How I defeated Donald Trump

The end of the Trump Diet

How I defeated Donald Trump

TL;DR I hit 199 pounds before June 1, 2016 marking my original big bet on weight loss as complete. Today I wanted to talk about how I did it.

Back in 2009, I won a bet for going from 220 to 200lbs in four months and I did it out of sheer willpower, by basically going to bed starving each night. I was in my 30s then, but I’m well into my 40s now and even though I gave myself an extra month this time around, things just weren’t as easy as they were before. In the end, I barely made the deadline by a week or so.

Slow starts

I started small, figuring slight diet and exercise changes could keep me on the one-pound-per-week loss rate I would need to hit my goals. I already had a trainer I saw twice a week for workouts, and I’m an active cyclist, but I recently added 3–5 mile runs to the mix.

On January 1st, I vowed to stop drinking sugary sodas. I never liked coffee and I rarely drink tea, but I had been putting back a couple regular cokes every day since I was a kid. I tried exercising a bit more and eating a little smarter, but by the end of January 2016 I spent a few days at Disneyland eating everything I wanted, and when I stepped on the scale on February 1st at 219lbs, I knew I needed to try something more drastic.

In early February, I caught yet another “you’re all doing it wrong” diet article by someone saying a lowish carb diet was actually not bad at long term weight loss. What really caught my eye was the author saying they ate everything they wanted. Since I’d only survived on willpower before, I decided to give this a go.

The big drop

The next month was absolutely glorious. Having gone temporarily gluten-free a few years back, moving to a low carb diet wasn’t too hard at first. I indeed ate all the meat, salad, eggs, nuts, and cheese I could, to the point I felt stuffed every night, and I really started losing weight. My typical breakfast was three eggs and either two large sausages or 4–6 pieces of bacon. I’d eat a salad at lunch and finish off with dinners of steak and broccoli or brussels sprouts. I lost about three to four pounds per week for a month doing this. I missed rice and the occasional dessert, but I liked the results and wondered how long this glory would last.

The final grind

After 4–5 weeks of rapid weight loss, I found myself sitting 15lbs down at around 205–206lbs. I started running more often, and continued my 50–100 miles a week of bike riding, but couldn’t seem to budge off this number. I spent nearly two months bouncing around 206 pounds.

The final push below 200lbs came from a combo of running 3–5 times a week while also riding a bike 3–4 times a week, and also making sure I was eating smaller meals. In the last month my typical breakfast was two hard boiled eggs with some salt. I would have a light salad for lunch several times a week and force myself to work at a library or in a coworking office where snacking was impossible.

I hit 200lbs around mid-May but stupidly I felt it wasn’t “over” until I hit 199lbs. It took another ten days or so to finally hit that number and call this thing officially done.

The aftermath

While I’ve bounced back up a couple pounds to around 202, I feel much better, my clothes fit much differently, and everyone I know has commented on the changes. Over the last six months I’ve realized I actually like eating simple no-carb foods and will likely stick with this for the long haul. I learned I love going to the grocery store and only shopping on the extreme edges of it where they keep all the meat, vegetables, and cheeses, never needing, wanting, or being able to eat anything in the middle aisles.

The downsides

It wasn’t all roses the last six months. I had strong cravings for sugar and suffered headaches for about a week after dumping carbs. There were times in the first month of a low carb diet where I actually felt spacey and had trouble coming up with ideas during brainstorming sessions. After a couple months, my body adapted, but I swear there was a month of low carb induced stupidity I had to fight against in my workday.

Obviously I miss bread and french fries and rice curry dishes, and it can be a pain in the butt to eat when you’re traveling or at a holiday meal as a guest but I’m not a stickler and feel fine about eating a little bit of carbs once a week or so if I must. I will say one big downside is several months into this I ate a cupcake at a party and it gave me a migraine that lasted hours, so I basically avoid sugary desserts entirely now. I will miss cake.

The road ahead

I feel pretty confident I’m going to stick to this weight/BMI range for the foreseeable future. I’m sticking with the diet changes, I’ve still haven’t drunk a sugary soda in 2016, and I’ve become attuned to how little food my body can use now versus the way I used to eat.

I don’t have any great before/after shots, but this NYE party photo is the day before I started and the one next to it is from mid-May when I was just about done.

It wasn’t easy to lose 10% of my body weight in a few months, but I feel a lot better now. Running is easier on my knees, I can climb hills on my bike a lot easier, and my diet changes weren’t too difficult to live with so they’re becoming long-term.