A 4D approach to weight loss

I love ice cream – any flavour is fine.  And I  love chocolate – particularly Toblerone. I can easily enjoy three sugars in a cappuccino or hot chocolate. I adore doughnuts, custard creams, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ginger snaps, bounty bars and my mouth positively waters at the sight of pancakes filled with Nutella chocolate spread.  Last August I realised I needed to lose two stone in excess weight because at fifty-something, standing at 5 feet 9 inches in my socks and tipping the scale at close to 15 stone, I was pushing my luck. I definitely needed some weight loss. 


I think we can all agree that getting up each morning requires a fair amount of willpower. The will to face the trials, tribulations, tears and tantrums. As well as the joy, happiness, peace and laughter we experience living and working a full life. So, for me, finding the strength and focus to achieve weight loss at this time in my life has given me the confidence to make some important decisions. Decisions about my professional career and the growth of my business. It would prove to me that I still have the creativity, resilience, personal resources and willpower to take my business and my career to the next level. That’s why I had to succeed.

It took me around six months to reach my target weight and I must say, I feel so much healthier, happier and energized. Friends, family and colleagues have all noticed and, of course, all ask: “ How did you do it?”

A simple equation for weight loss

Just to be absolutely clear, I am not a nutritionist nor am I medically qualified to give professional, dietary advice. However, I have been consciously managing my weight and physical fitness all of my life with considerable success – mostly. What I’ve discovered over the years is that, while no single diet plan will suit everyone, regardless of all the fancy ways you can organize and consume food to lose weight, the simple and indisputable fact about weight loss and gain is this:

In order to lose 1 pound of fat, you need to burn around an extra 3,500 calories over seven days. Obviously the reverse applies, eat 3,500 more calories than you need per week and you’ll put on a pound of fat.

It really is no more complex than that and anyone who tells you anything different is simply confused or a con artist! So here is the eating plan that worked for me and I offer it to you.

The 4D Weight loss diet

My story – I wanted to lose a pound a week steadily each month so I needed to work out how many calories I would have to eat in order to create a deficit that would lead to weight loss. The first thing I did was find out my BMR (Base Metabolic Rate) to work out how many calories my body would burn if I laid in bed all day. Just in case the need should arise, I would know how to lose weight literally in my sleep.

For me, that worked out at 1200 calories per day just to feed my vital organs and stay alive. To function efficiently and maintain my health in 4 dimensions, I needed to consume at least 1800 -2000 calories per day. So anything over that could lead to weight gain. Consuming 500 calories less per day over seven days means that I would lose a pound of fat in one week. My target then was 1500 calories and I guessed this was also going to be boring for me, so by applying the following, not only did I lose weight but I improved my overall health and sense of well-being.

I call it the 4D Diet because it means splitting your eating habits into days of eating for your body, heart, mind and soul. I decided to spread out the calories over a week to total 10,600 kcal which meant I would be in deficit by 3,500 calories and, therefore, lose one pound of fat in a week. To do this, I consumed different amounts of calories each day but basically ate a mix of all the foods I love.

Food days

1.  Body food days

MONDAY-WEDNESDAY AND FRIDAY were the Body food days. This meant taking at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, plus eating foods that would feed my muscles and vital organs. Basically, the exercise would involve one visit a week to the gym and then making sure I took briskly, 30 minute walks the rest of the time. Moving at about a third faster than I normally do. Slightly quicker up and downstairs and escalators on my way to and back from work. My target was 1,500 calories on each of these days. In terms of a food plan, it was really simple. I would just add a healthy portion of chicken and steak to various types of salad three times a day. That’s it!

2. Heart food day

TUESDAY was reserved for some Heartfelt eating, so it was comfort food all day. Just so we’re clear, the heart I’m feeding is the emotional heart. This food will not necessarily be good for your physical heart. Now, I am conscious that some may think this is a terrible idea. But if I don’t satisfy the emotional cookie eating monster, it will hide in the shadows sulking and then jump out on me unexpectedly and devour a planet-sized portion of sweets and cakes in less than 20 seconds.

Anything goes on Tuesday from sticky toffee pudding and custard, any chocolate bar of my choice, a hunk of Banoffee pie to sugar in my coffee…. but with a strict limit of 2,500 calories for the day. You’d be surprised how much naughty stuff you can eat throughout the day – if you don’t scoff it all down at once. For example, I could snack on a Snickers bar in three sittings.

3. Mind food day

THURSDAY was Mind food day. This day was tougher as I would limit myself to 1000 calories in total, but I ate all the foods that were great for brain function. I would start the day with a small bowl of wheat bran cereal. Lunch would be 2 slices of granary bread and low-fat spread and supper would be chicken or steak with a small bowl of brown pasta. Carefully counting the calories of each portion. I also included small portions of nuts and I mean a tiny, scrunched up palm full. My secret binge on this day would be a huge bowl of chopped cucumber, with blackcurrants and blueberries sprinkled with pumpkin seeds! Apparently the blueberries are great for memory.

4. Soul food days

SATURDAY was Soul food day. This was vegetarian food from around the world. Curries, noodle dishes, rice and peas, hummus and roasted vegetables. To help me decide what to eat, I would log onto Google each morning and type in vegetarian dishes from around the world. I would consume 4 meals a day with each meal adding up to no more than 400 calories. Total for the day 1600 calories.

SUNDAY was just Juice day. a form of soul food.  I would consume a 1000 calories in juices and smoothies which roughly amounted to four of five delicious drinks. As a general rule, it’s important to drink plenty of water during this diet. At least 1.5 litres a day. That can include the liquid you take in as tea, coffee and juices.

Always consult a doctor

Finally, just to remind you once again – I am not a professional nutritionist nor am I medically trained or qualified. This regime is merely my own plan that worked well for me and my body type. It might suit you too. However, it is important to consult your doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions before trying it. If you feel it could help you then try the 4D approach for this week before the winter and see how you get on. Using this method I lost a total of 28lbs of useless and dangerous fat and gained quadruple that weight in self-respect and confidence.

If a week on this plan works well for you, you may want to pick it up again on January the 1st 2016 and try it for a month. That should help to clear at least 4 pounds of seasonal fat from your physical dimension! Not only that, but you will also have exercised and re-energised your willpower and confidence to help you achieve your ambitions and career goals for the year.

Good luck!

Tom is one of the UK’s leading personal impact and communication skills coaches hosting and delivering courses, seminars and workshops nationally and internationally. With a background in drama, business and psychology Tom offers an eclectic, engaging and integral approach to coaching and training for personal and professional development.