Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Losing Weight the Easy Way

At Who Needs a Gym I want to encourage people to maintain a healthy weight. Most people I know (including myself) are overweight and have struggled for years to lose any weight and burn off that unwanted belly fat (or just fat in general). And yes, we have tried diets and quick fix solutions but we lose a little then gain it all back, and sometimes more than we lost. So how to lose weight effectively?

If you carry on reading I will tell you the DIRTY LITTLE SECRET about losing weight. Carry on reading AND YOU WILL....OK only kidding!

The trick is to EAT LESS, EAT HEALTHIER and MOVE MORE! It really is that simple AND that hard.

My (rather long) Story

A few years ago I stood on the scale and to my shock and horror the scale said I was 105kg. I felt really bad about that so I decided to do something about it. I did the entire 90 days of the P90X program and lost 10kg. I went from around 104kg when I started it to around 94kg when I finished it. I was psyched and I promised myself that I would never go back up to the weight I was before! Guess what? Shortly after finishing my program I injured myself. I stopped exercising, started to eat badly again and within 6 months I was back up to my original weight (or close to it) of 103kg. I wasn't impressed.

I hovered between 103kg and 105kg for about 18 months and then last year (in August 2012) I decided to try and lose weight. I was just starting a six month contract at Yahoo and thought it would be a good time so I started to exercise more. My main activities included cycling 30km a day to and from work, going to gym every morning during the week and also playing rugby on Thursday nights, squash on some Saturday nights and swimming occasionally on the weekend. Plus I started to walk about 2km every lunch break BUT I didn't adjust my eating habits. I carried on eating more than I needed and the results were slow. I drifted down to about 100kg in about 2 months!

Then tragedy struck. I injured myself playing rugby. I ripped the AC ligament off my knee and tore the meniscus ligament just for good measure too. I was devastated! I needed crutches and would need to have an operation at some point too. I decided then and there that the small incremental gain I had made in my weight loss would be maintained and if possible I would also try to lose more weight. I vowed to continue exercising in some way but then also realized I would need to change my eating habits too.

So I did just that. As soon as I could walk without crutches I went back to the gym and started pushing weights again and doing whatever exercise I could think of that didn't require the use of my very sore legs. I also adjusted my eating habits quite radically. I started to drink only water, I cut out things like french fries, I started to eat fruit for afternoon snacks and for dinner I started to eat more vegetables and salads and cut down on the meat. At  night I would have black sugarless tea before bed and throughout the day monitored what I was eating. I also cut back a lot on things like pasta and stopped eating large portions of rice. I would treat myself to a burger or something once a week but for the most part I controlled portions and control food type very strictly AND I continued to exercise.

Lo and behold, my weight continued its steady decline from 100kg down all the way to 94kg before the operation on 29 December 2012. I was psyched. I thought then that I would continue with the same habits after the operation and see how much more weight and fat I could lose! After the operation I continued to lose weight and finally dropped down to 90.3kg. I was psyched!

Of course a vacation to South Africa followed and I gained 2kg because I wasn't eating carefully, but now I am back on track: eating properly and doing exercise and this morning I weighed in at 91.1kg and I intend to carry on losing weight until I lose all the belly fat! I will continue to do what I am doing now: eating the right amount, eating healthier, drinking water and exercising. Really its that simple!

Lesson Learned

So what was the lesson here? To lose weight effectively and efficiently you need to do three things:

1) Eat less
2) Eat better
3) Move more

Now here is the thing, this is a lifestyle change. I don't care much for idiotic diets and supplements that promise you amazing results if you eat their product. You need to do the hard work and make conscious decisions about what you are putting in your mouth. Simple as that! Doesn't mean you can't have yummy foods sometime, you can! Just do it responsibly and in moderation.

The problem with a diet is that diets are generally a program for period set of time or they are just too ridiculous to follow for life. You need to make a conscious lifestyle choice to change your eating habits for life and to follow that conscientiously.

Drinking Water

One of the best things you can do for your weight loss is to ONLY drink water. Cutting out energy drinks, fruit juices, sodas and alcohol will help you lose a lot of weight. It was and is something I do now: I drink a lot of water. I sometimes drink other things but most times only water. Some days I go watch rugby in the pub and only drink soda water, not beer. So I think drinking water will help you a lot too.

Daily Accountability

My trick to maintaining my weight loss gains is to measure myself on a scale EVERY MORNING and EVERY NIGHT so I know what I weigh and if I have overeaten on that particular day and what I need to do the next day to get my weight under control. I set small incremental weight loss goals each day and try to see if I can achieve those goals. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't but I make sure I know what I weigh every day.

So what is the secret again?

EAT LESS, EAT BETTER and MOVE MORE. Oh and there are NO shortcuts!

Any questions?



  1. wow! I'm impressed!!

  2. Paul, thanks for the article..good to know you found what works for you. Good that you shared your experience. I didn't effectively lose any weight until now. Back last Dec, before I started looking at calorie intake, I was running 10km a week but not losing enough inches. Starting Jan, I started increasing frequency of long distance runs, cut out soft drinks, deep fried and oily stuff. For the past 3 months I combined running with calorie watching. Lost 3-4 kg and now running 20-30km weekly, which is a great feeling.
    Very enouraging to learn from your experience. Keep posting and good luck.

    1. Hi Anon.

      Thanks for reading. Yes, the same happened to me. I was cycling a lot and doing a lot of physical activity but the weight didn't come off at all. I only started to lose weight when I started to pay attention to my food consumption: what was I eating and how much. Seems you are doing the same.

      Although I am not a runner, I assume it is the same as cycling, the less fat you carry the further and/or faster you can go.

      Good to hear you are on track and good luck with your exercise program and your exercise program. Hope you can achieve your results.

  3. Paul, this is great stuff and original to boot! The whole point of blogs should be to write something that other people might want to read. You're doing that, and living the lifestyle as well! Sure, it won't make you popular with California Fitness & co... We signed up for Alexander in 2006, but had reservations about the contract so pulled out. A year or so later, Alexander went bust and their former boss is in prison according to Joelle. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Mathhew, thanks for your encouragement and your positive feedback. Much appreciated. Yes, I heard all about the "Alexander Gym Debacle" ha ha. To be honest, I am not against gyms, I just don't think you need a gym to get fit. I think if you want to be a power lifter or a big time body builder then a gym is essential, but for guys like me and you, maintaining fitness and good health is important and this can be achieved outside the confines of the gym.

  4. Pround of you paul

  5. Great account Paul!! I agree totally. I've been on a slow hard fought journey losing about 7kg over a period of 2 years.

  6. Hi Paul, nice to read how you loose weight, one is inspired after reading this...