My Fitness Journey

Part 20: Diets Don’t Work


You’ve probably heard this before. Diets don’t work! Ok, you’ll probably lose a load of weight initially like I did, but the chances are that you’ll hate eating your new healthy food, start munching on bad foods, put weight on, lose the motivation to carry on and then quit. So in the short-term yes, they may work, but you must think long-term because it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes time.

I remember in the 90’s, a lady I knew was sat at home eating fish, chips, mushy peas, steak and kidney pie and gravy. “I thought you were on the Slim Fast plan I asked. Her reply was simply “Yes, but on the back of the packet it says you can have one good meal a day”.  She genuinely thought that she could have a milkshake for lunch and then because she’s had her healthy shake she can now eat junk for the rest of the day. So her expensive tub of strawberry shake was a complete waste of money and she gained a load of weight because she didn’t understand how to lose weight properly. You can’t just buy a tub of weight loss shakes and drop a dress size, nor can you shift a load of weight by taking diet pills. There’s more to it than that.

Diets are a no-no, but a well thought out meal plan containing foods you love is essential. You don’t have to completely change what you eat morning, noon and night… just gradual changes are required otherwise you’ll lose the will to carry-on on your fitness journey.

Some people claim that they can’t afford to eat healthily, but this is just nonsense. It’s actually not expensive at all. Sure you can go grab a healthy “packet meal” such as the lovely Slimming World Paella, but this will set you back £3.00 a packet, not that three quid is that expensive mind you. But you can make yourself something just as tasty and nutritional yourself from scratch for £1-2 and best of all, it shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes to make.

What you want to create is a meal plan that is tasty, enjoyable to make and eat, and is sustainable. The same goes with your exercise plan. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re not going to stick with it. Get this wrong and you’ll pile on the pounds. Get it right and you’ll transform your body and change the way you eat forever.

Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean it’s not tasty either, because you can cook something healthy and tasty in less than a quarter of an hour. Okay, there are some meals that will take much longer because you need prep time, but what you could do is cook twice as much so that on your busiest days you’ll only need to pre-heat and you’re done!

I am forever reading articles from so called fitness experts who advise you not to try fat burning pills, meal replacement shakes or bars. These people annoy me, simply because they are wrong. If they are true experts then they’d be telling you to try things and see what works for you. I still to this day eat meal replacement bars and drink shakes, and I’ve lost heaps of weight.

What works for me may or may not work for you, and vice versa. We are all different and there’s no way a particular type of exercise is going to be suitable nor enjoyable for people of all ages and sizes. The same can be said for foods. I’m not going to say avoid diet pills or T5 fat burners or the Atkins Diet because they do work for some people, but not for others. Again, you need to try different things, see what works for you and if it doesn’t work move on, because this is all about trial and error.

There’ll be lots of ‘error’, trust me! I’ve had many periods of static weight, drank stupidly expensive shakes and even ended up in hospital after an accidental overdose of fitness pills! You don’t know what will or won’t work until you try it.

Weight loss takes time. So you need a combination of ‘regular’ exercise, the right nutrition, patience, dedication and motivation.

Progress Update on My Fitness Journey

Things have been going great these past couple of weeks since I last posted here. The British weather has actually started to improve, so I’ve been doing a great deal of exercise outdoors in the back garden.

Calories Burnt

Calories burnt on Sunday during tent activities!

There have been days where I didn’t do a pre-planned workout as such because I’ve been doing other high-intensity exercise. For example, on Sunday I erected a gigantic 8-berth tent in the garden in the heat! My Garmin Forerunner 235 watch told me that I’d burned a total of 2,565 calories through putting up the tent and setting up the equipment (pre-camping trip!)

The same kind of thing happened when I mowed the lawns recently and yesterday when I took down the tent. Therefore I don’t tend to do my usual 15-minute high-intensity workouts when I know I’ve got something going on that’s going to get my heart-rate up and all muscle groups pushed to the limit. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get to do your planned exercises for the day, when you’ve been ‘performing’ other activities.

Don’t forget that rest is important. Your muscles need time to repair, so don’t panic if you need to step away from your workout plan or take a day off here and there because you’re burning calories during this rest period. As you can see from my image here to the left, on Sunday I burnt 2,565 calories being active (putting up the tent and camping equipment), and burnt 2,159 calories sitting on my butt! Well not strictly sitting down, just not physically working out.

I’m not going to reveal my weight loss figures for May just yet because it’s only mid-month, but in just two week’s time I’ll reveal how much body fat I’ve shifted, how much muscle I’ve gained and list other stats such as any changes in my chest, waist and arms. I intend on telling you more about my 15-minute workouts and what specific exercises (other than camping!) I’ve been working on in order to shift more fat and sculpt my body better.

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