Fifteen and counting

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It began with a decision to get rid of sugar in my drinks. I had subscribed to Sarah Wilson’s e-mails and particularly looked forward to her 2011 “Tuesday eats” posts. Sarah was beginning to write about the bad side of sugar and a lot of the Tuesday Eats reflected this.

I culled fruit juices from my diet and switched to straight black tea. The only time I’d break the rule was when I had the occasional rum and Coke as I’ve never really been a fan of Diet Coke (I liked Coke Zero, but it generally wasn’t an option in bars).

At the same time, I was subscribing to a lot of health and fitness blogs, and reading up on different fitness regimes and ideas. I signed up to the gym (again — in my lifetime I have signed up to the gym four times, with a 50% success rate). The trainer at the gym asked me what kinds of foods I ate. I told him, and commented that I was thinking of switching to brown rice, (no rice is better, he’d tell me) and that I had sesame snaps as a snack, (and what do you think makes the sesame seeds stick together?). These kinds of comments also helped get me thinking more about the food I ate.

I’d picked a gym close to my work, and was averaging 2-3 visits a week, mainly after work. I did struggle on weeks where I was working a run of evening shifts, because I hated the idea of working out then having to shower and get ready for work in the gym, and having a moist towel in my bag for hours, and I also hated the idea of going to the gym at 10 pm after work. When I moved into an apartment closer to work it resulted in my leaving the gym altogether, something which I cannot explain. I just wasn’t feeling it.

I tried my hand at the hundred push-ups, where you would increment the amount of push-ups every couple of nights until you got to 100. The website even linked to a really cool PocketMod so you could always have your hundred push-ups info handy.

For a while I also tried the ‘Couch to 5k‘ app, running and then walking around my local park. This was my first proper introduction to High Intensity Interval Training, although the trainer at the gym had recommended a similar approach on the elliptical trainer. None of these stuck, though and I felt like I wasn’t seeing or feeling results.

I had trouble sticking to a food plan. I toyed with the Paleo Diet, and although I think that ultimately  it would have worked, I believe I was not in a place where I was completely committed. I had read up a bit on the topic, saved a few recipes, but unless I threw myself into it completely I was never going to succeed. I did enjoy reading some of Chris Kresser’s work, particularly his 9 Steps to Perfect Health series. I might even give it a re-read at some stage.

I set up a Ziplist account and began to add some recipes I thought would help. The good thing about Ziplist is that it allows you to synchronise a shopping list with others, which helps a lot when you have to take turns to do the grocery shopping. Ziplist also allows you to add recipes you find online and you can even schedule them on a calendar and add the ingredients to your shopping list. The recipes I added were varied, and I guess some were healthier than others but I still didn’t notice much of a change.

I had subscribed to an RSS feed on Google Reader (RIP) from The Next Web, which offered something unique as far as RSS feeds go — they allowed one to select the topics they were interested in to create a personalised RSS feed, full of articles one would be actually interested in. I don’t know if they still do that, but I loved that about them. I mention this personalised feed because a couple of them were re-posted from a website called Nerd Fitness. Once I’d seen a couple of Steve Kamb’s posts originating from this site I decided to check it out and I was impressed with what I saw.

A lot of time passed between seeing these posts and any action on my part. I know this because feedly tells me that the first Nerd Fitness post I saved was posted 989 days ago which takes me back to November 2011. The posts were about staying in shape whilst on holidays and I definitely did not take them into account on my holiday the following June. The website stuck with me, however, and I came back to it in 2013, signing up to the Nerd Fitness Rebellion and taking up the six-week challenge. I ultimately did not complete the challenge, but it did allow me to set some goals which I then kept in mind later on. My main goals included doing the Beginner Body Weight routine from Nerd Fitness at least two times a week and adding more veggies to my diet. Simple. Except I still managed to eventually slack off on the exercise component.

I wanted to sort my food out with a more concrete food plan, and somehow managed to come across Tim Ferriss and his 4-Hour Body. I’d read a few posts from his website and in February of this year, two days after my 30th birthday I purchased the ebook. I read the chapters Tim recommended for a focus on weight loss and hence began my Slow Carb journey. Coupled with the Beginner Body Weight Workout 1-2 times a week (although I still struggle for consistency as far as exercise is concerned) I gathered some slow-carb recipes from various online sources, figured out where I could get great DIY salads near my work and home, and have slowly settled into a slow-carb way of life.

I don’t think the slow-carb diet is harder or easier than any other diet, but it came to me at a time when I think I was ready to make a serious commitment. Reading a book about the topic and understanding the key elements was beneficial as it allowed me to begin my diet with a bit of a head start. For whatever reason earlier on I didn’t stick to any specific diet, and I felt overwhelmed with all the information I was reading. When I’m overwhelmed I tend to shut down and my productivity takes a dive, and that’s exactly what happened. I still struggle with the exercise component, but I’m planning to focus on that next.

As of yesterday I have lost 15 kgs overall. The pants I bought a month ago are already baggy and I have moved on from L to S in t-shirt sizes. I’ve gotten rid of the bulk of my clothes and needless to say I am feeling very good about myself.

I haven’t missed bread as much as I thought, and despite missing dark chocolate I have learned to live without it for 6 days of my week. As long as I keep on top of my meals it is quite easy to stay slow-carb, and I have to say that this chili recipe has ensured I have an emergency meal hidden away for some of the week. My partner has been very supportive throughout all of this, even though as a consequence there is now literally less of me to love.

I’ve written this post to document my experiences as well as to acknowledge those whose posts, nuggets of wisdom, recipes, research and life’s work have helped me on my continuing journey.


Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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