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lifestyle change

December 15, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Since sometime in March, I noticed all my pants were either “shrinking”. It wasn’t until they weren’t buttoning, and I saw my huge love handles that I realized I had gained way too much weight. I mean I knew I was gaining weight because a couple of people would mention it in passing ever so often; I thought of it as a sign of good living, but when you’re 25 and you have a pot belly, it’s time to make some drastic changes, but where to start?

Oh Oh

In June, it occurred to me that I hadn’t taken a vacation in two years. I’m a huge tennis, hadn’t been to London in ten years, and guess the venue for the 2012 Olympic Games and Wimbledon 2012? I couldn’t stay for the games, but Wimbledon was beginning June 25th, so by God’s grace, I flew to England just before Wimbledon commenced. I stayed with one of my favorite uncles, whom as fate would have it, happened to eat healthy, so I gladly joined him – brown rice, rolled oats, lots of fruits, yoghurt, chicken breast, whole wheat bread and so on.

He had a Wii console, controllers and balance board, and showed me how to use the Wii Fit/Wii Fitness program. I was 176 lbs/80 kg, and my Body Mass Index (BMI) indicated that I clearly overweight. I started working out with some yoga and some cardio exercises. I found two dumbbells in his apartment, so I added weights into the mix. The first time I attempted jogging, I barely went three minutes before I started hyperventilating, so cancelled that as cardio. Luckily, he had a bicycle, so I switched to cycling. Every evening, when it wasn’t raining, I would take a 15-20 minute ride around the neighborhood. By the time, I was returning to Canada about a month plus later, Wii reported I had lost 9 lbs/4.1 kg. I was glad, but still had those pesky love handles!

The progress I had made got me pumped, so I soon as I got into my apartment, I empties my cabinets and fridge of all junk, including mini wheat cereal, white rice, sausages, ham, white pasta, white bread, cookies and pop/soda, and donated it all to the local food bank and Neighbors. I hit the supermarket and replaced them with Kashi Go Lean cereal, brown rice, turkey breast, brown pasta, whole wheat bread and protein bars.

I started reading articles on weight loss and noted an essential part is working out, so I had to find a gym. Luckily, I found one I could easily walk or jog to daily, Phoenix Fitness Club. I got a one week free trial and I felt great after each workout, so I became a member in August. Members are entitled to free assessments. I had made some progress o my own, but still pretty unhealthy for my age. I was 160 lbs/72.6 kg and my body fat percentage was 29.9%. I was also very unfit. My first workout with the trainer, I passed out, literally. I had to lie down with my legs elevated with Gatorade in my hand.

My trainer suggested I stop breakfast cereal and switch to oats. She also suggested I increase my protein (chicken breast, turkey breast, sardines, tuna and lean beef only) consumption. The more protein I consumed in addition to my workouts would increase lean muscle mass – apparently, muscle maintenance uses up a lot of calories. For lunch, she suggested I switch from rice and pasta in general to quinoa. Quinoa is a grain that contains protein, rather than just carbs. Like rice, It’s easy to boil and it’s a great substitute for it…well, I like it.

She suggested no bread, no pasta, no rice, no potatoes, no processed foods. All my carbs were to come from only fruits and vegetables. She explained that carbohydrates are all broken down into sugar in the body. What you want is complex carbs like vegetables, whole wheat bread, and fruits. They take longer to digest and keep you full longer, and release a steady amount of sugar into your blood. White bread, cookies, white rice and processed foods are made up of simple sugars, which are easily digested and spike blood sugar. Once your blood sugar spikes, insulin is released and everything you just ate is converted into fat and stored. Basically, sugar makes you fat, not fats.

Speaking of fats, trans fats are absolutely bad for you. They are bad for your heart and cardiovascular system. You get them from fatty foods like sausages, french fries, fried chicken, and fast food in general. Saturated fat is good for you, but in small amounts. The good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (from nuts, seeds, avocado, fish oils and virgin olive oil). They keep your heart healthy and actually help get rid of the bad fats.

She also told me to start eating small, fist size meals every three hours a day. This came to six meals a day – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack. Smaller meals frequently means a faster metabolism, and your body burns more calories that way. Big meals slow down your metabolism. Imagine doing that three times a day, not including cookies and candy as snacks. No wonder I was packing on pounds. I also wasn’t allowed to drink anything, but water (3 liters/day), no coffee or no commercial fruit juices, talk less of pop/soda.

She gave me a workout schedule: Mondays – Chest and Triceps, Tuesdays – Cardio, Wednesdays – Abs and Legs, Thursdays – Conditioning, Fridays – Back and Shoulders, Saturdays – Cardio, and Sundays – Rest. What’s conditioning? I don’t know how to explain it, but this was mine:My conditioning sheet

She also suggested I invest in eight hours of sleep to help my muscles rest and repair.

So, I walked or ran to the gym and back home (one mile) every morning, followed the workout routine daily and religiously, ate the same things for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day for three months: breakfast – bowl of rolled oats with unsweetened soy milk (Silk), sliced banana and handful of peanuts, snack – Muscle Milk protein shake and handful of almonds, lunch – quinoa with spinach/mixed vegetables and can of sardines/tuna, snack – Muscle Milk protein shake and cashew nuts, dinner – garden salad, blueberries and grilled chicken breast, snack – greek yoghurt (Liberte), raspberries and nuts mix or a Quest Protein Bar or milk.

I was a bit extreme, I know. It was tough, but I did it. I went for my second assessment late November. I’m happy to report, I’ve lost 13 lbs/5.9 kg of fat, gained 3 lbs/1.4 kg of muscle, weight down from 160 lbs/72.6 kg to 149 lbs/67.6 kg, and my body fat percentage was down from 29.9% to 17%.

Mission accomplished (100 days)

Needless to say, I’m quite ecstatic, but I want to get down to 7 – 10% body fat. Now that I’m used to working out every day, my trainer says I can start eating a bowl of brown pasta and one baked sweet potato once a week, but I’m used to my new diet already.

I still eat the same things daily, and I’ve made some changes to my workout. I occasionally grab a whole wheat and chicken breast/turkey breast sub from Subway. I also eat some jollof/fried white rice, may be have a slice of cake or pizza, but usually one of those and just once a week. A lot of people think I’m on some diet, but I’m not, it’s my new lifestyle!

05:30 – one banana and 500ml bottle of water
06:00 – run three miles (one hour)
07:30 – one apple/pear and 500ml bottle of water
08:00 – rolled oats with milk, chicken breast and handful of peanuts
12:00 – glass of protein shake and handful of almonds
15:00 – quinoa with spinach, can of sardines/tuna and 500ml bottle of water
18:00 – two muscle groups workout (one hour)
19:30 – glass of protein shake, handful of cashew nuts/two carrots and 500ml bottle of water
20:30 – bowl of mixed vegetables, chicken breast and 500ml bottle of water
22:30 – cup of greek yoghurt with blueberries and protein bar

I hope this motivates somebody to make some changes in the new year. I am not recommending anyone go as extreme as I did, but I did leave some helpful nutritional tips, and my before and after shots above are testament.

  1. Dapo
    January 30, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Eh bro, this is an awesome story.
    Keep up the good work in staying healthy.

  2. Chinenye Anyankwo
    January 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    That’s pretty great. You were determined and focused to shed that weight, so it happened real for you.
    I will recommend this for my sister cos she’s plump and full in size. Nice thesis.

  3. The Realest Nigga
    January 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm


  4. kas-wealth
    April 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Wow have learnt some health tips, which I know will be helpful. Thanks for sharing.

  5. veronica kay
    March 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Really awesome spirit of motivation.I envy you.
    Anyway, I’ve got my motivation from you too!

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