Monday, 1 February 2016

Goal posts

I set my goal weight to the top end of normal. This is a weight that I have not been at for probably at least 16 years. It's a good goal and I will feel and look a lot better for it. As of now I have about 14kg to lose to get there. But to be in the middle of the healthy range I might be taking losing over 10kg more than that. This was a shock considering I have lost 16kg to get where I am. I had not realised just how much weight I am carrying around. It is more than my dumbbells with all the weights on (powerblock 2.4, I recommend).

But now I feel like I am becoming a different person, a fit person. I think I can do it. As more positive feedback comes in I'm hoping to use my new fitness, more mountain biking and adventures, snowboarding without so much pain, maybe surfing ... it's all positive feedback.

The magic numbers

Every day? Once a week?

How often to weigh one's self? What I have found is that my weight fluctuates massively, this means weighing yourself every day can prove frustrating, "wow I lost 1.1kg" to "what the hell I am up by 1kg" all in the space of a couple of days. Two causes, hydration and contents of the digestive system. Drink a bottle of water and you have put on a pound, go to the loo and you might lose the same. Similarly weekly weighing can cause the same frustrating results for some.

So what to do? Well I am weighing myself once a day more or less, I'm using a wifi scale by Withings to do this for convenience and I consider the trend in my weight but also my "new minimum". The trend is basically what your weight does on average in the week, the withings app and website show this nicely actually. The "new minimum" is just that when I see a weight lower than one I have seen in recent history I know that previously no amount of dehydration or bowel movements could have achieved it, that means something even if I am heavier the next day!

Positive feedback

I was a slow starter at school, being at the bottom of the class meant it took me a long time before I connected my efforts with results, it really helps when you see the fruits of your labour.

Towards the end of my 8 week FB program I started to notice a few of these fruits and not just the number on the scale. Some trousers I bought but found too tight that had been sat in my car waiting for their return to the shop now fitted. And the fold up bed I used at my sister's place over Christmas did not cause my thighs to go numb when I slept on my side. I also found that even when my legs or arms ached after the previous days workout that after a warm up I could still use them and now 5 continuous days of exercise are (almost) not a problem. This positive feedback is motivating, it is a virtuous circle and it's really important to try and notice the changes. I think for example I am generally more energetic and mobile but to be honest it is hard to remember, my back has had no trouble and feels very strong, any niggles I get through knowing they are most likely muscular caused by the exercise, I relax, stretch and in a day or so they go like the pain in my legs.

Keeping on

So I got around half way through the 8 week fitness blender plan, I was finding it hard often having to take days off to let myself recover but overall it was excellent. I then injured my back and for over a month didn't do very much. However I did keep losing weight because the addition of a new local supermarket  made it much easier for me to choose healthy options. I also tended to buy food for several evening meals at once to avoid going near the shops when I was hungry in the evening.

After a while my back was not getting better, I was going for walks at lunch time but even these could be uncomfortable and I listened to audio books to pass the time. One audio book on mindfulness talked about chronic back pain and how it can be caused and prolonged by fear of movement and muscle tension (tensing the muscles to hold a certain posture). I immediately relaxed and tried to get moving, it was obvious this was going to help and soon I was back to my fitnessblender. Only now I found after a month away I was really struggling. So I rebooted and this time was more careful about choosing my start date, I made the sessions run Sunday to Thursday with the optional stretch day on Friday and the day off on Saturday. Of all the days I might do something in the evening, Friday and saturday are the most likely so it was more convenient and it gave me something to look forward to, some nice relaxing days off.

I made it through the whole 8 weeks without missing a session, actually I missed one but did it on the Friday instead. My last session was on newyears eve, like the first session it was a fitness test and although my performance is still poor I improved a lot. I am now halfway through my second run through.

Saturday, 25 July 2015


I mentioned fitness blender in the last post. This is what I need to do to get blending:

1. Close blinds
2. Drop projector screen
3. Turn on projector
4. Move meeting table
5. Pull out exercise mat (hidden behind filing cabinets)
6. Fill water bottle
7. Get changed
8. Find video
9. Start airparrot
10. Mirror screen
12. Stop airparrot
13. Put away exercise mat
14. Move meeting table back
15. Turn off projector
16. Lift projector screen
17. Open blinds
18. Shower

It's a wonder I ever get it done :) Actually after a few goes it has become quite efficient. On a few occasions I left some of the tidying until the next day but I found this was really a bad idea and moving some furniture can be part of the warm down. I sort of imagine I have gone to a lesson and am asked to help put things away at the end,it gets done, it's brainless and easy.

I read that to form habits requires a trigger and a reward. My trigger is time, I want to get my exercise done and still leave time for other evening activities and a relatively early bed time (partly so I can read a bit). My reward is the feeling of accomplishment, the knowledge that what I am doing is moving me towards my goal and a general feeling of being alive. I also imagine telling friends about my continued success, keeping something up like this is often a surprise to people.

As you do something more and more, the list gets embedded in your mind and you don't forget the elements and you don't find yourself going up and down the stairs multiple times because you forgot the water bottle...

Everything's a reboot

Well hello imaginary readers. I'm back, I've not died yet, I'm still trying.

Since my last post I have been doing quite a bit of exercise, sometimes more than others. A lot of mountain biking at one point and lunchtime walks at another point. I got my weight back down to the level it was after the last decent run at this but after some changes in life circumstances earlier in the year and then a lot of work stress I put some back on again. I started doing mountain bike rides quite often and that had a good impact on my fitness but my weight has stayed the same, I'm not getting the food part right.

A couple of weeks ago I started an 8-weight weight loss fitness plan from Fitness blender. They have a website and Youtube channel and all of their content is free, you can also populate your own calendar on the website with the content. If you pay a few quid and get a program that basically auto populates the calendar with a selection of workouts which is what I did. It is mainly high impact cardio you can do in your own home (or office as I do) plus some weight training to build lean muscle. With 5 sessions a week I can feel the benefits already. My weight however has not shifted, it is possible that I have increased muscle mass a little while reducing fat but I suspect that my lack of calorie monitoring means I have had a few too many calories.

My plan is:

1. Carry on with the fitness blender
2. Set reminder alarms for myfitness pal
3. Set a reminder alarm to put out the scales on a Sunday night
4. Try and carry on with the mountain biking as the fresh air and sunshine also has benefit
5. Oh and of course, use this blog for monitoring and thinking about what I am doing.

The latter will hopefully be more down to earth rather than preachy stuff. When I started the blog I was very positive, I assumed the posts were from a guy who did get fit but looking back it is kind of ridiculous although I think there may be the odd gem in there so I am reading back through.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

What the hell

Just for the record although I have not been posting to this unread blog, I have been doing some stuff. Weekly 2 hr mountain bike rides of an evening, cycling to work and now lunch time hour long hikes. But to be honest "it's not working".

Probably all the food I am shovelling into my face.

Note to self, record intake no matter what, just think of it as data capture. It helps to see the patterns.

I also saw a TED talk where it was mentioned that trying to control your intake heavily can cause a slight indiscretion to turn into a binge. One way I am trying to avoid this is to have a calorie range to aim for, sure if I eat X calories a day I will lose 1kg but 1000 more and I maintain and 500 more and I lose 0.5kg. So perhaps aiming for the 0.5kg to 1kg range would be more helpful. That way if I go over my 1kg target it will not feel like all is lost.