Monday 22 February 2010


I lost my last 1/2 lb this week to reach my goal weight! I now weigh 135 lbs (9 stone 9 lbs). With my starting weight of 272.5 lbs (19 stone 2 1/2 lbs), I've lost total of 137.5 lbs (9 stone 11 1/2 lbs)! I've officially lost more weight than I weigh! Woohoo!!!!!!!

Now on to maintenance!

I went to extremes with my eating and exercise in order to get the last (stubborn) ten pounds off (not recommended), so I'm expecting my weight to fluctuate up and down as I try to normalize my eating and exercise over the next few weeks, but as long as I stay within 3 pounds either way of my target weight, I'm still considered as being "in target" and don't have to pay for my Slimming World meetings.

I've also vowed to myself to no longer be ruled by the scale. I will now be judging my weight by how my clothes fit and how strong and healthy I feel.

This opens a whole new chapter for me in my health and fitness journey. I will be looking towards strengthening myself and toning myself now.

Am I worried that I'll put all my weight back on? Not really. I worry that I will put more weight back on than I want to, but I know I'll never let myself gain back too much of this weight or get anywhere near as heavy as I used to be. It feels too good to be at a healthy weight!

Thursday 18 February 2010

Fitting In Exercise With Family Life & Work (Guest Post)

Robert at Malvern 27 June 2009

I asked my husband Robert (photo above), who has lost over 84 pounds himself (6 stone), and only rarely uses my elliptical crosstrainer or Wii Fit, to explain how he fits exercise and fitness into his daily schedule with the responsibilities of work and family life. (For those of you who don't know, we have 7 kids.) You can see an occassional post by Robert on his family life blog, Baby Blues. (and pester him to post more on it, please) and you can see some of his wonderful photography at his photo gallery.

Lots of people ask how is it that I do all the exercise I do and fit it in with my work and family life as they do not have the time to apply the same effort that I do.

I have often thought on this and realised that two things help to free up so much more time for doing the healthy option and these are a family that usually works as a unit and simplifying my daily activities.

Becky asked if I would write a piece on fitting in exercise into my working day and I must admit it took a second or two to understand exactly what this meant as I always thought that in general it was the time I spent exercising away from work that was the most effective, so rather than a list of exercises and times achieved, I decided to write a diary entry for the typical day to day activities and healthy alternatives that I do to keep my weight down.

Six a.m. the alarm wakes me from my slumber, and I stumble out of bed to wake my 16 year old so she can take her dog out for a walk before getting ready for college. I pass my wife on her way to the Wii to do her early exercises as I hop back into bed for the next hour and snooze whilst listening to the local radio morning hosts go in about traffic problems and traffic jams. At around seven thirty my seven and four year olds jump on the bed beside me to do their daily reading, and then I rise for the second time to weigh and have breakfast.

Breakfast for me consists of high-fibre serial, additional powdered bran, sultanas, sliced banana and a fat free yogurt; I would put in more but as it already spills over the edge of the bowl it is kind of difficult to think how. This is then followed by two eggs on a slice of toast; the eggs can be scrambled, poached or, as long as it’s with a light oil spray, fried. If I am still hungry then I also have an apple or a low fat fibre bar.

By now Becky has fed and dressed the three little ones while I shower and shave having run up the stairs as I am behind the time as usual.

As I leave home to take the kids to school, I wave hello to my neighbours, who are fitting child seats and strapping kids into seats whilst throwing school bags into the backs of cars and driving off to drop the kids off, and I walk at my 4-year-old’s leisurely pace along the half mile pavement to her school where along the way I wave hi to my neighbours, who are parking cars on cluttered road sides, unpacking their kids from their cars and collecting bags from the back of their cars, and enter the school grounds where I drop off each off the little ones, checking that they are signed in, lunches placed on shelves and books put away. After I sit with my daughter and “Wow!” at her interesting colourings or chat with her teacher about after school clubs, I plug my headphones into my ears and walk the three miles to my office, having plenty of time to think about what the day may offer or issues to resolve, only stopping to wave to my neighbours who toot their frustration at the traffic jam they now sit in (obviously they didn’t get time to listen to the traffic reports this morning).

Arriving in the Town Centre, I pop into my local Starbucks, and I am greeted with the customary hello and beverage, an Americano venti with an additional shot, plus one on the house for that really great caffeine kick (I guess I come here far too often). As I walk into my building, I wave hello to my neighbours as they rush by from parking their cars on their way to work. I work on the fifth floor so I greet my colleagues in the elevator foyer and pass the time of day until the lift arrives. At this point, I take the stairwell and run up the stairs to the second floor where the delivery reception has our office milk supply, collect our two litres of milk and then run up the stairs to the fifth floor, slightly out of breath but concerned to hear from those arriving in one lift that the other has broken down again and Jinni or Jenny or Jimmy is going to be late as they are stuck in it.

The morning ritual of “check in” with my fellow colleagues now commences while we wait for our computers to grind their own morning rituals of updates and security policy checks and again remember which post-it note stuck on the monitors is our current password and then ring the helpdesk as after three different passwords we are locked out; my colleagues and I swap stories about their great nights out that in truth get a bit hazy after ten o’clock, and it takes several of their friends to fill in the blanks leaving them a little blushed.

Of course by now the customary cakes and biscuits now litter the tops of the stationary cupboards and post area tables. Not bad considering most of the people in my office are all on long term diets and cannot figure out why they don’t lose the weight, even though they spend three hours a week in the gym before they go out to get sloshed with their mates.

Hey you make your choices.....

After checking my e-mail I then go in my morning rounds of visiting the senior managers and directors to discuss their business whilst drinking tea and coffee, this done by walking from building to building and taking the stairs; the Council has many offices and buildings, and most of these are around the shopping plaza (pedestrians only) and about half a mile apart. There are a couple of sites that are a mile or two away but several cycle and footpaths connect them, and, as most people take the spider web routes by car, these tend to be pleasant walks where only the distant beeping of horns from traffic stuck in queues disturbs my journey.

As lunch time arrives, I pop into the local greengrocers or supermarket to purchase fruit for my mid-day snack and return from my walk carrying a couple of heavy bags up the stairs to my office where people marvel at my serving bowl of melon, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, banana and kiwi which is topped with a fat free chocolate yogurt and a sprinkling of high-fibre muesli and agree to me making them a small bowl too where, once they have eaten, proclaim themselves full and wonder how I can eat my very large bowl of the same stuff. “It’s all the exercise I do at night,” I proclaim as I bring out two large bowls of apples, pears, bananas, oranges, plums and peaches, one to share with the office and one for my desk, which I promptly start to munch my way through as I write up my business reports and e-mails for the day.

Pretty much the same goes on for the rest of the afternoon with meetings and typing, munching and drinking coffee and then often the running, yes the running, to and from the toilet ( I really drink too much coffee).

Often when inspiration is required, I will go for a walk around the offices of the block and jog up to the ninth floor and down to the third several times as I pop into the offices of my business support colleagues.

The day then comes to a close and as we all get up to go, turning our computers off in order to, as the poster says, save seventeen thousand cooked chickens a year or five microwave dinners from being unboxed and microwaved. (Who it is that does all this because I leave my computer on is a mystery and why they do it every night I do not know.) Actually as a “Green Champion” for the council most of my office friends have now been beaten (metaphorically speaking, well in most cases anyway) into keeping their computers switched off at night and the last one turns the light off, which our cleaner hates as it leaves him in the dark (not metaphorically speaking) but I do love saving those microwave meals from being cooked.

Well getting back to my day, about now I plug my headphones back in to my ears, turn up the music, tuck my hands into my pockets as it’s usually raining or cold, and start the three miles walk uphill to my home. This walk actually takes less time even though it’s uphill as the rewards at the end of this trip are far greater. In these winter evenings my street is so dark as I walk to my home as most of my neighbours are still in their cars heading home, but there is always a warm glow from our home and squeals of delight as I enter the home (from the children mostly).

In general, I walk over nine miles a day just going and returning to work. In most cases, I take no longer than my colleagues in getting from one meeting to another, although those pesky cyclists are beginning to show me a wonderful technological advancement called the bicycle that apparently will move me from one place to another in half the time; golly what next?

Keeping healthy and fit is very important to me at forty five as I love the time I get to spend with my family from the one year old through to the seventeen year old and of course my wife. Dieting is not starving yourself but eating smarter. Nature does not in general create waste so sticking to that simple premise I can eat as much of what I want, I just have to make sure I do not mix the wrong types of food together. Fruit and vegetables can be eaten by the casserole dish load and eggs are great as filler for those times I feel like I need a small snack. Pasta, rice, pulses all good and meat is great as long as I keep away from the fats. Steak and chips often appear on my daily menu, and Saturday I lose weight with sausage, bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes and a slice of toast for lunch. All of this only works when supplementing an active life. The body will only convert all of this food to energy if you get off your butt and wiggle it.

Monday 15 February 2010

Half The Woman I Used To Be!

I thought my chances at having large losses during the week were over, but this week I managed to lose four pounds! I needed 4 ½ pounds lost to reach my goal weight, and even though I didn’t get that extra half a pound, I feel really good about getting a four pound loss this week!

My weight had jumped up earlier in the week, and I was struggling to get it to come back down. Nothing I did seemed to be working. At one point, I became so frustrated about it, I prayed that God would just take the weight off of me. I’d been working so hard at it with very little result, and it just didn’t seem fair. I woke up the next morning with the extra weight almost completely gone.

I continued to exercise and eat healthy, and I hoped for the best. And I am really happy to say that I now weigh 135.5 pounds (9 stone 9 ½ pounds) now, and I am only half a pound away from my goal weight! I know I will get that half a pound off this week, and it means that I will reach my goal by the deadline I set for myself. I wanted to get to my goal weight by my birthday. My birthday is on February 27th, and the next weigh-in is on February 22nd.

I’ve now come down 8 dress sizes. I have lost more than 50% of my starting weight! I am finally in a healthy BMI for my height. I keep telling myself that, if I can do this, I can do anything. I have so many dreams that I want to make a reality, and I know I have the willpower to achieve them now! And I hope others who are struggling with their weight can look at the amount I’ve managed to lose and see that they can do it too.

Robert wrangled the “Slimmer of the Week” title off of me by managing to lose 4 ½ pounds this week. It also put him back in his target range (2 ½ pounds away from his target weight) which means, since he’s been “at target” before, he no longer has to pay at our Slimming World group meetings. (Once you hit your target, you can be three pounds below or three pounds above it without having to pay.) He’s hoping to get those last 2 ½ pounds off this coming week.

I’m just so excited about the idea of finally getting to my target weight! I am really looking forward to the next weigh-in now!

I knew this year was going to bring wonderful things!

Tuesday 9 February 2010

The Difference Half A Pound Makes

I lost half a pound this week. A part of me was sad. I couldn’t help thinking that I had done an awful lot of work towards losing weight to only have lost half a pound. That same part of me was annoyed about only losing half a pound.

But then, another part of me realized what this half a pound meant. Last week, I weighed 140 pounds. In stone, the English way of weighing, I weighed 10 stone. This half a pound loss means that I am now in a new ten-pound bracket by now weighing 139 ½ pounds and I am in a new stone range by now weighing 9 stone 13 ½ pounds. It also got me a sticker in group for reaching another half pound lost. I’ve lost 9 ½ stone now (133 pounds).

Yes, only losing half a pound this week leaves me with more to lose by my birthday than I had hoped, but there is still a chance that I will reach my goal weight by my birthday. I have two weigh-ins before my birthday, and I need to lose 4 ½ pounds. If I don’t quite make it by then, my birthday falls closer to the meeting right after it, so I can try and get there by then.

Losing just half a pound can be depressing or it can be a blessing, depending on how I look at it. I’m choosing to look at it in a positive light.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Making Choices

If you’re struggling to lose weight or to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to think about your choices. Losing weight would be easy if making the right choices was easy. But too often, it’s easier to choose to eat what we want instead of what’s good for us and to choose to sit and watch tv instead of getting up and doing some exercise.

We make these little choices all the time, throughout the day, and though each choice made has a small impact, if we continually choose these things, they add up to having a big effect on our waistlines and health. Choosing the high-in-fat dessert once in a while won’t do any permanent damage to our health, but if we make these choices on a regular basis, the result can be harmful.

Sometimes, the easier choice doesn’t even feel like you’re making one. You just go on automatic and reach for something salty to munch when you’re bored. Or you get home from work, and tired from a busy day, plunk yourself down in front of the tv for a bit of relaxation.

But each thing you do in your life is a choice. You can choose to walk to the store instead of driving there. You can choose to take the stairs at work instead of the elevator. You can choose to grab an apple when you feel like munching something or to go for a run when you’re bored.

Think about the things you do and the choices you are making by doing them. Are those choices helping you make it to your goal or are they hurting your progress? How important is your goal to you? Is that slice of cake and the few moments of pleasure you get as you scarf it down more important to you than feeling healthy and fit or than getting to your goal weight?

Thinking about your choices, once you start to really do it, can lead to helping you in areas of your life other than just health, fitness and weight loss too. Do you really want to chat with friends on Facebook? Or would your time be better spent catching up on writing the novel you dreamed of writing or knitting the scarf you promised yourself you would knit? Does sitting in front of the tv or computer screen mean more to you than spending time playing with your kids?

It’s okay to choose to socialize on the computer, play video games and watch tv sometimes. It’s only when those choices start to take up more of your life and take away from other areas that you have to begin to make different choices. What are your goals? What is it you really want to achieve? If you know what your goals are, then the majority of the choices you make throughout your day should be ones that help you get closer to them.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Only 5 Pounds To Go!

At my weigh-in last monday night, I lost another one and a half pounds, so I am now only five pounds away from my goal weight, three pounds away from a healthy BMI and I have lost a total of 132.5 pounds.

It has become a real struggle to lose even the smallest amounts of weight and I am feeling conflicted. I told myself I was not going to crazy lengths to get this weight off ever again, but that feels like exactly what I am doing. Spending an hour on the elliptical crosstrainer at level 6 and above and an rpm of 10.5 to 11.5, then more than an hour on the Wii Fit, and then still doing an hour's walk with the dog later at night, and even sometimes throwing in 30 minutes exercising to my Tae Bo video, is going to extremes. I also don't think I am eating enough. This is not a pace that I can keep up and so it is not practical for a long-term solution.

The problem that I am facing is that I really, really do NOT want to gain any weight back right now, not when I am so close to my goal. But if I go back to my normal, more moderate exercise routine and eating more, my weight will go up. It won't be a permanent problem, as I am sure my weight will go back down again once it gets adjusted to the healthier regime again. But when I am so close to my goal, I really, really don't want to have to let it go up and then wait for it to come back down again. I'd rather get to my goal and then slowly return my routine back to normal, allowing for small, temporary gains in the interim.

I'm conflicted about this, but I shouldn't be. Good health is my ultimate goal, so it's pretty clear what I need to do.