Getting Started with Weight Loss

Where to Start Losing Weight

Having done almost everything over the years and only finding real success with fasting, it would seem natural to recommend fasting first.

I actually wouldn’t do that, though if you want to do some short fasts or try to restrict yourself to an eating window go ahead.

I think the best thing to start with are tasks or three month challenges so to speak. Going directly into a diet seems to set a lot of people up for failure or delaying a start until tomorrow indefinitely. Also, if you establish certain habits then hopefully it will be more of a permanent lifestyle change than a diet.

For people whose struggles with obesity are more behavior based rather than genetic, making lifestyle and eating pattern modifications might be sufficient. I would actually characterize this as the typical success story. (“I cut out beer and pizza and lost 100 pounds! If I can do it anyone can!”)

Ideally you want to build up a self awareness of what you eat. I’m not a big fan of tracking as a permanent thing.

Self Awareness Based Things to Do

  1. Track food for a certain period of time. This will give you a more accurate idea of the nutritional content of various food and an idea of how accurate your self-estimations are. I’d recommend guessing at the number of calories you are eating before you do this.
  2. Take before and after pictures of everything you eat. This is less demanding then actually tracking, but is still useful info.
  3. Make an appointment with a physician and get lab tests for thyroid, testosterone, fasting insulin, and endocrine stuff. I’d start with this especially if you have a history of trying and failing or are 100+ pounds overweight. Maybe find a place to get your resting metabolic rate tested and either a BODPOD or DEXA bodyfat percentage done so you aren’t guessing about where you’re at.
  4. Get a scale and track your weight. Don’t judge yourself just do it.

3 Month Challenge Ideas

This is where you try to eliminate certain habits or establish habits for a certain period of time. I’ve done this myself informally and it’s certainly made me more aware and some of the habits have stuck.

challenge grunge violet seal isolated on white

Some ideas in descending order of what I consider effectiveness.

  1. Eliminate Alcohol. – Drinking calories seems to be one of the most destructive habits. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read that losing weight was so easy; I cut out the beer and the pounds just fell off. These people irritate me because I really don’t drink, but I’ve seen it so often that I think it’s the most beneficial of challenges.
  2. Eliminate Calorie Containing Beverages – You can drink calories at an amazing rate. I’d take out everything including juice. The only exception is heavy cream in your coffee.
  3. Eliminate carby things in plastic wrapper – Pretty much everything in a plastic wrapper that’s not refrigerated is in this category; except pork rinds and some dried cheeses. (They now have some yummy parmesan ones.)
  4. Simple Carbs – This is a greater challenge. I’d include the whole grains as well in this. So even sweet potatoes and brown rice should go. A lesser challenge would be to eliminate bread and carb based wrappers like tortillas.
  5. Artificial Sweeteners – I’d include Stevia in this. After the challenge is over I’d then bring back stevia first and see if you can stick with just that.
  6. Eat one boring food for two weeks. I’m lifting this one from Ray Cronise, but it’s a good behavior based thing to do. He recommends potatoes. You can use anything boring. Admittedly it’s not three months, but it’s a bit tougher and I think you’d learn a lot. Note this is one thing I’ve never done.
  7. Set an eating window – Basically just eat dinner say over a four hour period. Less extreme would be skipping breakfast each day.

Fung Fasting – The next step!

fasting paper and fork with spoon symbol on white plate

This is how I did it. If behavioral changes don’t work or you want to try to supercharge things, this would be the big next step.

Basically. I now take ½ teaspoon of lite salt (½ potassium ½ salt), camu camu power (½ teaspoon a day), a multivitamin, and lots of water if I’m going over 3 days. Some people suggest bone broth. I consider anything up to 200 or so calories fasting. Most still call this water fasting, I’m not overly concerned with terminology just results. However, in order avoid getting bogged down in silly semantic arguments, I’m calling this kind of fasting Fung fasting.

DISCLAIMER: I am a lawyer describing my personal experiences. You should not rely on me for advice as to safety or efficacy. You should read Diet Doctor or Dr. Fung’s Blog where doctors discuss fasting safety. Even better try consulting your own Doctor.

If you feel dizzy, lack of energy or weak and feel you have to eat a small bite of something I’d suggest starting with heavy cream in coffee or bulletproof coffee or broth with some high quality oil like olive oil, butter or coconut. Failing that extremely salty and high protein/fat. Parmesan cheese, bacon, or Macadamia nuts are my standby. I still try to avoid anything solid because that can lead to a fast break about 33% of the time.

    1. Eat low carb. If you aren’t eating low carb, I suggest you start. It will make the fasting easier.
    2. Limit yourself to a 4 hour eating window for 2 weeks. This is what I did .
    3. Try to go 5 days. I made it 2.5 before I felt too ill to keep going. I was fairly nauseous of all things and a bit crampy. 
    4. Then I waited a week and tried again, this time making it 4.
    5. Then I started going longer and longer waiting about a week between fasts. Eventually the results got so good and it got so much easier that I would start going into fasts more often. 
    6. Keep trying to restrict the eating window; however, once you start doing more serious fasting you can get looser with this. Also, for 2 days after 5+ day fasts I am very loose.

If you aren’t getting the results you want, then try fasting more. I get the best results when I am fasting 50% of days. I get decent results at 33% or so percent of days. By days I mean full days fasting. A day where I restrict myself to an eating window I do not consider a fasting day.

So if you eat every other day that would be 50% fasting. Likewise going seven days on, seven days off would be 50%. Longer periods will be more effective per unit of fasting time. I personally don’t have a set routine; but you can try that if you like. I’m purposely avoiding being overly prescriptive in my advice; because at this point I feel that weight loss is different for everyone so what works for me, might not work for you. However, by tinkering with sensible methods of action you can find what works for you, maybe. (After getting such bad advice delivered with such certainty over the years I’m not assuming anything about other people based on my experiences. Maybe you are extremely spiritually advanced and are deriving energy from the universe. The odds would be astronomically long in my estimate and that would really suck because you couldn’t be helped. ) 


If all else fails try calorie counting and tracking. Do not consider this a personal failing. What works is different for everyone. Women especially seem to find things harder.


Business cartoon about challenges, 'starting is the scariest part'.