Chris Brogan and The Challenge

The competitors: Chris Brogan and Myself

Lets do this Chris -

The bet:
Which one of us can lose the most inches around in the abdomen

one inch above the belly button
We chose this because scales are often inaccurate, and vary from place to place. We can’t use pant sizes because- well – you see. My pant size depends on my clothes: if I wear my “Lucky” brand jeans I wear a 33 inch. If I wear Nordstrom I have a 35 inch pant size, but one inch above the abdomen – 45 inches. That is the place where the weight will be lost.

There is a reason we don’t use belt size

How Will I Do It?
Menu planning, eating at home, and increasing activity.

You can see it here:
Chris’s girlfriend is a personal trainer, a nutrition aficionado, and his muse for personal health. She will be guiding him, as she has, through his journey. They gave an inspiring talk at the #140conf  #140You this year, and I talked a bit about my weight loss journey and how I have turned in my surgical scrubs for a chef’s apron.

My Journey:
Ten years ago I found myself in a personal health crisis: my weight was up, my blood pressure was up, and I had little energy.

I was set for weight loss surgery, having done it for years. I had my surgeon picked out in a different city, and was ready for the process. Then I looked at my own patients who had lost weight and kept it off. I started to ask them what had changed. If I was going to have weight loss surgery, I wanted to set myself up for success.

What changed in them was the opposite of what I was doing.

I realized that over a period of three years I had gained eighty pounds by eating too often at restaurants. I was not eating at great restaurants, but chain restaurants. I had stopped cooking because I thought I didn’t have time. So I decided to see what would happen if I went back to cooking at home and away from restaurants. I didn’t want to loose all the weight at once. I wasn’t going on a diet⎯I was changing my life. I gave myself a year to change my life- and I did it! I kept going and didn’t need weight loss surgery.

I began to examine other patients who had surgery, patients who had clogged arteries, who had bad backs, who had bad knees. One universal theme to all who had shown improvement was that they were eating at home.

With the exception of the year my wife was pregnant, every year I have lost five or ten pounds. My blood pressure is low-normal and my weight is below where anyone would operate on me for surgery. I am still working at eating fresh, healthy, whole foods, and my energy is through the roof.

This is not a diet program. It’s just a way to live that is simple and easy. If a busy surgeon can do this, so can you.

Measure It and Manage It:
If you don’t measure what you do, you cannot manage it. So I measure my food- I have a scale, and everything that I cook and eat is measured, there is not an issue with eye-balling the portion size.

Measure Everything

If you don’t measure it- you cannot manage it

My Menu Plan:
It is important to plan out what you are going to eat- so there is no question about what you will eat, and what you will shop for. Here is what I am doing today. A few words about the menu plan: I use soy milk because I have a lactose intolerance.  I use steel cut oatmeal because, unlike rolled oats, it is less processed and produces less of a glycemic reaction.


Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks
Soy Milk
Steel cut Oatmeal
Turkey sandwich
Fruit salad
Smoked Salmon

The bread I use for my sandwich is Ezekiel bread – a true grain bread and quite filling. In fact for my weight loss surgery patients this is the only bread that I allow them.

For tea I drink Yorkshire Gold – there simply is no other. I add a “splash of milk.”

The salmon I will get from the market today. I insist on fresh salmon, and if it isn’t fresh I will get a different fish. It is expensive to get fresh and wild salmon – but I refuse any other. I like baking salmon- and I use herbs from my garden.

The smoked salmon is from Alaska- a good friend of mine, Dave (@gneicco) was generous with his.

Smoked salmon from Alaska- a favorite snack

Yogurt is a problem, because many yogurts are nothing but unfrozen ice cream -they are sugar filled snacks. So I am quite picky about the yogurt I pick, and often get Greek Yogurt-  I realize there are a lot of yogurts out there, so read the label.

If you want to see the recipes- you can find them at my site

I monitor my activity using the Nike Fuel band. Using Nike Fuel points I can see throughout the day if I have made my goal. It inspires me to walk the dog, take the stairs, and park farther away. It is the little bits of increasing activity every day that matter.I did discover that my 2 year old is great for increasing activity – just keeping up with him….

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and received his MD. Dr. Simpson, a renowned weight loss surgeon, is a leading advocate of culinary medicine. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit



  1. Dawn Craig says

    Way to go Dr Simpson. I had a Lapband 5 yrs ago that you did. I had about 60lbs loose o health issues. Lost the weight but found a couple hrs ago slowly doing back on. I then went on to pursue learning more about healthy eating and now i am a certified holistic health coach having gone through school. What I learned was exactly what you are talking about, cooking at home and eating more whole foods. Getting away from processed foods and fast foods my husband and son have benefited as well. You said the lap and was only a tool which it is but eating and cooking good whole foods is the key. I have seen many people who had any bariatric surgery gain weight back because they don’t make the mind shift to change their eating and cooking. I now can help people make the shift after been there done that. So glad to hear you are cooking more at home it really doesn’t take that much to cook homemade meals and learn to enjoy the favors of food that God gave us. Congratulations keep up the good work!
    Dawn Craig, CHC, AADP

  2. thedoc says

    Nice to hear from you-
    It has been a journey for me. I gained a bit of weight three times in my life, with the exception of when I did some extreme sports in my youth and regained the weight after that distress. The two large weight gains (one 30 lb and one 80 lb) involved eating out a lot at chain restaurants. The other, which was 15 lbs – happened when my wife was pregnant – and that was eating in – but lots of ice cream (my downfall).
    So since 2003 I have taught my patients to cook- eat at home- and if you go out- then go to a truly great restaurant and plan what you will eat ahead of time.

  3. Chris Brogan says

    47″ at one inch above the abdomen, which makes it funny that I can fit into a 36″ Levi jean. :)

    My regimen:

    5 days of weight lifting, 1 day of light cardio, 2 days of High intensity interval Training (this all overlaps on weekdays). 2 days of very light cardio (weekends).

    My meals:

    I’m doing macronutrient tracking with a high protein, low carb, low fat approach. My protein will come from a mix of whey protein isolate drinks, lean sources like sustainably grown local turkey and pork, wild caught salmon, and my veggies will be organic. Almost no grain, except for steel cut oats as workout recovery (glycogen stores) and the occasional popcorn on treat day. : )

    My larger goal besides the contest is just to continue my preparations to make this body of mine very useful for the next 60 years, so I’m working on strength training, but also mobility, flexibility, core quality, etc.

  4. thedoc says

    I admire your training.

    My meals: lots of wild salmon, sustainable lamb from Pure Bred Farms in Pennsylvania, organic chicken, range fed beef. Veggies from local sources or great places. Steel cut oats are the best (Trader Joe’s has them in a freezer form, like hockey pucks, that can be microwaved).

    In terms of work out- well, I have not gotten there yet. Right now working on getting activity up with the Nike Fuel- mainly swimming in the pool and walking the dog. Right now at 2500 Nike Fuel points, hope to get to 6000 in a year.

    Larger goal: I am 56 and have my first child, a 3 year old- it is good to keep up with him. And, of course, to hit the tar out of the golf ball.

    We men let our jeans go around our pelvic bone, but below the umbilicus- so hopefully next year we will be on our way to having the genes and the umbilical measurements equal

  5. lynn says

    I saw the citibikenyc bike sharing program yesterday at the Wall St ferry dock. So cool that Mayor Bloomberg is ending duff sitting. Other cities need to get with the program.

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