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Interview: Prela – Lost 47lbs in 4 months

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So how did you first hear about IMS?

Well, I was at a friends coffee shop, and he pointed out that I had gained a lot of weight. He told me about this trainer that he knows by the name of Jonce. This was a Saturday. I came in to IMS on Sunday for my consultation, and started my training that Monday.

What had you actually make an appointment and show up?

I’m 43 years old, and I know that excess stomach fat is very bad for you. I didn’t want to develop problems later in life. So I figured I’d get motivated and get back to where my ideal weight is, around 200-205lbs.

So how long have you been working out at IMS?

This is my fourth month, and so far I’ve lost 47lbs.

That’s amazing. So what keeps you motivated to keep going?

Every time I get up and take my shirt off I look better and better. My shirts fit good, I feel great, I breath great, I can move better, and I can even get out of bed easier. It changed my life dramatically, from waking up in the morning, to going to bed at night, whatever I do in between is what helps me get better, faster, and do what I do.

So aside from the physical changes, how else has training at IMS impacted your life?

Well my confidence has gone through the roof. I feel great, I look great. It’s given me a real vote of confidence that I’m at my ideal weight. Now when I put clothes on I look the way I want to look rather than them making me feel like I’m overweight.

In terms of nutrition, what to do tell yourself when you’re tempted to eat something that you know isn’t going to be good for you?

Well, I have this idea in my head that any time I want to eat a slice of pizza or a bacon cheeseburger, I think about my trainer Jonce. I know what he puts me through, and to eat that burger or that slice of pizza isn’t really worth it, because I know if I eat it on Tuesday and then I go to train on Wednesday, I’m not getting any better that day, I’m just working off what I ate the day before. So instead of getting stronger and losing more weight, I’m setting myself behind. So instead, I just wake up in the morning and eat healthy and stick to the program. Now don’t get me wrong, I will still eat a slice of pizza on occasion, but everything is in moderation and I don’t overindulge myself.

My motto is “whatever tastes good you eat; whatever tastes delicious you don’t eat.”

So it sounds like you’re keeping in mind that that instant gratification is going to pale in comparison in the long term to how you’ll feel about yourself if you do the right thing.

Absolutely. To get to where I want to get to, I know I have to follow the program.

What advice do you have for people who right now are struggling to stick with a nutrition plan?

I’m probably one of the laziest people when it comes to working out. I’ll be straight up honest with you. The only thing I can recommend is DO IT, DO IT, DO IT. You will feel great! When I first started training, I did two pushups, two minutes on a rowing machine, and I was done. I was at 251lbs. Now I feel wonderful. The first two weeks of training were hell. Since then it has gotten easier and easier, and better and better.

Whatever you do, whatever you decide to eat, think about what you’re going to eat before you eat it. Ask yourself, “is it really worth it?”.

I used to say to myself “I can’t wait until I get home and eat that bowl of pasta, it’s going to make me feel happy.”. And for that 5-10 minutes, it made me feel happy. But for the next 24 hours, I felt like crap, and I looked like crap, simple as that.

Many people go on a diet or have a personal trainer, but to lose 47 pounds in 4 months is really something else. What do you attribute having lost all of that weight so quickly to?

Support and positive reinforcement man. The way my mother looks at me, or my brother telling me “wow you look so different!” or “wow you lost so much weight!”. What it comes down to is that you always know what you look like. If you’re afraid to take your shirt off at the beach, then you know you’re overweight. So for me taking my shirt off, and feeling way more confident than I used to feel, that’s my motivation.

I think that in many ways most people know that they need to eat healthy and workout. It sounds simple but very few people actually do it.

Jonce told me a long time ago, “next time you go to the grocery store, or next time you go to the mall, or next time you go anywhere, look around, and see how many people are overweight.” And I never used to think about that or notice it, but now I’m mindful when I’m out and I see people, and I feel bad for them, because I know how I feel now compared to how I felt 4 months ago. After 4 months of hard hard work, I’ve becoming addicted. I’m addicted to doing what I’ve got to do, to get to where I need to get to. Once you get there, it’s much easier to maintain your body once you’re at your peak. But if you don’t get to your peak, you could workout for a week or two and then quit, and you’ll gain more weight than you had two weeks ago. So keep on doing what you’re doing, and keep on fighting. I don’t know anyone that loves to go workout, but you gotta do it if you wanna feel comfortable with yourself and if you wanna look and feel amazing.

“Whatever tastes good eat, whatever tastes delicious, don’t eat!”


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Diets don’t work in long-term effectiveness. They are a quick fix. One must change their lifestyle for long term success.

So many diets have come and gone, with many promises of quick weight loss if certain programs are adhered to. It has quickly become a massive industry generating a lot of income, because of the desire of many people to achieve the slim-figure constantly shown to us in the media. It is interesting to note that, despite all the multitudes of dieting programs, there has been little success in the weight loss efforts of most of the population. People attempting to lose weight seem to do so initially at the start of these diet programs, but end up with much more weight after the dieting is over. This leaves them resigned, wondering how they blew it again.

Maintaining a healthy weight involves much more than food restriction. It is a lifestyle that  needs to be developed and not just a program to stick to for two or three months. Dieting is just a temporary fix to solve your weight problems, the results really aren’t going to last, because once the diet has ended, you find yourself plugging back to the same old habits that got you stuck with the fat in the first place; and then the cycle continues. For effective weight loss, everything from what you eat, to how you think, to what you do, should all be in alignment with the healthy lifestyle that you are developing.

A common assumption among dieters when they fail in their efforts to lose weight is that they are not disciplined enough, or that they lack the willpower to stay lean.

Some attribute their dieting failures to their own laziness or gluttony, failing to realize from the inception that, dieting is bound to fail, because it is not a healthy way to lose weight. Meanwhile, losing weight shouldn’t be this difficult and strict-ruled. It is easy to maintain a healthy weight when it’s fun, and not with stringent rules. Dieting produces a kind of tension in our minds, with don’t- eat- this rules, eventually causing stress that makes many well-intentioned efforts backfire.

Through research carried out by psychologists, it has been found that, dieting sends the message “I am being starved” to the brain. The result is that after the dieting period has ended, the body tries to regain every ounce of the fat it has lost, thereby leading to additional weight gain. Your body doesn’t understand the concept that you are dieting, instead it sees it as starvation and goes into fat storage mode; kind of like, storing fat for the ‘rainy days’.


Diets really don’t work because they just focus on one aspect of weight loss: food. Other aspects such as mindset, exercise, sleep, stress management, and hydration are left out, making it totally one-sided, which is not what the body needs. Effective weight loss focuses on total management of every area of health and wellbeing, ensuring a balance and not starvation in any form.

Cultivating sustainable lifestyle changes is important, much more than just focusing on food restriction alone. What we eat, and how much we eat is equally important, but that shouldn’t be the only point of focus or weight loss efforts will just be myopic and yield no results. It is overall important to look at our previous eating habits and patterns, why we eat what we eat and how we eat it. It is a process of changing our negative patterns all around, both internally and externally, to influence every sphere of our life, and not just our food.

Dieting produces psychological effects such as obsession with food, and increased cravings to eat even in the absence of hunger, due to lack of attentiveness. The rigidity and restriction of dieting may eventually lead to some form of eating disorder and binge eating. The high focus on weight loss in dieting may lead to depression and low self-esteem, when the dieter eventually finds out the approach isn’t yielding any positive results. Medical complications that can arise from diet due to starvation include: weakness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, and poor immune system.

Getting past the don’t-eat-this-or-that to developing a healthy habit of choosing healthy pathways to staying healthy; having a healthy approach to living allows excess weight to be lost  slowly and naturally, and because of the accumulation of healthy habits. This kind of lifestyle prevents you from being at war with your body through some diets that could damage internal workings of the body as a whole. When weight is lost through healthy lifestyle habits, the effects are lasting.


Being healthy isn’t all about weight loss. It involves choosing to live daily with habits which ensure your overall well-being. Our lifestyle choices would determine in the long run whether the excess weight is lost, and not merely by boycotting certain foods. For overweight/obese persons, it’s a change that should be taken one step at a time.  It should not be a quick fix, but instead a long-term guarantee to better living that improves overall health even without weight loss. Dieting or any method of losing weight other than lasting change in habits may cause more problems.

Better lifestyle changes that can help maintain a healthy weight without any dieting input include eating consciously, ensuring to eat a balanced diet, being active and engaging in regular moderate physical activity.

After all, what we should all be striving for is total Wellness. “A state of complete physical, mental, and spiritual well-being; not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

“Learn to eat to live, and not to live to eat.”


Mindful Eating Vs. Hedonic Eating

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hedonic – of or characterized by pleasure

mindful – conscious or aware of something

We eat food because of its ability to provide us with the necessary nourishment and its ability to aid in our brain function. But with the vast majority of foods available, and their desirable tastes, eating can become a pleasure tool to satisfy our desires. Hedonic eating is eating just for the pleasure it brings rather than for the nutritional benefits that can be gained from such eating. Hedonic hunger makes an individual consume certain pleasant food even in the absence of physical hunger. Food is consumed because of its rewarding component. Hedonic influences abound with the multitudes of technological instruments appealing to our sensory organs. With multitudes of snacks, sweets and various high-calorie foods out there, hedonic eating is a common phenomenon. These foods are palatable, convenient, easily available ,and the desire to consume them is high. Cravings are form of hedonic eating, making the eater desire certain food or drink.

Mindful eating is being more aware of what you eat, savoring every taste and taking every bite consciously, with an effort to stop at just being satisfied, meanwhile hedonic eating makes you eat more food, mindlessly, in a bite to have it all, get over-satisfied and still keep going. Mindful eating observes the body, considers the hunger signals, weighing them rightfully before deciding to eat. While eating, mindful eating takes time to note that all distractions are put aside and focus is put on the food in front of the eater, consuming every bite more consciously, feeling every texture and taste of the food.

Hedonic eating can be triggered by emotional circumstances, such as loneliness and stress. While mindful eating seeks to understand emotional feelings that may trigger hedonic eating, and focuses on not entertaining such feelings and to stay on the course of eating consciously and purposely. Mindfulness while eating encourages you to put away distractions such as TV, internet, and cell phones which could spur overeating. Every time spent in mindful eating can be well accounted for, as the senses are in full corporation with the mouth and stomach.

Consciously putting your mind into eating is very beneficial as it helps you be more in control of your eating behavior. Mindful eating connects with the brain and signals to the body when to stop eating and when to start eating, unlike hedonic eating which hardly connects to the brain in the process of eating; The end is just to satisfy this ‘pleasant urge’ to eat. Mindfulness in eating involves breaking free from usual eating habits by thinking through the feelings and internal forces that influence how you eat and your purpose for eating.

Hedonic eating doesn’t require much effort, most times it’s being programmed by impulse into our subconscious, so when the desire to eat something palatable comes, we just move to eat; meanwhile mindful eating requires effort, programming your mind to consciously choose how food is being eaten. Mindfulness helps you listen to your body when it screams hunger or being full. It allows you to obey your body cues. Self-control is a necessary attribute when it comes to hedonic and mindful eating. Hedonic eaters hardly refrain from food which seems pleasant and desirable to them. Mindful eaters on the other hand consciously weigh all options before eating, and know how to control their mind and sensory organs towards their food.


Hedonic eating is one major cause of obesity, as most times the eaters go over the limit satisfying their hedonistic desire, and eventually accumulate excess fat which is then stored up in their body. Mindful eating is beneficial in weight management, as it helps the eater to be more aware of food choices, portions, and manner of consumption.

Hedonic eaters can become more mindful eaters by taking into consideration their motive for eating and how they eat. It would require conscious disciplined efforts for a hedonic eater to overcome the habit. One way is for such an eater to have an eating diary which helps put in check what to eat and when to eat, and also rating on a scale their level of hunger before having any meal or snack. Questions such as the following should be asked before embarking on any meal: Why am I eating this meal? Am I really hungry? Did I eat in the past 1-2 hours? Am I eating just to satisfy an urge? If these can be answered rightly, it can help the hedonic eater to become more mindful. Also, it would help them overcome their hedonic habits gradually.

It is also important to note that mindful eating is not a method of dieting nor some form of food restriction. It doesn’t limit to certain food structure, but rather it helps to coordinate eating behaviors. On the other hand, dieting could lead to some hedonic behaviors, when the eater becomes emotional or judgmental.

Final thoughts: I could use the term “hedonic” for many other behaviors in today’s society. We are all seeking some form of “self-pleasure” in different aspects of our lives. The danger is when our lives become utterly consumed with a particular “hedonistic” action. Let’s be honest with ourselves, that kind of lifestyle is quite selfish, and not only damaging to one’s self, but also to the people closest to us. So, I think if one can shift from “hedonic eating” to “mindful eating,” then you will at same time start living a conscious life.

“Happiness doesn’t derive from location, or material possession, it derives from a higher state of consciousness.”