How to lose 153 pounds in a year

Before I got on the treadmill this morning I read Aaron Gleeman’s blog, and it made me tack on an extra half a mile.

One year ago today, Gleeman started a weight-loss program. In that year, the baseball blogger has lost 153 pounds. His weight today is down to 202. He did it with – get this – diet and exercise. He writes:

“My goal early on was simple: Eat fewer than 1,250 calories per day and force myself onto an elliptical machine for at least 10 minutes. I completely cut out all the foods I loved, going cold turkey on takeout and delivery and snacks, and also focused on eating at least two meals each day instead of letting myself get so hungry that dinner became a smorgasbord. I ate oatmeal and bananas and chicken soup and Lean Cuisine microwave dinners. And the weight came flying off, as I shed 40 pounds in the first six weeks.”

Eventually he got his time on the elliptical up to 30 minutes a day. He occasionally let his caloric intake creep up to 1,500, and he managed somehow to keep drinking beer.

Gleeman also describes an important psychological element to his weight-loss campaign — the need to remain faithful, not to say fanatical, about his new lifestyle:

“In the past my undoing always stemmed from slipping up once, which seems like a harmless thing at first but eventually leads to falling completely off the wagon. My brain has proven incapable of occasionally going off the diet, so even after losing 40 pounds if I allow myself Chinese food or a few slices of pizza I know within a week I’ll be back where I started.”

In that observation, Gleeman sounds like my MPR colleague Euan Kerr, who lost enough weight in recent years to make acquaintances ask if he were suffering from some terminal disease. He says he expects to be struggling to keep his weight down for the rest of his life.

“I’m a bit like an alcoholic,” he told me. “It’s definitely one day at a time.”

I have no idea whether it’s healthy to lose weight the way Gleeman did. And while it may be too much to say that Gleeman’s blog has changed my life, I’ll bet it changes somebody’s life. In the meantime, it has at least changed my morning. For one thing, I ran that extra distance. For another, I got some literature at Starbucks and looked up the calories I’ve already consumed today, just to see. One slice of banana bread: 490. One nonfat tall latte: 100.

In other words, by 10 a.m., I’d ingested roughly half of Gleeman’s total daily sustenance. I could eat one more slice of banana bread and drink one more latte, and I’d be done. Uh-oh.

One day at a time? More like an hour at a time.

– Eric Ringham

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