I’m not a qualified dietitian but as part of my ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) degree I did a unit on obesity. I watch a lot of programmes about health and exercise.
The main thing is to eat less. Exercise is so important but it’s pointless if you don’t change your eating habits. People overestimate the power of exercise and underestimate how much food they are actually eating. I did this. I have been going to the gym for years. It’s only recently that I have seen proper results. Now, I have never been fat but I was a TOFI, Thin Outside Fat Inside. I must have had a lot of visceral fat. Why? Because I ate too much. When I finished uni I was about 48kg and 5ft 5in. I started work and was introduced to the staff restaurant. I also went to the gym. My weight went up to a high of 57kg. Some of it muscle and such, a lot of it fat. I had a 28in waist and my abdomen went from flat to convex, a bit. I became a little appley. There are apples shaped people and pear shaped people. Apples bulge round the abdomen/waist. Pears are large on the hips. On those body composition scanners I was about 22% fat. I should have been in the teens.
In the obesity unit of my degree course one contributor was obese but then lost weight and became a weight lifter. She was muscly and trim. She said that all those strongmen that were massive didn’t need to be that way. They ate too much. I took this to heart and I gradually reduced my calorie intake. I was doing all this gym work and thought I could eat so much food. At home I decreased the amount of potato products I ate and eventually stopped eating them. At work it was the same, I rarely eat chips and such. I also don’t eat much in the way of pasta and I don’t have rice at home or when I’m out. I eat vegetables, meat, fish and homemade bread. Basically a lot less in the way of carbs.
You need to think about your size and how much you need to eat. The recommended calorie allowance is an average. I don’t need the same food as a 6ft man. I don’t need 2500 calories. The amount of food I need is quite small, even with gymming. So portion control and calories are so important. As a test, weigh your usual portion of something such as cereal or chips then weigh out the recommended portion on the pack. Or see how many calories it says there are per unit or given weight then think how much you are eating in your usual portion. I think, “I need to eat this much food during the day and everything counts towards that.” It’s not a case of breakfast, lunch and tea then snacks on top of that. It’s everything. If I eat snacks and goodies then I reduce what I eat later to keep within my allowance. So to the next point.
Crippled by convention. This is something I noticed and had to fight against myself. People feel they need to eat this with this and that. So I would have a meal of some carb’, veg and meat then dessert on top. I would have chips with everything. I would have rice with curry. I would forego veg for the carbs. I had to change how I ate. I stopped having chips or rice and instead had vegetables. Curry and veg, chilli and veg etc. I might just have the bread such as Naan or garlic bread. Sometimes I just have whatever veg was on offer and some sauce. I would also say I’ll just have that much or, “that’s enough,” as the food gets piled on. If the portions are huge I’d eat half for lunch and save half for the evening. So I’m not eating that much during the day.
All about the dessert. I’ve tailored my diet to allow me to eat dessert. It’s my only real joy. The tiny mains plus the dessert have less calories than most people eat just for their mains. My original problem, and many people’s problem, was that I would eat a normal size main meal then have dessert on top of that. Also I would eat chocolate bars such as Snickers, Double Deckers and Boosts. I cut those out in favour of proper, refined desserts. I reduced “normal” food intake in order to eat dessert and not be over my calorie allowance. A sandwich and dessert. Some veg then dessert. Sometimes I go out and just have dessert. One, two, three even four desserts. Then I would not eat the rest of the day. Check out my other post on here for the evidence.
Exercise. As I said it’s secondary to calorie intake. The type of activity is important. The gym instructor and various t.v. people said the key is to put on muscle. I did mainly aerobics such as the cross trainer, rower and treadmill. I changed to more weights and resistance.
The result. My body gradually changed shape. I was slimming down and putting on muscle but I wasn’t really losing weight that fast. I had a lot fat to lose and it was going at a similar rate to the muscle gain so it seemed like nothing was happening. Then I got to a point when the loss did become obvious. My love handles were going. They weren’t being loved anyway. My abdomen became flatter and shaped. I don’t have a six pack. I eventually got down to about 52kg. I go up to 53.5 and back down again. I hope that I’m putting on muscle. I don’t know how much fat I lost, it must have been several kilos. I am avoiding going on one of those scanners.
This isn’t a diet. Diets don’t work! This is a lifestyle change. In fact it’s going back to how I used to be. How often have you seen people do some stupid fad diet and lose x amount of weight and then just go back to the way they ate before? The weight all goes back on and often a little, or a lot, more. If they went to a different way of eating after the diet then they might keep the weight off.
It’s hard work. It takes a lot of thought if like me you need to plan everything to serve a purpose, that purpose being eating dessert and getting trim. It takes a lot of self control. There are a lot of feelings of loss and missing out. It’s all for dessert so it’s worth it.
When you see the results it’s amazing and pushes you on.
Some people say you shouldn’t calorie count but you do need to calorie count. You need to be aware of what you eat and its energy content and how much of it you eat.
Gradually eat less over a few weeks. Don’t slash it drastically in one go.
Reduce/stop drinking fruit juice. Reduce/stop drinking fizzy drinks. Drink just water.
Don’t do any fad diets or hipster nonsense. No juicing, no gluten free, no smoothies, no bulletproof coffee, no superfoods, no cutting food groups, no Atkins, Dukan or any other bullshit diets.
Eat a varied diet but not much of it because you are probably eating more than you need anyway.
Don’t eat so little that your body and mind stop functioning properly. When I was young I really under-ate and it seriously affected my mental and physical performance.
As I changed I found I became full more quickly. Annoying because I had to stop eating.
This all worked for me. I hope it gives you ideas.