Five stone target

I don’t really talk about my size/weight all that much, as I try not to think that it defines me as a person. However, euphemistically speaking, you would call me a ‘larger’ gentleman.

The "before" shot!
The “before” shot!

I’ve been overweight all my adult life, and obese for most of it. I’m not brave enough to publish online what I currently weight, but I do want to make a public commitment to do something about it!

In just over six months’ time, I’m due to get married to a rather special person. And quite apart from wanting to look good in our wedding photos, I’d also quite like to stick around and spend a long life with her. With that in mind, I started what I’m calling my “wedding diet” at the beginning of January, with the target to lose at least 5 stone before the big day.

I know what I have to do to achieve this goal. I need to cut out all the snacks and sweets that I eat between meals, and stick to just three healthy meals a day. I’m using the MyFitnessPal website and iPhone app to help track what I eat. It works by recording everything you consume throughout the day, and it keeps a tally of all the calories and nutrients you’re getting – so you can see how you’re doing against your goal. It’s a bit of a commitment to keep it up to date, but I much prefer this method over other means of dieting.

Weight loss, to me, is a numbers game. It’s about the number of calories going into the body being smaller than the number of calories expended by the body. They say that to lose 2 pounds per week, you need a calorie deficit of 1,000 per day. I’m hoping to do better than 2 pounds a week, so I need to really watch what goes in, and also increase my activity level to raise what gets used up, so that I will hopefully get the results I’m looking for.

My daily commute to work by bike helps somewhat in raising my activity level. I do 12km a day, which equates to about 50 minutes of activity. I’m also hoping to raise that activity level over time, primarily with cycling and walking. I’m told it would be quite harmful to my joints to try running at my current weight, but I’m keeping it in mind for when I’m further down the road.

Anyway, I mentioned that I started my diet at the beginning of January, and I’m pleased to report that as of this morning I’m already 13 pounds down on my starting weight. That’s almost a stone gone already! I just need to keep going and keep my eye on the goal, and hopefully the other four stones will follow.

Lent Begins

On this day – Ash Wednesday – every year I make some kind of public proclamation about what I’m planning to give up (or take up) for Lent.

Last year it was booze and caffeine – and I managed to avoid both for the full six and a half weeks. The year before I gave up alcohol and also went on a diet – the diet actually extending past the end of Lent for 6 months in all; helping me lose a total of almost 5 stone in weight.

This year, because my weight has been gradually creeping up over the last year or so, I’m going to go back on the diet. I’ll be using an online food diary called nutra check to record everything I eat and drink over the next 46 days, and will be limiting myself to 2000 calories a day (which is a reasonable target for a guy my size). I’ll also do 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. And the plan is to lose at least a stone in weight before Easter – and hopefully more.

I’m not giving up alcohol as such, but I’ll be cutting right back. After all, booze can contain quite a lot of calories, and I’ll be wanting to reserve most (if not all) of my daily calorie allowance for food. I’m also not giving up on the caffeine either, as the withdrawal gives me awful headaches, and I get very sleeping – and I just don’t need any of that at the moment.

I am, however, considering a new thing – but I’m not sure whether I’ll manage it. I was thinking of going vegetarian for one day a week, just to see if cutting down on my meat intake will make me more healthy. I just don’t know at the moment whether my culinary skills are good enough to be able to prepare tasty and nutritious vegetarian meals.

Give it up for Lent

With Ash Wednesday fast approaching next week, I’m trying to decide on what to give up for Lent.

In recent years I’ve given up alcohol and caffeine – both of which have been quite hard to do, particularly the caffeine one. And a few years back I took up something for Lent: being completely honest with people. But that one turned out to be a bit of a disaster, and almost lost me some friends.

This year, for some reason, I don’t think I want to give up the booze. But I guess I can still cut down. I might try the caffeine thing, which will be okay as long as I can get past the week-long cold turkey of headaches, shaking, and sleepiness.

I’ve also decided that I’m going back on a diet. I’ve let my weight creep up over recent months, and really need to do something about it. And a daily calorie allowance will help me limit the alcohol consumption (because, when it comes down to it, food based calories are always better than liquid based ones).

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