Making progress...

The Food Forum's Evil Twin. Trying to lose weight or get in shape? Tips, encouragement, status reports, and so forth go here.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, we are not health professionals. Take advice with salt.

Moderators: Mighty Jalapeno, Moderators General, Prelates

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:58 pm UTC

Hello all. I've lurked these forums a fair bit, so thought I'd share my experiences and questions about getting a bit healthier. I've given as much general information as I could think of about my current activities, as well as some goals.

Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 180-185 lbs
Age: 24

General Activity Levels:
My job is entirely desk-based (computational chemistry PhD) and I commute by train, so the majority of my daily activity comes from the 15 minute walk to/from the station, plus any wandering around I do. Over the weekend, I tend to be slightly more active on average, but it's not guaranteed (depends on weather, girlfriends work shifts, etc.)

Planned Exercise:
I try to go to the gym (with a friend) 3 times per week, for around 45 mins per session. On average this tends to actually be closer to twice per week when work commitments, holidays and illness are included. A typical gym session includes 20 minutes of cardio (mostly cross-trainer, but with some treadmill recently), followed by a range of strength training sets - I tend to use the machines, as free weights are generally busier. I noticed recently I've reached a plateau in my weight settings, so I've started stepping up those. Me and the friend have been going to the gym following this pattern for close to 2 years now, and will continue to do so for the next 2, so I've got plenty of time to set and achieve reasonable goals.

Diet:
Very mixed - I live with my girlfriend and we usually have a reasonable diet, but with the occasional binge (the Dominos pizza we just ate, for example... but that's because our oven is broken :wink: ) Portion sizes were a problem back during undergrad when I lived with other guys, but that seems not to be such a problem now. At my least healthy stage ~2 years ago, I was drinking far too much soda (and beer) and eating a lot of junk, and consequently got to a point where I was overweight and showing it. I've managed to cut back on the junk food snacks for the most part, and switched mainly to sugar-free soft drinks. My next hurdle seems to be kicking my energy drink habit - I go through 3-6 of these per week. The sugar-free variety tastes like crap, and I'm struggling to shake the caffeine/sugar cravings.

Breakfast tends to be fairly healthy, consisting of cereal with no milk (weird, I know) or muesli. Lunch at weekends varies a lot, during the week it tends to be whatever I buy (BLT sandwich, spicy pork curry, falafel wrap are fair examples). I have yet to come up with a make-at-home lunch which is reasonably priced, easy to make, and most importantly of all, still appetising by lunchtime after making it that morning. Dinner tends to be something like curry, pasta, beef stew - the vegetable/protein contents and calorie count vary.

Progress so far:
I've seen a definite improvement over the 2 years since starting going to the gym, both in my fitness levels and lack of waistline blubber. It's definitely a cyclic process - going to the gym made me feel a bit healthier, making me more conscious of my eating habits, making me healthier, making me feel that the gym was worth the time, so I kept it up...and so on. Making the gym a habit was the hardest part, which was made a lot easier by having a friend to go with who was in basically the same position.

Goals:
Losing fat. The main problem I'm having with this one so far is consistency - the fat tends to come off reasonably easily at first when I'm in a period of regular gym sessions, but it promptly comes back whenever I have to have a break. I either need to get to a higher level of baseline activity, or improve my diet, but preferably both. Cutting out the last few sugary drinks should help a bit, but other than that it'll probably have to be my breakfast/lunch which changes, as meals in the evening have to be something my girlfriend will eat, and she's a much fussier eater than me. I have no idea how to improve my regular activity levels, as I'm out of the house 9am-8pm each day for work and commuting already.

Steadily improving cardio fitness and strength. I'd say I'm at a reasonable level in both areas, but have read that training them together (as I do at the moment) tends to be counter-productive. Any comments on maintaining a balance, without too much wasted effort?

Vanity muscle improvements :P Having abs and generally more well-defined muscles would be nice, but I'm not sure about how that sort of training would fit in with my usual gym plans.

Thoughts:
I have no idea how useful special fitness food/drinks (weight loss pills, protein drinks and the like) are. The main reason I haven't tried weight loss pills (even the ones from a "reputable" seller, such as these) is simply that I'm sceptical as to their efficacy. The protein drinks seem to be backed up by plenty of user experiences here and elsewhere, but I'm concerned about how the quantity taken is balanced against the excercise done to avoid unwanted weight loss (would it always just be muscle mass, or is fat build-up likely?)

I always struggle to come up with a diet I can stick to which supports weight loss training - this is the area I'd most like help with. I read mixed messages about the best number of meals per day, but honestly would struggle to go for more than 4, including dinner as the most substantial portion.

Any comments you guys have would be appreciated. Next time I go to the gym I'll try to keep track of my exact activities, and will probably keep a record here to encourage myself not to stagnate again.
Last edited by m4d4sb34ns on Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
philsov
Not a fan of Diane Kruger
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:58 pm UTC
Location: Texas

Re: Managing a Consistent Excercise Plan & Diet

Postby philsov » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:05 pm UTC

Any comments on maintaining a balance, without too much wasted effort?


If it's just cardiovascular capacity and gaining muscle, the simple answer is to do both (preferably not back to back, either alternate days or go evening/morning) and just eat more. The impass is that you want to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, which is usually something only novices can do -- and if you've been gymming it up for 2 years, you're probably out of the novice rankings. You'll probably see better results over two years if you eat at excess and then shift gears to a deficit.

I have no idea how useful special fitness food/drinks (weight loss pills, protein drinks and the like) are. The main reason I haven't tried weight loss pills (even the ones from a "reputable" seller, such as these) is simply that I'm sceptical as to their efficacy. The protein drinks seem to be backed up by plenty of user experiences here and elsewhere, but I'm concerned about how the quantity taken is balanced against the excercise done to avoid unwanted weight loss (would it always just be muscle mass, or is fat build-up likely?)

I always struggle to come up with a diet I can stick to which supports weight loss training - this is the area I'd most like help with. I read mixed messages about the best number of meals per day, but honestly would struggle to go for more than 4, including dinner as the most substantial portion.


Most weight loss pills are the equivalent of caffeine and sawdust. Caffeine is great as a weight loss aid, though -- it is an appetite suppressant, will give you energy to prevent feeling sluggish, and will (very mildly) boost your metabolism (less than a quarter pound of fat a week, max, all things being equal). But it is just an aid and nothing more, and most marketed diet pills are just pure placebo effect. Following your link these pills contain... no caffeine, but are pretty much Safflower Oil / CLA tablets. As per wikipedia there's some mixed results on the stuff (and the best boast is still 1 lb of fat per 5 weeks), so I wouldn't spend a pound (hehe) on em.

Protein drinks are another story. Rather, protein powder. Protein drinks a la Muscle Milk I find to be overpriced and less effective than whey/casein powder + milk. Whey/casein specifically is a milk byproduct, much like butter or cheese. It's different than protein from meat/nuts/beans/etc in that it enters the bloodstream quicker, but if you're eating protein throughout the day (goal for most people in yours and my situation is 1g per lb LBM), it's not necessary. It's supplemental to real food, and in many angles not that different from real food. Sometimes I just feel like a sweet drink instead of a can of tuna.

Caloric excess will lead to mass gain. Whether its fat or muscle depends on how much of an excess it is and if your muscles are being fatigued through resistance training. Protein is the least likely macronutrient to turn into fat, but still if you down gallons on protein shakes, you will become fatter.

As far as I know, meal timing doesn't mean squat, so do what works for you regarding timing. Personally I have 4 "meals" a day with a snack or two strewn about. That is, breakfast, lunch, home-from-work Dinner 1, and then late-evening-home-from-exercise Dinner 2.

imo: Pick a scheme that works for you, set a per-meal cap/goal, and then eat whenever adds up to that many calories in that sitting. Get in 1g protein per lb LBM (2g per kg) and minimize the amount of simple sugars (yes, even from fruit). It's basic but it works.
The time and seasons go on, but all the rhymes and reasons are wrong
I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Managing a Consistent Excercise Plan & Diet

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:48 am UTC

Interesting, thanks. I'm leaving off the protein drinks for now, but may give them a go in the future when my schedule becomes more regular and I can guarantee at least 2 gym sessions per week. At the moment, my simple goals are to cut out some calories with the help of MyFitnessPal, and work on some simple exercises I can do at home, such as those suggested here.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:29 pm UTC

It's just coming up to 3 months since I started working on my fitness - so I thought I'd put an update down on "paper".

Firstly, I can attest to the awesomeness of MyFitnessPal. I've been using it just as a measure so far, keeping an occasional eye on my weight, but mostly just trying to find out how much I'm really eating. I didn't intend for it to become a way for me to strictly control my calories, but decided that I should start with a goal (lose 1lbs per week, giving me 1770 calories per day to aim for) and see how it went. I found myself managing to cut out a lot of little snacks like biscuits straight away, with no real effort, once I saw how much they were screwing my daily numbers.

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself staying pretty close to my supposed "maintenance" calories from the start, with the odd catastrophic spike on birthdays, weddings etc. Over time, I've gradually reduced the amount I go over the daily target, so now I can stay within 100 calories of it without too much suffering. Based on recent weigh-ins, I reckon I'm realistically losing more like 0.5 lbs per week, which is fine as long as it stays consistent.

Another revelation was quite how much alcohol was infringing on my fitness. I don't drink a lot, but have tended to have a beer/cider with dinner most evenings. I have always known these drinks have more calories than people generally expect, but it really drove the point home when I realised that a fair number (perhaps even a majority) of my over-target days are due to those extra 200-300 calories from having a pint or two. I'm contemplating stopping drinking altogether for a while, just to see how it goes.

Final random thought - I'm thinking of getting a Fitbit activity tracker, but they're a bit expensive. Thoughts appreciated.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:58 pm UTC

UPDATE THE THIRD

Things are going well!

I'm down to about 170lbs now, so that's about a stone lost in just over 6 months. Might not seem like much, but since I was only a little overweight in the first place, I'm happy. One of my concerns with trying to lose weight was that I'd burn off muscle and keep my soft mid-section - I'm pleased to say that hasn't happened, and my waist size/general-feeling-of-how-tubby-I-am is as low now as it has been since leaving school. I still have a bit more to lose before I can reasonably consider myself thin, but I feel like I'm on the right track. According to my fancy bathroom scales, I'm down from around 24% body fat to 17-18%, and can definitely improve on that if I get into the habit of drinking more water (which the scales suggest is necessary, since I'm at 50-55% water c.f. the recomended value for my age of 60%).

Gym sessions are still a thrice-weekly ritual, and progress is going ok. Increases in weights lifted have dropped off a bit, so I'm trying to shift from mostly machines towards free-weights. It's hard to do in the normal sessions due to the gym being busy, so I got out my dumbells and bought a barbell to use at home. Still working on making this a habit and trying to figure out which exercises to focus on. Currently overhead presses are the staple; I try to introduce squats and deadlifts every now and again, but I'm not convinced the weight I use (27kg min, ~47kg max) is sufficient to make these worth the hassle. Cardio is still limited to the 3 gym sessions, and reduced from 20 minutes to 15 or 10 on most days, simply because I don't think the extra time was providing much of a benefit.

I've kept up with the MyFitnessPal logging, which has undoubtedly contributed most to my weight loss. I still have a 1lb/week loss target, which gives me a good daily number to aim for. I go over the 1700ish calorie target regularly, but having the red bars appear on my graph encourages me to minimize the damage, meaning that I very rarely go over 2300, which is the base-line value for someone of my size and activity level.

Alcohol intake has reduced somewhat, but is still there. As before, it makes a significant contribution to my calories on evenings out, but rarely causes me to overshoot massively when eating at home these days. My energy drink habit referenced in the original post is basically gone too - I still have one every once in a while, but now it's more like 2-3 per month rather than several per week.

I still haven't stumped up for a Fitbit - althought I've decided that when they finish getting bluetooth syncing working with the Nexus 4 or 7, I'll get one. Currently the Samsung SIII and Note are the only compatibly android devices, but that will hopefully change soon. One of these plus my SLR will hopefully get moe out of the house more once the evenings become sunnier and warmer.

I'll end with my goals for the next few months - the most significant of which is increasing my protein intake. I've tried to work on this a little over the last month or so, but finding food which is affordable, high in protein and has a sensible fat content is pretty hard. I don't have the time or inclination to make anything more elaborate than cereal in a morning, so it's lunch and dinner that will be treaked. Protein drinks are currently up for consideration, as that would allow me to sidestep the issue at the expense of slightly raised cost. I also want to carry on trying to shake off what remains of my belly, but appreciate that burning old fat gets increasingly difficult. Time is on my side here, since I'm in no rush and feel like I've successfully incorporated these healthy changes into my life on a sufficiently permanent basis. I'm hoping that these goals will be tied together, since getting a higher percentage of my calories from protein should help stimulate further weight loss as my carb and fat levels proportionally decrease. I suppose in terms of measurable targets, I'm aiming to get that fat percentage down a couple more points, staying under 170lbs while increasing my water and protein intake.

User avatar
philsov
Not a fan of Diane Kruger
Posts: 1350
Joined: Sat Sep 20, 2008 7:58 pm UTC
Location: Texas

Re: Making progress...

Postby philsov » Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:27 pm UTC

I try to introduce squats and deadlifts every now and again, but I'm not convinced the weight I use (27kg min, ~47kg max) is sufficient to make these worth the hassle.


To a degree, yes. But you'll want to snag more weights to make those exercises worthwhile instead of just.... practicing good form. If you're not really doing more for the legs/core anyways, those lifts are excellent and certainly better than nothing.

food which is affordable, high in protein and has a sensible fat content is pretty hard.


(Skinless) poultry, eggs, and cottage cheese/quark are all pretty good price to protein ratios. Of these eggs are the most fat-laden (50ish% fat by calorie), but it's nutrient-heavy fat at least.

Awesome progress so far, keep it up!
The time and seasons go on, but all the rhymes and reasons are wrong
I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Thu May 23, 2013 10:40 pm UTC

Time for another almost-but-not-quite 3 monthly update!

I reached my target weight in the last period, and have stabilized in the 165-170lbs region. I have no intention of losing any more weight deliberately, but still want to reduce my body fat %. The recent extra weight loss drove it down to about 16%, but I still need to work on that, particularly with regard to increasing water consumption.

My gym use has started to evolve a bit - I rarely bother with the short cardio sessions any more, preferring to focus on strength exercises and pushing myself a bit more. I've started playing squash for over an hour most weeks, which should more than make up for my medium-intensity cross trainer sessions. I'd like to take up some other physical activities (climbing in particular, since I can do it with my girlfriend), but I'll probably be moving house soon so that really depends where the nearest climbing wall is.

I've carried on using my barbell every now and again, but with the space I have and no bench or any sort of frame to do squats from, its usefulness with lots of weight is a bit limited. I also got a 16kg kettlebell, which is fantastic. I'm still trying to get into the habit of using it more, but when I do have a good extended bit of time to do the routine, it absolutely kicks my arse :P It's great for back pain too: I frequently have to get my partner to press on my back to get it to crunch, but doing twists while sat holding the kettlebell provides the same relief without the pain of having pressure applied to the same point every day.

My diet has continued its steady improvement, to the point where I can now happily avoid the most unhealthy foods I used to eat without temptation. Tuna chunks are my new favourite large snack/small meal, but while changes like that have greatly improved my diet on paper, I feel like I'm not eating enough vegetables - particularly leafy greens. Something I'm looking into.

I reduced my MyFitnessPal target to 0.5lbs loss per week but I've decided that I'm going to put it back to 1, giving me 1700ish calories to go at again. The extra 300 calories are just allowing me to slacken off on my standards a bit too much.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:57 pm UTC

It's that time again. "Secrete thy children, conceal thy spouse" as they say.

Bit of a mixed period this time - for the month of June I carried on as before with the regular gym and squash, and pushed on with better weight training such as squats and deadlifts rather than the machines. Nothing exciting, just general continuous progression from where I was previously. Diet stayed consistent, so my weight/fat% stats also stayed roughly where they were.

More recently though, I ended up moving house as I thought I might do. Quite a long move, so no longer able to go to my old gym. Between the logistics of moving house and starting work at a new place, I haven't managed to get to a gym at all during July and August.

Things are settling down now, so I'm starting to look into what my options are. I have enough free weights to do basic things at home, but the fact that I haven't really done so thus far suggests I'd be better off paying for a membership and forcing myself back on the wagon that way. There is actually a gym at my place of work I might be able to use for free, but it's tiny and looks like it hasn't ever been used. Still, something to look into.

Given my much reduced activity levels and the worse-than-usual diet associated with being busy, I expected a bit of a spike in my weight, but so far haven't seen that happen. I have actually started putting more emphasis on making sure my diet balance is better (more protein, less sugars), so I guess that's balanced out some of the negative effects. I never particularly wanted to gain a lot of muscle mass, so any wastage I'm experiencing through not going to the gym isn't a problem for me - this was always supposed to be a life-long endeavour given that I'm never going to have a job with enough activity to keep me fit.

Close friends who I see intermittently have started commenting a lot on how much weight I've lost, so I guess I originally looked fatter than I thought :P I'm still keen to lose a bit more fat from my waist, but after that brief period of working more heavily on squats and other core exercises, I think they're going to be more important than attempts at fat burning in the long run, mostly to lessen my intermittent back pain.

At the moment I guess my attitude is best summarised as "cautious, but encouraged". I can see how it would be easy for me to drift back to my old ways of eating unhealthily if I don't take up some sort of activity, but between MyFitnessPal and my own moderate willpower, I should be OK. The fact that my weight hasn't suddenly skyrocketed was a nice surprise, making me more confident that my slow-and-steady approach is paying off.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:26 pm UTC

It's now 6 months since I checked in, so time for another update. Since the last post I settled into my new house and place of work, got married, visited 4 new countries, bought a car, and started the "final countdown" to the end of my PhD. Mild panic has set in, chaos and terror are scheduled for early May. Keeping fit is now just as much about keeping sane.

On the food intake front, I've continued my use of MyfitnessPal, and had no trouble with my current calorie targets. I've left it at losing 0.5lb/week, but as I'm not actually looking to lose that weight, I'm not worried about the times when I go a bit over - I just think the "maintain weight" level of about 2300 calories is a bit too much for my level of daily activity. The high-sugar energy drinks are much less common in my diet now than when I started this, and I'm focused on keeping protein intake high (eating biltong most days as a snack helps, with protein powder added on gym days).

I joined the local gym in my new area a couple of weeks after my last post. Despite the culture shock (moving from a student gym to one used almost exclusively by builders and other manual labourers), I'm enjoying it even more now than previously. This place has much better facilities for weight training and still plenty of cardio equipment. It certainly helps not having to struggle against the seasonal crowds too. The only part I miss is the squash games - I mostly didn't bother with cardio during gym sessions once I started playing, and when I moved to my current gym I focused purely on strength training. I'm now starting to reintroduce some mild cardio at the end of my gym sessions, but am more interested in finding an alternative I can do at other times instead.

I finally bought a Fitbit a couple of months ago. My initial impressions are somewhat mixed - the sleep monitor is much more hassle than it's worth, but the pedometer/activity tracker has been useful insofar as it has shown me just how inactive my day-to-day schedule is, which has encouraged me to move around more when working. The target of 10,000 steps is really goddamn high! Working from home, I sometimes don't even break 1000, and even on days in the office it's rare that i go over 2000. To get over 5000 I have to either make a dedicated effort to "go for a walk", or be out for the day doing something like shopping or having a trip to the zoo. Despite my abysmal numbers, I'm fairly optimistic about this though - wanting to get out more ties in well with my desire to get a bit more photography practice as the weather starts to improve (getting the SLR definitely helped my activity levels last summer, as my burgeoning collection of backup hard drives will attest).

My weight has remained stable at around 170lbs for pretty much the last year, but I'm definitely seeing more muscle mass, which is encouraging. Removing more of the visceral fat from my midsection will probably require some more drastic shake-ups to my diet, but I'm not sure it's worth the hassle. I don't feel fat any more, so think I have more to gain by focusing on strength and general fitness. In that vein, I've concentrated more on compound exercises like squats, which have been a big help in eliminating my back pain - I now go weeks between asking my wife to crunch my spine, rather than hours. Wanting stronger legs in order to improve my skiing technique has been a great motivator too.

That's all for now. Tune in around early September for more - same bat-time, same bat-channel.

User avatar
Samik
Posts: 504
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:14 am UTC

Re: Making progress...

Postby Samik » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:25 pm UTC

Reading through this thread beginning to end was kind of cool. Whether or not you realize it, it reads like a pretty solid success story. Sure, you may not have reached elite athlete level yet, but you've 1.) lost the weight you wanted to lose and kept it off, 2.) reached the point where you've come to feel the value in free weights over machines, 3.) made significant inroads on your backpain, and, 4.) by far the hardest part, kept at it over a long period (aside from the time around your move, but moves have always severely disrupted my schedule too; i think it's unavoidable).

All while working on a PhD. My sister just finished hers, so I have an impression of the stress level you're dealing with. Exercise was one of her primary stress relievers as well. Good luck, Beans!

Santa-Klaus
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:46 am UTC

Re: Making progress...

Postby Santa-Klaus » Mon Apr 14, 2014 7:14 am UTC

I’m one of those people who have been ‘fighting’ the kilos my entire life. I’ve tried various dietary and training regimes up through the years, but I have always failed in my endeavour to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight for more than a few months at a time. The kilos that I have managed to get rid of have always found a way to pile itself back on again. Last Christmas I decided that I was going to give it one more shot, it was a spur of the moment new year’s resolution kind of thing, and it started alright, but unfortunately it didn’t take that long before I had to throw in the towel once again. The problem was that I had set the bar too high and that I tried to maintain a training and dietary regime that I guess deep down I knew was unrealistic. A friend of mine, upon hearing about my failure sent me an interesting article that I sat down and had a look at, and which gave me the confidence to give it one more shot, basically because it offered a slightly less strenuous approach.

And that’s really the heart of the matter; I have always gone for the most strenuous approaches when it comes to losing weight, rigid training programs and rigid dietary programs. In the end I have always caved in by gradually phasing out the exercise programs or stop maintaining the required diet. For me personally those have always been the two pressing issues and I guess that is probably the case with the majority of people trying to lose weight. Sooner or later most of us lose the focus and motivation that initially made us decide to lose weight in the first place.

The article my friend sent me made me change my perception, and it made me realise that I will always be throwing in the towel if I set goals that are unrealistic and keep pushing myself too hard. It made me realise that the way to lose weight and successfully maintain a healthier weight is to take it slowly and gradually. There is no point in rushing down to the local gym and sign up for a membership or to order expensive diets, or to set aside two hours each afternoon for strenuous workouts. The key is to gradually ease you way into a fairly easy routine and maintain that routine. You start by being more active (walking around your house/apartment) instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV, reduce your food portions (not necessarily the food you eat) and then slowly take it from there.

The good thing about it is that it’s completely free, it doesn’t cost you a single cent and anyone can follow the program. I started employing those tactics in mid February this year and I have managed to lose 10 kilos so far. I would have to say that the best thing about it is that shedding the kilos doesn’t seem like a gruelling and impossible task anymore. You get used to the new routines really fast and it doesn’t impede on your old life all that much. I guess the hardest thing for me initially was to reduce my food portions, but now it’s something that I don’t even think about.

Anyway the article I’m talking about can be found here:

http://learnhowtoloseweighttheeasyway.blogspot.com

I can’t tell others what to do, but for me this slow approach has been a god sent, and I can truly say that for the first time in my life I’m confident that I will maintain a more healthy weight and lifestyle. Hopefully a simple approach such as this is the way to go.

User avatar
DenisL704
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 6:26 am UTC

Re: Making progress...

Postby DenisL704 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:17 am UTC

Very good advice. If you want to lose weight, you can't out exercise a bad diet.

The best place to start is to cut back on your sugar intake. If you can't cut it out completely, try to keep track of how much you eat, and gradually reduce it from there. Make a habit of reading the ingredients list, you'd be surprised what has sugar (or HFCS) nowadays.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:07 pm UTC

Santa-Klaus wrote:(...) the way to lose weight and successfully maintain a healthier weight is to take it slowly and gradually.

This can't be emphasised enough, IMO. Small, manageable changes have been the key for me going from "a bit fat" to my current, pretty healthy state, because those small changes were the only ones I could maintain throughout such a changeable/chaotic period.

For gym attendance, this has just meant going enough that the memories of feeling fit and fresh after each trip encourage me to go again within the next couple of days. Long term food intake tracking has been great as a way of avoiding "fooling myself" over exactly how much food I'm chomping through, without any need for a particular diet or altering any habits at all really. Nowadays, though, I'm more interested in building muscle mass than losing fat, so dietary composition has become more important than simple calorie counting. Having no end-goal to aim at actually makes this a bit easier for me personally - I can try something out, then if I'm not happy with it I just go back to my usual gym routine to get back to my usual levels, and try something different.

m4d4sb34ns
Posts: 64
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 11:16 pm UTC
Location: North West UK

Re: Making progress...

Postby m4d4sb34ns » Fri Oct 24, 2014 2:53 pm UTC

Time for another periodic update - quite a short one this time. The last 6 months have predominantly involved getting my PhD finished - at the start, frequent gym visits were a great way of breaking up the monotony of working from home, but as the pressure piled on I started to find the interruptions frustrating. My inital 3x per week gym schedule gradually declined and now my membership has ended - I'll be working away a lot then moving house fairly soon anyway, so have decided not to renew it and go for some kind of home-gym setup at the new place. What gym sessions I have had over the last few months have been the usual resistance stuff, but with more cardio added. I also started shifting towards trying to do more gentle activity (just walking a couple of miles) frequently - partly just to get out of the house/office, but also to make up for the reduced gym sessions.

My general attitude has shifted back to being less interested in building muscle mass and more in losing additional fat. That has gone well, and I'm now at around 157-160lbs, 14.5-15.5% body fat (c.f. 170lbs 15-17% BF when I first considered my improvements "done", 180+lbs 18-20% BF when I first made this thread, 195+lbs 22-24% BF when I was at my least healthy).

As discussed in the past, changes in eating habits have been by far the biggest part of this "project" for me. Sugary drinks are no longer a part of my diet at all, and I generally eat pretty healthily and pay attention to macronutrient balance rather than just scoffing something convenient. My healthy habits have also rubbed off on my family - my wife, her sister and mother are all MyFitnesPal users as a result of seeing how well it worked for me.

The next challenge will be trying to maintain my current levels of fitness while transitioning to a job which involves a lot of travel and working away from home. Tune in sometime around Christmas to find out if homesickness and a lack of free time have made me morbidly obese, or if a pure-caffeine diet has turned me into a spindly waif!


Return to “Fit Club”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests