In this day and age people tend to have a better understanding that in order to get in shape it is important that they eat right. But when there are more diets out there than you can shake a set of calipers at, many people are left scared and confused when it comes to choosing the “best” one.
First of all, let’s get the idea of a “diet” out of your head. The idea of “going on a diet” to lose weight suggests that eventually you will go off the diet and return to your old eating habits. This type of behaviour can be bad for your health as it can lead to up and down weight loss and gain. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make lifestyle changes that include consistent healthy eating and exercise habits.
Tom Cooper, a fourth-year physiotherapy student at La Trobe University has undergone what he refers to as a “Lifestyle Behaviour Modification,” and was willing to share his recent “health kick” experience with me.
The program Tom is with is called Transform In 28, an on line-based eating and exercise program that provides participants with a support group through Facebook.
“I got on to the program via Facebook, one of the trainers, Fraser has a health and fitness page called “Iron Guru Fitness” where he posts tips and tricks and started advertising that he was taking on this new project. I have been following his work for about a year and thought I would give it a go.”
Tom’s group consists of three trainers and around fifty members who are able to post their progress updates, questions and queries about diet and exercise on the Facebook page. With the help of “Transform In 28” and the Facebook support group, Tom has been able to “make changes to the way [he] operate[s] for long term changes in health.”
“The program’s eating plan is based around the Palaeolithic diet (Caveman diet) so lots of lean meat and vegetables, minimal processed foods like bread, pasta, sauces, etc. Interestingly we don’t have a huge amount of dairy or fruit either, because of the incredibly high density of sugars present. Also no alcohol is really supposed to be consumed.”
“The exercise is based around High IntensityInterval Training (H.I.I.T.), with sessions going for just under 30 minutes.”
Before beginning any kind of life-changing program it is important that you set yourself goals, with a good understanding or where you are now and where you want to be. It is then a matter of making the goal as specific as possible, setting time frames and short term goals so that it is easier to see what steps need to be taken to get moving in the right direction. Tom described his fitness as “a roller coaster” over the past 10 years. “I rowed nationally as a junior in Surf Life Saving and played rugby throughout high school. Throughout Uni I have been going to the gym fairly regularly, but would have peaks and troughs in motivation in terms of going five times a week to once a week. I was probably a little more disillusioned about my level of health because I went to the gym, but my diet and hence my weight did not reflect that. I never ate heaps of junk food, but I ate stacks of carbs like whole grain bread, pasta, rice etc. So even though I was eating traditionally “healthy” foods I was piling on the kilograms and couldn’t budge them.”
For Tom, his goals were “in line with the model for the program” which is a 28 day cycle (hence the name). “By the end of 28 days I wanted to lose 5 kilograms. I achieved that much quicker than what I anticipated. By the end of the 28 days I had lost over 9 kilograms! I just achieved another small goal of getting my waist circumference under 100cm, which is big for me as I’m terrified of getting Type 2 Diabetes.”
“Long term, the goal would be [to lose] 20 kilograms, so I’m still a way off that. But because the focus of this program is not on just weight loss, and more about overall well being, people actually achieve things like having more energy, getting better quality sleep, being more focused at work etc. which aren’t as quantifiable but definitely noticeable. So ultimately my long term goal is to adhere to the program as much as I can for the rest of my life.”
Undergoing the Transform In 28 program has been a challenging experience for Tom, but “has progressively gotten easier” the further into it he has gone.
“The first week or two were pretty hard in terms of denying my body the carbohydrates that it so regularly received. Now they are just coming from vegetable sources. Once my body became conditioned to that, within 7-10 days of starting it got better. Other hard bits were going out with friends to bars and restaurants and not ordering a Chicken Parmigiana and having a few beers, but rather having a grilled chicken salad and soda water instead. But all my friends have been really supportive of the changes I have been trying to make. Now that I am into my sixth week, its pretty much my new way of life and fairly normal for me now. Also I am never ever hungry, so don’t think I am starving myself, I am perfectly well fed, just now with the right stuff.”
“I would recommend the program to anyone who is serious about losing excess weight or even people looking to tone up. There are people with all different body types who do this program and see results. For me it was about getting a real wake up call and over hauling the way I go about doing things. Where I am now is that I have learnt to challenge and question conventional norms about what healthy is. You dont need to kill yourself in the gym for 2 hours a day to get results. And just because you are told its healthy doesnt mean it always is. I’m glad that I found this program and thankful that I was and still am able to make improvements in my weight, health and well being.”
For more information about Transform In 28 and to get involved yourself visit transformin28.com.