How to Lose Weight if you are Obese? My Life 05 APR 2015

“How to Lose Weight if you are Obese?” – or rather, “Hey, this seems to be working well for me!”.

In my late teens and early twenties I was slim, fit, and had energy for days. However, at around 25 my disposable income had increased significantly enough that I didn’t mind spending money on junk food (hello Coke, Danish, Muffin and Chocolate Croissant, won’t you please all join me for lunch today?), had a job that saw me bound to my desk and slouched over a computer for the entire work day (that hasn’t changed mind you), and I got comfortable in serious relationships which subsequently meant even more food without any regard for its effect on my waistline (apparently this is pretty normal when it comes to young love).

Anyway, at this stage I was still super active on the extramural front though (lots of sports and activities), but as we all know, exercise is not going to entirely compensate for all the sugar and junk you stuff into your face. However, the final nail in my coffin was suffering a relatively serious knee injury back in 2007 that saw me pretty much stop all forms of exercise for more than just a year or two – in fact, that very knee injury still seriously limits me to this very day!

In other words, that moment marks exactly when the downward slope became a proper downward slide into obesity.

overweight craig lotter holding jessica's hand at rico suter country lodge in worcester

Jessica and I, circa 2013 in Worcester.

Although I didn’t weigh myself back then, I do remember weighing in at around 85 kg (187 lb) at a karate tournament, which must have been around 2006/2007. Fast forward seven years or so to 2015 (featuring a job change, more stress, marriage, and two children), and all of a sudden I find myself clocking in at a whopping 150 kg (330 lb) – which given my relatively average/short height translates to properly obese.

Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing in terms of health, practical aspects like clothes, furniture and more importantly, office chair selection, and of course more internal things like self-image. (Not that the last one bothers me that much mind you. I’m not a particularly vain man, nor do I care much for the opinion of others – so I think helps a lot on the self image front! :P)

Anyway, there have been a few short-lived attempts at weight loss over the past couple of years, but nothing that ever stuck, and come to think of it, with the clarity of hindsight, I think I know exactly why this is.

Up until now I had NEVER really wholeheartedly made my own personal decision to lose weight. Up until now, it was almost always someone else’s idea or at someone else’s behest, which almost always then translates into me not being 100% committed to the plan.

But that all changed on the 5 January 2015.

I woke up and it was as if a switch had just been flicked on in my head. My knee was sore and so I simply thought to myself, “I’ve had enough – let’s lose some weight”.

And that is all that it was.

A wholehearted, personal decision that I had made to lose weight.

So practically then, how do you go about losing weight if you are already obese?

Actually, that’s really, really simple. To maintain or increase your current weight the body needs food. Eat less food than this amount and your body will use what it has to try and keep up – in other words, making you smaller.

It really is that easy.

craig lotter in front of mermaid statue in langebaan

I found a mermaid in Langebaan. Circa 2014

Of course, there are a few caveats to this.

One, you really, really should stop taking in all that unnecessary sugar and so to that affect I’ve switched to almost exclusively drinking water, stopped adding sugar to my coffee (of which I still drink a little too much, though it is only Ricoffy so I don’t think it’s too bad), and of course, have pretty much completely given up on sweets and chocolate.

(Not really no, I do still enjoy a good piece of chocolate whenever I can lay my hands on it. But it’s not that often any more, promise.)

Also, it helps that Chantelle no longer bakes cakes to the degree that she used to – in fact, when she does, I make sure to quickly toss all the cut-offs in the bin lest I be tempted to smear on some icing sugar and wolf down everything like I so readily used to in the past!

Secondly, I’ve inadvertently pretty much stopped eating things like bread, rolls, cornflakes and potatoes. This isn’t on purpose or in accordance with some or other plan, but rather simply because eating it makes me uncomfortable and full, and not eating it doesn’t – and seeing as the later is what I’m after, dropping it makes a lot of sense.

So instead, I eat a lot of fruit, yoghurt, and suppers generally consist either of fish or chicken breasts (or the occasional slab of pork) accompanied with a simple, unadorned green salad. Also, we try to eat earlier in the evening whenever we get a chance, as opposed to what was becoming the norm of only having supper around 20:30 once the girls were both in bed!

Boring, yes, but effective nonetheless.

Oh, and portion control is without a doubt another one of the big things here.

If I’m going to have a hamburger (which I still occasionally do), instead of eating two, I’ll only eat one. Instead of eating two chicken breasts like I always did, I only eat one. Instead of devouring a large pizza by myself, I only eat half.

You get the picture.

I do also have one final trick up my sleeve which I haven’t mentioned yet – I religiously weigh myself each and every morning.

Every morning I get up, potter around, and then grab my digital scale and place it down on exactly the same tile on the floor (to try and ensure consistent readings), weigh myself three times to ensure an accepted average reading (they should ideally all be the same of course), and then record it in a weight tracking app on my phone (Libra in this case).

This allows me to keep a thumb on my progress and to make any corrections if necessary – i.e. you had a massive weekend where you threw all of your new eating norms out of the window, meaning that for the next couple days it’s carrot sticks for you! :)

The result?

All of the above has resulted in my thus far losing  15 kg in 3 months – and that is without starving myself, punishing myself, or resorting to any physical fitness regimes whatsoever!

Sure, it’s a drop in the ocean when I look at how far I still have to go, but I’m definitely on the right path, and when enough weight has dropped I should be able to start throwing in some fitness routines as well – meaning that if all goes to plan, next year I should be waking up pretty close to my previous fighting fit weight! :)

Related Posts:

About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • That was the exact same way I started on getting thinner. I’ve been lucky enough that I’ve managed to hover around 72kg or so but I definitely need to cut back on snacks and sugary coffee as well this side.

    Keep on fighting the good fight sir!

    • Awesome. Well your method definitely worked for you though! (You look nothing like the best man that was next to me at my wedding just a handful of years ago!) :)

  • Chantelle

    I am so incredibly proud of you! I know I have said it over and over, but now it is recorded in black and white, lest you forget my verbal commentary ;) Keep up the good and inspiring work my love!

  • Raymond Ford

    Hey Craig, awesome stuff man. It really is a personal challenge and takes serious dedication and commitment. I was in the same boat about 3 years ago then my brother entered me in a 5km trail run….I nearly died :-) but that was the start of many epic adventures and goals like Iron-Man. Just keep at it!!