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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Declaring A Jihad on My Weight

Comments (29)

With a nod to a line given to me from a recent television show that I enjoy, I’m declaring a jihad on my weight.

I’ve struggled with my weight for the past 15 years.  I was a skinny person until I hit 28.  At that point, something happened and I gained about 60 pounds.  At my peak, some of my friends referred to me as fat.  Eek.

I started running about seven years ago.  I lost about 20 of the pounds.  Some them went into muscle, some of them went away.  But a bunch of them hung around – mostly my belly and my ass.

In 2003, when I was training for the Chicago marathon, I dropped another 30 pounds.  None of my clothes fit; that was very satisfying.  I ran my fastest marathon by a wide margin.  I’m sure my cholesterol was a lot lower.  No one called me fat anymore.

Five years later, I feel semi-fat again.  I’m still running marathons, but those 30 pounds are back.  I’m 20 pounds off my peak, but no where near where I want to be.

Enough.  Starting today the weight comes off.  If you are having a meal with me, help me help myself.  Send the bread back.  Ask me if I’m sure I want another drink (one is plenty).  Remind me that I only have to eat half my food.  Notice all the vegetables that I’m eating.  Pat me on the head when I skip dessert.

Weight – you are going away.

  • http://tarheel.tumblr.com Dov Cohn

    Brad:
    I have 'reinvented' myself through diet and exercise over the past two years and owe a lot of it to the site SparkPeople.com. It is a bit heavy on the motivation/hype, but the tools they provided for tracking my food intake and calorie output were really helpful to me to help loose 15 pounds. For me the biggest thing has been portion control – smaller meals with more filling veges, and cutting back on the beer & wine to only 1 or 2 nights a week. And running! Gotta love those times you can say, “Yeah, I just burned 1500 calories!”

    I'm not sure if they have an iPhone app yet, but they do finally have a mobile site that allows you to add your meals from your phone browser.

    Best of luck!
    Dov

  • http://www.craigmische.com Craig Mische

    I read a post at Tim Ferriss' blog yesterday titled “How to Lost 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 days..”. Some tips are made especially Rule 4 which prescribes taking 1 day off per week to eat whatever you want. Here is the link: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/h

  • mike dunn

    cool good luck brad – i myself am a “big guy” & a vegetarian for almost 30 yrs who uses regular exercise and healthy eating to regulate how i feel about my weight/health – i think that's key btw, its how you feel vs how you think others think of you :)

  • blennon

    Brad,

    If your workout routine is strictly long distance running, you need to mix it up. Shorter duration, higher intensity cardio (think sprints and intervals around a track) will help. Lifting light weights for repetition will too. The weight will melt off.

    Talk to a trainer, they are a tremendous resource.

    Bill

    “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong

  • Sam Horowitz

    As inspiration… I lost 75 lbs (I went from a 52L to a 42L) between 2003 and 2006 with daily exercise and focus on healthy eating (but not totally depriving myself.) My big breakthrough was cutting soda and other soft drinks out of my diet, trimming back the alcohol consumption, and adding swimming to my cross-training.

    • http://www.livelovecoffee.com MAC

      I agree. You would be surprised how much you could loose just by cutting out soft drinks, and cutting back on the beer. Those two things can make a huge difference, along with some good old fashioned hard work.

  • http://www.emaildashboard.com Deva Hazarika

    Brad, I second Dov's comments about SparkPeople being a great site. It is especially useful and addictive if you're a stats/information junkie.

  • http://www.emaildashboard.com Deva Hazarika

    BTW, all the little things really add up. Changing a double latte every day into a regular coffee or Americano is a delta of almost 2 pounds worth of calories in a month.

  • http://www.sotirov.com Emil Sotirov

    Walking might be better than running. Generally speaking – lower energy regime… and yes – less work (I know – it's unamerican.)

  • RWL

    How many hours per week will you commit to get what you want? You might be asking for trouble with the amount of running it sounds like you do. This is what worked for me: 3-4x per week of Bikram yoga for a year put me in the best all around shape I have been in for 20+ years. I dropped from 175 to 160, and turn 46 this week. It's a huge time suck, but it's safe. For me, it's all about injury avoidance. (That said, I put my new conditioning to work playing soccer again, after 8 yes off the field.

  • http://www.emaildashboard.com Deva Hazarika

    Also, I'm guessing you watch Californication?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Good guess.

      • http://www.emaildashboard.com Deva Hazarika

        i somehow completely missed the first line of your post.

  • cynthia

    losing weight is such a individual thing – what works for one person doesn't work for another person.

    I think it's a big step that you actually *decided* to lose weight(and publicly announce it…).

    It's one thing to 'think about losing weight' or say to yourself 'i should lose weight' . However – when a person *truly decides* to accomplish something there is nothing that prevent that from happening.

    being a full on data geek – the thing that helps me lose weight is keeping track of everything i eat and my physical activity on fitday . So every time I eat something I have to decide whether I want enter it and STARE the data in the face the next day.

    another thing that helps me is to just focus on one day at a time – i try to eat smart for one day and once I get past that day focus on the next day – after 3 or 4 days it gets easier for me as I don't want to blow the progress I've made.

    looking forward to reading about your progress!

  • Jerry Colonna

    Buddy, we're all pulling for you. I lost 55 lbs over the last six years…the final, stubborn ten came off in the last six months. There's lots of great advice here so I'll just stick with the emotional and moral support.

  • David

    Brad,

    Yeah it happens, your body gets very used to regular routines and becomes efficient at preserving itself, making it harder to burn the calories… For me it's been about throwing in the sprint training and cross training, i am a big believer in rowing machines – most hotels have 'em – in addition to the running…..Also in my desire to prepare for my first marathon my coach pointed out ” dave you weren't carbo loading…just loading!”…
    Finally, anyone who has the mental fortitude to run marathons has the fortitude to say no to dessert…you will do it…start looking for some new pants right now…

  • http://www.danbuell.com Dan Buell

    Good Luck with this endeavor. I just had some significant surgery in my stomach region and am lining up for Version 41 of me come January 2009 (that's when I turn 41 and I should be past the surgery

  • Greg_Carlisle

    Brad, I am not an expert but I have learned a lot from coaches at our portfolio company, Carmichael Training Systems (CTS). As you do so many marathons, your body adapts to the long distance training and you don't continue to lose weight. As CTS coached Dean Karnazas for his 50 marathons in 50 days and other marathoners as well, there is a need to do interval training at higher heart rates. The weight loss will continue as long as you change up the training so your body is continually adapting to new training.

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Thanks Greg. My coach is ramping up the higher heart rate training and making me do strength / anaerobic stuff which is right in line with your suggestion.

  • http://www.livelovecoffee.com MAC

    Weight loss is something I think everyone struggles with at one point or another in their life. Even people who are in great shape, and are very athletic can battle with weight loss after an injury. It really takes discipline and a set of goals that you can work toward, and like a previous poster said, everyone is different when it come to losing weight. It sounds like you have had success before and I'm sure you will again. Good luck!!

  • http://blog.heekya.com David A

    Brad,

    Make sure you are not just focused on the weight and more on eating healthy and nutritious.

    Great read here: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/10/pal

    “The paleolithic group was counseled to eat lean meat, fish, fruit, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables (including moderate amounts of potatoes), eggs and nuts. They were told to avoid dairy, grain products, processed food, sugar and beer.

    Both groups were bordering on obese at the beginning of the study. All participants had cardiovascular disease and moderate to severe glucose intolerance (i.e. type II diabetes). After 12 weeks, both groups improved on several parameters. That includes fat mass and waist circumference. But the paleolithic diet trumped the Mediterranean diet in many ways:
    Greater fat loss in the the midsection and a trend toward greater weight loss
    Greater voluntary reduction in caloric intake (total intake paleo= 1,344 kcal; Med= 1,795)
    A remarkable improvement in glucose tolerance that did not occur significantly in the Mediterranean group
    A decrease in fasting glucose
    An increase in insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR)”

    Seems there were several great health benefits above and beyond weight loss.

  • http://www.mitchgroup.com/2008/09/new-physical-jo.html doug mitchell

    share the journey through video/posts/audio whatever. you are smart and understand that this is a lifestyle that MUST be maintained over your life (with some acceptable ebbs/flows). if most people think about eating less and drinking less beer for life…it can be depressing (and they eat more). like you, i am in decent shape but just “carry” a lot of extra fat. i decided oct 1 to end that and document the journey.

  • http://www.forimpact.org Nick Fellers

    You're a numbers guy – just saw this post about losing weight/data/visualization come through my reader. http://flowingdata.com/2008/10/30/tracking-weight

  • http://www.bijansabet.com bijan sabet

    best of luck to you

    and I'm doing the same thing.

    I've had enough of the extra 15lbs I'm carrying around.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/blennon blennon

    Brad,

    If your workout routine is strictly long distance running, you need to mix it up. Shorter duration, higher intensity cardio (think sprints and intervals around a track) will help. Lifting light weights for repetition will too. The weight will melt off.

    Talk to a trainer, they are a tremendous resource.

    Bill

    "Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever." – Lance Armstrong

  • cynthia

    losing weight is such a individual thing – what works for one person doesn't work for another person.

    I think it's a big step that you actually *decided* to lose weight(and publicly announce it…).

    It's one thing to 'think about losing weight' or say to yourself 'i should lose weight' . However – when a person *truly decides* to accomplish something there is nothing that prevent that from happening.

    being a full on data geek – the thing that helps me lose weight is keeping track of everything i eat and my physical activity on fitday . So every time I eat something I have to decide whether I want enter it and STARE the data in the face the next day.

    another thing that helps me is to just focus on one day at a time – i try to eat smart for one day and once I get past that day focus on the next day – after 3 or 4 days it gets easier for me as I don't want to blow the progress I've made.

    looking forward to reading about your progress!

  • Dov Cohn

    Brad:
    I have 'reinvented' myself through diet and exercise over the past two years and owe a lot of it to the site SparkPeople.com. It is a bit heavy on the motivation/hype, but the tools they provided for tracking my food intake and calorie output were really helpful to me to help loose 15 pounds. For me the biggest thing has been portion control – smaller meals with more filling veges, and cutting back on the beer & wine to only 1 or 2 nights a week. And running! Gotta love those times you can say, "Yeah, I just burned 1500 calories!"

    I'm not sure if they have an iPhone app yet, but they do finally have a mobile site that allows you to add your meals from your phone browser.

    Best of luck!
    Dov

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/craig24 craig24

    I read a post at Tim Ferriss' blog yesterday titled "How to Lost 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 days..". Some tips are made especially Rule 4 which prescribes taking 1 day off per week to eat whatever you want. Here is the link: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/04/06/h

  • Dan Buell

    Good Luck with this endeavor. I just had some significant surgery in my stomach region and am lining up for Version 41 of me come January 2009 (that's when I turn 41 and I should be past the surgery

  • Emil Sotirov

    Walking might be better than running. Generally speaking – lower energy regime… and yes – less work (I know – it's unamerican.)

  • Sam Horowitz

    As inspiration… I lost 75 lbs (I went from a 52L to a 42L) between 2003 and 2006 with daily exercise and focus on healthy eating (but not totally depriving myself.) My big breakthrough was cutting soda and other soft drinks out of my diet, trimming back the alcohol consumption, and adding swimming to my cross-training.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/glemak glemak

    cool good luck brad – i myself am a "big guy" & a vegetarian for almost 30 yrs who uses regular exercise and healthy eating to regulate how i feel about my weight/health – i think that's key btw, its how you feel vs how you think others think of you :)

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/RWL RWL

    How many hours per week will you commit to get what you want? You might be asking for trouble with the amount of running it sounds like you do. This is what worked for me: 3-4x per week of Bikram yoga for a year put me in the best all around shape I have been in for 20+ years. I dropped from 175 to 160, and turn 46 this week. It's a huge time suck, but it's safe. For me, it's all about injury avoidance. (That said, I put my new conditioning to work playing soccer again, after 8 yes off the field.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Good guess.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deva_hazari2084 deva_hazari2084

    i somehow completely missed the first line of your post.

  • MAC

    I agree. You would be surprised how much you could loose just by cutting out soft drinks, and cutting back on the beer. Those two things can make a huge difference, along with some good old fashioned hard work.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Thanks Greg. My coach is ramping up the higher heart rate training and making me do strength / anaerobic stuff which is right in line with your suggestion.

  • Jerry Colonna

    Buddy, we're all pulling for you. I lost 55 lbs over the last six years…the final, stubborn ten came off in the last six months. There's lots of great advice here so I'll just stick with the emotional and moral support.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deva_hazari2084 deva_hazari2084

    Brad, I second Dov's comments about SparkPeople being a great site. It is especially useful and addictive if you're a stats/information junkie.

  • MAC

    Weight loss is something I think everyone struggles with at one point or another in their life. Even people who are in great shape, and are very athletic can battle with weight loss after an injury. It really takes discipline and a set of goals that you can work toward, and like a previous poster said, everyone is different when it come to losing weight. It sounds like you have had success before and I'm sure you will again. Good luck!!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deva_hazari2084 deva_hazari2084

    BTW, all the little things really add up. Changing a double latte every day into a regular coffee or Americano is a delta of almost 2 pounds worth of calories in a month.

  • David

    Brad,

    Yeah it happens, your body gets very used to regular routines and becomes efficient at preserving itself, making it harder to burn the calories… For me it's been about throwing in the sprint training and cross training, i am a big believer in rowing machines – most hotels have 'em – in addition to the running…..Also in my desire to prepare for my first marathon my coach pointed out " dave you weren't carbo loading…just loading!"…
    Finally, anyone who has the mental fortitude to run marathons has the fortitude to say no to dessert…you will do it…start looking for some new pants right now…

  • David A

    Brad,

    Make sure you are not just focused on the weight and more on eating healthy and nutritious.

    Great read here: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/10/pal

    "The paleolithic group was counseled to eat lean meat, fish, fruit, leafy and cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables (including moderate amounts of potatoes), eggs and nuts. They were told to avoid dairy, grain products, processed food, sugar and beer.

    Both groups were bordering on obese at the beginning of the study. All participants had cardiovascular disease and moderate to severe glucose intolerance (i.e. type II diabetes). After 12 weeks, both groups improved on several parameters. That includes fat mass and waist circumference. But the paleolithic diet trumped the Mediterranean diet in many ways:
    Greater fat loss in the the midsection and a trend toward greater weight loss
    Greater voluntary reduction in caloric intake (total intake paleo= 1,344 kcal; Med= 1,795)
    A remarkable improvement in glucose tolerance that did not occur significantly in the Mediterranean group
    A decrease in fasting glucose
    An increase in insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR)"

    Seems there were several great health benefits above and beyond weight loss.

  • Nick Fellers

    You're a numbers guy – just saw this post about losing weight/data/visualization come through my reader. http://flowingdata.com/2008/10/30/tracking-weight

  • doug mitchell

    share the journey through video/posts/audio whatever. you are smart and understand that this is a lifestyle that MUST be maintained over your life (with some acceptable ebbs/flows). if most people think about eating less and drinking less beer for life…it can be depressing (and they eat more). like you, i am in decent shape but just "carry" a lot of extra fat. i decided oct 1 to end that and document the journey.

  • bijan sabet

    best of luck to you

    and I'm doing the same thing.

    I've had enough of the extra 15lbs I'm carrying around.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Greg_Carlisle Greg_Carlisle

    Brad, I am not an expert but I have learned a lot from coaches at our portfolio company, Carmichael Training Systems (CTS). As you do so many marathons, your body adapts to the long distance training and you don't continue to lose weight. As CTS coached Dean Karnazas for his 50 marathons in 50 days and other marathoners as well, there is a need to do interval training at higher heart rates. The weight loss will continue as long as you change up the training so your body is continually adapting to new training.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/deva_hazari2084 deva_hazari2084

    Also, I'm guessing you watch Californication?

  • http://blog.embracepetinsurance.com Laura

    Brad, I've been wondering how you are doing with your jihad. I wanted to help my BH reduce his cholesterol after last summer and we changed our diet recommended by a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist – John went from 210 to 156 cholesterol in 5 weeks by diet alone and I happened to lose 15lbs in 2 months. We're real foodies so love all things including meat (especially meat) but we went vegetarian and cut out extra fat in our diets and my weight just came off (I still chocolate and have a drink every now and then).

    As another commenter said, each person is different but it's good to know there are options out there that work for some.

    Keep up the good work!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld Brad Feld

    Thanks for the encouragement.  I’m down about 6-7 solid pounds from when I started.  I’m still a long way from where I want to be, but I’m getting there.

  • http://MeetInnovators.com Adrian Bye

    Have you read the hackers diet? target=”_blank”>http://http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/“target=”_blank”>http:// href=”http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/” target=”_blank”> ” target=”_blank”>http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/
    It uses knowledge of engineering to achieve weight loss. The author is one of the Autodesk founders and former Autodesk CEO , who retired to switzerland after making $50M. He lost ~60lb in 1991 and has kept it off (i've seen recent pics).

    I've found it life changing and am down 15 lb so far, rather effortlessly.

  • http://MeetInnovators.com Adrian Bye

    Have you read the hackers diet? <a href="http://http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/“target=”_blank”>http://<a href="http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/” target=”_blank”>www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/
    It uses knowledge of engineering to achieve weight loss. The author is one of the Autodesk founders and former Autodesk CEO , who retired to switzerland after making $50M. He lost ~60lb in 1991 and has kept it off (i've seen recent pics).

    I've found it life changing and am down 15 lb so far, rather effortlessly.

  • http://www.best-exercise-to-burn-fat.info Kaamajakaaya

    I do not as a rule comment on a blog however I liked this post therefore I was stimulated to do so. Veering in a slightly different direction from the topic somewhat, what do you think regarding walking? It is generally being showcased as the best exercise to burn fat.

  • http://www.uwsp.edu/athletics/mbb/players.htm Player Profiles

    Maybe you could make changes to the post title Declaring A Jihad on My Weight to something more suited for your webpage you create. I loved the blog post nevertheless.

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