Journey from XL to M… just another fat loss story
Before I start my post let me mention what qualifies me for writing this article
Weight -> 89.3Kg to 69.7Kg (~20Kg)
Visceral fat -> 13% to 9% (still on the border line but way better than before)
Trousers size -> 36 to 32
Clothes size -> XL(Extra Large) to M(Medium)
As they say a picture speaks a thousand words here are few(please ignore the expression and background)…
Now I have made my case that I do have a bit of experience to write on this topic so lets begin, infact let me add another click bait, I have not used any fancy diets and all of my exercises are done at home without going to gym(due to current Pandemic).
Now all the fancy stuff out let’s discuss the real deal, first of all this is not a 2 month achievement or 4 month achievement not even a 6 months achievement it took me a year to reach this weight loss. Yes you read it right it took me a whole year, some people can achieve it faster but for me achieving matters it doesn’t matter if it took more time, as long as I can see incremental improvement it works for me. So the first and foremost key for this journey is Consistency.
You can’t expect to loose weight overnight or just by doing the weight loss journey and diet for couple of days. You need to be consistent, figure out what works for you, whatever helps you in seeing the difference in the scale in a week and just keep on doing that. I am not saying to stick to the same routine, eat same food do same set of exercise I am saying figure out a way to be in Calorie Deficit each day. As long as you can keep up being in Calorie Deficit (while consuming basic amount of calories) for long amount of time you will eventually see the results there is no denying that.
One of the way to be consistent is tracking your weight. You can track it everyday or once every week I personally do it every day, it keeps you closer to reality. If you see your weight being constant or increasing you know you need to change your routine. This tracking makes you accountable to yourself, if you are not seeing difference in scale which means you are doing something wrong and you need to correct it. Most of us assumes they are eating right(only few cheat meals) and doing right amount of exercise then their should be weight loss but it isn’t the case, our understanding of what is healthy or slightly unhealthy is very misinformed(will cover it in next section). So tracking yourself gives you a correct indicator of where you are moving in your weight loss journey. And if you see weight going down (even slowly) it gives you motivation to keep going.
Also some days where I don’t feel like doing exercise, I ensure I atleast walk for 60 mins or so just to not break that flow. But again this is only applicable for few days, if you want to see results you need to get back to your original routine.
Tip 1:- I personally do it every day and at fix time i.e. before having my first meal of the day, checking at same time will give you a correct way to measure, because in a day your weight may vary by 1–2 Kg so it’s better to stick to a fixed time.
Tip 2:- Don’t fixate much if somedays you see weight going up even if you did nothing wrong, it happens. As long as you see that overall every week the scale is moving down you are good.
This is the key component to your weight loss you can only achieve weight loss by being in calorie deficit. To achieve calorie deficit there are two basic rules increase the amount of calories you burn(i.e. Physical Activity/Excercise) and reduce the amount of calorie you consume(i.e. Diet).
For me I achieved it by a combination of Strength Training and Cardio session of about 90 minutes and 10K steps each day(with occasionally 30 mins evening session of Yoga/Boxing by Cult.fit). Now when I say I am consistent I didn’t mean I exercise seven days a week, no I did it five days a week with two days as rest day(Sunday and Thursday). Your body needs break and two days are recommended rest days. Rest days doesn’t mean you don’t do any thing it means you do something lite, for me it was walking for 60–90 minutes instead of my usual routine.
For Strength Training I focus on different muscle groups(30 mins each)in rotation i.e. Chest & Triceps one day, Back and Shoulders one day and Legs and Arms one day and then repeat. With time keep on increasing the intensity because your body becomes accustomed to your routine so for optimal use of your time you need to keep challenging yourself. Increasing the intensity can be done by increasing weights(I started with 10 Kg dumbells and now moved to 15kg), or increasing reps or increasing the number of sets. Be steady with your exercise don’t push too much too fast, keep it in a slow and increasing pace else you might injure yourself.
For Cardio I do a combination of exercises Jumping Jack, On the Spot Running, Bicycle Crunches, Hip Thursters, Plank, Mountain Climbers, Leg Raises, Rotating Toe Touches and Rope Skipping. You can choose what suits you just ensure they make you sweat and focus on your core as well.
Final pinch to my physical routine is to ensure I walk more than 10K steps every day, this does takes some additional time but its totally worth it. Now you don’t need to dedicatedly reserve time just for walking you can club it with some thing like listening music/listening podcast/reading book or while doing insta or watching a series. You also don’t need park or big space to walk I did it in my room and terrace.
I also try to do evening session of Yoga/Boxing by Cult.fit (not very regular these days though), but these are very good options to do exercise if you get bored by traditional solo exercise or cardio sessions this provides lot of interesting options.
Now to get a sense of how much calories you have burn during a session or in whole day you can use smart band or smart watch, doesn’t have to be fancy, doesn’t have to be 100% accurate it should just give you an approximate idea of how much calorie you have burnt.
There’s saying that your body is made 20% in Gym and 80% in Kitchen and it’s a fact. You can never and I repeat never out work a bad diet. So you need to focus on your food habits and start eating clean. As I mentioned I didn’t follow any fancy diet, I just ate home made regular Indian food in moderation. Basically focusing more on the healthy stuff which keeps you more full, provides you good nutrition and avoid the junk or tasty food with too much calorie. Let’s take an example to explore this.
You spend 1 hour in gym and burn 300–400 Calories( in actual I burn 300 calorie in 1.5 hour session but let say your exercise is more intense) and now you come back and pamper yourself with a two slices of pizza. But you might not be aware that two slice of pizza has 570 calories i.e. even after your 1 hour of extreme session you are now in 170 calorie surplus with very little nutrition. Now instead of this if you have eaten 3 Chapati, 1 bowl rice and 1 bowl of dal, your total calorie consumption would have been 550(still 20 calories lower than two pizza slice) and a lot more nutrition. So the point I am trying to make is that most of us don’t have actual view of the calorie we consume and it creates a lot of mess, so we should focus on conscious eating i.e. knowing what is healthy for us and what it not. Cheat meals you can always have but they also need to be conscious, if your cheat meals makes your weekly calorie deficit to a calorie surplus it’s not worth it. Conscious eating doesn’t mean no sugar, infact I eat sweets every day(sugar is essential for body), you just need to figure out which sweet and how much amount of it fits in your diet. And when I say sugar it means all sugar, you need to account for sugar you use in your Coffee/Tea/on any sugary drink for that matter.
An easy way to keep a track of calories you are consuming is MyFitnessPal app, it’s an handy app to keep track of your calorie intake along with the nutrition, again it might not be 100% accurate but it will give you a good idea of how much calories you are consuming.
Coming to my diet I eat breakfast, lunch, dinner with breakfast being the heaviest and dinner being the lightest, again I eat Indian meals for all three consisting of Chapati, Pulses/vegetables/Egg/Non Veg & Salad, also take bit of rice once a week. I include a cup of milk in my diet. Apart from it I don’t take any additional protein, many people do I personally avoid any supplement and try to get my protein from the daily food, I am non vegetarian so that helps. I also eat roasted chickpea(or bhuna chana), it is a good source of protein and also keeps you full.
So the bottom line remains that as long as I am able to maintain a decent calorie deficit of 500+ in a day, I am good.
It’s not about loosing weight fast and then going back to same style and gaining it back, it is about defining a healthy life style, where you keep on improving your body and your physique. See if you are looking for a routine to follow for few weeks, get results and then go back to old routine, it would be waste of your time and effort. Sure you can look good for a function/occasion but eventually in a year or maybe just in couple of months you will be back to where you are started. And you will again feel the same way you do now. I am assuming you are not happy with your body that’s why you are putting so much of effort for weight loss.
So I would advocate to not look for a quick solution but for a long term solution, design or curate a healthy lifestyle which suits you where you are able to eat the things you like(in moderation), able to do physical activities which doesn’t feel like hard work(or you hate doing that) there are many options Running/Swimming/Cycling/Badminton or any sports you like/Yoga/Dance etc. just choose what you like. At the end of the day if you enjoy doing it, you will stick with it for longer. Now with all of this you may be able to reduce let say half a kg in a week or 2 kg in month. This is way better than choosing a routine in which you loose 5kg in a month but hate it(with crazy diets) or which is unsustainable. Because you might ditch this routine in 3–4 months and will start gaining weight. But if you choose the first routine which you can actually continue for long you will always be in shape. Eventually you can’t create a lifestyle where you can eat anything/drink anything and still be healthy, you have to drop that idea. What I am suggesting is build a lifestyle where you can once in a while enjoy your favourite dessert, favourite drink and still be in calorie deficit.
Fat loss v/s Weight loss
Last topic I would like to discuss is that your goal should be fat loss not weight loss. When you loose weight it could be due to two things either you have lost fat mass or lost muscle mass. Loosing fat should be the goal because that’s the main culprit, it is what stops you from having that beach body, it is what causes all the health issues. On other hand loosing muscle mass means you are loosing strength which shouldn’t be the target and is not recommended.
Some time it can also happen that you are doing everything right, proper exercise routine, proper diet and still the weighing scale doesn’t move, it may be because you might be loosing the fat and gaining the muscle and that’s totally ok infact that’s awesome. See the more muscle you have more calories you burn at rest so it increases your metabolism and also improves your physical appearance. So the true measure of your weight loss journey shouldn’t just solely be weight loss but it should be fat loss & seeing that your clothes start fitting better even when scale stays the same. It is generally recommended to focus on Strength training more with a mix of cardio. Doing cardio might sound better by the amount of calories you burn in that session but in actual with strength training you keep burning the calories even long after your session is over i.e. eventually your burn more calories with Strength training. Another benefit of Strength training is that your body becomes more toned. So the goal should be loosing fat not just loosing weight.
To track my fat loss I use smart scales which can show you the various body factors(like fat percentage, visceral fat, water percentage, muscle mass, protein mass) not just weight. There are many available in the market I have used MI smart scale and Dr Trust Scale (I am more inclined towards recommending the former).
- You need a good night sleep 7+hours if you are serious for weight loss, body burns good amount of calories when you sleep, if you keep doing heavy training but sleep less, your body won’t recover properly and you’ll not loose weight.
- Figure out a time that works best for you to exercise, I prefer mornings before starting my day as it suits me and I am less likely to get distracted. Have a fixed time and plan on what you want to do, it helps beating your laziness and procrastination.
- Focus on eating right and in moderation, even healthy foods needs to be taken in moderation, eat consciously don’t keep eating you are full.(This is key for calorie deficit.)
- No matter how little you start with, just start with small improvements like walking extra 30 mins/removing one junk or bad food from meal and then keep on improving consistently until you find a diet that suits you.
- If you want to cut down some food habits you can focus on avoiding it altogether for just a month, once you are able to do it for a month your cravings will itself go down. I generally drink green tea or coffee(without sugar) to control my taste buds.
- Green tea helps only if you are using it as a replacement for normal tea. Eating junk and then drinking green tea will not lead to fat loss. Green tea has various benefits, drink it for those various ones, don’t assume it as weight loss drink.
- Focus on Calorie deficit, there is no other way around it, you need to build that calorie deficit to achieve weight loss.
- It will take time, Rome wasn’t built in a day, you didn’t get fat in a day so you will also not come in a shape in just few weeks. Focus on small consistent achievements which will lead to your final goals.
- It’s totally ok to see little bit of weight gain due to a trip/festive occasion/or another reason(as of writing I am 1.7 Kg heavier due to a trip, I gained 3 kg and halfway recovered it). Just ensure you get back to your routine as soon as you can and even if you are not able to follow the exact routine for some day, try to do a scale down version, something is better than nothing.
- It will be tough, you need to keep on pushing yourself, if it was easy every one would be fit. Staying unhealthy is hard, working out is hard, you need to choose your hard.
Thanks for bearing with me for this long session, wish you all a very happy & healthy new year.
Here are few of my pics of my transformation.