My wellbeing journey – April Results

It’s all gone a little bit yeasty.

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.

Let’s see how this month goes shall we…

My wellbeing journey – March Results

Screw you March.

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.

My wellbeing journey – A quick COVID update

More pretty tree-ness

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.

This week should be better I am sure…

My wellbeing journey – February Results

It’s weigh in day for February…drum roll please.

You can read the kick off post here

Let’s get straight to it shall we.

  1. 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).

My wellbeing journey – The EASTER Tree Edition

More pretty tree-ness

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.

Might be odd to some but hey, makes me happy!

My wellbeing journey – January Results

It’s weigh in day…drum roll please…

You can read the kick off post here

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.

So there you go. That was January.

Onwards to February!

My wellbeing journey – The Tree Edition

I think you might want to read this one. It’s not what you think. Or just look at the pictures.

You can read the kick off post here

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…

Happy (not) holidays indeed

Dripping with Drudgery

‘Tis the season to be jolly, tralalalalalalalala

Let’s do another month of M’s prompts shall we.


Slumped against the cold brick of the station wall Darryl pulled the ragged hood of his coat over his head and twisted open the lid of the bottle of white lightning cider gripped between his legs.  It fizzed invitingly as escaped snowflakes danced on the biting breeze and he took a deep drink watching the masses pass by.

“Funny lot aren’t they” he said passing the bottle to a dirty faced, fair haired man sat next to him.

He took a drink and passed the bottle back, yellow fingers taking a cigarette from a crumpled packet.  He pulled from his pocket.  “Fun to watch though” he said struggling to light it, eventually resorting to pulling his jacket over his head to provide protection from the wind.  “So many of them yet all so very alone.”

“Do you think they’ll ever be ready” Darryl asked the fair haired man as the snow started to fall more heavily.

“My Friend” he replied, a fat bottomed girl in a red coat dropping pennies into the cup at his feet.  “Merry Christmas” he shouted as she scurried on her way.

“There are days when I think they are going to get it right but sadly each time they fall so very short.”  He ran a sleeve under his nose and sniffed.  It really was rather cold, next time he would have to ensure he had a warmer placement.

“I think they could be quite great you know” Darryl said taking another drink.  He coughed as he felt it trickle down inside him.

The fair haired man laughed.  “You really do like them don’t you” he said drawing deep on the cigarette.

“Yes I do” Darryl replied.  “They’re fun, creative, passionate, excitable, caring and…”

“And they’re violent and careless and selfish” the fair haired man interrupted.

Darryl sighed.

“I know I know“ he said picking up the cup and tipping out the coppers into his hand.

“How much did we make then” the fair haired man asked finishing the cigarette.

“One pound twenty” Darryl said, sadness etched across his face.

“And there you see my point exactly” the fair haired man said getting to his feet and dusting himself down.  “All we need is a tenner, just a tenner and they’re in” he said sharply.  “But they don’t care mate, not enough.”

Darryl put the change back in the cup and took another drink of the cider.

“I’m going to give it another ten minutes” he said rubbing his hands together against the cold.  “I’m still on the clock and you never know, this could be the day.”

“Good luck” the fair haired man replied, “I will see you back in orbit, I really need a nice cup of tea.”

Thistles and Thorns

The things that hold us back…

Let’s do another month of M’s prompts shall we.


I’ve a tale I would tell, and it might do you well

To pay heed and perhaps give some thought

To the things that constrain and the things that we blame

And on which were eternally caught

 

They’re the things in our heads, that live under our beds

And that lurk when we wake late at night

Paralysed by the doubt and the voices that shout

they defeat when we just cannot fight

 

Or you think you’re no good and that one day you could

be redeemed if you just do not stray

so you live only just and you hope pray and trust

that divine you’ll be carried away

 

so we stop in our tracks and we always look back

never trying to push on ahead

and were tangled in thorns and our minds they get torn

cant make sense of the thoughts in our heads

 

and you’re lying there scared and your wholly ensnared

to the things you believe are the truth

now perhaps they are not but you’ve sadly forgot

how to look for a sign or some proof

 

Unencumbered you’d find that the world can be kind

and there’s joy to be found and much more

we can live, love and learn and eternity spurn

for there’s hope here and now, life galore

George and Alice

The old clock in the hall struck seven as George sat down at his writing table as he did every night.

Let’s do another month of M’s prompts shall we…this one is in response to the Weaving Words prompt.


The old clock in the hall struck seven as George sat down at his writing table as he did every night.  He opened the drawer and took out the pen she had given him on their 25th anniversary, then carefully took a sheet of the finest paper from a sheath and placed it on the desk in front of him.

He rolled the pen between his fingers and smiled as he read the inscription:

“My heart remains yours always.”

He pulled his chair to the desk, made himself comfortable and began to write.

 

My dearest Alice

Winter has come at last it seems, and the days grow shorter and we have had the first flakes of snow this evening.   Fortunately I have a good store of wood this year, and the new people on the Henderson farm have assured me they have plenty to spare should I run short.  They seem very nice, though I am not quite sure they are cut out for this life.  Time will tell.

I took a walk by the river this morning, the air cold and crisp and the skies blue with the feintest whisper of cloud.  Sadly the old bridge we built at Millers crossing has collapsed, and I fear age would insist that I am now well beyond repairing it.

Such memories it brought back and I remembered the yellow dress you wore the day we finished it.  It seems like only yesterday, and the smile you wore with it remains with me to this day.  As time passes it’s funny the things we remember and those we forget.  The smallest details of our life together I still recall and yet major events now seem like a story told to me by someone else.

Sometimes I do wonder whether I have forgotten days we spent together, yet my heart remains full of those that are still so clear to me.

My heart remains yours always

George

Gently placing the pen on the desk George then folded the paper and placed it in an envelope that he pulled from the bottom drawer.  Sealing it he then took a bundle of identical envelopes and slowly unknotted the string that bound them together.

Taking up the pen he wrote ‘Alice’ on the front and then bundled it with the others, refastening them together with the old coarse string and placing them back in the drawer.

He smiled as he stood from the desk, pushed the chair back in and turned out the light.

It had been a good day, she would have enjoyed it he thought smiling to himself as he climbed the stairs to bed.