Losing weight is hard for me.
And like everyone else, I want a quick solution too. There are heaps of “Natural” fat loss supplements, promising quick and immediate weight loss. Unfortunately, more often than not they are just fads.
If you’re truly interested in losing weight, the only real way to do it is naturally through changing your diet and doing some exercise. I think it’s pretty safe to say you can’t have long term fat loss by simply taking a pill or eating strange combinations of foods. Besides, if you’re going to keep taking all those pills or supplements it will cost you a fortune!
It’s a pretty simple equation. You encourage fat loss and muscle gain by eating less junk and exercising more. Do this and natural fat loss is achieved as the body loses fat and gains muscle.
So, first, let’s take a step back. As a teenager and into my twenties I was extremely active. I enjoyed playing sport. I would play football, basketball and ran track for my school. As we lived right on the beach I surfed all year round, in summer holidays getting up before dawn and getting out of the water on dusk. In summer I also sailed. For fun, I also played softball.
I also had a big appetite, eating enough for two people! It kicked in when I turned 13 and never went away and when I stopped exercising for competitive sports I stacked on weight. At high school when I was extremely active, I weighed about 175 pounds. (80 kg). I was short, (5’6″), stocky, muscular and quick. My time for the 100 meters was 11.2 seconds (PB was 11.0) sure, not dynamite quick compared to some, but quick off the mark enough to be competitive in most sports. After leaving college, and through my 30s I put on some more weight, weighing about 185 – 190 pounds (85 kg). Then I moved away from the ocean, started my own business, stopped playing any sport and stopped exercising. I slowly gained weight, but without a set of weight scales at home, I didn’t know how much.
But, after recently spending the vacation with my brother and his family, eating drinking and making merry, I was finding it hard to fit into my jeans and puffing with even the most modest of exercise. While in his bathroom one day I noticed he had some weighing scales. I stepped on and almost had a fit! I had ballooned out to a porky 235 pounds! (107 kg).
I vowed it was time to do something about it. While getting back to my HS weight maybe a pipe-dream, I have set a target weight of 187 pounds or 85kg — about the same as I was in my 30s. After a few months I’m now at 200 pounds, having lost 35 pounds (16 kg) , and another 15 pounds (6kg) to go!
And I’ve done it by changing my diet and increasing my exercise. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. But, I hear you say, “It’s so difficult to eat well and so hard to exercise regularly! How did you do it?”
I did a few things that I’m going to share with you. Some might surprise you. Remember this is what I did, some of things I did may suit you and some may not. And in some cases I broke the rules!
First of all I realized I needed to change my mindset. It might surprise you, but my first move was to do hypnosis. Yes! Hypnosis and it seems to have worked! Doing hypnosis enabled me to change my mindset. I didn’t see a hypnotist, as the guy I spoke to wanted to charge me a package rate, couldn’t see me at the time I wanted and it was going to be difficult to get there on a regular basis for the appointments. I remember a friend (who had quit smoking with hypnosis), said that hypnosis was like sitting there with your eyes closed while someone talked with you.
Instead I looked into using technology — of an iPod and MP3 recordings. So, I started to research Hypnosis Mp3s. There’s a lot of stuff out there and a lot of it is junk. It was also not really something I could do myself. And while there were free Mp3s out there, I’m not keen to let someone mess around in my head that is giving me something for free, I’d rather pay for it from a reputable company.
In looking around online, I kept seeing people recommending the same company. So I went online and I purchased the Weight Management Pack, which has 5 Mp3s: Super Slim Me, Think Thin, Eat Healthy, Exercise Motivation Booster.
Where I couldn’t get an appointment with the hypnotist at a time that suited us, instead I could download them, put on head-phones, sat back in a comfy chair, closed my eyes and listen. On that same day! I used them quite a bit over the first week or so. Mostly I’d be awake — sitting there while someone talked — and just accept the suggestions. (Sometimes I’d fall asleep, too).
Amazingly, I found my self eating better. I lost the craving for trashy foods, high carb foods and increased my desire to exercise. I stopped drinking beer and sodas and I started walking. After a few weeks I started jogging. As a teenager and into my twenties, I was extremely active, but as I’d got older I got lazy. But now with my head working with me instead of against me, losing weight was so starting to happen!
I can really recommend you consider using hypnosis Mp3s. You can literally start in just 10 minutes. “Changing your mind” might be the single most important thing you do!
I’ve always eaten reasonably healthy, I don’t mind cooking and I cook healthy meals. Foods for natural fat loss are nutrient dense, rich in vitamins and minerals. Foods like fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrition, without being packed with calories.
For me weight gain was from drinking more beers and sodas, and when I eat out, I’ve always been partial to French fries.
I also looked into certain diet products such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers and while the look really good for people who don’t cook or are too busy to cook everyday, they were not for me. I also found this diet review website by Ms.Lean quite helpful.
But I’m lucky that I like to cook, and a naturopath mentioned two diet styles that caught my eye.
As I’m an O blood which type it meant lean meat and vegetables and less carbs — which fitted in with the paleo style diet. Let me stress that this worked for me, — hey’re quite controversial diets — and there are a number of doctors and dieticians who disagree with it, — but they are working for me.
- You can find out more about the Blood Type Diet from wikipedia here.
- You can find out more about the Paleo Diet from wikipedia here.
Now the thing is, I don’t follow the diets rigidly, but the diet books give me recipes and a general guideline. The important thing for me is that I have cut down carbs dramatically, almost to zero. But eating better was not so hard. I had a big appetite, so for me portion control and being satisfied with less was what I worked on. After the hypnosis MP3s I found it much easier to be satisfied with smaller portions.
Portion Size and “Mind” Control
As I said earlier I was a big eater and the size of portions was also part of my problem. The hypnosis MP3s were working well, but I found another sneaky psychological trick that complemented the hypnosis. I could fool my mind with some nifty illusions. Have you ever been to one of those fancy restaurants that treat their food like artwork? They use massive plates as a “canvas” and there appears to be less food. (Sometimes there is less too, but that’s another story!). But you can use the same thing in reverse. A small plate appears to have a larger serving. It’s due to an optical phenomena called the Delboef Illusion. And a similar thing happens with glasses. Longer and skinnier glasses, you drink less. (There’s some sneaky thing fast food joints do to take more money off you with cup sizes. Did you know that a McDonalds large cup holds the same volume as a medium? Check this youtube video.)
Some of the “tricks” include:
- use smaller plates
- use the same color tablecloth as the plate
- use tall thin glasses for alcohol, fruit juices and sugary pop drinks (ie not water)
To use the over-serve bias to encourage more consumption of healthy foods, use big green plates for vegetables and short, wide glasses for water.
If you want to know more “fooling your mind”, read this interesting article at theconversation.com.
The other was drinking water. And lots more than I would usually drink. I’d still have my morning coffee (which was forbidden by the Blood type diet, as well is pepper and chili — like I said I break some rules) , but between cups drink a tall class of water. Half an hour before a meal I’d drink a glass of water. And I wasn’t paying for bottled water, not when I can get it out of the faucet for a fraction of a cent. I filter it first through a water filter and then put it in a half gallon (2 litre) pitcher so I can see how much I’ve water I’ve had in the day. The suggested amount each day is 8 x 8 ounce glasses per day. I really recommend you start drinking water, I find I’m not as hungry when I do — in fact my friend the naturopath says that sometimes the brain sends mixed message of being hungry when instead you’re really dehydrated. I’d also suggest you save money by not buying bottled water from a mart, which will help the environment out as well. It’s simple and easy.
I also started to exercise. First, I started walking. My reason for walking was not to lose weight. Initially it was to make my heart stronger. For the first few weeks of walking I was huffing and puffing. But as I got fitter, my diet kicked in and I started losing weight the walking and breathing became easier.
I added in jogging. I ran intervals using light posts as a guide. For the first few days; run one post, walk one post. I would get home too tired to do anything other than sit for 30 minutes. My knees got sore. But it got easier. I then stepped it up; jog two, walk one. Jog three, walk one, I’m sure you get the idea.
As I got fitter I recovered faster. My aim was to run for 5 minutes. Yes I’d stop and walk, but it would only be for a few seconds. The idea was to keep my heart rate up for a period time not burst it with a heart attack! Then my next goal was to run for 10 minutes. Slowly I got fitter. After three months I could almost run a lap of my condo, about 1.5 miles (2.5kms). I have dropped 30 pounds and my knees no longer hurt.
Knee Pain, Back Pain and My Feet
As I increased my exercise I started to get sore knees and an ache in my back. Partly it was because of the weight gain. As it turned out the real culprit was my feet. On a day today basis there was no pain. But as I increased my activity they started to get inflamed. I saw a podiatrist (foot doctor) who diagnosed my feet. My feet over-pronate ever so slightly causing my feet to flatten and also causing my knees to rotate inwards a little so they don’t point straight ahead. Combine this with my weight and they were getting a rough ride. The diagnosis was to get foot orthotics.
As well, during the consultation, the podiatrist also pointed out I had a right leg that was half an inch shorter than my left leg. This was causing my pelvis to drop on the right side and causing my spine to bend, closing the gaps on the nerves on the left side. The first thing done was to add a quarter inch heel lift to my right shoe and within a few days my aching back had settled down.
Technology & Apps
I use an iPhone as my MP3 player to listen to my hypnosis Mp3s. But having a smart phone allowed me to use app that helped track my progress. The first one is called Map My Run. ( I paid for the + version) Now I run 3-4 times a week for about 5 kilometers in about 35-40 minutes. It’s not fast, and I’m never going to make the Olympics, and yes, I admit I sometimes still slow to a walk, but only be 10 yards or so till I start jogging again.
The other app I use is an app called TargetWeight by Tactio. Each day I record my weight. It gives me a graph that shows the decrease. It also gives me a BMI (Body Mass Index) to work toward. To make it all more accurate I spent $50 on a set of electronic scales, and I know some dieticians say weigh yourself once a week, well I do it daily every morning at the same time (and sometimes during the day : )
Increasing My Workout
But you know what is really interesting? My heart must be getting stronger – I don’t huff and puff up stairs like I did. And as an added bonus, now that I’m (mostly) running 35 minutes, I’m starting to burn fat for energy, because once you do cardio for more than fifteen minutes you burn fat.
As well, because I exercise before breakfast, the body burns more fat on an empty stomach and also the exercise reduces my appetite. (If you get dizzy or shaky with this method, try adding a light breakfast with a low fat protein source, such a skim milkshake with a banana. This will give you enough nutrients for exercise, without weighing you down.)
As you build muscle, you decrease the percentage of your body composed by fat. A muscle toning program can add lean, toned muscle without adding bulk. Low weights and high repetitions will help you achieve a long, lean physique, while aiding your natural fat loss. As you build muscle, your body will burn calories more efficiently, which will allow you to burn your remaining fat even more quickly! So, I started looking for an easy to do program that didn’t require any special equipment. It had to be a simple expercise program that would allow me to work out easily and quickly 5 to 6 times a week — especially when the weather wouldn’t let me get outside. I found this 7 minute workout (based on this research).
After I settled into the routine for a few weeks, I found I was getting through the 7 minutes fairly easily, and while they say it produces changes in muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding — I’m not so sure –as I found it a lot easier than a couple of hours of running! I had started to plateau — I needed something with a little more “resistance.”
I wasn’t keen to spend a small fortune on weights, and then remembered that my wife really like her “bands”. I tried them out and they were getting old and a little too light for me. So I looked for an update. After much research, I settled on this Bands program. After much thought I went for the Power 6 pack which was less than $55. It has 6 bands, a training DVD and a few other accessories including a carry bag. The lighter bands suited my wife perfectly, and the heavier ones were fine for me. See the Power 6 pack here or see all the packs here
I go out to eat once a week or so. And when I go out I don’t stress to much. I’ll eat a lean meat meal and even have french fries. I’ll drink lots of water, and maybe a glass of red wine or a vodka and soda water with a twist of lemon. What I do the next day is stay on my diet, drink lots of water and definitely make sure I go for my run.
(If you’d like to see other programs I also looked at click here)
*Disclaimer* The information on this site is personal journey that has been shared with the reader. None of the information shared on this site should be taken as recommendation or advice. If you are overweight and thinking of going on a diet or starting an exercise program you must consult with your doctor before starting. I would also recommend you see a podiatrist, especially if you are going to start walking or running. Foot problems can be responsible for a lot of other problems in the knees, hips, back and neck.