Last Updated:

A few years ago, I was a fatty:

At my heaviest, I was 104kg (230lbs). And that was 104kg with absolutely no muscle mass (I couldn’t do a single pushup, or a chinup, or a body-weight squat); so I was really, really, really unhealthy.

I told myself enough was enough, and over the next 9 months I lost 35kg (77lbs), dropping down to 69kg (152lbs) at my lightest:

How’d I do it?

Counting Calories

All diets fall into 1 of 2 groups: restrictive diets, and non-restrictive diets. Restrictive diets are the vast majority of diets – the ones that tell you what foods you can eat, and which ones are off limits. Things like keto diet, Zone diet, Atkins diet, vegetarian/vegan diet, MIND diet, Raw food diet, etc.

Non-restrictive diets are still technically restrictive (losing weight is always a factor of restricting how much food you eat) but they don’t restrict which foods you can eat. Examples are IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) and Weight Watchers. Both of these give you a limit to how many calories you can consume (or “points” in the case of Weight Watchers), but as long as you stay within those calories/points, you can eat literally whatever the hell you want.

I know myself; I hate being told what to do and I hate having my freedom limited. I went with a non-restrictive diet, IIFYM. I started off by eating 1500 calories a day, and counted my calories using an app called FatSecret (MyFitnessPal and Cronometer are much better options, I later realised).

I set myself a deadline (gave myself about 9 months to lose the weight) and got to work. Every day I tracked absolutely everything I ate, which becomes very easy after a week or two and barely takes any time at all (a few seconds, a few times a day whenever you eat something).

I also walked a tonne during those 9 months, usually walking for a minimum 4 hours a day but often up to 8hrs a day. My job was also on my feet, and I bought a standing desk so I was never sitting down while at home. I took the stairs all the time instead of elevators. I walked to places instead of taking public transport. I played as much sport as I could, and went to the gym once or twice a week.

All of this was a slow buildup, by the way; I didn’t just start out walking 8hrs a day. It’s much easier to build up a habit slowly – start by walking 30 minutes a day, then an hour, then 2, etc. That way you’re building a habit you’ll easily stick to, instead of relying on motivation and pumping yourself up.

Slowly the weight started to come off, and eventually people started noticing and mentioning it, which was awesome motivation. One of my mates asked what I was eating to lose all the weight. When I told him “Mostly pizza and doughnuts” his face was priceless. “You get to eat pizza and lose weight?”

I wasn’t entirely sensible the whole time. I had a few weeks where I ate 1200cals, a few weeks of 800 cals, and quite a few days where I’d eat literally nothing but lettuce and diet cola, which was less than 500 cals a day. Definitely not something other people should do – it was hell on my body and mind and energy levels.
My body sort of gave up and I could barely function – I spent most of my free time on the couch and had no energy for sports or going to the gym. I lost a lot of weight those 2 weeks (2kg/week) – though I wouldn’t recommend it.

Finally in the last week I had something like 2kg to lose. I went crazy with it, walking 12 hours a day, barely eating anything, pushing myself beyond what I “should” have. On the last day I had a massive 0.8kg left to lose. I literally ate nothing the entire day, dehydrated myself, I even shaved my head bald and shaved my legs to get the last tiny little bit of weight off. I must have weighed myself like 50 times that day, I was so desperate to hit my goal.

Finally, at about 10pm that night, with only a few hours left to go in the day I hit my goal of 69kg.

The Takeaway

If you’ve got a little weight to lose, or maybe a lot of weight to lose, it’s definitely possible. Make it your number 1 goal and you’ll absolutely succeed. It’s not even really that hard – as long as you count your calories and log absolutely everything you eat (even condiments), you can eat whatever the hell you want as long as you don’t go over your daily calories.

Start right this second – just download MyFitnessPal/one of the other apps, and start recording your calories.