Why Should You Listen To Me?  Maybe You Shouldn’t, But I Did Once Lose 100 Pounds and Have Kept it Off for 3 Years.

Loyal readers may know that I once lost 100 pounds.  I didn’t have any surgeries or take any pills, or even join any groups/use a specific diet.  I simply exercised a lot and ate healthy.  I didn’t cut anything out of my diet, but rather rearranged my diet so that I ate a much higher percentage of healthy foods to crappy foods.  I’ve managed to maintain that weight loss for nearly three years now, which is actually sort of a miracle, considering that most studies show 90% of people gain back weight loss within a year. That’s obviously not the best of odds.

I’ve always found weight loss and weight management to be a really simple process.  (In theory, but tough on a day to day basis). The fact that there’s a billion dollar “dieting” industry really freaking baffles me. I mean, isn’t the fundamental truth that if we consume less calories than we burn that we’ll lose weight?

People will invest in the market without reading a single book and go on job interviews without practicing, and yet spend thousands of dollars on “weight loss support” groups, books, and programs.  I’m not trying to be insensitive–it’s just that I rarely see success from such venues.  Not long term.  Not if you want to be a 10 percenter.

I even gave up the gym, which I have at times regretted.  Weight loss is (unless there is a health issue at work) really a matter of motivation.  Are you motivated enough to burn more calories than you consume?  In other words, are you motivated enough to either work out more or eat less?  The gym was always motivating because I’m cheap, but now I’m trying to make things even simpler.

The “Exercise Program’ That Might Put Money in Your Wallet

Lately I’ve been expanding my simplistic weight loss and work out beliefs even further.  Now when I work out, at the same time I’m also getting shit done.  My body never gets use to the “exercise” routine, because the routine is always different.  I’m saving time and maintaining/losing weight.  I’m saving money by not going to a gym and I find the exercise doubly rewarding: because I’m both losing weight and getting shit done.  If you go do work for others, you can lose weight AND make money!

Here are some examples of my getting shit done “exercises”

1) Clearing areas in my back yard and gardening.  What’s that?  You really think I’m not building muscle and burning calories by digging holes?  You think your Whatever-flex is better?  My grandfather was a grave digger who never touched a weight in his life and drank like he was the lost member of the Rat pack, and yet he was ripped, even as a seventy year old.  My yard looks good and I’m doing shit around the house I have to do anyway.  Plus I’m losing weight.  Perfect.

2) Tiring out my dog: I’ll play soccer or other aerobic based games with my dog.  My high-strung dog is better behaved the rest of the day and I don’t have to feel like a lab rat on a treadmill.  Win freaking win.  Plus my dog gets needed exercise for her health at the same time.

3) Any number of other labor intensive jobs around the house or via volunteering – Pouring your own pavement, breaking up that old patio with a cinderblock, shoveling snow – these all equal big time exercise.  It’s amazing to me now that so many people are spending money to go to a gym and then also paying someone else to do basic manuel labor for them.  It’s sort of ridiculous when we think about the fact that today more people go to a gym than ever, and yet people are more obese then at any time in their lives. My dad has a manual labor job and never has to exercise.  His job is exercise.  For office rats like me I need to do more–but why not be productive while doing so and save both time and money?

Ok…I’m waiting for the “what if you don’t have a house” cries to start.  Well, then go start a side business and make money while you “exercise.”  Or go volunteer, plenty of groups could use a willing hand.  Go build a house for the disadvantaged or plant trees to save the Earth. Seriously, then you’re not only doing something good and exercising, but you also might feel “spiritually enlightened.”  Or if you’re a self-centered bastard, then perhaps you’ll make some connections that will later turn into business.  Win freaking win x 3.


So, what do you say?  Who’s going to join me in exercise minimalism?  Who’s going to be “built like a stacked house” by building a stacked house?  Just sayin-

What’s your favorite getting shit done exercise?  Laundry in the basement Stairmaster?  The toilet scrub squat?




Chris Thomas, owner of the online freelance writing and web-copy company, FreelancePF. Chris’s interest in personal finance stems from leaving grad school with six figures in student loan debt.