How Do You Cope Without Carbs?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get about my weight loss from friends and family is; how do you cope without carbs? Carbohydrates are a big part of most people’s diet and are generally loved by all, myself included. Back at the beginning of 2016, I set myself a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight but wasn’t sure if I would stick to it or if it would ever work. I didn’t like my size but at the same time I was lazy and knew it would take a lot of effort to lose weight. After a few days I decided to take it seriously and try my hardest to lose a few pounds.

So I stopped eating carbs, cheese, mayo and all the other things that brought me happiness and soon enough I started seeing results. However, there are a few things that I would like to say about my approach to losing weight. Firstly, I know that my diet was extreme and would not work for everyone. I was working at my placement company at the time so I sat at a desk all day, exerting very little physical energy so I did not need as much food for fuel as other people might. I don’t think I would necessarily recommend my diet to anyone; food and exercise is personal and it’s all about finding out what is healthy and works for you.

But in regards to coping without carbs, my answer is simple. I still eat a lot. But I just changed what I was eating. Instead of filling up on bread, chips and pasta, I started piling my plate up with vegetables and meat. I’m not saying carbohydrates are bad for you, they’re not at all, they help give the body the fuel it needs to get through the day. But for me, I was overeating and my greed caused me to gain a shed ton of weight over the years.

For Breakfast I usually have a smoothie but have recently been having granola with yogurt and fruit. For lunch and dinner, I will usually have cooked meals if I am at home, with some type of meat and a mountain of vegetables. But I have taken extra steps to make sure I am being as healthy as possible; I generally avoid processed foods, salad dressings, chocolate, sweets and cheese just because my main focus at the moment is losing weight and toning up. But this isn’t to say I won’t reintroduce these again at a later date.

Sure I miss chocolate and cheese, bread and pasta but I have learnt to give myself treats every so often instead. I eat Barenaked noodles frequently instead of pasta which I find work just as well in stir-frys or spaghetti bolognaise as regular pasta and noodles. I also try and opt for leaner mince, steak with as little fat as possible and cut off the fat on my bacon. I find these little steps help along the way.

I’m not really sure how to end this post or what my final point is. I guess I wanted to show that there are many ways to lose weight and it will be different for everyone. I know some friends and family who have had great results on Slimming World and others who love Lean in 15’s meal plans. It’s all about finding what works for you and ensuring you are making the right decisions to lose weight healthily.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have any good tips to share?

If you liked this post you may also like One Year, Five Stone or My Typical Workout.

One Year, Five Stone

If you follow me on Instagram you will have recently seen a photo I posted showing myfive-stone-weight-loss-ben-redgell weight loss progress I made in 2016. It hasn’t always been easy but I am pleased with the progress I have made and I’m looking forward to carrying on losing weight in 2017.

I think the New Year is a great time to reassess your habits and set new goals for the year to come. When I went back to university in September my healthy eating didn’t go to plan as much as I had hoped but the new year has given me new motivation to get healthy, drink more water and go to the gym a lot more. My graduation is likely to be in November and I want to look the best I can so I can look back at photos and be happy with the way I looked.

I have decided to stop eating carbs again which I did for around seven months last year and saw great results. Instead I will fill up on lots of fruit, veg and meat. I may try and introduce porridge to my breakfasts to give me fuel for the day but I don’t particularly like it and am enjoying smoothies at the moment!

I’ve also decided to seriously cut down how much Diet Coke I drink; I can easily go through a big bottle a day and have decided it’s time I need to cut down. I began this a bit last year and I started getting a lot of headaches when I began cutting down which showed me I might have been addicted to the caffeine more than I thought. Instead I will be switching to water or squash and only drinking Diet Coke as the occasional treat or when I drink alcohol.

If you are considering losing weight or getting fitter this year I would say go for it. Skip the fad diets and work out what works for you. In my mind losing weight is simple, avoid processed foods and opt for healthy options and do a little more exercise and you should start seeing results. But I know it isn’t easy and it takes a lot of will power and self control to choose healthy options, particularly if others around you are eating unhealthy foods.

Set yourself small goals that are achievable. If you have followed my blog or instagram for a while you will have seen that I like to measure my weight loss in bags of sugar and it was extremely motivating to track the progress I was making in a visible way.

I would also advise taking a picture of your beginning weight, even if you are never going to share your progress, just so you can see for yourself the progress you have made. I never thought a year ago I would be sharing progress pictures of my weight loss but I am a lot happier and confident today!

Finally I want to wish you good luck! Why not see if you can lose a bag of sugar this year?

If you liked this post you may also like Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or My Clothes Were Making Me Fat

 

Healthy Lifestyle Update #7

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I weighed myself the other day and realised I hit my sixth bag of sugar meaning I have lost over 30kg! My current weight loss stands at four stone, twelve pounds and I’m excited to shed two more pounds so I can hit five stone!

I feel like I am back on track with my diet and gym routine now but have recently decided to make a few changes. After chatting to my housemate about my current structure of strict weekdays and weekends off, I realised I was letting my weekend get out of hand, cramming in as much unhealthy food as I could manage before going back to healthy eating on Monday. I’m worried this is really slowing the progress I could be making so I’ve decided I am going to allow myself three cheat meals over a weekend giving me room to have a nice breakfast, lunch and dinner! Hopefully this should stop me going mad and eating everything in sight.

I’ve been having loads of smoothies recently in the mornings for breakfast using bananas, smoothie-over-carbs-ben-redgellfrozen raspberries and blueberries and any other fruit I can get my hands on. I’ve also been introducing wholemeal pasta and noodles into my diet which taste exactly the same as the usual offerings. I still drink a lot of Diet Coke which probably isn’t great for me but I will face my addiction one day and cut down (but today is not that day)!

I’ve been going to the gym with my friend Liz who has shown me a load of new sets to try which focus on my arms and abs. I also asked my Dad to search the garage for the old weights we used to have which he sent down with my sisters when they came to stay so I can use them on days I don’t go to the gym.

All in all I am feeling really positive going forward and cannot wait until I can say I have lost five stone this year! I’ve been thinking about how much more weight I would like to lose before the year ends – ideally I would love to hit six stone but that might be over ambitious but I can only push forward and see where I end up!

To keep up to date with all my over-edited healthy food pictures you can head over to Instagram and find me at chinsnomore. Or if you prefer twitter, my username is also chinsnomore!

Have a great day!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy My Typical Workout or if you’re interested in veganism head over to my friend Laura’s blog: My So Called Vegan Life

 

 

 

 

My Typical Workout

I have finally got round to signing up to the gym which I can use whilst I am in my final year at university and thought I would tell you about a typical workout. I’m excited to get back into the gym again but if any of you have advice on anything I should add in or how I could get more from my workouts I would love to hear!

I should probably begin by setting out what I hope to achieve from going to the gym. When I first signed up the guy setting my gym program asked me what my goals were and I simply said to lose weight but I realise now it goes a little bit deeper than that. I would of course like to carry on losing weight, particularly around my chest, stomach, hips (love handles really) and thighs. I also have worried in the past that I would get excess skin from losing weight so if anyone has any advice on how to prevent this then that would be great! I think losing weight at a sensible weight and doing a range of exercises and weights should help to prevent too much loose skin but if anyone is more of an expert please let me know!

I would also like to improve my strength at the gym, in particular building muscle in my arms. It sounds silly but I think I already have fairly big muscles in my legs (at least in comparison to my arms) because I was carrying around so much weight when I was a lot bigger. But there is still definitely room to improve, and I would like to lose weight on my legs and build my strength – particularly because I sprained a ligament in my knee this year and it still sometimes hurts or aches.

So with that in mind my current workout usually consists of the following:

  • Warm Up – Walking on an incline for at least ten minutes, usually increasing the steepness as more time passes. Before I came to uni I was slowly beginning to introduce running, running for one minute, then walking for two which was hard work but wasn’t as bad as expected – I was worried about how my knee would cope. I like to get up to 100 calories minimum in my warm up (I know they are only guides on the machine but it’s nice to have something tangible to measure a workout).
  • Weights – After I’ve warmed up I then used a number of weight machines, two that focused on legs and six that focused on arms. I would do 15 reps in a set and make sure I did two sets on every machine.
  • Cardio – I would normally always use the cross-trainer to get my cardio in. I like that you get into a rhythm and it wasn’t too intense on my knee. I would generally do 200 – 400 calories worth depending on the time I had.
  • Warm Down – Walking on the treadmill, beginning on an incline and slowly reducing the steepness until I am walking on flat ground at a slow pace. I would generally do around 50 to 100 calories for my warm down.

As you can see I like to measure my workouts in calories so I can have an idea of how much I have burnt. I would generally warm up for just over ten minutes, spend fifteen to twenty minutes on the weights, twenty minutes to half an hour on cardio and then ten minutes warming down. I normally always like to make sure I burn at least 400 calories in a workout with weights on top – thinking about it I have no idea how many calories doing weights burns!

I haven’t been to the gym properly now in over a month but am excited to get back into it and begin my usual routine. I think I may also get another program set to see if the trainers suggest any new machines to try! If you have any advice, comments or even good gym playlist recommendations I would love to hear from you!

Also let me know if you enjoyed this post because I may include more posts like it in the future! In the mean time you may also enjoy Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or my most recent Healthy Lifestyle Update!

Have a great day!

My Clothes Were Making Me Fat

One of the best things about losing weight has been being able to walk into a shop, see something I like and buy it. At my biggest, I could only fit into a few certain shops and so I normally always avoided shopping because I knew it was pointless.

But one thing I have struggled to change is wearing baggy clothes. I never considered myself overly self-conscious even at my biggest – sure I didn’t like the way I looked but I didn’t let it stop me from doing anything. But looking back I suppose I was and still am to an extent because of how baggy my clothes were. I always thought having clothes that clung to my fat was horrible, yet when I think about it I was the same size regardless of whether my clothes clung or not.

I recently went through my wardrobe with the help of my friend and sister and threw out about 90% of my clothes, donating the good quality clothes to charity and binning the clothes that had seen better days. Even then I had very different opinions to my friend and sister about what was too big and what should be thrown away. But I’m slowly learning that wearing baggy clothes can actually make me look bigger than what I am and some clothes should be a tighter fit. When I go shopping I can still struggle to pick the right size and usually get a friend’s opinion to make sure it isn’t too tight or too baggy.

Hopefully I’ll continue to lose weight and learn over time what suits me! I thought I would finish this post with a small comparison of the size I used to be and a photo of myself and sisters at my sister’s graduation. I know the angles are slightly different and my sister’s robe hides me a bit but I am so pleased with the progress I have made so far!

 

Healthy Lifestyle Update #6

When I look at old photos of myself, I can’t believe I let myself get that big and there is no one else or anything to blame other than myself. Whilst I still have a long way to go, I’m happy with the progress I have made and am determined to keep going. My end goal is still my graduation in 2017 which gives me roughly a year to lose weight and tone up.

After finishing my placement I had roughly a month off before I came back to uni and my eating and diet definitely suffered without a structure. Working each day meant I had breakfast, a snack bar, my salad for lunch and dinner each day and it was easy to follow. Going to the gym after work also became part of my routine and meant I was going three or four times a week. However as soon as I finished placement I got lazy and let myself have far to many days off from eating well and doing regular work outs.

I’ve been back at uni a week and as expected went out a lot so didn’t pay much attention to what I was eating. However I am back on track this week and will be signing up to the gym as soon as I get my student card through so should soon be feeling like I am making progress again soon. I’m worried about final year at university too. I’m not in uni regularly and instead have to manage all my work so I will need to be careful to ensure I don’t let uni work become an excuse to skip the gym. As long as I am organised and committed I should be able to work out regularly and get my uni work done.

I’ve also made a few changes to my diet after chatting to my sister and a couple of friends. I’ve begun reintroducing carbs to my diet and have bought brown rice, wholemeal pasta and couscous to have with my evening meals or salads. I don’t regret being strict with myself for the majority of my year because cutting out carbs, junk food, cheese and other unhealthy options did work. I think the shock did me good and going cold turkey stopped me slowly slipping back to my old ways. But that isn’t to say I haven’t fallen of the wagon a few times a long the way! I didn’t expect it to be plain sailing and I’m sure the next year won’t always be perfect either but I’m back on it, I’m back blogging and am excited to throw myself into the gym and carry on changing my body for the better!

So hopefully the next few months will see me writing about the progress I have made and maybe I will post more about my diet and workouts along the way? If you don’t follow me already, you can find me on Instagram at chinsnomore where I post a lot of my meals if that is something your into!

If you liked this post you may also like to read about my weight loss tips or five easy, healthy alternatives I use in my diet!

Healthy Lifestyle Update #5

My weight has fluctuated this month which has been frustrating. Instead of having my usual cheat meal on a weekend before drinking, I have been having unhealthy weekends which are stunting my healthy efforts during the week. However even though my weight has been going up and down my total weight loss is now four stone and two pounds. Only losing two pounds this month isn’t great but reflecting and writing this update has given me the push to refocus.

Last week I went back to the gym and surprisingly my knee held up pretty well. I expected it to hurt a lot the next day but it was fine so I want to get back to going three of four times a week. Even though it has been a mixed bag for me month, I feel motivated to make progress at the gym and carry on losing weight. It has been nice to feel more confident and this weekend I bought some new clothes. Whilst I still don’t fit into everything in high street stores, it is nice to be able to walk into shops, see something I like and be able to buy it! It sounds silly but it really is refreshing!

I have three and a half months until I go back to university for my final year and I would quite like to lose another stone before I go back. It’s time to refocus and make the gym a habit and hopefully carry on making progress!

I have received some really nice comments from people in my personal life and other bloggers about how my updates have been helping and inspiring them to lose weight. I never thought that would happen and it is incredible to know my posts may be helping someone! I recently published a post discussing different healthy alternatives I have incorporated into my diet but thought I would give a few more general tips that may help anyone wanting to lose weight but not really knowing where to begin.

Track what you eat

You may be surprised at the nutritional content in foods advertised as healthy so keeping a diary of everything you eat can help you understand the science behind what you are putting into your body. Apps such as MyFitnessPal can be extremely helpful, allowing you to scan barcodes to quickly know the nutritional content of the foods you are eating. I tracked what I was eating for around two months using MyFitnessPal. Logging in each day was sometimes tedious but the app soon learns the food you eat regularly, speeding up the process. My iPhone also automatically synced my step count into the app which gave me a rough idea of how many calories I had burnt once I had entered my height and weight. You can also add in any other exercise you do and enter your weight at different points giving you a general idea of how you are getting on. Whilst apps can be helpful remember they aren’t 100% accurate so take the results with a pinch of salt!

It will take time

I remember seeing a picture years ago saying it takes one month for your friends to notice a difference in your weight loss, two months for your family and three months for yourself. This is surprisingly accurate as people who see you less will notice differences faster. We are always going to be harder on ourselves but remember changes won’t happen overnight but if you keep pushing forwards you will soon start to see progress!

Take photos to track your progress

When I look back at old photos I am shocked with how big I was. I have a long way to go but having old photos is a good reminder of how far I have come and can be really motivating to keep pushing on. Take photos at regular intervals so you can document how your body is changing, you will be surprised how quickly you start to notice differences.

Only weigh yourself once a week

It can be easy to become obsessed with the number on the scales particularly once you start to make progress. Your weight will fluctuate from day to day and know the number on the scales is not the be all and end all. Aim for feeling healthier and better within yourself and your weight loss should follow. However I do believe weighing yourself once a week can be a good guide to tangibly track your progress. I use the same scales each week when I wake up on a Saturday morning – make sure you weigh yourself on a flat, hard surface avoiding carpet. Keep a note of how much you weigh so you can track your progress over time!

Be realistic

Every person is different so finding the right diet and exercise balance for you will take time. I avoid carbs because it suits my low-energy job but others with more physically demanding jobs will need carbohydrates to keep them going throughout the day! Find what works for you and remember losing weight really is simple. Eat healthily and move a bit more and you should start to see progress! If you don’t feel like you want to go to the gym right away, start off with taking the dog for a walk or set yourself a goal of how many steps you want to do each day. Little changes will be easier to stick to and you can build up what you are doing over time. Also remember one unhealthy day won’t undo all your hard work so don’t be too hard on yourself!

Find out what works for you and stick at it, it will be worth it in the end! See you next month for another update!