom sent you. (They may just look at you funny and wonder who the fu*k tom is…but its worth a shot).