A lazy man’s guide to losing weight and getting fit.
*I got ripped in that timeline starting from a average base, but if you’re very overweight it may not get you ripped (but you’ll lose a metaphorical tonne of weight).
Before you read on I’m not a nutritionist, scientist, dietician (this or nutritionist, I’m sure one is a made up title), health expert, fitness guru or even a fitness enthusiast. Opinions are like arseholes, everyone’s got one, and I’m sure I’ll get plenty of stick for the below, but this is more than an arsehole from me (poor choice of words but I’ve made my decision).
I did implement the below, and it did work for me, despite being a lazy, sweet-toothed, exercise averse individual. I’m not saying this will work for everyone or it’s the only way or that “I’m great, look at me”. I just know that I would have loved to have this information a few years earlier than I did, hence why I wrote this for others (and because everyone feels like a fat bastard after Christmas so they might read this).
The Truth Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometime
I was a fiend for biscuits, still am. Any kind of biscuit really, except shortbread, they’re shite. And crisps, proper corn snack crisps though, not the fancy Hand Cooked Arabian Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper stuff. What does hand cooked even mean? Oh you’re not using machines? Well that must ruin your margins, oh wait that’s why you charge an arm and a leg for them. But they’re artisan so it’s worth it. I’m rambling.
I was 19 when I came to realise a universal truth, one they never really taught me in school, and one I believe we all realise on our own at some point in our lives. The truth that you can’t just eat whatever you want and not exercise and not put on a bit of paunch. Oh we all know that one fucker who claims they have a high metabolism, and they can eat as much chocolate as they want, but I’m talking about normal people here, not freaks.
I learnt this lesson after a few months of zero sports plus my normal teenage eating habits all mixed with some good old college boozing. No I didn’t go all Nutty Proffessor transformation scene or anything but I gained a few pounds too many. I had given up sports and any pursuits that involved excessive exercise for a reason, I hated them. And I kept eating and drinking for another reason, I loved it. But I didn’t want to be chubby. Dilemma. What’s a lazy person to do?
The Lazy Diet Criteria
I may have mentioned before that I embrace my laziness (because I’m too lazy to fight it), or a better way to put it is that I try and be more effective and efficient with less effort. So I knew I needed a diet but I wanted to find the simplest one, that conformed to a few criteria:
- It had to be maintainable (none of this yo-yo crap)
- I wasn’t going to give up my sweet food completely
- I dislike (hate is a strong word) jogging or similar types of pointless exercise so as little of that as possible.
So as you can see I started from a open-minded position with no doubt plenty of options at my disposal.
From the age of 20 onwards I did stumble across something that actually met the above list of points. And it kept me in good stead for 10 years, I was trim, and healthy looking (but not a muscly bastard or anything). Then approaching my 30th birthday I felt like I needed to go a step further, I was thin, but I wasn’t ‘ripped’. Purely for reasons of vanity I pursued this goal, but I got so much more from it then I ever thought I could.
I explain both methods below and so I’ve split the advice I used into two sections, one that has worked long term and is easily maintainable (I have followed for 10 years+), the other that gave me massive results (getting ripped, getting tonnes of energy, and feeling fit) fast but is probably less maintainable in the long run. Both can be used together or as standalone.
6 Simple Steps to Long-Term Results
I used the below steps to lose weight and maintain it easily over the course of 10 years, there were no major restrictions on my diet and little need for exercise. It will not make you ripped though but you’ll look good in clothes.
1. Concentrate On Eating For The Next 5 days
To concentrate what I needed to do was figure out when my body was full. I cut out TV and reading while eating over this 5 day period. This may sound wishy washy but I focussed on my body and what it was telling me, eating slowly I was able to find the point at which I became actually full.
This is the key, usually I’d miss the point of fullness because I wasn’t looking out for it. I’d eat one more potato, or biscuit, or packet of crisps, but my body had all it needed, so the extra calories my body didn’t need just got stored as fat.
2. Smaller Plate
Physcologically filling a large plate full of food pushes me to eat it all, what I did to combat this was to get a smaller plate, fill that and only go back for more if I didn’t feel full (I noticed I sometimes had to give myself 10 mins before going back for seconds as sometimes that full feeling was delayed).
3. Four Hour Rule
After the 5 days from step 1 I begin to know when I’d feel hungry again, after a meal. So I noted down the time between meals, in my case (and most people’s) it’s four hours. Once I realised this I began to space all my meals apart by this much, eating nothing in between. If I somehow couldn’t get my next meal for another 6 hours say, then some small snack, like cashews, would tide me over. A warning though don’t snack too much on calorie dense foods, cashews are one of them, 4 cashews is enough to keep you going nearly an hour (but they’re fucking delicious so watch out).
The trick here is that I didn’t want to overeat but also that I didn’t want to let my body go hungry. When my body goes hungry it will go into a type of ‘starvation mode’, so when I do eat next my body will store more as fat (it wants reserves in case of the next starvation episode) and this will be detrimental to any fat loss. This rule is a sort of cheat for my brain, I have trained myself to eat until I’m full and then I automatically know I’ll be hungry again in 4 hours.
4. Lay Off The Carbs (Low Carb Diet)
This is a no brainer, carbs are the devil, but they’re also delicious. Let’s not go into good carbs and bad carbs but a reduction or complete removal (see massive results section) of bread, rice, pasta etc. had huge effects for me. At the very least I try to remove any white carbohydrates and only go for wholemeal when eating any. The difference in energy alone was worth it.
5. Light Exercise
I hate exercise, but some small movement is needed. As my willpower is ridiculously low I make my exercise fit around my life. For instance I walk from one tube stop away from my work. I don’t go to the gym. Any weight training I do is done in my home, within 20 mins, 3 times a week (see below for the weight training I do).
I needed to measure my weight loss (else I will become downhearted at points when I ‘feel’ like I haven’t lost weight, and my first instinct will be to just fall off the wagon).
To measure I’ve found it’s not enough just to weigh myself as this does not give the full picture. I could weigh myself every day (although I don’t anymore), I would just make sure it’s done at the same time every day (so if done before breakfast always weigh yourself before breakfast) and you must wear the same clothes each time. On top of that do not mix weighing scales, use the same one consistently and fight the urge to get on some other scales you see. I did this once and felt like a fat bastard for a whole weekend (when the reality was I had lost weight according to my usual scales.
On top of weighing yourself I needed to measure myself too, using a measuring tape I measure around my stomach (belly button area), arms (upper), legs (upper and lower) at least once a week and keep a note. It’s important to note that some weeks I wouldn’t lose weight (on the scales) but I did lose fat and this is when the measurements showed the difference.
Finally I take a picture once a week so I can compare, take a picture side on, front on and back. And again keep the same outfit in all and the same place (for lighting purposes). Wash outfit occasionally.
Massive Quick Results
Major restrictions on this diet but maintainable in my eyes — you get one day off a week to have whatever and as much as you want which can be amazing.
What follows is pretty much a summary of my favourite bits from Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body. Buy his book though if it sounds interesting, there are lots of juicy tidbits I haven’t included here. Just a note that this plan enabled me to get ripped within a 3 month window, and I enjoyed it, especially the almighty cheat day, although I may now be considered too thin (Conor McGregor esque) especially by my family but I’ll rectify that in the new year I think.
1. Avoid “White” Carbohydrates
This includes all breads, rice (incl. brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortilla and fried food with breading. Don’t eat “white” foods unless you want to get fatter.
2. Eat the few same meals over and over again
Mix and match from the following for each meal, one must be chosen from each group.
Main Proteins: Egg Whites, Whole Eggs, Chicken Breast or thigh, Beef (low fat version the better), Fish, Pork.
Legumes: Lentils, Black Beans, Borlotti Beans, Red Kidney Beans, Soya Beans
Supplementary Vegetables: Spinach, mixed veggies (incl. Broccoli and Cauliflower), Sauerkraut/Kimchee, Asparagus, Peas, Green Beans. (Mixed bell peppers to a lesser extent)
In addition to the above any spices can be used, and in terms of sauce or dressing, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil and balsamic vinegar are the go to’s.
Just pick 3 or 4 meals and repeat them, simply is key or at least for the first few weeks otherwise you won’t stick to it. Eat as much of the above as you wish.
3. Don’t drink calories
Drink massive quantities of water (I mean massive, the water helps your body with fat loss, you will not lose much without drinking a lot of water)
Unsweetened tea or coffee (no milk) is allowed
Milk (including soy), normal soft drinks or fruit juice are not allowed.
If you must have a diet drink (diet coke) limit it to no more than 450ml for a day (drinking this every day does cause you to plateau weight wise so I keep it as a treat for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and stay away from it all the other days.
4. Don’t eat fruit
Only exceptions are tomatoes and avocado (avocados should be eaten in moderation). There is so much sugar in fruit and it doesn’t help fat loss. You can have it on your cheat day anyway.
5. Take one day off per week (Cheat Day!!!)
Whatever day you want (but start the first cheat day at least 6 days after you begin on the diet). Eat whatever you want, in fact anything you wanted during the week you could have written down and saved it for that day, literally anything.
Don’t feel bad about it either as spiking caloric intake this way once per week doesn’t allow your body to downshift from extended caloric deficiency and keeps your rate of fat loss high.
An example of my last cheat day was Yoghurts, Banana, Melon, three large toasted cheese sandwiches with lots of mayo for breakfast, brunch consisted of a crisp sandwich, cup of tea, two large white chocolate and raspberry cookies, a croughnut (croissant/doughnut), a jam bun and an apple turnover. Struggling at lunch I wolfed down 6 slices of double pepperoni pizza, a nutella milkshake, another cookie and croughnut (I was ready to explode now). Dinner for me consisted of my movie snacks, 5 packets of crisps, a large box of assorted sweets (skittles, chocolate, fruit pastilles etc.) a large Pepsi and then one last ditch attempt at finishing my croughnuts and cookies. Epic.
6. Breakfast within 30 mins of waking up (30% protein)
When you wake up, you should aim to eat your high protein breakfast within 30
mins (an hour is ok if needs be). The breakfast should be at least 30% protein. This one rule alone will help you lose the most fat.
You will lose fat without this step, but if you want to build some muscle/tone up and have even more dramatic results I recommend doing these. Plus its very little exercise and it gives massive results.
Twice a week (I do it Monday and Friday) attempt at least 75 kettlebell swings (you’ll need to buy a kettlebell for this — google the technique), it doesn’t have to be in one go, I currently do 2 reps to get to 75 but eventually you get better and can do 75 in one set. Don’t stop at 75 if you can keep going though.
For men, the weight should be 22–28kg and for women, it should be between 10–16kg. Doing this one exercise has a massive impact on both men and women, toning the glutes (bum) legs, arms and chest. For women, it won’t make you a musclebound freak either so it’s the perfect exercise.
In addition to the kettlebell swing to tone the stomach the best exercise is the myotatic crunch (again google it), you can add weight to your hands if it’s getting too easy but 2 sets of 10 are good enough.
So doing these twice a week (each time should take less than 20 mins) is all you need.
In addition, for men I recommend doing some pull ups or push ups one other day a week (say Wednesday) or heavier bench press weights etc. but it’s certainly not required. I use a pull-up bar once a week but it’s not necessary.
I also recommend for your own sake some light walking but honestly, this diet will give you so much energy you’ll want to do more.
So What Next?
Please don’t just read this and pass it off as incorrect just because it doesn’t appeal to you. It worked for me plain and simple, I’m fairly lazy, lacking in willpower and it worked. Others could be different but I think it’s at least worth a try. If you are going to try, make sure you do it for at least 6 days in a row, this helps build it into a habit, which is then way easier to maintain.
If you have problems with my advice I’d love to hear your feedback, or tell me your 80–20 guide to weight loss, or if you did implement any of the above what were your results?
And if you liked the article maybe please consider joining my mailing list. I send a once weekly update on my attempts to make the complex simple.