Ray Foley blames his weight gain over the past 18 months on a lifestyle change.
Along with a change in jobs and becoming a dad of two came a shift in his eating habits. He admits his priorities changed and his regular gym routine and healthy eating went out the window.
Like a lot of other people, Ray and his wife Kate have had the best intentions over recent months and made several attempts to get their healthy eating habits back on track. But the prospect of such a big change can be overwhelming and often stop you in your tracks.
This is the case for Ray and Kate, saying that "it's too hard" and reverting back to their old ways before day one is even out.
But Ray, a favourite on 98FM, has decided that enough is enough. "I just want to feel and look my best again," he says.
For Ray, feeling and looking his best happens when hovering around the 13-stone mark. So that means shifting nearly four stone (just over 25kg) from his 6ft 2in frame. Join us as we help reshape this top Dublin DJ.
As cliched as it sounds, there must be a lifestyle change for Ray to achieve long-lasting sustain- able weight loss. If it is not something he can follow for the long run, then the odds are going to be stacked against him and he will end up falling into the same trap as 95pc of all other dieters who regain all of the weight they lost, and then some.
All too often people blindly follow meal plans and restrictive (fad) diets that do not take personal preference, lifestyle, current eating habits or daily routines into account. These diets do work while you adhere to them, but they stop working as soon as you stop following them.
This is why the diet industry is thriving - it relies on its customers to fail time and again with their diets so they keep coming back. Repeat business is ultimately what makes the dieting industry so profitable.
Do it Once and For All
The ultimate goal is for Ray to lose body fat just once and to keep it off for ever. Therefore, my goal is to work with Ray for as long as needed, but just the once. As soon as Ray has reached his goals and he is confident that he can continue on his own, then I never want to see him again. Nothing personal, of course.
My role as a nutrition coach is to empower Ray with all the tools and information necessary to develop new behaviours and food habits so he can confidently reach the outcome goals we set. I will provide Ray with all the mentorship, support and accountability he needs to help him figure out the important things he should be doing differently and troubleshoot all the inevitable challenges and difficulties that will come up along the way.
Assess, Not Guess
Step one with Ray was sitting down with him to assess a few things - his lifestyle and daily routine.
This way, I could gain a real insight, identify current limitations and be confident that the changes we introduce will be obtainable and long-lasting.
Gathering information about Ray's daily schedule and current dietary habits is invaluable when it comes to deciding what the best approach is for him.
After our chat, a few things stood out which may present themselves as limiting factors:
• Early starts (6am), so no time for breakfast.
• Eating on the go a lot and choosing the convenient option.
• No structured meal times - snacking during the day rather than balanced meals.
• After a stressful day, Ray and Kate will often sit down to a glass or two (or bottle) of wine.
Step two was to send Ray away with some homework - a three-day dietary record to fill out. I asked him to track food on two weekdays and one weekend day so I could get a good feel for his typical diet.
After assessing his diary, I could clearly spot the red flags that need to be addressed:
• The lack of vegetables in his diet.
• Eating lots of nuts as snacks (healthy, but healthy fats can make you fat too).
• Adding sugar to tea (2 tsp) and coffee (3 tsp) multiple times a day.
• No breakfast routine.
• Take-away most weekends ("because it's the weekend").
• Very low water intake (sorry Ray, wine doesn't count).
The key to long-term dietary success is dietary adherence. So the more compliant Ray is with the nutrition programme, the better his progress will be. Sounds daunting, but it doesn't need to be. While it's important to strive for progress, it doesn't need to be perfect.
Rather than drastically overhaul Ray's diet in one clean swoop, we'll take it one step at a time and begin by introducing changes that he will barely even notice. So instead of bombarding him with a wealth of new information, we will begin by "keeping it simple, stupid (K.I.S.S.)", and introduce one habit at a time.
For me, the biggest red flag is his water intake. A man of Ray's stature should be aiming for up to four litres of water a day, his current intake is below two.
The body is made up of 70pc water so it needs more water than any other nutrient each day. Once Ray is consistently hitting his target we can start to introduce more good habits, such as eating veggies and establishing a breakfast routine.
Next week we'll assess Ray's progress and explain why a gung- ho diet approach inevitably sets you up for failure.
Karen is personal trainer and runs online nutrition programmes. See www.thenutcoach.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org