Losing Weight is Fucking Hard

I’ve been making serious efforts to lose weight for at least 3 years, and have yet to find the success I am looking for. I’ve tried all sorts of diet variations: Ketogenic, Paleo, protein sparing modified fast, intermittent fasting, even intentionally high carb diets. I’ve accustomed myself to eating an uncomfortable amount of meat per day in order to reach the ideal protein goal of 1g/lb of bodyweight. I’ve tried running, lifting weights, cycling, tracking calories, measuring my weight on a daily basis and even using a heart rate monitor when I exercise. And even despite this obsessive devotion, I still remain over 20 lbs from my ideal weight.

No matter what variation of diet and exercise I undertake, I will end up going to bed hungry if I don’t run a caloric surplus. To have the type of caloric deficit required to lose 2 lbs/week requires that I consistently endure a starvation response, a total lack of energy and a terribly monotonous diet of pork chops and chicken breasts with vegetables. Every time I go to the grocery store, I have to resist stacking my cart with ice cream sandwiches and chocolate bars. I have to force myself to cook almost every one of my meals at home and measure everything I eat on a scale before typing the results into a spreadsheet.

You’d think with this level of dedication I would’ve reached my weight loss goals a long time ago. And yet I weight almost exactly the same as I did 2 years ago. Although I don’t have my 2014 weight recorded, I know I weighed around 245 lbs at the time. My earliest calorie tracking records show I had a weight of 265.4 lbs on March 24th, 2015, meaning I had put on about 20 lbs over that time.

Now let me show you a graph of my weight tracking between March 24th and Dec 12th of 2015, an 8.5 month timespan.

Weight Loss (March 24th - Dec 12th 2015)

The blue dots are my weight, and the red dots are my relative calorie intake. Notice 2 things: One, my weight doesn’t go down in a predictable linear fashion, but rather fluctuates all over the place. For example, I had a period of 6 days where my weight dropped from 247 lbs to 234.6 (a 12.4 lb swing), but then a month later my weight was back up to 249.4 lbs. You have no idea how psychologically difficult it is to deal with these type of fluctutations – One minute, the goal you’ve been working for so long to reach is completely within your grasp. The next, you’re back to square one.

The other thing you’ll notice is that that my relative caloric intake is all over the map. I’ve had days with caloric deficits of 3173, 2657, 3313, just ridiculous amounts of weight to lose in a single day (in case you don’t know, there are 3500 calories in a pound). But then I also have days where I’m running caloric surpluses of 3011, 3696, 4285, 5681.

In the end, I did get results, as I did lose 23.8 lbs over that 8.5 month span. That scales to a loss of 32.9 lbs / year, or 0.63 lbs / week. Given the optimal sustainable rate of weight loss is religiously stated as 2 lbs/week, I am only achieving my weight loss goals at an efficiency of 31.6%, and have gone through torture in the process.

Here’s another graph tracking my weight loss from January 1st, 2016 to today:

Weight Loss (Jan 1st - Feb 5th 2016)

In the span of 36 days, I… put on 0.2 lbs. You can only imagine how infuriating that is. I’m not discouraged by this result because I was experimenting with a high carb diet, and I’ve felt my energy levels improve dramatically. Unfortunately, I do feel significantly more hungry than I do on a low carb diet. When I was eating low-carb, I would feel so tired after every meal that I would basically have to take an hour-long nap or suffer from a feeling of debilitating lethargy, which isn’t exactly sustainable when you work full-time in an office. This leaves me in a rather impossible situation: Do the low carb diet and lose weight at the expense of being able to barely function day-to-day, or eat high-carb and never be able to lose weight. I know reality isn’t quite that dire, but this just goes to show how unbelievably difficult weight loss can be.

I’m coming to the realization that even the most rational, sustainable weight loss plan ever created will never feel effortless. At the end of the day, you have to endure feelings of hunger and low energy and eating dull meals day after day if you want to see any significant progress. Anyone who tells you otherwise is most likely full of shit.

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