At the halfway point of a weight loss journey
A little over two months ago, I was set a challenge by my doctor to lose 10 kilos. I wasn’t yet facing any health risks, but at my weight and at my age, I surely wasn’t too far off. The advice for losing was simple: Eat less sugar, have fewer carbs, and start getting more exercise.
Not one for doing things by halves, I researched the most effective low carb recipes to lose weight, worked out some meal plans with my wife, and started exercise that very night.
We’re at nine weeks later, I have lost 16.4 kilos as of my last ‘official’ weigh-in, smashing the target set by the doctor. According to the BMI tracker app I use, I am now officially out of the obese range and am now merely overweight. I’m now focused on reaching a healthy weight.
I’ve posted about my progress a couple of times on Twitter, and a few people recently have asked me for the secret, so I thought I’d get it down in a blog post.
So, the first thing we had to do was cut as many carbs out of my diet as possible. Our goal was to limit me to around 50 grams of carbs a day or less.
We also had to cut out the obvious stuff: Gone were the fizzy drinks, gone were the crisps, takeaways gone too. Not quite gone is the chocolate, but more on that later.
The next thing to do was to find out what carbs could be cut elsewhere. Foods that are almost exclusively carbs – yup, all the tasty stuff – such as potatoes, bread, and rice all cut out. A lot of sauces were also quite literally off the table, no more ketchup, no more hot-chilli sauce.
Oddly, for a diet, this also means very little fruit, because fruit is full of sugar, and sugar means carbs.
The upside is that fats on this diet are good, but the right types of fats. Natural fats. Butter is good. Cream is good. Cheese is good. All meat is good. Bacon. Eggs. All good.
The trick is to not eat less, but to find replacements. Ranch Dressing is a good alternative (cream!) to tomato sauce. Tabasco sauce is great for when you want something spicier.
Instead of rice, we tried cauliflower rice, which sounds awful but actually works well as long as it’s flavoured. Cauliflower is also good for making a pizza base (yup, most pizza ingredients are fine, only the bread is an issue), and honestly, with the toppings, it’s hard to tell the difference.
Anyway, enough preaching, a typical weekday’s meals look like this:
- Breakfast: Plain yoghurt with a few berries and a tablespoon of cereal or coconut flour pancakes.
- Lunch: Chicken salad.
- Tea: Basic meat and a portion of vegetables combo (steak, meatballs, even a roast is a good choice).
- Dessert: Two squares of 85% dark chocolate (low sugar and carbs, great chocolate taste).
- Snack: Kale chips. Celery. Carrot sticks. 40g of low carb nut mix. Cheese (Babybel are a good for a pre-portioned option).
Now, I’ll be honest, the first two weeks of this diet were the worst. I was agitated and snappy, but that passed quickly. I’ve generally been feeling a lot better and more energetic, which is good, because the diet is only half the battle…
I’ll put this out there straight away: I’ve exercised every day since I started this process. Every single day for nine weeks. Usually, without a football, I find exercise boring, however, I’ve found ways to make it more interesting.
For example, three of the exercise sessions I have a week are inside on an old exercise bike. To help the time pass I’ve been watching TV shows while working out. I’ve watched all of this year’s Better Call Saul on the bike. I’ve started rewatcing Lost, as due to its decline in quality around Season 5, I never did finish it. It’s helping take some of the sting out of daily exercise.
Naturally, to help shift the weight I’ve been doing a lot of cardio, but now that I’ve hit the ‘overweight’ bracket, I’m going to start adding in some weights, for the obvious reasons that come with quick weight loss.
I’m also going to start playing 5-a-side football again soon, currently looking for a team to join, and have also done the occassional nature walk to break up the routine slightly.
My training regime currently looks as follows:
- Monday: A 5k walk after work, with some running interspersed.
- Tuesday: Exercise bike (Started off doing 40mins, but have upped that to an hour now I’m fitter).
- Wednesday: Another 5k walk after work, again with running interspersed.
- Thursday: Exercise bike again.
- Friday: 5k walk, no running. This is what I class as my rest day.
- Saturday: 3k walk, followed by an hour of ball sports. Shooting some hoops/having a kickaround.
- Sunday: 3k walk and another hour on the exercise bike.
And that’s pretty much it. Following the above for nine weeks, I’ve gone from 128.8 kilos (that’s 284 lbs or 20 stone for those outside of Australia) down to 112.2 kilos (246 lbs / 17.6 stone).
A loss of 16.6 kilos (36.5 lbs / 2.6 stone).
While I’ve beaten the doctor’s challenge, I now want more, and will be keeping this up until I get a lot closer to my ideal weight range.