Wednesday, 22 December 2010
At first glance, the exhaltation sounds completely reasonable and fitting for our times. We spend too much time worrying what others think. We need to do what's right for us. Right here and right now. Don't worry about what others think. Do what you think is right. Do it now and do it like nobody's watching.
Dancing is a relatively neutral activity to use as the example to prove the efficacy of the theory. Even if you are a bad dancer, dancing badly rarely hurts another human being. It may offend some dance snobs, but no real damage. Maybe a bruised toe now and again or an elbow in the face...but nothing earth-shattering.
But extend the philosophy into the rest of life and something weird starts to happen...
Pick your nose like nobody's watching?
F*rt like nobody can smell it?
Kill all your political enemies like nobody's watching (they aren't...because you banned the BBC or the www)?
Where is the line?
And there's the problem. The philosophy relies on every individual setting their own limits of what is acceptable to do "like nobody's watching". And every individual sets different limits. One dances like nobody's watching, one picks their nose, and Mugabe does what he does...all of it justified by their own limits and moral codes (even the lack of a moral code is a moral code in itself).
What's this got to do with losing weight?
Eat cake like nobody's watching.
Skive off the gym like nobody's watching.
Drink a second beer in front of the TV (and go on, open the bag of crisps...nobody's watching).
Sound familiar? "Dance like nobody's watching" creeps into your life and takes over and makes just about everything acceptable as long as nobody's watching.
That's why blogging works. Somebody is watching. Or can watch at least.
So eat every mouthful as though millions are watching.
Exercise like millions are watching.
Blog like millions are reading.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Monday, 15 November 2010
It has been a busy few weeks at work, with a lot of travelling, much stress...
But the training is keeping up reasonably well. Food not so good and the weight is basically stable to a little bit up.
I had a serious kick *ss Personal Training session today. I have managed to hurt my hip as a result but it was good anyway. And I have done some running and plenty of other exercise sessions, in both hemispheres and in numerous countries. Nobody could say I am not a well travelled moose...
I have no great insight on weight loss. Since I haven't blogged for 3 weeks, it's no surprise that there is no success to report and no insights to share. The PT measured the old fat content and was pleasantly surprised at my 28%...obviously I look like it should be more! I'm not entirely sure whether that's a good thing? I'm not actually as fat as people think I am when they look at me.
I guess it depends whether the reality or the perception is most important. When I was squeezed into a shirt too small for me last weekend at a company conference, the reality was I felt embarrassed and fat. The perception, so I was told, wasn't too bad. Today, on the treadmill doing 17kmh sprints with the whole machine shaking (or was it just the entire building?) with the impact, and looking into the mirror while doing it, my perception, the reality, and the eardrums of anyone within hearing distance all concurred...
Thursday, 21 October 2010
That was it. It is so good to be free of calf strains, I feel like I'm floating when I run. The girl on the treadmill behind me didn't seem to think so as my hefty bulk pounded down in front of her (I don't think my rear view was ever my best...although, checking the mirror, maybe....). I'm not sure it was the noise, the treadmill ever so slowly edging back towards her or just the splashes of sweat (mmm, lovely) that drove her away in the end. Maybe I was just so in the groove and on there so long that she finished her meagrely short jog and disappeared to do some other exercise instead. I couldn't really see because she was quite small, and the combination of the angle in the mirror and my bulk kind of obscured her completely - a shame as the few glimpses I did catch, she was quite cute...
A colleague today suggested that speed dating in the gym should be made compulsory...I seem to remember Jack Sh*t blogging about gym chat up lines so I'd better get surfin' and revisin'. I think the cute beauty behind me last night will be the first target...if she ever darkens the door of the gym again after what must have been a frightening experience for her last night.
I do need some new tunes though. I am very tempted to try and load the old I-tunes onto my spare work laptop that I need to keep because it allows me access to all kinds of websites (like Blogger) that my new official, so tightly controlled you can often hear it squeak in a very high pitched mechanical whine, won't. I don't know for certain but I'm pretty sure i-tunes is one of them, but my old Belgian laptop lets me do just about anything. Not that I've tried bathing with it. Or kite-surfing. Or accessing anything REALLY naughty. My playlists are good but just a little stale and predictable and built for an old training programme I did years ago, not for the running I'm focussing on at the moment. I'm making do, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist in these things so it's never quite right. Maybe a good thing to play with this weekend with the house likely deserted of Mooselets...
Monday, 18 October 2010
Mondays are a real dilemma for me. Getting up at 4.30 am and leaving the house so early always fills me with the thought of going to the gym when I arrive at my destination, between two and a half and three hours drive later. The thought sometimes even turns into an intention.
But as we all know, and in the words of Chris Rea, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
OK, I guess somebody said it before CR put it into that song (fairly slow running pace on the i-pod)...
But then the drive and the available time not doing much sets my brain a-working. And my brain is an unbelieveably highly tuned device. Highly tuned at finding alternative plans, excuses, and reasons why not.
The usual Monday excuse relates to tiredness. You see, with the early start, it's touch and go whether I am too tired to take on the day properly, give it everything at work, get stuff done...or whether I meander through the day, blogging, killing time, drinking coffee and longing for a bed, any bed, for the night, hoping that a decent night's sleep will see me fitter for the Tuesday and the rest of the week. Margins are tight. Get to bed before 10pm on a Sunday night and my chances are reasonably good. Stay up to watch even just the Sunday matches on Match of the Day 2 and I've lost the Monday already, before it's started.
There was a time when my boss in Belgium would arrive on a Monday morning full of all the "great" ideas that had occurred to him over the weekend, and Mondays always seemed to turn into a huge post-mortem. A day filled with trying to find the pearl among the dross of his "great" ideas, persuading him that not all were indeed the pearls he believed them to be. Time spent steering him back towards the direction we had set over the previous weeks rather than "another" new direction that would be rejected by most people...not so much actively rejected but more passively, as they were convinced - usually correctly - that next week would see a new favourite flavour, a new beginning, a new direction. Pointless to follow this week's if it was going to change again next week. But that way, every week becomes the same week of waiting it out, keeping your head down, seeing things fail, thinking "I told you so" and vaguely looking forward (with a small level of interest rather than any desire or longing) to next week's offering.
I have learned over time to be very careful with Mondays. I never work very late on a Monday if I can help it...that kills the rest of the week. And gym sessions have to be handled very carefully.
That's the thought that always hits me on the long drive, usually as I'm speeding past Heathrow Airport (yes, I am normally there so early that I can speed past Heathrow on the M25...just ahead of the traffic build-up). Is it really wise to go training on a Monday morning? Tired already from an early wake-up call and long drive, should I really expect my body to cope with a workout?
And yet I know that, while being careful with Mondays is a wise thing to do, Monday is so incredibly important to set the tone for the week, that no workout on a Monday nearly always spells a bad workout week, while training on a Monday sets the tone, starts the week off with a good habit, and inevitably leads to much calorie buring over the whole week. But only as long as the other Monday rules are followed...otherwise disaster lurks.
Wary of that post-workout tiredness though, I decided this morning to stop for breakfast as well as the planned double espresso. That decided it finally. Well, at least it decided that I wouldn't train this morning. Whether I get to the gym at lunchtime, as the revised plan calls for me to do, remains to be seen...
There is a nagging doubt lingering at the back of my brain though. Was the change of plan really down to sensible protection of energy and a desire to be productive, or was the usual sinister self-sabotage kicking in, the smell of the bacon overpowering the lack of desire to stand in the long queue at Costa?
I guess that will only be answered at 1pm, and the reality of whether I am in the gym, or whether I am at the sandwich vending machine...
Weigh in at the weekend. 116.9kg. Down 1.4kg since the start of September, way behind my target and basically steady for the last 2 weeks...I did a calculation that always shocks me at the weekend...to turn maintenance into a 1kg per week loss, I am currently running at a deficit of over 1,200 calories per day. Yes, PER DAY!!! Ouch. My DirectLife monitor has me averaging 1,257 calories in October so far. Hitting my targets would get me 400 calories more, but that still leaves a whopping 800 calories I have to cut from my eating. From a normal eating base that might be doable, but from what I have convinced myself is a reduced, already-doing-pretty-well base it feels impossible. Yet I know that if I really analysed the recent calorie intake it wouldn't be as low as I've convinced myself.
And if I train a little bit more, then 110% of my calorie burn target is also possible. And that's another 170 calories a day. 170 calories I don't have to cut from food. So from today, that's the target...to get to 110% consistently and cut the food intake.
Friday, 15 October 2010
Now all I have to do is stay awake on the 4 hour drive home!!! One more quick coffee before I leave...
I guess this comes back to self-sabotage. In the long run it would be easier and more effective if I just formed the GOOD habits first off. But I do so love to make things hard (or even impossible) for myself. It's just so comforting to know that there's nothing I can do, and I always have a ready excuse at hand. It takes away all accountability.
But that what the blogging is for - accountability.
So does fessing up on here to my tendency to self-sabotage (and I could go into long and boring details about the amount of it I've done, both professionally and personally...maybe for a later date) and to my bad habit forming help?
Blogging about it is of course going to help; because blogging is the silver bullet.
But blogging is just the start...I also need a plan of attack for forming the good habits next week.
1. I'm going to plan in my training sessions for the evenings and lunchtimes, spread across the week.
2. I'm going to the supermarket on Monday and buying 5 days supply of soup/secret October ingredient.
3. I'm going to bring 3 sets of training kit with me next week and my bum bag (funny how the small details like nowhere to put my hotel key or i-pod can deflect me and provide an excuse).
4. I'm going to go for a run or a walk each morning BEFORE breakfast (run or walk to fit in with my other training sessions) on at least 2 mornings.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
What is it with diets and what we do to ourselves? We eat sh*t that's packaged up as good for us (low calorie, low fat, low salt, Diet this, Light that) but actually is just unnatural. At some point our bodies rebel against us for feeding them all the sh*t and make us ill, or fat, or both.
We have to get back towards more natural foods, just less of them than of the sh*t we ate to get where we are today.
Milk is my topic for today. I have always hated skimmed milk. Don't see the point. It's just coloured water and tasteless. You might as well drink your coffee black or put water on your cereal, as far as I'm concerned. Semi-skimmed I sort of understand, and I've had periods of time where I've made Mrs M buy both semi for me and full fat for the rest of the family.
But seriously... have you ever added up the fat and calories contained in a small milk serving that you put on cereal and let's say 4 or 5 cups of coffee a day. And compared it to what you get with semi or even worse skimmed?
Let me tell you, it's not worth the trouble. Personally I'd rather get it as close to nature intended. Let's face it, the fat in milk is not bad fat. It's also not excessive. Full fat milk is, let's remember, 96% fat free. How many other so-called diet products that people stuff down their faces have as little fat? And what do they have to do to it to make it lower fat?
At work, they only buy semi- and skimmed milk. It drives me mad!!!
Tomorrow, diet cola...aaarghhhh! Why oh why oh why...as a taster, look up on Google what aspartame does to rats.
Tuesday, 12 October 2010
I ran this morning.
I ran this morning at the gym.
I ran this morning at the gym on the treadmill.
I ran this morning at the gym on the treadmill for 3km.
I ran this morning at the gym on the treadmill for 3km for the first time in weeks.
I ran this morning at the gym on the treadmill for 3km for the first time in weeks and it felt good.
I ran this morning at the gym on the treadmill for 3km for the first time in weeks and it felt good AND I DIDN'T PULL MY CALF MUSCLE.
I ran this morning.
Friday, 8 October 2010
I wanted to be out in it. Jogging on the beach, preferably. To feel the wind in my antlers and the sun on my face. To hear the clack clacking of the lines against the masts on those yachts. I still remember a jog on the beach in Pacific City, Oregon, while on holiday there. I can't go into all the details but that night and the run on the beach the next morning are fixed in the front of my mind and I go back there often to draw from the energy reserves the memories give me.
But I trained last night in the gym, strangely and unusually have a few blisters from that, and of course can't run at the moment due to calf problems. Bummer.
So instead I got my dose of drugs for the moose-flu, ate breakfast reading my book, and turned up at work early enough to get a long and stressful day in...once that's finished I have a 4 hour drive home to look forward to.
Maybe next week will provide further opportunity for such a dream to come true. Again.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Last night saw a decision to rectify this through the medium of cider. Apple based it has to be good for you, right? And I was washing down a salad with it...
Well, the combination of an impending cold (moose-flu is similar to man-flu!!!) and it being a while since I've drunk much alcohol, meant that 1 pint really knocked me sideways. Forgetting to re-set my clock to UK time, I was up, shaved and showered before I peeked out at the magnificent harbour view from my hotel bedroom window, to be struck by the thought:
"It's still very dark for 7.20am...oh sh*t!!!!"
Well the cider has not only robbed me of an hour's sleep, it has tipped the moose-flu over the edge requiring a pharmacy stop on the way to the office to collect drugs. On the positive side, it tasted great, I slept fantastically well (albeit only until 6am!) and I got a large chunk of my book read before and during breakfast.
Here's to making it through the day with more fruit flavoured beverages - the blackcurrant cold and moose-flu remedy! And maybe, just maybe, another pint of cider this evening...
Wednesday, 6 October 2010
In the book that I was reading to kill time on the ferry, addiction comes up a lot. And this got me thinking about food addiction. Let's face it, that's what the vast majority of overweight people have; an addiction to too much or the wrong sort of food. Or an addiction to sitting on the couch. Or both.
But focussing on food addiction, there is a major difference to other addictions. While alcoholics will tell you they can't live without a drink, drug addicts HAVE to score and sex addicts claim not to be able to cope without, food addiction has the real basic property of being addicted to a substance that you REALLY can't live without.
And maybe this is the reason it's so hard to kick the addiction. Most addiction experts will concentrate on complete abstinence (OK maybe with the exception of sex addiction) as a step on the way to beating the habit. Cold turkey, AA, whatever it is, the key to success seems to be keeping away from the subject of your addiction completely and utterly.
Of course you can't do that with food. You have to eat something or die. Literally. And I don't mean literally like people say it a lot. I mean, literally the proper meaning of the word literally.
So you have to carefully control the use and abuse of the very substance that you are addicted to but without the option of giving it up completely. I guess that's why gastric bands and the like hit home...in that they make it "impossible" to live if you do eat too much. And why just regular diet and exercise is so hard to do, and why so many seem to fail...
I'm not sure what this all means. That I should go and get gastric band surgery? I don't think so. Maybe all it means is that it's hard. But then we know that already. Doh!
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
I have just read a blog that talked about inspiring others towards weight loss. I will be brutally honest...that's not why I'm here. I'm here to inspire ME towards weight loss. Just at the moment I don't give a cr*p about inspiring others. (Nobody is reading anyway)
I have to be selfish and single-minded about it. If that makes me a bad person, sorry, but that's the way it needs to be for me at the moment. I'm just being honest about it. Maybe when my weight is under control and down below 100kg I can worry about inspiring others. Or maybe I can worry about just staying there once I'm there.
And as to Marie Clair - at least it sparks the debate. I stand by my original analysis that blogging helps you lose weight. No, is essential for losing weight. I don't really care if it's sponsored. I don't really care if it's good nutritional advice. I don't really care about the foibles, obsessions or addictions of bloggers.
My list for giving it everything probably defies 99% of dieting and nutritional rules. But I'm not expecting anyone to follow it. Hey, I'm not even following it myself!
September has given ME insight into ME. What works for ME. What I can stick to and what I can't stick to. And do you know what? That's about the most important thing it could have done for me...
Weight 116.2. Weight loss during "Giving it Everything" September 2kg. Total weight loss 2kg.
I have an idea for October. Yes I know it's already begun...I will be implementing this idea from tomorrow. I'm just not allowed to say what it is because I will be accused of sponsorship or leading nobody astray.
Friday, 1 October 2010
Thursday, 30 September 2010
There are very few restaurants where a main course isn't enough to be comfortably full. There are even fewer where a starter AND a main course are not sufficient. By and large, the starters and main courses are better food options too.
So last night, in the very nice restaurant in my hotel, I ate starter (good choice), I ate main course (reasonably healthy, with added green leafy veg as a side), and I said no to bread, and I said no to dessert. It didn't even feel that difficult, unlike in the past.
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
This reminded me a lot of the general battle with weight loss. The question of how much effort to focus on dealing with the symptoms, and how much on the root causes, is a constant dilemma.
Being overweight is a symptom.
To lose weight you have to tackle the root causes.
If your battle is with the symptom only, you will never achieve long-lasting success.
The battle with the root causes is much deeper and more complicated. Why do I eat too much? Why do I eat the wrong things? Why is it so easy for me to change my plans and go to the supermarket to grab some food instead of going to the gym to work off some calories?
The "what" is pretty straightforward. It's the "why" that makes the difference.
And that's why blogging about weight loss is so important. There's only so much "what" to blog on about until you've run out of things to say. "Another day of eat less and exercise more..."
Blogging forces you to address the "why" questions and tackle the root cause of weight issues.
This is also what frustrates me so much about people who have never been significantly overweight telling those of us that are how easy it is. Just eat less! they say. How often have you heard someone (usually skinny as a beanpole) say "when I put on weight I just stop eating until my jeans fit properly again". Yeah but, no but, yeah but...I bluster in return. For them, weight gain means a pound or two, and not eating until it's gone means a day or two.
Try doing that to lose 20kgs (or 100 pounds or whatever) and there's only 1 result. Death.
And it only talks to the symptoms, not the cause. If you are skinny and put on a pound or two, there's really no need to go into the whys and wherefores of your minor temporary blip. Actually more important is why you are skinny normally and why one or two pounds is a disaster. And that's a whole different ball game from shifting 20% or more of your body weight.
I talked with my Sports Injury guy about "why" a lot. Mostly while he was massaging my calf and I was sweating a serious pig sweat from his efforts.
The proposed solution, is so simple and so far removed, it seems a little strange. But as it also ties in with a conclusion from a previous post, it's got to be done. I am buying a new mattress!
Sunday, 26 September 2010
118.0kg. Another GAIN week.
Have to sort my calf out, cut the "odd" treat (that gets repeated very often), and get back to being serious about this thing.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now.
I do not want my boys to want to be like me now....
Saturday, 25 September 2010
- One day I arrived at the office and decided to walk up the stairs (inspired by my DirectLife gizmo). On getting to the 3rd floor, I met a colleague who asked if I had cycled into work. I was that out of breath...
- Earlier this year I came downstairs at home, rushing to get the Mooselets out somewhere (Karate I think). I bent over to put my shoes on, and after tying the laces I was out of breath.
- A company event in December last year...T-shirts were provided for the morning training sessions. My XL was way too small and it looked so bad I had to wear another shirt underneath to make it more opaque - and give a bit of a "corset" effect
- Giving a speech in front of 300 people and making a joke about how I could do with losing 5 or 10 kgs. "More like 20!" came the heckle from the audience. And of course, the heckler was right.
- Being forced/encouraged to do a comparative weigh in with my brothers moose by my aunt...and being the heaviest even though I convinced myself I looked thinner than they did.
Friday, 24 September 2010
I finally made it to the gym last night for my first session this week (apart from a few mobilisation exercises and minimal core stuff late on Tuesday when I arrived back in the hotel). Nursing my torn calf, I went for a good warm-up on the bike, stayed on it for 25 mins with the music cranked up tempo and pushing it hard. Then I stretched and twisted, mobilised and loosened. Then I hit the treadmill to WALK, with incline for 10 mins. Then I hit the rower for 25 mins - stopped in the end as I was wearing the new VibramFF's, and discovered that my heels hurt quite badly strapped into the footrests of the rower in them. And since I hadn't done the 40 mins I was planning, I hit the treadmill again. Started walking, and then the most delicious but dangerous thought occurred. Maybe I could run just a little. One track. After all, my calf always seems to go when running outside, not on the treadmill. So I changed track tempo on the i-pod, cranked up the speed and down the incline, and started jogging slowly, so gently. The VFFs felt good, if slightly unusual. I concentrated on how I was stepping. I consciously tried to relax my lower legs and just run. One and a half full minutes in, I had to hit the speed button to slow down. My calf didn't exactly go ping but it went tight and hurts.
I have always been convinced that the biggest problem was not warming up properly, but I think after last night I have to kick that theory into touch. I thought it might have something to do with my broken toe...but the VFFs correct my toe position very effectively and yet I still did the calf again last night wearing them.
I am lost for ideas about what to do. My PT couldn't seem to help me much either. It's now getting worrying and extremely annoying. I have a small 3k run on Sunday with the Mooselets at their school and I am convinced I will be embarrassed at not being able to actually run it. I have another company event coming up in 6 weeks where I will have to run too.
What I need is a plan.
1. Run this weekend because I have to. Accept I will damage my calf again. Do everything I can to protect it (warm-up, neoprene calf guard, even walk if I have to).
2. Ice afterwards and saunas next week.
3. Complete rest from running for 2 weeks until Sunday 10th October.
4. Find a sports injury specialist doctor...and go and see him!
5. Mobilisations and stretching every day.
6. Lose some more weight (since I am conscious it can't be generally good for my feet, legs and knees having all this weight pounding on them all day every day...)
Weigh-in tomorrow. A mixed week food-wise that I am struggling to estimate how it will impact the scales. I'm getting more used to judging the feel of whether I've lost (2 weeks ago I knew I had...I felt it, and last week I knew I had gained again). This week I feel like I've lost a little. Not as much as I'd like, but a little. Just to reverse off last week's gain will be nice, any more a raging success!!
Thursday, 23 September 2010
A number of days travelling and in meetings have meant no blogging. And then when I do get the chance to be sittting in my office, sun shining, cool breeze coming in from the window, I've got nothing.
I've cruised by a few other blogs to see what's up there and see if I get inspired. Nope... (not that other blogs aren't inspiring per se, just that they didn't seem to trigger me into having anything inspiring to write.
Even i'm bored with this post and am seriously considering going to get another coffee...
I'm back. With another coffee. And maybe some inspiration after all.
I have often wondered about the impact of my coffee consumption on my weight. I would decribe myself as a "heavy" coffee drinker. Not "excessive", not "compulsive", nor "occasional". Just heavy.
This can range from 3 to 6 cups a day..although the definition of a cup is clearly very variable...from an espresso in an Italian roadside coffee shop to a Starbucks Venti. My analytical research ends up with a largely inconclusive conclusion - if that's even possible.
Coffee is a stimulant. A stimulant to what? Well, among other things, a stimulant to the metabolism. I feel that I can train longer and harder if I drink a coffee right before exercise. A gym cardio session first thing in the morning without caffeine is a big struggle. Slide a double espresso in right before the session and it becomes a bit easier. Train at 6pm after a coffee-fuelled work day and the workout flies by.
As to calories, this is entirely dependent on exactly how the caffeine is ingested. "Best" has to be an espresso, nothing added. But I like sugar in my espresso...I normally drink filter coffee at work. Well I call it filter coffee as the closest equivalent - it's actually a liquid coffee concentrate watered down with hot water from a machine. Now I like my coffee white, so normally I buy a stock of regular milk from the supermarket. Just at the moment though, I have run out, and instead use the "concentrate" little jiggers (I hope that's not rude for anyone else...) and worry they are bad for me and packed with too much sugar/calories/fat etc. But at least they are not as bad as some choices. In the summer, I do tend to suffer from overheating and sweating quite a lot. Us fat mooses do. So I like the odd "refreshing iced caffeinated beverage" from any one of the coffee chains. This summer just gone, I purchased one of the aforementioned Frappucinnato thingies and, for the first time ever, actually observed closely what was going on. Large blender jug...add ice (good), add semi-skimmed milk (OK, I prefer full fat but I can go with the flow), add a double shot of espresso (excellent)...now we go for the blender, right? Wrong! Now we add in a very large scoop of "Frappucinato mix". This was before I hit "Giving it Everything" September so I held my tongue, but the question racing through my brain was "what is that mix stuff?" Of course, one of the reasons I didn't actually ask was because I knew the answer...and while some of it is some thickening/foaming agent stuff (better not to ask exactly what it is but I bet it starts with E), I know what the vast nmajority is. It's sugar. You don't get a sweet-tasting frozen caffeinated beverage that both refreshes and brings your customers back begging for more without some nice addictive substances, now do you?
There was a report out some years ago measuring the calorific content of the coffee chain staples. And it is quite horrific. I have to admit that my experience in the summer was the last time I had such a coffee. In my new house I have an ice machine in the freezer and can make my own "normal" iced coffees with just ice, coffee and milk.
The Moose's conclusion on coffee is probably rather dull. Everything in moderation. A moderate amount of coffee is probably neutral at worst and slightly beneficial at best, as long as it is not adulterated by the addition of sugar, syrups, cream (whipped or otherwise), caramel, or other agents (identifiable or unidentifiable).
Cheers. Now my second coffee is gone as well...shall I get another before I get on with work?
Make mine a....coffee. Pure and simple.
Monday, 20 September 2010
Or maybe it's the lack of personal responsibility. When you "give up" the responsibility to a PT to decide what you do, when you do it, you lose the accountability the rest of the time?
So much for giving it everything. I'm giving it a lot but thinking back over the last week after a somewhat depressing weigh-in, I realised that, strangely enough, I ate too much and didn't exercise enough. Funny that.
A number of unnecessary calories went down the hatch, not only the Curious Incident of the 3 Big Macs in the Nightime, but so many others too. Only one big cardio session in the week. More injuries and too many excuses. I simply can't rely on all the other stuff on the Giving it Everything list and not obey the two top ones. My body will repay me for the neglect. This week it definitely has.
Saturday, 18 September 2010
For all the positives, I still pushed too far only 4 days after pulling my calf and aggravated it again right at the end of my training session.
Friday, 17 September 2010
So I ate slowly and deliberately, but then TV eating zapped my brain and stopped the "full" signals from registering. Before I knew it, I had 3 neatly stacked boxes on the table in front of me...all completely empty.
I have just looked up the nutritional information on their website...that made my heart almost pump out of my chest. How many grams of fat? Oh sh*t!
It was a brain f*art. I must remember that. I have not lost all hope, not all the good work is spoiled. It's just a brain f*rt and nothing else. It doesn't need repeating...
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Last time I had a PT, I put on weight. I got into the habit of only training with him and not otherwise. Plus Christmas was in the middle of it all, for which he was clearly not to blame. I have a theory and concern that many PT clients fall into my habit. There is an element of believing that because you do fantastic workouts with a PT, you have got it covered. But once a week is never enough...and who's got the money to spare to do more than that? Also, I do believe there is an inherent danger of being so reliant on the PT, that when you hit the gym without him or her, you are left wondering what to do.
This is not to say that the functional training that PTs tend to specialise in isn't a good thing. But I'm still searching for the ideal way to get that AND train "normally' and often on top. I will go it alone for the next few months, and will then consider if I get a new PT once settled into my new location.
Talking of which, do I have to change the name of the blog? Nothing else works...so I think it has to stay despite my time in Belgium coming to an end.
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Last night I had that experience on the rowing machine. After 20 mins warm-up on the bike, I hit the rower, planning 20 minutes there as well. Recently I only seem to be able to manage 15 mins on the rower before my back starts hurting and I stop. Not yesterday. Yesterday, I got into the flow of it, and just kept going and going. 40 minutes and 8000 metres later, I stopped. I probably could have done more. I didn't feel like I had sweated all that much, yet had consistently rowed at my usual 30 strokes per minute on level 7 or 27 strokes per minute on level 10 the whole time. Urged on by appropriate tempo music on my i-pod all the way.
This morning I feel like I've done a workout yesterday, but not an excessive one. How I wish for more moments like that in the near future. When exercise is that easy and that rewarding, it's just so much easier to keep going to the gym and keep doing it...
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Let's just hope that this momentum keeps up, because I love the feeling of progress towards my goal.
Exercise proving problematic...after a run yesterday morning. Warmed up properly and took it easy to avoid injury, and all was going well until the final 500m...sudden ping in my calf muscle again. I am planning a gym session tonight but will stick to bike and row (doesn't seem to affect my calf).
Monday, 13 September 2010
My "usual" sleep pattern has been as follows:
- Fall asleep on the sofa with the TV and lights on at about 10.30pm
- Sleep fitfully and badly until somewhere between 2am and 4am (and on rare occasions until 6 or 7 am; I once saw a World Series Baseball game after such a night, the year the RedSox won it - we have friends in Boston and count ourselves as mini-fans)
- Peel the contact lenses from my eyes and get into bed
- Lie awake for anything between 30 mins and the rest of the night
- Sometimes get a few hours until the alarm shakes me back to life
This pattern is years old. And it has to change. I have had some success over the last week or two. Hotel nights I have been pretty good about hitting the TV off button at around 11pm and just going to bed. I've even found myself waking up between 6 and 7am before the alarm. And I do think it's making a difference, energy wise. The problem is I haven't completely cracked it yet.
Weekends are again a problem, it seems. Friday nights after travelling home I am so tired that I often fall back into the bad sleep pattern outlined above; although kicked off by not just going to bed anyway. Saturday I want to stay up and watch the football (soccer) highlights of the Premier League, always fall asleep during them and fall back into the pattern. Sundays I'm better about going to bed, but only because I know I have to get up Monday at 4am to start the weekly journey cycle back to Belgium. So even when I'm great during the week, 3 nights out of 7 I'm terrible.
Last week I came home on Thursday but had to get up at 4.30am on Friday to go to the UK office...folllowed by a similar Friday and Saturday night. Lying awake at 2am last night after just getting to bed, I considered why this was.
- I miss the tell-tale signal that my body always gives me, indicating the last chance to go to bed before I fall asleep on the sofa. There's always one - the head-nod, often seen on trains with worn-out commuters succumbing to the movement and sound, the eyes drooping, Mrs Moose saying "why don't you go to bed?". Something is always there. When the trigger is obeyed, no problem; when ignored, hello sore eyes, bad sleep and a another step back on the road to adrenal recovery. I liken this to ignoring the trigger to stop eating when you're full. Sometimes the trigger happens and I remain blissfully unaware, because I don't even stop to think how hungry I am on the 1 to 10 scale during a meal. Sometimes I do stop and think...Saturday night we were out for a meal as a family. We had shared small starters between us, my main was delicious and a reasonably healthy pasta dish. After finishing it, I did pause to consider my hunger level. About a 4. So I will treat myself to dessert. When the lemon torte arrived however, I just marched straight through it all. 3 bites would have been sufficient for me to hit about 2 on the scale, and stop. But I waded right on through...
- My mattress is now over 15 years old. Designed for up to 100kgs, it has taken a battering over those years. Much of that time I have exceeded that weight limit. And 15 years is, according to all experts, too long. The impact is that my back nearly always aches in the mornings after a night in my bed. Not in a hotel, but my own bed in my own home. I believe the lack of desire for this ache is a contributory factor in stopping me going to bed. Strangely, my back doesn't hurt after a night on the sofa. So I resolved in the middle of the night to get a new mattress. Another thing to add to the Giving it Everything list.
I am known as someone who likes to sleep. And I do. So I am going to give it everything and sleep my way to weight loss. As long as I blog about it, it's bound to be successful...
And when it comes to weight loss, there are also many distinctions that can be made. Obese or overweight. Weight or fat %. Kg or lbs. Diet or exercise.
My thoughts this morning turned to comfort eating. Something I know I do...no, let me re-phrase, something I positively enjoy. And I know many others do too. But what about comfort exercise? Is there also a comfort eater/exerciser dichotomy?
The first question to myself was: Do people really exist that do comfort exercise? Shocked at my naivety, of course there are. It's entirely possible though, that very few of them are overweight and writing weight loss blogs.
So could I turn myself from a comfort eater into a comfort exerciser? Can I learn to recognise the triggers, pause and accept that I need comfort, embrace the weakness, and then choose to exercise as comfort instead of eat? Think of all the lovely endorphins coursing through my body (instead of calories and fat molecules...)
I'm not entirely sure whether I can or not. After all, there is a reason why comfort eating is so much more prevalent (or at least appears that way...). It's an awful lot quicker and easier to grab and stuff down a doughnut (or a donut if you prefer, or substitute your own comfort food of choice) than it is to change into your running gear and trainers and go for a run. And sugar (as well as salt and fat) is addictive so the brain wants it bad. And the rush is faster too. But it's also more short-lived. And the exercise-induced endorphin rush isn't quickly followed by regret, self-loathing and the desire for even more...I don't think?!?
I imagine a couple of friends seeing me run down the street. Wouldn't it be great if their current reaction: "Poor Moose, he has to run to lose weight because he's so fat from comfort eating," could change into "Poor Moose, he has to run because he's a comfort exerciser."
Sunday, 12 September 2010
But now I'm having second thoughts. My weekend was bad from a number of different viewpoints. What I ate wasn't great. How I ate definitely could have been improved. How much I ate doesn't even bear thinking about. Exercise was mixed but the drive wasn't there, and I have to admit also continued into the start of the work week. And of course, I didn't post all weekend.
And since I've discovered the magical link between blogging and weight loss, I have now concluded that I simply can't afford not to post on the weekends. The impact on my weight curve is too significant, and even if I have a great rest of the week, I cannot fully recover the damage done at the weekend. and damage limitation doesn't feel good. I'd much rather be making real progress.
I come back to my caption under the "target me" photo at the right. Although written in jest, there is some truth to the fact that I will lose the weight when I have blogged enough...I searched a couple of other blogs yesterday and found that, just like my previous attempts, there are a large number of long-untouched blogs, mostly written by people who are still to be successful in this weight loss journey, and many more that are carefully tended like a bonsai, mostly written by people who have been or are being successful...people who have blogged enough.
Blogging = Success!
Saturday, 11 September 2010
Weigh In 117.2kg. Weight loss this week 0.7kg. Total weight loss 1.1kg (18.9kg to go). 0.1kg better than target weight at this point.
But you see I didn’t have a great week. I’m supposed to be giving it everything; I didn’t even go to the gym for the entire week, ate well for most of it but with a couple of blowouts and brain farts. I didn’t take all my supplements the whole week. I didn’t drink anywhere near enough water.
So I feel like a winner (or loser!) but somehow that I cheated my way to victory, or at the very least, didn’t deserve it. I have to be careful. Complacency that I don’t have to give it everything to lose weight is a real danger. I have to be aware that I “only” lost 0.7kg this week when the target was 1kg loss. And it only gets harder…the 20th kg is going to be a lot harder than the first. But I must remain upbeat. Hey, I lost 0.7kg despite not giving it everything. Let’s go for it for another week and actually give it everything, and see what happens then.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
I am not being critical here, just observational...but quite a number of weight loss blogs are also all about food. Healthy food. Low fat food. Nutritious food. But still all about food. There are some great recipes and ideas out there and while some of us are busy contemplating ridding ourselves of the obsession with food, there are lots of calories to save, lots of good fuel to give your body, that will help along the way.
The other day, in the breakfast room of my hotel, I observed a group of German tourists. I can be particularly sneaky with them, since I usually read an English book as I eat my breakfast on my own (aah!!!) but I speak German (hee hee!). So I could understand everything going on around me but nobody really suspected due to the bad reputation of Brits never speaking foreign languages...
Quick side story. German friends of mine once stayed in a B&B in England, and thoroughly enjoyed their full English breakfast (food, food, it's always about food...) while discussing the other guests, obviously in German so as to not be understood. Towards the end of breakfast, a man rose from the table next to them, walked past them, nodded and said "Ein schonen Tag noch" (Translation: "Have a nice day!"). Embarrassed? Nearly choked on a piece of black pudding.
So, back to my hotel. One particular table was occupied with 4 Germans; 3 women and 1 man. The conversation ebbed and flowed between the people and topics. I was reading - or maybe pretending to read - my book, so I wasn't looking at them. One particular voice always seemed to switch the conversation back to food, no matter what the previous speaker had been talking about. I made a small bet with myself that I would have only soup between breakfast that day and breakfast the next day if she turned out to be fat. I looked up with some trepidation to identify the source of the voice. Clearly it wasn't the man (who was thin and fit). Woman number 1 spoke...not her either (thin). Number 2 woman next (no, thin). Finally, woman number 3 spoke up, changing the subject to a blackberry cake ("with lots of lovely icing sugar on top") that her mother had baked last weekend. Kerching! Jackpot! Fat woman!!!
Soup is great. In fact, I am wondering if I shouldn't have somehow included soup in my list. There was a BBC documentary a few years ago called "The truth about food" and one of the tests they did showed that soup makes you feel fuller for longer, even if it contains exactly the same ingredients. They took a normal meal of chicken, potatoes and veggies and a glass of water and served it to one group. They took exactly the same meal, liquidised it with the water and gave the resulting soup to the other group. They all then had to record their hunger levels over the next hours (simple 1 to 10 scale of how hungry they felt). The soup group lasted much longer!
Other ideas to be considered in the future (only if this one doesn't work, of course):
- Sprinkling poison over every meal
- Occasional spot fasts for a day
- Installing an alarm system on my stomach so that every time I eat something a loudspeaker goes off saying "Fat Moose is eating again" in the voice of Gillian McKeith
- Taking up smoking
- Only eating when someone else suggests that it's lunch or dinner time etc
Tuesday, 7 September 2010
One of the things I am sure you will have noticed, and may concern you (indeed it concerned me a bit too) is the quite high number of supplements and pills that I am popping.
So, yes, I do rattle when I walk (and run, and row, and cross-train, and cycle, and swim, and lift weights)...
Here's my take on it.
- My list is for 4 weeks as a "give it everything" kick-start. It was not designed to be long-term. Over the next 4 weeks I will attempt to do everything, but at the end of September I will sit back and contemplate my progress, my list, my life, my navel (yes, as a Moose I do have a navel to contemplate, but it does hurt my legs when I stick my head and antlers between them to get a good look). There will be a new and improved list for October, probably reduced for some supplements, but who knows?
- 2 of the supplements are definitely for a 4 week blitz - the Acai and Colon Cleanse. If it works for Hollywood stars, why not for alces alces ?
- 2 others are to support actual or potential medical conditions that have provided countless excuses for years of reasons why I haven't lost weight. Supplements = no more excuses.
- 2 others are more general and can't do any harm, can they? Let me know if they can - but a bit of a vitamin boost supports my poor diet (while travelling) and reduced food intake. Besides, some studies say they are not effective anyway as nothing gets absorbed by the body...and if nothing gets absorbed, no harm. Right?
In total it's 8 or 9 pills per day; depending on how high my natural iodine level from food is for the day, I amend the Kelp tablets. But it is spread over the day. I have considered eating 9 meals a day so that I am only taking one supplement with each meal, which sounds less. But I think on balance that 9 meals per day, for a Moose that struggles to say no to the extra muffin, is a disaster waiting to happen.
My biggest battle is to stop eating when I'm not hungry any more. My "clear your plate" and "eat everything on the buffet" compulsion is strong in me and must be resisted! On 3 occasions over the weekend I went well past the full point but kept chowing down anyway... I also have to consciously remember to slow down when eating and sometimes find myself with an empty plate before I remember. Now, if they had pills for that!!!!
Much water drunk, most of it dribbled through ground coffee first with milk added (milk is relatively high in iodine - it's my excuse and I'm sticking to it as I hate black coffee).
Monday, 6 September 2010
And brings me on to the subject of targets. Where am I going with all this weight loss malarkey?
I have always struggled to set a specific weight target, worrying endlessly and needlessly about whether it was the right target or not.
- I remember weighing 92kg while at University and playing/refereeing football (or soccer if you must...) twice a week. Actually, Mrs Moose remembers that and I remember her telling me, often. Whatever.
- I remember having a "heaviest player" competition in a football (still soccer...) team I was in while living in Germany in the early 90's, and not "winning" it because I was "only" 93kg.
- I look at the picture of the guy on the right and try to estimate what my weight would be if I looked like that, fit and healthy, lean but not too thin. I guess 90-95kg.
- I calculate my non-fat kgs now, and add 15% fat (which is a seriously low target!) and get to 92.8kg...adding 20% would be 98.6kg. And it frightens me to target set below that level.
- Milestones are important. 20kg loss? 25kg? What about to get under 100kg...back into double figures?
I did say I was better at contemplation than action, didn't I?
Decision time...My target weight is 98.3kg.
Why? It is below 100kg, it's exactly 20kg weight loss from where I started, and it will be approx 20% body fat, depending on what happens with all the rest of my body...I might shed my antlers by then, lose a leg in a bear trap or have my hind quarters shot off by a hunter.
By when? Good question...does it matter? Probably. And as I'm following the full list, I need to set a deadline. 1kg per week always seems like a good trajectory to aim at. That would be 20 weeks from the start, or on 19th January. But I always weigh in on a Saturday and Christmas is in between...so I'm going to be generous to myself and say 29th January 2011.
So that's where I'm going. Phew, I need a lie down...
Progress Update: Weigh in Saturday morning at 117.9kg. 0.3 kg loss. Proof that BLOGGING WORKS!!!
Running on Saturday morning (with mooselets in tow on their bikes) and I ripped a calf muscle (again). I hate all my injuries...this week's cardio now restricted to bike and rowing. Half an hours mountain biking on Sunday and moving some boxes. Food more of a problem. 3 times over the weekend I ate more than I needed and went well past the "full" point. I am getting better at eating slowly though...
Friday, 3 September 2010
During my years of lack of success, I feel I may have been too limited in my approach, switching from one focus to another, back again, something new today and then something else again tomorrow. Always looking for the "silver bullet". Now I've found the silver bullet - blogging - I can stop searching.
As a result, my level of faith in any one of the other single ideas to lose weight has plummetted. It's logical therefore that I need to do all of them at once, rather than rely on any one or two things. For the next 4 weeks I will attempt to do everything on the list below. Everything. Every last idea. I'm throwing the kitchen sink at it. I'm giving it my all. September is a giving month.
I got to the list by a simple browsing of weight loss websites, blogs etc to look for what gives success. While there are a lot of different ideas out there, it's actually quite surprising at the lack of contradiction between them all. This was what led me to conclude that you can do it all. Well, OK, you can't eat both a low-carb and a high-carb diet...both of which are out there. But apart from that, most stuff can be combined. So unless the combination of all of them reduces the effectiveness, I must be onto a winner. Oops, nearly forgot, I AM onto a winner anyway because I'm writing the blog...
The list, in no particular order:
- Eat less (yeah, yeah, boring!)
- Exercise more (yawn!)
- Write a diary: both to log the food I eat AND to explore why I overeat
- Focus on healthy not thin
- Eat only when I'm hungry
- Stop eating when I'm no longer hungry
- Eat slowly
- Strictly control bad fats (but not all fat is bad!)
- Eat breakfast
- Set a target
- Go public with friends, family or the web
- Target small, steady change towards my goal
- Eat what I want (subject to the other eating restrictions above...actually not very restrictive)
- Take Acai and Colon Cleanse supplements every day
- Drink water before each meal
- Drink water the rest of the time too
- Sleep well (7 to 8 hours per night)
- Don't eat while watching TV/sitting on the sofa
- Up the iodine (I have suspected under-active thyroid, so in the time it takes to get a doctor's appointment to test it, I'm going for diet/supplemental improvement anyway...bring on the sushi!)
- Adrenal gland supplements (I have already been diagnosed with fatigued adrenal glands...also a potential link to the thyroid???)
- General vitamin/mineral supplements (Multivitamins and a Vit B complex)
Seems like a lot. doesn't it? I have left one thing off, purposefully. I can not and will not attend a support group. I have nothing against any of them as such. But my travelling lifestyle makes it nearly impossible (I don't speak Dutch so midweek meetings are out), and the eating rules/points etc would almost certainly contradict with many of my other points. So I'm not doing it. That's final. Besides, I am a Moose and I don't think they make scales suitable, or have doorways large enough for me to get my antlers through.
Future posts will cover updates (public accountability) and further exploration of the individual items on the list.
So, instead of here goes nothing...here goes everything!
Thursday, 2 September 2010
This is another weight loss blog. Yes, another one. Have you had enough of all the weight loss blogs out there? Fine, go somewhere else...
If not, welcome again.
I was inspired to write this for one reason. When I look at the weight loss blogs out there in cyberspace, the vast majority of them are written by people who have successfully lost a whole lot of weight. I have been trying to lose weight, unsuccessfully, for the better part of my life. I have that in common with most other bloggers too...
I am an analytical kind of Moose, better known for contemplation than action. My simple correlation analysis in this case is as follows:
Write weight loss blog = weight loss success.
So here I am.
As is "normal" I shall start with some explanations...
Belgian = currently working in Belgium.
Moose = an old nickname, far more interesting than my real name.
Chocolate = to encourage visitors (usually works, especially on the theme of weight loss!) AND because it's the only word I know that can come in between "Belgian" and "Moose" and make perfect sense.
And for those already ahead of themselves (see my sign-off if you want to pretend too...), Muffin the Moose refers to a well known children's book "If you give a moose a muffin..." (all credits duly given etc etc...). In the afore-mentioned book, the answer is: he's going to want some jam with it...and then want another. Well, that's me. I always want jam and another muffin (or biscuit, or chocolate mousse...see what I did there?) and that's why I currently stand on my technologically advanced fat % measuring scales at:
...ok, I'm not actually standing on them right now. that would be both impossible (the scales are in the UK) and freaky (having a computer in the bathroom where I keep my scales). For the purposes of this blog, that shall be called the starting weight.
My latest failed efforts have involved detailed tracking of my weight every week since December 2009. Starting at a high point of 121.3 kg, I have lost the grand total of 3kg in 38 weeks...about the equivalent of a few rather large Sh*ts - and I don't mean Jack. My goal in this epic struggle was to lose 20kg by the beginning of November 2010. And if you do the sums, you can see that it is abject failure. And before anyone comments, OK I lost 3 kg. But look out there...check out Jack Sh*t's League of Extraordinarily Fat Gentlemen if you don't believe me. It's a failure. I'm the one without the X.
And being an analytical kind of Moose, I have spent some time researching the phenomenon of weight loss success. And realised what I was doing wrong. Forget all the crap about eating fewer calories than you burn. Forget low-fat, low-carb diets. Forget de-tox. Forget drinking water before each meal. Forget pills and supplements. Watch as much TV as you like while eating (eat the TV too if you really want to). Force your food down as fast as you want. Don't bother with a food diary. And target setting, pah!
All of the above makes no difference at all. The only thing that makes you successful in losing weight is writing a blog about it. Yep, it's that simple. All the weight loss theory blown out of the water in 1 blog entry.
OK, I admit I might be doing a few of those other things too...more on that at a later stage. For now, I think it's enough welcoming and time to get on with some work.