Monday, 26 December 2011

100 day running challenge

78.6kg, a loss of 400 grams from last week

Well I'm continuing to lose weight. That's good. But that bad news is that I've not restarted my exercise. Other bad news is that my car has a faulty fuel pump, which means that I won't be using it in a while. I don't mind busing, especially in summer, but it's probably not worth busing to the gym. So I want to start running again. A challenge I'm giving myself is to do 100 consecutive days of running. I know that I'm awful at challenges, but I want to do this one. I actually want to succeed in a self-driven challenge. It has to be possible.

I'm working a lot today, but starting tomorrow, the plan is simple. 100 days. No misses. Every day, including days I'm sick, and my birthday. The last day is the 4th of April. I've "only" got 12.6kg to lose, so 100 days of diet and exercise will take me really close to goal. My only requirement is that I have to run for at least 5 minutes. Of course, I'm almost certain to run for longer, but that is my "if I'm sick, I need to run that" amount.

One more week of the Give Yourself The Best Gift challenge. Currently, I've lost just under 4 kilograms. Not as much as I would have liked, but every bit counts. I know that I'm going to get to goal. I just know it.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A loss is a loss...

79.0kg, a loss of 200 grams this week.

Well, I gained for two weeks, and then I lost this week. That's good. I've turned the ship around, but I haven't lost much. I have yet to get to the gym, but hey, that's okay. I'm having a bit of a financial crisis at the moment (due to my own mismanagement of money) and I simply can't afford the petrol to get there. Everything involving money has to be carefully allocated for the next eight days. I won't run out of food, but it'll be close.

I tried budgeting food for $60 a week, but really, it's just too boring. $92 a week makes life more enjoyable, I don't want to feel like I'm living in a food prison where the (physically) small amounts of food don't create a spark of enjoyment in my day. I want to go low carb again, but when I'm at goal, not before. Plus I bought lots of olive oil, I'll use that up before I go overseas. So from my next pay in 8 days, I'm going back to what I was eating. Special K. Meat patties. Fruit. Veges (of course!). Whey protein powder.

Christmas is going to be an almost non-event this year. Apart from Skype, I won't be seeing anyone on Christmas day. That's not specifically an issue for me this year, but I don't want it to happen for more than a few Christmas days in my life. I'll treat myself to a few nice foods, but apart from that, I'll just watch some DVD's and maybe go for a walk or something. I expect to lose weight this Christmas day, the same as I lost weight in 2010 and 2009 Christmas days.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Weekly update

79.2kg, a gain of 600 grams from last week

Okay, I admit that I'm headed in the wrong direction. Two weeks in a row of gaining. I realised what the problem was, being on holiday for such a long time was increasing the lack of direction for me. It's not that work makes my life better, probably the opposite (with the exception of getting paid, of course). It's just having five weeks of holidays is probably a lot, and any structure that I already had in my life might slowly evaporate.

So I'm back to work now, and the structure has increased. I have a feeling that I will start with the exercise again, I didn't have this 2 or 3 weeks ago. That's good. Any small gains will take a week or two to get rid of. I've been up and down so much on this rollercoaster, a small amount is not going to change any long-term results.

My brother came to visit briefly. His oldest daughter was graduating in Dunedin, so they flew to Christchurch and stopped in to visit me on the way down, and drove the rest. I complimented him on his weight loss. He has just as bad a problem with yo-yoing as I do. I said that he only had about 10kg to go, but his wife said that she didn't want him going to get as low as 80kg because his face looked "gaunt". That's wrong, of course, his face didn't look gaunt, it's just that really, she didn't want to be with a slim man, when she was not so slim. I think that this is a common problem in couples, one person feels insecure about the other losing weight. I hope he ignores her requests. But my brother has always been an overeater (such as planning to gain weight when on holiday) so who knows when he will reach 80kg, if ever.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Oops, I gained this week

78.6kg, a again of 500 grams from last week

I lost 12 weeks in a row, but due to my own mismanagement I gained this week. I wasn't weighing daily, and due to overindulging more than a few days in a row, plus something I went to on Saturday night, Monday's weigh-in was a bit of a surprise. Well, really it wasn't. Don't worry, I haven't lost my weight loss mojo. This is a minor setback, a small bump in the road.

In terms of the dreaded exercise, I'm still not doing any. I'm hoping that will change soon, because I'm paying for the gym, whether I'm going or not. Maybe it's because I'm on holiday at the moment, and have been for just over a month now.

Because of my eating the same thing every day, it's easy to work out how much I spend on food. I was really surprised to see that I spend at least NZ$93 a week. That's a bit too high for me, so I am trying to get it down to about $60 a week. That means reducing protein, which may result in an increase in hunger. It's all a bit too early to tell so far. One thing I did try a few days ago was peanuts. At 44 kilojoules per cent, they are great value for money. The most expensive food in terms of energy is frozen vegetables, at 3 kilojoules per cent, but I don't buy them for the energy, rather for the nutrients. Anyway, after consuming probably more peanuts than I should have, I end up with a bad case of indigestion. I vaguely recall this happening in the past, when I over did it with peanuts. I'll have to limit how much I eat, and also plan my day so I have them over the whole day.

In case anyone is wondering what my cooking plan is, well there isn't any. I hate to cook, I see food preparation as wasted time so I tend to eat raw food or things that are easily cooked in the microwave (such as frozen veges). I've been this way since, well since I moved out of the family home. I've lived with two women, it seemed that my dislike of cooking rubbed off on them so they didn't feel the need to be all domestic and cook for me. Plus I would never ask them to.

I'm feeling fine about the gain this week, although my 12 week streak has ended. I'm expecting a loss next week.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Another week, another loss

78.1kg today, a loss of 400 grams from a week ago.

Week twelve of losing weight. That's good. What is not so good is the lack of exercise. That's bad. I'm planning to start today, and go all-out. My reason at this stage is a 'secret' but I'm bound to tell you in the next couple of months. I may be going overseas sooner than expected (maybe), and I want to reach goal weight before I do. Then again, maybe I won't go overseas early.

I know I have said this before, and nothing has happened. This time I'm a bit more serious than before.

I want to start exercising today, and continue for each day, until I'm at goal. I have a games console (Xbox 360) hooked up to my large LCD television. I have a Microsoft Kinect (which I'd planned to sell, because I never thought I'd use it) which is a 3 dimensional infrared detection system for the Xbox 360. I have an exercise game (Your shape, fitness evolved). What that all means is that I can move and the camera sees where my body and arms and legs are, and tells me how I'm exercising. The only downside is that I have to move the couch each time I have to do it.

Because I have that setup, I can exercise on days that I go to work, and the gym is closed. That means that I have no excuses. Maybe if I have a cold, I can take a day off. Who knows.

Now, it's time for an analysis of the 49 weight loss bloggers who I have been keeping track of, when they posted their weights on their blogs. First, a bit of background. I knew that most weight loss bloggers didn't achieve their weight loss goals, but I wanted to see exactly how they didn't achieve things, and see exactly what was happening to bloggers as an average, and also what maybe the top 25% achieved.

In January this year, I made a list of about 200 bloggers, and in February I took note of posted weights by the first 100 who said how much they weighed. I've been tracking these 100 bloggers since. When they update their weight, I enter it into my spreadsheet. 21 have abandoned or removed their blogs so far. I wanted to see how they were going after 6 months, however only 36 posted their weight in August. That number went up to 49 if I recorded their weight in the 6th, 7th or 8th month.

The good news is that the bloggers are actually losing weight. Maybe. The average weight for the 100 in February was 95.5kg. For November the average is 93.3kg, a loss of 2.2kg over 9 months. That's about 54 grams loss each week. The problem is that I don't know about the bloggers who don't post their weight. 28 posted their weight in October, a lot less than the 100 in February or 54 in March. I guess I should have found 100 bloggers who posted their weights in both February and March, maybe I would get more data. Maybe the people who don't post their weights are gaining. I get the feeling that if they were losing, we'd know about it.

I thought that I'd have a question/answer way to describe the data. First question:

Does having a weight loss blog help you to lose weight?

I don't know. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. I know that for me, the answer is yes, but I don't know what proportion of bloggers are like me, who wanted to document their weight loss methods. To prove that it could be done.

What is the average loss for the people who posted their weight in the 6th, 7th or 8th month?

The 49 bloggers lost a total of 76.8kg, over an average of about 7 months. However one person contributed 31.3kg of that, the second best lost 20.0kg and the third best lost 19.6kg. This means that a lot of people gained. The average loss works out to be 1.6kg per person. But because some people were a lot heavier than others in this survey, as a percentage of starting body weight, the average loss is 0.46%. That means a 100kg person would lose 0.46kg after 7 months. In case you were wondering, median losses are 0kg and 0% of body weight. That means that 24 people gained, and 24 lost, with one person being the same as they were in February.

Okay, half lose and half gain. Let's talk about the people who lost. What was their average?

When you start to lose weight, you never know for sure whether you'll be successful. But if you were successful, you'd lose an average of 7.84kg or 7.14 percent of your body weight.

There have to be some people who are pretty good at losing weight, say the best one quarter of the 49 who posted their weight. How did they go?

The top twelve people lost an average of 11.5 percent of their initial body weight. The lightest of these people weighed 75kg at the start, which means that you didn't have to be heavy to be pretty good at losing weight.

It's almost December. How many lost for each of the nine months?

Just one. I'd post a link to her blog, but I don't want to unintentionally derail her progress by putting pressure on her.

So there you have it. Roughly half of all bloggers lose weight. I'll update the stats after 12 months, and see what's changed, and how many have reached goal weight.

PS apologies if there are any typos in this post, I've got allergies today and I'm having difficulty with my vision.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Weekly update

78.5kg, a loss of 400 grams from last Monday

Well, another week, another loss. I seem to have the diet under control, but the exercise - it just isn't happening. I'm busy at the moment, going to see my father briefly in Dunedin, then back home again. The leaking hot water cylinder is being replaced on Wednesday, I need to do some things on Thursday - then on Friday - guess what?

I plan to restart exercise. Friday. The Give Yourself The Best Gift challenge issues that I stated last week are exactly the same. I'm eating a bit better, but losing weight is not on my consciousness as much as it should be. I'm hoping to change that by some method, starting Friday.

I know that I promised the results of my analysis of how 100 weight loss bloggers I've been tracking since February are going. Sorry, but I'm just too busy at the moment, so that will come next week.

However, here is a bit of a teaser, something to consider. It's a graph of those who have posted their weights, after 6, 7 or 8 months of me tracking them. The vertical axis shows how much that they have lost or gained. If they have gained, their dot is above the horizontal axis. The horizontal axis is their initial weight. All values are in kilograms. A very simple method to convert kilograms to pounds is to just double the number. That is accurate to within 10 percent.

There are 49 people on this graph (known as a scatter graph). 24 people have lost, 24 have gained, and 1 has neither lost nor gained.

Monday, 14 November 2011

10th consecutive weekly loss

Weight: 78.9kg, a loss of 700 grams from last week.

Ten weekly losses in a row. That's not bad. I've got a good feeling about what I've achieved in the last 10 weeks, and fingers crossed, I won't have any gains. Things are looking good.

However, on the exercise front, things aren't looking good. I still haven't restarted it. It's been about 3 weeks since I've been to the gym. A service that I'm paying for, whether I use it or not. Bad weight loser.

Getting onto the subject of the Giving Yourself The Best Gift challenge, a challenge that I seem to be on but not putting much effort into, apart from posting updates once a week. We're on week 8 at the moment. Here are the action points that I'm not doing:

  • At the start of each day, plan my day with losing weight to be one of the most important things to achieve for that day

  • Write down what I eat if it is not on my 'list', writing that on my blog

  • Exercise as often as time and energy permits

  • Get quality sleep. That means going to bed at the usual time, rather than staying up late

  • Ensure that I have at least one full day of food at home, so I don't run out of anything

I've not achieved any of these, which is worrying. Yet I still continue to lose weight. I think that this creates unrealistic expectations of how much I can lose, and when the planets go out of alignment those losses don't occur any more. The other two action points I don't need to worry about at the moment, since I'm still losing. If I lose my weight loss "mojo", I plan to head over to watch the weight loss videos at made by Antishay at Youtube. They are quite helpful for motivation. Not so much as being inspiring, but there are hundreds of them there, and I would expect to watch 3 or 4 a day to help restart my mojo.

I've been reading weight loss blogs regularly now for about 6-7 years now. They fascinate me. Every weight loss blog goes through a cycle. First, it is created, but usually you don't read it when it's that young because there aren't any links to it. It's more likely to be deleted/go idle at this stage than any other. As time goes on, more people link to it on their blogrolls, and you start to read it, and when you see the name on some blogroll, you recognise it.

There is always one blog that gets linked to the most, one that I consider to be the centre of the weight loss blog universe. When I started reading weight loss blogs, Renee Gets Fit was probably the centre then. It's still being hosted, although hasn't been updated in over 4 years. I guess Renee is still paying for the hosting for sentimental reasons. Who knows. Now, it seems that Jack Sh*t, Getting Fit and Bitch Cakes are at the centre. I don't know which has more links to it, they probably share the top position.

There are about 2000 active independent weight loss blogs out there, as an estimate, based on blog rolls. An independent blog is my name for one that lets the owner link to sites not in the same domain name. The alternative would be a website such as Extrapounds, which is more of a community of people who are commenting on blogs within the same domain name. The average lifetime of a weight loss blog is about 2-3 years, from start to end.

I wanted to know more about the whole weight loss blog thing back at the start of the year, so I made a list of about 200 active blogs. 100 posted their weight in February, and I started tracking these, recording each month how much the owner weighed, if they posted a number. I'll do the analysis next week.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Another loss this week

Weight: 79.6kg

In terms of weight loss, things are going okay. Not great, not awful, but okay. I'm losing. I'm eating sort of alright, but I'm not exercising. I guess I go through these stages of exercising well, then not exercising, and wasting the gym membership. I think that I'm going through a stage of loneliness caused by the breakup 3 months ago. I guess my social life is pretty much non-existent, and I don't seem to be bothered working on that, because I'll be travelling overseas in about 8 months. So things aren't great. I do have a cat to keep me company, and that helps a lot, but it's not ideal.

Moving on from that, here's a graph of my weekly loss for the last 9 weeks, in grams. There does seem to be a general reduction in how much I'm losing each week.

A loss is a loss, but I want to speed things up at least just a little bit. I've got a cold at the moment, but when sneezing drops a few notches, I'm going back into the exercise.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Halfway (second time)

Back in mid-April I broke halfway, an accomplishment I celebrated by walking up the local hill (read about it here), and after my recent gain, I'm heading back down again. I'm halfway the second time. Today I weigh 80kg. 14kg to go. I've decided to not celebrate by going up the hill again, it wouldn't feel right, and I'm planning on one final walk just before I reach goal.

This is the fifth week of the Give Yourself the Best Gift challenge. I guess I'm doing ok, I lost about 1kg in the last week, but here is where the hard to understand bit comes along: I didn't do any exercise.

I don't know why I lost so much with zero exercise, and also I know why I stopped exercising: it was too hard. Or rather, when I exercised and had a sleep in the middle of the day, the day seemed much longer. That's because when I was sleeping, my short-term memory was moved over to long-term (with some of it chosen to be written over) and a week of doing this made a week seem just so long. Maybe I'll get used to it, maybe I won't.

I'd like to continue exercising still, but when you're losing anyway, it just doesn't seem worth it. I know that's probably the wrong attitude to take, but if I had to do the whole weight loss thing again, I'd do it differently. I'd start off exercising a lot, a huge amount. I could reduce the number of hours each week that I exercised, but I couldn't increase them. When I thoroughly got sick of exercise, I'd just aim for 1kg a month. I would have reached goal in roughly the same time as it's taken anyway.

Whenever I discuss weight loss with anyone, that's what I always suggest. 1kg a month is roughly 2 apples less a day. Your metabolism probably won't reduce because you're eating less (it'll reduce because you're getting thinner, but there's not much you can do about that), something that I noticed happening earlier in the year. Weigh daily, and try to lose a small amount each day. This wouldn't work for someone with bingeing issues, I have no experience in that, so I can't comment.

When I talk to other people about their weight loss, I generally say the same things. 80% of weight loss is psychological. Lose weight slower rather than faster. Don't tell anyone you're trying to lose weight. Weigh often but smooth out fluctuations to get an accurate reading. Then I ask them a question that shows how motivated they are. I ask them if they could buy a magic pill that they took one evening, and they were at their goal weight the next day, how much would they pay for that pill? Usually they say a couple of hundred dollars or so, which is nothing. I think that the more motivated they are, the more they're likely to pay. Me, right now with 14kg to go, I'd probably pay $2,000.

So there you have it. 7th week of losing every week. Halfway. Still disliking exercise. Nothing's perfect, I guess.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Another loss, but this time hardly anything...

Week 4 of Give Yourself The Best Gift. How did I do?

82.2kg, a loss of a whopping 100 grams.

I guess I was derailed by the leaking hot water cylinder, as told about in the last post. But I shouldn't have been. Worrying about water everywhere doesn't mean that I have to put off exercise, and also my eating wasn't as good as it could have been. I also haven't written down what I've been eating, which I said I would do (and post it here on the blog).

This is the 6th week in a row of losing. Now that's an achievement. Usually I have a stall at this stage, and gain a bit. Not so with eating almost exactly the same thing every day. It's such a great tool to use for losing weight. I only wish I'd done it earlier.

I've got a new laptop, and haven't transferred all the data over, so no graph on how I'm doing in the Great Experiment. But it doesn't take a graph to show that I'm not doing so great. More on that next week.

Monday, 10 October 2011

3rd week of Give Yourself the Best Gift challenge

Monday's weight: 82.3kg, a loss of 700g in the last week.

This week has generally gone well, I admit to neglecting exercise at the start of the week, then I joined the gym again on Wednesday. I guess it's good to be back, sort of. I never thought I'd rejoin, but I didn't think that I'd be single and suffer excessive eating for a month or two either. It is good, going to the gym and seeing the other people working out, it's motivating.

The downside of course is the tiredness afterwards, the need for a nap, and the fact that I simply don't have much time left in the day to do other things. I've also have become quite tired and had to cut short my exercise session a few times. The reason: I'm not fit.

My definition of being fit is being able to run for 30 minutes without stopping. I'm sure others have different definitions. I decided on Friday to test my fitness by running for one song on my music player, then walking for one song, then running again. I managed 4 runs and 3 walks. I was rather surprised by the lack of fitness, but then again, I haven't exercised properly in months. During the last song, I was officially running, but a fast walker would have overtaken me. In the past to get fit I have started off running for one minute, then the next day two minutes, and after a month I was running for 30 minutes and was fit. I'm in a bit of a hurry so I can't do that this time. Because of not being fit, I'm including running. If there's something that can get you fit quickly, it's running.

Which brings me to the Great Experiment. Can I lose weight at the rate found in the television programme Thintervention? Here's my graph so far:

The graph above shows that today I am about 600g heavier than what I should weigh. That's fine. Considering that I've only been going to the gym for 3 days so far, I don't have a problem with how it looks.

Today however, I won't be going to the gym. I'll be tidying my home because it's messy and a plumber will be coming over. Last night we had a 5.5 Richter aftershock. That's almost an earthquake in itself. Since September 4th we've had 7668 earthquakes and aftershocks with a strength of 3 or above. Of course, we didn't feel all of those. I've probably felt "only" about 2000. The one last night must have damaged the seal of the hot water cylinder where the pipe comes in underneath, and within an hour everything underneath was sopping wet, including the nearby carpet. I've got a container underneath, and there are drops every 5 seconds or so, but it's a nuisance. I'm so glad that I was here when it happened, and also I was wise enough to not put anything underneath the cylinder that could be damaged by water.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Second week of the challenge

82.0kg, a loss of 500g in the last week. That's slightly less than I'd have wanted, and even more so since I'm on the Great Experiment where I get to see if I can lose weight at the rate obtained on the TV programme Thintervention. The way I'm doing things is I've got a specific weight that I should be each day. Today I'm 175 grams heavier than what I should be - that's fine. I have to be eternally careful though, because at least initially the rates that I need to lose are quite high. If I get behind a lot, I simply won't be able to catch up. Of course I've started thinking, hmmm, maybe I'll be able to stay on this experiment the whole duration and reach goal on 1st February next year? I hate it when I do this. I'm setting myself up for disappointment.

However, if I do manage to reach goal on the 1st Feb, I'm giving myself a holiday at Piha. My family used to have summer holidays there until I was about 10. 4 months of exercise and careful eating is going to be hard work. I'll try it, and I guess I'll just see what happens.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Great Challenge - how long can I last?

About a year ago I watched a television series called Thintervention. It was your basic lose weight through exercise and diet programme with a few differences. First, the people trying to lose weight weren't very heavy. Overweight and obese, yes. But not in Biggest Loser category of size. Secondly, it used 'real world' situations, or at least as much as they could find. Take about a dozen people, train them for 6 weeks on diet and exercise, then leave them alone for another 6 weeks, and see how they did.

I learnt two things from this programme. First, there isn't a linear relationship between weight and how fast you lose. It's actually a square relationship, which means that if you weigh double, you can lose weight 4 times as fast. If you weigh 10 percent heavier than someone else, you could expect to lose 20 percent more than them.

I also found out the mythical equation for how fast you can reasonably expect to lose weight. If you go as hard as you can, but you're not staying somewhere where exercise is your only activity. Here's how you calculate it: take your weight in kilograms (say, 90kg). Divide that number by 60 (1.5). That's the percentage you can expect to lose per week (1.5% of 90kg is 1.35kg). Of course, as you get thinner, the percentage drops.

You can read my post about the show here.

So what is this great challenge I hear you asking? I've decided to see how long I can last losing weight at the rate that the Thintervention people were able to. Starting today. I'll be concentrating on exercise and totally accurate eating for as long as I can manage. I don't expect to be able to continue until I reach goal, I guess it could happen, but I'd say it's not likely.

One reason why I wasn't able to do this until now is that for me, whenever I do significant exercise, I need sleep (or at least a lie down) immediately afterwards. Living with Becky made this rather tricky and not worth the hassle or trying to get her out of the bedroom for 2-3 hours. Now that I'm living on my own, coming home and needing a rest isn't going to be a big deal the way it would have been before.

Today I weigh 82.3kg. I'll go for a walk tonight, which will be the start of the exercise. I'll have my usual coffee and slice as a send off, I always do this so please don't try to convince me otherwise! I'll be joining the gym on Wednesday.

So what progress can I expect?
After 10 days I'd be 80.7kg
After 30 days 77.6kg
After 2 months 73.5kg
I'd reach goal in 124 days

Like I said, I don't expect to reach goal using this method. I'll crash and burn sometime earlier. The experiment is not to see whether I can reach goal. It's to see how long I can manage.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Third week in a row of losing...

Okay, I accept that it's not the greatest achievement (especially with the fact that recently I lost 18 weeks in a row) but I have pleasure in saying that I have managed to steer the weight loss boat around and I'm consistently losing now. Today I'm 82.5kg, having lost 600g in the last week and 900g the week before that. I currently weigh the same as what I did back in March. Yes, the breakup has delayed my reaching goal by about 6 months. That's pretty bad but I accept it as things can get in the way of weight loss. 9 years ago I lost weight while watching two loved ones die of illness, something I still can't believe I did, but when it comes to dating related issues, it's all a bit too much.

How did I go in my challenge? Not that great. I didn't log all my eating, there was some Coke, some coffee and slices, and a few other things. Yesterday I had a chocolate bar. I was at work and debating in my head whether to have some Coke, so instead of going to the drink machine and continuing with that addiction, I went and bought a bar of chocolate. I've found it successful at eliminating caffeine cravings. It's better to have something fattening now rather than suffer again with the caffeine addiction. They were also passing around some small chocolate bites. I had one. However, the woman who sits opposite me declined the offer as the supervisor went around passing them out. She's been losing weight, I can tell because she usually wears something tight fitting. I guess the challenge for me is to decline or give away chocolate bites that are passed around. I've done it before, and I can do it again.

Exercise: I didn't do any. I guess I should have, but I just didn't have it in me. This week, I'm planning on walking a bit. I want to lose at least 700g a week, and that will require me to do some form of exercise.

So all in all, I'm pleased with how this week has turned out. It hasn't been ideal, but in my experience, weight loss never is.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

New challenge

I'm joining a new challenge that's starting in the next few days, it's called "Give Yourself The Best Gift" and what I like about it is the length - 3 1/2 months, from now until the end of the year. Who knows what weight I'll be then! I may sound a bit skeptical about my weight loss. That's because I have believed that I'll be some weight in the next 3 1/2 months so many times in the last 11 years since being at goal weight.

Anyway, about the challenge. You need to provide a statement, about what you'd like to achieve at the end of the challenge, and mine is:

My gift to myself (New Year's Eve gift) is to know that in the 3 1/2 months, I have done as much as possible to lose weight, survived any emotional or physical challenges that I've come across, and still was able to control my eating/reasonably exercise when those challenges (and they're bound to happen!) came along. That I can look back at this period and be proud of what I've achieved.

Also, we're (challengers) required to make a list of 7 things that we can use to achieve this. My 7 things are:

  • At the start of each day, plan my day with losing weight to be one of the most important things to achieve for that day

  • Write down what I eat if it is not on my 'list', writing that on my blog

  • Exercise as often as time and energy permits

  • Get quality sleep. That means going to bed at the usual time, rather than staying up late

  • Ensure that I have at least one full day of food at home, so I don't run out of anything

  • If/when something that starts to derail things, step back and analyse the situation. Work out what's going on. Find a suitable solution.

  • If I lose my weight loss mojo, instigate Recovering Mojo Plan (I haven't worked out what that entails yet!).

What I want to achieve is somewhere between the minimum and the maximum.

Minimum: lose weight every week while on the challenge, even if that is hardly anything

Maximum: reach the final stage of my weight loss journey: the 1kg a month line to goal I wrote about last post. The point at which I slow down my weight loss to 1kg a month, in preparation for reaching goal weight on 1st July next year. Theoretically possible.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

First week of losing...

I have gained quite a bit recently, the stress of the ending of my relationship with Becky (we hardly ever spoke for the 3 weeks between telling her I wanted to be single and then it happening), adjusting to the changes of living alone, then money worries where I had maybe 20 dollars to last 3-4 days (when I run out of money, I always spend what I've got on crap food - I guess some sort of evolved reaction to famine, and a possible reason why poor people are more likely to be overweight). So it was a bit of a weight loss disaster all around.

Thankfully, it has all stopped. Stress is over, indulgent eating has stopped.

In terms of weekly weight, Mondays weigh-in was the first week that I lost, I lost 0.7kg, making me 84.0kg. So I'm really back to what I was at the start of the year. I imagine that this whole recent gain will have put back my reaching goal by about 6 months, however I've changed my plans yet again.

When it comes to weight loss, I have a number of things helping me. One of those is the fact that I won't go overseas until I'm at goal weight. I'm definite about that, no exceptions. I'm thinking of going next July, which means that I have quite some time to reach goal. Originally the plan was to do the last 3kg in 3 months, reducing the chance of a reaching goal rebound. Now I'm thinking that I can just lose weight at whatever rate I can manage using diet and exercise, and when I hit the 1kg/month to goal line, I just slow down and cruise into goal on 1st July.

1st July. That's 2 years 10 months since I started this blog, and was at my heaviest. I would not have thought that it would have taken that long. Then again, I didn't expect to be single at the end. Looking at other weight loss blogs, it's kinda obvious that other people struggle too. I've only seen a few weight loss blogs where the person who started loses consistently and hits goal without having some sort of major rebound. Only about 10-15% of weight loss blogs reach goal by my estimation, a dreadfully low number and one hardly ever talked about.

So that's it. I'm pretty much sick of exercise, and when I do it, it makes me tired the whole day and I can't really achieve the other things I want to do in life. Weight loss has been high priority for so long, and I don't regret that, but I want to do other things too. By my estimation, I'll be hitting that 1kg/month line in about 4 months, which means 4 more months of exercise, then I'll still do exercise occasionally for muscle strength, but not for weight loss.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

No more coasting

Ever since Becky and I had our conversation about breaking up, I've been putting on weight. I've enjoyed eating more, I won't deny it, but I've been in a bit of a state of denial that my weight and any increases. That's stopping now. I'm back onto the eating the same thing every day. I've got 18 weeks in a row of losses to prove to me that it works.

I'm not so much in a hurry now, so losses every week are fine, I'll figure out the exercise later. My goal is simple: a loss every week. Every Monday I'll compare myself to the previous Monday. If there's a loss, I can go and see a film on Tuesday (which is the day prices are lower). If not, then I can't go.

To distract me from the loneliness (and adjusting to being single) I'm watching a DVD every day. These were recorded off television and when my video recorder got too full and I had to save it as a DVD to make room. The new rule is that I'm only allowed to watch a DVD when I weigh less that day than a week earlier.

I'm giving myself a sendoff today. It'll either be biscuits or bread. I've eaten more bread in the last 2 weeks than in the previous two years. I'll also get back to commenting and reading other blogs.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Guess who's on the market?

I'm single. Yes, Becky, my girlfriend of 7 1/2 years and I are no longer together. She moved out on the weekend. About 3 weeks ago I told her that I wasn't happy (which I'm not, and haven't been for a while now) and wanted to be single again. I guess it was a bit of a surprise for her, but if you look at how we've drifted apart in the last couple of years or so, all the signs were there.

It's really disappointing for me, because I've never had a relationship as enjoyable (at least at the start) as I had with Becky. I honestly rated her a '9', which is one up from my first girlfriend 20-odd years ago. I wanted to marry her. I imagined growing old together. However, I've learnt that what you want and what you get are often two different things. In case you were wondering, my weight loss hasn't caused the breakup. I'm the same weight I was when we met.

So where does this leave me in terms of losing weight? For the last 3 weeks, I've been off the diet. Not exercising. Not weighing myself. I restarted weighing myself on Sunday, but I haven't entered it on my spreadsheet. Eating properly starts today. I will find losing weight harder while single, because I get lonely easily, and guess what I do when I get lonely? That's right, fill the void with food.

I have no plans to find someone right now, although who knows what the future will bring. I'm seriously thinking of having a year overseas, in a hot, inexpensive to live in country. That's a big step for me, someone who has never been out of the country. The trip to Indonesia is off, because I've put on weight and probably wouldn't make my preferred date of November, also having two overseas trips in a short span of time is going to be too expensive.

My new life has started. I'm recording a short video diary each day on my video camera. I plan to achieve things while I'm single. Wish me luck.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

I feel like I'm drifting backwards

My weight loss has stalled and I feel like I'm drifting backwards. Slowly. I'm not really sure why this has happened now, but I've got stresses about to happen soon and I really want to get my eating and exercise back in order.

This post is an acknowledgement of the situation and from the moment I post this, I shall try as hard as I can to work on my eating almost the same thing every day, and exercise the amount I know that I can do.

I haven't weighed myself but I don't think that the 'damage' is too great, but I'm going to leave it a week to prevent any nasty shocks.

I had 18 weeks of losses, I've probably had a few gains now, but I know I can go back to a string of losses again reasonably easy.

I'll check in next Saturday a week from now with the damage.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Losses 18 weeks in a row

Graph indicates weekly loss in kilograms

I gained weight this week. That's not too much of a big deal because for the previous 18 Mondays, my weight has decreased each week. I guess it had to end sometime, and today it has ended. It's an achievement that I didn't expect to have, I've done 7 weeks in a row before a few times, but I honestly didn't expect to lose so many times in a row.

So why did it end? Three reasons came to mind:

1. My computer had a fault, so I couldn't update my spreadsheet. No spreadsheet = not worth weighing myself = temporarily ate more.

2. I had some stress. Most people eat more under stress. There was a mad rush to tidy my home because the owner came around to look at the living room and see if the room needed painting. I am not a tidy person, and I dread the owner coming around to look at the place.

3. I restarted the medicine I blogged about a few weeks ago. I had to stop taking it for some reason, and then starting again made me tired just like it did before. Tiredness = increased appetite.

Anyway, that's over and I'm restarting the clock and seeing how many weeks I can last this time. How did I manage 18 weeks? Regular readers will probably know the answer:

I am eating almost exactly the same thing every day, in almost exactly the same quantities, with rewards at appropriate times.

This post details how I'm doing it.

So I'm back to week zero. I probably won't surpass 18 weeks because I'll have finished my weight loss by then (the last 3 months will have the reintroduction of other foods so I expect my weight to fluctuate more than it is at the moment).

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Lowest weight in over 7 years

Another update in the going-back-in-time thing. Today I weigh just under 75kg, the last time I was at this weight was back in February 2004. I was single (well, sort of - seeing someone casually), studying, not working, and living alone somewhere that I pretty much hated. I'm starting to feel that I'm accomplishing things with the losing weight thing. I was in my 30's. It feels good to get this low.

My confidence in the ability to reach goal is pretty high. I'm 97 percent sure I'll reach it in November. The only thing that would be likely to derail things would be an unexpected medical drama.

More good news - the 12 hours of swimming that I owe can be cancelled, due to me weighing below what I should be today. Have a look at this graph (the vertical axis is kilograms above or below what I should weigh that day):

Every day in the last 2 weeks I should have weighed a certain weight. This drops by about 115 grams a day (0.8kg a week). The trip away made me get above this value, but for some reason I lost a lot of weight in the week back home. Surprising since I didn't do much swimming. I was about 12 hours behind in my swimming, but since I've reached zero in the above graph, I can cancel that. I might be able to do this now, but I'm not sure if I can do this a month from now. We'll see I guess. I'm only 6kg from cutting back on the exercise!!!

In other news, let's have a little chat about my (older by 2 years) brother. The first graph shows my weight has gone up and down a lot over the years, well my brother has yo-yoed more than me over time. What I don't understand about him is that he's going on a cruise in a few weeks, and he's planning on putting on weight! Ok, a 8 day cruise, you can expect to put on maybe a kilogram or so, right? Well my brother is planning to put on 5-8 kilograms!

Let's be realistic here, that's an awful amount of weight. Sure, maybe a few kilograms will not be fat, but we're looking at at least 5 kilograms of fat. In a cruise just over a week, it's crazy. Worse, he's been starving himself for the last 3-4 months and successfully losing weight. Currently he's the lowest in over 5 years. He's not averse to go on a fast to lose weight. So he's been losing, then expecting to gain, then he's going to lose again. He loves his food, but there's a difference between loving his food and over doing it.

We had a chat over the phone a few weeks ago, and I asked him if he thought he might have binge eating disorder. He wasn't sure. I'm not sure if he fulfills the whole criteria since he doesn't seem to be secretive about it. It's hard to understand. I guess I should just accept it and file it away in the things I don't understand about my brother mental drawer I keep on him. We aren't what you would say close. We're all different, my brother, sister and I. The only two things we've got in common is we're all intelligent, and we're all tall. Apart from that, there is no real thing that connects us.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Leave has been granted and the clock is ticking

My application at work to take a paid holiday has been granted, which means that from now on, I need to lose those 10kg. This has been the 3rd time I've taken 3 or 4 weeks of leave from work, the others at April and the September coming up were for my trip, but as it happened, there is no way I'll get to goal by then. Actually, for September I could make it, but I want the last 3kg to be taken slowly, reducing the risk of rebound.

On Monday I went back to my old home town to say goodbye to the family home. It's been a part of the family for 37 years, but my father is selling it. I grew up in it, visited numerous times when I'd left for other cities and when I dream about childhood, I dream about that house (not the previous one we lived in from when I was about 3 to 10).

I wanted to take photographs of it, so I went back there and spent 3-4 hours photographing things. Everything pretty much. 496 photos later, I think I've got a good copy of was it was like.

The bad news is that I'm awful with trips away. I just can't help myself. I eat too much food, I've never had a trip back to Dunedin where I haven't bought food on the way there or on the way back. The same in this trip. On the way back it was just out of control. I wouldn't say it was a binge, but it was what it shouldn't be. I have a schedule and now I'm 4 days behind.

That's not a big deal, and I intend to catch up again because I owe about 10 hours in swimming. I'll catch up in the next few months, where my plan is to lose just under 7kg and be 3kg away from goal.

Friday, 3 June 2011

10 kilograms to goal

Yahoo! I'm almost there. Only ten kilograms until I finish this thing. 18 kilograms down. Yesterday I weighed in at just below 76kg. I'm into single figures. My body is getting slim. Sure, there's still a lot of fat in my stomach, neck and thighs, but I've noticed the changes slowly happening. 2-3 months ago I started to notice my hip bones. 1-2 months ago I started to notice my collar bones.

I have to thank the speed of this process to eating almost exactly the same thing each day. I'm sure I would have gotten to 10kg above goal if I didn't eat the same thing every day, but who knows when it would have happened. I hate to think. Probably this year. I only wish I had started it sooner.

To celebrate yesterday I went and saw The Hangover 2. Ok, not my sort of film but I wanted to see something. I got a large popcorn there, which is probably the first time I've bought popcorn at the cinema in over 20 years, due to the cost. I had a coffee and slice (I get this every time I lose a kilogram) as well. That's probably about 5,000kj, not a huge amount, but enough for me. I didn't need to eat much for the rest of the day due to having had that.

Now, things start to heat up in the weight loss front. My work requires me to apply for leave 3-4 months in advance, it sounds like I've got an important job, but no, I'm just a lowly call centre worker with 20-30 hours of training needed for the job. I want to go Indonesia when I reach goal weight, which means planning exactly at what rate I lose weight. Anyone who has read this blog knows that 99% of my expectations of how fast I'll lose weight fail, but in order for the leave situation to be workable, I need to predict how fast I'll leave, and actually lose it at that rate (yes, I snigger each time I read that).

My plan for the last three kilograms is to lose each one over a month. The reason for such a slow rate is to prevent a rebound, such as what happened the last time I was at goal. I was at goal for exactly 4 days. This was back in 2000. I haven't been near goal since.

That leaves 7 kilograms, and I've decided to lose them over 2 months. 60 days. Theoretically possible. This assumes that I eat what I should, and exercise what I should. I won't be able to have popcorn. I will be able to have a coffee and slice at each kilogram.

This starts in a few days, when the sudden weight gain caused by all of that popcorn (carbohydrate related weight gain) goes away.

Then it starts.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Counting down the days...

...until I stop exercising. I'm on some new medicine, and my doctor told me that it would initially make me tired. I didn't realise how tired, that long drawn out tiredness you feel hour after hour and day after day. It's not just the medicine, it's the exercise making it a lot worse. However, I'm just hanging on, trying to stay calm and keep to my routine. In the supermarket today I had awful cravings to buy some bakery (thankfully I didn't relent and buy them) due to tiredness. I also had difficulty remembering what to buy, surprising since I eat the same thing most days.

I really don't know how long I'll be exercising for, I'd guess from 55 to 75 days. That's exercise most days. I guess I can tolerate that. What will probably happen is that the medicine related tiredness will go away in the next week or two (I've only been on it 4 days so far) and things will get back to normal. Fingers crossed.

On the scale front, things are going great. I weighed in today at 76.6kg. Goal weight is just around the corner, I can see it in the distance.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Lowest weight in 5 years

Five years ago I was my current weight: 77.7kg. Back then, I was trying to lose weight, on and off, not particularly successfully I might add. Studying at university, and looking for a job. Seeing Becky, but not living together. Not yet using the magic of wi-fi broadband, but on dialup. As it happens, I'd just been burgled, which caused quite a bit of stress for me. Guess what else it caused? You guessed right.

As I go back in time, the memories start getting fuzzier. That's great! Yes, the last 5 years have been a waste in terms of trying to lose weight, but I haven't been trying the whole time (as the graph shows!). 18 months ago, at my heaviest, something changed. I had my theory as to what produced successful weight loss. As it happens, that theory was wrong. But hey, I learnt things along the way. I learnt some things about myself.

What I learnt about losing weight was: the most important thing related to successful weight loss is the belief that you'll get there. If you don't have that, the odds are too stacked against you. For the last 5 years, I've always had this belief. Actually, since I first started losing weight, back in 1993 I've had a belief that I could do it. I've been at goal 3 times. I don't know why I have been blessed with this belief. There have been times in the last 5 years when I went to Muffin Break for a coffee and slice 4 times in a week. Yet still, I thought I could do it. Slightly delusional, I accept, but I'm still here. Not yet at goal, but it's within my sights.

What I learnt about myself and losing weight, unfortunately, was that you have to be at least slightly obsessed about losing weight. Exercise every day is difficult. My metabolism has slowed down due to a restricted intake, so if I want to get to goal this year, I need to exercise. I have less time to do things. I get tired due to the exercise. I need an extra sleep due to it often. Yet I carry on. I'm a numbers guy. What do I think of when I close my eyes at night, ready to fall asleep? That's right. My weight. I've done so for the last 610 nights. Every night, without exception. That's obsession, and I truely believe it's required to lose weight. But I'm not there yet.

I'm really pleased about achieving this. Of course, I've got in my sights the next milestone. 3-4 weeks away probably.

Friday, 29 April 2011

So why am I'm doing so well?

Things have changed. Losing weight is easier now, much easier than I can ever recall in the last 10 years of attempting to lose weight (and failing half the time). I'm not saying that this system is perfect, and I won't ever rebound, but now after 9 successive weekly losses in a row, what's going on?

I'm eating exactly the same thing every day.

I have to say that this has been far easier than I thought it would be. I thought that I'd get bored. That hasn't happened. Ok, it's only been a couple of months so far, so eventually I'd get bored, maybe after a year. In which case, I would change what I'm eating, then carry on. By then anyway I'd be at goal (I know that I'm breaking a major weight loss rule here by assuming that I will be at goal at a specific date, something that hasn't happened in the last 11 years).

By exactly, I mean exactly. The only exception are bananas: because they come with their own packaging, are a bit messy out of their packaging, so I buy a bunch of middle sized bananas.
Here's what I'm eating:

Special K (I know that this is full of sugar, but it's the only sugar I'm having at the moment, excluding rewards)
Meat patties
Frozen vegetables (the 5 vegetable variety)
Whey protein powder
Added to that is a multivitamin/mineral tablet.

This totals almost exactly 6,000kj/day (and this includes a reward meal every kilogram). Protein is about 90g/day give or take a bit.

It took me about a 2-3 weeks to work out the details of the food that I enjoyed, wasn't too expensive and had enough protein.

Is it healthy? I know I'm bound to be missing out on certain minerals/vitamins, which is why I have a supplement tablet as well. In a couple of weeks I'll be heading off to a dietitian to see if there are any things that I am missing out on, and what to substitute.

The plan is simple. If I eat exactly what I'm meant to (or less), I get a green square on my chart. Otherwise, it's red. That means if I have 61g of Special K, I get a red square. I use this method because it gives me no choice in the matter. After all, if I have 61g, why can't I have 65g? You get the idea.

I accept that this idea isn't for everybody. Some people love food. I am not one of those people. I love specific foods, and dislike others. Generally speaking, the simpler the food, the more I'll like it. I attribute this to my mother, who was fussy about food. She loved to cook, and was a good cook as well. When she died, there were at least 100 ingredients left in the kitchen, some of which I sampled the following year (my father doesn't seem to enjoy cooking, and as you can imagine from my eating list, I loath it).

Growing up, my mother would often make meals that I simply didn't like. I guess the fancier the meal, the greater the chance that I wouldn't like it. I much preferred to snack on an apple and maybe some vegetables than have some of her fancier meals. Anyway, when I told my brother of my new system, he said that my mother would be shocked if she were alive. That would be certainly true. In fact I wouldn't have told her.

Anyway, I'll tell you about this chart of mine. Because images are easier to process than words, I chose a rectangular chart where each day gets a square. A good day gets a green square, a bad day gets a red one. Here it is so far:

Each new day is added to the bottom, starting at the left. See those red squares on the 3rd and 4th bottom row? That's me having Coke (the real deal sugared thing, not that Diet or Zero cheap imitation) just before I gave up on it a couple of weeks ago. Caffeine cravings so far have been few and far between, and I haven't had any chocolate to stem the cravings so far. When I have a reward meal, it's not considered a 'red' day, just because I ate that reward.

Every time I get a reward meal, I do tend to splurge and eat more than that. Yesterday was an example, I was allowed a coffee and slice, and ended up having a 1,000kj chocolate bar as well, plus I was a bit disordered in the evening (I'm not crazy about whey powder, so I ended up having more cheese than I usually do).

Because I'm eating the same thing every day, I get a great insight into my body and how it functions in terms of hunger. So far, I have identified 5 different types of hunger. I'll post about that soon. But I now know my metabolic rate, which is (was) 8,500kj/day. I say was because in the last few weeks, my rate of losing has dropped somewhat, I figure that is because my metabolism has slowed. I'm still losing though. From this I can guesstimate that when I'm at goal, my metabolic rate will be about 8,000kj. This is without exercise. Realistically, exercise is one of those things that I do only to lose weigh, I don't see myself doing it daily (or even weekly) when I'm at goal. Monthly, maybe. I decided that I wanted to be in a state of fitness where I can swim for 30 minutes. How often that requires me to swim for 30 minutes, I have no idea (yet). I'll find out in the next year.

So all in all, I'm really pleased with my new system. I've been thinking about it for months now, but assumed that it would be too hard. Wrong. My cravings have reduced quite a bit too, which is great.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Another loss this week

Some of you following me may know that things have changed, and I'm losing weight much more consistently than before. There is no point in losing the same kilogram twice (or worse, three times) but I've done this so, so many times. Up down, up down, up down down. That's the story of my weight loss journey. Until now. Yesterday's weigh in was the eighth successive weekly weigh-in where I had a loss. That's a lifetime record (actually, it's only a 16 year record, since I bought my first set of scales in 1995). Previously I was able to achieve 6 weeks in a row (I decided to not post this information last week, since an increase of one week doesn't seem enough really). I achieved the six week record twice in 2009, and once each in 2003 and 2005.

I know that this run I'm having can't last forever, but I expect it to last at least a few more months. Why am I so confident? Things have changed. I wrote a long, long post a few days ago about why but decided to break it up into a few bits so it wasn't so long. The next post will explain what's going on.

I have joined a challenge. I am notoriously bad with online challenges, usually giving up within a few weeks or so. I think that this is the first online weight loss challenge where blogs are involved.

The one exception to being flakey when it comes to online weight loss challenges is an online website which is usually related to social bookmarking. A subgroup was created for losing weight, and at the start of the year, 495 people weighed in and entered their weight on the provided spreadsheet. Weigh-ins are twice a month, and by now, only about 60 people have had a loss each weigh-in. I'm one of them.

The challenge I've joined is called Summer Lovin'. Ignoring the fact that we're in autumn here, it sounds a good idea. Post your goals each week, as well as your weight. It is run by Alexia at dimple snatcher blog I was half a week late, but was accepted anyway. Nearly 20 people have joined.

So I have to make goals for the next 7 1/2 weeks. I decided to keep things relatively simple at the start, so my current goals (I might add a few more as time goes on) are:
  • Perfect eating.
  • Start, and continue exercising, every day
A few definitions. "Perfect eating" means I get a nice green mark in my chart to be explained next post. I get the chance to say "my eating yesterday was perfect, exactly as I'd planned". The longest I've done recently is 9 days in row.

Exercise. At least a 15 minute walk. Maybe a swim, if I'm not working that day. Hopefully I keep up with my goals, and continue to lose weight, but maybe a bit faster.

These goals start tomorrow.

Friday, 15 April 2011

A walk up the hill

A while back I decided that I'd have a walk up the local hill as a weight loss reward three times, roughly at the start of losing weight, halfway, then almost at goal. On Wednesday I decided to walk up again the second time. This post is the first time, that was in January last year. The walk is about 4-5 hours from the bottom of the hill to the top and back again. I had to wait until the weather was good (I would have preferred the day I was halfway but it was raining then), and I'd slept reasonably well to give myself enough stamina to walk the distance.

Time for some photos:

What the walking track usually looks like:

Panorama from the top:

Above the clouds (actually sea mist but clouds sounds better):

The walk down was as uneventful as the walk up, until I decided that I'd take a different track as a short cut. That led me down a different route in a different direction, so I had to scramble through brush to get to the normal route down. That added about half an hour. The difference between the lowest and highest points was about 500 metres. Two days later, my legs are still sort. However, the last time I did this walk my thighs were sore from rubbing against each other, I have pleasure in saying that this time they aren't sore at all.

I've said in the past of this blog of my addiction to caffeine. It's quite a problem, if I indulge in it, I get quite tired the next day, plus of course it's addictive and frankly, not worth having. Not with all the side effects it gives me. That's why, at the summit on Wednesday I drank my last caffeinated drink. I'm aiming for at least 2 years without it (I did that 12 years ago). Let's see how I go with that. Inevitably, I'll experience cravings. What did I do 12 years ago? Whenever I had the thought "just one can of Coke won't hurt", I bought a small bar of chocolate. That obviously causes problems for losing weight, but I'm thinking that I'll have cravings like that no more than once a week at the start.

Monday, 11 April 2011


I have pleasure in announcing that I'm halfway in my weight-loss journey. 14kg down, 14kg to go. It feels so good to know that all I need to do is repeat what I've already done, and I'll be finished. Time for some photos:

When I was at 94kg:

No visible change at 80kg:

Double chin still there, fat in my cheeks still there.

Now looking at my body:

Noticeable changes, stomach smaller, collarbones more visible. Most of the fat which has left seems to have left my torso.

Side view:

Changes not so visible with the side on view.

Looking back at the photos I've taken when I was at my highest, I ask myself why I did that to my body. I think that the answer is complex, it was a case of being in an environment where I had easy access to junk food (Becky buys a large amount of junk food and keeps it lying around), plus I guess I didn't really care. Or at least care enough.

I'll post measurements in the next few days, and compare with those at my maximum.

It is time to talk about how long it's taken - 19 months. That's 750kj a day, just over 1 1/2 apples equivalent a day. One period when I gained, wasting about 6 months, and another period where I just maintained, without gaining or losing much, wasting another 5 months. The cause of the first delay was I went to a high carb diet after being on a low carb one, the other period - well I think I just had had enough, and wanted a break for a while.

There were LOTS of little gains, you know, a few hundred grams here, a few kilograms there. Over and over again. The sort referred to in my Piha holiday challenge that I've got going until the end of June. If I hadn't had any gains I would have reached halfway in about 145 days, not 587. That's four times as long! I don't expect perfection but it would have been nice to not have so many little, and not so little changes of direction, over and over again (about 30 bumps roughly).

Enough of the negative talk. I have changed my eating style substantially, and in the last 44 days I have yet to have a single 'bump'. More on that later.

Half done, half to go!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The pool has reopened, exercise begins

When the earthquake occurred, all of the pools in my city were shut. Some suffered damage, some didn't. The local one, only ten minutes drive from my home didn't seem to suffer any real damage fortunately. It reopened yesterday. It's good to get back into exercise. In the last six weeks, the only exercise I managed was a 5km walk, and 3 minutes of running. Even though I considered myself reasonably fit through swimming, I was only able to run for about 3 minutes before getting puffed. I'm not sure what's going on there, but, since I don't enjoy running, I'm unlikely to find out.

From now on, it's sort of a race. A race to goal. How much swimming can I do? The limiting factor is my energy, when I do a lot of exercise I get tired, and need a lie down afterwards (and often I have a sleep as well). Since I have less energy than most people my age, I'm not surprised by that. Before the earthquake when I was doing a reasonably high amount of exercise, I was rather tired all day, I'm not sure whether I want to swim to that extent again. My eating has improved substantially, so maybe I can cut back on the exercise.

I'm still losing weight. I've lost 650 grams in the last week, and the week before that, I lost 700 grams. Those are good numbers, higher than average for the losses I'm getting with no exercise. Because half of the pools in the city are still closed, and are likely to be for months, my local pool is open from 5am to 10pm, 2 hours more than usual. The pool was pretty empty yesterday, the first day it was reopened. I get the feeling that it's going to get a lot busier once people find out it's reopened.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

6 months to goal

Last month, I predicted that at the current rate of losing weight, I would reach goal weight in 3 years. Things have changed, my eating style has changed, and right now, I'm 6 months away (25th September) from reaching goal, based on my loss in the previous month. I'm pretty pleased with that, I'm thinking maybe I'll reach goal weight by the second anniversary of starting this blog, and starting to lose weight, after being at my highest.

My body is changing. I'm starting to feel my hip bones again. Although that is nice, I'd like to see the fat around my stomach get smaller. Also I have these annoying clumps of fat on either side of my chest. They 'hang down' when I'm in bed, and get pulled down by my arm, which is uncomfortable. Sometimes I have to pull them back to their normal position. I don't recall having them in the past when I was this weight.

I'm getting used to my body, I've been this weight for 5 years, on and off. My weight records go back nearly 20 years so I know pretty much exactly how much I weighed for any date since 1993. The Piha holiday challenge is going great, which means no increases until the first of July. How am I doing this? Something a bit different. I've been burnt before, so I'll give it a bit more time before I tell everyone. Some people won't like it, but hey, if I'm losing weight, and I'm ok with it, then they should accept that.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Lowest weight in over 4 years

It's taken a while. Just over 18 months to be exact, but I'm pleased to say that it was over 4 years ago when I was last at this weight. I'm at 81.7kg, with 15.7kg to go. Back then, I was living alone (while dating Becky), and looking for work. I won't dwell on the reason why I put on all of the weight since then, it happened, and I've got to let it go. I get a reward meal whenever I want for achieving this, I doubt it will affect my weight, because I'll eat less afterwards, total effect maybe 1,000kj.

Because all of the public pools are still closed because of the earthquake, so I'm joining a private pool. I didn't even know that these existed in my city until a few months ago. It's probably the only pool open here, so it'll be really busy. It's either that or running though.

I am going to attempt (note the word 'attempt') to lose 1kg a week, starting today. Currently, my eating plan is going exceptionally well, I'm losing weight consistently (about half a kilogram a week), but I want to speed things up. The other half a kilogram a week would come from exercise. I'm also looking forward to being half way in losing weight, I'll feel like I've achieved quite a bit when that happens.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


I remember why my weekly weigh-ins usually stopped after a few weeks or so. That's because I realised that because I don't post frequently, half of the blog would be weigh-ins. I think that would be a bit monotonous, so this will be the last weekly update. I'll be posting more often soon, because I'll be halfway, and I want to share significant milestones.

As it is, I'm doing quite well. I've been losing consistently for the last 2 1/2 weeks. Things have changed, I've started a new eating style, but I want to see how it goes before I tell everybody what it is. I'll post in a couple of months or so if it is successful. If you were to note from my blog all of my ideas, plans and challenges, the one consistent thing would be changing things. 3 months of this new eating plan and I'll definitely feel comfortable telling people.

I haven't been exercising. The pool is still closed due to the earthquake, and I dislike running. If it is still closed on Thursday, I'll join a private pool.

Weight: 82.2kg
loss in the last week 600g
loss in the last month 1.4kg
loss in the last year 6.9kg

So things are speeding up, but I feel like I've just been crawling before now.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Weekly weigh-in

I thought that it might be slightly interesting to post a weekly weigh-in. I've done this before, it didn't last long. This may stop at any time. I'll aim for Tuesday for no real reason.

This week I lost 300 grams.

Not a lot, but I haven't done any exercise. The pool is closed due to the earthquake, and will probably be out of action for weeks. That gives me walking or running as options. My eating, however, has been very good. It looks like the death toll for the earthquake will be less than expected, which is great news. Current guesstimate is around 200, with 166 bodies found so far. Amazingly, no people were killed in the ChristChurch cathedral, when the spire came down, and half the building collapsed (not the 20 I'd said). When the rescuers found out that there were no bodies, the feeling was 'surreal'.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Consistency is the key

Have a look at the graph above, which details my weight loss since I was the heaviest ever, and I started the blog. Study it closely. Notice anything about the green line?

It's bumpy.

A bump on a weight loss graph is when instead of losing weight, you start gaining. This means a few things. It means you've been eating more than you should. It means you're wasting time because you are headed in the wrong direction. It means you have to lose the weight you've just lost again, so you end up losing the weight twice (or in some cases, more than twice).

Can I stop with the bumps on my weight loss graph? Hopefully. It's all just wasted time. I want to get to goal, retrain my eating habits, then slowly let go of this interest in losing weight. Sure, I'll still maintain this blog, and continue reading other weight loss blogs, but I think that'll be it. No more weight loss forums. No more searching for weight loss buddies. No more reading endless magazine articles which seem merely rehashed versions of countless other articles I've read over the years. Almost back to an 'age of innocence'. A time before I started putting on weight. There was a time when I didn't know what BMI meant. Or BMR. Or that protein suppressed your appetite. I just ate and stopped when I'd had enough. My body regulated my weight perfectly. I don't expect that to happen, my mind now has to do the job. I just want to stop constantly thinking about losing weight.

Back to the topic. Consistency. How do I make myself more consistent? The graph above has about 30 bumps. Over a period of about 18 months, that's one every 2-3 weeks. I've been talking on and off here about going to Piha, where I had childhood holidays, as a reward.

My challenge is simple: lose weight for 120 days, without any bumps, and I will go to Piha next summer. Guaranteed (I'll start saving now). But there can't be any bumps in the next 120 days, even one of a few grams means I won't be going to Piha next summer.

Today is day 1. Day 120 will be 1st July. To show you what Piha is all about, have a look at this link:

In terms of the earthquake, things here are pretty bad still. 1 or 2 bodies a day are removed from the rubble. Some people are without water, electricity, or sewage. I'm not sure how much to write about it here, it depresses me whenever I think of it.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


About 6 months ago my city, Christchurch had an earthquake. It was quite big, 7.1, but happened at night, so amazingly there were two serious injuries and zero deaths. There was significant damage, about NZ$6 billion. Most damage happened in the built-up commercial zone, with buildings built more than 30 years ago, and also many, many buildings made of brick. We've been getting aftershocks since then, thousands of them. The frequency of the aftershocks has slowly been reducing, although now and then we'd get something biggish (say 3 or 4).

Until last Tuesday, a week ago. There was quite a big aftershock about 9am. I went swimming, came home and was doing things at home. Then it hit. Although it was smaller than the September 4th earthquake at 6.3, it was only about 10km from the centre of Christchurch. The shaking at home was much more noticeable. Much more. The kitchen cupboards emptied themselves. Broken glass (thankfully not much though). My LCD television fell over. I knew that this was worse than the September one, and things may get seriously bad for my city.

I went outside and the ground was shaking/rumbling/moving continuously for a period of a few minutes. The worst was over though. I called my girlfriend, but the network was overloaded. I managed to send texts to her and my brother to see how big it was (he's living elsewhere and I had no electricity).

This happened just after noon. By about 4pm Becky had returned home (she'd been knocked off her feet walking into a supermarket when it happened, people were screaming, people were cut from falling glass containers). She told me that a neighbour was within metres from death - he'd been waiting at an automatic teller machine when an awning fell down, narrowly missing him but killing the person behind him. I wondered what the death toll would be...

Well, the death toll slowly increased. It has increased (people are still searching through rubble a week later) and is probably going to be around 240. This is unbelievable for a city of 400,000. Almost all deaths occurred in the central business district. 50,000 people worked there, so you had a 1 in 200 chance of dying if you were in the 'four avenues' area. If you were in one of 3 buildings when it hit, the chances of dying increased dramatically: the CTV building, where about 1/3 of the deaths occurred (a 6 story building that was one story high afterwards; the PGG building (I'm not sure of the death toll there), and the icon of Christchurch, the ChristChurch Cathedral in the middle of the city (about 20, presumably tourists died inside it).

The whole city, in fact the whole country was in shock. The last earthquake of this degree of devastation occurred 80 years ago. I got text messages from my family from around the country, as a lot of people here would have.

People often criticise governments in situations like this, but one thing I am glad that the New Zealand government did was ask for overseas help. Within 8 hours of the quake, an aircraft from Australia was taking off with rescue workers. Within a few days we had, or were about to get, Urban Search And Rescue workers from Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and United States of America. If you are from one of these countries, thank you for your contribution to saving the lives of the people who live here.

Of course there were awful stories. A friend of a friend saw the CTV building collapse. People had to have limbs amputated to be removed. People who were in the wrong place in the wrong time died, whereas others nearby lived. Two buses had been damaged by falling buildings with multiple deaths of the occupants.

As a result, I am in a bit of a state of shock. Not a huge one, but you know the feeling you get when you find out that someone is terminally ill? Something like that. I'm handling it ok, but my mood could be better. We had no power, water, sewage, although we've got all those back now. There are huge piles of sand and dirt piled on some streets, due to the liquefaction that happened in many suburbs. I'll probably go back to work soon. I'll get over this, but it may take some time.

I don't want this to affect my losing weight. In fact, amazingly, it hasn't so far. I broke my plateau of 4 months yesterday (see the above graph), which means that I'm the lowest weight in about 1400 days. But I need to be careful.

I've had my birthday. Becky has had hers. The cake is gone. I'm going back to my planned eating.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

14th April 2014

What is the significance of this date? It's the date that I expect to be at goal if I continue at the rate I've been losing in the last 30 days. While theoretically reaching goal 3 years away is still reaching goal, it's way too far away, I want to bring into the whole losing weight this theoretical date, and see what I can do with it.

Yes, I am losing. It's just too slow for my liking. On a positive note, I haven't gained in 10 months, which is a pretty long time. That shows that I'm less likely to rebound. I'm thinking the longer since I've gained, the less chance I'll rebound, which is what I'm concerned about. Also, from the 495 people who weighed in at the start of the year in the group I belong to, about 150 will have had 3 consecutive losses by mid February. I'm one of them.

I'm still not recording what I'm exercising and excess eating. I really need to work on that.

The whole no-sugar thing is working well, I've had sugar twice since I started the no sugar challenge, so $30 has been given away. That's $30 more than I could have given, but it's fair to say that I'm changing my behaviour. I still have cravings, but they aren't worth $15 most of the time.

I'm also concentrating on my diet. Each day I have to reduce something that I normally eat, until it's obvious that I'm not eating enough, then increase things a bit. I figure that'll take about a week.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sugar free challenge

After posting my blog entry last night, I got depressed. Thinking about the whole struggle that I've been having, not just recently but in the last 20 years. It got me down. But I started thinking about how I could increase the chances of success.

It's obvious that I'm a 'treater'. I feel the need to treat myself for many things which really, aren't worth treating for. Food is the treat. Usually it's sugar related. That's my weakness - sugar.

I've been a month without sugar before, and it didn't do me any harm. I've decided to go sugar free again, from today until the end of March. I'm allowed sugar on the following days:

My birthday
Becky's birthday
Becky's sister's birthday (I'm not sure if we're seeing her that day so it may not be used)
Becky's sister's graduation day
The point where I'm halfway through my weight loss.

That averages about once every 10 days, which is quite a lot, but I probably won't have much to eat for the days related to Becky's sister. I'm not allowed any sugar (cane sugar related products) until the start of April. If I have some with the exception of those days, I have to give away $15. I really want to see how long I can last without sugar. BTW, the giving money away thing is working because I haven't been into a takeaway shop or had ice cream since posting recently. That part is working, definitely.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

I'm struggling

There's no denying that at the moment, I'm struggling with losing weight. I am hovering around 83-84kg, and have been doing so for the last 5 months. What will get me started again?

I'm hoping that the weight spreadsheet which one social bookmarking website has started will help. At the start of the year, 495 people added their weight. That's quite a lot, and will be a good example of seeing how everyone goes. I expect only about 10 percent to be good at losing, but that's just the way it is. My goal was to lose every weigh-in, which happens twice a month. Mid January 204 people had lost, followed by 174 at the start of February. The next weigh-in is in 6 days, and I'm making a real effort to lose again, which means going low carb. I've already started. I'm sure things will be ok.

Anyway, once the weigh-in is over, I'll go back to medium carb and start doing what needs to be done. The second half of February is going to be hard though, because both Becky and my birthday are in it. I don't eat a lot on my birthday, but I do eat more than usual.

It occurred to me that maybe I should try and see if I can improve my swimming times. Because I generally swim twice a day, in the morning I'll try for a fast time, and in the evening I'll just do my normal swim. Tuesday 8th I did 30 lengths in 25 min, 51.29 seconds.

In addition, if I eat anything outside my normal planned food intake, I'll post it here, together with exercise done. That's the only way. I've also thrown away my current set of jeans. They could have lasted a few more kilograms, but I want to motivate myself to continue losing. In the interim I've only got some other pants which are slightly uncomfortable when sitting down for long periods. That will help somewhat, I hope.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tuesday update

3 posts in less than a week, what's going on?


Things at the moment would be considered a bit delicate. I screwed up, I admit it. As you know, the plan was to be less than the previous weight for the group weigh-in, this is something that I am really serious about. After work, I made a decision to have what I affectionately call greasies, which is sausages and chips. This is a common New Zealand delicacy, if you ever travel here you'll see Fish & Chip shops on many suburban corners selling artery blocking delights. It's inexpensive, fatty and not good for you. I had two sausages and half a scoop of chips.

At work I pretty much convinced myself that it would be a nice thing to do. Funny how that happens, I see myself doing it, and can't stop or back down. I have no idea about the energy value of what I ate, of course my weight increases because of all of the weight of those chips which take a while to digest.

I realise that I shouldn't have greasies, so my pledge is as follows:

If I walk into a fish and chip shop before I reach the 79.999kg, I'll give away $10 for each meal.

Currently I have $30 for a recent effort at weight tracking that I didn't blog about to give away as well. Now, last night I see that Becky has bought some ice cream. Ice cream is my favourite treat/junk food, but I don't buy it often for obvious reasons. I just had to eat some. Not much, but I'm trying to lose weight, not maintain. Another pledge:

If I eat ice cream (of any form) before I reach 81.999kg (exception: birthdays), I'll give away $10 for each time I eat it.

I'm trying to be serious here. I've been at 84 for so long. I need to start losing again.

24th: two sessions of 30 lengths. The first session I made a real effort to swim as fast as I could. I won't be doing that again. I only swam about 12% faster, but I was much, much more tired afterwards.
21st: 22 lengths
20th: 30 lengths
19th: 30 lengths
18th: 52 lengths