85 Kilos? Done. Ticked. Trophy Awarded.

Sweating, drained and utterly hammered at table tennis over 90 gruelling minutes this evening, I came home and stood on the scales. It’s an unusual time for me to weigh myself, I usually do it in the mornings. I knew it would be special. I knew I’d lost some water, and I just wanted to see it.

I was pleasantly surprised. 84.6 kilos. It’s not my real weight of course. Tomorrow morning it will have climbed to just over 85 as I regain my water, but that figure is as real as the 101 kilos I saw not that long ago. Only two months ago I was at 95 kilos.

The target had been set by my diabetic consultant at around the 8th of August or thereabouts. All I knew was this time, my life depended on it.

So I did what it took and I hit my target in record time. Do I have a slim stomach? Nope. Am I still chubby? Yep. But I look so much better than I did two months ago, it’s shocking. I feel so much better than I did two months ago, it’s shocking. My resting heart rate has dropped from 80bpm to 60bpm. I’m seriously looking forward to seeing my blood pressure results in December, when I’m supposed to check back in with my diabetic consultant having lost 10 kilos.

I can’t wait to see the surprise on her face when she sees I’ve lost 15. That’s right. Between now and December, I’m going to lose, insha’Allah, another 5 kilos.

In honour of Tim Ferriss, whose brilliant book The Four-Hour-Body changed the way I approached my weight attack this time around, I am going to have a cheat meal of disgraceful proportions this Saturday. A Subway, one foot, filled to the brim with the filthiest stuff imaginable. And you know what? I will put on two kilos in two days as a result. Then it will fall lower than before. Ferriss exploits the fact that your body needs to be shocked from time to time out of its complacency. OK, he is far more scientific than that, but what it boils down to, and what you will see from my charts, is that despite a couple (maybe three) cheat days, despite the temporary blip, my weight would keep dropping. And that’s because as you diet-survivors know, if you starve the body, even a little, it will start to fight with everything it’s got to hold on to its fat stores. Subway tells your plateauing body that “it’s all good dude, there’s no situation here, burn that fat”.

There are complications. A diabetic doesn’t just put on a bit of weight on a cheat day, but your blood sugar also goes out of control. There is little you can do about it except measure your insulin doses very carefully. I can’t stress this enough. The great thing about the rest of the time is that my diabetes has never been in better control. I know some of you Type 1s might have been thinking “he’s dropping insulin to drop weight” but I can assure you, I’ve had the complications, and I don’t want to die of them. I have not cheated with insulin. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll explain later.

In the meantime, just know this:

  • My diabetes has been brilliantly controlled
  • My fasting blood sugars are decent(ish)
  • My energy has been high
  • My table tennis keeps improving
  • My suits keep getting looser
  • People keep commenting on the difference
  • I’m dropping weight by the bucket
  • I’m incredibly happy about it
  • I’ve hit my target a full 7 weeks early.

And from the post after next, promise, I’m going to tell you how I did it, and how you will never be able to do it unless….

You’re Looking Well!

“You’re looking well!”

“You’re glowing”

“You’re a lot slimmer!”

“Is that Shahid?”

“You’re looking sharp”

“You’re setting the standard”

“You’re raising the bar”

I’ve heard all of the above and a lot more these last 7 weeks. As a Type 1 diabetic who’d become obese without noticing, I spent a long time, years in fact, unable to lose weight despite seemingly eating small portions. To start hearing such platitudes from people close to me is quite a pleasant surprise.

Seven weeks ago, my diabetic consultant wanted to put me on more blood pressure medication and once they do that, they’re always reluctant to take you off it again. I’m already on 300mg of Irbesartan for the kidneys, and the last time I tried something, Amlodipine if you must ask, it discoloured my feet and caused my ankles to swell. We soon put an end to that, but the obesity stayed.

The turning point was seeing my reflection in my switched-off-iPad and finding what I saw repulsive. The biggest shock is the incongruence, the moment you come face-to-fat-face with your cognitive dissonance about how fat you’ve really become. Still, all that happened was that I faced the reality, but I took no action.

At the turn of last year, Tim Ferriss’ UK agent was kind enough to send me a preview of The Four-Hour-Body. If you click that, you’ll be able to buy it from Amazon through my affiliate link and I’ll get a tiny kickback, but my mission is not to shamelessly promote Tim’s book. In this series of articles, I’m going to tell you what I loved about it, and what didn’t quite work for me; what I had to adjust and what I was able to aggressively pursue. I’ll also explain why it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and why I am definitely a Ferriss fan. So go ahead, buy the book, because even if you disagree with everything he writes, even if you don’t act on it, you will enjoy the style. It’s compulsive, and it beats reading another God-forsaken misery memoir.

I’ve been tracking my weight on the iPhone, the charts make for interesting viewing:

August weight

After one week of what I’ll call for want of a better term The Four Hour Diabetic plan, I’d dropped from 95 to almost 90kgs. How the hell did that happen, and how did I break the 90kg barrier before the month was out? Did I crash back up in September? What the hell happened on the 20th, or rather, what did I eat on the 19th to make the 20th look like a disaster? Let’s take a look at September.

September weight

Pretty spectacular, right? The trend line does not lie. And at the end of the month, I’m within a Krispy Kreme of my goal weight, which I should remind you, I’m supposed to reach by about December the 6th. Apart from that stupendous peak around the 19th, there is no altering the fact that over the course of the month, I’m dropping about a kilo a week. That’s the upper limit of what you can safely expect, but as Ferriss suggests, go with what works for you. If you’re prepared to break convention, expect unconventional results.

October weight

We’re barely into October and we start with a blip up at the beginning, but the trend line tells me I will beat my goal weight 7 weeks before my deadline. That’s spectacular, and I haven’t been to the gym once. I haven’t run once. I haven’t cycled. I did a few kettle bells, but nothing serious and not since August as far as I recall.

Whatever I’m doing works. Look at the comments at the top of the article. I’m getting into suits I haven’t worn since 2006. People who haven’t seen me for two months are not recognising me. I can tie my shoelaces. I can walk reasonable distances. I can take the stairs.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to tell you exactly what I did, how brutally hard it is and how easy it has become to stay with the plan when the results are so amazing. Dieticians will gasp with horror and conventional wisdom will indeed be damned. I will answer with my renewed vitality, my sense of purpose, my hunger for life, my diminishing gut bucket and the three notches in my belt I no longer need.


The 4-Hour Body or the 4-Minute Body?

What’s Google search if not the perfect embodiment of the omniscient computers from old spy films, able to pull up and cross reference all manner of data, sometimes even in real time, on any person that a spy needed to know about? Now we all have access to this tool and we apply it to everything. So when I learned about Tim Ferriss some years ago, I did then what I do now when faced with any new person, or concept, or book, or film, or quote, or line of dialogue. I google it. There, I even lower-cased it. If the Shorter Oxford English says “google” is now an English verb, who am I to argue?

Tim ferriss scam

Anyone who hadn’t previously heard of Ferriss would, I’d imagine, be sorely tempted to click on that second suggestion. I did. And what I found were a bunch of negative, moaning, obvious losers, but we’ll come to that later.

First I’m going to explain how I lost 8 kilos in 6 weeks. You might not be impressed with that, but there are a number of reasons that figure is impressive. First, that three times in this period, I ate insane quantities of food, to the point where I felt I was a bite away from genuine nausea. And second, that the only regular exercise I’ve had has been ping pong and third, that I’m a Type 1 Diabetic. Until recently, an obese type 1 diabetic. The doctors out there know just how hard it is for an obese type 1 diabetic to lose weight.

The difference has transformed my life and more importantly, my wardrobe. It is staggering how quickly a vicious circle can become a virtuous one. I am in almost every conceivable way, a completely different person to the one I was two months ago. Ferriss is metrics-mad and if I didn’t have so much to do, I would be too. (That’s a subject for the 4-Hour Work Week, which I will also cover in this series of posts)

Want some highlights?

  • I lost 8kgs of weight in 6 weeks
  • I undid 5 years of steady weight gain
  • I can now tie my shoelaces comfortably
  • I can now wash and dry my feet comfortably
  • I can walk to the tube station without having to stop several times for a breather
  • I can play ping pong for four hours.
  • My mood is massively elevated and I’m fired up
  • I have far more energy than I’ve had in years
  • Stomach aches and bloating gone
  • Diabetic control massively improved
  • My skin is better
  • My night-time Lantus dose has dropped from 36 units at peak to a regular 16 units. That is truly remarkable.

Was it easy? No. Can you do it in four hours? No – you can do it in 4 minutes per week. Tim’s book titles are ruthlessly optimised to sell. He even split tests them in Google Adwords. Told you he was metrics-mad, but there is method as well as madness.

I promised Tim a review of his book when he kindly sent it to me over Christmas last year through his agent. There is a reason I didn’t write the review at the time. It didn’t work.

I couldn’t make it work until I really understood the principles that Ferriss used to research the book in the first place. I’d read it twice over before the New Year. I applied as much as I could afford to apply. Ferriss was even considerate enough to reply to my tweet on adjusting it for diabetes. The man is clearly smart – he too put up with the pain of a 24-hour glucose monitor to understand how his pancreas behaved in the presence of different foodstuffs. You couldn’t fault him for commitment.

Over the next few posts, I’m going to explain how I dropped three notches from my belt and I’m also going to tell you whether Tim Ferriss played a part in shaping my new life. If I can do it, I think you probably can.