The difficult first post
The machine pulls no punches.
YOUR BMI IS 32.3. YOU ARE OBESE.
No wonder people fear a future ruled by machines, they aren’t very gentle when it comes to breaking bad news. The hurt continued;
YOUR IDEAL WEIGHT IS 8ST 10LB – 11ST 11LB.
Standing on the scales in the lightest shorts and t-shirt combo I could muster, my 15ST 3LB bulk is more than three stones away from the top end of my healthy weight. I begin to make excuses in my mind to absolutely noone. “It is probably closer to 15ST exactly if you take the clothes out of the equation”. Another voice in my head interjects telling me to stop being so ludicrous and that a few ounces of clothing is not the issue here.
I would love to say this was the lightbulb moment but alas I have stood here a hundred times before. I have a folder full of ‘before’ pictures on my phone yet the ‘after’ folder remains empty.
I was never a fat kid. When I was six I was dragged to the GP due to concerns I was too skinny. I ran around lots, I ate well and played a lot of sport, albeit never to a particularly good standard. In the mid-teens sport gave way to social drinking but I was still “as skinny as a rake” as my dearest mother would say.
Days before my 19th birthday I fled the nest for the first time, moving from the security of the parental home to halls of residence with nine other equally ill-prepared adolescents about to embark on student life. Tipping the scales at 10ST 3LB and preparing for potential starvation due to my lack of cooking skills, putting weight on was the last thing on my mind.
Three academic years (plus a few months of hanging around refusing to acknowledge it was all over) later and I returned to the parental home with a five-figure debt and an extra 50 pounds of bulk. I had gone from a healthy and fit weight to 13ST 11LB. It turns out that drinking beer six days a week, frozen supermarket food and a job in a kebab shop that paid out in vouchers for said shop aren’t conducive to maintaining one’s wellbeing.
As the weight had gone on gradually it had never seemed that big a deal. It was the reaction of people who hadn’t seen me that the first of many lightbulb moments. My clothes sizes had gone up and I was no longer the skinny kid that had moved away to university. For the first time I considered going on a ‘diet’. I didn’t know exactly what this would entail and without any forward planning I went to Waterstones to look for a book on healthy eating and losing weight. A few minutes later I was on the bus home reading about the GI Diet having parted with £7.99 of my hard earned (student overdraft) cash. The reason for my choice? Well Kylie Minogue was following the GI Diet and if it was good enough for the pint-sized princess then it was good enough for me. The logic behind the plan was to eat slower releasing foods so that the feeling of hunger was kept at bay.
Surprisingly this didn’t work out too well. It turns out that heavy drinking, Subway sandwiches and a lack of exercise were where Kylie and I differed in our dieting principles. The 13ST 11LB became 14ST 5LB and it was only going in one direction. Another lightbulb moment was followed by another ill thought out fad. £456.00 later I was the proud owner of my first gym membership. Annoyingly, it takes more than shelling out for said membership for the weight to come off and more annoyingly it turns out the hot tub and steam room aren’t great at burning calories.
Months turned to years and 14ST 5LB became 14ST 10LB and it was time for yet another lightbulb moment. This time it was calorie counting. This meshed nicely with my love of numbers and mild OCD tendencies. I weighed cereal, I measured milk and I logged nutritional information. Monday to Thursday I was the healthiest eater going. I logged exercise to earn a higher calorie allowance and then consumed those calories with gusto. Then the weekend would come and nothing would get logged. Ten pints would fill my allowance so I won’t put those in and just start again on Monday. The gains were marginal due to my flawed version although it did at least teach me about portion sizing and calorific content.
Like so many before it fell by the wayside and a few more years passed. I went from hankering after the 10-13 stone range to being happy that I was fighting off the 15 stone mark. I tried with myfitness pal but didn’t like the interface. I tried Slimming World but didn’t like the process. I tried running but overdid it and ended up with tendonitis in my knee and achilles.
I weighed myself in September 2015 and the scales tipped at 14ST 13LB. I was a big dinner away from tipping the 15ST mark and decided it was time for drastic action. I was (and am) very ‘in to’ social media and had noticed a curly haired cockney chap on Instagram who was promoting his lean in fifteen ethos. Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach was on his way to becoming the Jamie Oliver of the fitness world and I decided to sign up for a tailored diet and fitness plan from his website. At £149.00 it wasn’t cheap but my thought process was that if I had paid a lot for it and it was tailored I was more likely to stick to it.
I took some more ‘before’ photos and uploaded them along with my measurements and within a few days I had my ‘plan’. I joined the Facebook group and followed it to the letter. The science behind it is a small calorie deficit created by High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) then HIIT coupled with targeted weight training. I followed it to the letter for the first two cycles, losing pounds and inches. At the end of the second cycle I had dropped exactly one stone and the scales showed 13ST 13LB. I was delighted, it had been more than a decade since I had been in the ‘thirteens’ range. Moving on to cycle three should have been my trigger to keep going. Except it was Christmas so I decided to pause my plan and start again in the New Year. With the plan paused I obviously ate everything in sight over a three week process. I stepped on to the scales the day after New Year’s Day and I had put 10LB on. 14ST 9LB and all my good work undone for the sake of a load of beer and chocolate that in reality wasn’t all that good.
Numerous planned reboots have never transpired, and here I stand today, 31 May 2018 being harshly judged by a robot.
The plan? To fix this thing once and for all. Better eating, less junk, more sleep, more exercise.
It won’t be a fad, it won’t be the latest trend in wellness, whatever wellness may be. I aim to make simple, better informed choices and moderate treats rather than perversely rewarding good eating with bad eating.
Hopefully I will have an ‘after’ picture to go with the hundreds of ‘before’ ones.