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Before reading further, I want to make the following disclaimer:

My casual experience of losing weight documented below is strictly not for everyone and should not be treated as an advice until at least commented by experts and claimed to not represent health risks.

I have a casual success story to tell you about how I lost weight unplanned and ask you if it was a correct way to do it. Why casual you ask? It's because I wasn't consciously planning to lose weight which seems to be controversial to what most people preach - "People that have a goal will get there someday." What about people who don't have goals but reach them?

Let me clarify that until age of 18, I was eating an unhealthy diet. I was eating mostly sandwiches and didn't like stewed food such as vegetables and I didn't eat soups at all. The bad thing was that I mostly was distracted by staring into computer during meal consumption, the activity known for being bad for digestion which caused acid reflux in me. Mostly after every meal I didn't feel it was enough and wanted something else, something different and more tasty which was snacks like chips, candies or chocolates.


My Success Story

A few months until then I quit eating snacks like chips, quit eating sugar stuff like chocolate and chocolate waffles, changed what i ate late evening to reduced amounts of fruits and vegetables, quit drinking very sweet apple juices,quit drinking poisonous and addictive substances like Coca Cola and Red Bull alike copycat products.

It all started 2 weeks before New Year and I subconsciously made myself a goal to clean/square away my flat so it will shine before New Year starts. Every day I was feeling energized getting up early and working my sweat/butt off until 3AM-5AM the next day often feeling exhausted and consuming maximum of one meal during whole day and sometimes not eating at all, but not forgetting to drink of course. I was feeling sometimes nauseous which was mostly reason I wasn't eating more than one meal or any at all. Let me add as well that I also did morning exercises including sit-ups, push-ups, raising/lowering legs while lying on bed, exercises with dumbbells and runs of a couple of miles on a non-flat elevated/lowered distance which I think put more strain on heart. Something was driving me and keeping me energized to do everything meticulously and perfectly. Finally all was brushed, cleaned, squared away in such a way that rented flat seemed in such condition that I just moved in i.e like a new.


Conclusion

Two years ago my weight was 253.5 lbs and I was diagnosed with fatty liver, had hypertension - in short I was under risk of several medical conditions and I had to do something about it. A year later my weight saw small improvement to 242.5 lbs as I started stabilizing my diet and in last year alone I went from 242.5 lbs to 205 lbs which according to BMI index was still above my healthy BMI of 85kg = 187.39 lbs.

Today my weight is ... drumroll please ... Within my healthy BMI - 82kg which is 180.77 lbs!

That's right ladies and gents, I did it! But I couldn't do it without changing my mindset and the following 5 character traits which some I was born with and some nurtured in myself in the course of my lifetime which are:

  • Goal Orientation (born with and nurtured further)
  • Discipline (nurtured)
  • Willpower (nurtured)
  • Motivation (nurtured)
  • Patience (born with and nurtured further)

There is a saying about once you start doing something, you become better at it. Same is true for fitness, because when I started, it was tough to perform exercises as easy as I perform them today. I couldn't do more than 1 full push-up compared to 13 full push-ups I do today. I coudn't walk and run 4 miles as easy as I walk and run them today.

How do I feel today? More energized, happier, optimistic and most importantly healthier than before ready to burn remainder of fat and get in optimal shape. Cholesterol levels reduced by twice, risks of medical conditions are eliminated, I think more clearly and there is a little memory improvement.

One thing is sure - losing weight is easier compared to maintaining weight when you need to maintain balance to stay within limits and be concerned of food you consume trying to not go "offroad."

Now I want to ask fitness coaches, bodybuilders and nutritionists:

Was the way I lost weight safe? What mistakes I made? What I should have done differently and what should I improve?

Appreciate your opinions and suggestions!


UPDATE July 20th, 2014: Hello people! In this world, nothing is exempt from cause and effect so let me update you on my fitness.

Over 2 and half years ago I started doing runs once or twice per day while weighing 253.5 lbs. I have been running in low quality running shoes and while it still had its sole in normal condition, I slowly felt as it gets more compressed over time until it became thin. The effect of this is that I have developed pain in my right knee running in low quality running shoes which were not absorbing shocks well. These days I no longer run because I am quite busy and after almost every long run I have aching knee. Sometimes short run can cause mild ache. I have learned lesson the hard way and I hope I will be able to improve my knee's condition. I would appreciate your input regarding this problem.

My weight is more or less 175 lbs which is within healthy range because in my opinion I have stabilized my metabolism. Did I just coin this "metabolism stabilization" thing? I think my body became less bearable for sugar consumption because the amount of sugar I could eat when was overweight, eating same amount now would make me feel nauseous and even throw up. For example I drank tea and coffee with 2 teaspoons but today only 0.5 teaspoon is enough. Today drinking morning coffee could make me satiated until noon.


Is Sugar Threshold For Headache Real?

Not long ago, my acquaintance from internet mentioned something about sugar consumption thershold and sugar withdrawal effects. So what have I learned about this and what happens if I overconsume sugar? First it starts with brainfog and then ends with headache lasting in the range of 1-3 days rarely turning into migraine where I lie suffering. I think this brings me to possible answer to question of why I was having many headaches in teenage years (some were due to impaired eyesight in a period when I didn't have glasses). Now that I think of my diet back then, it's crazy. I would not eat soups but sandwiches and after sandwiches would ear chocolate and chips after which I often drank Coca-Cola or sugar-stuffed juices. In fact, it was the only beverage I drank instead of mineral water because I hated it and was addicted to that poison. Food that looks good on the outside may be poison on the inside. Lesson learned.

Most of the time I drink tea, coffee and when summer comes, I buy juices but I never drink them as they are. Even if I tried, due to sugar (intolerance? / resistance?) my body developed I would feel nauseaus and probably develop headache. I always water juices down with mineral water and though I still drink mineral water, I don't drink daily recommended amount per day. People, what those bastards who are behind juice manufacturing doing is unacceptable!


Why Sometimes I Feel Tired And Lethargic?

I still have those moments when I feel slow, lazy and drowsy ("energy crash"?). At work, this really hits my productivity. You can even Google about this and find out that many people experience this. I think this has to do with amount of food I consume and it is recommended to eat 3/4 of meal since you will feel satiated after quarter and hour. In the morning though I wake up before 6AM and only drink coffee which lasts me until noon which is where I eat launch and then get drowsy and sleepy. Not good feeling and I will need to find out the solution though I think high-quality morning coffee with coconut oil could be the answer. Eating more frequently in small amounts could be the way too as I am not sure about coffee similar to "bulletproof coffee" that I drank. You can Google this if you are interested to learn more but the coffee I drank was past expiry date (yeah I know...) Arabica wholebeans coffee with added amount of grass-fed butter. After a while it caused hearburns so I stopped drinking it.

Sometimes I have food cravings and get to eat more until feeling "energy crash". I start from vegetables and end up with full stomach which is where I feel it is harder to move and want a nap. What is the reason people overeat? Those who are less busy and stay home more often than people who work their butt, get to overeat and ad weight. Usually this is when watching TV and feeling bored when commercial hits in. You go to grab a snack to to make it in time when show is back on. Similar with computer being bored when surfing internet or waiting videogame level to load. All of this leads to uncontrolled food consumption and obesity. Personally I try to not eat when watching TV or using computer because I get to lose focus and enjoy food leading me to compensate later.

Try to keep yourself busy in order to forget about snacks and start eating healthy and in time. When you are hungry, you will eat everything and forget about snacks.


How I Maintained Shape When I Worked at The Office

I was working at the office full-time in last 6 months and I had to stay productive. I did not quite understand why people working at the office complained about their job because I assumed physical work is the the one to complain about but now I do. In my case sitting chained to computer for 9 hours in my case was not as I thought it to be, especially sitting through a few hours after lunch break. I was fighting myself to not falling asleep and I was lethargic and drowsy. Eventually I have found how to stay in optimal shape, retaining mental clarity and creativity (my job requred that) in the morning and more or less after lunch time.

In the morning I was waking up 15 minutes earlier and doing simple excercises and excercises with dumbbells if I had time. I drank a glass of lemon citric acid, small bottle of probiotic yogurt and black arabica grinded coffee for the road. I didn't eat until 1PM and felt good. Sometimes I was forgetting about lunch for a couple of hours more until I felt I could no longer think and had feeling of fainting.

There were days where I came to work and drank instant coffee with milk and half teaspoon of sugar and was satiated until 5PM without anything else whatsoever! I guess instant coffee (with its toxins) works well for me...

For lunch break while it wasn't good solution, I reduced home meal from full portion to 3/4 and sometimes 1/2. After that I haven't eaten until 7PM-8PM and that's when I came home. I tried to eat salads as often as I could and then gone to sleep around 10PM but still I was still tempted sometimes to eat carbs.


Nightly Meals Should Be Eaten At Least 2 Hours Before Bed

I still eat late but not quite as often as before. I have noticed that when I eat something easy as salad and drink tea, I end up waking up with better mood and feel easy and eneretic. I also wake up hungry and eat healthy breakfast. Whereas eating sandwich, meat, chocolate even 2 hours before bed makes me feel sleepy in the morning, reluctant to eat with impaired energy.

When I want to eat 10 minutes before bed I ask myself - "Why would I eat now if I am going to sleep just to enjoy food and feeling not good in the morning?"

Sometimes this works but if it is not, I eat vegetables like carrots and fruits like apple and orange as this works okay for me.


What I have Noticed Happens when "Coming off of Tracks"

Here I refer to excessive carbs and sugar consumption which sometimes happens to me and results in bigger layer of visceral fat on belly which I am able to observe a day after when doing morning push-ups. I was actually see more of belly's fat hanging the day after "abusing carbs and sugar" and almost flat belly when not consuming carbs and sugar for several days. Can some of you relate to this or I am imagining things?


How I Am Able to Supress My Appetite for Half Day

  1. Coffee - like mentioned above, if I drink instant coffee with milk and at least 1 teaspoon of sugar, I can stay satiated until evening. What really boosts the effects is added teaspoon of cocont oil and thinking of food would make me feel nauseus. I don't do this frequently because this method while works, can probably be unhealthy for those with stomach problems.

  2. Working out - I don't want to eat for many hours after intensive 1 hour workout. If at some point I get tempted to eat carbs and sugar, I would do intensive workout again but it doesn't have to be 1 hour long anyway. I guess when body actively catabolizes and later afterburns, food is the least I can think about?

As I was on my weight loss path, I think slow conditioning of subconscience played a big part. Do one thing dozen of times until you forget about it and your subconscience starts doing it or you could just end up being OCD about it. If latter is the case, let's hope it is something healthy for your body.

That's all from me now. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you have anything to add, feel free to do so. Let's talk.

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Wow... Consider writing a blog post for the site. Ping one of us in the Physical Fitness Chat in you're interested. Also, your question is rather broad. I suggest narrowing it down and breaking it up into multiple, specific questions rather than doing an "all-in-one" and enumerating everything you've done in one question. –  Matt Chan May 18 '12 at 13:03
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Congratulations! –  0xC0000022L May 18 '12 at 16:34
    
You keep mentioning that one needs to keep busy; otherwise, one would start eating anything in sight. Has that been your experience over a long period of time? –  Kneel-Before-ZOD 14 hours ago
    
Yes, for example when I worked in office I could not think of food for many hours while doing my job, especially when I had a lot of tasks to do. –  Boris_yo 54 mins ago
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2 Answers 2

First, congratulations on your transformation. No matter how it is done, it is always an accomplishment. First, the obvious things you did right:

  • Got rid of sugary drinks
  • Added exercise
  • Used the momentum of one good change begetting another (cleaning the flat, etc.).

I don't have enough information to determine if the food was right, so instead I'll list some principles that are important. I do want to say that there are several intermittent fasting based diets, and they work amazingly well. They range from simply occasionally skipping a meal to fasting one day a week, to fasting for a certain number of hours and eating within a certain number of hours. For example, the Warrior diet is a 20/4 diet meaning 20 hours of fasting and 4 hours where you can eat. Even within this framework, you do need to maintain decent nutrition. Without further ado, as long as these are OK on a weekly average, you did it right:

  • Calories: as long as you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
  • Protein: if sedentary, 1g/kg of protein is sufficient (that's roughly 0.5g/lb). The more active you are, the more protein you need. The body won't use more than 1.8g/kg (0.82g/lb) in a day.
  • Fat: there are several fat born vitamins your body needs. Both mono-unsaturated fats and saturated fats (from naturally fed animals) are good sources of fats. Important is making sure the Omega-3/Omega-6 balance is good. Vegetable oil based fats tend to be heavy in omega-6 fats, which makes the body inflammatory and more prone to disease. Increasing Omega-3s helps bring that in balance.
  • Carbohydrates: while some view them as the only non-essential macro nutrient, they help you gain energy. They also include some of the water soluble vitamins that we need.

As long as your Calorie intake is sufficient to provide you with the energy you need (which it sounds like it did), and you have enough protein to maintain your muscle mass plus a little extra to increase your muscle mass, the exact balance of carbs to fats is much less important.

The last remaining thought I'd leave you with is that BMI was originally devised as a statistical aid. In short, it's "good enough" when applied to a large population to determine what proportion of people are overweight or not, it was never intended to be applied individually. The problems that can occur is that if your body fat percentage applied to your height and weight is outside the norm assumed for the BMI calculation it will give you a false impression. You can have less muscle mass than the norm (common in elderly people), and the BMI will under-report your body fat. You can have more muscle mass than the norm (common in athletes), the the BMI will over-report your body fat.

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It would be good to give sources for your assertions. I've seen numbers as widely spread as 1g/lb to 1g/kg. And I have also read that you should eat preferably a certain amount of that right after exercise etc ... –  0xC0000022L May 18 '12 at 16:37
    
links added. NOTE: studies on food timings have been inconclusive one way or another. For every one you can find to support one side of the argument, you can find one that supports the other side. –  Berin Loritsch May 18 '12 at 18:37
    
@BerinLoritsch Is there BMI presets that allow you to match your BMI as close as possible to specific audience like athletes, bodybuilders, sportsmen, elders etc. or even something that allows you to modify default fat percentage? –  Boris_yo May 18 '12 at 20:10
    
BMI has nothing to do with body fat, it is simply a ratio between height and weight. That is why you should rely on body fat measurements, rather than BMI. Based on statistics and what doctors constitute is "healthy" the same BMI number may be interpreted differently, but it is not a measure of how much body fat you have. –  Berin Loritsch May 21 '12 at 12:07
    
Good day to you. I have seen some electronic devices that measure body fat, scales, arm bands (I think) and if I am not mistaken, some testing devices that take a sample of your blood to measure body fat. Which of those in your opinion is worth having? It seems to good to be true that scales would show accurate data as opposed to device that takes sample of blood which is more believable. –  Boris_yo Mar 24 '13 at 18:29
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Boris_yo,

Congratulations on your transformation! You're one of the people who should frequent this site and help answer more questions. Since you've had personal experience with weight-loss, your anecdotal stories can motivate others to keep shedding the goo.

Although I'm not certified qualified to give a fitness/nutrition critique, I will give some advice based on my observations, readings, studies, and anecdotal experiences.

Make it fun

Whatever you're doing for your weight-loss, make it fun. As long as you're having fun with it, you'll be able to continue your journey as well as motivate others. Even if/when you mess up (on a routine, food, exercise, whatever), smile about it and try again.

Food isn't your enemy

Don't starve your body. Unless you're doing a program such as Intermittent Fasting, eat at the appropriate time. Instead of using coffee to keep yourself steady at work, eat some light breakfast:

  • Cereal (with skimmed milk). If you chose a fiber-filled cereal with milk, your body is nourished with protein, calcium, and essential nutrients in the morning. The whole thing should be about 200 calories or less and with that, you get enough energy, nutrition, and strength without resorting to coffee.
  • Protein shakes will keep your body busy as well. Similar calories content as the cereal option and similar strength and energy.
  • Boiled eggs: a boiled egg has about 70 calories. Taking it with skimmed milk is less than 200 calories and that's a full breakfast. Again, you get the proper nutrition and energy for fewer calories and no need for coffee.
  • Fruit juices: Blend fruits together and drink them. A typical blending can contain less than 150 calories and in exchange, you obtain full breakfast as well as awesome nutrition for your exercises.
  • Fiber bars and/or shakes: these are usually lower calories and they are packed with the essential nutrients that your body needs.
  • Eat a fruit daily as snacks. As the saying goes, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" :)

There are other options and you can read up on them; the point simply is that you shouldn't skip breakfast all the time and make up with coffee. That won't do your body any good and might lower your energy on the long run.

Get Stronger

Now that you've lost weight, you need to get stronger. Your 13 pushups need to increase. Since you can't run much because of your aching knees (drinking skimmed milk daily might help with that), perform some body-weight exercises while you heal up (I can guarantee you won't stop them even when your knees heal up). Follow a routine such as this (BTW, this isn't part of your regular exercises; it's just part of your daily routine):

Try this daily for a month and compare your energy afterwards. When you see the improvement in your energy and strength, you can continue by increasing the repetitions (and adding more exercises to those above).

Add Weightlifting To Your Exercises

Try performing full body weightlifting exercises. I highly recommend deadlifting, squatting, overhead presses, bench presses, and barbell rows.

Conclusion

I've talked too much. But I think that it's worth it. You want to have a balanced low-calorie nutrition without starving yourself. And you want to have a strong, muscular body that's both agile and fast.

Do this and watch your body transformation rise.

Good job, good luck, and keep making exercising fun :).

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Hi. Would you recommend jumping rope especially when I have wore out my right knee a bit after too much running? –  Boris_yo Jul 20 at 7:58
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@Boris_yo I will recommend rope jumping as long as you wear appropriate footing to absorb the impact. It's a great exercise that works your entire body, as well as increasing your agility. You can try fewer reps to see if it hurts. You can modify it if it hurts or wear knee braces. –  Kneel-Before-ZOD Jul 21 at 1:55
    
Did you get to see my yesterday's updated question? I have added more information as I discovered more how my body responds to certain type of foods. My objective is to "hack" my body to find optimal diet to improve focus, mental clarity, energy levels, motivation and health but I don't know if I can do it. –  Boris_yo 2 days ago
    
You said not to starve my body but my body performs best on empty stomach. I need something little and light to fill it, yet have it packing enough calories to supply body until noon without hurting its performance. –  Boris_yo 2 days ago
    
@Boris_yo Empty stomach isn't the same thing as starving your body. Starving your body is when you refuse to eat (even though you're hungry) because you're trying to reduce your calorie intake. If your stomach is empty but you're not hungry (or see no reason to consume anything), you don't need to do so. Eating fruits like banana can provide you with the energy you need with little calories. But that's just a suggestion. You know your body best :). –  Kneel-Before-ZOD 2 days ago
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