Best Way to Lose Weight
These days there is a lot of discussion on the fastest way to lose weight or the best way to lose weight. I’m not here today to debate which is in fact the fastest or the most effective way to lose weight. Today, I’m sharing my story on what worked for me. I had tried many different regiments, diets, you name it. I had found the best way to lose weight for me – completely by accident. I stress for me because everyone’s body is different and everyone’s metabolism is their own. Does Keto work? Yes, it has done wonders for many. I personally haven’t tried it yet but know many who swear by it. The important thing you should remember is that any diet can give immediate results, it’s making it a lifestyle that will sustain you.
It was mid July, 2011. I went to see my doctor for a routine check up. He began his questionnaire and began to have this puzzled look on his face. “You say you wake up every hour or so gasping for air?” the doctor said to me, to which I replied “yes, for the last several years… it’s pretty normal.” He proceeded to ask questions like “what is a normal dinner meal for you?”. I got excited! Finally, some fun questions! I gladly told him “a full rack of bbq pork ribs, corn bread, a couple of loaded baked sweet potatoes and some roasted vegetables because I gotta get my veggies in. Wait! almost forgot, I usually get a couple of slices of cake or pie -to reward myself for eating veggies.” He had an interesting smile on his face. I then told him about 2nd dinner… his smile went away very quickly. He requested some blood work that required me to make additional visits. I was 27 at the time but my doctor said I had the health of a 60 year old man and I probably wouldn’t make it to 40 the way I was trending. He immediately wanted to put me on several different medications for my cholesterol, blood pressure, fatty liver and several other things. Problem was, I was going through a divorce and was completely broke and these medications were going to cost several hundred dollars per month!
I flat out told him I couldn’t afford them and then said “believe it or not, nutrition is my area of expertise! Give me 3 months to correct this and if I don’t come back with some improvement then I’ll take any drugs you want”. The doctor agreed. I’m not an expert -the farthest thing from it, but the medications were not an option I could afford. In July of 2011, I weighed approximately 285 lbs (I’m 5’8″). I got home and immediately began to go into a panic. What on earth was I going to do?!? Through my employer I had taken hundreds of hours of nutrition education over the years and it was time for me to refer back to that. So here are some basic principals I wrote down:
- It takes an average human about 12 hours to digest 4 oz (113 grams) of red meat.
- High fiber foods are natures “push broom” (they help you digest and poop) as well as keeps you full.
- Fruits and Vegetables have magical powers, you can know their powers by their colors such as dark green, bright red or orange, etc.
- There are foods known as superfoods that have superpowers that can reverse or at least fend off some pretty bad stuff.
- Spices have healing powers
So it was clear to me that I needed to drastically cut down on the amount of meat I ate. I was consuming 40 oz (1.13 kilos) of red meat daily which means at any given time I had several pounds of week-old meat sitting in my gut backing me up. Not to mention LDL (the bad cholesterol) generally comes from animal products. I’m not saying meat is bad, meat is a beautiful thing when consumed in moderation -which I was not doing. There’s no way a carnivore like myself was giving up red meat cold turkey (no pun intended). Next, I acknowledged my body was in a state of crisis. I had been neglecting it by not being mindful of what I take in and there was some repair I needed to do which meant I needed to load up on fruits and vegetables and get that influx of vitamins and minerals. I’m fully aware of the medicinal effects of certain spices thanks to a secret source (Google), and knew I would have to incorporate it somehow. I then set 3 rules for myself:
- I would eat strictly vegetarian Monday through Thursday. Friday through Sunday would be my ‘treat days’
- I would allow myself to eat as many vegetables as I wanted and up to 5 pieces or servings of fruit per day.
- I would also eliminate certain other products such as butter and eggs, and only 1 serving of cheese per day.
Day 1. I made myself a salad. I cried a little and began cursing the world.
Day 2. Began to remember my days growing up and how we didn’t necessarily come home to steak everyday. In fact, because of our economic situation, we mostly ate rice, beans, and the ever classic ‘sopa de fideo’ which is essentially angel hair pasta in tomato soup. I began to reminisce on how good those meals were despite the lack of the traditional form of protein. I had found my solution! I immediately put on a pot to soak some pinto beans sitting in the back of my pantry. While those soaked, I pulled out a package of ramen noodles (I didn’t use the seasoning that comes with it), and a can peas and corn and put it to cook with some water. It was very primitive but it was a start. In my entire career I never had to focus on vegetarian menus. Most of the foods I created as a chef involved a Beef Filet, Bacon, and Bacon wrapped anything. This truly was challenging to me.
Day 3. I began making a list of foods I genuinely enjoyed -even those with meat. My list was all over the place including items like stir-fry, pozole, sandwiches, pad thai, chili; then thought of possible meat substitutions. I went grocery shopping. I was determined and strategic about this visit. Picked up some bags of frozen vegetable blends, some heads of cabbage, vegetables that were good for grilling, beans! many different kinds, I would spend the next few weeks experimenting. Some recipes worked great on the first try, some had to be tweaked a bit, others should have never seen the light of day. But experimenting continued and would continue for the next several months.
Day 30. Some of the things I learned is that I now needed to eat more often but I was eating smaller meals. Many of the vegetables I was eating were very filling leaving me satisfied and not hungry. I especially loved incorporating green cabbage whenever I could and you’ll notice many of my vegetarian recipes include or revolve around cabbage. I going was to the bathroom (#2) more regularly, like 2 to 3 times per day instead of once every other day. I was feeling much better. I noticed I was losing some weight but that wasn’t my goal, I was trying to reduce my LDL and reverse some of the other health issues I had going on. One of my favorite and first vegetarian recipe was the Bootleg Yakisoba
Check out this brief 2-minute video clip on the Awesomeness of MadCook.com
Day 90. Time to visit the doctor again. I was nervous. I remembered the deal I had made with the devil. He looked at me, got me on the scale. “Wow, you lost almost 30 lbs.!” “Are you sure?” I asked. He reminded me I was at 285 and now I’m at about 260. Hmm, that’s 25 lbs but I guess that’s why he’s a doctor and not in finance. He asked if I knew I had lost that much? No, I didn’t. I wasn’t weighing myself; I wasn’t actively trying to lose weight. It happened as a byproduct of me trying to improve other things. He asked me what I was doing differently and I told him exactly what I had been doing the past 3 months. He was amazed. He asked if I felt like I was depriving myself or making a difficult sacrifice. I told him I didn’t at all. In fact, after the first couple of days, I didn’t notice much of a difference in cravings. Instead, I had a new appreciation for the baby back ribs I was eating on the weekends. Additionally, I told him how I noticed I could no longer finish that full rack of ribs and had gone to ordering a half rack with 1 sweet potato. He was very happy for me and so was I. He asked one last question, if I could continue with this for another 3 months. “Absolutely” I had begun to think of this as a new way of life. I then challenged myself further by reducing my ‘treat’ days to only Saturdays and Sundays and eating strictly vegetarian Monday through Friday.
I would go back to follow up with him another 3 months later to have discovered a had lost another 30 lbs for a total of 55 lbs in 6 months. Additionally, my LDL had come down drastically. I needed to increase my HDL in which I had to begin incorporating exercise (ughhh). Also, the recipes I had grown to love began getting boring which forced to me to come up with some new recipes and incorporate more spices than ever before. I would continue with this lifestyle for years to come. Eventually, after a couple of years, I forgot about my rules. There were many weekends I didn’t even think about my ‘treat’ days and ate vegetarian simply because I wanted to. There were several Mondays or Tuesdays where I was out with my friends and said, “yes, I’ll have burger”. At one point, I had gone almost 8 months without a single piece of meat -unintentionally. My point is, incorporating the vegetarian menu as the base of how I eat had become a lifestyle and no longer an obligation. Eating meat in moderation just came naturally. Now, I’m not knocking diets like Keto; I’m not at all. Does Keto work? Yes, Keto does work and Keto is a beautiful thing and I’ve seen it work wonders for many. However, I started this blog with “everyone is different and this is what works for me.” What I did may not work for everyone. There’s a man in Australia who lost 100 lbs eating only potatoes! Good for him. What I’m trying to say is this is my story and hopefully it inspires someone or helps someone. If it helps even a single person -than I’m happy. Here, you can find a list of all of my recipes, many of which are vegetarian, but not all.
-Andres M.Enjoying this so far? Check out our Exclusive Recipe Library, Incredible Blog and other Awesome Features by Signing Up – It’s FREE! Just Click This Link to Start.