Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Bike Named Simple

There is an absolutely fantastic piece in Salon by a guy who lost 100 pounds after he moved from the mid-west to New York.   For anyone trying to lose weight, I highly recommend reading the whole story.

How did he lose 100 pounds in a year?
Back in the Midwest, where I lived my entire adult life, the most common question was, "How did you do it?" Some people asked with a wink and nod -- you know those vain coastal people and their shortcuts. No, I didn't have surgery, didn't take supplements, didn't hire a trainer or even buy a miracle-cure book.
I walked more, and I ate less.

Part of my diet plan was simple necessity. Back home, I drove a car everywhere I went. I cherry-picked parking spots to get as close to the door as possible, shaving my walk to the minimum. But my normal daily walk in New York City was about three miles, just getting to school, walking to work either in Greenwich Village or Midtown and meeting my friends and wife for dinner.
Another thing that helped (and something I've strenuously advocated for) where calorie counts on menus:

At the same time, I cut back my eating. The first week in New York I went to Chipotle, something familiar from back home, and I was confronted with a menu that prominently listed each item's calories, posted by law thanks to a 2008 regulation championed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The truth was shocking. The tortilla alone was 290 calories, plus beans and rice added another 250 calories. That was 540 calories before I even made a real choice. For my favorite burrito -- chicken with corn salsa and guacamole -- the grand total was about 960 calories. Here I was making "healthy choices" at Chipotle, and I'd blown nearly half a day's suggested calories.
Just as I always argued, knowledge is key if you want to lose weight.

This man's story is truly inspirational.  He even made room in his diet plan for eating pizza frequently. 

And, when he hit a plateau, he just started exercising more and even more weight came off.

So, in the end, the story is the same.  More exercise and healthier eating lead to significant weight loss.  

And, he realizes these are permanent changes:

There is still a fat person inside of me, and keeping the weight off has not always been as easy. After hitting my goal, I gained 10 pounds back quickly and I realized I had to stay disciplined. I had to change my habits forever, not just for one year. Now I count my calories and weigh myself daily.


  1. Great story! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for sharing! That's the crappy part of living in suburbia, you have to drive to get anywhere!