Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Learning a new language...

... and that language is Cebuano.  Things are progressing well for my year overseas.  Never having been out of the country though, I'm finding it all rather stressful.  I'm sure that once I arrive in the Philippines, get a place and get settled, the stress will go away and I can enjoy myself. 

The Philippines has a lot of languages.  Being a country with so many islands, there was a lot of geographic isolation which caused lots of languages to develop over thousands of years.  Even within one large island you can have one language used in the majority one side, and another language the other side.  As a result, many people are bilingual and some trilingual. 

English is one of the two official languages.  It is used in official documentation.  Apparently, you can get by pretty well just by using English in the country.  The majority can speak it, although the degree of fluency by those who do use it varies.  The national language is Tagolog, which is used throughout the country, although more predominantly in the north, where the capital Manila is.

I plan to go to central Philippines, where Cebuano is based.  About 20 million people speak this language, and I thought since I'm going there for 12 months, why not learn the language?  I have no idea how I'll go with this challenge.  I plan to leave New Zealand late March, which is 20 weeks away.  I'm hoping to do at least 15 hours of study a week.  That's 300 hours, which probably is enough to make sure that I don't make a fool of myself, but not enough to prevent misunderstandings.

About 3 months ago, I told someone about my blog.  I've only told one person about the blog, which was probably a good thing, so I can have a bit of privacy and make weight loss mistakes without thinking that someone was looking over my shoulder at what I was eating.  My plans for the future have changed (related to my time away), and subsequently I want a bit of privacy.  You can draw your own conclusions, and I have to say that any guesses you make probably would have a degree of truth in them.

For this reason my blog has moved addresses.  I know that I have lost a lot of readers (I peaked at 857 views last month, my highest ever) but really, my blog had entered a maintenance stage where I promised to post at least monthly and not share too much about what was going on in my life.  There are at least 500 weight loss / fitness blogs out there with about 3 new ones each week, so there is a lot of choice.

I've given myself the challenge of turning this blog for the year I'm away into a living in the Philippines blog.  That means lots of personal information (scary, huh?), lots of photos and hardly any graphs.  I still want a graph at the top of each post but that's about it.  After I get back, it turns back into a boring maintenance blog again.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

6 weeks at goal weight

Yes, it's been a while since I've posted.  You may recall how I'd planned to weigh myself daily from my goal day.  Six weeks later, that did not happen.  I've only weighed myself half a dozen times after my last post a month ago, and surprisingly for me, didn't even bother to enter most of them into my spreadsheet.  I have to say that for about 10 days, I was on a goal high, and life was sweet.  I treated myself to going to the cinema a huge number of times, certainly a record for me.  The films I saw were:

Wednesday 19th On the road - an unusual film about life hitch hiking in the US in the early 1950's.  Life on the road included working low skill jobs, as well as reading and writing poetry and short stories.  A bit arty, but that's okay in low quantities.

Thursday 20th The Expendables 2 - just a string of explosions, air crashes, and gun battles where the good guys (almost) never get killed.  Pretty much you had to disengage your brain when the film started.

Friday 21st Hit and Run - it's never a good sign when you completely forget what this film is about, and have to watch the trailer again.  An escapade type film about a couple who are on the run from some baddies who want some hidden money.  Forgettable, obviously.

Monday 24th Total Recall - a remake about someone who has memories implanted into his brain in a futuristic society.  Quite good, lots of action and a plot that isn't dumbed down.

Tuesday 25th Ruby Sparks - a successful author creates a character in one of his stories and she comes to life.  They have a relationship and he learns that he can change the way that she acts just by typing some words on a piece of paper.  Quite enjoyable.

Wednesday 26th Hope Springs - essentially a dramatic documentary about how the fire in a long-term relationship can burn out and how to reignite it with a trip away and some couples counselling.  Some of the acting sucked.  It was however, interesting showing the counselling and I'll be buying a DVD of this when it comes out because I have lived this film and don't want to live it again.

Thursday 27th Looper - using time travel to dispose of unwanted bodies, hit men come across expected and unexpected problems when they take on a profession with a finite life expectancy.  Well made although there were some huge plot holes.

Friday 28th Savages - my favourite of the bunch, marijuana growers who have to join up with a Mexican drug lord which results in horrifying deaths and kidnapping.  Very well made and has what I would call razzmatazz which is when everything comes together perfectly.

Monday 1st Savages - worth seeing twice.

Tuesday 2nd Pitch Perfect - in a nutshell, two hours of Glee but with more comedy and no backing band, instead using a cappella (which is making instrument sounds using your voice).  Anna Kendrick was great in Up in the air but she won't get any Academy Award nominations for this, sadly.

Wednesday 3rd Resident Evil: Retribution - some films (Lord of the Rings, Coyote Ugly) were made for 13 year old boys.  This film was made by a 13 year old boy.  The script, plot, set and pretty much everything was shallow.  If you play first person shooter video games on your Xbox 360/Playstation 3, you've played this film.

Thursday 4th Two little boys - it's been a long time since I've walked out of a film.  Probably 5-10 years.  I wasn't the only one to walk out of this.  The fact that it was made in New Zealand makes it worse (I've been to some of the locations in the film), but this film really wasn't funny and the production quality was worse than NZ's long running soap Shortland Street which is pretty bad. 

So there you have it.  12 films in two weeks.  Definitely an enjoyable experience, celebrating 3 years of weight loss and 12 years since being at goal.

So where to from now?  I have to say that maintaining has been easier than what I expected.  I sort of expected that my metabolism would have diminished somewhat and I would need to boost the level of protein that I was having.  As it turned out, that hasn't happened.  Obviously I can't eat whatever I want to, but I'm not that hungry and I don't seem to be needing to optimise the level of protein that I'm having.  I haven't been cold,  nor have I been lying around feeling listless and tired due to my light weight.

Blogging.  I'm proud of my weight loss, and yes, I'm proud of my blog.  Reading other people's blogs, they like to share a lot of what is going on in their lives.  As it happens, I'm more of a private person and don't do that.  However, I still need the blog and have decided to make posts at least every calendar month.  That's not a lot, but I can maintain that level for pretty much indefinitely, so it will be interesting to see how long I can go. 

Commenting on other people's blogs.  I need to work on this.  I do think that it helps with my own motivation and also it's only fair to support others as other people have supported me.  I've whittled down the number of blogs that I'm commenting on, but that means that I can remember more about the person I'm reading rather than just going by what I read on that particular post.

Exercise.  I've stopped exercising.  I knew that would happen.  I also need to start again because I really need to improve the quality of my sleep, and maybe exercise can do that.  We'll see.

Food.  I've started to eat foods that I haven't had in a long time (we're talking years).  One of which is tortellini, which are little pasta things filled with cheese.  The good thing about these is they are easy to prepare, just add boiling water and throw in the microwave.  However they have a high energy density which means that it's been at least 4-5 years since I've had them.  There are a number of other foods which I plan to have, but this one happened to come to mind first, so I decided to buy a packet and give it a go.

I need to be vigilant with my weight, so I'll see how weighing weekly goes in terms of safety.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

A small milestone

First, a big THANK YOU to all of you who left messages on my Goal Weight post just over a week ago.  It was sooo nice to get them all.  You'll notice a few changes.  I will be skinny has turned into The Art of Weight Loss Maintenance.  I guess it's more relevant to what lies ahead, and it turns out that I'm not skinny anyway.  I've also changed my Blogger name.  Me has turned into Mannie, which is not my real name but is close to it.  I guess I got tired of using Me, perhaps a bit too arty for my tastes.

The milestone I'm referring to is that back in 2000, I was at goal weight for exactly 9 days, which I'm sure you'd agree is not a particularly long time.  Now is actually the fourth time I've been at goal, the other periods being 6 ('94) and 12 months ('96).  I've now been at goal for 10 days, breaking my previous shortest duration.  You can see that the above graph that my weight gained for just over a week before getting back below goal.  I expected that.  You know how when you first start dieting, you typically lose a lot in the first week?  Well, this is the opposite effect of that.  When you start eating "normally", the weight of food inside you increases and so you weigh more.  I need to lose a bit more fat to get back to just a tad below goal weight consistently.  That will take 2-4 weeks.

I plan to have these graphs on every post for at least a year or two.  When I think about how long the blog will be active for, I've got mixed thoughts.  I really want it to last a life time, but is that realistic?  Probably not.  Very few blogs break 6 years.  The blog has definitely helped me in losing weight, but I'll share a little secret.  Promise not to tell?  This is not my first weight loss blog.  It's actually my third.  The other two crashed and burned.  The first one started off 10kg from goal (sigh) and ended up 20kg from goal (an even bigger sigh), 18 months later.  The second blog started off 25kg above goal and stayed that way for a year.  Mindset is everything, and it takes time to build that.

A few people have been noticing my weight loss at work, I had my yearly evaluation a few days ago and my supervisor said that someone had asked her if I had some health issue which caused my weight loss.  She'd noticed my loss just before I became single last June and complimented me on my losses.  Anyway, at the evaluation I told her no, I was fine, I just wanted to lose weight.  She handled it well, wasn't judgmental and we joked about how the company gave out chocolate as a reward for many things.  As an example, we were requested to do a company culture questionnaire and as a reminder, of course there was a small bar of chocolate as a thank you (the previous culture survey results got canned due to an earlier CEO being asked to resign for unknown reasons).  What is weird is that the comments I've been getting have been the week and a half surrounding my reaching goal weight.

My goal emotional high hasn't started to wear off, I thought that it would only last a few days.  I admit that losing 28kg (with a few rebounds added in - maybe 17kg) has been a tiring, draining experience.  More on that later.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Goal weight!

This morning I weighed in at 65.6kg, which means that I've reached my goal weight!  It feels so great to be finally here.  Yes, it's taken 3 years 3 weeks, but in reality it's taken 10 years because the last time I was at goal weight was 10 years ago (and I only was there for about 8 days).  I'll keep this post short because it's after midnight and I'm tired, today has been a busy day, I took the ferry to Diamond Harbour (a 10 minute journey from Lyttleton).  There I walked up the hill, and had an ice cream at the local store. 

I haven't taken a photo yet for the comparison shot but really, there isn't that much difference between the photo at 79kg and what I look like at 66kg.  The only 'issue' I have is my knees, I've noticed this in the past when I've been thin, my knees don't have any fat on them and it can be annoying when I'm trying to sleep because I can't lay one on top of the other.  Anyway, I knew that would be a problem. 

There is a sense of relief that I'm finally here, but also a lot of regret.  Why did I rebound 10 years ago?  I think that because I went up all the way to 94kg, I may well have mucked up the hormones which regulate hunger compared to if I had just stayed at goal.  Anyway, that is in the past now, I have no control over it. 

Because I'm at goal now I ordered my 32GB mp3 player, which should arrive within a week.  A few other goodies I'll be getting as well. 

I just want to say a big THANK YOU for everyone who commented on my blog in the last 3 years.  It has helped immensely.  I guess when you look at it, losing weight is a solitary experience.  It is extremely difficult to find someone who is at your stage of the 'journey' who you can buddy up and will help and support you.  Because I really didn't have that, comments helped a lot.  Also thanks heaps to those of you who have put me on your blogroll.  That seems to substantially increase views.  That's why I've maxed out (at 250) my main blogroll because I believe that WL bloggers out there need all the help and views they can get.

I've said in the past how I plan on a system for maintaining: if I'm over my goal weight then no dinner.  That starts tomorrow.  Because of the carbs I've had today I'll no doubt not be having dinner tomorrow.  That's cool by me.  Over the next 2-4 weeks I'll reintroduce carbs which means I get to eat fruit again, which is something I've missed a lot.

So what's it like to be skinny, a reference to the blog title?  Well it turns out that I'm not skinny, when I started this blog it had been 9 years since I'd been this weight and simply didn't remember what I looked like.  Also after about a year I got sick of the name but decided to keep it until I reached goal, so I'll change it soon to something relevant to maintenance.

It's been a great day reaching my goal weight.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Lowest weight in over 15 years

If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you've seen these a few times.  Lowest weight in .... years.  This will be my final one.  15 years ago my life was quite a bit different.  Living with Gill.  I'd just bought a new (second hand) car, which I just sold 6 months ago.  Back in 1997 I would break my arm in March, something that would cause a rebound that would last for 3 1/2 years.

I can't believe that my "journey" is almost over.  I feel all sorts of emotions.  More on that in my next post.  Last weekend I've had two comments at work about my weight, one day after the other!  Sadly, they haven't said that I look great, it has been more a sort of being concerned about my weight, and maybe I'm getting too low.  I just want to be the weight I was back in 1996.  Back then no one said I was underweight.  So why are they getting concerned now?  Way to spoil my fun, thanks.

Anyway, before about a week ago I was having rewards every half kilogram, but that has stopped.  I'm not having them anymore.  The reason is that I want to finish by about the 10 year anniversary of what I call "my 2002 madness" or "the worst year of my life, excepting the year I die".  10 years ago, my partner was dying of breast cancer.  My mother was also dying of pancreatic cancer.  Gill died on the 19th of September, we had her funeral on the 21st, and that night I drove to Dunedin, 5 hours away.

My mother was in a bad way, but I'm so glad that my brother and father came up for the funeral.  The next morning I had the following conversation with my mother: "Do you know that Gill has died?" "Of course I do".  That was the only words we said.  I really wish that I was able to have a proper conversation about Gill dying, because my mother was very fond of Gill, but she just didn't have it in her.  The next morning my mother died.

As you can imagine, that was really tough on me.  I still think of it a couple of times a week, 10 years later.  Gill was always supportive about my weight problems back then, she must have heard "I've lost another kilogram" so many times!  Unlike my last two girlfriends, she never showed resistance to me wanting to lose weight, never made one negative comment.  Actually, this is the first time I've realised that, having typed it.  I never had the need to question what she said about my weight.  She was my first girlfriend and we had a long-term relationship, and for some people you get really strong feelings for someone even years after the relationship has ended when they are your first girl/boyfriend and it is long-term.

So yeah, I want to finish around the time of the 10 year anniversary.  Not a month later.  Nowish.  But I'll make sure that goal day is not the 19th or the 23rd.  I don't want to have a happy occasion on a sad day.

On a lighter note, I'm wondering how the blog will be different when I'm at goal weight.  My two favourite maintenance blogs are Fit to Finish by Diane and At Goal Weight Watcher by Caron.

Diane has been at goal weight for 14 years, but she really knows how to look back and discuss the issues that were important to her when she was heavier, as well as now that she's at goal.  Her posts are a derivation of "Let's talk about ...".

Caron has been at goal weight for a couple of years now.  She regularly posts her weight, as well as what is happening in her life.  It's nice to get a feel of who she is as a person, rather than just words on a screen.  She gets to go to Weight Watchers meetings for free because she's at her goal weight.

You'll notice that my blog consists of posts such as:

   Lowest weight in n years
   I lost a bit this week
   I gained a bit this week
   n weeks in a row of losing
   I'm starting a new self-challenge
   That self-challenge really didn't work out but...

So let's imagine what my blog in (ideally) maintenance would be like:

   My weight is stable
   I started exercising
   I had some nice food this week
   I stopped exercising
   My weight is stable

Kinda boring, right?  I really have no idea what the blog will turn into, I guess we can wait and see.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

August goals recap / September goals


New month, new set of goals

My goals for August were:

  • Low carb for almost all of the month.  I gave the number of days that I wanted to eat low carb at 27 and yes, I was able to achieve that.  That was how many days there were, the exceptions were the 1st, 11th, 23rd and today, the 31st.

  • Reward meals when they happen, not before.  Done.

  • Red/Green squares to show when I ate perfectly or when I didn't eat perfectly.  My current diet is unlimited meat and unlimited vegetables.  It means I can have a reward meal (3200Kj) when allowed.  I know that some people might think that having so many reward meals (every half a kilogram) is a bad idea, but really, my goal is to lose weight.  No loss, no reward.  I do feel somewhat deprived when I'm on this diet, so it's nice to have treats now and then.  Once I'm at goal weight I'll probably eat out once a week (not a meal, just a snack.  I rarely have a whole meal eating out).  Here is the last month:

        So that's 5 days when I ate more than what I should have.

  • Become fit.  Done.  I can run for 30 minutes without a break, which is my definition of being fit.  Sometimes after an exercise session I need a lie down, sometimes I don't.  My sleep quality is still what I'd consider poor.

  • Exercise every day, except the 1st which I missed.  Done.  I only had to run in the rain once.  

So there you have it, what I've achieved in August.  I'm reasonably pleased with what I did.  So how much weight did I lose?  Exactly 4 kilograms.  That's not bad.

Now for September goals:

The main one of course is to:

  • Get to goal weight.  I really want to achieve that in September.  My weight loss seems to be speeding up in anticipation of getting there.  Only 2.1kg to go.  Unless something bad happens such as a health related issue or some type of conflict with another human being (I don't handle stress very well, who does?) I fully expect to get there this month.

  • After reaching goal, start the transition to high carb.  One of the things about going high carb is that you gain weight due to the amount of water in your muscles increasing.  This is called "glycogen related weight gain".  Because I want to stay under my goal weight I will need to gradually increase the amount of carbohydrates I'm eating.  That will take 2-4 weeks.  So I'll continue losing fat for a while, and that means continuing to eat less than my body needs.

  • Start my maintenance system.  For me that means watching what I eat and watching my weight.  At least initially for the first year or two.  Daily weigh-ins, which is fine for me, I prefer it that way (who knows, in the second year I might be weighing every second day).  I happened to read about someone who maintained by a simple method: if they were at goal weight, they could have dinner.  But if they were above goal weight, they couldn't.  I'm going to have my 'red line' weight as my goal weight.  It seems simpler that way.  I need to stay under it.  That way I don't have to choose a value of regain, and decide how much risk to take, ie 1, 2, or 3kg.  The first week I'll be taking each morning's reading as an indicator as to whether I can have dinner that evening.  After that, I'll take a 7 day average.  I know that a lot of people wouldn't go to this much detail in planning, but I enjoy this sort of thing.  I've weighed myself thousands of times in the last 20 years, so I like fiddling with numbers and stuff.

  • Start figuring out how much protein to eat.  Back in my 20's I was a vegetarian.  But I really didn't eat the foods that a vegetarian should have eaten.  Oh how I wish that I'd kept a food diary back then, of course I didn't because I was at a stable weight.  I didn't even know how much I weighed!  I didn't know what BMI or glycemic index meant, how many grams of protein/carb/fat I was eating, or how many kilojoules of energy I needed each day.  I was slim, my weight was totally stable.  The only time I overate was at Christmas and my birthday (or that's what I can remember).  I don't remember overeating because I was upset (although it might have happened).  My plan is once I'm at goal weight, I'll start off at 100 grams a day of protein, and see how my hunger is.  Drop it by one gram a day.  Probably 1-2 months later I'll have to taper it off.

Phew, long post!  If you got this far, congratulations.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Back in the 60's (kilograms) and a smartphone reward


The last time I was in the 60's was back in 2001, in February just after my birthday.  That's some time ago.  Five months ago I bought a smartphone which was on special, the Motorola Defy.  I chose that because it was waterproof and also the screen had special glass that wasn't easily scratched.  It's been waiting in its box ever since, I put it out of sight and promised myself that I wouldn't open it until I was "almost there".  I've never had a smartphone before, so I really don't know much about them, apart from the fact that they are 'little computers'.  I won't be using it to make calls, I prefer a smaller phone, rather I'll do it for computing tasks and also an attempt to increase something which is important to me - my intelligence.

Some time ago it was discovered that you could increase a persons intelligence by performing an exercise called dual-n-back.  That's where you listen to numbers being spoken and also look at the words on a screen.  You have to remember what's happening and whether the two are related, and the time difference between the two slowly gets longer and longer.  Someone discovered that it increases your intelligence, although more recent research seems to think that the effect is statistically insignificant.  I'm thinking that it helps for some, and doesn't for others.  There's no harm in trying it to see if it does help.  An increase in intelligence is always helpful for my university studies, as I'm doing mathematics and engineering.  Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's really hard.  This sort of thing is ideal for using on a smartphone, a really portable computer.  Like exercise it's a case of "use it or lose it", you stop doing the activity and the effect goes away.

I had saved up 3 years of Christmas and 4 years of birthdays gifts from my father, totaling $225.  I just told my father to keep the money and wait until I asked for it.  I'm going to Dunedin next week (for another reward) where I'll collect the money.  The smartphone cost me $299 so that's a real cost to me of only $74.

Just over 3 kilograms to goal.  The funny thing is that I'm actually speeding up in my weight loss.  The reason is that really, I'm tired of it all.  3 years and 25kg so far.  Constantly thinking of weight and energy and protein etc is draining.  Oh by the way, I've been estimating my body fat percentage.  There are lots of methods, but they are all rather inaccurate to some degree, so I thought that I'd try the simplest method: comparing my body with photos of known percentages.  Current estimate is about 17%, which is the heaviest of the 'fitness' range.  I'd guess that will only change a few percentage points as I reach goal weight.  My thighs still rub together (not really a concern) and I've still got a double chin (something I'd like to get rid of).

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Weekly update

70.2kg, a loss of 0.8kg in the last week.

This past week has gone really well.  I've managed to exercise every day, and my eating has been good as well.  I have decided to have reward meals every half kilogram as I head towards goal.  That sounds extravagant but in my experience if you have some type of reward meal, you don't end up eating the same amount of food as you normally would, you eat less after the reward meal.  Once I hit 69.9kg, I'm allowed to open the box that contains my new smartphone that I bought back in March.  Has it been that long?

In other news I'm working out when I will reach goal weight, and what I'll do on Goal Day.  I want to try go karting, plus a few other things.  I'm not sure if I've ever done it, I vaguely recall something happening in the past, but if I did do it, it was 20+ years ago.  There are a few other things I'll do on the day, so I have to plan it so I'm not working that day.  Should be easy enough.

Once I reach goal weight, I'll book tickets for my year overseas.  A long time ago I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't go overseas until I was at goal weight.  Well, that moment is about to arrive.  I'm so nervous!  I've never been out of the country.  Whenever I think about it, I get butterflies in my stomach.  I'll cope, I guess.  Also I told my brother years ago to just give me an IOU for one of my birthday presents, and buy me a passport when I asked for the money.

That's it for me, will check in when I'm in the 60's.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Weigh-in update

71.0kg, 5kg to goal weight.

Just a short update to say how I'm going.  I try as much as possible to give some important story or say something interesting, but I sadly not much is going on in my life at the moment so I'll just give you a weight update.  I'm losing consistently at the moment.  I'm 83% to goal, and I really really want to get there (for a multitude of reasons) so I'm definitely not slacking off or pulling back a bit.

I'm exercising consistently too, but I really find exercise a bit of a burden.  I'm not sure if that's because I'm not fit yet, and whether I'll ever get to enjoy it, time will tell I guess.  When I started running back in 2004 there was this magical period for about 2 weeks when my sleep was perfect.  I've had middle of the night waking for the last 20 years since becoming unwell but when I started running back in 2004 I'd go to bed, fall asleep and wake up what seemed 20 minutes later, in the morning.  Unfortunately it only lasted for a few weeks, I guess my body got used to the level of exercise and the sleep regulation inside my brain decided that it wanted middle of the night breaks again.  Such is life.

Unless I stop eating I'll almost certainly reach goal weight after the third anniversary of starting my weight loss / starting the blog.  It would have been nice to achieve goal weight at the start of September but it ain't gonna happen.  Current estimate of when it'll happen is about mid-September.

One unusual thing I've started doing was using Google Street View to follow my weight loss.  I started when I was 3/4 to goal weight.  I've lived in Christchurch for about 25 years, and have been to Dunedin (where I was born and some of my family live) at least 80 times.  Unless I'm busing (which I prefer not to do since it means no transport while I'm there) I'll drive, which means that I don't get to see a lot of the scenery.  Anyway, I'm taking the last 1/4 of the trip using Street View, and matching the distance with how much I'm losing, and arriving at the family home (now sold) when I reach goal weight.  I find it really relaxing.  It's like watching a film very very slowly.  Usually it's about 10 minutes a day.

That's all for me, I know I have trouble doing so but I'll try and post updates every week.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

August goals

There's something about a new month which means - a chance to start over.  So how am I going?  Not great.  I've sort of stalled in my weight loss.  I haven't back slided - which is a good thing.  Currently I'm just under 72kg.  However I have suffered that annoying high carb glycogen weight gain which takes about 4 days to get rid of.  So I really don't know what my low carb weight is, it'll be 4 days until I know.  It's time to start making some monthly goals.  These goals will be checked at the end of the month to see how I did.  Let's start with the easy ones:


  • Low carb for almost all of the month.  By "almost all" I'll give say 27 days.  That means one day a week maximum that I can go high carb, although I'd really prefer to not have any days.  Sadly, today the 1st is a high carb day which means that the maximum number of days would be 30.

  • Reward meals when they happen.  I have reward meals for losing each kilogram, and a few other things.  That means once a month when I pay my bills I have a reward meal as an example.  I can't have a reward meal in advance, because there is too much risk that I'll end up having it twice.  No reward meals in advance.

  • The return of the eating green/red squares.  This was something that I have used on the blog, it's quite easy to see how I'm eating.  I last used it here on April 2011.  That was a while ago!  It's just a green square when I've eaten properly and a red square when I haven't.

Now, the harder ones, exercise:

  • Become fit.  That means, to me to be able to run for 30 minutes without stopping.  I achieved this back in 2004 and I'm hoping that it won't take me more than a month to achieve, like it did last time.

  • I exercise every day, except the first of August.  It's almost midnight now and I'm not in the mood to go for a run.  But starting tomorrow, yes, it's going to happen.  Even if it's for a minute, it's going to count.

So there you have it.  5 goals.  These aren't hard goals, I know that I can do them, it just takes a bit of perseverance to do it as required.  

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Lowest weight in over 10 years

I posted last week that I was lowest weight in over 9 years, well guess what, I'm the lowest weight in over 10 years.  I've had a lot of milestones in this journey, and the two greatest so far would be reaching halfway (April last year and again following the breakup in October) and lowest weight since mid 2002.  The reason for that is back in 2002, I was struggling.  I was living with my ex who had breast cancer and it was terminal, sadly.  My mother had been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas in 2001 and her condition was getting worse as time went on.  Amazingly, I was still losing weight.  How I achieved that, I really have no idea.  I remember visiting my ex in the hospice, then having a coffee and slice at a nearby mall and then going home for a carb induced sleep, depressed.  Even now, 10 years later it still depresses me when I think of it.

Slowly over the first 9 months of 2002 I lost weight.  We're talking of about 2-3 kilograms over that whole period.  Then I stopped, and started wondering why and if I could lose the rest.  I'm here 10 years later and know that I can continue losing, so it's nice to know that, I've been wondering about it for 10 years.  As it happened, my ex died on the 19th September and 4 days later my mother died in Dunedin, 5 hours drive away.  Six weeks later a range of issues came along that caused me to rebound - I gained 7kg in the space of a few months or so.

My ex and I had to move into a new home as the old one was being demolished about 3 months before she died, I have a memory of weighing myself back then and thinking that maybe I was 'stuck' at 72kg, and couldn't get any lower.  Well as it turns out, the answer is no.  I can continue losing,

On a lighter side, I have just finished my reward for this achievement - I am allowed to eat my chocolate Easter bunny.  We got them at work and I wrote "lowest weight in 10 years" on it.  There is something about writing it down that makes it stick in your consciousness, rather than just saying it in your mind.  It tends to work better.

Thank you for reading, this post has been a special one for me, I've been thinking about it for the last 3 years, and it's good to finally write it.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Three quarters to goal

I've reached three quarters of the way through my journey!  Just under 7 of the original 28 kilograms to go.  This is another milestone (I've had a few along the way) that I'm really pleased to have reached.  I've also noticed that my attitude to weight loss has changed in the last week.  I'm getting excited.  It also means that I'm trying to speed things up by eating better.  There are a few exceptions to that - each kilogram I lose I get a reward meal, but back in October I won a block of chocolate at work.  I wrote on it "lowest weight in 9 years" and it's been waiting since then.  Actually a workmate offered to take the original block and give me an IOU because it may have gone off in the meantime.  There is another reward at lowest weight in 10 years, an Easter egg that's been quietly waiting at work.  "When are you going to eat it?" I've been asked a few times.

Below shows the graph of the last 9 and a bit years.

Looking at this graph sometimes makes me cringe.  It's all over the place, the longest stretch of flatness is in 2004 and was because I lost some weight data I'd had in another spreadsheet that got deleted accidentally.

As a reward for reaching three quarters I'll be going up the hill again for a walk.  It's roughly a 5 hour trip.  I'll probably do that on Tuesday if the weather is good.  I'm not sure when I'll reach goal weight. I'm hoping before the 3 year anniversary of my weight loss and starting this blog on the 3rd of September.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Another week, another loss

I'm trying to lose weight every week, and yesterday (Monday) I lost another kilogram.  73.7kg.  Not long now, only 7.7kg!  I'm starting to feel my ribs.  My immediate thought is omg I'm starving and getting too thin but then I remember that I've got a muffin top and my thighs rub together.  My chest and stomach still "jiggle".  Bits of fat are deserting me at different rates all over my body.

I think about how I would have done things differently if I started again.  If I had known that it would take 3 years to lose 28kg, I would have just aimed for 1kg a month, and had some financial system to keep things working (set up an automatic payment for $10 or so into my father's back account, and getting it back at goal date).

Oh by the way, I had a memory flashback to when I was about 17 or 18.  I was slim back then, of course.  I went to the local shop and bought a packet of chocolate fingers.  Why is that a big deal, you wonder? Because I hardly ever bought packets of biscuits.  I know that it's kind of obvious but I ate differently back then.  Sure, I ate sweets and packets of chips, but it was extremely unlikely that I would have eaten more than say 2000kj in one session.  Sadly, that has changed.  I know that I can get back to my old habits and behaviour, it just takes effort.  Before my breakup, I lost or maintained for about 2 years, 3 months.

Speaking of the breakup, time for a little sharing.  I don't like being single.  I like the sharing and intimacy that having someone special in my life gives me.  Given that I have planned to go overseas for a year, that makes dating here before I leave a bit iffy.  So I never bothered looking for a girlfriend.  As a result I've gotten quite depressed lately.  That's in addition to my normal level of depression.  Recently I've been in touch with a lady who I may meet up with overseas.  Communicating with women using just the Internet is harder than if they are in the same city, you've got so little to go on and wonder what they are really like.  I guess they are thinking the same thing about me.  Anyway, so that's something to look forward to.

Oh by the way, we just had an earthquake here.  Not a biggy.  Anyway, I've realised that I know the feel of an earthquake (I should, having felt thousands of them).  A little bit of shaking, then there is a big shake at the end.  Why that happens that way and not the other way around, I have no idea.  But I'm always expecting the "last wobble", knowing it's the biggest.  It doesn't always happen that way, but it's often enough.  Then I just go on twitter hashtag #eqnz and see where it was located, usually 50 or so people tweet how strong it was and their location.  In todays case, it was a 5.0.  That means that there probably wasn't any damage (typically the easiest damage is bottles of wine falling off supermarket shelves), but most people notice it and pets can get scared.

Monday, 2 July 2012

I'm back, with a new diet

It's been about six weeks since I've posted.  What's happened to me?  Well nothing really, my weight has been stagnant, a little bit up, a little bit down.  Currently I'm at about 74.3kg which is where I was when I last posted.  But I haven't really lost weight in the last 2 months.  That's changing.

I've chopped and changed my diet so many times!  High carb, low carb, medium carb then high carb again.  I've been reading about a diet where you have unlimited vegetables and meat.  It's generally a low carb diet, and that's what I've decided to try for a while.  For meat I'll generally be having fish like sardines.  Not many people would say that they are appetising, but that's the point!  I can overeat on ham, chicken, even meat patties maybe.  But fish?  No way.  The veges I'll probably stick to my usual 500g a day, which is fine for me.  I enjoy veges but it's unlikely that I'll ever have a vege binge.

Exercise.  I struggle with this.  It has occurred to me that maybe it'll take a while before I actually enjoy exercise.  I'm not talking a couple of months, I'm talking about a couple of years.  I guess it's like mathematics, which is what I've been studying recently at university.  It's hard, no one denies that.  But if you're doing the same level after a while, you start to enjoy it.  Crazy I know.  Maybe that will happen with me with the exercise.  After a few years I'll start to enjoy it.  It would be nice to have exercise to give me more energy and a better quality of sleep.  I'll try, I really will.  I'm not fit at the moment, but the upside of this is that the only way is up!

Losing weight each week.  I've had this as a goal before and it has worked really well.  Currently I'm on my third week.  The losses haven't been stunning (0.2, 0.3, 1.0kg) but I'm headed downwards, which is where it counts.

I'll definitely try and post more often, and also comment on the blogs that I follow.  I'm 70 percent finished on this journey.  I want the last 30 percent to be just as social as the first 30 percent.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

No more sugar

For a while now I had been thinking about going without sugar in June.  I've been noticing that I've been having more 'rewards' (typically when I lost weight) or having a weekly meal when I'm having something sweet.  But the number of meals or times I've been having sugar has been ramping up recently.  Rather than waiting until June, I decided to start now.  I've been about 5 hours without sugar, and as to when I have some again, who knows?  As long as possible, hopefully.

I've also decided to go without sugar substitutes.  I don't believe that they result in an increase in eating but I'd just like to tone down the sweetness in the food that I eat.

I know that I flip-flop so often, but I'm back on a high carb diet.  I just couldn't get into a low carb diet, this has happened before, I think that the more often I swap from high to low and high again, the less tolerant I am of a low carb diet.  There is a subsequent water gain of about 2 kilograms.  This coupled with the fact that I haven't lost any weight in the last week means that I'm changing the goal day on this blog to 10th August 2012.

I don't know how long I can go without sugar.  There are 'social issues'.  I'm not sure what to do about that, I'll figure it out, and blog about it.  I have no problem declining sugar at work.  Actually at work there are a lot of obese people.  More so than the proportion of the population who are obese.  I was sitting next to one obese woman and saw for a split second a memo that she got about a "healthy weight initiative".  I also saw the words Weight Watchers.  I decided to not talk to her about it.  It's great that my company is doing something (what they are actually doing will probably remain a mystery to me) but what I was wondering was - who decides to get the memo, and who doesn't?  So many issues right there.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Aiming to reach goal in July...

It's been a while.  Nearly a month, actually.  What's been going on?  Well, I haven't been gaining.  I've been losing, but glacially slowly.  Today I weighed in at 74kg, which is 8 kilograms away from goal.  My eating has been okayish.  What that means is that I haven't been having blowouts big enough to gain, but I haven't been eating "properly".  Exercise stopped about 2-3 weeks ago.


I've known for years now that the human mind has a mental energy generator.  Mental energy is the thing that allows you to do things day in, day out.  I don't know what the scientific name for it is.  Anyway, your brain generates it, and your environment and mental state use it up.  When I started exercising with the Kinect things were going well.  Suddenly that stopped.  I don't enjoy exercise, which is probably the main reason why I have trouble doing it.  I think that my mental energy levels dropped to low enough levels so that I just stopped and didn't have it in me to carry on.  I stopped posting on the blog too.  Fortunately, I continued to eat well enough that I continued to lose weight.  In the last 2 weeks I've lost just under a kilogram.

Tonight on a whim, I was going through a Kmart (yes, we have this chain store in New Zealand) and I was going through their online catalogue and came across a exercycle for NZ$79.  That's good value.  Checked other websites and found prices that were in some cases 3-4 times the amount.  Decided to buy it.  Why not?  I can sell it for $50 on Trademe (the NZ equivalent of ebay) when I'm at goal.  I'm not after anything special.  I've decided to watch television while exercising with it.

One of the problems with exercise is that it's boring for me.  If anyone reading this doesn't find it boring, then I'm envious of you.  Exercise has three components that I have trouble with:

1. It's tiring.  This depends a lot on whether you're fit or not (my definition of being fit is being able to run for 30 minutes).  But even if I'm fit, I'm at a point of partial-exhaustion when I'm doing it.  That's just the way it is, and I accept that.

2. I need a rest/sleep afterwards.  I know that a lot of people don't have this problem, but I do.  My energy levels are low.  If I have two exercise sessions a day, I might have to have two sleeps, or drag myself around after the second session before I go to bed for the night.

3.  Exercise is boring.  Yes, you can listen to music.  But that is not totally distracting.  What I need is something better, watching television.

So from now on, I'll be exercising whenever I am watching television.  And watching television whenever I'm exercising.  I haven't tried this before so fingers crossed it goes to plan.  It also means that I don't have to rearrange the furniture in my living room (the Xbox Kinect requires a large distance between you and the TV, and my living room is simply not wide enough, but it is long enough).

I'm only eight kilograms from goal weight!  Lowest weight since 4th December 2004.  I have to admit to being a bit worried about the whole body size issue.  You see, because the last time I was at my goal weight (66kg) was in 1997.  15 years ago.  I've simply forgotten what my body looked like back then.  I know that it's not a lot for a man.  Currently, there would be roughly 4-5 litres of fat on my chest and stomach (that is a rough estimate based on the jiggle factor).  When I was doing star jumps on the Kinect game (star jumps involve jumping up, and spreading your arms and legs, jumping again and closing them - extremely energy intensive) the thing I noticed most was the discomfort of all of my fat in my torso pulling down when I landed on the floor.  I don't think that should happen.  My thighs also rub together still.  So I know that I could still lose 5 kilograms of fat and not feel as though I'm underweight or have issues when I look in the mirror.

At work I've decided to ditch the low carb and eat fruit.  The reason is that some people there know that I'm losing weight, and I don't want them to comment about how I'm getting "too thin".  I want them to quietly forget that I lost all of that weight.

The highlight of the post though is that I'm aiming to reach goal weight in July.  It is theoretically possible.  I'm not sure when in July I'll reach goal weight.  Plus of course it requires diet, exercise and lots of mental energy.  No issues coming up that could derail my progress.  I've placed a widget on my blog counting down the days until I reach goal weigh.  Currently I've set that to the 15th of July, each new post I'll probably update it a little bit.  Just having a widget on my blog doesn't mean I'll reach goal weight at the date stated, of course.  But I'll try.  That's all I can do.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Breakup gain lost - 8 1/2 months later

In June last year I started gaining weight, just before I became single. In total, I gained about 10 kilograms, which for me is a substantial amount of weight. The reason for the gain was my difficulty adjusting to the single life, and worries about money, which starts off a junk food buying reflex. I have pleasure in saying that I've lost that weight. This graph shows how I handled it:

As you can see there is a bit of a gain at the start of December. That gain resulted in an delay of about 3 months in posting that I've lost all of this additional weight. 8 1/2 months in total wasted, which is a long time. But it's gone. I don't dwell on the past, so I won't here. It's gone and that's the last I'm thinking about it.

However, because I am now at a new low, I've pleasure in saying that I'm at the lowest weight in over 8 years, as this graph shows:

Back to early February 2004. That's a long time ago, and it's nice to be going back to the weight that I was then. But there is still a lot of weight to lose. I'm 2/3 through my weight loss. But there is still 1/3 to go. I'm dawdling through this trip, with no real system or control. That has to stop.


Let's talk about food. I haven't been eating to plan, I've been having too many 'treats', and I really don't need them. I have two planned treats a week. That should be enough. Further more, my Tuesday treat has included a small chocolate bar, well that has to stop. It never used to be like that, I started about a year ago and have just been carrying on since. I don't need it, I can go without it for a short time I'm sure. I did it before, I can do it again.

Let's talk about exercise. I plugged in the Kinect extension for my Xbox 360, and started playing the game Your Shape, Fitness Evolved. I have to say that it's a good game. Really good. I don't think I'll ever join a gym again. Not that I was planning to anyway, but I'm canceling my gym membership (even though I haven't used it this year...). The game has a number of sections, but the personal trainer section is the one I use. You just do things such as jumping, squating, all sorts of things. I haven't done any of these before in my life, so it's new to me.

The best part of it is that I can have three exercise sessions a day. For me, that's really important. In the first half of last year I was going to the pool twice a day. That takes up a huge amount of time. At the moment, playing the Kinect takes up an equivalent amount of time, because I'm not fit, and after an exercise session I need a sleep. I really was unfit, there is an energy used counter and I have to say that I feel a bit sad that I needed a sleep after exercising 120kj - about one quarter of an apple in food equivalent. But the longest I can go is ever increasing, and I'm not yet finished. I'm hoping that I won't need a sleep after each session, so I'll keep my profile set at "Beginner" and hope that it won't be too hard for me. In case you were wondering, yes I have energy issues (health related).

Let's talk about weight. In the last week I've lost about 300 grams and in the last month I've lost a couple of kilograms. That's really not enough. I'm on a time schedule, I'm meant to be leaving the country in August, but also I'm meant to be doing other things before I leave. I need to get my act sorted.

So the plan is to just get started with eating properly, and exercising as much as I can. 9 kilograms to go. I'll try and make it as fast and consistent as I can, starting today.

Friday, 23 March 2012

New challenge - Ready for Summer

I have decided to join up to this challenge. Okay, I'm in the southern hemisphere so really it should be called Ready for Winter, but hey, I'll take it anyway. The last challenge went well, and I'm hoping that this one will too. We have to set goals. Here are my goals:

Weight loss: get to goal weight. This is theoretically possible in a 10 week challenge. I'll leave it at that.

NSV: wear my Auckland pants. When I lived in Auckland I'd just finished polytechnic and was about to go to job interviews. I bought those pants (I still remember talking to the salesman, for some reason) at the age of 23 (25 years ago). They should fit at goal. Maybe. At least I hope to be able to zip them up. Fingers crossed.

Exercise: Play my Xbox 360 fitness game with my Kinect. I bought it about 4 months ago and have yet to use it. I want to use it every day, for at least 15 minutes. Not only theoretically possible, actually probable given enough time and effort.

Nutrition: Use my green/red squares to represent perfect/imperfect eating here on the blog. Aim for at least 90 percent green squares. Be in ketosis every day of the challenge. The challenge starts on Monday (NZ time) so I hope to be there by then, if at all possible.

Oh, one other goal. Try to enjoy losing weight! I know that this is a bit of an unusual goal, but really I haven't enjoyed my weight loss journey so far. In terms of a journey, it's like a car ride where the radio has a lot of static, there is a seat spring sticking into your back, and something in the dashboard is rattling. Sure, I've enjoyed arriving at 2/3 towards my destination, but am I enjoying the weight loss? No. I think it's depleting my mental energy stores. I'll have to work on that.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Less than 10 kilograms to goal

75.7kg, lowest weight in 8 months 11 days

I've got less than ten kilograms to lose. Single figures. That's a milestone, no more thinking in double digits about how much I have to lose. Yes, I was at this point back in June last year (and posted about it too...) but sometimes life events come along and you gain weight. Back then I went to the cinema and got a large popcorn, and I'm doing it again. Imagine me, buying popcorn at the cinema twice in one year! Crazy. I'm not sure which film I'm going to see, I usually see one film a week (sometimes it's twice, as during the summer break there are more children's films, and when the children go back to school there is a surplus of films that I actually want to see). It feels good to be back here, although I'm still only lowest weight in just over eight months, when I go past my breakup gain, I'll feel a lot better about things.

My body still has a lot of fat in it. Stomach, chest (probably a size A cup) and thighs. When I drive over a judder bar on my private lane where I live I still feel my chest moves up and down. I keep detailed weight records and I've been heavier for a whopping 10 years in total (11 different periods, starting in 1993).

Now that I'm in single figures, I'm thinking about my overseas trip. I'm starting to stress out a bit, my first overseas trip and I'll be gone for a year. I was thinking of going to Australia briefly to break-in my passport and experience life in another country (NZ and Aus. aren't that different really) but there aren't any concerts that I want to see in the next 6 months. I'll check out aquariums and science museums there and see if there is a good enough excuse to have a week long trip there.

Oh, how is my commitment to weight loss going? Eating: good. Exercise non-existent. I really need to get into the exercise, at least with walking.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Commitment week 4

76.2kg, lowest weight in 8 months 3 days

Thursday morning and I have a visitor. Apart from Becky this is the first visitor I've had stay over. My brother is on the floor in the living room, he's travelling back to his home in the North Island from having his 50th with my father and sister in Dunedin. We had a long talk yesterday which was unusual as we hardly ever have time together nowadays.

I'm having trouble breathing. This is entirely my own fault, I hardly have any visitors which means that the place can get a bit untidy, and when I do tidy it sometimes I have an allergic reaction to something. Today I start a new resolution: tidying every day.

I've lost 0.6kg this week. That's not a lot, and I really want it to be more, but if you're losing you're losing. I had a bit of a carb fest on Sunday night, which may still be an issue for me now. I've found that my weight drops about 80 hours after eating carbs. I'm meant to be doing low carb and be in ketosis all of the time. I can easily tell when I'm there because my urine smells of ammonia.

My weekly question: have I made a commitment to losing weight in the last week?

Generally yes, although my exercise is lacking. I haven't done any. I'm really slack when it comes to exercise, and I'm not sure how I can change that. I need to start walking again. That seems to be the best form of exercise I do, I can do it daily with no feelings of dread.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Commitment week 3

76.8kg, lowest weight in 7 months, 23 days

I'm back from my trip to Dunedin. I really found it hard to motivate myself to eat properly, and the need to exercise. I haven't done any exercise in the last week. When I was there, I found the excuse to have a 'treat' every day. I was doing things there that I hadn't done in about 15 years, and each step I did I decided to treat myself. I knew that the trip would be challenging, and I guess I failed in my desire to eat well. However, I did do well in the actual driving there, and return. In other words, I didn't splurge. Back home in Christchurch, things have returned to normal. Eating properly, but zero exercise.

Very soon I'll be 10kg away from goal. Getting down to single figures will be an achievement. Someone at work complimented me on my weight loss. Only two people here have done it (one of them didn't know that I was attempting to lose weight), the other one said something about 8 months ago, before I became single and had my regain. I've told a number of people who sit next to me that I am losing weight, and I won't be going overseas until I'm at goal. Some understand, some don't.

I get NZ$25 from my father each birthday and each Christmas. About 4 years ago my father gave me my birthday money, but I told him that I didn't want it then, and would like him to keep it until I've finished losing weight. A while ago I decided to buy a smartphone, and use that money for buying it. The Motorola Defy was on special at The Warehouse (a company probably similar to Walmart in the US), $100 off. So I bought it. $299 instead of $399. I'm owed $225 by my father, so only need $74 of my money instead of $174. It's sitting in its sealed box waiting to be used. If I keep it out of sight, I don't think that I'll ever open it when I'm not close to goal. I want to open it when I'm 70kg. I'm also owed a birthday gift by my brother. He often phones me 2-3 days before my birthday asking what I want. I told him that I'd like a passport, but only when I am near to reaching goal weight. That was about 6 years ago, I reminded him about it recently, so it won't come as a surprise to him.

I really don't think that my brother will ever reach goal weight. He just loves to eat too much too often. I don't mean eating just a little bit extra (my situation). He'll fast for a week or two, then have double his energy needs daily. I have discussed with him whether he'll ever reach goal weight, and he's not sure. I offered to have a system where each of us would give the other $5000 when they reached goal weight (so if we both reached it, it wouldn't cost us anything) and he turned me down. We often talk about weight together, and when I reach goal weight, I want that to stop. Whenever he (or someone else) asks me about my weight, I want to always say the same thing. "I'm still at goal weight, x months/years so far".

My weekly question: have I made a commitment to losing weight in the last week?

My answer is no in the trip to Dunedin, and partially now that I'm back in Christchurch. I need to get back to the word "definitely" like last week.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Commitment week 2

77.5kg, lowest weight in 7 months, 9 days

Last week went well, I went for some walks, and ran a bit as well. I'm still not what I would call fit, I can only run for 10 minutes at a time, but I can do multiple runs a day if I have the opportunity. Eating has been near perfect. I only had one splurge and that involved using up my birthday ice cream. That's all gone now, ice cream is my favourite junk food, I'm not sure when to buy it next. I could go without it like I'm doing for pizza (I haven't had pizza since late August 2009) or I could treat myself to a container say 5kg above goal. I'll think about it.

I have decided to go low carb again. I thought that since I could theoretically reach goal in less than 3 months (reality says otherwise - but anyway...) I can do without fruit for 3 months. It really is easier that way, but the trade off is that I never feel full and food is boring. We'll see. That explains my large drop in weight this week, when you go low carb your body loses a lot of water in your muscles. Of course when you go back to normal eating, the water weight comes back on.

I'm travelling to Dunedin again today, I tend to eat poorly on trips and also when I'm there, hopefully going low carb will help with that. I will post a food dairy from the trip (shudder!).

I should ask myself the same question each week: have I made a commitment to weight loss this week? Definitely.

I'm the lowest weight in about seven months. Only a few kilograms more and it's back to lowest weight in over seven years.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Enough crawling: the final push to goal - Commitment week 1


My weight loss has been extremely slow recently, I guess I am just freewheeling, and not really putting much effort into things. This has got to stop. I want to go overseas. What's that got to do with things? About 4 years ago, when I decided to go overseas for a holiday as a reward at goal weight I also made a promise to myself. The promise was that I wouldn't go unless I was at goal weight. Then six months ago I became single and had the opportunity to live overseas for a year if I wanted to. I gave myself a year to get used to the idea first (I've never been overseas before) so in 6 months, I want to be jetting off into the sun, heat, humidity that is called The Philippines. A place where people point with their lips, white people pay a "skin tax" and security guards are armed (I haven't seen a gun in at least 20 years).

How do I get there? I lose weight. Starting today I really make a effort towards it. Weekly posting. Seeing how much exercise I can do, without being exhausted all of the time. Eating properly. I've had my birthday (yesterday) so there is no reason to delay or lose track.

I have a rate of weight loss that I'm aiming for. I'm wary of posting it here because I've failed so many personal challenges before. However, it's not impossible if I apply myself. This goes back to the fundamental reason why so many people fail in losing weight. The "C" word. You need Commitment. Some people just don't have it, and for me it has waxed and waned over the years since I've started this blog, nearly two and a half years ago.

I'm going to make a commitment for healthy eating and reasonable amounts of exercise. Let's see what happens!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

There are at least 6 different types of hunger

Current weight: 78.7kg

Hunger. Everyone experiences it, just like everyone experiences pain, tiredness or unhappiness. But I think it's useful to distinguish the different types of hunger. They are not all the same. It is possible to feel full and hungry at the same time. Knowing the cause of why you feel hungry can help with deciding whether to eat or not. Here's my list:

  1. An empty stomach: your stomach contains sensors that knows how full it is. This signal is sent to the brain, and you can easily feel that your stomach is empty. Or when it's full. I try to ignore this feeling, when it's empty. It really doesn't mean anything. Having a full stomach is a nice feeling, though. It's a major reason why I gave up on a low carb diet, as I wasn't eating any fruit and I missed that full stomach feeling.
  2. Tiredness. I am tired 99.9 percent of the time. I've been this way for nearly 20 years now, and I attribute my weight issues to tiredness (when I'm not watching my weight, I put on about 1 kilogram a month, about an extra apple a day). The more tired I am, the hungrier I am. I can be ravenous when I'm exhausted. This is caused by hormones making you hungry. I guess it's a short-term mechanism to give you a spurt of energy to keep going. When I have a nap, and I'm not (or less) tired, what happens? I'm not hungry.
  3. Your body is lacking in food. This is the only reason why I should eat. When I have my "perfect" eating days, this is why I eat. Ideally, you try to not get really hungry and over eat. It is also possible to feel full (having just eaten a few apples a minute or two ago) and still be hungry, as your body hasn't digested the apples yet.
  4. A stimulating environment. Have a filling meal and then walk into a supermarket. Feel hungry? This is probably just psychological (ie it all takes place in your brain) but it is hard to resist. This is the reason why I try to not go to the supermarket too often. I have to go roughly every 5 days (most of my food can last a week, the exception is bananas) which is bad enough as it is.
  5. Unknown reasons. Pain, tiredness and sadness can happen for unknown reasons, and the same happens with hunger. Who knows what the cause is. Does it matter? If I am eating consistantly, I know that it shouldn't be there, and will probably go away soon.
  6. Food anxiety. This was discovered recently, I drove to work, and 3 blocks away from home, I realised that I'd forgotten to take my food. I could turn around and get it but I absolutely hate being late for work. Anyway, there is a food vending machine at work. Yes, a very dangerous thing. I knew that I could buy a cookie for lunch, and if I was hungry at the end of my shift, maybe something else. I start work. What happens? I'm hungry for 3 hours. I'd just eaten before leaving work, so my body didn't need food. I was just anxious, either eating too much or too little. Ironically, about half an hour before I was about to eat the cookie, my hunger went away.

That's my list. I guess there might be a few different ways that I haven't discovered yet, or different ways of interpreting things.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

2012 - plans for reaching goal weight

Monday 9th Jan - 78.8kg
Monday 16th Jan - 78.5kg

2012 - according to the Mayan calendar, this could be our final year on the planet. I'm slightly dubious of that, but my chances of dying by asteroid collision with Earth is about the same as me dying by an air crash.

Anyway, weight loss. I gained over Christmas/New Year. This was the first time that happened, the last two Christmas/New Year periods I lost. It probably had to do with me spending Christmas day alone. That's a bit of a downer. Same with New Years eve.

I now have 12.5kg to go to reach goal weight, and I want to reach it this year. That's about 35 grams a day, if I want to reach it by the end of the year. That's entirely doable by just diet alone. But I want to reach it sooner. That means exercise. Walking and running.

About 20 days ago, I started a 100 day running challenge. It was going well, until last night. I just forgot. I went out in the evening to see a film (Darkest Hour - a reasonably enjoyable film) and bused back home. My car has a problem with the fuel pump, it'll get fixed in the next week. I ended up Skyping (video calling on my computer) and just forgot to have a run. Guess what? My 100 day challenge restarts. I want to have a self-challenge that I actually get to complete.

I have a lot of spare time, so I want to walk. Walking is ideal for someone with a lot of time. Every day, I want to go for a long walk. I'm sure that will help with the weight loss.

I have signed up for a group weigh-in at a very popular website. 1700 people signed up, a huge number. Only about 10% will post their weights by the end of the 3 months, and I want to be one of them. But more than that, I want to weigh less with each weigh-in. With the previous 3 month group weigh-in, only 3 people (one medium weight, two heavy) had each weigh-in lower than the previous out of 1000 starters. I want to be one of them this time. I have faith that I can do this, I've done it before.

Tomorrow, I start with my 'perfect eating' graphic. If I eat perfectly, I get a green square. Otherwise, it's red. I've done this before, and it's helped. Not a lot, but it's helped.

I want to reach goal weight somewhere between June and August. Is that achievable? Definitely. I'm not 100% certain I'll achieve it then, but I'm going to make aim for that period and see what happens.

Monday, 2 January 2012

2011 - a year in review

79.1kg, a gain of 500 grams from last week

I thought it might be interesting to look back at 2011 and see how my year went. To look properly though, I need to go back to about August - September 2010. Back then, I was watching as a very popular website that I used to regularly go to, the users developed a spreadsheet, where people could enter their weights and see how everyone was going. People could enter their weights twice a month. I thought that I would have no problems showing everyone how someone could lose weight. But then, nothing happened. I didn't really lose, and stopped entering my weight after a few months. I was embarrassed about my lack of progress.

However, I made a promise to myself. The promise was to restart in January 2011 and for each weigh-in, I'd be less than the previous reading. So starting in the new year, that's exactly what happened. My weight went up and down a bit but twice a month, each reading was lower than the previous reading. Sometimes I'd realise that my weight was too high, and I'd have to start a low carb diet, simply to lose a few kilograms for the weigh-in, then I'd go back to high carb again. I was also refining what I was eating. Small changes to hone in the perfect diet that I'd eat every day, and in the same quantities too.

I had my birthday, and a few days later, the earthquake happened. 181 people died, 6,500 people were injured and thousands had damaged homes, or lost jobs. 20% of Christchurch's population temporarily left the city. There were a huge number of aftershocks. All in all, it was pretty bad for a while. The pool where I swam closed, but that was the least of our worries. Just this morning, we had a 'swarm' of earthquakes. Probably 20-30 that you could feel. Usually it's not as bad as this, and sometimes you can go for 2-3 weeks before you felt an aftershock, then it all happens again.

A week after the earthquake, Becky had her birthday. From then on, I was in full-on weight loss mode. I had sorted what I was going to eat, and how much. Each of my weigh-ins on the social bookmarking website was less than the previous reading. I wanted to be the only person on that website who lost each subsequent reading, of the 500 starting.

Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be. When I was attempting to enter the weight on the 1st of July, the spreadsheet didn't allow editing. Something was wrong. My motivation disappeared into thin air due to that simple thing happening. Surprising, isn't it? Ten days later, I told Becky that I wanted to be single, and we pretty much stopped talking for the next 3 weeks, until she moved out. That stress caused weight gain. More worries. I'd noticed that whenever I had money worries, I had this instinctive urge to eat bad food. I just couldn't help myself. Probably some evolved reaction to famine. For a month or so, I had money issues to worry about, which meant that I didn't eat properly.

While I was losing in the first half of 2010, I lost weight for 18 weeks in a row. That is exceptional for me. Before that, I'd managed 7 weeks. I put the difference down to eating the same thing every day.

My weight headed in the wrong direction for a while in the second half, and ended up about 10 kilograms heavier than what it had been. I guess it could have been worse. I've been losing (not totally consistently) since. I had a bit of a Christmas/New Year gain. That's fine.

I lost about 5.7 kilograms in 2011. 2.8kg in 2010 and about 6.5kg in the last 4 months of 2009. No one said that losing weight was easy.

So what have I got planned in 2012? Obviously reaching goal. But more than that. I want to finish my promise to myself. Each half month, I want to weigh less than I did previously. The online spreadsheet that I used in the past is obsolete now, you can now use it but only about 20 people bother. I also want to break my 18 weeks in a row loss record. I want to save up for a smartphone, and I plan on putting $1 in an old soft drink bottle next Monday when I lose. Each subsequent week, I put an amount that increases by $1, each time I lose weight. Finally, I want to complete the 100 days of running challenge I started a week ago.

So that's:
  1. Reach goal weight. May at the earliest, I'd say.
  2. Each half month, a weigh-in that's less than the previous one
  3. Try and break my 18 weeks in a row losses record, and save for a smartphone
  4. Finish the 100 days of running challenge
Speaking of challenges, this is the final post of the Give Yourself The Best Gift Challenge. How did I do? Well, I completed it! I lost about 4 kilograms in 13 weeks. No, that isn't a lot. But it's still a loss. More than that, I stuck to a long challenge. I'm presenting to myself this award: being able to display the image related to the challenge:

The image is now proudly displayed on the sidebar of this blog.