If you haven’t seen me in a few months, you’d be surprised at how much less there is of me. I started at 352 pounds — yeesh — that’s my highest total weight ever… so it was time to make a change. In this post, I’ll discuss the motivation and the methods I used to explain how I lost 55 pounds in 3 months without exercise, crazy supplements, or fad diets. Keep in mind: weighing 352 pounds means I had/have more weight to lose than most people. I’m hopeful that I’ll get back down to a healthy 200 pounds or fewer. I’m only 30% through that journey.

How I lost 55 pounds in 3 months

People ask me how I’m losing weight all the time; I wanted to write this post to serve as a “how-to” because it worked for me. That does not mean it’ll work for you. If you’re 175, you shouldn’t expect to lose 55 pounds in 3 months. However, if you’re able to follow the methods below, you’ll certainly see results. It’s not easy, so you’ll need to find your motivation. I’ll also link to some of the products I used throughout the article. Buying these items through these links does benefit the site and my family. If you like what you see here, please consider supporting us by buying items through our links.

Motivation

Stepping on the scale when I started this crushed my spirit. I knew I wasn’t getting smaller, but I didn’t know how big I actually got. I even had to buy a new scale because the old one couldn’t weigh me any more. 352 pounds — that number would’ve motivated me to lose weight by itself, but the real factor was my son. He started crawling a little over 3 months ago. I quickly realized the difficulty of chasing down a mobile baby when you’re 350 pounds. I honestly didn’t want to be that dad. I want to enjoy playing sports with my children as they get older. My dad did that with me, and I want to continue doing that with my children. We have a baby girl coming in February, so I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

It’s amazing how having a family motivates you to get your priorities straight. I quit smoking three years ago. I was more of a social smoker, but it was definitely something I enjoyed. I smoked about pack a week, but smoking any tobacco or even using chewing tobacco easily doubles your monthly premium for life insurance. At 350 pounds and a smoker, I was quoted about $300 a month for the life insurance I’d need to keep my family going if I died. Ouch. I’m happy to report that since I quit smoking and lost weight, I’m sitting about $80 a month for the same coverage. Besides the obvious familial benefits, I had a tremendous financial motivation to better myself. Thankfully, that helped keep me going the last few months. When I get tired of the monotony, I remind myself of those motivations. It’s not easy, but that’s why I lost 55 pounds in 3 months.

Another motivational thing to keep in mind during any diet: weigh-ins need to be consistent. Seriously, this is a huge motivating or demotivating factor for me. When you get up in the morning, poop, and then weigh yourself. Don’t do anything else until that happens. Don’t shower. Don’t brush your teeth. Don’t eat breakfast. Poop. Weigh. That’s it. If for some reason you can’t poop (it happens), and you didn’t get a nice poop the night before (you know what I mean), then just skip the weigh-in for that day. The worst thing you can possibly do is demotivate yourself by weighing in when you shouldn’t. If you forget to weigh as soon as you wake up, skip it. By the time you’ve showered, you could add several pounds to your weight. Seriously, I’ve tested it. There are days when I’m 2-3 pounds heavier after taking a shower. Your body absorbs a lot of water during those few minutes. The best thing you can do to keep up your motivation is to make sure you weigh in exactly the same way every time. Do not deviate. If you do, just skip a day; your mind will thank you.

Food

My food choices are boring. I eat the same exact thing every single day (sigh). Why don’t I mix it up? I optimize everything — websites, workflows, and now my food. I lost 55 pounds in 3 months by keeping it simple, easy to prepare, and optimized for low starch, low sodium, low calorie, and lots of protein. I also eat every two hours during the day to keep up my metabolism.

You probably won’t want to eat the same thing every day, but it works for me. I still “cheat” every now and then with healthier snacks or meals. Instead of stopping at McDonald’s, I grab a barbacoa salad at Chipotle. Instead of going out to dinner at Chili’s, I hit up my favorite sushi restaurant. Instead of eating ice cream, I have chips and salsa — so on and so forth. It’s all about choosing good food instead of junk food. My cheats are healthier, which makes my monotonous diet more tolerable. I usually cheat once every two weeks. I’ll occasionally cheat in between weeks depending on my mental state. Diet-induced depression is something I want to avoid (more on that later).

Let’s look at my daily food menu and schedule:

  • Breakfast at 10am
    • Egg Beaters, mushrooms, green onions, hot picante sauce, fat-free cottage cheese
      • The Egg Beaters are basically egg whites – that means a huge drop in fat and cholesterol.
      • Mushrooms and green onions are a great source of flavor without any dietary negatives.
      • Picante sauce is my weight loss secret. It keeps you “regular,” even with small amounts of food.
      • Fat-free cottage cheese helps cut the heat of the picante sauce and is a good source of dairy and protein.

  • Shake at 12pm
    • EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control
      • It’s basically a protein shake with 17g of protein and only 100 calories.
      • I did a lot of research and found that this has the best nutrition for the calorie total.
      • I only drink the “Chocolate Fudge” flavor. The others aren’t quite as optimized.
      • Target typically has them on sale with a $5 gift card if you buy 12 shakes at once.
      • With those discounts, I can get them for under $1 a piece. Crazy cheap.
  • Lunch at 2pm
    • A quarter pound burger with ketchup and mustard on a whole wheat bun
      • 4oz of 93/7 lean beef for these; no fatty stuff allowed.
      • I buy Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Rolls.
      • Regular mustard is fine by itself, but make sure you buy a natural ketchup.
      • No high fructose corn syrup or other unnecessary ingredients.
      • This is my only bread for the day. Hopefully you don’t crave carbs as much as I do.
  • Shake at 4pm
    • Another EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control
  • Dinner at 6pm
    • Romaine lettuce, mushrooms, picante sauce, barbacoa beef, light sour cream
      • It’s basically a barbacoa salad.
      • Laura preps the beef in the crock-pot every weekend and I re-heat it before eating.
      • Again with the picante sauce – gotta keep it regular!

That’s it. If I’m just sticking to the regimented food plan, that’s all I eat on a regular day. Believe it or not, all that food totals about 1,000 calories. I didn’t discuss exact measurements of each food; you should decide how much you need to eat. I cut my food intake down to 1,000 calories after the first couple of weeks because I realized I wasn’t hungry and didn’t need more. Anything less than that became difficult for me to manage. If you eat the right foods, you won’t go hungry.

Snacks

On days where I feel munchie, I’ll pick something from this list of snacks. I usually just have one snack depending on my cravings. I always keep it under 200 additional calories for a daily maximum of 1,200.

  • Nestle Outshine popsicles – any flavor
  • Low fat mozzarella cheese sticks
  • Tortilla chips & picante sauce
  • Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches

That’s it. I haven’t really looked for anything else at this point. These four items have been enough for me to have some variety while still keeping my calorie count down. I’m sure you could add other snacks to this, just make sure they’re not loaded with unhealthy ingredients.

Drinks

My daily drinking habits include water, water, and more water. I drink about 5 water bottles every day. That’s 120oz of water! I can definitely feel a difference in my body on days that I forget to drink water… but that’s mostly because I live in Denver. Water is key to survival at higher altitudes.

I used to drink Mountain Dew, sugary energy drinks, and other carbonated beverages. Those are out! I often correct people that I don’t have a beer belly, I have a Dew belly. Speaking of beer, that’s out too; no alcohol whatsoever. Sure, you could consider alcohol a cheat, but it’s still going to take you several days to recover from a night at the bar. If you must drink, stick to harder alcohols like vodka or whiskey. They typically have fewer carbs than beer and generally affect your weight loss less. It’s better just to avoid alcohol entirely.

During the day, I add MiO Energy “Liquid Water Enhancer” as a pick me up. I’ve been doing a lot of construction around the house lately. I only get a few hours of sleep a night between that and my normal job. You may not need the extra energy like I do, but you should at least try some of their other options. They’re all zero-calorie water additives that give you some great flavor potential instead of just normal water. You can get an electrolyte-enhanced version in their “Fit” product line. The “Original” line is just a flavoring for your water with no extras.

Coffee is okay in moderation. You cannot use it as a water substitute like MiO. Coffee dehydrates you more than a glass of MiO. You should drink it in addition to your daily water totals.

Supplements

I don’t really do many supplements with my diet because I haven’t needed them. I do take a multivitamin from vitafusion every day I remember to do it. This is really something you should do every single day of your life — not just when you’re on a diet. Your body will like you more.

I planned to take a metabolism booster, but I haven’t really needed it because of my strict eating schedule. I take it occasionally but have never noticed a tangible difference between taking it and skipping it… so I usually skip it. Keep in mind; taking a metabolism booster is almost like drinking an energy drink. It could affect you negatively if you’re not used to energy supplements.

I also recommend taking fish oils as a healthy, regulated fat. This isn’t the same as going out and eating a hamburger. These fats are actually good for you. When you’re dieting, you’re probably not getting enough of the good fats since you’re limiting food type and intake. To balance this properly, I recommend a cod liver oil like the one linked below. You can go nuts and get really expensive fish oils, but I don’t think that’s worth it. The concept is still the same… and it’s awfully hard to convince me that one fish oil is better than the next.

Exercise

As I mentioned before, I’m not really doing any scheduled exercise activities. I’ve taken maybe 10 walks (20 minutes each) with my wife since I started. That wasn’t really an increase in activity for me though.

I have been doing slightly more manual labor finishing projects around the house. That’s definitely not as much of a factor as the diet itself. Eating the right foods at 2-hour intervals is really the key here. Sure, you should at least go out and walk on a regular basis, but winter is coming, that’s much less appealing at this time of year.

Rejection

The politest way I can put this is rejection. It’s what your body does when it rejects something you put in it (aka puking). After about a month of only eating from my regimented menu, your body truly won’t want junk any more. At that point, you’ll probably find out that it’s going to reject certain cheat foods or other junk you consume. I occasionally have moments of weakness where I eat something I shouldn’t. I don’t do that much any more because my body rejects it entirely. I can’t process ultra-greasy foods like pizza or fried chicken. In order to avoid rejection, just stop eating it. Those aren’t healthy cheats anyway. Find something that works for you that won’t make your body reject it. Your esophagus will thank you.

Conclusion & Mental Health

I’m not quite a serial dieter, but I’ve certainly tried my fair share of “diets” over the years. None of them worked for me (shocker). Dieting sucks — I get that — that’s why most people quit. You will certainly struggle to maintain motivation and mental happiness. I used to look toward food for comfort; that’s how I ended up at 352 pounds. I added a list of approved cheats to prevent that from happening again. If I need a mental break from the diet, I go get sushi. It’s not even a debate for me any more. As strange as it sounds, that acts as a mental break from the diet without affecting my overall progress. Living in a diet-induced depression will only ensure your diet fails. I may never disassociate comfort with food, but I can certainly change the types of food that comfort me.

Losing weight cannot and should not be just about the pounds. You will go days without losing any weight even when you’re not cheating. That’s called a plateau, and it’s awful. If you dwell on it, you will fail. You’ll have to move past the pound total as your motivating factor. You should be doing this to change your habits and better yourself. It’s cliché at this point, but this saying is true: you can’t change your diet; you have to change your lifestyle. I’m doing that slowly. I haven’t craved McDonald’s in months. For me, that’s a lifestyle change in and of itself.

Up until now, I’d never been successful past the 2-month mark. I’d also never lost more than 35 pounds at once. I’m happy to report that I’m well beyond those limits at this point and show no signs of slowing down. I bust through plateaus like the Kool-Aid man busts through walls (OH YEAH). I’ve found a balance that allows me to maintain my motivation, mental health, and weight loss potential. Hopefully, you’ll find value in my experience. If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Photo via Ben Ostrowsky on flickr

Josh Carr
Josh founded eciov in 2009 (it was originally an app review site called Cocoa Touch Apps). He wrote for TUAW (AOL) until it shut down in 2015. He's passionate and skilled in all things digital; especially websites. He can make anything with WordPress. He also loves art, music, creativity, bearding, and his wife, Laura... she's awesome.
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