My husband is actually a fan of my blog even though he does not care so much about fashion. And every now and then he gives me me some ideas on what to write about. He likes the usefulness of my page that lets you calculate if you have a healthy weight and thought my article on Madonna and keeping in shape was very interesting and as my husband is always ‘working’ to keep his weight in check, he thought he could contribute his 2 cents to the conversation. And I agree! So here it is, a 40+ male’s take on keeping the weight off after 40!
How to lose weight without dieting
A guest article by my husband Mike
Here are my simple tips for losing weight and keeping it off. They are all very simple tips. They all work for me, but everyone is different. I would honestly love to know what works for you!
I strongly prefer simple actionable tips, that work with what you enjoy. Nothing else will work long term.
Disclaimer: I have never read a weight loss book. I have absolutely no scientific knowledge.
1. Weigh yourself every day
I keep an eye on my weight, by having the scales next to my shower. It may seem obsessive, but it helps me not to lose focus. My weight seems to fluctuate within a 2 kg range randomly. I don’t panic if it gets to the top of the range.
2. Water is the key
I don’t know why, but drinking water really helps me. The more water I drink, the better my body functions. (If you don’t like water, put a few drops of apple juice in the glass to give it some flavor.) And I don’t stop drinking before I weigh myself, because I would be kidding myself. Weight loss starts with honesty to yourself.
3. Avoid processed foods
The basic rule – all packaged, processed food is unhealthy. I avoid it, where possible. Not easy, but worth the effort. The interest of food companies is certainly NOT your health.
4. Avoid sugary drinks and fast food
You know it. Don’t be fooled by low calorie or diet claims. These foods and drinks are only making you fat and miserable.
5. Get 7 hours of quality sleep
Staying healthy is about basics. Water and sleep are my basics. I make sure I get enough sleep. I aim for 7 hours minimum and 8 hours at the weekend. I also have a really good quality bed, to make sure I get quality sleep. I know a good bed is not cheap, but it is one of life’s bargains because quality of life is much higher if you get good sleep. And it helps my body function better. Strange but true.
6. Get off that couch
In my mind, losing weight is 33% about food, 33% about giving your body what it needs to function (rest, water, etc) and 33% about moving. TV is simply a waste of my time, especially if I am sitting on a couch and have chips to go with it. If I need the TV, I can go to a health club with exercise machines with a TV attached. But better still – avoid the TV and do some social sports. And I try to avoid late-night TV. It is wrong in so many ways.
7. Salad is important
I am not really fond of the taste of salad. But my body seems to like it. And the strange thing is, once I take a bite or 2 of salad, I find it difficult to stop eating it. I am convinced that it is a large part of losing weight, but I can’t explain why. It is a large part of every meal I eat.
8. Eat fish, vegetables and fruit where possible
You hear this regularly. And I believe it is true. Fish, vegetables and fruit make me feel healthier and more energetic, and I am told there is more nutrition and less calories.
9. Ignore scientific evidence
First red wine was the answer to a long life. Then red wine was not healthy and the guy who claimed it was discredited. Then … Frankly, I don’t care. I love a glass of red wine, yoghurt, honey, a cup of coffee, sultana’s, the occasional burger and chips, etc. Let them prove what they want, as long as they let me make up my own mind.
10. Enjoy one glass of alcoholic beverage
This is a hard one. I switched from beer to wine, and gradually cut back to 1.5 glasses on a night maximum, even in a social setting. Seems easy to do, but it wasn’t. But, like stop taking sugar coffee or tea, once you do it, it becomes completely natural. Cut back, and savor your glass of wine.
11. I don’t do guilt
No matter what I eat, I don’t do guilt. My life is too short for guilt. That doesn’t mean I don’t try to do better, and I try to avoid the same situation. But I don’t do guilt. Ever.
12. Set a maximum weight limit
My target weight is 78kg. I don’t panic until I get over 80kg. But if I get over 80kg, I am very hard on myself until I get under 80kg. The good news is that it usually only requires a week of control to get there, because I quickly recognize my weight has gone too high.
13. Don’t shop when you are hungry
This is a very old rule, but it works. I only buy what I need, rather than what I crave.
14. Don’t have unhealthy food in the house
I am not a person with great discipline, so I protect myself against myself. The less chips and biscuits I have in the house, the bigger the barrier to pigging out….
15. Make many small adjustments
When I started my weight loss program, I took many small steps. I used to drink coffee with full cream milk, and then I switched to skimmed milk. I cut cheese out of breakfast. Making small changes that reduce my calorie intake, but that do not sacrifice life pleasure, are a no-brainer. Be aware of where the calories are in your food and explore your options! You can probably reduce calorie intake 10% without any sacrifice or effort.
16. Don’t kid yourself
I always tricked myself into thinking that I could stop with just 1 biscuit. It is not true for me. (though it is for my partner.) Once I take 1 biscuit, I usually end up taking 5. Best not to take the first…. Or simply accept to have 5. There are many situations where one part of my brain tries to convince of me of something that another part of the brain simply knows is not true. It is especially true of food….
17. Take time for dinner
Part of getting healthy is to change your relationship to eating. Switch of the TV when you eat. Get yourself a half a glass of wine with the meal. Take the time to talk to the family and ask about their day. Savor the food. Each meal is a precious moment in your life…..
18. Walk regularly
I read about 10 years ago that walking was good exercise. I laughed out loud and mocked the writer. But the joke was on me. It IS good exercise, and doing it with company is even better. You get to talk and to exercise. I also often walk or gently jog late at night alone, and then it is a time for simple reflection. It helps me keep my balance.
19. Switch off the email
I work very hard, but I also make a conscious effort to switch off the work brain. After 6 pm, I don’t look at my email unless I have a critical deadline. I don’t look at email from Friday night to Sunday night. My family deserves my undivided attention. You might ask how this helps me lose weight, and I think it has to do with reducing stress and loosening up the body. I don’t know exactly why, but I know it is important in a big way.
20. Avoid snacks
Well, nothing to say. Most of the danger calories are consumed between meals, and late night. Control it and you have solved a large part of the problem. I used to say “I am on a diet, but not during meals” and that still largely holds true today. I used to get a snack as soon as I got hungry, now I just recognize the feeling of hunger and enjoy it.
21. Learn to cook
My parents taught me to cook. I am no master chef, but I can prepare a healthy (if somewhat boring) meal. It is quick and simple, and fun to explore. If you don’t know, take lessons.
22. Avoid diets
I will never diet. I can make many small adjustments that are natural, and are based on what my body likes and needs. It never feels like I am trying. Of course it also helps to eat healthy food during meals, but don’t get obsessed by it.
23. Do regular exercise
Well, it is obviously important right? I like sports, but there is nearly always something people like to do. Dancing, tennis, yoga, Pilates, walking, wall climbing, badminton, volleyball, golf, soccer, jogging (with some music or an eBook on an iPod touch), etc. Discover what you love, and the rest happens by itself.
24. Move more
I try to do some exercise every day, but sometimes it is just about walking to and from a lunch café a bit further from the office. Once I started thinking about it, I found many small opportunities to get my body moving more. Don’t take that escalator but walk the stairs. My boss got himself an office desk where he works standing up. I want me one of those!
25. Exercise your age in minutes
I read somewhere that you should do enough exercise each day, equal to your age in minutes. I think it is rather a silly rule, but it is easy to remember and as good as any other rule. (But I also read somewhere else that 3 minutes of high-intensity exercise per week is enough). The bottom line is that all exercise is good, and even better when it is in a social setting.
26. Get your clothes refitted
As you lose weight, your clothes need to be adjusted. Get it done! Not only will it look much better, but there is another good reason. Just as the marketing teams at P&G talk about “moments of truth” (the smell and feel of shampoo when you apply it defines the shampoo, the smell of the freshly washed shirt when you put it on defines the fabric conditioner), the moment of truth of being overweight is when you have to close the top button of your trousers. It is not a nice feeling if they barely fit. If you get your trousers adjusted when you lose weight, you reset the warning signal that you are putting on weight again because the trousers are tighter fitting sooner.
These simple rules work for me. But everyone is different. I would love to hear yours!!
Note from Sylvia: are you wondering if you need to lose weight at all, check out your BMI and find out an answer to the question how much should I weigh for my height and age
I now believe that sugars and carbohydrates are the worst culprit in gaining weight. For more info read my article on how to lose weight and stay healthy
If you can’t do it alone and you want help, you may also be interested in a program by Jon Gabriel who teaches how you can lose weight without dieting holistically.