“I knew I had a double chin for sure, but when that third chin poked out at me, through the tiny LCD screen of her Sony Cyber-cam, I knew I had to make major changes”
So there’s a damn good reason that gyms are packed out the door in January, and we all know why that is. Yep, the joys, and repercussions of Christmas. The belt feeling that much tighter, and that run down lethargy from consistent overeating. It’s that, “No, this year will be different” that drives people to the gym in hordes at this time of year.
But Gym junkies will tell you, by late February the crowds are gone and it’s back to the same regulars. There’s a couple of reasons for this, but the really standout one can be reduced to this: It was more painful to go, than not to go.
Now think about that for a second.
Whether it was due to feeling intimated by the sculpted regulars, or simply it wasn’t fitting in with their schedule, the reward just didn’t seem to outweigh the effort needed to get themselves there.
Here’s the thing: with exercise, the benefits don’t come instantly. They come gradually and with effort. But if there was a way that you could really start to feel a lot healthier, really, really quickly – as in 7 days quick – You’d want to find out, right? With no pun intended, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
So a little about me, to preface the things I’m about to say, before you think I’m some preachy health nut. Five years ago, due to a couple of factors (mostly getting very comfortable in my relationship – and letting myself go in the process, if I’m totally honest) my weight ballooned from a lean 155lbs at 6ft to a whopping 245lbs. Now just to put that in proportion for you. If you’re an MMA fan, or not, here’s a real world example of what that means.
Nate Diaz is 6ft, and weighs 155lbs
Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson is 6ft and 245lbs
Obviously this didn’t happen overnight, it took some time. But it’s funny how things can creep up on you, and before you know it, you’re technically obese. My OMG moment, was on a rare time I had shaved off my beard and my then girlfriend took a snap of me.
I knew I had a double chin for sure, but when that third chin poked out at me, through the tiny LCD screen of her Sony Cyber-cam, I knew I had to make major changes.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m at 165lbs with a couple of more pounds to go. Great, job nearly done. However, this wasn’t achieved through crazy workouts – I did go to the gym plenty, no doubt. But there’s an old saying that “Muscles are made in the gym, Fat is lost in the Kitchen”
And that had been my problem really. I was absolutely clueless about how to fuel my body. Now I’m no health guru folks, nor do I wish to be. But what I am is a guy who lost a good bit of weight and kept it off, through basically educating myself. All I want to do in this post, is impart to you what I learned so that you get the fast track to results. If you’re an Adonis and 8% bodyfat, or something close, this ain’t for you. But if not, stay with me, coz here’s what worked for me.
Well duh? Of course you need to count your calories, sure everyone knows that. But be honest with yourself: Are you just estimating, or really counting, because that’s the difference between success and failure in this game. Don’t be deluded like I was , throwing down regular handful of cashew nuts, and wondering why the weight wasn’t dropping off – cashews and nuts are healthy produce surely- what was I doing wrong?
If you are serious about dropping weight, here are your two biggest friends:
Electric Food Scales
Using the scales may seem like overkill, and I can see why. But consider this: If you have the exact quantities of what calories you consume detailed and recorded, it’s easy to lose weight. Yes, it requires some lifestyle change but that’s what this is all about. The Myfitnesspal app is a massive helper, and it’s absolutely free. The app has a barcode scanner, so all you have to do is scan your product barcode with the camera on your phone and it lets you know its calorie content.
And that’s where the scales come in. Weigh it, and put the data into Myfitnessspal. That way you know exactly what you’re eating. I know it’s tedious, but if you don’t change, nothing changes…
So for example, if you have a granola cereal in the morning with some milk, put your bowl on the scales so it starts at Zero. Throw in the cereal and see how many grams it is. Scan the barcode of the packet in myfitnesspal and enter in the amount. Next do the same with the milk, measuring it out in a jug and scanning the barcode in myfitnesspal. That’s it, job done. Your breakfast is accounted for with no ‘guestimates’.
And if you want to succeed, repeat the process for everything (yes, every single thing) that passes your lips on a day to day basis. You’ll be surprised, and often horrified about what you’re consuming.
Remember those cashew nuts I mentioned earlier? Well, my ‘aha’ moment was when I started doing exactly what I described to you above, and figured out that those two little bowls of cashews that I would snack on as I worked, were giving me 1200 extra calories a day. That was 8400 calories of overeating per week on my part. 3500 calories is 1lb of weight, by the way, so eating like that was giving me 2lb + per week of weight gain.
See why counting your calories is essential?
Not only can you see what you’re eating, but by being accountable to an app, when you input the data, you start to become conscious of what you’re fuelling your body with, rather than mindlessly eating. Your mindset starts to shift towards “is that (insert junk food) worth it”. Once that happens you’re on the good path.
I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail on this, simply as everyone has different requirements based on their height, weight, age and activity levels. For me, a guy needing 2500 calories to maintain my weight, a daily deficit of 700 calories on the weekdays and maintaining on the weekends kept me at a deficit of 3500 calories a week (1lbs weight loss). That was sustainable for me – your mileage may vary. The key thing here is discipline and that you feel good when doing it. And key to feeling good is all about the food choices.
You are what you eat
Even at my heaviest, I was never the guy to stuff his face with massively unhealthy stuff – well, at least in comparison to those guys I see being lifted out of their houses by cranes anyway. I love, and still do, adore food. It’s one of life’s true pleasures.
But, and it’s a ‘but’ bigger than Kim Khardashian’s – while you’re in weight loss mode, keep the pleasure food for the weekend, when you are maintaining your weight. 5 days a week, treat your body like a performance car that needs premium fuel.
Because on 1800 calories a day, if that comes from poor food choices, you are f*cked.
Here’s the deal, and again it’s ‘captain obvious’ to the rescue, but common sense isn’t all that common:
1800 calories from ice cream a day, is still 1800 calories. You will lose weight, but you will feel horrible.
1800 calories from vegetables and fish, is still 1800 calories. You will lose weight, but you will feel amazing.
Your body is like that performance car, except it needs nutrients instead of a higher octane fuel. Nutrition is absolutely key to making weight loss work, very simply, as you start to feel good – and when that happens, it’s easy to continue. If it feels like a struggle, that’s when you drop it and head back to the old ways.
So what to eat?
If two years ago, you would have told me I would be eating a diet consisting of 70% vegetables and fish, you would have been laughed out of the house. I love food, and wouldn’t want to restrict myself from anything – but after watching ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’, I decided to give juicing a bash. I like gadgets anyway, so getting a juicer seemed like a fun thing to try. I got this bad boy, which was the one they used in the movie:
Now I didn’t go to any extreme with this, such as a juice cleanse with nothing but juice for X days, but what I did do, was start to drink between 500-1000 ml of vegetable juice per day.
And since I started, I can’t stop. Literally I crave it. It’s life changing.
That lethargic feeling I’d have, even when waking up is gone. My mind feels sharper, and I’ve a ton of energy throughout the day. I don’t need or want coffee anymore. It’s honestly crazy the difference it’s made. I just feel much more ‘on it’ and focused.
That’s what’s key to this whole thing, in my humble opinion. My body is giving me massively positive feedback, and rewarding me handsomely for feeding it with nutrition. That’s why I’m craving the good stuff now, and the weight loss is happening organically.
Juicing & The Juicer
Making juice once a day, particularly with this model, is pretty do’able. There’s two types of juicers you can buy, centrifugal and masticating. The latter makes a better quality of juice, that’s for sure, but the former does it really quickly and conveniently.
I simply don’t have the time nor the patience for spending 25 mins making the juice and then cleaning the juicer intricately, as you have to do with the masticating one. I bang out 1000ml of veg juice and have the thing cleaned within 5 mins. That’ll do me just fine.
I grab a couple of bags of vegetables daily on the way home, and make a juice at that time, and keep one for the morning (nice way to start the day, trust me). Don’t worry about recipes for the moment, just throw in some carrots, spinach, celery & cucumber and you’re getting tons of good stuff into you.
Living Less Large
As I mentioned earlier, when you’re reducing the amount calories you’re getting, you need to bump up your nutrition. Juicing is a super easy way of getting a ton of nutrition each day. I’ve ended up mostly eating fish, veg and juice along with nuts during the working week. On weekends, I indulge a little more, with an Indian take away or a nice juicy steak, but not going overboard. The funny thing about it, is that my body has now gotten accustomed to feeling good from food. Meaning that on the odd time I do indulge in some Ben & Jerry’s, I feel pretty gross afterwards – that I just put something bad into my body. And that is just a seismic shift from that lethargic 245 lb guy I was a couple of years back.
Here’s to your success!