After 2 years traveling the world, I got fat.
I was always on the thin/athletic side. So when the girl I was seeing at the time said “You have a beer belly. And everyone knows it” I was shocked and a bit embarrassed.
I mean, sure I put on a couple of pounds. But a beer belly! That’s for other people, not me…
I kept telling myself I could do a “whole 30 diet” any month and lose the weight. I had done one of those before and the weight fell off.
But I had all these cool trips planned — Seeing friends in Austin, Christmas break at home, heading to Medellin… I didn’t want to spend that time going “sorry, I can’t have any beer/pizza/burgers, etc.”
I wanted to enjoy life with my friends and family… AND lose weight.
That’s where Sameem Rouhani came in.
He’s a friend and client who reached out for some marketing help.
In order to help him, I had to pick his brain and learn all about his system and methods.
He taught me two core principles for weight loss:
Core Principle #1: Burn more calories than you take in. Forget all the pills, powders and whatever “new discoveries” (not like I did that stuff anyway.) Fat loss comes down to this.
This is why I was still fat even after doing those “insanity” workouts several times a week.
Core Principle #2: Do what works for you.
If you try to follow someone else’s program or routine you’re probably gonna dislike parts of it. So it’s only a matter of time until you go “screw this” and give up completely.
New Eating Habits
– Skip breakfast. Sameem said your body burns fat while you sleep and keeps doing it when you wake up. Now I love breakfast. I was having bacon/egg/cheese sandwiches several times a week. But when I tried this, I realized I don’t get hungry until 11am anyway. So fasting in the morning is easy.
Now, this may not work for you. But there may be another window during the day where fasting makes sense. Or maybe many small meals is more your thing. Whatevs. Find what works for you, homie.
Oh and by the way, that whole “But breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” thing was just a marketing campaign by cereal companies.)
– Salad every day. Most days my first meal (around 11 or noon) is a kale/spinach salad with 3-4 different types of veggies, balsamic or low-calorie raspberry dressing, and chicken or shrimp.
Those veggies are nutrient dense. So I stay fuller longer than if I ate a bagel and cream cheese. And I have WAY more sustained energy. So I’m not crashing at 2PM or whatever. (Side note, eating better and exercising more regularly has also helped me sleep way better. I used to struggle to get to sleep but now it’s not a problem — especially on days I exercise.)
– Almost no alcohol or dessert. This sucked at first because I was doing a beer with dinner and cookies or a cupcake for dessert pretty regularly. But after a few weeks, I realized I didn’t even want that stuff now. My body was happier without it.
Also, I didn’t cut it out completely. For new years I had a few drinks with my friends. Just made it wine/whiskey because there are waaaay fewer calories. (There’s a reason it’s called a beer belly and not whiskey belly.
– I have a smoothie with banana/strawberry (or mangos or peaches)/celery/protein powder/ chia seeds every day around 3pm. The protein powder helps me stay full. The chia seeds are supposed to be good for you based a book a read once. These smoothies make me happy. I make them with the Magic Bullet.
– My new go-to snack became hummus and dried veggies. Okay, I still have chips and salsa like every day but now I’ll have slightly less of that and a bit more of the hummus/veggies.
– Eat more or less whatever the fuck I want for dinner. Usually, a plate mixed medley of roasted veggies with meat and bbq sauce and rice. Though I also make burgers and pizza every week. And yes, these are normal burgers/pizza. Not some gluten-free bean-based nonsense that hippies claim is just as good when we all know it fucking isn’t.
– Cut back on sugar, bread, and cheese. Not completely, I still make have buns and cheese on my burgers. Tacos and burritos still happen. But I try to make that all the bread I have in a day. Sugar/grains are just empty calories. They don’t help you feel full so you end up eating more and getting fat.\
– Have a life. When I was in Austin in Jan I ate/drank whatever I wanted for 3 days — and I actually gained back like 6 pounds. It took me a week to get back to where I was before the trip. And I would do it all again.
That’s another thing: People tend to miss a day or meal on their diet and then give up. That would be like if I gave up on an article after misspelling a word. Umm, go back and fix it, yo! You had a bad day. So what? It’s just a step back.
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on track.
It was easy for me to get back on track because I liked my new routine. The more salads I ate the more my body wanted salads because of how good they made me feel. Same with exercise.
New Exercise Routines:
As I said, I’ve always been athletic/active so this wasn’t that tough for me.
I stopped working out when I was traveling the world. Because gyms are stupid. But got back into a regular routine when I came back to Colorado. It includes:
– Jiu-jitsu or kickboxing 5 hours a week.
– A 25 min run midday a few times a week. Sometimes it’s zero days a week, other times 4. I’m not consistent. Also, running doesn’t do a ton to burn calories. Sameem recommends lifting because 20 minutes of lifting torches WAY more calories than 20 minutes of running. But I like it to clear my head.
– Lifting weights for 20-30 minutes a few (1-3 times) a week. Again I’m not super consistent with this. I’ll take weeks off. But it accelerates the fat loss.
Sameem taught me I don’t need to spend more than 30min at the gym. That was huge. I used to think I needed an hour plus for it to be worth it. So now I’ll just go in and work 1-2 muscle groups then call it a day.
– Yin Yoga 1-2X a week. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t do a damn thing for weight loss since I’m just laying on the ground the whole time. But it’s part of my “get off your damn chair” routine so figured I’d throw it in.
Me, significantly less fat than I was 3 months earlier
Now the cool thing of all this is, it’s easy to keep up.
I’m not going to slip back into “fat Brian” anytime soon. Because the daily salads, workouts, and all that stuff I just mentioned are EASY to maintain.
It’s based around foods/workouts I like.
And once I started getting results it became even easier. I found my body being like “dude, you don’t need the greasy crap. Order the salad” when I was at a restaurant.
I used to NEVER order the salad. I was all about greasy meat, bread, and cheese. And I still am sometimes. But 80% of the time I’m eating well. So those little adventures into Fat Land don’t have much impact.
Except they make it tough for me to get a six-pack. But I don’t really care about that. I’m proud of how I look now. And the work and discipline going into getting a six pack just doesn’t seem worth it. I’d rather be free to relax and eat/drink whatever when I’m with my friends.
So all that is how I lost 15lbs in 3 months without really trying.
I could have lost a lot more a lot faster if I lifted weights more and didn’t have so many binging days. Every month I’d fall off my diet for about 5 days. Usually not in a row, but Saturdays after jiu-jitsu I’d be like “donut time!”
Now, this worked for me.
And I’ll be honest, I had an advantage. I’ve always been active so exercising a bunch was easy for me.
There are going to be parts of this that don’t work for you
And there will be other little discoveries that make it super easy for you to stick to your new routine. LIke me realizing how a salad/smoothie would keep me full and energized until about 6pm.
If you need help finding them, I highly recommend chatting with Sameem.
He knows his stuff.
And he cares.
Seriously, he’ll bug you until you hit your goals.