What?!? You mean I have to exercise as well.

8 Sep

I’m not daft, I know that if this lifestyle change and this weight loss is going to succeed I need to do some exercise. I think I’ve been mentally blocking this fact out, mainly because apart from playing some sports I see exercise as a painful chore. Although I have a busy life, I don’t have a particularly active one- I have a fairly sedentary job- I commute 45 minutes one way in a car, sit at a computer, stand in front of a class of students, drive to schools, sit at the back of a classroom- so much not exercise apart from the 500 yards walk from the car to my office. I therefore need to choose an exercise regimen that I will want to continue- cant see that happening, but you never know. We have a trampoline in our back garden which I would really like to bounce on- but I’m too heavy for it so that option is out until I’ve lost the 101lbs. Another exercise I like (don’t find annoying) is a rowing machine but unless I win the lottery (not much chance as I don’t gamble) I’m not joining a gym anytime soon, and a rowing machine built for my weight isn’t cheap. Swimming- apart from being incredibly slow I’m not comfortable going to the pool at my current weight. So all that is left, I think, is running- I dislike this- I don’t have bad stamina but do not like the exercise (I blame school cross country). But tonight I went for a run with my eldest daughter- the plan was two miles but I settled on just over one- she was much faster than me- but it’s a start! How often I’ll run I don’t know, but I do need to do something- my brother in law swears by just press ups and sit ups- maybe I’ll give that a try- not in public which is an added bonus.  So day six ended on a very shattered note.

Food however was fine, work had a buffet lunch again- so salad wraps worked for lunch. My wife makes her own Italian tomato sauce out of tomatoes, garlic, celery, herbs, and other vegetable I know not what- we had this with Swedish meatballs and pasta- the meatballs are from Costco and not particularly diet- but as we don’t count the calories or fat in our meat- though do watch our portion size we feel it’s fine. It’s also a meal we’ve had regularly and the children love, so that we are not instilling a whole diet change on our skinny children.

I only got petrol from the petrol station…

7 Sep

…well it was actually diesel, but that didn’t have quite the same ring for the title! You may think, so what that’s what you’re supposed to do. Usually there would be a chocolate bar, or something similar that was purchased when I filled up with diesel. Interestingly, when I was a missionary for my Church one of the things we helped some people to do was to follow a stop smoking programme. I only remember two things from this programme- drink grapefruit juice, and identify the times where you habitually have a cigarette- for example after your breakfast. identifying these habitual times was to help the person giving up become aware and be on their guard against the automatic reaction. I have discovered many of these habitual eating moments over the last few days- the most obvious with reference to the title of this post is when I fill up with diesel. But there are others, if I go into the kitchen- I could stop there, but it usually extends to when I open the fridge or get a drink. On the cupboard near our front door there has been a bag of wrapped boiled sweets for a week- they are open- we have very good children who always ask for before they take food (they must get it from their mum) and so a lot of the sweets are still there- I know this would not have been the case before the lifestyle change began- changing habits isn’t easy but hopefully they will be worth it.

Another habit moment occurred at work today- there was a buffet lunch for the conference day that was being used to introduce the new academic year. Sandwiches and crisps abounded- I’m afraid I had to be unsociable and take two two half sald wraps and disappear to asnwer emails. Picking is a natural habit for me- and so putting me next to a plate of crisps would have led to me picking unconsciously. I never realised that so many things in my life were habitually linked with eating (goodness me, I sound like a fat trougher).

It was a bit of a rushed meal tonight, but the Hairy Dieters worked their magic again with a gorgeous Crispy chicken recipe- chicken in breadcrumbs, with a bit of oregano and parmesan accompanied by a salad. It took my wife and I ten minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook, so for us it was quick and easy while Wednesday night, which is our craziest for activities was able to be subdued. All in all, an enlightening day 5.

I want a milkshake!!!

6 Sep

On day 4 my children went back to school, my wife was doing an odd day of work so I was working at home on my own today. This was a big test, because usually if I’m left at home on my own I don’t go mad but I do find myself dipping into the crisp cupboard, and the fridge. About lunch time I decided to wander to the local shop because I wanted something different from water, juice or the decaffeinated coke that we had in the house. What I was really craving was a milkshake- and a chocolate milkshake at that. Being on a diet this wasn’t as crazy as it may sound- I had seen various milkshakes such as Frijj advertising themselves as very low fat. I was very disappointed when I read their ingredients- the second largest was sugar. They may be low in fat, but very high in sugar content. So I had to forego the milkshake! This got me thinking about what types of drink are helpful for my lifestyle change.

I am aware that I have a slight advantage over the majority of adults who begin a diet, in that I do not drink any alcohol at all because of religious beliefs. I also do not drink tea or coffee- when all of these things are factored in my drink intake is really hot chocolate, soft drinks, cordial and fruit juice. Recently, I eliminated caffeinated soft drinks from my diet too- this was in response to some headaches I was getting. So my choices reduced a little bit more, especially when you focus on diet soft drinks- in restaurants I usually have to have water or sugary sprite- a lot of diet soft drinks seem to be caffeinated.  I am trying to drink less fizzy pop, which means more water and sugar free Vimto. But I would like an opportunity to have a milkshake every now and again!! Is there any low fat and low sugar milkshakes out there that anybody knows about? I would be very grateful!

Apart from drinks the day went well and I was surprised by how little I was tempted to snack. I began with 30g of cereal, a salmon and cream cheese bagel for lunch, and pork, new potatoes, vegetable and gravy for tea. Also included were the occasional piece of fruit and a muller corner. I know it is early days yet, but I think that I’m enjoying the change- I don’t feel healthier but I feel happy that I am on the right track… But I do not need to get ahead of myself, there have been many false starts in the past.

Why am I doing this?

5 Sep

For a number of years I have had an inbuilt defense mechanism about my weight- either I declare that I’m fat and happy, or I make jokes about my weight before anybody else can. If the truth be told, about nine or so years ago I lost six stone, and it was the time that I felt happiest with myself. I didn’t balk when I looked in a mirror, or saw a photograph; I was also able to buy clothes from any shop (except the ladies ones) and felt good about the choice I have. As someone who is overweight my choices disappeared- I am nearly 6ft 2inches in height with an inside leg of 33inches- for some reason however, clothes manufacturers think that all fat people are short- therefore some shops stop the inside leg for my waist size at 31inches. There are many shops that don’t even go to my size.

I am reminded of traipsing round Aberdeen when I was 19 looking for a pair of shoes (I am UK size 12 or US 13)- I could find two pairs in the entirety of Aberdeen- and they were both ugly- I mean objectively ugly. Things have gotten better- but sometimes taste does go out of the window when manufacturers design for the larger person- either taste, or realistic cost anyway!!

However, clothing isn’t the main reason I am losing weight- the health benefits will be massive- I have hereditary high cholesterol, and I am sure I’m not that far away from type 2 diabetes. However, the biggest reason I am losing weight is that I am not, despite my protestations, fat and happy! I have a wonderful life, with an amazing wife and lovely children, but I do not like what I see when I look in the mirror. I have low enough self esteem at the best of times, but my weight does not help. This does not mean that I go round hating myself- I don’t- I know I am a child of God, I know some of my good points, and I usually push my hang ups about my weight to the side- to teh blind spot at the back of my focus, but every now and again they rear their ugly head and I remember the halcyon days when I actually didn’t mind what I saw in the mirror. You may be fat and happy, but for me, if I’m honest, I’m not.

Back to day 3 and I got the biggest shock ever when I decided to weigh out 30g of my breakfast cereal. My usual portion is a pasta bowl- probably between 100 and 120g. This looked rather paltry in comparison- but I was actually able to stay satiated for the morning with a little help from an apple at 11am. This was a surprise- but a pleasant one- I don’t need huge portions.

Our evening meal was a chilli- this was the one we would normally eat containing: extra lean mince, onion, chilli powder, cumin, two tins of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, kidney beans, a beef stock cube accompanied by some rice. This is not a dish that is high in fat or calories- but we controlled our portion size. We didn’t need the Hairy Bikers for this one! Especially as their meal chilli contains wine which we do not drink (or eat!). The only accomodation we made to the new lifestyle(which my wife disapproved of) was to fry the onion with the mince so that the fat from the mince would be theonly oil needed. The children were also happy (even though they have enjoyed the other meals) to have a meal that they had tried and trusted.

Not a bad day 3 on the lifestyle change front!

Fast Sunday

5 Sep

Did I cheat today? Well, only in the sense that as a part of my faith we are invited to fast for two meals on the first Sunday of every month. It is an opportunity to change my focus from food to my relationship with God, but I have to admit that it could not have come at a better time than at the start of my diet. Being on this “lifestyle change” actually helped me fast- I was less concentrated on the food that I wasn’t eating because I wasn’t missing it, I was far more concentrated on the purpose of my fast. It did not stop me preparing sandwiches for the children at lunch time.

In times past I have broken my fast with a large meal, but through attending an Islamic Iftaar meal a few years ago, I realised that breaking my fast with a small piece of food (on day two it was a banana) I was able to focus more on the ending of my fast rather than the beginning of the meal.

Tea owed much to the lovely Hairy Bikers again- though I much prefer to read than watch them- it was a home made mediterranean burger- (see here for the recipe) but this was padded out with courgette and onion. This with a side salad and a dressing suggested in their book. i have to admit, they were gorgeous- the children enjoyed them with their chips.

Day two wasn’t a huge issue, mainly because it was a fairly ordinary day that comes around once a month, but with my new attitude to food it actually helped my religious devotion. I did not expect that!!

Thank you Hairy Dieters!!!!

5 Sep

You may have heard of the Hairy Bikers- well, they recently did a series in the UK called Hairy Dieters- in which they tried to lose weight and design some low calorie dishes that we all love- in the main just by tweaking the traditional dishes and replacing certain things that raised the fat and calorie content. Why do I mention them? Well we bought their book last week- and it is fabulous.

Day one of the diet began with a shopping trip after designing the week’s menus- of which a couple of our main meals came from the Hairy Dieters. It was a fairly ordinary day, because I needed to rush I had fruit for breakfast with some juice, followed by ham salad sandwich for luch, and a muller greek style corner. During the afternoon I realised we had no snacks except for fruit (which I love but can go overboard on)- hence a trip to get some snack a jacks- not the greatest oat cakes, but they’re at least edible if I can keep my children away from them.

Tea was amazing! As can be evidenced by my large waist line, I am married to a fabulous cook, and so I have got used to good food. This meal was spanish style chicken from the Hairy Dieters. I ate it- a mixture of chiecken, herbs, spices, vegetables and it did not feel like I was on a diet. But apart from a brushing of olive oil there was no fat except what was in the chicken pieces. What was more, the children all loved it too.

So what have I learnt from day one- apart from the fact that I don’t have to snack every two minute to survive the day- is that using other people’s ideas and recipes can give you inspiration for some fabulous meals.

Day one wasn’t the easiest day in the world, I have had to resist reaching for a sweet or a biscuit when I open a cupboard, but it’s a start!!!

Hello world!

4 Sep

On Saturday 1st September 2012 I weighed myself and I need to lose 101 pounds!!!! Oh my goodness- how did I get to that weight?. During that time I have yo-yoed but I have never been this heavy before. Why did I weigh myself? Mainly because my wife and I had decided we needed to start a diet and Saturday was the day it was to begin. I am writing this blog to chronicle my thoughts, successes and inevitable slip ups as I try to lose 101lbs. The first milestone for me is in 11 months when I turn 40- I’m not sure 101 is doable in that time frame, but it should make a good sstarting point. I am not following a particular diet or regimen, and I weigh in every Saturday morning- not in front of any class- just in my bathroom. I know some people like to go to classes and weigh in infront of people- but public humiliation has never been my thing:) Inevitably some posts are going to be longer than others- sometimes I may just talk about what I’ve eaten- but I figure if I do this in public I’ll have more of an impetus to carry on.