I don’t get to say it very often but on this occasion I can. I’m proud of myself!

I’ve lost 34lb, 12cm’s in just over 14 weeks whilst still being able to eat all of my favourite foods.

All while suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), a full time job, an Msc, 2 kids, and DIY (there’s always DIY).

Here’s how I did it.

I was feeling quite crap about myself. I kept looking in the mirror and thinking, “you’re hanging mate”. I couldn’t look at photos of myself. I wasn’t enjoying my food. Well I would enjoy it… whether that be a full pizza, a pack of biscuits, McDonalds, Greggs. I’d eat all I could but soon after I’d think to myself was it really worth it? That short term pleasure just wasn’t enough!

On top of all this I just came around to the idea that if I’m taking all these drugs for my RA (and I take a lot), I really want to thrive not just survive. I mean if my liver is going to pack in when I’m young, I’d rather die having made the most of what I had than sit in the chair waiting to go.

I knew exercise was going to be good for my RA having done a literature review on the topic for my MSc. But I didn’t know where to start. Yes you read that right. The geezer with a degree in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Community Health, a gym instructor qualification, a sports nutrition certification and all but complete the level 3 personal trainer qualification, didn’t know where to start. I needed help!

I couldn’t justify the cost of a personal trainer.

And so I joined a programme called Train with Jay.

Train with Jay is a subscription program that provides you with a training programme, nutrition advice and  help and support via a Facebook group with like minded people. Jamie, who I have followed for a number of years, opened up his doors and I thought f@ck it, I’m doing it. I didn’t even tell the wife (brave) and just went for it.

It’s honestly the best thing I have done all year.

There are a number of different training programmes but the training programme I decided to join onto was the bodyweight programme as I didn’t want to join the gym with covid going on. 

Besides Covid, I didn’t want to add any obstacles in my way. Joining a gym would have been more cost, more time and earlier mornings and mask wearing which I actively try to avoid.

How I Trained

I just wanted to do stuff slowly and from the comfort of my own bodyweight training was the best thing for me. I started with the bodyweight training and slowly started to introduce some kettlebell sessions and some live workouts that take place within the group. I then went purely into the kettlebells but introduced Couch25k. I’ll be honest I was always a bit embarrassed to do this programme, it’s a beginner programme and I used to think I’m better than that. Truth is I wasn’t the fit athletic rugby player that could run 10k in 45 mins anymore. I was an obese sloth with many prior injuries and a debilitating illness.

And so I ran, swung some kettlebells, walked and ran some more. My training week ended up like this…

Kettlebells 4x per week

Running 3 times per week

Monday: Kettlebells

Tuesday: Kettlebells and Run

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Kettlebells and run

Friday: Kettlebells

Saturday: run and if if I felt like it a circuit

Sunday: Rest Day

Of course you haven’t got to run, I wanted to do it as a way to get my steps in quicker rather than walking all the time. You haven’t even got to do kettlebells either; you can just get your steps in and shift some timber. More about that below.

10,000 Steps Minimum

Jamie is a big proponent of walking 10,000 steps a day and why wouldn’t he be? You move more, you lose more. The first week I was like nah I’m going to track my baseline and increase week on week. That didn’t happen. I started slow and within days I was pushing myself to get to 10,000 steps. The group really motivated you to push yourself! Getting up early and walking. Walking late at night. I walked at lunch times. I walked my fat ass off (literally).

Nutrition is Key

He also provides some basic nutrition info and some sample diet plans to follow. As I wanted to start slowly I decided to just start slow and cut back on my normal food. I then started to introduce more and more optimal foods and tracked it on MyFitness pal. I used the example plans as a guide but slowly moved away from them and started to eat the way I like to eat best.

I worked out my macros based off a sedentary activity pattern and didn’t bother to change them as I moved more. They are below;

My kcals and Macros

I tended to split this up into 4-5 meals which was usually

Meal 1: oats, greek yoghurt, protein and berries

Meal 2: Chicken and veg

Meal 3: Beef, potato/rice and veg like a beef stew or beef curry

Meal 4: Whatever the family was having for tea. Could be sausage and mash, curried cod, burgers, spaghetti and meatballs etc

Snacks: Then whatever cals or protein was left at the end of the day I could eat whatever I wanted. Could be a mars bar, cereal, or if I was struggling for protein that day some yoghurt and protein and berries or even a protein bar.

On a Saturday I’d eat slightly differently. With a takeaway, a fake-away or whatever I felt like (within weekly cals). I’d also have bacon and egg for breakfast too.

A Sunday almost always consisted of cooked (beef roast) dinner. It’s hard to track but it’s an ideal way to get a big meal in with loads of protein when you have things to do on a weekend.

Meal Prep

I also tended to prep my meals that I took to work on Sunday with a re-prep on either a Thursday or a Wednesday night to see me through the rest of the week. The trick here is don’t be too fancy (like I did sometimes). Just cook up basic meals. Slow cookers are a big help. Oven cook 3 or 4 chicken breasts at a time or make a big pot of curry.

And that’s how I lost my weight. Still got plenty to do to get the physique I want but for now I’m content.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. You can do so in the comments or via email to morgans.sean@gmail.com.