Updated: Apr 2, 2021
While I’ve helped a lot of my patients lose fat and get into shape, for years I neglected my own health and my weight eventually ballooned and topped out at around 86kg a few years back.
While I can attribute this to many reasons like work, stress, laziness, poor diet and lack of exercise, the easiest way to sum it up is that life was happening!
It’s likely the same for all of you, life was happening and I simply had not made it my priority to get into shape and comfort eating was giving me some instant gratification but likely paving the way for disaster.
For some reason I always thought that I could do it ‘next time’, I could get into shape once my career was more stable, once things were better.
Little did I know, things were going to get much worse!
I started to get daily headaches, had to go for surgery to have a possibly cancerous lesion removed from my mouth and then things went from bad to worse when I developed a blood clot in my right eye (central retinal vein occlusion). It was as terrifying as it sounds and I basically went blind in one eye!
A disease that normally affects much older folks, the specialists were at a loss to find the cause and had to inject a drug into my eyeball to get the swelling to stop and get my vision back. It was scary as hell!
Then when it looked like things could not get any worse, while trying to find out why I developed a blood clot in my eye, a lump was discovered in my thyroid gland!
I know right, it seemed never ending!
After biopsies to make sure I didn’t have cancer were inconclusive, I had to go for major surgery to have one half of my thyroid removed. It was done via an endoscopic robotic procedure originally pioneered in Korea, going through my armpit and nipple (yes ouch) but meant I was able to avoid the traditional neck scar.
What else could go wrong I wondered? Well, I developed a small intestine obstruction, which could have burst and killed me but thankfully this time, as fate would have it, I was able to avoid the knife and the condition settled down with conservative treatments!
Hold up, I know you just wanted to know what I eat but you have to understand all this to understand why I eat what I do!
I realized there is no next time, there is only now! The same can be said about pretty much everything in life.
Even as a doctor, it took all this for me to realise how important it is for me to take care of my health, for myself and the people I love.
So many times you hear that someone faced cancer or something devastating and developed a newfound appreciation for life before making drastic changes and I guess the same can be said for my case.
It was due to all these horrible experiences that I decided to get my act together and get my health back on track and get back into shape!
As horrible as it all was, I was actually very lucky! If the blood clot had been in my brain or heart, I could have been paralysed or even dead!
Ultimately, I’m sharing all this because it could happen to any of you but I don’t want it to!
“Get into shape now, as if you’ve just recovered from a life threatening illness - so that you don’t have to”!
It’s not difficult, you just have to want it and go for it!
So doc, what did you eat to lose weight and get back into shape and stay in shape?
Well, you asked so I’ll answer!
At 166cm tall and currently about 63kg, most online calculators estimate my maintenance calories to be around 2200 to 2300 calories per day.
This means that if I eat anything less than that, like 1800 to 2000 calories per day, I should lose weight right?
Well here’s the thing! I don’t!
I tried 2000 calories per day, 1800 calories per day, 1700 calories per day but it’s only when I hit 1600 calories per day and less that I start to lose weight at the desired rate (see Flow Method Manual) and to get really lean, I found myself having to go as low as 1200 to 1300 calories per day!
You might be thinking this doesn’t make sense but it does and likely reflects how my day to day life is quite sedentary, mostly sitting in a car, seeing patients, sitting down replying emails and calls, it’s not very active at all!
The only time I really get any physical activity in is when I exercise and I only do resistance (weight) training, which doesn’t burn a great deal of calories.
Yeah you heard right, I don’t do any cardio!
To create the calorie deficit I need to lose fat and get really lean, I need to be taking in around 1300 calories per day. If I did some cardio exercise and burnt an extra 200 calories per day then I could actually be less strict with my diet, I would be able to eat 200 calories more per day and still get the same results! The only problem with that is that I hate doing cardio! Yep, so I’m sticking to creating the necessary calorie deficit by eating less instead of exercising more!
For you to find your own daily maintenance calories, you really have to put in some effort! Try a certain calorie intake for 2 weeks, monitor your weight changes and then adjust and repeat as necessary.
So here it is, what I eat in a day!
24 hours on my plate:
4 Flow French Toast*
Large Coffee sweetened with Walden Farms Mocha Coffee Creamer
Fish Oil Vitamin Capsule
Special Forces Stew*
Cup of tea
Ice Shake Blitzkrieg*
Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop popcorn – 1 mini bag
Casein Protein Shake
Total Calories per day: 1257
Total Protein intake per day: 153g
* These are all recipes from our Hyperthermic Cookbook.
My calorie intake is very low and my protein intake is very high, but because the foods taste great and the portions are big, I don’t feel hungry, weak or tired!
There’s no point following a plan that’s difficult or tastes so horrible that you call it quits after a few months!
I really enjoy what I eat so I eat pretty much the exact same thing every day. This is an eating plan I can follow comfortably for the rest of my life!
I still workout hard, I feel good every day and am probably in the best shape of my life!
That's my endoscopic thyroidectomy scar you can see on the side of my chest and yes, I have chest hair so I'm definitely no fitness model! Heh!
Do you need to eat 1300 calories per day like me? Of course not! You need to find the level that works for you and then, with the help of delicious, low calorie, high protein recipes like the ones in our cookbook, you can do it too!
So there you go folks! Time to eat, drink and be ripped!