Leland is a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST) of 29 yrs. One passion of his is helping others achieve physical fitness and well being.
A Fresh Perspective
I am not a licensed dietician. I am not a clinical nutritionist. I am not an exercise guru with my own patented program. Now that you know what I am not, let me tell you what I am. I am an ongoing success story. When I began reclaiming my health I weighed 272 lbs. I now weigh 244 lbs. and I feel better than I have in years. I would like to share my journey with you, a journey that isn't finished.
I have something I'd like to offer, something the experts are unable to offer. Fresh perspective. The experts in the health and exercise field are important, but there is a problem I have seen with their position time and again. Here it is: They have usually been physically fit for so long that they have forgotten what it feels like to be truly "out of shape", to be obese...chronically tired...suffering from joint pain...depression. Whenever you watch someone leading an exercise program or giving a lecture on physical fitness they never look sad or tired, a condition that was the norm for me for several years. Their levels of fitness has created a gulf (to an extent) between them and those they are trying to help. They have forgotten what the absence of musculature feels like, what hopelessness feels like; therefore, they are unable to encourage their patients because they don't know or don't remember what to say to lift them up. Having spent the last two months participating in the Ketogenic diet and using the X-Factor :ST workout program, I am in the perfect position to offer the encouragement and support you need along with suggestions that will be helpful to you where you are now. I want to share what worked, and continues to work, for me. I believe you will find this article helpful because you have more in common with me than you do with the pros. Don't misunderstand, I am not saying you don't need a dietician, physician, or exercise coach. All of them can and will be helpful to you. However, I think it helps to have someone you can relate to, someone who is like you, has been where you are RECENTLY. I was there just 2.5 months ago. For some of you, I am where you want to be, where you can be, where you will be. I'm so glad you're reading this because it means you are seriously considering reclaiming your health and that means a better life!
What Works For You?
There are many programs that will help you reach your desired weight. I am not selling you a program, I am giving you a method. I offer you a way to think about your health and a way to decide how you want become the healthiest you possible. For you, running might be the key to success, for others a boxing class or boot camp; but I'm not here to talk about what works for other people. I want to tell you what worked for me for a specific reason: Every time a new health product or exercise method hits the marketplace, that product is presented to public in such a way as to suggest that it will work for everyone. The consumer is left with the impression that if the product didn't help then there's something wrong with the consumer, leaving him/her with a sense of failure and dejection. The fact is, there is no product that will work for everyone. There are several points to consider before beginning an exercise program, diet, or combination of the two. Failing to take certain details about yourself into account could mean the difference between success and failure. Here are some examples:
- What is your age? If you are 45+ you probably shouldn't start a high intensity aerobics/workout/weight lifting regimen. Failure to recognize your limitations due to your age could lead to serious injury setting you back and leaving you in worse shape than when you began.
- How much do you weigh?
- Do you have significant joint pain? If you have denuded cartilage in your knees, for example, a running program would most likely do more harm than good. You may want to consider swimming instead.
- Are you a smoker?
- Do you like working out in a gym setting or in the privacy of your own home?
- Do you have a sugar addiction (like I did) which contributes to joint pain and ends up undoing any progress you may have made per your exercise routine? If you do you should consider participating in a program aimed at getting you off of sugar. You would be astounded at the benefits. I will discuss them in a moment. If you have access to Netflix I recommend watching an excellent documentary called Sugar Coated. You will be shocked at the negative impact sugar has on the human body. Joint pain, mental acuity, activation of the inflammatory process, and weight gain are some of the effects sugar has on the body, even wreaking havoc on the immune system leaving us more susceptible to disease.
Here's What Worked For Me: #1. Beating My Sugar Addiction
To do this I began seeing a dietician who figured out my problem after working with me for several months. She noticed a pattern of exercise and weight loss that was being thwarted when I would "reward" myself with sugary snacks, chips, and cookies. The way she was able to notice this is that I had to keep a food log of everything I ate, drank, and how much I exercised.
*NOTE* FOOD LOGGING HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE THE #1 MOST EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR LOSING WEIGHT!
#2. Beginning The Ketogenic Diet Plan (The New Atkins Diet)
The Ketogenic Diet was created in the 1930's to help children with difficult to manage epilepsy. The diet is essentially low carb, moderate protein, high fat. It forces the body to burn fat rather than carbohydrates. It was discovered that patients practicing the dietary plan experienced 50% less seizures. Significant and unexpected weight loss was also reported.
The New Atkins Diet is an improvement of the Ketogenic Diet. Drawbacks to the original Atkins plan included propensity to develop kidney stones as well as constipation. These problems were due to fluid restrictions. The issue has been corrected- participants are now instructed to drink 1/2 their weight in ounces of H2O. That means if you weigh 300 lbs. you would drink 150 ounces of H2O daily.
Origin Of The Ketogenic Diet
#3. Starting An Exercise Program
If you are going to do the Ketogenic (New Atkins) Diet in conjunction with starting an exercise program, you need to wait 2 weeks before you actually begin exercising. The Ketogenic Diet leaves a person feeling sluggish for the first 1-2 weeks as the body adjusts to this new way of eating. I am suggesting the Weider X-Factor: ST system> Why? Because it worked for me! This program consists of 12 CD's and lots of technical support. The great thing about this program is that it starts out slowly and builds up over a period of 8 weeks. The 8 week period is precisely why I am recommending it to you. It perfectly compliments the time frame of the Ketogenic Diet. Both are about 2 months in duration. This program is a few years old, but very effective. You can find it online at bargain rates on Amazon.
The program I joined used "The New Atkins" as a reference and guide. It is listed below.
Don't Start Right Away- Do Your Research First!
Intro To Keto! Enjoy!
The Exercise Program That Fit My Needs And Helped Me The Most...
My Rating For The X-Factor: ST Exercise Program
Final Tips And Thoughts
I have a few tips for your consideration as you take your first steps on the path to fitness.
- If you are 45+ follow the directions from Nahesi Crawford in the Weider videos: Don't work out every day! Work out every other day. Your muscles need time to recover from previous workouts. If you rush the process you will only hurt yourself and endure setbacks.
- Never skip the warm up or the cool down. I used to skip these portions in the past but I have found a great benefit in faithfully executing these parts of a workout- I don't get cramps afterwards. I used to get terrible cramps, however, warming up and cooling down prevents the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles which leads to cramps.
- If you do experience cramps take a few bites of a banana. The potassium reduces cramping dramatically.
- Hydrate! Drinking H2O not only cleanses your body and rids it of toxins, it also acts as a hunger deterrent. Hunger sensations can be greatly reduced when well hydrated. Sometimes we eat because we interpret thirst/dehydration as hunger pangs.
- When doing a workout video DO NOT be afraid or embarrassed to follow the person doing the modified version of the exercises. You'll get to the advanced levels if you stick with it, but the most important thing is finishing the workouts which last 41 minutes (including warm up, cool down, and water breaks)
- For general health and keeping hunger at bay try a cocktail composed of 2 Tbl Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) to 1and 1/2 cups of Diet Vernors. It doesn't taste good, but it's good for you and it works as an appetite suppressant.
Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
I hope you found this article helpful. Getting into shape hasn't been easy for me, in fact it was hard at first, but it gets much easier. This is the best part: My tastes have truly changed. Since I began working out and following the Ketogenic diet I no longer crave junk food! Now I crave Southwest chicken salad, lean meats, green leafy vegetables and so many healthy foods! I never thought I'd be where I am and guess what...you can be here too! You can do this! I hope you will.
A friend complimented me around the holidays. The lounge was full of sweets and dainty morsels and he said, "Man, I can't believe your will power!" I thought about that for a while, and then this question emerged in my mind: Is it really will power if you no longer crave that stuff? It wasn't as though I was fighting through some great temptation. I really didn't want the stuff! What a miracle! What a blessing! I hope you'll take hold of it too. God bless you in all your efforts.
© 2018 Leland Johnson
Brad on March 09, 2018:
I have a question of the Atkins (new, old) in that they both use a lot of fat, and fat taxes the gall bladder. What are the stats on Atkins and Gallbladder problems?
Also on the Vernor's, does it contain real ginger?
I use a concoction of Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Lemon Juice and Baking Soda. Heated water like making tea and adding the ingredients. The Baking Soda does fizzle.
The taste is secondary to the result.
Finally, I found that my best way to get rid of belly fat was going away from Gluten. I love bread, doughnuts and others. It is difficult and very expensive to go gluten free. But, I try to do it by eating less of it.
I guess, this would only work on people whose belly fat is a result of gluten.
I stumbled onto this after hearing so many stories about gluten reactions. So for two weeks I went completely off of gluten. At the end of two weeks, I had lost ten pounds. But the really surprising news was that it all came off of my belly.
No exercise was involved.
I have kept it off for a year now.
Leland Johnson (author) from Midland MI on March 05, 2018:
Thank you for reading, Louise. Walking is great exercise. Easy on the joints and burns lots of calories. Carb intake was what was hurting me. Greetings from across the pond :)
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on March 05, 2018:
There's some good advice here. I really need to do an exercise programme. I do a lot of walking though.