I could fill this article with 50,000 words on what to eat and what not to eat but nobody would read it. Therefore I’m going to break it down into smaller chapters. This is the (former) fat man’s guide on how to lose weight.
This is by no means a guide that works for everyone. It should work for most people because it’s common sense information that all health professionals should recommend. So it’s not a hidden secret, many people around the world are doing what I did. I am not here to tell you what to do, what to eat or when to exercise etcetera; I’m telling you what I’ve done and what works for me.
Making small gradual changes to your diet is the healthiest and safest way to lose weight. Making sudden changes is dangerous for many reasons. Avoid crash diets completely!
One of the things I did at the start of my fitness journey was cut out foods that are high in calories, salt, sugar and fat. I haven’t completely left out these kinds of foods, I just eat less of it. You see, “gradual” is the key word here. If you completely change everything you eat, you’ll end up with all kinds of problems. Firstly, you’ll most likely end up on the toilet quite a lot (I don’t need to say any more about that one!) You will also lose the motivation to stay on your weight loss journey when you suddenly realise that you’re not losing the weight you had hoped for. Some long-term health problems could also occur and cause great pain, therefore you should ensure any changes to your diet are gradual.
I swapped a “fry-up” breakfast a few times a week for cereal (and sometimes meal-replacement bars!) There’s nothing wrong with good old scrambled eggs though is there, and that also works for me, but try cereal also. I never ate cereal as a child, so naturally, I didn’t eat any of it in my adult life either until I started on my fitness journey.
Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed if you can, but avoid sugar-coated breakfast cereals. You’d be amazed by how many so-called “healthy” breakfast cereals are extremely sugary. Another thing to watch out for is the “protein” branded breakfasts that claim to be high in protein. For example, there’s ‘Weetabix Protein’ as well as your regular Weetabix. You’d probably be surprised to hear about how little protein there is in some of these products.
I read on a blog somewhere that two normal Weetabix blocks give you a total of 4.5g of protein. Their protein branded version contains 7.6g, hardly anything to get excited about. To put things into context here, one egg gives you around 8.3g of protein and a whey protein shake can provide 25g of protein, so these re branded cereals aren’t anything special at all are they.
Let’s Have a Brew
Being all British ‘n’ that, I love a good cup of tea in the morning, and now instead of having two sugars and then down to one, I’m now using one sweetener. I think pretty soon, I’ll be off all sweeteners and be sugar-free, but again this is about doing things gradually.
I started drinking more water a few months back also. I’ve gone from drinking up to ten cups of tea a day to drinking just 2 or 3 cups in the evening and replacing my daytime teas with spring water. I no longer touch fizzy drinks either like Pepsi or Coke! I try to ensure I have at least 8 glasses of water a day, one of which is around an hour before meal times. This is because it makes me feel bloated which means I eat less!
Keep a close eye on those portion sizes. You’ll notice the inches dropping off your waist if you reduce your portion sizes by at least 30% than when you were a “big eater”.
Five a Day
Let’s talk about fruit and veg also… don’t forget your five a day. Try purchasing your fruit and veg loose rather than pre-packaged up as the supermarkets will charge more for that as they’re in bulk (even though they will be shouting about the savings you’re making!)
If you’ve looked in the fridge and noticed that some of your foods are about to go out of date, then why not cook yourself a soup or casserole with those ingredients. If you make too much, then freeze it and eat another day. It’s cost-effective, tasty and healthy.
Visit supermarkets shortly before closing time, because you’ll find that they reduce products down to a penny or so. You won’t believe how many times I’ve picked up bread for 5p that should be £1, and it’s only been reduced because it’s about to go out of date… yet there’s nothing wrong with it. If you don’t buy it, it goes in a bin round the back of the store. Wastage!
Another tip is to avoid ready-meals. Yes, they’re convenient and are great for people with busy lives who have no time to cook. But come on now, you do have time to cook! You’ve found the time to read this blog, and let’s face it eating is more important than reading this. It’s about being better at time management and motivating yourself to cook. It’s cheaper to make your own meal rather than buy ready-meals and no doubt they’ll taste better also… unless you’re a horrific cook, in which case yeah go buy some ready-meals actually.
One thing I have done during this weight-loss journey is swap white breads for wholegrain. I also stopped eating white rice. I recommend that you swap your morning and afternoon biscuit/cookie for a piece of fruit. A piece of fruit costs a lot less than a chocolate bar remember!
Remember this, it was only last summer that I was eating junk food every day, lacked any kind of exercise, had never eaten salad or cereal and certainly never bothered drinking water. I couldn’t be bothered peeling an orange and always claimed that I didn’t have time to cook. I wrote the excuse book.
But now, I exercise 4 or 5 times a week, eat reasonably well and have lost over 40 pounds of fat in 8 months. Oh let’s not forget about the muscle I’ve gained. I didn’t do this by joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer or going on a crash diet. I did it all myself, and you can also.
No gyms. No diets. No personal trainer. No excuses. Motivation is all that is needed.
Look out for some more tips next week including smoothie recipes. In the meantime… follow my fitness journey here.