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From FAT to FIT!

how I lost 6 stone in 6 months!

and how you can do the same!

I‘m not kidding, this is what I’ve done and in the end it was easy to do. Yes I’m a martial arts Instructor, but this doesn’t mean I’m fit all of the time.

So why am I writing this blog?

I’m writing it to show;

  • How easy it is to fall into common traps and misconceptions,

  • How as you get older it gets harder to lose weight,

  • How our relationship with food impacts your weight,

  • How quickly things can go wrong,

  • How the wrong foods can spiral your weight out of control,

  • How feeding yourself the right food at the right times is so important,

  • How your mental health can be impacted or state of being can be impacted,

  • How easily you can work around all of these.

About me.

For those readers who don’t know me. My name is Paul, I’m the chief instructor of Peak Performance Martial arts and fitness. I’m currently 43 years old. Married to Sarah who also now works full time with our company. (She will also write in a few days about her journey).

Up until a few years ago I also worked full time for a large car company, in their head office fleet finance, customer service division.

I have been teaching martial arts for 15 years and running Peak Performance for about 12 years.

With martial arts training you have gradings, so every few months you have to get ready for a test, 1-2 hours long so this keeps you on the straight and narrow. But the more experienced and senior you get, the bigger the gaps between these gradings.

Mine are now a year apart, so in between, I relax a bit, like most people I enjoy a glass of wine, a nice dinner, a bit of cheese and a few snacks.

Since my last major grading I have added about 8 stone!

My relationship with weight.

Now in the past this didn’t worry me.

When I last graded for 2nd Dan I got down to 85Kg – 13.3 stone. Which for my height and muscle mass is about right. And not bad for a then 32 year old.

This was also a 6 stone weight drop for me to achieve.

At the time I worked in an office as well as running classes. Due to having a full time job (which took me all other the country and sometimes out) training became difficult.

In order to drop the weight I decided to increase my training, I made an effort of training before work. Slowly building up to an hour and adjusted my diet.

As I lost weight, I got fitter and lighter and increased my training further. I had saved a years worth of holiday and started taking half days so I could train at lunch time, sleep and then teach in the evenings and then train some more.

So I ended up training 3 times a day, 4/5 days a week and reduced my calorie intake, so I was eating a healthy breakfast and a stir fry for dinner plus some healthy snacks. But I was burning 3 or 4 thousand calories a day.

The weight fell off.

Roll on nearly 10 years. I’ve lowered my training, gone back to old habits and the weight creeps up on you. Slowly and unnoticeable at first. Those jeans that were a bit loose are now a bit snug. Never mind, buy a larger size, it’s the cut of this make.

Worse, your mindset has changed. I smashed the weight loss last time, achieved the 6 stone drop in 3 months, so I can do that again anytime.

I do a few runs, I do ok, drop a few pounds, get in to obstacle course races, pop on a bit of muscle to help with the obstacles. This becomes your new justification for the weight. Well I’m heavier, because I’ve got more muscle.

I want to do my 3rd Dan test. I need to lose the weight and get back to full on training.

And you suddenly realise that sort of training and weight loss program you did in your early 30’s isn’t possible anymore, isn’t healthy for you and it certainly isn’t sustainable for any length of time.

Worse still………………

Back issues!

I have now had years of back problems (hereditary). So every time I start to train to get rid of the weight. This then sets off my back problems, so I have to stop training (anyone who’s been to my classes over the last few years will recall an odd session, where I’m walking around strangely, sometimes sitting down etc) this is when my back has given out and I can barely walk.

Anyone with back issues, will know that you have to walk around to ease the pain, but you tire quickly. So at the start of class 1 I’m ok, 2nd class a bit tight, 3rd class is uncomfortable and 4th class I’m in serious pain. So training is a no!

More weight comes on, I start comfort eating, I’m sitting around to make sure I’ve got energy for classes. But a diet of lean greens and protein has become crisps, chocolate, coca cola and pain killers!

More weight comes on!

I started 2019, still not able to touch my toes, or stand up properly but with an attitude to get it sorted. I’m seeing an osteopath for treatment, I’ve started seeing a sports masseuse for prevention, I’ve started doing yoga, all is good.

I stand on the scales and its going ok. I have a bit of a cold, I miss yoga class, the weather is miserable I skip a walk or two, I meet up with a friend for night out and I stand on the scales after the weekend and it is not good. I’m now over 120kg!! – 18.9 stone and my back is giving me jip again.

I now have to accept my old age. I’m now 43 years of age and at this age it is not possible to train yourself thin. I’ve been kidding myself. I have a family history of depression and I know this is now impacting me.

But after I stood on the scales and having hit 120kg, I knew I needed to do something different and give myself a kick up the backside!

We started to explore our relationship with food.

As a 43 year old, I was often told (as was my wife, Sarah) as a child, “you can’t leave the table until you’ve cleared your plate”. Who else has heard those words before or even found themselves saying it to your own child?

Now, this saying comes from when food was scarce, rationing may have existed. So parents would say it to kids, because they didn’t know when the next full meal would be. So kids needed to clear their plates to make sure they got enough food to survive.

This is then passed onto my parents. We were not a rich family, so we weren’t eating loads, but I always had a good meal on the table. I always had to clear my plate, even when it was food I detested. Many a time I was at the table eating cold stew and veg (I’ve eaten the dumplings when they were hot, but stewed veg, YUK! And now it’s cold YUK YUK!) I haven’t changed, still don’t like stew!

As an adult, my relationship with food, is still similar. Of course I now (don’t eat stew) eat food I do like, it’s always homemade, it’s always tasty and I always clear my plate.

We go out for dinner, I love savoury food so I generally have a starter, of course a main, you eat all of it, no matter how big it is. Sarah has a sweet tooth, so she has a dessert, I may help her out or I may have one of my own. But that’s another few hundred calories.

On holiday, well you have to try everything then don’t you? And holiday calories don’t count! So you have a 2 or 3 course lunch, repeat that for dinner. Worse, your healthy breakfast is now a 3 course breakfast. You pop on a couple of stone over a couple of weeks. Its ok, I can train it off when I get back!

More weight comes on!

But I eat healthily, don’t I?

What I used to do.

I used to drink coke cola. Not vast quantities….. 2 litres a week, is that a lot?

I used to eat as follows:

Breakfast cereal, granola with yoghurt or porridge depending on time of year.

Lunch would be a salad, Caesar was my favourite, but we would mix this up and have loads of different types.

Dinner would be a homemade meal, stir fry or similar, quick and easy meals as we don’t get home until around 9pm most days. Joe Wicks books are good for quick and healthy meals. They’re a little bland for my taste so just add chilli! Quick low calorie meal.

All sounds good so far?

No but there is an issue here. Monday to Friday 9-3pm I would be at my desk. Burning very low calories. Drive to classes and then 3 hours of high activity, on a granola and a salad! That’s not going to work. I get an energy drop.

So I fix this. Red bull, packet of crisps (or two) and a chocolate bar (with nuts in, so is healthy, right?). I now have enough energy to get thought the evening, oh damn, I have a sugar dip (can’t think why!) so I also eat a nice healthy nut and protein bar and that’s me done.

It’s summer, so I have nice cold bottle of coke and maybe an ice cream on the way home.

So I take my 1,500 calorie day and add in 1,500 calories of crap, I wonder why I wasn’t losing weight?

I’m sure you can relate to many of these issues.

In part two I will explain what I changed, how I found the solution and how I have maintained my new lifestyle with ease.

And more importantly I will share how you can do the same!

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