I wanted to share a sum of all the experiments I tried for weight loss and list finally what really worked for me. This is a summary of what was effective and created the final results.
1.understanding a simple truth
After trying many diets, dietician consultations, gym sessions, trainers etc with no effect, the formula for getting into shape sat obviously and logically right in front of me all the time. I guess I was too lazy or not motivated enough to act upon this basic logic.
The formula quite simply was – healthy low calorie intake + high-calorie burn working in tandem!! Burn more than my intake and increase my metabolism.
I was always doing one or the other. While eating less, I would tell myself I didn’t need to work out and when I was working out I would reward myself by eating more. More importantly my metabolism wasn’t keeping my body weight where I wanted it. Every time I would lose weight, it would come right back!
2. The Right Diet
the Scarsdale diet really works! I had tried umpteen diets and I had a tendency to put back the pounds once i had lost them. I always reverted to binge eating immediately after with a yo yo effect on my body.
Scarsdale set my metabolism in place through the process. The diet has healthy and tasty options besides having unlimited quantities. It doesn’t feel like a fast or a struggle and I felt fresh and invigorated throughout.
Follow the diet to the T, even the 2 weeks off program recommended and you will see magical results immediately!
This really helped to keep myself in check. Having an accurate digital weighing scale and monitoring my weight everyday in the morning and evening kept my food habits in check. I could calibrate my food intake and exercise based on how my body was responding. There were times where I also slowed down the weight loss when I realized that I was losing the pounds too fast.
I also maintained a log of important milestones to observe what my body responded to.
4.Making a game out of the process!
I had hit a plateau after losing my initial fat and just couldn’t seem to break through to the next level.
The best way to keep me going was to make it fun and competitive. Personally, competition pushes me to do better. A friend of mine Nabeel and me had a bet. We weighed ourselves and set 6 kg as our target loss. We made a wager that either person who didn’t lose 6 kilos had to pay the other (we set a big amount to spur us into action)!
I announced it publicly on Facebook and told the whole world I was doing this to hold myself accountable and commit myself to it. Through the process, Nabeel and me kept sending each other pictures of the healthy food we were eating with the caption “Get your money ready!”. We constantly intimidated and motivated each other into action.
We weighed ourselves at the end of 2 months and the results were awesome. Nabeel had lost 8 kilos and I had lost 9 in 2 months!
5.Discovering the joy of running!
Running was really the catalyst that got the calories burning and the process exciting.
The Nike running app is a brilliant motivator, a personal trainer and a social network all rolled into one. The running app made me set new benchmarks everyday and push myself harder. It also connected friends who were running and got me egging myself when I saw the distances they were doing.
I got the Vibram running shoe and it helped my posture and made running so much more fun. I even ran the half marathon with the Vibram shoe. It’s as close as it gets to running barefoot and I strongly recommend buying them. It helps you to stay away from the knee and ankle injuries which are running related.
The right music is so important for me when I am running. Music really helps push me further and set a rhythm to get me going at a pace I wouldn’t have achieved otherwise.
I have a playlist which includes a mix of all kinds of music -Paul Van Dyke, David Guetta, songs from Rocky, Sting, Rahman, Michael Jackson etc.
Increasing the momentum while taking baby steps and listening carefully to my body was most important as i started. I Increased distances a wee bit every time I ran. On my first day, I ran just over a kilometer and that too with many stops and walking breaks. I then kept adding and pushing myself steadily each day in terms of distance, pace and in 2 months I managed to run the half marathon without a break at a steady pace in just over 2 hours!
6.The Nike Fuel Band
The Nike fuel band helped set myself benchmarks and monitor how I was doing against the same. Nike has a system called Fuel points which you can monitor with a wrist band across your day and keep track of your physical activities- running, walking, sport etc. 3 Nike fuel points works out to 1 calorie approximately and you can set a target of how many fuel points you should achieve on a daily basis. The band syncs with an app on your phone giving you detailed reports. I personally set myself a target of 3500 points and the fuel band has made me get up and take walks consciously within the office whenever I can, take the steps instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving, go for a run at night after a long day just to achieve my goal and keep me moving always.
7.Combine a sport
Just to keep it exciting, I added squash whenever I could. I found it an exciting cardio workout and a sport that gets your heart rate up immediately. Combining a sport with running makes it fun and removes monotony that can set in. I am sure swimming, tennis, football etc can also be great substitutes.
8.What I am doing now
I am almost near the ideal weight recommended for my height. I have now got myself a personal trainer and I workout 3 days a week for an hour each. I am focusing on reshaping and sculpting my body without bulking up. The focus is on lower weights and higher repetitions done slowly with maximum effect on the muscles.
The trainer is making sure I do free weights and steadily increasing the resistance. Squats and bench press form the bulk of the program and that effects most parts of the body. Combined with arms and shoulders the sets are already having their effect. Over the next 6 months I plan to remove maximum body fat and get ripped into shape.
The goal is a six pack by June 15th ( yet another bet ) and a surfer body by September!
I am running on the days I don’t train and playing squash every other day I can.
9. Lifestyle choices
Along with all these steps I have made some basic changes to my lifestyle. I have almost completely let go of white carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta ), soft drinks, sweets and desserts. I have started eating much slower, chewing my food consciously, I have cut down on water intake during my meals and I eat small portions with only 1 serving. I now make sure I snack through the day and eat my dinner at least 3 hours before my sleep. I also completely eliminated coffee and fast food and have drink 10 glasses of water daily. I quit smoking and sleep at least 7 hours now. I consciously take care when I travel to continue to eat healthy and when there are parties and occasions I make sure I take only one portion and don’t refill my plate.
All this is now a healthy way of life and not an effort. Its a lifestyle choice and I don’t feel I am missing out or making a compromise. I feel healthy, fresh, young and energetic!
I turn 40 in September and I want to greet the day looking 30 and feeling 20!