This week I’m going to do something I swore I’d never do; I’m going to embrace a cliché as profound as Australians wrestling crocodiles in Khakis and riding Kangaroos to school. It is to the blogosphere what superheroes are to Hollywood, zombies are to video games, and cheap cask wine is to Australia’s tertiary student population.
Because it’s such a tired cliché of the blogging medium, I’ve avoided discussing my weight loss in this blog for a long time. Over the last year, however, a lot of people have been asking me about it, so I figure that if that’s what people want to hear about, fair enough.
Growing up, I never had a problem maintaining a healthy weight. It wasn’t until I began taking risperidone and clonazepam at the age of 21 that I started to really gain weight. (I should note that despite this inconvenient side effect, these meds were immensely helpful in getting on top of my anxiety attacks)
Fast forward to the age of 24, and I was 14kg above my healthy weight range. (Yes, I know BMI isn’t perfect, but in my case it’s pretty spot on)
The main reason this worried me was that both my father and his father died relatively young of cardiovascular disease. Given this family history, I was terrified that the same thing would happen to me. It got to the point where I was actually scared of sleeping because that’s how my Dad went, in his sleep.
I resolved to do something about it, and over the course of 2014, I lost 20kg, dropping from 97kg to 77kg. As I write this, I weigh 75kg, which is smack bang in the middle of my healthy weight range.
So, how did I do it? I must have some amazing trick that I should write a book about and get rich, right?
Well, the trick is that there is no trick. Not really. There’s no magic bullet to painlessly shed 20kg overnight. All I can share with you is what worked for me. Keep in mind I have no formal training whatsoever when it comes to nutrition or fitness, I am merely speaking from personal experience.
Here’s what I did:
- I cut down on the amount of sugar I was eating. The main culprits were sugary breakfast cereals and “low fat” foods that were often more sugary than their full-fat equivalents. I always check the “sugar per 100g” column on the packaging before buying food; the lower the better.
- I did it slowly. 20kg may sound like a lot, but as I shed it over the course of a year, that’s only about 2kg a month. Crash dieting, starving one’s self, and trying to lose weight fast are generally bad ideas and can backfire horribly. Slow and steady wins the race.
- I only eat party food at actual parties. If it’s somebody’s birthday or a family Christmas, I’ll have chocolate and soft drinks, but I don’t consume them on a daily basis.
- I weaned myself off snacking between meals by replacing these snacks with coffee or green tea. I found that I was mostly snacking out of boredom, a craving for stimulation, and wanting to taste something and feel full. Tea/Coffee satisfied all of the above.
- I exercised daily, but not as much as you might think. I didn’t jog for an hour a day or anything like that. I just made sure that I got at least some physical activity every day, whether it be walking for 30 minutes to work instead of catching the train, jogging around the block a couple of times, or just dancing badly to equally bad 90s music.
So yeah, nothing particularly drastic or extreme, and no secret gimmick I can get rich from. I can’t vouch that this method will work for everyone, but it worked for me.
And it wasn’t just my physical health that benefitted; not only was it a weight off my mind to no longer worry about having a heart attack, but exercise was a great way to relieve stress, and achieving my goals was an immense boost to my self-confidence.
I hope this was helpful for those of you who were interested. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a crocodile to wrestle.