The Challenge

Here’s my challenge: Drop 20 pounds by the end of the year and I encourage anyone interested to join me and follow my journey here as I’ll be documenting my process and progress.

Why put it out in public? Well, for one, failure is not an appealing option if you put it out in front over 55,000 twitter followers. Oh the humiliation! πŸ˜‚

No, more seriously, I know a lot of people struggle with weight loss and it’s hard for many. I’ve done it before and much more significantly then 20 pounds. So if this can be a helpful exercise and inspire others by me offering some insight into the process then that’s a good cause from my perch.

But know i’m not a medical professional and I don’t know your personal situation. I know a lot of people have medical circumstances that may not permit them to do what I’m doing here in which case I encourage consulting with a medical professional. But if you’re healthy and just want to lose some pounds then jump on board, because this really works!

Why do I want to drop 20 pounds? I’m not obese and I run 4-5 times a week so I’m fit, in fact this summer I was cranking out longer runs on a regular basis. Heck I’m not the fastest runner out there, but I’m comfortable with putting out the miles.


But somehow I managed to put on some unneeded pounds over the last few months. Very slowly, but congrats to me, I managed to do it a snack at a time to the point I noticed my running performance was decreasing. I love running and have bigger running plans for next summer and I need to be at my ideal running weight to tackle them. So the extra pounds need to go.

Another big factor: When I put on extra pounds I don’t feel quite as energetic, especially when I spent hours a day in front of a screen. I’m sure many of you can relate.

Traders need to make important decisions in a complex and uncertain environment and need to be sharp and alert. You can’t do that effectively in the long term if you’re stressed and don’t feel good, or at your best.

And, for full disclosure and public self shaming, here’s my current, embarrassingly high, weigh in:

That’s around 206 pounds. Ugh. I need and want to be around 185/6.

So here’s what I’ll do: I’ll aim to put out an update each day with progress and method so you’ll see what I’m doing and how it’s working for me and no doubt there will be challenges along the way, there always are. I promise you i’ll keep this running post very real. The glorious triumphs, the miserable failures, it’s all part of the process.

To begin with I’ll start with a few days of fasting to cleanse the system accompanied by some light and reduced exercise. I’ve done a few fasts in the past and they are great, they help you get motivated, get your senses sharp and your system cleaned up and assist in getting your system used to a lower calorie schedule during the weight loss process.

20 pounds in 10 weeks. Nothing too extreme, but enough of a challenge and worth doing.

By the way: If any of you are joining me on this quest, love to hear how you’re coming along.

Day 25-26: Glorious

Whatever exercise regime you choose, make sure you dig it cause it keeps you coming back for more. I know is winter is coming and I’ll whine soon enough but today was just a glorious Fall day for a run:

England is great for running and I always try to scope out new routes to keep things fresh, but this one is one of my favorites. Nice run too and burns the cals:

My week below. I’ve definitely started adding to the mileage.

Next week’s goal: Drop below 88:

Day 21-24: Breakthrough

Finally. After a couple of weeks of basing following the fast it looks I’ve moved on the next phase:

That’s nearly 5kg or 11 pounds in a bit over 3 weeks. So pleased with that and on schedule to get to the 20lbs by year end.

Running every 2 days now and comfortable with the longer schedule:

The weather has definitely turned here and these past 2 runs took place in during rain and howling winds. That don’t scare me much!

Next few days I want to press on the calorie front and just have a couple of soups a day. Either this weekend or next I want to try a more challenging run. I have one in mind, but it’s not for the squeamish. All this is slow planning for expanding runs next year. Patience and execution!

Day 16-20: Expanding

Apologies for not updating in the past few days. Combination of being super busy, but also a period of being terrified of going on the scale.

Friday I undertook a longer run:

Felt good, but I also burned 4,000 calories total during that day. While that’s good I pigged out during the weekend, my body was craving energy big time. So I was scared to go on the scale. Ha!

But one needs a reality check, can hide for only so long so imagine my surprise today:

No weight gain. I suppose it makes sense as I’ve expanded my running length over the last week and thereby expanding the calorie burn:

Bottomline: I’m down 10 pounds in the past almost 3 weeks. If I just watch it and keep balance the diet while continuing to expand the run distances I should be able to crack below 89 this week and then get going toward the lower targets.

Running over 1 hour on each run really helps on the calorie burn and being 10 pounds lighter definitely helps.

Plan now is to run 10K+ on every run for the next few weeks. Today hit another 11.5K.

Diet mostly now: Salads with some shrimp, around 300 calories each, protein is important, and then occasional some fried eggs with tomatoes and onions, no bread. Tea, some light juice, and yes coffee and plenty of water. Aiming to stay below 1,200 calories each day or even below 1,000 for the next few days.

Running every other day. Perhaps another long run on the weekend.

Day 14+15: Progress

Diet now: A salad with some shrimp after noon around 1-2pm and fried eggs for dinner for protein, keeping it below 1,000 calories a day. That seems to work better than 500 calories a day.

Weight down a it further:

No loss of energy notable and I’m comfortable expanding the run distances now:

Goal is now to drop into 88kg for good next week and leave this consolidation phase behind. These longer runs feel better and less sluggish then just a couple of week ago, so I’m pleased with the progress.

Day 13: On Drugs!

It’s been said that food is a drug, and boy is that statement true. After my miserable run on Saturday I finally ate fully and last night my body was craving big time. It’s been almost 2 weeks since a full chow and I broke down. Literally I said: Fuck it, thinking I was going to regret it, boy was I wrong. No, I ate a full dinner, desert, and then some. It was glorious as it was decadent.

Guess what? My body thanked me. I woke up feeling fantastic and full of energy. Went on a run late this afternoon and it was awesome, full of energy, felt light and great, precisely what should have happened on Saturday.

Didn’t actually plan on a longer run, but i kept running until it was dark:

Could’ve kept going for a while so well did it feel. So yea, I felt like I had taken drugs. And I did, food. My body was able to fill up reserves and gained strength.

The lesson: Find the right balance and I had been probably a bit too aggressive. Don’t try long runs without a proper calorie intake before.

The best part: I didn’t have to endure any major bump on the weight front.

So now it’s back to reducing intake and trying to find the right balance that works for me. This next week

That was quite something today. For me anyways. πŸ™‚

Day 10-12: Break

I had to take a break from the strict diet for a couple of days. Weight still basing, but I’m now expecting a bounce.

The trigger for me was my attempt at a proper long run on Saturday and it was frankly a disaster.

I had zero energy, no reserves. That’s when you know you’ve deprived yourself too much. Barely got in 9K. Worse, something funky is going on in one of my knees, can’t tell yet if its’ just some freak small injury or something more serious. Will have to evaluate over the next few days.

This week I need to get back on the program, which means back on a stricter regimen, perhaps not as extreme.

Now that I’ve had some proper food I’ll re-assess my energy levels (and my knee!) on the next few runs.

It’s a process. Day at a time.

Day 9: Bring it

Don’t think this sustains in the short term, but we’ll see. Planning a larger run on Saturday, see how that goes. Winter is coming…

Still on less than 1,000 calories per day without much effort. It’s really just a matter of adjusting. The fast really helped with this.

Execution, execution, execution.

Day 8: The math

Got too busy with markets to update yesterday, but here goes and throwing in some math and data into this.

Weight staying stable here which I like for this basing phase:

Slowly expanding some distance on runs:

Now some specific data for the past week:

Weekly weight 90.1, avg daily calories burned 3,211, avg daily steps 12,502. Why is this important?

It takes a net deficit of 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat. So if you want to lose 2 pounds a week on average you have to create a deficit of around 7,000 calories.

Say a standard metabolism for a guy my age and weight is around 2,000 calories it becomes clear quickly how you can accomplish that. Eat a lot less, which is what I just did, and/or add active calories to expand the deficit or to give yourself some room for some calories.

Here was my active calorie count for the past week (over the base 2,000 presumed daily average):

So my weight loss during the fast and after is really no surprise. 5 days of zero calories but still around 3,200 calories burned per day gets you around a 17,500 calorie deficit. Add another 3 days of around 600 calories per day and you get a total 26,000 calorie deficit or around 7.5 lbs.

Which is basically where I’m at.

The message: Math works and hence keeping a close honest eye on your calories in and out matters big time.

Day 7:

Basing time:

I’m on soups now with the occasional avocado and salad thrown in. Currently sticking to 500-800 calories a day. Goal is now to stay in the 89-90.5 range and let things settle with the goal to slowly start increasing the running time with perhaps a longer run once a week.

Today’s run was gain the same loop, but increased the pace a bit and it felt really good. No signs of weakness or light headedness. Food does make a difference! πŸ™‚

Even had a bonus thrown in as I came around a corner:

Tomorrow I’ll outline some math considerations, but all in all very happy with the way this is going so far. Still no major cravings, my body seems to have adjusted to the low cal regime. Shows you how much of our food intake cravings is bad habits and eating the wrong type of foods.

Day 6:

Re-introducing food went well. I’m actually surprised how well this is going. I had a soup and 2 avocados last night so somewhere around 500-600 calories.

Hence no surprise that my weight loss slowed a bit here, I actually expected a bounce overnight, but not yet:

The most surprising aspect for me so far is that, despite adding some food back in, I still don’t have any cravings. And I feel totally fine, so I see no reason not to continue on a low calorie regiment here at the moment.

That wasn’t my original plan, but if it works why not.

No run today, just a walk, back to running tomorrow.

Day 5:

The weigh-in:

That’s 4.1kg or 9 lbs in 5 days and more than I expected hence it’s also decision time.

I wanted to start with a fast to cleanse the system and get the process rolling and that has been accomplished.

My last meal was on Tuesday and I have to say the fast has been very manageable, but I don’t want it to get to the point where I’m wearing down reserves.

I’ve never done a run after 5 days without eating and it’s probably not a bright idea, nevertheless I gave it go today:

The short answer: I croaked on the hills and after 25 minutes I was out of gas. No surprise really. Frankly it felt no good and I was getting light headed. So basically a boneheaded idea and I don’t recommend it to anyone.

That said I literally felt the weight off my shoulders with 9 pounds less on me which is extremely encouraging.

Bottomline: As of tonight I’m breaking the fast gently with some chicken/vegetable broth and will remain on a low calorie regimen over the next few days/weeks. I’ll update as it progresses. My expectation is now a weight bounce back to a certain degree over the next few days but would like to keep it under 91. Once I got proper food in my system over the next few days I may start bringing longer run distances back into the program.

Overall very pleased with the fast. It did the job.

PS: My wife thinks I’m nuts.

Day 4:


7.7 lbs dropped in 3 days and a notch on the belt. That may be a tad too aggressive. On the one hand very encouraging, but rapid weight loss is also not sustainable and puts me at risk of muscle mass loss. So I’ll monitor closely and will likely end the fast tomorrow. My wife is already giving the concerned look πŸ™‚

Fasts can be sustained for much longer, but I want to stay on top of exercise, so I need to strike the right balance for me.

For the here and now I continue to feel fine with no hunger feelings. I do sense however some weakness creeping in, in the sense that a long run would not be advisable.

That all said, our ancestors certainly had to go through periods of unreliable food supplies and our bodies are well capable of sustaining without food for a while.

No run today, just a nice walk.

I have a challenge ahead of me tonight tough: Mella wants to take the family out to dinner. And yes, when on a fast, you appear the social outcast staring at your cup of tea while everybody’s munching away. And worse, they start teasing you. I can see it coming.


Day 3:

First off: Thanks for all the messages and I’m thrilled to see people getting on board with this. I wish you all the success. Now granted what I’m doing may not work for everybody and that’s totally fine, you do what works for you, my journey here is just perhaps a benchmark and hopefully a motivator for others. And when I run into roadblocks (which I’m sure I will) you’ll know you’re not alone.

But for now: Hell yea!

That’s almost 5 lbs in 2 days. I know the speed of the weight loss will slow down and I’ll have to base at some point and may even bounce once I introduce food again.

Fact is, after 3 days without any food, I feel fantastic right now, zero hunger feelings, I feel alert, had a great sleep last night and no signs of exhaustion or dizziness. Day 3 was definitely much easier than day 1 and day 2. Day 2 was the more challenging of the 2.

I did manage another light run today, but tomorrow will be a rest day.

As you can see I ran slower today. 3 days without food will do that to you. So I need to carefully monitor the next day or 2 and decide how far I want to take the fast.

I already felt lighter today, 5 lbs make a difference!

So by next week, once I likely get back on food, I can then increase distances.

Very encouraging start. And the discipline required is actually more than expected, cause Mella keeps teasing me with these great dinners while I’m reduced to stare at a cup of tea πŸ™‚

Day 2:

The worst is over in regards to the fast. Overnight and morning was a little rough. Woke up at 3:00am with raging hunger pangs, but I managed to cry myself back to sleep. I’m kidding, I just rolled over and it was fine. Felt a light headache in the morning which is normal for day 2.

Weigh in came in nice with 1kg (2.2lbs) dropped. It’s not true weight loss yet as during a fast you initially lose some water weight and you have less food weight inside you, but I’ll take it:

Went on another light run basically the same loop at the same pace, but definitely felt a bit less energy at the end of it which is normal:

Felt hungry during the run and after, but now all hunger feeling has subsided, I feel relaxed.

I may take a break from running tomorrow and do some pushups and setups instead.

Key for me now is to keep the fast going until I sense it’s getting too much. The fast is simply a method to kick the weight loss program off and cleanse the system a bit.

With the loss of weight following the fast I then intend to get slowly ease back into food and aim for some longer runs, with emphasis on one long run once a week or twice a month.

Intake remains lots of fluids, tea, some coffee nothing else. Hopefully no crying at 3:00 am tonight πŸ™‚

Day 1:

Started the fast, no food today. Just tea, coffee, lots of water and a diet coke and some sugar free polos to take the edge off.

Day 1 and 2 are usually the hardest when beginning a fast. “I’m starving” is the common reaction. You’re not starving, you got extra pounds on remember? The feeling of discomfort comes from your stomach beginning to shrink. It’s called hunger pangs and it’s perfectly normal. And once you mentally visualize that it’s just primal signals fired from your brain you can learn to control it until it goes away on its own.

See that’s the kicker: It goes away. It really does. And yes the beast within will growl and challenge you at the beginning, but know it goes away and that’s when an inner peace will take over, especially after day 2 I find as your entire system calms itself.

The fast went better today than I expected. Yes I feel hungry, but it comes in stages, and I’m sure to drink extra fluids when it becomes noticeable. As of this evening I actually feel quite settled. I know tomorrow may be a challenge at times, but by day 3 I expect the hunger pangs to be gone.

I also did a light and casual run today, nothing too fancyΒ as my goal during the fast is to keep exercise up, but with explicit focus to not do anything too long or too strenuous:

During a fast your body doesn’t have as many reserves to fall back on so you can’t do massive exercise, hence my focus is shorter and more moderate runs and then slowly increase distance again when the fast is over.

Looking forward to day 2, see what the scale says tomorrow. Gotta start somewhere.


Categories: Opinion

34 replies »

  1. The heck…. I will do it. I will join you in the challenge.

    Me and my husband we moved back to Colorado after 13 years of living in Texas. I do not own a scale and have not been on one in 20-25 (??) years. But I know if I gained weight or not by my clothes. And after so many years in a hot and humid climate I have gained A LOT of weight.

    Living in Colorado my weight started melting. Not because of being in a different state but just by being much more active than in Texas. We do not live in a house, where we would open the door and let our dogs run outside. Now we live in an apartment and I walk my dogs one at the time.

    The move helped me lose weight and a lot of it..lifting, moving, stress of not knowing where we will end up… But now..two and a half month of being here I started eating more.. even though I do not need it.. more snacks..bigger meals.. And weight started coming back. I feel it by wearing my pants.. Little bit tighter..

    So.. I will do it.

    And actually perfect timing. I just finished huge meal followed by a slice of a cheesecake…size of a meal I didn’t have to have.

    Good luck to us..


      • My replies will be 3-4 pm CO time. After that I usually turn off all of my electronics.

        Yesterday I went for additional long walk with one of my dogs. There is this nice long steep hill that I used to walk 2-3 times a week. I did it twice yesterday and already twice today. I get very wined on the top of it, but it feels great.

        Yesterday and today I did limit my food. I like feeling hungry before my meals. All of those snacks in between meals have to be limited by me. I do not like fasting, never did.. So kudos to you for that.

        Got the scale. Wanted to know my weight right away…with clothes and small boots on I weigh 169 lb, 5’11” (180 cm)..my waist 80 cm, hips 104 cm.

        I want to get to 75-76 cm waist and 99-100 cm hips.

        This afternoon I will start working out concentrating on my back muscles. I think I will do this during this first week of the weight challenge.


    • Thanks. I agree, the diet soda stuff is to be viewed with caution, I just use it during the fast phase a bit. I’ll check out the 8/16 diet.

  2. I dropped 20 pounds in about 8 weeks. Very Low Carbs and no sugar. Was easy. I ate the same amount of meat but much more veggies and nuts & dark chocolate for snacks.4 months later I’m still on same diet but increased carbs slightly to stabilize weight.

    Good luck

  3. We started intermittent fasting 2 months ago eating 12pm – 8pm daily with a full 24hr fast every Monday (coffee and water) and have been having some success with it. Started at 230lbs down to about 217 now. Goal of 190lbs. I’m 6’3″.

  4. Increased protein consumption and reduced sugar consumption as well. Workout routine remained mostly the same.

  5. I’ll tag along Sven beginning Friday…we’re ~same weight / target weight. 6’1″ here. I’ll be doing P90x & Insanity routines from home. Wake up 3:35am Sleep by 9:00pm CST Clean foods, lots of H2O & tea. Heavy on protein to begin, phasing in more carbs as muscle mass develops. Morning weigh-ins after workout and waste elimination.

  6. Cup of tee against dinner… noooo,, I will stay with smaller meals and fantastic feeling of hunger before the next one. As much as I love a good cup of tee.. I will not substitute it for good meal.. ha.ha..

    Today my triceps responded to yesterdays workout. Felt good. My first walk this morning was difficult. Half way through I thought i will just turn around and go back but I did finish it.. and what a pay off today…fantastic view of the mountains… laces of fog through the hills. Beautiful. Second walk wasn’t easy ether. This is my third day in a row walking up the hill twice a day.

    I already did do some workout this morning but will repeat it again later on.

    No scale for me today nor tomorrow. I will do it on Sunday as well as I will take the measurements that day.

    Start enjoying your food and lets keep going..


  7. I was silent over the weekend. Since I am in front of the computer i will scribble little bit.
    Last Saturday was very heavy for me. Muscle ache all over. I went for my morning “clime” and it was difficult. That hill appeared to become a mountain. At that point I decided no more uphill walks for the day, just increase the exercise routine. But in the evening I just went for it.

    Still staying away from snacks between meals. And continuing working out.

    Sunday I didn’t do anything. Just a pleasure walk with my husband into a park.

    Today will start routine again. I will let you know more later on. But..but..I went on scale on Sunday.. surprise I lost 2 lb… from 169 on Thursday to 167 Sunday. Honestly didn’t expect that. Measurements changed as well from 104/80 to 102/79.

    Well I am happy with the results.

    Your wife is right…!!!


  8. Moment ago I finished my workout. Power walk today later on, for sure…. already did it once today. This time it was easy peasy. Slightly winded on the top but not as much as before.

    You lost 9 lb vs me “only” 2..And you were one day ahead.. Game on..

    And congratulation !!!…Seriously !!…


  9. Food cravings and wrong type of foods.. I can say a lot about this subject and all from personal experience.

    Burning more calories vs intake is all that it takes. Just that simple.

    This morning walking up the hill I had to increase intensity. Felt right. I think I will include some flow yoga into my routine.

    Thanks for the inspiration. I was planning on loosing few centimeters here and there, and as always setting a time to start working on it was THE issue. Thank you.

    Till tomorrow..


  10. Yesterday went for my power walk third time. Going back I ran half the hill. Never though I will do it.
    Now I am getting ready for the rest of my workout.
    Still keeping away from snacking between meals and keeping my meals on smaller size.

    Today I ran downhill as well…half way..


  11. RE day 8…just what I said but in many, many less words.

    Late start for me today. So far small walks with my dogs, few exercises.. have to get my muscles ready. Some “good pain” in my calf muscles and gluts. I am sure this is from running.


  12. I had a great day yesterday. Went up the hill 3 times. Ran downhill full length 2 times and a half the distance third time. Than I went for a long, brisk walk.

    Today start was rather late. Few unexpected events had to be taken care of.

    I just came back from my first up hill walk. Couldn’t run downhill today so far. Day is still young, plenty of time for later walk…and we will see..

    I continue cutting down on size of my meals as well as snacking in between.

    I have noticed one thing for sure. My endurance is getting much better. Very happy with these small changes.


  13. Re. day 10-12..
    I am glad you start recognizing the importance of not starving yourself. One or MAYBE two days of not eating “regular” food IS fasting. Anything more than that is starving self. Dangerous..

    Get well and please do not be stubborn about eating habits. As you said ..”it’s the destination, not the speed”.

    Be careful and just rethink your approach..

    I went on scale yesterday.. 165 lb, measurements stay the same as last Sunday ..102/79 cm… I did do my regular routine over the weekend. It actually makes me feel good. My endurance is getting better and better. I can feel it. My breathing is steadier, stronger, deeper..

    I am happy with the changes.


  14. Yap.. running on empty tank will not take you far. I am glad you learned your lesson. Hopefully you will never ever repeat this mistake again.

    I will be changing my routine this week. I will continue climbing my hill…2 times a day for sure.. And continue adding one more climb if I will feel like it,

    I will change my flow yoga into muscle strength workout… concentration on stomach mm.. especially obliques.

    Till tomorrow…


  15. Yes.. progress.. Changed approach, lesson learned.. Good..

    It is much easier for me not to reach for any snacks between meals. Like a nice new little habit. An apple every so often yes, But no more junk food. Feels good. And surprisingly my energy level has increased. No sluggishness in early afternoons.


  16. I had a great day yesterday. A lot of physical activities. My obliques responding good to the workout.

    Yesterday and I am planning on doing this for the next few days, I went though “morning” fasting. Liquid diet till 4 PM than regular meals as usual.

    So far so good..


  17. Every body gone..That’s OK..

    Went on scale yesterday.. my weight 164 lb, measurements 78/102.
    For this week I plan on concentrating on my quads and gluts. Will continue with my climbing/running/walking.

    Till next week.


  18. Another week has gone by really fast. Our fall temperatures here have dropped down significantly. From 50s F to 20s F for high during a day. But that doe’s not stop me from continuing with the weigh loss challenge !!!. Oh no… And…drum roll.. my weigh as of last Sunday 162.8 lb !! My measurements changed as well…78/101 cm.
    I was going to round up the weight to 163 lb..but..hey no!! 162.8 it is..!!

    Getting closer and closer to my measurements goal. Very happy with the progress. And more so, because the changes I made in my daily activities are not that significant.



  19. Last week was full of social activities. One of them was our next door neighbor, pastry chef, shared with us his incredibly delicious baking goods.. few time in the week…just fantastic.. There was NO way I would have refused ANY of it. To all of that it was cold last week, very cold. I limited my outdoor endurance workout but stayed with SOME indoor excise program…

    Getting on the scale last Sunday was interesting. I really thought I did gain some weight.. but nooo !!!… scale showed 162.4 lb !!! Nice.. measurements stayed the same as last week .. 78/101 cm.

    Till next week. And Happy Thanksgiving to those that celebrate it.


  20. Last Sunday weighing results.. 161.6.. Measurements stayed the same… 78/101 cm .

    I do want to get to 160 lb and keep it. If I will go any lower.. that it will be a bonus.

    Not bad for just ONLY eliminating snacks from my diet, and of course adding extra calorie burning activities.

    Happy with my results.

    How about you Sven? Did you drop below 88 kg last week? Just curious.


  21. Lost more weight.. now 160.1 lb.. Measurements went down as well, now 77.5/100.5 cm. Nice..

    Actually I LOVE IT..



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