Weight loss is not easy for everyone and many find following a programme difficult especially when it can take weeks or months to see results. Andrew Roberts a vegan fitness trainer intentionally put on four stone of pure fat over the past six months in order to understand what his clients were experiencing. With his body fat increased from 10 percent to 27 percent which is classed as obese, Andrew is now shedding the excess by embarking on one of his weight loss programmes and following a vegan diet. He spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about how much weight he has already lost, the plan he follows and how it has bettered him as a personal trainer.
To put on such a vast amount of weight, Andrew, aka the plantpoweredcoach_ stopped exercising and went from eating 2,000 calories of healthy vegan food every day, to eating 5,000 calories of vegan junk food every single day.
His journey of gaining weight was been extremely hard mentally and there have been huge changes in his health.
Andrew explained how his sleep quality has deteriorated significantly, thus in turn his motivation levels became non-existent.
He also said is mindset was negative the majority of time.
Physical changes included; BMI and body fat percent have both gone from ‘healthy’ to ‘obese’, severe stretch marks around his thighs, lower back pain and snoring when asleep.
And as Andrew got further into the weight gain phase he realised the huge effect that diet and exercise (or lack of) has on your mental health.
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While Andrew purposely put weight on, he spoke about some of the most common reasons for many people’s weight increasing.
“Something that I frequently see with my clients is they have experienced a traumatic event that has lead to significant weight gain,” he revealed.
“When people experience these events, food is used as a comfort and can lead to months, or even years, of unhealthy eating.
“When this is the case it’s important to tackle the root cause of the problem as unless this is sorted it can be hard to change their habits.
“Another common one is a lack of time,” the PT said. “Adults, and especially parents, are normally very busy meaning they don’t have time to make healthy nutritious meals.
“The convenience of highly processed food and takeaways means lots of these foods are consumed which can lead to weight gain as they are typically high in calories.
“Another reason is lack of movement. A combination of sedentary jobs and no time to exercise means the daily energy output for the majority of the population is very low.
“When this is the case it’s very easy to be in a calorie surplus which leads to weight gain,” he added.
So how has Andrew gone about losing the weight?
He explained: “For the first eight weeks I only focused on eating a whole food plant based diet and ensured I was in a calorie deficit.
“In this space of time I lost over one and a half stone which really highlights the power of this diet.
“I purposely did this to show people what is possible without exercise,” he said.
“Everyone has busy lives, and some don’t have time to exercise, so I wanted to inspire those people and show them that weight loss is possible without exercise.
“Since then, I have started resistance training three to four times a week, whilst sticking to my plant based diet, and I am now at an overall loss of three stone after just over four months.”
But diet and exercise aren’t the only important things needed for weight loss.
Andrew continued: “Seven to nine hours of good quality sleep and ensuring I drink an adequate amount of water every day (around two to three litres).
“Additionally, I keep track of my progress every week which involves taking my weight, measurements and photos.
“All of these are good indicators of progress however the measurements and photos are not essential,” he explained.
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Andrew also discussed the benefits of a vegan diet for weight loss.
“In terms of health and longevity, I believe a healthy vegan diet is superior to any diet out there,” he remarked.
“A great indicator of this are the blue zones which are the places in the world where people live the healthiest and longest. In these areas they all centre their diets around plant based food.
“Another example of the health benefits is looking at the positive effect it can have on some of the most common chronic diseases.
“According to the World Health Organisation the number one killer in the world is heart disease and the only diet that has ever been shown to reverse this is a whole food plant based diet.
“This reason alone provides a strong case that the default diet should be whole food plant based.
“The benefits I have experienced personally from transitioning to a vegan diet include more energy, better sleep and quicker recovery after the gym,” Andrew explained.
And what exercises does Andrew recommend for weight loss?
“Some type of resistance training,” he commented.
“This doesn’t have to be at the gym. You can use dumbbells, resistance bands or body weight from home and still get great results.
“Resistance training changes your body composition and builds lean muscle mass.
“Having more muscle mass speeds up your metabolism which means you will burn more calories in your normal day-to-day life without having to do any extra work.
“This applies to both men and women.
“As well as resistance training it is important to get outside and go for a walk.
“Not only can this help you burn hundreds of extra calories, but it is also great for your mental health,” Andrew said.