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Postby CronicBadger » Thu May 27, 2010 12:52 am

Hi all

In September last year I got weighed at my local GP. 126Kg! Up until the visit to the doctor I'd been deluding myself that I was fit and healthy (relatively, for a fat older guy). Chest pains and shortness of breath brought on by stress at work had prompted me to get a checkup, after which I was given a clean bill of health plus the regular mantra of "Marc, you really should lose weight."

Of course I made the usual excuses to myself during the following few days after the checkup - "Yeah, yeah, but I'm so busy right now...", "I don't feel motivated yet, but maybe in a few days..." etc.

One day soon after, my boss wandered past my desk, stared at the plate with my lunch of two bread rolls dripping with olives and oil, meat, tomato and cheese and suggested I "not go on a diet, but perhaps try this 'Low G.I.' eating plan" he'd been on for the past few months.

So I did, just for the hell of it. And also started regular 5-10Km walks on weekends. I figured it couldn't hurt, and wasn't too painful - I still occasionally binged, and still ate and drank things I really shouldn't have (I love good food!). I never weighed myself until the next visit to my GP last February. 118Kg.

I never noticed losing those 8Kg over the course of five months. Just as I'd never noticed gaining 38Kg in the preceding five years!

Those 8Kg shed were negligible, however. I'd recently turned 40, had been obese much of my life, and my body was rapidly turning into a ticking time bomb. To be honest, it had been a time bomb since my late teens, but recently it had started to tick loudly and clearly.

On March 1 I snapped and calmly told myself, "That's enough.", then began to educate myself about weight loss - how to do it, why it should be done. This forum was one of the first websites I visited and I've lurked here regularly since then. Basically, I increased the frequency, tempo and length of my main form of exercise (walking the excellent bush tracks and shared cycleways we have in this region) and broke my bad eating habits by eating less, understanding portions, counting kilojoules and removing processed food that contained salt, fat and sugar in excess amounts.

My weight is currently 105Kg. Since early march I've lost a kilo each week on average, and my improvement in general health and fitness is noticable to me and the people around me.

With the information and suggestions found at and elsewhere I think I've found the method that works for me. Below are the major features:

1) Don't eat crap
It may seem simple, but has been difficult for me because there's so much yummy food available everywhere. What I did during March was that every time I had a craving for a meat pie or chocolate slice or banana cake or whatever I stared at part of my body and imagined all the sugar and fat coursing through my veins and depositing fat in fat cells and plaque in my arteries and heart - there, just inches beneath my chest. I imagined what a heart attack would feel like, and what the other lifestyle related diseases such as some cancers, diabetes and reflux disease could do to me. I also told myself that even a small pie was not worth pushing my weight goal several more days away and requiring even more of that annoying thing called "exercise".
It worked. I now cannot even force myself to eat something I shouldn't. My junkfood-switch is turned off.

2) Make incidental exercise necessary
A round trip (brisk walk) from my place of employment to the local shopping centre is about 30 minutes if I take the long way. So nearly every lunchtime I go shopping but don't do everything I need to do (banking, buying lunch items for the week, etc). I do just a few things - then go back the next day and do a bit more. It all adds up.

3) Live life as a healthy thin person
I exercise and eat as I think a healthy thin person might do. As a result I am a healthy thin person inside. My body is slowly reforming about me to match my new lifestyle. :-)

4) Understand what's in food
Until recently I had no idea food portions were that small! Crikey. I had no idea some foods were so full of fat and sugar. More crikey.
So with the help of an old Calorie King booklet I found at the op-shop, a $5 set of kitchen scales, a $2 set of measuring spoons and cup I can now work out how many kilojoules is in any food or drink I consume. It really is an eye opener that just a small handful of oven chips can be 150g, or just how small a 75g serve of rye bread is.

5) Eat less
I'm constantly surprised how much I was eating compared to now. I'm even more surprised at how little food bulk is required as long as a few basic rules of nutrition are followed. I'm super-surprised about how little money I now spend on food.

6) Keep a food diary
Writing down everything I eat and doing a rough kilojoule count on it keeps me from both bingeing and gradually increasing my food intake unconsciously. I use a line or two in my diary each day. A simple format - brackets enclose a main meal (breakfast, lunch, tea), and outside are snacks. Parentheses indicate estimated Kj. Today's entry looks like this:
[2x sl rye bread (700), banana (350)], banana (350), [0.5x onion (100), tomato (150), 0.5x srv TVP mince (200)], 2x pear (600), [srv crn kernels (300), 2x srv nutloaf (1400), tomato (150), 2x sl rye bread (700)]

One evening each week I'll do an audit of the past 7 days entries, correcting any estimates and also do some weighing to ensure there's no creep in portion size.

The internal switch off from junk food has surprised me more than the weight loss. I don't quite understand how it has become so permanent (so far), or what the underlying psychology is. Would anyone care to explain?

In early May I think I may have encountered the oft-mentioned plateau during which my weight wavered for about a fortnight. I'd read in this forum that the best way to handle it was be alert, not alarmed, and change things - vary exercise, food, etc. It seems to have been passed and I'm now losing weight steadily again. My question though is - are these plateaux different for each individual? Are they fully in the individual's control (perhaps complacency resulting in overeating or reduced exercise) or are they more of a physiological response to complex internal stimuli (perhaps all the easily reduced fat is done, so then blood chemistry and hormone levels change resulting in the body requiring a harder push to start on mining the difficult sections). I have no idea, but am curious about this.

I consider my start date March 1 and my start weight 118Kg. Current weight 105Kg. End of year goal 85Kg. Eventual weight would be nice around 70-75Kg (I'm male, about 185cm in height). My daily food energy intake is 5000-7000Kj. Exercise is about 30-45 mins of fast walking most days, and on weekends I'll do one or two sessions of walking 10-15Km in 2-2.5Hrs.
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Re: Enough!

Postby bananarama1 » Fri May 28, 2010 6:36 pm

This is a great post!

Thanks for that :) I will sure take on all of these tips.

Goodluck and I hope you reach your goal
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Re: Enough!

Postby nothing2lose » Sat May 29, 2010 11:57 am


I agree...GOOD POST!

It's scary how simple weightloss is from a physiological point of view. Problem is -- for food addicts like me :roll: -- how HARD it is from a psychological point of view lol

I like your idea of Living the life of a thin person until your body matches your lifestyle choice. I may borrow that one to motivate myself (if you dont mind!)

Congratulations on your weight loss to date.

See you in the forums :D



HW - September 2008 - 121.3kg :( :(
SW - 16 May 2010 - 110.4 kg :(
New SW - 6 January 2011 - 108 kg :(
First GW 99kg :) My aim is to reach this goal by April 15, 2011
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Re: Enough!

Postby tinkerbella » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:36 pm

Interesting read,
can we have part two??

It seems as if your a 1970's kind of kid?
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Re: Enough!

Postby Blitz » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:20 am

CronicBadger wrote:The internal switch off from junk food has surprised me more than the weight loss. I don't quite understand how it has become so permanent (so far), or what the underlying psychology is. Would anyone care to explain?

I had missed this post before...thanks Natasha for drawing back into predominance. This is an excellent post and a must read for all! 8)

Now to attempt answer the Badger's question.
I'm reading an excellent book at the moment called 'The End of Overeating: taking control of the insatiable American appetite' by David A. Kessler, MD. The first part of it is about the science of what switches on our craving for junk food in the first place. You will not be surprised to learn that more than one thing is in play.

He writes that fat, sugar and salt causes heightened response when consumed. So the body naturally has a preference for them to begin with. Which was okay when they were occasionally and seasonally got but now with these products readily available it leads to over consumption.

Which leads to the next thing...the body's response to fat, sugar and salt is increased when they are combined. There is are certain mixes of these products when combined in various formats that are even more irresistible. It has been scientifically shown that there is a "sweet spot" for these combinations. When mixed not to low or too high (in combinations of two or three of these products)...the satisfaction ratings go off the scale. Indeed it is so strong as to be compared to what a drug addict feels when taking drugs.

It has been shown in lab rats that they will prefer this food to other healthier foods even if they have to work much harder to get it!
Perversely for modern man the fast food industry have made just these kind of foods readily available. So we eat fast food over healthy ones.

This leads to the next thing...the memory of the satisfaction alone drives behaviour. Again it has been demonstrated in rats that just the memory of these foods alone will drive their behaviour towards these unhealthy foods. They develop a Pavlovian response to these foods. For us that means that just the good memory of a time of eating brings on the craving.

This is also complicated by other events occurring at the same time. For example, going to the cinema for the first time with mum and dad...the wonder of the setting will reinforce the new sensation of tasting popcorn (a sweet spot of salt, fat and sugar). Now every time you go to the cinema your mind evokes past memory...and suddenly the smell of popcorn in that setting becomes irresistible.

Now for the person combating all this the way forward is clear. These physiological and psychological links have to be broken. That means eating healthier meals until the physical memory grows dim for the body and mind. It also requires a mental change in the person to break the chain of good memories with these sorts of foods and replace them with good memories for healthy lifestyle (healthier food but also exercise which has its own good addiction).

That's it in a quick nutshell.

Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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Re: Enough!

Postby CronicBadger » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:59 am

My distaste for junk-food remains, although sometimes I'll sneak a biscuit or chocolate late at night or have something if offered by someone.

It was evident just yesterday when I was out walking with a friend. We popped into the local shopping centre for a drink and when I ordered my cappuccino I *instinctively* said "no thanks" when offered the two free donuts that came with it.

The general change in my eating habits that began in March 2010 has not changed much, aside from occasional week-long binges on bread (a constant struggle!). I no longer gorge myself or plot my daily activities around each meal.

For example:
- Back then, for a weekend lunch I would microwave a large plate of chips (at least 1500kj) 2 pieces of crumbed fish (1200 kj) topped with a few slices of processed cheese (400 kj). I'd have that with two to four slices of heavily buttered bread (1600kj). Lunch would easily pass 4000 Kj.
- Today, my lunch will be a bowl of homemade stew comprising carrot, onion, potato, tomato, penne pasta, and tuna. It is strongly flavoured with a homemade curry. I will probably add a finely chopped kangaroo sausage to it while it's heating up. I made the stew in a big soup pan a few weeks ago when I bought the ingredients on sale. It's now in numerous plastic containers in the freezer, aside from the one currently defrosting on the kitchen bench. Total Kj would be no more than about 1600. I might decide to have two slices of toast with it.

A quick note regarding food purchasing:
I try not to make eating a special event. Good food is essential like clean air, but as with breathing, eating it shouldn't consume too much thought or planning or cost, since there are far more important matters in life to deal with. My rule of thumb for purchasing is to buy food that has been minimally processed and to set a firm rule for cost per kilo: $1.50 for vegetables (fresh or frozen), $1 for pasta, $5 for canned fish and $3 for other meats. Nutrition aside, the costing arguments for processed food vary - you often pay for the processing, but may save money when the processing allows the producer to use less costly storage methods.
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Re: Enough!

Postby Blitz » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:11 am

It really is amazing when we look back on it what rubbish we pushed down our gullets - and how much! :shock:

It is that "instinctive-ness" that I find so interesting. I have it too. Where you have created a "best practice" habit so well that it kicks in without effort. It has become a part of your very being...ingrained in your very character (the you that you are when no one is watching).

I like what you wrote about saving money. One of the biggest lies is the idea that fast food is cheaper. The idea that those on lower incomes can only afford highly processed supermarket bought foods and that fresh food is luxury food. The other lie peddled is that fast food is quick and that healthy food takes too much time to prepare for people with busy lives.
Actually the opposite is true! Fast food costs more...apart from the extra production costs...the extra large serves cost more! Fresh food is always cheaper (and healthier) than process food. Extra handling has to equate to extra cost. As for quickness...have you ever waited in a crowded takeaway for you food? the time you have driven there, ordered/paid/received and driven back home - you could have knocked up a beautifully healthy meal in next to no time.

I know that the biggest expense in my weekly shopping basket isn't the healthy stuff - it's the processed stuff by far!

Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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