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The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - FITNESS -

Be­fore I started this pro­gram, a usual day could in­volve ce­real (lots of sugar and carbs) for break­fast, a baguette and fruit (more carbs) for lunch, and pasta (yep, you guessed it... carbs) for din­ner. Of­fi­cially I’d be within a nor­mal calorific in­take, and yet 65-70 per cent of my macros were carbs. And I thought I was be­ing healthy!

Once I started re­al­is­ing how much fat, pro­tein and carbs were in the things I reg­u­larly ate, it be­came easy to make good choices and en­abled flex­i­bil­ity, too. I could still have treats – I just needed to coun­ter­bal­ance them in my other meals.

The only real rule James im­posed was no beer. It’s full of carbs and an easy way to com­pletely smash your calo­rie limit. If I wanted a drink, it had to be clear spir­its such as vodka or gin. And no sug­ary drinks or frothy cof­fees ei­ther.

All fairly straight­for­ward so far – but the ex­pe­ri­ence wasn’t with­out its chal­lenges. not-cheap pro­tein shakes and bars.

I took over the weekly food shop at home to en­sure I was get­ting the right food and planned ev­ery meal in minute de­tail. Ev­ery in­gre­di­ent was mea­sured on dig­i­tal scales, down to the last al­mond.

Fail­ure to plan prop­erly for week­day lunches left me search­ing for pricey al­ter­na­tives. Where a sand­wich would once cost $8, now I could spend over $10-15 a day buy­ing pack­ets of cooked chicken, beef jerky and nat­u­ral yo­ghurt.

Do­ing the food shop­ping in bulk set me back around $200 a week, but that would cover all the fam­ily meals and a healthy lunch for work. It pays to be pre­pared. tech­nique while try­ing to lift heavy weights kept me out of the gym for two weeks, and a vi­ral in­fec­tion left me un­able to keep down food for a week. Then my sec­ond child was born, and train­ing slipped down my list of pri­or­i­ties – mainly re­placed by sleep!

The point is, lots of things can get in the way and be­come an ex­cuse to give up – that’s how I’d ended up with a dad bod in the first place. But with en­cour­age­ment from James and my very sup­port­ive wife, I kept up my diet and carved out enough time to go run­ning. I didn’t get to the gym as much as I’d planned, but I still man­aged to stay on the right path. I’d lost 26 per cent of my body fat. Hav­ing weighed over 80kg when I started, I now weigh just un­der 70kg. More than three-quar­ters of the to­tal weight loss was com­prised of pure fat, although in­ter­est­ingly I also lost about 2kg of lean mus­cle – which, I’m told, is quite nat­u­ral when di­et­ing as the body tends to treat it as the per­fect source of en­ergy.

The ideal sce­nario would have been for me to add mus­cle while los­ing fat at the same time, but due to those afore­men­tioned hur­dles I en­coun­tered along the way, I didn’t do enough gym ses­sions to sus­tain to­tal mus­cle mass.

Ap­par­ently, if I lose an­other 4kg of fat I could of­fi­cially be ‘beach-body ready’, but I should also tar­get build­ing about 3kg of mus­cle at the same time – which means my weight would only drop by 1kg.

Per­haps most pleas­ingly, the re­sults showed that my vis­ceral fat has re­duced by 39 per cent, mean­ing I’m no longer deemed to be in the ‘dan­ger zone’.

My physique has im­proved greatly. I no longer have love han­dles and man boobs. My face is slim­mer and I’ve lost more than 7.5cm from my waist. Clothes that had be­come tight now fit com­fort­ably. Friends and col­leagues have no­ticed the change, too but, most im­por­tantly, I feel great.

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