My 90-Day Fat Belly Challenge
As you can see from the picture in the header image above, I am sporting a rather fetching one-pack with matching moobs.
Now, I never used to be like as years ago I was a competitive triathlete until things went wrong and I over-trained and made myself ill (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – CFS).
Since then I have been quite inactive and slowly putting on weight as I get older. Not an uncommon situation as it’s a common pattern that many of us succumb too.
Here is the kicker though, since relocating to Malaysia as an expat my weight gain has accelerated.
A combination of now using a car for transport versus walking when in London, and really getting used to the relative ease of life here, has meant I have put on 6kg in just 12-months – with no sign of this stopping!
With my waist size going from 30 inches to now 34 and the problem of being mid-way between size S and M making shopping more difficult (that’s another post right there!), I really need to turn things around.
As this blog’s aim is about tackling aspects of my life I wish to change, then I have decided to hold myself accountable and kick-start a 90-day fat belly challenge. Importantly this is going to have pictures, which in all honesty I am NOT looking forward to.
90-day Transformation Challenge
The details of the challenge are really easy and straight forward.
I started on the 1st July and the challenge is to lose 6kg in 90-days – easy eh?
But, I am not just focused on losing total weight as I want to be losing fat, and so I will be monitoring my fat percentage. I would like to reduce my fat percentage to be within the “average” range (18-24%) – currently I am in the “obese” category!
You can see my starting measurements below, but for illustration purposes you can see where I stand (literally) in this line up of body fat percentage in men.
If you have read many articles on weight loss, then losing 6kg in 90-days may not sound difficult at all. Heck, it’s only 2kg per month!
The challenge is to also keep this weight off and will be keeping track of this for the rest of the year (most likely longer).
Now this is just the start to kick-start the change in lifestyle required to maintain this long-term. I am trying to form healthier activity and dietary habits.
Taking this approach will mean it’s more likely to make longer-term changes to my health and avoid the classic yo-yo weight loss and gain approach I have followed for the last 10 years.
Strategy for Losing Weight
I have used a few diets before when attempting to shed the pounds before. Recently I followed a friend of mines 28-day Detox Diet Plan, which really works well for quickly cutting weight safely in a healthy way – I lost 5 kg in one-month!
Many years I also followed Tim Ferriss slow-carb diet and found this very effective for losing weight albeit a little harder to follow than the 28-day detox diet.
Whilst these diet plans really worked for me I found they weren’t long-term solutions. So, I soon found the weight coming on as I went back to my “old lifestyle” ways.
I want a strategy for being able to both lose and manage my weight.
Now before the diet brands jump in here and push the latest fat burner or keto pill, popping a pill isn’t going to do the trick either… if it did we would ALL be slim and beach body ready 😉
That said, supplements can certainly help and I am a keen advocate of taking them to act as a nutritional insurance and I get all my veggies every day. This is the reason I spent 8-months developing SuperGreen TONIK, a super greens supplement that I take every day.
Healthy Lifestyle Solutions
Like many of you I bet, I have tried many ways to losing weight only to discover within months you pile it on again. The typical crash diet and yo-yo back (or even more) is soul destroying and can often result in giving up.
Now that I am in my mid forties I believe it’s crucial to turn it around and take control of my body weight. It’s only getting harder as I get older – I already feel it now, so what will it be like in my fifties?
The days of swimming, cycling and running nearly every day (like I used to do many years ago – see below) are most likely gone for me, although I do hope to return to training one day.
In the meantime, I am looking for a healthy nutritional solution that is sustainable and doesn’t involve confusing and inconvenient meal planning. This is why I decided to try intermittent fasting as it’s a powerful weight loss and management tool that’s pretty healthy too.
What I also like about intermittent fasting is the simplicity and most sustainable option I have found so far.
When I competed in Triathlons I was just 50kg and 6-7% body fat percentage.
Starting Intermittent Fasting
Any mention of dieting at the moment soon turns to intermittent fasting (IM) and the possible weight loss and health benefits linked to this method of eating.
In short, the idea is simple you only eat within a short-time frame and then in-between just drink water and black coffee (if you’re a coffee drinker). During the fasting periods your body will turn to fats as a fuel source as glucose levels reduce potentially helping fat loss.
One quick point to mention here is that IM is not a diet per se, but a meal timing plan.
There are a number of other health benefits linked to intermittent fasting too, such as…
- Fat loss
- Increasing muscle tone
- Improved vascular function that can help you skin, hair and nails
- Mental benefits such as improved focus
- Cellular benefits
Check out Healthline for more information on the 8 benefits of fasting.
As my article suggests I am primarily interested in the fat loss aspect but it’s hard to ignore the potential other benefits.
My Intermittent Fasting Method
There are a number of ways to follow intermittent fasting, which revolves around the meal timings and the fasting period in-between.
The most popular intermittent fasting method is the 16/8 and is the easiest in my opinion for me to follow. Essentially you skip breakfast and only drink water and black coffee until lunchtime.
I actually have a meal window between 12pm and 6pm and so fast for 18 hours per day.
Most days I have no problem fasting in the morning but the odd day I am hungry mid-morning and really look forward to lunch.
In terms of the choice of diet, I try to eat good quality food that contains the macros, but I avoid counting calories.
Sometimes I will eat the odd cake or egg tart (one of my favourites) but I try to keep this balanced and not overindulge in sugary snacks. I need to be careful though that I do not derail weight-loss success by overeating during my feeding periods. This would then of course counteract most of the benefits from fasting.
I have done a few 24-hour fasts in the past and found them surprisingly straight forward to follow. Yes you get a little hungry by the afternoon but boy do you enjoy your first meal in 24-hours!
Looking into the available information online on 24-hour fasts I will look to include some of these into my diet strategy. Most likely on a Monday I will fast, and so Sunday at 6pm would be my last meal for 24-hours until the following Monday evening.
A weekly 24-hour fast may not work well with intermittent fasting for the remaining 6-days, and so I will give it a try and see how I get on.
Technology I am Using to Monitor Results
To help provide feedback on my progress over the next 90-days and beyond I am will be using two pieces of technology.
Instead of just tracking overall body weight I need to know if I am losing fat. To do this I am going to use the Picooc Bluetooth weighing scales. I also need to know how active I have been and for this I am going to use a sleep and activity tracker called Oura ring.
I am using Picooc Bluetooth weighing scales that connect to an App called PiCooc.
These cool bit of tech measures lots of metrics such as; body fat, muscle, body water, bone mass, skeletal muscle, body weight, visceral fat index and MBR.
Using this data the App produces a body score out of 10 and also calculates your metabolic age. There are some questions about the reliability of scales that calculate fat percentage, but considering I will be using the same scales at the same time of the day this should be at least consistent.
I noticed a number of people using a cool bit of tech called the Oura ring to measure the effectiveness of their sleep and activity levels.
Initially I thought my iPhone would be fine to measure my daily steps but having tried the Oura ring for the last 3 weeks I can see a big difference. Of course, whereas I wear the Oura ring all the time, I often leave my phone on my desk and so will under measure my steps.
The Oura ring is really great for measuring the stages of sleep, body temperature at night, resting heart rate and heart rate variability (variation among the heart rate intervals – see here)
Wearing the ring every day gives you three measure; sleep score, activity score and readiness score. The sleep and activity score help to provide your readiness score, which is an indicator of how rested you are and prepared for the day ahead.
I am using the Oura ring to measure daily steps and to track my sleep. I am going to write about hacking my sleep in another post very soon.
My Baseline Measurements
I jumped onto my Picooc weighing scales as soon as I wake up and going to the toilet every time to ensure a consistent time. The picture below is a screenshot of the image shown from the Picooc App on my phone.
As you can see the rather worrying figures have been highlighted, all of these I am looking to significantly change over the next 90-days.
The resulting data combined Picooc calculates my body score as 5.1 out of 10 – not excellent body score. And as shown by the rather chubby man next to the score highlights, I am currently covertly fat, nice!
At the very bottom there shows my “metabolic age” at 47 years old, considering that I am now 45 this is not a good sign.
July 1st, 2019 Measurements
- Body Weight: 69.8kg
- Body Fat: 27.5%
- Visceral Fat Index: 9
- Body Score: 5.1
The next results will be recorded on the 1st August and updated when I write part two of the 90-day fat belly challenge.
My Progress So Far
As the more eagle eyed readers will have spotted we’re nearly at the end of July and so I should have made some progress already 😉
The good news is I have and can already report some fat loss and positive changes to my lifestyle.
The challenge didn’t start well though as I experienced an upset stomach for the first 7-days of the month. Whilst this did help me lose 1/2 kg it completely throughout any attempts of modifying lifestyle!
Bottom Line – Being Accountable!
The point of this post is to make sure I am held accountable, it’s that simple.
If after 90-days I have made few changes or lost little fat then everyone here will see my failure. Of course, I am hoping to trigger change for myself and anyone else in a similar position.
To spur me along I will be doing a write up each month on my progress. This will include up-to-date measurements and report on what I am doing to fuel what I hope to be the fat loss I am looking to achieve.
I will be taking action in three ways:
- Increase my activity level – Will be aiming for an average 10,000 daily steps
- Be more rested by improving and getting a more consistent sleep pattern – 7-9 hours each night and a sleep score of 85% + with the Oura Ring
- Following a 18/6 intermittent fasting programme – Mindful of eating good quality nutrition during the feeding period
Taking action as above is completely achievable and importantly sustainable longer-term – let’s see how I get on with the first update in a few weeks time!
Anyone inspired to join me on this challenge? You’re more than welcome, just comment below and let’s start making a real positive change for good today.