How I Lost 10 Pounds in 10 Days Naturally, Without Spending a Penny
Sometimes, the best approach is the easiest one but NOT the popular fad. I didn’t listen to diet experts or body trainers. Instead, I listened to my body. That made it work.
Most prescriptive diets are wrong.
Hidden in plain sight, their step by step guides make one key assumption — what works for one person will work for others.
I am a believer that each person is unique and weight is an emotion as much as it’s a science.
So, what follows are my experiments and my experience on what worked. That is the honest thing to share.
The ‘Me’ Side
Couple of things about my body and mind that I have understood through the years
- I loose a ton of weight when I am really sick — rather quickly. And put it back on rather quickly, when I recover. The first part tells something about the general mechanism of my body.
- For me, clothes need to be comfortable. My first emotional iffiness with weight starts when I am unable to wear my pant at the waist. That’s usually the emotional trigger for me.
- I feel satiated when I eat food I like, not the food I need to eat. Lingering taste gives me joy more than volume.
- If I am forced to rank order, I will rank solid food way ahead of liquid foods.
- I am normal looking everyday Joe — no workouts, no perceptible muscle with a middle age dad bod. I am comfortable that way.
- “Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or gazelle. When the sun comes up, you’d better be moving.” There is one luxury of being human in the modern world — we don’t need to run everyday. We can walk. I enjoy walking. It’s one exercise I can most likely stick to without much effort.
The Math side
Abraham Lincoln once said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six of them sharpening my axe.” I like to do my research before embarking on my mission. Here is what I learned.
- On food — in order to lose weight; what ‘goes in’ daily needs to be less than what ‘goes out’ in the form of energy and waste. So, the simple math was every hour of human existence consumes about 100 calories. In a day, it’s about 2400 calories. So, consumption needs to less than that. That is for calories, what about rate of burn of fat?
- On the rate of burn — for the first 10 hours after eating, the carbs burn faster. After about 10 hours of fasting, it flips. Fats burn faster. Real research here. How do you know you are burning fat? It could leave a fruity smell in your breath.
- On walking — I find the fluid motion endearing and it’s easy on my body — no cramps, no residual pain and no jerks to the body as the feet presses on the ground. Also, I have observed that walking elevates my mood. It is indeed, the most underrated form of exercise.
Based on knowing my emotions, my body and the math research; my plan was simple — eat less and walk a lot. That’s it.
Eat less, easier said than done: How I made it emotionally work for me.
I have come to believe: Food is shaped by our belief systems of the day.
For example, Romans ate only one meal a day. They believed it was gluttony to eat more than one!
So, we have our habits based on the belief systems of today. I decided to test the assumptions behind them by listening to my own body.
Couple of moments stood out
- Since taste was emotionally key for me, I started to observe. The first few bites were more satiating than later bites. So, I decided to have variety vs. quantity. I experimented with food — touched it, felt it and consumed it. And listened to how my body feels. Repeated the food that makes me feel agile and alive and avoided ones that made me feel dull. Comfort was key.
- If someone put a gun and ask me to eke out one truth of mine that is uncommon to hear about food — here it is. I could easily skip breakfast in a normal day. I don’t get up super hungry in the mornings. Always been taught that it was the most important meal in modern day living. I looked for evidence that was contrarian to this hypothesis. I found plenty! One example that alludes to what we all suspect — convenience and marketing. “The Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th Century regularized working hours, with laborers needing an early meal to sustain them at work. All classes started to eat a meal before going to work, even the bosses.”…. “At the turn of the 20th Century, breakfast was revolutionized once again by American John Harvey Kellogg. He accidentally left some boiled maize out and it went stale. He passed it through some rollers and baked it, creating the world’s first cornflake. He sparked a multi-billion pound industry.”
- My grandmom, in a small village in south India, fasted on the 11th day after new moon and 11th day after full moon. As a kid, I asked her how she was able to do it, she just smiled. I adored her. Yet, she never pushed her way of living. I needed a scientific reasoning for adopting it. With Google, I found it today. 70% of our body is water. On the new moon or the full moon day, the sea tide’s range is at its maximum. What we see externally, is true internally. Water inside our body is the calmest in between the two moons. Best time to go easy on the food as the body is naturally calmest and needs less energy to throb with life. Just brilliant and epitome of living in sync with nature. Now, when I adopted fasting for my weight loss, I realized it was my belief in her — that was the emotional connection. Science was a good propeller.
- A break from the past: After a major personal loss, the general advice is to have a change in surroundings. For my strategy to work, I couldn’t change the surroundings, I could change my routines 100%. So, I decided to go polar opposite, from snack often to eat rarely. Also, I chose to move from unconscious eating to conscious consumption. I picked hours that work for me for fasting — sleeping hours and padding on both sides around it. I started with 12 hours, went to 16 hours and now at 20 hours. It works without being intrusive on my life!
Eat less often is one thing, what about doubling down on the math, easiest exercise — walk.
How I made walking my own — from boring to interesting?
If you observe people in the park, most have ear phones listening to something. I chose to avoid that. Why? I like to observe, assimilate and write about the hidden gems in plain sight. That’s my hobby. Walking and watching became a great pass time for me. Here is what I found more comforting — research published by the National Institutes of Health read — Number of steps per day is more important than step intensity. In other words, walking leisurely is more impactful than walking pace. Love that!
Yet, time is a premium. I can sneak out walks to my favorite park in the morning and evenings, but what about the day? The bright side of Covid is working from home. I chose to walk around the house, backyard and all the space I could find while taking conference calls. I showed my face on video initially and moved to phone/voice for rest of the meeting, especially ones where I was mostly on listening mode. I piled on the steps by adapting to the new normal. It seamlessly fit in.
When my waist size had gone up beyond my pants comfort zone, I felt enough was enough.
My plan was simple- eat less and walk more. My emotion wasn’t.
I believe, weight loss is more an emotional connection than a science. I tapped into my love for my grandmother and her way of life, my mom’s sage advice — son, one advice,don’t advise; experiment and share your experience and my hero, Albert Einstein whose life advice below worked magic on my diet thought process.
“It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
“You Don’t Have to Know Everything. You Just Have to Know Where to Find It.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
I stayed with my personal whys longer, kept my body moving, found what I needed to find and imagined how colorful food and comfortable body would lead me to where I am today —
What worked for me, may or may not work for you. Tap into your emotions, listen to your body, believe that each one of us is unique.
Prescriptive diets and plans are passe. Who you are — your full body and your beautiful mind is the kernel for your weight loss.
Believe it, I am living proof.