Seven months ago I was 43+ pounds and 8% body fat heavier! I weighed 243 and now I am down to 197. I wanted to share with you guys some things that happened that caused the unwanted, unnecessary, weight gain so that it doesn’t happen to you! I also wanted to share some things that helped me get the weight off! What you will realize in this blog is that putting on unwanted poundage can happen in the blink of an eye. You will also realize that losing the weight is not really rocket science. Sure, there is a methodical approach, but my suggestions won’t come as a shock to you. In fact, to lose the weight was rather simplistic; it’s the “doing it” part that was tough! You will also learn that you can train as much as you want, and as often as you want, but if you don’t eat well and if you eat too much, you will pack on the pounds!
How I put the weight on:
“Derek you didn’t realize you were gaining weight?” Nope. I never got on scales. I put other people first each day, really didn’t notice pictures and my friends didn’t mention anything was different.
I know a lot of you were hoping for some really crazy story in this blog. However, my situation is almost an “aha moment” and a basic mistake. I simply started buying too much food monthly at the grocery store. This led me to eating as though I was actually trying to put on weight. The food choices weren’t horrible; if I am being completely honest, I would say an 8 out of 10 on the healthy food purchase scale! Come on, we all have our little cheat foods, even us trainers. That said, I really wasn’t hanging out at Burger king or drinking milk shakes, eating chips, drinking soda or anything along those lines. Again, I mostly purchased green veggies, fruits, chickens, lean meats, fish, avocados, sweet potatoes, whole wheat rice, etc. Again, of course, I had my occasional cheat, but for the most part, I ate nutritionally dense foods.
Here’s what happened…because I was buying too much food, of course, I started cooking in excess, because “ya know I didn’t want to have to waste any of it, or have any of it go bad, and need to throw it out!” This led me to the mindset of eating until I was full. Maybe the worst eating habit you can pick up, in my opinion. I was also not eating slow enough and enjoying my food. I would rush every bite since there was so much to eat all the time. By eating so fast, I didn’t realize I was full well before I thought I was. Literally, it was like I was eating for a family of 4! Therefore, this obviously put me in an upside down caloric position. Meaning, I was consuming way more calories than I was using daily.
I am one active dude, but not nearly active enough for the calories I was consuming! I actually was training just as hard then, as I always have! However, here’s the deal…after I train, I eat, as your body and muscle needs the nutrition to repair and build. Except now, since I was consuming too many calories prior to training, and consuming calories after training, I never put myself in a caloric deficit and boom, I packed on what I factored to be almost a pound a week.
When I am not at the gym, I am usually studying training info, running Finisher Fitness, writing blogs, watching seminars dvds of my mentors, etc. I do this out of my apartment, since that is where my office is. The problem is that my fridge is in my apartment also! As I started to gain weight, my stomach was expanding due to the calories I accidently trained myself to be able to take on. Obviously, this wasn’t a good thing. I was now eating wherever and at any time. I was eating before bed (late) and then in the morning (breakfast), which was all throughout the day pretty much. There became no structure and things became way too monotonous. I hate to sound naïve, but as I look back in hindsight, and even being someone that knows better, it’s almost like it was all happening without me even realizing it.
THE SCALE & BODY FAT
As a guy who really has never struggled with being overweight, I really never developed a habit of getting on the scale. I also really didn’t preach the scale much to clients as I was one to say, you can starve and the number on the scale will drop, but your goals should be your clothes fitting better, gaining muscle and your body getting harder. Do this by dropping body fat (increasing muscle and decreasing actual fat), by doing things the correct way! My opinion on the scale has changed a bit. Being overweight is obviously not a good thing for many negative health reasons! So focus on correctly losing the weight, because often times as you lose weight the correct way, your body fat will generally correlate with your weight loss! Today, I would tell you to aim to get on the scale every day! Don’t obsess, but this will make you look at the number. If you are not at a healthy weight according to your doctor, then it is time to lose weight correctly!
THINGS THAT SUCKED ABOUT BEING OVERWEIGHT:
Let’s keep this short, sweet, and basic. I was often moody, tired a lot, my joints hurt more than normal, my sleep was disrupted, I was always hungry, and I used food as an emotional tool as well as a social tool. Body weight exercises were very challenging. Cardiovascular activities were much more of an uncomfortable struggle. I wasn’t as confident and energetic, or positive!
HOW I GOT MOTIVATED & THE INITIAL STEPS:
The biggest thing to my success from a motivational standpoint, were actually two things.
#1 Having a winners mindset & taking action! I was 100% to blame, nobody else. Right away, I realized what happened and that I gained the weight. I was consuming way too much and if I wanted to lose the weight, I would have to take action and have to consume the amount of calories for the weight that I desired! So, if I wanted to be in the 190’s I would have to eat like a 190 pound person would.
#2 I knew that in order to make change, my drive needed to come from within. It couldn’t be about things that bothered me, or to prove anything to anyone or to post pictures on Facebook. I was simply going to do it for me! Without this, I truly don’t think it would have been possible!
WHAT I DID TO LOSE THE WEIGHT
It wasn’t rocket science. I still ate the foods I was eating before. Caveman style, seeds, nuts, fruits, lean meats, fish, veggies, drank plenty of water, all the things mentioned before. However, now I stopped buying so much of it, and started eating way less. I always made sure when I sat down to eat that my plates looked like feedings instead of meals, so the portions would be less. I also really favored protein and ate like a carnivore on training days and more like a vegan on activity days! Again, eating as though I wanted to lose weight! So I consumed way less calories but not too little to where I would lose muscle, which would have slowed down my metabolism because muscle helps to break down fat. Did I crave food and feel hungry and uncomfortable at times? Of course, but fight that urge to consume the food and take control to get yourself into a caloric deficit.
In the gym
I made sure that I kept my workouts short, hard, intense, and focused on effort. I paired heavy weight training exercises. For example, if I did a chin up, I then did a squat. If I did a deadlift, I would then perform, say, a bench press variation. This, in return, skyrocketed my heart rate, and helped me to build muscle for the important reasons I just mentioned above! When you train using this approach, scientifically this helps your body to continue to burn calories for several hours post workout! After I lifted weights, I made sure to do some sort of high intensity low duration cardio work. Maybe 5 minutes of hills sprints, sled pushes, sprints, battle ropes for 20 seconds on 10 seconds off, fan bike intervals etc. I did this 2 to 4x a week!
Outside the gym
“Off days” simply turned into “activity” days. This way, not only was my caloric intake lower because I was eating less, my activity level went way up so I was burning more calories. A perfect combo to lose weight! With the activity days, I wouldn’t do a structured workout routine, but I made sure I was always riding bikes, hiking, or walking during any phone call I would make, and playing sports with my buddies or clients that like to be active. I made sure I worked this stuff into my routine at least 30 to 60 minutes a day. Plus by staying active and busy, you stay away from food!
TRY THIS OUT:
Want to figure out how many calories you should eat each day? This shows you how many calories you need to eat to survive and then how many calories you need to survive plus for your activity level to perform.
Try this formula: MALE =1 / FEMALE = .9 X24 (hours in the day) x KG (your body weight in kilos) x activity factor (10%)
Here let’s use me as an example! I’m a 197 pound male.
1X 24X (197/2.2 = 89) = 2136 X .10 = 213 + 2136 = 2349 CALORIES A DAY
If I wanted to maintain my weight, I wouldn’t change things up. If I wanted to gain weight, I would increase my calories and if I wanted to lose weight, I would decrease that amount a bit! Any questions on this, feel free to let me know!
Also make sure you read these blogs I wrote as well.
This one will help you with weekly structure:
This one will help you with what to do in the gym (exercises, reps, form, etc.)
This one will further help you understand how to get yourself into overall better shape:
Hope this blog helped you and that you enjoyed!