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For most of us, identifying and eliminating the poor food choices we make is the first step to weight loss (except those mystifying couples on television shows like Channel 4’s Secret Eaters who are somehow oblivious to their own eating habits) but there’s certainly a case to be made for sticking with the foods you love and creating a calorie deficit through exercise. It’s not an approach that works for everyone as it does require an awful lot of exercise, but if you can fit so-called ‘unhealthy’ food into your calorie goal for the day, there’s no reason you can’t eat them. In point of fact, this week’s Amazing Loser Gino found this approach so successful that he reluctantly started to add a bit of ‘junk food’ into the mix…

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  • Name:  Gino Brouwers (ask him anything on Talk)
  • Location: Netherlands
  • Job: Fitness Youtuber/Student
  • Height: 6’2” (188cm)
  • Age: 20
  • Highest weight: 210lbs/95kg (15 years old, 165cm/5’4”)
  • Lowest weight: 154lbs/70kg (16 years old) – I am now 86kg at 20 years old
  • Plan: At first I started crash dieting, meaning I ate very little and exercised a lot. I did that ’til I was 75kg, then after that I cut down to 70kg by doing Flexible Dieting/If It Fits Your Macros.

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How did you get to the position where you needed to lose that weight?

I always ‘wanted’ to start going to the gym, but I never got around to actually do it until my uncle and friend motivated me to go to the gym with them – I said ”Yeah, sure”. Went to the gym, but didn’t see much result at the start, until I started going for runs outside. I noticed that the weight on the scale was going down. From that point on there was no going back. The flip had switched.

“The flip had switched”

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What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?

Being insecure, being unhappy in my body.

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What made you decide to change?

It was rather spontaneous; I didn’t really have the intention of going all-in to lose weight, but when I did see that my efforts were working as a result of me losing some weight, I then decided to change.

“I didn’t eat unhealthily, even when I was fat”

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What made it different from the times before? 

I never ‘really’ tried before, this was actually my first attempt.

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How did you do it?

Started going to the gym, starting running outside and doing more cardio. Now, years down the road, I obviously know more about how I actually did it, which is: I made sure that at the end of the day I had more Energy Expenditure (calories burnt) than Energy Consumption (calories eaten). That results in losing weight. 

What do you eat over the course of an average day?

(This was +/- 5 years ago, so I’m not 100% sure how I ate beforehand, but this is an educated guess)

Before:

Breakfast: Sandwich with ham, apple.

Lunch: Rice crackers, sandwich with ham.

Dinner: 2 pieces of meat, potatoes, vegetables.

This might not sound like much, or ‘unhealthy’, because I didn’t really eat that unhealthily, even when I was fat. It was more the portion sizes, and on the weekend I would eat more junk food like fries (on Fridays) and potato chips (1 bowl). I also didn’t exercise, so all the calories that I would eat would not be burnt at the end of the day.

Breakfast:

All Bran fiber cereal

Whey, Cacao powder, 2 bananas, skimmed milk.

Greek yogurt, frozen berries

Sandwich w/ Nutella

Lunch/Pre-workout meal:

2 Pieces of gingerbread

Dinner:

Potatoes (baked or cooked)

Chicken

Vegetables

And all I eat after that is was I need to eat in order to hit my macronutrient/calorie goal for the day.

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How was the journey? Straightforward or were there a few plateaus along the way?

It was pretty straightforward. The reason that I didn’t hit any plateaus is because I was so determined to lose weight, that I didn’t have any urge or craving to ‘cheat’ on my diet. I stuck to my gym routine, did my cardio, ate what I had to eat and I got the results. I never hit a plateau, even up until now, in weight loss/muscle gain.

“The fittest looking person in the room can have the shittiest diet.”

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How has life changed now you’ve lost the weight?

Tremendously. I am much more secure with myself, my body and just in general. I used to be so ashamed of my body, only to realise 4, 5 years down the road that your body isn’t everything in life. You have to accept yourself in order to make a change, which may be hard, but it’s the truth. If you don’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to make the change and flip the switch for your own transformation to start.

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Who helped you the most and who got in the way?

Who got in the way? Nobody. Of course some relatives would tell me ”Don’t you think this is enough? You shouldn’t go any further!” and sometimes that would get to me. But I wasn’t happy yet, so I went through with it and I’m glad I did.

My mom has helped me the most. I had a lot of emotional problems with the weight-loss journey, for example being afraid to eat certain foods (which I now know is stupid because a calorie = a calorie, no matter what the source is). She has helped me through a lot, and I’m really grateful for that.

Which foods were you afraid to try?

Foods like fries, potato chips, candy, basically all sorts of junk foods, because I thought they would make me fat, and that it would ruin the process of my fat loss journey. (Which I now know it wouldn’t have)

What surprised you about losing weight?

How unaware I was about my own weight loss in the beginning. I’m so glad I took pictures along the way so that I could finally start to realise that I had lost so much weight already. Also the attention people give you is so different from when you are heavy compared to when you are ‘fit’.
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If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest – what would you say to him?

Start moving, because that’s the biggest issue in my case. Start going to the gym, do research on what is the most optimal in the gym, and enjoy the process!

You’re Prime Minister/King of Netherlands for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?

I would make sure that schools give proper education on how the body works, how food actually works (So no ”Just eat healthy and you will not get fat” because that’s false information – 5000 calories of healthy food will make you just as fat as 5000 calories from junk food). There’s too much nonsense that is being spread around when it comes to nutrition that makes it way harder than it actually has to be.

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What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?

  1. A calorie is a calorie, that means 200 calories from a hamburger is the same as 200 calories from a salad. Your body won’t know the difference, all your body will see is 200 Calories in Energy. The hamburger wont get ‘stored as fat’, it gets used as energy. So you can lose weight while still enjoying good foods.
  2. People often have the misconception that being healthy goes hand-in-hand with looking fit. But that’s not the case, in fact: Those two things are completely separated. The fittest looking person in the room can have the shittiest diet.
  3. It’s all about Calorie Expenditure vs. Calorie Consumption!

What else should we know about your weight loss story?

It’s been a rollercoaster of experiences, mistakes, ups & downs but it was all worth it, 100%. 

Here’s my transformation video

Our thanks to Gino and don’t forget – as with all our Amazing Losers and their weight loss before and after stories, you can find him on Talk and ask him anything you like! 

If you want to make a change to your life right now – then simply sign up for one of our free 30 day online weight programmes, the only thing you’ve got to lose is fat…