My brother lost 131 pounds in the last 10 months.

That picture on the right was taken the first week he made the decision to lose weight and get his health in order. At the time, he weighed 310 pounds. He turned 41 on Wednesday, and, on Tuesday, I got the alert on Facebook that he had successfully accomplished his weight loss goal.

How did he do this?

The first thing he did was make up his mind that he was going to change.

The second thing he did was identify his motivations. My brother is probably the most data-driven person I know. He knows, down to the penny, how much money is in all his accounts, and his pockets. Data drives him. So he installed LoseIt on his iPhone. LoseIt simply asks you to change nothing for the first week— just document absolutely everything you eat and drink. My brother did this and discovered he was eating over 6,000 calories a day! That can be easy to do in suburbia, with a big midwestern appetite surrounded by nothing but chain restaurants. Prior to this, he had never tracked calories. LoseIt then asks you for your desired weight and when you want to lose it. He said he wanted to weigh 180 pounds and it calculated that he had to restrict his calories to about 1200 calories a day to accomplish his goals in time. So he went from 6,000 calories to 1,200 calories a day, tracking everything in LoseIt, and the weight just melted off. 

The third thing he did was find a motivated partner to exercise with him. Mark lives in St. Charles, MO, where I grew up. It’s a suburban car culture. He and his wife started walking about 4 miles a day and cycling on the weekends.

Ten months later, he’s a completely changed man.

My brother literally saved his own life. I’m so damn proud of him. He used tools like LoseIt and Fitbit. But the most important tool he used was his own mind. It’s powerful when you decide to do something you really, really want to do. It’s nice to have tools that provide guidance and reinforcements, but my goodness, the power of the human mind astounds me. It will literally save your own life.