Losing Weight, Living Healthier

Get Results: money can't buy health
Get Results: money can’t buy health

Like many people, I’ve struggled with my weight for many years, probably over the last 15-20 years or so, ever since I finished playing football, back in my early thirties.

Well to be completely honest, I haven’t really struggled with my weight, in the sense that I haven’t been trying particularly hard to lose it, I just haven’t cared too much about putting on a few pounds here and there. You see, I have never particularly wrapped my sense-of-self-worth up in my body image, so it hasn’t really matter too much, in that sense.

However I know that excess weight is probably not going to do my health much good, something of an understatement I know, but I have felt lately, that my mobility has begun to suffer, and this has the potential to adversely affect the quality of my life.

A few years ago after visiting Los Angeles, I went of a concerted effort to shed a few pounds. I went from 19 stone to 16.5 stone over a period of a few months, through control of my diet and walking a lot.

Since then I’ve piled the pounds back on, largely through what I describe as creep. Eating and snacking particularly between meals, as well as indulging in bigger portion sizes. It’s not been a sudden increase in calorie intake but has kind of crept up on me.

At the time of writing this post, I’m 25 days into a new schedule, aiming for 1000 calories or less per day.

Below is a gallery of meals we’ve enjoyed over the last 25 days, I’ve had a few jacket potatoes and tuna meals sprinkled between these meals along the way.

I’ve included the meals to illustrate how very tasty, and not at all boring, healthy meals can be. Most importantly of all, they have helped me lose 14 lbs (1 stone), in 25 days. I will be posting my progress over the coming months, as part of my commitment to follow-through.

This blog centers on getting results, from the perspective of acquiring knowledge, tapping into motivation and being more productive. So here I am putting what I describe on this blog into practice.

Knowledge

These are the points of knowledge I’m using to get results.

Calories in should be less than calories out.

2500 calories is the average calorie requirement for an adult male, 2000 calories for females. More weigh loss posts here.

One lb of body fat is made up of approx 3500 calories.

Belly fat is not as serious a threat as Visceral fat

If I can keep my daily intake to below 1000 calories a day, I should be in the region of losing a lb of body fat every 3 days or so. 2500 calories per day (adult male requirements per day), minus 1000 calories (calories eaten), leaves 1500 deficit per day. 3500 calories is a lb of body fat, so 3500 divided by 1500 equals 2.3 days to lose one lb. In one month I should have lost approx 13 lb of body fat.

Motivation

I want to improve the quality of my life, initially by increasing the frequency of going walking, giving me the ability to appreciate the beauty of the countryside, without being preoccupied by having back pain as a result of carrying around excess weight.

Improving SELF AWARENESS, to figuring out why I’ve been eating too much and not doing enough exercise – My main problem here is I get so absorbed in what I’m doing, work wise, which is predominately done on a laptop, that I’m just not moving around enough. I need to take regular breaks and do some activities during those breaks to improve my circulation and burn some calories. Also I must stop snacking, which tends to occur if I’m not working. I don’t think of food while working, but as soon as I stop, I start snacking, usually out of boredom or as part of social habits. I need to form a new habit here, to replace the old snacking habit, so I’ve started to eat a raw carrot, if I fancy eating something. I actually like raw carrots, so that’s working well for me so far.

Holding onto gains as the new floor. I’m not allowing my actions or emotions to push me under the new floor once it’s established (this is measured in weight). I’m using the following question to refocus.

Get Results: move closer to your goal
Get Results: move closer to your goal

Productivity

I want to keep the calorie intake count under 1000 calories per day, until I’ve shipped a few stone.

I’m going to focus on good calories and avoid empty calories as much as possible, but without denying myself too much. If I fancy a chocolate, that’s fine as long as I stay under 1000 calories per day.

Each day I keep below the 1000 calorie intake limit, put a big X on the calendar. I have one responsibility, don’t break the chain of X’s. So far so good.

Meals so far

Progress so far

Date and Day number wt loss Weight
Date: 1/1/18. Day 1 start 18 stone 12 lb
Date: 25/1/18. Day 25 14 lb 17 stone 12 lb
 Date: 1/3/18. Day 60  25 lb 17 stone 1 lb

Summary

I am using this post to chart my progress, not just for my own benefit, but also in the hope that you can find some value from it yourself. I know I’m not the only person working to lose weight and get fitter.

It’s so easy for weight to spiral out of control, almost without noticing or should I say, admitting, which is probably a more accurate way of putting it.

Eating can be an emotional response, maybe an attempt to fill a void or may just be an over-indulgence, that goes to far. Whatever the cause, it’s important to figure out the underlying reasons for it and address those so you can find a healthier path forward.

We inhabit our body’s for the duration of our time in this life, and have a duty to look after it, both from a psychological and physical perspective. By improving SELF AWARENESS, and TAKING RESPONSIBILITY we have a chance to be more effective in this pursuit. Good luck in your weight loss journey.

For more reading check out our weight loss guide.

Why Are You Not Sticking To A Healthy Lifestyle, When Others Are?

Get Results: Being healthy isn't a fad or a trend, it's a lifestyle
Get Results: Being healthy isn’t a fad or a trend, it’s a lifestyle

Why do some people stick to a healthy diet, and a productive exercise routine, while others don’t?

If you’re not exercising regularly (even if it’s just regular walking), and you’re not maintaining a healthy weight, you’re not living a healthy life, and you maybe, should be making a change. We all know it can be difficult to shed the pounds, especially as we get older, but most of the reasons for not following through on a healthy lifestyle, are largely due to motivational issues, rather than physical constraints.

ALWAYS CONSULT A DOCTOR BEFORE UNDERTAKING ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND DIETARY PLAN. THERE ARE SOME MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT CAUSE EXCESS WEIGHT, SO CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.

it is common knowledge,  that a mixture of good diet and regular exercise is required to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle, so we will be dealing with both in this article. I’m not going into the particulars about what foods to eat and not eat, and what exercises to undertake and what to avoid, in this article, it’s more about strategy, then execution.

Let’s look at some of the reasons and excuses for not sticking to a good diet and regular exercise routine and then what we can do about them. I have separated them out so that we can deal with them in turn, some of the points are repeated for both, where applicable. These are based on my experience,  you may find some of the points apply to you, and some may not. It is recommended that you make your  own list.

Self analysis

Not sticking to diet/eating plan

  • Giving in to a moment of weakness
  • Giving in to the urge/hunger
  • Inability to resist/delay (taste) gratification
  • Crave the taste/experience of (unhealthy/fatty food)
  • Think “will cut back tomorrow to make up”, but then don’t – (rationalise breaking the rules)
  • Procrastinating “I will start tomorrow/next week/new year”

What we can  do about it

  • Realise there is only ever this moment, so act NOW.
  • Don’t believe or fool yourself and your rationalisations – resist the temptation
  • Frame nice tasting food, negatively
  • Make healthy food more appealing and enjoyable
  • Fill yourself up on water (no calories), so you don’t feel hungry, sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger
  • Keep your mind busy, so you don’t think about food out of boredom
  • Avoid distractions and temptations altogether (no chocolates in cupboard)
  • Have an accountability buddy, or some mechanism for holding yourself to account
  • Set yourself a goal, that has no wriggle room and set a deadline to achieve it, hold yourself to account. So you will be embarrassed if you don’t achieve it
  • Set yourself an achievable target, that allows you to enjoy eating some treats (as part of the plan), then have zero tolerance for coming off plan. Mark X’s on a calendar each day you stick to your plan, don’t break the row of X’s
  • Make it part of your lifestyle, who you are, what you do. Make it a good habit. Once it becomes part of your routine, it will be easier to stick to.

Not exercising

  • Want to do something other than exercising, like watching TV, working on laptop.
  • Don’t want the discomfort of going outside, or having to pay and go to the gym, and missing out on doing more fun things.
  • Lack of energy willpower, can’t be bothered – lethargy.
  • Would rather be doing anything else – don’t enjoy exercising.
  • Procrastinating “I will start tomorrow/next week/new year”

What to do about it

  • Realise there is only ever this moment, so act NOW.
  • Try to undertake exercise that is fun to do – has a social element to it
  • Exercise in front of the TV, so you can do both
  • Remove the temptations or distractions, so you can’t do them anyway, even if you don’t exercise.
  • Do short bursts of high intensity, do them in advert break.
  • Have a accountability buddy, or exercise with one
  • Set yourself a goal, that has no wriggle room and set a deadline to achieve it, hold yourself to account. You will be embarrassed if you don’t achieve it
  • Don’t think about it, just set a routine and stick to it – make yourself do it, once it becomes a habit, it will get easier.
  • Set yourself an achievable target, that allows you to enjoy some treats or veto’s, then have zero tolerance for coming off plan. Mark X’s on a calendar each day you stick to your plan, don’t break the row of X’s
  • Make it part of your lifestyle, who you are, what you do

I have put down some of the things that go through my mind when I’m faced with the choice of either eating something I want to eat or eating healthy, and with regards to exercising or not. You should add your own excuses to this list as part of your self-awareness analysis.

Conclusion

First set yourself a GOAL, give yourself some room for TREATS, otherwise you will be miserable (thinking you are missing out too much) and will be unlikely to keep it up. Your goal has to be sustainable, and enjoyable, if possible. Some exercise is better than none.

Develop a PLAN OF ACTION to achieve your GOAL. Set to a timeline, with a deadline. In doing this, you have to tap into your SELF AWARENESS, and figure out why you’re not doing what you need to do, or find out why you’re doing things that are counter-productive to your goal. Try to manage your weaknesses. For example, If you can’t pull yourself away from the TV, stick a treadmill in front of it and do exercise while watching TV.

Then you have to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. There is no short-cut, or magic formula (be very, very careful about taking slimming aids and quick fixes, they can result in untold damage to your body). Stop making excuses and blaming other people or circumstances and the stresses of life, for not following your plan.

TAKE RIGHT ACTION. Those that take RIGHT ACTION have made it part of their routine. They JUST DO IT. They have found a way to JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN. It can be difficult to go against your bad habits, so either find some form of HACK to fool yourself into complying, or just make yourself do it.

Finally, be COMMITTED to your goal and plan of action, see it through to a successful conclusion.

Good luck

How To Lose That Belly Fat

Get Results: lose belly fat
Get Results: lose belly fat

When it comes to losing weight, many people’s focus is directed primarily on their wobbly belly fat and trying to squeeze in to that old pair of jeans still hanging in the wardrobe. Belly fat or “subcutaneous fat” to give it its technical name, is the loose fat we grab from our midriff when we are testing to see if we can pinch an inch. We loathe it predominantly because of its aesthetic appearance, particularly when we are fed the flawless hard bodies shown on magazine covers and mainstream media.

The more worrying “Visceral fat” which can be found around the organs like the liver, pancreas and intestines is much more dangerous for our health, but because it can’t be seen, is not very well known about. You would need to undertake an MRI scan to see it. Visceral fat tends to be the fat that appears first when you gain weight and thankfully is the first to lose when you lose weight.

Some of my friends who are trying to lose weight have asked about how best to lose inches from their waist in a spot reducing type of remedial action, particularly if a holiday deadline is fast approaching and they want to look as trim as possible.

Now I’ve always said this is difficult, even impossible to achieve, although the muscles in a particular area can be toned by doing specific exercise to that area. For the stomach, you would need to do sit-ups to tone those mid-section muscles. This might help in tightening the muscles and as a result cutting some of the inches, but this would have to be part of a wider strategy of consuming less calories through diet and aerobic exercise to burn additional calories.

Belly fat reduction study

I then noticed a recent study conducted by the BBC “Trust me I’m a doctor” team who recruited 2 doctors who are experts in the field, Fredrik Karpe, a professor of metabolic medicine from the University of Oxford, and Prof Dylan Thompson, from the University of Bath, along with 35 volunteers. The volunteers would take part in a number of tests to see which was more successful in losing belly fat and provided other health benefits.

Before the six week study began, each person underwent health parameter checks and measurements, including undertaking a DEXA scan which gives detailed information about how much fat each participant had and where it was distributed in the body, along with resting heart rate, blood glucose, blood lipids, weight, blood pressure and of course waistline measurements.

Prof Thompson then took on two groups for two types of exercises, while Prof Karpe took two groups for two dietary interventions for a six week test.

Group #1 – volunteers were told to eat as normal but told to be more active in their normal routine, increasing their step count for instance.

Group #2 – volunteers were told to do sit-ups, including six exercises three times a day, every day for six weeks.

Group #3 – volunteers were told to drink milk 3 times a day (1 litre in total) as it has been suggested that milk prevents the body absorbing fat, instead excreting it as waste when you go to the loo.

Group #4 – volunteers were told to reduce portion sizes and stop snacking in between meals. They were given coping strategies for dealing with hunger pangs and supported by a dietitian throughout the study period.

Results

At the end of the six weeks study all participants had their parameters tested again. The results were as follows:

Group 1 – who were more active. didn’t lose any fat but had greatly improved health measurements such as blood pressure and even blood glucose levels.

Group 2 – who did the sit-ups, didn’t lose weight or get any healthier but did lose 2 cm from their waistlines, which backs up my hypotheses that toning the muscles would impact waist size.

Group 3 – who underwent the milk test, didn’t lose weight or improve their health. However they didn’t gain weight either even though they had consumed an extra 400 calories a day from drinking the milk

Group 4 – who consumed smaller portion sizes and stopped snacking lost 35kg between them which was an average of 3.7kg each, over the six weeks. Their waistline also reduced by an average of 2 inches. The DEXA scan readings showed 5% less body fat and an impressive 14% reduction of the dangerous visceral fat inside the abdomen. This group lost overall body fat as well as abdominal fat. They also saw improvements in other health parameters. On the downside they also lost some muscle mass, due to muscle cannibalisation, which is common with weight loss.

Conclusion

So the BBC study provided a clear winner in group #4, who cut calories by reducing portion size and stopped snacking in between meals. So the lesson to learn is that if you want to lose that stubborn belly fat, cut your calories. You don’t have to go mad, just reduce portion sizes and keep away from snacking in between meals.

However to prevent muscle loss, which is an inevitable side-effect of dieting, undertake some muscle building or toning exercise in addition to your diet reduction plan.

If you want to tone your stomach muscles, which will help reduce your waistline, than exercising that region is the way to go, particularly using stomach crunches. To do effective stomach crunches…

  • Lie on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands on your thighs, across your chest or behind your ears.
  • Slowly curl up towards your knees until your shoulders are about three inches off the floor.
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and lower down slowly.

When doing crunches avoid…

  • Tucking your neck into your chest as you rise
  • Contracting your abs throughout the exercise
  • Yanking your head off the floor

Hope you found this article informative, please share it with your friends and family if you did. Also check out my Weight loss ultimate guide for more health information.

The Truth about Calories

Get Results: scales of calorie intake and burn
Get Results: scales of calorie intake and burn

Calories are units of energy, we are using the term for the purpose of this article to describe the amount of energy that we either consume in the food that we eat or burn off as we go about our daily routines. They are generally measured in kilocalories (Kcal), which are made up of 1000 small calories otherwise known as gram calories. check out a full explanation of what a calorie is on Wikipedia

It is important to maintain an healthy weight and we do this by maintaining a balance between the calories we eat and the calories we burn, in other words we need to consume only as many calories as we use up, and no more.

Consuming more calories that we burn off results in weight gain, consuming less calories than we burn off means we loose weight, but is dangerous long term because continually consuming less calories than we need will result in illness, and even death.

The difficulty we all struggle with is accurately knowing how many calories are contained in the food we eat and how many calories we are burning as we go about our lives, so that we can determine a good balance between the two.

Consuming Calories

The Food industry uses average values to determine what calories are contained in our food, these are:

  • 4 calories per gram of fat
  • 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates
  • 9 calories per gram of protein

Most processed foods contain nutritional information on the packaging regarding the contents of the food we buy and this gives us a better idea of what we are consuming. Below is a list of common foods and their calorie content to help you determine for yourself what is calorie dense and what is not. If you divide the calories figure by the serving size gram figure you will get the calories per gram figure which makes comparing much easier.

Food Serving size Calories Calories per g
Jacket potato 180g 245 1.3
Salad 100g 19 0.19
Chips 100g 253 2.53
Chicken salad sandwich 1 pack/195g 257 1.3
Garlic bread (low fat) 84g 94 1.12
Chicken tikka 150g 232 1.5
Naan bread 1/2 piece 269 na
Banana 150g 143 0.95
Grapes 50g 30 0.6
Big Mac 215g 492 2.3
Cheeseburger from Macdonalds 141g 379 2.7
Milk (semi skimmed) 30ml/1 fl oz 96 3.2
Cheddar cheese 40g 172 4.3
Eggs size 3 57g 84 1.5
Coffee 1 cup/220ml 15.4 0.07
Can of coke 330ml 139 0.4
Tea 1 mug/270 ml 29 0.1
Yoghurt strawberry 1 pot /200g 123 0.6
Cheese and onion crisps 1 bag /35g 184 5.3
Mars bar 65g 294 4.5
kit kat 2 finger bar / 21g 106 5.0
Chicken breast 200g 342 1.7
kabab 168g 429 2.5
Pork chops 1 oz /28g 73 2.6
Doughnut 49g 140 2.8
Pint of beer 1 pint (568ml) 182 0.3
Wine 1 glass/120ml 87 0.7
Vodka 40% alcohol 25 ml 55 2.2

 

I don’t think there are many surprises from these figures, fruit and vegetables contain less calories, diary products are very calorie dense as are meats and chocolates. I was initially a little shocked at the difference between beer and vodka, but soon realised that most of a pint of beer is water in reality, where vodka is much less diluted.

 

Burning Calories

We burn calories even if we lay in bed all day. This is our basal metabolic rate and are the calories we burn just to keep our bodily functions and organs going. You can work out your basal metabolic rate here.

So we have our basal metabolic rate as a starting point, then any movement, whether walking, doing house work, going to the gym, walking etc adds to the amount of calories that we burn.

We burn 60-90 calories per hour while resting, which is at one end of the spectrum, and upto 20 calories per minute doing intense exercise at the other end, with all other activities somewhere between these two.

Another factor which impacts the rate in which calories are burned, includes the size of a person, the bigger you are the more calories you will burn. Men tend to burn more calories than women do.

 

Striking a balance between calories in and calories out

Mind Games

Our minds can play tricks on us with regards to how hungry we feel. During an experiment conducted by the BBC who wanted to see how the labelling and presentation of food would affect how people would feel after consuming it. They separated twins into two groups one group was presented with a drink which was labelled as an indulgent drink containing 900 calories per bottle and was labelled to reflect this. The second group was presented with an healthy drink containing just 200 calories and labelled accordingly. The drink was in fact the same in both groups.

The results showed that when they thought it was an healthy/low calorie option they tended to feel hungry quicker, compared to when it was considered an indulgent, high calorie option. The findings suggested that our minds affect how we interpret physical feelings of hunger.

Substituting high calories with lower calorie options

One way of lowering our calorie intake is by replacing high calorie foods with lower calorie substitutes. This can be a more palatable option than simply cutting down on the amount we eat or simply cutting out certain high calorie meals altogether. For instance if you’re making bangers and mash use double cream instead of butter, use parsnips and swedes to replace some of the potato.

Other tactics

If you’re making Steak and chips, shake the oils from the chips more vigorously, lower the portion size of the chips (portion control), cook the steak for less time which makes the steak harder to digest and thus uses more calories during the digestive process.

We only absorb half of the calories from foods rich in fibre, the rest passes through our system, undigested.

Feeling fuller for longer

Some fibre absorbs water in our stomach, and this helps make us feel fuller for longer. Protein also makes you feel fuller for longer. Consume more liquid type foods such as soups which tend to make us feel fuller. Drink more water, this also aids the feeling of being full.

The bottom line to weight loss is to burn more and eat less calories, how you go about this is entirely up to you, it’s about making lots of little changes in diet and activity levels so you can tip the balance in your favour.

Check out our Ultimate Weight loss guide below for more tips on losing those extra pounds.

Get Results: Ultimate Weight Loss Guide
Get Results: Ultimate Weight Loss Guide
Get Results: Ultimate Marketing Guide
Get Results: Ultimate Marketing Guide
Get Results: Ultimate Business Guide
Get Results: Ultimate Business Guide

Pedometer Apps – Measuring Your Fitness Progress

Get Results: pedometer screen shot
Get Results: Pedometer screen shot

A great way to monitor your walking or running progress it to use a Pedometer. Even better, use a Pedometer App on your phone so you have it on you all the time. A great FREE solution is the Pedometer Android App by Tayutau which can be found on Google play here.

You can easily share screenshots like the one above on social media with a couple of clicks.

A useful added feature is the ability to look at daily, weekly and monthly charts.

Having the Pedometer App running in the background, will drain your battery quicker than normal, but is worth having an insight into how many steps you actually take in a day.

 

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculations

Get Results: BMR men calculation
Get Results: BMR men calculation
Get Results: BMR women calculation
Get Results: BMR women calculation

The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) calculations above will give you the minimum number of calories you body needs during inactivity, just to keep your organs running. the equation takes into account weight, height and age and is different for men and women.

You should use your BMR figure to establish the minimum number of calories your body will use in any given day, even if you do no exercise. It will allow you to gauge your calorie intake accordingly. If your BMR comes out at say 2500, then you know that to lose weight you would need to keep your calorie intake under this figure. If you do exercise that burns an additional 300 calories than the number of calories burned would be 2500 + 300 = 2800 calories. If your intake through food was 2300, you would have a deficit between calories taken in, and burned of 500 calories. If you did this consistently for one week you would lose approx 1 pound in weight.

Get Results: BMR calculation
Get Results: BMR calculation
Get Results: weight and height converter
Get Results: weight and height converter

 

Get Results: 500 calories for web
Get Results: 500 calories per day equals 1LB of fat per week