After a year of the Google cafeteria and another year of eating low cost Startup FounderChow, I put on a few pounds. Now, I'm starting to shed them, and I'll tell you how.
Before I get into it, I want to lay down a few prerequisites. There are a lot of diet guides out there that will bullshit you into thinking that the process is easy. This is a lie. Dieting and exercising suck. This is possibly the most miserable thing you can do to yourself. You are not going to have fun.
To that end, if you are more than 50 pounds overweight, are unmarried, have no children, and your only reason to get up in the morning is your shitty software job, the healthy lifestyle is not for you. You are better off eating yourself to the grave: you will get much more satisfaction out of life by eating cheeseburgers than you will by torturing the pounds of fat off your gut.
Simple I/O Operation
The science of weight loss is simple: eat fewer calories than your burn. You have heard this before, I trust. To follow this principle, you need to start quantifying. I use a web service called FitDay to track the calories I eat versus the calories I burn.
Start by running a 1,000 calorie per day deficit. To lose a pound of fat, you need to burn around 3,500 calories, so you'll lose two pounds in a week. Just to be clear, doing this sucks ass. However, there are a few easy ways to trim calories here and there.
Go Easy On The Drinking
When I go out on a Friday night to have a few beers, it's not hard for me to consume 800 calories worth of booze. Yes, liquor helps to numb the pain of writing XML parsers all day, but it comes at an expense. To compensate, take up smoking. I smoke more cigars now: it's a good zero-calorie alternative.
Eat One Serving
There are eight servings in a box of Barilla pasta. I used to eat half a box of pasta in a single sitting, 4 servings worth. Since you're counting your calories anyhow, you'll already be monitoring servings. You will also spend less money this way: since I started counting my calories, I've been spending 50% less per week on food. More money for cigars.
Drink More Coffee
Caffeine is an appetite suppressant. In large enough quantities, it can be used as an amphetamine. Drink up.
Ice Cream Keeps You Sane
Low-fat ice cream has around 120 calories per half cup. Fat calories keep you feeling satiated for longer. The Dreyer's brand (sold as Edy's on the east coast) doesn't suck that much.
After you have been limiting your calorie intake for two weeks, your stomach will shrink enough that it takes significantly less food to satisfy you. So that's step one: stop eating so damn much. Step two is exercise. And yes, it's awful.
See What Condition My Condition Was In
The only real benefit to exercise is being able to hold your nose over people who don't exercise. That's pretty cool if you're looking to take your misery out on your co-workers. Protip: it's better for your general well-being to be a prick to your colleagues than to your family.
You will lose more weight by dieting than by exercise if you are eating 1,000 fewer calories per day than you burn by doing nothing, so use exercise only as a supplement to your calorie loss.
If you're going to exercise, use an elliptical machine. Treadmills are terrible: they make you run. If you're like me, you have horrific flashbacks of being 10 year old, sucking wind, being the one that got nailed by the cops because your friends were all physically fit and managed to get away. Failure.
If you're going to pussyfoot around and work out for 30 minutes in your "fatburn" zone three times a week, don't even bother. You're just wasting your time. One hour per day, hard. You should be close to vomiting by the end of that hour.
Well, That's It
Easy, huh. Stop eating so damn much and get off your fat lazy ass.