You’ve got to hand it to the guy, he found an interesting loophole and managed to write a book so he could make back some of the money he had to pay when he lost his civil suit. Overall I think that’s a win.

So here is the elephant in the room. Over the past couple of months, I’ve lost a lot of weight. People are constantly asking me how I did it and what my secrets are. I’m going to be doing a series of posts for those of you who want to know how I did it (if I did it). If you’re not interested, don’t disappear for the next week or so, because I’ll still be doing my regular updates too.

So, let me set the record straight once and for all. My secret is that there are no secrets. Maintaining or changing your weight comes down to one thing: math. Calories go in through food and calories are expended in daily activities, as part of your basal metabolic rate, and through exercise. I will say that not all calories are created equal. My body responds worse to beer than it does to wine, worse to pasta than it does to fruit. If I go out for pizza and a beer, I basically know that I’m going to be carrying around an extra pound or two for a few days. However, over the long term, it really does come down to the math.

Now that I’ve told you there are no secrets, let me try to be at least a little helpful.

Know Your BMR
You may think that it’s simple to find your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories that your body burns just by sustaining life functions). You just go to any website, type in your age and weight, and pick an activity level. Wrong! I swear by the Katch-McArdle formula for calculating your metabolic rate. It’s based off of lean body mass, that is, the amount of muscle on your body. Muscle burns more calories than fat, and if you are like I used to be, you have a lot more fat than muscle. So, those internet calculators are going to be off, sometimes by a couple hundred calories a day. Go get a scale to measure your approximate body fat percentage and then go to this website to figure out how many calories you actually need. There is also an activity multiplier at the bottom if you want to figure out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Weight Loss Equations

Get a Scale You Trust
I am the worst culprit of this. As my weight climbed, every doctor’s scale was “wrong”. I was working with an analog scale from Ikea, and I had to turn a dial to calibrate it. This left a lot of wiggle room. A friend suggested that I invest some money in a more serious scale, and I did. Now, I use a digital scale that I picked up at Bed Bath and Beyond. It uses electrical impedance to measure my body fat and the percentage of my body that is water. These electrical impedance scales are not the best way to measure your body fat. The best way is to go to a metabolic testing center, but I’m cheap, so I use this scale to get an approximation. More importantly, these scales are very good at keeping track of changes in your body fat percentage. When it tells me that I’ve gone from 32% to 28%, I know that I must be doing something right.

Take That Scale and Weigh Yourself Often
I do not believe those weight-loss magazines or articles that tell you to only weigh yourself every week. Sure, there are natural fluctuations in your weight during the week, and you should not stress out about every ounce here and there. However, having constant feedback on losing weight helps motivate me to keep up the good work.

I’ll post more in my next installment.