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.