My big fat story: Suggestions from the 'fat guy'

  • Published
  • By William Fowler
  • 23d Civil Engineer Squadron
This is a continuation of a recent article titled "My big fat story: Healthy eating, exercise key to improved lifestyle" written by William Fowler, 23d Civil Engineer Squadron environmental compliance supervisor, who lost 142 pounds.

Suggestions from the "Fat Guy"

1) Doctor's approval: Please get your doctor's approval before starting your lifestyle change. Ask your doctor to give you a physical and tell him or her, what you are trying do. Have the doctor go over the results with you. The reason for this is to identify any underlying medical problems that might sabotage your plans or more importantly put you at risk.

2) Eliminate or reduce simple sugars from your diet. If you can't do it cold turkey, set a goal to eliminate simple sugars for a few days a week and slowly increase the number of days you go without them until it's done. The body needs glucose, which it makes naturally from the food you eat like fruits, and vegetables.

-The sugars from fruits and vegetables break down slower in the body than simple sugar and therefore less likely to be stored as fat. Also, consuming more calories than the body uses creates a surplus and anything not used gets stored as fat.

One of sugar's major drawbacks is that it raises the insulin level, which inhibits the release of growth hormones, and in turn depresses the immune system. This is not something you want if you want to avoid disease.

An influx of sugar in the bloodstream upsets the body's blood-sugar balance, triggering the release of insulin, which the body uses to keep blood-sugar at a constant and safe level. Insulin also promotes the storage of fat, so when you eat sweets high in sugar, you're making way for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, both of which have been linked to cardiovascular disease. Complex carbohydrates tend to be absorbed more slowly, lessening the impact on blood-sugar levels.

Sugar depresses the immune system.

We have known this for decades. It was in the 1970s when researchers found that vitamin C was needed by white blood cells to devour viruses and bacteria. White blood cells require a 50 times higher concentration inside the cell as outside, so they have to accumulate vitamin C, according to The American Diabetes Association.

3) Knowledge is power: Initially, I suggest keeping track of the total daily carbohydrates and calories you eat. Limit yourself to a maximum 100 grams of carbohydrates and 1,500 to 2,200 calories depending on your current weight and height. Burning 3,500 calories more than you eat, equals a pound of weight lost. Once you've counted calories, carbohydrates and sugars for a while, you will know how many carbohydrates and calories are in foods. Reading the nutritional information on the food package makes it easy to know how many calories are in foods. When going to a restaurant, Google the menu and find out the nutritional information before you go. This way, you can determine if a meal is within your dietary budget.

4) Make a plan: You will need to develop a weekly menu and plan your exercise days. Make sure your menu is made of things you like to eat and exercises you like to do. Just remember, your diet is about 70 percent of your health. Once you establish your eating and exercise routines, you can start to challenge yourself more with exercise.

5) Don't let yourself get hungry: Once you have developed your meal plan, spread your meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid getting hungry. Getting hungry is the quickest way to short circuit your plans for a healthier you. I found that low-salt almonds or peanuts are a good snack to fill you up.

6) Get help: Get a workout partner to help you stay motivated. Surround yourself with people who support you. For quick weight loss, do your exercising in the evening after dinner, if possible. But any time is better than no exercise at all. Remember you and your buddy should motivate and push each other.

7) Falling down: If you backslide with your eating or exercise routine, get back into it as soon as possible. No excuses. Remember you are fighting for your life. You only fail if you quit.

8) Stop buying lunch and dinner, and fix it yourself: Preparation is important. Cook enough food on the weekend to take for lunch during the week. You will save money in gas and food, and if you eat at your desk you can use the extra time to walk after eating.

9) Have dinner for lunch: Have your biggest meal for lunch and a small meal for dinner. Some people say they get sleepy after a big lunch. The solution is to have a cup of coffee, strong tea or other caffeinated drink and take a 20 minute walk if possible

10) Only weigh yourself once every two weeks: The scale is not your friend, but the belt buckle is. Your weight will fluctuate so much at first it can be discouraging to not see the progress you expected. Determine how well you are doing by how your clothes fit. It is a slower process but a more realistic way to determine your progress. The reward comes when the once tight clothes fit loose. Go to the Health and Wellness Center and make appointment for the Bod Pod. This information will give you a realistic starting point.

11) No dieting: Remember, this is a lifestyle change, so you must be satisfied that you are able to make the changes you have committed to. The difference between dieting and lifestyle change, is dieting is usually restrictive, temporary, and miserable. It is a plan that someone else developed. A lifestyle change is a long term plan you create to accomplish a certain goal. You have accepted it and you own it.

12) Get involved: Getting involved with community activities and fundraisers gets you away from the television. Fundraising, carwashes and community activities such as coaching a children's team burns a lot of calories that can help you lose weight and gain immeasurable personal rewards.