More dieting success . . .
Its always nice to be able to bring good news, and here is more. The diet has brought me down to about 9 stone 9 pounds at most (and I was actually weighed immediately after a heavy meal and a beer, which means its probably a little less). This is 58 pounds under what I was 6 months ago. I found a photo of myself then and was really stunned: its like a stranger in the photo. It seems incredible to me now that I let a veil of denial let me dangerously overweight.
Of course everybody is different and when I look back at photos from about 15 years ago I am surprised to notice just how thin I am in them. Even as recently as 7 years ago I certainly wasn’t fat. And oddly enough people who I never really thought of as fat now look huge.
It seems funny but it sure wasn’t 6 months ago. I didn’t suffer from a lot of the hang-ups that many overweight people end up with as part of their condition, but I’ve noticed people are suddenly taking me a lot more seriously – and I am wondering why. I think it’s the achievement: losing over 4 stone in 6 months is hard work.
In any case: it is possible. It is achievable. And I think one of the problems I see all the time with overweight people (often very marginally overweight people who are less than 7 pounds overweight yet see it as a major crisis) is a reluctance to change. Last week I had my first “mega fatty” desert in 6 months. 6 months! I enjoyed it at the time but had horrific indigestion afterwards: so bad in fact that I think it’s psychologically put me off sweet and fatty foods for longer. In fact the shock to my system was amazing: after six months of avoiding processed, sugary and high fat foods in favour of unprocessed meat, veg and wholegrains, I have to say I’ll stick with my cucumber and buckwheat.
I’ve only come across one real saboteur. Again somebody who is marginally overweight amd very conscious of it. (So she fattens up or tries to fatten up people around her – how positive!) Otherwise friends and family have been really supportive. Even my boss at work went out of his way to cater for me when buying food for overtime stressed folks on the job – its amazing how supportive people have been, and the wonderful emails I’ve received from people in response to my blog.
The most important thing I think people need to realize is to ignore the magazines, the fad diets and the loopy books. Sure I love Jason Vale’s Juice Master books but his diet suggestions are patently ridiculous: folks have been eating cooked food for a hell of a long time, and it is done for a good reason. However his suggestions for healthy juices and recipes are great: its just that the entire premise of dropping meat from a western diet is basically plain old vegetarianism. If you really think you can live entirely on vegetables and fruit you will have to examine ways to fulfill your nutritional needs. The problem is: all these fads are usually exploiting ignorance and feeding deliberate misinformation in order to market some product or another. Be it diet pills, protein supplements etc: you don’t need them. (However protein supps are a lot easier than sourcing out endless supplies of soya beans – they are convenient if you are trying to reduce the fat without also dropping lean tissue – something known to bodybuilders for years). However I do recommend using simple protein sources rather than supplements: a 2oz tuna tin or fish sticks usually contain about the same amount of protein as many of these supplements.
Another thing to beware is gender myths: for example, women in particular, go for cardio and totally avoid strength training because they believe it will make them look bigger. The reality is that without strength training muscle wastage is likely to occur and if this happens the metabolic rate drops: which of course causes the dieter to plateau – the metabolic rate having fallen, the body no longer requires the missing calories and so weight loss stalls. And forgot those little pink weights – unless you are truly feeble get at least a 3kg dumbbell and move on up as it gets easier to lift this.
At the moment my exercise regime is weight lifting 6-7 days per week (doing a split upper/lower body routine on alternate days – though sometimes I throw in a full body routine just for fun). Then I do 4 days a week in the gym – at 30 minutes on the machines of hard cardio. Initially I did 3-4 sets of 10 minutes running/cross training or rowing (or cycling), but now I’m doing 20 minutes running and 10 minutes crosstraining. This is getting excellent results – my body fat levels are still falling dramatically, though my water and lean muscle levels are less stable and so I appear not to be losing much overall.