The Incredible Scalzi Weight Loss Plan

I’ve made mention now and again that I’ve been trying to lose weight, inspired as I have been to do so by seeing pictures and videos of me at the Phoenix ComicCon looking rather a bit more pear-shaped than I would like. Folks have been asking me how that’s been coming along. So here’s an update, and those of you who aren’t interested in weight loss neepery should probably just skip along.

The short version of it is that in fact I’ve pretty much hit my goal: At the end of May I was about 185 pounds, and I hoped to lose 20 pounds or so. Last week, I hit 165, and at my weigh-in this morning I was 164.4. The chart above shows my general progress from the end of May through today. I plan to try to lose maybe a couple more pounds through December and then from there to generally maintain in the 160 to 165 area of things, which is a weight at which I am comfortable with how I both look and feel.

How did I lose the weight?

1. I ate less and exercised more. Which I understand people hate to hear, because it’s the boring way of losing weight; people want to hear about how you lose weight only by eating fried pineapple, or by some manner of “power cleanse” or whatever. But you know what, if you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. It’s not romantic but it works.

For eating less, as I’ve noted before, I downloaded the Livestrong calorie counter app onto my iPod Touch, put in my then-current vitals, my weight loss goals (approximately a pound a week), and then tried to keep to the number of calories it told me to each day. That number was between 1,750 and 1,650 calories, depending on my then-current weight, which was not an amount that made me feel like I was starving.

For exercising more, I bought a young dog whose idea of fun is to run around the yard very fast, chasing me, three or so times a day. It works.

2. I did it slowly. You know how long it takes to lose 20 pounds if you’re aiming for losing a pound a week? If you say, “oh, probably 20 weeks, give or take,” then you’d be largely correct. My own time frame was closer to 24 weeks, but the basic concept is the same. Taking six months to lose 20 pounds is a congenial length of time — it keeps your body from freaking out about shedding pounds while at the same time allowing one not to feel one is suffering unduly to lose weight. Not being in a rush also gives you more margin for error and slippage as well; for example, when you’re obliged to eat several thousand more calories than you would usually do because it’s Thanksgiving. Which is the third point:

3. I didn’t freak out when I slipped because I knew it was a long term project. Which meant that on the occasional days I ate more calories than I was supposed to, I didn’t get OCD about it. I just kept to the schedule after that. Alternately, while I did make a general effort to eat better, I didn’t feel guilty about ice cream or other empty calories when I had them. I just tried to keep the portions from being stupidly gargantuan, and compensated later with better, healthier foods. Over time everything balanced and I lost weight on a fairly steady basis, as the chart suggests.

And that’s pretty much how I did it: Ate less, exercised more, did it over time, didn’t stress my brain or my body over it. It’s worked so far for me.

A Girl and Her Dog, Grown Up Division

Personally, I think this looks like it could be an author photo.

Hey, Wanna Know Who Won That Fuzzy Nation ARC I Was Giving Away?

Sure you do. It was Kathryne, because the prospect of being the instrument of family nerd one-up-man-ship this holiday season is just too tempting to pass up. And don’t worry, Kathryne, your inscription will totally be about how much fun it is to hang out with you and all that. Hope your brothers’ jaws drop in complete jealousy, and that you get to sit by dad.

I’ll be dropping Kathryne an e-mail to notify her (presuming she doesn’t see this first). Everyone else, thanks for entering — it was a lot of fun to read the entries.

Your Holiday Book Suggestion List (From Authors)

Hey, folks! Looking for the perfect book for people you like/love or in some way obligated to? This will be the place to get suggestions. I’m inviting book authors to post in the comment thread here to tell you about their works, which you can then go and purchase at your favorite bookstore. It’s just that easy! Now, hold on a second while I talk to the authors, okay? Thanks.

Authors: I have up to 45,000 readers here on a daily basis! Some of them will be shopping for books this holiday season! Tell them about yours in the comment thread!

Here are the rules to post:

1. Authors only, books only. There will be another pimp thread for other things, early next week. Any type of book is fine: Fiction, non-fiction, etc. If you are not the author of the book you’re posting about, don’t post. This is for authors only (edited to add: Anthology editors may promote their anthologies).

2. Your book(s) must be in print and available on a returnable basis at bookstores and at the following three online bookstores: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s. This is so people can find your book when they go looking for it. If your book isn’t available as described, wait for the other pimp thread next week.

3. One post per author. In that post, you can list whatever books of yours you like (as long as it meets the criteria in point 2), but allow me to suggest you focus on your most recent book. Note also that the majority of Whatever’s readership is in the US/Canada, so I suggest focusing on books available in North America.

4. Keep your description of your book brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and entertaining. Imagine the person is in front of you as you tell them about your book and is interested but easily distracted.

5. You may include a link to a bookseller if you like by using standard HTML link scripting. Be warned that if you include too many links (typically three or more) your post may get sent to the moderating queue. If this happens, don’t panic: I’ll be going in through the day to release moderated posts. Note that posts will occasionally go into the moderation queue semi-randomly; Don’t panic about that either.

6. Comment posts that are not from authors promoting their books as specified above will be deleted, in order to keep the comment thread useful for people looking to find interesting books.

Got it? Excellent. Then tell the folks about your book! And tell your author friends about this thread so they can come around as well. Now, I’m going to talk to the other folks again.

Other folks: Hey, it’s me again. Enjoy the book suggestions and hope you find something you like. The authors, I’m sure, thank you for your consideration. And so do I.