How To Lose Weight
The purpose of this blog post is to describe, with completely anecdotal evidence, some of the strategies that I have used to lose weight over the last few months. It is available in podcast form on my podcast, Story Time With Dave, look up the episode Husky Bucktooth (on my website davenamery.com).
I am not a nutritionist or a dietitian. I did have a brief stint in college where I pursued a Physical Education degree and in that pursuit I had to take Kinesiology and Anatomy & Physiology. That’s the extent of my education on health.
However, I do have lived experience. For most of my very young life I was skinny and active. In my early teenage years I became pretty overweight, not obese but not healthy either. Inactive and lots of video games. In my late teens I played sports, lifted weights, and got in the best shape I’ve been in. In my early 20s, I started drinking heavily and generally abusing my body, leading me to my heaviest and unhealthiest. Over the past 6 months, new habits have led me to lose about 30 pounds, and I don’t see that trend stopping so long as I continue with these habits.
In order to fully explain my relationship with my weight and what has led me to where I am now, I need to give back story. If you are uninterested in backstory, I understand, just scroll to the bottom. I will write out all of the important strategies in list form with some brief explanation.
The Early Years (1-12)
This period of time requires the least amount of explanation. I was a little kid with a little kid’s metabolism. Certainly there are very young people with weight problems but for me, and I assume for many of you, my weight problems didn’t start until around puberty.
In these early years I was an active kid, always going outside and playing with friends. I had good influences, my friends never wanted to be inside sitting around.
As a result, I never had any issues with my weight or taking my shirt off or anything like that. Weight was something that never crossed my mind because I had nothing to be self-conscious about.
Husky Bucktooth (13 - 16)
These were the brutal years. I know that a lot of you are wondering what ‘Husky Bucktooth’ means; well it is the Alias I have given my adolescent self (after the fact). I know you look at the image atop my website and you are thinking, well hold on a second Dave, you are clearly extremely handsome. To that I would say, correct. But it hasn’t always been this way! There were rough years. Few were as rough as the Husky Bucktooth years, at least in terms of my self confidence.
First of all, I had giant buck teeth. I still have two huge front teeth, but at least they stay in my mouth now. I used to have a pretty fucked up grill, and so even when I closed my mouth, my two teeth would hang over my bottom lip. Like I was a gosh darn bunny rabbit.
That’s besides the weight journey, though. It was around the age of 12 that my poor eating habits really caught up with me. Naturally, my metabolism started to slow a bit. Not by much of course, a 12 year old male metabolism is still fast. But it was enough that my body could no longer simply burn through all the calories in the McDonald’s that I was eating. Fast food was a staple of my life at that time. My parents would indulge me because, if they didn’t, they were gonna have an irate 12 year old on their hands.
On top of the poor diet, I became extremely addicted to video games at this time. This is when I first started playing World of Warcraft. The video game addiction would persist for many years, but it was during these years that it was most severe. We’re talking like 5-8 hours a day. No lie. Since I was eating many calories and I wasn’t moving at all, I became husky. Thus: Husky Bucktooth.
I use the word husky because I was never that big, but I was not physically fit. Husky is usually what you call a fat kid when you are trying to be nice. I’m using it because I was never obese, but I was headed that way.
These years were the worst to be overweight because I was beginning to go through puberty. It was a strange time, as you are all familiar and so I don’t need to go into too much detail. I will say this, pool parties were the bane of my existence. I never wanted to go, and if I did I never wanted to swim.
This is a subsection of the essay. The reason I never wanted to take my shirt off under any circumstances, especially those which involved running, is because I had man boobs (technical term: “Bitch Tits”).
It’s amazing how important context is when it comes to certain things. Boobs on a woman are wonderful. The bigger the better! Boobs on a man are a catastrophe. The bigger the sadder.
For whatever reason, in my body’s allocation of adipose tissue (fancy name for fat), the area around my nipples appears to be top priority. It has always been this way. So when I start becoming overweight, the man boobs come in quick and it’s hard to get rid of them.
End of Aside…
Anyway, it was during these years that I had the most negative emotion and was pretty hopeless about the prospect of women. This fed into a whole fear of women...that’s something I’ll get into on a different podcast and blog post, that’s gonna be some in depth shit.
Even though being overweight was a huge source of anxiety for me, I never did anything about it in my early teenage years. I would just continue to eat badly and not really move around, basically solely relying on my young metabolism to keep me from becoming huge.
Butterfly Effect (16 - 18) (165 - 175 lbs)
I am calling these years the ‘Butterfly Effect’ years because this was when I officially became drop-dead gorgeous. The beautiful and stunning creature that you know me as now came into existence around this time. (Anyone who’s taking that seriously, you can stop now. But just understand that the difference was big. I went from ugly to mediocre. That’s a big step up that’s like going from poverty to middle class).
For one thing I got my braces off. So my buck teeth no longer protruded from my mouth even when it was closed. Second, I joined the lacrosse team and the practices were intense. Quickly I lost a lot of weight and so I was officially no longer Husky Bucktooth; that phase was over.
The confidence boost which occurred as a result of this change in my life cannot be understated. I think it was actually the first time I was ever confident. Not that I was unconfident as a kid...but I think ‘confidence’ when you are 5 is not really a conscious thing you’re doing. Seems like around adolescence is when confidence becomes an actual thing. At least to the extent that it’s during those years in life that many of us become acutely aware of what everyone else thinks about us, so portraying oneself confidently is no longer effortless.
I was able to look in the mirror and not dislike what I was seeing. I started lifting weights around this time as well so I was starting to get some muscle definition. Between lacrosse practice and weight lifting, I didn’t need to change my diet at all or any of my habits and I was still able to be in good shape. This would create a false perception that would take a few years to break.
I forget who even said it, but I remember going swimming at a friend’s house and someone said that it looked like I lost a lot of weight. That was the first compliment on my physique that I had ever gotten in my life. That was a good feeling.
Cocky Douche Phase (18 - 21) (175 - 190 lbs)
From 16 to 18 I was just beginning to get used to all of the benefits associated with being in better shape. I guess I didn’t really have enough time for that to go to my head. Well, then I went to college and really let it go to my head.
I was lifting weights a lot at this time. I would love wearing sleeveless shirts and flexing at unnecessary moments but making seem like I wasn’t even really flexing I’m just so jacked. It’s making me cringe writing this.
I started doing this yo-yo type thing with my weight all the time. Since I was solely relying on my lifting to keep me in shape, when I wasn’t lifting, I would gain weight.
At any given time I was maybe 177 pounds, and then two weeks lated I’d be 186 pounds, then two weeks later 178 pounds, then two weeks later 182 pounds. There were fluctuations constantly.
Even though during these years I was by far the most muscular I’ve ever been, I was also by far the most annoying I think. Well actually, I was a Social Justice Warrior for a few years (20 - 22) and that was probably more annoying. But this was a close second place!
Let me explain here, briefly, why lifting weights is a super awesome idea for losing weight. I’m also going to explain why it’s not so great.
When you are doing strenuous exercise, not like walking, but actually breaking a sweat, there are usually two forms of this. There is aerobic training which would be running or swimming, you know, aerobic stuff.
Other types of exercise, like lifting weights, are called anaerobic.
So here’s the thing. When you are going for a jog, you are doing aerobic exercise. Your body is going to burn calories while you are running. However, as soon as you stop running, the calorie burning stops almost immediately.
When you do anaerobic exercise like weight lifting, it is going to take a little bit longer initially to get calories burned off (maybe like a 20 min warm up period). Here’s the important thing, though. Lifting weights causes a lot of this phenomenon called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
Here’s the best way I can explain this. And if a nutritionist or something is reading this they will probably be like well you got so many things wrong. But here’s the gist:
Lifting weights makes it so you burn more calories after the exercise is over.
When you ran, you burned calories until your run was over. And then the calories stopped burning. But when you lift, the calories continue to burn for a while after. So this means that even though you may only work out for 45 minutes, you burn calories for hours.
I am going to attach a graph below of what I am talking about. You will see that when the exercise ends, there’s a slope and not just a direct drop off. Just think of that slope as kind of ‘bonus calories’ you are burning after your workout. (Graph provided by fuse45.com)
That sounds great right? And it really is. Especially for young men like myself, this is maybe the most effective way to lose weight, and quickly. But it’s not all good…
This might be one of the most effective weight loss strategies but in terms of staying in shape, this has never worked for me. Two main reasons.
1. Laziness. If my weight loss is based solely on my ability to make it to the gym and lift weights reliably, it only takes a few lazy weeks for me to regain all of that weight and be right back at square one.
2. Injury. When I was around 20, still being a cocky douche, I attempted to squat 2x more than I ever squatted. I shouldn’t have to say this but: that’s a bad idea. I ended up with nerve damage in my lower back that still flares up to this day. And what happened when I injured myself lifting? I couldn’t lift anymore (for months). And what happened when I couldn’t lift for months? I would gain weight.
Drunken Degenerate Phase (21 - 25) (190 - 220 lbs)
This phase began around the same time I started doing comedy. As much as I love comedy, it enabled a lot of bad habits that I am still working on getting over.
Don’t get me wrong, I take full responsibility for all the poor decisions I’ve ever made in my life. The point I am making is that, if you are in bars every night, it makes it a lot easier to abuse alcohol. And I abused that shit!
If weight lifting is the best way to lose weight quickly, alcohol is the best way to gain weight quickly. During these years my alcohol consumption got worse and worse. It started as maybe 1-2 nights a week binge drinking and that eventually turned into 4-5 nights per week.
The yo-yoing of my weight continued throughout these years only the upper end would always get higher, same with the lower end. I was still using weight lifting as my sole weight loss strategy. And by the time I was 23 or so I didn’t even have a weight loss strategy, I just stopped caring basically.
So the yo-yo was now between 185 and 195. Pretty soon it was 190-200. I remember when I first weighed myself and saw 200.
I’m 6 feet tall exactly. So for someone my height to be 200 pounds isn’t that weird. In fact, probably most athletes who are 6 feet fall around the 185-200 pound range depending on what sport they play. That’s because of how dense muscle is.
But if you’re like me, non-athlete regular guy who isn't very muscular, 200 is overweight. 180 is probably a healthier weight. And when I hit 200 for the first time I was probably 22? Maybe 23. When I look back on it, it probably took me about 5 or 6 years to go from a very healthy weight of 175 (at age 17) to get to a way less healthy weight of 200 (age 22 or 23).
That makes it even more insane that by the time I was almost 25, I was hovering around 220 pounds. It took so many years to gain that initial 25 pounds, and then maybe a year to gain 20 on top of that.
Drinking makes that more than possible, especially if the drinking is excessive.
Let’s not even delve too far into this subject. Everyone reading this knows exactly what the fuck I’m referring to unless you’re a total weirdo.
You get home from comedy (or whatever it is you do). Been drinking all night. Spark up a joint (or whatever drug and device you use). Enter the kitchen. Demolish everything in your path. Savagely.
Let me just put it like this, and I’ve talked to some friends about this before who can relate. What does the average person require, daily, in order to function efficiently? Probably around 2,000 calories, right? Depends on how active you are and how big, but let’s say like 1,700 - 2,000.
There were nights where I would double that just in my night binge. Bro you know I’m stopping at Wendy’s on my way home. You know I’m getting three Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers. You know I’m dipping those bitches in BBQ sauce. You know I got a medium coke with that.
Then I get home, I’m not quite satisfied but I come across the Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer...it’s over for that carton.
Yeah, so, it’s really not that hard to eat an entire day’s worth of calories in less than an hour if you are dedicated. And high. And that’s on top of the 2,000 I already ate for the day.
Once I hit 220 pounds I knew that was the most significant number I had seen on the scale. It was at this point that I was teetering on being full blown obese, fully going down that road. If it only took me 1 year or so to go up to 220, then at that same rate in another year I’d probably be 250. I even got stretch marks! On my left hip. Like a fuckin pregnant woman dude.
So it was at this point that I knew it was going to be now or never. I was either gonna get it together or become obese. And I mean, who knows if I won’t have more ‘now or never’ moments in the future in terms of my weight. But for now, I won that battle.
6 Months, 30 Pounds Down
That all brings us to where I’m at now. Currently around 190 pounds, I do still yo-yo to a certian extent but not nearly like I used to. To be honest, one of the biggest factors, and I’ll do a separate podcast and blog on this topic, was getting a DUI. Simply because it forced me to stop drinking which was the root of my weight gaining. I am not recommending that you get a DUI. But if you are gonna get one, do it in New York, not New Jersey. You’ll save a lot of money.
So now, below, I’ll write down the main factors which have led to me losing weight and why I think this time it’s different than any previous attempt. It’s the main reason why I feel like this time it is going to be more lasting than ever before, and I won’t just shoot back up to 220 in a month.
The difference with my weight loss strategy is that it’s all about don’ts.
A lot of people’s plans will be like: Join a gym! Get a nutritionist! Do meal prep! Drink ginger shots and Wheat Grass shots!
My plan is all about not doing things.
Let me make this important point: This isn’t a guide to becoming super healthy. This is a guide to losing weight. There’s a distinction. If I was making a guide to being super healthy, well, for one thing I wouldn’t have much credibility. It would also have a lot more do’s.
Ok so let’s get right into it. How can I possibly write that sentence after 3,000 words of backstory? I have some nerve.
Don’t Eat After 8:00pm
This is where the real damage is done if you are a night eater like I used to be. This is where we get fat. I’m not even telling you to count your calories all day. You can do that, or even just ballpark it. But I’m telling you, if you stop eating at 8:00pm every day, the likelihood that you are gonna skyrocket over that 2,000 calorie threshold plummets.
The reason this is so important is because when we night binge, we ruin the morning of the next day. Gotta spend an hour taking that morning dump, cleansing your bowels of that meltdown from the night before. You can’t sleep as well on a full stomach since your body is spending energy on digestion. It’s all bad news, just don’t eat after 8:00! It’s not that hard!
Don’t Drink Alcohol (Once a Week at Most)
Yeah this one is the hardest probably. I mean it depends on who you are. If you are trying to lose weight but you already are completely sober, then I am sorry that this is such a good way to lose weight. But it really is. You don’t have to do anything. For real. If you stop drinking you will lose 10 pounds in a month I guarantee it. Maybe more.
So you don’t even have to become sober, but if it’s March and you want to lose 20 pounds before June, you could pull that off strictly by not drinking if you are someone who drinks regularly.
Don’t Listen To The Devil
It’s 11:30. You are driving home. You feel your stomach grumble. And there they are. The golden arches. And you hear the voice in your head. “Chicken nuggets...Big Mac….”
Tell that voice to shut the fuck up! Not worth it. Just go home.
Over the last 8 years or so I have probably stopped and gotten fast food at night 1,000 times, maybe more. I have always regretted that decision the next day. Every time.
Learn to go to Bed Hungry
I know that I said my plan is all don’ts but I guess I lied. This ties into the last one. Don’t misinterpret. I don’t mean starve yourself, just be honest with yourself. If it’s late but you already ate enough for the day, just go to bed a little bit hungry. It’ll be uncomfortable at first but, personally, I got used to it quickly. You’re morning self will be extremely grateful.
Lunch is A Lie
I’ve talked about this before. Lunch is a conspiracy created by the rich to keep the common folk down (Podcast episode: Lunch Conspiracy). Don’t eat lunch. If you have to eat, then just eat something really light, 250 - 350 calories no more than that.
When you eat a big sandwich at lunch, first of all it’s 1,500 calories. Second, you are going to be so tired after you eat it. Your blood sugar spikes. So that plan you had to work out when you get home from work is out the window. Lunch is unnecessary.
Our ancestors used to go days without eating. You can go a few hours. You’ll be okay. You’re also going to tap into this mental clarity around 2:00pm or so. You won’t understand what I’m referring to until you give it a shot.
Carrots are dope man. If you gotta eat lunch, just eat some carrots. I chose carrots because that’s my favorite veggie, but it can be any veggie that you like. They are really cheap and are so few calories.
Don’t Indulge Until the Sun Sets
In the morning I will usually eat something pretty small like 200-300 calories. Then at lunch I do the same (or nothing). So this way, at dinner, I do basically whatever I want.
This strategy makes it so I have something to look forward to. I can eat stuff at dinner that isn’t so healthy and I won’t gain weight. I also will be able to eat a big, full meal so that way I won’t be tempted to eat again until the next day.
Don’t Use Sauce (or less at least)
This is just a recommendation. I’m a fucking sauce fiend. I do not practice what I preach in this particular instance. But sauce does usually provide a lot of additional calories. If you eat a salad with a lot of ranch dressing, for example, the dressing is probably 2x more calories than the whole damn salad.
Stop Caring So Much
How do I make this one practical? I’m not so sure. For so long I was trying to lose weight because I was so concerned with looking better. I was so focused on looking better because I wanted the benefits that came with that (self esteem, being attractive to women, etc.)
It was only once I started caring less about the idea of becoming skinny that I started really losing weight. The motivating factor was no longer strictly aesthetic. For example, since not eating at night leads me to feel so good in the morning, that serves as enough motivation to prevent the behavior. The byproduct is that I lose weight.
Don’t Expect Speedy Results
When I would lift weights, I could lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. And then 2 weeks later I would gain it back.
These strategies are all small habit changes. You stop eating at night, so that results in 1 pound lost per week. You stop drinking so much, so there’s another pound. You resist the McDonald’s Devil Urge twice in a week, ok so that’s another pound. Well, now you lost 3 pounds in a week! And if you replicate the same sort of behavior next week, it’ll be another 3 pounds.
This is the long game we are playing here. It’s a lot better to lose 10 pounds over 3 months that actually stays off, than to lose 10 pounds in a week that will be back the following week.
Create New ‘Weight Ceilings’
When I was 220 pounds I decided that would be the most I would ever weigh.
Then when I got back down to 210, I decided that would be the new ceiling, and I would get no heavier than that. Then 205, then 200, etc.
Don’t Get Used to New Folds
Fat people know what I’m talking about. You get some new creases on your body and at first they are...very strange. Don’t get used to those!! Always be bothered by those types of things, it will serve as extra motivation.
This is the last part I have so far. This is more just an idea to keep in mind. When you visualize your best self, what do you see? What does he or she look like? When you visualize yourself and you are just killing it. Maybe it’s 2 years from now, maybe 10 years. Now, what does that person look like? Is that person fat? For me, that person is in shape. Nothing crazy, no 6-pack abs, no giant muscles. But certainly not fat.
Keep that ideal form of yourself in mind always. You can achieve that, all of us can, but it’s going to take a while and it’s going to be hard.
I still have a ways to go in my weight loss journey. The last 6 months I have seen more progress than ever before, and I have cultivated knowledge that will help me ensure that this trend continues.
Notice that nowhere in my recommendations did I say that you need to work out every day. You don’t need to go run 5 miles a day or eat salads every meal. I just feel like this is a different take on weight loss and it’s really been working for me so I wanted to share it!
As I come up with new ideas and have new successes with weight loss, I will update this and share new discoveries.
Someday, we will meet at a pool party and I proudly won’t be wearing a shirt. You’ll come up to me and say “Wow Dave, good for you man, I’m proud of you.”
I’ll say “Thank you my sweet child!” And then I will take off my bathing suit, completely revealing myself. I’ll start running around like a wild man, pee pee swinging, and you’re gonna be like “Jesus Dave! Put your bathing suit back on!”
But I won’t.
Then I’ll get arrested.
Thanks for reading, I love you <3