Someone asked me about my recent weight loss and how it was accomplished.
In truth, many people have asked me about my recent weight loss, but just one person this week—last night.
I understand the question. Since January 1, 2023, I’ve lost 36 pounds, which is admittedly a lot of weight over seven months. But let me be clear that weight loss methods are my own. I am not implying that simply following my method will produce similar results, nor does anyone require any results.
You be you.
Also, everyone is different. Age, sex, metabolism, and an endless number of additional factors make me different than you, so what works for me may have no impact on you.
But in answer to this frequently asked question, “How did you manage to lose so much weight so quickly?” here is my response:
In December of 2022, I was riding my indoor exercise bike and chatting with my son, Charlie. I rode for about 45 minutes, and Charlie talked with me most of that time. As he walked away with about five minutes left on my ride, it occurred to me:
“It shouldn’t be so easy to talk to Charlie while I exercise.”
I was exercising every day. Some days more than once. My exercise amounted to bike riding – indoor and outdoor, depending on the weather and my schedule – plus daily push-ups, sit-ups, and planks. I also walk the golf course and carry my bag when the weather is good, and I walk a lot and am on my feet for much of the day.
But as I reflected on how easily I had conversed with Charlie, I realized that none of my workouts were especially strenuous.
Yes, I was pedaling, but I was hardly panting. Rarely working up a sweat.
Even my push-ups and sit-ups had become relatively easy. I was able to bang out sets of 25 with ease.
“If you’re going to exercise,” I told myself, “it should be hard. You shouldn’t be able to so easily talk to Charlie while working out.”
I decided that beginning in 2023, I would make my exercise count. Whenever I was riding my bike, I would work like hell. I would make every workout as strenuous, challenging, and painful as possible.
If I was going to spend 30-45 minutes exercising every day, I would make that time as impactful as possible.
I also altered my push-up and sit-up routine, moving from 25 to 50 per set. This turned out to be too ambitious. I could do four sets of 50 sit-ups, but more than one set of 50 push-ups was impossible unless I spaced them further apart. So push-ups became six sets of 30 instead of four sets of 50.
Still, I worked like hell.
My bike ride instantly transformed from leisurely rides to breakneck hellscapes. I breathe hard, sweat a lot, and suffer mightily. I push myself relentlessly for the entire time I spend on the bike, and when I’m not listening to music, I am watching something on my iPad to inspire me:
The Netflix documentary “Drive to Survive.” Movies like the John Wick and Mission Impossible franchises. Any film or TV show wherein the protagonist must battle hordes of evildoers, survive unimaginable odds, and win the big game.
But that’s it. I didn’t change anything about my diet. I still eat the same foods in the same portions. Cheeseburgers and Egg McMuffins and pasta. Healthy foods, too. But essentially the same diet as I was eating last year, though exercise admittedly lowers my appetite, so I am less likely to crave a snack after exercising.
I also often ride the bike twice daily now, 20-40 minutes at a time. Despite the effort required and the burning in my legs, it’s become something I like a lot. It no longer feels like something I need to do. I’m no longer killing time. Instead, I’m doing something great. Spending my time wisely. Achieving results.
And I feel great after every workout. Better than ever before.
Again, this does not mean that simply leveling up your exercise regime will cause you to lose 36 pounds. Everyone is different. But I believe that small, sustainable changes, repeated over time, can lead to extraordinary results.
Six years ago, my cholesterol was slightly elevated at 206. My doctor offered me medication but said I might be able to lower it through diet. Wanting to avoid taking daily meds, I asked what I should eat.
Oatmeal was on the list of foods that could help, so every single workday for a year, I ate oatmeal without exception. I changed nothing else except for this one small thing. When I returned to the doctor a year later, my cholesterol was down to 158.
She was shocked. “How did you do it?”
“Oatmeal,” I told her. “I eat it five days a week for lunch and sometimes on the weekend, too.”
Six years later, I continue eating oatmeal for lunch every day at work and sometimes at home. My cholesterol remains low, and I have managed to avoid medication of any kind.
Will this work for you?
Maybe. I also have friends who are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol. They could eat oatmeal three times a day and still require medication.
Again, I am different than you. What works for me may not work for you.
But small changes, repeated over time? That strategy can work for everyone, and the results are often extraordinary.
You may choose to change something entirely different. Your goals might also be different. But small, repeatable changes stretched out over long periods of time can make a huge difference.
That is how I lost weight and continue to lose weight.
It’s how I lowered my cholesterol and kept it low.
It’s also how I write books:
One sentence at a time. A small change, repeatedly made again and again until my book is finally finished.
Don’t try to do everything. Don’t try to do it all. Don’t look for giant leaps or overnight successes.
Small changes. Repeated again and again.
That’s what did it for me.