Last week I went on an outing with a local social club, which ended up in a restaurant. As always I picked a vegetarian option from the menu, which didn’t go unnoticed with the other guests. „Why don’t you eat meat?“ asked the man on my left, as he shifted a fork of hamburger into his mouth.
I stopped eating meat ten years ago. The main trigger was that I had started to read more about animal welfare in the press, and that I found the articles about the mistreatment of animals both absurd and shocking.
At the same time however, I was also more actively looking at my health. As you get older, obesity becomes a risk and exercise a must, and good quality nutrition becomes pivotal to maintain health. Meat obviously doesn’t belong in that category. I changed my eating habits.
Once I started on this road, I stumbled across a number of studies that highlighted the dramatic impact of the meat and diary industry on the climate. This industry produces tremendous levels of climate gasses, most noticeably methane; a gas that is up to 30-times more dangerous to the climate than carbon-dioxide.
So there you have my three reasons for eating less meat: animal welfare, better health, climate change.
I cut down my meat consumption, to a level where I rarely eat some fish and cheese. There are days where I live 100% vegan – but I am definitely not vegan, and not even 100% vegetarian.
There is a fourth reason too: variety! I have discovered that good vegan cooks use more imagination to get good taste on my plate. I love meals with 5 to 10 dishes instead of the regular meat/carbohydrates/salad combination. See Animaguseatsor Vegan chatter.
Do I miss meat? Well, no. It seems that overtime taste changes with your diet. I don’t think meat tastes horrible, but its taste doesn’t convey any positive emotion either.
Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Sing praise in the name of the Lord ! Truly Oi! The face of Maria Magdalene in my eggs, sunny side up. An experience of biblical dimensions !
And ain’t Mary an eggstraordinary cutie?
I love eggs in all shapes and sizes – but I am biased towards the ovums from chicks that have at least some moving space and that are, for eggsample, not pumped full with antibiotics (Interested in my diet? Read more here).
Years ago, during a visit to a Disney movie, my youngest son (10 at the time) accidentally referred to popcorn as cockporn.
I haven’t been able to order a bucket of popcorn in the cinema since, as I once copied his error. Now I am afraid to mention cockpo… popcorn in any public situation.
Worse yet, I had a marketing colleague who continuously mixed up YouTube with an infamous porn channel of a very similar name. To bypass this embarrassment, he started posting all marketing videos on Vimeo.
I have tried to lose weight on and off, but not very successfully. In reality, my weight kept on inching up, as the children were born and grew up. At one point I had arrived at 97 kg (~214 pounds, 15.3 stone), and at 189cm (~6’ 2”) my body-mass-index was well above the “normal” BMI range for a man of my age. Since then I have lost 15kg in as many weeks – that is 1000g per week. For those of you interested in knowing how I achieved this, here the method that I have used. I have summarized this method in 20 easy steps.
I call this the Willpower Celeterra Watersoup Diet – although it isn’t really a diet (explained below) and the enigmatic Watersoup played only a small role in this method. But I did carry out this diet while writing my second novel CELETERRA and yes… you will need willpower.
1. Decide that you really want to lose weight. Sounds simple? Think: you must really, REALLY, want to lose weight. Accept the way that you are – that’s fine (and even essential for a happy life). And accept that you ARE ALWAYS changing – and CAN ALWAYS change.
2. Fix the date when to start. How about starting right away?
3. Choose a realistic target. I chose to lose 10kg at a rate of 500g per week. It turned out that I lost more weight and at a higher rate why not.
4. Determine how best to lose weight, do some homework. The tricks below come from many diverse website sources, I didn’t re-invent the wheel here. There are many informative and motivational websites with a lot of good tips, a ten minute web-search will direct you to a dozen useful ones. Do not rely on one site, but compare methods. It pays off to inform yourself.
5. Weigh yourself each day, directly after you have gotten out of bed and gone to the toilet. Enter your weight into a graph. I used the Withings iPhone app to track my weight, but any app or piece of paper will do. Spend a few minutes each day to study that graph and to decide on your next steps. What went well? Why did your weight increase / decrease? What did you eat, how does that explain the curve? This will help you to understand the dynamics of weight loss, your body, your eating habits, your exercise, and ways to improve.
6. Reward yourself for milestones achieved. Obviously, food is not a good reward. A book? A new headset? Something that you always wanted to have?
7. What to do if you are not losing weight consistently? Obviously, your body doesn’t want to lose that precious fat. On top of that, your body will become more efficient at making the most out of the food that it gets. You will thus have to further decrease the calorie intake, or increase the burn-rate. It is mind-over-matter: is your brain winning the game – or will you let your body’s craving and compulsions win? There, that’s WILLPOWER for you!
8. Fluctuations in weight (see my curve below) are normal. However, once you have gone down one kilo or one pound, the chance that you move up to your previous weight is greatly reduced. Bye bye 90kg. Bye bye 88 kg: we will never meet again, sucker.
(Above: Withings app visual of weight-loss between March and August. The real weight is the thin line with the dots, the fat line is a calculated trend. I made it a rule that my real weight should never go above the trend line – which I managed most of the time.)
9. You are not dieting. You are changing your eating habits. For the rest of your life. And how? read on.
10. Eat breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; and dinner like a beggar. And don’t eat anything between meals:
11. Eat big breakfasts, they can suppress hunger until 4 p.m. For example: 300ml fat-free yoghurt, 0-2 table spoons of shredded wheat, 200-300g of fruit (melon, orange, apple, banana…). Slice of bread.
12. Lunch: a big salad, no dressing, one spoon of olive oil, a dollop of fat-free yoghurt or mustard. Occasionally some noodles or a potato of some fat-free meat (I’m a vegetarian myself – which by the way does not have any effect on your weight or weight loss).
13. In between meals: coffee and tea are ok, but no drinks with sugar or milk. No snacks, no fruit. The sugar level in your blood has to go down to zero between meals. This positively impacts insulin levels and protects against diabetes.
14. Drink lots of water. Start with a big glass in the morning, continue drinking the entire day.
15. Dinner: the “watersoup-diet” kicks in: that’s irony, folks. Try Japanese miso soup, a 1 liter bowl – which is almost free of carbohydrates or fat, so the only saturating effect is the liquid.
16. Admittedly, the evenings are the most challenging, but here are a few tricks:
Continue drinking lots of water.
Eat 250g of fat- and sugar-free cottage cheese (makes you feel full) with a teaspoon of cinnamon (great to support a weight-loss program – read about it on the internet) and optionally some lemon juice (vitamins + saturating effect).
Keep busy; you feel more hungry sitting on the sofa. Move about, do some housekeeping.
Go for a walk. This will make you feel tired, so you will sleep better.
In emergencies, eat some salad, carrots, tomatoes or fruit.
Obviously, if you are actually losing weight at the rate that you decide, you can also eat more than the above. You don’t have to starve to death. Nevertheless, a few evenings a week, your food intake must be very low, otherwise there won’t be any effect, which is not motivating.
17. Exercise. Walk 10000 steps a day. I have used the Withings Pulse Ox to track my steps and running. Go cycling, swimming, jogging, Nordic walking. Get your heart-rate up to 100 bpm for at least 30-40 minutes, three times a week. Start slow – you will automatically improve over time.
18. Some people say that you should never feel hungry during weight-loss, but if you want to see some result within a reasonable time, you will have to experience hunger. Hunger is not bad by definition: if you have hunger, you are actually burning body fat. I felt quite hungry at times during the first three weeks. But then the stomach starts to shrink! Over time you will automatically need less food (what did I say under point #1? You are always changing).
19. Next to eating less fat, you must also cut the amount of carbohydrates. Try to avoid sugar and alcohol, in whatever form. The liver converts surplus carbs, sugar and alcohol into fat very efficiently. Read the labels on the food that you buy, compare products to see how much energy they provide.
20. Build muscle. Even in rest, muscle burns calories! Muscular people can eat more without gaining weight.
Losing weight – it takes willpower and a change in lifestyle. Don’t listen too much to other people, as advice comes cheap! You will have to invest some fun time in getting a grip on your body, and the dieting information out there in the big world.
Motivators. What did I gain during and after my weight loss period, and what could YOU gain?
1. Agility. Effectively I now carry 10kg less weight: that’s ten bottles of water! As my weight decreased, my exercise capabilities increased.