Catchy headline, right?
Well, it’s true…and most of it happened over 6 months.
So, here’s my story on how I accidentally lost 30 pounds…maybe you or a loved one can benefit.
It started about two years ago when I was 39 — I weighed 203 pounds at my highest point. The 30 pounds came off over a 12-month period (about 20 pounds within 6 months!).
And, again, I wasn’t trying to lose weight, so this is a weird one.
What’s a weight loss story without before-and-after pictures. I picked a couple in which I’m wearing roughly the same outfit (in this case a suit).
I have bathing suit pics too, but let’s not go there!
So what happened? Well, after the weight-loss, I reverse-engineered the experience best I could.
There are 5 items that stand out.
I like acronyms so I came up with “S.E.E.D.S” to outline the five steps (which are in no particular order).
The SEEDS Approach to Weight Loss
So, SEEDS is:
S = Sleep
I watched an episode on 60 Minutes that showed the effects of weight on Sleep deprivation. One normal looking guy (my age and weight) was put in a lab and woken up periodically so that his sleep was both inconsistent and shorter than it normally was for him.
The effect: he suddenly started eating twice as much food — they showed him eating an entire pizza with multiple toppings (and he remarked that he had never before eaten more than a couple of slices).
In other words, he felt tired and food represented energy to him. Well, the food certainly provided some short-term energy for him but it also added a bunch of calories to his body.
How much sleep do you need? Seven to 8 hours of sleep is widely considered to be healthy (I sleep an average of 7 to 7 and 1/2 hours).
It’s also important to make sure that you have as calm and deep a sleep as you can. One way to do this is to make sure you don’t consume caffeine too late in the day.
A massuese was giving me a massage and mentioned that she was also a nutritionist; I had a soy latte with me when I showed up for the afternoon massage and she told me to be careful as caffeine has a 6-hour half life.
So, for example, if you have a tea or coffee at 3pm and it contains 50 miligrams of caffeine, 25 miligrams of caffeine will still be in your body at 9pm and 12.5 miligrams will be in your body at 3AM.
So that 3pm cup of coffee is the same as having a half-cup of coffee at 9pm! That will effect your deep sleep (you still may fall asleep but you’ll wake up a big more groggy cuz of the caffeine).
I now try to have my last cup of caffeinated beverage at 12noon each day.
E = Eating
I met another nutritionist (a wonderful woman named Minna Yoo) at Samovar Tea House in San Francisco and traded her some business advice (she later launched a cool company called LoveBottle).
Minna’s advice: She drew a circle on my place mat representing a giant plate, and she drew a line in the middle of it and said that that half of your plate should be vegatables; then she drew a line through one of the halves so that there were two quarters — and she said one of those quarters should be protein (any kind you want) and the other quarter should be some sort of grains.
Minna also said that most people (including me) need around 1,200 to 2,500 calories per day (depending on how active you are) and you should spread that out over 4 to 5 meals (there are exceptions to this (if you’re an active athelete, or training for a marathon or Triatholon type event, for instance, you need/burn many more calories).
She told me that if I tried to eat those proportions for every meal, I would feel healthier. I have since adopted those proportions for most of my meals. The key: make sure to keep enough veggies and protein around.
Some other eating tips I found during my weight loss:
The Next E = Exercise
I had previously exercised 4 or 5 times a week and I stepped that up to daily. Some of my approaches to keeping this up:
D = Drinking (as in less alcohol)
I cut my drinking by one-third, from an average of three drinks a day to two drinks a day.
That oesn’t sound like much but beer, wine and cocktails have about 100 to 150 calories in them so if you do the simple math of drinking one less drink per day then that will cause a decline in your calorie intake of about 5% (the average person should have about 2,500 calories per day).
Calories are similar to weight, right, so just think that one less beer or cocktail a day could help you reduce your weight by 5% (since I was 203 lbs at my peak, that could have been 10 lbs right there!)
S = Spirituality (Optional)
This last step is really an optional/bonus round…as I feel the previous four steps are key and this one is more of a multiplier!
I added a form of spirituality to my life during my weight loss period in the form of yoga.
I can’t explain any scientific reason why yoga helped me with weight loss, but my hunch is that it was the icing on the cake to my four other tips (Sleep, Eating, Exercise and Drinking). The main benefits I get are to let go of stress and “just be” as they say.
Since I take a Vinyassa Flow class in 75 degree temperature, it’s also an excellent detox (I break a sweat every time!).
While any one of the 5 SEEDS (Sleep, Eating, Exercise, Drinking and Spirtituality) will help you lose weight, I believe there’s also a compound effect (the lollapalooza effect as investor Charlie Munger calls it) that took place in me improving in all five of these categories, even if just a little.
I was very lucky that I happened to dabble in all five at the same time!
So, that’s how I accidentally lost 30 pounds! I’m still at around 172 pounds and feelin’ great!
I’m willing to bet you that half of Warren Buffet’s success is due his effective communication (most of his other half is his sustained focus (i.e. his singular focus on creating wealth over 60 years!).
If you don’t believe me, you should read his annual reports or watch video of him on CNBC and YouTube.
I wonder if one of the reasons I like Warren’s Plain English style is that we’re the same personality type (ISTJ).
Some people, including me, refer to his communication style as “Plain English.”
Here are seven tips for using the plain english style of writing used by Warren Buffett, Mark Twain and others:
Focus on the first-person plural (we, us, our/ours) and second person singular (you and yours). The purpose is it’s more direct, more conversational and avoids the he/she dilemma.
(Before/Poor) — “This article will enlighten readers and contribute to people’s success versus.”
(After/Better)– “I will enlighten you in this article and contribute to your success.”
Steer clear of verbs such as “to be” and “to have.” They are weak!
Take the following sentence for example:
(Before/Poor) — “We will make a distribution of cash to every person in the company if our business is ever sold.”
(After/Better) — “We will distribute cash to everyone in our company if we are sold”
Hint: nouns that usually end in “ion” can be replaced with a more powerful verb (in that case, “Will distribute” replaced “will make a distribution”).
Use “unable” instead of “not able” and “exclude” instead of “not include,” etc. — This is shorter and more clear.
Try to use active (as opposed to passive) voice and go in order of Subject, Verb and Object. For example:
(Before/Poor) — “The product is bought by the customer”
(After/Better) — “The customer buys the product.”
Try to avoid words that don’t add much value such as “in order to” (use “to”) and “Despite the fact that” (use “Although”).
Why? Readers understand sentences in the active voice more quickly and easily because it follows how we think and process information
When communicating, you should know your audience…that’s basic, but if you’re communicating to a number of people try to write with a certain person in mind.
For example, in this article I try to envision writing to Lakshmi, a department head of a medium-sized business I know.
When I’m writing about something technical, I write with my Mom in mind.
#7: Avoid Contract Language
Steer clear of “Contract-type” language with definitions — this is the opposite of Plain English.
The best book on the subject of Plain English is How to write, speak and think more effectively by Rudolf Flesch.
And then there are Warren Buffett’s famous annual reports.
Plain English, Please!