With a laptop and an internet connection pretty much anyone can sound like a specialist in any field.
The truth is there are a lot of copy-pasted stories going around that sound too good to be true.
I, for one, fell victim to these so called ‘weight-loss hacks’ and when things didn’t go my way I became pretty frustrated knowing I was the problem.
When I started this blog, my main aim was to help others who have struggled with weight just like I have. And just like everyone out there, I decided to do a lot of research and publish it here. I truly sounded like an expert.
But the truth is, my journey is not yet complete.
I choose the word journey because no two paths are the same, for we are all individuals, walking our roads. And truth be told, weight loss is a journey and not a destination ( I have learned that the hard way).
I have always had my target weight (64 kg ) but because of one thing or another, I have never really hit my target. But all that is about to change this year for I not only will hit my target but I will maintain it.
So rather than write articles based on what I have read and what I have tried, I think it is much more authentic to document my weight loss journey right here, for everyone to see.
My highs, my lows, my struggles, my good days and eventually my success story.
Nearly 70% of the American population is either overweight or obese.
1/3 of the global population exceed a healthy weight.
And yet the American and Global Weight loss & Diet markets made US$72 billion and US$189.9 billion respectively, in 2018.
If the Weight Loss Industry was honestly helping, these statistics wouldn’t exist … truth is, they aren’t helping because they want you back every now and then in order to keep the lights on.
People want to lose weight but they aren’t being told how to.
Metabolic efficiency is basically improving your body’s ability to use its energy stores better.
Note that it isn’t a crash-course diet, nor is it a fad.
It is a scientific approach to weight loss that focuses on nutrition and training strategies to improve the body’s ability to use its fuel sources more efficiently.
You may ask, What is so special about Metabolic Efficiency?
Did you know that super fit athletes burn energy faster than their unfit counterparts even without exercising, and it is all due to metabolic efficiency.
The best athletes in the world depend on this science in order to compete at the highest level … they experience decreased body weight, decreased body fat as low as 6%, improved and sustained energy levels, and mental alertness throughout the day.
Now that sounds like heaven.
You can turn your body into a fat-burning machine and lose weight just like the pros.
Let me break it down a bit for you.
Our bodies have two main energy stores, Fats and Carbohydrates.
At any given moment, your body has about 80,000 calories of Fat compared to 14,000 – 18,000 calories of Carbs. Our goal is to tap into the huge Fat reserves and conserve the Carbs for when we really need them.
Why is Fat a much better fuel source for our bodies than Carbohydrates ?
Fat burns more cleanly.
Fat has a greater energy density than carbs.
Fat use results in better stamina and endurance.
Provides a great opportunity to reduce excess body fat.
N.B; The danger with depending on your Carb reserves is that when depleted, you hit ‘the wall’ (Our Blood Glucose levels are extremely low and manifest in the form of extreme fatigue).
” The best training plan is worthless if the nutrition plan fails.”
The main aim of proper nutrition is to control your blood sugar.
When blood sugar rises, insulin levels rise and they inhibit your body’s ability to burn fat .. and we don’t want that, do we ?
This is how food and drinks laced with sugar contribute to your weight gain and inhibit your weight loss at the same time … As if that is not enough, they also break down rapidly and create a cycle of spike and crash in your blood sugar.
After ingesting sugar you instantly get super energetic .. then crash and want more.
Healthy fats, Proteins and Natural fiber (Carbohydrates) are what make up proper nutrition for you. The ratio of Proteins To Carbs should be 1:1, meaning you should eat the same amount during the day.
Today’s world is extremely carb-centric, and to most it might seem challenging or near impossible to achieve the 1:1 ratio .. It’s actually very simple.
In order to achieve it, decrease the amount of carbohydrates you take in a day and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and especially lean proteins.
Stay away from refined sugars, sugary drinks (e.g energy drinks) and processed carbohydrates such as enriched flour or wheat.
The Aerobic System is one of three Energy Systems the body uses to power us up.
It requires oxygen and is pivotal to losing weight as it burns either carbohydrates or fats stored in our bodies. It has a slow rate of production and is mostly used during low-intensity activities that go for a long period.
Tapping into this system and training your body to use stored fat as a source of energy can work wonders for your waistline, if and when used with the proper nutrition.
Not only that, but this system creates a positive feedback loop that leads to better overall fitness and endurance.
It is the secret and abundant energy source that long-distance runners depend on to accomplish breathtaking feats such as completing a 26 mile run in under 2 hours.
You can train your aerobic system by;
Interval training: Exercise for several minutes with active rest periods in between sets at lower intensity. E.g Run fast for 2 minutes then jog for a minute and repeat over 20 minutes.
Continuous training: Maintain exercise at a low intensity for a prolonged period of time. E.g 30 minutes cycling, swimming or jogging at a low intensity
Fartlek training: Vary speed and effort throughout your session based on how your body feels but ensuring that you can maintain the routine without rest intervals. E.g 30 minute jog over a hilly terrain, requiring short busts of extra effort but never stopping.
“Efficiency is doing something well with the least amount of effort.”
Losing weight is a tedious endeavour. No one is at fault for not putting in the effort, as a matter of fact people out here are working really hard.
It’s the misinformation out there that causes so many to either adopt the toughest tactics or become hooked on products that don’t offer lasting results.
Many give up and yet there is a more efficient approach to take that will yield the best results in a shorter time-frame.
It is no coincidence that the Top Athletes use it.
Losing weight and eating right rank third and fourth respectively on the list of resolutions made every New Year.
Google trends shows topics related to weight loss and exercise spike every January 1st.
The Fitness Industry ramps up its advertising every beginning of the year ….. no surprise that gym memberships also hit an all year high.
Fast-Food restaurants record a dip in sales during the first month of the year.
However, and this is a big HOWEVER, statistics show that the average person cannot sustain this trend past the first week of February. (P.S Both gyms and restaurants return to ‘normal traffic’ as from February)
Why do people abandon goals concerning their weight so quickly ? .. Well, simply put, things don’t go as they expect and results don’t show as fast as they want them to.
Why ? … People don’t take the time to understand that their opponents (i.e their bodies) are extremely intelligent and won’t go down without a fight.
Intelligent ? Go down without a fight ? Let me explain ….
Metabolic compensation is the process through which your body will fight you as you lose weight and, if by chance you are successful, when you try to maintain your new weight. It is a survival mechanism where the body conserves energy so as to try hang on to the stored fat it has for ‘ future energy needs ‘.
Your body actually studies you and the actions you take in order to achieve your weight goals, … and … deliberately ‘sabotages’ your efforts. Meaning that what worked for you a couple of months or years ago, will NOT get the same results now.
The average person will get good results at first, but as the body adapts to his/her strategies, weight loss stagnates.
Now back to the reason you are here. You have hit a weight loss plateau and you want to get that scale moving again.
Don’t worry, I got your back.
a). Eat A Portion Of Protein During Every Meal
Always include an amount of protein at every meal you have.
Proteins are the building blocks of our muscles …. They effectively help you maintain as much of your muscle mass as possible during weight loss, which is a great boost to you and your plans.
Here’s why you need to maintain muscle; Muscles, in comparison to fat, burn more calories even during rest. Meaning you burn calories even when you are chilling out. Priceless !!
b). Exercise In The Right Order
Exercise is very important for overall health, but do not focus on exercise alone as your only hope to get to your goal. Most people make this mistake and give up when the scale doesn’t budge as much as they want. (It happened to me)
Now if you want to get that body losing as much as it can from exercise, Doctors advise beginners to start and stick with cardio until you lose half of your total expected weight loss, then pick up on strength training for the remaining half.
If you start with strength training, the weight scale will move initially in the opposite direction.
c). Eliminate All Low-Fat/Diet, Processed Foods
The fact that you are here tells me you know a bit about eliminating processed foods from your diet in order to get results.
This is very true and very important.
It is also important to note that this includes anything labeled ‘low-fat’ or ‘diet’. They are actually higher in sugar content than the regular option, in order to help with taste.
They, in essence, make you hungrier.
d). Your Menu Should Have Whole foods, Fruits, Nuts
This is what your menu should consist of.
So fold those sleeves, heat that oven up, download some healthy recipes and get to cooking.
This according to me, is the most exciting part … you get to experiment and experience different cuisines and tastes that honestly put, will blow your mind … or actually taste-buds … or both. You also get to add a new skill to your portfolio.
e). Get Enough Rest
I have a Masters Degree in sleeping by the way, Do you ?
Most don’t consider it as important when it comes to weight loss, it is not only required but it is pivotal. Your body requires time to heal and recover so that tomorrow you are back to being your best, operating at optimum levels and most importantly … losing as much as you can.
So if you have been skipping out on a good night’s rest in the name of staying active, go grab a pillow and a blanket. Get ready …. Set ….. Go !!!
f). Shock Your Body
This is a well kept secret I am sharing with you (and an added bonus for taking the time to be here to the end. Thank you).
Remember I mentioned that the body studies your tactics and adjusts accordingly ? (Dastardly move, if I might say so myself). You can as well counter this by constantly changing and mixing up your diet as well as your exercise routines.
Before your body can come up with a way of managing your attempts, switch it up and try something else. You will see the fat melt off.
However, let your attempts be calculated as well. Don’t mix it up too much, you won’t be able to maintain it for the long haul.
Hitting a weight loss plateau not only shows you are heading in the right direction but it is normal for everyone. Most of us give up and assume we have failed at this point …. You are so close to your goals, if only you could see.
Now why don’t you go apply this measures and get back on track !!!!
N.B; Weight loss, as I see it, is a new beginning …. not just a few tricks you try out for a while then get back to your old ways. In order to be successful, take the time to incorporate your new habits fully into your life and I guarantee you will never be the same again.
Every 40 seconds, someone takes their life due to mental health issues. Statistics also indicate that for every adult who commits suicide, there are more than 20 others who tried unsuccessfully.
The World Health Organisation (W.H.O), estimates that one out of every four people suffers from a type of mental health disorder. Majority of people suffer in silence, others are not informed enough to know the symptoms they exhibit are related to their mental health and in most cases there are no structures within reach to help deal with it.
Growing up was tough.
No one wanted to be associated with me … I was a regular, fun-loving, 250 lbs (113 kg), 12 year old boy who had absolutely no friends, apart from my mom …. I was constantly bullied and I never understood why … The rejection from society inevitably took its toll on my mind and I shut everyone, and I mean everyone, out.
I was suffering in silence. Don’t get me wrong, I did try to communicate my struggles to those around me, but, they didn’t take it seriously. Most of what they had to say roughly translated to, ‘ Take it like a man ‘. … Well, taking my life, in my opinion, was the only way to stop the pain.
One of the major causes of mental health issues in overweight or obese people is social stigma.
I share my struggles and how I overcame them in an effort to help you who feels alone, you who is desperate, you who wants to help a friend out.
This is my story.
Television, magazines, the rich and famous …. they all project a certain body type as acceptable for today’s society. We are constantly bombarded with these images everywhere we go, in an effort to meticulously and cunningly embed them in our minds … The result ? We can’t help but stigmatize all who don’t fit the profile.
When you’re struggling with weight issues, one thing is certain … you are the exact opposite of what society wants. I believed I was ugly, and hiding away from the world would ease the pain.
I remember being a very active young boy. I would sign up for all school related activities, I particularly enjoyed the company of my then friends and my mom, just like all mothers everywhere, would always tell me that I had so much potential and I could be anything I wanted.
I never really remember what happened to cause the rapid weight gain but all I remember is it happened fast, and the stigma soon followed.
I lost all my friends.
None of them wanted to be seen with the ‘fat kid’.
The ridicule and shame made me withdraw from everyone and everything just to avoid the laughter and the pointing. I gave up on acting, gave up on football, deliberately stopped performing well in school because tradition dictated that top performers get paraded during assembly and just like clockwork, when they saw me, they wouldn’t stop laughing … Teachers included.
My teenage years had to be the worst.
Everyone around me was falling in love, going for parties, dressing up and hanging out. I was the fat kid who never left home.
And then there was Deborah.
Long flowing dark hair, pink lips and those eyes …. big, bright, beautiful eyes, the kind that smile. We went to the same church, she was kind to me, she listened, she made me feel human again, she was my happiness. So logically she had to be in love with me right ? …. Turns out the only thing she felt was pity.
I felt ugly on a whole new level, I believed no one was capable of loving me. I became violent, aggressive, suicidal. It was too much for me, I tried taking my life .. I was unsuccessful.
I turned back to food and kept tipping the scale further and further.
Fast forward and I was now an adult and doing odd jobs to get by … Stigma was something I wouldn’t experience as an adult, or so I thought. People mature when they grow up, don’t they ? Things started looking hopeful when I landed a lucrative job … however, stigma was not far behind. I was on the receiving end of some of the meanest jokes.
It was non-stop, everyday … but being a man I couldn’t cry or show emotion, I had to laugh along and pretend it didn’t faze me but deep down it hurt bad.
I had to develop ways to cope with the pain … hello drugs and alcohol. My typical day looked something like;
Get up and decide what I feel like using that day.
2. Gorge myself on fast food.
3. Go to work high.
4. Spend the whole day getting high in the bathroom in between breaks.
5. Leave work, get some fast food then hit the bar.
6. Get home early morning high like a kite, gorge myself on more fast food, masturbate then sleep.
My life was miserable at this point. I hated God for ‘cursing’ me, I felt ‘cheated’ out of life, I felt alone, I felt helpless … My mental health was non-existent at this stage, the drugs and alcohol weren’t helping anymore, so the only logical thing left to do was to die.
Meditation is a practice whereby an individual can use various techniques to train attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear, emotionally calm and stable state.
I stumbled, luckily, on an article about Tibetan monks. They looked very peaceful and interestingly, they achieved these impossible feats that baffled scientists, through meditation.
I was so far off normal that I could literally hear voices and noises in my head that others couldn’t.
I just wanted to experience peace. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I was all my mother had and truth be told she had been there for me every step of the way. She loved me and I knew if I committed suicide, it would destroy her.
My love for her was the push I needed.
It wasn’t by any means easy, but long story short, I experienced peace and a clear mind for the first time in my life.
Through meditation I was able to discover myself, chat a clear plan on what I needed to do to live a healthier life both mentally and physically, kick-start my journey towards fulfillment, kick bad habits and change my life for good.
Depression, panic attacks, anxiety, suicidal thoughts … these are just but a few of the mental health issues that plague people struggling with weight.
You feel alone because almost everyone would prefer to tell you which course of action you should take rather than take the time to understand you, help figure out what is the underlying issue, because 99% of the time there always is an issue, and help where it matters the most.
Being fat, overweight or obese doesn’t mean that you’re not human and are therefore exempt from loving or being loved.
We are just as human as everyone else.
The ‘tough love’ that most of us are exposed to, because it’s supposed to miraculously push us to lose weight, actually ends up doing the opposite .. we eat in order to comfort ourselves, trying to reassure ourselves that we are worth something … that our lives have meaning, that we are not a waste to our families or communities as so many people imply indirectly.
It is a cycle that ensures people looking to lose weight never actually lose it but rather gain it.
We humans have this amazing capacity to love and show kindness when we choose to. Just loving that person who is struggling with addiction, be it food, alcohol or drugs, goes a very long way in helping them overcome it. Because at the end of the day, if they don’t decide for themselves that they want to kick the addiction, we can’t decide for them.
And for you who wants to change and become better, I want you to know that YOU are in charge of your life. Regardless of what you have experienced before, YOU ARE IN CHARGE! YOU are a result of what YOU and only YOU do habitually.
Stop looking to external forces to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do, look within and take control of your mind, take charge of your mental health, take control of your life and purpose to be all that you can be !!!
In the years that I was a resident of FAT-TOPOLIA, I heard a lot of interesting stories about how people kick-started their ‘Love Affair’ with food and ended up in the City. Some were pretty funny stories (Jim at the bakery blamed it all on his mama and her cooking, “The aromas that came out of that woman’s kitchen ….” he always said in his defense), others were disturbing (In Abebi’s home country, you had to be bordering obese in order to be considered ‘Wife Material’ and get married, “All I wanted was a husband and a family to call my own … I had to do it” she said, holding back tears) , most had a traumatic experience during their early years or got hit hard emotionally when they were adults and saw food as a form of comfort. Out of all of them, I have not heard of any incident where one just magically appeared in the City. Everyone willingly walks the same road paved with food (Must be one hell of a slippery road to get here so fast).
Some eat to live while most of us here live to eat, and hey, who can blame us ?… food tastes pretty awesome. We need it to grow, get stronger, flourish .. we need it to survive. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the average man needs only 2500 calories a day to MAINTAIN his body weight. The average woman only needs 2000. So think for a minute, if anyone eats food right the right way, your body will maintain a good B.M.I (Body Mass Index), but we don’t, do we ? The average fatty (for lack of a better word) consumes around 6700 calories a day. That is more than twice what the body needs to function.
While FOOD PORTIONING is KEY, the TYPE OF FOOD you eat is important as well. It might be low in terms of quantity but HIGH in CALORIES. One chocolate doughnut (… need a minute to compose myself …) during a quick cup of coffee as you head out, has …. wait for it … 452 calories. Now let us assume that you, just like me, never settle for just one. The I-don’t-want-my-doughnuts-feeling-lonely kind of attitude, so you end up having three!!! That would be 1,356 calories and you still haven’t gotten to lunch let alone finished the day.
Fast food joints are the stuff of nightmares when it comes to walking the lonely path of eating healthy. Most of everything there is either deep fried or saturated with fat (the unhealthy kind). I reckon, and this is just a theory, that once you even think about going to one, you gain a few pounds instantly! In my opinion and based on experience, you should avoid fast food completely if you want to make some headway in losing weight. I did the same, turned my back on them and the results have been nothing short of amazing.
A healthy diet is supposed to follow a certain framework based on what your body needs. Fruits and vegetables should take up 40% of your total diet with proteins and fiber-rich carbohydrates taking up 25% each. Fats, and I am talking about healthy fats like avocado, finish last with 10%. This will give your body all the energy it requires to perform at an optimum level. Added bonus is you feel super strong mentally and physically. They are a great source of vitamins and minerals, essential for the body, and an excellent source of dietary fiber that helps maintain a healthy gut. Who doesn’t want a healthy gut ?
Food portioning is another key element of weight gain. Large meals not only increase the size of your stomach but they translate to a higher calorie count for the day. A neat trick that helped me control my portions was eating only half of every meal I had or drinking a large glass of water right before I ate. Before you know it you will need a small amount to feel full. On the other hand, you are not supposed to eat to your fill.. You should eat slowly, take your time to savour the meal, like a glass of expensive wine (roughly for 20 minutes) so that as soon as your body has had enough, you can tell easily. Most of us just chow down on whatever is on our plates and try make room for a second serving. Take away word here for meals is just have ENOUGH.
If you consider the environment that faced our ancestors in the beginning, you would understand that we (our bodies) were built to survive. We were constantly in danger of wild animals, moving frequently to find food and more often than not we would go hungry for days on end before finding anything. Our bodies are still calibrated to live the same way, operate efficiently on small meals. Compare that to the number and size of meals that a regular person has today and you understand the cause for the recent obesity epidemic. These days ‘nourishment’ is an arm’s length away, just a phone call away, 24 hours a day. We basically eat too much. So where does all the extra energy go to ? Your body stores it away in your fat cells for a rainy day (It always has to be prepared for the next famine, that never comes).
And here comes another counter. EXERCISE. It’s supposed to take care of all the extra energy right ? WRONG !! I joined the gym a while back. I worked my ass off, harder than every one who walked in. Every single day I left it all on the mat, or treadmill … or on the bike … wherever I left it, I left it all!!! Judging on the amount of effort, I expected to loose about 22 pounds a month. I lost a total of 6 pounds over a period of 3 months and then maintained the same weight for the rest of my membership. The problem was I still indulged in the same food that got me there in the first place. As a matter of fact I ate more because I felt hungrier after a session.
Food is the main factor when it comes to weight loss and weight gain. You will see the best results if you focus more on what you eat and how you eat rather than the gym. Don’t get me wrong, exercise is very important but not more important than diet. I am the best example. I did all the exercises, practiced the same eating habits and got frustrated every time I stepped on the weighing scale. This happens to a lot of us, hence why so many people give up on the gym within the first three months of signing up.
In conclusion, if you want to lose weight fast and without necessarily putting in that work at the gym, focus on;
Eating healthier and eliminating all processed/fast foods.
Cutting down on food portions ( Eating less calories than you are used to)
DID YOU KNOW
The mathematics of losing weight is 75% determined by your diet and 25% determined by exercise. You are what you eat.
FAT-TOPOLIA !!! It’s where I used to go whenever I got bullied or made fun of. The City was beautiful, filled with pomp and vivid colors, kind and sensitive people everywhere, 0% crime rate and no gyms. It was also very slow (on account that everyone there was either overweight or obese) but dammit, it was still beautiful. It had all the best and juiciest cuisines from around the world, happy hour (which not surprisingly was all about food) was all you can eat-all day everyday, you could eat however you wanted to and not get judged for it, everyone loved and accepted each other just as they were so it was no surprise that bullying or rather fat-shaming was a capital offence that was taken very seriously by the Mayor and last but not least, skinny people were considered terrorists! Of the mind that is but terrorists still!
I was 8 years old and weighed in at 160 lbs (72 kg). FAT-TOPOLIA was my happy place, away from all the teasing and laughter that followed me everywhere I went. Fast forward 20 years later and I was struggling to leave the City (I knew it would be a long short leaving it entirely so I was settled on just getting out of the City limits). I had tried every single diet out there, paid and bought everything I could lay my hands on that was dubbed ‘ The New Secret To Losing Weight’ and I even went as far as joining a gym. That was my last and only hope, exercising would save the day right ? WRONG !! In a period of four months, I lost 8 lbs (4 kg).
The SIMPLE and FREE TRUTH about LOSING WEIGHT is that you are both the never before found ‘Secret’ to losing it and the MAIN reason you are gaining it.
You and you alone are responsible for how you look in the mirror. Ever heard of the term ‘You are what you eat’ ? Interesting fact is that every 35 days, your skin replaces itself with cells made from the food you eat. The Liver does the same thing in about a month. Your body uses the raw materials (food) you provide it with to build you up. So if you eat pizzas, burgers and fries very frequently, you will look like the love child of a pizza-burger-fries threesome.
I personally discovered that to be 100% true. For so many years I had blamed my weight on the fact that I was big- boned or my family genes and when things got very frustrating, I blamed God. I was of the notion that I had been cursed. So cursed that even if I only drunk water, my body had the means and the know-how (cue Mad Scientist laughter and corresponding thunder) to still turn that to calories and somehow get me heavier. Never did I even once accept that I was heavy because of my own actions, the lifestyle I chose to live, my decision making framework or the fact that sugar was more important to me than water. It was NEVER MY FAULT !
The first and most important key to losing weight is ACCEPTING that the blame lies squarely with YOU. I know you are asking, who are you at your core ? You are how you make decisions, you are how you reason, you are how you weigh your options, you are your MIND. That means you have to wrap your mind around that statement right there. You have to make a FIRM DECISION to change your mindset on your entire life, ‘as a man/woman thinketh so is he/she.’ YOU have to CHANGE YOU if you want to have any meaningful success in weight loss.
Loosing weight and loosing it FOR GOOD means changing who you are at the core, changing your habits, choosing to live a healthier life, eating better food and being more active (I did not say join a gym and start gruelling exercises every 4-5 days a week). Weight loss is generally 75% diet and 25% exercise. We shall delve into that later on. It also means taking a long hard look at your food portioning because if you are anywhere close to where I was, or you are even heavier, you most definitely have a habit of eating huge portions every time you sit down to eat.
To summarise it all (I don’t need your credit card or paypal account for this, so carefully and slowly put that wallet down before anyone gets hurt), if you truly want to lose weight, don’t start by looking for the new kick-ass diet or signing up to at your local gym or even fasting for the next few days… just look within and honestly question yourself. Take note of the unhealthy habits you are prone to, take a look in the mirror and just decide you want to do this for you and your health. Nobody else matters at this stage other than you.
If you do, I am here to help you with the journey. (cue me smiling warmly)
I leave you with an honest quote from a former FAT-TOPOLIA resident, ‘ Achieving fast and long lasting weight loss requires new habits, requires automation … it requires hard-wiring the default settings.’
“DID YOU KNOW ?”
When you gain weight, it means that you are eating more calories than your body needs in a day. The average man needs 2500 calories to maintain his body weight while the average woman needs 2000 calories to do the same. Therefore, if you are racking in numbers that are higher than these on a daily basis, the body is going to store the excess calories as fat in your fat cells (Fat cells do not have a limit so they can expand and expand ……… and expand .. You get the picture.)