My Weight…

This morning I passed my latest milestone for losing weight, in that I broke the 13st barrier, weighing in at 12st 13lb

When I started this process at the beginning of January, I was 15st 7lb, wearing extra large t-shirts, 38in waist trousers, and suffering terribly with my indigestion. I was starting to feel really bad about my weight and therefore myself, and I felt really unhealthy. I needed to lose weight. I didn’t need to diet. When I read the word diet, I see sacrifice, I see giving up things that you enjoy, I see misery. I had to change my lifestyle to one that allowed me to enjoy eating and drinking, but in a way that didn’t threaten my longer term health.

I must put something into perspective, having just typed the above statement, it definitely sounds worse than how it appeared for me at the time. My diet was not particularly bad when i started a how to lose cellulite diet. My drinking was not excessive on a regular basis. Nor was my fitness a particular issue, visiting the gym regularly, and competing in Tough Guy and Hell Runner over the previous years. I was overweight, and struggling, despite trying seemingly quite hard, to remove that weight.

In January I increased my pure forskolin extract regime. The sole reason for this was that I was really struggling to get through the morning, and therefore day, without feeling hungry, and the end result of that was ‘crashing’. While at work I would be eating my lunch by mid morning, which in turn meant I would often need something else to eat by lunch time, and in turn I might need ‘snacks’ late afternoon. Snacks meant crisps and chocolate. And chocolate for me means multiple bars…
I was aware that previously, exercise has reduced my cravings, so I upped my gym work during the week, and increased my running at the weekend.

First thing to go was chocolate. It’s the one thing I decided to symbolically sacrifice. It was going to be the only thing that I would actively “give up”.

The next thing I did was to address a problem that I have had for thirty odd years, my aversion to porridge. As a kid, I was happy eating Ready Brek, but I have never been able to stomach porridge. So in order to try and deal with that issue, and hopefully give me a better breakfast to start the day with, Victoria bought me some Qakers Oats so Simple, instant porridge. They are as near as Ready Brek as you can get. I ate them for a week before changing over to Porridge proper, and that has been my staple breakfast since: Porridge with Maple Syrup.

We tweaked my lunch, favouring wraps to sandwiches. I also reduced my fruit intake. I felt that I was eating far too much fruit and thus having ‘sugar’ problems caused by that. I added a mid morning and mid afternoon snack. So my daily meals consisted of: Breakfast: Porridge. Mid morning snack: Fruit and a packet of Ryvita Mini. Lunch: Wrap or sandwich, Yoghurt, and a piece of fruit. Mid afternoon snack: Go Ahead biscuit and piece of fruit. And then evening meal.

First thing I changed with the evening meal was portion size. The other thing I changed at the beginning was simplicity. In the beginning I was happy to just have a piece of protein and some salad. Or a piece of protein and veg. And Victoria was very helpful in reducing unnecessary fat and sugar from my meals, and reducing the amount of food on my plate. When you need to control your self, it’s useful to have someone help make those decisions for you!

By late February I was losing weight but was concerned that my decision to let my gym membership expire at the end of the month was going to cause me a problem. I decided that I just needed to increase my running during the week or weekend.

Over the following months I consistently dropped either one or two pounds a week. Every now and then I stayed the same or blipped up by a pound, but the overall trend was downward.

What I found was that my daily eating routine became habit. I am now one of those people who can’t stray too much from a meal time. But the flip result of that is that I don’t need to eat outside of the predefined eating slots. Yes I may be hungry by my evening meal, but it’s a different kind of hunger, one that is usually dealt with by eating the meal. I can actually be getting full while I eat my meal. Previously, the only way I was full, was because I was on portion number two or three! And then you become overly full.

I have now lost over 2.5st. I am wearing 34in waist trousers. My shirts are slim fit. My t-shirts are large. I have only had one bought of indigestion all year. I feel good about myself. I feel healthy. I can run 5km almost 10 minutes faster than I could 8 months ago, and that is not just down to fitness, that is down to carrying less weight!

What is remarkable, to me, about the last half stone that I lost over the last 8 weeks, is that I have not “exercised” at all in the last month. Yes, I park my car at the far end of the car park. And yes, I use the top floor toilet, taking the 3 flights of stairs, and yes I walk down to the canteen and back every day with my colleagues, even though I am not buying anything or sitting in.

I have also had a few blips. On Friday I weighed in at 13st, on Monday I weighed in at 13st 5lb. Yes, I had a “heavy” weekend, having dined out at a nice restaurant, big breakfast at the hotel, and copious amounts of alcohol. But even I was surprised at the 5lb gain. To be fair, depending on how rounding on scales work, it could actually be a 4lb gain. However, I watched myself drop a pound every day this week. I don’t normally weigh myself every day, btw!

What it all says to me is that, I have changed my habits. Everything is just that little bit healthier, I’m eating less, and I’m a lot healthier. I don’t feel that I have made great sacrifices. I don’t feel that I need to follow a grueling fitness regime. I am 8 months in and now feel that this could and should be me from now on.

I still have weight to lose. When I first started this process, I would have been happy with 13.5st, but deep down I wanted to get to 12.5st. It felt an unachievable goal, but I like those. Victoria was concerned that that would be too much weight loss, it would make me look gaunt. But as I have dipped through the 13st barrier, I can happily say that the weight loss distribution from around my body has been such that I am confident that another 7lb’s will be coming from the right places, and I think she would probably agree. I’m going to try Clenbuterol for help losing some extra pounds, here are some of the Clenbuterol side effects.

I know there is more I can do to help myself too. My evening meals have possibly slipped a little over the last few months. I feel like I have eaten more than I needed to on a few occasions. Not running over the last 4 weeks hasn’t helped either, I intend to get back to that, but that is more to do with fitness and not weight loss. However, in the scheme of things, those are bother relatively small things to tweak.

So, 12.5st here I come… and watch out 12st, I’ve not got my eye on you. For more info please go and see website info.

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Directors Cut

Directors cuts are slightly controversial, I am aware of this as I embark on the IOS version of Lords of Midnight. Although not a Directors Cut per sae, the involvement of Mike makes it sit somewhere between remake and directors cut.

There are many films that have received the Directors Cut treatment, some successfully, some not so. You have to ask, why the need to revisit the film. The integrity of the new release is brought into question; if the Director did not like the version put out at the original release, then why did they allow it be released? If they had no control over that aspect, then why now, other than for additional profit, are the studio allowing the film to be changed. That said, at least most Directors can retain some integrity, as they usually don’t have the rights for the Final Cut Privilege especially early in their career.

In books, we have the Authors Revised Edition. Again I wonder how an author can not release a book that is true to their original vision. I do however know that sometimes, again especially in the early stages of an authors career, the author does not have as much control as they would like, and indeed the editor may assert more of their vision.

I use Katharine Kerr’s Darkspell as a case in point. Her editor insisted at the time that parts of the story be changed so much, that it materially altered the overall intended message of the book. Kit was all to eager to put it right as soon as she had chance.
With Stephen King’s first book in the Dark Tower series ‘The Gunslinger’ it also makes sense that he would want to revisit the book and put right issues as the series expanded.

This brings me finally to music – why would a musician release a Directors Cut album that covers songs from not one previously released albums, but two? I understand doing some form of Uncut version where songs are stripped back to just the singer and some acoustic instruments, or even dramatically different versions that are almost covers in their own tight, but to release new tinkered versions of songs that you had full artistic control over at the time?

So, I bought Kate Bush’s Directors Cut with much trepidation – and I have to say, it’s awful.
She has taken a group of songs from two albums, placed them together out of context on a single album, reworked them in some mysterious way, for no obvious reason, and ultimately destroyed them.

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Well, I ran Toughguy on Sunday (Braveheart II). This was my second toughguy having completed Nettle Warrior in the summer.

Toughguy is billed as “The Worlds safest, most dangerous taste of mental and physical pain, fear and endurance.”

It’s a 6 mile cross country run with a few obstacles for good measure, deep ditches of water and mud, hay bales, tree steeplechases, cargo netting, and steep hills to keep running up and down. Then when you have finished all that you enter the killing fields obstacle course (twice round in the summer) this covers about another 2 miles if you don’t take into account all the ups and downs. There are walls to climb over, rope bridges, monkey bars, tall climbing frames, tyre tunnels, electric shocks, tunnel pipes to crawl through, lakes, barbed wire to crawl under, dark underground chambers, water tunnels… And on and on. All with lots of mud and water, so that you are constantly wet and heavy with mud! No amount of text here can describe the awfulness of the killing fields!

I completed the summer event, emotionally and physically broken. I spent four and a half hours on the course dragging my sorry arse around.

So I signed up for the winter one!

Luckily, most of January has been more clement that December. The temperature had just started dropping again, but at -3 it was still milder that last years -7. That said water that has a good centimetre of ice on the top of it, is bitterly, painfully, cold!

There’s not much to say about the day. I managed to complete the main running part of the event as expected. The 10 slaloms hurt like hell. The water burnt and your feet and legs become numb.

The first part that surprised me was the torture chamber. The electric shock stuff in there never bothered me in the summer, but it mega hurt this time. It’s not fun as your body convulses in a small enclosed dark area. Especially when the convulsion makes you hit another electric wire! I’m not sure if they had turned the dial up or if it was just the cold and wet.

The underground tunnels were much more unpleasant this time too. I’m a little too big for them, so I can’t crawl on my hands and knees. In the summer I was able to lay on my back and push myself with my feet. This time I had to lay front and inch along on my elbows. This is unpleasant in the pitch black tunnels, but much worse in the tunnels that are climbing upward!

But the thing that finished me off was the cold water. You’re almost constantly in and out of the water to varying depths. I had fallen over in one of the ditches early on and got the full submersion that i hadn’t been expecting till much later. After walking around the lake (that’s in the lake up to my chest in water) and ducking under the tunnels , I came to the death plunge… Walking the plank into 8ft of icy cold water..And that was it… I just couldn’t go on… I was too cold, too numb, and just couldn’t face any more water! And i knew all the other obstacles still to come.

So I turned tail and headed back to the changing rooms… Strangely enough I wasn’t at all disappointed.

I woke this morning with a little different take on it. I was a little disappointed that i hadn’t finished. I didn’t regret my decision to stop; I made the right decision for how i felt at that moment in time. My body was telling me something and I had to listen… However I woke with the thought of ‘what if?’ If I had just taken that plunge, could i have overcome the rest? I had been on the go for two and a half hours, and probably had another thirty to forty minutes left… could I have kept going or would have that led to hyperthermia?

And now i find myself thinking: do I try again?

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Open All Night…

Playlist for Bon Jovi @ the O2 – Sat 19th June 2010

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