I’ve always wanted abs.
Just the idea of wearing a t-shirt and not having to tug on it whenever the wind blew in my direction motivated me to keep searching for weight loss secrets.
I remember when Twilight: New Moon released and all the girls in my life lost their marbles over Taylor Lautner’s body.
Rather than being jealous, I was motivated!
I wanted to have washboard abs and I was willing to do as many crunches needed to blast all that chubby belly fat away.
Nothing really worked out for me. Crash diets crashed. Crunches messed my back up for days. Running on the elliptical was as boring as hell.
Worst of all, I wasn’t seeing any result.
I was a ‘healthy’ 86kgs and my body was shutting down.
It was 2012 and not only was food intolerance’s creeping up on me, but I was experiencing acne and severe weight gain regardless of how much I tried to get things under control.
Around September 2012, my body malfunctioned and I was bloated for over a month.
After an endoscopy, the only thing doctors discovered was acid reflux – not something you’d call the reason for my problems.
So, after some long nights of research, I discovered different diets (nutrition plans), at home fitness program INSANITY and a system of eating that promotes health over weight loss.
I was absolutely tired of being sick and bloated so I directed all my attention toward health and wellness.
In a space of one year, I lost 44 pounds, dropped 3 jean sizes and looked super fit.
Stick around because I’ve laid out the essential weight loss plan below. If it could change my life, I’m more than certain it can do the same for you.
Oh, and as usual, consult a doctor before implementation of any health-related content you read online, including this one.
1. Calorie Deficits On A Low Carb Diet
The science for weight loss is simple. You don’t need to spend large amounts of money on magic potions or a personal trainer.
Weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body uses to maintain itself on a daily basis. Believe it or not, the body doesn’t like losing weight. For survival, the body prefers to be in a state of maintenance.
There are two ways of being in a calorie deficit, by burning calories through exercise or by consuming a set amount of calories per day that’s lower than your daily maintenance.
If your body needs 2500 calories a day to maintain it’s current build, if your total calories for the day is under 2500, you’re in a deficit.
One pound is the equivalent of 3500 calories.
By simply being in a 500 calorie deficit on a daily basis, you can lose a pound a week!
Here’s the crazy part, you have the choice of deciding which calorie deficit approach best suits you. Look, the body holds onto fat when you consume sugar or high carb foods.
Because carbs are broken down into sugar which causes the release of insulin. When insulin is released, fat burning hormones are reduced making it difficult to lose weight.
Processed food is usually designed to induce weight gain. They’re either high in sugar, high in carbs or both.
Alternately, a natural and holistic nutrition plan can work wonders on you.
Get rid of bread, pasta, rice, sodas, chocolates, ice creams, chips, and biscuits.
Without a doubt in mind, the person on an average American Diet but cuts out the abovementioned foods will lose a ridiculous amount of weight in just a matter of weeks.
They’re so high in calories that when reduced and eliminated, you enter a calorie deficit without much effort. How epic is that!
For nutrition, you can implement one of these diets below:
- High Fat, Low Carb Ketogenic Diet.
- The Paleo Diet.
- The AutoImmune Paleo Diet (Absolutely fantastic for people with inflammation).
- A Plant Based Diet Rich In Healthy Fats, Fiber, Vitamins, And Minerals.
I was pretty unwell when I decided to change my lifestyle and though weight loss was a huge goal, feeling healthy was more important to me.
It felt easy to cut out junk and replace them with large amounts of vegetables because my body healed. I was full of energy, positivity, happiness, health and in a state of momentum.
Structure your weight loss plan to encompass health.
If so, things like binge eating and cheat days become a thing of the past.
The entire process feels easier and your family will be more on board with your goals if health and longevity are the ultimate goals.
At the end of the day, lean, fit and strong bodies are the result of a healthy lifestyle.
I want to share one more piece of advice on calorie deficits: You don’t have to starve yourself.
Gradual weight loss is healthier and more sustainable than crash diets. Stick to a 300 – 500 calorie deficit per day and you’ll do great.
Slow and steady wins the race. I couldn’t cut out rice completely but that’s okay.
It fits within my macros and I sustained a deficit even while consuming an average amount of carbs. I believe exercise added a significant contribution to my deficit.
Calculate your calories using this cool online tool (it’s free!) – Calorie Calculator
2. Implementing High-Intensity Interval Training With INSANITY
I’ll be honest, when it came to gyms, I couldn’t afford a membership. Times were different and I was just starting out in life.
I wanted to exercise but I needed something structured and systematic. When I discovered Shaun T’s Insanity and Focus T25, it was like waking up on Christmas morning and being surprised with a gift you’ve always been in search of.
At that time, even 100 bucks was significant money for me. But, for the sake of my health and weight loss goals, it was money worth investing.
After reading all the rave reviews and success stories, I purchased Insanity and got to work. Believe you me, after the test workout to gage my fitness level, I was curled up on the ground close to puking.
Never have I worked out so hard like I did in those 20 minutes.
The first week was brutal and on most days, I couldn’t even drag myself off the floor for about 15 minutes after finishing the workouts. It was BRUTAL!
Because I spent money on the program, I wasn’t about to waste that money by quitting.
This is the importance of investment.
If you put the time, effort and money into something, quitting becomes difficult. It feels easier and worthwhile to get your money’s worth out of something than to just give up.
If you haven’t checked out Shaun T’s Insanity, you can do so here!
Within the first month, I lost 15 pounds which was way above my expectations. For years I battled to lose any weight on the elliptical trainer and yet within a month, I blew through 15 pounds like they were never even on me.
Things began to slow down as time went on.
By the time I finished 90 days of Insanity, I was probably down by 30 pounds and 2 – 3 jean sizes. I was more than happy with the results and I looked lean as hell.
For the first time in maybe a decade, I had a clearly defined jawline (how about that, ladies lol).
Here’s the thing about High-Intensity Interval Training, it’s exciting. You exert 100% of yourself for about 30 – 60 seconds and recover for 90 seconds.
You can do any kind of body weight movement, even run outside, and by the end of 20 minutes you’ll be drenched in sweat and gasping for air.
My metabolism shifted and so did my daily calorie maintenance amount.
At this point, if you can stick to your nutrition plan and not binge eat after a hard workout, you’ll absolutely lose weight and achieve results.
Lots of protein and vegetables are a great source of fuel when you’ve completed an Insanity workout.
3. A List Of Foods I Reduced And Increased To Lose Weight
For your convenience, I’ve decided to list all the foods that I reduced to lose weight. When I do something, I like to go big or go home. You don’t necessarily have to be as extreme as me but it definitely speeds things up.
Foods I Reduced:
- Bread, Pasta, Buns, Rolls and Wheat Flour.
- Cakes, Biscuits And Desserts (unless natural).
- Chips, Sodas, Fruit Juices (unless freshly squeezed), Chocolates, Ice Cream And Mousse.
- Artificial sweeteners and added sugar.
- Processed microwave foods and Coffee.
- Hydrogenated Oils.
Foods I Increased:
- Every kind of Vegetable: Kale, Spinach, Cabbage, Pumpkin, Broccoli, Green Beans, Peas, Carrots, Baby Marrow, Lettuce, Beet Roots, Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Watercress and Herbs.
- Brown Rice and Quinoa.
- Fruits: Green Apples, Bananas, Berries and Melons.
- Chicken, Fish And Meat. I used to make burger patties at home without crappy fillers.
- Avocados and Eggs.
- Organic Dairy, Cheese and Keffir.
- Loads Of Green and White Tea, Chicory and Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Bone Broth and Pea Protein Shakes.
- Coconut and Olive oil.
- Peanut butter enriched with omega 3’s.
4. Why Sleep, Support And Structure Matter In Weightloss
Cranking out heavy workout sessions in the gym doesn’t make you more muscular, firmer and leaner. On the contrary, it tears you apart. A broken body is of no use and destroying muscle tissue seems counterintuitive.
When you sleep, however, the repair and rejuvenation that occurs within the body create results of weight loss, muscle repair, and bodily growth.
You wake up stronger, fitter and sexier.
If you compromise sleep, weight loss and muscle growth will feel impossible. I’ve encountered this myself. You can’t be sleeping too little nor can you be sleeping at ridiculously odd hours.
Ideally, you ought to be sound asleep from 11 pm to 6-7am.
The hours between 11 pm and 1 am is super important as most of the body’s repair takes place within this window.
Hormones are regulated by proper sleep and the way you feel the next morning weighs heavily on how well you slept the night prior.
Simply cut down on all electronic devices before 11 pm, soothe yourself into a slumber with a relaxing cup of white tea (the caffeine levels are too low for any significant energy boosts) and read a paperback or plan your to-do list.
Join someone who will support you.
Forget about everyone who is demotivating and negative. When you decide to embark on a weight loss journey, surround yourself with people who are supportive and helpful.
At the time, my mother would prepare meals that aided my cause and tasted fantastic. It took much effort and I’m insanely grateful for everything she has done for me (if you’re reading this Ma, thank you!)
My best friend kept a track of my plans and held me accountable.
When I achieved results, he was the first to compliment and point the difference out to me. That form of attentiveness felt good and inspired me to keep working.
All you need is a single valuable person to be aware and have an active interest in your plans. I promise you it will make a huge difference, especially psychologically.
A structure is as important as exercise and diet.
Don’t let weight loss hog every minute of your life.
Set aside time for your friends and family, for other passions and hobbies, for me-time wherein you forget all the worries in the world and indulge in something fun just for the sake of it.
This kind of structure promotes longevity of any plan and emphasizes the importance of balance even in an unbalanced life.
5. What Forms Of Exercise Creates A Toned Body And What Creates A Skinny Fat Body
Simply put, weight lifting workouts build muscle and creates a strong, toned body whereas pure steady state cardio creates a lean-to-skinny fat body (a smaller version of yourself).
Personally, and from the accounts of many others, a combination of weighted workouts and interval cardio training, builds an ideal body. Not only will you become stronger and build muscles but you should be able to reduce body fat.
That lean but firm body is best achieved with combination workouts.
Insanity is an effective home workout system if you don’t suffer from any joint ailments.
There’s loads of cardio but it’s not steady state. The body weight movements challenge your muscles incredibly well.
An alternative to Insanity is Focus T25.
I find Focus T25 to be the perfect at home workout for its fun moves, body sculpting structure and ideal combo of body-weight, plyometric and weighted workouts all fused together.
If you’re not looking to spend money on a system, you could follow my bodyweight exercise plan below.
- Push ups – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Squats – 4 sets of 15 reps
- Planks – 4 reps 35 seconds each
- Jumping Jacks – Continuous for 1 minute
- Mountain Climbers – 50 reps
- Floor Sprints – Two 30 second sprints
- Upper Cuts – Until failure or 1 minute
As you get fitter, bump up your reps until you can add an entirely new set to each workout. You can them up in any order to keep things fun and exciting. Over time, you will see noticeable improvements in your body.
Give it 30 days and I guarantee results!
6. The Mistakes I Made At First That Hindered My Results
Perhaps you’re dieting and working out but the weight won’t come off! Ugh! I feel your pain. I hit a similar hurdle prior to understanding the mechanics of nutrition and exercise.
Excessive dieting and crazy low caloric intake will massacre your metabolism.
Without a doubt in my mind, I know that a low metabolism can hinder all efforts of weight loss. Avoid crash diets and eat a nourishing healthy diet.
Your body can use a different source of fuel for energy. Sugar or glucose may be its primary source of energy but fat can do the trick too.
When eating a ketogenic diet, a total annihilation of sugar or any foods that cause a drastic increase of insulin can force your body to use ketones as a source of fuel.
Fat is pulled from around your body and used that as energy provided you’re not stuffing your face full of crazy fatty foods.
As long as you’re in a caloric deficit, it doesn’t matter if you have 6 small meals or 2 large meals.
Don’t get so hung up on eating less. Map out big tasty and healthy meals that fit into your caloric goals, you’ll still lose weight.
Exercising uncontrollably without ample rest and recovery does more damage than good. Look, health and fitness is an ongoing lifestyle goal.
Don’t overwork yourself to the point of illness, it’s counterproductive.
7. How Anyone Can Lose Weight Regardless Of Circumstances
In 2015, I was surprised with an illness that damages my joints. Being able to walk was difficult and pain riddled my body.
When it comes to bad circumstances and excuses, I had a legit reason for not getting back onto a healthy lifestyle.
But, to feel good, you have to eat good and do good.
Rather than accept my circumstances, I decided to radically transform my health and do beneficial exercises regardless of anything.
It was painful at first. Fatigue tried to hold me back and the fight to get simple things done was tedious. But, I never gave up.
9 months later, not only was I looking good again but my illness disappeared!☺
Don’t run away from pain, embrace it.
Look for those moments when most people will quit and keep pushing forward. This will build grit and willpower.
When you have those attributes, no amount of excuses or hurdles can prevent you from great results.
Going cold turkey isn’t the only approach at your disposal.
Trust me, small but consistent changes accumulate and generate results.
Start off by cutting down on junk until they’re eliminated, add in some vegetable juice to your meals, drink extra water and do a couple bodyweight exercises for 10 minutes a day.
Growth occurs from actions.
Regardless of the size, any form of action is susceptible to growth. Hold onto that and you will lose weight and get fit.
8. How I Prevented Weight Gain
Remember we spoke about being in a caloric deficit state to lose weight? Well, to prevent weight gain and to maintain your new physique, consuming a bit more calories will do the trick.
Perhaps you think it’s okay to start munching away on burgers and huge servings of lasagne.
That’s a huge mistake people make.
Eat more of what you ate to lose weight (which ought to be healthy whole foods). Don’t go back to processed junk food.
Keep exercising. After a month, exercising feels great!
All those sore muscles and aches disappear, the tightness of your joints loosen and everything works as they should. Just maintain regular exercise to stay lean and healthy.
Oh, on the topic of cheat days, there’s no such thing as cheat days.
I would rather have a pack of M&M’s in my day while still eating super clean rather than set aside a day every week to binge on every bit of junk in the world.
A cheat meal is fine but jump right back to eating healthy in your next meal.
Here’s a cool trick, fast for the entire day when you’re planning to indulge in a bad meal. Usually, Saturdays are when I go out with friends.
For most of the day, I down green tea or green juice and water.
By the time supper arrives, I’m starving! Even though the desire to eat 3 meals in one sitting is there, in reality, all I’m able to eat is a good substantial serving of a cheat meal before feeling stuffed.
The greatest thing about this tiny technique is that even with a cheat meal, I’m still in a caloric maintenance state.
You’re All You Need
I’d like to leave you with this message and if there’s just one thing you take away, let it be this – You have the ability to transform your body and health.
Even if it takes you 5 years to reach true health and your dream body, it’s possible if you commit to improving yourself.
All the advice in the world is worthless if you don’t trust in your innate abilities.
I wish you all the best and if you found some value in my story, please share it with others who can benefit from it.☺