👋 Hi, Sabir here. Welcome to this week’s issue of The Pursuit of Perfection, your weekly guide to help you do things well without half-assing them!
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Between 2017 and 2019, I put on a hell of a lot of weight (left picture above). My food habits were awful, and I was hardly exercising during this time. Looking back, I was certainly in denial about how overweight I was.
Towards the end of 2019, I was yearning for new beginnings and decided to move cities. As part of this change, I decided to shed the pounds and signed myself up for a 3-month weight loss programme at one of my local gyms. It also included a 1-1 personal trainer.
The programme consisted of two intensive gym sessions a week, combined with a drastic overhaul of what I ate. My diet plan was a carb cycling one, which is essentially going between high, medium, and low carbohydrate days throughout the week.
Out went processed foods (snacks, desserts, greasy takeaways). In came fruit, vegetables, nuts, yoghurts, chicken, meat, and fish, just to name a few.
Here’s a picture I took at the time of my revised grocery shop.
To my surprise, I didn’t find it difficult at all to become comfortable with the new diet. Perhaps because I was so determined to lose weight, I was prepared to do anything and everything to make it a reality.
These were some of the meals I was eating from the plan.
I didn’t miss the processed snacks, but I did crave desserts from time to time. This has always been my nemesis because I have a massive sweet tooth! I did indulge during this period, but only a handful of times.
Before Christmas, I asked my trainer about the implications of going off diet during the festive period. He advised me not to go overboard, which I managed to do.
The majority of the gym sessions were at 6:30 am, I chose this slot to help me get the day started early. Each session lasted for 45 minutes.
Here’s a video from one of my actual sessions. 👇
As you can see from the video, my programme involved varied weight-based exercises. From time to time, bodyweight exercises and light boxing too.
I had lifted weights in the past, simply for the sake of putting muscle on. But I have never managed to lose excess weight.
This time around felt more purposeful, more precise, and structured. I had put all my trust in the trainer, which felt great because I admitted that I needed help.
I cannot tell you how freeing it felt to be told what to eat and how to train. This is exactly what I needed! A wake-up call to show me where I was going wrong.
18 Months On
How time flies by! I can’t quite believe that it’s been nearly two years since I completed the programme.
I’ve managed to keep the weight off which I’m most proud of. I’ve done this by sticking to these lessons I’ve learned over this period:
1. Regularly eating processed food & refined sugars guarantees fat gain (processed takeaways, crisps, chocolates/sweets, fizzy drinks, etc.)
I’ve learned to be in control of how much of these treats I allow myself. This is a key point here - I must be in control of these types of foods instead of them being in control of me.
Processed food & refined sugars are only unhealthy if they make up a considerable part of my diet. Treating myself occasionally with self-control will not lead to fat gain.
However, if treating myself occasionally is followed by self-condemnation, I will likely regress because I am admitting defeat and letting the treat take control.
2. Eating wholesome foods for the majority of my diet is the number one factor in keeping the weight off (chicken, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, oats, salads, nuts, and soups)
Today, the above foods make up 90% of my diet. The other 10% are the treats we discussed earlier.
This change in eating habits has allowed me to become familiar with what it means to eat consciously. My biggest lesson has been to eat with careful thought and consideration. Ultimately, being self-aware.
3. Regular exercise contributes immensely to losing weight and staying trim.
Even after losing weight, I am still keeping active with regular workouts. The only difference is, they are now home-based body workouts which I follow on YouTube. I’ve also added regular walks to my exercise routine.
Weight loss is perhaps the most talked about subject in health & fitness. There are so many opinions out there that can sometimes blur these simple facts of weight gain & weight loss:
If we eat poorly for most of our diet, we’ll become fat. Fact.
If we exercise and eat poorly, we’ll become fat. Fact.
If we eat consciously & exercise, we’ll lose weight and stay trimmed. Fact.
See you next time,