Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hello again

It turns out enough was not enough.

I wrote the last post full of good advice and then never looked at it again nor followed any of it. A lot is happening in my life at the moment, I was working during the day and then trying to sort out a potential business in the evening.

But what happened to the immovable object of diet and exercise? In particular watching your calorie intake does not actually require much effort, just an app. I even got a fancy new phone. It seems I got it into my head that if I couldn't do it all and perfectly I should not bother and also that a bit of work and stress was a good reason to pig out.

As it happens I have only put about 1kg on over the weeks, probably because I had broken my worst habits already.

Today I started using myfitnesspal again to record my calories. That was easy!

I might reset the old week counter, it is a bit pointless as it stands. No three parts but I will keep to the 10 week sets. 10 weeks it turns out goes by just like that!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Reboot, reload ...

OK enough is enough!

I've had a huge project that has taken over my life in recent weeks plus a load of other stress. Exercise has gone out of the window and my diet although better than before is not great. If not for the amount of physical labour I have been doing I would probably of gained a load of weight.

So now I feel like I need to stage my own "intervention" to stop the slide. Positive motivation works best so let's start by looking at the advantages of what I have done up to now:

  • Clothes fit better
  • Feel more mobile
  • Fitter
  • Look better
  • Nice feeling when completing a day as intended
  • Nice feeling building up a large number of work outs on endomondo
  • Great feeling when entering positive progress in blog
And now what I need to do:
  1. Read my own blog
  2. Read the above points
  3. Start using Myfitnesspal ASAP
  4. Do some exercise of any sort and log it
  5. Search for ideas for night time exercise or buy a bigger head torch
Easy, will report back next week adding "nice feeling of reporting back successfully" into my mini goals.

Week 6/10 Part 2/3

Well 0.2kg loss to match the gain of last week. Not good enough ...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Week 5/10 Part 2/3

A small gain of 0.2kg. I'm not too downhearted, at least the loss I recorded last week was real. BUT I need to find exercise to do when the nights are dark. AND I need to get back to recording my calories, got out of the habit and it shows! Must keep going, I'm 5kg behind target but am now 1/3rd of the way to my target!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Week 4/10 Part 2/3

This is a very late post, I did weigh myself on Tuesday but only now entered it into the system. My weight was down by 3kg from the previous week, I have worked my ass off over the week but not sure I believe it however a few weeks ago I could never have seen that weight on the scales no matter what and it is great to break the 10kg loss mark.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Week 3/10 Part 2/3

Well, stag do at the weekend, small weight gain (0.8kg), not surprised, could be worse. Back on the horse! Played tennis today at least.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Week 2/10 Part 2/3

No loss this week but lots of construction work and no less than 4 meals out. Less building to do this week so will try and hit the hills and do a bit of walking etc. For some reason I am still forgetting to use myfitnesspal which I know I key for me, OK let's start with breakfast then ...

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Week 1/10 Part 2/3

Lost 0.7kg, not much exercise but some DIY. Need to try harder to use myfitnesspal and also need to find exercise for the dark nights upcoming.

Monday, 3 September 2012

That's weird

Left work today in a bit of a bad mood and needed dinner and a bit of a lift, what sprang to mind was not a 12" pizza but something low calorie that would make sure I hit my daily target, at least I would get something right today was my thinking. This has never happened before!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Week 10/10 Part 1/3

Wow, I've been doing this for 10 weeks and have lost around 7kg in weight but have also added some muscle, a couple of weeks were spent on holiday so I feel good about the progress overall.

This week I lost another kg and discovered a good reason for tracking calories even after all this time, it is easy to stop doing it once you know roughly what you should consume but at times where temptations appear it is good to have a positive motivator, it is only a small motivator, you get to finalise the day and my fitness pal tells you where you will be in 5 weeks but it works. He alternative motivator is the thought of the bad feelings after you succumb, but les face it everyone is excellent at over comming and ignoring those feelings! It is a bit like jumping into a cold pool except someone gives you cake on he way down. You enjoy now and you endure later.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Fix your brain

My guess is that most overweight people can be put into two camps:

1. I've put weight on over the years without really noticing, probably because I am not as active as I used to me or have picked up some bad habits.


2. I often eat too much through boredom or emotional upset. I may feel very bad about myself because of my weight which only makes me more upset and that makes things worse.

I am the latter really and it is only because the diet is going well (with the aid of the blog) that that I am not turning to food as a comfort, this has worried me because what if I slip!

However, recently I found a book that has truly helped. It is by Albert Ellis, one of the founding fathers of cognitive therapy and it is called "How to make yourself happy and remarkably less disturbable." That makes is sound a little like brain washing or wagging the tail of the dog but it is not, if should really be called, "How to stop yourself becoming depressed, enraged or anxious etc and make yourself remarkably less disturbable."

I don't know that paraphrasing parts of the book will really do it justice but here are few key points I have found helpful:

1. Your worth as a human does not depend on your actions or performance. We are all human and worth the same, hence just forget self worth all together and stop measuring your worth.
2. Do measure your thoughts, emotions and actions against a set of goals. To be happy and to survive, preferably while not impeding others from doing the same.
3. Work hard to achieve these goals for yourself but be accepting when you cannot. 
4. Apply the same concept to others, don't measure their worth, hate their sins (actions against those goals) but not their core.
5. Don't "awfulise", that is to make something that is bad so truly terrible in your mind that it causes terrible pain, work hard to avoid bad things but realise that even in terrible situations it may not all be bad and could possibly be worse. 
6. Try to think flexibly. Avoid should, must, have to statements. Generally these just are not the case and create demands on the "universe" that can create pain if not met.
7. Try not to generalize. Avoid the verb "to be", "I am lazy" is a generalization, "I am bad" is too. They are not based on evidence and suggest you always were, will be and are in every way. Not so.

These are some key ideas that might not be so easy to grasp from a few words but from them a lot of problems can be dissolved. For example procrastination, one common cause of this is thinking that failing at a task will prove we are useless or worthless. So if you can follow #1 you know this is not true. You know that succeeding is preferable but failing does not make you a worm. Alternatively you may think that failing will be awful (if I fail to get into medical school it will be awful) well probably it won't be, you will just follow an alternative life path. etc etc 

Read the book if any of this sounds sensible and if you have any issues with emotions and thoughts that are basically working against your best interests. The book is not perfect, the ideas in it need some effort to understand and indeed implementing them and making a change does too but I feel sure it is worth it, at least at the moment. I will of course Blog more, perhaps in Graham_gets_sane_and_tries_to_stay_so :)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Weigh to go

Weight is the force we apply to the ground, why then do I care about it? OK so when you have extra fat you press on the ground more than you would if it just vanished so it can be helpful to monitor changes in fat levels.

But weight is an indirect measurement of fat, even clever scales don't really measure it, you need CT or MRI or total immersion in water or something. Lots of other things effect it, in particular hydration levels and the contents of bowels and bladder. So you exercise and burn extra fat but you also build muscle, that adds weight! Should you feel bad? NO because muscle burns energy and that will mean more fat burnt. But it is frustrating as you are measuring your progress via weight change and you always feel unsure about the measurement. So you can do a few things to help like measure yourself, photograph yourself (even just your face) and also just consider how you feel. That way you are not a slave to the force you excerpt on the earth's surface.

Another thing I have found helpful is simply just to say "my weight is below X kg or lbs, a few weeks ago that would have been impossible no matter how little I drank and how much I went to the toilet or indeed worked out." our weight fluctuates so much it can make you feel like he ultimate dieter one week and a failure the next but this mind set lets you see the important drift.

Week 9/10 Part 1/3

Ok so this week I have been a bit confused, I weighed myself mid week and it seemed like things had gone so well, I had lost a stone in fact more overall. But I then deleted some older weigh ins from myfitnesspal from before I started this program, that caused a "gain" of 0.5kg in my total and then when I came to weigh myself at the end of the week I was heavier than mid week. Why did I weigh myself mid week? Regardless I did not over eat and got plenty of exercise so it can't be all bad, stay tuned for more wise words on weighing...

Friday, 17 August 2012

It takes all sorts

Diversity is a good thing when it comes to exercise, the last two nights I have been mountain biking. It has been a bit of a struggle finding trails but I'm getting there helped in part to my Garmin edge 800, a gift to myself for losing a stone and a seriously handy device for finding my way due to the OS maps on it. Also uploads straight to Endomondo which is perfect for me.

What I have learnt and not for the first time is that if you get your self out there you find opportunities, seek and ye shall find and all that. Found places I did not know existed, very interesting stuff.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Here's a thought

If you have a slip in your diet remember:

"even if you only diet half the time you still do 50% better than not dieting at all"

- From "overcoming procrastination" by Ellis and Knaus

Maintain perspective!

Week 8/10 Part 1/3

This seems more like it, I am behind my goal of 1kg a week overall but this week after sticking to my calorie allowance more carefully I did lose 1kg. As going over my allowance was mostly through carelessness this gives me an incentive to be more careful.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Up a notch

I just got back from a cycle, my feet were still hurting so there was no chance of running or walking but I felt like doing something. I'd avoided cycling because basically my bum would hurt within seconds of setting off but tonight was great.

Firstly I was wearing a decent pair of cycling shorts, mountain bike style long ones with an internal padded Lycra pair that clips in to match. These were great and of course the weight loss to date also helped. This meant that the only pain I felt was in my legs and lungs. And I pushed myself quite hard, my performance was probably poor compared to an athlete but the point is that I pushed myself. And I think this marks a turning point where my body is basically ready to do exercise proper, ready to go into something more like training.

The no bullshit diet

I found this last night and I have to say it is really great:

The rest is just details, you could tweak the calorie level to match your current weight more exactly if you wanted, you should try to have a balanced diet and consider that some foods are more filling than others but ultimately they are all tweaks that make life a little easier.

I think any diet plan that involves doing anything other than eating a bit less and exercising a bit more is bullshit and it is amazing how much of it there is out there!

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I think that to get fit and lose weight need not be hard. I mean there are many days when I come under my calorie budget and I have had an hours exercise and never felt like I was enduring any great hardship.

But it is not always like that. I think what this tells me is that the urge to eat something I don't really need or the reluctance I might feel to exercise are really all in my mind. I'm not really hungry, rather I'm bored or upset or depressed or worried or stressed or ...

So to the subject of this post, determination. If your weight loss or fitness plan is making your life hell then perhaps you are doing it wrong, so look at the practicalities (e.g. You need a calorie deficit but you can still eat foods you enjoy) . Then when you have found a way to get it right on your good days show determination to ensure that everyday is a good day. You do need to be determined to reach your goal but to do that you need to be determined to solve problems that get in your way rather than to starve yourself or slog your guts out. So if boredom drives you to food find distraction, if depression does then get help, if temptations do then avoid them.

Keep plugging away but remember it need not be hell. And that persistence is more important than perfection!

Walk-run, the new run-walk

I just went for my first run since I started trying to get fit and lose weight. This comes after 7 weeks of walking, playing tennis and even a little cycling.

In the past I have got myself into it by running and then stopping for a walk when I can no longer run. This time I had the opposite mind set, I followed the course of my usual walk and when I felt like it I ran for as long as I still felt like it. What might have been a fairly pathetic run felt like a super high energy walk. The point is I felt positive about the whole thing and did not feel guilty when walking. And after a while of walking I would get bored and run. I think I may have even released an endorphin or two.

I feel really good about it and the only sore part of me is the soles of my feet, I think I need to moisturise them each morning for a while so they are a bit more supple. And because my walks are in a hilly area I think my calves were well prepared for barefoot style running which has saved my knees and shins from my extra weight.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Week 7/10 Part 1/3

0.6kg lost. Better than last week but I could do better, had a couple of slip ups enough exercise, tennis is fun but I don't think it is the calorie burning work horse walking is, I need to put some continuous hours in and crack down on the naughty stuff which this week included a cooked breakfast, a sausage and bacon bab as a second breakfast, a large pizza on top of my dinner and beers and some cheesy chips with my otherwise healthy chicken kebab. Actually the fact I lost any weight is a miracle, one of these things would be fine but not all. And I was supposed to be being extra careful this week! Shows my emotional state I feel, a lot of stress right now.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Week 6/10 Part 1/3

Well I lost a little of what I put on about 0.3kg. Could be worse but could be better, I'm going to try and be strict this week.

Sunday, 29 July 2012


This is the night before my next weigh in and I am a bit worried. I accidentally had far too many calories on one day (misread the packaging) and went out for a Chinese with friends and ordered far too much and really went over the top by miles. I've exercised really well doing something on 6 out of 7 days but after ignoring my own advice, my sneaky peaks at the scales suggest I will not of lost a thing. Last week on my holiday I gained weight as well and it means I am probably going to fall behind my plan even further. I should have lost 6kg and I might still be sitting on 3.

I'm posting to try and make sense of this so I don't just give in. Firstly regardless of the force I apply to the earth's crust (my weight) I feel 100% more healthy than I did, I was really starting to feel like a slug. Last week's holiday involved some fairly hard climbs and although I had to stop a lot I know a few weeks earlier and I would have probably died.

Then there is the whole 30 week plan thing, it is motivating to set a goal like 30kg in 30 weeks but only if you are meeting the targets. I've got to do two things; firstly focus and be extra careful not to make stupid mistakes so that I have some chance of meeting my weekly target of 1kg. And secondly remember that the overall aim is to get fit and happy about how I look. I don't have to do that in exactly 30 weeks. If I give up then it will be far more than 30 weeks and possibly never.

I shall see tomorrow if my fears are true but in either case I have to follow the above advice.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Week 5/10 Part 1/3

Just got back from a week of holiday, luckily it was very active with lots of walking, although my weight loss "ticker" says I have gained a kg, that is not the case only about half so it could be worse. I'm hoping to make up for it now I am back to proper calorie control, last night I played tennis which was a lot of fun and I hope to do more if the weather holds. I'm wondering if I should just redo this week so I can have lost 5kg in week 5 etc, that feels better although it makes no real difference.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Week 4/10 Part 1/3

That's more like it, over 1kg lost, well probably. I also discovered a feature on Myfitnesspal which is quite motivating, a plot of the weeks calories vs target calories, unfortunately it is only on the app but it is another little micro goal.

I managed to get in 4 hikes this week too and found a new route to extend my basic walk to 3.5miles as well as a longer and more scenic (and muddy) route.

This coming week I am visiting friends in Germany/Switzerland, I'm going to have to do my best to balance fun with my goals, hopefully we do some active stuff to offset the sausage and beer!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Note to self

Don't weigh yourself on the days leading up to the day you intend to actually weigh yourself, it does not help in any way!

Actually weighing yourself is always a pain as weight naturally fluctuates by amounts quite close to what we hope to lose each week. This means you can have a super week where you lose 0.5kg more than expected and a poor week where you lose 0.5kg less. The truth is you were just a bit dehydrated the first week and constipated the next.

So I'd advise weighing yourself once a week when you get up (after a pee is always best), I do it on a Monday because I get up early for work anyway. The point is that it is consistent, you can try and cheat by choosing a time of day when you think you are lightest but that only works once! At least in the morning you have not added random amounts of weight through drinking, just weigh yourself before and after a Coke, yep 500ml of coke weighs 0.5kg, half my weekly goal!

Then look at the trends, look at the average over a couple of weeks and adjust if you need to, don't make changes too quickly because the measurement of the change and our ability to follow a plan is not very accurate.

Sweating the small stuff

In a similar vein to my last post one of the problems with weight loss and gain (and indeed tidyness) being made up of small events is that they can seem insignificant and so we let them slide.

The trouble is that they are insignificant in some respects, you can have a Mars bar occasionally and still lose weight and you don't have to put everything away instantly to have a tidy home, this was my point about weight loss not having to be perfect. But it is hard to know when to let things slide and when not, being overly rigid can seem bad (like not having a slice of wedding cake) but then we do have to do SOMETHING if we want to succeed.

I've probably more of a problem with this when it comes to tidying, I'm either super anal or a slob. Ah balance, that's what I need, that or a PA and a cleaner :)

Weight gain and untidyness

Last night I spent quite a bit of time tidying my house. Tonight after getting back from my walk I sat down at the PC to check my email and looked around. There is a bag of clothes I use for exercising, the clothes I changed out of, and some paper work I displaced to sit down at my PC. The tidiness of my room has been eroded. Now if I don't do something about it I am likely to make more mess, in small ways until the place is really screwed. At which point why bother worrying about the small things given the overall state! Chaos ensues!

Weight gain is like this I think. Most people, fat or thin eat about the right amount of calories most of the time, if not the thin people would starve to death and the fat ones balloon and explode. Of course there are examples of both of these things (just a wafer thin mint?) but they are the exception not the rule. People generally put on weight in little chunks, a Christmas here and a stressful week at work there. It is very easy to overeat occasionally and you tend to get some pleasure from it, on the other hand to create a calorie deficit is not normally a pleasurable experience (except for fun sports/activities) and certainly more difficult to do by accident. We also tend to compensate for exercise with more food levelling our selves out, on the other hand too much food makes us sleepy!

This is just like my untidy house. It becomes a real mess not by constant mess making but by a set of small events that require little effort and are often the result of some other action that was very possibly pleasurable (or at least I was motivated enough to do.)

So what is the key? I guess it would be to tidy little and often, to offset the mess making events or to not make a mess at all and if the place is such a s^&t hole that it is too much to face at once then it could be completed by lots of little tidying events.

Similarly for weight control, you can try to avoid weight gain events to start with or you can counter act them with weight loss events like exercise or lighter meals. And if you have a lot of weight to lose then you again tackle it with a lot of small steps. This is another reason why perfection is less important than persistence, if you tidy up more than you make a mess your place will get tidy regardless of the fact you left an empty glass on the table because you could not be bothered to take it down to the kitchen (it is a long way.) And for weight, if you have more positive weight related events than negative then you will surely achieve your goals in the end.

This is another argument for separating yourself from temptation as it is a cause of weight gain events. It is also a reason to think about your means of weight loss, you want to make it enjoyable and maintainable because you are pitting the events against each other. Which will win, a cheeky cream cake or a 6am run in the park?

Monday, 9 July 2012

Week 3/10 Part 1/3

Lost half a Kg, exercise was limited consisting of a hard walk then a week of recovery and then a shorter more hilly walk. 0.5kg loss is OK but it suggests my calorie control was not all that tight, that is an easy fix. I'm also hoping that my body is ready for more regular walks now, my feet are fine, my back is fine and my legs are much mo used to it. I generally feel much less sluggish despite only modest exercise and weight loss which is encouraging.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Will Power: my ass

The idea is that people can't resist eating too much because of a lack of will power, what they need is will power and they will just stop eating and lose weight.

I just don't buy it. Firstly let's look at the typical thin person, do you you find them with a strained face saying "must resist" as they reach out zombie like towards a cake? Personally, I don't think people who maintain the correct weight are exercising much will power at all when it comes to these temptations. If on the other hand you love food or you use food at a crutch and you suddenly decide to reduce the amount you eat or avoid all the treats, your mind may well be screaming at you to eat. So what do you do?

Well I think the best thing is to make yourself like the thin person, take the temptation out of the equation. There are several ways to do this I can think of and/or have read about:
  • Avoid temptation: don't buy the snacks if you really can't resist indulging
  • Find better alternatives: I just realised that I really love a fruit salad, it is tasty, sweet, low calorie and full of vitamins and a big one takes a while to eat so you feel like you actually had something
  • Get help: if you use food as a crutch it suggests there is a bigger problem. I'd say tackling that is a prerequisite to any success. If you find food is the only thing to dull the pain and bring some joy in your life then it is hard to expect any amount of will power to make a difference.
  • Keep busy, I find that if I have some other goals to work on in the evenings for example I forget about food.
  • Think about timing, I can handle not having a big breakfast without a problem but by lunch time I fancy something decent to eat, rather than fight it I just have a decent sized meal. I then manage that by the choice of what I have in the evening when my options are more limited and I know I can find more distractions than in my lunch hour. It is much easier to be "good" in the evening, at least for me.
  • Make things easy for yourself. If you hate getting up early it would be stupid to start an early morning regime, perhaps your lunch times are boring anyway, problem solved.
Having said all this there are bound to be things that are hard work and I am not suggesting that you avoid everything difficult but when it comes to temptation then try to work around it. When it comes to finding the will power to push yourself at the gym that is another story, in that instance you need to really latch on to your motivating feelings and let them pull you. Without those feelings it will be very hard indeed.

For me so far I think my key overall tips are:
  • Monitor yourself, a blog like this is good and can be private if you want. It makes you give some thought to how things are going. If things are not working out it also makes you address it as you try and write about it. The trackers I use are also good as they create nice graphs of progress etc and will highlight anything you are doing that is really making your life hard (like a food with more kcal than expected)
  • Find motivation, these are the micro-goals or the small things you can look forward to doing that give motivation RIGHT NOW. And the longer term motivation of knowing you are moving in the right direction.
  • Isolate yourself from temptations and avoid them at all costs, when you really can't resist, manage it.
  • Don't beat yourself up

Motivation types

This will be a bit of a ramble so apologies in advance.

I think to get fit and lose weight or indeed anything like that, you need motivation, in fact you need motivation to do just about anything in life. Even when we do things we really don't like we must have some motivation. After all it means to make motive or moving, something must make us move.

But there are two basic types of motivation I think, pushing and pulling. I can look at my current state of fitness and the way I look and feel bad about it, I can try and use this bad feeling to bully myself into doing something about it. I think that occasionally this can be OK but only as a one off event, let's say you see a photo of yourself that makes you realise what has happened to your weight or perhaps you try to play a sport and find you are no longer able to. That can be a shock and give a kick start to making a change.

BUT if you spend all of your time beating up on yourself you will quickly become annoyed and eventually may actually rebel. I think this is a common cause of my breaks from previous plans, I am essentially saying "screw you" to the negative inner voice.

The alternative motivation comes from what you think will/may be. If you really believe that your actions will make  the change you hope for, it can create a really nice feeling and a great motivating pull. But you need more than just one of these pulls, it is OK to have some picture in your mind of your eventual goal but that may be so far off that it doesn't help you get out for a run or choose the healthy food option. You need some shorter term goals and some medium and a feeling that these will add up to provide the longer term goals. Here are some of my goals/micro-goals, they may seem pathetic in some ways but they are surprisingly motivating in the short term:

  • Finalising my daily calories and it telling me what I will weigh in 5 weeks and it being a nice number
  • Telling a friend about the fact that I managed to lose yet another kg with week
  • Finding a way to make the slip up at lunch not ruin the day
  • Seeing a good selection of work outs on the tracker at the end of the week
  • Being able to post something positive about the week on this blog (that nobody reads, the code work is aardvark, first to say it to me gets a free Mars bar or healthy snack)
  • Feeling less tired than I did last workout and knowing that it will only improve
  • Telling a friend that my run was longer than ever before
Personally I find sharing very motivating and being able to show off a little achievement is really nice. But whatever your little goal, it has to be something that you can gain some pleasure from then and there, in the same way you might look forward to an evening out or dare I say it a nice meal. This ties in with the next topic of rambling: will power.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


After hurting my lower back last week as well as pulling muscles in my upper back I was walking around like I was about to take off from a ski jump. Now after "beasting" my walk yesterday I am waddling like a duck.


Monday, 2 July 2012

Splitting up my goal

As my overall weight loss goal is to lose 30kg roughly I have split up the goal into three parts and have renamed my weekly progress reports to match.

I'm only two weeks in and that has flown by but that is 1/5 of the way through the first stage, that feels better than 1/15th of the way to the final goal. Thirty weeks is after all a good chunk of the year, 10 weeks is just over two months, not nearly so bad. 

Back walking and a bitter truth

I took my first walk this lunch time after my back problems of last week. I had intended to walk with some colleagues but missed them setting off, I then tried to catch up. I saw them in the distance a few times but they took a different route to me and I lost them only to see them again later even further in the distance. Still it made it a fantastic work out.

What struck me as I did my walk is that I could have been doing this since I started my job here in 2007. In my previous post in Chesterfield I found a great place to walk every lunchtime and did so without fail for 3 months. Here I was not so sure where to walk so I just didn't.

Best not to dwell on what could have been but instead try and learn something. It is obvious that there was always potential for walks but I didn't look for a solution, you have to make your fitness an immovable object that just HAS TO BE, with that attitude you find a way, I was looking for a perfect route on a plate.

Week 2/10 Part 1/3

This is the first week where I have weighed myself properly, the first thing to note is that it is much easier to remember when you think you might of lost some weight! And it seems I did, 1.8 kg. This is well over my target of 1 kg but may be because I was heavy last week (water content etc) or perhaps my calorie target which was adjusted to 1780 after exercise by my fitness pal is too low. On the other hand the heavier you are the easier it comes off at first. Anyway one week does not mean much but the general trend is fantastic.

The main thing has been to stick to the calorie counting, it can get you out of a jam really well. I could not resist the smell of fish and chips on Saturday lunch time but I recorded it and with a careful choice of evening meal was barely a few kcal over my daily target. So often before if I had something "naughty" like that it would be a case of f**$ it and I would of written off the day then maybe the week.

 Next thing is exercise, my back is pretty much healed so no excuses there.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Week 1/10 Part 1/3

Well my ticker shows no weight loss but that is not quite true, officially I lost 0.2kg. But actually I have no idea as last week I did not actually weigh myself I just knew roughly what I was.

Food wise things went pretty well except for going to a wedding which probably upped my consumption but I didn't fall in to the trap of writing off the whole week which is good. Exercise has started slowly, literally. I seemed to turn the whole of the bottom of my feet into blisters early in the week, had some good exercise on the dance floor on Saturday but last night pulled my back quite badly, struggling to walk standing up straight, hopefully that will subside.

I also altered my breakfast as I was lying to myself about how much milk I was putting on, I found a happy medium, I don't intend to measure it but I know what it looks like in the bowl, Weetabix are convenient for portion control, very quantum.

Next week will be the proof of the pudding, no excuses and no events with lots of lovely food. Weather is even turning nice.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Running time table

This is the time table I followed once before. It is pretty good in that it builds you up gradually, there are a few jumps in it but you can always tweak if it seems like too much. I am pretty sure I went beyond 10 weeks but I don't remember what I did next.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Widgets added

After much messing around I found out how to get code from Endomondo and Myfitnesspal to display some useful data. Myfitnesspal is showing weightloss and Endomondo just shows my workouts.

I forgot to say that the soles of my feet nearly fell off after this mornings walk, not sure they are used to it yet.

2.8 miles on the flat

Did a walk at lunch time, it was time limited so only had chance for 2.8 miles, a faster pace but no hills. I need to find a way to link Endomondo with the blog or this is going to be really boring ... had a walk ... ate a banana. I'm the only one reading this but even I will get bored!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Went for a walk

My first bit of exercise, a 3 mile (according to GPS) hilly walk. I'm lucky to have some nice countryside on my doorstep to walk around.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Step 3: mindset and motivation

This is the bit I am terrible at. Yesterday I just wasn't doing fitness and today I am, the blog got me excited about it but what worries me is that this random starting a fitness program could turn into a random stopping.

2 years ago I started a 10 week plan. I started two weeks before Christmas and over the holidays I did not over eat and I went running, even in snow and ice. After the holidays I came home and went for another run in the snow and then I went sledging. I strained myself sledging (it is really hard work) so could not exercise for a couple of days. For some reason I never started again, I can't explain why.

I must find a way to start again if I do stall!

For motivation I do have a couple of important points though:

1. You must feel like it is possible, that you can achieve your goal.
2. You must realise that it is not down to chance or luck, that you are not a special case, it is just a matter of stressing your body so it gets stronger and creating a calorie deficit so fat is used up.
3. You must not be a perfectionist, you don't have to be perfect to lose weight and get fit. When you gained weight you did not do it perfectly, some weeks you did not gain weight some weeks you lost it but you drifted in the "right" direction.
4. You should look to the future and be pulled along by what might be rather than beat yourself up for what is or what has been. Carrot not stick.
5. Short term goals are important, telling a friend about the run you did which was slightly longer than the previous one. Losing the weeks kg or finding a way to deal with a difficult situation (like a buffet) can all become challenges that when met give satisfaction. See over the hillock to the little pot of gold and it makes the slope less painful.
6. You have to make your diet and exercise an immovable object, like a birthday party you just can't miss. That way you force yourself to find solutions. If I must do exercise 3 times a week and I am busy every night perhaps I use my lunch our, if that is taken perhaps I get up early....

Anyway the slightly sappy motivational speaker style of the above is not lost on me and of course I struggle to follow most of it :)

Step 2: Monitoring

This blog is one way to keep an eye on progress and to remind myself of my goals but I will also be using my phone and a couple of free apps.

To monitor my calorie intake I'll be using "myfitnesspal" which has an app for android and iphone. I've tried it before and it works really well. It seems to have more foods in than the apps you pay for because of user generated content.

And to record at least some of my exercise I'll use "endomondo" which is also free and has an app that uses your phone's GPS to record your exercise, no good for the gym but cool for running/cycling and walking.


Some years ago I went from not being able to run at all to being able to run a decent distance (the longest was 8 miles) since then I did a little but never really got back to form or my version of it. I followed a special plan that was designed for new runners and found it to be really good, I have a copy which I will post later as a reminder.

Since that time I discovered barefoot running, this is something that you can do in shoes and makes so much sense when you think about it. But rather than waffle on I will post some good links:

TED talk

Instruction video


And then waffle my way of describing it is "the way you run around the house in your socks" this means on the forefoot not the heel and it means you use your muscles to cushion your foot fall not the shoe. Normal running is like stamping your heels on the ground, no wonder we "need" high tech shoes, barefoot is like tip toeing along. Your muscles do the work and those are things you can build up!

BUT before I start with any running I will do some walking. This always sounds a bit wimpy but actually if you push yourself you get a hell of a workout and actually go faster than you do when you first start running! After a week or so of that I will move to the running plan I mentioned, as it starts very lightly I can do it with a new running style, otherwise you should transition gently as you build the required muscles.

Step 1: Current state

The first step is probably to work out where I am with my fitness and weight and then how far I have to go.

My current weight is 120kg, 18st12lb, 264lb
My current height is 1.9m, 6'3"

This makes my BMI = 120/(1.9)^2 = 33.2

BBC BMI calculator here

This puts me in the category of "fatty bum bum" or as it is know technically as obese. I don't really look it due to the my height (and constantly holding my breath) but I feel it! And perhaps look it :(

There are two options to get to the top end of "normal":

1. Increase my height to 2.2m (7' 239⁄64")
2. Reduce my weight to 89.5kg

As tempting as the former is, the latter is probably more practical.

This means I need to lose around 30.5kg. Assuming a weight loss or around 2lb or 1kg a week that is pretty much 30 weeks.

I don't want to starve and I also want to be fit not just thin so exercise is key. Let's "do the math."

Using a calorie requirement calculator is not totally accurate but gives a starting point:

With no exercise:
"you need 1673 Calories/day to lose 1 kg per week"

Lightly active (sport/exercise 1-3 times a week):
"you need 2063 Calories/day to lose 1 kg per week"

Moderately active (sport/exercise 3-5 times a week):
"you need 2453 Calories/day to lose 1 kg per week"

As you can see there are real benefits to exercise, you can eat more and still lose weight, plus you get fit!

I will aim for 2000 kcal per day for the first week. I will try to exercise at least 3 times but as my ass has barely left the couch for some time I will have to take it easy to start with.