can I lose 30 lbs. in 2 months?

May 12, 2010

dysfunctional dieter

Someone recently asked me this on Facebook. Could she, honestly, lose 30 lb. in two months? Obviously it depends how much you’ve got to lose. Assuming you’re only 30 lbs. away from your final goal, and you don’t have four score and seven years to dump your dump truck of an ass, I say yes, you can do it. But by the end, you’ll want to dropkick a puppy.

princess

When I was at my most hardcore, I lost 3-4 lbs. per week. Consistently. All the bullshit about only losing 2 lbs. per week, because then it’s a healthy rate, and you’re likely to stick with it, is just that, a hot steamy pile of bullshine. Because I’ve gone that 2 lb. per week route, and it left me back at the same place all the quick diets left me: back at the Weight Watchers start. One just took way longer to get me to goal.

Yes, I lost 3-4 lbs. a week without exercise and had 30lbs. to shed. What did I eat?
2 whole eggs for breakfast, yolks and all, with a whole grapefruit, Fourbucks 2 shots espresso with skim milk, Splenda, and 1 slice whole wheat toast. That’s bfast.

Lunch: salad with red peppers, cucumber, artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, a few pine nuts, dressing used sparingly OR fruit at the bottom real yogurt with an apple OR 2 protein shakes, 100 cal each, plus salad OR salad with cut up Boca burger

Dinner: fish, steamed veggies, lemon, boring hell. Or grilled chicken and non-fat Greek yogurt sauce with dill and garlic. More boring. Eggs. I was American Dairy Farmers wet dream.

And I’d have a glass or 2 of wine. Yes, really. Not all the time, but when I wanted to. But, I never ever let the buzz drive me to the cabinets.

After weigh-in each week, I would eat whatever the fook I craved all week. Sometimes I’d even keep a cravings list during the week to remind myself of what I wanted. Cupcakes. Whatever I wanted. I won’t say I gorged, but I gave myself full permission to gorge. The truth is, though, once clothes felt looser and I felt proud and happy about my progress, after a weigh-in, I didn’t want to gorge. I wanted to go clothes shopping! Though, after the shopping (where I wouldn’t necessarily buy things, but would try on different looks and sizes) I usually gorged on sushi, with the rice, the spicy mayo, as much as I wanted, but I was back on, straight up, come morning.

I did exercise some, but never consistently. Wogged with Linus (walk jogged) here and there. No routine. I had a personal trainer during some of that time, but it wasn’t cardio. We did circuit weight training, with a focus on pilates moves. Water aerobics will only make you fatter.

Also, and this is key for me, I think it’s a brain thing. How many times have we vowed to start, been absurdly letter-book good, only to little by little slip back to our old habits and haunts?

1) You need to suck it up and get on a scale in front of someone, WEEKLY

2) You have to write down every single thing you consume (including your water intake–sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger)

trina turk
I want this whole Trina Turk look (scarf, statement jewelry, v-neck; all 3 of my go-to moves)

3) Start a motivation page (online, in a sticker book, a scrapbook, whatever) something you can look at every day, that you can add to nightly, with magazine clippings, photos, etc. When I wanted to be "bad" at night, I stuck to a scrapbook of things I wanted instead of eating. It kept me on task.

4) 100 cal. protein shakes/puddings with 15g protein (protein keeps you full without raising your insulin levels. When you have too much insulin, you crave sugars, AND your body is incapable of burning fat). I link to my favorite brand. If I’m on the run, I’ll eat them as puddings, or throw a vanilla packet into my coffee. I’m crazy like that. Two of these protein shakes in the morning, then lunch, another shake mid-afternoon or when I get home ravenous, then dinner. I lose weight, without fail, when I do this. And these shakes TASTE AWESOME. I love them and have compared them to many others, some that might look better on paper but taste like bung hole.

5) Go to bed slightly hungry. This is hard, but if you do it, you will lose weight, AND you’ll race out of bed come morning to devour the most important meal of the day.

6) Swimming, water aerobics, shit in the water will only make you ravenous and helps store fat. It’s an evolutionary fail. It’s not my rule. Want to look good in a bathing suit? Avoid the pool. I know plenty of people who swear by it, and it is wonderful exercise, but it ain’t for weight loss.

7) Go clothes shopping. It doesn’t matter if you have a budget. It doesn’t matter if you have zero intention of buying. What matters is that you keep motivated. Try on different looks, different brands, different sizes. I’m betting you burn good calories lugging around piles of clothes, then heaving yourself in and out of them. If you’re jean shopping, count on sweating more than the pig who built his house out of straw.

8) Pick a health goal. Something that has nothing to do with weight-loss but instead focuses on being healthy. For me, it was being able to do a pull up. No jumping, just literally pulling my entire body up with my arms. It can be cutting out sugars for health reasons, I guess. But overall, I think the goal is aimed, not on appearance, but on something of greater value. It’s linked with our self-esteem, the ability to set a goal for ourselves and then reach it. Maybe it’s about taking the furthest parking spot at the grocery store, or cutting all processed foods out of your diet. No more artificial substitutes. The point is, you focus on health.

9) It is always a warning sign when I begin to obsess over recipes and cookbooks and what we’ll eat next; it’s a sign that I’m focusing on the wrong thing. That instead I should redirect that energy. Get a new project, hobby, take a class at night, to keep you out of your apartment/kitchen/habits. Go to the bookstore after work. Or if you’re a writer, work in places that don’t allow food. Redirect the energy into planning a walking route for the family, where you’ll study the different trees, leaves, birds, what the hell ever, as you walk together on the weekend. Use your powers for good.

10) Say no to salt. I’m all for salt, mind you, but if you want to see fast results, you need to nix that shit. That means no steamed veggies from the Chinese restaurant. Why not? Because their steamed veggies always taste 10 times better than your at-home steamed veggies. It’s just not the same thing. They put magic in their water, season their pots. Don’t do it. Here’s the why: because without the salt retaining water, you will feel less bloated, clothes will fit better. And when you feel that way, you stay motivated.

If I consistently followed all of the above, I’d still be a size 4. The fact is, it’s not about knowing the answers, it’s about living them. And the way I live them, truly, is by scrapbooking everything that motivates me. Be it vacation destinations, upcoming events, imagining a reunion sometime in the near future. It’s what gets me to close my laptop and mouth and get on with a lighter life. Am I dysfunctional? Absolutely. But I know what works, when I work it.

Get On It (Keep On It)

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33 Responses to “can I lose 30 lbs. in 2 months?”

  1. Matthew Says:

    its always funny listening to advice from some dork that looks like he never stepped foot into a gym

    Reply

  2. William Says:

    One thing is for sure though, you are getting healthier.

    Reply

  3. cfuter Says:

    Sigh…I faithfully weight train/do cardio, so it always comes down to the eating thing when I try to lose a few lbs. (currently trying to lose that winter gain of 3-5). how true you are steph with the uptake in protein ( I drink two shakes a day), absolutely tons of water (I need a bathroon no matter where I go!) and absolutely no extra salt (hence, no processed foods, which I don’t care for anyway!) I eat oatmeal for breakfast with berries or some kind of fruit thrown in, salad and protein (leftover chicken, canned tuna) for lunch and fish or chicken (most times) with more salad and a steamed veg or brown rice for dinner. I, too, allow cheating occasionally – you have to! Once you eliminate sugar from your diet the craving for it does disappear after a week or so. I weigh myself daily, too, although I’ve read different takes on doing that. Hope these pointers help with you FB friend’s desire to lose weight!

    Reply

  4. Cynda Says:

    But were you happier when you were a size 4?

    I’ve dieted, and not dieted, and I realized that I just needed to be happy with me…the me I felt best at. Skinny, was not my happiest time, it was my most dysfunctional need therapy time. Now, I try to eat healthy, but I don’t weigh in. Could I lose 20 lbs, yup. Will I? Maybe. But if I do, it will be a subtle change of moving more and eating less, because it’s summer and days are longer, not a morning meet and greet with my scale. I sound grumpy! Hehe, not intended. I guess this means, weight is a touchy issue, always.

    Reply

  5. cali Says:

    girl, i’m all about giving this a try. i’ve gained a good 10lbs in the last year and need to get rid of it…

    Reply

  6. Marjalane Says:

    What a great post! It’s as if you’ve lived inside my “diet-mind”. The biggest obstacle I always see in myself is the personal motivation factor; If my mind isn’t immersed and wrapped around the “lifestyle” of weight loss- it idn’t gonna happen! I totally co-sign onto the “Go Shopping” aspect. You don’t have to buy, and it’s really futile even if you have the cash to buy- who needs more things that don’t fit in our closets- but to see what you WANT to fit into, to imagine where you will wear something, to contemplate how good you’ll feel when you slip on the “new”- It’s pretty motivating for me. Thank you for such a timely article, I loved it!

    Reply

  7. p. Says:

    i think it’s insane that you advocate consuming protein shakes for most meals/snacks (item 4) and then in #8 you try to say to focus on health. health is derived from a diet rich in variety, made of natural, whole foods. if you’re eating a functional number of calories a day of the right kinds of food, your body will eventually end up at the weight and size it’s supposed to be. not everyone can lose 4 pounds a week “healthily”. not everyone is supposed to be a size 4. women’s bodies evolve over time, and if you’re trying to get back to the 120 lbs you weighed in your early 20s when you’re 35, you’re looking at a fast track to an eating disorder.

    Reply

  8. Missy Says:

    Stephanie,
    All of this post is very good advise!

    Reply

  9. Jen Says:

    I wonder if the better question is, if I lose 30lbs in 2 months, will I keep it off? I do the “healthy” 1-2 lbs a week weightloss. I feel like I’m making healthy choices and it can be a lifestyle, but I get frustrated with the slow weight loss. It’s almost summer and bathing suit season! I keep a food journal and I weigh in every week. I have to weigh in and have someone else hold me accountable or it doesn’t work.

    Reply

  10. Carina Says:

    I like you know what to do… I just don’t do it consistently. I drag arse and don’t kick into gear until the last minute. I drop those 10lbs in the nick of time only to relax after the great event and pack 7 back on. You are missing one thing, body changes after babies or injury. I had to change my rules and regimen after each kid. My metabolism changed, my age increase and everything is new. I like your plan. I love the idea of closing the labtop. I am printing and saving.

    Reply

  11. skinnythighs Says:

    I agree with nearly every single word of this. Eating clean (except for the toast), nixing the cardio, working with a trainer for weights, keeping the salt low. Lots and lots of protein and vegetables and a little full fat thrown in. Tons of water. And if you don’t eat past 7pm and go to sleep a little hungry, you absolutely will weigh less in the morning.

    I’m not losing it at your rate because I tried (and failed with) Jenny Craig first (omg so much pasta), but I’ve lost 18 lbs since January– a lot of it in the past month doing exactly what you describe. I’m getting used to the very low sugar and having protein with every meal and snack. It’s not a bad way to eat, but man I miss the cocktails. 11 more el bees to skinny girl goal and I’m getting my moment of krunk on.

    Reply

  12. Rebecca Says:

    Awesome post Steph. I’m going to take some of these pointers and get my diet on TRACK. I’m getting Married in 23 days and I desperately want to drop 10lbs for the BIG Day! I’m going to Amazon right now to buy some of those protein shakes!

    Reply

  13. maia Says:

    I happen to think you look amazing in your ultra thin pictures. Am I allowed to say that? I know we should embrace the skin we are in, but assuming you were eating healthfully, it seems like it was a great weight for your frame.

    Reply

  14. N Says:

    I just find this so disturbing, these extreme diets. I’m an advocate of whole, natural foods. My pregnancy weight has been dropping very quickly on daily walks, raw whole milk, plenty of butter, bacon, etc. Balanced, natural foods that are WHOLE. Lots of greens (kale, etc, not iceberg lettuce.) Nothing processed. EVER. Being steeped in this “natural food world” as I am, I have yet to find one overweight or obese person who eats like this. Not a one of ‘em would touch skim anything. Eating real foods, however, my sweet tooth isn’t as sweet as it used to be – my favorite thing is squares of dark (85% or more) chocolate, which doesn’t have much sugar and the occasional pastry from my favorite French bakery on the weekend.

    Might I also add that eating like this, neither I nor my husband has been sick in years. YEARS. And right now, everyone he works with is sick (colds, etc.)

    I’m by no means a “naturally skinny” person, either. I’m not even skinny. Never been. I’m 5’3″ and in high school, I weighed 145. Then I slowly stopped adding sugar to my coffee (still dump a boat load of raw milk in, though), stopped eating pound bags of peanut m&m’s. Started eating real butter, not margarine. Started eating meat again and only eat quality meat. Started eating normal portions, etc. I could work out more, I could be more “buff”, but I’m happy where I’m at. My husband has said he feels a lot better since knowing me, as well. AND, if you need further proof, my friend’s husband lost 40 pounds on her “diet” – real food, skim nothing.

    Reply

  15. N Says:

    IMO, I find weighing myself daily to be the worst form of discouragement. My menstrual cycle, whether or not I’ve pooed that day, water retention from muscles recovering from a workout– all these things can bump up my scale number and make me feel horribly discouraged.

    Instead, every day I try on my skinny jeans from when I was my thinnest. It shows me my gradual progress without sticking a number to it, and honestly the whole point of measuring my progress (when I know I’m following my plan and not binging on a pizza or whatever) is to keep me motivated. Scales sometimes motivate, but they can also be a MAJOR downer, not at all related to how “virtuous” you’ve been. I can’t count the number of times I’ve dropped a diet/exercise regime because the number wasn’t moving, even though I was feeling fitter and losing inches. I haven’t weighed myself in 4 months but I’ve stuck pretty religiously to my diet/exercise because of the positive changes I can FEEL.

    That said, when I can fit back into my skinny jeans, I’ll weigh myself for a hard number. But the fit, not the numeric value, is what matters to me. Your mileage may vary.

    Reply

  16. Kate Says:

    Good post Stephanie.

    Reply

  17. Azizeh Says:

    I think it’s harder to lose weight when you don’t have much to lose. Everyone says the last 5, 10 lbs are the slowest to come off. When very heavy people diet, they can lose 100 lbs in 6 months, a year. Your body has a certain weight it feels is comfortable. Usually, that is more than what your brain thinks is ideal, so you have to work very hard to beat it.

    I’m doing the “Eat-Clean Diet” which is basically eating whole foods, little fats, lean protein, tons of veggies and some fruit. Avoid chemicals, unnatural ingredients, and anything processed. It was easier for me to buy the magazines, read the books, and be surrounded by information. When you run out of healthy recipes, it’s easier to say “F it. I’ll order a pizza. One pizza can’t hurt too much…” So, I have switched my obsession from reading Saveur and Bon Appetit to reading Clean Eating, Cooking Light, and Oxygen magazines.

    Not thinking about food, not being in places that allow food sounds like anorexia. The only way to make a lifestyle change is to do it the right way. Clean out the pantry and only have good stuff. Keep a healthy snack in your bag so you don’t starve and binge. Be prepared so you don’t give up.

    Reply

  18. misstraceynolan Says:

    “Water aerobics will only make you fatter.” is the funniest thing I’ve read in days. Love it!

    Reply

  19. Beth Says:

    Have you seen Nurse Jackie on Showtime? Tonight’s show had Eddie with a new curly redhead girlfriend with glasses who looked alot like a version of you. Thought you’d get a kick out of it.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Klein Says:

      Yes, totally watch it, and as we did, I asked Phil, “Is that what my hair looks like?” Because we can never really tell how people see us, if they see us the way we see us. If that makes any sense. He did the typical, “Yours is prettier,” which made me roll my eyes.

      Reply

  20. Wendy Says:

    Great post, except, you constantly write about how unhappy you are with your weight. I disticntly remember last year you said you couldn’t have any cherries because of “the zone” or whatever diet you were on. Not being able to eat an nice, in season, natural, clean fruit is not healthy. Packaged and preservative laden shakes is not realistic in terms of a lifestyle, which ultimately should be the goal.

    We can all lose weight, we do it all the time, but is someone going to make a commitment to drinking packaged shakes and eating sodium heavy frozen dinners in order to be a size 4 for the rest of their lives? What people should be doing is eating fresher, cleaner food.

    I just finished http://www.amazon.com/End-Overeating-Insatiable-American-Appetite/dp/1605297852/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1273730087&sr=8-1 which was great and made a lot of sense, I highly recommend it.

    Lastly, I hope everyone realizes that what takes a lifetime to gain can not be lost in 30 days in any healthy way.

    Reply

  21. heather Says:

    When you posted that video where you were trying to figure out how to wear your grandmother’s scarf, I absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes. THIS is the girl behind all of the posts talking about how fat she is and how she needs to lose weight? You are stunning. Stop the madness.

    Reply

  22. Buffy Says:

    Where do one get your shakes and puddings when one can’t get them on Amazon? I always start getting spongy, if not downright fat, whenever I go without my protein shakes. I also get mean. But after five years I’m burnt out on the same crappy ones. I’m up for Romero.

    Reply

  23. Do You Come with the Car? Says:

    You really, truly, immediately need to read In Defense of Food.

    Reply

  24. Kirsten Says:

    Hi,
    That was a nice post but as someone who was a personal trainer (in college) all I will say is make sure you see your primary physician before starting anything. I know, I know, everyone says it but as a 27 year old who as it happens is running a half marathon this weekend I got the SHOCK of my life when my blood work came back last week and my cholesterol was 230!!! I look like I’m in a great shape… totally changed what I thought was a good diet. You never know ladies!

    Reply

  25. Jessica Says:

    I like your suggestions that people keep food diaries, goal scrapbooks, etc, but the rest of it….protein shakes? Coffee? Really? Water aerobics is excellent exercise, if it made you fatter, than you were eating too much.

    Reply

  26. TH Says:

    I’ve never tried to lose weight, but I agree with some of what you say just as a general rule. Going to bed hungry – completely, you’ll still be hungry in the morning. Also if I’m going to eat something fattening I have it first thing in the morning knowing I will have all day to burn it off. So, IF Hagen-Daz bars are in the house, that is my breakfast. The BIGGEST change in my weight (and the reason I’ve never had to try to lose weight) was going gluten-free. Basically you’re giving up processed food and with it some convenience. But when you can’t just get a muffin, cookie, sandwich on any corner you really have to think more about what you eat and make better choices. I’m probably 15-20 pounds lighter and other than avoiding gluten, I don’t have to think about calories, carbs, fat, etc. to maintain and this is as I approach (gulp) 40 and have witnessed the screeching halt of metabolisms around me.

    Reply

  27. skinnythighs Says:

    Aerobics of any kind will make you fatter because it causes stress hormones to be released and fat to be stored. Hello, you haven’t seen fat aerobic instructors and wondered what their problem was? Just lift weights and eat clean.

    http://www.bodyincredible.com/how-to-avoid-chunk-fat-aerobics-instructor-syndrome/

    Reply

  28. Laura Says:

    Eating less than you burn is the key. But I never truly knew how much I was burning, so it was hard to really be accurate. Also, I would go on these starvation diets, which made me feel tired, which made me move less, which made me burn less calories, so I put myself through pain for not much gain.

    I have been wearing the bogybugg for 14 months now. It tells me how much I am burning. Then I just have to eat less than I burn and the weight falls off. Eat 500 calories less than I burn every day = 3500 calories for the week = 1 pound loss.
    I’ve lost 25 punds and kept it off. I don’t feel deprived, and I don’t feel guilty when I overindulge, because I can just make it up another day.

    Reply

  29. ereccion Says:

    Hi! I really want to lose the fat that just hangs around my stomach and just ruins my figure, i do by far enough exercise but the problem is that i seem to be dependent on a lot of food(i eat big portions and i snack and i love carbohydrates such as pasta and bread. does anyone have any tips to just eat less because i say to myself that i will eat less and as soon as the food is in front of me i just eat it without thought
    does chewing gum help?

    good luck to everyone

    Reply

  30. simon Says:

    My advice that worked for me: create a table in Excel with the every day date in one column and your desired weight in the other column (usually 1-2 lbs less every day). Hang it on the wall in your bathroom and verify how you do against your goal every morning. If you fall behind, eat less that day, if you meet your daily goal, eat a little bit more if you want that day. It really works!!!

    Reply

  31. Fabulous Says:

    Thank you so much for this! Great advice. It was so exciting reading that you lost up to 4lbs a week. I knew the 2lb a week mantra was BS!

    Reply

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