These days it’s difficult to open a newspaper or read a magazine without coming across an article about the worldwide obesity crisis and its health implications. And, I think its probably pretty safe to say that a lot of us have, at some point in our lives, struggled with our weight. Which is why, when Chris offered to write an article for me telling the story of how he took control of his health and now feels worlds better, I was very happy to take him up on it. His article reminds us that being overweight is not an issue limited only to women, and shows us that there is no single solution to losing excess weight and improving physical condition.
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According to the BMI scale, I am currently 10-14 pounds overweight, and am not ripped, buff, in shape or any other adjective like that.
However, my current physical condition is a great deal improved from where I was six months ago (and it’s getting better week by week) – six months ago I weighed 300lbs, did no exercise, smoked, and was generally a bit of a lost cause.
Then, frankly, my life fell apart. I ended up homeless and no longer in the relationship I had been in for four and a half years, with only a few boxes and my clothes – not the best situation to find yourself in.
It would have been very easy to just curl up and cry (and I’m not saying I didn’t do a bit of that), but instead I decided to do something positive with my life – that being losing some weight and getting at the very least into better shape than I was.
The first thing to change was my diet. Before I found myself in the situation above, my day consisted of:
* a sausage sandwich for breakfast
* some form of pasty or roll for lunch (accompanied by crisps)
* a big home-cooked meal for tea
* Pringles in front of the TV in the evening – all washed down with 4 or 5 milky coffees with two sugars and Vimto.
Looking back, that seems awful, but I genuinely didn’t think what I was eating was all that bad (believe it or not) – so this was the first thing to be completely overhauled. Nowadays my diet looks more like this:
* Fruit for breakfast (apples/grapes)
* Salad or a jacket potato with baked beans
* Chicken with vegetables and/or pasta/rice
* Fruit/Ryvita/Yoghurts for snacks
* Drinks are either diet Pepsi, black decaff coffee or Peppermint tea
Much better, and much more balanced, I’m sure you’ll agree. I tend to vary this a little from day to day (for example if I have a potato for lunch I’ll go easy on pasta and other carbs for the rest of the day), and I do still have the occasional treat. I’ve lost nearly 90lbs this year, and have still made visits to the Chinese takeaway, had the occasional sausage sandwich on a cold morning and the like – and every Saturday and Sunday I home cook a breakfast of eggs, baked beans and bacon – done with fry-light spray and with the fat removed you can still eat like this and lose weight!
Exercise wise, I try and vary things up in order to keep my body on its toes: When I first started out I lived in an apartment with an exercise bike, and as such would spend two hours a week grinding out the miles on that. It worked, too: in weeks I had lost a stone in weight, and the bike became a constant companion on my diet.
Unfortunately, the time came when I had to move out of the flat – although happily, this came at exactly the same time as me getting my proper push bike back. I then started doing thirty miles or so a week, riding everywhere I could, as often as possible.
Whilst I still ride when I can (If nothing else, it saves on petrol), the coming winter has kept me inside more than I would like; and as such I’ve started on the weights. Now, before anybody tells me that weights put on muscle and muscle weighs more than fat, I’ll tell you this: The way your body repairs itself after resistance training keeps your metabolism up for a lot longer than cardio (something like 48 hours compared to 2 hours, from what I’ve read), and it uses body fat to repair itself too!
As such, my routine involves a number of dumbbell workouts, focusing in turn on my arms, back and chest, core and legs – a great deal of information can be found in the Men’s Health Ultimate Dumbbell Guide, I recommend you check it out! I try and get on the weights three to four times a week, I’m a busy chap but I always make the effort to find a couple of hours across the week to get my sweat on.
As previously mentioned, I’ve lost about 90lbs this year, all without setting foot in a gym. I’ve worked hard for it, that much is true, but I can tell you this for one thing; I absolutely love my new body. It’s still wobbly and not in the best condition it could be, but it’s a whole lot better than it was at the start of the year!
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Chris works as a writer and financial blogger. He spent years telling people to lose weight and get in shape before he decided to actually take his own advice and do it himself.
Have you taken control of your health, with remarkable results?
If you’d like to write an article about your approach, and how it worked for you,
let me know!