Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The "Free Lunch" Weight Loss Plan v.000

I've been gaining some weight over the past few years so I am starting a new self-directed weight loss plan.

I have a stair stepper. In the past what would happen is that I would start off slow and keep increasing the number of flights I would climb each day until all the excess weight was gone. It would usually end with me climbing 200-400 flights of stairs while watching a TV show or a movie. I'd feel great but at some point I'd lose interest and stop though. The cycle would then repeat.

So here's a more realistic long-term sustainable weight loss plan. It is an Illusion of Prosperity exclusive. Anyone can do it. Feel free to join me!

The "Free Lunch" Weight Loss Plan

I will climb 20 flights of stairs each day just before taking a bath or a shower. It takes somewhere between 4 minutes and 8 minutes depending on my mood and fitness level. I will also drink a 12 ounce glass of water. If for some reason I cannot climb 20 flights of stairs (or their equivalent), then I will take a 20-minute walk instead.

That's it. That's the entire plan and I intend to follow it for the rest of my life (or as long as I am physically able).

I will not be consciously changing my diet, although I do expect it to change. I tend to eat differently when I have more energy and I am confident that this plan will give me more energy. I will not be consciously changing my level of physical activity elsewhere, although I also expect it to change for the same reason.

I'll be charting my weight in the years to come and showing the results at the end of each month on this blog.

I am calling it the "free lunch" plan partly because I do not wish to pay someone else to guide me nor do I wish to change what I eat. This is not a diet plan. In my opinion, life is to short to ever be eating low calorie rice cakes. I'm also calling it a "free lunch" plan because I love sarcasm and it reminds me of our economy. ;)

I'm 6'3" tall and weigh 225 pounds. It is my intent to get back down to 200 pounds (or less) and stay there permanently. I will be climbing 7,300 flights of stairs and burning roughly 32,000 calories (the equivalent of 10 pounds of butter) per year. Since I have been gaining about 3 pounds per year, I would therefore expect it to take me 3-4 years to get down to my goal, all things being equal. I think it will probably work better than that though, since it should give me more energy and I tend to eat less and move more when I am not tired.

I've been testing this plan for the past few days. As in the past, I am very tempted to increase the number of stairs I climb. Who doesn't want quicker results? Instant gratification doesn't work long-term though. If I increase the number of stairs I climb then I will simply lose interest again someday. That's my theory anyway, based on past results.

This plan officially starts on June 1, 2011. I'll be posting my first chart of the results at the end of June. Don't expect to be blown away. I'd be surprised if there is much to be seen at all. There might even be some weight gain. Who knows? It is only the long-term that matters to me.

I can say with 100% certainty that I will not regret this decision. At the very least, it will do no harm.

Who knows, maybe someday the results will even inspire me to write a common sense weight loss book. Wouldn't that be something? It would be a one page book with a long-term chart, lol.


Stagflationary Mark said...

This is a benefit to blogging by the way.

Since I have just shared this publicly I will be more motivated to follow through with it!

That's a good thing.

Stagflationary Mark said...

One more thought.

I never could understand why there are so many diet plans and so many people profiting off of them.

Exercise more and/or eat less.

That sums up every weight loss book ever written.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Why waste valuable time climbing stairs? Assuming you already get the minimum recommended amount of exercise, then (as you yourself suggest) just eat less!

I can lose a good quarter of a pound a day any time I want. It’s easy. I just print out what my weight should be over the next few days on the assumption that I am losing quarter of a pound a day. Then come the evening meal, if my weight is obviously such that eating that meal puts me overweight, then I just don’t have the meal.

As to why there are so many diet plans, the reason is that the world is full of suckers and idiots.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Ralph Musgrave,

Perhaps we can write a 2 book series someday consisting of just two pages.

Volume 1: Exercise a Tiny Bit More
Volume 2: Eat a Tiny Bit Less

We can double the profits! ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...

In my last post, mab noticed an error in one of my charts.

Real Oil vs. Real Interest

It has been corrected.

Mr Slippery said...

Way to go, Mark. Healthy is as healthy does.

Instant gratification doesn't work long-term though. If I increase the number of stairs I climb then I will simply lose interest again someday.

Now, this is interesting. When I feel like working out more, I push ahead for the extra calorie burn. When I am working out alone, the mental part is the most difficult so I don't hold myself back.

Krav Maga class every week is the core of my work out. Supplemented by a stepper and some free weights. If I had more time, I'd do more, but some of us debt slaves still have to punch the time clock. Speaking of which...

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

When I feel like working out more, I push ahead for the extra calorie burn.

I am fighting the instinct to push myself because I know what I've done in the past. It is really easy to do, especially in the beginning when I can see instant progress for any extra effort. It will start with me pushing myself a bit one day and then pushing myself a bit harder the next. And before you know it I will end up repeating the following.

One time I started with 20 flights and added a flight each day. It worked as a motivational technique and it definitely got me in very good shape, but it was not sustainable. I burned out as it became a serious chore. If memory serves, it was about 4 months from the time I started.

So now I'm trying something that I think will be sustainable.

Baby Steps!

I also enjoy doing charts as you can probably guess so I'm looking forward to tracking this plan over the course of many, many years.

It reminds me a bit of daily compound interest. Tiny little amounts each day can actually amount to something rather substantial over time (at least in a prosperous economy anyway).

AllanF said...

Hahaha. I always pegged you for ~5'10" & 225. I was half right. :-)

A lot of guys of your build have done incredibly well on the Paleo/low-carb diet. I highly recommend checking it out. Start with Taubes, Nikoley, and Naughton for a fun introduction.

Oh, on the Taubes, I'd typically say skip to part 5, but since you're notoriously not easily bored, I think you'll be able to sit through the whole thing. ;-)

Stagflationary Mark said...


I always pegged you for ~5'10" & 225. I was half right. :-)

I hoard food! I'm surprised you pictured me even that thin. Hahaha!

Thanks for advice but I'm committed to this minimalist plan. I'm interested in seeing what 4-8 minutes of stairclimbing each and every day does long-term. It is the only variable I want to consciously change.

EconomicDisconnect said...

6'3'' and 225 is not that bad at all, geez you must be a perfectionist! Good luck, cant wait to see how it goes.

EconomicDisconnect said...

PS, maybe if you did the stairs while you played games on the playstation.......lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...


6'3'' and 225 is not that bad at all, geez you must be a perfectionist! Good luck, cant wait to see how it goes.

I have never had much muscle mass since it was aerobic exercise that I enjoyed. It is therefore a bit worse than it sounds. My ideal weight is therefore 180 to 200.

PS, maybe if you did the stairs while you played games on the playstation.......lol.

Don't think I haven't tried! It is a bit hard to balance with both hands on the playstation controller. I can do it, but it isn't that comfortable.

Based on how much I like video games, maybe I should have bought a stationary recumbent bike instead of a stairclimber 15 years ago. I'd probably be 150 pounds right now. ;)

AllanF said...

4-8 minutes of stairclimbing each and every day does long-term

Well then, all you had to do was ask...

Not a damn thing. ;-)

Haha! You word verification Freudians will love this one: gadeva.

Stagflationary Mark said...



Stagflationary Mark said...

In all seriousness, an extra 140 flights of stairs each week will have an impact. I have no doubts about that.

Will I be able to detect it on the scale in the first month (or even two)? Maybe, but probably not.

Patience! :)

Stagflationary Mark said...

As a side note, the first day's official workout shows why people should not generally look at the scale every day.

I was 226 in shorts and shoes heading into the workout. I was 227 after the workout minus the shorts and shoes.

Since I have perfectionist tendencies when it comes to math, damn you bathroom scale resolution! ;)

Soviet of Washington said...

Only a BMI of 28.1 I'm 6'3" 238 for a BMI of 29.7 Better get mine down or Sebelius is going to deny me medical care ala NHS.

Every year at open-enrollment, we get bribed to go through some online health survey. I always love the recommendation that my weight should be between 152-191. 191 might be possible, but 152!!? I haven't been that weight since 7th grade (and I completed competitively in aerobic sports all through both High School and College).

Jazzbumpa said...

Speaking of aerobics - why don't you ramp it up to 12 minutes per day. That certainly can't move you much further toward burnout than 4 to 8, and you will get some cardio benefit.


Stagflationary Mark said...

Wow! They want you to be 152-191?

I was 180 in high school and skinny as a pencil. I can't even imagine trying to get to 152! I'd look like a starvation victim. My face would look like a skull.

Stagflationary Mark said...


I actually considered making the goal 12 minutes for the reason you suggest, but my primary goal here is to set the bar so low that I will have no excuses at all.

Perhaps in a few years I will simply change the restriction from 20 flights to a minimum of 20 flights. I want proof that the new habit is 100% established first though.

It is also my hope that I will find other things to do once my energy level increases. I won't be placing any restrictions on that.

If nothing else, there is an ice rink just a few miles from my house. That tends to be hours at a time, if only because I pay for several hours and want to get my money's worth. I haven't gone lately though, mainly because I'm out of shape.

I also want to go snowboarding again at some point. It has been many years and I was actually pretty good at it. I started back in the 1980s at a time you couldn't even go to mountains here in Washington State. My first mountain experience was in Canada and it ended with a broken board and a small child on skis saying, "Why don't you learn how to use that thing!" My repsonse, "I'm trying!!!" Hahaha!

dearieme said...

If you want to feel better, fine. If you want to live longer:

Stagflationary Mark said...


Fascinating link.

This is great news.

I can feel better while I am alive while simultaneously reducing the risk that I will outlive my nest egg.

Win win! ;)