Open Source Weight Loss Week 3: Slow and Steady

This week started off with a lot of promise, though I quickly found out that pushing myself a little harder than my body was ready to go can be a bad thing. Still, I’ve learned a bit more over the past week about my own addictions and how to identify when the cravings kick in.

Trying to run at full speed on the third week of exercise sounded like a good idea at the time. The results, however, were not so grand. Apparently, big folks like me shouldn’t be running at full speed until they’ve lost a bit more weight. My shin has been hurting for half a week now, and I’m finding my pace during walks a bit more difficult to keep up. Still, I’ve managed to break my single-day walking record twice this week. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.

It’s easy to look at someone who’s heavyset and judge them for having poor impulse control, being lazy, or simply having low self-esteem. While these issues may exist somewhere in the big person’s psyche, it isn’t as simple as that. When I’m out and about, I can’t help but think about pulling into a fast food joint and ordering that one thing I really loved, knowing darned well it would backtrack my diet and send me down the wrong path.

Altering your lifestyle is a difficult choice to make, and one that can lead to terrible consequences when done cold turkey with no support system in place or transition period to work into. I’ve tried so many diets over the years, and each one failed because I simply couldn’t bring myself to stick to the plan.

In this week’s update, I’ll share some of the diets I’ve done in the past, and why they did/didn’t work out so well.

Week 3 Report
Start — 292.3
Middle — 292.0
End — 291.4
Total Weight Lost (Full Program) — 4.4 Pounds

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers is a lot of fun, and arguably one of the easier diets to keep up with. The problem I’ve found with Weight Watchers is that you benefit very little from the plan if you don’t stick to it exactly. My wife and I have extremely different point values to work with each day, so it became difficult for us to have meals together knowing that I needed to eat almost twice as much to fill the number of points I needed each day.

Remembering to log your meals, and finding the nutritional information for non-packaged foods is a pain. I found myself guessing more often than not and doing a very poor job at keeping up with the points. After a month, I had gained weight and couldn’t figure out why.

That said, Weight Watchers works for a lot of people, especially if they’re willing to take the effort and time to calculate points values accurately, attend meetings, and work with a partner. For me, the plan could have worked but I wasn’t determined enough to stick with it.

Master Cleanse

This isn’t really a diet at all, but a system in which you essentially flush your body of everything and anything that might be lingering from months/years of unhealthy habits. The purpose of the cleanse is to reboot your system and give you a fresh start. For that purpose, it absolutely worked.

Weight loss resulting from the cleanse is temporary, as much of it is really water weight. The Master Cleanse has been given the nickname the “boxer’s fast” due to being capable of giving you a very fast drop in poundage which helps boxers drop a weight bracket in time for weigh-ins.

Because this isn’t exactly a sustained diet plan, it wasn’t exactly a magic bullet for me. This is another case where something works great for many people, but either due to my lack of commitment or distaste for peppers and lemons, it wasn’t for me.


What could be easier than having your food prepackaged and shipped to your door? How could you possibly go wrong with that? NutriSystem takes out the human factor and gives you point-by-point instructions as to what to eat and when. You do have to supplement the provided foods with fresh fruits and vegetables, but other than that it’s pretty simple.

The big downside to NutriSystem is the cost. At around $300/month, it’s one of the most expensive diet plans on the market. Yes, all your food is prepared for you and part of the plan, but you could plenty of healthy foods for quite a lot less. The trick to NutriSystem is portion control. If that’s the big lesson, there would appear to be better ways of going about it (for me).

What really peeved me off about the plan was that I risked a $100 fee for canceling it early. That means one month of food really costs around $400-500. That’s a lot to pay for food that isn’t exactly free of preservatives or particularly good.

One thing I did enjoy about the plan was the occasional frozen entree prepared by a chef. These tasted incredible, and were worth the added costs.


Atkins was all the rage a few years back, and everyone appeared to be counting their carbs. There are a number of different sites out there proclaiming the advantages to putting your body in ketosis. While there are certainly plenty of stories to support these claims, it’s not something doctors advise for everyone. Again, everyone is different.

I suffer from what doctors call an addiction to pasta. Yes, I know… evil carbs. Even though I generally only eat wheat noodles and I try to keep the greasy and creamy dishes to a minimum, it’s an addiction that I have a tough time overcoming.

The Atkins diet is one of those plans you should go on if you have a partner willing to do the same. When you live with someone who also loves pasta, the commitment factor multiplies and sticking to plan becomes much more difficult.

Also, despite claims made by comedians, you can’t really eat all the bacon you want on this diet. I know, sorry.

Question of the Week

What popular (branded) diets have you tried? Did any work for you? What was your experience like?

You can answer this question, check out the responses from the community, view questions from previous weeks, and post your own at

The purpose of this series is to promote healthier living within our community through sharing our experiences and learning from one-another. I’ve received some excellent advice from the community over the past few weeks, and hope to implement some of these tips this week to see if the pounds start dropping off a bit faster.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, the best diet is the one you don’t drop 20 pounds on the first week. My progress has been slow by most measurements, though I’ve entered into it hoping to lose two pounds per week on average. When I have a slow week, it’s up to me to make small adjustments and attempt to do better the next time around.

I didn’t gain the weight overnight, and I shouldn’t expect to lose it overnight, either. If you’re experiencing bad weeks on your plan, leave a comment or email me and we’ll work through this together.


Week 0: Will You Join Me?
Week 1: the Rollercoaster
Week 2: the Burn
Week 3: Slow and Steady
Week 4: Always Be Training
Week 5: Hydration is Key
Week 6: Taking Breaks

6 comments On Open Source Weight Loss Week 3: Slow and Steady

  • Matt–thank you for sharing for journey, I commend both your diligence to detail as well as your honesty.
    Stumbling across your blog has come at the perfect time in my life as I am 33 years old and my highest weight topped at around 475lbs. (October 2011) I was experiencing some serious health problems that people twice my age normally have. I knew that I would not live much longer in that state, so I started walking and utilizing my trusty android phone apps (myfitnesspal and cardiotrainer) to assist me in documenting my progress.  Initially, I could not walk a full block without having extreme back pain and ‘stitches’ in the lungs.  I now average from 3 to 3 1/2 miles per day total distance. I weigh myself every week at my wife’s dialysis center and by the first week of June 2012, I should be at my first major goal of 425lbs.

    Being a worship music minister at my church, people have noticed a significant difference in my appearance and attitude as well as my guitar playing…ROCK ON!

    I pray we both reach the journey’s end triumphant.

    In His grip,

    Bill Penny

  • Keep up the good work!

  • I just stumbled upon this post. Thanks for sharing. It’s always reassuring to know other people have had similar experiences. I hope you are continuing your journey and doing well.

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