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3/9/15

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 As a recent convert to the world of pain science I have become increasingly aware of the importance of addressing patients as a whole person rather than using what is known as a ‘categorical approach’.  This is where a specific area of a problem is addressed whilst choosing to ignore all else. 

It’s great being categorical in clinic.  It means you can tell yourself that some glaringly obvious issues with patients are nothing to do with you.  Heavy smoker?  Massively overweight? Have obvious anger issues?  Do zero exercise?  Eat nothing but junk food?  Not my problem – let me perform my magic on you and you’ll be fine.  Guess what? That doesn’t work that well…

A huge part of using pain science in clinic is about helping patients understand why they may have a persistent pain problem and how they can manage it.  A consistent recommendation keeps popping up again and again.  I’m aware that I’m becoming a stuck record.  I’m bashing all my patients over the head with it.  It’s the most amazing thing.  It’s free.  It can be as effective as taking morphine.

It’s exercise.

Now, I realise that if you’re not into exercise then you really aren’t into it in as much of a big way as those who are into it are really into it in a big way.  But that’s tough.  You have to fake it until you make it.  You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone.  Feel the burn.  Grip it and rip it.  All of that.

Last week during a session with a patient I was slightly called out on my evangelical approach to exercise.  This was an already fairly active patient whom I was lecturing about pushing her exercise to a higher level: “It’s alright for you! Look at the size of you, skinny!”  Well I loved this. 

Having lived most of my life as being morbidly obese and getting very used to being called all sorts of names I will not tire of comments from people about my mahoosive weight loss.

So am I evangelical? Yes I am.  If I can do it anyone can.  Seriously – no more excuses.  Not to blow my own horn but I’m a family man, a clinician and a director of a company.  If I can make time to exercise so can you.

So here we go:  My top tips to lose weight.  It worked for me.

  • Stop kidding yourself that there is any other way to lose weight other than eating less and exercising more. 
  • Stop kidding yourself that if you are overweight that there is any other reason for it other than you eat too much and don’t exercise enough.
  • I was almost going to stop at those two…
  • Get a friend or family member to do it with you.  If you have someone else to challenge and support you it can bring out a competitive and determined edge that you’ll need.  You’re going to want to lose more weight than them and get fitter than them.  You have to invoke your warrior spirit!
  • Download and use the myfitnesspal app religiously.  You will input you’re height, weight, body type, occupation etc. along with your weight loss goal.  You’re then given a daily calorie limit.  You put in everything you eat and everything you do so that you can make sure you’re within your daily limits. 
  • Don’t be on ‘a diet’.  Don’t deny yourself goodies.  By knowing your calorie limits you can mess about with what makes up those calories.  Example – full hour spinning between 6 and 7 on a Friday night equals around 600 calories burned.  Bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc equals around 600 calories.  I’m having that.  I earned it.
  • Get into good food and get into cooking stuff from scratch using fresh ingredients.  It's called junk food for a reason.
  • I started off eating my main meal of the day at lunchtime and then a small meal before 6 pm each day, then ate nothing after that.  This is how Jimmy Carr lost 3 stone.  I don’t do that anymore – I’m not sure if this was an important part of the weight loss or it may just have coincided with everything else I was doing.
  • You have to take your exercise seriously.  It has to push you.  Walking the dog is fine…for the dog.  If you really want to get the weight off then at the end of each exercise session you have to have reached your limit.  Totally knackered.   Can’t talk. Dying.  Aching like hell the next day.  Anything less is not going to cut it.
  • Get into the 5:2 diet.  I originally thought this was a fad diet like the Atkins, but it’s not.  This is where you fast for two days a week and eat normally for the other five.  There’s even the scope to eat what the hell you like on those five days as long as you strictly adhere to the fasting days.  Fasting days suck, I’ll be honest.  Once you’re goal is no longer weight loss but maintaining weight or using it for health benefits (there are many) Then it turns into the 6:1 diet (one day fast).
  • Get on with it.  Now.  Stop telling yourself now isn't a good time.

That’s it.  It took me about 12 months to lose around 7 stone.

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Like I said – it worked for me and changed my life.             

Good luck.  It’ll be worth it.

Thanks for reading.

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