Quickly Reversing the Fat Webmaster Curse

Long story short, -38 pounds in about 2 months or so. Felt great the entire time and felt way more focused day to day. Maybe you don’t have a lot of weight to lose but this whole approach can significantly help you cognitively.

In fact, the diet piece was originally formed for cognitive enhancements rather than weight loss.

Before I get into this post I just want to explicitly state that I am not a doctor, medical professional, medical researcher, or any type of medical/health anything. This is not advice, I am just sharing my experience.

You should consult a healthcare professional before doing any of this stuff.

Unhealthy Work Habits

The work habits associated with being an online marketer lend themselves to packing on some weight. Many of us are in front of a screen for large chunks of the day while also being able to take breaks whenever and wherever we want.

Sometimes those two things add up to a rather sedentary lifestyle with poor eating habits (I’m leaving travel out at the moment but that doesn’t help either).

In addition to the mechanics of our jobs being an issue we also tend to work longer/odd hours because all we really need to get a chunk of our work done is a computer or simply access to the internet. If you take all of those things and add them into the large amount of opportunity that exists on the web you have the perfect recipe for unhealthy, stressful work habits.

These habits tend to carry over into offline areas as well. Think about the things we touch or access every day:

  • Computers
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Search Engines
  • Online Tools
  • Email
  • Instant Messaging
  • Social Networks

What do many of these have in common? Instant “something”. Instant communication, results, gratification, and on and on. This is what we live in every day. We expect and probably prefer fast, instant, and quick. With that mindset, who has time to cook a healthy meal 3x per day on a regular basis? Some do, for sure. However, much like the office work environment this environment can be one that translates into lots of unhealthy habits and poor health.

I got to the point where I was about 40 pounds overweight with poor physicals and lackluster lipid profiles (high cholesterol, blood pressure, etc). I tried many things, many times but what ultimately turned the corner for me were 3 different investments.

Investment #1 - Standup/Sitdown Desk

Sitting down all day is no bueno. I bought a really high quality standup desk with an electrical motor so I can periodically sit down for a few minutes in between longer periods of standing.

It has a nice, wide table component and is quite sturdy. It also allows for different height adjustments via a simple up and down control:

A couple of tips here:

  • Wear comfy shoes
  • Take periodic breaks (I do so hourly) to go walk around the house or office or yard
  • I also like to look away from the CPU every 20-30 minutes or so, sometimes I get eyestrain but I bought these glasses from Gunnar and it’s relieved those symptoms

Investment #2 - Treaddesk

The reason I didn’t buy the full-on treadmill desk is because I wanted a bigger desk with more options. I bought the Treaddesk, which is essentially the bottom part of the treadmill, and I move it around during the week based on my workflow needs:

They have packages available as well (see the above referenced link).

I have a second, much cheaper standup desk that I hacked together from IKEA:

This desk acts as a holder for my coffee stuff but also allows me to put my laptop on it (which is paired with an external keyboard and trackpad) in case I want to do some lighter work (I have a hard time doing deeper work when doing the treadmill part while working).

I move the Treaddesk back and forth sometimes, but mostly it stays with this IKEA desk. If I have a week where the work is not as deeply analytical and more administrative then I’ll walk at a lower speed on the main computer for a longer period of time.

I tend to walk about 5-7 miles a day on this thing, usually in a block of time where I do that lighter-type work (Quickbooks, cobbling reports together, email triage, very light research/writing, reading, and so on).

Investment #3 - Bulletproof Coffee and the Bulletproof Diet

I’m a big fan of Joe Rogan in general, and I enjoy his podcast. I heard about Dave Asprey on the JRE podcast so I eventually ended up on his site, bulletproofexec.com. I purchased some private coaching with the relevant products and I was off to the races.

I did my own research on some of the stuff and came away confident that “good” fat had been erroneously hated on for years. I highly encourage you to conduct your own research based on your own personal situation, again this is not advice.

I really wanted to drop about 50 pounds so I went all in with Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting. A few quick points:

  • I felt great the entire time
  • In rare moments where I was hungry at night I just had a tablespoon of organic honey
  • I certainly felt a cognitive benefit
  • I was never hungry
  • I was much more patient with things 
  • I felt way more focused

So yeah, butter in the coffee and a mostly meat/veggie diet. I cheated from time to time, certainly over the holiday. I lost 38 pounds in slightly over 60 days. Here’s a before and after:

Fat Eric

Not So Fat Eric

I kept this post kind of short and to the point because my desire is not to argue or fight about whether carbs are good or bad, whether fat is good or bad, whether X is right, or whether Y is wrong. This is what worked for me and I was amazed by it, totally amazed by the outcome.

I also do things like cycling and martial arts but I’ve been doing those for awhile, along with running, and while I’ve lost weight I’ve never had it melt away like this.

I’ve stopped the fasting portion and none of the weight has piled back on. Lipid tests have been very positive as well, best in years.

Even if you don’t have a ton of weight to lose, seriously think about the standup desk and treadmill. 

Happy New Year!

Published: January 1, 2014 by Eric Covino in business


Bob Jones
January 1, 2014 - 9:39am

I hacked together my first standing desk a few days ago and I love it! Not as fancy as the electrical one you've got there but it gives me twice the space for my clutter :) https://twitter.com/bobjones/status/417815473242128384

January 1, 2014 - 11:20am

Nice! That looks like a well-crafted desk...I could never do that...the legs would go on upside down, I'd cut something too short..etc :)

January 1, 2014 - 4:03pm

Another conversion to the IF + treadmill desk lifestyle. Those two little changes can be followed for the rest of your now (hopefully) extended life.

The beauty of the "ah crap I did terrible on my diet today" mindthink that normally happens during the holidays and can result in a negative spiral towards more poor dietary choices is that if you're thinking that while working, you can very quickly say to yourself "hey, I'm exercising right now. I had points taken away but I get to add points back because I'm doing something good. You know what, I'm going to do 10mi today instead of 7. Fuck yeah, I'm a machine."

Next maybe I can win you over with a simple home gym of a squat rack + variable bench + some free weights. Incorporate that on days you aren't doing your martial arts training and you'll be a beast for summer since you're probably noticing the energy and strength benefits from IF.

January 2, 2014 - 3:04am

Eric - YES! Love bulletproof coffee and I'm almost converted over to a ketogenic diet. Have been following Asprey for a few years and his protocol is fabulous. Grassfed butter and MCT oil is pure brain fuel for hours. Congrat on the IF weight loss. Good job. I have a small trampoline/rebounder and large balance ball, plus some 5 lb weights at work to add some fast burst exercise. (boxing jabs with 5 pound weights).
You might try grounding your computer to mitigate the negative effects of EMF - Asprey writes about this alot as do most biiohackets. Jack Kruse MD takes it even further. I think Kruse is right on, but his corrections demand some commitment. HAPPY New Year :>)

January 3, 2014 - 5:51pm

I'm not big into the EMF stuff just yet....need to see more research. Happy new year!

January 2, 2014 - 3:36pm

Right On! Seems logical SEOs would have an "affinity"(newest buzzword to be) for BulletProof. I've been Bullet Proof for the past 3 weeks. Lost about 8 pounds. Not sure I buy the whole myotoxin coffee BS. I do do BP Coffee.

Eric, do you feel different with the BP Beans vs. Regular?

Just to keep it on point for semantic relevance: Co-Citation

January 3, 2014 - 5:52pm

I haven't used other beans with the butter..but when I drink other coffee it doesn't taste as good, can't say I "feel" different though.

January 3, 2014 - 4:59pm

Hey Eric,
Thanks for sharing this! 38 pounds is a ton.

I've recently been on my own weight loss kick and managed to go from 182 to 172 (and from 39 lb of fat to 33) since the end of September, and have been keeping it off, holiday losses non-withstanding. I did some pretty simple things - eat breakfast, eat meat & veggies as much as possible, basically no carbs, go to the gym 3-5 x a week and run or lift weights. I should see if I can get Paul to shell out for one of those standing tread desks.

What I found super helpful was the WiiThings Scale (I think they call it a body analyzer) - http://www.withings.com/en/bodyanalyzer - which made daily weigh-ins fun and gave the whole routine a quantitative component. It effectively 'gamifies' sticking to a diet and exercise regimen, and is the health version of my daily google analytics/sign-up dashboard check.

I'm a big fan of Dave Asprey's as well - did you do bulletproof with the coffee he sells or with your own coffee? Did you notice a difference?


January 3, 2014 - 5:56pm

Hey Matt! Carbs is a big one..sometimes if I do a big workout I'll have an egg on a gluten free waffle or some such and sometimes I need some at the end of the week to come off the ketosis ..I'll check out that scale, looks cool.

I have only used his coffee with the butter, however even when I drink his black it tastes much much better than what I use to drink (Starbucks, Dunkin...etc). I also use the charcoal sometimes when we go out to eat but I'm not as hardcore into some of the stuff..I do a modified version b/c I like to eat all the things from time to time still :)

January 6, 2014 - 12:22am

Guys ... I love what you do, but BP is pure faux-science. His claims have been dissected more times than pigs in high school biology.

His claims of toxins are especially ludicrous.

April 25, 2014 - 11:33pm

SoloX wish I'd have seen this early. I agree on the toxins, but the benefits of grass-fed butter is most certainly not faux-science, nor is a high (good fat) diet. I'll grant you that Dave might be benefiting from consolidating other people's ideas into a well-marketed product...but the science of it isn't junk (I do not buy the toxin argument myself btw, but that's just a small sample)

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