10 years ago, in fact, I saw a documentary of a man who ate McDonalds for an extended period of time (3 times a day). He gained tremendous weight and developed serious physical symptoms. He was under observation, of course, but it was no pleasure ride. I thought what would happen if I did something like that. 10 years later, I did it! Admittedly, not by just eating McDonalds, but the idea was clear. Gain 20 kilos in a short time and lose the same kilos again.
This whole process began on 1 September 2018. I weighed 72.2 pounds at the time.
The reason for this 'project'
I am a personal trainer and I work with people who are overweight or want to improve their fitness and health in a general sense every day . Besides the fact that I wanted to experience this for myself one day, it was of course also the ideal opportunity to be able to better help and understand my clients and people inside the gym in situations of obesity and bad lifestyle habits in this way.
This is the reason for this 'project'.
How did I approach this?
Based on my weight and activities, I was able to make an accurate estimate of what I would burn on average (per day). I train 6 times a week (strength) on average 1.5 to 2 hours each time. I needed to be well above that to gain weight quickly. From the start of this project, I had to take in 4000 calories a day. That was the minimum I had to eat in a day. Often I was way over that.
The first 10 kilos went pretty smoothly. I literally ate anything and everything that came in. And yes, often that was pizza (sometimes 2 in 1 meal), snacks, and the well-known kebab. Apart from that, I also made sure I did get my vitamins and minerals, but most of it consisted of the fatty and eating much food. After all, those contain a lot of calories, which I needed...
After the 10 pounds gained, it got harder and harder. It was sincerely ""forced feeding"", or forced eating. Nothing tasted good anymore. I was completely satiated by all that food after 3 months. Still, I managed to push through well to actually rise to 92.2 kilos. It took just under 6 months to get there.
17 February 2019: The Beginning
Finally, I was there, the starting point of the weight loss process. On 17 February 2019, it all started. I set my macros of what I was allowed to take in daily to make sure I started losing weight. Macros are: the carbs, fats and proteins. I made a planning that fitted my situation. I also considered what I was doing on a day (including) working out.
To lose weight, you need to be in deficit. That means you need to use more energy than you take in (food/drinks). It all sounds very easy but it's a different story in practice. Perseverance is a must when it comes to weight loss. Apart from that, it should also not be a punishment every day. So you need to find a good balance for yourself in terms of intake. No one wants to eat food all day long that you hate eating. That's why I work flexible and with macros, so I can make different choices every day that suit me best that day, without losing sight of the purpose. That also means weighing food, scanning and reading products, and writing down everything you eat or drink! I've been working like this for years and it's in my system, so extra effort in that regard was not necessary. And there is an app for everything these days. So that was fine anyway (and has been for years). (the app I use is MyFitnessPal)
Losing the first 10 pounds went pretty easily. In fact, I was so extremely done with all that eating that the beginning went pretty smoothly. My appetite was completely gone in the beginning, which certainly worked as an advantage to get off to a good start. I also just kept eating all kinds of things during the period of losing weight. I like to cook so that was all very manageable. I regularly made wraps with herbs, vegetables and meat. It wasn't until the sun started shining (occasionally in the Netherlands ;)) and the holiday times (summer) that made things more difficult. BBQs, parties, day at the beach, diners, etc. Due to the fact that I work flexibly, I was able to continue to do all of this as usual. However, of course, I couldn't let myself go completely. That did happen several times, by the way, and that doesn't matter. After that, you just pick it up again and keep going. Many people see this as an ""excuse"" to then just let go the whole week because they have already screwed up. Well here goes: that's not true! We all have ups and downs in such a period of losing weight. The important thing is not to lose sight of your goal. One day or one time eating a little more at a family dinner doesn't ruin anything. Sometimes you already know that something like this is going to happen, enjoy it 100%, and then just pick it up again the next day!
As time went by, I continued losing weight on a weekly basis. I weighed myself every morning on an empty stomach, also to get feedback of my progress. And of course, towards the end, I had to eat less and less and do more to keep losing weight. With the last week as the highlight. I did kind of a protocol, to look as good as possible on the photo. My end goal was a photoshoot. This made it tangible and a bigger goal than just losing those 20 kilos. The last month was no fun at all. My mood was down, low energy, and I could not handle people and crowds around me. And so, we arrived at the final, which was the most extreme of all. I drank 8 liters of water a day and ate only 1500 kcal. Apart from this low intake (which I wouldn't recommend to anyone), I also trained for 2 hours a day. All to reach that one goals. And I achieved it! At my final measurement, I weighed: 73.8 kilos.
No, that was indeed not the 20 kilos I wanted to achieve. But in those 6 months, I continued to train and improved enormously in strength and muscle mass. Because of this, it soon became clear that it was not realistic to actually lose 20 kilos. I also discussed and explained it all in one of my youtube videos. The goal was changed to 75 kilos (instead of 72.2).
How I ended up looking on 30 August 2019 can be seen here:
It was a year to remember. During this whole project, I obviously learned more and also experienced what people actually experience who are overweight. This was a very valuable lesson and I'm now also able to better help my clients and future clients with their physical condition.
What was the impact of FIRST?
Particularly during the last few months of losing weight, my energy levels were getting lower. FIRST was the perfect solution for that. It ensured that I had the energy I needed during key moments in the day. And especially during my work inside the gym, that's kind of nice!
Should you have any questions or want to know more? See my social media channels and website below if you are interested in what I do and offer!
Youtube: Mitch Harteveld