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Dan Nied’s Fortress of Weight Loss: Day 55

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Starting weight: 299 pounds
Last weigh-in (Feb. 14): 275.2
Total pounds lost: 23.8
Pounds until 240: 35.2

Meal 1
2 cups of corn flakes (generic)
1 ½ cup of skim milk
Calories: 320
Fat: 0 grams

Meal 2
2 slices of wheat bread
4 slices of lowfat turkey
Calories: 240
Fat: 8 grams

Meal 3
1 footlong Subway Club
Calories: 640
Fat:12 grams

Meal 4
1 small bag of pretzels
Calories: 160
Fat: 0 grams

Meal 5
1 cup of lowfat yogurt
Calories: 200
Fat: 2.5 grams

Meal 6
2 cups of corn flakes (generic)
1 ½ cup of skim milk
Calories: 320
Fat: 0 grams

Total Calories: 1,880
Total Fat:
22.5 grams

My take: I think it is kind of funny how you can think you are having a perfect day, but then add all the calories up and see that you were a little over what you were comfortable with. Certainly, 1,900 calories isn’t a bad day at all, but ideally, I’d like to be around 1,500. That yogurt in Meal 5 kind of threw me off. It was offered by a coworker and I was hungry and nearing the end of my shift, so I grabbed it. It was, however, “organic.” I think that means no one shit in it. I’m not really sure. I don’t get into the whole organic foods craze.

Still, not a bad day overall.

I suppose if there is one thing that is bothering me, it is my semi-flippant attitude toward this entire project.

I take it seriously, don’t misunderstand that. But basically, it seems like I have simply flipped a switch, and turned on the “Healthy Dan” persona. I have to admit, I am not particularly laboring over this entire endeavor. It doesn’t seem like a real challenge to me. I look at it like this: I want to get down to 240, so give me a few months and I will do just that.

It’s not a bad way to look at it, I suppose. But I can’t help but feel that I should be scrutinizing this a little bit more. I should be continuously working on finding new things to eat and new exercises to do. Instead, I recycle the same meals every day, perhaps in a slightly different order. At the gym, I routinely do my 30 minutes on the elliptical machine and head home feeling happy with myself. It’s dutiful, it’s habitual, and it’s pretty damn efficient.

It seems I have worked out a very nice balance for myself. Losing weight, in my mind at least, used to mean eating things I didn’t really want, and doing exercises that I didn’t really want to do. But now I look forward to just about every meal I eat, because I know what I like. When I go to the gym, I know that 30 minutes on the elliptical burns 500 calories, and I can do it with relative ease and even some enjoyment.

I’m not saying it shouldn’t be like that, but what my current attitude allows me is the chance to do the bare minimum and still report back to the blog with triumph and pride. But is that really enough? What kind of trail am I blazing here if I don’t make a real effort to shake things up now and again?

At this point, the only real information I am offering you is this: Losing weight is about burning more calories than you eat, and you have to find the program that works best for you.

While I truly believe those are the most important aspects of any weight-loss plan, I also think I should be digging a little deeper here. Shouldn’t this become a total body overhaul instead of just a weight-loss plan? Shouldn’t I strive to change my actual body type instead of just making a smaller version of my current body type?

Here’s the thing. I’ve looked at myself naked in the mirror many times now. Losing another 35 pounds will not totally get rid of my gut. Sorry to say, but that thing is with me until I really do something about it. It might get smaller, and it might fit more comfortably inside my shirts, but it will still be there hanging over my belt even when I am at 240.

I’ve dealt with that problem in the back of my mind already. My plan, as it stands now, is to lose the weight first and then start working on my overall body. In my mind, the day I sign off on this blog is the day I head to the gym and start hitting the weights. I know it sounds logical, but I know myself well enough to say that it is simply an excuse to get away with only doing cardio right now. You could say that it is my “Fat Dan” tendencies sticking with me even as I try to physically shed that image.

In more clear terms, it is me being lazy, which is how I got to be fat in the first place. Though I take a bit of offense to the statement, I think Jacob had a point in yesterday’s post when he said this seems like I am “just eating healthier a few days per week.” Ultimately, that is true. Look at the patterns here: I usually don’t go a full week without a planned off-day, and I have allowed myself to screw up before those off-days arrive, at which point I have to tear up the original plan and start something new.

The most fraudulent thing about that chain of events is that I, as a large man, can afford to do that and still meet my expected goal. But for a normal person who is just trying to lose that last 20 pounds, that would spell disaster. So who am I really writing for, here? I’ve said before that I only care about my own progress in this, but I don’t know if that’s really true. If I serve as inspiration to anyone, I am truly thankful for that. But I can’t really be an inspiration unless I offer myself fully to this project.

In so many ways it is unfair to anyone who reads this regularly. I have this entire thing on cruise control, and that’s not inspiring to anyone. Sure, if I continue on this current path, I will get down to 240 eventually, but I’ll have done it with no imagination and a mind closed off to the progressive thinking of people who have offered me advice. (By the way, Purple Tigress, I haven’t heard from you in a while. Please come back and comment.)

There’s no real conclusion to draw here, just an examination of what is happening with this. On one hand, I am doing just fine for me. On the other, I am cheating anyone who has kept track of this blog, and who might want to try something like this one day.


From: Norris Hill
Comments: The secret to losing weight is to exercise. People who subject themselves to dieting often lose weight at first, but put it all back on later. Here's a good video to explain it all: www.wayneandgary.com. You just can't cut out eating and expect to keep weight off. You need to turn fat into muscle. That's my view, at least.

The video is actually pretty entertaining, and I suggest you check it out since it made me laugh. I think Norris (which is a sweet first name), makes a very salient point, but I somewhat disagree. Working out is imperative to any serious body-alteration, and I have certainly had my struggles with that fact.

But I also think that people can lose weight effectively just by reducing their calories. I think the people that regain weight do so because they aren’t committed to the long-term process. When people say “I have to lose weight” many times they are thinking more about the short-term benefits. In reality, it is quite easy to lose weight, enjoy the lost weight for a few months, revert to your old eating ways under the guise of success, and put the pounds back on.

But if that same person adjusted accordingly, and continued to track their calories even after hitting the desired goal, then they would have the ability to maintain their weight through strategic eating. Working out is not required for that.

But it sure fucking helps.

From: Walt Milam
Comments: WEIGHT LOSS:
(My) Diet began 12/17/07. My age is 72, weight 240, height 5'8", male, BMI 37 Today is 2/8/08, day 54, weight 215 and BMI 33. I am retired, do not exercise, watch TV and take it easy. If I get hungry, I eat protein (ham, beef patty, chicken, fish, salami, nuts, deviled eggs, and etc.). This satisfies my hunger pains. If I include enough protein in each meal, I am rarely hungry. I have enjoyed this diet, except for the sugar, bread and pasta that I gave up. I recommend you read GOOD CALORIES, BAD CALORIES by GARY TAUBES. He is a science writer, who has researched most all studies on diet and has come to a different diet solution.

Obviously, this is a variation of the Atkins diet which, in principle, I love. And hey, if this is working for Walt, and he has a real commitment to it, then way to go. I know plenty of people who have succeeded at the Atkins diet, but I know no one who has stuck with it for more than a few months. When the late, great Dr. Atkins told us that we could lose tons of weight by eating pounds of red meat we hailed him (rightly) as a goddamn genius. In fact, we were cheering so loudly, that we couldn’t hear the tiny caveat to his whole plan: You have to do this for life or else the weight will come back.

Now, I love beef patties, salami, nuts, eggs and ham, but I also love pasta and bread. I am not willing to make that trade, at least not for the super long term.

But still, this is a prime example of finding the method that works best for you. One thing I can say is that Walt, a 72-year old man who does not exercise, lost a lot more weight than I did over roughly the same time period. And if he can sustain that method, then more power to him.

One last thing here. I realized that I unintentionally deleted the final line of Jacob’s comment yesterday. So I figured I would rerun the comment in full so you can get the effect of that last line, in which he makes his whole point:

From: Jacob
Comments: Best I can tell you rarely exercise, plan on days of eating bad, and eat bad on unplanned days. This really isn't a diet as much as it seems to be you eating a little healthier a few days a week. Of course you are going to lose a few pounds by cutting some calories due to the fact that you burn so many calories by simply being such a large man. Also, how can you say you are going to only weigh in once a week because multiple weigh-ins mess with your head? Then you weigh in just as much but call them "unofficial weigh ins". How is that any different? You seem to be determined to lose weight, but have absolutely no will power.

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About Dan Nied

  • I think you burn more calories with intermittent but consistent self-flagellation (not the good kind).
    Yeah, you’re lucky that you can ho-hum your way to weight loss. But, I expect that will change when you get within 15 pounds of your goal weight. Bodies love homeostasis and will try to keep you at 255-260 if you’ve been overweight for a while. So if you start to stall, then you can step it up. But if you can make your goal weight without busting your ass, why not? You are making a lifestyle change. Maybe you’ll keep the “healthy Dan” persona this time. I’m jealous AND inspired.