The Seven Year Plateau – Amazing Loser Mark
- Name: Mark (ask him anything on Talk)
- Height: 6’1″ (186cm)
- Job: Software developer/Student
- Age: 26
- Location: Germany
- Highest weight: 273lbs (124kg)
- Lowest weight: 165lbs (75kg)
- Plan: First 40kg simply eating less, last 10kg, IIFYM (If it fits your macros)
Plateaus can be massively demoralizing when it comes to weight loss, but as any Bavarian will attest, the key is to think of them not as plains, but as snug valleys you want to stay in for a while between descending mount fat and scaling mount fitness*. And plateaus come in all shapes and sizes too, so if you’re worrying now that yours might never end, or that it’s already gone on for so long you’ve accepted it as your status quo, just remember, that mountain is still there, waiting for you. Mark, what was it that finally made you break through that plateau?
I didn’t need to break through it, I got to the point where I really wanted to and that made the difference.
Could you give us a typical example of what you were eating when you got fat?
My mom always cooked for us, but I always ate Burger King, McDonalds and sweets on top of it. I don’t really know what I ate to lose the first 40 kilos – I know I ate generally less, and in the evening I only ate a large salad with tuna fish and some sort of yoghurt dressing. I tracked my last 10kg loss quite closely though and you can click here to see my diet for my last 10kg (on the bottom: Training Day/Rest Day).
What negative experiences did you have of being overweight?
The most negative experiences were beaches and swimming pools. I loved swimming but when we were on holiday with friends, or we just went to the pool I felt a lot of shame and often only took my shirt off 10 seconds before jumping into the pool.
What made you decide to change?
I was never happy with my appearance, but it was not very important to me. I never had problems getting girlfriends or was getting picked on. But I had this weird shame about my body that made me uncomfortable in some situations.
What made it different from the times before?
I think the most helpful insight was that it is not as complex as I thought to lose weight. It’s only energy in/energy out. So I began to not only track my weight but also my calories and my body fat percentage. This gave me a lot of numbers to work with.
What were the key points for you to make it successful?
For the first 40kg I was swimming two to three times a week for about 30 to 45 minutes.To lose the last 10kg I went to the gym four times a week for about 45 Minutes. I think it is important to have a smart goal and a plan on how to accomplish that goal, for example: “I want to lose 10lbs by April”, so know you know where you want to be then.
Now you have to find out how you will do it. What I did is measure my body fat percentage and with this I got my daily calorie requirement. Then I removed 500 Calories from that number and got my new calorie input. From that point you can adapt your diet to the new number of calories per day. The rest is executing the plan: eat not more than your limit and work out.
How was the journey? Straight-forward or were there a few plateaus along the way?
I had a large break between the start of the diet and finishing it, total time seven years! I think it could have been straightforward, but after losing the 40kg I was terrified how my stomach would look if I kept loosing weight, so I stopped. What I had not realized at that time is that I lost a lot of muscle too while dieting. Because of this I started weight training, and the results blew me away.
Who helped you the most and who got in the way?
My mother definitely helped me along the way, but she also was the first one saying I would get too thin (she herself is a stick). A good friend of mine got me motivated enough to go train with him in our dorm gym. After weeks of bugging me I finally agreed and since then I never stopped working out.
How has life changed now you’ve lost the weight?
Apart from getting the stairs up like a breeze, I feel better overall. I have more energy and feel less stressed.
It really surprised me how the perception of myself changed. When I looked in the mirror a few years ago I felt bad sometimes. Now I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for my body and like to look at it.
If you could go back to the person you were at your heaviest – what would you say to him?
If you think you can’t stop yourself from eating something that you should not, take off your shirt, stand in front of a mirror and than eat it while looking at yourself.
You’re Angela Merkel for the day, what one law do you bring in to help others who are obese?
Better food related education. Losing weight gets so much easier when you know how many calories you are eating per day versus how much you are really need per day.
What 3 things do other fat men need to know about losing weight?
- You CAN have a pizza or something “not healthy” once in a while. The trick is to see this as a price for the work you put in and in my experience it tastes twice as good because you earned it with sweat and discipline.
- Really get to know what you eat. Get yourself a calorie tracker like myfitnesspal to record everything you put in yourself. After a few weeks you get a feel for the calories in foods and it will do wonders to your willpower, because you can exactly tell how “bad” that food is.
- Track your Progress (Images and Numbers). This is important because it keeps you honest and gives you a sense of accomplishment the longer you do it. Here is mine from my last 10kg
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…
*We almost went with “Mount Fudgi” or “The Fatterhorn”, but one is based on a volcano and the other a Swiss Alp, and we just didn’t want to deal with the comments.