Thursday, 23 May 2019

Z starts again

I blame Tim.  One has to blame someone, after all.  Like Eve, I was tempted and I fell.

At the time Russell died, I was the thinnest I'd been for many years, and was actually a few pounds less than I wanted to be.  Not much, but I let myself edge up to about eight and a half stone and this was just about right.  I stayed there with no trouble - but then a pound or so a month started to creep on.  You know how it is, it's too easy.  I've stabilised but I am a lot fatter than I want to be.

I'm a fair bit older than I was when I last dieted and I'm not especially motivated to do it again, but I must.  I honestly don't eat anything I shouldn't and I won't do exclusion diets, even if they work.  I need to gradually reduce the amount I eat and get myself fitter, though I hate exercise for its own sake too.  I'm not the best candidate for weight loss.  But the first thing to do is to get more exercise - as my former doctor put it, exercise doesn't make you lose weight but it raises your metabolism so that dieting is more effective.

I've had my bike serviced and new tyres and handlebar grips, and am back on it again.  I cycle to Yagnub, no further yet, though my aim is to go by bike if it's no more than five miles and it's feasible.  Today, I managed a hill that I had to walk up two days ago, so I'm improving slightly.  I was panting, I admit,  but I did it.

I'm really pissed off that I let myself gain the flab, but there's no point in fussing.  I'm old and knackered and, as I get more so, it'll be harder again.  So now is the time.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Success, and some learning.

So I went zero carb back in... September, was it? It went very well. To some this is absolute mentalism, but I needed to make big changes and I wanted to give it a go. So far, so good.

Let me explain why I thought the changes were needed. All of my adult life I have been a heavy drinker. Never been an issue, never craved it as such when I don't have it, but I'm either drinking or I'm not. It's never one or two, it's drinking until I am drunk or what's the point. It's not for pleasure, generally, it's to reach a point.

September 2017, I quit drinking alcohol on my doctor's advice. Nothing too bad, but I had gout, and it appeared to be a major factor for most sufferers. Doctor said quit drinking, so I did. From there, I came to learn just how addicted I was. Not to the booze, but to the sugar within. Jesus fucking Christ, did I learn. There were times when I would be eating upwards of six chocolate bars a day, there was at least one day with nine... My body was peak and trough, over and over; I was falling asleep at my desk in those sugar lulls, and getting a shit-ton of work done in the highs.

Diabetes has always been a massive fear of mine, partly because I am so needlephobic and partly because, well, if you live the way I have then a Type 2 diagnosis is only one person's fault. I couldn't live with knowing that, understanding it, and then doing it anyway.

This combines with looking into Ironman, and learning that on the bike I would have to, in theory, put away four carb sachets per hour. That could be upwards of 30 sachets in 112 miles – fuck that shit. Never mind your gut, what about your teeth? There has to be a better way, I thought. So I start talking to a coach I know and he mentions zero carb, we discussed it, and I thought, I'll give it a month.

One month turned to two, to three… People were coming up to me saying 'Shit, how much weight have you lost?' My own sister walked past me twice without recognising me. No shit. In reality, at that point I had only lost maybe a stone and a half (20lbs, US Fat Fans) but so much of it was water that it had a really dramatic effect. I had plenty of energy, was sleeping fine, and was enjoying my food.

Christmas Day came, and Fern's dad came round with a ginger cheesecake. That man can cook.

I ate the cheesecake. Whole thing.

And form there, I really learned about the addiction to sugar. For the next five or six weeks, I learned everything I think I need to know about how my body and brain responds to the stimulus of sweet. In short... As strong as I am mentally, I have to avoid it. It's almost as though the body calibrates in the morning, one taste of sweet and that's it for me. Next thing you know I am eating a tub of ice cream. Whole fucking tub. Using the microwave to help it along.

Now, back on the wagon, I try to make sure I have what I need in advance. I cook some meat the night before, take it to work in a tub, graze on it all day. Forget mealtimes, I eat until I am not hungry, then I stop.

I've rambled, apologies if I lost focus there. It's quite a journey so far. I've lost about 35-40lbs I think, but I'm not sure. I'm just over 16 stone now, 222lbs, and while I am probably carrying more muscle than ever before in my life, I feel pretty good. I recently started training again, just a little - a few three-mile runs this week, seeing how it goes. And so far, so good. Next week I will add in some swims, some gym work.

I might have to get some fashionable accessories made with all this spare skin though. I'm thinking belt, slippers, wallet… Orders will be taken soon, so start thinking. Seriously, I look like I'm melting.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to comment on Blogger blogs which let Google users comment.  Blogger is owned by Google and I use Gmail, which I'm signed into, but that doesn't seem to be enough.  So I'm writing a post in the hope that this will be sufficient.

I'm still blogging, but not generally here.  Hope you're all well.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Massive huge humongous changes

TRUTH.

I went zero carb. It's agreeing with me, in a big way. No sugars, nothing at all carby, and I feel damn good, energy levels are very good and consistent, and I'm enjoying the food.

I know it sounds nuts to some people, but I wanted to try it and this is week four... It's working for me so far. So I'll keep going, and start putting some workouts in, and see what happens. But so far so good.

Weight-wise, it has almost certainly had an effect, but as I have not weighed myself, I don't know quite what that is yet. I'll let you know. I'll weight myself at some point this month. Probably.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Sometimes, positive change is forced upon you...

So, a while back I was doing some training, and discovered a muscle imbalance. I worked fairly hard to sort it out, learned some cool new exercises, and sorted it seemed to be.

Late summer 2017, I'm thinking, awesome. I can run again. Maybe I will find a race that takes me far, far away from my comfort zone. This is going to be fun.

Then it all went tits-up. Late July/early August, I started with gout. It's only in the last couple of weeks that it has really come under control, and my blood-urate is now in the normal range. Looks like I will be on this medication for good, assuming my kidneys stay in good shape.

So what 'takeaways' do I have from this? Well, first is that gout fucking hurts. I've not had it nearly as bad as some do, but then I took measures immediately to curb its progress; I knew what it was, and I made immediate changes. I haven't had an alcoholic drink in over three months, and to be honest I don't miss it. But if I had not had to, I would have carried on drinking. Why? Because it's what I do. Or rather, from here, did. Cutting out meat was much harder, but I am now mostly vegetarian. Or more accurately, I don't seek out meat to eat. I don't mess about if the kids are eating it, I will have a little, but throughout the daytime I don't have any. If it's possible not to in the evening, I don't. I'm working on it. I had my first-ever blood test as a result. I am quite staggeringly needlephobic. Still am, but I'm getting better and better. As it was their first time enjoying my blood, they tested for everything, and I am in quite remarkable shape considering the punishment I have put my body through. My kidney and liver function is excellent, apparently. Shocked the shit out of me. Cholesterol slightly high, but probably from being a fat twat; not yet pre-diabetic, but knocking on its door. Again, that will change with what is to come.

One of the (many, many) things that increases uric acid production in the body is losing weight; being a lard-arse also doesn't help. What a splendid catch-22. But now my levels are in the normal range, I am going to go after my fat arse with a vengeance. I am around a stone (14lbs) lighter, probably largely down to the drink going; but the quantity of water I drink to help the body flush the uric acid out is almost certainly adding to my overall weight. I drink fuck knows how much water a day; I'd say 6-7 pints at work, probably another four or five in the evening. If my pee is anything other than clear, it's panic time. Dehydration is a mammoth factor in gout, and I will be fucked if I'm having that again.

I also started swimming. Just half a mile at a time at the moment, and only breaststroke, but it's a start. I also bought a bike, which I couldn't ride because of the gout's bubbling-under nature while the medication was being sorted. Now I can ride it, there has been a global recall on that model because of a manufacturing issue with the forks... Oh well. Soon though.

You know where this is going, right? I've entered a triathlon in July 2018, a half-Ironman distance (70.3 miles). I'm going to have to learn front crawl from scratch, and I've hardly been on a bike in the last ten years (got hit by a car twice while living and biking around Exeter. It wasn't fun. despite being unhurt mostly both times. I figure third time probably not lucky, so I've stayed away). I have barely run in the last three years.

Out of my comfort zone? Yep, just a bit. But fuck it. 2017's out of my comfort zone was passing my driving test. And that's one of the things that's made this possible. It's at Holkham Hall in Norfolk in July, and the kids will be there to hopefully see the results of hard, hard work, and to learn that being outdoor, engaging with the world, doing stuff, is what it's all about.

So the journey kinda starts today, with a gym trip and some cardio. I'm a fraction under 17 stone right now; I may be more like 15 stone 7lbs by early February. It comes off very quickly, and the variety in training is going to be a huge bonus as it should mean less fatigue. But we'll see what happens. I'll be reporting back more regularly, if you're out there.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Self perception, and a new understanding.

Some of this is going to sound stupid. I'm ok with that.

I gave myself a deadline of when the new baby arrives to get into shape because I know time will be an absolute premium afterward. It didn't happen, though I did get a little fitter and a lot stronger. To cure my ailments, I have been doing high intensity strength training, focussing on my hamstrings and glutes. Basically, I have been curling between 60 and 70 kg on my hamstrings for the past nine months or so, and it's basically worked. I can run again, though there is tightness. But I can at least move, and that's more than I could do before.

But I realised something recently, and it's priceless. I was in the same room as my former brother in law, and he was moaning about being in a 34"-waisted jean. I thought, I would love to wear a 34" waist... But then I thought about it. A lot. I used to wear a 34", when I was 14 or so. Now I am in a 40" or 42"; back when I was in (slow) marathon shape, I was in a 38 and not that far off a 36".

Now I know that 36" is a bit more realistic, though I would be happy with a 38". So why the change?

I realised that I am not the same shape as most people. Yeah, sounds stupid, but it's an understatement. I'm pretty short – 5' 6" – and very wide. Kind of like a box. It's why I don't wear suits for work; I just end up looking like security, albeit security standing far away.

Where was I? Oh yes, not the same shape. So today, I took this realisation a step further. Now, I know I'm pretty big, and not in the way that most fat blokes say: "I'm a big guy" or, "I'm husky". I mean, I'm really big, I put on muscle very easily. I once laughed my ass off (privately) when a visitor to a shared flat had a 15" collar on his shirt, and asked a group in a pub, 'who the fuck has a neck so tiny, how does he hold his head up?' They all also wore 15" to 15.5" collars. At the time, I wore 17.5", now I wear an 18". My chest as measured today is 49"; most men are under 40". In shape, mine is more like 46", so there's some boob in that...

But my thighs are the best indication. Fern, at 38 weeks pregnant, measured her waist under her bump today. It's smaller than my thigh circumference. There is very little fat on my legs but a lot of muscle, and each thigh is 29" around. That's 3" less than my former brother-in-law's usual waist size.

I'm never going to be a 32" waist, and can you imagine how that would look? I can curl an adult's weight on my hamstrings, and push three adults (actually, I can do more but the machine weight stops at 200kg) with my legs; my core strength is excellent, and I have a strong, broad chest and shoulders. I know I need to lose fat, and it can come now with greater sobriety and the ability to actually train. I am trying to embrace that strength and enjoy it, and accept that I am a boulder; I'm never going to be that lovely, long, lean build some men enjoy.

I'll always be able to pick them up and bench press them, though.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Pissed off, but improving

All this weight, I've put on all this weight. Like, dude. 35-40lbs. It's a lot.

Z told me not so long ago to eat less. I think the problem is more to eat less shite, and to drink significantly less. I know that's been a huge part of my additional calories over the last 18 injured months.

Injury though, may now actually really be manageable. Mostly with the application of heat, so that's nice and easy. It seems the problems are my calves, and my quadratus lumbator or psoas muscle in my back. They are the source of the stiffness that can become quite debilitating (I will never forget my 37-weeks-pregnant partner having to dress me. Not a good day).

My better half bought me some new road running shoes just after Christmas, and they remain in the box, unworn. She has written a note on top in black felt pen that says, "Please wear me!"

Soon, my pretties. Soon.