Nerd Do Well: Amazing Loser Atef Ben Nasser
We’ve all been there, sitting in science class stinking of BO and Lynx because we were too embarrassed to shower after PE. It’s a sad truth that overweight teens have to contend with all manner of bullying to cripple an already fragile self-image. But the nerds will conquer the world, as they say, and those of us who were stocky, shy and retiring in school are often the ones who learned how to make a decent graph – just the skill one needs in order to successfully maintain weight loss.
- Name: Atef Ben Nasser (ask him anything on Talk, follow him on Twitter or MyFitnessPal)
- Location: Paris, France
- Job: Software/Research engineer
- Height: 5’5 (167cm)
- Age: 26
- Highest weight: 264lbs+ (120kg+)
- Lowest weight: 152lbs (69kg)
- Plan: Calorie counting and exercise (mainly cardio)
How did you get to the position where you needed to lose weight?
[blocktext align=”right”]”It was a vicious circle of negative thoughts about myself”[/blocktext]
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
What made you decide to change?
You know, I can’t really think of any particular event, or word that triggered my change. It was sort of a cumulative effect of various reasons, events and remarks.
Yes, I had my heart broken but that wasn’t it. I had my health issue as I hurt myself during a football game as I tore my left knee’s meniscus (I used to always assume goalkeeper position obviously).
It was then I realized my body was decaying, and that I would suffer severe consequences in my middle age if I didn’t start doing something about it. I was 25, supposedly at the prime of my life, except I was the complete opposite of that. And that thought was actually triggered in my mind when I read the following Socrates quote: “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
All of these factors, fused with the years of frustration with the state of my body and the shame of having lost so many years of my life to this monster we call “fat” made me decide to put an end to it. And actually compiling my thoughts and putting them in writing like I do right now, that decision doesn’t seem like a heroic stand at all. It was an absolute necessity!
[blocktext align=”right”]”In order to change, I need to be that change”[/blocktext]
What made it different from the times before?
Well, A LOT! I recall in my teenage years some attempts I made to lose weight. I used to skip dinner, but eat furiously at breakfast. I used to mistake digestion with calorie consumption so I thought eating dinner early helped (yep, I used to be an idiot).
I lacked guidance, but also lacked resources to learn how to effectively lose weight. Add to this the fact that I kept my sedentary lifestyle, and you’ll get a couple of lousy attempts that only anchored in me the belief that there was some external force, or some illness that prevented me from being normal.
How did you do it?
I deleted my video games and momentarily left my gaming buddies. I disappeared off the internet and concentrated on getting my journey objectives done. I kept a calendar on the wall, on which I logged every morning weigh-in, and then I had the idea of ticking off the days I worked out in to keep myself going.
Yes I skipped a few workouts that the start and even the middle of my journey. But there were also days where I had absolutely no motivation to go run or cycle and just wanted to sit there playing video games or watching TV, but I had the guts and integrity to say no. And I assure anyone who’s reading this that it’s those days that make the difference between a winner and a loser.
What did you eat before you lost weight?
This is one of my favourite videos from one of my favourite YouTube channels.
There are so many times when I’ll come home from work not having a single thread of will in me to go and workout for 2 hours, and when that happens I just play this and next thing I know I’m packing my gym bag and hitting the treadmill.
The funny thing is that a few months ago I would have laughed at the prospect of listening to a pep talk, let alone seeking out motivational videos, but once I was in a position that desperately required special measures, turns out I was dead wrong and they’re actually a great help.
What three things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
- CICO (calories in < calories out) works, count your calories people!
- Alternate your workouts and surprise your body. Routine makes you burn fewer calories and see less results, but it also makes you get bored fast.
- Build muscle, it’s like having an agent on the inside that works in your favour by raising your metabolism and burning fat.