For three years I have been writing blog posts and based on the feedback from my readers I think most of them are well received.
I spent a good year and a half populating this website with 2 blog posts every week. That gave way to Raw Motion Photography which now takes the Friday blog post in a more philosophical direction. If you haven’t read any then I suggest you check them out at this link. [Raw Motion Photography]
Today is different, today we tackle a fundamental issue that a lot of gym goers and newbies to the gym will face every single day. It is the dreaded thought of calorie counting, diets, eating less and exercising more…
If you are new to this blog then you’ll benefit from knowing that I once weighed a lot more than I do now. Here’s a picture for reference.
So when I write about calories and exercise I am drawing from my own experience. Having said that would you believe me if I told you that I eat more now than I did when I was wearing my extra 64 kilograms of fat?
Would you believe me if I told you that I can’t remember hating a single meal during my weight loss?
Would you believe me if I told you that during my first year of life transformation I didn’t count a single calorie?
If you answered no to all of those questions then I think you should stick around for more to read. If you answered yes, then still stick around because that is just polite 😉
If you were to Google the NHS guidelines for weight loss they have it all laid out - a 12 week plan in PDF with all you need to lose weight.
Whilst I understand that people need guidance towards setting goals and having structure I can’t help but feel like their program is a very broad brush approach set on caloric limitation. Not only that I read through the plan, at the link below and MY GOODNESS does it make weight loss boring and uninspired.
Fundamentally they are encouraging us to take ownership and track our progress through the program, however I lost interest after the first page of their program because of a simple word. REDUCE. I did read it all the way through and they have done the best they can tailoring the program for the ‘average’ man and woman.
“If people are overweight, it is usually because they eat and drink more calories than they need. This guide will help you reduce the amount of calories you consume.”
There is nothing wrong with that statement apart from the fact that it tells me that I should... EAT LESS and EXERCISE MORE to lose weight.
To me, weight loss is not just about energy in vs energy out, i.e. calories in vs calories out, it is about much more than that. It is about forming healthy habits that continue beyond a '12 week plan', it is about understanding that good, whole, nourishing foods can keep you fighting strong. Foods rich in nutrients that are unprocessed will aid in nourishing the cells of the body and promoting a healthy body and healthy strong mind.
The most common question I get asked when people see my progression pictures is, “how did you do that?” I always answer by saying that I changed the way I thought about food.
I think that a lot of people, unless they have an hour to talk to me about it, will find that reply a little empty, most are expecting the answer to lie in 'the ultimate diet for weight loss.' The truth is that there was no diet. There was only determination and good, nourishing food for the first 2-3 weeks.
Once I had lost a bit of weight I was actually more confident in myself to step outside and start walking. I didn’t join a gym, I didn’t buy the fancy new clothes or drinks bottles or protein supplements. I just went for a walk in some tired trainers and stretched out XXL cotton clothes. I did have some headphones though, good music is always a must for exercise.
I walked fast from one light post to the next, then slowed it down to the next lamp post. I did that every day until I was able to jog then walk. Eventually I built up to jogging round the block, then up a hill and then round a park.
I was fuelling my body with good food, and as a result my energy levels were boosted, which gave me the confidence to get through a walk/jog and still continue with my day at work.
Remember what I said above about never counting a calorie? A typical day would revolve around the following structure.
Drink a cold glass of water as soon as I get up.
Followed by Hot water with a slice of lemon
Wait 30 minutes for lemon water to go down.
Vegetable and fruit smoothie or large bowl of fruit
(Smoothie was great if I was on the way to work.)
Vegetable and fruit smoothie
Apple or handful of raw cashew nuts
Large Spinach, tuna, quinoa and vegetable salad with rye bread and hummus
Apple, banana and handful of raw cashew nuts
Fresh fish or lean chicken with raw spinach, raw carrots, boiled sweet potato, and more raw cashew nuts
(I chose cashew nuts because they are easy to snack on and I love them.)
I would also drink copious amounts of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
I would then get 45 minutes to an hour of exercise 4 times per week. Gradually, as I felt more able, my intensity increased on the exercise front.
My weekly shop was at a local market where I would buy:
20-30 golden delicious apples
strawberries x 2 punnets
blueberries x 2 punnets
carrots x 30
sweet potatoes x 5
watermelon x 1
broccoli x 1
corn x 4
mushrooms x 1 punnet
any other seasonal vegetables I could find, kale, swede, parsnips
Supermarket shopping was limited to toiletries and lean proteins, such as tuna and chicken, cashew nuts, spinach and tinned chickpeas, beans and pulses. This way of shopping helped me save a lot of money but also made sure I was developing a healthier way to shop. Rather than being drawn down the aisles of junk food and booze I was faced with learning and choosing the fruits and vegetables and coming up with good ideas for them.
What is my point in sharing this with you today? The main point I want to get across is that losing weight and changing your body should never be about, eating less and exercising more.
It is about putting the right fuel in the body followed by a progressive and safe exercise routine that will give you the confidence to keep moving forwards, any progress in the right direction is still progress!
The truth about the obesity crisis today is that people will only change when staying the same is more of a threat than the actual change they face.
The only thing that distinguished me from the previous times I tried to lose weight was not my physical strength, it wasn’t my knowledge of exercise or of diet, it was my will to pursue what I wanted. I never gave up because I wanted to be healthy more than I wanted to remain an obese 26 year old with a smoking habit, because I wanted it so badly I saw the value in what I was doing, I enjoyed the exercise because I knew it was making me stronger with every step. I enjoyed nourishing my body because I knew that the food was fuelling the change I wanted to see in myself.
My advice to you if you are reading this and you are struggling to lose weight or you have hit a plateau is to look at how you are nourishing your body, have a look at some of my recipes in my recipe book which you can download here. [RECIPE BOOK]
Most of all just make sure that you Stay Strong and Keep Moving!
Have a great Monday.
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Brendan is the owner and head trainer at Raw Motion Fitness.