Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Second game lost, 0-30 in the third

So I finally lost the second game. I was spared the complicated calculation by a level weigh-in with the previous week, so no loss and the cumulative loss not achieved.

I still managed to blow out over the weekend though. Not as badly as the week before, but our house guest's homemade flapjacks took a real beating.

Back on it this week. A relatively inactive Sunday made losing the first point inevitable, while a curious attack of hunger at 4pm, slated by a chicken tikka wrap from the vending machine, ended up with a second point loss. I don't like this game at the moment.

Have tried to up the training this week after the cold/man-flu/maybe it was real flu impacted week last week. A good cardio session on Monday and a hour long walk along the beach last night have left me at c. 1,800 calories burned each day. A fantastic calorie allowance therefore ensues...which I managed to blow yesterday - incredible!

Today is PT day. Might have to take it easy with my back playing up since PT last week...couple of strong painkillers and carry on!!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Lose enough points, you lose the game

This game is not going so well. Moose-flu induced, I think. Plus it's "his" serve. Not mine...

15-30 down after 3 days and heading for 15-40 with the tiny number of calories I have left today.

Also got on the scales at they gym today and they are registering 0.7kg higher than the same time last week. How can that be? The fickle scale is the only answer I have, but it's depressing and making me dread Saturday morning weigh-in.

And while I know I haven't been great this week (you can tell from the scoreline), I also haven't been that bad...except on Saturday when I had a curry...and on Sunday when I had BBQ and McDonalds...and...

ah...what's that light bulb doing hovering above my head?

Monday, 11 July 2011

The second game

The second game hasn't started too well. I suddenly developed man-flu late last night and have been sneezin' and snivellin' my way through the day.
I am still trying to summon up the energy and motivation to get into the gym tonight - which is never easy on a Monday evening due to the weekly early rise and long commute, and therefore doubly tricky today. I did predict a struggle on my opponent's serve (whole new blog idea for a down day - in this tennis analogy of mine, who exactly is the opponent, and what does it mean for them to be serving?) and here it is. Just didn't expect this.

Big breakfast en route today used up nearly half my calorie allowance. Even more troubling given my good calorie burn of yesterday and therefore high-ish allowance. But boy it was good! Countered with a protein shake at lunchtime. Have to go lean and mean with lots of veggies for dinner.

But here's the real question for I have to count the calories in the cold & flu medication towards my allowance or do I get them for free? Because to be honest, they don't print calorie info on that stuff but it works so well it can't be calorie free...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Game, Moose. First game.

Weekly weigh in shows a 1.5kgs loss in the first week. That's "game". First game, first set. But we're into the match now. Nerves settled, tactics feel like they are right for this match. A confident feeling about this one.
I'm a little unsettled by the over-delivery on the goals. Questions like: "Am I pushing it too hard?", Should I slow down a little?", and "What do I do about next week's goal - lose 1kg or aim for the 2kg cumulative?" spring into my brain.
The fact is I don't feel like I've deprived myself too much. I've eaten well 2 meals a day on most days (only Friday where I replaced 2 meals with protein shakes was maybe not so good...). The exercise has been good but not excessive.
So I'm just going to carry on for now. The first game is probably too early to review tactics anyway. Just be happy and thankful for a win to 15, and move onto the next points and the next game.
As to the goal, I guess it doesn't really matter too much. If I apply the tactics to every day/point, then my weight will be what it will be. If I win 5 points (I know the tennis analogy breaks down a little if I never lose a point!) then it's unlikely that I'm not going to lose 1kg. I can worry about the what if's of a less than 1kg loss in the week but a cumulative on target result if and when it happens. The important thing for now is the weight loss and keeping the tactics going, rather than the too intricate details of a slightly flawed analogy!

Sitting on the chair changing ends is a time to rest a little and relax. I sure did that last night. We got curry - I ate rice and naan bread and didn't flinch at all! I even had a beer. My life is so rock and roll. I didn't even count calories yesterday. I'm not sure that approach is truly sustainable, as over time I think a blow out day like that can lead to creeping gains again. But I needed it yesterday so I did it. Although today is also a "rest" or maintenance day, I'm going to be much more careful. I am cooking at a BBQ this lunchtime - perfect opportunity to get protein and salad and nothing more. Just requires some will power to say no to the bread and the cakes.

Mooselet #2 is singing at Ely cathedral this evening...very proud and also a brilliant opportunity to miss out on my evening meal and save calories. Reminds me I do need to get some protein shake powder for home storage to support such circumstances where a quick shake on getting home late tonight would be ideal. Also learned yesterday he's singing at the O2 in the autumn..."supporting JLS" - my words, they will be there too at the same event. Not bad for a small mooselet...

I feel like the umpire has just called time. There is still some rest time available before the next game but it's time to start getting prepared. I am also aware this is not my service game coming up - it should be tougher than last week. I don't think I need to be tougher on myself, I think that toughness comes naturally week by week.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The game is almost won.

Friday. It's been a good week. I'm 40-15 up in the first game and absolutely sure I'm going to win the point today and take the game. A mid-week weigh in that pointed in the direction that I'm on track for a 1kg loss this week.

Started the day without the planned run (weather just too wet) but substituted a pretty tough circuits class instead. Pushed us all to the limit.

Yesterday's calorie burn wasn't as high as I thought it would be. That leaves me fairly short of calories in the allowance today. I am considering a double dose of protein shakes and one normal meal, rather than the one:two I have been doing the rest of the week. But I did squeeze that GandT in yesterday, within allowance. And boy it tasted good!

In other news, I absolutely, definitely need a new hole in the belt I'm wearing today. Not worn for a few weeks, it has previously been at the point where I had convinced myself I needed a new hole but, to be honest, it wasn't really that desperate. But this morning it was so clear and obvious it was a great pleasure indeed. As it has been to have to hitch up my trousers all day!!!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Lost a point, but still winning

30-15 in the first game. A day out of the office on Wednesday which came on top of a none too stellar calorie burn on Tuesday proved a few hundred calories too much for the plan, so I lost a point with some extra snacking in the evening.

Back on track today though, and determined to get to that game point tomorrow.

I am also so looking forward to the weekend, with the game won, and able to revert back to 1,800 more calories than I'm on at the moment. The sheer joy of being able to have just one alcoholic drink. The pleasure of some juice to spice up my water. Full fat milk in my coffee. I need to be careful not to go overboard!!!

Let's get this point won first of all. Shopping for protein shakes tonight, as I used up my final freebie store today and it is a great way of keeping full and effectively getting one low calorie but good for weight loss meal in a day. With my breakfast and dinner bang on nutrition wise, it's proving a good tactic. I guess it's the tennis equivalent of a banana between games. Hits the spot and doesn't do any damage.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Fifteen - Love

I won the first point. I didn't stumble at the first hurdle. This is quite a big thing for me. I have stumbled at the first hurdle so many times before. My patron saint is Saint Chris Rea: "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". I could have given in. There were so many temptations last night to eat something else and go "just a little" over my calorie allowance. There was the thought flitting across my mind trying to convince me that I'd been conservative in estimating certain calorie values and I really had some room to spare. But I didn't give in, I didn't let the thought win.

So I win the first point. 15 - 0. And the tennis analogy is a good one, I think. The first point on day 1 and it's 15-0 in the first game of the first set. Still an awfully long way to go to win the match. What would JWT have done if after winning the first point against Federer he'd convinced himself he'd got it sewn up, wrapped up and done already?

And equally it's important for me to know it's just the first point. Nobody remembers now if JWT won the first point against Federer, or against Djokovic in the semi-final. But they do remember that he beat Federer and lost to Djokovic.

And the analogy works further. I can afford to lose a point (a day) and still win the game (in my case, the game is a week). But it feels a lot better to have a comfortable service game where you hit the lines, serve aces and blast winners, than to scrape through a tense nervy deuce game peppered with double faults, net cords and unforced errors.
So I'm not letting up in this point (today). I'm pushing on for 30 - 0. My serve was good but the return came back over. We're trading baseline groundstrokes and the point today could still go either way.

More exercise yesterday sees me with a 2,050 allowance today (as compared to 1,650 yesterday). I am liking the use of yesterdays calorie burn - they are done, banked, no questions. It stops the "I can eat a bit more and then go for a run tonight" attitude, which inevitably fails when I don't go for that run...

I think I need that definite calorie number that I can go up to but not exceed. It's a mind trick that seems to work for me so far, and it feels like it resonates with how I tick.

Had a good PT session this morning with some serious leg work. The temptation is going to be to eat more because I've worked out and feel like I need the fuel. And 2,050 cals is still not very much, and 400 more than yesterday is not very many more either.

I am sitting at work dreaming of the possibilities for using those "extra"calories. The chilled can of gin and tonic sitting in the fridge and calling my name is top of the list at the moment...I know they are empty calories, but if I survived yesterday on 1,650 with no empty ones, I can blow a few today, can't I? And they are mighty tasty and satisfying empty calories too...
I think it all depends on how hungry I get during the afternoon - if a second protein shake is required to get me through until dinner, the G and T is out (until this game is won, at least). If I manage without the second shake, well, we'll just have to see...Robinsons Barley Water instead maybe??? Appropriate but too many calories and carbs in that too!

Also worth noting, on the tennis analogy front, that had he lived, it would have been my dad's birthday today. My dad was the biggest tennis obsessive fan and player you could imagine. So much so it pretty much destroyed our family.
Somehow it seems appropriate that I use tennis to lose weight and therefore NOT destroy mine.
RIP Dad.

Monday, 4 July 2011

JWT Plan: Set 1, Game 1, Point 1

Time for some renewed efforts...

Having identified Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (JWT from here on) as my target physique, I have today started on the JWT plan.

Basically the plan is to stop eating each day when I have used up my calorie allowance. The calorie allowance is calculated to have a 6 week weight loss cycle, followed by a 6-week maintenance cycle. Each day I can eat by BMR calories, PLUS my activity calories from the day before, MINUS 1,800. Do that 5 days a week for the 6 weeks and that should be 1kg a week, 6kgs or a stone in a 6 week cycle. The remaining 2 days a week and then the maintenance period I can eat my BMR plus my activity calories.

So yesterday I had 1,168 activity cals +2291 (current BMR) - 1,800 = 1,659 cals allowed today.
A tough ask. But it's what I need to do.
At the time of writing I have 1,049 left for the rest of the day. The good thing it makes me think about every calorie and makes me spread them out...

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Ache never felt so good...

Today, I am feeling like I haven't felt in ages: my muscles ache.

After a couple of weeks of prolonged sickness, yesterday was my first PT session in quite a while. It was tough. I had to sit out the last exercise as I was light-headed and feeling a bit sick.
And today I ache in those places you can only ache after some fairly serious weights work. My legs hurt going downstairs from the squats and deadlifts. My shoulders hurt right where the muscles go into the neck - only achievable with strength exercise.

And it feels strangely good.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

New target

I've thought about having a realistic target to aim for before, and have struggled to determine what the appropriate weight goal is for me.

With Wimbledon on at the moment, it occurred to me that tennis players, while often on the more wiry side of normal to where I aspire (not because that's a bad thing, just because it doesn't feel attainable for me), provide some pretty good examples of the kind of physique I want.

Maria Sharapova was my first thought...but then she usually is when I think about tennis. She's the right height too. Nice physique, something plenty of men and not a few women admire...

But then I checked the Wimbledon site statistics on players and decided her weight just can't be my goal. She is a girl after all! And so completely unattainable in so many ways :-)

A small amount of research then brought Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to my attention. He is the heaviest guy in the draw (of those high enough ranked or seeded to count in my research...) that is exactly my height.

91kg is the new target.
Thanks Jo-Wilfried....for Wimbledon 2012 I will be there where you are.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Committed to being fat?

Had a good discussion with Mrs Moose about internal commitments. Seems I have an internal commitment to staying overweight.

It could be that this recognition is the starting point to actually doing something about it, as my brain starts to cogitate this thought, and as I become more conscious of my actions when over-eating or making bad food choices, new pathways get created in my brain and a new internal commitment becomes stronger and more recent, and drowns out the old, out-of-date one.

We shall see...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The curse of a good day

I had a good day yesterday.

I ate well. I ate protein and vegetables, mostly. I ate when I was hungry. I didn't overeat at any point during the day. I resisted the urge of boredom during commercial breaks in my TV schedule to go and raid the fridge for more food. No alcohol, no cakes, no biscuits, no treats.

I exercised. I exercised well. 20 mins on the bike, 20 mins on the treadmill. A good stretch. Steam room and sauna.

I blogged.

This morning, I feel what I often feel after a good day. I feel progress. I feel a little bit slimmer. I feel a little bit more toned. I feel a little bit more in control. I feel a little bit happier with myself.

Boom! And there strikes the curse of a good day.

I feel a little bit happier with struck me this morning that my fundamental problem is I'm not angry enough with myself about being overweight. I'm carrying at least 20kg too much and yet it doesn't make me mad as hell. I have one (yes ONE) good day, and I feel a little bit happier with myself. That means a little bit less angry with myself. I can't afford to be less angry with myself. I can't afford to feel even a little happier with myself. I am teetering on the brink, I am at the tipping point. The fulcrum is directly under me. The slightest movement towards the happy, away from the angry, tips the balance into complacency.

As I write I feel hungry. I had a good breakfast of pepper and mushroom omelette at 8am. There is no reason to be hungry now at shortly before 11am. And yet the complacency, the lack of anger, tempts me to reach for some food.

The alternative is not particularly enticing though. What do I do? Have a bad day instead, to avoid the curse of a good day?

The curse of a bad day is even worse...

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Feel the fear...bullsh@t

Fear. Why does it all seem to come back to fear. I had forgotten about my last but one post back in March when I read a Seth Godin blog yesterday.
He opines that if you are stuck on something, one of four things is getting in the way.

1. You don't know what to do.
2. You don't know how to do it.
3. You don't have the resources to do what you know and know how to do.
4. You're afraid.

When it comes to my weight loss there is no doubt I'm stuck. I'm also in no doubt about 1 to 3 on the list.
So it comes back to fear. I must still be fearful. So my mind turned again to what I might be afraid of, and a number of candidates popped their heads up to say hello and clamour for attention.

Maybe I'm afraid of the hard work involved in doing what I know is necessary over along enough time period to make it work.
Maybe I'm afraid of not having excuses. "I'm not a very fast runner because of my weight..." somehow feels more forgiving than "I'm not a very fast runner." And "I'm not attractive to women because I'm overweight" is a good deal easier to swallow than "I'm not attractive to women."
Maybe I'm afraid of not being me any more. I have been overweight for ever, and maybe deep down it's just such a part of my own self-image I'm afraid to let it go.
Maybe I'm afraid of the unknown. I've been overweight for ever, so I don't know what it's like not to be. Maybe I won't like it when I get there.

I need some more soul searching to decide what's really going on here. Maybe all of the above are a little bit true, however absurd they seem now I've written them down. It would be all too easy to reject all of them as stupid and not applicable. But I've already ruled out items 1 to 3, 4 is all I'm left with.
This is where the "feel the fear and do it anyway" mentality leaves me a bit cold. Easy to say. When it's the fear that is stopping you from doing it anyway, what then?

So I guess dealing with the fear is all that's left between me and success. Let me know if you have any bright ideas...

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Back to it

I have (almost) purposefully avoided the blog for the last month. Apologies to my new followers and welcome/thanks for following...
I am still on a very variable, sort of stable but not really going anywhere weight curve at the moment and I wanted to try out some new stuff and see if the blogging really makes the difference. I blogged quite a lot in March but not really much happened. Well April has been mixed with no blogging. A couple of really good weeks with a few kilos loss have been followed by consolidation, smallish weight gain and a general feeling of lack of achievement.
The diet has been bad, so many days of not sticking to avoiding carbs, and the weekends continuing to be a real challenge with carbs. Today has been no different.
Training has been a lot better though. Mixed, injury-free and quite intense. The cycling is getting to be more fun and I'm feeling like I'm improving...

Monday, 21 March 2011

Full of fear...

Today I am fearful, full of fear.

I am fearful I am a bad dad, and I don't mean in the Michael Jackson sense (of the meaning of "bad" rather than as a role model father). An incident at the weekend has me not sleeping well and very concerned. Can't say more but, hey, it's there.

I am also fearful that I have orthorexia which is in the news today. Apparently 1 in 10 women and 1 in 20 men have this obsession with so-called healthy eating. I am pushing the Dr Briffa/Paul Chek (apologies to any other who's theory it fits that I haven't credited...) high protein and no starchy carbs as far as I can at the moment. Last Thursday I celebrated my first truly starchy-carb free day. Then this news comes out and makes me fearful I am heading for, or even that I already have, an eating disorder.

Lastly I am fearful that I will never shift this excess weight. I know I am not alone here. I think every person and blogger on a weight loss journey has moments (or hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or even yes years) of doubt on the way. It's like all journeys I guess. No matter how reliable our map, or sat nav, there comes a moment when going to somewhere new that you seriously wonder if you are on the right road. Should I have turned off back there? Did I miss a sign? Will I run out of petrol before I get there?

And yet I know that these 3 things basically all come down to the same thing.

Basic. Human. Fear.

As humans we fear the unknown. Whether it's facing up to the teen decade of our eldest child for the first time. Or a new way of eating that maybe hasn't been around quite long enough for the general opinion to have decided whether it's fad or trend. Or trying to get a new body (or back to an old one) that we've never known and experienced. Or going out to meet friends at a new restaurant.

It's normal. It's basic. It's human. And it's still fear.
Positive mental attitude can't get rid of it. Ignoring it is not going to do much.
Feel the fear and do it anyway is the only way to go. (I have never read that book...)

I feel the fear. I'm going to do it anyway.
Next weekend I have to face some issues at home and try to deal with them.
I am really not that obsessive - it took me so long to do even 1 day of absolutely 100% no starchy carbs I'm not sure that orthorexia is a serious fear. And I will lose the weight. How much the last 2 are related are as yet undecided, but hey, I'm going to do both, somehow.

And yet again, blogging proves its worth. I'm already feeling less fearful about it all...

Friday, 4 March 2011 update

20 mins bike and 5km on the treadmill...that's worth a few more lights today!!!

I ran until my i-pod ran out. Maybe time for a new, longer playlist?

Rest and motivation

Yesterday was a rest day....5 days in a row meant I needed one. My body still aches today, I am lacking motivation to exercise, but exercise I must.

Rest days are difficult in some ways. My Philips DirectLife monitor always flashes a disappointingly small number of lights at the end of a rest day. I usually then get a nice message asking me if I want to reduce my target. I always decline, on the basis that the target is perfect for an active day. It spurs me on to do that little bit more, to keep using the stairs, to walk places I'd normally not, to park in the far corner of the supermarket car park.
But it does mean that rest days are very low vs target, and that in turn means that my weekly target is rarely see, I have a pretty high target, well over 1,600 cals burned per day. 100% on one day is tough. But even if I hit the tough target on 5 or 6 days while resting for the other 2 or 1 days, it's impossible to reach 100% of the weekly target. I know the point of the monitor is to measure normal, everyday activity rather than exercise calories...but I guess I use it a little differently. I am not demotivated by not hitting the 100% weekly. The light show on a good day is surely enough reward (along with the smug grin I can afford myself). But it is also not designed with a light show for the weekly target I can't be too far away from the norm.

Once again, blogging has raised my mood. I am now significantly more motivated to go and exercise than I was when I started writing.

So much so, I will choose a workout track of the day: "The Flood" by Take That (100 bpm; fast cycling).

Bring on the spinning bike!!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Blogging works...

No sh*t!

I have cause to review the last 2 months progress. It is more or less the start of a new month. I have lost 5kg since January 5th. I had already lost 4 of those 5kgs on 2nd Feb. 9 posts in January plus 2 in Feb before the 2nd adds up to 11 posts and 4kgs loss. Since then, 3 posts and 1kg loss. The maths is clear to do it too if you want...

So here I am again. February was a strange month including a hastily arranged business trip to, quite literally, the other side of the world. Not conducive to great eating or exercise regularity.

But I'm back on it now, feeling good, weighing less, training more, eating well, almost at the point of having to punch a new hole in my belt...some have even said (prompted) that they can see the 5kgs gone. I'm not so sure myself, but it's sort of nice to hear anyway.

No real change to what I'm doing as it seems to be working just fine...the only reason progress isn't better is me not sticking to what I should. Protein and low GI vegetables are the bulk of my eating these days. Pure and simple, 3 times a day and 7 days a week. Good quality food, recognisable not processed, and mainly just not starchy carb-like... see Dr John Briffa for more details!

Work out track of the day...none, I was doing PT so no i-pod today.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Revenge on me

The fickle hand of the weigh-in has struck back...

Not surprising given the recent mind farts on my eating...

Friday, 4 February 2011

Forcing it

After the forced PT session on Wednesday, I forced myself to go for my planned run yesterday and felt good for doing it - at the time. In the evening I was dog tired and still very weary this morning.

So I've forced myself to declare today a rest day and shifted my swim/bike session back to tomorrow. This will involve getting the mooselets to the pool with me, and finding time to get the mountain bike out for at least half an hour.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Weigh-in confusion

Yesterday was weigh-in day as part of my regular Wednesday PT session. I managed to persuade myself at the time that 2 weeks ago, my previous weigh-in with the PT had been at 115.9kg, so when 116.0kg came up I was somewhat disappointed. This spurred me on to give full effort in the PT session. The answer to the question "More weight, Moose?" is always Yes.

Imagine how relieved I was to get back to my desk to find the printout from the scales from 2 weeks ago and find it was at 117.0kg. So I have indeed lost 1kg...
The confusion arises because I also weigh-in at home on Saturdays - and last weekends result was a 115.9kg.

The PT is planned into my triathlon schedule so that I have no other triathlon training on a Wednesday. It's my haven in the week when I am completely free to do other stuff (obviously, free in the sense I am free to do whatever the PT says!) that doesn't involve swimming, cycling or running.

Today is planned for a run session. I ache from yesterday and feel weary. So it's going to be a real motivation test to see whether I can get off my backside and get into the gym at lunchtime...

Maybe a rocking workout track of the day will help: let's go for "Wake up Boo" by the Boo Radleys (145bpm - running pace)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


This weight loss journey of ours would be so fantastically easy - if it wasn't for temptation.

Take yesterday evening as an example. Swimming was my planned triathlon training session. The local pool is 2 miles from where I'm living. The big decision for me was how to get to the pool.

I considered running: too much risk of injury in the cold weather.
I considered cycling: not too sure about leaving my brand new bike outside the pool - and it was damp and dark so too much risk of crashing.
I considered driving: too lazy.

So I walked. I strapped on my backpack and my i-pod and strutted my stuff at 120 bpm all the way there. 30 minutes walking there, 30 lengths (and this pool is 33.3m long, not my usual 25m) of mainly crawl, 30 minutes walking back.
While walking I felt fit and even, dare I say, a little lithe and toned.

And then there was the walking route took me past 3 Fish & Chip shops, 3 Chinese take-aways, 2 curry houses, 1 KFC, 2 Chicken & Pizza places, 1 Chinese restaurant with all-you-can-eat buffet, and 5 pubs. So on the whole there-and-back journey I had to walk past 6 Fish & Chip shops, 6 chinese take-aways...well, you get the picture.
Last night I resisted the temptation, and returned home hungry for my lean protein and salad dinner.
But what about next time? The thought is now with me that the walk is a great idea to add some calorie burn and movement and make me feel great but with the way littered with so many points of temptation to eat badly, I'm not so confident that I will be able to resist every time.
Or even next time.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Triathlon training starts here

Yesterday saw the start of my new 12 week triathlon training programme, the aim of which is to prepare me for a triathlon I want to do on 1st May 2011.

The programme has 6 grades, each of which lasts 2 weeks.
Each grade has 7 exercise sessions...each possible combination of the three triathlon disciplines, with 3 "easy" sessions of 1 discipline, 2 medium sessions of 2 disciplines and 1 hard session with all 3.
These sessions form the basic training - the minimum if you like. I can then add anything I want to on top. As the sessions spread over 2 weeks, that's 4 sessions in week 1 of a grade, and 3 sessions in week 2. On Wednesdays I do my PT sessions, so that's on top. Also, once the session is done I can carry on, but free to do what I feel like.

Yesterday was the easy start with Cycling only. The target is 30 minutes of alternate slow and fast music tracks. Slow tracks are at c. 90 bpm while fast ones are at c.100 bpm. Around 8 tracks are needed in total to fill the 30 minute slot. I did about 35 minutes on the spin bike in total, then foam-rollered my calf, then hit the treadmill for 15 minutes.

Today I start swimming again...I haven't swum for quite a long time. The target is 30 lengths, alternate crawl and breaststroke.
I am considering running to the pool and back (about 2 miles each way) as extra training, but will probably take that as it comes this evening when it's time to head for the pool.

Future grades step up the interval pace each time, so grade 2 is the same as grade 1 but with 1 slow track followed by 2 fast tracks (for cycling and running) and 1 breaststroke/2 crawl for swimming. After 3 grades, the distance steps up instead of interval ie up to 40 minutes/40 lengths. By grade 6 and the end of the programme I will be on 1 slow/5 fast at 40 minutes. On my hard session at the end that will be c. 2 hour training I reckon that should have me ready to go for the real thing.

Workout track of the day: None. I don't have a waterproof MP3 player (yet!). Need to lose another 2kg for that one!
Although if I do run to the pool it will be: "All over again" by Kate Rusby (70 bpm - can double up for a 140 bpm running pace).

Monday, 31 January 2011

Monday, good to me.

Mondays are great for new resolve. That's why the gym is always so full on Mondays. Wherever you go in the world, Monday is the biggest day in the fitness world.

What are you going to do with today?

I'm going to use it and milk that new-found enthusiasm for every single calorie that I can...

Workout track of the day: 'Misery' by Maroon 5 (100 bpm - fast cycling)

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Watching then doing

The weekend and I'm on a fantastic psycho-physiological kick today. What's that? I hear echoing through the ether.
Basically, it's watching sport on the TV.

They say watching TV is bad for you, but I think sometimes you have to give yourself a break! What's bad for you is eating while watching TV. Popcorn, chips, anything really. But the beauty of watching sport is that it makes you want to do some. So if you can avoid the munchies then you've got it made.

I started this mornin watching Kim Clijsters winning the Aussie Open tennis. The only thing to say about it is "where's the local tennis club, I want to join!" Well, there's also "Go on Andy!" but maybe that's better left for tomorrow morning...

Now its athletics and later on there's some football (soccer) on. I wonder if there is a cultural difference in watching sports between the US and the UK? Our sports tend to be more in a game of soccer, injuries notwithstanding, we have only a 15 minute break to make a cup of tea (or if you're at a match, grab a pie and a pint). Then it's back to more continuous action.
Compare that to a baseball or American football game where the actual time in play is quite a small proportion of the total time, and that total time is much longer. OK, don't bring cricket into this or it will just ruin my argument. So maybe it's the long total and all the down time during the game that leads to lots of eating temptation. Because the bad reputation of watching sports on TV and eating lots of cr@p is much stronger west of the Atlantic than it is on this side...

Personally, I'm inspired to go do something now. And definitely inspired to restart a reasonably promising tennis ability that I gave up many years ago.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The fickle friend scale

The power of a good weigh-in to improve your mood is truly amazing.
This morning I am down 4.0kg vs start point, down 1.0kg for the week. That is now a new low weight for me for the last don't-know-how-many years.
I am feeling it too. My clothes are looser, my muscles toning (I wouldn't go so far as to call them toned just yet, but they are getting there...)

I promised myself little gift rewards for every 2kg I lose - a total of 10 gifts when I make it to target.
The first promise was a cycling jacket so that I can go out in not so great weather on the new bike. I haven't bought it yet, which demonstrates a certain amount about my level of confidence about keeping that first 2kgs off. I wanted to be certain those 2kg were gone for ever (ooh err...forever seems a long time when you say it like that). I guess now that the next 2kg are gone, I can go and buy myself the first reward. I probably also need to define which rewards I'm buying for each 2kg step. My original theme was to be triathlon related articles, so that I build up to get all kit required by the time I do my first triathlon, planned for May 1st. I do need (another) decent pump for my weekday location - so I think that will be the second one.
I shall put some thought into it and make that list.
In the meantime I shall decide right here and now that my third reward, towards which I am now working, is to be a saddle pouch (for spare inner tube etc that straps under the saddle).

Am working from home today...plan is to get out to the gym at lunchtime once I've got some stuff done...the first task is already under my belt and sent off. I also have Andy Murray on in the background, so I don't really want to go out until he's finished and hopefully won (Go on ANDY!!!)

I am also reminded of what a fickle friend that scale is. This week it may be a friend, but it can so easily turn on me. I know I shouldn't let it control my moods, but after this week, I need something to cheer me up, and to be honest, I'll take anything I can get from any source I can get it!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Rest day or lazy day?

What is the difference between a rest day and a lazy day?

After my experience yesterday I've decided that it is simply the intentions you set out with in the morning.

If you set out with the intention of NOT going to the gym and then don't go, it's a rest day.

If you set out with good intentions of going to the gym, and then you don't go, then it was a lazy day.

Or, and this is also a real possibility, the expectations were too high. This opens up the third possibility that it should have been a rest day but you failed to plan it in properly.

Does it matter?
Well, for motivation purposes I think it matters a great deal. A rest day is essential sometimes. You have to listen to your body. And some days it just needs a break from pounding the pedals or the treadmill or the pavement... So a rest day is motivational, you come back the following day rested (spot the key word there?) and ready to go onwards and upwards with your exercise programme.
A lazy day however, leaves you with all those feelings of guilt and failure that not sticking to your intentions leave you with. That has a real danger of leaving you demotivated the following day and not sticking to your intentions again. That way a downward spiral and madness lies!

So, how do we deal, motivationally, with the other sort of day?
On Monday I discussed my week's training plan with my PT. I would train with him on Monday, do a cardio session Tuesday (muscle ache permitting), then rest Wednesday to come back strong on Thursday and Friday.
All was well until I let the thought creep into my mind on Wednesday morning that I MIGHT do something. Maybe a bike ride in the evening if the weather was fair (it was cold and raining when I left work). Maybe a run along the seafront (it was cold and raining when I left work). Maybe, maybe, maybe.
Well, maybe that sort of indefinite thinking is what gets me into trouble in the first place. Because today I feel demotivated by how I am feeling, and yet all I did was have the rest day I was planning at the start of the week.
Definite and specific is the way to go. So I will train this lunchtime. I will get up early tomorrow and go to the gym first thing. And I will feel good about it. And I will be motivated by it.

And then I will rest again on Saturday.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The signs are gloomy

I'm not in a great mood, and that's always bad for motivation for exercise and eating well. I have to be on my guard today and until I pull myself out of this mood.

The fact that the causes of the feelings are long-lived (8 to 10 years old) and are always bubbling under, even when they are not spilling out all over the place like right now, makes it a real problem that I guess I'm just going to have to deal with. Not only my weight loss success but in a real sense my career success (even if measured simply by keeping my job) is also on the line. It was the realisation yesterday of how I am being affected at work, and what the impact is on my bosses and colleagues of how I am, that sent me spiralling downwards.

It's amazing how quickly it can happen. I wish I knew how to get back up again so quickly...or even better to attack the real root causes of my moods and find a solution to them equally fast.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Weigh In relief

So I arrived at the gym yesterday and confessed all to my PT regarding my bad few days. We trained hard. Well, as usual, I trained hard while he counted my reps... At the end of the session we headed for the dreaded digital scales.
"Oh, they are still broken" said my PT.
"What I shame" said I. "Well, at least that gives me a day or two to correct any rebound gain before I can weigh in."

So I am excused the bad news. Or at least I have a stay of execution. It inspired me, while shopping for my weekly stay-away provisions, to only buy good protein and veggies.

Eating was so much better yesterday, and no alcohol. Again, this shows the power of blogging. If I hadn't fessed up publicly to the fact that the alcohol has such an impact on my diet, I probably wouldn't have admitted it to myself.

Plan today for a cardio session at lunchtime, plus maybe a spin on my new bike this evening, weather and leg muscle ache permitting...

Workout track of the day: 'I just haven't met you yet' by Michael Buble (walking, rowing or slow cross training pace)

Here's hoping they just haven't fixed the scales more day's grace and I should be able to face them.

Going, going, gone...

Why do I do it to myself?

On the back of such a good start, I've had 4 bad days in a row.
It all started on Thursday after I had convinced myself I wasn't eating enough. Well that just about opened the calorie floodgates, and now I've been over 3,000 calories per day for each and every one of the last 4 days. Weekends are notoriously difficult for me, but even without that, it is a minor disaster.

Thinking about this during the long drive this morning, I do believe it all traces back to Thursday night and the "Curious Incident of the Half Bottle of Wine prince in the Nightime". A few years ago now, ex-Chancellor Nigel Lawson lost loads of weight and wrote a book about it. I remember skimming it in a bookshop at the time, and reading his section on alcohol. He claimed that giving up alcohol was critical for his success - not so much for the empty calories he saved (although that didn't do any harm) - but rather for the will power it gave him. Alcohol dulled his ability to say no - to second helpings, to dessert, to more alcohol.

I believe I may have come to the point where I need to cut out alcohol completely. the combination of lack of exercise motivation and poor diet for so many days after even a small alcoholic binge is evidence enough.

And what makes it worse is that PT (and therefore weigh-in) are 2 days earlier than normal this week. And that means this afternoon. Panic! Nothing I can do, but man up and accept the bad news...

Friday, 21 January 2011

How to get motivated

I am having a real exercise motivation problem today. I should be in the gym right now but I'm here instead. Blogging instead of exercising surely can't be good for you....

There are a number of possible reasons for my motivation dip:
  • I have been training 3 days on the trot this week, something I haven't managed in a long time
  • It's Friday
  • My food diary was running a little low yesterday evening, so I got tempted into partaking of half a bottle of wine, as I could "afford" the calories
  • As a result of the 3 above, I left my kit in the car this morning instead of bringing it into the office. That seems to have grown in significance during the course of this morning.
  • My colleagues have all just disappeared to the "Golden Arches" for lunch. I am therefore feeling heroic for having said no, and have no need to be heroic any more today.
  • I have just docked my Philips DirectLife and hit 105% yesterday - that surely calls for celebration rather than more of the same.
  • I am due a weights session but still hurt from PT on Wednesday
  • I'd have to wash my kit over the weekend
  • I haven't picked a workout track of the day yet, so do not have an aching for Robbie Williams or The Feeling (in a good way, of course)
But, on the other hand:
  • 4 days on the trot would be better than 3
  • It's Friday
  • Since when could someone on a serious weight loss attempt "afford" the calories in half a bottle of wine? Who am I kidding?
  • The gym is right next door to my office. I have to walk past the gym entrance to get from my office to my car! That's more calories burned getting my kit.
  • No Big Mac is an opportunity cost kind of thing. I can be more heroic today.
  • I have just docked my Philips DirectLife and hit 86% for the week so far - that surely calls for more exercise.
  • I am due a weights session but still hurt from PT on Wednesday - so a good cardio session would loosen me up - and there's always the sauna afterwards to relieve my aches...
  • I'd have to wash my kit over the weekend - yeah but in the washing machine which let's face it does all the work. It's not like I have a washboard and scrubbing brush. (Oh and there's another argument - I don't have a washboard - stomach!)
  • I haven't picked a workout track of the day yet, but Kings of Leon (my track from the other month) is on the office radio and I can just pick one: "Alejandro" by Lady Gaga (100 bpm - fast cycling). There taht wasn't so difficult was it?
There we go. Excuses all countered. Motivation back up again. I'm off to the gym.

If only it were that easy every time motivation deserts me.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Back for good

New year...well, newish.
I have purposefully stayed away from this post for a few weeks. The months before that were not deliberate but rather laziness and shame.
No results is a sure fire way to keep you from blogging, and no blogging is a sure fire way to keep you from good results.

So, where am I?
First, the bad news. Christmas and New Year saw the culmination of a poor few months. Weight was stable (ish) until December, but the first weigh-in of January saw me at 119.9kg. Not the highest ever, but pretty much back where I have been and not very far off a record high. Probably only a 3 Big Mac evening away...

January then. I don't do New Years Resolutions. They don't work for me.
But I have made some changes:
. I have changed my diet to focus on protein and non-starchy carbs.
. I have stepped up the exercise
. I am diarizing food intake and my Philips DirectLife activity burn (added to my BMR)

So far, it's working.
From the new start point (might as well as it's not so different from any number of old start points) I am down 2.9kg at 117.0kg.
And I am feeling good. And that's why I waited. I needed some success to kick start, otherwise there was just no point.

Usually, a 3 week losing stretch is about all I can manage before I plateau or start to gain again. So I know I am at a critical tipping point.
So I am back to blogging to give me that push over the edge to make sure there is no turning back.

I heard an interview with Gary Barlow of Take That fame the other day. He turns 40 this week. The main songwriter and singer of (arguably) the UK's foremost boy (?) band turns 40. I am older than him. He was always disparagingly known as the fat one at the back who wrote the songs. I'm not going to be the fat one at the back any more.

I've lost patience with myself. No more shame. I am going to relight my fire. The flood of good weigh-ins has started and will not be held back. I will shine.

Workout track of the day: "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay (138 bpm - fast cross trainering). Bet that shocked you - expecting a different band?

This boy is BACK FOR GOOD.