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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.