We have yet another incredibly inspiring Spotlight Friday for you today! David Lindsay has gone through an incredible transformation and Philip provided a big source of inspiration for him through his journey. Keep on reading for some serious inspiration for your own weight loss and health journey…
Hey everyone! My name is David and this is my transformation. In late 2008 I weighed 155kg (340lbs) as pictured on the left. It took me two years to lose the extra weight I was carrying and drop down to a more healthy 85kg (187lb) which I managed to do without any drugs or surgery. That’s about 45% of my body weight i.e. 70kg (154lbs) lost over 2 years during which I did very little exercise. I’m Scottish but have been living in Sweden for almost a year now with my lovely Swedish angel, Johanna.
1. What drove you to adopt a healthy lifestyle?
I was extremely unhealthy and in a daily depression. I felt that after eating I had just made my situation worse and my confidence was extremely low as I was destroying it myself bite by bite. If you’re feeling like I did, that is: that you can’t do a lot of things as you’re so large and lack the confidence to do so and then take comfort in the fact that you have all this extremely stimulating and comfortable food around you, then you’re on a pretty bad road.
Needless to say, I wasn’t enjoying my life at all. I wasn’t comfortable in my body and I knew something had to change. This lifestyle was unsustainable for so many reasons and I knew that even if it took 2 years of my life to lose the excess weight that those two years would have been added onto my life in orders of magnitude. In a way, I saw it as I was investing in myself and my future by increasing my life expectancy and didn’t feel like having a heart attack when I was 30.
I’d like to say that I have always liked healthy food but rarely ate it. If someone was to make me an incredibly healthy meal I would happily enjoy it but I would always struggle to bring myself to create something like that. That becomes easier. I have always been a great cook since my father taught me how to cook and nowadays I create a lot of nice food for people.
2. What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was to get the ball rolling. It’s really hard and I do mean incredibly hard to have a diet and lifestyle shift when you’re that large. I had so many things weighing me down only in my head that I had to let go of and I still find myself letting go of some things to this day.
I started gaining a lot of weight around 2005/6 and I had countless silent attempts until my turning point in late 2008. I call them silent attempts because only I knew that I had tried to lose weight and was suffering inside every time I failed. You have so many bad habits and mental barriers to smash through to complete that journey.
That first feeling when you get a grip on your weight is incredibly liberating. After that point, it becomes a lot easier to stick with it. Anyone who can steer their life away from the path of food addiction, depression, anxiety and most certainly early death deserves the maximum amount of respect in my eyes. Everybody has the strength inside them to fight for it, you just have to believe in yourself and be patient because you will not lose 70kg (154lbs) overnight. Forget about crash diets and focus on the slow and steady.
I have grown immensely since 2008 but I am still the same person inside. A short while after getting that first grip on my weight I knew that I weighed around 85kg inside and it was just a matter of time till my actual body image displayed what I saw inside my head. Slowly over the course of two years that became reality.
3. What does your daily diet look like?
It varies greatly now and I think that’s important to note. You can’t realistically eat the same thing each day as you’ll get bored. What you need to do is find a lot of cool recipes and ideas and get yourself immersed in the world of creating lovely healthy food. I am a pretty creative and spontaneous cook in the kitchen (I never measure anything) and I love watching other chefs working. I study youtube videos and occasionally watch TV to give myself inspiration and ideas. There’s 7 billion people on the planet creating food each day and their ideas very often will serve as your inspiration. Due to this fascination with creating the best food I can for my friends and I, I change things around constantly and a lot of people enjoy watching me cook/prepare food with a passion. I am not on a 100% raw food diet although I take advantage of a lot of the raw diet tools and raw vegetables are the predominant part of my diet but I don’t like the dogmatism and the “my way or the highway” attitude in the raw food movement and I’ve never thought of myself as completely “raw” or “vegan” despite having eaten precisely like they do for extended periods of time.
I generally have a smoothie for breakfast which is in the 1litre-1.5litre range. I choose to have it for breakfast because it’s pretty easy to keep the ritual if you just wake up and create. Your body will also be incredibly grateful to get all that hydrating, easy to digest and mineral rich yummy good stuff into you. I have experimented with a lot of different things in smoothies. To some people, smoothies look like pond water, but I see smoothies as a great tool to pack in as many nutrient dense living foods as I can. I have made a few smoothies that taste like pond water but once you know how to make it taste good you’ll be fine. I generally start with a small amount of fruit to make it taste sweet without overdoing it. Bananas and avocados are my favourite as they really add a lovely creamy texture to the smoothie and since my blender costs around $30 that can often help mask its shortcomings. Personally, I love celery because it’s fairly cheap and mineral rich. I like to blend a whole head of celery with spinach or arugula (rocket) and I usually pack in a few more greens or a bit of cacao powder if I want a chocolate tasting smoothie. The “green” part can vary greatly from things like kale to the fennel I used yesterday.
Depending on my activity level that smoothie can either last me through to the middle of the afternoon or it can last a few hours. So lunch is optional and is often replaced by some nutbutter on a bit of good old Swedish knäckebröd (crisp bread). If I go ahead and make lunch it’s usually a small dinner but it really depends on what I feel like. I really enjoy oats as they’re so versatile and give me a real long-lasting boost in energy but I’m also pretty active and I need that energy.
Dinner is usually not raw or vegetarian but often has raw components to it. I try to be creative and use as many vegetables as I can so it can vary greatly. I really enjoy making simple stir frys and I ate that very regularly when I was losing the weight. If I use an oil I tend to use coconut oil because it doesn’t get damaged much compared to other commonly used fats. I like all types of fish, chicken, game, red meats and organ meats but eat them in moderation. The world is your oyster, just look around and find something you want to make. That’s what I do.
4. What are the top three healthy habits that have made the biggest difference for you?
1. Dropping the idea that I could force my body to do as I wished for long-lasting weight loss. Get all of the bad food out of the house – give the snacks and stuff away to people or burn it as fuel to keep your house warm instead of inflicting it upon others. I completely overhauled my diet changing the core principles behind how I fed myself and instead of eating pizza, hamburgers, sausages and all that dense caloric food that kept me at 155kg (340lbs) I completely changed my diet and initially completely eliminated all meat, dairy and processed foods. Doing that is a bit like jumping off of a bridge and having faith that your cord is going to hold. You need to start reading labels of food and questioning exactly what the ingredients are. Through those questions and practise you will learn a lot about food and where it comes from. That can help you stay healthier because a lot of food doesn’t have an appetising story behind it. If you want to learn to give yourself the healthiest food you need to ask questions about the food you’re eating and act like a humble student.
2. Green smoothies definitely changed my life. I can’t recommend them enough. Get your greens on!
3. Exercise. The discipline involved in training yourself will not only make you feel and look good but you will grow through the practise of that discipline. This only really kicked in towards the later stages of my weight loss as walking or stationary cycling was initially all I could manage and there was no way I’d go running at 155kg (340lbs). That would have been hell on my joints. Nowadays though I go running several times a week and it wasn’t uncommon for me to go on several 4 hour walks out in the wild (20km or so) with a nice packed lunch in my backpack and a smile on my face.
5. How do you stay motivated and inspired?
I don’t really believe in motivation. You just have to do it. Too many people are sitting around right now wishing they had the motivation to do something. That is just another barrier you need to smash. You are shackling yourself by waiting for that perfect reason to do it. You already have the reason – you want to lose weight and stay healthy, so just do it. Set your mind to it and go for it. It’s your life, your reality and you make it what it is. If you need help, ask questions and don’t be afraid to look stupid. I was fortunate enough to have a really knowledgeable and generous friend who helped steer me in this direction (hey Etienne!) and I have asked people questions on forums, in the comment section of youtube and by private message or email. Just ask people. You will find your answers and be empowered through that process.
I get a lot of inspiration through recipe videos. Think about it, a recipe video is basically just an idea giving you options and possibilities to feed yourself better. I am passionate in the kitchen but that is something I developed over time by learning bits and pieces here and there. You will too if you take interest, spend the time to learn, invest in yourself and your health.
6. What is something most people don’t know about you or wouldn’t expect?
I have been a professional poker player since I was 18 years old and now I’m still semi-pro while transitioning into the real world. I’m very quiet and humble about that fact and only my closest friends and family know that. I’ve had some small work on the side but primarily my money has come from poker. I moved from my home in Scotland to live in Sweden last summer and I’ve been living here for almost a year. I can speak and understand a good bit of Swedish now and I’m working my butt off to improve it every day so that I can integrate better and start my own business down the line. There’s a lot of opportunity.
7. If you could have just one more meal, what would it be?
I would have a proper Viking banquet in the deep caverns under old town Stockholm washed down with plenty of mead. For those of you in Stockholm, I’m thinking Aifur .
8. What first step do you recommend our readers take to start experiencing greater health and energy?
I think you need to find your strength from within and build on that. You can’t rely on outside forces too much as you’re the source that matters for long term change and success. If you can fuel yourself you’re infinitely more powerful. Work with yourself to build that strength and you’re well on your way. Also, be open to new experiences and foods because even now, I’m certain I don’t have all the answers.
9. Please share a recipe or resource that you love with us.
Obviously the lovingraw youtube channel but that is mainly green smoothies, salads and juices in terms of recipes. There is a lot of great advice there as well that will help you turn your life around. If that’s what you want to know about, definitely go there.
I eat a much wider spectrum of foods these days while incorporating smoothies, salads and juices. Franky G has been incredibly inspirational to me and I look up to him a lot. Some recipes from him can be found on .
Other than that, I’d say watch Jamie Oliver cook anything with onions and you’ll see the passion shine through him.