So I’ve lost a lot of weight in a relatively short period of time. This is mostly down to an improved dietary intake of food, using kitchen scales, more intense exercise and documenting it all via Withings Smart body analyzer and Withings Pulse. I don’t really want to be walking around with a raging hard on from taking testosterone supplements that seem to be all the rage at the moment or some wacky herbal juice that has not gone through any clinical trials. Losing weight the harder way should be long term and not a quick fix in 4 weeks thing. It’s about changing your lifestyle altogether to promote wellbeing rather than eating rubbish and popping pills. I’m more concerned about my organs than my physical appearance externally!
I hate going hungry and it’s what I did when I first embarked on my new diet. I was eating around 2,000 calories a day of ready made meals with red meat in at least one of those meals per day. I stopped myself from snacking in between meals but I constantly got the shakes from hunger as my body was going into famine mode. I like the satisfaction of feeling full and definitely prefer it to feeling hungry!
I used the myfitnesspal app to scan pretty much everything one afternoon at my local supermarket to find foods that we low in calories per 100g. I also wanted stuff that was easy or required minimal preparation as I would have to weigh everything. Any kind of preparation just throws those measurements out of the window. As calories are the normalized marker for all food, I stocked up on things that shared this common low energy per 100g trait. It worked straight away as I was eating turkey breast, king prawns, ready made cous cous and fruit. This took my daily calorie count to around 1,800 calories.
I killed my fat intake by cutting down on meat and ready-made food that contained oil from preparation or cooking. My weight dropped quickly and I was able to drop my daily calorie intake to under 1,500 calories a day but as I increased my intake of prawns, precooked meat and fish, my weight shot up as quickly as I lost it! My fat percentage was still declining and I was walking and sleeping around the same amount every day (tracked with Withings Smart body analyzer and Withings Pulse). This was pretty alarming to me as you can imagine!
Thankfully, using the myfitnesspal app, I found what looked to be the culprit. My sodium intake was high from my source of instant cous cous, prawns and fish. I really wanted to address this as I could pretty much eat as much of my cous cous and fish/shellfish diet as I wanted and it was actually quite hard to hit 1,500 calories per day. This exercise was futile if I was to continue to gain weight so I looked to increasing my intake of foods that were low in sodium and low in calories and hunted around for low sodium alternatives to my shellfish, fish and instant cous cous.
First off, I changed from eating smoked fish which can contain over 1g of sodium per 100g and switched to precooked canned stuff which had less than 0.3g of sodium per 100g. This was relatively easy as there are a lot of Salmon and Tuna products that come in spring water to avoid high sodium in brine or fat in oil based tins. For prawns, I simply changed brands and went for frozen prawns with less than 0.3g of sodium per 100g. As for cous cous, I switched from ready made mixes that required adding water (the ready in 5 minutes variety) to pure instant cous cous. These typically have less than 0.1g sodium per 100g, but are still ready in 5 minutes. I had to hunt around for this and eventually found it in a couple of supermarkets.
In the past I used to eat salad daily, but oddly I’m intolerant to leafy raw salad. I also didn’t want to bother with getting out the steamer to prepare vegetables, plus they need flavouring with calorie rich sauces to make them not taste bland. My new best friends to vary interest were fruit and pulses. Although fruit are high in carbs, they taste great and are actually pretty cheap compared to food you would cook. As I really like my flavours, I’ve gone for really high quality premium fruit ranges like “Sansbury’s Taste The Difference”, “Tesco Finest” and “Waitrose” brands. You can pretty much eat as much fruit as you like and you’d be hard pushed to exceed 400 calories for a meal. I now have fruit exclusively or with a mix of pulses for dinner.
I quite like eating lentils and chick peas but I have only ever found them in cans or dehydrated in packets requiring a long time to rehydrate in boiling water. Thankfully times have changed as you can now buy pulses ready to eat in packets. I use “Sainsbury’s Organic” range of carton pulses which come in water. The cardboard packaging acts as the drain for the water (through packet design) and you can eat straight out of the packet for a snack if required. For a dinner, I normally cook them for 5 minutes over a hob with a can of tomatoes. I also regularly eat “Sainsbury’s bulgur wheat, chickpeas and quinoa” mix which I have most lunch times at work as it is ready to eat out of the packet (don’t even need to drain and doesn’t require refrigeration).
I wanted some quick preparation food that filled me up quickly. I also wanted something high in nutrients to make it worthwhile for my body. Eggs fit this well as they are packed with goodness at less than 90 calories per egg. For breakfast I typically consume 2 medium eggs with 2 slices of bread. That comes in at just 322 calories and puts the hunger to bay for a few hours longer than cereal or porridge ever would for me.
As you lose weight quickly, the proportion of salt left in your body increases unless you sweat it out or pee it out. The salt then simply stores all your water intake from food or liquid and retains it in your body making you look wobbly even though it’s not a fat wobble. There are 2 solutions to this, more exercise that makes you sweat or food that makes you pee (diuretics). I take 3 shots of espresso coffee (got to have it black so it’s only 2 calories. No milk or honey) for breakfast and put a green tea teabag in my bottled water (no boiling required). In addition, tomatoes, watermelon and garlic are really good diuretics. I’m not into herbal remedies so have steered clear of untested unscientific pill and liquid remedies. For my coffee I use the Nespresso Citiz & Milk coffee machine which I got after reading these coffee machines reviews.
These scales are simply awesome. Any member of your family can simply step on these scales and it will beam your weight, fat percentage/mass and heart rate to the Withings Health Mate app for ios and Android. In addition, the scales will beam over the CO2 levels and temperature of the room via the home wifi. I’m a massive fan of these scales as they are just so user friendly! I weigh myself every morning before I even put my specs on. I don’t need to crouch down to read the display as I can just see my latest update on the app on my phone.
The CO2 monitor changed the way we ventilate our house as we didn’t have enough air when sleeping at night which had been affecting our sleep. Our quality of sleep has dramatically improved as a result of understanding the amount of air flow required to have a safe level of CO2 in our bedroom. With regards to weight, I can set a goal over a realistic amount of time and it will work out how much you need to lose every week and set a weekly objective to meet or exceed.
Check out the Withings Smart Body analyzer in my video review:
Wearable health applications have been gaining in popularity over the last few years with the likes of Nike fuelband and Fitbit wireless devices paving the way for the Withings Pulse to join the party. The Withings Pulse is a smart pedometer with a heart rate monitor. It can also monitor your sleep with a special sleep band included in the package. As well as tracking your steps, it will automatically figure out your run speed and distance covered if you start running for 3 minutes. The heart rate option is a good one as you can measure yourself anywhere with just your finger. The Withings Pulse gives you a daily target of 10,000 steps recommended by the British Heart Foundation many years ago. Although I rarely even meet this halfway, I am walking more than the 2,000 steps I used to walk daily.
My favourite usage of the Withings Pulse is the sleep band which tracks my sleep (or lack of it) split by “Awake”, “Light Sleep”, and “Deep Sleep”. The last 2 are added up together to show you how much sleep you are getting compared to a target of 8 hours. With baby Deor screaming his head off on some nights, it’s hard to keep track of how much rest I’ve had. I find the app to be very accurate and is definitely something I never forget to wear on me all day long.
Check out my video review of Withings Pulse:
When I was 9, I was the youngest black belt in the UK at Tae Kwon Do. I was trim for all the years that I practiced martial arts. I took up dancing and running as well later on in life which also kept me trim. When I stopped all of those activities, I got fat. I’ve been going to the gym for the last 4 years and have somehow gained weight even though I’ve been pushing myself hard at every session. Certain exercises help for a while but then become ineffective as my body adapts to the movements. I tried cycling, Summit machine (which is like cross training going uphill), running, rowing, weight training and almost everything in between.
My gym then got a heavy bag installed and I’ve been kicking the stuffing out of it since. Using some Mexican hand wraps and 18oz sparring gloves, I workout to one of my own kickboxing drills which I run on the Gymboss app on my phone. Here they are if you want to copy them (although I really wouldn’t recommend trying this unless you are already proficient):
It’s worth noting that I often put on a little weight after a kickboxing session as I normally follow up with a weight training session and so I take on extra protein for quicker recovery. There is a greater payoff later in the week as the extra muscle burns your fat quicker. If I don’t take extra protein after a heavy workout like the above then I will lose over 1kg in weight but I will feel rubbish for a few days.
I now take in 1,300 to 1,800 calories per day with a focus on a low intake of fat (typically less than 40 grams per day) and low sodium intake (under 2 grams per day). I’m not fussy about the carb to protein ratio but typically I will have between 40% to 75% carbohydrates to fat and protein.
My typical food diary looks like this:
Total energy count is 1,367 calories. You can follow my diet and replicate as you wish by adding me on myfitnesspal @ http://www.myfitnesspal.com/kwaichi
Let me know what you want to know about my diet and I will be happy to share. The key thing to remember is that your wellbeing and organ health is a lot more important than your external physical appearance. There is no point going on a fad diet for a quick gain that you can’t keep up. That’s just a waste of time. Change your life instead, don’t cheat yourself and don’t go hungry!
Disclaimer: This blog post is made up of my own views and does not replace or substitute the advice of your medical professional. What works for me might not work for you and may cause you harm. Please consult your doctor or licensed medical professional before embarking on any change in diet or exercise regime. The kickboxing drills do not have any technique advice as it typically takes several years to execute properly and so should only be undertaken after adequate supervised training. Don’t go hungry. If you are hungry then eat! If you are thirsty then drink! If you are allergic to something then don’t eat that either! Basically don’t sue me!