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Kickstart Fat Loss Program | Andrew Hill Personal Training

Andrew Hill Personal Training - Leicester Fat Loss Specialist

I came across a post on Mumsnet titled “To be fat“, the forum member posted that at the age of 27, having been slim and petite throughout their life, they’ve found themselves having “put on so much weight” and being short, they felt they didn’t “carry it well”, they also found that their skin health deteriorated and that they always feel sluggish. Recovering from a breakup, they felt down and found themselves in a cycle which seemed to cause them to be getting larger and larger. Most poignantly, this forum member didn’t recognise herself anymore and like so many others, they knew what to do but they just couldn’t find a reason to commit to a better lifestyle. This post was made a few months ago and I feel like this individual may well have found a solution, Mumsnet came with so many positive responses which may have provided a solution for this person but if you’re here right now, reading this, then it means you’re probably looking for a solution too and I’ve already linked to the post in question but for the sake of ease, I thought it worth sharing the advice I gave here too. Remember, Andrew Hill Personal Training is always happy to offer free advice on all things relating to health, fitness and nutrition, especially in the context of weight loss.

So, without further ado, let me share my experiences. When I was younger, I was incredibly large; I used to roll to school. It’s weird because despite being much larger than everyone else, I’d also try to occupy as small a space as possible! My weight problems were down to ruthless bullying in school. In stone, my weight was larger than my age and that’s not a good position to ever be in as a teenager. I was bullied, in the end, mostly because I was fat and I was fat because I was being bullied, so I became larger and larger.

I eventually just applied sheer grit and determination (lol, so I thought) and took up kickboxing and my weight didn’t change much, eventually I moved on to boxing and started eating right and quickly lost weight. What actually happened was that I found a new purpose and because I was committed to that purpose (being able to box), I subconsciously started making choices that supported my purpose.

You’ve experienced a traumatic episode in your life and you’ve had a massive whack to your lifestyle; a lot of what you had has been left behind. When we’re in a relationship, I like to think decent people want the best for their partners, so we subconsciously make choices that support this and one of the ways we do this is how we eat; we’re mindful of what we spend, what the other person might like to eat, what’s best for their health and it’s more economical to share, so we eat how they eat or how we want them to eat, depending on who is responsible for the food shopping.

What you’ve said is that you need to lose weight, but you have to ask yourself WHY do you want to lose weight? Because needing to lose weight simply isn’t enough for the average person, a need to lose weight, to be skinny, these aren’t purposeful or specific. For me, it was because I wanted to be a really good boxer and to be able to knock someone out if they try to bully me; when I was fourteen, I think I’d just had enough. By the time I became proficient enough to readily be able to fend off bullies, I’d left school and the bullying had stopped! And as a result, I stopped boxing but by then, I’d learned enough about good nutrition to be able to maintain the healthier eating habits I’d adopted. I did get fat again much later, when I was 27 years old, my weight slowly crept back up and now at 30, I decided as a 124kg personal trainer that it was probably best for my career to not be morbidly obese and tout myself as a fitness professional when I can’t even climb stairs without being out of breath! The purpose I adopted was because I want to compete in a body building competition, anyway, 6 months on I’m hovering between 85kg and 90kg so I’m on the right track but last night, at 3am, I felt a bit peckish and I confess to demolishing 10 packets (yes, 10 full packets) of crisps… Actually for the last few weeks, I’ve been doing nothing but binge eating, it isn’t good but it’s a blip, I’m just allowing myself to enjoy my food and ultimately, that’s key. You need to understand that food is there to be enjoyed, if we force ourselves to eat like rabbits then we will lose weight but when we go back to eating “normally”, we put the weight back on because we’re already eating too much before we go on our diet.

The key takeaway here is to improve your eating habits first and really drill down on why you want to lose weight and be skinny. Start logging your food so you can understand how many calories you’re consuming, this will mean physically weighing your food (it’s easy, put your plate on a kitchen scale and zero it, add your meat, record it, zero the scale, add your greens, record it and zero the scale and so on – I’ll put a bit at the bottom about this in greater detail with a bit about food labels, fun stuff!) and then we subjectively review how much we’re eating and how we’re going to reduce the amount we’re eating to a more healthier level (that will maintain your current weight). Once we’ve achieved this and maintained this as an eating habit for a few weeks, we can then go on a calorie restricted diet for the purposes of losing weight, then when we’ve achieved our goal, we can come off our diet and go back to applying the habits we’d adopted before going on a temporary diet.

On food labels and tracking calories

To recap, weighing food:

  1. Put your empty plate on a set of kitchen scales and zero the scale.
  2. Add and record the weight of each food item (meat, greens, sauce, chips, etc)

When you know how much each food item weighs, you can better understand how many calories you’re supposed to be consuming* and also check to see if you’re complying with the recommended serving size (though the recommended serving size of Celebrations chocolates is 2… And family share packs? Who do they think they’re kidding?!).

*There has been studies that have proven that most ultraprocessed foods contain up to 3x as many calories per 100g/ml than the nutrition label states.

Once you’ve recorded your food, and you can do this on apps like Nutracheck (which has a UK food database, to my recollection, MyFitnessPal does not, but MyFitnessPal has better integrations with other technology and services so if you use either, use the one that works best for you), you can work out how many calories you’ve consumed (these apps do this for you but they’re always worth double checking because they’re prone to error). Women are recommended to consume 1800-2000 calories per day (which isn’t a large amount of food at all, incidentally) to maintain their weight but for people who are heavier than average, we have a higher basal metabolic rate meaning we’d need more than this to maintain our weight so this recommended daily intake will see us actually lose weight. Personally, I just use the note taking app on my phone.

When we have our caloric intake recorded, we can compare it to the recommended caloric intake and then we can proactively adjust our dietary habits as needed to achieve our calorie goal. It is worth pointing out that I’m not making any recommendations in terms of diet.

Within a few weeks, you’ll soon find that you’re able to estimate the number of calories without the need to weigh your food and by being mindful of hidden calories, like in the sauces (fun fact, 1 table spoon of ketchup contains over 100 calories!), spreads, cooking oils, etc. you’ll know to use these sparingly and only as much as necessary and be able to maintain your health and weight as part of your normal lifestyle.

It really is easier said than done, the easy part really is losing weight though, the difficult part is developing the necessary habits and finding a reason compelling enough to support the subconscious decisions we make that will either support or detract from the reason.

What I neglected to mention in my reply to the Mumsnet post is that when it comes to forming new habits, it all balls down to making small but consistent changes to our behaviour and frequently taking repeated action to cement the habit into our lifestyle. This is supported by the NHS and is referred to in their article “Tips to Lose Weight“.

 

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