The most important thing to understand is that everything is up to you and that money cannot help you on this journey. There are no shortcuts to health and good looks. It is very difficult, but the stake is the most valuable thing you have – your life.

 Igor Majer

 No matter you age, you have been ‘bombarded’ with ads for filters that remove wrinkles, pounds and years. Some filters are free, but those that really work cost a couple of euros. What is a couple of euros versus a pound of likes and a ton of envy? And, in all honesty, have you ever seen something free that’s valuable? Isn’t it easier to spend money to seem beautiful, healthy, and attractive instead of spending time on working out or, even worse, starving yourself?

All of us want to look healthy inside and out, withou exception. So, what is it that prevents us from dealing with health in the only right way: a healthy diet and regular physical activity? Too many companies have found that it is easier for people to reach for their wallet than a towel to wipe off their sweat. So, every year we have new articles that reveal how scientists have finally understood why some people are obese and others aren’t. They’re always written in such a way that in the first third you recognise yourself, in the second third you are convinced that your physical appearance is not your fault, while the last third is reserved for offering a solution, in the form of weight loss tea, tablets or powder that will carefully target and remove everything – both your shortcomings and surpluses. And you give this new, ‘salvational’ solution another chance, even though you have tried too many of them and never came out satisfied.

I have joked many times that I will get rich the moment I write the shortest book in the world about weight loss. Except for the cover and preface, everything will fit into one sentence: spend more than you intake. In 2014, I was 20kg overweight. I gave myself a long-term goal and approached the problem studiously. A little walking, a little running, a few hundred meters of swimming, half an hour of cycling.

I consulted a doctor and we agreed that many small steps are better than a couple of big ones. Five months later I was 20kg lighter and finished my first short triathlon. Two years later I finished the biggest one – the IRONMAN of 3.8 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling and 42 km of running. From then until today I’ve done two more like that, then one extreme feat – the same numbers, but in extreme conditions. In the end, I ‘treated’ myself to a double ironman of 7.6 km of swimming, 360 km of cycling and 84 km of running. After that endeavor, I realized that it was not the end, but just that one small step.

The emphasis is always on calorie burn. All diets focus on reducing calorie intake, assuming you are spending them at the same rate as before. But there lies the devil. By reducing food intake, you slow down your metabolism, your body wants to rest and sleep, you become more irritable, and there are no results because there is no difference between burning calories and intake. Those really looking for the right answers, will realize that they have to start burning more calories than before. Those who are used to sitting all day will now start moving, those who have spent their days on their feet will running or training properly, and those who train regularly should reduce their food intake! Simple enough? It actually is, once you realise that it is all up to you and that money cannot help you on this journey.

You have to educate yourself about groceries, start planning your daily food intake, make distinctions between types of sugar – all the things that those supposedly magic pills and cups of whatever liquid ‘guarantee’ aren’t necessary. There are no shortcuts to health and good looks. It is very difficult, but the stake is the most valuable thing you have – your life.


Igor Majer, a triathlete and organizer of sporting events