Weight-Loss Win is an original Yahoo series that shares the inspiring stories of people who have shed pounds healthfully.
Simon Tasker is 41 years old and 5 feet 10, and he currently weighs 198 pounds. In 2015, after the decline of his relationship led him to weight gain and an eating addiction, he was finally able to get fit by embracing a healthier lifestyle. This is the story of his weight-loss journey, as told to writer Andie Mitchell.
The turning point
The weight started piling on during the erosion of my relationship. As my then-partner and I grew increasingly distant, I became isolated and alone. I turned to food and unfortunately became addicted to Chocolate Hobnob biscuits, a popular cookie here in the U.K.
I was faced with two “turning points.” The first was the day my ex came home and announced she was leaving me, a choice that I partially blamed on the weight gain. I took it as a wake-up call and wanted to take advantage of my apartment’s free gym before I had to move out. I made an effort to go to the gym as much as possible during the 12 weeks I had left.
The second turning point had more to do with my diet. My favorite treat nearly killed me. I nearly choked to death from eating a Hobnob biscuit so fast that it stuck in my throat. I couldn’t breathe and almost passed out. At the last moment, desperate for oxygen, I managed to massage the morsel from my throat. As I gulped down air, I had finally had enough and decided to give up Hobnobs forever. That was the last time I ever ate one.
Exercise was a key aspect to my weight loss. I started with a weightlifting split routine. I trained different muscle groups each day. One day I would do back and traps, then shoulders and triceps, and on another day, chest, biceps, and legs.
I did cardio four or five times per week. I started slowly, with just walking, and then built up my intensity by 10 percent every week until I was sprinting up 12 flights of stairs and doing high-intensity interval training.
Even though this is how I lost most of the weight, I don’t lift weights for my exercise anymore. Now I like to do challenging body-weight exercises like handstands and creating my own little circuit routines.
Diet was also an important part of my journey. I eat 2,000 calories a day and try to have a lot of protein, vegetables, and good fats. Steak, fish, salad, and vegetables are staples in my diet, and I try to avoid eating carbs like pasta.
I think the “Divorce Diet” is the most effective on the market. Being rejected for how you look is highly motivating. The hardest aspect was kicking my addiction to Hobnob biscuits — what I called my “Hobnob hell.” I had developed a serious compulsive eating addiction. I craved them for weeks after quitting. I had to avoid the biscuit aisle when I went shopping. Along with my regular meals, I had been eating three to four packets a day, and with each packet carrying 1,500 calories, the weight easily piled on. I was able to build real discipline while battling this addiction.
Once I cut out the thousands of calories of biscuits I had been eating every day and began consistently exercising, I lost the weight quickly. The first thing I noticed was that all my back pain disappeared. I was able to stand up straight again. Flights of stairs didn’t look daunting. I had loads more energy and felt my life return.
I still aim to eat 2,000 calories a day. My daily diet usually includes porridge, fruit, meat, vegetables, and Greek yogurt. I like to make sure I eat good fats from sources like salmon, avocado, and nuts. I try and stay away from fast food. I think fresh, home-cooked food is best.
Consistency is a key part of my routine. It is important for me to eat regularly so I don’t get cravings for my old bad habits. And I still hit the gym four to five times a week.
My biggest motivation is the fear I have of returning to my old lifestyle, where I was in frequent pain and had a compulsive snacking addiction. I want to keep eating well and being active.
Sometimes this healthier lifestyle can feel like a grind. It can be difficult to stay motivated to go to the gym every day. Eating well takes a lot of discipline, when a takeaway pizza is so convenient and easy to order. And even though I am happy that I am no longer addicted, sometimes I miss my old snack companions, especially when I am watching TV.
Figure out your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and then eat 500 calories less than that. After all, weight loss comes down to calories in versus calories out. It is a simple formula but difficult to adhere to.
The diet industry likes to overcomplicate things. I think a simple routine of eating fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, and vegetables for dinner accompanied by protein at each meal will help anyone lose weight and isn’t too difficult to follow.
Losing weight is about finding a balance between leading a healthy, active lifestyle with occasional treats. And, of course, avoiding the Hobnobs!
All photos courtesy of Simon Tasker.
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