Lose 20 pounds of fat Case Study Contents
How to lose 20 pounds of fat | A case study
In this case study, you will see how a previously untrained, unhealthy and overweight 50-year-old man transformed his body and his health and lost 20 pounds of fat in the process. Through reforming his diet and implementing the Hngry4Fitness 8-Week Weight Loss Programme, Sean went from fat and unfit to trim and trained.
Before we have a look at how Sean changed his life for the better, it is important that the reader understands that this is a ‘GENUINE’ case study. It is not one of those illusions fabricated by the fitness ‘guru’ to lure you in to buy their products.
Lose 20 pounds of fat safely
Moreover, the case study participant, Sean, did not adopt an extreme, calorie-restrictive diet or resort to the use of synthetic products to facilitate fat loss and enhance muscle gain.
This case study chronicles the lifestyle changes made by an ordinary man who wanted to improve his health and physicality. Thus, you will not see any extraordinary body-compositional transformations; you know the types, bloated blob to Bruce Lee in just 8-weeks.
Lose 20 pounds of fat and improve health
Instead, you will learn about what can happen when an unhealthy person adopts positive lifestyle principles and how these reforms changed their health for the better. In so doing you will no doubt take pleasure in reading about how Sean progressively transitioned from a state of poor health to one of good health.
This in turn might inspire you to follow in Sean’s footsteps. If you are currently leading an unhealthy lifestyle, perhaps you see shades of yourself in Sean, then you too can improve your health by modelling the methods outlined in this case study.
Motivation to lose 20 pounds of fat
(After implementing the Hungry4Fitness 8-Week Weight Loss Programme, Sean was so elated with the results that he emailed us to say thank you. We, of course, were thoroughly chuffed that our programme had made such an impact. We asked Sean if he would be willing to share his success with a wider audience, to which he agreed. Below, in his own words, is an outline of his motivation for improving his health.)
Unhealthy and overweight
‘It was one of those defining moments we have in life sometimes,’ said Sean, when asked why he embarked on this 8-Week Weight Loss Programme.
‘I know it’s cliché, but literally one morning I looked in the mirror at my bulging belly and flabby body and said: “Right! Something needs to be done”. Also, when I conducted a health screening and lifestyle questionnaire, they showed that I had high blood pressure and was borderline obese! I couldn’t believe that my health had gotten so bad.’
Following this realisation and resolution, Sean did what anyone would, he asked Google for advice on how to improve his health, how to lose weight and how to get fit.
Sean spent the next hour scrolling through various websites trying to find answers to his questions. But the problem was he found that much of the information was conflicting and that a lot of websites were trying to sell synthetic products.
Lose 20 pounds of fat naturally
‘I didn’t want to get fit, lose weight and ‘improve’ my health by popping pills or slurping shakes. In my opinion, resorting to such products seems like a backwards step, like you’re replacing one unhealthy habit for another – plus, they’re bloody expensive! I wanted to use only natural means: diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.’
Resolved to find a lifestyle programme tailored around a natural approach to health and wellbeing, Sean continued his search.
‘That’s when I happened upon the Hungry4Fitness 8-Week Weight Loss Programme. At first, I thought it was too good to be true.’
When asked what he meant by this Sean said, ‘Well the complete programme cost less than £10. I couldn’t help wondering where the catch was considering it provides you with all the tools and knowledge needed to lose weight, get fit and improve your lifestyle.’
Lose 20 pounds of fat with lifestyle changes
However, though he was at first sceptical because seldom do companies sell quality at such low prices, Sean went with his gut instinct and accessed the programme. He then read through the modules and began implementing the diet, exercise and lifestyle advice immediately. Sean soon started to notice results.
‘I was surprised at how quickly my body responded to the lifestyle changes. Seriously, within just a couple of weeks of eating better, doing more exercise, and being more active, I was looking visibly leaner. Also, I started to feel physically fitter – and healthier too!’
Before we consider the lifestyle interventions that Sean implemented to transform his physique and lose 20 pounds of fat, we will look at his preprogramme lifestyle, the reasons why he’d fallen into unhealthy habits and finally review his physiological biomarkers and fitness test scores.
What follows is a questionnaire Sean completed prior to undertaking the weight loss programme. He kindly sent us this questionnaire so that we could conduct a lifestyle assessment.
In addition, we thought it would also be useful for those who are perhaps leading a similar lifestyle as they will be able to identify commonalities and thus make the necessary changes – as Sean did.
Q1: Smoker: No
Q2: Alcohol consumption (weekly units): 0
Q3: Sleeping patterns: Usually around 9 -10 pm to 5 or 6 am – so about 7 to 8hrs a night.
Q4: Stressed: Y/N - If YES please try to outline stress triggers: Homelife/ unexpected financial pressures and of course work plays on my mind a lot.
Q5: Exercise: Y/N – If YES describe types of exercise/frequency/intensity: I only participate in low-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling/walking, 2 to 3 times per week for no more than 30-minutes each session.
Q6: Diet: How would you describe your current eating habits? For breakfast, I have toast (white bread) with butter most mornings, but sometimes Weetabix with milk and sugar. Very occasionally I’ll eat a piece of fruit. Also, I eat around 3 fried eggs a week – with white toast and butter.
For lunch I tend to eat convenience foods from the work’s canteen: prepacked sandwiches and crisps . . . and occasionally a fizzy drink.
My evening meals are pasta-heavy. I eat meat with almost every meal. At least twice a week I’ll have fish & chips or some type of takeaway food. My kitchen cupboards are full of crisps, chocolate, cookies, biscuits and tinned foods and I get through a pint of milk a week.
Q7: Stimulant addictions: How much coffee/tea/caffeinated sports drinks/added sugar do you consume on a daily basis? I drink at least 6 cups of tea a day. In each tea, I have milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Q8: Do you spend the majority of your day in a sedentary state? Y/N: Yes.
If ‘Yes’ how many hours a day are you sedentary? Lately, I’ve been sitting at my desk for most of the day with very little movement.
Also, when I get home, I tend to remain in a sedentary state for most of the evening.
I don’t think I get anywhere near the recommended 150-minutes of exercise per week. I spend the majority of the day seated.
Q9: What aspect of your lifestyle would you most like to change? If I could change two aspects of my current lifestyle, I would improve my eating habits – transition to a plant-based diet – and do more exercise.
Lose 20 pounds of fat with diet
[Below is an outline of our dietary recommendations for Sean and an assessment of his current eating habits in response to his lifestyle questionnaire answers.]
To reduce body weight and blood pressure it is imperative that you implement a plant-based diet. This requires that you remove animal protein from your diet while increasing the intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. This is by far the most important step you can take. (Try these healthy meals for weight loss.)
In addition, it is absolutely essential that you cut out all processed foods, fast foods, confectionaries, and any and all forms of take-outs. Take decisive steps to work towards a toxic-free diet immediately.
Furthermore, with regards to added sugar, you should look to reduce and remove tea consumption. At the moment you are consuming on average 6 cups of tea a day each with one teaspoon of sugar and milk.
Added up over the day this equates to 28gs of sugar (1 teaspoon = 4gs) and a cup of milk. Over a week that amounts to 198gs of sugar – or 20% of a 1-kilogram bag! And that’s just in your tea. Think how much it would be if you included biscuits, chocolate bars and other confectioneries.
Essential reading: How Not to Die
Lose 20 pounds of fat with exercise
[Below is an outline of our exercise recommendations for Sean and an assessment of his current training habits in response to his lifestyle questionnaire answers.]
Currently, you are not engaging in enough exercise. As per your lifestyle questionnaire you are not satisfying the recommended minimum dosage of 150-minutes per week falling short by as much as 60-minutes.
However, 150-minutes isn’t enough. At a minimum, it is advisable to participate in 210-minutes, or a daily 30-minute session, of light- to moderate-intensity exercise consisting of cardio and circuits (How Not to Die).
By implementing this recommendation, you will begin to habituate an exercise routine that will help to metabolise excess fat while promoting whole-body physicality. You should look to establish this routine by the first week of your 8-week programme.
As you progress through the programme you should look to increase the duration of each daily session by 15- to 30-minutes, raise the intensity of at least two sessions, and supplement with more relaxed forms of exercise: such as walking, cycling and yoga.
Essential reading: The Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts
Lose 20 pounds of fat with lifestyle changes
[Below is an outline of our lifestyle recommendations for Sean and an assessment of his current lifestyle in response to his lifestyle questionnaire answers.]
To the question relating to sedentarism, you stated that much of your day is spent in an inactive state. Given that you sleep for 8 hours and spend on average less than 10-minutes each day exercising, you are in a sedentary or low-active state for more than 16-hrs. This must change.
According to emerging research sedentarism – which the dictionary defines as The habits and routines associated with relatively low levels of activity and movement, leading to health-related problems such as obesity – is one of the leading causes of disease and premature mortality.
However, including more movement into your day is quite easy. See below seven quick tips:
Spend as much of your days as possible in the horizontal position. On account of the heart having to pump harder to circulate blood, the body uses more energy when we are standing.
Use a pushbike instead of a car.
Always take the stairs, never the escalator or lift.
Walk when possible.
Buy a cheap exercise bike and pedal while watching TV.
Set a 20-minute repeat timer on your phone to remind you to get up and move for 5-minutes throughout the day.
Read these simple ways to stay active.
Essential reading: The New Psychology of Health
Lose 20 pounds of fat with the 8 Week Programme
Sean completed the 8-Week Weight Loss Programme and, to his credit, he implemented all the advice and guidance outlined throughout the 6 Modules. In conjunction with the programme, he conducted a broad range of health screens, to gather data on important physiological biomarkers, and undertook a series of fitness tests, to track physical performance.
As per the programme recommendations, Sean performed the screenings and tests before, during, and directly after the 8-weeks. Below is an overview of his measures and an assessment of his post-programme outcomes.
Preintervention physiological biomarkers & fitness tests
Prior to implementing the 8-Week Weight Loss Programme, Sean followed the advice and conducted a series of healthy screens and fitness tests. These are both crucial aspects of the programme (the screens more so than the fitness tests) because they provide data which can be used to chart and monitor progress.
Of course, if a person does not at the very least weigh themselves before embarking on a weight loss programme, they will not be able to determine if it is working. Thus, the programme places heavy emphasis on the necessity to gather data on the following physiological biomarkers:
1: body weight (combined with height and inputted into the BMI calculator)
2: blood pressure
3: resting heart rate
4: girt measurements
5: body fat percentage (optional)
In addition to the health screens, the participant is invited to conduct a series of fitness tests. While the fitness tests are not as important as the health screens, they nevertheless provide another measure of physiological adaption. Such positive feedback yields two essential functions.
First, it informs the participant that their body is responding to the programme. Second, it is both motivational and gratifying to see quantitative evidence of improvement.
In the assessment that follows, we have included Sean’s fitness test results, but we have not discussed them. The fitness tests include:
1) 1.5-mile run and/or 2000-metre ergo row
2) 2-minute press-ups
3) 2-minute step-ups (2 x 8kg dumbbells)
Weight loss programme health screening
Sean conducted a rigorous health screening the week prior to implementing the 8-Week Weight Loss Programme, at the halfway point (week 4) and finally at the end of the 8th week.
Sean used an Omron blood-pressure machine to measure his resting heart rate and blood pressure. The method he observed, in order to get the most reliable and accurate readings, was as follows:
He conducted the health screening prior to the fitness tests; so, on a Monday afternoon at 12:30 pm
Before taking his heart rate and blood pressure, Sean remained seated for approximately 5-minutes
He applied the Omron blood-pressure machine three times and took the mean average reading
After taking HR & BP readings he performed a simple girt measurement with a tape measure as he applied the tape, he relaxed his stomach and ‘let it all hang out’
Concluding the girt measurement, he hopped on a pair of electronic scales and recorded his weight. (Note: when Sean weighed himself, he wore only underpants, also, on the day of the weigh-in, he consumed breakfast and a single glass of water at 8 am.)
Preintervention physiological biomarkers
BP: 145/90 (according to the NHS, this reading is within the hypertensive range (‘high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher’ (NHS 2021)) thus it is a cause for concern as hypertension is associated with increased risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, peripheral disease, aortic aneurysms, kidney disease and vascular dementia.)
BW: 13.5st (1891lbs)
Height: 5, 6” (On entering Sean’s height and weight into the BMI calculator he received a reading of 30 – suggesting he is obese.)
Girt Circumference: 105.5cm
Weight loss programme fitness tests
Sean completed the fitness tests the week prior to implementing the 8-Week Weight Loss Programme, at the halfway point (week 4) and finally at the end of the 8th week.
The method he observed, in order to get the most reliable and accurate results possible, was as follows:
He completed all three elements of the fitness test on Monday afternoon in one sitting
He spent 10-minutes warming up which included a 5-minute row followed by a 5-min jog with 5 x 50-metre progressive intensity intervals
After the warm-up, he ‘psyched’ himself up and completed the 1.5-mile (2400-metre) run
Concluding the run, he took a 5-minute rest before initiating the resistance exercises
After the rest, he performed as many press-ups in 2-minutes as possible
On completing the press-ups, he rested for 2-minutes before the final test, 2-minute of step-ups.
Fitness test scores
5-mile run: 15:47
2-minute press-ups: 30 reps (90° flexion at the elbow to full extension)
2-minute step-ups: 35 reps (18” high step-up box holding 2 X 8kg dumbbells, alternate feet, foot fully planted on the box)
Postintervention physiological biomarkers
What follows is a brief summarisation of Sean’s physiological biomarker outcomes concluding the 8-Week Weight Loss Programme.
Resting heart rate (RHR)
Sean’s resting heart rate dropped from 76 to 71 beats per minute (bpm). According to Harvard Health, a healthy resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100bpm. Prior to undertaking the programme, Sean’s RHR at 76 was well within this acceptable range. However, a heart rate of 76 still presents a risk factor for long-term health.
In one large study that examined the heart rate of over 129,000 people, researchers ‘found that those with the highest resting rates – more than 76 beats per minute – were 26% more likely to have a heart attack or die from one than those with the lowest resting heart rates – 62 beats per minute or less,’ (Harvard Health).
Sean still has a way to go before he lowers his resting heart rate to 62 beats per minute. However, in just 8-weeks he experienced a reduction of 5 beats, which is impressive considering Sean was untrained and obese prior to embarking on the programme. It is conceivable that, with persistence, he could further reduce his resting heart rate to the much safer range identified by the Harvard study.
Blood pressure assessment
As identified in the preintervention biomarker assessment, Sean’s blood pressure indicated that he was in a state of hypertension. The NHS has identified a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg as the lowest point of the hypertensive range. Hypertension is a cause for concern as it significantly increases the risk factor for a number of serious health conditions.
The outcome report above shows a positive trend toward what the NHS classify as an ‘ideal blood pressure’ range of between 90/60mmHg and 120/180mmHg (NHS - 2022). Though Sean’s current blood pressure resides outside of this ideal range, it is moving in the right direction.
After 8-weeks Sean dropped from 30 points on the BMI scale to 27. Though this does not seem like a significant reduction, it is enough to bring him out of the obesity range and midway along the ‘unhealthy weight’ range.
This is very positive and, as well as providing quantitative evidence of progress, it also indicates that Sean responded well to the programme interventions. In 8-weeks he successfully reduced his position on the BMI by 3 points.
As it stands, Sean is just 4 points off the healthy weight range. To achieve this, Sean will have to lose a further 19.1lbs (from 169.1 to 150lbs).
A girt measurement exceeding 101.6cm (40 inches) is synonymous with obesity and increased risk factor of disease. A recent article in the Mail Online covered the dangers of a 40” waist. In the article studies from Oxford University were cited showing that ‘men with 40in waist were 35% more likely to die from prostate cancer.’
The study also suggested that ‘a high BMI increases the risk of other diseases including other types of cancer’ and cardiovascular disease. (Mail Online).
Sean’s preprogramme girt measurement exceeded this severe risk zone by nearly 5 centimetres. Across the 8 weeks, Sean successfully reduced his girt by 11.4cm (4.5”). Though by no means a spectacular reduction, it has brought him underneath the severe risk zone and closer to 35”, which the Oxford Study identified as a much safer girt measurement. (‘A man with 40inch (103cm) waist or above has a 35 per cent higher risk of dying from the disease than one who wears a 35inch (90cm) or lower trouser size.’)
Lose 20 pounds of fat with this case study
This case study has attempted to showcase the positive outcomes to health and body weight that simple lifestyle interventions can bring about. As Sean showed, by making and maintaining modest lifestyle modifications it is possible to progress from a state of poor health to one of improved health.
In just 8-weeks Sean reduced his blood pressure from a hypertensive to a pre-hypertensive range. By doing so he moved out of a range associated with a significant risk factor to health. A similar result occurred for the other physiological biomarkers – resting heart rate and body mass.
These positive outcomes were the consequence of implementing natural interventions. At no point throughout the 8-week programme did Sean resort to synthetic substances – pills, potions, or protein shakes. As Sean stated in the introduction, ‘I didn’t want to get fit, lose weight and ‘improve’ my health by popping pills or slurping shakes.’
Instead of relying on artificial substances to facilitate fat loss, which presents a risk to health (see discussion below), he made changes to his diet, exercise dosage, and lifestyle habits. In summary, these changes included:
Transitioning to a plant-based diet
Curtailing the consumption of processed food
Increasing exercise dosage to 30- to 45-minutes a day (the workouts consisted primarily of cardio and circuit training)
Increasing general activity levels
If you want to lose weight and improve your health, consider emulating Sean. Do so by implementing the lifestyle changes listed above. Either begin the process of transforming your dietary and exercise habits to align with those outlined in the case study. Alternatively, make your life simpler by starting the Hungry4Fitness 8-Week Weight Loss Programme.
Hidden dangers of protein powders
It is wise to exercise caution before consuming protein shakes. Though widely regarded as an innocuous nutritional supplement for increasing protein intake, there is growing concern that protein shakes are detrimental to health. As one Harvard Health article warns, the long-term health implications of protein powders are unknown. In addition, protein shakes can cause ‘digesting distress’ and some have been found to contain ‘toxic chemical’ ingredients. For example, ‘one protein powder contained 25 times the allowed limit of BPA.’
Furthermore, to improve the palatability of protein shakes many powders contain ‘added sugar’ and sweeteners. Moreover, they can be very high in calories: ‘some protein powders wind up turning a glass of milk into a drink with more than 1,200 calories’ – which exceeds half of the recommended daily calorie intake for a grown man.