What I write here may sound bad for some people, even offend them. I understand and tolerate movement towards "body positivity". Anyhow, I also see the dark side of it. Body positivity often hides or even promotes a lifestyle that leads to disability and premature death. As a person who lost very early a parent to an unhealthy lifestyle, please allow me to oppose that movement. I respect it but consider wrong and harmful.
My weight fluctuation from 2011 to 2020
I won't hide it. With 33% body fat, clinically I'm obese. Still, after seven years logged fight with it. It would be far more, maybe even thirty years, if I counted non-cautious approaches to the issue. Back in 2011, I weighted just above 100 kilograms, and today I'm just below 100. At some point in 2012-2013, I was almost 120 (too ashamed to log it, so it's not on the graph). But I learned the weight or BMI aren't valid measures and understand that today 64 kilograms of lean muscle mass is much better than what I had at the beginning of my journey (wish I had it logged). I see the difference in the photos when I compare my past 100 and the current 100.
104kG in 2011
I'm still on my journey, and I don't think it will ever end. Mostly because now I understand the sources of my issue. Like alcoholic remains an alcoholic decades after last drink, same I will still be mentally obese when I achieve a lean body.
I learned anyhow what worked, what did not, what triggered things getting worse and why. Also, I understood there is no one rule that is good for everyone. For example, I know people who gained amazing effects cutting carbs away, but I know such an approach doesn't work for me and can even damage my results.
104kG in 2011
What caused my obesity?
- Stress is the biggest trigger. Sorting out it by changing the environment, removing unhealthy relations, establishing routines and planning is a must for me. Stress causes cravings and leads to snacking. If the food wasn't the escape, alcohol or tobacco could be.
- Sleep deprivation. It's linked to the stress, but it's not always correlated. There are loads of good sources explaining it, like Why we sleep by Matthew Walker. It mostly leads to wrong food choices and snacking.
- Bad habits regard portions taken from the family. Very common among all relatives, who were moved too rapidly from communistic poverty to relative wealth. Cannot recollect specific documentary, but BBC many times mentioned that portion sizes have massively increased in the last decades.
- Bad habits regard the frequency and choice of meals. Our families, often because of the strong arm of food companies, forced us to think that we will die without 3 to 5 meals a day (eat your veg five times a day!) and that for example, cereals are the healthiest breakfast (though, data shows that they have a low fullness index and lead to cravings).
93kG in 2019
What did not work?
- Cut something out diets. I'm a "foodie". I like to taste new things. I love to cook. I learned to listen to my body. It knows the best what I need. But I also learned to plan to avoid an excessive amount of dangerous foods.
- Counting calories. It is important. It's very important. But. It's impractical. I found fasting is a better tool for me here.
- Too much cardio. Of course, daily sixteen miles trips by bike to the office helped me keep a calorie deficit. But also, it caused cravings for carbs. Once the lockdown limited my milage, that has damaged my results as well.
- Short, intermittent fasting (below 24h). It is just too easy to exceed 2000 KCal, even doing OMAD (One Meal a Day).
- One-off challenges. I lost almost 20 kG in 3 months in 2013, only to regain much of it shortly after. That is a marathon, not a sprint.
101kG in 2020
- Weight training. Compared to nine years ago, I have stronger arms and shoulders, less fat hips and wider chest. My body composition has changed a lot. If I gain fat it's mostly on the belly, which proves better hormone management. I can do workout less often, but I have longer-lasting effects.
- More vegetables and protein in my diet. I feel full much earlier and for longer. I crave less. I end up having fewer snacks afterwards. I'm healthier and less drowsy.
- Longer fasting. Helps me focus. I'm far more productive at work on days without food. I tend to eat less in days following the fast. I know it helps my pancreas to recover. It's important as my father died of pancreatic cancer.
- Stress management and planning. Getting organised and more relaxed helps me in many ways. But mainly prevents me from killing stress with food.
I will continue using the tools I learned to be most productive for me. I have some short term goals, but I know I need to be careful for the rest of my life. I do that not for myself, but for my children. Many would say that it should be the other way around. But I don't agree. I lost a parent when I entered adulthood and know what damage it caused. I want to be for them as long as possible. For that, I need to stay healthy. For that, I keep my fight with my obesity.
And what is your story? Do some of my tools work for you too?