MY HEALTH JOURNEY
By Alister Fuller
Let's face it if you want to live a long and fulfilling life you need to stay healthy, be healthy, live healthy. As you get older, for someone like me at 57 years old, right now, you start to realise that all the money in the world is not going to make you live long and healthy. So you really need to put health and fitness in the forefront of your mind. There are no two ways about it.
I remember when I was 40 years old I made a decision to stay healthy but guess what we get caught up in the realities of life and we put everything else first and we end up neglecting ourselves. We don't stay focused, too busy making money etc that we go back to living a sedentary or busy life and all the weight gets put back on. We use every excuse in the book to Not Do. That's when my doctor put me on cholesterol tablets at the age of 40. At the age of 50 I decided to join a gym and make a big change in my life and focus on health. But for some unknown reason you tend to go back to the same old and you start putting on the weight. So at the age of 50 my doctor put me on high blood pressure tablets. So now I am on high cholesterol and high blood pressure tablets.
My doctor and so does most doctors usually take the easy way out and put you on medication almost instantly. In their mind and experience they're doing the right thing. That is what they're supposed to do. My doctor never once told me even to watch very carefully what I eat and to go on a fasting program to lose weight and fat. She prescribes medication. She always told me to do exercise. But very few of them do tell you to change your eating habits or focus on what goes into your mouth. What we eat is 80% of good health and staying fit and healthy and 20% is exercise. It is a science. Simple. If you keep track of what you eat you will be very surprised on firstly, the amount we eat and more importantly what we eat. Go on do it just for one day. Hopefully that will put everything into perspective and you will realise that it is only You who have total control on what goes into your mouth.
Don't get me wrong I love my food, in fact I am a cook. I cook food for functions and parties and various events. The bottom line is this. If you want to live long and stay healthy and fit you have to make some change. Even a small change will make a big difference. The only total control we have is on our own mind and body. Everything else which is outside of ourselves we have almost zero control. What we have between our ears is the most powerful tool that we could use to make a massive difference. You can go on any diet program or spend tons of money on gyms and supplements to lose weight or to stay fit and healthy but if you don't fix your mind, if you don't make a strong commitment in your mind, if you don't talk to yourself on a daily basis or even moment by moment basis on making the right choices then nothing is going to work. Self talk is very very and I cannot stress this enough. Especially when it comes to making choices on what goes into our mouth. If what we eat is 80% and 20% exercise then we need to use 80% of our mind to focus on what we eat, 20% of our mind on exercise. So now you can imagine how much of emphasis we need to put on what we eat. It makes no sense to run all those kilometers or do PBs (Personal best records) in the gym if we don't fix our diet or what goes into our mouth.
In most Western countries honestly we have too much food. We have 3 meals a day and quite a few snacks in between. If you look at third world countries or poor countries, they barely have 1 meal a day and also it is not a nutritious meal either. They look very skinny with barely any fat on them. So it is clear that we don't need too much of food. We don't need to have three meals a day. Whoever came up with this idea of eating breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper is totally wrong. Under normal circumstances that could be right, however if we have already packed on the fat and kilos and we have DECIDED to lose the fat and weight then this certainly does not apply. We literally have to go back to the hunter gatherer days where we have one decent meal a day and FAST or barely eat anything on some days.
Losing weight and staying healthy is a SCIENCE. Full stop. Fat is stored energy. The more fat we have the more stored energy we have. The body is a machine and is designed and built to live as a hunter gatherer. So the term Feast and Famine makes more sense. The hunter gatherer lived in a feast and famine environment. So the science is simple. When they feast and times are good they put on the fat and in the famine times they would use up all the fat which enables them to live just long enough to feast again and put on the fat again. So the fat which is stored energy is very important for a hunter gatherer. Our bodies are designed like that. However in the modern day it is different but our bodies design has not changed. Having 3 meals and snacks in between meals for a hunter gatherer is feasting. Now if we don't experience famine in the modern day it is quite simple so we put on the fat. It is not rocket science. I am not a scientist and I have no education in nutrition. To me this is common sense but not necessarily common practice. Once we understand this then the 3 meals and snacks idea does not apply.
Now fasting you may think is very hard. Again watch very carefully your self talk. If you say it is hard then it will be hard. If your self talk is "fasting is easy", then it will be easy. This is why I say that self talk is very very important. The mind is very powerful. You see the mind is designed to protect the body. When the mind senses that the body is going to endure pain, the mind will talk you out of engaging in that activity just to avoid the pain. That is what the mind is designed to do. This is why self talk is sooooooo verrrrrry verrrrry important. We have to trick the mind and talk it out of doing what it is designed to do. Something which we can do and have total control over is the mind. It is called self talk. We should never let the mind control our actions. We need to control our mind to engage in the actions that we want it to do. There is a quote to explain this "if you think you can or if you think you can't, either way you are right" all thinking only exists in the mind. That is a unique quality of being a human being. So we have to trick the mind by using self talk.
There are too many examples of this phenomenon. How many times when we set our minds to do something we always end up doing it no matter what obstacles we face. We are only limited by our own thinking. We heard the saying "we are our worst enemy". Look I can go on and on, on this topic but you fully understand what I am emphasising on. THE MIND. If you don't understand or fix the mind then nothing is going to work. The process is simple. Thought (mind), word (speak), action (DO). NEVER the other way around. When it happens the other way around we call it "out of mind". For example. In a fight how many times we have seen in court cases especially the person who hit another person said he did not mean to do it and he is very sorry. We call this BEING OUT OF MIND at that moment. Where you hit first then think. That is why we are supposed to take a breather or a few seconds to consider our actions before we react to a situation.
Another example is road rage. All too common. Rage in itself means doing first thinking later.
Another example is putting a flat pack together. I am guilty of this. We get a set of instructions to follow. We don't read them instead we just Do IT and we end up with a few extra bolts and nuts or worst case we have to redo the whole project from the start.
So THOUGHT, WORD and ACTION is the process. ALWAYS. So think it first, then talk to yourself about it and in most cases the more often you talk to yourself, then the doing part happens automatically.
We humans accomplish amazing achievements when we have a strong enough REASON for doing so. Just simply saying losing weight is not enough. There is another quote "if you can find your 'why', you will find almost any 'how'" also "when your' why' is big enough, you will find your 'how'" also "when you know your 'why', you can survive almost any 'how'".
Spend a bit of time to determine your WHY. This is the hardest thing to do. Now when it comes to losing weight it is not too hard to find a good reason. If you are in your 40s or 50s there is a good chance apart from not being and feeling healthy, you will be dead even before you get to retire. You might say well even the healthy die before they retire. That is true, however, pay a visit to a nearby hospital and take a walk along the corridors and count on your fingers how many people who look healthy and fit compared to the ones who look unhealthy are inpatients. What I am trying to emphasize is that your chances of living longer increases if you are feeling healthy and fit. I believe that is a good enough reason to embark on a health and fitness program. So FIND YOUR REASON or just take your clothes off and take a long look in the mirror. If you love what you see, then great. But if you don't, then you need to make that important decision to do something about it starting today.
NEXT IS SELF TALK. Talk to yourself firstly OUT OFF choosing the wrong foods that go into your mouth and talk yourself INTO choosing and consuming the right foods. This simple choice will instantly make a massive difference immediately. Remember diet is 80%. Now if you want to lose fat then the general formula is Low fat, low carb, high protein diet. I say general because we are all built differently. I know the Keto diet is high good fat, low carb, adequate protein diet. This may suit some body types. I am not giving and I refrain from giving any advice regarding diets because I am not qualified to do so. WARNING "You should consult your doctor before you embark on any diet and exercise program". This is very important. Follow the advice of your doctor. They have your health history and they are qualified to give you appropriate advice. That is their job. However YouTube and Google have tons of videos and articles on various diets and exercise programs. I personally use them to help educate myself on what is possible. But regarding diet the one that I used to lose 30kg in 6months is low good fat, low carbs (natural whole green leafy vegetables) and high protein (mostly lean chicken and beef and lentils). This is regarding diet.
The next topic is FASTING. The catalyst that got me started in my health and fitness journey was watching a video by Michael Mosley on Fasting. I never knew that fasting was good for you and it extends your life span. That video was the turning point for me. Once I understood the importance of fasting in health and fitness, I embraced the idea and ran with it. The results were instant and in one word AMAZING. I could not believe the results I was getting in such a short time. Most of the fasting ideas did not work for me. The one that worked was the 16/8 idea. Fast for 16hrs a day and eat 1 balanced meal (lunch) in the 8hrs window, healthy snacks and 1 light meal before 8pm. Basically skip breakfast for as long as you can. Initially around 10am break my fast then push it to 11am, 12pm and sometimes upto 2pm. Remember it is all in the mind. Now depending on your job and what you do in the morning this changes. However since we are fasting the longer we fast the more fat is used up. Personally for me I am a bus driver. I need to stay alert. So I usually carry a banana with me just incase I cannot concentrate and feeling weak. I call a banana a miracle fruit. It gives instant energy and it lasts for at least 2hrs. I only eat it if I have to. I avoid eating it most of the time. Initially it was not easy but as the weeks went by it got a lot easier to do. There comes a stage where your stomach shrinks in size and you just cannot have 3 meals and above all 3 big meals. CONSISTENCY is the key. Weigh yourself daily at the same time or circumstance. For example I wake up go to the toilet then before I drink water I weigh myself everyday. If you lost weight that will encourage you to keep going. However if you have gained weight that should be a good enough reason for you to push harder and do more. But NEVER NEVER GIVE UP.
To make a big change requires big concerted effort in small doses. So don't kid yourself and allow the mind to tell you it's OK to not fast for a day or two or it's ok to eat the wrong foods every now and then. That is what the mind is designed to do and we have to talk it out of doing that. So be consistent for consistency sake.
The reason I was able to see quick results in my opinion was because I used to do cardio within my fast. For example, I started with a 2 km walk and slow jog when I was 105 kilos and as the weight kept coming off I pushed it to 3kms and then 5kms on a consistent basis and more importantly within my fast, on an empty stomach. I call this being effective.
I also got my inspiration from bus passengers. I met a 91 year old man on the first Friday in Nov2017 who told me that he walked 5km every single day without missing a single day. He inspired me and from that day onwards, I started walking and jogging 5kms kilometers instead of 3kms every day. On the first Friday in December 2017 a young marathon runner got into my bus. He suggested that I do a 10km run once a week. That day I started and dubbed it a 10k Friday. I kept that up for months. On 12dec it was my Birthday and I decided that it should be special and stand out. So I did a 12km run. However it was a Tuesday and that Friday I had to do my usual 10km run which I did. Basically whatever I set my mind to I accomplished NO MATTER WHAT. There were many weeks following, that I would do a 10km run 2 or 3 times in a week. I basically ran jogged and walked every single day and most of the time during my fast. I was bordering on being obsessed or some call it crazy. I called it totally FOCUSED. Both mean the same thing. The kgs kept coming off real fast. In conjunction with my cardio I would do muscle building at the gym 4 to 5 times a week. Started with light weights and over time, kept increasing them and doing PB's.
I also fasted once a week for the whole day. I dubbed it CAULIFLOWER day. I would steam a couple of cauliflowers spice it up with my Indian spices and eat just that if I felt hungry or needed some calories. My wife was very instrumental in sharing ideas and recipes with me. She would do most of the research and share that info with me and at times cook for me as well. FASTING was truly a catalyst for my health journey. My stomach shrunk and I could barely have a full big meal. That Christmas at all the parties and buffets I chose healthy salads and lean meats. I avoided desserts and fruits. It made no sense to eat unhealthy foods and run the next day. However if the temptation was big and I succumbed I would run an extra km the next day to make up for my bad choices.
Before the year 2017 was over I got my blood test done and my doctor was very surprised with the results. All normal. I stopped all medications 3 months before my blood test. 6 months later I did another blood test and normal again. In fact my BP was like that of an athlete. My resting heart rate was between 40 and 50bpm - consistently. My doctor could not believe my transformation. I started putting on muscle. One day my neighbor remarked that he needs to take a second look at me each time he saw me because I looked like a different person. He even suggested that I write a book. I took his advice and started the book. It is still a work in progress 2 yrs later. I spoke about my fitness journey to anyone who was willing to listen. I am certain I inspired many bus passengers and colleagues on their fitness journey. One passenger was following my progress on FB and I could not remember him. He sent me a before and after photo of himself on FB. He reckoned that I inspired him and honestly in my opinion he achieved more than I did and in a much shorter time span. It was a WOW moment for me and I could not remember him at all.
Honestly I could go on and on forever on this topic. If you are struggling with controlling your weight, or if you have tried everything and you have run out of options on what to do next then please get in touch with me and let us have a chat on where to next. You have nothing to lose. If I can do it then I am certain anyone can. I have learnt so much on my health and fitness journey. I met many people and got inspired by many people on my fitness journey. I remember every single one of these people as clear as day and I am so grateful to them for sharing their secrets with me. If I can be that person for you, that would be my greatest reward. Mahatma Gandhi once said "there is no greater power a human being can have over another human being than the power of Influence". I was desperately seeking. I was fortunate many people influenced me. I would love the opportunity to do the same on your fitness journey. Being fit and healthy is absolutely worth all the hard work and consistent effort. You feel like you are on top of the world. You feel like you can achieve anything and everything.
There are many other benefits like people who know you are shocked at your transformation. Their first impression is they ask if you are sick because you lost so much weight. When you tell them you run everyday and push weights often then it changes to being an inspiration and amazing etc. Great feeling. Dressing up is another perk. I purposely wear tight clothes. Because I can. And I am proud of it. With a big pot belly or beer gut as they call it in OZ its embarrassing and out of the question to wear tight clothes. Being fit and at optimum weight looking at the mirror each time gives you a great sense of achievement. It feels good. I show my before and after photo to anyone and everyone. Most importantly I probably expended my life by over 10 years by simply committing to 6 months of total focus on health and fitness and a massive change in lifestyle. I will end by saying "It's Worth it". Thank you for reading my story. I look forward to yours 6 months from today. Please do me a favour, scroll back and read the first paragraph again.