My Soylent for weight-loss blog post

Posted here from my blog post originally found here:

As is probably no surprise to anyone who has seen a photo of me in the past decade, I have more weight on me than it is strictly healthy to have. To improve my health and to feel better in general, I’ve sought to change that over the years with varying levels of success. Almost invariably, after a period of loss, a backslide would occur. Everyone knows by now that this is mostly due to how we approach weight loss: we diet instead of changing how we live in a permanent sustainable fashion. Of course, saying that is much easier than living it and finding an agreeable, healthy lifestyle is not always easy. In fact, seeking an easy to maintain lifestyle is the first mistake we make.
If I’ve learned anything in this life is that what is effortless is often also worthless. For something to have value work has to go into it, and the most rewarding things I’ve ever managed to accomplish are almost always those that were the hardest to do. I bolded that. I think it’s that important of a point. This has applied for me to such diverse things as child-rearing and writing novels. Effort pays off. Easy is ephemeral.

Back to being healthy and weight loss.
It’s not easy. I think we can all agree on this. It takes work and it takes a continuous dedication to making decisions that match your long term desires and not your immediate ones. Everyone wants instant gratification and it’s easy to get that from food. A great tasting ice cream certainly hits the spot, as does a good bag of chips, but that only satisfies your current feelings of need for diversion, for satisfaction, or for a treat. If you eat with your long term desires in mind, you make different choices. Thinking like this, when I see a bag of chips, what comes to mind for me now is: how does this fit into my lifestyle? The answer is that it doesn’t. At least not casually, and not often.

So what do I eat?
There are a few reasons I’ve gone the way that I have and your own mileage may vary. Given my height and activity levels, a 2000 calorie daily regimen is my target. To get there I could count calories and try to make healthy meals three times a day. That works fine for lots of people, but that takes more time than I want to be spending in the kitchen. For me the answer has been Soylent. You may have heard of this product which sprang onto the scene a few years ago. It’s intended to replace food altogether and provides a more or less balanced diet when you consume a bag of it every day. Used this way you get 2000 calories parcelled out as 500 calorie meals that you eat four times daily. It’s not a bad way to go, but I also like real food, so what I’ve been doing instead is eating two meals of Soylent every day. These account for 1000 calories out of my 2000 and leaves me with one solid meal a day that I get to enjoy. I try to keep this meal under 1000 calories or near that amount as much as possible, but I don’t worry about it too much. The main virtue of this system for me is that I have one meal I really look forward to each day and that provides enough of a balance of long term desires versus immediate gratification to keep me happy and on track. I combine this with a 30 minute workout most days and an hour long stint on my walking treadmill. The exercise is great for your state of mind and good for the heart and health. Using this system I’ve managed to lose about one or two pounds per week, which is a good rate.

For those of you curious about Soylent, definitely check out their site at
I have been using Soylent 1.5 which I flavour with vanilla extract and cinnamon. I also add fibre to it as a supplement in the form of inulin which I dissolve in the shakes. Taken straight the stuff tastes a bit like liquid, salty pie crust with a silty quality to its mouthfeel. Refrigerated, with my additions, it tastes great (to me!).