I used to have a love-hate relationship with New Year’s. Like countless other people, I began each year with a resolution to finally lose some serious weight and keep it off. That was the “love” part … I loved feeling righteous and disciplined as I wrote down those all-important “action steps” to achieve my goal. By gosh, I’m really going to do it this year!

Unfortunately, my action steps always included sticking to some low-fat, vegetarian, or very-low-calorie diet, which led to the “hate” part … I hated waking up each succeeding January 1st knowing I was no leaner (and often fatter) than the year before. Naturally, I attributed the sorry result to a lack of willpower. I’d think back on all the times I surrendered to hunger and blame myself for caving in, instead of blaming the diet for making me feel ravenous.

Then, proving myself to be what Moe Howard might describe as “an intelligent imbecile,” I’d more or less repeat the previous year’s failed action plan:  going to the store to stock up on rice cakes, Slim-Fast, pasta, fat-free pasta sauce, whole-grain cereals, skim milk or soy milk, Garden Burgers, Egg Beaters, butter-flavored spray for the low-fat popcorn, etc.  One year I even bought a big ol’ electric treadmill and promised to walk on it for an hour every night.  And guess what?  I did.  Unfortunately, my waistline wasn’t impressed.

My love-hate relationship with January 1st is long gone. After returning home from our holiday trip to Illinois, Chareva and I spent part of the weekend arranging our closets in the new house and deciding which clothes to take to Goodwill. Before hanging some dress slacks (which I almost never wear) in my closet, I figured it would be a good idea to try them on first. You can see how they fit in the picture below.

I bought those slacks two years ago, after I’d already lost a chunk of weight. Since I tend to store fat above the beltline – belly and love handles – I didn’t need smaller pants when I first lost weight after making Fat Head. But in the past couple of years, I’ve gone from wearing a size 38 to a size 36, and now the size 36 pants are actually a bit too loose. Size 34 pants are a bit too snug, so I’m probably a size 35. You won’t find that size in stores, so I’m putting up with the loose 36 pants for now. If I end up wearing a size 34 someday, cool. If not, that’s cool too. Reaching that size might require shrinking the width of my pelvis, and no diet will accomplish that.

The point is, I’ve continued getting a bit leaner over these past two years without starving myself, without counting calories, and without limiting myself to tasteless foods I don’t really like. I live on a meaty, high-fat diet most people would consider indulgent, and yet I no longer struggle with my weight. I no longer wake up on New Year’s feeling disgusted with my body and promising to do something about it. My resolution this year is to keep doing what I’ve been doing.

I know I can keep that promise.

Happy New Year.

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74 Responses to “Happier New Year”
  1. Tony Dickson says:

    Happy New Year Tom!

    After losing 80 pounds in the past year due in no small part to your work and the work of folks you’ve introduced to me, I have but one New Year’s resolution: Find a lady who wants me for my body and not just my mind.

    I like that goal. Mine is to live to be 101 and then be shot by a jealous husband.

  2. Ray Kelley says:

    Lookin’ good, Tom! I can relate. Since watching Fat Head and going hardcore on low carb/high animal fat last March, I’ve kept getting slimmer and more toned. Some people I visited with over Christmas and New Years that I hadn’t seen for a while really took notice. My friend’s wife greeted me with “What’s up, Statham?” I used to get stuff like “Devito” or “Jon Lovitz”.

    I took some time off for the Holidays to eat some junk, but as of today, I’m back on the regimen. I hope to hit you back with some pretty dramatic before/after pictures in March, which will be exactly one year since I stumbled across your movie on Netflix.

    I cheated a couple of times over the holidays too — my mom’s muffin canapes are worth it — but got right back on track.

    Looking forward to those pictures.

  3. Tessa Childs says:

    I just love this low carb way of life. Yesterday I hosted a golf tournament at our local golf club for a few friends. In past years I have struggled to walk 18 holes and push a golf cart and was so tired at the end that I could hardly reach the club house, often not managing to play the whole 18. This year despite really muddy conditions, much worse than usual as we normally play in the summer not the winter, I finished, without pain in my legs, without being the slowest and tied for first in my heat with a young man of 20. I am 54. I always used to have a golf buggy to play 18 in the past, but because of conditions they weren’t permitted this time.

    That’s yet another benefit, the extra endurance. I could easily walk 18 holes, although I don’t think I’d impress anyone with my score.

  4. Peggy Cihocki says:

    Wow. Nice, flat, stomach! Although I haven’t made a New Year’s diet resolution in over six years (since I read Mary Enig’s “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” and stopped being afraid of fat) I am happy to report that, since going low carb in April (after reading GT’s “Why We Get Fat” and watching Fat Head) I have lost both weight (a little) and inches. Clothes that I sort of stuck away in the drawer because they were a little tight suddenly fit nicely and are even a little loose. And the good news is things are only going to get better because this is no diet, it’s a life style that is not hard to stick to because the food is so good and satisfying. Same with my husband, who lost more weight and inches (of course) than I did. I did make one NY resolution, though–to make Slow Burn work outs a part of my routine. Happy New Year!

    I predict you’ll find the Slow Burn workouts help with body composition and energy.

  5. Elenor says:

    Congrats, and a wonderful Happy New Year to you, Chareva, and the girls!

    Enbravened (not a real word) by your ‘paleo girls’ video I bought some lamb osso bucco at Costco, and with fear and trepidation, cooked it up in the Crockpot. (Found a nice recipe with tomato paste, beef broth, and some spices — although I didn’t have the real onion and garlic, so added powdered.) Meant to take it out and let it cool in the fridge over night but forgot and left it on low all night. – That made it closer to stew than anything — but OMG — I managed to get myself to try the marrow — and yum! Next, I tried the osso bucco recipe with cut up sirloin — and also a major-excellent success! Thank you for ….embravening me!

    (I’m doing okay, I miss my husband terribly but have managed to get his company up and running about 85%, so {shrug} life goes on. I am still so (So, SO) grateful to you for being so warm and wonderful to me at AHS… You really helped me enjoy Michael Ray’s last gift to me — that conference!)

    Marrow is awesome.

    It’s easy to be warm and wonderful to you … you’re great.

  6. Max says:

    My wife (22 y-old) and me (27) have been following low carb high fat high protein diet for almost a year. The result is my wife has lost 20 kg, I lost about 10 kg, got more muscular. But a few days ago we for the first time went to check our cholesterol levels and got the following results: hers (over 6), mine (over 4). Doc told that mine is good, but hers is quite high. Recommended that we should stop the diet. Now we do not know what to think. Is the diet bad or good? There is pressure from official medicine but on the other hand, we lost weight, we feel good, and we do not know what levels we had before starting the diet, since this was the first time.

    Check her Triglyceride/HDL ratio. Total cholesterol is meaningless. And by the way, cholesterol has never been shown to be a risk factor for women.

  7. Gretchen says:

    Great post and picture! My hubby is down from a 40 to a “37″ which size they also do not make so he wears a 38 and a belt. I am down from a size 8 to a 6. We celebrated our first anniversary of eating low carb in mid-December. Thanks for all the inspiration you have provided, and a happy new year to you and yours.

    Congratulations to you both, and Happy New Year.

  8. Craig says:

    We had an area Sears go out of business last winter, so I stocked up on cheap clothes. A few months later I ran across Fat Head on Netflix. Wish I’d known, but I can’t really complain.

    As to the French Paradox, a lot of my food recipes come from cookbooks by people like Julia Child and Alice Waters. Also, I highly recommend “All About Braising” by Molly Stevens for anyone who wants to learn easy, traditional techniques for making some of the cheapest, fattiest cuts of meat turn fall-apart tender and delicious. When people ask about my “diet” I tell them I basically eat like a combination of 18th-century European royalty and Old-South aristocracy.

    Sounds like there’s a trip to Goodwill in your future.

  9. timmah says:

    I found butter flavored spray in the fridge. I haven’t used that stuff in a year. Since it’s nothing but chemicals I would imagine it’s not yet expired…

    It should expire the day before it’s made, but I bet you’re right.

  10. Jake says:

    Seriously Tom, try out some tailored pants. There will be improvements in fit that go beyond waist size.

    I’ve never cared enough about clothes to have them custom-made. I’d live in jeans and golf shirts if I could.

  11. Nowhereman says:

    Tom wrote: “That’s why I won’t be retiring anytime soon.”

    Indeed. I don’t know what’s worse, what CNN reported, or what this Fox News article did on the Paleo diet:

    http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/30/caveman-diet-is-it-healthy-option/?test=faces

    Even when they do report it, the information is wrong. Someone needs to wap this lady the upside her head and tell her that the saturated fat are what you want to eat in abundance along with the grass-fed meats. Also, do you know what study she is refering to in this quote:

    “One study took a group of generally healthy people and put them on the caveman diet for 10 days. The results were incredible.

    The participants experienced improved blood pressure and better ability to manage blood sugar in the body.”

    No idea which study she referenced. Too bad they didn’t include a link.

  12. Becky says:

    A very happy New Year to you and your family! And might I say (with all due respect to your lovely wife) that you are looking pretty dang good, my friend. I was just showing your picture to my mom who, after watching my pants slowly grow, insists that her whole grains and low fat yogurt are the way to go. I showed her your “Vacuuming the walls” picture and said this is what bacon does for you. If I recall correctly, you do the slow burn workout, yes? Do you really just work out once per week? I was thinking of trying it but wanted to know what you thought before I started. Best wishes for your family this coming year and please keep this blog going! It’s highly motivating and very entertaining and I couldn’t be more grateful for your words of wisdom in this crazy mixed-up world :)

    I tell Chareva I need to keep in shape so people don’t look at us and think, “Hmmph! He must be rich.”

    I do Slow Burn at least once per week (holidays not included), sometimes twice. If I do two workouts in a week, I mix up the exercises a bit … leg extensions instead of leg presses, etc.

  13. Richard says:

    I started cutting carbs more strictly awhile back (back in june 2011 I was 265, just before the holidays I was 192)
    now I’ve gone for wearing 44″ and thinking 42 were just to snug to wear to 42″ practicaly falling off (before I could wear 42″ without a belt but wore 44″ with a belt for comfort)

    now ever 42″ have to be belted up and I could likely get into 38 or so but still like the comfort of larger pockets

    It’s all progress.

  14. Great news Tom! You’re living proof that this way works. Oh I forgot the tens of thousands other people who are too. Keep it up, I know I will.

    Thank you.

  15. Jenny says:

    Like Rebecca, I’ve had 6 miscarriages (and 2 lovely children) and I like to use parentheses. I’m currently expecting (more like hoping), but like Auntie M, I’m on the old side (39 in a few days) and I have a condition that keeps me incredible sedentary while pregnant.

    Like almost everyone here, I’m on board with this way of eating. I’ve drunk the (truvia) Kool-aid. Watched it, read it; I’m with you. Unlike anyone here, I can’t seem to quit the carbs. I don’t like to cook, I’m not a huge fan of steak, and I really don’t think deli meat and cheese are that great without the bread. I’m not obese (though unquestionably overweight), but I think I have more than your standard cyclic addiction to carbs.

    I keep hearing over and over about how those addicted to carbs aren’t really weak and lacking in willpower — blame the carbs. So what of those who can’t seem to stick to lo-carb eating? Just weak and lacking in willpower? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, I guess. (Right after my birthday, yo.)

    Julia Ross has some good suggestions for supplements that help kick the carb addiction in her book “The Diet Cure.” Personally, I found that after giving up the carbs for awhile, I no longer craved them.

  16. Katy says:

    I am in no way affiliated with this company, but Lands’ End has size 35 pants for men (and other odd-numbered sizes). My son needs a 33 and my elderly friend likes the 37s. And they are having a sale right now:-).

  17. Laurie says:

    Congratulations, Tom. Looking good.

    Right before the holidays, I took a huge bag to the Goodwill. It contained over 40 items of clothing that are now too big on me. That was my second donation bag of big clothes over the year that I’ve been eating low carb. I’ve already started the pile for my third bag.

    I love not having to resolve to lose 90 pounds and get my blood pressure in line this year. Instead, my blood pressure is good and I only have about 30 pounds I’d like to lose. And I don’t have to do anything but what I’ve already been doing, which is to eat the foods the government says to avoid, and avoid the ones it says to eat.

    Nice when it’s not a struggle anymore, eh?

  18. johnny says:

    I started LC in May 2010 and at 5’10″ I’ve gone from 225 lb to 191. Waist from 44″ tight to 39″.

    What is most amazing is that I’ve only been 68% compliant (i keep a diary) mostly due to a prognosis of prostate cancer, a subsequent operation, recovery from the operation and general depression.

    I’m feeling better now (cancer free and recovered from operation), will be more compliant and I expect to lose more weight.

    I’m sorry to hear about the cancer, but by now you probably know that a low-carb diet is likely to help keep the cancer from growing.

  19. Ghost says:

    I do want to say thank you for making a video that’s so easy to understand, now I know that when I do something, WHY the science behind it works. I couldn’t stop watching your video on Netflix.

    It’s so weird to resolve to lose weight this year, and actually have a real chance at it! I have a couple pairs of pants that are 42s. I’m currently wearing a size 44, and I don’t feel depressed or angry when I think about those pants, I just feel excited, because I know that I’ll be in them very soon, now that I’ve broken away from conventional ‘low fat high carb’ advice.

    Thanks again!

    You’ll get there.

  20. Seth says:

    Tom,

    Congrats on the smaller pants. I have the same issue with jean sizes but a couple sizes smaller. I’m sitting ideally at a 33s and 34s are a little loose, 32s are way too tight. Odd jean sizes can be tough to find. I have found though, that Old Navy carries odd sizes and they have very comfortable jeans. They aren’t all that expensive either, I think they were about $20 a pair. I needed them, I was swimming in my old size 38 fatty pants. I looked like a gangster. It’s much better having pants that fit. You should check out Old Navy, their size selection is the best I’ve seen so far.

    Seth

    There’s an Old Navy not far from here. Thanks for the tip.

  21. LCNana says:

    Note for Jenny who wrote in on Jan 3 that she finds it really hard to stick to low-carb. Honey, you are obviously not eating enough FAT! It does not have to be steak at every meal if that’s not your preference. But try coconut milk and oil, olive oil, butter, avocado, chicken with the skin, bacon, extra egg yolks, full fat yogurt and any fat you can get that you WILL eat. Don’t give up – your good health depends on it.

    Look at it this way: how’s the way you eat now going for ya?

  22. Mary D. says:

    @timmah: For years, I made butter-flavored spray for my hubby, who loved it on his popcorn (he now uses a combination of walnut oil and butter to make his popcorn in and ditched his hot-air popper years ago). 1/4 cup extra-light olive oil with 1/4 tsp butter flavoring. I stored it in a spray bottle on the shelf & it would keep for many months without going rancid.

    Cheers!

  23. Kathryn says:

    Another place to try is Target and its house brand Legendary Gold jeans which I believe are actually made by Wrangler.

    Nothing fancy – just standard, solid, all American plain dark blue jeans in lots of odd number sizes. Regular price in my neck of the woods is $13.99. We watch the Target online weekly ad until the jeans come on sale for $8-9 dollars a pair.

    They hold up well through many laundry cycles to teenager abuse and a husband that likes to work in his shop.

    My husband and son have each lost several sizes since watching Fat Head and embracing grain-free eating. Over Black Friday, my husband assured me he would never be smaller than a size 33 because his pelvis won’t shrink. So we stocked up on pants.

    Well… he will soon be receiving my son’s hand-me-ups size 32′s because the 33′s are falling off of him.

    Apparently a pelvis can shrink.

    Thanks for all you do.

    I haven’t seen size 35 jeans at Target, but I’ll keep my eyes open next time.

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