Summer fun

Well not just the summer.

2014 has been a pretty good year for fat loss.

I rolled into the year (literally!) at over 90 kg with my clothes all tight and struggling for breath when bending to do my shoe laces (fat gut invading lung space!).

After a fairly consistent effort with just a few slips I just weighed in at 84.0 kg (185 lbs , 13 stone 3 lbs) which is a weight loss of about 10kg (over a stone) in 9 months. not too shabby.

The best news is not the weight of course, its the fact my clothes fit better , I am more lively as my leg dont have to cart so much bulk around and I can bend over long enough to do my shoe laces up without running out of breath.

If I had kept up my fastest rate of weight loss, I would have disappeared by now, but overall I am pleased, and I am motivated to lose the other 10 kgs I don’t want anymore.

The secret? is there is no secret. I ate less, better, food, and I moved more.

How to eat less? only eat natural, straight from the plant, tree or animal stuff all day. If I had a treat it was last thing in the day.

Why? well have you ever tried opening a bag of crisps and only eating one? or opening a bar of choc and having one square? that stuff is designed and made specifically to make us want more. Eating that at the start of the day is a diet disaster its all I want for the rest of the day.

I have also started to do exercise 3 times a day to take advantage of the recovery period fat loss. Nothing major, brisk walk to work, brisk walk at dinner time and something in the evening.

Just this week I got a stand up desk at work. I did mornings standing to introduce it gently. My back was killing before, and it still kills but now its the nice kill of being worked, not the bad ache of lack of use.

I hope to go all day everyday next week. We’ll see…

I’ll keep you posted on progress.

If I hit 80kg in the next month I’m going to buy myself a new camera. I have already chosen the one. Will order it at 81kg, hope to hit 80 by the time it is delivered.

Climate factors

In much of the health debate the focus is on food. References to exercise are vacuous at best.

What they conveniently ignore is the weather and the seasons. In the UK we get a lot of rain. Thats great for some sports but for many its a major turn off. In our winter its dark by 4pm, so any winter activity will need some sort of lighting.

Whilst the government glibly tells us we need 5 sessions of 30 minutes of moderate activity a week to stay healthy, they show no signs of making that realistically possible.

My kids play football on a floodlit ‘all weather pitch’. So far this winter their training has been cancelled 3 times because of the rain, and twice because of frost. Hardly all weather!

I don’t know where the nearest covered venue is, but I can see unless we get more proper weather proof venues the general health of the nation is likely to decline even further.

One option to help with the lighting issue might be to insist companies give staff a 2 hour break during the day to get out and be active. In fairness most places I have worked didn’t care how long we took for dinner as long as we made the time up and the work got done.

For the last few years I have noticed I have made a significant ‘get fit’ effort in the spring, pretty much as soon as the clocks change (next week for us).

Do you think weather is a factor in health/fatness?

Buzzing

Not sure quite what has changed, but for weeks (/months) my exercising has been a bit of a slog. Quite pleasant, but easy to avoid.

Yesterday and today I have done longer sessions and have come back buzzing each time. I’m up to about 15 minutes running and about 40 minutes biking. One possible difference is I am doing them back to back, I go for a run, then jump straight on my bike after. It ends up as not far off a full hour of decent intensity aerobic exercise. I tried it the other way round – ride then run, the run nearly killed me. As riding is easier it makes sense to do that when I’m tired after the run.

I assume something has happened to get the ‘runners high’ to kick in, but the main thing is its a great feeling and I’m hoping I can use it to encourage me out on those dark dreary days. I suspect it is the length of session that gets the endorphins going. I don’t think I could do long enough in any one activity, but combining them seems to work well – lets see what happens tomorrow.

Yesterday I rode to the woods, hid my bike then went for a run. This worked great until I couldn’t find my bike after the run. Predictable of course, I found it eventually, I’ll need to be a little smarter next time!

I’m not worrying about food, just trying to not go daft. We are on holidays for a few days soon though and generally that kills any thought of sensible eating.

Progress to 11 March

The week of obsessive effort followed by 3 weeks recovery didn’t prove too effective. (net result no weight loss for the month)

I’ve changed things quite a bit now, I’m mainly focussing on getting out and doing some exercise. I’m not beating myself up over what I eat but I’m not going mad either. I’m not on the scales everyday either.

I have been out pretty much everyday for the last 10 days or so and it looks like I’ve lost a kilo (2 lbs) or so.

What I am trying to do is focus on the positives – getting out and enjoying a ride or a run (not too easy with some of the crappy weather we have had recently). rather than focus on the negatives like weight and diet. I reckon those things will come in time if I can keep enjoying my exercise.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is very grim so I hope I can drag myself out.

I think just going and enjoying the activity should mean motivation will not be a problem, but we’ll see. In the past I have had feelings of guilt for going out and enjoying a bike ride when there are chores to do or the kids to play with. At some point you have to say I have to do this for my health, thats where I am at now.

Operation obsessive – day 4 and 5 report

Today (fri)

Late last night I sneaked a couple of biscuits, and things have sort of gone downhill. No exercise today due to snow and generally crappy weather. Diet has been poor, but not a complete disaster. Don’t feel anywhere near as good as yesterday. Lost about 40 quid in rewards I’m not getting. I need to pick things up for the weekend, or I’ll put back all I’ve lost this week.

Yesterday

Went for a decent run, ate sensibly, felt good. earned 20 quid in rewards or something.

The day before

I did a decent bike ride (by current standards!), just over half an hour, at a fair pace. I ate no junk and didn’t totally gorge myself at meal times. I ate a lot but no so much it hurt like I usually do.

The day before that

I had to take a rest, but somehow still managed to eat sensibly.

Obsessive

I am beginning to think the only way to shift some of my lard is going for an intensive/obsessive program for a few weeks.

It just seems to be too easy to ‘forget’, or to put off for another day trying to reduce fat if its just a small part of everyday living.

I am thinking a one month sprint, to get some healthy habits in place and see some encouraging improvements, followed by a generally more healthy work/life balance.

I’ll post my plans in the next few days.

Goal Setting

There are 2 basic types of goal

Performance goals – these are things you can totally control and actions you want to do. Examples for me

  • cut out the junk food
  • eat more fruit veg and cereals
  • do something active most days

Outcome goals – these are the things you hope will happen if you perform the actions in your performance goals. These are indirect goals and not something you can actually ‘do’. Examples for me

  • reduce my body fat
  • reduce my weight
  • improve my fitness

So the outcome goals are the things we really want, and performance goals relate to what we believe we need to do in order to achieve the outcomes we desire. It feels like I have to educate myself to care more about the performance side of things because I tend to focus on the outcomes, and I’m not sure thats too helpful.

For the next couple of weeks I’m going to concentrate on my main performance goals above, and try to fixate less on the outcomes I am after. I think I will still need to weigh myself frequently to reassure myself that my eating and exercising are working at reducing fat.

Do you focus on one type more than the other? Which?