New Year’s Resolutions Are Bullshit (in pictures)

Circa 2004. How many resolutions do you imagine I’d made before, including and after reaching this state of body composition? I don’t know, but I’m sure it had something to do with the typical: eat less, move more.

Rich and Rotor
Rich and Rotor

…And how many more?

Rich and Rotor double plus more
Rich and Rotor: double plus more

By this time, I was already a good 2-3 years and another 20-30 pounds gain into my brilliant plan to walk off the weight. I’m serious and lying not: it was about 3.5 miles every single morning, day in, day out. Perhaps I gained weight less rapidly. It was probably good for a coupla pounds less gain per year. So, not worthless. But that depends on what you think of yourself.

I find it astonishingly surreal to look at these photos I’m posting. Back story is that a time or two ago when we were up at the cabin, Bea found them in a stash and presented them to me. I stuck ’em in a drawer. They are at once hilarious and mysterious to me. The hilarious is easy to get, hindsight & all. But what interests me in the very particular is how, looking back, I do not ever recall being horrified at my own appearenace, in spite of the clear fact that I should have been.

I guess I had to save it for later — because I surely am now.

I see a lot posted here and there about "evolutionary psychology." The first time I ever heard about it way back when was with an "is bullshit" appended. Perhaps that prejudiced me and frankly, I’m still not convinced, having looked into it a bit, that there’s any there, there.

…If there was no free will, which is to say that if I didn’t eventually come to appreciate my own values and act for them, then it all would seem pointless to me. …Perhaps I’m not sufficiently informed of the tenants of EvPsych. I dunno. When did plain old epistemology go out of fashion? 🙂

And so anyway, there’s lots of progress photos going back to the very beginning. But here’s the one I like the best, primarily because of the look on my face, which is wholly natural, real, and quintessential me:

Fuck You
Fuck You!

…Happy New Year, and please do make it your best yet. Don’t fuck around with resolutions, such as rules of "don’t do x," or "do x," but rather, resolve to look, feel, and be better! by 12/31/2011…no matter what it takes…and all it really takes is a simple recognition of what’s most important to you (looking HOT!) and taking the really simple steps to get you there.

For the real dumbasses: when you feel like a pizza, see if you can down a whole 4 pound tri-tip roast…and if you can’t, you’re a pussy, so try harder next time.

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Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Jason Sandeman on January 1, 2011 at 22:09

    Richard, you are seriously my fucking hero! I am horrified by the way I look now, and the problem I have is that I am a chef. Now, if I was to only eat the meat (lamb, beef, rabbit etc) and some veggies, would I be okay? I walk a fuck of a lot in my job (we’re talking 9+ hours on the feet, moving, etc.) my prob is the fucking desserts. When I am replacing them off the buffet, I always sneak a bit. I know I gotta stop, but it is like smoking. A hard thing to give up. I gave up drinking, smoking cold turkey, and I got one more to go. You are an inspiration man!

    • Grok on January 1, 2011 at 23:50

      Jason, you need to demonize the junk food man! It was the only way I was able to quit it. I’m a total garbage gut and would have eaten rusty nails and loved it if you’d sprayed some sugar on them.

      You feel like shit? It’s those deserts doing it! They’re seriously not a whole lot better to put into your body than drugs. Especially if you have a huge appetite like me. The shit will kill you! And not really that slowly either.

      • Helen on January 2, 2011 at 11:54

        So ditto for me, Grok.

    • Eegah! on January 2, 2011 at 00:59

      “Now, if I was to only eat the meat (lamb, beef, rabbit etc) and some veggies, would I be okay? I walk a fuck of a lot in my job (we’re talking 9+ hours on the feet, moving, etc.) my prob is the fucking desserts.”

      You’ve identified the problem. Throw in the odd bit of intense exercise (strength/sprints), have a try at IF, and every time you feel like eating shit try and remember how horrified by the way you look (and no doubt feel). Take a topless pic of yourself, keep it in your pocket and have a look whenever you feel the cravings coming on, and above all else, enjoy the journey. Good luck!

  2. R Dunn on January 2, 2011 at 04:50

    No resolutions for me, just my usual attitude – be a burden on no one, help my friends, hurt my enemies.

    I am giving up the the paleo/primal label and just calling it healthy eating. I’m tired of explaining it.
    99 per cent of the people that I talk to will never get it.

    Choose your own poison.

  3. Grok on January 1, 2011 at 20:06

    Congrats on your journey Richard. Funny how making a few little lifestyle changes (like eating real food) can take your life in a whole new direction. I’m sure you’re really looking back now thinking about all those sacrifices you had to make (like giving up honeybuns) and how much “life you’ve been missing out on” while you’ve been eating only meat and vegetables on this gimmicky diet fad. 😉

    • Richard Nikoley on January 1, 2011 at 20:19

      Hey CG.

      Good to hear from you. Yea, isn’t it funny. What you add is what i really didn’t explicate but I hope is implicit. The big joke on you is that you’re gonna love eating more. At least: you can. I enter my Food Porn into evidence.

      • Grok on January 1, 2011 at 22:26

        Oh yeah… I’ve been a real foodie for 3 years now. The bulk of which was in pretty strict primal & paleo fashion. I’ve been largely vegan for 9 months now, 7 of which were very strict raw vegan (low-fat mostly). All in the name of N=1 for athletic performance. If you look at my website for 2 minutes, you’ll see the move to vegan was not for ethical reasons 😉

        Real food brought me back from the dead and gave me the ability to begin training again for a lifelong dream (which I had all but given up on). I’m pretty diet agnostic, but I’m very dogmatic when it comes to one thing… eating real food.

        Everyone loves a good dose of food porn! I have plenty if you weed though my almost 500 twitpics: – Remove the link if you want.

  4. Unamused Mouse on January 1, 2011 at 20:17

    It’s been a year since I came across your no ‘poo post via and I fully agree. New year resolutions are always doomed to fail (why would you postpone a positive change until the start of the new year if you felt you would be able to achieve it?), and I’ve never been one to make them.

    I posted on my own blog about 2010, but to keep it short here, I went no ‘poo/soap (except for my hands) and lost 16 lbs, which I NEVER thought I could do, and that was because I’m lazy. I’ve never been one to go to a gym. My weight loss was primarily from changing my eating habits and for that I am very thankful, as I also discovered Mark Sisson through your site.

    Looking at all of this now, it just makes so much fucking sense to avoid the chemicals, sugar, grains and processed food. However, I still can’t convince my dad (with heart, cholesterol and gout problems) nor some of my friends (who have always battled the bulge). That part is VERY frustrating.

  5. Unamused Mouse on January 1, 2011 at 20:18

    Oh, and instead of eating cereal for breakfast, I’ve started eating my meaty lunch early. Congrats on your transformation as well. 😀

  6. Travis on January 1, 2011 at 20:35

    I was also looking at old photos of myself today, from about 15 months ago, reminiscing about the cover band I used to play in. I’m 5’10” and I stayed around 212 pounds for a long time. I also can’t believe how bad I looked and, like you, I wasn’t aware of it in the least bit at the time! I thought I looked just fine. I always assumed 212 was the weight I was supposed to be. I had the puffy face, fat neck, belly, double chin, unhealthy looking skin, etc.

    Congrats to you on your kick-ass progress and thanks to your blogging for being a part of my wakeup call.

  7. Jeff on January 1, 2011 at 20:53

    My story exactly. I was walking 3 to 4 miles and day and weighed over 300lbs. Couldn’t get the weight off for shit until I changed my eating habits. When I read for the first time it’s 80% what you eat and 20% what you do I was doubtful….wrong again.

  8. Mark on January 1, 2011 at 20:56


    Was your diet crap when you were walking the 4 miles a day? Did the walking have any affect on your appetite? It’s funny that you mention this now as my aunt posted on facebook how her goal was to walk 3 miles a day in 2010 and she gained 1lb a month!


    • Richard Nikoley on January 1, 2011 at 21:34


      I suspect it’s the pernicious ‘cardio just makes you hunrgy.’ Shit you not and a back story is that around the same time we wee friends with a couple where the guy was a local, renowned news reporter, on local TV every night sorta thing. He lost a lot of weight, he said, by walking everyday, so this was an initial touchstone for me.

      It has to work.

      Well, it didn’t and *domage,* because I really loved the walking and I still do a lot of it.

      In the end, if you eat crap and then do something that makes you hungry for more of the crap you normally eat, how surprising are the results going to be?

      • Nigel Kinbrum on January 2, 2011 at 06:10

        Funny you should mention ‘cardio just makes you hunrgy.’ That’s the reason/excuse I always used for not moving more. Well, I’ve cracked it. I now go for a walk just after eating a small meal. No munchies afterwards.

        Moving more has nothing to do with losing weight. It’s necessary for better health. Sedentary behaviour results in insulin resistance. See Uh-oh! There may be trouble ahead…

        Cheers, Nige.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 2, 2011 at 08:50


      Yep, the diet was crap. That’s how I got fat, not from the walking itself. The point is that walking could not fix a crap diet in my case. I’m sure for some it does.

      • terrence on January 2, 2011 at 18:00

        This post reminds me of the old saying, “work up an appetite.”

  9. Adam on January 2, 2011 at 00:45

    Check those guns – Free will indeed.

  10. Woodwose on January 2, 2011 at 02:10

    “In the end, if you eat crap and then do something that makes you hungry for more of the crap you normally eat, how surprising are the results going to be?”

    This quote is worthy of memorizing!

  11. Jim Arkus on January 2, 2011 at 05:15

    I know exactly what you mean. A few months ago I was going through some old pics and almost fell off my chair when I found one from a year ago. I asked my girlfriend, “how did I look this bad and you never TOLD ME?!”

    Of course, now thanks to you, Martin Berkhan, and Stuart McRobert, I’m trying to put some of that weight back on. Only this time I want it to be muscle. =P

  12. Sonagi on January 2, 2011 at 08:40

    I became mildly overweight in college and shed 15 lbs by walking. I did it intermittently, varying the time and the frequency. Back then I didn’t know the health benefits of intermittent exercise. I just varied the walking to keep myself from getting bored. I didn’t walk at a plodding pace, either. I started at a normal pace, sped up, and then returned to a normal pace at the end as a cooldown. In a previous post, you explained how one’s own personal experience is science. Walking doesn’t work for everyone, but it works for some people, judging by my own and others’ experiences. I like walking. It is an easy physical activity that makes my mind and body feel good.

  13. rob on January 2, 2011 at 11:18

    I wasn’t much into the food porn for a long time until I realized that through it I was learning how to cook.

    Dinner tonight is a 2.3 pound sirloin tip roast that the local grocery had on sale for 2.99 a pound.

    Until recently I had never owned a meat thermometer. I once owned a brand new stove for nine months before I realized the oven didn’t work.

  14. Bill Strahan on January 2, 2011 at 11:31

    Richard, brother!

    Can I sneak in one little New Year’s Resolution for you?

    Go flying.

    Okay, that’s the only one, I promise. Just looking out for ya. You know how pilots are.

  15. Helen on January 2, 2011 at 11:50

    I can hardly believe that is you in those old pics, Richard, but boy, you look great now!

  16. Derrick on January 3, 2011 at 02:17

    Lol, fat fuckin’ resoloobie… Oh wait!

    Haha man, I did the same thing as you and I know the feeling!

  17. Sean on January 3, 2011 at 04:51

    Richard, I had the same experience, except jogging instead of walking, which just led to injuries I still feel. Running fat is a really bad idea.

  18. Max on January 3, 2011 at 06:03

    Thanks for inspiring and helping so many people Richard. I feel identified with you because we are on the same path (trying to improve body comp).
    Based on the photos from your Leangains meals, are you eating more than 3 gram of protein/kg of body weight?
    I have been lately upping the protein to higher levels than the 3 g/kg BW mark because I was getting hungry and actually solved the problem, but what about the long term effect? (I am feeling great though). Maybe Martin knows something about this…
    Your blog is one of the best out there, I love your style!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 3, 2011 at 09:49


      It’s probably somewhere around that 3g per Kg +/- and on average. I have no idea if the long term effects would be anything but beneficial.

      That said, once I hit my goals, which I intend to accomplish over the next 8 weeks, my diet will become much more varied, as will the fasting.

      • Derrick on January 3, 2011 at 15:54

        I’m on the fence about protein intake, and I really think Mark Sisson has it right to err on the side of fat consumption. One of these days I might jack up my protein to see what happens, but 3g/kg is a lot – double what I consume most of the time.

      • Max on January 4, 2011 at 07:19

        I never use particularly lean cuts, so although I don´t intentionally eat all of the beef fat to avoid ruining my daily calorie deficit, I end up eating enough fat because of all the quantity of meat I should consume to hit the 3g prot/kg BW target.

        About protein overconsumption and health, If high protein helps me achieve my obective of losing body fat and prevent cravings, I will continue with that strategy. There is not evidence that high protein diets are bad for health. All the benefits of protein restriction are seen in caged critters, not free-living humans.

        Based on real world results, there are lots of people obtaining benefits with high protein diets (Berkhan, his clients, Nikoley, myself,). On the other hand, many of those protein-phobics who are pounding potatos and butter meal after meal day after day(know who I am talking about?) hoping that their metabolisms will finally heal someday (years maybe?) and they will lose magically their excess weight, they are still fat. They wonder why though, since they did everything right; well, these poor people will continue to look like shit until they accept the irrefutable fact that you can´t lose weight magically just by eating whole natural foods if a calorie deficit is absent. And yes, I was refering to Matt Stone and his followers (what I just said is true; you can verify it by reading the comments section).

  19. Bodhi on January 3, 2011 at 06:17

    “For the real dumbasses: when you feel like a pizza, see if you can down a whole 4 pound tri-tip roast…and if you can’t, you’re a pussy, so try harder next time.”

    I like it.

  20. Monica on January 3, 2011 at 07:00


    I wanted to find your deadlift video to leave a comment, but couldn’t find it anywhere on FTA, just vimeo.

    Anyway, Richard, I’ve decided partly based on your experience with Leangains to do more heavy lifting than metcons with my remaining CrossFit membership. (And I”m eating more protein, too, and gaining weight, which pissed me off at first… but measurements staying the same which means it’s muscle). We have Oly classes every afternoon and evening… not really sure why I didn’t focus on this more before. Yesterday on my *first* attempt to figure out a max deadlift I hit 195#. I couldn’t believe it. Can’t wait to see what I can hit months or a year from now. 🙂

  21. Monica on January 3, 2011 at 07:07

    By the way, Richard, not to get off topic in your comments thread, but I’d love a post on soreness after workouts and how you deal with it, if that’s something that interests you. It’s a huge problem for me. Maybe it’s because I haven’t built up enough muscle yet, but I feel as if it takes me a week to properly recover from a workout (as in, I’m still sore but at least I can get up off the toilet and put my clothes on. Ugh.) It’s extremely frustrating.

    • Sean on January 3, 2011 at 09:43


      I often have a week of DOMS, and I’ve been doing fairly serious strength training for almost a year (albeit mostly bodyweight stuff). In my opinion, the biggest danger from DOMS is burnout. It is a great sign of progress but it can also inhibit other exercise: it is hard to get motivated about doing hindu squats when one’s pecs are screaming bloody murder every time one throws their arms back.

      Back in high school and college when I lifted weights on a fairly regular basis I don’t recall being sore for a whole week. Or even that sore in general.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 3, 2011 at 09:54

      Try 10g of BCAA about 15 minutes before your workout. I have found it to help fast recovery and also no soreness.

      That said, I’ve always been kind of a soreness junkie. It’s always hurt so good to me.

      You’ll probably find that after a couple of months you won’t get sore after every workout anymore and when you do it will be less intense & brief. That has been my experience, anyway.

      One other tidbit I’ve found is if I’m still sore from the last workout, hitting the gym anyway seems to have no impact on my performance and in many cases has corrected the soreness going forward. Again, just me.

      • Susan on January 3, 2011 at 15:16

        I thought you were supposed to wait until fully recovered from one workout before you worked out those muscles again?

        Also, Richard, if you weren’t horrified by your appearance all those years, then what was it that finally motivated you to decide to ‘do whatever it took’ to get over being a fat fuck. 🙂

      • Richard Nikoley on January 3, 2011 at 15:47

        My 160/100 average BP started to scare me. Thing is, brief intense resistance training brought down the BP from hyper to high like within days. It was amazing. After a couple of weeks I wasn’t as worried but, was really enjoying the gym. I had already mustered the discipline to walk every day for about an hour each morning and this seemed like finally a gym routine I could stick with and so I did.

        Then I learned of De Vany and the rest is history.

    • Bill Strahan on January 3, 2011 at 13:06

      Try contrast hydrotherapy if you can. It can be very uncomfortable, but a few minutes of severe discomfort is a fair trade for improved recovery and reduced soreness the rest of the time.

      If you have a separate shower and bathtub, you’re set. Just dump 20-30 pounds of ice into the tub and fill it with cold water. I try to get the temp to at least 42 degrees. Colder if possible.

      Get in the hot shower and get it as hot as you can stand it for several minutes, then get into the tub for 3-5 minutes. Back in the shower until you’re toasty again, then in the tub for 4-6 minutes. Keep alternating and extending the cold sessions up to 10 minutes if possible. Finish on the cold session, dry off, ignore the burning sensation and plan to shiver for half an hour or so.

      But don’t be surprised if you feel somewhat euphoric after the second or third cold session, and expect quicker recovery and improved sense of well being.

    • Bonnie on January 5, 2011 at 20:44

      YMMV but the secret for me is a] eating to fuel working out! Are you getting plenty of calories and protein? And b]drinking plenty of water directly post-workout.

  22. skib on January 3, 2011 at 15:15

    I do not ever recall being horrified at my own appearenace, in spite of the clear fact that I should have been.

    I know I would have been horrified from the moment I realised I was wearing a Windows XP Launch t-shirt. Oh Richard, what had you become.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 3, 2011 at 15:54

      “I know I would have been horrified from the moment I realised I was wearing a Windows XP Launch t-shirt. Oh Richard, what had you become.”

      Ha! I didn’t even catch that. Yea, I replaced PC boxes at my home, office, the cabin and a PC notebook with a single 15″ MBP and have never looked back. Now I just have large widescreen monitors at each location.

      • Grok on January 4, 2011 at 08:14

        At least it wasn’t a Vista launch shirt, or you would’ve had a feeding tube with corn syrup.

        “replaced PC boxes at my home, office, the cabin and a PC notebook with a single 15″ MBP and have never looked back.” Ditto.

  23. jollygood on January 6, 2011 at 11:15

    How right you are: it’s not about resolutions not to do this or that, it’s assuming a new identity (e.g. a fit, energetict guy or chick) and believing in it. Everything else falls into place, doesn’t it? And the exercise doesn’t feel like a chore anymore, rather a part of the normal routine.

  24. Jennifer on January 7, 2011 at 15:58

    But how does Rotor look now? Where are his “after” pics?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 7, 2011 at 17:52

      Just use the search function for Rotor. Plenty of pics, and all far newer than those. He’s turning 12 this month, 1005 raw fed, and leaner and more vibrant than ever.

  25. ekon on January 13, 2011 at 07:24

    EvPsych (or sociobiology, or whatever label you stick on it) is just paleo for the brain. Sure, we might have free will (however one defines it), but it´s not entirely free. We don´t eat because we have decided after extensive research and deliberation that it is a good course of action, we eat because we get hungry, and so on (if only science had understood the implications of this 40 years ago, this blog might not have been necessary…).

    The notion that the human mind can be infinitely changed is probably even more pernicious than the “modern” dietary teachings that came from ignoring the regulation of hunger. And yes, our evolutionary history probably has many more subtle effects on our mind than just making us hungry. That´s where EvPsych enters the picture.

    Of course, a lot of what gets written up as “EvPsych” these days is BS, but the underlying principle is, imho, sound.

  26. […] New Year’s Resolutions Are Bullshit (in pictures) […]

  27. Stephen on January 14, 2011 at 03:54

    You hit the nail on the hammer with this one; I currently weigh 165 lbs, but two years ago I topped out at 210 lbs. The kicker is, I don’t ever remember being that fat! I don’t even have good before and after pictures because I avoided taking them whenever I could.

  28. Jerry P on June 28, 2011 at 11:57

    I’m starting my journey today. I’ll keep you posted. Wish me luck!

  29. Robin H on November 12, 2011 at 13:20

    You crack me up, and inspire me. It’s funny that as impressive as your physical improvement is, what strikes me the most is the energy and spirit you’ve regained. What a victory! I know it sounds corny but it makes me almost weepy when I see pics like this, when I think of all the down-trodden masses who’ve just accepted their mental and physical imprisonment… A few of them will see this and wake up… pretty cool 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on November 12, 2011 at 13:22

      Why thanks you, Robin.

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