11 October 2014


I am not sure when this photo was taken, nor was I at my maximum weight at this time of 236 on May 10, 2014.  I was probably 225 here.

Taken with Rajiv sometime in 2013.

Notice how stiff I am from lack of movement post hip replacement surgery.

Taken about a week and a half ago.  Weight 198.

The following is about scientific weight loss principles and practice.  I lost about 40 lbs in 20 weeks.

The basic principles are you have to know what you need to weigh, count calories every day for the  weight loss you want, maintain a high protein diet to preserve muscle mass, stay away from hard exercise and concentrate on diet, exercise enough to maintain muscle mass, spend a bit of time each day as you lose weight to take advantage of your increased mobility and flexibility.



Rather than a specific diet, these are the principals.

Determine your optimal weight based on insurance height and weight charts.  Be kind to yourself and use the top of the normal weight for your height value.


For men, maintenance calorie intake is 12 calories per pound of ideal weight, and for women, it is 10.  This is a basic, maintenance value for someone who is basically sedentary.  These calories are needed just to maintain metabolism. Exercises require additional calories, or result in additional weight loss.

Suppose you are a 50 year old man who weighs 200 lbs, but the ideal weight charts say you should weigh 160.  You have to lose 40 lbs.  To maintain a 200 lb weight you have to eat 200X12 calories a day, or 2,400 calories.

A 160 lb man has to eat 160X12, or 1,920 calories a day.  If you just eat as if you were 160 lbs and wanted to maintain that weight while weighing 200, you would have almost a 500 calorie deficit, which would result in a weight loss of 1 lb. per week (1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories).
Thus by eating 1,920 calories a day, you would lose the 40 lbs in 40 weeks.

But if you consume only 1,400 calories a day, you would lose 2 lbs per week, and the 40 lbs. in 20 weeks, or 5 months.

PRESERVE MUSCLE MASS. As you lose weight by eating less than you need to maintain your fat weight, the body has to decide whether to consume your internal fat or your muscle mass.  Therefore it is incredibly important to maintain a high protein intake proportionately to the total calories consumed, or you can lose almost as much muscle weight as fat weight.  It is not uncommon to lose as much muscle as fat, and you do not want to do this.  Muscle mass actually increases your metabolism, and the body’s need for calories, making weight loss easier.

This is difficult if you are Vegan, but not impossible. If a vegetarian, it is much easier with cheese, yogurt, milk, and eggs, as well as tofu and legumes.

As a general rule, the textbooks say you need 1 gram of protein for every pound of ideal weight. Thus for a 160 lb man, this means 160 grams of protein a day to preserve muscle and organ mass.  I think this is far too high, as it means 640 calories of a 1,400 calorie diet must be protein, which means you’ll be eating all cheese, milk, and egg products in addition to tofu and legumes.  For myself, I kept to 90 grams of protein a day by using protein supplements, cheese, tofu, and eggs once in a while.

DO NOT WEIGHT YOURSELF MORE THAN ONCE A MONTH, otherwise the short-term weight swings will drive you crazy.  Trust that restricting calories will result in weight loss.  Experiment during the month with different food combinations, calorie restriction levels, eating 3 to 5 meals a day, which will teach you what works best for you in terms of weight loss and overall feeling of well-being.

LEARN HOW TO COUNT CALORIES.  You have to know how much you are eating each day, and one of the best ways is to by microwave dinners from the supermarket that tell you total calories, total fat and total protein calories.  This makes it so easy to calculate how many of each kind of calories you are eating each day.  Specific recommendations are mentioned later.

Since you are consuming less food and densely rich food, you need to be concerned with urinary and fecal elimination.  It is easy to get constipated using such diets, which will have a major impact on your scale weight. Also the kidneys will be working overtime to eliminate by products of fat burning.

So, drinking liquids is imperative.  I drink an extra 40 ounces of water in addition to 60-80 ounces of coffee, tea, soft drink, and occasional beer per day.  You need to add fiber to your diet, so at least one of the glasses of water needs a fiber supplement, such as Metamucil or Citricell.

Also, each day I have one meal that is low calorie and nothing but raw vegetables and fruit.  This is my bulk meal, just 200 or so  calories, and it consists of about one pound of: chopped green pepper, cucumber, mushrooms, tomato, olives, olive liquid, apple, and Krafts Low Cal. Balsamic Vinegrette (25 calores per tablespoon), or a low cal Italian dressing at 15 calories per tablespoon.

Really, none is needed except to maintain muscle mass.  Each day the body has to decide whether to consume your fat or your muscles and organs to maintain life.  Daily aerobic exercise is nearly useless in weight loss, because you have to do so much to lose so little.  BUT, working out with resistance, either free weights, rubber bands, or machines, at relatively heavy levels for just 15-20 minutes, twice a week, tells your body you need to maintain muscle mass as part of your life.

Of course, as I lost weight, my mobility increased and I can walk more, do yoga, twist and stretch more, and lift more weight in terms of daily activities, which increases calorie burning, and also health.

Current medical thinking is of the idea that the single greatest cause of illness, including some cancers, is not cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, bad diet, junk foods, but a sedentary life style. 

EVERY DAY YOU NEED TO THINK ABOUT HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR MOBILITY A LITTLE BIT MORE, whether by adding stretching, free exercises like pushups, walking, deep knee bends, yoga, Tai Chi, swimming or bicycling. Increasing mobility improves health, reduces health risks, lowers blood sugar and cholesterol.

Don’t be a fanatic, but just improve your strength and mobility by a tiny bit every day.

When I was young (25) I could bench press over 400 lbs, and did over 300 pushups non-stop.

As of May 10 of this year, I could not do even one pushup without major cheating.  But as a result of weight loss and increasing mobility, I do now 25 every other day and have only been doing them for a week and a half.

In this, I have to thank Swami Chetanananda, who told me exactly this: every day I have to move a little more and think about ways to increase my mobility and flexibility as part of an overall fitness program. Swamiji calls his Ashram the Movement Center, and increasing movement is a goal both in spiritual work and in health.

The increasing mobility and movement came as a secondary result of weight loss.  I was able to move more without pain having lost 30 and 40 lbs of fat.  I was able to be more flexible, and the more mobile and flexible I got, the more I wanted more mobility.  I never consciously exercised during those five months except the two-times-a-week weight lifting.  All the other increases in exercise were because my body was able to do more, and wanted to do more spontaneously.

MANY ADVAITINS AND BUDDHISTS WHO PRACTICE MEDITATION ON EMPTINESS, OR FOCUS ON SILENCE, THE WITNESS, OR THE ABSOLUTE, TEND TO STOP MOVING, believing that nothing is real, or only the Void or Absolute is important, and they become sedentary sitters and stop moving.

DON’T CHEAT.  Once you get in the swing of counting calories, increasing flexibility and mobility, don’t cheat on the eating with adding sugar or going way over your calorie limit.  Each time you cheat, you weaken the effort.  During the past 5 months, I cheated maybe two days, yesterday was one of them.  I went way over my calorie limit with peanuts and popcorn and feel bloated and immobile today. 

ABSOLUTELY NO SUGAR IN ANY FORM, AND VERY LITTLE WHEAT PRODUCTS. These are high calorie, low protein foods that need to be eliminated.  Maybe twice a week I’ll have a Swiss Cheese sandwich, with 3X 70 calorie slices of cheese, and a single 60 calorie slice of whole wheat bread with low fat mayonnaise, for a total of 300 calories and 26 grams of protein.

ALCOHOL consumption calories need to be factored in.  Alcohol consumption just makes weight loss slower.  I like to have a double brandy every now and again, and that is 260 calories.  That is factored in.  In addition, once in a while I like to have 12 ounces of beer, my choice is Bud ice at 130 calories.

As Bill Maher puts it, he saves his sugar calorie allotment for alcohol.

Bi-WEEKLY CHECK YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE, and watch it drop as you lose weight.  My current blood pressure resting is 115/65 at 196 lbs. (Down from 236 lbs.)


  1. There's an immense amount of foolish diet programs around these days, but this is a very smart, no bullshit method to do it!

    The last couple times I wanted to loose weight, I had much success with a similar method - except I don't really eat microwave food, but being a chemist I just weighed fresh foods and calculated the calories of my home cooked meals.
    Also moderate weight lifting/strength based exercise is really preferable over cardio to ensure protection of muscle mass.
    I think the 90 instead of 160 grams protein is enough, and also much easier on your kidneys.

    I'm very happy for you Ed, and proud - but the pictures speak for themselves :D

  2. I appreciate all the research you did, in coming up with a program that works, without all the hyped up expensive special supplements and foods. This makes good sense and from your results, obviously works. Thanks for sharing the specifics of your daily regimen. You inspire me to keep working at it too. You're lookin' good !!!!

  3. great stuff — this activity (seems to me, inherent "Bodhisattva" ... WTF, really, huh, how? Uh huh, indeed — supporting the corporeal conduit may decrease suffering/increase longevity) — mutually beneficial _()_

  4. Thanks for the detailed write-up, Ed!! You're an inspiration. Did you ever struggle with willpower during this journey? I'm guessing that you probably didn't, since anyone who can sit motionless in meditation for hours probably has willpower to spare... Still, I'd like to hear your thoughts on maintaining focus.

  5. Years of meditation enhanced focus and willpower, and an ability to accept all experiences as they arise no matter how painful, distracting, or pleasurable. Essentialy, all experiences are the same: They remind the Witness that you are alive, and yourself, that you are alive.