How A 170kg Lazy Gamer Lost 36kg In 6 Months

How A 170kg Lazy Gamer Lost 36kg In 6 Months

In December 2011, I was not a healthy person. I was eating crap, drinking crap, and the life of a video game journalist not located in a major city isn’t exactly rife with opportunities to do healthy things like running, walking… getting up out of your office chair.

At my heaviest I weighed 170kg. Even with my giant 6’6″ (198cm) frame, that’s 45kg north of not-gonna-drop-dead-any-minute. Something had to be done, so I lost 36kg.

OK, it’s a bit more involved than that.

It’s hard to keep the weight off when you’re a food lover with a primary hobby that involves staying seated for as long as possible. My day-to-day activities consist of waking up, cleaning whatever mess the children might have left behind the night before, and then sitting at my desk for nine or 10 hours (a modest estimate). After work I’ll play a game for review, feed the children, maybe squeeze in a quick shower if babies permit.

And I eat.

I enjoy eating; it keeps me from not being alive. My wife-creature also enjoys eating, though she has a job that keeps her on her feet all day, so when she and I would order a Chinese food feast from the people that keep leaving flyers in my front door, she’d eventually work it off, whereas I would pack it on.

At my heaviest, it wasn’t pretty. Sitting up made me out of breath. I couldn’t cover a trade show without something aching or hurting. I wasn’t sleeping through the night, the extra tonnage invoking sleep apnea, causing me to stop breathing in the middle of the night, scaring the hell out of anyone nearby.

Image

That’s Christmas of 2011. Where the hell is my neck?

I was fine with looking and feeling like that. I had the love of a good-ish woman; I had my video games. If I was going to die, at least I’d go with the taste of gravy on my lips.

But then the children came.

There’s a running joke in our twisted little family in which I say I want to be an anime father. I’ll live long enough to get a picture taken of me with the children on my shoulders, my face mysteriously shrouded in shade, and then I would die. Years later that picture would be on the dashboard of the giant robot they pilot to save the world, serving as inspiration. Perhaps I would come back to life and reveal myself to have been their grizzled mentor the whole time. “I’ll be dead by the time they reach four”, I would joke.

But what if I was? I’d really like to see what Seamus and Archer Fahey look like when they grow up without having to fake a missing persons report to get my hands on that cool police age-imaging software. At the rate I was going, that was becoming a less-likely prospect every day.

So I decided to drop a few kilos.

I started in January of this year at 170kg. Triple extra-large shirts were getting tight, my waist was a size 46.

As of right now I weigh 132kg, 8kg from the target healthy weight of someone of my height and build. Double extra-large shirts are roomy, but I need them for the length. Size 40 pants slip off without a belt.

I did not undergo surgery. I did not completely stop eating fast food. I did not exercise regularly.

What did I do? Let’s go over it in a series of simple steps that anyone can follow.

1. See Your Doctor Seeing the doctor when you’re grossly overweight is no fun whatsoever. The only thing worse than someone making fun of your weight is someone making sense of it, something doctors do with frustrating regularity. They understand the health risks. They’ve seen the damage done. They may have even had patients die because they were too big.

So when they bring the full weight of years of experience to bear on you with that disapproving look, own it. There’s a reason you’re disappointing your doctor, and there’s a way to make them happy.

My doctor was extremely helpful once he finished glaring at me, giving me the key component of my weight loss equation: How many calories I should be eating.

In my case, maintaining a healthy weight would require the consumption of 2200 calories a day. That’s for a man with my build at 125kg. I shudder to think how much I was consuming to reach 170kg.

If your doctor isn’t comfortable giving you the number, see if he can refer you to a nutritionist. Whatever you do, don’t look the number up on the internet. We’ve all got different bodies, so going off a generic chart is a recipe for failure, disaster, or weight loss that isn’t nearly as healthy as it seems.

2. Grab a Calorie-Counting App MyNetDiary for the iPhone is my constant companion these days. Armed with my calorie target and the fitness app, my eating habits have transformed from stuffing my face whenever I can to “How much can I fit in this 2200 calorie box?”

It’s a game, essentially. I eat breakfast, enter in the calories (MyNetDiary features a handy bar code scanner and a built-in food look-up), and then get a figure telling me how much more I can eat that day.

There’s strategy involved here. Do I go for the 250-calorie McDonald’s Snack Wrap, saving more calories for a bigger dinner, or do I make a couple of pretzel bread Hot Pockets, knocking out 500 calories all at once?

This method has had the odd side effect of me actively searching for foods with caloric content that’s a multiple of 100. They’re the line piece of this eating Tetris. I’ve a drawer full of 100-calorie snack packs ready to fill in a gap at a moment’s notice.

3. Change the Way You Think About Eating Easier said than done, right?

For me this is less of a step than it is a side-effect of the entire process. I used to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I am a grown-up, I have the income, why shouldn’t I?

Well, not only is that unhealthy, I was denying myself one of the best parts of the dining experience: the anticipation. Looking forward to the next day, when I would have room for a couple of slices of pizza. Planning a date on the weekend to go out to a nice restaurant.

Eating is an event now, instead of an automatic process. It’s exciting. I look forward to it every day. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.

And that’s really all I’ve done. I set aside one day a week to cheat; half the time I don’t even use it. I watch the kilos go down. I enter them in my application. I watch the stats drop. I play the game.

And it’s worked for me.

There’s still a long road ahead. I’ve got 8kg to lose. I’ve got to maintain. And yeah, I’ve got to start exercising if I truly want to be healthy.

Now I’ve got the energy to get that done. During E3 earlier this month I was so excited by how awake, alert and just plain alive I felt that I’m sure I infuriated everyone I met with talk of weight loss and dieting and such.

Hey, at least they’ll remember me as the tall chatty guy and not the heart-attack-waiting-to-happen. That I can live with.

Comments

  • Congrats, good to see you had the mental strength to get past the hurdle of “I’m happy eating what I want” and “I don’t mind how I look”, from then onwards it become a lot easier.

    • i don’t think your trolling hard enough buddy.

      little bit more bitterness coupled with some arrogance plus a sprinkle of ego should do it.

    • Mike probably could have gone harder and lost more. However, what you seem to be missing in your dismissal of his efforts is that Fahey still got it done.

      Calling someone’s weight loss efforts a joke is a shitty thing to do.

      • This is by far the best comment I have read on this website, way to go quoting Spaceballs, Mel Brooks is a genius! You, my friend, win the anti-troll war! xD

    • 36kg in 26 weeks is excellent weight loss. An average rate of 1.38kg per week? Don’t knock it.

      Congrats Mike, keep it up.

    • The guy managed to lose 38kg in 6 months, and you think you have a right to dismiss his efforts because you lost 7kg and ‘almost’ have a six pack?
      You are a moron.

    • Mike here has lost ~20% of his total body weight. in six months. that is pretty freaking good.
      you on the other hand, have lost ~10% of yours, and while I’m not going to say thats not a fine effort, weight loss for some people is more difficult than others.

      you say you lost weight with hardly any effort, well Mike Fahey up there lost weight (& is continuing to do so) due to putting in a fuck-ton of effort, so yeah. that deserves congratulations, not some twat trying to cheapen this achievement.

      • Particularly more difficult for someone who is actually overweight. Less then 10kg above almost a 6 pack is hardly overweight unless you’re something like 5 foot tall.

    • So you losing a few kilos makes you an expert in losing weight huh?

      Oh and thanks for letting us know about your six pack, I’m sure all the community is super pumped to know about your abs. Douche.

    • 36kg in six months is a great achievment. Most sorts of exercise would of been more-harm-than-good (stress on an already stressed heart, joints, etc) so he controlled his calories and is now at a safe weight to start enjoying exercise and take it to the next level.

      And RB, nobody will notice your “almost” six pack while your head still looks like a giant phallus.

    • The next time I hear a news report about a random beating, or someones bank account got hacked into, I hope that person is you. Stop being such a jerk.

  • Congratulations on the weight loss, I find “gamey” solutions to exercise work really well for me, DDR for instance I find dangerously addictive. There are also cool electronics like the FitBit to make exercising a social activity kind of like your iPhone app.

  • All I can say is congrats man! I’m currently doing the same thing myself. I used to be able to play games all day and eat whatever I wanted, but it has started to catch up.

    If you’re thinking about making a change, do it, you won’t regret it!

  • as a relativly portly fellow; I think it’s a great way of looking at getting healthy, not pushing some diet that never works or using some tree sap with amazing magical properties.

    Well done to the guy

  • “I had the love of a good-ish woman” my better half would have murdered me for that comment… 🙂

  • Great work, Mike. Love hearing stories about people getting stuck into it and making an effort to lose weight rather than just whinging about it. There is an iOS/Android app called “Zombies, Run!” that looks like an really fun way to exercise by offering a tantalising AR/zombies combo.

  • At 170kg it isnt unusual to lose that much weight in that amount of time. I was 119kg at my heaviest, was working out pretty hard but not losing because I never addressed my eating. Late last year I started counting calories. I have lost 22kg since. I did exercise a bit, did Tough Mudder in Melbourne in March. Never felt better.

    Just goes to show that food is the key.

  • Well done. Having moved out of home and gotten into a relationship with a fellow fast food lover, I have put on about 12kg over the past year, and I hate it. My gut sticks out when I sit, my fitness has gone down the tubes and the other day I actually got feet aches! (Never happened to me before.) I think I need to go down the avenue of the calorie counting app, just as a tool to keep me focussed. Also, for when you do start exercising, this mofo right here: https://www.zombiesrungame.com/

  • Great article Mike and well done! I lost 30kgs as well a couple of years ago and have been able to maintain my weight since. You’re on the right track with getting in some regular exercise. And like what you discovered with food, success with exercise depends on how you choose to think about it. What works for me is to focus on how you feel after the exercise as the motivation rather than dwelling on it being a hassle before or during the activity. Trust me once you get into it that feeling is very addictive. The caveat though is that you’ll have to endure a few weeks of pain to get to this stage but I’m confident you can do it!

    • I always loved exercise most of the time. I loved weight training but I always had trouble with the eating. Once you get both on track its remarkably easy to lose weight 🙂

  • Good work Mike!

    Check out Paleo it’s an awesome dietary choice and an excellent way to live, i’ve never had more energy or felt better in years! Bread, pasta and all grains are evil, that’s why there is an obesity epidemic!

  • Good work mate… and so begins my journey as of next week to drop 50kg myself… get me to the magic 90 kg mark 🙂 I see it more like, “getting rid of my evil twin”…

  • Well done.

    A word to all. Eat healthy and excercise.

    And I mean excecise fucking HARD.

    Learn to squat, deadlift, clean and snatch, the whole deal. Get strong. Work hard. Feel pain. Get fit!

  • I’m in a similar situation myself, dropped from 138cm waist to 120cm since March. Doctor said to measure that rather than weight.

    I pretty much just stopped eating junk for every meal, cut down the carbs significantly, and started walking for a half hour 5 days a week. I Didn’t think to make a game of calorie counting.

    And It really was a lifestyle change for myself and my partners, so that gives us an out to still eat birthday cake when the occasion calls for it 🙂

  • Reply to RB Comment – Your ego is not require over here

    To Mike – Great work mate!!! To realise u doing this for ya family make this probably your most value trophy….in a tangible form, unlike the fake PS3 or xbox trophy

  • extra tip get a treadmill i got one recently to help shed some pounds being dangerously overweight its great i just do 5 – 10 min here and there thoughout the day for the last 2 weeks iv allready doubled the amount of energy i have im hope with collosal diet change i can get more energy and even lose some weight

    • Treadmill isn’t good for overweight people, stress on the knees due to the heavy impact, try an exercise bike instead.

      Btw

  • Nice work mate.

    Going on 2 years ago now I manage to go from 105kg to 80kg in about 5 months. I’m now at 75kg. I think the 4 major things that help me lose that much were
    1) Regular exercise. I got the missus a treadmill for that xmas and never looked back.
    2)Cutting bread pretty much completely from my diet
    3)No soft drinks at all
    4)No alcohol. I never was much of a drinker, now I’m not at all. Both my wallet and health thank me for that.

    • cutting soft drinks out of your diet i could never do that i drink 2 litres of coke or pepsi a day

    • Man, that’s some seriously impressive weight loss! I’m stuck at the 85kg mark, healthy weight for my height is around 75. I think it’s number 4 that I have trouble with 🙂

  • Great stuff!
    I find going to gyms the most boring thing to do on the planet so there are other ways of staying fit. Plus its hell of a lot more fun! Water sports, rock climbing, mountain biking, contact combat etc. Beats the hell out of monotonous gym routines.
    But I still do weights & circuit training, just 2 times a week instead of a 5-6.

  • It never ceases to amaze me how many people let their weight become a health issue. How do they fail to realise that they’re gaining weight? Or maybe they do realise, and just don’t care. I don’t know.

    In any case, this is a great achievement Mike and something to be proud of! Keep working at it and reach that “healthy target weight”!

    • Some people just spiral out of control and before they even really realise they have put on a large amount of weight. It usually takes a health scare or sudden jump in motivation to do something about it. People who are over weight usually work jobs that require little to no psychical activity, don’t have a LOT of money (healthy food and gym memberships aren’t exactly cheap) and usually just have bigger things to worry about day-to-day, some even have depression, which can make it twice as hard to deal with.

    • For quite a lot of people they eat for the feeling of enjoyment it gives and their weight gain makes them unhappy which makes them want to eat…. So it kind of sucks :p

      I’m trying to get healthier now as I’m 87kg and 183cm tall but its really hard to get the motivation to exercise, I feel exhausted all the time but I think that is because I am unfit. Again its really hard to break the cycle!

      • That’s not so bad. If you’re tired maybe you should make sure you’re getting regular solid sleep and eating a health diet. Also if you live a particularly busy life and, I don’t know, get home late or have trouble managing your routines you could try getting something like a multivitamin.

      • It’s a vicious cycle – the more unfit you are the tireder you are. Seriously, getting the motivation to do the first workout is the hardest part. You’ll be tired for a week or two, then you won’t be able to live without it. 🙂

  • I went from 100kgs (ish) and am now 72kgs. Easiest way for me was…
    Every morning go for a 3km walk to get the metabolism going. and a jog three times a week in the evenings.
    Eat lots of food, but cut out the shit. My diet was Steamed chicken, fresh vegetables and sweet potato.
    Its all about diet. Eat loads, but eat healthy.
    The hardest thing is willpower . NEVER since have I consumed McDonalds, Soft Drink, chocolate, lollies and all other cravings – except at birthdays and other gatherings.
    Its hard to say no, but the more you go without, the more you realise that its not needed.

  • haha and they say that computer games aren’t good for you! As Mary Poppins said: “in every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and … SNAP! The job’s a game.” Instead of counting kilojoules I took inspiration from the “Below the Line” campaign and once I realised that healthy eating is actually cheaper, I leveraged my existing tight-arse tendencies to learn to cook and eat better!

    For exercise I thoroughly recommend a PS2; a heavy-duty dance mat; and Dance Dance Revolution. Start off slow and work at your favourite song, then take your skills in to Galaxy World and show off!

  • I’ve found losing weight isn’t too difficult with just diet alone, but it’s a challenge to not gain it again.
    People might think ‘I’ve lost X amount, I think it’s okay to have this dessert,’ and continue to add small things like that until suddenly they’re gaining weight again.
    Add to this, lifestyle changes, where it becomes difficult to maintain a steady caloric intake, and you find yourself relying on quick meals.
    Motivation and not hating your diet is pretty important to stop rebounding.
    Add in exercise you can enjoy, and you’ll be on a great thing.

  • Fantastic stuff, keep it up! It sounds like you’ve dealt with the main cause of your weight.

    I found the hardest part of losing weight is getting the motivation to start. Routines work for me, if I know that say on Tuesdays I do martial arts then I’ll go and do it. And if you ever fall off the wagon, dust off and get back on!

  • Excellent work! I found keeping my mind occupied, even with hours of Battlefield 3, prevented me from thinking about food and imagining I was hungry.

  • Losing 36kgs in six months is pretty amazing without cocaine use, I’m impressed!
    My advice, especially for the ladies, would be do resistance training as well as cardio. I love cardio but used to hateHATEhate doing weights, but when I started I saw a difference after only a couple of weeks. You need to muscle to burn the fat so GET LIFTING.

  • Nice work, I just lost 28kg in four months (from 115kg to 87kg, and it takes a lot of will power. Keep it up !

  • So what has this got to do with gaming exactly? I can’t say the personal life of one of the writers is something I care about on a video game site. Did we run out of news again, kotaku? Okay cool you lost weight but that story is for your PERSONAL blog or diary.

  • So what has this got to do with gaming exactly? I can’t say the personal life of one of the writers is something I care about on a video game site. Did we run out of news again, kotaku? Okay cool you lost weight but that story is for your PERSONAL blog or diary.

    • Thanks that needed to be said.

      people didn’t like my comment, it was a douche one even I know that it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously but when has gaming been about weight loss? it was mentioned that I didn’t try hard to lose weight, I tried the hardest I ever have in my life. it was also mentioned that its harder to lose weight the bigger you are, well thats bs because the weight drops off quicker the bigger you are.

      Between your post about pony lovers and weight loss I sincerely hope to hear some gaming news from you Mike. Oh and btw really good job on the weight loss and continue to keep it up, remember its not a temporary change its a lifestyle change

    • Because obesity is a very real side-effect of gaming for a not-insignificant portion of the population? That ‘fat gamer’ stereotype? It’s there for a reason. I mean, it’s obvious to me, but then I can count to ten without using my fingers or mouthing out the numbers.

      But maybe you could go whine some more on your PERSONAL blog or diary? I’m sure it’s killah and gets a million squillion kajillion hits a day, bro.

  • Also to those who struggle to pay for gym memberships and healthy eating remember there is always cheaper alternatives and the best thins in

  • Also to those who struggle to pay for gym memberships and healthy eating remember there is always cheaper alternatives and be prepared to sacrifice somethings to achieve your goals (i barely had time to game with gym twice a day and working 12 hour days)

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