‘Losing Weight Is NOT Hard’

Chris Collins: This is the first segment in a series of blog posts by Dov Schafer. As you may recall Dov was the winner of the YLTP 2.0 contest and someone who has accomplished some great things with respect to weight loss, improved health and performance. At the end of the post Dov has a task for you to do. If you have a question for Dov make sure to post it in the comments section below. Take it away Dov!

Everyone has goals, mine were amorphous at first. I knew I didn’t want to be fat and lonely; too ashamed of my own body to even take off my shirt, and unwilling to even ask a girl on a date for fear of complete rejection based on how I felt about myself.  I wanted to look like a UFC fighter, I wanted a girlfriend, and I wanted a life.

Everyone has goals.

My name is Dov Schafer. I am a 27 year old who just started really living when I got a new body about 3 years ago; at my heaviest I was 315 lbs, now I am 187lbs and training for athleticism and strength having met my long term weight loss target. All of this was only possible because of the information I got from Chris Collins, Beach body’s Tony Horton, and lots of reading about nutrition. What is your goal? Have you put it down on paper and said it out loud to yourself? Imagine it being completed, how do you feel? Imagine what your new goals might be at that time!

It isn’t hard to lose weight.

When you are incredibly obese your body wants to shed fat… badly. All I did to start losing weight was to eat exactly the same things I was eating before but more often! As soon as I learned the brilliant little fact that the food you put into your mouth is completely metabolized within roughly 3.5 hours and has either turned into energy for you to use, waste for you to expel, has been recruited towards repair and maintenance, or is being stored as fat, I immediately started eating something every 3 hours to see if anything would happen. I figured it wouldn’t be hard to just make sure to snack a lot.

When I forced myself to eat something every few hours, I didn’t want to eat as much, and eventually migrated towards calorically sparse foods like vegetables because they made me feel good.

If you don’t buy it at the store, you will not eat it at home.

Taking some time to make wise choices in the grocery store requires absurd amounts of willpower, but at least it’s all done with by the time I hit the checkout counter. Going shopping on a full stomach, with a list of what I needed to buy, and sticking to the outside isles (produce, meats, and dairy) avoiding buying bread, anything with sugar, and severely limiting the amount of grain left me with a house full of good choices.  Find bold flavors you are passionate about, lively limes, fiery hot peppers, curries. Buy fresh local produce; the Okanagan is a region full of ridiculously delicious heirloom tomatoes, ambrosia apples, and fun veggies like watermelon radishes and sun chokes.  In my house there isn’t anything I would be ashamed to eat. There is not cheat cupboard. There are no lunch snacks. There are no pre-made foods. Buy raw food.

Knowing what you’re eating is crucial

 Once I got serious about food the next logical thing was to start really understanding exactly what it was that I was eating. www.myfitnesspal.com is a FREE, social network linked, online meal tracking database that allows you to put in exactly what you ate during the day, so you can see exactly how many calories you have put into your body during the day. There is even a free iphone app that syncs up to the website. They even go a step further and allow you to set targets for proteins, fats, and carbs so you can be sure you are feeding your muscle machine with the proper fuel/air mix that it requires to run its best. We all know that the only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than we expend, but how few people actually know exactly how many calories they are taking in?

It sounds cheesy to say I lost 130lbs through “diet and exercise” so in future posts I will list exactly what kind of “diet” and what sorts of “exercise” have really shred off fat, or built muscle. I will talk about my reasons for stepping into action, and what inspires me to continue. I will also discuss some challenges I have faced and how I overcame them.

There’s so much to say about health and fitness! I don’t know where to begin and end, but for now I will leave this introduction to my path to fitness here; I pose a challenge for all of you:

Tomorrow I want you all to try tracking exactly what you ate for the day. You might be inspired to change your eating habits like I was. You too could wake up in a year or two with a new body to live in, and new goals.

Chris here again: Wow! Some powerful stuff! I like how Dov tells exactly why he wanted to change. How his body actually wanted to lose weight. How he got access to quality information and applied it. And how he shares a great, free online tool for you to do the same.

If you have a question for Dov simply enter it in the comments section below.

Chris                                                                                                                                                          okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

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9 Responses to ‘Losing Weight Is NOT Hard’

  1. Gretchen says:

    Dov,an amazing and inspirational story. I enjoyed meeting you last Saturday and hope you will come back for more ice/snow ball workouts. My question is, do you have a suggestion about how to prevent sugar cravings and over indulgence in the evening? Thanks, Gretchen

    • Chris says:

      Thanks Gretchen: I’ll let Dov know of your question. In the meantime I’ll give you a couple of answers.

      Cravings can be tied to a number of things. Sometimes we associate them with particular emotions and activities. For example a particular show comes on, I hear the jingle and I think I need to have a bowl of ice cream. If this is the case, break the habit and doing some else. After a few times of not being triggered into this response you’ll have less of a craving.

      Secondly don’t let yourself get hungry. Dov mentioned this in his post. Don’t go shopping hungry. If you know you have cravings at certain times, such as the evening as you mention, plan a healthy snack for that time. This might be some cheese, avocado or peanut butter and celery. By having a prepared snack in mind for the times you know you’ll have a craving you’ll be less likely to cave in.

      Hope this helps.

      okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

  2. Janelle says:

    SO inspirational! I’d love to see a Before/After shot!

    • Chris says:

      Janelle: Absolutely. I loved reading every word of his story. Will track him down for a before and after.

      okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

  3. Brock says:

    Hey Chris, thought I would also chime in on the cravings thing. Admittedly, I deal much more with athletes and not so much the weight loss crowd, but it is still something that interests me, as most people around me seem to have that goal. Anyway, I was recently reading the “Testosterone Advantage Plan” (overall not a bad book, a few things I disagreed with, but eh), and they mentioned that if you have a craving for sweets, you’re tired, and if you have a craving for salt, you’re hungry. Don’t know how much truth there is to that, but it does seem to hold some merit, as I know when I don’t sleep much I generally crave a lot more garbage than when I’m fully rested.
    Also, another trick you can try to curb cravings comes from Jonny Bowden. In his “Shape Up” book, he talks about when he quit smoking, they had to wrap up their cigarettes, so when they wanted one they had to unwrap them, smoke it, then completely wrap up the pack again. Over time, they added more steps to it (they had to write down why they wanted one, they had to go to a different room, they had to wait 20 minutes, etc.), so that eventually they were associating the act of smoking with an undesirable experience.
    Sorry for the long post, but hopefully it gives you a few ideas to try.

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  5. Dov Schafer says:

    Thanks for the positive responses and your question:

    I too suffer from an insatiable sweet tooth at times, and the evenings are no exception. I find that people tend to vilify artificial sweeteners for reasons not supported by science. The fact is that sucralose (splenda) completely bypasses the metabolism and has no lasting chemical effect on the body tissue. Having some warm sweetened herbal tea with some unsweetened almond milk in it before bed, along with a hand full of almonds or walnuts will do wonders for your cravings. Often times the stomach just craves liquids and we misinterpret the signal as a desire for sweets or fruits. I tend to overindulge on peanut butter in the evenings, but it seems to be working. Everyone has their cravings; recognizing them is the first step in servicing them meaningfully. Don’t ignore your body’s signals, it is a lot smarter than we give it credit for.

  6. Gretchen says:

    Thanks for all the feedback on the cravings. There are a lot of interesting explanations that ring true and give me reason to reflect and plan the attack. This is my biggest eating challenge.

    • Chris says:

      Gretchen: No problem. More in depth blog post on this coming…

      okanaganpeakperformance.com ‘always moving forward’

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