April was going to be so much better than March. It really was. Then I broke my ankle, was rendered mostly immobile for weeks, and proceeded to eat all of the bread. I am not exaggerating, I didn’t just have a bit. I had it all.
Did you go to make some hot, buttered toast one morning, only to find the last slices mysteriously gone? Yes? I was probably sat outside your kitchen shovelling it into my face. Shortage of baps, bloomers and brioche at your local store. Yup, guilty as charged.
Doughnut, bagels, pretty much anything proven and baked. I couldn’t but help to put it inside myself.
I even found myself looking lustfully at other men’s baguette’s with my mouth watering thinking that if I waited until he wasn’t looking and just took it in my hand and nibbled on the end that might be enough to satisfy my cravings. But who am I kidding, Im a greedy, greedy boy and wanted the whole thing.
Oh what a sorry old state it is when you cannot rest until you have a mouthful of Italian 6 inch. Sub. 6 inch sub.
So with an average of less than 4000 steps a day and my teeth full of seeded batch loaf I look back at April as a wasted opportunity; then turn to May with renewed hope(and more than likely some sort of acquired gluten allergy). If that’s even a thing.
First things first. Screw March. That’s right, you and the horse you rode in on.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s see how it went last month shall we.
Look, it wasn’t a bad month. I have had worse. I have had month’s where it feels like I have single handedly supported the chocolate industry through challenging trading conditions. There were periods where I am certain that I ensured a healthy dividend pay-out to Krispy Kreme shareholders. And there were times when my expanding girth definitely kept nimble fingered small children in far-eastern sweatshops gainfully employed as I was forced to replace my wardrobe with less ill fitting garments.
It was just a month where things just felt …meh.
Yes I managed to do 12000 steps a day at least, and mostly I drank plenty of water every day. I even managed to maintain a relatively normal amount of calories. So like I said, not a bad month. It just felt rather out of control and by chance and not at all focussed. I think I concentrated too much on simple calorie intake rather than focussed meals which left me eating lots of snacks or in-between type of food instead of prepared meals (during the day at least as most nights I have a Hello Fresh meal ready to prep and devour).
I just found it all rather annoying as I know I can do better.
So this month I have started with a renewed focus on balancing my intake and ensuring I have a good balance of Carbs, proteins, fat and fibre. (though I may have threatened to do that last month too). I am also increasing my calorie intake as have been doing some research and think I need to eat more. Sounds daft right, but we shall see whether increasing my calories by around 500 (but focussing on balance inputs) makes a difference.
That said, it’s Easter this weekend so there has been a ton of chocolate around so my balance may be a little off for a couple of days. I simply cannot resist a Cadburys cream egg. I just can’t so I don’t even try.
Anyway, so after 10 months I remain about 22Kg(48 pounds) down from where I started. Not bad I guess. Could have been better but then again, could have been a hell of a lot worse.
It’s been a bot of a tough week on a few fronts. Diet fronts. Wellbeing fronts.
I had my Covid jab last Sunday. The first of 2 I was booked in for, and curiously, it was down to my weight that I was bumped up the queue. Last time I was weighed by the doctor I was significantly heavier than I am now so my BMI qualified me to be classified as ‘ridiculously fat’ ( I don’t believe that’s a medical classification – though I may be wrong) which means you get to be jabbed sooner for fear that you’ll clog up a hospital bed if you catch Covid and you’ll be a bloody nightmare to turn in your bed if you’re intubated given your girth and just how tricky it is to get a good purchase on flabby bits. Okay so again, my opinion not that of a medical professional.
Anyway, I will admit to finding it considerably more emotional than I had expected and sat in the waiting room afterwards (to ensure that I didn’t grow a second head) it was quite something. It was almost a year to the day that we first went into lockdown and here I was, receiving a jab. What a long year it’s been.
Okay Michael, get to the point – these nice people have places to be.
All week I have felt pretty knackered and hungry and every bone in my body has ached like a proper bastard. Head, shoulders, knees and toes. The entire song. Extra verses included including the oft unsung one about the coccyx.
Ive also been hungry. Like day after drinking hungry. Late night fridge visit hungry. Handfuls of cake and cream squirted straight into my mouth hungry. And really thirsty too. And my weight rocketed. I’m not worried that I put on weight, you cannot put on 7Lbs(3KG) in less than a week – so I know my body is doing something on its own without my permission.
So yes, a curious experience indeed. I am feeling better today and despite feeling achy as hell I have still managed my 15000 steps each day – apart from the day after the jab when I felt proper rough and it was cold and raining like buggery.
Steps: I achieved my target of 15000 a day every day, with a high of 21000 steps and a low of 15010.
2. I was aiming to fast intermittently and eat between 12pm and 6pm. Probably achieved it half of the time. Life just gets in the way and I kind of don’t beat myself up about it. There may be physiological benefits to it but mostly it just feels like skipping breakfast and not snacking at night. I guess that doesn’t have the same ring as ‘intermittent fasting’ does it. It does help me be disciplined though and that I really do like.
3. Limiting my calorie intake to 2000 a day at the very most. I Hit this most of the time. I track pretty accurately using the Samsung Health app and at least know when I go over and why. I don’t limit anything so eat what I like mostly and try to maintain a deficit of 500 calories a day with the aim of losing 0.5KG/1Lb a week because I am looking for something sustainable – not quick gains. I could probably lose more weight faster given I am pretty active but I love food. And eating. And fat…and sugar…and mmmm I think there is an open carton of custard in the fridge that I might eat tonight!
4. Drinking 2 litres of water every day. Yup pretty much on track there. My old man bladder doesn’t always thank me but it’s apparently good for me right. Right? Stupid 4am pee wake up call!
So there you have it. Things work. I think thoughmostly it comes down to consistency and not throwing in the towel when I eat an entire packet of hobnobs. Don’t know what they are? They’re a bit like crack cocaine – just with more oats and sugar.
Oh I didn’t say what weight I lost did I. Think it was about 2.5 kg – that’s in the 5Lb range. So in total that is now about 22kg/48LBS. (That includes about 10LBS that I have to lose twice because I indulged like a Roman Emperor over Christmas). In total that’s about the weight of an adult clouded Leopard. Seriously. Look it up…
1.So what will I do differently in March? 3 things I think:
2.Be a little tighter on my calorie intake and try to stay at 2000 more consistently. Try run a bit more. Maybe 4 times a week – just to work on my heart health.
3.Eat a bit more protein and a bit less carbohydrates. I need a bit better balance of things (according to the food tracker) as I have been eating a lot of pasta, bread, rice (and rice cakes, my god I eat a lot of those).
You can read about the start of the tree journey here. If you cannot be bothered then long story short, we have left a Christmas tree up and will decorate it seasonally all year long because why the hell not. 🙂
So onto the most recent decorating shenanigans. We have embraced spring and gone full on Easter. Some yellow ribbon and plastic bunnies and eggs mostly though I think there will be chocolate eggs added in due course. If I can resist eating them all within minutes of going up.
Me and the youngest put it together yesterday and I think it looks nice. Mrs Afterwards said it was lovely and we have made a good effort and she will finesse it later I am sure. And by finesse I mean do it properly rather than it looking like there has been an Easter explosion.
So there you go. Bunnies on the tree and some pretty hanging bunnies around the fire place. It will likely be up until the end of April when we will transition to Star Wars with star wars day being the 4th of May.
So, for January I set out to only eat between 12 and 6, to eat around 2000 calories a day and do 10000 steps. Simple right? So let’s get straight to the results shall we.
On the fasting front it was a bit hit and miss. I stopped using the ‘Fastic’ app when my phone broke and I think the lack of accountability (to the app) made me focus less so I missed quite a few days. Mostly I tend to just forget and I will be making breakfast for the family and suddenly I am munching on something purely by accident. Although there was the day I ate a whole box of fudge. That wasn;t an accident. I did it on purpose. I meant to do it. I wanted to do it. There was no way I could resist so I didn’t even try. Sorry, not sorry.
On the calories front I mostly averaged about 2 thousand. The Hello Fresh meals are helping me track more accurately and I use the Samsung Health tracker to record everything that goes in. There have been days when I haven;t done so well but I always try and recover the next day and don’t let one bad day ruin my efforts. There have been days when I ate a lot of cake, or a greasy takeaway or maybe I had a few beers that might have pushed my totals but I am happy with where I am in my head when it comes to food and that’s the important thing for me.
Steps was probably my biggest success and I did 1000 for the first few days but actually upped the target to 12000 as was pretty much doing this without too much effort. I did manage 20000 one day when instead of sitting at my desk for an hour long boring work call I walked on the treadmill for an hour on a boring work call. I am going to try and do more of that this month and have a target of 15000 a day. the majority of that will be done on the treadmill I think.
So before I tell you my weight loss, there were a few more things I challenged myself to do. Firstly I intend to finish a book each month, and by ensuring I read X number of pages a day I got through Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. I am a huge fan of the show and thought I ought to read the book. It left me feeling…hmmm…I will write more about that later I think. I felt stuff though, and that’s a good thing right.
I also tried to tie up television loose ends. Might sound daft but sometimes I get frustrated having started things and not finishing them so I made a concerted effort to finish a few things I had started. And it felt good. Perhaps it’s strange to think of watching TV as an achievement but it felt good none the less.
I finished Silicon Valley, which pretty much made me cry and I finished the Mandalorian Series 1 which makes me all warm and happy that it exists.
Oh and I tried to blog every day. I missed a day or two I think but mostly really happy with where I got to with that.
So all in all a good month. And I lost 5KG/11 LBS.
This month it’s very much the same, Food, steps, fast, watch, write but I also need to spend more time with the boys. We are all cooped up in the house together so it’s easy to take things for granted but they are getting older now and very easy to let a day go by and not really interact in a meaningful way, so I will attempt to do something about that.
I’ve written plenty about food and steps and sweating and eating cake in your underpants (well not an entire cake – it was more of a fruit loaf – so potentially 1 of my 5 a day) , but I’ve not written much about the mental health side of things.
That is mostly because I am not at all qualified to discuss such matters.
I know what I like though, and I know what makes me happy. And I know it is important to find happiness wherever we can in these upside down times. So to that end, and this is very exciting, we decided to leave the Christmas tree up all year! Kind of…
What we have left up is the tree with the lights on it. But the decorations have changed. Still with me?
It was suggested to me by someone at work, I think as a joke, that you could leave your tree up all year but just decorate it for whatever season it is or whatever takes your fancy.
Well people, joke or not, I give you – THE VALENTINES TREE!
I spend most of my day here in the converted cellar of the house, it’s where I work from home and at night it is where the family tends to congregate. We have decked the halls a little as well as doing the tree so right now it’s…well look – see what you think?
Might seem a bit daft but it gives me great pleasure and we are already looking forward to Easter, Family Birthdays, Star Wars (may the fourth (be with you)), Summer, Halloween, the Queen’s Birthday and who knows what else…
I like to cook. Not as much as I like to eat, but obviously one tends to come before the other. Do it the other way round and you’re likely to suffer from Ecoli or bum worms or something equally horrid.
Anyway, lockdown has meant that I am cooking even more than ever and the youngest one day sent me a link explaining all about Hello Fresh and why it would be a good idea. I think they were growing tired of the same old stuff and to be honest they were probably right. I have a set number of things I can cook, and whilst I own a whole load of cook books, I often just revert to what I know for sake of expediency.
So given find it hard to say no to my children on most things we were signed up in a flash.
If you haven’t seen Hello Fresh before it is a service where they send you just enough food to make a certain number of meals each week (including recipe cards). You pick the meals by a certain day, from a selection of about thirty on an app, and a few days later a box arrives. Seems simple really.
I’d like to say I did research, compared prices, made a considered choice. I’d also like to say I am 6ft tall and look great in skinny jeans. Neither of these things are true. I am compulsive and often wasteful and were I to don skinny jeans I imagine my legs would look like sausage skins that had been overfilled.
So anyway the box arrives and my first thought was “ooh that looks nice”. There were pots of spices and saches of sauce, all carefully portioned out , and the meat and veg looked fresh and clean. My second thought was “Im going to be rather hungry “. No way was this enough food for three people (me and the boys) for 4 meals. (Mrs Afterwards is not partaking as she is vegetarian and her favourite flavour is bland, so it was not for her.)
The youngest is now in charge of cooking everything (small hands make light work, right?), so we get stuck in and whip up the first meal. The recipe cards are easy to follow and in no time at all we have ourselves sea bream and rice and bits of greenery and veg strewn through it.
And it was gorgeous. And shockinlgy there was plenty of it. I would definitely have bought twice as much to make this meal and likely thrown a lot away, or it would have sat in the fridge spoiling. So when it comes to saving on waste its definitely a winner.
The ingredients were all really good and with the exception of a lemon that was as dry as Queen Victoria’s dirty love trumpet (I don’t know why I added the word dirty there – that in itself feels rather dirty) and a potato that looked like a Syphilitic Jimmy Nail. (Though it might actually have come from Morrisons Supermarket as I did mix the potatoes up – so I could be being unfair.) I like the idea of not having to have loads of bottles of things like hoisin sauce and soy sauce and tubs of sesame seeds and such. I have just enough for the meals and that works for me. I still have a bottle of fish sauce going back about 12 months that I have no idea what to do with. What the hell is it even? I guess the name says it all but still, who the devil needs a sauce made out of fish. Sounds horrid.
So you want to know about price right? Well I got a huge discount of the first box and significant ones on the next lot so it was only about £25 for the week. At full price it will come in at about £3.70 a meal I think. Whilst I could do it cheaper if I shopped I am sure, this is still not much off the cost of one of those meal deals at our local Co-Op store. There it’s £3.50 I think for a sandwich, crisps and a coke.
So balancing up cost, ease of us, reduction in waste and not forgetting deliciousness and variety I am absolutely sold on it. Throw in how involved my youngest has been about cooking (though he now wants his own knife set!) I think I am sold on it most definitely. There are apparently other services out there like Gusto, which I might try, but for the next few weeks I shall be getting the most out of this and hopefully trying loads of new things I would never have bought otherwise.
Oh and calories. I forgot about that. Obviously I am mindful of what I put into this flabby, balding and mostly dilapidated temple of mine. The menus are pretty clear about what this costs when it comes to my calorie deficit efforts and with light versions available (less than 600 calories) and even the cheesier and meatier options we have had coming in at around 800 calories I am more than happy defiling this wobbly shrine of mine with it’s delicious goodness.
Oh and I will slip this in at the end. Not because I want you to but because you can if you want to, it’s really up to you. Your experience with it might be awful so I take no responsibility for it. But, if you want £20 off your first box then there’s a link below. I get £20 too. That said I imagine there are better deals out there as I got 60% off my first box and 35% off my next 3 just by searching online.
This week it’s been all about steps. 10000 a day to be precise.
It’s been snowing and rather icy so chances to get outside have been limited given that whilst the dog enjoys it there does come a point where he is thinking “Bloody hell, just go out on your own its awful out there.”
I’ve had to hit the treadmill a few times, especially one night when it was bed time and I still had 3000 to go. Not be be defeated I fired up the Reebok Jet 300 and got to walking. Wanting to hurry things up I sped things up a little and tried a bit of running. It’s really rather tiring and I still have quite a lot of jiggly bits so also not the most pleasant of experiences. Anyway so I ran for a while then somehow settled into another walk that was actually faster than I was running. Faster and faster it went until I panicked thinking I was about to fall, be knocked out and as I was not wearing the safety cut off chord I would be found dead in the morning, half of me grated away into a bloody pulp.
Plus I would have missed my 10000 steps, so I slowed it down, put on something to walk and marched mindlessly until the counter ticked over…goal achieved!
Annoyingly I did actually miss it one day. I had taken my watch off in the morning and probably missed a couple of thousand so was again a tad short. Only about a thousand. It was snowing outside and the dog looked at me with his “F*ck off and go walk yourself eyes” so I hit the treadmill and got myself within 50 or so steps of my target. Now I know I could have hit my target with another minute or so of walking but I was feeling the dog’s mood so didn’t, instead figuring the steps to bed woukld knock the remainder on the head.
Alas I did not check and in the morning I was 7 steps short. 7. So very annoying indeed. Ok so I know I did more than 10000 in the day with how many I hadn’t recorded in the morning but my smart watch does not. It simply looks at me with the judgemental look on it’s watch face as if to say, “Yeah, slacker, that’s why you have such lovely man boobs.”
Screw you smart watch!
Happy weekend people, here’s a few photos from our snow walks…
So its about ten days in and so far so good. Mostly. If you didn’t read my first post then…Oh just go read it, it’s a lot easier than me explainign again 🙂
Right so I guess you’re wondering how it is going?
Well, so far so good on the steps front and I have managed to hit my target of 10000 a day every day this year. I’m walking the dog a couple of times which makes it fairly easy and only once did I need to hit the treadmill at about half 11 at night when it was looking a bit iffy. I certainly feel better for it, though it’s been snowing a fair bit so my nipples have been like chapple hat pegs as I drag the pooch up hill and down dale in sub zero temperatures. I couldn’t really fail in the first week now could I.
I set myself a target of 2000 calories a day for the most I have managed it. There was one night where I was presented with the deliciousness of pistachio Turkish delight and I did not even try to resist it. I ate it all. I actually took every piece from the box as had already achieved my steps and I knew I would eat it all so why waste the effort of getting off my backside to get more.
I knew I should resist but I know myself too well.
I have 2 go-to’s most days that help me with a disciplined start to what I eat. Muller light yoghurt with no sugar muesli is my preferred way to start the day, whatever time I start eating, and chocolate rice cakes are my snack of choice. I did eat 10 one day though so I am not sure that’s quite the balanced diet I am going for. They’re just so damned good though.
Eight glasses of water a day has been pretty easy and I put a glass in the bathroom so there’s this kind of pee/drink cycle going on down in the cellar where I spend most of my day. Hmm, that sounds really nasty doesn’t it. To be clear, I am not drinking my own pee. The water in there is particularly cold so it’s my tap of choice.
And then there’s the fasting. I aim to eat between 12pm and 6pm and most of the time I do okay. I will admit that I just forget. I make the kids or the dog breakfast and before you know it I have a mouth full of food without realising. (I feed the dog buttered toast in the morning, I don’t eat dog food. Okay so sometimes I will test the biscuits if he really likes them because I am curious if they’re that great).
So there you go, ten days in and I think I am doing okay. I have energy, I am sleeping well and I think I am losing weight (I’m not weighing in until the end of the month for fear of not having lost weight and losing motivation).
I have though been a bit achy and think that might be because I’ve been more active so am thinking I might try a bit of yoga. Or Pilates. I’m not sure though, I will likely look like I have fallen and cannot get up if someone comes in and I’m on the floor huffing and puffing.
Ooh wonder what my arse would look like in yoga pants? Probably like a sack full of fighting rats.
Okay so here we go, new year, new me, all those things we say on the first of a year, or the first of the month, or a Monday. Or perhaps after eating a whole bar of chocolate whilst sitting on the toilet.
Not that I’ve done that. Not a whole bar anyway.
Ive written plenty about my journey this year, and if you’re new here just scroll back and you’ll find details of my journey in between the dirty limericks and other bits and pieces I have been posting.
Anyway, I have given this section a new name which I think makes sense and am going to attempt to share a little more regularly on the matter as the weeks progress, counting down to my 50th in November.
It’s always easy to get going as everyone knows, but keeping it up is the challenge. To get me into the swing of things and through this first week I have set myself 4 key goals.
10000 steps a day, whether out walking the dog or on the treadmill
Intermittent fasting, restricting my time to eat to between 12pm and 6pm
Limiting my calorie intake to 2000 a day at the very most
Drinking 2 litres of water every day
My aim is to lose another 60LBS (not sure how long it will take) but more important are trying to ensure I make permanent(ish) lifestyle changes.
So that’s it really. I’ll share how I get on and hopefully you will find it of interest. Or maybe you fancy doing it yourself? Up to you.
A second and more learned opinion on my progress to date.
Okay so I will admit to having neither fasted nor counted calories over the Christmas period. Intentionally though, not because I was face down in a sherry trifle with a chicken leg in each hand in an act of delicious self destruction.
Sometimes you just have to not worry overly, try to remain somewhat in moderation and know that this is temporary only and have in mind exactly when you intend to get back on the horse.
Ive lost and gained and lost enough weight in my life to know the frustration of having to lose weight just to get back to the weight you once were and I am now far more mindful of this when I do choose to ignore the disciplines that have proven successful so far.
I am not in denial of my most carnal urges, and for this week I am enjoying them very much. Without guilt.
I love the sweet deliciousness of cocktails and nibbles and chocolate. I am a huge fan of the sensuous sweetness of whipped cream and the unctuous wonder of all things made of pig.
But with the new year on the horizon and opportunity to start things again I am looking forward to getting back to things in a few days time. But until then, I think I shall have a woo-woo and some baklava!
A second and more learned opinion on my progress to date.
Well it was my annual health assessment this week, so I dragged myself over to Leeds to allow the nice folk at BUPA to do the things they like to do to me. Last years assessment was the beginning of a bit of a mini spiral for me when, just before Christmas, they declared me in fine shape which I took as a sign to eat, drink and be merry – and I then continued to do so post Christmas and into lockdown and by the time I looked at the scales in May I had put on about 10kgs.
I make no excuses for this, I like to eat. I like to drink, and whilst I am often a grumpy old fart, I can also be found being merry from time to time.
Anyway, this was when this most recent journey began. Fast forward one year and it was with great trepidation, and a little excitement, that I took off my coat and boots and stepped (wearing the lightest clothes I could find that morning) onto the scales.
Over 10KG down on last year. Throw in the 10KG or so that weren’t even on their records and that’s not bad going at all.
A battery of tests was to follow and it turned out my heart was okay, my BP in an ok range (I had ran out of tablets so it was a little elevated) and my cholestrol, blood sugar and haemoglobin were all looking good. My body fat was down 7% (though I am still more than a third made of fat) and my waist was down 7cm or some such.
So on the whole everything trending as I had hoped and they were obviously happy with the results.
At the end of the session the doctor even caressed my testicles and stuck a finger up my bottom which I am assuming was a reward for my fine efforts this year.
So I am now about 7 months in and surprisingly pretty much still at it. That in itself is a huge surprise but I think something is seeping into my consciousness that tells me when I’m stuffing too much into my face or eating outside of the windows I have set for myself.
The weight loss is not as rapid as it once was and I did stall for a while but that was because I was eating too much and not moving enough. it’s pretty simple stuff but my goodness it’s hard when the Great British bake Off is on TV and I feel compelled to bake. And who knew that eating an entire cake would mean you wouldn’t lose weight that week. Shocking.
The fasting is probably easier than the calorie control, I mean what is so hard about not eating right. I say that tongue in cheek. Or cake in cheek. My biggest challenge is accidentally eating whilst I am making the boys lunches for school or perhaps making snacks and stuff. Quite often I will have a mouth full of something before I even realise.
And then there are those moments of ‘I don’t care I have tried hard for so long I am eating a handful of cake and then some ham with horse radish sauce on it at midnight.” That usually follows the “I wont eat much today as am going to have a bottle of wine later as it has been a long week” stage.
The “Oh well, tomorrow will be better” phase tends to be next to follow…
I have a full health scan in a few weeks so will be interesting to see how that pans out. I am hoping my blood pressure is looking better and I might treat myself to a prostate examination to celebrate! Kidding. 😉
Anyway, so this is 7 months apart and about 50lbs down. Mostly though just looks like I shaved 🙂