5 Simple Lessons from My Super Slow Weight Loss this Year

A chart of my weight loss progress in 2022 with dates and how much I weighed along with icons of different diets I tried
My Weight Loss Journey for the First Half of 2022

The take-aways are simple yet profound. Losing 28 pounds in six months was hard! But do we learn anything doing easy things? I hope the insights I gained through suffering will help you :) As you’ll see, my weight loss was a meandering journey, but I landed on a plan I love, and I think you will, too.

5 Lessons from Losing 28 Pounds this Year

1 — Know Your Why

Weight loss is hard; you’ll get stuck and want to quit. Sticking with any long-term goal requires knowing your “why”. We make worthy New Year’s resolutions, and 92% of us abandon them by the end of the year. A strong why is our north star to guide us when overwhelmed by dark days of discouragement. I’ve lost weight many times only to regain it because of a weak why. I turned 55 years old in May and wanted to feel the very best I could every day. That why keeps me on track.

2 — Pivot, Don’t Quit

Yes, you’ll get stuck. You’ll hit a weight loss plateau. The plateau is as real as the hot and now Krispy Kreme doughnuts sitting on the counter you can’t eat (more on that later). I hit a wall monthly, and in frustration, I banged my head against it a few times. But I didn’t quit. Recalling my why, I pivoted to something new. I kept myself motivated.

Now it’s time to explain the icons on my chart. They tell the tale of the measuring tape.

icon of mug of beer with red circle and slash across indicating I’m not drinking beer
NO BEER IN THE HOUSE

My diet began on January 1 with a loose idea to cut carbs. My why was present but immature as a smartass teenager. I wanted to lose weight and feel good, but I hissed and snickered at the thought of counting carbs and logging my food. I still managed to shed two pounds in two weeks. The flywheel was barely spinning, and I needed to do something else. I decided to stop bringing beer into my house. A beer with wings over dinner with a friend is fine. I’m trying to lose weight, not friends. But beer didn’t need to be within walking distance to my fat belly.

icon of neon sign with words “Noom Diet”. I tried the Noom Diet for a few days
I TRIED NOOM FOR A WHILE

By March 1, I was only down 3.5 pounds — less than two pounds a month. But I’m due credit for not quitting. Instead, I researched diet plans and signed up for a 7-day free trial with Noom. The coaching aspect appealed to me, like I had a corner man (or woman) cheering me on and wiping the sweat off my brow. Ultimately, I quit Noom before the free trial expired. I couldn’t justify paying someone to tell me how to lose weight when it seems like commonsense. And the web is full of free advice. I also gained a pound. But instead of throwing in the towel, I pivoted.

ICON OF PINK PIG WITH PARTS OF HIS BODY LABELED WITH THE MEAT THAT COMES FROM THAT PART
BIG ON THE PIG WITH THE CARNIVORE DIET

I feel silly about this one, especially after espousing commonsense in the last paragraph. I stumbled across a YouTube doctor who swears by the Carnivore Diet — a meat-only nutrition plan. Just meat and nothing else? Count me in! I lost six pounds in four days. Now we’re cooking (or grilling)! Then I lost only one pound in the next three weeks. The rapid weight loss is easy to explain — I starved my carb-craving demonic fat cells. By now, the flywheel of my motivation is gaining momentum. Another pivot.

icon of green seal of approval for keto friendly
COUNTING CARBS WITH KETO DIET

I’ve previously lost weight on the Keto diet, but I loathe tracking my food. I’m good with the directives, “just eat meat” or “stop drinking beer.” Black and white. Do this, don’t do that, and track nothing. But at this point, I’m over three months in and ten pounds down. I like the feeling and don’t want to capitulate on the gains. So, I reinstalled the Carb Manager app and started counting carbs. Ugh. I lose two pounds over the next three and a half weeks — time for another pivot.

icon with letters KIF representing ketogenic intermittent fasting
COMBINING KETO WITH INTERMITTENT FASTING

I’m four months in and 12 pounds down. Either my scales are malfunctioning, or I’ve only lost three pounds in six weeks. It’s gut check time. I’m tired and want a beer. Do I restock my elastic waistline jeans and remove all the mirrors in my house? If I choose to take it, the next pivot is one I’m kicking and screaming about — the keto diet combined with intermittent fasting, or KIF.

Intermittent fasting is purposefully depriving yourself of food for a long stretch, at least 16 hours in a 24-hour period. Most people eat lunch and dinner and skip breakfast. Yes, sleep counts in the fast, thank the Lord. This KIF plan calls for restricting calories and carbs, not the popular Keto plan that heralds fat bombs. I was successful with this diet before, but it’s intense, and I hoped to avoid it as I try to side-step most hard things. But I jumped in and lost over 4 pounds in the first week! The following week I lost another three.

A PINK BOWL WITH SALAD
ADAPTATION OF KETO DIET TO EAT MORE VEGGIES

About this time, four and a half months in and 19 pounds down, my wife and daughter start a weight loss plan. My wife discovered YouTube phenom Dr. Berg, who advocates intermittent fasting with “healthy” Keto. Limit your carbs and eat plenty of leafy greens and moderate protein — and no calorie counting! The man has almost 1.5 billion views and if he’s telling me I don’t have to count anything, let’s go!

A clock with knife and fork as hands of the clock with a red circle and slash across it
another adaptation of KIF to expand the length of my fasts

I bumped my fast from 16 hours a day to 18–20 because Dr. Berg was so convincing about intermittent fasting. I discovered rocket fuel. I lost another 5.5 pounds over the following two weeks, and with the next tweak, I lost even more.

a hand raised with a barbell
BEGAN A 5–4–3 EXERCISE PLAN

On June 9, still doing healthy Keto with extended intermittent fasting, I started a 5–4–3 exercise plan. Five days a week, I do 4 exercises 3 times a day. I do bicep curls, tricep pulls, pushups, and crunches on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday and Thursday, the routine is jumping jacks, windmills, pushups, and crunches. I’ll occasionally do deep knee bends instead of windmills. I do the exercises three times a day. Between June 9 and July 1, I dropped another five pounds.

Losing 28 pounds in 6 months isn’t easy. Don’t believe the clickbait headlines. I can’t credit any one plan for my weight loss, but I can attribute the loss to one factor — tenacity. I refused to quit. I lost only 12 pounds in the first four months, which isn’t terrible, but it wasn’t moving the needle on my waistline. Yet, I stuck with it, and in May, I hit my stride, and from May 1 to July 1, just two months, I lost 16 pounds.

Your ambitions deserve your best efforts. When you hit a wall, save your head and go around the blockade. Pivot, don’t quit.

3— Succeed with Synergy

I started the diet on January 1 alone. My wife and kids ate all the Krispy Kreme doughnuts they wanted whenever they wanted while I cooked my food. My pantry and refrigerator were hotbeds of temptation. My resolve was tested and strengthened every day, but it was tiring.

Then my wife and daughter joined forces with me in May, and we moved in sync with the same goals. Man, this synergy helped! Everyone chips in with meal prep, and we only serve healthy options. No one brings junk food into the house. The sinners replaced the Krispy Kremes with Keto-friendly Halo ice cream bars, which are heavenly. While I managed okay on my one-person diet island, the family synergy has been 1+1+1=40 pounds lost for all of us.

example of synergy — a board with a man’s finger pointing to 1 = 1 =3
The Magic of Synergy

We don’t live in a vacuum. We live in community with a few others. My goal to save money falls flat if my wife isn’t on the same page. Every decision I make sends ripples through the lives of people in my little world. Not only does synergy promote success, but it also produces harmony.

4 — Give Yourself a Chance

You set a worthy goal, examined your why, and set your alarm clock. And I already warned you that you’ll get stuck. This weight loss journey taught me we must give ourselves a chance — keep the flywheel spinning, even if deathly slow. Reevaluate your action steps, pivot if necessary but stay the course. The next breakthrough could be tomorrow.

When we give ourselves a chance, we allow ourselves to experiment, tweak, and discover the key that unlocks Pandora’s box. We can hit our stride, ignite momentum, and unleash confidence we’ve never experienced. This magical moment can’t happen when we quit. I struggled for four months between January and May to lose 12 pounds, and then in May, I tripped the energy to set the flywheel at full speed. I lost 10 pounds in four weeks. Then I lost another six pounds over the next month, and arguably I’m at a point where the pounds are harder to lose. All the water weight drained months ago.

Keep digging. Gold is only 3 feet away.

5 — Inspire Others

We’ve already established we don’t live in a vacuum, and even Castaway Tom Hanks had Wilson, his volleyball buddy. Our pursuit of worthy goals catalyzes our family, friends, employees, and coworkers. My family observed my dogged tenacity for over four months which finally motivated them. If you stand near a flame long enough, you’ll catch fire.

flames of fire
Photo by Guido Jansen on Unsplash

What began for me in January as a vague idea to lose weight rippled into areas I couldn’t have imagined. My journey encouraged my wife to lose weight which set her on a unique path. Her journey ignited a passion for nutrition and holistic health. She’s consumed more educational videos and written material in six weeks than most college kids do in a year. And she’s got me on a baggy of supplements:)

Lead your pack. Pursue the best you and others will follow suit.

My New Way of Life

I’m finishing this article in mid-July, and I’m officially down 30 pounds now. But I know from experience the demonic fat cells can wander around lost for a while and return to this body if my strong why siphons off. For this reason, I’m ecstatic I discovered a healthy way of living I enjoy and one that supports my why. I traveled many winding roads to reach 30 pounds and learned lessons from every turn, but if I began today, I know the right starting point — healthy KIF.

Healthy Keto combined with intermittent fasting isn’t a fad. It’s not an “apply once daily for six months to lose 30 pounds” prescription. Healthy KIF is the way to live.

This is the recipe for a healthy, holistic, and pharma-free life. Please check out Dr. Berg’s video on the basics of healthy Keto and follow his thread from there. The lessons will change your life.

A Postscript about KIF

In July, I flipped my eating cycle from skipping breakfast to skipping dinner. I eat around 9 am and 1 pm. The change was for two reasons:

  1. I struggled in the mornings. My stomach rolled and rumbled and ached with hunger. The suffering lasted for about an hour, and then I was okay. I wouldn’t have changed cycles for this reason alone, but the second reason was too compelling.
  2. By eating two big meals at breakfast and lunch, I have all day to burn off the calories. When I ate dinner, I took the calories to bed with me three hours later (early to bed, early to rise). Also, I need more fuel in the mornings than in the evenings. A solid lunch supports me until bedtime without the daily Royal Rumble in my belly.

You’ll struggle with hunger, too, but stick with it and give yourself a chance to see the results. And by the way, I fast 5–6 days a week and usually slack a bit on the weekends. I still eat healthy foods but enjoy some grace.

Wrapping It All Up

You can lose weight if that’s your goal. But more than losing weight to look better in a two-piece, I hope you examine your why. Your why is more important than awesome Instagram pics. A strong purpose is fuel; it’s a guiding light for all your goals and dreams. Your worthy why won’t let you quit. You’ll pivot around the plateaus and keep moving, giving yourself a chance to trip the turbos. Your dogged tenacity will inspire others, creating opportunities for the magic of synergy and percolate their possibilities.

You can get rid of your beer belly, and love handles, and there’s so much more you’ll learn in the process. Get started, hold yourself accountable, and be the best you that you can be. You owe it to yourself and others.

I wish you the best!

My Weight Loss Numbers

infographic of my weight loss statistics in 2022
Slow and steady is winning the race

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R. Dennis Brady

R. Dennis Brady

Husband, father, Toby’s friend, writer, fantasy football fanatic, beach lover, blessed child of God. Fantasyfootballbullrush.com