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.