Well, I thought it would be prudent to show you how I got on over my two week Christmas holiday. I was actually quite shocked when I got back:

So what happened?

Well, I put on 4.5Kgs in two weeks, that’s what happened. That’s 10lbs, which is over two thirds of a pound a day!

Now, I knew I would put on weight. The holiday consisted of starting my first beer, a Piton Lager, probably sometime around 11am and not stopping until I went to bed. Breakfast was a big fry up, lunch always involved copious amounts of bread and butter, and dinner was always followed by dessert. In between meals there was an abundance of crisps, nuts, more beer, chocolate bars… you name it, it was a no holds barred eat fest that Adam Richman would have been proud of.Adam Richman and Food Freaks Grilled Cheese Truck at Brooklyn´s Bounty Wine & Food Fest

Basically, for a two week period I reverted back to eating exactly how I used to eat before I started on my weight loss journey. I did this for two reasons. Firstly, I was on holiday and figured that I would allow myself to eat and drink anything I fancied, whenever I fancied, safe in the knowledge that any weight I may put on, I’d be able to lose pretty quickly again after my holiday. Secondly, I wanted to see how it would make me feel to go back to my old ways.

I have to say, half way through the second week I was already pretty sick of it. I suffered from digestion problems and the inevitable unpleasant side effects that I don’t have to spell out here. I began feeling more and more lethargic and by the end of the two weeks found myself gravitating towards the chicken salads and away from the  steak and fries.

By the time I got back I was more than ready to get back to my now ‘normal’ lifestyle of good food and moderate exercise.

I was still really surprised by how much I had gained though and then I realised something. When I was 85Kg I actually needed more calories per day just to stay alive. Now I was only 67.5Kgs I needed fewer calories per day anyway, so by resorting to eating like I used to do, I was massively over eating. So not only was I eating bad food, I was eating far too much of it.

So that’s a lesson learned there.

I can’t see myself doing that again. As you can see, apart from a blip last weekend when I had friends down and we had a heavy drinking weekend, the weight has been falling off pretty fast just by reverting back to my normal routine. But I think for my next holiday, whilst I will certainly eat and drink some bad stuff, I won’t go overboard like that again. It’s not even fun.

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Successful Weight Loss

January 5, 2012

Happy New Year!

I’ve had a hectic few weeks going off to St Lucia for my Christmas vacation so I haven’t had a chance to update the site for a while.

So I thought it was time to share with you where I had got to just before Christmas.

Check this out:

Just to confirm, that’s 149lbs or 10st 9lbs!

Remember I started at 13st 5lbs (187lbs, 85kgs) in January 2011 so over the course of a year I’ve lost 2st 10lbs (38lbs,17.5kg).

That might not sound like a huge amount but as a percentage of my initial body weight it’s actually over 20%! And I’ve done it whilst also increasing my muscle mass which weighs more than fat, so my overall fat has gone down massively.

I’ve done this without dieting, without joining a gym and without giving up anything I like. I’ve not used pills, not been to dieting groups, and I’ve never, ever gone hungry.

What I have done, however, is make regular tiny changes to my everyday habits. I’ve set myself a realistic LONG TERM goal, and I’ve allowed myself to lose weight easily and naturally without putting pressure on myself which inevitably has set me up to fail in the past.

I’ve done things backwards to how the TV shows do it. None of this diving in to strict diets and four hour a day exercise regimes which make you lose a lot of weight in the beginning and then leaves you no way of stepping it up when you start to plateau or get bored.

I started gradually, cutting down on drinking so much, swapping fries for boiled potatoes once in a while, eating the odd apple here and there instead of a chocolate bar. I started exercising just for a few minutes (literally!) a day. Not so much that I would resist doing it, or find an excuse not to do it.

Gradually, week by week, I found myself exercising a little more each day (still not much though, a year later and I still only do 15-20 minutes a day). I found myself eating more healthy meals than unhealthy ones, and I drink alcohol mainly only on weekends these days instead of every day.

And none of it is forced. I want to do it. And as my weight has been falling off it’s encouraged me to keep going.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t have blow outs. On every vacation last year I put weight back on. Mainly due to drinking everyday, doing no exercise at all, and eating like a pig. Good fun but by the end of the vacation I always find myself ready to eat healthy again (especially when I step on the scales and realise how much I’ve put on). But I don’t feel bad about it, I don’t scold myself for it. I enjoy the blow outs knowing full well that it’ll all come off again as soon as I get back to my normal routine.

Want to see what I look like now?

Check this out:

CLICK HERE

Not bad, eh? But it doesn’t stop here. I’ve still got a bit of flab around the torso and I’ve still promised myself a 6 pack. How about I get that done by my summer holiday? It’s possible to get it done in a couple of months but that would require strict diet and plenty of exercise and remember, that’s not my style. I’m going to get it the easy way, the lazy way. Watch this space!

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Here’s a useful article from the India Times about popular weight loss myths and the truth, or not, behind them.

From controlling your weight by going on a detox diet to using sauna belt waist slimming machines, endless tricks guarantee weight loss.

But are they effective? Which one’s the best and which ones should you trash? Tough to draw a thin line between fact vs. fiction? Worry not! Today, we have compiled a list of top 10 diet and fitness myth busters to give your weight management plans that extra edge. Do your friends a favour and click that share button, now…Dieting

Myth #1: Munching on chips at night is unhealthier than munching on chips in the day time. Truth: The basic rule of eating is – that eating anything up and above your caloric requirement (which is based on your current age, weight and body type) will lead to fat gain and hence, weight gain. Nutritionists tell you to keep away from food at night because that’s when your body temperature tends to dip (due to lack of activity), hence your body requires little food at night in order to function properly. Besides, sleeping right after eating doesn’t work well for digestion since your body, at rest, is not active enough.

Myth #2: The weighing scale is my ultimate fitness meter. Truth: No! This is hardly the case. The weighing scale is important as far as the approximation of your body weight is concerned. Relying on a weighing scale to judge whether you’re ‘fit’ or ‘fat’, is like judging a book by its cover. Body weight is a sum total of your body fat and lean body mass, which includes muscles. In order to understand your exact fat mass, you must understand the composition of your body.

Myth #3: A gluten-free diet is not healthy. Truth: A gluten-free diet limits our choices to a great extent as per variety of food intake. If not careful, it leaves a person suffering from many nutritional deficiencies. Thus it is important to plan a gluten-free diet in such a way that the maximum number of variety enters one’s menu while limiting or canceling out gluten intake. One must make sure to have a lot of fruits and salads as these keep the intestines healthy. Remember that even after following such a diet one can live a healthy and carefree life and enjoy it to the fullest.

Myth #4: I can lose weight by following the celebrity lemon diet. Truth: People who have observed the diet tend to swear by it as it leads to instant weight loss, fewer junk food cravings and glowing skin (we seriously doubt this skin glow). The diet comes with side effects too. One may experience recurring headaches as the extreme fasting takes a toll on the body. And in order to maintain the lost weight, one has to continue measuring their calorie intake closely. Regular exercise becomes a must in order to maintain the lost water weight. Also, one needs to check their salt intake as high levels of sodium, if consumed after following this diet, can lead to instant weight gain.

Myth #5: Potatoes are the biggest diet disasters. Truth: Unlike the general perception of high glycemic index food, potatoes have a medium glycemic index and they do not raise the blood sugar levels to crazy. Their glycemic index is a decent 56. However, the forms in which they are consumed make them fattening such as deep fried, shallow fried and so on. The moderate amount recommended is 1 medium-sized potato a day. 1 large potato (260gms) will have 278 calories and 63 grams i.e. 21% of carbohydrate. Calories from potatoes result in weight gain only if taken regularly in large amounts.

Myth #6: A detox diet is the ultimate diet plan for me. Truth: If you have had repeated night outs week after week or if you are bored of eating too much junk food and artificial additives, and losing weight is on your mind, then a well-balanced ‘detox’ diet might do the trick for you. But keep in mind, that by ‘well-balanced detox diet’ we do not mean the meagre, juice, master cleanse, water etc kind of debilitating detox diets. Here we’re talking about a diet that is balanced in terms of all essential food groups, devoid of processed foods that are high in unnecessary sugar and transfats, and is well portioned and distributed through the day.

Myth #7: Bananas can never be a part of healthy weight loss. Truth: Bananas are part of a healthy diet, and should also be part of a fat loss diet, however no food by itself helps one to lose weight. To lose weight one has to create a caloric deficit i.e to burn more calories than what they consume in a day. For most cases a caloric deficit of 10-15% works best and ones that create a greater caloric deficit generally causes more muscle loss rather than fat loss.

Myth #8: Does more protein build more muscle? Truth. Health experts say that as far as body building is concerned, protein recommendations for strength training are 1.2 to 1.4 for increasing strength and 1.5 to 1.7 for muscle hypertrophy. Therefore, while extra protein might work for those exercising to optimal levels, it won’t do much for those involved in low to moderate intensity workouts and will lead to weight gain.

Myth #9: Warm ups and cool downs are unnecessary. Truth: Without warming up you are pretty much asking your body to work before the extra oxygen and blood flow reaches the muscles, thus increasing the danger of muscle injury. Spending 5 to 10 minutes on a good warm up helps raise your body temperature from inside out – something your muscles need for adequate performance. Cool downs work in a similar manner, when it comes to taking care to avoid workout injuries. If you skip cool downs, you put your muscles at risk of soreness as you haven’t flushed the lactic acid out of your system. It helps in lowering your heart rate back to normal and keeps you energised all day long.

Myth #10: It is safe to take nutritional supplements if I want to lose weight? Truth: It is not recommended to take nutritional supplements to lose weight. Firstly most weight losssupplements work through increasing the frequency of our bowel movements which destroys our natural bowel movement and causes dehydration and many nutritional deficiencies as well. Secondly, some supplements work through eliminating all fat in our diet by excreting it in our feces and this is not recommended as we lose many fatty acids which are essential for our good health.

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Here’s a good article from New Zealand with some common sense and down to earth advice:

The images taunt us from women’s mags, TV, the movies: svelte Hollywood celebs posing in impossibly tight dresses, not a bra-strap bulge, muffin or paunch in sight. How do they do it? Is it the cabbage-soup diet, lemon detox, high protein, low carb or simply not eating?

EXPANDVictoria Beckham´s Catwalk

Actress Nicole Richie is a size-zero mum. Less than eight weeks after giving birth, Victoria Beckham squeezed back into a pair of size-zero skinny pants and tottered off on skyscraper heels to shop in Los Angeles.

If Victoria has a secret, she’s not telling. Neither are Nicole Richie or Katie Holmes, nor any of the other celebs who appear to pop back to size zero days after giving birth. In Hollywood, surplus fat is about as welcome as a cockroach in a cupcake.

In the real world, plenty of mortals struggle with weight gain and everyone has their pet weight-loss method, from forking out for pricey gym memberships or signing up with a diet company to swilling down litres of water, swapping butter for olive oil or eating a big bowl of cereal for breakfast instead of eggs.

But Auckland nutritionist MaryRose Spence, the author of Size Does Matter, says many people’s weight-loss efforts are derailed by common myths. People keep hearing the same old messages about weight loss and, in some cases, they are the wrong messages.

“People think food for general healthy eating is the same as food for weight loss, and it’s not.”

With more than 65 per cent of New Zealanders overweight or obese, the messages need to change, she says.

Breakfast

People trying to lose weight may be doing themselves a disservice by starting the day with breakfast cereal. Because cereal is a carbohydrate, it does not give lasting energy, Spence says, prompting snacking later, particularly for people with a high muscle mass who process carbohydrates quickly. Toasted muesli is high in sugar and oils and loaded with kilojoules.

Most cereals are promoted in a way that makes people think they are the perfect food, she says.

“They can be high in fibre and low in fat, but do they keep you feeling full for long enough?”

Spence recommends adding protein, such as baked beans or eggs, to the first meal of the day. “You will get much better appetite satisfaction if you include protein.”

And everyone should eat breakfast. “If you wake up and you are not hungry, you have eaten too much from 4pm the day before.”

Water

Most people should drink 1.5 litres of water a day minimum during summer and a litre during winter, Spence says. “But over-drinking won’t do you any good. It just results in additional trips to the toilet, and possibly a loss of water-soluble vitamins.”

AUT University Professor Elaine Rush agrees there is evidence of people drinking too much water. “Advertising does work. There are all the myths that go with bottled water.” Rush says people can gauge whether they’re drinking enough fluid by the colour of their urine.

Carbohydrates and protein

Restricting carbohydrates in meals is not sustainable, Spence says. “There are people who never have potato at night but you find the meat portion just gets a bit bigger, and that actually contains more calories.”

Anyone who drops carbohydrates from two meals a day will notice they are tired by the end of a week on the diet, she says. “It doesn’t meet enough needs nutritionally.”

While eating more protein is good, Spence says recent studies show a small increase in the amount of protein noticeably reduces the number of calories eaten overall, but too much protein quickly leads to weight gain.

A good rule is to eat half a plate of vegetables, a quarter of carbohydrates and a quarter of protein, says Rush. Protein shakes and meal replacements also get the thumbs down. “There’s a strong relationship between chewing your food and increased appetite satisfaction,” Spence says.

Rush says eating plans should be about quality of life. “It doesn’t matter how good the quality of the petrol you put in the tank is, it’s getting it away from the kerb that matters. You need to be able to function.”

The gym

Slogging away for hours at the gym is unlikely to make a lot of difference to weight-loss efforts, Spence says.

“You can do a lot of exercise, but unless you get the food right, nothing will happen.” Once people are carrying extra body fat, exercise is not as effective as many think. Ideally, people should go for a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day.

“Any longer than 35 minutes a day may just make you hungry.”

Dr Geraldine Poynter, who refers clients to Spence, says people find the idea of a half-hour walk more palatable. “A short, brisk walk is so achievable.”

Good fats

In terms of weight loss, it doesn’t matter if they are “good” or “bad” fats – it’s all bad if you eat too much.

Says Spence: “When you look at fresh salmon, seeds, avocado, overweight people think this is good for them but they are loaded with calories.” Poynter says the information she learned from Spence was a surprise.

“I thought we were meant to have a lot of Omega-3, so I was eating salmon. She says it is better to eat canned salmon because it is not so fatty. At medical school we got so little nutrition information.”

Low GI

The glycaemic index has been a buzzword in weight loss in recent years, as it indicates how long it takes food to be broken down and start affecting blood sugar levels.

But Spence warns that people should not think that a low-GI diet, said to make you feel full longer, is a fast track to weight loss.

“There is certainly no harm in choosing low-glycaemic index foods. However, they are not a strong factor in successful weight loss.”

People still need to ensure they eat appropriate portion sizes. While low-GI food might give a more sustained release of energy throughout the day, it can be calorie-dense.

Rush says: “Usually things with low GI are good for you because they contain things such as fibre, but it depends on the combination they are eaten in.”

One size does not fit all

People who are serious about weight loss should find out exactly how much body fat and muscle mass they are carrying. “Find out the truth about who you are feeding.” Spence uses a high-tech machine to assess muscle and fat mass, and metabolic rate to assess dietary needs. Versions of the machine are available at chemists.

No two bodies are the same – even two men of the same height and weight can be different, she says. Put an All Black and an overweight man on the same diet and one will lose weight and the other will gain.

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