Okay, so if I’m going to chime in with advice and tips here and there I thought I should really share my own transformation pictures, story and my tips… so here it is… My before and after pics(watermarked because I don’t want someone using them!). The first is of me a few years ago rapidly approaching middle age. I was overweight, sat behind a desk all day, did no exercise and I'd smoked for years and I started thinking about how I needed to make some changes. I had what I call the marshmallow look; I just looked fat and when I wasn't that fat I still looked flabby and soft. What I always wanted was an athletic, muscular physique, one where I'd be happy to take off my shirt to go swimming or to the beach. After some particularly bad holiday pictures I decided that I was going to make it happen. When I decided to make a change I realised there’s a million ways of losing weight and nobody agrees with anyone else on the best way, except for one thing which nobody can argue with; what effect foods have on your body (protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, water, fibre etc) this can’t be argued with. And this is my first piece of advice, if your following a regimen or plan without knowing why, what’s the point? Because at some point you’ll be at your ideal weight and you won’t know how you got there or how to stay there. Rule 1) Understand Nutrition Secondly I initially made the mistake (as I know many people do) of thinking I could exercise away a bad diet. This is just not the case, 80% of your fat loss will be determined by your nutrition. But exercise is just as important because exercise determines how good you look once the fat is gone. Rule 2) Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition, Exercise! Next, Fat loss can be fast and its simple. I didn’t do, and still don’t do, any fad diets. I just swapped my bad nutrition for good fats, carbs and protein and my ‘go to’ drink is water. Its as simple or as complicated as you want to make to make it. The one thing I consciously avoid is refined sugar, its crap and you don’t need it and it’s a stealth ingredient in so many foods so become a food label reader! I never count calories, never weigh food and never trust anything that says ‘low fat’ it often means ‘High sugar’. Rule 3) Don’t make it more complicated than it is, just become a food label reader and make smart choices Next, the exercise you do is super important, and (depending on what you do) will make a big difference to how good you look once the fat is gone. Some (like High Intensity Interval Training HIIT) will (among many other benefits) accelerate your fat loss but none will make up for a bad diet! Rule 4) Train and exercise depending on your goals. If you want to build muscle, train for it, if you just want to lose fat, train for that. Next, taking control of your nutrition habits and changing them is hard but it starts at home, with what you bring into the house. If its not in the cupboard you can’t eat it! Simple I know, but go shopping when you’re motivated to lose weight and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to fill your basket with healthy choices and not crap. By the time you lose motivation you’ll be at home and there won’t be anything unhealthy to binge on! This is really helpful for the first few weeks where people struggle. Rule 5) If its not in the cupboard you can’t eat it! Next, motivation. There’s a couple of things I find motivating and people I’ve helped find big motivators. Take your starting pictures and then take pictures every 4 weeks. You don’t notice a difference in your own body when you look in the mirror every day but looking at a picture of yourself 4 weeks ago will surprise you. Challenging someone else – we all know someone who needs to lose weight. Starting at the same time and doing weekly weigh in helps to keep you motivated and accountable. Break your target down into a weekly average (weight loss) and understand that week to week your weight loss will vary irrespective of whether you do the exact same thing, so your 4 weekly weight loss is the important number to keep on track. Rule 6) Document where you started and refer back to it every 4 weeks. Lastly (because I’m rambling on now), we’re all made up of the same stuff, and (assuming you have no health or medical conditions) you are probably not the one person in the world that good nutrition and exercise just ‘does not work for’. Be honest with yourself. If your nutrition and exercise are right, the fat loss will take care of itself because there are only 2 factors that count; Consistency and Time. Rule 7) Be honest with yourself Apologies for the long rambling post but that’s my 2 cents worth. Good luck all!