On Memorial Day 2013, I exited my shower, stared into the mirror, examined my unadulterated body, and made one of those faces you make when you remove the garbage bag from the bin and the smell gets all in your face. I was plump. Chubby. Well-upholstered. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t turning any heads with my 208-pound Summer ’13 bod. And having always wanted to turn a head or two on the beach, I made a pact with myself that day. I vowed to eat healthier, to exercise more, and to ultimately sport an unnaturally cut figure a year from then, the next summer, on Memorial Day 2014, which is right now.
And I fucking did it. This year, on Memorial Day 2014, I exited my shower, stared into the mirror, examined my unadulterated body, and made one of those faces you make when the waiter says “we’re out of the turtle cheesecake but we can do vanilla bean” and you’re like “yeah, sure that’ll work.” Then, I stepped onto the scale to officially quantify my long, trying year of healthy living. 202 pounds. Ah, the feeling of accomplishment! It felt good to have reached a goal. Or maybe that was just the feeling of being healthy. Who knows and who cares; I don’t have time to think about that stuff now that I’m making girls faint every time I walk into a room.
Since going public with my body transformation, people have generally asked me the same question: How did you do it? Well, I don’t have one exact answer, because each body is different. But here are my best 16 pieces of advice:
1. Start counting calories. To get a general idea of how much you’re eating now, continue eating unhealthily for three or four months and keep track of everything. Then, cut your caloric intake by like 5%.
2. Always think in terms of serving size. For example, I learned that one serving of pizza is not eight slices and one serving of ice cream isn’t the entire pint. This was a particularly upsetting realization.
3. Stop eating gluten. Also, learn what gluten is and email me.
4. Limit cheat days to your birthday, all national holidays, most international holidays, all big television events, every time you go out to dinner, and the weekend.
5. It’s all about healthy alternatives. This means a lot of frozen yogurt for dessert instead of ice cream.
6. It’s all about upping your protein intake. This means a lot of Greek frozen yogurt.
7. It’s all about moderation. This means less frozen yogurt than you’re going to be craving.
8. Develop an exercise regimen and follow it religiously. Be sure to include rest in the regimen. Rest is the most important part of exercise if you’re looking to lose weight, probably.
9. Alcohol being unhealthy is a myth. Drink as much as you possibly can.
10. Vegetables being healthy is not a myth. They are extremely healthy. Try to put some parsley or basil on your pasta every now and then. Or leave the tomatoes on your burgers sometimes. Anything like that will do.
11. Limit yourself to only 10 or 15 “this is going to be the last night before I officially start the diet” snack binges.
12. Pick a day each week to focus on carb-loading. It’s important to store up loads of carbohydrates, especially considering your newly instated vigorous exercise regimen, which again, focuses on rest.
13. Begin referencing the back of food labels to study ingredients. If you see a percentage next to any of the vitamins, that means the food is super healthy, so eat it.
14. Diet with a friend! You’ll have someone to keep you honest and to complain with. Plus, the inherent competition will force you to try harder. But make sure to literally never leave your friend’s side or you’ll just cheat every time he or she isn’t looking.
15. Follow a bunch of health blogs on Twitter but don’t actually read any of them because they’re boring and when you use up all of your time reading then you have less time to diet.
16. Set your alarm for about an hour and half earlier than you usually wake up so you can sneak in a morning workout. Then, when you’re like, fuck that and you get to sleep for an additional 90 minutes, it’s a really awesome feeling.