Here is #4 of 6 how-to stories to describe how successful men do it (often with women to help): how those who REFUEL get their mojo back. Joe is a high achiever, and REFUEL was the key to getting back to awesome.
I’ll continue to excerpt these (from my new book Refuel: A 24 Day Eating Plan to Shed Fat, Boost Testosterone and Pump Up Strength and Stamina) every other week here. And this week there’s a lot going on!
A WellnessFX webinar on natural ways to boost testosterone and men’s health ; 5 guest blogs on DrGreene.com; a funny column on how men food shop in the Retail Dietitians’ Business Alliance newsletter.
Speaking of which, food brands, are you listening? Because millions of guys like Joe–and the women who know and care for them– need you.
The Weight Gain
Joe F.’s weight gain, he says, started at birth: “I was blessed with the fat gene; just genetically prone to be heavy.” Carrying around extra weight seemed to be another inherited trait, like brown eyes and hair, courtesy of his Italian heritage.
It wasn’t a legacy he was happy to carry on. “I would try different things to change, but my weight yo-yoed significantly—between 270 and 185.” A deep love of great food and wines, he says, didn’t help things much.
Five months before starting REFUEL, Joe had decided it was time to drop some pounds. “I adopted a general ‘eat better and exercise more’ kind of plan. It was working, but I felt myself starting to slip and I had hit a plateau. That’s when REFUEL came along and really rejuvenated me.”
Note: like most guys, Joe weighed himself, and even knew his body mass index (BMI): but he didn’t know that waist should be half your height.
Before starting the plan, Joe would sometimes start the day with a bowl of cereal. He’d pour without paying attention, just filling the bowl. “I really had no idea how much I was eating,” he says. “I looked at the label, which said 3/4 cup was a serving, and measured that much out—it was eye opening how much more I was eating.”
He didn’t by any means become a fanatical portion monitor: “I just started paying attention more. You realize that you can eat a lot less food and still feel satisfied.”
Joe found that keeping an eye on carbs two days a week was a strategy he could stick with. “For two days a week, I feel like I’m really focused on 50 grams, but after that I loosen up a bit—it worked great and it’s a strategy that now feels like part of my life.”
It helped that meals at home didn’t change much: Joe is the father of two teenagers, and they ate mostly according to the plan, too. “It wasn’t disruptive to my family—we would have roasted Brussels sprouts instead of mashed potatoes, or couscous instead of rice. It was mostly about carbohydrate substitutions that were easy to make.”
Joe credits his wife with helping him stick to the plan and being open to adopting simple swaps. “She used to make me a smoothie in the morning with bananas, yogurt, and orange juice—obviously high in sugar and carbs. Now, she’ll add ricotta, coconut milk, and berries. We didn’t have to cut anything out; we just had to learn how to make it differently.”
Another part of his success came from taking the general REFUEL guidelines and using them to improve his habits. “I ride dressage and I used to think of that as my exercise for the day, but then I came to the part of the plan that addressed intensity,” says Joe. “I could never say after my riding that I had worked out a level eight intensity. Asking myself that question helped me make changes—I started running more and with high intensity intervals.”
What’s Better Now
“I used to wake up in the middle of the night with heartburn and muscle aches—just an overall heaviness made me sore. Now, I sleep better and I feel and look noticeably better.”
His wardrobe has improved, too, especially since his combined weight loss is up to over 60 pounds. “It’s nice to buy clothes off the rack when they have my size in a lot of different colors—I don’t have to just buy the one they have in my size.”
Joe sees himself making REFUEL a permanent part of his life. “For the first time in my life I feel like I’ve got a good program down—I could definitely stay here.”
- Cut down on alcohol. “I used to drink almost every night; my wife and I would share a bottle of wine or I’d have a martini. Now, I don’t drink during the week and it’s definitely made a big change—in my weight, I’m sure, but also in my energy and sleep.
- Check your carbs. “Read a label and compare the serving suggestion to the quantities you’re currently eating—it’s shocking. Becoming aware of the make-up of foods really helped. I always thought a fruit salad would be a great choice, but it’s not the smartest thing on a regular basis.”
- Sweat instead of snack. “I usually find I’m hungry around 3:00 PM, but instead of eating I’ll use that time to workout. Then, we move up dinner to 5:00 instead of eating later.”
Do you see parts of Joe’s story that is your story, or the story of a man you know? Let me know here.