Category Archives: Diet

The diet: one month in


My new year’s resolution hasn’t yet faded – no procrastination, finally reaching a healthy weight.

A month in, and I’ve made more progress than I could have hoped – exactly 4 kg down (expect this rate of weight loss to half this month now that I’ve got off the ‘easy’ fat), and my push-up and sit-up challenges are going OK. By the end of Feb I should be back to my pre wedding weight (and within the ‘normal’ range on official BMI), and by the end of May I should be at my ultimate target weight – if I can keep it up that long!

The big challenge – getting back on track after the weekends!

How are your New Year’s Resolutions keeping?

Settling into the diet

So, I’ve made to week three of January and the diet is still in full swing. My slightly obsessive tendencies have kicked in and I’m logging every calorie consumed on Dailyburn, I’m back in my old jeans and I’m down the best part of 3kg. The pace of weight loss will slow dramatically now – and I’ll be lucky to lose 0.5kg a week. But that’s sustainable and all I’m hoping for, so with any luck by March I’ll be down to below the ‘overweight’ threshold on the BMI, and by June I’ll be close to my long-term target weight. But we will see!

Yesterday was apparently ‘blue Monday‘ – the most depressed day of the year – but I managed to get through it in reasonably good humour. Being busy at work, slightly ill, and very obsessive is definitely helping the process along. Hopefully when I get a bit further into the process, and the weather starts to improve, my willpower for running will return and I can get that programme going too – but for now, all the exercise I’m doing is the hundredpushups/twohundredsitups programmes, as dictated by my iPhone daily!

Illness and fitness

In the year before Emily was born, I was ill approximately zero times. I was in fairly rigorous training for the half marathon, running between 15 and 40 km per week for about 6 months of the year and I’d managed a reasonably healthy diet throughout the period as well.

In the 15 months since she’s arrived, the commute, working hours, and general apathy has seen all that fall to one side – I haven’t been on a run since June and my diet’s been all over the place. In the last six months or so, this has started to hit me from a cold/flu perspective, and whilst some of this is no doubt exposure to a Nursery-going toddler, I can’t help but think that there’s been a direct correlation between my fitness level and how often I’ve gotten ill.

With my recent NY resolutions, the diet (and some) fitness training has resumed, but I’ve already gotten ill  (not sure where from!) and am self-pityingly recovering from it now. At least I’ve maintained the diet (as it happens, the constant ingestion of strepsils makes most other food taste somewhat unappealing, so it actually helped!), but the 100 push-up / 200 sit-up programme may need to be restarted next week…

Hopefully a more determined, consistent fitness effort will see me steer clear of the sniffles in 2012!

Diet update

Big plate small portionTwo weeks in and I’m feeling considerably better already. Still a way to go but some marginal progress is in evidence, I’m sleeping better and my appetite has (somewhat) shrunk). My willpower is also beginning to improve. If I keep going at current rates, I’ll be back to my wedding weight in three months or so. Which is a depressingly long time to get back to where you were, but progress is progress!

On hating food

Talladega-Nights-s25The diet has begun again in truth now, having suffered badly for the last 9-10 months with detrimental affects on my weight and sense of self. I’ve regained 30% of the weight I lost, and, no long feeling slim and healthy, am struggling with the running and unlikely to be ready for October’s half marathon. I and am otherwise feeling… diminished. Ironic, as I’m technically enlarged.

The calorie counting has restarted in more approximate terms than when I accomplished the first lot of weight loss; I’m not sticking everything in Dailyburn although I’m leaving the tab pinned in Chrome as a fearful reminder on snack time. It’s been more than two weeks since I touched the office biscuit tin and lunchtime soups and salads have resumed.

It has made me once again look at tasty food with a sort of jealous loathing. I hate you, KFC, for being so wrong and delicious, I thought as the waft passed me in Victoria station last night. Curse you, Papa Johns, for the delicious looking flyers you put through my door. And the food blogs I read…. Damn, double and triple damn all the deliciousness you send my way.

I remember, the first time around all of these stood as incentives; as I progressed on my weight loss campaign (on a diet that’s purely calorie counting, you can eat anything – just not very much of it!) – I’d decide I was going to have Papa Johns for dinner and so not eat much of anything else for the rest of the day. But I’d forgotten how difficult it is to be hungry, and faced with temptation.

That said, two weeks in it is getting easier. The habit of having a decaff coffee every time hunger strikes instead of a biscuit; drinking more water, eating more soups and high-fibre foods, the low-fat alternatives…. all are becoming as familiar to me as once they were.

Wish me luck. If I get back within my BMI I will force myself to run the half marathon – but that means losing 7kg in the next two months, so might be a stretch!

Healthy eating excuses

I’ve been finding excuses not to eat healthily. Busy-ness, lack of time, stress – these are all the negative self-reinforcing patterns I was in before my great weight-loss-programme of 2009. I need to resume the focus and get Daiylburn going again, so that not eating healthily is more uncomfortable to me than the hunger of a persistent diet.

Here we go.

Mealsnap iPhone app impressions

mzl.pmpdnall.320x480-75The diet hasn’t gotten off to the best start – perhaps starting it the day ahead of the weekend was a bad idea – but I did try out my diet-tracking website’s new £1.79 iPhone app – Mealsnap – which takes a photo of your meal and tells you the calorie count from – I assume – some kind of clever algorithmic photo-analysis and by referencing the food database from Dailyburn.

First impressions, from three or four photographed meals:

  1. It does sometimes work quite well – correctly (near as damn) recognizing what’s on your plate, and giving sensible caloric estimates
  2. There is quite a range for the estimates – as I’m not sure it has any meaningful way of working out how big a piece of bread, for instance, is.
  3. It doesn’t integrate into Dailyburn, so whatever calorie records you make stay in the app .This renders it completely pointless for me.
  4. It takes an age to ‘process’ the photos – so long that it’s easy to imagine that the photos are being uploaded, and being manually viewed and assessed by a warehouse full of monkeys somewhere.

So I think I’ll leave it alone for now. Anyone worked out any other positives?

Diet disaster, running hiatus

If I’m honest, the last six months haven’t seen the healthiest eating on my part and I’ve gained some weight – which has made the running much harder. I need to get back into the rhythm of things and I’m making a public resolution here to kick off the obsessive – but effective – diet monitoring I was doing with Dailyburn once again.

I have a half marathon to run this year and a family to be healthy for. So here’s to it!

Oops, I broke the treadmill

Seeing as I’m in Malaysia for the next few weeks all my running training is happening on a treadmill. Which I broke today after my first run – a 5ker which I finished in 27.45. Theoretically this is a good time for me but in practice – the treadmill makes things so much easier I should be able to get closer to a 20 minute 5k. See if I can manage that this trip, once the treadmill repair people see if they can replace the part… Not that its a cheap treadmill (it’s not) or I’m a heavy lump (less obviously untrue) but suspect some of the plastic goes brittle in the hot humid conditions…

The speed wasn’t inspired by this, but in an interestind sidebar: My Dad’s friend popped over the other night and recommended PACE training for fatburning (which I need, the fatburning not necessarily the PACE training). I’d not heard of it before and am slightly suspicious of it despite the logic, which is (in part) – you want to get into the fat burning zone and stay there long enough for your body to switch substrates, but not convince your body to switch to creating fat to support the ‘habit’ – a consequence of which is you should chuck your long distance running/ aerobics routine.

I’m vastly suspicious of anything that tries to make weight loss sound ‘easy’ and Dr Sears’ method sounds a bit too good to be true (12 minute workouts etc)…

I need to understand more about human metabolism. I wish Ben Goldacre would write a book about this stuff as between this and the nutrionist stuff he writes about in Bad Science I’m sure there’s a bunch of debunking (or at least: rational explaining) of this, Sears, Atkins, and every other populist weight-loss plan we get confronted with at parties so that I could provide a semi-definitive – “it sounds great but like too much work for me” or “the science makes no sense.”

Anyway, I mostly run for fun rather than weightloss (although that’s a necessary objective for me if I’m to break a 2hr time for the half this year).