Everything you are about to read is my own opinion it’s not medical advice, scientifically proven or anything like that it’s me, my thoughts and words. You may agree or disagree that is your choice. I hope some of it makes sense though.
Firstly I am not on a “DIET”. I am eating for fat loss. I don’t have any magic pills, potions or lotions, I don’t have the next cutting edge abs producing eBook for you to buy at a discounted price for the next 24hrs only, I don’t have an all singing all dancing diet plan for you to follow, I am not a dietician, nutritionist or diet guru, I don’t have all the answers and I can’t fix all your weight loss issues.
What I can do is help you get to the root of your weight problem. Advise you on what you should be doing and hopefully clear up this minefield that is food information confusion.
What gives me this right? I bring to the table 10 years of personal real-life experience trying to control my own weight. 5 years of experience delivering exceptional weight/fat loss results coaching my students. Real-life total transformations “Biggest Loser” style on numerous people of all ages and backgrounds while following the program I designed and training with me and my crew.
I am a successful, professional health and fitness specialist. I’m no fat loss expert, fitness guru, or anything special. I am very good at what I do which is educate the general public on how to become passionate about exercise and make healthy life choices.
We, humans, were not built to be overweight and carry excess body fat. We were built to run, hop, skip, jump and climb. The amazing feeling that you get after raising your heart rate through correct exercise is proof enough that the body wants and enjoys it. Sadly with the convenient society, we live in we really don’t have to do anything that takes a great deal of effort if we don’t want to and this is part of the underlying problem we face. As a society, we have become lazy and the foods we eat help to encourage that laziness.
Through years of forced practice, we are encouraged to eat 3-5 meals a day in order to “keep the metabolism running” where if we ate every 5-6 hours our body would work more functionally and the food we eat (depending on choice) will have real-time to be broken down absorbed correctly then utilised for energy. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, at these three daily food intervals we are encouraged initially and then through habit to choose certain types of foods to eat. Let’s look into this in more detail.
From parent to child, generation to generation the habit of eating breakfast is passed on. We are encouraged to eat our breakfast in order to “kick start our metabolisms”. In this part of the world, your average everyday Joe will eat cereal and cow’s milk, toast with margarine or jam, and wash it all down with tea or coffee. Some may venture down the “health bar” route others will fuel up with a good old Morton’s square sausage and egg doubler and a can of Irn Bru. Believe it or not these statements are not my thoughts these are the average breakfast I see when I review a week one food diary.
Breakfast cereals….. we might as well go and eat plastic, think about this if something is stored in a plastic bag which can be left open, comes in a cardboard box and has a shelf life of 12 months not to mention production and storage times, how good for your stomach and gastric intestines can that be? Add the milk that should be given to a calf to help it grow into a cow and boom we have a great combination. This is what I grew up on a big fat bowl of sugar via Dr. Kellogg’s himself. I drank pints of milk every day my mum used to go mental as there would never be any left. Children all over the country are up and ready for school fuelled up by this garbage but it’s a great money maker for the food manufacturers so they market and advertise it correctly to make even bigger profit margins. Even Weetabix the more boring of cereals now comes with chocolate chips in it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to an educated choice. Hopefully, the last paragraph will make you think twice before you reach for the fruit and fiber.
It’s lunchtime and most probably every Greg’s in the country has a queue in it. Ok here is an imaginary order white bread sandwich with mayo, packet of crisps, chocolate bar, and a bottle of diet coke. To me a horrendous choice but to most that will be a wee treat or what they order every day. Each morning when I walk to the studio there is a queue outside Greg’s on Gordon St and the majority of the people who are there are carrying excess weight. I don’t think I have ever seen an overweight person munching on a sausage roll with a smile on their face and I see this every morning. I’m not saying don’t go to Greg’s nor am I picking on them, personally I wouldn’t but that’s down to my educated choice. For what it’s worth I think they have an awesome business model.
Bread what’s the issue? In my personal and professional experience, it is very hard for the body to process. Just think of what paper mache looked like when you were making this as a kid and that is what it’s like in your stomach when you eat it. It causes slow bowel movements, constipation, abdominal bloating, and energy loss. When it’s removed from your diet and the toxins leave your body I have witnessed clients have very bad bouts of facial acne (the toxins come through their pores) drowsiness, lack of energy, grumpiness, and the list goes on. This all during the first week and then into week two a positive increase in mood, energy levels, and skin tone. So the proof is in the pudding so to say. I have experienced this when I was recently at my wee Grans funeral the food that was put on was all white bread, homemade sausage rolls, and cream cakes. In my family I and Jules would be classed as “health freaks” a badge I will wear with pride, however as not to rock the boat and due to the fact that I was emotionally drained and hungry I ate what was there. The outcome a few hours later was bloated, sluggish, heavy stomach, and the next day I spent a lot of time trotting back and forward to the restroom. What did that tell me? My body really doesn’t like bread. I have had numerous conversations with other clients who have eliminated it from their daily food choice and then brought it back in. Not everyone has to severe reactions but many of them experienced the exact same symptoms as me.
Crisps, chocolate, and fizzy juice
Eating crisps is like drinking oil. I have clients who would describe themselves as addicted to crisps and together we have to wean them off them. I encourage them to do this experiment. Buy a bag of luxury crisps you know the ones in the big foil bags that are the size of half your arm. Pour them out and find the biggest crisp, get a lighter and take everything outside into the open air. With the big crisp in one hand safely light the crisp and watch what happens, look at the colour of the smoke that comes off it watch as it slowly burns and drips to the floor like candle wax at an S&M party. See the cloud of dark puffy smoke and devour the aroma of burning rubber. This is what your stomach has to deal with when you eat these luxury treats.
Fizzy juice; we humans are predominately made up of water and we function so much better when hydrated with water. Fizzy juice is bad for energy as it spikes our insulin, rots our teeth, makes us dehydrated so our kidneys and liver can’t function optimally, and becomes addictive. There are so many more enjoyable beverages out there to be had instead of fizzy juice and I believe most people know this already. The first thing to be removed from a new student’s diet when embarking on a fat loss course with DMC is fizzy juice. Enough said about that.
Chocolate is a real topic of discussion. I am partial to a bit of chocolate now and again, usually on a Saturday night after a hard week (man I’m so rock n roll) but I will say that the next day I do feel like I have a sugar hangover and I can definitely feel the difference when I don’t have it on a Sunday morning. I do tend to have more dark chocolate 80% + coca which is a tad better for you but doesn’t taste half as good. This being said when I am dieting to make weight i.e. pre-competition then chocolate is nowhere to be found and although I will admit that I do like it it’s not good for your energy levels, is very addictive, and will hinder your weight loss goals.
Pasta, potatoes, rice in other words starchy carbohydrates when eating for fat/ weight loss these are the first thing that must be gradually removed from the daily eating plan. Everyone will react differently to this, however Incredible Hulk impressions are very common along with sore heads and a drain in energy during the initial 3 to 10 days. Once through the initial detox period, the body will regulate and function more optimally. This is a big challenge for most as the standard practice is to have these food types with most meals. In my opinion, the easiest way to encourage fat and weight loss is to remove all starches, period. Again it’s test, measure trial and error you need to find out what works for you. Some people can’t handle it, so a few starchy carbs at the start of the day can help. I would advise that when you remove starch i.e. bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, oats, etc. that you keep a mood diary so you can see how you react. This is probably the biggest challenge I face as a fat/weight loss coach as most people arrange their evening meals around starch. I like to think about what am I going to have along with my veggies, instead of what veggies am I going to have along with my meat. It is hard, to begin with, trying to adapt to this and going against the norm but once you are in the swing of it there are so many ways to enjoy good eating without formulating your evening meal around starches.
I don’t really tend to snack that much as I like to eat 2-3 big meals rather than small but if I do snack I will eat raw veggies like peppers have humous, mixed nuts, dried fruits, olives, fish, if I have fruit it will be berries apples and pears sometimes I will get all my favourite snacks and turn them into a full platter for a meal add a full chicken to the mix and hey ho your own wee tapas-style eating frenzy.
Reward meals/overload days
At least once a week I will enjoy a reward meal or I will purposely overload on the amounts of food I eat in one day this is usually on my Sunday off. This is for many reasons mindset and hormone levels being some. We need to recharge the hormone leptin also while eating strictly to achieve a body shape or weight loss goal it’s good to know that you can still enjoy a big day eating at the end of a strict week. Earning the right to indulge makes it all so much more enjoyable and is one of the best parts of my week.
It’s not that people make the wrong choices some do but most are uneducated on what to do and as I was, we are encouraged to eat these types of foods to the detriment of our energy levels, mood, and personal hormone optimisation.
In summary, there is so much information out there it really is hard to know what to do so here is my checklist that I follow when eating for fat loss,
Plan all your meals and make a shopping list
Prepare your food the night before for the following day
Eat real food i.e. foods that are made with fresh produce that have been home-cooked.
Drink water all day, stay hydrated at all times.
Eat lots of vegetables and enjoy the odd bit of fruit.
Stay to foods that have a low GI as you will have a longer energy feed.
Remove all starches and grains from your weekly food and meal planner.
Limit / remove alcohol.
Enjoy a reward meal and reload at least once a week.
Arrange your food timings around what works for you
*in the morning I drink a pint of water and green tea until my first meal at around 1-2pm this usually consists of 2 apples some nuts and dried fruit followed by a vegan protein shake. When I get home after a day of coaching I can go to town and eat more of the things my body likes. This type of approach goes against what we are encouraged to believe is good for us. Well, I’m strong lean, and energised so it works for me*
Write out a food and mood diary – when you take certain food types out of your diet then sometimes it can affect you so keep a note of how you feel and give it some time to work as too many people jump from one thing to another not giving anything a chance to work properly.
When I started to write this piece it was due to taking on two new female students both wanting and needing to lose weight and change their body shapes. The level of confusion out there is horrendous nobody knows what to do and eat people think because it says it’s healthy on the packet then it will be. I have conversations with so many people and I open their minds up and make them think about it. Most are surprised by the concepts at first, then when they actually go and test and measure the results are there for all to feel.
I will finish this here as it will go on forever otherwise. Something I do want to share with you is I have never made anything up in my life. I am challenged at times by another professional with regards to the way I do things. I don’t tell any of my students to do anything I advise and guide them, I encourage them to find their own path and use what works for them when they find what that is.
Every one of us is different so we will all be affected in many different ways however when something brings great results across the board through so many different people then it makes sense to me to share that knowledge so others can get a buzz for life as well. Too many people out there hiding behind studies and reports saying you can’t do this or that will be bad for you or that won’t work when all they are doing is reading.
Life is for learning through trial, error test and measure please open your eyes and step out of the box!
To healthier times
Davie McConnachie is Scotland’s leading health and wellness coach, multi-award-winning gym owner, motivational speaker, and the founder of DMC Fitness, a fitness education facility known as the premier choice for 1-2-1 personal training. He has inspired thousands of people to fall in love with fitness – his true mission in life.
In his own fitness journey, Davie has athletically competed in Mixed Martial Arts fighting for Scottish and British titles, boxed for Scotland’s top amateur boxing team, and competed internationally in Girevoy (kettlebell) Sport.
Diving into the world of sports and wellness has helped Davie to deal with his own inner demons. He. overcame many dark times using his own unique method to complete his cycle of H.E.A.L.I.N.G.