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Sergey Zagraevsky


Thirty simple advices for those who are inclined to corpulence

and dream to get rid of excess weight

(the recipe of weight loss by Professor Zagraevsky)


If you are reading these words, then most likely we have the common serious life problem – the tendency for excess weight.

Let me tell my story briefly: I was born in 1964 and all my life gradually gained weight. As a child – of course, but in adulthood, I do not remember any period when my weight decreased and did not increase. In the 2000s I weighed more than 120 kg with height of 190 cm. And, of course, as it was "expected" with such weight and the resulting sedentary lifestyle, I had a whole bunch of specific illnesses (heart arrhythmia, shortness of breath, arthritis, rheumatism, salt deposits, gastritis and many other things unpleasant to remember).

And in 2010, I managed to solve this problem: I lost more than 30 kg, and now, in 2018, when I write these words, I keep the weight in the range from 87 to 90. Accordingly, health has improved significantly.

Take a look at my photos:


Sergey Zagraevsky before weight losing (in the 2000s) Sergey Zagraevsky before weight losing (in the 2000s)


Before weight losing (in the 2000s)…



Sergey Zagraevsky during weight losing (in 2010)


During weight losing (in 2010)…



Sergey Zagraevsky after weight losing (in 2018) 


Now (in 2018).


 So I have the moral right to give you some simple advices based primarily on my own experience. However, this experience is not only mine: when I was losing weight, I studied a large amount of medical recommendations on this theme, talked with a lot of people with similar experience (unfortunately, not always successful), and constantly used the advices of my Taekwondo coach Sergey Bubnov, to whom, taking this opportunity, I express my deep gratitude.

And if you ask me why I did not write these advices before, immediately after weight losing, I will answer: it took me several years to gain confidence that I found and stabilized my optimal weight.


Advice 1.

First of all, decide whether you need to lose weight at all. There are cases of unambiguous and indisputable need (as I had), but it sometimes happens that the desire to lose weight is caused by youthful complexes, by following the fashion, by sarcastic remarks of family and friends, by momentary life circumstances – up to the desire to put the favorite old dress on, as the woman in the tragic American film "Requiem for a dream" (if someone did not see this film, I recommend).

You can find on the Internet many tables and methods to calculate the "optimal" weight depending on gender, height and age. But, as a rule, these tables and calculations are only for general guidance, and it is impossible to determine anything by them more or less accurately: all people have different lifestyles, different metabolism, different health (not only physical but also psychological) in a particular weight. So firstly think about all the "pros" and "cons". Remember: no one knows you better than yourself.

If you eventually decided that you need to lose weight, then read on.


Advice 2.

Do not convince yourself (especially after reading different advices and recommendations on the Internet) that it is easy to lose weight. It is easy to advise and recommend, but it is difficult to lose weight, otherwise many millions of people would not suffer of excessive weight. So set yourself up for a long struggle. But the happier will be your undoubted future success. For example, I still often remember what I was in the 2000s (especially when I look at the photos of those years), and feel the joy of accomplishment: I was able to do it! I was able to lose weight!


Advice 3.

I have no doubt that you know your familiar diet, i.e. all that you eat and drink now, and in what quantities. It is not so important, of what – "useful" or "harmful" – products this diet consists (so many people, so many opinions concerning benefit and harm of certain products), it is important that it is familiar for you.

Remember this diet, at least approximately. This is your starting position before losing weight.


Advice 4.

Probably everyone knows a short, clear and indisputable recipe for weight loss: "Eat less". Knows and is ready to follow it in theory. But in practice, everything is much more difficult, because people want to eat.

So, your main task is to reduce the amount of eaten food and not to turn into a psychopath, exhausted by constant hunger.

In this regard, let me remind you that hunger arises from two main sources: emptiness in the stomach and psychological mood. Let's talk, what to do with these two sources.


Advice 5.

To reduce the amount of eaten food and not to suffer of hunger, do not reduce the nutrition amount immediately and drastically. Divide your usual daily diet into many small parts. Such nutrition is called "frequent", or "regular", or "fractional", or “multiple", it is usually prescribed for gastritis and ulcers, i.e. it is useful by definition. And we will use it to accustom the body to a small amount of food, so that the stomach gradually decreased and developed the habit of eating little.

And since in the process of losing weight our task is constant reducing of the total amount of food, remember that it is easier to do this with "frequent" nutrition: the reduction is not so noticeable.

Personally, even now, when I have the stable weight, I eat at least five times a day, and most often six. And when I was losing weight, I ate even more frequently.


Advice 6.

Do not overeat at feasts. After all, your global task is to reduce the stomach gradually, and overeating stretches it again, besides feasts exclude regularity of nutrition (you have the feasts not every day, don’t you?). So sit down at the holiday table, only if you feel the strength to resist the temptations (and persistent proposals of neighbors at the table) to try different delicacies. If you do not feel the strength, it is better not to sit down at all.


Advice 7.

Try not to eat delicious food, which causes the desire to eat more and more. This can be difficult, especially if you are used to a good kitchen. But at the stage of weight loss this is, unfortunately, necessary.


Advice 8.

So-called "food culture" helps a lot. Eat slowly, do not swallow food in large chunks. Take the example of travelers in the desert: even if they have enough water, they drink slowly, in small sips, as they know that otherwise the stomach will be filled before the thirst is quenched. Such is the psychology.


Advice 9.

In principle, one can take medications against obesity, the choice of such medications is now huge. In principle, one can even do the stomach resection. But remember that all this is not only very expensive, but also extremely dangerous, especially if you do not reduce the amount of food. After all, it takes a lot of gastric juice to digest a large amount of food, and in the stomach, cut and (or) unbalanced by medications, there is not enough gastric juice, and the stomach begins to work in an abnormal, extreme mode. A huge additional load falls also on a very capricious organ – the pancreas. As they say, nature can not be fooled.

In 2013, I survived the death of my close friend – a famous sculptor, who had spent a lot of money on the stomach resection surgery. The operation was successful, he lost 70 kg (weighed about 150, reduced the weight to 80). All seemed to be good, but he decided that now he can eat as much as before, as the cut stomach will pass all food through itself without digesting. But miracles do not happen, the unfortunate mutilated stomach still tried to digest food, and the pancreas began to work in extreme mode, and soon refused to work. He was a strong and hardy man, paid no attention to pain, and necrosis of pancreas and surrounding tissues began. The doctors could not save the artist, with all his money and fame. He was only 55.

You have probably already guessed that I lost weight without any medications and surgeries.


Advice 10.

Human is a mammal, a part of the animal world, and he is arranged so that any stress associated with a long feeling of hunger and large breaks in food (let's call it nutritional stress) is perceived by the body as a signal to the accumulation of fat: who knows, what is coming – starvation, or drought, or the rainy season, or something else what can happen in the jungle, where our ancestors, monkeys, came from? And fat helps animals to survive the coming "hard time". We have already said that nature can not be deceived.

So we should avoid nutritional stress. Our body should feel stability and confidence in the future (or rather, in future food), then it will not need extra fat.


Advice 11.

For the same reason, I can not recommend "fasting days", which, in fact, are the notorious nutritional stresses. Only the stability of food guarantees that even if we eat something extra, the body will not feel the need to accumulate fat, and will remove excess food in the natural way (simply put, through the toilet).


Advice 12.

Our body is a system of unimaginable complexity. Let's at least imagine how the children grow up and gradually turn into adults, how balanced this long-term development is, and understand that we must trusted our body; we simply have no other choice. And if you gradually bring the body into the balance with a small amount of food, it will understand that global hunger is not expected, so excess fat is not needed. Then this balance (primarily metabolism, but also psychological attitude) will be very stable.

By this time you will already want to eat much less, and even if you somehow overeat a little, the body will give you a signal: enough, the stomach is full! So, trust your body and never eat "through force".


Advice 13.

Is it useful to "snack", "seize something on the run", if it is not possible to eat normally (i.e., by your normal regular diet which has already been worked out)? Yes, because in any case you must not bring the matter to hunger and the notorious nutritional stress, after which the body will decide that you have problems and urgently need to accumulate fat. So it is better to "seize on the run" a candy or a lamb, just do not suffer hunger!

But remember that such "snacks seizing" should take place very rarely, otherwise the problems of overweight may fade against the background of problems with gastritis, ulcers and other unpleasant illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract.


Advice 14.

The Internet is full of offers like following: "Lose weight in a month – it's easy!", "We shall help you to lose weight in a week!" (two weeks, three...), "If you want to get rid of obesity quickly, ask me how", etc.

But don't hurry! Remember that in theory it is possible to lose weight in a month, even in a week, but in practice it means to starve. And this, first, is the terrible wear of all internal organs, and secondly, the nutritional stress, i.e. as soon as you stop starving, then will gain weight again, but get such global health problems, which will fade problems with obesity.

Yes, there are professional athletes (especially bodybuilders) who gain and lose weight very quickly before the competitions. But they are professionals, plus they often use some sorts of harmful chemicals... And we are not bodybuilders, but ordinary people.


Advice 15.

On the Internet there are not only catchy advertising headlines, but also quite serious and reasonable calculations, at what speed it is desirable to lose weight. But the metabolism of all people is different, so the probability that if these calculations are suitable for you, is very low.

So do it easier and more reliably: set a goal to lose your excess weight in a year. And may be not in a year, but in a year and half, or in two. What's the hurry? (Personally, although I dropped the main excess weight for a year, then for two more years achieved weight stability and "balanced" metabolism in the body).

Then define, how much you would like to weigh (for example, in times of my youth so-called "Hollywood standard" was popular – growth minus 100 for men, growth minus 110 for women). Accordingly, calculate the weight that you want to lose, and divide it by the number of weeks in the planned period of weight loss (there are about 50 weeks in a year).

And what is the most important: always remember about the plan of weight loss and strictly follow it.


Advice 16.

During weight loss, weigh yourself twice a day: in the morning and in the evening. Do not be lazy and do not forget to weigh yourself, do not spare money for good electronic scales. If you leave the schedule of weight loss, it will be more difficult to overtake it. And the changing day by day digits on the scales create the spirit of competition, which is important psychologically.

Remember that in the evening a human weighs about half a kilo, or even a kilo more than in the morning, that's normal. So if the difference between your morning and evening weight is small, do not be afraid that you "gained weight during the day".


Advice 17.

Although we are not professional athletes, it is desirable to engage in sports (or rather, in physical culture), – at least for general health and tonus. And in any case, physical activity is necessary, it will help the body to find the optimal balance of metabolism.

But remember that sports, physical culture and physical activity do not reduce weight by themselves. They strengthen and increase the muscles, but do not remove the layer of fat on them. On the contrary – after a good workout, like after a good walk, the appetite usually increases. Therefore, physical activity does not negate the need to reduce the amount of food.


Advice 18.

There is a huge number of opinions, often diametrically opposed, how much water and other soft drinks to use: from the mandatory 2-3 liters per day to the proposal not to drink while there is saliva in the mouth and you can spit if you want. But it is very important to decide how much you can and should drink: lack of water leads to stagnation of harmful substances in the body, excess – to hydropsy.

Again, all people have different metabolism, and it is almost impossible to calculate more or less accurately the amount of water you need. So my advice is such: as much as you reduce the amount of food, so reduce the amount of water.

When you reach the desired weight and stabilize it, then drink as much as you want (and you will want to drink much less). Then, even if you drink too much water, its excess will be removed in already mentioned natural way – through the toilet.


Advice 19.

Do we need to use any of the food supplements "for fat burning" etc., which advertising is met everywhere on the Internet? I will tell frankly: I tried several times, and the allergy began at once. So, my body did not take those supplements.

If your body takes them, so use them, it is up to you, but I can not recommend them to you, as it is still a load on the stomach, liver, kidneys, endocrine glands, etc., and it may happen that obesity problems fade before much more serious problems with the health of the internal organs.


Advice 20.

I can not recommend for you any special diet, but for another reason: any change in the usual diet is the notorious nutritional stress with all its unpleasant consequences, which we have repeatedly talked about. So eat everything what you are used to, only, of course, reducing the amount of food. Well, you can also refuse of the products which lead to obesity quite frankly – cakes, buns, white bread, butter, lard, mayonnaise... But personally, I removed nothing from the diet, and lost weight only due to the proportional decrease of the amount of eaten food.

You may change the diet (but carefully), only when you reduce and stabilize your weight.


Advice 21.

Is it necessary to calculate your diet according to the standards of nutritional value (calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, etc.), to weigh the food before eating? You can do this, if you know your norm. But these standards are designed for the average person, and the metabolism of all people is different, so you can know your norm only by your actual weight. And if you have already learned to control your actual weight, is it worth it to bother with a complex calculation of the nutritional value of a considerable set of consumed products?


Advice 22.

We can often hear the advices "not to eat in the evening", "not to eat after 18.00" and the like. Should we follow them? I don’t recommend. In theory, in the night (or rather, during sleep) metabolism slows down and the food is digested worse, but in practice, if you are hungry, you will sleep worse or even suffer of insomnia, which in itself can be no less problem than overweight. Nature, as we have repeatedly said, can not be fooled: human is a part of the animal world, and nature requires that a hungry animal should not sleep, but should rise and go to look for food. And only after eating, the animal can sleep patiently.

Therefore eat in the evening, but, again, in the limits of established norm of "frequent" nutrition. Even if some part of the food is not digested – do not worry, it will be removed in the natural way. And the stomach "works" better in the morning if you eat in the evening. And this is good again: visit the toilet in the morning and be free of this problem for a whole day.

The same is if you by some reason wake up in the night and want to eat: do not suffer, get out of bed, eat a little and patiently go asleep again.


Advice 23.

Do not worry too much about the hormonal background, and especially do not refer to it as a factor that makes it impossible to lose weight. Hormones are an important factor, no doubt, but not decisive. Hormones affect metabolism, food absorption and hunger, but if you strictly observe the stability of nutrition, hormones will sooner or later stabilize at the desired level (which is useful also for the general hormonal background).

Again, our body is a system of unimaginable complexity, and it struggles for balance restoring. Of course, there are very serious endocrine illnesses that can not be cured without medical intervention, but in most cases it is enough to create conditions for the body to ensure effective functioning, and it will not let us down.


Advice 24.

The same is with heredity: it's an important factor, but not a sentence. People inclined to corpulence since the birth (I'm one of those, my father was relatively corpulent) must make efforts to maintain a normal weight, and non-inclined, who eat as much as they want and get no fat, do not need such efforts. That's the only difference. I've lost weight – so you can.


Advice 25.

Sometimes people say: I eat almost nothing, almost starve, but my weight is still too large…

Since no one has yet been able to take from the air the nutrients needed to deposit fat, there are two possible explanations for this situation. The first – you have relatively slow metabolism and, accordingly, large inertia of the body, i.e. you have not yet had time to lose weight. The second (more likely): you still eat too much in the total amount. Maybe you excluded some products from the diet, but began to eat more of something else.

In both cases, continue your efforts, sooner or later they will bear fruit.


Advice 26.

If possible, avoid any stress, not only nutritional. Practice shows that most people "snack" stresses, with all the consequences in the form of excess weight.

It is clear that there are stresses that can not be avoided. It is clear that against the background of the stress, a person sometimes loses appetite and, consequently, weight without any effort. But we don’t need such excesses, fatally detrimental to health, right?


Advice 27.

Even if it sounds corny, but avoid bad habits.

First of all, let’s talk about smoking, as there is a legend that it "dries". This, of course, is nothing more than a legend: smoking itself does not "dry", unless it caused so serious problems with the lungs that "oxygen starvation" began. But smoking decreases the appetite, it is a fact. I smoked many years ago and know it. But nature, again, can not be fooled, and even if we decrease the appetite (that is, drown the psychological source of hunger out), the stomach still remains empty, and the body reacts accordingly – by nutritional stress with all its consequences.

The same is with the methods of appetite reducing with the help of drugs. Remember, as in the already mentioned movie "Requiem for a dream" the doctor ordered to the woman some version of the easy drug "ecstasy". And the woman eventually lose weight, but what did she become like?

Alcohol carries a lot of calories itself, and is usually accompanied by a "snack", the amount of which it is impossible to control while drinking.

And coffee increases appetite. Only the tea remains. I drink it, by the way.


Advice 28.

During weight losing, it is desirable not to get sagged skin, many people are afraid of that and do not want to lose weight because of that. But, firstly, health is more important, and secondly, in our time there are many means against skin sagging: sports, massage, bath, contrast shower, a variety of creams…

It is important to remember that it is necessary to fight against skin sagging during the whole time of weight losing, otherwise later only plastic surgery will help. I managed to do without the latter.


Advice 29.

From a certain moment you may face a new problem: to stop losing weight, so as not to come to anorexia.

If possible, try not to "fall" below your optimal weight (once in a hot summer by the sea I "fell" to 83 kg with the optimum weight of 87-90). And if you have fallen, increase the amount of food. Since we have a tendency not to thinness, but to corpulence, it is much easier for us to gain weight than to reduce. (I, for example, easily gain 1 kg per day).

But be careful not to "enhance" the stomach again, so don't exceed your norm. Otherwise you will have to reduce weight again.


Advice 30.

Keeping the right weight is much easier than getting rid of excess. But having lost weight, do not relax.

Determine for yourself the optimal weight range of 2-3 kg and watch it. Weigh yourself at least once a week, do not stop, remember that you, with your initial tendency to corpulence, are doomed, like me, to monitor weight all the life. And by the results of weighing slightly adjust the amount of food, because the years go by, life circumstances change, hormonal background of the body changes, metabolism changes...

A lot of things in life change, but when you do the main thing – lose weight, your body will learn to respond flexibly to any changes of internal and external factors, and you will never get out of optimal weight.

I believe in you, wish you health and good luck!


Moscow, 2018.

S. V. Zagraevsky (C) 2018


 © Sergey Zagraevsky



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