William Underwood had taken a radical move: The 27-year-old from London, England, had picked up with his girlfriend and moved to Paris, France, where he later began working for an English school. I fell out of healthy habits and started to put on a few extra pounds, he says. Even with a vegetarian diet , he was eating too much for someone spending so much time at a desk. Flipping through his phone, he saw some old pictures of himself; realizing just how much weight hed gained, he promised himself a change.
That was in February 2019. Underwood weighed 196 pounds, and declared that by September hed be down to 168. It wouldnt be the first time hed slimmed down; entering university as a teenager, he weighed 270 poundsby the time he finished, he was at 154. I thought if I had made so much progress 4 years earlier, he says, why not try to do it again? I saw it as a challenge for myself.
Underwood started by calculating his maintenance calories to establish the caloric deficit he needed to his hit goal weight. He broke it down: 30 percent of his calories from carbs, 30 percent from fat, and 30 percent from protein. He tracked it all with MyFitnessPal; as a vegetarian, his diet was mostly plants and eggs.
He didnt use a trainerbeing new in Paris, he didnt have any gym buddies, either, so it was up to him to stay motivated. (One trick: taking pictures of himself every Monday after the gym, so he could see his progress.) He upped his workout time to five weight sessions a week , with cardio two to three times. Hed hit the weights for about an hour in the morning before work, with 30 minutes of cardio after work. The schedule fit his daily routine, making it that much easier to implementand to stick with.
It wasnt always easy, Underwood says. His diet meant burning fat reserves; he also had to give up butter, a personal favorite. I think another challenge you face when doing something like this is to not become over-obsessed, he says. He wanted to enjoy himself despite the challenge, not torture himself with a strict regimen. Luckily I also had my girlfriend there to keep things in perspective, he says.
In about eight months, he lost 35 pounds, exceeding his goal. Most of his friends back home in England didnt know what hed been up to. But he did send his mother a before-and-after photo so she could see his accomplishment. As any good mum would, he says, she said she was worried I was wasting away and prescribed some more food!
Looking back, hes proud of his results. I improved my organizational skills, which helped with things out of the gym in my personal life and work, he says. I also feel I learned a lot more about self discipline and delayed gratification. And ultimately, he enjoyed himselfsomething he emphasizes for anyone looking to follow in his footsteps: Make sure you have fun doing it. If it makes you miserable to do it, what is the point?