Monday, December 20, 2010

I lost 11kg in 11 weeks (and still going strong) !

The last I can recall, my lowest weight was 82 or 83kg about 7 or 8 years ago, and its slowly pushed its way up and in the past 12 months I have around 89kg and have struggled to keep myself below 90kg (admittedly that horrendous number has shown its ugly face on my scales on a couple of occasions following some heavy nights out!).

I have been promising myself, at every opportunity, to reduce. I've kept a mental target to get back to 85kg, and would be happy to be there and maintain that for the next 20 years plus ... but my weaknesses (late night snacks, chocolates, cheese, steaks, full English breakfasts and for the potato in any shape or form) were really making this a pipe dream. Perhaps I was destined to just slowly grow the inches around my waist for the rest of my days.

That is until September this year. On a trip to Istanbul (think delicious kebabs), a newly made acquaintance mentioned that he had managed to lose 20kg in 2 months ! Apart from my not believing that was even possible, I did as him how. The answer was that he read a book by Alan Carr. He had quit smoking after reading Alan Carr's book on that subject (a book I had heard a lot about), so he was keen to try the weight loss book.

The wonders of technology helped next. My iPad was out and searching Amazon for this book, and a couple of minutes later it was in my hand (had it not been for this, I probably would have made a mental note to buy this book at some point, and would then have never got around to it).

Anyway, I started the book that day. An easy read, very repetitive and hypnotic in its message, but it makes a lot of sense and is easy to follow.

There are 2 main messages in the book:

The first, do not consider this a diet. It is a change in lifestyle and habits. As long as you think you are "dieting", you always feel deprived. You are always waiting for that day you can come of your diet, or when you will hit that target weight. Alan Carr professes that with a few simple habits you can eat "as much as you want of what you want and still achieve your target weight". That's a very bold claim and sounds too good to be true, but what could I lose by reading through the book and trying out what he was offering.

The second main message is to look to nature for the answer. As some simple examples, animals don't overeat, only humans do! Squirrels will gather nuts, but will eat only enough to fill them up ... no more. Additionally, look to nature as to what to eat. You can see some fresh enticing fruits on a tree and feel like plucking them and eating them. Their colour and smell tell you when they are ripe and ready to eat. On the other hand, when they are spoiled, their colour and smell tell you clearly not to touch them. Similarly, when we see a cow, pig or sheep, our mouths don't naturally water ... we need those meats to be prepared to make them "edible".

Now saying this, the book doesn't profess to make you into a vegan. It simply informs you of these things to make you aware and make the right decisions at the right time. As an example, my clear takeaways from this are thus:

1) Eat fruits in the morning.
2) Eat when you are hungry (that could mean skipping a meal if you aren't hungry, or equally, eat in between meals if you feel like it), but eat only what you need to.
3) (which leads to this point) Don't over eat. Eat enough and stop.
4) Don't eat when bored (so gone are the late night snacks and eating junk when in front of the TV).
5) (perhaps most important), Eat what you want!

This last point is certainly not contradictory, but in fact is crucial to make the whole "new lifestyle" workable. If I'm out with friends and am tempted with something particularly mouth watering on the menu, I will indulge (a recent steak and fries meal in Entrecote testifies to that), but you just need to be aware. Don't over eat, and then be conscious the next day to balance it out (in any case the book stipulates that upto 30% of your daily meal can be "junk" or "imperfect" foods). A very workable system.

So what difference has this made to my life (apart from feeling lighter, healthier, fitter, having more energy generally and sleeping better)? I notice on each of my trips I am lugging a heavy briefcase with me (which weighs about 7-8 kg) and I just imagine that this was permanently strapped around my waist. I can only imagine the positive difference this has nade to my my back, legs, knees and heart !

So its now 11 weeks and I am 11kg lighter (79kg). I dipped below 80kg 2 days ago, and the buzz and motivation I am getting from seeing the weight drop off (and have others tell me that I look thinner) is phenomenal. My "lifestyle" is easy and very natural now, and the inches keep reducing.
The big test will be this week over Christmas ... I must admit that the Turkey and trimmings in my mind do make my mouth water!


  1. Very interesting article! Enjoyed every word.

  2. Wow Sunil ! Makes me run to the bookstore and get this book instantly ! Have been fighting the weight war for ages but to no avail ! Let me also try this out ! Geetu Lala - New Delhi