Alex Grinman Posts

Losing 100 pounds in 276 days

On August 2nd, 2017, per the suggestion of my doctor, I decided to pickup a free download of MyFitnessPal and a $20 digital scale. I had never used the first and barely ever used the second.

When I received my scale, I weighed in at 276.8 lbs.

I had been overweight for most of my life, but this was a new extreme even for me. 276 days later, I weighed in at 176.6 lbs. Today, 326 days later, I weighed in at 163.2 lbs -- a whopping 113 lbs lost.

This is how I did it, along with the data I collected along the way (calories, steps, fitness).



Caloric Deficit == Weight Loss

The only thing you really need to know is that you should be eating fewer calories than your body burns everyday. If you do this, you will lose weight -- it's science. Nothing else matters for weight loss. The magnitude of the caloric difference will regulate how quickly or slowly you lose the weight.

On average, it takes about 3,500 calories to burn 1 pound of fat. Suppose you eat 1,000 fewer calories than your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). After a week your body will burn 7,000 calories or 2 lbs of fat.

I never understood how simple it was before starting this. I found this article to be quite helpful for learning the basics.

The single most important tool for my weight loss was the MyFitnessPal app

  1. The greatest feature of the app is that it tells you how many calories to eat. You put in your height, weight, and goal weight and it outputs your daily calorie intake limit. You can also specify how fast you want to lose the weight -- I chose the max option of -2 lbs/week.

  2. The second greatest feature is the food database. MyFitnessPal has fairly accurate calorie estimates for almost anything you'd ever eat. I recorded what I ate, every single meal and snack, every single day, and even now I still do it. I'll probably do it for many years to come. It's amazingly helpful to stay on track.

Fun Stats

Daily Calories
average per day
Overall Calories
in 276 days
Weight (lbs) Lost
in 276 days
Average Steps
per day

From 8/2/2017 and 5/6/2018

The TV-ad photo

Left: `~275 lbs`.
Right: `~155 lbs`.


Data is king

Record everything you eat, even if you go over your limit. The accountability is helpful and it becomes addictive. MyFitnessPal reminds you a few times a day to record things so you won't forget.

Fewer calories over Time

As you lose weight (depending on how much you want to lose) your calorie goal should decrease. MyFitnessPal has a huge bug -- it doesn't do this automatically, you have to periodically "adjust" your goal weight so it recomputes the daily caloric intake goal.

Exercise or don't

You don't have to exercise. If you like to exercise that's great -- you'll burn more calories which means you will lose the weight faster (as long as you don't eat those calories back). I tried running -- about 30m, every morning, for 3 months. At times it felt great, but in the end I didn't like it enough to stick with it. If you're just trying to cut weight, you can do that with calorie restriction alone.

"Diet plans" are not necessary

All the diet plans that I've seen really do one thing -- they employ fancy tricks to get you to eat fewer calories without actually counting. Skip the gimmicks and just count calories. It's easier to deal with just one restriction.

Healthy food only?

I naturally started eating healthy foods because I could eat more of them. If you eat a chocolate bar, you will still be hungry. For the same amount of calories, you could eat a few bowls of vegetables and be full. That said, the best part about this overall approach is that you can still eat whatever you want -- just count the calories.

Intermittent fasting

Somewhere along the journey I picked up intermittent fasting. I like it but it's also not necessary. I found that it helped reduce my appetite which means I can eat fewer calories. The principal is that you have a feeding period of 8 hours and a fasting period of 16 hours. I eat from 12pm to 8pm, and fast from 8pm - 12pm. This means I always skip breakfast. There's a lot of "science" that say low insulin levels in the fasted state lead to more fat burning. If you're in a caloric deficit this will happen anyways. This might fall into the category of "fancy diet plans" that just get you to eat fewer calories without realizing.

Everything I wrote above is what worked for me -- that is not to say it will work for everyone. I am also not a doctor, I'm an engineer, so none of this is medical advice -- please consult your doctor.

Say hi at