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I started this year to diet and workout for real. I started at around 128kg, which for me came dangerously close to a bad threshold. Not that I was fat, but I did start to get chubby and my belly was more than noticeable. I have also been not at all fit, seeing how I was panting after stairs and short bike rides.

My not at all planned program had two components, food and moving more. So here is what I did:

Before my diet I did not worry about my food intake at all, like really absolutely did not care about anything. I ate what I wanted and when I wanted and snacked throughout no matter how many meals I had that day. The reason behind that is not boredom or obsession, but simply because I just really like eating food and tasting new things. Food is so much more to me than just nutrient intake. It's part of my lifestyle and I certainly would consider it as an elevated hobby. That lead me to eat about 3 meals a day in sizes that would completely fill me. Accompanied by sweet juices and energy drinks (also water) and the occasional snacks I brought from Japan. My diet was always high carb, high sodium and lots of red meat. No extra fruit or vegetables. The only reason I did not completely blow up into a balloon is my still pretty strong metabolism.

So when I started my diet I restricted myself to only two meals a day. A medium sized lunch and medium sized dinner. Dinner no later than 9pm. I also forewent snacks completely and tried to substitute chicken for red meat wherever I could. I also checked all of my food for calories and restricted myself to the ones with the fewest. I did all of this based on will power. It sucked a bit that I had to eat less but it was surprisingly not as hard as I thought it would. Medium sized meals fill me almost as good as really large meals and whenever I went to the fridge for a snack I just stood there and then closed the fridge again. I also started to drink tea a lot to fill my need for flavored drinks. I do like water but I really do need some flavor at some point. Wen things got harder and I started to get really strong cravings I turned to my best friend, the cucumber. I always liked fruit and vegetables but it's almost such a hassle with preparing them. Cucumber and tomatoes are perfect, though. They don'tr need to be prepared, taste great, are filling and have close to no calories. So that helped a lot. Some days when the cravings get too strong I do treat myself with a slightly larger meal but those days are rare.

Adjusting my food intake already dropped my weight quite a bit but I wanted more of it. I wanted to increase my fitness and strengthen my muscles to increase my metabolism. The bad thing is that as you lose weight, you will also decrease your natural calorie consumption, so you either have to eat less and less to get the same results or lose more through activities and more muscle mass. So I started out with just trying to move myself more. Walk more, skip escalators and elevators wherever possible and even do some additional moving, for example walking stairs at work during a break. It didn't do much, but it did do something. The most that it diod was to get me into the mood for cycling again. I bought a kickass road bike last year but I barely used it. So I decided to do it more seriously again. In the past I've been doing bike tours of 150km+ per day and I wanted to get there again. So I just started out on my weekends doing smaller tours and increasing it bit by bit. I did not overdo it and my current plan is to get on my bike about every 3 days and every few weeks do longer tours on the weekend. It was really nice seeing my fitness progress both on the bike and off. A good benchmark for me are my stairs at home. I live on the 6th floor with no elevator. Before I started working out i was always out of breath reaching the top each day. I keep my bike in my flat so I have to carry it up the stairs. At first I did not manage without having at least one short break on the way up the stairs. Forward 5 months later and I have no issues hucking my bike including heavy luggage up the stairs without any break, even after a long and exhausting ride.

So where am I now and where do I want to go?
Currently I feel very fit and I weigh in at around 110kg. The belly is still visible but noticeably reduced. I use my bike regularly and just recently scaled one of the bigger mountains in my area. I also want to get into hiking more, as well as some mountain biking down the line. My weight goal for now is about 95kg, or 100kg with more muscle mass. I want to completely lose my belly and become more toned. I want to see my abdominals again after over a decade. I do not plan on building muscle beyond what I need for cycling, so strength training won't happen at all.

Another big goal for me is to eat more again, since I really miss my bigger sized meals from the past. I hope I can get to a good shape and rhythm that will allow me to eat more again while maintaining same muscle mass and weight. Of course if I'll ever see my weight increasing I'll put the stops, especially now that I know how easy it actually is. My whole transformation happened in the span of 6 months and I am confident that I'll come very close to my end goal by the end of the year.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.



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