Man loses 70lb without stepping foot in gym and while enjoying regular meals



A man who lost 70lb without setting foot in a gym has shared his weight loss secrets.

Gavin Quinn, a sports reporter, lost five stone in seven months with regular meals and exercise.

The feat is even more astonishing because he did not once go to the gym during his weight loss journey.

He puts his remarkable loss down to a combination of diet and exercise.

Gavin, who writes for the Irish Mirror, shed the weight in seven months, but rewarded himself with some snacks along the way.

BelfastLive reports that he had started to gain weight when he was a teenager.

He said: “I lost 70 pounds (32 kg or five stone) in seven months after deciding to make a change in October 2020.

“Tipping the scales at around 17 stone, I wasn’t massively overweight but I’d noticed a gradual increase since I was a teenager that was accelerated by the initial Covid-19 lockdown.

“I looked into what I was eating and slowly turned around my diet and found cycling as a great way to get active to complement the changes I’d made.

“By Christmas I had lost over two stone and I kept it up in the New Year before hitting the five stone mark in May 2021.”


Gavin Quinn lost 70 pounds
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Image:

Belfast Live WS)

Gavin’s weight continued to fall to 12 stone (just over 76 kg) and he eased off and worked on fitness goals rather than weight.

He said for some people this was an “epiphany moment” similar to a favourite shirt no longer fitting them.

Gavin added: “But for me it was just a culmination of all the right things, I don’t have any overriding reason for making a change.”

At the time Ireland was staring at another Covid-19 lockdown which lasted seven months.

“I’d tried almost all of the ‘fad diets’ to no avail in the months and years before, and I could just feel my confidence was at an all-time-low,” Gavin added.

“And on October 4, a Sunday morning, I said to myself that I need to make a change and that day would be day one.”

He tackled his eating and sleeping habits first and establishing a structure to his diet.

Gavin gave himself a simple plan to start off with; get eight hours sleep and have three meals a day at roughly the same time of day.

“I set myself a rough target of 2,000 daily calories and used apps such as MyFitnessPal to help track what I was eating,” Gavin added.

“Initially I didn’t pay too much attention to my macro-nutrients, but made an effort to ensure I was drinking plenty of water, eating foods with high fibre, vitamins and lower fat counts – particularly saturated fats.

“This meant I still had treats and snacks to enjoy, but the small changes slowly begin to add up and the 2,000 calories I consumed each day began to feel like more and more as the days and weeks went by.

“Some days it was 1,700 calories and other days it was 2,200 calories – don’t beat yourself up over going over your allowance every once in a while.

“It’s not about cutting yourself off from food, but rather improving your relationship with food.”


Gavin’s before and after pictures show the changes to his body

The amazing thing about Gavin’s weight loss was he did not join a gym.

He never had great interest in the gym and hadn’t done when he was younger.

“Personally, I never took to the gym when I was younger and always liked to exercise as a means of engaging in a sport or activity,” Gavin said.

“Gyms can be intimidating if you’ve never become a member, but I’d suggest anybody looking to get active consider it.

“For me, I found a means to exercise in cycling – which has grown into somewhat of a passion for me over the past 15 months.”

Here are more of Gavin’s ‘s top tips on how he did it, from his diet to level of exercise:

How did you manage your diet?

It can be difficult to follow a calorie deficit, when you’re consuming less calories than you’re burning your body is being forced to eat into fat reserves to fill that void.

I made sure not to overdo it – deliberately eating just 1,000 calories per day can be too much and you could risk reverting back to old ways.

Having my breakfast and lunches at very similar times (9-10 am for breakfast and 1-2 pm for lunch) helped build early eating habits that would set me up for the day.

Again to ensure I wasn’t completely flipping my diet completely I used a degree of leniency when it came to dinner time, small changes like portion control and avoiding fatty foods when you have the option can make all the difference.

Initially I found myself eating a lot of the same foods I already had, particularly snacks, but doing so meant I’d simply be eating less of what I used to rather than eating right.

After the first week I began replacing some snack foods with lower calorie snacks, which in turn meant I had more calories to play with for my substantial meals.

If I was eating a pack of 200 calorie crisps, I’d replace them with 100 calorie crisps, swap the Cadbury chocolate bars for lower calorie rice cake bars, treating myself to a zero calorie fizzy drink rather than a full sugar alternative.

This meant I still had treats and snacks to enjoy, but the small changes slowly begin to add up and the 2,000 calories I consumed each day began to feel like more and more as the days and weeks went by.

Some days it was 1,700 calories and other days it was 2,200 calories – don’t beat yourself up over going over your allowance every once in a while.

It’s not about cutting yourself off from food, but rather improving your relationship with food.

What are your favoured foods for weight loss?

I’ve found so many great foods the past 15 months that I never enjoyed before, and I’d be confident in saying my relationship with food has really grown as I became more aware of what I was putting into my body.

Here’s some of my favoured foods these days:

Cous Cous: I sometimes use it as a lighter alternative to rice, it’s easy to make and is high in carbohydrates and fibre.

Rice crispy bars: Excellent for a quick snack, they’re a lot better than a bar of chocolate.

Lentil curls: A low calorie alternative to many brands of crisps, I’ve grown to love them.

Nuts and seeds: A great snack, good source of protein and fats.

Turkey burgers: Lean, high in protein and delicious – no explanation needed.

Vegetables: Whatever they are eat plenty of them, they’re good for you and should be an essential pillar of your diet.

Did you give up takeaways and alcohol?

Not really.

We’ve always had a ‘Takeaway Friday’ at home so I made sure to allow myself the Friday treat. Although instead of chips in the chinese takeaway some weeks I’d get rice or even eat a smaller portion.

I initially gave up alcohol until Christmas, but when I did drink I opted for lower calorie light beers or spirits more often than not instead of calorie-dense lagers or stout.

Do you need support to lose weight?

Everybody needs support when undertaking such a big change.

Whether that be a personal trainer, or just a family member or close friend, I’d recommend you get someone on board to be there for support.

In my case, I asked a close friend to act almost like my ‘coach’ to keep me honest. He would get in touch every now and then to see how I was getting on, was there to listen if I had problems and cheer me on to my goals.

Needless to say that educated professionals are much more qualified to play such a role, but having someone to bounce off and hold you accountable on the journey is essential.

Did you almost give up?

Yeah, I came pretty close on November 1.

I was making good progress in the weeks before but that morning I weighed in after a particularly tough week and had lost just one pound.

In hindsight losing a pound in a week is a good achievement, but that week had been so difficult and the loss was a lot lower than I was expecting.

I was agitated and questioning what I was doing for hours before I was convinced to take an hour to go on a short cycle to clear my mind.

If I hadn’t walked out to get some headspace I would’ve broken and dialled back weeks of progress, especially since I’d already been fully committed to nearly a month.

If you’re about to give in – take a step back and remember why you’re doing it.

What do you do if you lose motivation?

Some days you just wake up and the same motivation you initially had just isn’t there – it’ll happen to everybody.

Of course motivation is great, but it comes and goes. Behind the motivation you do need to have a certain amount of discipline.

It can be very tough but you need discipline for when the inspiration and motivation just isn’t there.

Weekly goals can help keep you focused.

When did you start to see results?

The real goal wasn’t to get down to a certain weight or number, it was to feel good and take back some confidence that I’d probably lost.

I started to notice a difference in how I looked around Christmas time (two months in), but had already felt better after about 10 days or so.

I tipped the scales initially every week but increased that to twice weekly to avoid any discouraging fluctuations.

Weighing yourself can be a good way of mapping out progress, but it’s not the most important.

If you’re not getting the expected results one week, don’t get discouraged, it’s important to make sure to keep doing the right things – the results will come.

How important was exercise to your weight loss?

Quite important.

I found a passion in cycling during my weight loss journey, but any form of exercise can give you similar results. Some people like running, walking, playing certain sports or of course the gym.

It really doesn’t matter what your form of exercise is, if you have a healthy and balanced diet then exercise is your best friend.

Think of it as a complimentary relationship, the old saying of you cant out-exercise a bad diet can also be true for having a healthy diet but sitting on the couch all day.

As little as a walk in the park, a short hike, leisurely bike ride or a dip in the sea can compliment whatever calories deficits you’re creating and help you reach your goals faster.

But if you are taking on more rigorous exercise, it’s important to ensure you aren’t creating too large of a deficit and are re-fuelling adequately.

What are your golden rules for weight loss?

Everyone has their golden rules for weight loss, and although these particularly rules won’t work for everyone, here’s a couple of mine:

– Calorie deficit: If you create a daily calorie deficit, you will lose weight. It’s simple when you break it down like that.

– Always treat yourself: It’s not about burning your bridges with certain foods, it’s about improving your relationship with food.

– Take your time: There’s no rush, everyone’s bodies are different and once you’re moving in the right direction that’s all that matters.

– Find your support network: Find someone to keep you on the right path and hold you accountable in the long run.

– Exercise: Doesn’t matter what it is, get out there and get active.

– Listen to your body: If you’re hungry, eat something. If you’re over-exercising, rest.

What’s your advice to someone hoping to start their own journey?

If you were to take one thing from reading this, it would be my real golden rule.

Sustainability.

Whatever habits, calorie deficits or exercise regimes you’re trying to put in place – you have to ask yourself if it’s sustainable.

When I set out to lose some weight, the one huge difference between all my failed attempts in the past was I asked myself is it sustainable?

You should be trying to implementing a lifestyle, not a ‘lose weight quick’ hack.

When you start on day one, ask yourself could you see yourself doing the same on day 100 or day 1000?

Because to lose weight and live a healthy and well balanced lifestyle, whatever way you go about it needs be sustainable in the long term.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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