So… you have decided to diet. Before finding a solution, to being overweight, I have had a few experiences over the years, which I will tell you about below. Without actually knowing anything about dieting, I had come across all the typical problems that a typical dieter will encounter. I know that the solution is not easy, but it can be way easier than you think, if you follow my advice, which is based on good science and from great fitness trainers, it will help you get to your goal of losing weight, without quitting.
If it’s the first time you try to lose weight and you are in your twenties or thirties, you will have more resolve than at any other time of your life, YOU CAN DO IT. If like me you have a fairly sedentary job, at the computer most of the time, the extra sizes just creep up on you, year after year. It definitely gets more difficult the later you leave it, so don’t put it off. I don’t want to scare anyone but with advancing years, you eventually will reach the point where you are unable to do anything about it and that extra weight becomes a severe health problem.
The first time I decided I would lose a few pounds and get into shape, I was about 25. I played tennis and squash frequently, so I was easily capable of raising enough energy to go out and put some serious exercise hours in, tone up and look better. Sure enough, even though I had NO insight into dieting and exercising, I kept at it, running first thing every morning, for month after month. Believe me , it is bad enough being woken by an alarm clock for work, but when you have made a pledge to run every morning, come rain, snow or shine, its twenty times worse. As far as food choice, I just avoided snacking and anything high in fat.
After a full year, I remember being complemented on my appearance, at a friends wedding, which to some degree, made all that effort worth it. I did find that while I had an active job and took active part in sports, the pounds did stay away. However a few years down the line, the weight had crept back up. This time I attacked the problem from a diet point of view. I was still quite an active person, playing some sport and walking. Sure enough, the weight fell away quickly in the first few weeks, but this was torturous, it was extremely difficult to stay on a strict diet. Again I didn’t have any sort of insight into what was actually going on inside me, just the feeling of being constantly hungry. This really needs to be avoided on any proposed diet and it is the single biggest factor when people just give up their diets.
There was one period, not long after being married, that showed just how much my body responded to exercise, it was when we got our first campervan and went to France and Italy with our very young family. Kids are really hard work, when you have to drive for long periods, carry all the beach gear too and fro. Finally at the kids bedtime, the camper has to be converted back to bedrooms, with cot and beds made. It can be exhausting having a good time ! On returning home my trousers were loose around the waist we both looked great and yet looking back, we had a fantastic diet, loads of protein , far fewer carbohydrates than at home and of course much more physical activity every day. Noticeably we did nothing to avoid what you might call ‘bad’ food, with high fat content. In Italy especially, there were far less supermarket stops, virtually everything we had was fresh and from farms or markets.
When I started to research for this blog, one of the most interesting subjects was some tv programmes about a village in southern Italy. The inhabitants have the highest longevity anywhere in the world, with many more centenarians than should have been found per size of the population and no obesity at all . All the villagers are active everyday. The one factor that stood out, was the preparation of their food, having no supermarket, everything was freshly prepared each day. Virtually everyone had their own vegetable patch and the surrounding farms supplied all their meat. The village was on the coast, so there was fresh fish available. However the quantity of meat consumed was found to be much less than ‘normal’ Italian levels and surprisingly had a higher fat content. There is no doubt that our consumption of processed food, contributes in large amount, to the obesity epidemic we face today. One last thought from this study was how much they still retained big family gatherings. All meal times especially, involved everyone. This daily habit has virtually disappeared in most European countries with kids doing their own thing at meal times, watching the box or head down into the phone or tablet. This sort of mutual family support is a ‘feel good’ factor and cannot be overlooked.
So, follow my blog, where I will revisit all these subjects in more detail and find solutions which are achievable with the minimum pain.