Ah yes, I remember how much shit I used to post on social media a few years ago. These posts included photos of my breakfasts, lunches, dinners... and no, these weren't culinary masterpieces I cooked myself or healthy meals as posted by teenage girls on Instagram.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few photos I posted on my social media a long time ago.


And no, I'm not joking. I seriously used to eat crap like that as my breakfast sometimes. I don't know where you are from, but this isn't healthy behaviour. Combine that with a sedentary life style, zero exercise, non-stop gaming, and you'll end up with a pot belly and baby cheeks.

I've always been very skinny as a kid, but gained lots of weight during my first two years of college due the life style I described above.


Facing Reality

In May 2013 I visited New York City with family where we took lots of photos and had a great time. Once back in the Netherlands and looking back at the photos I realised how much my body had changed. Like I said before, I used to be slender.

Feast your eyes upon this untrained body.

Friends started to make playful taunts over my pot belly and man tits. It didn't really bother me, but I knew I had to take action soon before ending up as a stranded whale.

I'm 183 cm (6'0) tall and used to weigh 83 kg (183 lbs) around that time. It's not that bad, but none of that weight came from muscle. Keep in mind that I never exercised nor did a sport in my life at that point. All the weight was purely fatty fat fat.


Baby Steps

During the summer of 2013 I got invited to the gym by my father and sister, who at the time used to go pretty frequently. I decided to go, worked out a bit, and went back home. The next day my body was all sore, and hoo boy, did it feel good. I found out an old friend went to the same gym as well, so I got myself the gym membership and we went together.

I got addicted to working out and did some research on the subject of weight loss. Many clickbait articles painted sugar as the ultimate evil which causes fat gain. I did the ultimate sacrifice and swore myself to lay off the added sugars. No more soft drinks, no more chocolate chip cookies, no more milkshakes, etc. I also started to drink water only.

Ten kilograms lost in 6 months by lifting weights and avoiding added sugars and drinking water.

And surprise surprise, it worked! I got some pretty amazing noob gains and was losing weight at a steady pace. Around the new year of 2014 I started to do more serious workout sessions with an actual workout plan which incorporated heavy compound lifts such as squats and deadlifts. Before that I just trained on machines. I did a modified bro split for a long time and noticed small strength gains, but most importantly was the weight loss.

I kept losing weight until the summer of 2014 where I reached 68 kg (150 lbs) and let me tell you, losing weight and exercising seriously improves your life. I felt more upbeat, active, outgoing, and social. I reached my peak. I was full of motivation and life. Losing weight and lifting weights was the best decision I've ever made, but I wasn't satisfied just yet. I may have lost the body fat, but didn't really develop any muscle.


Thermodynamics

The fact that I wasn't becoming stronger or gaining any muscle anymore was bothering me a bit. I was stuck on the same weights for weeks and lost a bit of motivation. After some research I found out that it's really difficult to gain strength and muscle while losing weight. That's when I discovered the physics behind calories.

Your body is a machine. It requires a certain amount of energy to stay alive and do activities. You can easily calculate this amount with this TDEE calculator made by Scooby. Now here comes the part how you can manipulate your body weight.

If you consume more calories than you burn, you'll gain weight.

If you burn more calories than you consume, you'll lose weight.

Thanks to MyFitnessPal I managed to bulk up to 88 kg within 6 months. All the extra calories provided some incredible strength development and I managed to pull off some crazy strong lifts. Of course there were downsides: I got fat again! But I trusted physics and the conservation of energy. If I could gain all that weight, I could just as easily lose it again.

Body weight manipulation in action over the course of one year.

As you can tell from the graph I gained lots of weight, but lost it just as fast. Although, I admittedly made a huge mistake during my weight gain period. I didn't set a limit at all, so there were days where I burned 2,600 calories, but consumed 4,500. That's how I gained lots of unnecessary fat, but it was my first bulk and I learned lots from it.

To lose all the gained fat all I did was calculate my TDEE and subtract 500 from that number. My TDEE right now for example is around 2,200, so I eat 1,700 a day to lose weight. I made sure to eat food that saturates me and not liquid food or other worthless meal shake products. Keeping track of my calories with MyFitnessPal ensured I'm not consuming more than I burn. It's a guaranteed weight loss.

Bulked up versus cut. Twenty kilograms lost inbetween the 2 photos in a span of 6 months.


TL;DR

How to lose weight:

1. Calculate your TDEE;
2. Subtract 500 from that calculated number;
3. Download MyFitnessPal and start tracking everything you consume;
4. Stop eating once you hit your calories calculated at step 2;
5. ???
6. Profit!

Very important: don't underestimate your caloric intake. This is the number one mistake people make when trying to lose weight.


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