The real reasons I gained weight and the real solution to it.

The real reason I’ve struggled with weight gain

For the last year since my daughter was born, I’ve watched my weight steadily increase. I’ve been disappointed about this and annoyed, but in the cold light of day I cannot be surprised. People often come up with lots of weird and wonderful reasons why their weight has increased and how puzzling it is to them since they hardly eat anything.

I for one am not that naïve. I know exactly why my weight has been creeping up and up. There are two main reasons.

  1. I used to rely on exercise to help keep my weight down and I don’t have the time to exercise for as long anymore.
  2. My diet has been inconsistent.

It really is as simple as that. I have been blissfully unaware of how poor my eating habits had gotten, thinking to myself in a state of grand delusion, that I could just stop and start dropping weight whenever I wanted.  The only problem with this thinking was that it was not true. I was eating so much that I was craving the feeling of being really full. Every time you go for that you have to eat that little bit more.  A twelve inch pizza becomes a 14 inch next time. A 50 gram bag of crisps becomes 100gr and so on.

I was completely in denial as well. I had deliberately not weighed myself thinking that would make things easier to cope with, but the body never lies. I could feel that I was heavier, and my clothes all of a sudden felt like they had been shrunk.

I could have gone blissfully unaware but eventually, I had to face reality. I braced myself and faced the music. The results were not pretty and I underestimated my weight by a few pounds as well, but it was the reality. I felt better knowing exactly where I stood and what would be needed to make improvements to my weight.

One thing I have learnt to do during this time is accept myself for the person that I am. My thinking has shifted from you will be happier when you are a particular weight to be the best you can be on this day at this size. I’ve realised that I will only get to live this day once, so I want to make the best use of it that I can. Stressing over what has been or what may be is a waste of energy that could be put to better use.

Focussing on being the best I can be for that day makes sticking to healthy habits easier. I have found that setting large goals in the past has been difficult because I get daunted by the journey and worry that I might not be able to make it. Instead of that, focussing on the present moment and the day breaks the goal down into small manageable chunks. Setting the goal and working towards it daily feels like a good approach. You need the long term vision to see the overall direction, but then need to become adept at winning each day as it comes.

So what tactics am I going to use in order to get my health back on track?

  1. Consistent diet.
  2. Regular strength training.
  3. Daily movement and general physical activity.
  4. Lots of water
  5. A good dose of micronutrients daily (vitamins and minerals)
  6. When possible, get earlier nights for better sleep and reduction in stress.

I’m sure it will work if I remember to focus on each day as it comes and win enough little victories to create consistent healthy habits that last years.

I wish you the best.

How to set your body up for long term fat loss (A.K.A Insulin reset)

For the past two weeks, I have made some adjustments to my diet and eating pattern. I am towards the end of the most extreme phase of my insulin reset.

For those who don’t know, an insulin reset is where you change your eating habits to try and turn your body from a sugar burning machine to a fat burning machine. The reasoning behind it is that the period without carbs allows your body to reset it’s ability to burn stored body fat as a source of energy more efficiently. This style of eating would also have an effect on your hormone output, making you more sensitive to the effects of insulin. To do this, you restrict your carbohydrate level to zero apart from vegetables. Now I haven’t gone quite as extreme as that because I have still been eating fruit, but everything else I have eliminated from my diet for nearly two weeks. After the two weeks, the plan is then to re-introduce carbs gradually to see where my comfortable level is. I will then only be eating carbohydrates on workout days. This will be at breakfast time, or after I have completed a workout. These times seem to be popularised as the most beneficial times to get in carbohydrates.

This has been a really beneficial process where I have learned many things about my eating habits. It has also been difficult. After the excitement had passed, all that seemed to be left was the urge to eat lots of carbohydrates. This lasted for about two days and did leave me feeling sluggish, irritable and with quite a large headache.

Once this period had passed, I started to feel the benefits and there have been many including:

  • Quick loss of weight (Which will admittedly be mainly water) I am down about 7 pounds after 12 days.
  • Feeling full after dinner without feeling stuffed.
  • I have more awareness around my eating habits.
  • I can go for longer periods without feeling the need to eat.
  • Fruits now taste better as they are the sweetest thing I have consumed in the last fortnight.
  • My skin looks better.
  • I feel leaner around my middle and my lower back is leaning out as well.
  • I have more energy.

One of the stranger observations I have made has been the amount of food I that in the past I have eaten just because it had been offered to me. I have had to learn to say no to offers of sweets, biscuits, cakes and other treats on a very regular basis. This has shown me how unconscious I used to be around food.

The social aspect of my eating also means I have to be more vocal about what I will eat and make decisions in advance depending on where I am going. For example, his weekend, I will be taking Nathan and Ava along to two family birthday parties. Will there be food there? Absolutely and it will look delicious, but I have made a decision in advance about what I will be eating. Therefore my level of planning in regard to my eating is vastly superior to what it was before doing this.

There are certainly elements of my current way of eating that I will try and make habitual. As I am so carbohydrate sensitive, this style of eating would be perfect for me on my non training days where I know that my body doesn’t need as many calories and certainly doesn’t need a shed load of carbohydrates. I do feel that I have had a healthier relationship with food over the past ten days and have become more aware and honest with myself about some of the things I used to eat and not really think about. I would recommend this to anyone who’s serious about long term health and wellness as it is more about what happens after the two weeks that is so powerful rather than the two weeks themselves.

My diet has consisted of:

Meat and fish

Greek yogurt

Vegetables (Lots of them)

Fruits

High fat, low sugar sauces.

Raw nuts

Organic peanut butter

Cheese ( A little too much )

Eggs

Cottage cheese

Protein powder with water or added to Greek Yogurt.

I credit Chris Lopez with showing me this style of eating, but many more people now talk about it everywhere on the internet. John Romaniello is another person who references an insulin reset check his video out on you tube where he is talking with Mike Chang

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aub8GGIv5YA

I wish you the best

Shaun

 

 

Inspire through action.

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I went to the park to complete my workout today. It was an intense session complete with kettlebell snatches, chin ups and dips. I was focused on the session and really enjoying my workout. When the first person of the session said hello to me during my workout. He was an elderly man. i would guess he was into his sixties. “Well done” he said as I struggled and strained through a set of chin ups. 

About five minutes later it happened again. “Keep going” the next observer commented as I completed my set of kettlebell snatches. Later on, a couple of boys were making their way towards me kicking a football between them, as they made their way closer to me, I saw them stop and watch me for a little while. They then waited until I had finished training on the chin up bars and decided to make their way over and have a go themselves.

These little exchanges reminded me that sometimes it’s watching someone take action that inspires us to take some for ourselves. Those boys were intrigued and interested in what I was doing. As a result they wanted to have a go at doing some chin ups for themselves. I wonder how many times they have walked past that bar without stopping to try. I hope that the man who saw me earlier on in my workout decided to do something a little more active that day. It’s not always what we say, but who we are and the actions we choose that can inspire others.

Post 014: I’m no longer a scale slave.

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My training has been going great recently. Considering the time of year, and the amount of work that I have on at the minute I’m doing pretty well. My clothes are fitting better, I feel tighter and less chubby and my energy levels are up. On Wednesday morning, I decided to hope onto the scale. I was surprised to see that I hadn’t lost any weight and started to feel frustrated. I started to scrutinise my self more negatively and started thinking about all the changes that I could make. Then I took a deep breath, and just walked out of the bathroom. I made a decision that day that I was going to judge my results on other methods other than just the weighing scales. I realised I was falling into a negative programme of thinking just because I had weighed myself and I started judging the value of doing this.

I resolved in myself to see the scale for what it is. The scale is a form of measurement. It’s nothing more than that. How was it that in the past, my sense of self worth and confidence were so intimately linked to the number that popped up on the scale? It was because I was putting more meaning onto the result than I had to. Yes I have to face reality, but that doesn’t mean we have to irrationally heap misery and anguish to the result.

So screw the scales. I’m not a boxer so I don’t need a weight class. I would like a form of measure though, and so I’m going to use the tape measure as well as the scale to get more of a clearer picture of the progress I’m making. When I looked back and reflected on my results, it dawned on me that I have been working on strength training for a few months now, and the number probably reflected an increase in muscle. That makes even more sense since my clothes are fitting better although there has been no movement on the scale.

To be honest, because I have removed emotional attachment to the result of weighing myself, it will become a far more valuable tool. I will use it to judge my methods and not myself. I invite anyone out there who has had similar issues with weight to try the same thing. It’s incredibly liberating to be able to step on the scale and accept whatever it shows you. This approach to results is applicable to all areas of life as well, because it stops you from defining yourself by your bank balance, career, or any other external measure.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I accept something, it doesn’t mean that I will be satisfied with it and not take action. I now just choose to take action without all the emotional baggage.

I’m not convinced that your weight tells you the complete picture either. I feel energised, strong fit and healthy. In the past I have weighed less but looked fatter and felt worse than I do today. The scale can’t measure the amount of muscle or fat that you’re carrying. So it stands to reason, that the number on the scale can sometimes be unreliable. Bear this in mind when you do use the scale and whatever you do, don’t become a slave to the weighing machine.