How to lose 12kgs in 3 months with a nutrition plan


Gary Coppen and family

By Amy Jaya

Gary Coppen is a 50 year old Executive working with Hinkler Books.  He has been a member of Star Fitness since it opened.  In June 2014 Gary joined me as my client and immediately commenced a training program and nutrition plan.  A goal was set for Gary to lose 12kgs in 3 months – from 97 to 85kgs.

In the following interview with me, Gary explains how he motivated himself to get started, and some of the techniques he employed to stay on track and reach his goal.


AMY:  Tell the readers a little about yourself Gary.

GARY: Well I am International Sales Director for Hinkler Publishing Company.

AMY:  And you have four daughters, how old are they?

GARY:  I have four girls aged 16, 13, 10 and 9.

AMY:  Give us an idea of your daily routine.

GARY: I start work at 7.45am and finish at about 6.30pm.  I go home and have dinner with the girls and then I do about another 1.5 hours of work after dinner.   I go to bed about 10pm and get up at 5am.

AMY: When do you train?

GARY:  I am definitely a morning person, mornings is all that works for me.

AMY: Why did you decide to start training again when you did in June this year?

GARY:  I hurt my knee jumping off a ladder and I had a groin injury and I couldn’t work as aggressively as I wanted to.  From Christmas 2013 I had started to put on weight again.  By June 2014 I mentally checked in that I needed to (start again), my knee was better, my groin was feeling better, I had to get back in (to fitness work).  I did Pilates and the thing I always liked was the discipline in correction and posture.

AMY: What made you want a nutrition plan to go with your training?

GARY: I needed to look at portion control.  It was a challenge for me to work in food groups.  If you’re told and you understand it you’ll stick to it.  Mentally I can check in and then stay with it.  I needed someone to put it altogether and type it out, put it into a plan, and then I can work with that.

AMY: Why was losing weight important to you?

GARY:  My schedule is hectic, it’s hectic at work and it’s hectic at home.  I thought back to when I wasn’t feeling as tired and when I was more mentally alert and looked back at where my weight was and my fitness regime and it was a lot more aggressive and a lot better.  So I looked back and thought that’s where I was and that’s where I need to get to, and admittedly a few years had passed on, but that’s why I wanted to do it because I knew that not only did I feel better physically, mentally I was much more in tune and more aggressive in my business life.

AMY: Why was 85kg your weight loss goal?

GARY: I thought back to where I was a couple of years ago and around 85 was a good mark for my body.  85 was where I really wanted to get to but ideally 83 was probably where I should be at but getting to 85 would be a first step goal.

AMY: Well we are at 84 now, which is fantastic.  What do you like about your training program?

GARY: What I like about the training is that it is structured.  I knew that my posture wasn’t great and I knew that I needed the discipline and have someone pull all the learnings into something in the days that I am not training.  What I have done more in this period has been ab work.  Where I have trained before it’s always everyone wanting to build up the muscle, muscle, muscle. I would rather be a leaner toned physique than a bulky shoulders and chest.  I’m not comfortable with that. That’s not me.  I’d rather be overall fit.  So when we started to work on the core and the structure of the core and the leg work and isolation, I could feel the results.  And then the more core work was where my waist was going down which was where I had put on weight, because keep in mind that I am sitting at my desk for how many hours a day or on an aeroplane.

AMY: Is variety in training important to you?

GARY: Having a disciplined cardio program with interval training, instead of just getting on a treadmill and running.  Going up hills, getting my heart rate up, those things stay in my mind when I train.  The interval training I think has helped burn more fat off.  Which is part of the routine of changing things around.

AMY: Looking at your nutrition plan, why do you think it worked for you?

GARY:  Having the plan laid out where I could plan ahead and know what basically I am going to eat for the week, not only was less expensive than running around buying things, it gave me a discipline to focus on what you’re going to eat, and eating becomes part of the business day.  I’d get in, I’d do my workout, I’d have a boiled egg, the vegetables, and everything in portion measure size makes it so much easier, so much more easy to know when your body says you want something to eat that you know there is a snack there or there’s not a snack there or you mentally just tune out and have some water.

AMY:  So did you find any of the nutrition plan hard?

GARY: No, but that’s just me, if I can mentally check in.  There was a big choice there.  I would come home at night hungry – that was the danger period.  But grabbing a cracker or mountain bread with a little bit of peanut butter took the edge off until dinner.   Water was important.  That was hard for me initially.  I started drinking warm water with lemon in the mornings which really helped.

AMY: At any stage did you miss some foods or did you feel restricted, and what did you do to keep temptations at bay?

GARY:  No I didn’t.  I thought I would crave carbs but I didn’t.  It was the second week that was the hardest.  After that it was fine.  There were always functions on but I would never sit next to a bowl of chips.  My wife was very supportive as were the girls.  I would never say I was on a diet.  If someone offered me something I would say I was on a training program.  And people respect that.  You make the decisions you want to make.  I didn’t put myself in a situation where I was tempted.  I would always say to myself “I have already had these plenty of times throughout my life, so do I really need them now?” I’d sit on an aeroplane for 20-24 hours at a time where food was in abundance but I’d say to myself “I’ve eaten cashews before”, but sometimes I would take a little bit, half a cracker and half a bit of cheese and push the rest back.  I found I wasn’t craving that kind of thing.

AMY: How do you stay motivated?

GARY: The weight loss is the motivating factor and just the way you feel.  The nutrition plan has been equally if not more important than the exercise plan.

AMY: What did you learn about yourself in doing the nutrition plan and losing the weight?

GARY: You learn it’s not as hard as you think it is.  For everybody it is mental.  I don’t think you can engage in doing something until you are mentally ready to do it, because when that clicks in it supports everything around it and that really, really helps.  Forget the physical side, it’s the mental side.  You feel so much better mentally.  You sleep better, you rest better, you just feel better.

AMY:  What techniques have you learned so you don’t put the weight back on?

GARY:  It’s really the portion control and mixing the meals.

AMY:  Any advice for others?

GARY:  The first two weeks will be hard.  When you are out, just be focused.  It’s no good saying I’ll have this and cheat yourself because it’s not going to happen.  It’s really perseverance and then once it clicks in and you feel a belt notch or a dress size, you know it’s going to happen.

AMY: What do you look for in a trainer?

GARY:  Someone who listens to you initially, then engages in a program that starts to work for you and is then open to changes if you ask to do it.  That’s for me what you really need to do.  I see a lot of trainers who are not really looking at them and are doing the same routines.  I need a mixture of things.

Here’s a summary of Gary’s advice:
1.    Focus on food portion control
2.    A food plan helps you stick to healthy foods
3.    Don’t just focus on muscle building, look at complete fitness which includes cardio weights and core
4.    To maintain motivation it is important that training includes exercises that can be done in your own time.
5.    Make your nutrition plan part of the schedule of your day so that it becomes routine.  This helps you comply with it.
6.    Work out how you will manage your danger periods – times when you are more likely to succumb to temptation.
7.    Exercise and nutrition have benefits for how you feel mentally.
8.    The first two weeks of a nutrition plan will be tough but stick with it and great rewards will come.

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