So I have a somewhat odd question/request for advice. Are there any guys out there that have experience with losing a significant amount of weight during their transition? I’m pretty overweight myself. Obviously I want to be in good physical condition to get the best results from my top surgery…
Replying publically here because it might help someone else too :)
Appetite is something that really does need to be controlled, but not in an ano kinda way. Here are some thoughts.
1) Metabolism and what goes in is the key to a healthy balance. If you don’t eat the right sort of nutrients at the right end of the day, you are going to slow your metabolism down and tell your body it’s time to store food instead of burn it.
- Breakfast: this is super important. And try not to make it bloody carbohydrate bomb++ too. Protein and low-GI carbs are important for this meal - have it early in the morning, not as you get to school/work/uni. Something that is working for me is a blop of greek yoghurt on toasted muesli, a coffee and a serving of pomegranate juice (which boosts testosterone… I posted about this earlier here on FYFTMs); eggs work as well as yoghurt if not better. Limit white carbs to as close to 0 as you can - no buns, white bread or cheap garbage cereal that’s loaded with carbs and sugar, as this will only stimulate your appetite and make you hungry far too early in the day.
Protein is a long-lasting slow-burning form of nutrients that helps you to gain muscle, not fat. Start your day on the stuff if you can.
(PS: if you’re dairy-intolerant like me, eggs are a great alternative to milk products but there are some amazing lactose-free yoghurts around)
- Lunch: Nothing like another good solid round of protein to stave off epic appetite and have your body NOT store fat so much. Tinned fish or chicken works wonders, though I usually cook 2x meals at night and have the second half at lunch at work. Brilliant for saving money, and lasts for hours.
- Dinner: This should be a light meal, believe it or not. First meal of the day will get burned, last meal of the day gets slept on and hence stored as fat. Again with protein and veges, try to not become a human garbage disposal unit and try to avoid eating after 9pm (as your body isn’t interested in digesting and burning it so much, and you won’t feel hungry for breakfast the next day).
- Snacks: Fruit throughout the day, before you feel ravenous. Simple trick, works wonders. Apples can stimulate gastric juices though, be prepared for that… ie: an apple can make you hungry. Doesn’t do it to me tho.
- Drink: WATER. NO MOAR SODA. Just in case anyone reading is a fiend for fizzy drinks or excessive juice/cordial, energy drinks and excessive caffeine intake, quit it. Shit ain’t doing nothing but giving you problems. Waaattteeerrrrr. (1-3 coffees a day seems to be the safe zone, substitute for tea is also good, exactly 0 cans of energy drinks a day is good for you)
- Protip: if you’re not hungry for breakfast soon after waking up, then you probably ate too late / too much the previous evening. Reset and try again this evening :)
2) Exercise. The recommendation is 30-45 minutes of solid activity per day (the kind that makes you sweat); unless you’re doing some serious uber-cardio Warp 9 weights, these are just going to do awesome things like bulk you up (especially if on T), increase muscle and bone (YES!) density, and make you feel like a bawse / very sore the next day. They poke through the fat, but do not remove it.
Cardio is where it’s at; moreso sprints than duration. Duration/stamina work increases your cardiac fitness and obviously stamina, but recent studies have shown that it’s more the hard-n-fast sprints that cause the most dramatic weight loss. My personal trainer has been trialing a few things, and has the following for beginners:
- Treadmill. Warm up, then cycle it up to a solid jogging or running speed. Run for 30 seconds, jump on the side for 30 seconds, jump back on for 30 seconds, repeat. Optimum for beginners here is 20 minutes of this cycle, by which point you should be sweating bullets. Make sure you can sorta-kinda hold a conversation without having an asthma attack…if you can’t talk, you’re probably going too hard. Once you’re a bawse at this, go on for a minute and off for 20 seconds instead. Once you’re at the point of doing that, at a farking SPRINT, you can get away with 10 minutes instead of 20.
Note the 10 minute cycle is for working at your maximum, and is best if you really don’t have the time for this shit. Get on there and sprint like there’s no tomorrow. If that doesn’t sound sexy, keep with the running for 20 ;)
- Cycling. Good for both exercycles and spin cycles. Get at a comfy level of resistance, warm up, then do 20-second cycles. Been ages since I’ve done these so can’t remember the exact numbers, but IIRC it’s 8 seconds of SPRINT LIKE YOU’RE BEING CHASED BY A LAND-SHARK, then 12 seconds of normal speed (don’t stop! Keep going!). Depending on your fitness, same as above - 10 minutes for ON CRACK levels of effort, 20 minutes for sweating mere bullets instead of grenades.
- If you can’t go to the gym for whatever reason, just go for a jog every day. If there are any nearby, tackle a set of stairs during your travels. Running and/or the higher end of the cardio scale in short sharp bursts is a fantastic way of convincing the extra layers off.
The reasoning behind this emphasis on sprints is this: you could burn, say, 300 calories going for a manic CHASE ALL THE THINGS sprint down the road til you’re red in the face and look like you swum there, for 20 minutes. Or, you could walk it in an hour and look a bit more dignified. The difference is, the extreme cardio abuse elevates the metabolism for the following 48 hours, and you will continue to burn calories at an elevated rate in this time. Feeding it correctly can only be good, yes? The mere walking for an hour and burning the same number of calories doesn’t achieve the same result - you burn the calories, sure, but the metabolic effects don’t carry over for the next day or two. It’s in your best interests to attack it like a crazed thing.
Balance it with weight training, a diet that will boost testosterone (pomegranate, ginseng, etc), and you should soon start feeling really good about yourself.
I’ve been doing the diet side of things for the most part, but have fallen off the bandwagon with the exercise - most days it’s 5 flights of stairs at the most (only way into the building at home), but I’ve still dropped a clothing size in the last month. Slow but good progress…just need to get my lazy arse into the gym.