• Introducing Image Options for ResetEra 2.0! Check the left side navigation bar to show or hide images, avatars, covers, and embedded media. More details at the link.

Weight Loss Challenge 8: Not Sorry For Your Loss

Oct 25, 2017
Hey you! Yes, you! Do you dream of a trimmer, fitter you, one who is healthier, stronger, more confident, better looking and for whom every little thing is slightly easier? You can make that person replace you in the mirror and be your representative in everyday life! Live longer. Live better!

It will take some work - you will need to permanently change your lifestyle to match that of the fitter, trimmer you, lest the weight come right back. It will take some time, but if you stick with it and depending on where you started, you will get comments within weeks, will notice big changes yourself within months and completely transform your body within a year.

The average person can sustainably lose about 1kg / 2lb per week while remaining healthy and without losing too much muscle mass. If you’re starting heavy and have more weight to lose, this can increase to around 1% of your body weight per week, though any faster than that and you may have issues with nutrition. With a year being 52 weeks long, some of you could potentially lose upwards of 50kg / 100lb. That is a life-changing amount of weight loss.

You just need to get started. Join Era’s 12 week challenge and start the ball rolling.

The Rules

In order to officially participate in the challenge and be in the running for prizes, you must sign up prior to the kickoff date, which is Friday the 26th of April in your local time zone. Having no practical way of tracking where you are though, you will have until the last moment of Friday the 26th of April anywhere on Earth to sign up. As soon as the clock strikes midnight in American Samoa, that’s it.

You sign up by posting your weight in this thread (no need for a picture) before the sign-up due date:

I plan to keep track of your progress via this spreadsheet.

As you go along, I’ll ask you to check in at least once a week with an update. It doesn’t have to be in any particular format, but please make your current weight clear (don’t make me do decimal subtractions in my head) so I can use it to update the spreadsheet. I won’t make this mandatory and you can do this as much or as little as you want, but it will go nicer if you are able to check in and participate in the conversation here every once in a while. If we can make a little community in this thread, this challenge will be easier for all of us.

I will also encourage you to take a photo of yourself as you are right now, with all your bumps and imperfections. This photo isn’t for sharing (unless you want to) - it’s for you to look back on when you’ve gotten through this challenge. It will serve as your starting point and, hopefully, your inspiration to keep going once you’ve shed some of the unwanted weight. This way, if you’re ever feeling down, you can compare it with the trimmer version of you that appears in the mirror each morning, remind yourself of what you’ve accomplished and tell yourself “I’ve got this.”

If you want to know what a year of relatively relaxed weight loss looks like, here’s mine:

Back to the rules.

There are two categories to compete in:
• Most weight lost by percentage body weight
• Most weight lost in absolute terms

The winner of the last challenge in either category is ineligible to be named this time around, and past winners going forward will be ineligible for first place honours, though I will give them kudos. Congratulations to our weight loss champions!:

Challenge 7: Toytown Assassin & DrSlek
Challenge 6: Nezumi & Guerilla
Challenge 5: Baby Snakes & GMM
Challenge 4: digitalrelic & Rahvar
Challenge 3: Dahellisdat & Troublematic
Challenge 2: Dhruv_Hanom & Kor of Memory
Challenge 1: FRANKEINSTEIN & DanChop12

If the same person wins both categories, that person wins the prize for most weight loss by percentage. The prize for most weight lost in absolute terms will go to the second place entrant in that category and so on.

If there is a tie in either category, the prize will default to the person with the lower starting weight. This is because it is harder to lose weight the closer you get to ideal. It may be harder to get started, but the weight does come off faster if you have more to lose.

You have until 11:59pm UTC+12 (American Samoa Time) on Friday the 19th of July to post your final weigh-ins. Final weigh-ins will need to be made some time during the final week. I will advise to start making your entries in the days leading up to the end “official” so that if you can’t make it to a computer or your phone on the last day you at least have a valid entry in before the deadline. I will take the last entry you post before the deadline as the official one.

One final thing - I reserve the right to disqualify you if I have reason to suspect that you are cheating or endangering your own health. This thread is about encouraging you to live better. If I feel you are not engaging with the spirit of the competition, or getting carried away, I will give you a warning, but only once. This is not something I will do lightly. Take care of yourselves and watch out for one another, please.

The Prize

Pats on the back and eternal glory on our growing wall of fame!

The real winner in this challenge though, is the person who, through this challenge, takes control of their health, sticks with it and changes their life. That’s you, I hope.
Oct 25, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions

To preface, I’ve put the following together based on a combination of Internet research, lurking the Fitness thread and my own experiences. It presents a very simplified view on how weight loss works and basically everything I’m saying needs to come with a lot of caveats that makes this clear. I am not a trained expert and some of the information in here may be wrong. I fully acknowledge this, but also stand by my overall approach because it has worked for me to the tune of ~20kg/40lb lost since 2017.

Nutrition and fitness are two things people get very passionate about and it is easy for disagreements to get heated. If I made a mistake in this FAQ, I’m happy to fix it, but please show your receipts and be civil.

Q1. This system doesn’t seem very secure. Couldn’t someone potentially game the system?

Yes, absolutely. It may be hard to believe, but people sometimes lie on the Internet. Scales can be rigged to lie by resetting their zero value at some point other than zero. They will also give false readings if they sit on a spongy surface (such as a carpet) or if the person being weighed leans some of their weight on a windowsill or a towel rack. This thread is about mutual support, encouragement and conversation around weight loss. After a certain point we have to assume good faith on the part of the contestants.

Q2. What should my goal weight be?

If you’re here and reading this FAQ, you may have never been really thin or muscular before. In that case, let’s talk about Body Mass Index (BMI).

BMI is a number that indicates how healthy your weight is for your height. It is calculated through the ratio of your weight and the inverse square of your height. The maths aren’t important, since you can plug your weight and height into any online BMI calculator and get the answer.

Like this one, for instance: http://healthyweight.health.gov.au/...ontent/main/helping-hand/tools/bmi-calculator

Now that you’ve got your BMI, see below to find out what it means for you:

BMI Classifications

< 18.5 …………. Underweight
18.5–24.9 ….…. Healthy weight range
25–29………….. Overweight
30 + ………...…. Obese

A good first goal for people is often to get into the healthy BMI range. If you’re coming at it from one of the higher ranges, it’s a great goal to aim for.

Now, BMI has a lot of limitations. You need to remember that it’s a very broad statistical tool used to predict health outcomes over whole populations regardless of age or gender. Because of this the healthy BMI range will be:
• Higher for pregnant women
• Higher for elite athletes and muscular people
• Higher for older people (there are charts that adjust for this online)
• Higher for people of Polynesian background
• Lower for people of Asian background

If any of those categories apply to you or if you’re after a more exact answer, you’re better off trying to estimate your body fat percentage. If you’re pregnant or an elite athlete, obviously, please don’t take part in this competition.

Body fat percentage is the proportion of your body weight that is fat (as opposed to muscle, bone, vital organs etc). It’s the bit that makes you look chubby and causes many of the health issues associated with obesity. It can be estimated in a number of ways. These include using fancy machines and specialised skin callipers, each method having its advantages and drawbacks, and each will give you slightly different results with varying levels of accuracy.

However, as a wise woman once said, ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, we’ll be using the US Navy method. It’s not hugely accurate (it’ll get you to within 3%), but it’s easy to do and works for the majority of people since it was developed to assess a large number of people very quickly. All you need is a tape measure.

To do it, first use the tape measure to measure your neck at its narrowest point.

Next, if you’re a woman, measure your hips at their widest point and your waist at its narrowest point. If you’re a man, just measure your waist around your navel.

The thing to keep in mind is to be relaxed when you take these measurements. Avoid tensing up your neck muscles, sucking in / disdending your stomach or squeezing too hard with the tape measure. It also helps if you’re naked. To eliminate bias, take the measurements three times and take the average of the three measurements for each parameter. It also helps to measure yourself first thing in the morning before you’ve had anything to eat or drink.

Then take the measurements and plug them into a calculator like this one:


You now have your current body fat percentage (plus or minus 3%).

Now, there is a lot of argument about healthy body fat percentage ranges, but for the purposes of this thread, I present the American Council on Exercise’s figures for what the broad categories are:

Category ………Men ……………Women
Essential Fat ….2-5% ……...…..10-13%
Athletes ………..6-13% .............14-20%
Fitness……....…14-17% ............21-24%
Average……......18-24% …........25-31%
Obese ………….25% + ……..….32% +

The differences between men and women come down to hormonal changes that happen at puberty and how this alters the relationship between fat and lean mass in the human body. Women’s bodies store fat in more places than men and require a greater store in relative terms to function properly.

I would suggest a good secondary goal might be to get yourself down into the “fitness” range.

If you’re keen to push past this level and into flat stomach territory, two researchers, Jackson and Pollard, came up with “ideal” body fat percentages by age while working out methods of measuring body fat percentage:

Age……Men ……....Women
20 ……..8.5% ……...17.7%
25 ……..10.5%….....18.4%
30 ……..12.7% …....19.3%
35 ……..13.7% …....21.5%
40 ……..15.3% …....22.2%
45 ……..16.4% …....22.9%
50 ……..18.9% …....25.2%
55 ……..20.9% …....26.3%

Getting down to this ideal range for your age could be a good tertiary goal.

If you’re really ambitious, you could even try for a six pack. For women, six pack abs start to appear between 16-19% body fat whereas you need to get down to 6-9% body fat to have abs as a man.

Be warned however that the less muscle you have on your body, the harder it is to achieve that look. The same amount of fat counts for a smaller percentage of the whole on a muscular body than it would on a smaller frame. Plus, bigger muscles make abs appear at higher fat percentages. Depending on your lean mass, it may actually be unsafe for you to aim for a six pack. It’s also difficult for most people to maintain. Furthermore, your genetic makeup may cause your body to preferentially store fat on your stomach, which will make having visible abs next to impossible for you. If this is your goal, you probably need to be talking to a doctor or personal trainer first lest you damage your health.

Besides, as you get close to your “ideal”, a good idea would be to measure your progress less by weight and waist measurements and more by what you see in the mirror. You might decide that you’re happy with your weight loss and may want to switch to a maintenance lifestyle or you might decide that what you really need is to pack on some muscle. The information in this thread will become less applicable to you at that point, but that is a problem you want to have
Oct 25, 2017
Q3. Great! I know my destination. How do I get there?

Diet and exercise. In that order.

When I use the word diet, I don’t mean a temporary eating plan that you’ll drop once you lose the weight. Instead I mean how you will eat every day going forward for the rest of your life. This is a lifestyle change where you fundamentally alter your relationship with food. It cannot just stop when you reach your goal weight - that’s just a recipe for gaining the weight back again.

Why diet is important is easy to answer. In simple terms, if you take in more energy than you use up, your body stores the surplus as fat. If the opposite happens, your body digests fat stores for energy instead. If things get really dire, your body even has the option of digesting your body’s muscle, then its organs to keep itself going. Your body evolved to tolerate periods of starvation and works hard to make use of everything you give it, but that resilience works against us in the modern world.

About 75% of the energy your body uses day to day is spent on just keeping you alive. This includes maintaining brain function, operating vital organs and digesting your food. This is energy you will use up just by lying in bed all day asleep. The rest is determined by your level of physical activity.

Contrary to much of the popular wisdom out there, exercise, of the kind that people do in the gym, on the field or on the running track, has very little direct impact on weight loss. Doing exercise has lots of benefits in terms of improved circulation, toning your muscles, strengthening your body, increased lung capacity, better mood and generally making day to day life easier. If you exercise, you will feel better and look better, but not because the exercise itself had very much effect on your body fat.

I should add that having more muscle on your body increases your basal metabolic rate and the way you increase muscle is also through exercise, but it takes quite a bit of muscle to make any kind of noticeable difference. If you haven’t been body building for six months or more, you probably wouldn’t notice that your dietary needs are any greater at all. Besides, it’s very difficult to build up muscle while also losing weight. To build muscle, you need to eat MORE not less, so the two processes work against each other. It’s safe to assume therefore that this won’t be a factor while you’re on your weight loss journey. If you want a muscular body instead of a chubby one, moreover, it will be more efficient time-wise for you to concentrate on one goal at a time. Lose the excess fat first, then build up the muscle - you’ll see results faster. The exercise you do now is done so you can keep what muscle mass you have already. It’ll be a fool’s errand trying to gain more right now. That’s just how the body works.

Exercise increases your resting metabolic rate, but only by a bit, maybe a few percentage points overall. You get a little additional increase in your metabolic rate just after exercising too, which wears off after a little while. This is nice, but not that significant if you only exercise for an hour a day. The body is surprisingly efficient in the way it expends energy during exercise, so an hour of cardio only ends up netting you the caloric equivalent of a single cookie. Basically, you can’t eat extra on the days you train “because you earned it”. Sorry. You didn’t earn more food. What you earned can be counted in terms of stronger musculature, better circulation and increased mobility.

Doing exercise consistently throughout the day however, does start to add up, to the point where Olympic athletes, who train for a significant portion of the day, may need double the energy intake of we mere mortals.

It means then that a schoolteacher who doesn’t do any exercise outside her job may need more energy than an office worker who works out for an hour a day at the gym. The schoolteacher is on her feet all day and may walk several kilometres inadvertently, burning through more energy than the office worker in total. It’s why those 10,000 step a day challenges are so popular.

It means that for most people who don’t have that kind of occupation, there is a terrible truth to face. It may not be possible for you to compensate for a poor diet by simply exercising more. More simply, you can’t outrun your fork.

The good news is that there are lots of tools to help you eat better and, crucially for this challenge, eat at a caloric deficit.

Q4. Well, that’s disappointing. How do I eat at a caloric deficit?

The first thing you need is information about the food you eat.

Download a calorie tracking app like MyFitnessPal or LoseIt (MFP had a recent high profile data breach - use a throwaway email to sign up if you can). Even if you aren’t watching calories per se, they offer a good breakdown on the kind of nutrients that are in food. They even have a great feature that let you scan barcodes and bring up nutritional info using your smartphone. Whether you decide to count calories, follow a low carb diet, a high fat diet, a low fat diet, skip meals or whatever, these apps will make you more aware of what you’re putting in your body and how the food you eat fits into your diet. Something that might be advertised as high protein may also be full of sugar, for instance, so it’s better to have the information up front than to sabotage your own efforts unknowingly.

The second thing you need is a set of digital kitchen scales. Until you get a good sense of how big a proper portion size is, this is invaluable. You need to train your mind to get used to seeing how big a “serving” is supposed to be. It is very easy to accidentally overeat, even on an otherwise healthy diet and this is your safeguard against that. Don’t try to eyeball your portion sizes if you don’t already have a good sense of how much (say) 100 grams or 1 ounce is. I can almost guarantee your brain will play tricks on you (because it’s food and not rocks) and you will get it wrong.

Third you should find out what your daily energy needs actually are, so you can calibrate your meal sizes accordingly. There are many calculators online that will help you find out what your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is. This affected by your gender (men need more energy than women), height (tall people have more lean mass to burn energy with), age (you need less energy as you get older) and your current weight (it takes more energy to move a heavy body around than a light one). The last one is important because as you lose weight, your daily energy needs decrease, which means that you’ll need to recalculate it every once in a while to keep your progress on track. Be aware that when online calculators ask for your level of activity, they mean what your activity level is moment-to-moment in your daily life, so being a tour guide counts for more than being an office worker. Even if you go hard at the gym for an hour a day, every day, put down sedentary if you have a job in a toll booth. A decent calculator (that cites references) can be found here: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html

The above of course, can only give you an estimate based on the average person. If you’re serious about calculating your actual TDEE with more accuracy, you’ll need more data – that means daily weigh ins and caloric totals over the course of months. To accomplish this, you can use this spreadsheet here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Fitness/comments/4mhvpn/adaptive_tdee_tracking_spreadsheet_v3_rescue/

Finally you need a plan on how you’ll eat better. The best diet is the one you stick with, so whether you go low carb, high fat, low fat or intermittent fasting, do it in a way that you won’t just want to quit after a week. Remember, for this to work, the changes you make need to be permanent. You’re just setting yourself up to fail if your diet is making you miserable.

Q5. Wow. Okay. So what diet should I follow? Vegan? CICO? Vegetarian? Keto? Low Fat? I quit sugar? Paleo? Intermittent Fasting?

It doesn't matter.

Q6. You don't mean that, surely?

Sure I do, but let me clarify. For the purposes of losing weight, it doesn't matter what you eat as long as you're eating at a caloric deficit (i.e. using up more than you're putting in) while you're losing weight, then find a caloric equilibrium point when you've lost the weight in order to keep it off. Provided that you eat at a caloric deficit, that you're getting adequate amounts of protein, (good) fat, vitamins, minerals etc. and that you stick with it, I promise you the weight will come off.

All of these different diets you've heard of work the same way - they force the body to use up its fat stores by putting you at a caloric deficit. Even diets that don't purport to be about that or claim to accelerate the process, work with this as the underlying mechanism that affects the weight loss.

Meat is energy rich, so eating vegetarian or vegan will help you achieve a caloric deficit and let you lose weight. Carbohydrate-heavy food such as bread or sugar are energy rich, so avoiding these foods on a low carb diet will help you achieve a caloric deficit and let you lose weight. Fatty foods are energy rich, so avoiding them on a low fat diet will help you achieve a caloric deficit and let you lose weight. Root vegetables and grains tend to be energy rich, so avoiding them on a paleo diet will help you achieve a caloric deficit and let you lose weight. Skipping a meal every once in a while means that you get less food overall, so doing this as part of intermittent fasting will help you achieve a caloric deficit and let you lose weight.

Are you noticing the pattern here?

To repeat myself, very best diet is the one you stick with. When you're choosing what broad diet to follow, make sure it fits you personally. It's no good losing weight by eating nothing but beans and vegetables if that's going to make you miserable and make your stomach rumble every time you pass a bakery. You need to be able to eat this way for the rest of your life or you will fail.

One thing that is critically important while losing weight is that you are getting enough protein. Having a high proportion of protein in your diet helps the body retain muscle as it burns through your fat stores, which is important for general health, strength, looking good when you do get thinner and ensuring that your daily energy expenditure doesn’t just drop to rock bottom. Take your weight in kilograms and multiply by 1.32 (if you’re using pounds, then multiply by 0.6) to get the minimum amount of daily protein in grams you’ll need to aim for to make that happen. And for the love of all that you hold dear, exercise, lest your muscles atrophy (i.e. shrink) due to lack of use. Your muscles burn energy just sitting there - preserve them. You can absolutely lose weight while keeping your most strenuous physical activity as playing video games, but you will end up weak, scrawny and maybe even a bit flabby at the end of the process, plus your diet will need to be that much more restricted.

There is a lot of talk about how certain macronutrients (the broad categories of carbohydrates, protein and fats) “slow down” your metabolism or others “speed it up”. I won’t say this is all junk science, because biochemistry and how the body reacts to stimuli are very complicated topics and still little understood in many ways, but I will say that the cumulative effect of these things won’t ever stop you from losing weight, provided you do eat at a caloric deficit. It also stands to reason that a varied diet will also cause at least some of these effects to cancel each other out, so that overall it shouldn’t matter.

The science behind nutrition is also constantly changing and improving, so beware of being too dogmatic on a point you read about in the paper, on Facebook or in a fitness blog. Where once, it was thought that eating eggs would raise your blood cholesterol, it is now understood that the mechanisms behind blood cholesterol are more complicated than that and that the body produces its own cholesterol for reasons that are wholly separate from your dietary intake of the stuff. Eggs are now understood to be a danger only to certain people who already have a specific kind of cholesterol problem, but fine for the rest of us.

There is even research that suggests that saturated fats may not be as bad for you as first reported. It’s probably still not a good idea to be wrapping all your meals in bacon, but it goes to show you that it’s foolish to look at a single aspect of nutrition and declare that it is the sole reason for one health problem or another. As with everything to do with the human body, the real answer is more subtle and complicated than it looks at first glance.

Assuming you’ve taken all that in, let’s talk about specific diets. Here is a breakdown of some of the more popular ones:

CICO (Calories In, Calories Out): This one attacks the problem by taking direct control of the calories you eat. The advantage is that it’s very methodical and lets you tailor your diet to what you want, so you can mix and match or pair this with another eating plan. If you keep your calories at a deficit you will lose weight, even if you eat ice cream and McDonalds every day (not that I recommend this). The drawback is that you need tremendous self discipline to keep track of every little thing that goes into your mouth and be able to say no once you hit your daily limit. Many people find this annoying and think it sucks the fun out of life. This is the method I personally use though, combined with a low carb diet, because it keeps me full and turns losing weight into a process my brain understands instinctively - min-maxing in an RPG.

You can lose weight pretty consistently at a caloric deficit of ~2000kJ / 500kcal per day. This amounts to something in the order of 500g / 1lb lost a week for me, but the number is always relative to how big you currently are and your own physiology. There are calculators online that help you estimate rate of weight loss for a given caloric deficit and the MyFitnessPal app automatically calculates this deficit for you if you input how fast you want to lose the weight. Remember that the upper limit of what you should aim for is around 1kg / 2lb a week or 1% of your current body weight if you’re a bit bigger. Any faster and you risk triggering hormonal changes in your body that will work against you.

Vegetarianism/Veganism: It isn't always fair to lump these together, but both help you lose weight by eliminating a big source of calories from your diet (meat). The advantages of these diets are that they're ethically and environmentally sound, offer much in the way of flavour options and, in the case of vegetarianism, is relatively easy to follow when out and about. Veganism is trickier, but still doable. A big drawback is that it's easy to develop a protein deficiency on these diets, especially the vegan diet. Same with iron. Both are easily solved by specifically targeting good sources of both in your diet and maybe taking supplements, but it is a point you will need to pay attention to.

There is an official Era thread discussing Veganism here:


Low Fat: This is what the Baby Boomers were using to lose weight (remember the food pyramid?). The idea is that fatty foods are energy rich, so avoiding them helps you eat at a caloric deficit. There was also the popular notion that eating fat makes your body put fat on, which is intuitive, but wrong in every particular. It works if you get the serving sizes right, but is a sad, joyless diet, full of tiny portions and flavourless, unsatisfying food. It should go without saying too that it’s easy to get this diet wrong because sugary foods, which may be low in fat, are nevertheless calorie rich themselves and not very filling either.

Low Carb: It’s exactly what it says on the tin. This diet and others like it work by virtue of the fact that you've not only eliminated a major energy source (carbs), but also because meat and fatty foods keep you full for longer than grains do, so it's easier to eat at a caloric deficit. In fact, many people on this type of diet eat at a caloric deficit accidentally, mainly on account of how filling the food is. Diets like Paleo, Keto, High Fat Low Carb (HFLC), Atkins et al work on the same basic principle. Be warned though that it’s easy to get this sort of diet wrong, since eating 500g of steak cooked in butter every day is still not going to be good for you, even if you do manage to eat at a caloric deficit.

Keto: This is the diet de jour, so I’ll give it its own description. It’s a version of a low carb, high fat, medium protein diet that tries to virtually eliminate all carb intake, limiting your diet to meats, dairy and fatty or fibrous vegetables. The idea is that if you get your carb intake low enough, you will trigger a metabolic process called ketosis, which forces your body to preferentially burn fat rather than carbohydrates. The boost you get from ketosis itself is the subject of much debate and there isn’t a clear scientific consensus that the effect is significant, since you’re getting a lot of dietary fat from the diet anyway. It’s also difficult to achieve the dietary mix you need to trigger it. Luckily, even if ketosis turns out to be a bust or if you consistently fail to trigger ketosis, a keto diet will still help you lose weight by virtue of being a low carb diet and keeping you full, even on a caloric deficit.

Intermittent Fasting: Also known as “skipping breakfast”. It works by limiting the times of day (or the week) you’re allowed to eat, so even if you pig out during your allocated meal times, you still come up with a caloric deficit in aggregate. Some people even go hardcore and fast for days at a time, using supplements and water to keep the head clear and the body functioning while it’s happening. It sounds like a nightmare to me, but the body did evolve to tolerate periods of fasting, and, done correctly, it does work.

There is an official thread discussing intermittent fasting here:


I can’t really help you much more beyond the basics, except to say that, generally speaking, if you have a varied diet that includes different kinds of meat, dairy, fruit, nuts and vegetables, you’re not likely to have any dietary deficiencies, so vitamins are usually a waste of time except in very specific circumstances, like anaemia or with some vegan or vegetarian diets.

Oh and some general tips:
• Cooking for yourself is the best way to control what goes into your food. Healthy food needn’t be bland either - mustard, soy, herbs and spices add basically no calories to a meal and can elevate it to something amazing
• You’ll find out when you start calorie tracking, but cutting soft drinks and fruit juices from your diet immediately eliminates a huge source of “empty” calories from your diet. Tea and coffee on the other hand, are virtually calorie free.
• Sugar is bad for you in large amounts. Try to cut down on your intake of it
• Aspartame is not the devil and probably won’t give you cancer. Failing to change your lifestyle and keeping the excess weight on is definitely more dangerous to your health than an effect characterized by a weak correlation in a study that overdosed some rats with the equivalent of a barrel of artificial sweetener
• Fries are delicious, but they are really bad for you. Eat your occasional burger if you want, but hold the fries
• Cheat meals slow down your progress but are good for the soul, especially if it’s done with friends. Don’t go overboard though. Limit yourself to once a week or so and try to keep it on the scale of having a slice of cake for dessert rather than eating an entire roast chicken or having three cheat meals in the same day.
• Exercise in the morning if you can. You’ll be more motivated and less fatigued from the day
• Snack less if you can manage it. It means mealtimes are something to look forward to
• Alcohol is very energy rich. Your body breaks it down into, among other things, sugar. Try to cut down on your intake and, where possible, switch to spirits
Oct 25, 2017
Q7. Okay, I’m all set food-wise. What kind of exercise do I need to be doing?

Do the kind of exercise that you enjoy, but remember that quick intense effort counts for more than slow sustained effort. This is especially true if you are time poor. If you like to cycle, find a mountain to tackle. If you like running, work sprints into your routine. If you love aerobics, do burpees until your lungs are burning.

Era has a very good fitness thread with some great advice, though be warned that it’s mostly focused on weight lifting. Don’t be put off by that, even if you’re not interested in becoming a swole gym bro. Because of traditionally male-centric gym culture, women especially often hear the words “weight lifting” and think it won’t help them. On the contrary, some weight training will benefit just about everyone and it does burn a lot of energy quickly:


At the end of the day though, the best routine is the one you stick with. Consistency is how you get results.

Q8. I did everything you told me and I still gained a pound overnight! What’s going on?

Relax. You’ve probably still lost some fat.

The number you see on the scale naturally fluctuates up and down within a 2kg / 4lb range because of a number of factors, including hormones, hydration levels, the amount of food in your stomach and whether or not your bladder and bowels are empty. It’s a little like measuring your height - the number will change a bit depending on the time of day.

That’s okay though, since consistency in how and when you weigh yourself will help in eliminating these confounding factors and help you see the signal in the noise.

First, weigh yourself first thing in the morning, always on the same set of scales, before you’ve eaten or drunk anything and preferably after you’ve at least emptied your bladder, if not your bowels (if you only poop every few days, you’ll notice big changes before and after). This is the closest you’ll get to a “true” current weight for your body. Your stomach will be empty and you’ll have a pretty consistent level of (de) hydration.

After that, don’t weight yourself again until the next morning. You’ll just confuse and upset yourself.

Second, wait a few days. It could be that the last reading was an outlier where you were particularly dehydrated or maybe you’re retaining extra water right now. These effects will be smoothed out by time and taking extra samples.

Third, wait two weeks. Plateaus happen. Keep up your eating plans and exercise and you will lose weight. Measure your waist circumference - you’re probably still shrinking. Muscle gains, small though they may be during weight loss, can happen while you lose weight, especially if you’re new to exercise. These can temporarily cancel out the effect of fat loss on the scale. Just keep going and you’ll see the numbers shift again.

If that doesn’t work, check your TDEE or your daily intake again. Maybe you’ve lost enough weight so that your daily energy needs have reduced. Maybe you’ve counted your calories wrong or have been sneaking in extra calories that you haven’t been counting. Self-deception is a powerful thing and it’s easy to lie to ourselves about things that make us feel good.

Are you getting enough sleep? The amount of sleep you get has profound effects on your health. Try getting more shuteye (it’s good for you anyway).

Finally, check your exercise routine. Are you overtraining? If you’re training more than an hour a day or not taking any rest days, this can happen. If you think this could be happening to you, try cutting back for a few days and see what happens.

If none of those things work, see a doctor. There may be something else going on with you, be it illness, hormonal changes or otherwise, that is affecting your weight loss.

Q9. I specifically want to lose fat in one area but not another. What can I do to make that happen?

Nothing, I’m afraid. The sad truth about the way the human body works is that we have no control over where the body decides to deposit fat or in what order and the same is true for where it comes off. There is no such thing as spot fat loss.

You can "tone" certain body areas by spot training the muscles in those areas, thereby providing a more athletic frame for the fat to sit upon, but this does nothing to the actual fat itself.

Where your body puts on (and takes off) body fat is largely determined by your genetics. When you put on fat, your body will put it on everywhere simultaneously - your limbs, face, neck, chest, back, stomach, hips and rear. It isn't always evenly distributed however. It prefers to pile the fat up in some places more than others and this distribution is different for everyone.

Look at photos, if you have them, of yourself or of relatives with a similar body shape at varying weights and try to see where the fat first becomes visible, in what proportion it came on and in what order. Chances are that the first places extra fat became visible on yourself or your relatives will be the last places the fat will disappear from as you lose weight.

This is why two overweight people of the same height, same lean mass and same body fat percentage can nevertheless look very different. One man will be thickset all over, with no neck, a double chin and chunky arms while another will have a well defined jaw and sleek limbs but sport a sizeable beer gut. One woman might be relatively moonfaced, round-limbed and big-bosomed where another is pear-shaped, a size six up top but carrying all her weight on her legs, hips and behind. There is nothing the first man can do to keep his arms from shrinking as he loses weight, just as there is nothing the second woman can do to influence what happens to her hips as she does. These things are set in stone, I'm afraid.

If this news makes you sad, don't despair. Even if can't see your progress in the mirror despite what the scale and tape measure say, remember that each time you see your reflection, your self image adjusts accordingly. It means other people will notice your transformation long before you do. This is why it's important to take a "before" picture, so you can look back on it and compare as you go along. Change is possible and your "problem area" will eventually stop being such a problem, but only if you stick with it. I assure you the start is the hardest part.

Q10. What if I get sick? Should I keep exercising and dieting?

Unless we’re talking about a life-threatening illness or at least a flu that leaves you bedridden, I’d advise you to keep up with your healthy eating and caloric deficit, though if you’re aggressively fasting or eating at a huge calorie deficit, maybe ease up just a little.

As for exercising, just take it easy if your doctor tells you to take it easy. You may lose some progress and maybe this is the difference between winning the competition and not, but at the end of the day, your health is what matters most in this process. Besides, it’s a multi-week challenge. That’s a fair amount of time – more than enough for you to overcome a bout of the flu. Things like this happen and you never how things will turn out – the person leading the charge at the beginning may stumble near the end too.

Q11. I didn’t get in before the deadline! Can I still join in?

You’re welcome to follow along and post your own updates, but you won’t be eligible for any prizes. That’s okay though, because we still want to hear from you.


With all that said (and I have said a LOT), good luck! Even if you don’t manage to win the competition, you’ll have gained something with every day that you do this. Even if you fall off the wagon and wake up having eaten an entire packet of Oreos, don’t despair. Today is a new day. Do better.

If you ever find yourself down and in need of inspiration, I recommend browsing the ProgressPics subreddit for a while. Some of the transformations on there are nothing short of jaw dropping: http://reddit.com/r/progresspics/
Oct 25, 2017
Okay, I lurked the last thread, but was feeling a bit too shy to participate. This time I will!

I'm gonna edit my weight in a bit later.

Edit: Okay, weighed in 145 kg as of this morning. This marks 8.5 kg lost this year so far.
Last edited:
Oct 28, 2017
I'm in. I'm using the new digital scales now which give 10% heavier weights than the old clapped out spring set. This am 216lbs. First target 205 to get back into healthy weight on BMI although quite frankly BMI is clearly a shitty guide for me. Still a target though! Then 1lb after that at 204 I'll be at 1/2 of my recalculated starting weight. Final target is somewhere around 194lbs. Not sure as I'm aiming for 10% body fat so that's just an estimate.
Oct 26, 2017
I'm game. By coincidence I'm getting a DEXA scan tomorrow and would be more than happy to share. Should be a fun journey.


Oct 30, 2017
I've always missed the cutoff on these. I'd love to participate. I haven't weighed in in a long time, but I know I'm over 300lbs. I'll have to buy a scale to do much better than that. Going from the last time I was in great shape, I need to get down to around 230lbs. I'm a big dude! My plan at the moment is to cut out beer completely, stop getting fast food breakfast, and to play active VR games for at least an hour a day, as well as going on walks with my wife when she has time.
Nov 26, 2017
I regained pretty much everything I lost thanks to a combination of far too much stress, counterproductive medication and not having found new strategies to deal with the stress.
Managed to go back to loosing weight again last mid last month. Going back to Archery this week and started Kendo as well. Hopefully it will both help with body image and venting stress.
Please sign me up, I'm currently down to 101.2 kg
Oct 25, 2017
Just a note on sign ups, could you all please just respond with a new post rather than going back and editing an old one? I do this manually and might not see it if the thread moves fast.
Oct 25, 2017
I've been on a diet for a couple of weeks now. My "exercise" is limited to walking my dog 2-4 miles per day but I have cut down substantially on what I eat. I've completely eliminated fast food, soda, and eating after dinner and have cut back considerably on carbohydrates. The problem is, I have not yet figured out a healthy diet. I've been skipping meals instead of finding a good replacement. Is there a website with recipes I should be using? That would be really handy if I didn't have to think too much about every meal.

Oh, I guess you can sign me up. I was 184 lbs this morning.
Oct 29, 2017
Wish this started back in February when my wife and I started our Keto diet. As of today I’ve lost 42 lbs and counting since I began this lifelong journey.
Jun 19, 2018
Sign me up! Weigh-in this morning: 96,1 kg. Goal is 90kg, I dont need to loose that much, but it should be fun to see if I can loose those last few pounds.
Oct 27, 2017
Ok, here's my official entry: starting weight this morning is 200.2 lbs.

Actually less then I was expecting since I've been eating like a fiend lately. Goal is like 180.
Oct 28, 2017
I'm going to keep track of my body fat % in this thread as that's the thing I'm targeting rather than weight really. 19.5% Now. That's at 215lbs so the approximate 10% target is still 194lbs.
Oct 26, 2017

so starting weight is 191.2 lbs. This is after already losing 10 lbs. since April 1st. My goal is 160 lbs. Let's go.
Oct 25, 2017
I started intermittent fasting a month ago(March 13) and I was at 103 kilos, I weight myself every Sunday and I'm at 98.5 kilos currently, let's do this.

I'm pretty motivated and intermittent fasting has been amazing for me so far.
Oct 27, 2017
I’ve missed the cutoff every time before. But not this time.

Starting weight: 313.7
12 week goal: 283.7 (I’m in this for the long, slow, steady haul)

I’ve lost 4 pounds since I started two weeks ago, and I’m trying to get a steady 2lbs/week rate going. I weigh in every Monday.
Jun 19, 2018
I started intermittent fasting a month ago(March 13) and I was at 103 kilos, I weight myself every Sunday and I'm at 98.5 kilos currently, let's do this.

I'm pretty motivated and intermittent fasting has been amazing for me so far.
8/16? Or Some different schedule? It worked pretty great for me for controling appetite.


Team Blur Games
Oct 27, 2017
Telford, Shropshire
I’ve been dieting for a few months now and burning on average 800-900 calories a day.

I did a 996 last night.

I’m still fat and have lost nothing, because my body doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked right in a long time.

You try burning that much a day 6 days a week and eating healthy. You would be a bean pole within a week lol...

Sucks ass...
I’ve been dieting for a few months now and burning on average 800-900 calories a day.

I did a 996 last night.

I’m still fat and have lost nothing, because my body doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked right in a long time.

You try burning that much a day 6 days a week and eating healthy. You would be a bean pole within a week lol...

Sucks ass...
Perhaps cortisol secretion in your body is working against your metabolism? Are you stressed all the time? not getting enough sleep? These could be a few crucial factors that's inhibiting your body from losing weight due to a higher secretion of cortisol. This is what I've been told when I initially struggled to lose weight from 278lbs to 178lbs!


Team Blur Games
Oct 27, 2017
Telford, Shropshire
Perhaps cortisol secretion in your body is working against your metabolism? Are you stressed all the time? not getting enough sleep? These could be a few crucial factors that's inhibiting your body from losing weight due to a higher secretion of cortisol. This is what I've been told when I initially struggled to lose weight from 278lbs to 178lbs!
My intestine is none functioning and I can only go to the loo with tablets now, which means in the near future its very possible I'll have to have it removed. I sleep about 2-3 hours a night on account of really bad back pain, so yeah, sleep is a factor. I also have ME/CFS, so that doesn't help. I used to run, a lot, and would easily shift weight that way without a diet. Now its pretty much a losing battle no matter what I'm doing. Sucks, but my family understand :)
Oct 28, 2017
I started intermittent fasting a month ago(March 13) and I was at 103 kilos, I weight myself every Sunday and I'm at 98.5 kilos currently, let's do this.

I'm pretty motivated and intermittent fasting has been amazing for me so far.
It should continue to be amazing. I've been fasting alternate days for 15 months and have lost 193lbs (87.5kg) so far with no problems at all.
Oct 28, 2017
I’ve been dieting for a few months now and burning on average 800-900 calories a day.

I did a 996 last night.

I’m still fat and have lost nothing, because my body doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked right in a long time.

You try burning that much a day 6 days a week and eating healthy. You would be a bean pole within a week lol...

Sucks ass...
Weight loss is mostly about what and when you eat not how much you burn. So what and when do you eat?
Oct 25, 2017
GTA (Toronto)
Ok here is my weigh-in and proof picture

I have adopted a low-carb (not no-carb) and intermittent fasting schedule. I try and stick to a 6am to 4pm eating window, and 4pm to 6am fasting window.

My previous post:

Well it has been a while since I posted an update, and here it is.

Previous Weight - 271.2
Current Weight - 246.2
Loss since last post - 25 lbs

I am nearly at the goal I had set for myself of 245lbs. I have decided that 245lbs isnt good enough, and my new goal is 230lbs by Canada Day. I really feel like I can do it. I have continued my focus on abstaining from sugar, intermittant fasting and have also stepped up my excersise given I now have more energy day to day.
So I have lost 2.2 since my last post in this thread, back in February. My goal is to reach 230 by July 1st, and 220 by December 31st.
Oct 25, 2017
I’ve been dieting for a few months now and burning on average 800-900 calories a day.

I did a 996 last night.

I’m still fat and have lost nothing, because my body doesn’t work, and hasn’t worked right in a long time.

You try burning that much a day 6 days a week and eating healthy. You would be a bean pole within a week lol...

Sucks ass...
Quick question - how are you actually measuring your output? If it’s through activity trackers, I have some bad news - those estimates are totally lying to you.

If your body is operating anywhere near normal and you aren’t an Olympic athlete, a painting contractor or luggage handler at an airport, most of the energy you burn each day will be spent just keeping you alive. Exercise, even heavy exercise, might account for maybe a quarter of the energy you spend each day at best.

I’m sorry. You can’t outrun your fork.


Team Blur Games
Oct 27, 2017
Telford, Shropshire
I eat a balanced diet, as I had to have a dietitian come and help me out. I eat barely any fat, cut out sugar, no alcohol, don't smoke etc. Eat three meals a day, smaller but more often. It's hardly like I eat for the sake of eating, or am constantly eating fatty junk food. Like I said, I have medical issues, so its always a catch up because my body is trying to destroy itself from the inside.
Oct 25, 2017
I’ll take a pic and get my weight checked tomorrow if possible, I’ve been in body purgatory for so long on account of stress eating, but I think I’m out of that now. Started tracking my eating which has helped.
Oct 25, 2017
I eat a balanced diet, as I had to have a dietitian come and help me out. I eat barely any fat, cut out sugar, no alcohol, don't smoke etc. Eat three meals a day, smaller but more often. It's hardly like I eat for the sake of eating, or am constantly eating fatty junk food. Like I said, I have medical issues, so its always a catch up because my body is trying to destroy itself from the inside.
It sounds like you’re doing the right things in consulting professionals. A medical condition like what you describe sounds rough.
Jun 19, 2018
It’s rough...

But if I don’t do this, I would hate to think what would happen to my body :( only thing is, constantly left feeling exhausted :(
Intestinal problems Will do that to you.. I only have a mild case of IBS, but even that can be debilitating at times. You have my sympathy. I was lucky to stumble into an eating pattern that alleviates my symptoms and weighing 60lbs less than I weighed at my peak helps as well (with energy levels).
Jun 19, 2018
8/16. It's been pretty good so far and it's actually helped some stomach problems I used to have. I'm eating from 1pm to 9pm.
Sweet! I stopped doing 8/16 when it started to conflict with my training regimen, but its definitely a good way to get into a healthy eating pattern.
Oct 25, 2017
Jumping back in. I've put on some weight since the last time and I need to get serious about getting back into a shape other than round. I'll post a weight pic tomorrow morning.