Summary: Pascal has lost 15 kg in half a year. Practicing Judo for twelve years in a semi-professional environment taught him a thing or two about how to control your weight.
8 Easy diet tips which actually work
Author: Pascal Landshöft
Reading time: 15 minutes
Hereby you will find my tips for dieting
. I have lost 15kg in half a year. Doing Judo for twelve years in a semiprofessional environment teaches you a thing or two about how to control your weight to hit your weight class. I also successfully overcame the black hole of fitness in my twenties. Hope you enjoy the read.
1. Basics of dieting
At he very heart of dieting is very simple and easy elementary school maths. How come then, that there is an entire army of people giving advice around it and vast industries feeding of diet products of all sorts. How can a multi billion dollar economy be built around something as simple as food and looks.
It might be that people are not intelligent enough to know what they should and should not eat. This might be true to a certain extent and our bodies are very complex when you go down to the nitty-gritty of biochemistry. Still the cavemen were lean and not that particular smart compared to homo sapiens sapiens, so there is more than intelligence at play.
Another reason could be that certain foods are not available anymore and people are undernourished and have to supplement to stay healthy. This is definitely the case in the western world when individuals have allergies to certain foods or other aspects of their health are keeping them from taking in some relevant components like protein. Generally, the people who are in the diet and food industry do not have these challenges. So if it is not intelligence or scarcity what else does fuel this immense expense on something as simple as diet?
The key to this mystery may lay in marketing and product development. More simply put, at the heart of it might be greed. There are several studies which hint at that sugar functions like cocaine in the brain. Sugar is pretty cheap and easy to produce in an industrialized way and for decades we have been trained into eating it to get our fix. Most cereals for example are filled with sugar and are marketed to busy moms and dads as a healthy quick solution for decades.
For you the simple basics of dieting are calories in minor calories out equals weight gain or weight loss. If this equation leaves you with surplus calories at the end of the day our body is build to store them in some kind of way as long as they are digestible. That is a great system to have when you are a hunter gatherer who has to make every kill count. It is a bit outdated if you live next to a supermarket and have food more or less on tap. Once your body stores energy in the form of fat you will gain weight. If the calories you are using up during the are more than you ave taken in, your body will start to reach into your storage and use it up. This will result in weight loss. No rocket science.
2. Activity levels
The first tip I have for you for dieting is that you probably do not have to diet at all to lose weight. Isn’t that great? “OK”, you might say but where is the catch. Here you go:
- Work in an office job?
- Exercise less than two times a week?
- Eat three meals a day?
- Drink alcohol?
- Eat chocolate?
- Eat bread each day?
- Have fast food more than once a week?
If the answer to all these questions is yes than I congratulate you. You are me in early 2013. In 2012 I was approaching 100kg bodyweight at 185cm height. When I got stressed at work I would have a nose bleed at least once a week. I looked unattractive and my now wife threatened to break up with me because I was disgusting and pretty lazy. So what happened what you can also do that turned it around for me.
3. Run a marathon
I did not change anything but this. Started to prepare for the Dublin marathon in the middle of 2013. I booked my entry after my partner confronted me, looked up the first free marathon running program which I could find on the internet (search for Hal Higdon) and did it. Trained four times a week and had a long run on the weekends. Interval runs in the middle of the week and some slow paced runs. I woke up between five and six and my first thing was to go out for a run.
Did not care about the weather or the time of day. Got my runs in and followed the plan I set out. I did not change anything about my diet except from saying no to alcohol and I lost 15kg in half a year and ran a sub 4 hour marathon
4. The biggest sources of hidden carbs
Now in my first paragraph I mentioned that I did not change my diet at all. Technically that is incorrect. I don’t drink alcohol anymore, which is a change of diet. I personally perceive dieting nowadays as some kind of religious cult in which you count foods in a certain way to tally them up and then meet at a place to get shamed publicly over it. That would be slimming world and weight watchers. My partner tried both and failed miserably. One of the easiest dietary things to do to stop shooting yourself in the foot each day is to remove sugary drinks out of your diet which are:
- Orange Juice
- Multivitamin Juices
- Energy Drinks
- Fizzy Drinks of all sorts.
I will not rave about the evils of Coca Cola here and how it can digest steaks all by itself (which is actually an urban myth). I had a time when I would go through 3 to 6 cans of coke a day easily. To put this into dietary perspective this means 840 calories of sugar a day. That is like eating a steak made out of sugar daily. Of course I got fat and unhealthy. So my second tip for you about diet and losing weight is to either cut out these drinks entirely or keep them to the weekend. You will see results within 30 days if you stick to it.
5. You eat what you see
The next tip is also very simple. McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut already know this concept that people like and want what they see on a regular basis. You might also want to call it marketing. This why you find consumer goods everywhere you go and a burger joint in almost any part of the western world. Same goes for sushi in Japan.
My personal two nemesis after Coca Cola were Jam Toast and Pick up bars. After a nice dinner I would get a hankering for sugar. As I mentioned we all have been trained into this dependency from our early days on. What I would do next would be to go take the white bread which we stored on top of the microwave and eat four slices of toast with jam on them. That is basically like going from cocaine to meth when you switch for your sugar fix from Coca Cola to Jam Toast.
The thing we noticed is that the bread was in my line of sight whenever I ate my dinner. There is plenty of research which support that you get hankering for things which you see, especially when you are already dependent on them. I mean what do you think is going to happen if you dangle a bag full of drugs in front of an addict. We removed the white bread out of my sight and ever since then I got rid of the habit. We are now stowing all of our naughty stuff way out of sight. If it does not even enter the building even better. The pick up bars are a bit of a different story which can be parked under comfort eating. Which brings me to my next point.
6. Identify and eliminate stress
Sugar, like all drugs, becomes most relevant for us when we experience some kind of actual or emotional pain. You might also want to call it stress. The first step to get better at dieting and losing weight is to identify these stress and behavior patterns and train yourself out of them. Alcohol, by the way, also falls into this category. That is why in high stress jobs like police force, stockbrokers and among doctors Alcohol abuse is not uncommon. Sales people usually also do not fare that well in this department.
My form of stress came in form of the daily no from someone in the company who did not want or could not move my deal forward which I am trying to close. I was always under the impression that the purpose of running a business is making money now rather than later. Once you mature enough, you will realize that being in a really successful business means to make money for a very long time rather than just now. This is where sales people clash with their employers because they usually have no agenda to built a dynasty.
In the past, whenever I got a “NO” on something important, mostly business related, I walked the stairs to the vending machine and bought at least two pick up bars. This is the very definition of comfort eating. Once identified the fix was easy. Instead of going to the vending machine to get chocolate I know go to the fridge and get water. I replaced a bad habit with a better one. I have been drinking a lot of water as of late.
7. The beauty of tracking calories
If you stick to the first few tips from this outline, I assure you will not be obese if you are otherwise healthy. You will be slightly overweight at worst. If you want to take things to the next level and get a six pack the next tips are for you.
It is very unlikely that you will get a six pack by keeping natural habits, because having a six pack is not a natural state our body likes to be in. Depending on your physique you have to move your body fat percentage under 10% to get these absolute ab rows. This is a stage where the body has almost depleted its fat reserves and therefore will do anything to reestablish those. Yes there are metabolic freaks whose bodies tread fat and sugar like a matchstick which comes into contact with flammable gas. Most of us are not made this way and will take these carbs and turn them into energy storage once put into the system. Therefore you need discipline and discipline is obtained through a clear plan.
If you want to get ripped or lose weight fast rather than naturally with techniques I mentioned before use an app like myfitnesspal and do two hours of online research how many calories you should take in to lose weight. Myfitnesspal can also help you with that, but read up a little before deciding what you do. Once you define your target and the plan is ready, stick to eat and track the calories. This way I lost 5 kg in a month going down from 90kg to 85kg. I worked with 1800 calories a day to achieve this goal.
8. Keto Diet and Introduction to Macros
Once you started to track your calories and get good at it you can now look into macros. The easy way of looking at macros is the composition of the calories you take in during a day. Are they mainly proteins, carbohydrates or fat?
The keto diet proposes that you have a high intake of protein and fat during the day and keep the carbohydrates under 30g a day. Believe this is hard and not pleasant. You can not even have apples and bananas if you want to hit this target. Fruit sugars will bring you over the limit of carbs a day. The goal is to program your body in a way that it prefers to burn fat as a source of energy.
What is nice about the keto diet is that you can have fat. You can eat things like butter and cream. I am testing this theory over a month by counting calories and lost 5 kg. It also makes my nails and hair grow faster.
In the end diet is only complex if you make it complex. The basic principle is exercise a lot and eat like a mouse and you will get a six pack if that is what you are aiming for.