Monday, October 22, 2012

Gone...But Not Forgotten...

Hello strangers! Remember me?

This isn't a return to full blogging just yet, more a friendly reassurance that I haven't forgotten about good old IdleToIdol, and do intend to return in the future.

I am waiting to attain a certain milestone before I return full-time. You see, I gained some weight back over the summer, and I'm fed up of constantly trying to justify gains week in week out, so I decided to wait until my weight is the same as it was when I left off, and then I will continue with the blogging progress.

Why the weight gain? Well, part of it was just summer relaxation, but there is more to it than that. Besides overeating and a sedentary cycle, there was another bad habit I knew I had to kick at some point. A bad habit I have now (fingers crossed) managed to put behind me, but one that does tend to lead to weight gain once its kicked!

I'll explain fully one I return to the blog, but I wanted IdleToIdol to be about exercise and healthy eating etc, and didn't want to take it on a diversion into that particular vice, so for now I'm still on a break, but I will be back!

I'll admit now that I haven't been following any of my old blogging friends during this time away either, so I'm really looking forward to catching up with everyone's progress! I might pop back in from time to time, but I don't expect to back to full blogging for a number of weeks yet. Until then...

-Headspace.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Update

Good morning bloggers!

Again, its been a long while since I last posted, but those of you who read this regularly will know why - I had the dreaded exams.

Well, good news - I passed them all!

Can't quite believe it actually. Was sickeningly stressed, and I mean that literally! So relieved now that I don't have to take any resits - genuinely do not think I would have the mental or emotional or motivational stamina for that.

The fact is, I'm a bit burned out now. As such, I have made the (perhaps slightly odd) decision not to blog over the summer. That is not to say I'm giving up on the weight loss - quite the reverse! I just got back in from a wonderful early-morning run where I smashed my personal best time!

To be honest, I could really do with a month or so with no deadlines, targets, goals, tests, challenges etc etc. It would be really good to get away from all that and just BE for a few weeks, after exams. Also, it will be interesting to eat healthily and exercise for its own sake, rather than just as a means to drop pounds to try and reach weekly targets.

So there we go. I might check in now and then if I think of something I want to say, but I'm not going to officially weigh in until the Monday when my new term/semester starts (whenever that is, sometime in September I think). By then, I will be starting a new rotation, in a new hospital, with new colleagues, and hopefully living in new accommodation too (I'm already blogging on a new laptop!). Everything will be fresh, a clean start - a good time to get over this weight-loss hump and finally hit goal, eh?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012 Week 27 - RESULTS

Sorry again for the delay - we're deep in exam territory now!


STARTING WEIGHT:   220.2 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  220.1 lbs



WEIGHT LOSS:    0.1 lbs


Only managed one run last week, but it was just enough to give me a small loss for the week. I was busy cramming like a demon on Monday, so didn't get around to blogging. Tuesday was the exam, and they were pretty brutal and I'm not overly hopeful, so home and straight to bed it was for me, and then yesterday was a recovery day, preparing for a week's revision before the next exam on Thursday!

Again, nothing to get too excited about with this loss, but at least its heading down. At this rate it would, of course, take me years to reach goal, but that's taking a negative view. On the plus side, if I think back to the way I was before, and some of the aborted weight-loss attempts of the past, a busy period like exam time would have seen my weight absolutely SKY-ROCKET. I'm happy that I am at least keeping the weight stable, or even very slowly losing it.

Depending on what my results are like (and as I say, I'm not hopeful), I might have to do some more tests during August, which would inevitably distract me further from weight loss. I was hoping to have about a month for the summer, where I could finally let my hair down a bit, maybe get out of this tiny room for a change, and actually make some progress on the weight loss. We'll have to see, but for now, it seems that what I'm doing, while not conducive to big losses, is at least holding the gains at bay. And at a time of extreme stress like this, I'll take that with both hands, thank you very much!




 2012 Weight Loss: 
4.8 lbs (77.0 total loss)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

2012 Week 27 So Far...

Evening all!

Only a few days to go before the first exam now. Frustratingly, I've had to spend most of the week sorting out random course admin (chasing up signatures, filling in compulsory feedback forms etc), so I'm not where I had hoped to be with the revision so far. Still, having next to no time makes prioritising my studies much easier - rather than "should I do this, or this?", I get to say "I only have time to do THAT!". Even if I can't do enough in the time left, I get a chance to make up the grade in the second phase of exams, so it wouldn't be the end of the world, although one of the problems I've had is that I'm burned out on studying and need a break, and I wouldn't get one this year if I had to take the second exams! Ah well, I can only do so much, so I'll do that, and see what happens.

I haven't exercised yet this week, but being at Uni on my feet all day chasing down tutors has actually led me to a little loss so far. Now that I'm nose-deep in the books though, I'm a) very sedentary, and b) surviving off too many energy drinks and high-sugar snacks, so I'm going out for a run tonight. It'll have a double benefit of not only counter-acting revision calories, but should also help me to sleep, which is always a problem when exam stress looms!

If I can keep up these small regular losses over the exam period I'll be happy. I'll hopefully have a bit more time over August to then give the weight loss a bit more attention, but I'm going to be careful this time to not OVERDO it trying to score a big loss, and end up burning myself out and having a rebound afterwards. Now I've finally seen the folly of that approach, I'm much more cautious - no full frontal assault this time, but rather, a war of attrition...

P.S. keep everything you've got crossed for me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012 Week 26 - RESULTS

Apologies for not getting this up yesterday, ended up having to pull an all-nighter to finish a report, and only a week before exams too!


STARTING WEIGHT:   220.5 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  220.2 lbs



WEIGHT LOSS:    0.3 lbs



Even though I only ran once last week, I think my diet is settling down after the carb-loading of the previous month, so the loss is slightly more than the previous week. I didn't actually weigh during the week, only on the Monday, so I have no idea of whether this represented a steady loss, or a zigzag pattern of loss and gain. Still, its heading in the right direction, and seems quite stable at the moment, which is good. As I've said before, big 'power weeks' are well and good, when I get loads of exercise done and lose several pounds, but the inevitable rebound that follows just means they're not really worth it.
 
My first exam is next week. I feel so unprepared, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day for revision. I guess I can only do the best I can giving the short time I have to prepare, but my expectations are pretty low. There has been so much going on this year, on top of the Uni work, and my weight-loss attempt, and my general laziness, that I actually EXPECT to do poorly. Its really depressing actually, and I envy those who have been really inspired by the course, and have been doing their extra reading all through the year, in the evenings and on weekends. I just haven't been as motivated as they seem to, and I don't know if that means I'm lazy and need to work harder, or if the course just isn't for me and that's why I struggle to get engaged. Probably a bit of both. Sigh.
 
Anyway, sorry to divert from strictly weight-loss topics for a while there, but I don't really have anyone to talk to about all this, and because I've always got by in the past, I think most people get fed up with me when I try to explain how worried I am - they think I'm being facetious, making a big show of being nervous when actually I've been prepared for months. That is really not the case, and when friends tell me "you'll be fine, you always are," I know they're being nice and I thank them for it, but that mindset is what turned me into an unmotivated and lazy achiever - why work when I can just cram at the end, and still do pretty well? That can get you only so far, and I wouldn't want this year to be that limit.
 
Anyway, I'm planning on getting a run in tonight (wanted to go last night, but work got in the way), and we'll see on Monday next week if I can continue this slow and steady pace.




 2012 Weight Loss: 
4.7 lbs (76.9 total loss)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Rebound

Good evening folks!

Just got back in from another run - only my first this week, which isn't too great, but I managed my 5 mile distance again, so its definitely becoming my standard distance now, which is good. I've already knocked 4 minutes off my time since last Monday, and part of it is, I think, because I moved the 'extra' mile to the start of the run, rather than the end. When I used to run 4 miles, I knew where the half-way point was, and everything after that just felt like 'going home'. Now, with an extra mile tacked onto the beginning, that 'half-way' point is actually three miles into my five mile distance, so actually more than half way! I think that's giving me just a little boost at the end.

Anyway, as usual I am posting whatever it was that side-stepped into my mind while I was running. Tonight, I was ruminating on the fact that, over the last few months, I've had a series of 2-3 good weeks, followed by 2-3 weeks of total absence. I realised this evening that, both times I've disappeared and stopped exercising/blogging, its been after one of my big exercise-challenge Marathon Weeks.

What I think has been happening is, by exercising hard every night for a week, I've literally drained my batteries, and so after those big events my body (and mind) has gone into recuperate mode, and I've spent a few weeks afterwards eating too much and resting from exercise.

I'm glad I've realised this now, as my exams are coming up in the next few weeks, and I had tentatively planned to have another big Marathon Week challenge once they were over. Instead, I think I'm going to just stick with trying to exercise 2-3 times a week. You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race...

Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Week 25 - RESULTS

One week back on the wagon - did the weight continue to shift?


STARTING WEIGHT:   220.7 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  220.5 lbs



WEIGHT LOSS:    0.2 lbs



Pleased to see the scales moving in the right direction. Not a massive loss obviously, but after about a month of no exercise, I expect it'll take some time for my body to shift gears. I managed three runs last week, or 15 miles, which again pleases me considering how long I went without exercise before.

So, just need to try and do the best I can over the next few weeks. I have exams looming ever closer, which is going to a) limit the time I have spare to exercise, and b) potentially increase my calorie intake, as I always end up surviving on coffee and high-sugar snacks when I need to study. But I'll just try to keep it slow and steady until after exams, and then maybe I can give a nice big push.




 2012 Weight Loss: 
4.4 lbs (76.6 total loss)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Backward Momentum

Evening all!

Just got back from my third run this week. I'm really pleased about that number, especially after so long without exercise. I'm also REALLY happy that I've managed to up my distance to five miles for each of those runs. When I was just doing four, it always seemed as though that was all I could manage, but I've realised that I ALWAYS overthink things, and if I just switch the brain off for one second and DO the thing, its never as hard as I think!

What is less pleasing are the scale readings this week. Even though my activity this week has been...well, many many times more than it has been the last few weeks, the scales haven't really been reflecting it.

But you know what? Even as I type this, I'm bored of saying it, so I can't imagine how bored you must be of reading it. OF COURSE the scales are disappointing - about the only thing that would satisfy me would be if all the weight suddenly dropped off at once, and I was at goal tomorrow morning. After all, its dissatisfaction with my weight that has led to this weight-loss attempt, right?

Haha, I seem to have derailed my own post here, and the title doesn't make sense anymore, but I quite like it. I'm fed up with being fed up - the fact is, I NEED to be fed up, as it's what drives me to make a change. So, I'm not going to bitch and moan about the scales any more. My new rule is I'm aiming for a loss of just 0.1 lbs a week. That is moving in the right direction. Anything more than that is a bonus. So there!

I'm not even going to bother write about what I planned to now. The title of the post won't make sense, but who cares - if anyone is reading, maybe they'll get a surprise. Night night!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Angry Run

I went for a run at last on Wednesday night. Its been quite hot here in London over the last few days, and being summer, the sun doesn't start to set until quite late in the evening. I've never been a fan of running during the day, as I'm still self-conscious about it. As such, I try to exercise either early in the morning (which I haven't managed to do for goodness knows how long), or later in the evening when the sun has gone down. That's harder these days, as I have to stay up until sunset!

Still I went out. Part of the self-consciousness means I'm still not comfortable running in just shorts and a T-shirt, as I don't like the way I wobble, so I still put on quite heavy running gear - full-length jogging bottoms, a heavy hooded jumper and a woolen hat. It was still warm out even after the sun had set too, so I very hot for the duration - don't think I've sweated so profusely for a while!

Having not exercised for so long, I felt pretty puffed out after only a couple of miles. Luckily, I was so angry at myself for having left it so long between runs that I carried on regardless. I told myself I would just try to do my old distance of 4 miles, but as I neared the end I remembered that about a month ago, when I last exercised properly, I had managed to get a 7-mile run done, and had promised that my normal distance would be increased to 5 miles.

I was really ready for a rest, but I decided to press on anyway, and I was very proud that I actually managed to achieve my 5 mile distance. I was particularly slow, I have to say, but at least I got it done, and I plan on trying to head out for another one tonight.

It did make me sleep better, but the problem now is that I need more sleep than I can actually timetable for! Every day I'm just in fear of my looming exams - there's so much I need to revise, or in some cases just straight-up learn, as different tutors have different specialties and really just teach us what they know. I won't even be able to relax after the exams either, as I'll be waiting to see if I need to do any of the second block of tests too. Sigh. We'll see!

Monday, June 25, 2012

2012 Weeks 20-24 - RESULTS

So after yet another long absence, lets see what the scales say!


STARTING WEIGHT:   221.1 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  220.7 lbs



WEIGHT LOSS:    0.4 lbs



OK. So, obviously this doesn't tell the whole story. The fact is I was actually at a bigger loss about a week ago, which would make last week a net gain. However, as I wasn't weighing-in regularly, I can't really break it down accurately.
 
On the one hand, its good that I've got a small loss over the period. The fact that I'm getting back into things while there is still a loss, rather than after a big gain, is a good sign too. However, it does feel like a bit of a cheat, discounting all the ups and downs that must have occurred in that time. Still, there's nothing I can really do about it, except try and maintain the downward trajectory.
 
And talking of the downward trajectory, I don't think things are actually as rosy as they seem. Sure, the weight has gone down slightly, but I'm not convinced its actually fat loss. I feel bigger, and I'm less satisfied when I look in the mirror. The fact that I haven't exercised in over a month makes me think that, actually, I might have lost some muscle mass, and actually put back on some fat weight. This is NOT good news.
 
Still, I've got so much else on my plate at the moment (see last post!) that I don't want to put myself down too much, and will rather focus on the positives - I have managed to go a month without exercise and not really watching my diet too closely, and still manage a small loss. Let's just try and go with that!

 2012 Weight Loss: 
4.2 lbs (76.4 total loss)

Divided Attention

I CANNOT BELIEVE how much time has passed since my last post. At first I just missed a Monday weigh-in due to post-socialising recovery. Then, we had a long Jubilee weekend here in the UK, and I met up with some old friends, and wasn't really thinking about the blog or the weight-loss. And then...well, who knows? Time is FLYING by far too fast, and it is genuinely scaring me.

I wasn't weighing regularly in the interim, and haven't been exercising at all. On my occasional weigh-ins the weight was dropping slowly, so I was happy to let it progress like that until I had time to get back into the exercise. However, earlier this week the weight had finally started to creep up again, and that was what spurred me to finally get back to the blog, and try and start afresh (yet again) with a weigh-in on Monday.

I guess, to put an (undeserved) positive spin on things, its that I'm no longer waiting until I've put on 20+ lbs before deciding to get back on the wagon. It seems I now get the spark when the weight first starts to increase, which is a good thing. The fact that I'm angry about a gain at THIS weight is good too - last year, I let the scales reach almost 300lbs before I took action, so I'm still doing SOME things right!

So, if I've not been thinking about exercise, what has been stealing my attention away? Well, the fact is I've been incredibly stressed over the last few weeks, for a number of reasons.


THE LIVING SITUATION - my flat/apartment has been a recurring nightmare for a long time. It seemed fine when I moved in over a year ago, but its just not good enough any more. There is no living room, so its very hard to get to know the housemates, and in terms of things like cleaning and tidying after themselves...let's just say they're slightly less than ideal. It got to the point where things were becoming very passive-aggressive, and its just an unpleasant place to live. Add to that the cockroaches in the kitchen and the regular disappearance of our hot water, and I'm desperate to move. Without a living space my room is my bedroom, study, living room and dining area, and its really not conducive to hard work. I've wanted to move for ages, but there has been a constant stream of deadlines, exams etc which has always made it an awkward time to be flat hunting. Not to mention that, with all these problems, the rent is bordering on extortionate, which leads me to the next issue...

THE MONEY SITUATION - the high rent has been slowly eating away at the funding I receive as a mature student. Add onto that the interest from my credit card, which I had to rely on for most of the summer between funding years last summer. I've never been great with money unless I'm saving for a specific goal (for example, it was quite simple for me to save up for my gap year ticket), and its all been slowly eating away at me, adding to the stress levels. I've finally had to dip into my life savings, which was meant to be a down payment on a house when/if I finally graduate, so its depressing to not have that waiting for me at the end. And that's if I REACH the end. The third issue...

THE MED SCHOOL SITUATION - I've got exams in just over three weeks, and I'm terrified. Because all the students are off on different placements in different hospitals, we're all being taught by different doctors, with different specialties and interests. As such, I have no idea if what I've learned is relevant, or what I should be revising. I've never had to try and learn without a curriculum before, and I don't like it - I keep feeling like everything I do could all be a waste of time. Add onto that the way they grade University exams. For example, if all students in a year score over 90% on an exam, they don't just pass everyone. A certain percentage will ALWAYS have to fail each year, and as such, I'm not so much learning to reach competent standard as I am to try and be good compared to the others on my course. I don't like that sense of competition, especially when the rest of the course are school leavers still in 'study' mode, who've decided early on that they want to study medicine, and have their goals set. I joined as a mature student after a 4 year break from studying, without a clear idea of what I wanted to specialise in. I'm really scared that, no matter how well I do, it won't be as good as THEY do, and I might lose my place. Or at least have to repeat a year. Which means I wouldn't get funding. Which means I'd have to dip into my life savings. Which I've already had to dip into...GAAAHHHH!!!!!


All this stress is ruining my sleep. I'm also getting outbreaks of stress-related psoriasis on my elbows and knuckles, which does nothing for my self confidence, especially when it turns an angry red colour after a day of having alcohol hand-sanitiser repeatedly rubbed into it on the wards.

The simple fact is, I'm not very happy at all. I've never been a very confrontational guy, so when things get tough, my natural reaction is to cut my losses and clear out, to where things are easier. But I don't want to do that now, and in a way I can't, as I've already invested so much in my present situation...


Anyway. I'm going to weigh in tomorrow morning, and then try to get a run in tomorrow night (although that'll be at the expense of an hour's worth of revising...sigh...). Hopefully if I can just get my weightloss back on track, I'll have something positive to hold on to.

Monday, May 28, 2012

2012 Week 20 Round Up

First up, apologies for not having blogged much this week. I was thrown a curve-ball midweek, and it completely threw me off my rhythm!

Wednesday it was the birthday of my clinical partner (kind of like a buddy system, they pair you up with a friend for your first year on the wards), and he wanted to try and find a German pub he'd been to before. I agreed to go along, especially as I thought I could maybe get away with a slightly more slack day after a big run on Monday night.

We had a good time at the pub, and I had a few beers (which is unlike me, as I usually can't stand the stuff and stick to spirits, if I drink at all). It was when I got home that the problem occurred. I went to try and unlock my bedroom door, and CLANG...the thing broke off in the lock!

I tried calling my landlord, but he didn't answer. I didn't have a spare, and part of the key was still wedged in there. I sat in the park for an hour or so waiting for a call from the landlord, but nothing. Luckily I had my wallet and phone on me, so I called my clinical partner and invited myself to crash on his sofa. Luckily his housemates were having a mini-celebration for him too, so I could just join that.

As I was sat on the platform waiting for a train the landlord finally called, and he managed to get me into my room. However, by then I was so grumpy and had psyched myself up for a party, so I decided to go along anyway. I was a good night, but those extra drinks, on top of the afternoon ones, knocked down my diet barriers, and I ate RATHER a lot of Indian food!

Thursday I was still recovering, so that was a write-off, and we had a long day on Friday. It wasn't until Saturday that I realised I hadn't run since Monday, and hadn't weighed in since then either! I had to do some catch-up work this weekend for the lazy Thursday, so now I'm going into another weigh-in tomorrow without any idea of how I've done. My diet hasn't been bad since the party, so I shouldn't have gained since then, but the worry is if the party binge was enough to wipe out the losses from the big Monday night run...I guess we'll have to see!