I wanted to see if i could lose 6kgs of weight on a reduced exercise program while still eating food i liked from my current condition, which is pretty good. If i achieved this with relative ease, it would be clear to me that anyone could obtain and maintain a desirable weight by doing minimal exercise… so long as they ate right. The key in doing this weight-loss experiment is to still enjoy some of the things we think we can’t have. Every time you hear someone say “eat right” it conjures up too much greenery, starvation and boring meals, so this program had to be different and the food i reveal will show this. Oh! None of these silly low fat burgers or pizza’s made at home, these are the real deal!
Steak, pizza, burgers and beer?! No way!
My current exercise routine is pretty much one hour per session almost every day of the week. I mix my exercise between a gym session of cardio/weights and a 1 hour fast walk every second day. Depending on my week, i might take a Sunday off. So to make this experiment work, i needed to reduce my gym sessions by half the time, eat less calories and still lose weight! I kept my walks to an hour because i enjoyed this time with my wife walking near our local beach. However for the purposes of other would-be weight losers, a half hour moderate walk is easy enough to do 3 times a week. So if you’re considering trying this program and hate exercise, go with that alone and use this in your calculations when sorting out your figures below.
Bear in mind, what i share with you is my version of the program and involves exercise everyday albeit reduced for what i am used too. I will show you other ideas in future posts for creating your own program for whatever exercise you might want to do. I will also reveal a few things that might make you realize how much easier this is than you think!
Starting out, i measured my Body Mass Index or BMI to have some idea of where i stood. All this means is to find out from my height and weight where i sit in terms of being in shape.. “technically” speaking. For this, i simply looked at the chart… roughly. My ideal is supposed to be 90kg high end, which i think is a little skinny for me! Needless to say, when i looked at this further, i wasn’t shocked to find out that i was well overweight at 100kg. I knew about ideal weights and it assumes a lot. You can view another chart here. Needless to say, i knew that at 47 years of age i might be carrying a few kilos around the waist but i certainly didn’t show this or look even slightly overweight for my height. I then decided that if i could maintain my muscle, i might look better at say 94kg for this experiment and that this wasn’t too light for what i was comfortable being. As a point, i wouldn’t take this ideal weight scenario too seriously though. The mirror and your mind is what you’re interested in – but it’s a good gauge for this purpose.
Next is to work out what my calorie intake was using a calorie calculator. This takes into account my height, weight, age and sex. It tells me what my calories should be to maintain what i am and what they need be to lose weight effectively. I used this calculator below although there are many online:
Below are my calc settings from last week with the Calorie Calculator. My maintenance level is aprox 3200 calories and i knew this was conservative for me and my activity.
Make sure you are very clear about your exercise choice and be conservative. My exercise is often intense but i simply chose “everyday” exercise from the drop-down as a general rule and knew i was well within this. Also, don’t kid yourself and choose the “extreme fat loss” calories/day to chase in this program because this is half the issue with weight loss. People want fast results. You need to enjoy it and be patient. It needs to be sustainable and something you feel you can accomplish. Once you achieve it of course, you can go off the plan and try to moderate your own food. If you wander off your goal weight, simply go back on the plan for a time till you get used to it again. It’s all about routine with food and exercise. Oh you hate this you say? Me too, but i have some ideas to help you get around routines!!
Ok so on the calculator pic above you can see my target is about 2550 a day rounded off. My daily calorie goal is aprox 650 calories down on my maintenance amount. How much is 650 calories? It’s a combo of say 41 grams of fat and 70 grams of carbs. It’s not as much as it looks for a guy my size, since 650 calories equates to a Grande Latte with caramel sauce, one Rocky Road slice and an Apple. Or for beer drinkers, 5 full strength 330ml bottled beers.
Tracking your food:
Next step was to find a calculator to measure my calories for each meal (and snacks) that was easy to use and i could carry around on my phone. I used this one below which i found on the App Store with my iPhone. There are many but this suited me as it had a good library of foods/meals etc as well as a cool bar scanner which enabled me to add my own products for things that were not in the library. I didn’t set up a profile within this and just started using it. It’s up to you how you do this, so long as you don’t cheat!
So with this tool i started tracking my calories and aiming for 2550 and not fretting if i went slightly over. Using this tool, and any other for that matter, proved a little challenging sometimes because i had to guess weights and that was hard since i dine out a fair bit. I tend to look online if i am not sure about a product or food and re-enter it later if i think i was off. You can copy across from previous days too, so after a while, you don’t need to worry if you’re eating similar. Also, one thing to bear in mind with diets is that the body suits variation in how it gets its calories – you need to keep it thinking. So, one day go over a few hundred and another day go under a few hundred. It helps to cycle the diet and i think the www.freedieting.com website talks a little about this too if you’re keen to read more.
Results to date:
So how did i go after a week or so? Here’s my daily consumption in calories below to date. I will eventually list out the types of foods/meals on a “sample week” page on this blog if any of you are keen. Needless to say, one thing i did with this program is to give myself a splurge day but to stay within my maintenance level… so i chose Friday night and had a date with my wife:
- Sat 6th Apr 2510 – For the next four days i was absorbed in using the Easy Diet Tool
- Sun 7th Apr 2575 – Still had a wine and 1 beer that night!
- Mon 8th 2522 – no alcohol
- Tues 9th 2390 – no alcohol
- Wed 10th 2542 – I got a bit bored, so the next night i went out and kept it seemly
- Thur 11th 2798 – GF Pizza & 2 beers, i had to make sure i left enough calories
- Fri 12th 3123 – Night out with wifey which incl beer and wine, pork and a few fries
- Sat 13th 2076 – full tum the next day and chilled with no exercise
- Sun 14th 2514 – back on the wagon 🙂
- Mon 15th 2559 – steady as she goes..
- Tues 16th 2389 – dropped calories on purpose today, higher tomorrow
My average calories to date is aprox 2545 per day. I think this is more luck than me being accurate! Weight wise, I went from 99.9 to 98.8 from Sat to Sat. I have not weighed myself since. Now, to put this into perspective, i may have lost a little water which is normal with sudden calorie loss. However, a good result. The goal is to continue this till i am 94kg and to do this within about 6 weeks. I am not looking to overdo it and lose too much too quickly so i will be pacing myself with food and watching how i feel so i don’t lose too much at once. This isn’t healthy. But i must say i don’t feel remotely deprived!
A few things to note:
So you are all aware, i never once felt really hungry on this program. I mean i feel it coming on but no more than i did prior. The difference is that i am far more vigilant with what i do about that hunger feeling. I noticed that i feel most hungry after low fat higher carb meals. Now thats interesting! I want to eat again less than an hour after. BUT, if i have say chicken thigh or salmon with eggs, i am good for at least 2+ hours! So, carbs will do this to you and my theory on this is to keep dense carbs to a minimum.
The key for me was to make sure my protein levels were kept high, my fat moderate to high (as this is my fuel) and to lower my carbs to a moderate level. I call this “restricting carbs”, not a high protein diet. My protein is always high and in the order of 175-200 grams a day. Most of the foods consumed today by most people are very high carb and this is unnatural. Restricting them means to reduce the intake of these to how we might have eaten them thousands of years ago when we didn’t farm or package food. Humans never ate such large quantities of carbs. We ate more meat and fat with occasional dense carbs when available and lots of vegetable carbs. In fact when i look at my breakdown from the week gone i realize what kept my weight where it was; it was fast, commercialized carbs. Beer, minor sweets or biscuits and breads. My diet always consists of plenty of Salmon, Chicken and Red Meat so all i have done is eliminate most of the fast burning dense carbs. Just remember, not all carbs are created equal… stick to low glycemic carbs like yams, sweet potato, beans, lentils, some brown rice and tons of vegetables or salad.
I will in the coming days post more on my progress, the foods and the percentages to give you an idea of my diet and progress. If i get enough interest i will post you the results of my wife’s attempt at this program too. She was a good sport and joined the experiment! No Rocky Road for a while sweetheart! xx