Friday, 5 September 2014


For those of you that have read my blog or twitter feed before, you might know that I've been trying to improve my lifestyle and get healthy. When I started that was my goal, not focussing on weight loss in particular, but just trying to make sensible decisions with regards to diet and life, hopefully making myself less prone to horrible, nasty illnesses resulting from being unhealthy.

Todays society seems to be moving slowly, bit by bit towards the scenario displayed on the Pixar film Wall-E, with lots of very large people moving around in hover chairs, because they simply do not have the need to exercise anymore. Except we don't have hover chairs yet. Or funky robots (just because I want a funky robot). This means we get all the bad stuff, with no cool technological advancement as a trade off. Unfair.

Junk foods are quick, cheap and accessible everywhere, where as healthy alternatives are often more time consuming to prepare, definitely more expensive and not nearly as easy to come by when out and about. I don't blame the companies - demand met with supply is all that has occurred to allow these chains to flourish.

It is down to us as individuals to begin making good decisions, hopefully culminating in an eruption of healthy food venders filling our towns, taking the mantle from the current deep frying champions. A man on a healthy mission can dream, right? Unfortunately, up until about a year ago my choices regarding diet, exercise and ultimately life were quite poor. I had gone through phases of gym and dieting but nothing had really stuck, probably because I'd never been too bothered. I was just the cuddly one, right?

But my then girlfriend began doing weight-watchers, and I tried to improve my choices in an effort to spur her on as well as improve my appearance. We broke up in January this year, and it turns out, for me at least, heartache is a great motivator. Since then it's become almost a hobby trying to improve my physique and maintaining a healthy diet.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not skinny by any stretch of the imagination, and I will be maintaining my diet for a while longer as I would still like to lose a bit more. But after the six weeks holiday, I went back to the school I work at and was reintroduced to the staff as a new face because of the apparently drastic change in my appearance. I'm sure it's more of an illusion after having six weeks off, and spending a little money on smaller clothes that fit better, but it's still nice (if incredibly embarrassing) to have my efforts recognised.

Some old trousers. 

Many people have been asking me about my secret, being sure that I've found some miraculous cure for obesity. Unfortunately not. For me what has worked is incredibly dull; turns out what the doctors say is actually true. Diet and exercise. My mum, adamant that what I'm doing will be the next fad diet, tells me to write a book. I don't want to meet the people that would want to read a book I've written, and anyway I can't be bothered. But I thought a blog would maybe be enough, even if it's only for me to document what I've been up to.

Sadly, I didn't weigh in at the start of my healthy spurt. Household scales wouldn't read how heavy I was and it was just too depressing at the time to find out. However, at one point last year I had tried to use a WiiFit balance board, and a quick google tells me that the max weight one of these would read is just short of 23.6 stone (330 pounds). At my most recent weigh in I was approximately 16.7. Almost seven stone give or take, so I must be doing something right.

One of my old belts around my new middle. 

I've become gradually more strict on the foods I eat and the things I drink, and gradually upped the amount of exercise I've been doing, starting simply with walking home from work but progressing now to short periods of jogging and doing weights at home.

I no longer eat any sweet things pretty much, I cut out bread completely (my biggest vice), restricted my alcohol intake to spirits and diet mixers (thank-you Jack Daniels), I've begun to use skinny milk on cereals should the overwhelming urge for a snack arise, and I swapped any sugar I may have used for sweetener in coffee and cereal etc.

I did not cut out carbs completely, as I was aware whilst my weight loss may be rapid, the minute I even smelled a carb I would put weight back on quickly. Instead I just try and make smart choices as to what I have, and make sure it's a sensible amount. It's always new potatoes instead of chips, or sweet potato instead of a jacket. I also always have Weight Watchers yoghurts and Alpen 70cal bars in to have as treats, which work brilliantly at satisfying cravings.

I also try and have the same thing daily for both breakfast and lunch. For breakfast it's a banana, and lunch time is currently 30g (uncooked weight) of pasta (originally 60g when I started) with roasted vegetables, namely carrots, peppers and mushrooms or courgettes.

And that's it really. Like I said, it has become a sort of hobby and I'm enjoying making these decisions and the conscious effort to resist certain foods and get in my exercise. I'm trying to muscle up a bit more too, making good progress doing varying sets using dumbbells at home.

My first set of Dumbbells.

There is a downside however - it's been bloody expensive! Having to buy new clothes quite often became a real problem, and I'm incredibly grateful for my interest-free-for-18-months credit card funding my weight loss habit. Now I've shrunk a bit, I can buy clothes from less expensive places now, so it shouldn't hurt the bank balance quite so much moving forward. 

Thank-you for reading this far, if you did. Again, this has been another selfish blog, but if what I've done works for someone else or spurs somebody on then it's been worth it. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments if you'd like to know more or offer constructive criticism.

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