So, I am being asked more and more for my “secret” about losing all of this weight. Well, it really isn’t a secret and I have been providing the information to a few people who may or may not be following it.
Here’s the thing, a diet that works is very easy to find. There is no magic formula. Take in less calories than you burn in a day. Simple. If you do that you will lose weight. Now, if you add in exercise to the mix, you are burning more calories and the same diet will have a more substantial impact.
It really isn’t rocket science.
I think that one of the reasons that diets don’t work for a lot of people is that a lot of the time they end up being a chore. Those things you like to eat become more and more important to you as you continue to deny them to yourself. Especially if you are following a diet created by someone else without you in mind. This will invariably mean eating something you aren’t that keen on…which will, in turn, increase the intensity of your cravings. Eat things you enjoy and can look forward to and you don’t really crave anything…or at least that is my experience.
Additionally, and I will admit that this could simply be my OCD talking….routine is important. Get into a routine quickly and everything you are doing becomes normal. It is no longer an effort as it is just what you do. There have been a lot of times that I have decided, halfway through the day, that I simply don’t want to exercise today. Either I have been tired, not feeling 100% or whatever. Then, after getting home, I have remembered that decision about halfway through my training.
I had a good friend work this out for me and I am glad he did. I had a number of criteria though.
#1 Exercise has to be do-able at home
#2 Diet has to consist of foods I enjoy eating
#3 I can’t be forced to eat lunch
The reason I put those criteria in place is to give myself the best possible chance of following through and sticking to it. I know me and I am pretty honest with myself, which means I know my flaws.
#1 If I had to go to a Gym or go out every night on a run, I would probably manage it for a while and then the excuses would start. Especially if I was tired. Doing the training at home meant that there was never an excuse. If I was home, I was able to train.
#2 I think this one is pretty obvious. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean that I have been dieting on Pizza and Burgers. It just meant that, whilst my meal plan is very repetitive, I actually like the diet food and am therefore happy to eat it (and even look forward to it). I am lucky in that I don’t get bored with food. I either like something or I don’t and, if I like something, eating it over and over again is not a problem to me.
#3 This was a personal thing. I rarely eat lunch and have been this way for 20 years…possibly longer. So if the diet was hanging on me getting that extra meal in per day, it would happen for a while and then I would forget about it. That had to be avoided. To be honest, I never eat breakfast either, but I was willing to concede that as long as breakfast required little to no effort, meaning I would avoid forgetting and then not have time.
I already had an exercise bike/clothes horse at home…so that was the exercise sorted and I had a 3 tier food steamer that had been unpacked and never used…and so it began.
1 banana and 1 boiled egg plus a cup of tea with milk and sugar in
I tend to boil up half a dozen eggs and then fridge them so they are ready each morning
Approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour before I want to train, I eat a Banana
Training (30 minutes to 1 hour)
20 minute hot bath (I was initially worried about my legs being in agony the next day..now its just habit.)
Directly after the bath :-
Evening Meal #1
Skinless Chicken Breast (Oven Baked) with Steamed Veg (I always have Broccoli and Cauliflower, but then add either green beans or a pea/carrot mix). I sometimes throw some tomatoes in the oven with the chicken.
Evening Meal #2
Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber and Either Tuna..in brine not oil (only mixed with salt and vinegar, no mayo) or baked chicken. For dressing, I only use vinegar…not oil based dressings. Sometimes I put a boiled egg with it
Cup of tea with milk and sugar
Obviously, for me, the diet above was strict…no cheating…that’s all I ate per day. No breads/pasta/potatoes/butter etc. I switched to black coffee as with my coffee consumption I was drinking upwards of a half litre of milk per day (I haven’t taken sugar in my coffee for years).
Chicken is great, because you can flavour it how you want..I do curry, chilli, chinese, italian, smoked…all sorts really – Every meal tastes different enough to stop it being boring.
My routine is to stick the oven on just before I start training, and then stick the food on to cook when I finish training and start running the bath. Then, 15-20 minutes after I get out of the bath, food is ready :)
You need to try and time it so that you get an absolute minimum of 1 hour (much better if you can do 2 hours) between eating and going to bed.
Exercise, for me, was dead simple. Use the exercise bike on a comfortable setting. I did this every day…yes, 7 days per week.
To start, do 45 minutes to an hour every day. Pace yourself so that you can complete the full amount of time you set for yourself…but not so you can do it too easily…You want to be out of breath and sweaty, just not in need of medical assistance. If you can manage it, make the last 2 minutes as intense as you can.
I started at 18-20kph for example and positioned it in front of the TV so I could watch a show that kept me distracted.
For the last couple of months I have been doing 30 minutes at 36-42kph. Yesterday, for the last 2 minutes I was at 55kph.
As I am now starting to tone up, I have added a Rowing machine and a workout plan from my friend (press ups, crunches, dips etc) into the mix. So I still train every day, but day 1=Bike, day 2=Rowing, day 3=Press ups etc..
When the bike gets easy, my friends advice was to keep the resistance level of the bike the same, but increase the pace or the time you do it for…don’t keep increasing resistance as you will build muscle mass in your legs and won’t realistically be able to track your weight loss.
For me, it really helped to weigh myself every day, and I tracked my progress in a spreadsheet where I listed how much I weighed at the beginning of the month, then how much I weighed every day and the exercise I did (Time/KM for the exercise bike, Time/Strokes for the Rowing etc). Other people say that this is a bad idea…It’s down to you.
On top of all this, I still allow myself one night a week (usually on a weekend) where I go out drinking. I still train and stick to the diet, but don’t worry myself about the beer.
Personally, I have noticed that it is more important to train the day after beer than it is to train on the day of the beer…take from that what you will.
Also, now I am toning and maintaining the weight, I don’t worry if I miss a day of training from time to time. As I now know what I need to do to get rid of any weight that may have built up in the off time. I am still training every day and, whilst my diet is largely the same, I snack if I want to as long as I keep it in moderation.
And there you have it, the secret to my success. Do with it what you will. If you are able to follow it as I did, it will definitely work. However, if any part of it won’t work for you, chances are that none of it will.
The main thing is, you need to want to do it. Don’t do it for other people, don’t do it because you think you should. Do it because you want to do it.
(Using this diet/training plan, my weight loss since February 1st 2016 is 39.5KG at the time of writing this)