How I Lost 70kg

What started my weight loss journey was the decision to make a lifestyle change, which entailed a major diet change and adding exercise to my life. I also had to STOP making excuses. If you keep making excuses, the list below will never help you.

Picture: Alexander Dashewsky/Shutterstock

The purpose of the list is to illustrate what actions I took that assisted me in losing weight. People always ask me "how did you do it?" So I figured I might as well document how I did it — and I am hoping that one or two things will help someone with their weight loss journey! Now, please keep in mind while reading that I am not a nutritionist or personal trainer. I am just a person with knowledge that was gained through experience.

Prepare Breakfast at Home

What didn't work: Back in the day, I would wake up with enough time to just shower, shave and walk out the door. I would then pick up some type of fast food breakfast "meal" on the way to work. Typically, the visit would include leaving with at least two sandwiches and a large soft drink. With all those calories, this obviously helped me gain weight and eventually reach 160kg. If it wasn't a breakfast sandwich, it was doughnuts.

What worked: I started preparing and eating my breakfast at home. Yes, this meant I had to get up at least 30 minutes earlier than what I was doing before. I stopped visiting McDonald's, Burger King or any type of doughnut shop. This stopped me from consuming 600-800 calories before I even started the work day, eventually crashing later in the morning due to all the bad food I ate.

Nowadays, I eat foods that will give me energy, have complex carbs, fibre and protein, and I always keep the total nutrition value in mind. Over the years I went through phases of having some of these items before I left for work: 4-5 egg whites, two full eggs, oatmeal, steel cut oats with berries and veggie/fruit smoothies with my Vitamix blender.

You Can Do It! What I suggest to others is this: as soon as you wake up, drink 450-600mL of room temperature water (with lemon or without) and then eat some type of breakfast at home. Some examples are: 3-5 egg whites, 1-2 full eggs, fruit, steel cut oats, veggies or fruit with eggs. What to avoid: sugary items or breads. These type of foods do not have any nutritional benefits, will cause a energy crash, and they will not help keep you full. Fibre is key here, because it will assist with having a "full" feeling. Keep your calorie count in mind. Visit MyFitnessPal if you are not sure how many calories you need to eat on a daily basis.

Prepare and Bring Lunch to Work

What didn't work: In the 160kg+ days, lunch was about visiting a local fast food establishment and eating what sounded or looked good. Not too many veggies or fruits were involved in these meals. The number of calories was never thought about and extra cheese sounded good to me. Once in a while I would bring in leftovers, but I'm pretty confident it was not a salad.

What worked: I prepared my lunch at home and brought it to work in a lunch cooler. Yes, I still do this today, even if I have to carry it while taking the train and walking a mile to work. I have learned that the preparation part really doesn't take too long and at times it can be done the night before. The majority of the time, my lunch meal has been the same over the last five years or so. Nowadays, it typically is a salad (baby spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes) with chicken.

You Can Do It! Find what you like to eat (that is nutritious) and bring it to work. Do you like chicken, fish, meat? Can you have that with some type of salad (lettuce or spinach)? Add some fruit to it, and you will have a nutritional meal and a good amount of energy to finish the day. Basically, what I suggest is to make sure your meal has veggies and fruit, and you decide if you want to add meat or not!

What to avoid: Meals with a lot of carbohydrates, sodium or sugar. The good news is that whatever you bring to work should be better than what most restaurants have to offer.

Prepare a Workout Schedule

What didn't work: Not working out. I never ran before I started on my journey, and I rarely lifted weights during my younger years. The lack of movement in my early years is the reason why I was overweight for the first 25 years or so.

What worked: Setting a workout schedule and being flexible with it. At times throughout these years, I've worked out at a gym and then other times at home. Choose what is best for you and will help you succeed. When I first started, I determined what days worked out best for me and at what time of the day. I stuck with this, unless my wife and I had some type of obligation. If we had an appointment, then I switched around the time or day, but rarely skipped my workout. For a while I worked out after work, then I changed it up and I would wake up at 3.30am and complete my workout before my work day even began.

Today, I do a mixture — some days at 4.30am and other times at 7.30pm. My wife and son know what days I workout and what days I rest. The days I rest or workout in the morning, I read to my son at night. The nights I have to workout at night, my wife does the reading. I like to find a balance between my working out and my responsibilities as a parent. The main component of my exercise routine is running because I am a runner with many running goals. I've gone through phases where weightlifting days were just as important. However, for me, running is what helped me drop the weight quickly.

You Can Do It! Set a schedule. Determine how many days you want to commit to. Is it only three because you are busy with other obligations? Then do three. It's better than none. Can you do five? Then pick which days it will be, communicate it to your family and get going. Are you a morning person or night? Pick the time and start the journey. The time you do it versus someone else is not important, just do what works for you. Also, I truly believe after so many hard lessons (injuries), that your body and mind need to rest from exercise. So when you do have a rest day, rest it. Do not force some type of activity on that day. I also recommend you mix up your workouts. If you're a runner, add weight workouts and bike days so your body is building and using other muscles.

Prepare Some Goals

What didn't work: Not having any fitness or weight loss goals. When I didn't have any goals, I had nothing to strive for, I lost focus and I wanted to give up some days.

What worked: Setting weight loss or fitness level goals. I knew I wanted to lose at least 45kg, but I also knew I needed to break that into mini-goals. So every three months, I set a goal of losing 10kg. It gave me a good benchmark and pace to meet my goal of 45kg in one year (which I ended up losing in 11 months). The short term goals pushed me to high levels too. If I wanted to be negative 10kg by week 12, and in week 11 I had a total of minus 8kg, I did what it took to lose those last 2kg to be sure I met my objective.

You Can Do It! What are your goals? Do you need to lose 20kg? Do you want to do it this year? If so, then break it over the number of months left in the year, then set mini-goals. Have something to shoot for every 2-3 months. If you only have one goal, it will be hard to be telling yourself you are making progress. Meeting any type of goal feels great — which is why those mini ones are important to have. It doesn't have to be a weight goal either. It could losing a certain number of inches, it could be running a 5k, it could be anything you want — but make sure you have something to keep you honest with your progress.

Remember, this is a journey. It is OK to fail. What matters is that you get back up. You can't lose 50kg in 10 days, it is just not that easy. Let it be hard — you will learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of.

How I Lost More Than 150 Pounds [Dumb Little Man]

Fred Lechuga is author of the weight loss journey website, Fat2fitFred. Fred lost over 70kg with lifestyle changes to his eating habits and adding exercise to his daily routine. He has now kept it off for over five years. The blog website includes stories about how he lost weight, kept it off and his running experiences. It will also include stories about other people who have succeeded with make dramatic changes to their life. He is now a marathon runner, with a PR of 4 hours, 11 minutes and a half-marathon PR of 1.50. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Comments

    2 simple and effective ways to loose weight are, high intensity training (20 mins / week) and intermittent fasting (only eating over an 8 hour period every 24 hours) - and of course, avoiding processed foods and drinks. Beyond this, you don't have to worry too much about the exact nature of every meal.

      Absolutely, I endorse this too. I don't get people who eat like crap, and think they have to spend 2 hrs at the gym per session to get any gains.

      I never had to lose a substantial weight, but wanted to be strong and healthy. I used to make excuses all the time, but realised that my mental picture of myself didn't match up to what I knew I could do. A year of a little effort and discipline, and now I only do 3x30min sessions at the gym per week, and a daily jog to maintain my level of fitness. Just feels like a normal thing rather than a chore, now.

      Regardless of if its effectiveness, fasting for weight loss is idiotic, unsustainable and will cause more harm than good in most cases. You should NEVER starve yourself when losing weight -- there's no need and doing so can mess up the mind.

        Moreover fasting is actually utterly ineffectual. Our bodies are designed to cope with starvation and just switch into an energy conservation mode. Which then makes weight loss very difficult.

        Better is to just reduce (but not cut out completely) carbs. Our systems don't really need that much. But do need plenty of protein to help muscle development and repair after the exercise that does stimulate catabolism and true sustainable weight control.

          Fasting for 16 hours is not going to trigger your conservation/starvation mode. Studies show no change in burning until the 72 hour mark. So if you fast every second day for 16 hours (just skip breaky) you'll not struggle with weight loss. Not to mention the health benefits of fasting.

          You'll also dramatically lower your overall caloric intake which will inevitably lead to weight loss.
          BBC had a good doco on the myths of fasting that a GP put to the test, very interesting and informative, but I can't remember what it was called, maybe someone else will.

        Who said anything about starving oneself? Plan meals so you eat within an 8 hour window. I chose 12-8pm - I eat lunch at 12-12.30, a snack or coffee at 3pm, dinner at 6, a small snack or an icecream at 7.30-8pm. Don't eat if you aren't hungry, and don't eat outside of this window. You consume far less than if you eat whenever you feel like it, and it means you aren't constantly thinking about food, which can trick you into eating it. www.leangains.com is designed for athletes and athletic people, but normal sedentary people can get some good tips for self-management from it.

        'Starvation mode' is massively misunderstood. It's an excuse for fat people to eat every two hours. And it's bullshit. Just like eating breakfast 'kickstarts your metabolism'. Bullshit. Our peasant ancestors in the middle ages must have been pretty fat if your metabolism slows down and your fat cells grow when you don't eat regular meals.

    I'm an excuse-maker. My main excuse is I don't care enough to change - I have better things to be obsessed with than my weight.

    Simple energy balance. Consume less food, you loose weight.

    Exercise will help, but thats more about getting someone into shape than actually losing weight.

      As above. Cue the 'but it's way more complicated than that! wahhh' crowd

      As long as Cal in < Cal out, you will lose weight. Eating less, or exercising more, are really two means to an end. Although working out has other benefits that dieting alone can't give you.

      Absolutely, keeping track of what you eat is the best way, did it myself.

      The big problem though is the mental game- if you live a 'boring' life (office worker by day, video games/tv by night) then you'll get hungry out of boredom. Finding ways to make your life more interesting will magically make that workplace or late night snacking disappear. For example, I volunteered to do tasks in the office that involved getting away from the desk (eg filing things out the back, dropping off documents to another office) and it filled the time which I'd normally be hungry during.

    I have never been very fat. Until recently, I was always in the low to middle of my expected weight range. Recently, I put on weight and ended up at the high end of normal for my weight range. Here were the things I did that put me back to the low end of my weight range. They may not work for you, but there was a logic to them, which is why I did them :)

    1. For breakfast, I focussed on "non sugared and non fat" energy to get me through the day. I usually have several weetbix because they are filling, are low GI and have minimal sugar and fat. Most cereals and fruit are full of sugar, which is not good for weight loss. To mix it up, I would sometimes do a fried egg on toast. If I was still hungry, I would either put up with it, or have an apple.

    2. For lunch, I stuck to simple foods. I usually have several pieces of toast with vegemite and a little bit of butter.

    3. For dinner, I usually have vegetables and meat. I minimise starches (spaghetti or rice).

    4. If I am hungry during the day, I may have a little snack, but a snack usually consists of a drink (non sugared) to make me fell full, or some toast. I never left myself very hungry because this could cause me to eat junk food.

    5. If I felt like junkfood (chips, lollies, chocolate), the answer was yes to a small piece of chocolate three times a week. If I felt like takeaway, the answer was NO, unless it was very carefully considered.

    6. For drinks, I stuck to water (because it's filling and has no sugar) OR milk OR some fruit juice. I usually have these drinks in that order of preference. I also considered coffee ok because it increased my energy levels and made me run around a little faster :)

    7. If it's a warm day, I did NOT put on an air-conditioner. I used a fan to cool me down a little, because the sweating would help me lose a bit of weight ;) You'd be surprised how well this worked for me!!

    If you can stick to a controlled diet, you will lose weight. I lost 7 kilos in 3 months without changing anything else. Let's just say that for me, that was a noticeable difference.

    And exercise wise, I was doing very little. I did not increase my exercise at all.

      >...the sweating would help me lose a bit of weight...

      Sweating has nothing to do with losing weight. Sweating loses moisture. As soon as you drink a glass of water, you put it all back on... It's only a temporary measure.

      For example, boxers will usually jump in a sauna or wear a 'sweat suite' if needing to 'cut weight' before a weigh in. As soon as the weigh in is over, they have a drink of water and the weight from the lost sweat is quickly put back on.

      Do not rely on sweating to lose weight. BURNING FAT loses weight.

      When I was trying to lose fat, the thing that helped me the most was walking while keeping my heart rate between 120-140bpm. Anything over or under this rate was not 'as affective' to MY (the range differs for different people) fat burning process. Ie the maximum fat burning, for me, occurred while walking in this range.

        Actually keeping yourself cool (vs. sitting in a climate controlled room) does burn more calories, so in theory sitting in a hot room would help (exactly how much is possibly negligable)

          Actually? You say that like I made a mistake. This article is about the most effective ways to lose weight. I'll take a 120-140bpm walk for 10 minutes each day over sitting in a heated room any day.

    I am fat. I get the sense that lack of preparation has something to do with it. Time for a Paddle Pop™

    Oh dear, you really need to learn about basic nutrition. No wonder why you lot are fat.

    Negative. Simple version why, accessible here:

    http://www.active.com/nutrition/Articles/Why-Are-Carbs-Important

    Intermittent fasting is basically just: planning your feeds. If you think about it, eating only over 8 hours per 24 hours is just common sense.

    F*ck it! I'll bite. As of this morning, I weigh 124.6kgs. (Damn straight, that's a lot of lady. I am aware of this) BUT, considering that less than three months ago I weighed 137.8kgs, I am goddamn proud of myself.

    I won't deny that bread is my weakness, but I made two small changes to my life, and that is all. I started drinking water (which I had not done at any point in my life - ever. I hated the stuff), and I exercise twice a week. I work my generous backside off for about 45-60 minutes at a gym, and it's working for me. The hardest part was STARTING. That first week of going to the gym and drinking water was incredibly, mind-bogglingly unpleasant. Now, it's a habit - you don't notice what you do when you're on autopilot.

    So, to anyone frustrated by their weight, take it from me - once you start, I PROMISE you, it gets easier.

    Having some high-intensity techno on your iPod helps, too - rowing and running and lifting weights to Deadmau5 is actually a pretty easy way to carve up an hour-long workout into manageable pieces.

      Well at least you've recognised the problem and are having a crack at fixing it, just don't cop out and get to the "too hard" stage, and then fall back on comfortable habits. It's always easier to put on than take off.

        I went from a semi-pro tennis player to weighing 137 ks, so yeah - I know what it's like to be fit. I'm looking forward to getting back to it, actually.

    Easy, don't eat so much sh*t in the first place.

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