This is where I lack...

Discussion in 'Healthy Eating & Nutrition' started by HuoQi, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. HuoQi

    HuoQi Initiate

    I've gone up and down over the years. I'm 32 now, but when I was 22, I was a monsterous body builder. 220 with 4% body fat at 6'1". Then I got married... then I got divorced... then I ate everything in sight. I had herniated a disc in my back 8 years ago and spent 18 months literally on my tail. Eating... Physical therapy was really nothing aerobic.

    Once I was more able I tried going to the gym only to injur another part of my body that wasn't ready to deal with the added weight. I was up to 310lbs had gynocomastia and felt pretty crappy about myself. It wasn't until I found Kung Fu that everything changed. Fortunately then I had the luxury of training some 16+ hours a week. I still ate like a pig though, but I made up for it in all the cardio I had on a daily basis. I shed 60lbs in a year.

    Fast forward to job change, yet another relationship change and still the same crappy eating habits, back up to 300+ but now with worn knees, shoulders and elbows from BJJ going back into Kung Fu was traumatizing. The knowledge came back and my cardio isn't bad thanks to some mental breathing exercises I do to recover quickly when I'm gassed. But I'm finding myself not being able to reach that cardio peak like I used to. Additionally, my eating habits still stink beyond comprehension. The only way I'm not 400 lbs is the fact that I still train and work out like some kind of beast.

    I need some nutrition plan... a real-world plan that doesn't involve eating bags of yardwork and mounds of tofu. I understand the science of dieting. That's the ironic thing. I have so much will-power in other areas and aspects of my life except when it comes to food. I find stupid ways to justify eating that or rationalizing or even thinking that because of this that or the other thing, I'm somehow entitled.

    I've often joked about how I feel like I'm anorexic but I simply don't have the discipline to not eat. Even when I was down to 240 and looking like a total beast in addition to being stronger, faster and more flexible than I ever was body building (I can, to this day, still beat all of my old maxes and I don't appear nearly as huge which I like.) Even when I was down to 240, I'd look in the mirror and still see the 310lbs guy with the moobies. Embarrassing but it's a truth I'm not ashamed of as they've since gone away for the most part.

    Can you guys help me? I don't have the luxury of 16 hours a week at the school... Are there any sort of mind tricks or mnemonic devices you can use to start building better eating habits or is it just so simple for everyone else that they just choose to not eat garbage in the same way that I choose not to smoke?

    Something easy, and something that doesn't taste like crap would be great. :)
    Deborah and Enkidu like this.
  3. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Here is a very easy diet to follow that actually works, doesn't require calorie counting, has real food in it that people generally like eating and is healthy for you...

    The Paleolithic Diet.

    Also known as the meat, leaves and berries diet. The concept is simple. Millions of years of evolution have designed human beings to eat real food in nature. This is what is healthy for us. Processed food, no matter how healthy sounding or well intentioned, isn't. There are variations on the Paleo diet, and you can find out a lot on the web, but the basics are, eat animal protein, tons of veggies, seasonal fruits, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds. The basic guideline is that if a caveman didn't eat it, neither should you.

    Some versions of the paleo diet are more restrictive (no potatoes or milk for example) some are less restrictive. Choose what works for you. But don't eat food that won't spoil or go bad. If it can last on your shelf for years, it is probably crap.

    The interesting thing is that it is very hard to overeat on a paleo diet because the food is very filling and satiates hunger quite well. There are tons of free online resources about how to implement the paleo diet. It isn't the only diet that works well without a ton of work, but it is among the easiest and (to my taste) one of the easiest to follow.
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  4. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    Welcome to the forums HuoQi. Firstly, I'd like to commend you on being so honest about everything. I know its not easy to admit to things like this.

    Like you, I am 32 (33 next month). I've had a few injuries myself so I can relate a lot to what you said.

    I've never put on as much weight as you though I have been a little over weight before. When I went back to uni at 22 I ate out every day and drank a lot. I still went to the gym etc and was probably around 182 lbs (I'm 5"11). I haven't weighed myself in a while but I think I'm 165 lbs now (I'll probably weigh myself next week). The same thing happened a few years later in 2006. Me and my friends spent a month in Thailand, Singapore etc then spent about 6-8 weeks in Australia. In the last two weeks of my trip in Sydney I realised I was quite heavy so I did swimming every day for a week and noticed a little difference.

    When we settled in Auckland New Zealand a few weeks later I made the decision to lose weight. I didn't change my diet at all (probably ate more) but I threw myself into training. I'd do about an hour of weight training around 11am and then afterwards I would swim around 2.5KM in the pool. It was a 25 metre pool and I swam around 20 lengths every 15 minutes, so it took me about 1 hour 15 minutes to finish it. I'd then go home, have lunch and work on my websites.

    At 6pm I would go to Muay Thai class - the City Lee Gar club in Auckland. Shane Chapman trained at the club. I must admit it was inspiring to have a K1 champion train at the gym. The power he put into his kicks was frightening.

    With just over two hours training in the morning and another 90 minutes or so at night, the weight quickly dropped off. I lost a stone and a half in under 6 weeks (about 21lbs).

    The thing is, I was never ripped during my training. Even when I was training in Thailand 5 hours a day I wasn't super slim, despite doing hundred of press ups and one thousand sit ups a day. The reason - food. I've never been a big fan of fast food and generally ate healthy (though less so at the weekend). I always ate big portions though and due to being a night owl I would eat late at night. For years I would come home from training and have a big meal at 10pm at night. I really should have been having something light.

    Afterwards I began to eat healthier. What I found worked for me was small changes. I had read lots of advice about health and nutrition at the time. To this day my knowledge on nutrition is pretty much zero though in my opinion you don't have to know that much to stay slim and healthy. A lot of it is common sense.

    Making small changes to your diet is apparently the best way to go as you are more likely to stick to it. I found this to be true.

    For example, I would drink soft drinks (e.g. coca-cola etc) with dinner and sometimes during the day too. I didn't drink it excessively but at around 140 calories per can, it was something I wanted to cut out. I started slowly and began to drinking diluting juice more (or cordial as many people call it). I then tried to drink water at first. I found it difficult at first as I felt that water had no taste. Over time I got used to it and eventually I was drinking water on it's own most of the time.

    I definitely think that it's a mental thing. You don't have to count calories but you have to be more aware of what you're eating and change your mindset into eating healthier until it becomes natural. Fruit instead of snacks, smaller portions, less fast food etc.

    The one thing I do remember well from the nutrition book I bought was about blood sugar spikes etc. A big mac meal will give you an instant sugar rush but within an hour or so your blood sugar level rapidly drops - this makes you feel depressed and makes you feel hungry etc. Things like bananas are much better as they release energy into your body slowly, making you feel fuller for longer.

    Just remember that it takes time. It won't happen overnight but if you make small changes now you will see results soon. My friend was about your weight. Like him, you will lose more when initially due to your size but don't be too discouraged later if weight comes off slower. Doctors don't recommend losing more than 2lbs a week on any diet as any more has been shown to come back on quickly. You will be able to lose more than that due to your size though (worth speaking to a doctor/nutritionist about this).

    Last year I was still making small changes to my diet. I was trying to eat a salad once or twice a week and I replaced fruit & fibre cereal with muesli or porridge most days too. As I said, make small changes. Don't go changing everything at once or you won't stick to it. Perhaps some people can stick to such drastic changes though I believe it takes time for the brain to become accustomed to big changes like that so it's better to make small changes that you will stick to for the rest of your life than big changes that you will stick to for a few months then pack it in.

    Best of luck with it HuoQi and if you can, surround yourself with good friends who will help you stick to the changes (even having a friend that won't keep persuading you to have another beer can make a big difference).


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  5. Aaron

    Aaron Shadow Warrior

    HouQi one of the biggest things you can do is cut out pasta and bread. I have a co-worker that lost 15lbs in a month just by doing this with a light workout ( 1 hr on a treadmill ) everyday, and that's all he did.

    Hope it helps.
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  6. dmach

    dmach Martial Archivest

    If you have gotten nothing else from this thread HouQi at least you now know you are not alone. :) There is a lot of good advice here, but the trick is you have to choose what is right for you and you are comfortable with.

    Kevin makes a good point, make small changes rather than dive in head first into some diet that even a bunny would balk at. Your body will go "WTF!" and it will last about a week.

    I actually now follow a similar premise.. Ïf Grandma won't recognise it, don't eat it!" Same basic idea, but not as severe as the Paleo diet probably sounds.

    As for "Staying Motivated" Don't make weight loss your goal, pick something else to strive for such as a Martial Arts comp, a local Fun Run or (dare I say it) a marathon and train to compete in that. The weight loss will occur naturally and probably without you even noticing because that hasn't been your primary focus.

    I hope I've been of some help, best of luck!
    HuoQi likes this.
  7. HuoQi

    HuoQi Initiate

    Wow, what a supportive group. Thanks everyone for the pointers. I'm going to look into that Paleo/Grandma recognition diet. Small changes, yes, I had already decided this morning to make some slight changes that shouldn't be horrific.

    I also like the idea of not keeping weight loss as the primary motivation for training. The Wong People turnament is this weekend but unfortunately, I'll be in Florida on business (rough life, I know). But as a Martial Artist, I do finally feel ready to compete in all forms, weapons and sparring.

    Thanks again!
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  8. Blade Maker

    Blade Maker Master

    you be me to it :)

    Fruits and veggies raw or steamed (seasoning is allowed, cheese is not a seasoning)
    Meat, grilled is the best as you body has to put more energy into digesting it that it can pull out with out starting a Krebs Cycle
    lots of eggs
    Whole grain/ high fiber breads and cereals
    Greek yogurt (add your own fruit, don't buy presweetened stuff)
    Milk/ water and juice (no sugar added)
    - you should be drinking more water than anything else
    - soda and flavored milk has a lot of sugar in it
    -diet drinks chemically block your bodies ability to process sugars so it stores them instead making fat
    If you eat cheese it should come in block form and crumble when you press it, not squish

    eat until your body feels like sighing, that means that you stomach is full
    if you still feel hungry drink water the food in your belly will expand.

    Do not force yourself to eat if you are not hungry. I graze thru out the day on good food. The only meal i actually eat is dinner and that is so my kids can learn proper table manners. If you walk to the fridge and can't decide what to eat, then you are not hungry, you are bored, or maybe stoned ;), but not hungry.

    As much as we all like it, alcohol, just messes up any good digestive processes you have going on if you drink a large amount regularly (a beer/ glass won't matter, a whole case or bottle does)
  9. John rushton

    John rushton Disciple

    The more you can eat healthy the easier it will get because you will enjoy it more when your body starts to tell you its good for you. The cave man diet does work well and if done right is very healthy, just be sure to not skimp on the vedge cos its important to not let your blood become to acidic if your having joint problems etc. Dont worry about tofu - its not good to eat anyway (to many reasons to go into) if you want a vedgetarian protien sorce then try lentils, nuts, and belive it or not broccoli, broccoli does not have alot of protien as a percentage of its weight, but calorie for calorie it has ten times the amount of beef- the most muscular non steroid taking guy i ever trained with was vegan and mainly used broccoli as his protien sorce (must of eaten huge plates of the stuff he was BIG and had no fat on him you could spot). I like dmach's point of not making weight loss your imediate goal, i always eat very well when i have a specific reason to that is positve for me, i guess it helps to associate the diet with something fun rather than seeing it as a chore.
    Deborah likes this.
  10. Kevin

    Kevin Admin Staff Member

    Ahhh I knew someone else had posted about the Paleolithic diet here before. Dejavutastic! :)

    That diet looks good. I love evolution so this is something I think makes a lot of sense. I don't know how practical it would be to stick to if you have a social life though I suppose the same could be the same as any diet. That's why I prefer the 'just eat healthy' diet. Less rules to stick to :)
  11. MadoreGojuRyu

    MadoreGojuRyu Master

    I havent read all the suggestions so forgive me if this has already been stated but, you need to find out what your resting metabolic rate is. and work from that, it will change as your body and fitness level changes of course. but it doesnt matter how healthy you eat, if you eat more calories than your body can burn you will put on weight.

    seriously find out how many calories your body burns at rest and use that number to adjust your calories daily. I was a full contact fighter for almost 8 years and at my tops I weighed approx 220 and an 8%bodyfat, a few unfortunate concussions and a failed marriage later and I was at almost 300 and no idea my bodyfat.

    I finally got certified as a personal trainer and used that knowledge on myself and others and its worked like a charm. no matter if its no fried foods, no pork, no sugar, no carbs, all natural.....blah, blah, blah. you body can only burn so many calories a day. working and cardio boosts the number.

    hopefully this helps you out.
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  12. MadoreGojuRyu

    MadoreGojuRyu Master

    also remember that if you eat something inorganic without eating something organic it will sit in your gut until you do. the body produces the digestive enzymes needed to digest food but will no it for inorganic items alone. and yes things can sit in your gut for quite some time and possibly even become toxic after awhile causing various forms of sickness.
    Blade Maker likes this.
  13. Joe

    Joe Disciple

    The easiest way I have found to, is to drink more water. I mean lots more water, it seems to satisfy hunger.

    Another tip is to plan your meals in advance (I can't say if it works, I am still living with the parents :) Good thing about being young :p ) With this it should allow you to choose what you have each meal, every day. Which, theoretically, means you decide how/what you eat- which means that you can say "yay or nay" to bad food.

    Good luck :)
    Deborah likes this.
  14. Deborah

    Deborah Ninja

    Hello HuoQi.......please try not to get dismayed about your weight my new martial friend. I had a spine operation at the beginning of the year and for the year before that I was unable to walk. Going from such an active lifestyle to one of a virtual cripple, the weight piled on me!! What helped me was small meals often and lots of exercise. There is no magical answer.......start small. All my respects and peace XXxxXX
  15. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    Here's an old article I wrote on the subject of making incremental dietary changes:

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  16. SifuPhil

    SifuPhil Lucky Cat Is Lucky

    Hi HuoQi, welcome to the forum!

    Just two things that I'll throw in here that may or may not help: first, I've always had a tough time thinking in terms of "diets" - I prefer (and have had much better luck) thinking in terms of "nutrition" or even "intake". Dieting has a negative connotation - when we hear the word "diet" we think denial and not being able to eat what we want when we want. Something as simple as how you perceive what you put in your mouth can be the difference between success and failure.

    Second, you're not 22 anymore, just like I'm not 39 anymore. I can't do what I used to do, keeping in shape gets harder as you get older (I'm 54 now), old injuries come back to haunt you ... don't mean to paint a bleak picture for you, just to advise that you don't use your younger self as a model of what you can be now.

    Your last sentence said you're looking for "something easy" - unfortunately I've never known weight control, or creating a sensible nutrition plan, to be an "easy" thing. There are no shortcuts, and there WILL be pain.
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  17. Deborah

    Deborah Ninja

  18. Enkidu

    Enkidu Destroyer of your martial arts fantasies

    While it is certainly technically true that being in a caloric surplus will result in weight gain (and conversely, to lose weight you must be in a caloric deficit) -- after all, there is no getting around the law of thermodynamics -- there is more to the story than this (but more on that later). Regardless, I am not a fan of calorie counting and using various formulas to estimate your BMR. First, this takes a tremendous amount of work and, as such, is likely to have poor compliance. Second, these various formulas as well as the calories contained in foods (unless they are processed foods which you should be avoiding anyways) are estimates with a fairly wide margin of error. So, even if you do all the work, your estimate could be 10-15% off of the amount you are actually consuming.

    For these reasons, I prefer the concept of making tweaks to what you are already eating (which is one of the reasons to keep a food diary so you have a "starting point" from which to make adjustments). This can be done through a number of ways. One, of course, is portion control... i.e., the classic "eat less". To be clear, eating less works, and is necessary, but it isn't the whole story. It is also WHAT you eat. Eating healthy, whole foods, in balance, and doing so at regular intervals, has hormonal effects -- i.e., less release of insulin (which stores fat) and greater release of testosterone, IGF-1, HGH and other hormones. In fact, eating the same amount of calories, but changing the quality and timing of those calories can have huge effects on body composition and your hormones.

    A good example of how "a calorie is a calorie" isn't quite right is something called the thermogenic effects of feeding (TEF). When you eat food, your body has to break that food down so that it can be used by your body, either as energy, to repair and muscles, or to store as fat (among other functions). But your body is more efficient with certain micronutrients than others. For example, you burn off about 30% of the calories in protein due to TEF, whereas carbs only burn off about 8% and fat in the range of 2% (estimates vary, but close enough for our purposes). What this means is that if you eat 100 calories worth of protein, it is only a net of 70 calories that make it past the digestion process.

    There are far more complexities too.

    But we don't need to make it complex to get where we want to go. There are two steps. First is replacing low quality processed food with high quality real food. The second step is portion control in the sense of reduction of overall calories. However, you don't need to calculate calories to do this. You can just track portion sizes that you are eating and make small changes to portion size. Interestingly, when you eat whole healthy foods and plenty of fruits, vegetables, healthy natural fats, and water, often the portion control takes care of itself because foods of this nature tend to satiate hunger and are rich in nutrients that you body seeks.

    Diets like the Paleo diet (or grandma diet) are examples of this concept put into practice, but there are other perfectly fine diets out there along the same vein that can work equally well. But the ones that have the most compliance and the highest success rate (and are most easily integrated as a lifestyle) are those that don't involve complex and time consuming calculations.
  19. Deborah

    Deborah Ninja

    From my own recent personal experience, portion control is a must too. But what I found REALLY beneficial is to go on an exercise bike and peddle your a** off for 40 mins you will burn 700 calories which for me has lost me a stone in under two months, whatever you attempt my friend I wish you all the love and luck in your journey ....peace and respects xXx

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