Bestselling author Joe Konrath goes on a beer fast for thirty days to lose weight.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Day 1 - Part 1

So apparently I'm the healthiest fat guy on the planet, even at 263.75 pounds.

Got my blood work results this morning, and my lipid panel is very good. Total cholesterol is 132 (I'm told the optimal range is between 125-200mg/dL.) HDL is 43, LDL is 69, and triglycerides are 100. So I'm in the range I should be.

My hemoglobin A1c is 5.2% of total Hgb, far below the 7% the American Diabetes Association recommends. So my blood sugar appears to be under control--something that surprised my DC, considering my obesity.

And yes, I am obese. The American Council on Exercise states any man with 25% or more body fat percentage is obese. I'm 34.1% body fat. Yikes. All that Ben & Jerry's seemed like such a good idea at the time.

My fat free mass is 173.7 pounds. My total body water is 47.5%, which is under the 55% recommended range, but when I had my body impedance analysis this morning at 10am I hadn't had anything to eat or drink since 10pm the night before. My extra-cellular fluid was 45.3% and intra-cellular fluid was 54.7%, which supposedly are where they should be.

Alcohol is a diuretic, so I'll have to make sure I drink a lot of water on this diet to avoid dehydration.

My thyroid is fine. CBC is normal. I'm a very tiny bit high in iron and uric acid, but I normally eat a lot of meat so these should drop within the next few days. My kidneys are functioning fine. My liver is fine. Everything is pretty much fine.

I'll be taking another blood test at the 10 day mark. We'll see if my numbers get better or worse.

I got back home after lunch, and missed breakfast, so I was pretty hungry. My first official meal of the diet was a 12oz bottle of Founders Breakfast Stout. It has an 8.3% abv, and I drank it in twenty minutes. Got a light buzz (and a BAC of .04) so I drank two glasses of water. It pretty much killed my hunger for ninety minutes, but then my stomach began to growl so I cracked open a 22oz Three Floyds Arctic Panzer Wolf. It's a double IPA, 9%, which I've been cellaring for a year. Still has a nice hop bite (India Pale Ales often lose bitterness on the shelf over time) and I've been nursing it for the last two hours.

As I write this, I can smell the lasagna my wife is making for dinner.

Smells awesome.

It's almost 6pm. I was planning on dinner for me at 7:30, but I have some stuff left to do today and don't want to get too buzzed.

On one hand, I think it's too early to guess how I'll do on this diet. I've fasted before, both intentionally and unintentionally (I was poor in my early years), so I know I can do it for a few days at least. But 29 more days? That seems like such a long time...


  1. Your cholesterol is 132?

    I am struggling to refrain from calling you dirty names in my hot jealousy.

    I'm a female mostly vegetarian, and I exercise quite frequently, and yet my cholesterol is over 190.

    You fat ba***rd. I'm so jealous.

    I hope your beer diet works for you, though. You can at least call yourself a vegan for a month!

    TK Kenyon

  2. So your wife must obviously think this is a stupid idea on your part if she's sabotaging you on Day 1 with lasagna!!

  3. A guy here in Iowa did this for Lent this year. 46 days on nothing but doublebock and water. Wrote a book. Diary of a Part-Time Monk by J.Wilson.

  4. Good luck and I will be rooting for you. Working out isn't hard for me, I just need to be motivated. I am 5 feet 2 inches and 160 pounds so yes, I am overweight too. *Sob*. I am working with a personal trainer at Gold's Gym which is just down the street from where I live and our goal is for me to lose thirty pounds in six months. It is very much doable so I am very excited about this.

    Now, before some men chime in, for me, at the age of 33--well 34 by the time I am 130--I will be perfectly proportioned to my body type and I will be able to wear the clothes in my closet. In my former life, I was a clothes horse and have so many clothes and shoes, I don't ever have to buy anything ever and I will be just fine. I have something like over 200 pairs of jeans alone! And over 100 pairs of shoes but I love them all and most of them, I have never worn. What can I say? The mortgage industry paid good and I shopped till I dropped... literally.

    The point is that so many people associate authors with being out of shape because let's face it, we sit on our asses ... a LOT ... but I don't want to perpetuate this myth and I look forward to getting into shape. Hopefully by the time I am slim and trim, I am getting $20k checks from Amazon on a monthly basis... hehe.

    Good luck, Joe. I'm struggling right along with you so I know how you must be feeling. You can do anything you want. If you can turn yourself into a best selling author, you can get back into fighting shape, or at least back to 200 pounds. Mind over matter! ;-)

  5. Wrote a book. Diary of a Part-Time Monk by J.Wilson.

    Came across him in my research. Sent him a Facebook message. Would be cool to interview him, ask how he did.

  6. 76% of people polled so far think my health will suffer.

    I wonder how many of them are truly knowledgeable about beer, and how many believe the meme that all alcohol is bad for you.

    French Paradox, anyone?

  7. I think your health will suffer greatly from this. People have died on hunger strikes less than 30 days. Granted they were rotting in third world prisons and in terrible shape to begin with but still.

    Sure, monks of old did this...they were also extremely sedentary during this phase and, if my history professor was right, had life expectancies around 32 yrs.

    9% Double IPA, wow, that's beyond my pallette.

    I'd recommend a good Bock or Porter beer, 2-3x daily, for good calorie intake. Heavier hop content will give you a good Vit B boost too. I used to homebrew. I don't see this working on Coors Light but It seems you figured that out already.

    If you're still alive next month I bet you'll lose a sh!tload and look great! Only hope you feel the same. Morgan Spreelock looked like he was dying half way through his 30 day diet.

    Best of luck losing weight and finishing Timecaster.

    Side question if you don't mind: I'm doing a blog post on Origin, just read it and am using it as an example of how non Big-6 friendly (work they've rejected) books can do well independently. You've posted your running "tally's" on a number of titles this's Origin done so far?

    Good luck again.

    Writing Trip

  8. Am a bit jealous as it sounds like a fascinating way to expand one's knowledge of beers of the world.
    I have no idea how it would affect one's writing but then inspiration comes in many forms.
    As for the above mentioned Morgan Spurlock and the "Supersize Me" film, I haven't set foot in a McDonald's since.
    Did find a great site recently though at that champions meat and basic veggies. (o.k. an occasional carb)
    Basically he contends that we spent thousands of years eating what we could find until we found something we could kill and eat and that's what our metabolisms are wired for.
    Exercise back then consisted of lots of walking, and occasionally short periods of intense exercise. You running from something that wanted to kill and eat you.
    Good free stuff for signing up for the newsletter and some pretty cool success stories as well.
    None of this is discourage you from the plan at hand. Just hoping to be useful.
    I'll check in to see how it's going.


  9. Good luck Joe, I hope it works for you, although I do worry for your health.

    I am a wannabe writer who never quite finds the time to actually write anything worth a damn and am therefore stuck with my day job.

    I don't think my employer would like me on a beer and water diet, so I have just joined a gym and plan to change my lifestyle somewhat. I plan to go to the gym before and after work and also to cut back on my portion sizes and cut out some carbs.

    I am starting at 260 pounds and my aim is to lose my gut and muscle up a bit. It would be nice to actually have defined abs, but I have to be realistic.

    On the plus side I am 6' 2" and carry it fairly well. I have until June to reach goal, which is when I travel to see all my family at my sister's wedding.

    Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    BTW, love your writing, please keep a clearish head to be able to pump out another couple of books soon. I'm expecting more humour (if that is possible).


  10. David -- note that the old chestnut about medieval life expectancy being about 30 did NOT mean that everyone (or even just monks) was born, grew up to be thirty or so, and then dropped dead. That average, whether you heard 30 or 32 or whatever, factors in a metric crapload of infant mortality. When every third baby is stillborn, and half the remaining kids die by their fifth birthday, and half of what's left die before they're twelve, that pulls the average down by a lot. Plenty of people (who survived childhood) were living to their sixties and seventies. Monks -- whose lives were safer than most and who ate more regularly than peasants -- had more than their fair share of old geezers.

    Joe -- my only concern is that medieval beer was thick. It was called liquid bread, and it pretty much was. Modern beer is lighter, clearer, and has less food value than medieval beer. I'm sure you won't die or anything before the month is over, but my guess is that at least one or two nutritional-based health tags will decay by the time you're done.

    That said, if you can get close to your target weight, especially starting out as healthy as you are, it's most likely worth it in the long run. Luck!


  11. Joe, I do love your taste in beer. If I could sell a couple copies of Gamal’s Assassin I’d be able to buy a six-pack of Bud.

  12. Nice choice in beer! Love the Breakfast Stout! I love beer as well, and have lost 25 pounds so far still drinking a few a day. You just need to watch total calories and balance with exercise. Good luck!

  13. I'm teasing the scale at 320 lbs (145kgs), but my wife will bitch too much if I was to have a 30 day beer diet, but it does sound like heaven.

    I'n supposed to shake 110 lbs (55kgs) and wifey thinks cutting out the beer and adding that exercise-thing will do the job.

    Good luck though.

  14. Mayo Clinic: not 7%, rather "When the A1C test is used to diagnose diabetes, an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes.