Losing the last 3kg

Veg, fish, no oil, going into the oven

Veg, fish, no oil, going into the oven

September programme – losing 2-3kg


I suspect weight loss is rather more about diet than exercise.

Let me illustrate.

The recommended daily calorie intake for men is around 2500 and for women 2000 (obviously this does not take account of bodyweight).

Running at 6mph (about 10kmh) for 30 minutes burns around 360 Kcal if you weigh 72Kg, 275Kcal if you weigh 55Kg. The brain on its own consumes roughly 240Kcal every 24 hours

A two day a week ‘fast’ whereby men consume under 600Kcal each fasting day and women 500Kcal saves 3800Kcal and 3000Kcal respectively.

The average Briton consumes around 700g of sugar per week (100g per day – or 387 calories). In Germany that figure is around 95g per day – roughly the European average of 368Kcal per day.

400g sugar, 400g chocolate, 200g butter, 300ml double cream, 170g flour. Cake is not your friend if you're trying to lose the last 3 kilos

400g sugar, 400g chocolate, 200g butter, 300ml double cream, 170g flour. Cake is not your friend if you’re trying to lose the last 3 kilos

Cutting out sugar from one’s diet for four weeks removes a ridiculous 2.8kg of sugar from one’s diet but for my purposes I’ll calculate that as 2kg or 7,740KCal (so I’m counting sugar reduction for 5 days per week because it’s implicit in the fast and I’ll avoid double counting) .

Add in 3800 x 4 from fasting and you have a grand total of 22,940 calories cut. That’s the equivalent of jogging for 31.86 hours or 1 hour 8 minutes per day every day for 4 weeks if you’re a 72kg man. If you’re a 55kg woman and cut out sugar at 100g per day plus fasting you cut 19,740Kcal from your intake or the equivalent of 35 hours jogging at 6mph or just over 1 hour 15 minutes per day.

So my plan is to build exercise around sensible eating rather than vice versa.

Fasting days are fairly simple for me. I have porridge (25-30g porridge oats) with fruit in the morning. Blackberries are plentiful this time of year.

Lunch is a pile of steamed broccoli and carrots, plus peppers, onion, tomatoes and a piece of fish roasted in the over without fats.

Dinner is typically soup.

The point is that a whole head of broccoli (one I bought from the supermarket weighed in at around 350g) might only account for 80-85Kcal. You can eat a lot of veg if you pick the right stuff – ideally not potatoes for instance.

On non fasting days I’m planning to go for more proteinacious breakfasts; so eggs, beans etc rather than too much bread. I’m hoping to go to Billingsgate fish market in the next week or so to stock up. One meal a day (probably dinner in the evening) will be fish and a range of vegetables, but no potatoes. Lunch will be the one meal where I’m not going to worry too much about eating pasta or rice or bread. An alternative to fish would be chicken or a little fairly lean red meat – not for me though. Chickenses are my friends.

Exercise-wise I’ll join the gym for the month. That should allow me to expand the range of what I’m doing. However I don’t do cardiovascular workouts on fasting days because my norm is to do a Tabata high intensity routine on the rowing machine and if I have eaten lightly I get light headed. So I generally stick to planking, weights and crunches.

Good for dragons, bad for people...

Good for dragons, bad for people…

So I’m going to post my starting weight on September 1st and take it from there. A month without cake? I know, but I’ve done it before.

However there is a more profound point to this exercise. The way men are increasingly under pressure to look (and boy do we have it easy compared with women), with very low body fat of 10-12% so you get the sort of muscle definition beloved of Men’s Health models, strikes me as unsustainable.

I reckon I should be able to cut my body fat percentage fairly sharply if I stick to this routine. The point is however that I wouldn’t want to do this permanently. It’s just too much like hard work. I like food, I like the occasional bit of cake, I like the odd drink (I may have a glass or two of red wine per week but no beer)

Being healthy is about devising a way of life you can enjoy and stick with. If you find it all too much you’ll give up.

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2 Responses to Losing the last 3kg

  1. Laura says:

    I should think the sums alone in this article cost you about 100 calories. Surely that means you can have a Milkyway with breakfast tomorrow? It doesn’t count because it’s not September yet.

  2. Well you know how back of an envelope maths lends these things a veneer of credibility 😉 It also helps make the point that diet is probably more of a factor in the current obesity crisis than pure lack of exercise. I took Luca to the Hop Farm today and it was really shocking just how unhealthily overweight so many people are.

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