Find out how Vicki and Jay lost 80 lbs and learn lots of useful English weight loss vocabulary.
put on weight
calorie counting diets
low carb/ high carb diets
going on a diet
getting back on a diet
break your diet
ruin your diet
cut back on
cut down on
full, full up
watch your weight
Some of you have noticed that Jay and I have both lost weight.
Which we’re very proud of and we’re going to tell you how we did it today.
Let’s start with some basic verbs – you can put on weight.
And you can gain weight.
And the opposite islose weight.
That’s what we needed to do.
So we started, oh, in July of 2020, well into the pandemic, several months into the pandemic. And one of the things that had happened was we would watch movies, we’d have big bowls of popcorn and we were really enjoying ourselves.
Yes, I don’t know what made us think that it was a good idea but we’d cheer ourselves up by eating popcorn and potato chips, or crisps as I’d call them.
Right, and we did notice that we were starting to put on more pounds.
But you know, we gradually had put on weight before that, hadn’t we?
Very slowly, we’d got fatter and fatter.
It’s OK to complain that you’re getting fatter, but don’t tell someone else they’re getting fatter.
That would be rude. There aren’t any polite ways to say that someone is overweight.
You might describe someone as plump though
That’s a more neutral because it means soft and round.
So a little fat but in a nice way, but it’s still dangerous.
Yes. If someone told me I looked plump I’d be upset.
With babies we often say they’re chubby. That’s a compliment – a little fat but attractive.
Chubby babies are cute. But if it’s anyone else, it’s just rude to comment on their weight.
So, in July of 2020 I decided to start a behavioral change program called NOOM. N-O-O-M. And it was available as an app on my phone and it let me count calories. Everything that I ate got logged into the NOOM program but in addition they sent me messages every day about psychological strategies and the reasons we eat, and how to avoid overeating. And the diet they put me one was fourteen hundred – one thousand four hundred – calories per day. That’s not a lot for a growing boy like me.
I should mention that this is not an advertisement for Noom. They’re not paying anything to us to do this. I’m sure lots of other apps would work. And there are some free ones too. In fact you use a free one now.
Right. When my Noom subscription ran out I switched to something called MyFitnessPal which has a free service. And it’s, again, calorie counting. It doesn’t have the psychological messaging, but I’ve learned that stuff now. And um, so I’m very happy with MyFitnessPal.
So it was a calorie counting diet, but what other diets are there?
Well, there are crash diets. That’s when you try to lose weight really fast by eating very, very little.
And fad diets. They’re diets that lots of people get interested in. They’re fashionable but for a short period of time.
Now Jay’d been on lots of different kinds of diets in the past, hadn’t you?
You’ve tried… What have you tried? You’ve tried the Atkins diet.
That’ right Atkins where I ate steaks and eggs and all kinds of protein.
Well, I’ve tried low carb diets and high carb diets… I’ve tried everything really.
And I never really, um, paid too much attention to this because I was looking at it and thinking ‘Oh it will never last.” And it didn’t, did it?
The only one that’s lasted was the vegan diet. I don’t eat anything that had a mother or a face.
But you could eat popcorn and potato chips on a vegan diet.
Popcorn and potato chips are junk food. -food that’s bad for our health.
And they were comfort foods – foods that made us feel relaxed and happy until we saw the effects when we weighed ourselves.
They’re also processed foods – that’s just what it sounds like – foods that are processed in some way so they’re not raw.
They’re often treated with preservatives and other substances.
And I thought this NOOM diet sounded like a good idea because it was calorie counting. And calorie counting makes a lot of sense to me.
So I think about 3 weeks after I started Vicki joined and started the NOOM diet as well.
Yeah, and uh, I loved it because I could still eat chocolate and drink a glass of wine but I just had to pay attention to how much I was eating because really I’ve been eating too much.
We stayed on this diet and every single day we weighed ourselves. Every single day we counted every calorie we ate.
Did we ever cheat?
Now and then.
I can have two ounces of these. Ah. Too many. Perfect! There you go!
I can have 5 ounces of this.
Is that five ounces?
Well, sort of.
But the idea is you just have to get back on the diet the next day.
So we talk about ‘going on a diet’ and, in our case, ‘getting back on a diet’.
Yeah, starting it again after you’ve had a bad day.
And you could say you’ve broken your diet – that’s when you’ve eaten too much.
And if you eat way too much you could say you’ve ruined your diet.
I thought it was quite nice getting into the habit of getting up in the morning and weighing myself. It was quite exciting to get out of bed and see how much more weight I’d lost. But sometimes you just stayed at the same level for ages.
That’s right. I mean sometimes you’d watch your weight come down and level off for days and even a couple of weeks. And only after 7 or 8 days of a plateau would it start to go down again.
Yes, you have to have patience.
Plateaus is a useful word. It’s when you’ve been making progress but then things stay the same for a period of time.
It can be a noun or a verb.
So your weight can plateau or you can hit a plateau.
One of the nice things that happened between the pandemic and the diet is that we planned our meals together very carefully.
And I started thinking more about what I was going to eat that night, or that day. And so we would investigate and find new menus and cook… and then we’d sit down and have a proper meal together with… Because we couldn’t go out to restaurants or anything like that and we couldn’t spend evenings with friends. But we always tried to make a nice meal in the evening together during the pandemic. We’d light candles.
Right, either in the dining room or up on the deck. We had candles. We’d play music. It would be really lovely.
Yes. We also discovered some low calorie foods that we hadn’t realized existed before, didn’t we?
Oh, low calorie vegan mayonnaise.
Here are some words you’ll often see on food labels. Low calorie. Reduced fat
Sodium free – that’s when there’s no salt
You’ll also see lite spelled L-I-T-E, when something has less fat or sugar than the regular product
There are legal definitions for a lot of these terms but they vary from country to country.
There were some things that we really liked that we had to cut back on and actually stop. One was bread. We ate a lot of bread before. And another one for me was cheese.
Did you notice the phrase cut back on? That’s when you reduce the quantity you eat.
I had to cut back on cheese.
You could also say cut down on. I had to cut down on sugar.
And if you stop eating something completely then you cut it out. I cut out bread for a while.
On the NOOM diet something that was valuable to you was the psychological tips they’d give you.
Oh yeah, absolutely. One of the things I learned to do was how to avoid those snacks after dinner. One of things I learned was when I’m finished with dinner, I’m out of the kitchen.
I think the thing I learned was just to pay attention to how hungry I felt. And to stop eating if I wasn’t hungry anymore. Oh and to only eat when I was hungry.
It takes 20 minutes for what you eat to reach your brain, that is, to let you know that you’re actually full. So eat slowly, eat carefully, eat patiently, and sometimes if you feel a little hunger, wait a little while because often it will go away.
OK, so hunger is the noun and hungry is the adjective, and did you notice the word full? Full can mean not hungry in English.
So you might offer someone more food and they can say ‘No thanks, I’m full.’
In British English we also say full-up. It just means I’ve had enough to eat.
It took 8, 9 months and I lost 40 pounds.
Yeah, well done. And I’ve lost over 30. Haven’t I?
And so now, we’re fitting into clothes that we have had for years and years and years and never been able to wear.
These jeans have a 34 inch waist and previously, I was about to buy 42 inch jeans when I went on the diet.
This jacket is more than fifty years old. It used to belong to my mother.
This is my tuxedo. I hadn’t been able to fit into this for years.
And I’ve been throwing away clothes that are too big. So now I have more room in my wardrobe.
What other benefits that we’ve seen?
Well, clearly we’re healthier. I can exercise more. My breathing is better. My ability… my endurance is better. Everything is…
If you have endurance, it means that strenuous activities can be done for a longer period of time. That’s endurance.
Yeah. ‘Cause you’ve always exercised a lot too, haven’t you?
I have always exercised. I’m a bicycle rider. I lift weights. I use machines at the gym. But I…
I don’t exercise. I’m very lazy.
But as I lost more and more weight, the exercise became more and more effective. It was really impressive, at least for me.
I’ll never go back to that weight again. I’m sure of it.
Yeah, we’ve stayed at this weight for probably about 6 months?
That’s right. About that, yeah.
Yeah, do you want to lose any more weight now?
No, actually I’m at the perfect weight that I want to be at. I’ve actually lost 45 pounds at this moment. I’m gonna stay right here.
And I’m very happy where I am too now. It’s good, isn’t it?
I think losing weight has a lot in common with learning to speak a language like English.
Well, we’ll always need to watch our weight, and pay attention to it.
Maintenance is the tricky thing.
Exactly. And it’s the same with learning English. You have to keep working at it. But losing weight can be a lot of fun too, just like learning English.
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