Eat more, move less?

February 9, 2011

Not a good week this week, at least not good for losing my gut. I didn’t do a scrap of exercise and I went out on Tuesday and Thursday night, had friends over for a big feed on Friday, went out for a real boozy session on Saturday, and went out for pub lunch on Sunday.

The net result?

Well, thankfully I haven’t put any more weight on but neither have I lost any. Only three weeks into the procedure and I’ve already hit my first plateau!

On Tuesday I went to The Regent in Kensal Green, or the Popcorn Pub as my six year old likes to call it, as they have popcorn on the bar to snack on (although deliberately too salty to get you to drink more). I go there often on a Tuesday with my daughter after school with a couple of other Dads and their kids, because you buy a meal and get one free and the pub food isn’t bad. Bangers and Mash for me this week, washed down with a couple of pints of Guinness.

Thursday we ended up going to Durbar in Notting Hill for a massive curry. Great food from a cosy, friendly curry house which is frequented by celebrities. I’ve sat next to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in there before and it’s Jeremy Clarkson‘s local take away too. One of the best curry houses I’ve been to.

On Friday we had some friends over and my wife made two massive lasagnes and again it was all washed down with copious amounts of wine. Seven bottles in fact plus half a bottle of vodka. Not bad for five people!

On Saturday night we went to The Masons Arms for a Pimp’s and Ho’s party. Out until 2am knocking back the larger and black sambuca’s. I did do a bit of dancing, which I suppose is exercise, but I doubt it counts for much when fuelled by alcohol.

Sunday I went to Kew Gardens for their Tropical Extravaganza which was stunning, but feeling jaded from the night before I needed a ‘loosener’ in the form of a pint of ale and a Sunday lunch at The Greyhound which is an excellent a nearby pub.

So here we are at the start of another week with no progress on my gut busting venture but some great memories at least!

As you can see, I don’t live a lifestyle exactly conducive to being fit and healthy. I eat out a lot, I drink a lot, and I have a great time. Not for me this getting up early for a run malarkey, nor spending hours pounding away in a gym.

But I’m still convinced I can lose this gut and still have a great time. This week I’m going to do some serious research into this and see what I come up with!

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Ripe Tomato

January 29, 2011

One thing I love to do is eat out. On Monday I went to Ripe Tomato in Notting Hill, London. It’s a cosy, intimate, family run restaurant tucked away on All Saints Road with superb homely Italian food.

Normally when I go out for dinner, which is fairly regularly, I’ll take a cab so that I can quaff a man sized amount of wine or beer with my meal. Of course, the trouble with that is two fold. First of all, if I drink a bottle of wine with my meal, that’s an extra 500 calories on top of the food. Secondly, when I’m inebriated, I tend to crave sweet stuff so I’m much more likely to have a nice big dessert. There is also a high chance that in the morning I’ll be wanting to eat comfort food to nurse my thick head, and I won’t be wanting to do any excercise at all.

So I had to have a plan. As I have previously said, my whole approach to losing my gut is to make small changes that over time will give big results. So I’m not about to deny myself the enjoyment of going out for dinner whenever I like. But I also want to keep making progress so this is what I decided to do.

I decided to drive.

Yep, simple as that. By driving to the restaurant I knew I would only be able to drink one glass of wine, perhaps two small glasses, instead of a whole bottle. I don’t know what the drink driving laws are where you live, but in the UK the drinking limit is around a glass of wine, or a pint of beer, or one shot of spirit. Basically enough so you can enjoy a drink with a meal but not enough to adversly affect your driving.

And the meal went very well. Interestingly, and without consciously doing so, I opted for quite a healthy meal… whole baby chicken cooked in a wine sauce with mixed vegetables. This is protein rich, full of vitamins, fibre and other good stuff from the vegetables and very filling.

I do love pasta, but pasta is just empty calories and a whole plate of it is asking for trouble. I’m not saying I won’t eat pasta, I’m not going to deny myself anything, but I just felt like having the chicken, possibly because I’m conscious of the fact I’m on a mission!

And as for dessert? Well I opted for the cheese board. And I shared it with my friends so I really just had a bit for the flavour. Again, I’m no expert but I reckon this is a healthier option than some sweet, sugery dessert.

Well that was Monday. On Thursday I didn’t do quite so well. On Wednesday evening I heard a musician called Josh Bray on the radio and heard that he was playing down the 12 Bar Club the next evening. Being a big fan of live music I decided to go. It was a 7.30 start and going to be a late one and I ended up drinking five pints of beer and some spirit.  What the hell.

So how did I do this week?

I lost another 0.8 kg (1.7lb). I’ve read that losing a couple of pounds a week is the ideal speed at which to lose weight. Losing too much too fast is supposed to be very bad for you so I’m very happy with this. And I’ve really not done too much to get it, just made a few small changes to the way I live. Oh yes and I did my iPhone excercises again, a few minutes a day.

Small changes, big results.

A word of caution here though. I’ve been down this road before. Any diet or weight loss plan always tends to start with really fast results and is very encouraging, but after a couple of months the results tend to slow down drastically. This is why I’m only making very small changes. The plan is to step up my game when the weight loss slows down, and since I’m starting slowly this ‘should’ be a smooth process.

Onwards and upwards!

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A great start!

January 22, 2011

I’m one week in, well five days actually, and I’ve checked the scales.

Look at this:

As you can see I’ve lost 2kg (4.4lbs) in 5 days already!

But don’t get too excited, there are a number of factors causing such a big jump from last week. First of all, my first reading on Monday was taken in the evening, fully clothed. This second reading was taken in the morning, before breakfast, undressed.

And it does make a big difference. Obviously, in the morning you haven’t eaten for about 8-10 hours but your body has been busy burning it off in your sleep, so you don’t have a stomach full of food when you’re standing on the scales. Plus, clothes probably count for a few pounds too.

Still, it’s an encouraging start. I have done well not to snack on chocolate too much and really just did what I said I would… a bit of excercise with those iPhone apps, nothing too strenuous as they only took ten minutes or so to do, and drank water instead of cans of coke.

I did pig out on Thursday as I got caught out whilst out and about and got hungry and there wasn’t anywhere nearby to buy any healthy snacks so I ended up having a chocolate bar.

I also had fish and chips that day which obviously is not exactly diet food BUT I did say I wasn’t going to be dieting as dieting doesn’t work for me long term and if I’m going to stick to my plan then I know I won’t last long if I don’t let myself have fish and chips now and again.

At least I had fish instead of a steak pie, which is what I normally have, so a slightly healthy choice!

So next week I’m going to weigh myself on Saturday morning again so we have a more consistent result.

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Well, this is my first post and my first step on my journey to finally lose my big fat wobbly gut.

First things first… a weigh off!

I bought a Withings scale which is a really cool set of scales with a built-in WiFi connection.

All you do is stand on the thing and it measures your weight, body fat, lean mass and Body Mass Index and then automatically updates the details on your iPhone and dedicated webpage.

Brilliant!

When you first get it you have to input your height, age, sex etc. and then set it up with your wifi connection but then after that all you do is stand on the thing and it does everything else for you.

So here’s my reading from last night, copied from my iPhone app:

As you can see I’m currently 84.7kg (187 pounds). My ideal weight should be around 75kg (165 pounds) so I’m going to need to lose around 10kg (22 pounds) to get rid of that gut.

I’m average build and I don’t really look ‘fat’ overall. It’s all on my gut, so I’ve got a 22 pound gut! That’s the equivalent to having ten bags of sugar wrapped around my waist.

The BMI figure is 27. Apparently a healthy BMI figure is between 18-25. So I’m officially unhealthy!

The Lean Mass is the weight of my muscles and the Fat Mass is, well,  you can guess what that is.

So what I need to do is get those indicators all heading towards the light blue bars and, ideally, get them all in the center. If I can do that, my gut should be gone.

So, what am I going to do this week to start the process?

Well, not a lot. I think the mistake I’ve always made before is to launch headlong into a diet or fitness regime and totally change the way I live overnight. And I keep this up for a few weeks and lose quite a bit, but I can never sustain it.

So this time I’m going to make small changes and see how I get on. I have no special plan or specific process in mind. I’m just going to be more aware of what I’m eating and try to move a bit more this week.

I may well decine the pastries and biscuits this week and opt for a banana or handful of nuts instead. I’m going to drink less tea and coffee but more water.

By the way, I’ve read that you’re supposed to drink a certain amount of water each day. I can’t be bothered with all that rubbish. Look, if you’re thirsty your body tells you so. So I’ll just make sure I have a bottle of water on my desk and take a swig whenever I’m thirsty. I’m not going to monitor it and feel bad if I haven’t drank a set amount. I think just by having it on my desk I’ll be more likely to drink that than go to the trouble of getting a coffee, with sugar and milk, etc.

And for excercise. Well, I’ll use my bicycle on the school run instead of the car. Unless it’s raining of course. And I’ll use my bike for little errands that don’t involve going too far.

I’ve also downloaded a few fitness apps for my iPhone. One’s called 100 pressups, the other is 200 situps, and then 200 squats and 20 chins ups. They look alright and are supposed to build you up really slowly to be able to do that many reps. Could just about manage 10 press ups to start with so I’ve got a long way to go. But the point with these is, it doesn’t take long and it certainly doesn’t involve going to the gym for an hour.

Let’s see how I get on….

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