***I don’t present stories just on the basis of losing weight — I want to show you that losing weight is one of the BIGGEST wins you can do in regard to fixing chronic illness and chronic pain. Being overweight dramatically raises your risk of many diseases and virtually all cancers. Lamine’s story will help show you what to eat to lose weight.***
I share stories not just to illustrate weight loss and inspire — but to illustrate how weight loss is one of the biggest, all-encompassing wins you can make for those of you with chronic health issues or chronic pain.
It’s literally one of the easiest things to do that will fix myriad other health issues.
So here’s an interview with a friend, Lamine, who lost 66 pounds (over 30kg).
#1 Can You Quickly Tell Me About Yourself And How Your Weight Got to Its Heaviest?
Well, let’s say that in my teens I had a relatively good figure, without any health concerns, and had a perfect BMI until I graduated from university and had my first job where I was eating 2-3 snacks a day. When we are young we don’t really think how food could be the main source of health problems!
Seeing as my job was pretty boring, having a big meal made me feel pretty good and relaxed afterwards, so I ended up eating a lot of the wrong foods (comfort foods), which brought me from a normal BMI to overweight… which was when the trouble began.
#2 When You Were Your Heaviest, What Were You Eating, And How Active Were You? What Did Your Daily Life Look Like?
At that time my job was mainly driving around and checking for new customers, I was working in the agribusiness so basically food was constantly around me and it was really hard to control myself. So I didn’t really have a fixed time to eat and basically was spending 1/4 of my day snacking on foods…And the result was there, I was getting seriously heavier.
But as stupid as it sounds, where I’m from, the people who are putting on weight meant they were living the good life and eating well and wealthy, so I thought it was kinda cool, crazy eh? Furthermore, to top it all off, in addition to the massive amount of extra carbs I was eating, I reduced my movement to a minimum.
So to go to the bakery which was only 200 feet away, I chose to drive..so my life wasn’t active at all!
[Side note from Alex: Lamine's belief that gaining weight was a sign of wealth is one example of the deep-down beliefs we all have that dramatically affect our behavior.]
#3 What Made You Decide to Get Healthy?
What made me make this decision was how I was feeling at the time. I had chronic headaches, constant fatigue and lots of pain in my ankles from all the weight I was carrying. I already tried to lose weight several times but I usually gave up the same day or (at best) within a day or two.
I really wasn’t motivated at all until the day I went to the doctor to have a blood test and found out that the results weren’t as good as I thought they would be. The strong tall guy can’t get sick at such a young age! I guess that just kept going through my mind – I was pretty fragile for being such a young guy.
I also had a close call with several illnesses, and weight loss was the only solution for me to avoid them, otherwise I would have problems for my entire life — and who knows if I’d find the motivation to fix them later.
So at the time I knew it would be easier and better for my life to solve them right now.
#4 How Did You Stay Motivated?
Firstly I decided to lose weight and I set a deadline not to reach a specific weight but to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date.
I knew that going to the gym without changing my diet wouldn’t do much, so I focused on changing my diet mostly. So my very first step was opening the fridge and emptying it of all the refined stuff, junk food, super high-carb snacks, etc.
The same day, I went to the supermarket and did something I’ve never done in my entire life – read the nutrition label on every piece of food I wanted to buy. In particular, I checked two things – sugar and carbohydrates (which I wanted to be as low as possible).
For me, anything with 10g carbs per 100g was considered high and I avoided. I didn’t focus on calories in the foods but the composition — the notoriously most fattening food are those where you find a high sugar and high carb content (like candy bars, refined flour snacks, etc.) Those were my 1st enemy.
It was a bit annoying to keep reading the labels at first, but after a short period you quickly learn what to eat and what not to eat, so just keep patient for a while then everything will be automatic.
And what kept me motivated after a few weeks was how I felt (in general). Also my face started to lose the double chin so It was nice seeing the efforts pay off.
[Side note from Alex: Many people choose to read labels, and that's fine. But there's an easier way. Just eat REAL FOOD. When your diet is focusing on real foods like fish, plants, fruits, nuts, etc. it is naturally a lower sugar, lower carb, and lower calorie diet -- and more filling. You don't need to complicate this process. Avoid any and all packages.]
#5 What Things Did You Try To Lose Weight That Didn’t Work?
I previously had two or three attempts that didn’t last very long. I tried not eating as much, and tried tons of exercise and walking.
Don’t even bother… they don’t work.
Your metabolism requires enough food to keep fueling it.
[Side note: Read this post on "reducing your calories and why low calorie diets don't work"]
#6 What Was The Hardest Part?
To be honest there weren’t any tough parts, and all the myths about how tough it is to lose weight is just for those that aren’t willing to make a change.
So please guys don’t think losing weight is hard – once I reached my target I regretted not doing it sooner and fixing my former unhealthy lifestyle. Just feeling healthy and energetic again was priceless.
#7 What Was The Easiest Part?
For me, when I stopped eating what I call “plastic food” ( burgers, hot dogs etc ….) the feel-better effect was immediate and made me feel like the diet was pretty fun and easy.
#8 Did You Ever Quit, or Give Up?
Firstly, let me tell you that the entire period that I dieted was only for 5 months — and I lost nearly 66 pounds in that time. You just have to be patient though, because what I tried in the first month only resulted in about 6 pounds lost. It wasn’t a lot but at the beginning don’t expect so much! 6 pounds is a great start, just keep going. Imagine losing 6 pounds every month after that for 3, 5, or 10 months? It adds up.
#9 How Did You Find The Time to do This? Lots of People Say They Don’t Have Time.
Yeah that’s right, even for me sometimes I had to force myself to go exercise even when I was tired. Sometimes I would get back home, too exhausted to eat or even sleep, so I would go straight to bed and take a half hour nap.
Then I would remind myself that feeling tired at the end of the day is normal — but it’s not an excuse to avoid taking responsibility for my health.
Otherwise I’d never keep up with the plan I set for myself. So guys, when you get home and feel that “come on, stay home just for today” feeling, jump off the couch and head straight to the gym. Hop on the bike for a nice ride and you’ll feel way better afterwards, I promise!
[From Alex: Studies have actually shown that in a huge percentage of a long-term gym goers, on the days when they don't want to go, what drives the majority is the psychological envisioning of the feeling after working out].
#10 How Did You Deal With Sugar Cravings? Did You Use Any Particular Techniques?
I kept eating sweets but instead I read labels and avoided things too high in sugars and carbs. I would also eat them only in the morning so that I had more hours during that day to potentially burn off that extra energy.
I would also make a bargain with myself – if I ate some sweets, I would need to cycle to the supermarket instead of taking a taxi or something, or I would go for a fast walk, or even just go right to the gym if it was a large cheat meal.
#11 How Did You Know What To Eat To Lose Weight? Were You Ever Hungry? How Did You Deal With the Hunger?
During the first month I felt extremely hungry, and I couldn’t bear that feeling, so I decided to eat more meals (up to 5 a day). I also chose to eat a lot of fish when hungry – I consumed about 5 pounds of salmon weekly and saved it for those tough moments when you just really want a snack. Fish is a great protein and fat source, and is good for Omega 3’s, so eat as much as you want !
[From Alex: When you just eat real food, you rarely experience hunger and you stay full much longer. Like Lamine, you can eat 5 meals a day and still lose weight. This is no joke. We go into this in more detail in our free report "Why All Diets Fail (And What To Do About That)"]
#12 Did You Have Any Other Health Problems Improve or go Away After Losing Weight?
Yep, I had chronic headaches, constant fatigue, pain in both of my ankles, and I was getting sick a lot… my immune system was crap. Those all went away.
#13 Undoing Bad Habits is Pretty Hard For Most People, How Did You go About That?
Alright, changing habits is definitely difficult I agree, and I faced some tough moments in my life where I wanted to change bad habits but failed. So how did I change mine this time? I didn’t struggle that much because I really believed that what I was doing for my health was absolutely necessary to improve my life.
In my case, I wanted all the bad stuff. There was a period where I was eating McDonald’s for lunch, KFC for dinner, and my snack was at Burger King. By that time I knew that what I was doing was crazy bad for my health, but I was young, so I told myself “Ehh it’s fine, look your health is still fine, right?” For me it was finding that deep down “why” that mattered the most.
#14 What Piece of Advice Would You Give to Other People Who Want to Feel Healthy and Pain-free, Lose Weight, And Start Feeling Better ?
The only advice I have for people who are uncomfortable with their current health or bodies is this – do it now, wishing won’t make you any better. Decide and execute – health and weight loss was never mission impossible, you just need to persist and keep testing to see what works for you.
#15 Any Last Pieces of Advice?
This one may be a tough one! Guys you only have one life and it’s up to you to enjoy it fully or just make it miserable. My dad always kept telling me that “health brings money and happiness, and not the contrary,” so take care of yourself – because once it’s game over, it can’t be undone.
More Importantly: Lamine 2 Years Later – The 5 Simple Tips That Fueled His Success
Let’s face it, losing weight isn’t necessarily the hard part. Keeping it off is. That’s one of the reasons why, although “lose XYZ pounds in XYZ time” is an intriguing offer to draw you in, it’s a pretty worthless promise long-term.
The vast majority of people that I’ve met that have lost weight end up gaining it back, usually because they do some kind of “diet” short-term, or do something extreme like a starvation diet.
Lamine did a couple things that I repeatedly mention for anyone looking to fix a chronic illness or lose weight:
- There are no secrets
- Change your habits, instead of putting yourself on a forced diet using willpower and discipline. Willpower always fails.
- Just eat real food - you don’t have to split hairs determining what to eat or not. Just eat food that grandma would recognize as being real food.
- Don’t try and fight sugar cravings, you’ll lose. Instead – eat more often (he ate 5x a day), and eat foods that stabilize blood sugar – which usually are also real foods and not high carb, high sugar, refined products.
- Don’t focus on eating fewer calories - when you eat natural foods, you end up naturally reducing calories (BUT you stay full).
- Don’t drink your calories, and don’t drink fruit juice.
- You don’t even need to exercise at the start — diet will account for 80% or more of your success. You can exercise but if you don’t change your diet, you can basically guarantee no results.
Got a Success Story? Hit Me Up!
If you have a story about beating chronic illness or chronic disease, shoot me an email at Alexander@modernhealthmonk.com so we can feature you on the site.