Losing Weight

How I lost over 60 pounds, while working as a software engineer

Posted by Krystian Wojcicki on Saturday, January 18, 2020 Tags: Life   7 minute read


Disclaimer: I am neither a nutritionist nor an expert on anything related to nutrition. This is simply a write up of what worked for me.

First I would like to give some context, to how I got to my peak weight of 110kgs (240 lbs). In highschool I played a lot of soccer and was a sizeable 6 foot tall teenager. This allowed to me eat everything and always. Once I went to university I stopped playing as much soccer, as one would expect I gained a decent amount of weight due to that change. Additionally, when I begun interning at various companies, I gained the misconception that if I was ever tired I simply needed to eat more food.

Eventually I grew tired of out growing my clothes and decided to make many changes in my life. I don’t have any fancy graphs or before/after photos. All I have are some words of advice and encouragement that can hopefully help those in need.

Heres a list of things that I changed which helped me go from 110 kgs (240 pounds) to 80 kgs (175 pounds) in a little over a year.

  • Intermittent fasting (IF) describes a few types of fasting, one of which is periodic fasting where an individual eats for 8 hours a day then fasts the other 16 hours of the day (I see many doing a more extreme 6/18 split). The idea behind restricting the time when you can eat is in a short period of time you can only stuff yourself so much. Therefore you will naturally limit your caloric intact and lose weight. I tend to eat breakfast around 8 and try to have dinner around 6/7. This puts my range slightly higher than the 8/16 split but I found it helped me limit my calories, sleep (not going to sleep on a full stomach) and defecate more regularly
  • Calorie in, Calorie out (CICO) is an idea that a calorie, regardless from source, is in the end a calorie. In addition every human body needs a certain amount of calories to function (Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator). These were the main concepts I used when “constructing my diet”, I got a rough estimate of how many calories I needed to eat to lose weight and then tried to eat that many calories. Granted I am Celiac ie I cannot eat wheat, meaning I naturally eat healthier as I can’t eat most fast food. I tried to follow the plate division thought up by Athlean-X, a youtuber/physical therapist.
    • TDEE calculators are meant to give you a rough estimate. I weighted myself every few days and adjusted as necessary. Keep in mind your weight can vary widely day to day just based on water + food intake. Look at long term trends rather than day to day trends.
    • Don’t sweat hitting your caloric intake every day. 100 calories over or under won’t have any adverse long term effects. Again look at long term trends rather than day to day.
    • A typical day for me would consist of 3-6 “meals”: breakfast, snack 1, lunch part 1, lunch part 2, snack 2, dinner. You may be thinking, wow, you are constantly eating and to be honest I am. I found that eating often, but smaller portions (lunch part 1 + lunch part 2 are just a regular lunch split over two sittings) prevented me from being hungry. The snacks I had varied based on where I was living (rotated through a few internships as I lost my weight) but in general were relatively healthy. Fruit is great as it fills you up with a low calorie count.
      • Breakfast: either oatmeal (the non-sugary kind) + peanut butter/nutella or milk + cereal
      • Snack 1: banana and sometimes low sugar and fat yogurt
      • Lunch part 1: Varied widely, when I cooked for myself I typically had pan fried chicken + boiled potatoes + veggies. Alternatively I would order some food from Uber Eats/Skip the Dishes
      • Lunch part 2: Reminder of whatever I didn’t eat during part 2
      • Snack 2: Some fruits or protein bar and protein shake
      • Dinner: Typically a small meal consisting of carbs (rice/rice noodles) + protein (beef/chicken) + veggies(brocoli/carrots etc).
    • As I mentioned previously I am Celiac, meaning I overall eat pretty healthy. I don’t drink pop, eat chips or much fast food. Eliminating even just part of your unhealthy intake can make a huge difference on its own.
      • Eat your veggies. They taste good, help you poop and fill you up.
  • With respect to exercise, perhaps surprisingly for some, I did 0 cardio (aside from during warmups). Instead I focused on weight lifting.
    • Reddit has a great intro to Getting started with fitness which also has a bunch of alternative workout routines. The routine you pick does not matter one bit. All that matters is you going.
      • Going to the gym will be tough until it becomes a habit. You will tell yourself you’re too tired or have other things to do. All I can say is the human body is capable of some amazing things, push yourself.
  • As I mentioned while I gained weight I believed my tiredness was due to inadequate caloric intake. I started monitoring when I felt tired vs awake. What I quickly found out, perhaps unintuitively, is the less I do the more tired I get. If, I go to work and do absolutely nothing I will feel awful. Not because of being hungry, but because of being bored. I needed to go to the gym, meet my friends or work on a side project to reinvigorate myself. This helped me realize my energy was often based on my emotional state.
    • This isn’t to say you can always push through your tiredness. All I am saying is learn to listen to your own body.
  • Be ambitious in your goals. Its very easy to become complacent and become satisfied with any results.
  • Give it time. It took me several years to gain the weight and I didn’t expect to lose the weight in a few months. Habits take weeks if not months to form. But once habits are established it becomes second nature.