Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week 10 So Far...

10 Weeks. 10 Weeks I've been doing this. Doesn't seem real.

A quick look at my target date shows I planned to lose my excess weight in just over 32 weeks, so I'm nearly a third of the way through my time. I'm further than that in terms of weight lost, but that's still largely thanks to the rapid weight-loss of the first two weeks. I'm still ahead of schedule, but my advance has been slowly dwindling. I have noticed that I failed to hit my weekly target on either of my last two weigh-ins, which is of some concern. There were reasons for it of course, but with a goal like this, even the best reason takes on shades of an excuse.

Hoping for a lot from this week. I want to get back on track, and reach my target weekly loss of 3.1 lbs. I've also come very close to my specific mini-target of 259 lbs, or 18.5 stone. To have reached that on Monday would be a great personal victory, and would really give me a confidence boost at this point.
I've also noticed that, over the past couple of months, I have only had to spend 3 weeks in the 280's, 270's and 260's. To maintain that pattern I would need to be in the 250's by Monday. Really hope I make it. My running is much better now - I'm doing my set distance of 4 miles each time, and am starting to really enjoy my time out on the roads. I'm going to stick with the 4 mile distance for a while, and work on improving my time. Once I'm happy with that I will add another mile, which will mean changing my route, so that's another little project I can look forward to in the future!

My feet are still sore from my mission to attend the Royal Wedding yesterday, so no run tonight. I am instead going to try my weights again, as they've been a bit neglected the last few weeks. (As running shows much better results on the scales, it has naturally become more of a focus of late.) Hopefully tomorrow I'll record another little loss, and then I'll go for a nice long run on Sunday, which will hopefully push me into the 250's - maybe all the way to 259, and my special mini-target. Fingers crossed!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Day

Just a quick post today, as I haven't blogged since my weigh-in on Monday.

As most people will be aware, today was the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Being a Londoner, I naturally headed off this morning to try and get a good place to watch the proceedings.

Well, what a nightmare!

Most places were jam-packed, and those that weren't were rapidly cordoned of by the police. I found myself moving up from Westminster Abbey where the ceremony was held, trying to get a place near to Buckingham Palace, but the route I more or less had to take led me right past the Palace, and round the back of it! I had more of less given up and tried to get home, but was forced to follow the barriers, which fortunately led me to within photo distance of the Palace. Better yet, when the barriers finally went down before the balcony appearance, I was in prime position, and rushed across the square to get a good spot for some photos.

As such, I've been on my feet for hours, have walked about 7.5 miles (it all counts as exercise, you know!), and I've had a fun time doing it. I won't bore you with the literally hundreds of photos I took, but here's a quick selection that in years to come will be my proof that I was there!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 9 - RESULTS

Week 9 results are in, let's see how I did!

STARTING WEIGHT:   264.6 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  262.3 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  2.3 lbs

I was actually really pleased with this result. As I mentioned in my previous post, I think last week's estimated loss of 0.6 lbs was wrong, as my weight shot up by 3 lbs the following day. I suspect I actually gained weight during my weekend at home, so this week I've had to lose all that gain to show another loss here. Dropping 2.3 lbs this week means I've actually lost about 5.5 lbs in the last 6 days, which is pretty epic if you ask me!

I'm also now more than a third of the way there! Thinking about it like that puts my achievement into perspective, but it also highlights the fact that I've still got two thirds of my target still to lose.

I'm really looking forward to the next few weeks too. If I drop another couple of pounds, I'll have reached my 18.5 stone target, which I'm very excited about. A few more pounds after that, and I'll be in the 240's, which I don't think I've seen on a scale in years. And just a few more pounds after that, and I'll be half-way there! If I needed any more motivation to keep up my exercise regime (and I don't), this would be it!

Now, as last Thursday was the 21st, that marked the two-month milestone of my program. As such, after my usual tally below, I will post up this week's photos with the photos from Day 1, so we can have a little comparison!


 Still not a massive difference from the front view, but I think the area under my arms is narrower, and perhaps the bulges at the side are slowly receding!

Much clearer progress from this view! It's strange, looking at my new photo in isolation, I still felt like my belly was sticking out ridiculously far. Comparing it to the old photo though, it looks great! I've also noticed that its harder to duplicate the angle of the old photo now - since there's less belly dragging me down, I'm standing straighter, which is also helping to slim down my profile!

Anyhow, that's all from me today. Going to fit in some lovely lovely revision before deciding whether I want to do my weights or go for a run tonight! Can't wait for next week...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 9 So Far...

Week 9! Can't believe we're that far into this program. The time seems to have flown by, thanks largely (I believe) to this blog - it keeps my targets in the forefront of my mind, keeps me focussed, and every week becomes a mini battle, aiming for another loss to record on my weekly weigh-ins.

Other posts have been a bit thin on the ground of late, and that's mostly due to the mountain of revision I'm currently having to scale. Have two years of medical exams coming up in the next few months (the darker side of a fast-track program), and that includes stuff they simply didn't have enough hours to timetable - what should be revision is in fact just straight-up learning from scratch!

It hasn't distracted me from the weight-loss though. My weight rocketed up at the start of the week, mostly due to what must have been a bad estimate of my weight last Monday (when I was visiting my folks and without my usual scales). I've had a great week though, watching what I eat and going for longer and more regular runs (going for another tonight, which will put me at 16 miles over the last 8 days, which I'm very happy with). Confident I will record a fair loss on Monday, but that will actually represent quite a substantial loss over the week (reduced by the gain from my slovenly behaviour at home last weekend).

This Thursday past was also the two-month mark for my weight-loss program. As such, tomorrow's photos will include a comparison with those I took on day 1, so here's hoping we see a real difference! I'm really starting to feel the difference - more energy, more confidence, and a strange fire in my belly when I'm exercising that makes me want to push harder and longer, rather than stagger home after getting in my minimum distance. Last week I was worried that I was approaching a more difficult phase of my weight-loss, trying to shift pounds I have carried for years. But this week I feel as though my perspective is changing, and I am acting, behaving, feeling more like the person I want to be - a person who enjoys exercising, who knows its important to watch what I eat, and who cares about my health, fitness and how I look.

Exciting times - let's hope tomorrow's result is a good one!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Weight Loss Tips 3

In these posts I share any useful tips or ideas that I have found worked for me - they may not be best for you/fit into your own plan!

3) Exercise in the morning

Now this one is very much down to personal preference, as some people simply won't have time in the morning, and there is even some ground for saying your metabolism is more primed for exercise later in the day. But I prefer to do my exercising in the morning where I can, and I will outline my reasons why below.

- Getting it out the way. I like to try and exercise every day, either running or doing my weights, and doing it first thing in the morning gets my day off to the perfect start. I can go through my day knowing that I've already done my exercise and burned off some calories, and I don't have the need to exercise later looming over me (and potentially interfering with social plans, which invariably occur in the evening).

- Get your metabolism going. By exercising first thing, I force my body to 'wake up' and get into calorie-burning mode right from the off. I then know that all systems are active and running in the morning, which gives me more confidence when eating during the day.

- You get a second chance! Ever plan on working out in the evening, but by the time you've finished work/Uni/whatever, you're just too whipped and can't quite muster the enthusiasm? Well, exercising in the morning prevents this. Also, if you wake up and are still too tired to face it, you have the rest of the day to 'catch-up', and still have plenty of time to get some exercise in later. Not only that, but you'll probably have had an extra hour or so of sleep, so you'll be primed for later exercise, you'll perhaps be angry with yourself for slacking off and are then more likely to follow through with your plans in the evening, and best of all, if you DO exercise in the morning then suddenly feel the urge to do more, you'll have done DOUBLE what you planned!

- There are fewer people around. This one is perhaps most personal to me, but I'm still of a size where I get embarrassed passing someone when I'm out on a run, with body lumps flailing around and sweat pouring down my chubby red face. The streets are pretty much empty in the morning, if you go early enough, so you have the city/town/village pretty much to yourself! I've even been known to, *cough* sing along with my iPod if I'm feeling particularly energetic...and there's nobody around to see!

- It's cooler. Especially useful at the moment here in the UK, where its particularly warm. I get hot enough when out on a run without having the sun beating down on me too. In the morning the air is fresher and the temperature lower, perfect running conditions!

- Less time wasting in the evening. OK, this one isn't really a benefit, more a useful side-effect that has been especially good for me. If I haven't exercised in the morning, doing it later effectively 'wakes me up' by giving my metabolism a late jump-start, and I find it harder to sleep. By doing it first thing, I'm nice and weary come bed time, so I sleep better, and don't spend as much time faffing around with things like checking emails, watching TV etc.

I'm sure there are more that I've forgotten about for now, so will update the post if any other benefits spring to mind!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Week 8 - RESULTS

It's that time!

STARTING WEIGHT:   265.2 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  264.6 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  0.6 lbs

This was a difficult one to gauge, as this morning I was still at home after a little weekend break. The scales I had to use didn't measure in pounds, so I had to see what they said in stone, and then do a conversion to get my weight in pounds. The thing is, the numbers are very close together on those scales, and not being electronic, seem to shift around by several pounds-worth depending on your posture, position etc.

In the end, I hedged my bets, and took the lowest loss that I recorded. I only really trust the scales I've been using in my flat, and wanted to avoid another overestimation this week.

So I've settled for the loss of 0.6 lbs. Its my second-lowest weekly loss, but I'm more than happy to take it. It's also my eighth successive loss, which I'm very happy about. When I weigh on my usual scales tomorrow I may find that I lost much more than this (which will simply give me a headstart on next week's weigh-in), or that I actually didn't lose this much/gained weight (in which case, I'll at least have a week to set it right). Feels a bit of a cheat, just estimating my weight, but it means that this week I'm determined to make sure its accurate, and to keep on my downward trend.

And that's important this coming week, as I have no more lectures, and could conceivably spend the entire week in my room revising. That's hardly conducive to exercise, so I'm going to make sure I do my weights and go for runs on alternate days (went for a run while I was at home, and managed my old distance of 4 miles - actually found it a lot easier than I used to, so will try and up my distance here in London to match it!).

Anyhow, time for my total tally. I will upload my progress photos tomorrow - don't want to do it now, as its already the afternoon and I've had my breakfast etc, so I'll probably look bigger than I ought to!


264.6 lbs

264.6 lbs

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Getting Serious About Losing Weight

First of all, thank you to all my readers, regular and otherwise, for helping me get to 400 views! When I started the blog I told myself it was mostly to a) help keep me motivated, b) have a permanent online record of my weight loss, that I could look back on in the future when I needed a confidence boost, and c) save my regular written journal from endless entries bewailing my weight and my failure to do anything about it. I never dared hope anyone else would bother to read it, so again, THANK YOU - it really does help, knowing people drop by and read my entries - makes me feel accountable, makes me WANT to keep recording losses even more!

Following on from my previous post, I've been really struggling to show any loss this week. The weight went up again this morning, which is a complete mystery to me, and I'm still running at a net gain since Monday. Part of me was quite ready to accept a gain this week, after 7 really great weeks of losing weight (and more weight than I expected to lose in that time too). I've been ill, which has reduced my ability to exercise, and as I'm now entering revision-mode for Uni, its harder to keep to the diet (as I'm at home more, and oh so close to the fridge).

But this morning I thought - to hell with that. I've done so well thus far, and I want to keep doing well. I won't say its been easy up until now, but its certainly not been the struggle I expected. The thing is, as I've mentioned before, I'm into the 260's now. This has sort of been my 'base-weight' range for years, and I've bounced around it in all my previous weight loss attempts. Any weight lost from here on out is going to be really old-school, entrenched fat that I've been carrying for years. My body is used to carrying this amount of weight - of course its going to be harder to drop from here.

But I'm determined to do it. This afternoon, regardless of my cough and cold, I went out for a run. It was rather a spluttery affair, with lots of coughing and yakking into passing bushes, but somehow I managed my longest distance for about a year - a full 5k. Tomorrow morning I am getting up extra early to do my weight exercises, and when I pack for my trip home this weekend (which before I kind of accepted would be a restful, eat-what-you-like-and-lose-it-later trip), I'm putting in my running gear. I am NOT going to let this week be my first gain. If this is the start of the serious war against my weight, then I want the first battle to be a victory for me.

So I'm going for it. I'm going to exercise every day between now and my Monday weigh-in, and I'm going to keep to the diet this weekend, even if my refusal of seconds and/or desserts draws raised eyebrows from the family (who by-and-large don't know about my weight loss attempt yet). I don't care if I only manage another 0.1 lb loss - as long as its a loss!

Oh for the day when I weigh 180-190 lbs, and gaining a couple means I only have to go for a run or two that week, and can shed them again. But to get there, I need to knuckle down. So, here we go. Knuckles well and truly down. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Week 8 So Far...

A bit early to be posting about my eighth week already perhaps, but I realised something after my weigh-in on Monday that has changed the nature of the task this week.

You see, I think my scales were wrong.

I recorded a 5.1 lb loss last week, but 2.4 of that total (nearly half) apparently came from my weigh-in on that Monday morning. I was very happy to take it at the time, as I'm quite greedy for pounds these days, especially at the end of the week when I know I have my round-up looming.

The thing is, I'm starting to think my scales must have been placed on a bumpy tile or something, because the weight went back up right after, and is now coming down from there slowly as if its the most natural thing in the world. I think I probably lost around 3 lbs last week, and now I'm playing catch-up, trying to actually bring my weight down to the number I reported!

Its an interesting way of doing it, actually, almost like having a new mini-target to aim for - only this one was accidental, not intentional! I think I'm getting over my cold at last, so hope to be able to do some more exercise towards the end of the week, but I'm also heading home on Friday for a visit. Here's hoping I manage to catch-up to my Monday weight, and not put any on over the weekend - don't want my first weight-gaining week to be the result of a faulty weigh!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week 7 - RESULTS

So, after getting so close to the 260's last week, did I manage to reach them this time round?

STARTING WEIGHT:   270.3 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  265.2 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  5.1 lbs


This is my biggest weekly drop in weight since the first fortnight, and entirely unexpected. As I mentioned in my previous post, I was worried that my calorie intake had become too low, and so this week I was making an effort to eat more food (a bizarre target when one is losing weight!).  I haven't been able to exercise as much either, as I have been really quite ill the last few days. That is what has caused the big drop I think, as most of this weight was lost over the weekend. It must be combination of not eating as much (as I was mostly bed-bound lamenting my ill fortune) and loss of water and mass caused by, er, frequent toilet breaks.

As such, I think I'll have to play this coming week quite carefully, as if I have just lost a lot of water here, it could very easily go right back on. I'm taking a trip home at the weekend too, to celebrate the end of teaching for this term, so we'll see how well I resist the temptations of home cooking!

Here are some of the mini-targets I have passed this week:

- 10% drop in total body weight! Never mind my target weight-loss figure - there is now 10% LESS of me than there was at the start of the program! I'm starting to gradually notice the differences at last too. Not so much when I look in the mirror (still fairly similar to before in my eyes), but just in moving around, how my clothes fit etc. Hurrah!

- Passed the 19 stone marker. Despite weighing in pounds, I have to convert it into stone before I can really appreciate my progress, and I am now into the 18's! Only just mind you, but as I've mentioned before, 18.5 stone is a figure I have always associated with myself, even when I was heavier than that, so can't wait to finally drop below it again!

- Lighter than I was a year ago. About a year ago I started running regularly (quite out of the blue), and lost a lot of weight. I never really kept track of it though, so couldn't properly appreciate my progress, and I eventually ran out of steam. I did find an old aborted spreadsheet though, that told me I weighed 267 lbs on May 10th 2010. I'm lighter than that now, so progress is resumed!

Before I head off for some revision (or procrastinating, we'll see), here are my usual photos, and of course my total weight loss to date...


 265.2 lbs

265.2 lbs

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Week 7 So Far...

It's been quite a tough week so far, but I'm still seeing good results in spite of it.

I got a bit concerned mid-week, as I looked at what I was eating, and realised that I was regularly consuming no more than 500 calories a day. I'd have a 3-egg ham omelette for breakfast, and then say a chicken breast for lunch, and nothing in the evening. I didn't even feel especially hungry, but I definitely want to be eating more than that. I want this weight loss to remain as healthy and maintainable as possible, and a calorie intake as low as that puts the protein in my muscles at risk - there's a chance my weight loss will start coming from loss of muscle, rather than loss of fat.

I've tried to up my calorie intake, and I've also been taking in more carbs. Its hard though - the more carbs I eat, the hungrier I get. It's like pushing one foot out over a precipice, and trying to counter the pull of gravity to keep myself on balance. I thought I might have overdone it, especially after I had a mini-celebration on reaching the 260's (a special target of mine), consisting of chicken kievs, onion rings, and then ice-cream for dessert. But the weight has certainly still been shifting, and as long as nothing drastic happens these next two days, I should have a good loss to report on Monday.

I've come down with a bit of a cough too, which is having an impact. It makes running harder, which is frustrating, as I've really started to enjoy it again. It's also impacting on my sleep, and when I'm tired during the day, I'm more likely to a) shirk on exercising, and b) have some coffee or a Red Bull. I'm still running several pounds/weeks ahead of my weight-loss schedule, so I can afford to take some time out if need be, but there are two problems with that. The first is that I don't want to jeopardise my commitment or enthusiasm by seeing the pounds slowly eke back on over the weeks. The second is that I've become quite greedy for the loss of pounds - I'm getting fairly obsessive about recording a loss every week, and that might be why my calorie-intake dropped so low.

My regularly scheduled lectures end soon, and then I'm more or less house-bound revising. That change in routine will surely have an impact on my diet-exercise dynamic, so I'm going to have to keep a weather eye on that. None of my colleagues have noticed my weight loss so far (or at least, they haven't said so to me), so I want to make good progress over the months of not seeing them - come next year, they won't even recognise me!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weight Loss Tips 2

In these posts I share any useful tips or ideas that I have found worked for me - they may not be best for you/fit into your own plan!

2) Drink water - and plenty of it!

This is so straight forward that it may not sound like a tip at all, but just common sense. However, I NEVER used to drink enough water, and once I started I could not believe the benefits I felt.

Some days I would get through 3-4 double espressos, just to try and shake the cloudy-headed fug I seemed to be in all the time. They never worked - all I experienced was a faster heart rate. But when I started drinking water, guess what? Fug gone! There is also some evidence that caffeine works against you when you're trying to lose weight, by increasing insulin resistance, increasing appetite and contributing to food cravings, so if you were thinking of trying to get over your caffeine dependency, now's the time!

I keep a big 2L plastic bottle in my room, and generally try to keep it filled. That way if I feel thirsty, I can't make the excuse of 'the kitchen is too far'. I also take two 500ml bottles to Uni with me each day, and refill them as necessary during breaks. That way, I'm never too far from water, and have no excuses for not drinking enough.

Besides the main benefit I got (helping me feel more awake), there are other reasons why drinking more water might be a good idea, especially during weight loss:

- A cold drink of water first thing in the morning is a great idea, perhaps a better idea than a coffee. It rehydrates you after a long night, and drinking icy cold water has an added benefit - you have to use energy to heat the water up to body temperature, so that means calories burned! The first thing I do every morning (after weighing of course!) is to have a big drink of water.

- Water can fill you up, albeit temporarily. If you want to avoid snacking between meals, filling up with water might help - it won't last forever, but it might carry you through to the next proper meal.

- You use water to properly store energy after eating. Without getting too scientific, you use water when you store glucose in your liver (as glycogen). Drinking enough makes sure this goes off without a hitch (incidentally, this is also one of the reasons you lose extra water weight on low-carb diets: you use up your stored sugar, and therefore the water stored with it).

- Water is also an important element in the release of energy from your fat, or adipose tissue. 

- It has zero calories!

- It's FREE!

Many people will probably think they drink enough water already, but its worth double checking, especially for those wanting to lose weight (and, since people who want to lose weight are probably larger than average, they'll need more than the average recommended daily intake). Swapping sugar-filled drinks for water will not only help you avoid those empty calories, but help you to avoid possible complications from too much sugar in your blood (like diabetes), and as you can get it for free from your tap/faucet, it will make your bank balance healthier too!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Week 6 - RESULTS

I really wanted to try and break into the 260's this week, but did I manage it?

STARTING WEIGHT:   274.4 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  270.3 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  4.1 lbs

So near, yet so far!

I've been overweight for a long time, and the 260's has always sort of been my base. I'd put on weight, decide to start being healthier, drop back to the 260's, then give up again. It's comfortable, familiar ground, and I really wanted to get back there this week - I wanted my weight loss to start reflecting a change compared to four years ago, not just compared to a couple of months ago.

Didn't quite get there this week, but I still recorded a really good weight loss, and I should DEFINITELY make inroads into the 260's next week. There is still a lot to shout about this week too.

- I passed my 25% progress marker! My total desired weight loss is 100.4 lbs, so when I passed 25.1 dropped, I passed the quarter mark. So pleased with this - I've dropped 25% of my target weight loss in 17% of the time I've given myself. So I'm ahead of schedule!

- Sixth consecutive week of weight loss. I'm still telling myself that at some point down the road, I'll probably have a gain. The weight still bounces around a bit, and eventually one of those random upstrokes will surely land on a Monday morning. But so far so good, and to think that for the last month and a half I've been lighter every Monday morning than the previous one makes me feel good!

- Keeping to the lifestyle changes. I'm getting better at working out how many calories each meal contains, I'm making better choices and checking the nutritional information more often, and I'm slowly reintroducing some carbs into my diet (especially after my post about the potential drawbacks of a carb-free diet, which you can read here). I'm also more regular with my exercise, trying to alternate my running and my weights, and upping my running distance to 4km. This isn't just about losing weight, but changing my lifestyle so that it stays off, and I think I'm making progress there, as well as on the scales.

There are lots of mini-targets spread out over the next 20lbs, so I'm confident that they will keep me motivated. My next big target is to reach 258lbs, as that equates to 18.5 stone - the weight I have always used on forms, questionnaires etc, to try and make me sound slighter healthier than I am, while still being high enough to hopefully be believable. Once I pass that, I will be losing weight that I have carried around for almost 5 years - can't wait!

Without further ado, here is my total tally, and those carefully cropped body shots...

26.8 lbs 

 270.3 lbs

270.3 lbs

Friday, April 1, 2011

What Does 100 lbs Look Like?

When I decided I was going to lose 100 lbs, I tried to Google something to compare it to. Some image of something (or a lot of somethings) that weighed 100 lbs, so I could grasp in my head exactly what I was aiming for.

But the pickings were pretty slim. The best I could find were the two images below (with their sources linked beneath):

The thing is, I can't imagine holding that in my hand (whatever 'that' is), so it doesn't really help. It sure looks like a lot though!

So I decided to try and gather together 100 lbs of regular everyday stuff, so I would have at least a vague notion of what I was attempting to accomplish. And being a student, the heaviest, most numerous thing I have is, of course, textbooks!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, 100 lbs of books!

 It really doesn't seem so much stacked up like that, but believe me, this load was backbreaking. It was almost too much for me, and was definitely too much for my scales - they tried to tell me I weighed 35lbs WITH books! I ended up weighing them in shifts, and what you have above is 99.6 lbs, as close to 100 as I could get.

Try grabbing a few big books off the shelf now, and compare that weight to how many are above. I should have put something in to compare sizes, but most of those are big old hardback anatomy textbooks, and hefty even on their own. I can't believe I could even have that much weight to spare! Its horrifying.

Can't wait to drop it all though! I mean, I go for runs and can jog upstairs and am in no way incapacitated by my weight, so imagine what I'll be able to do when I'm not carrying that around too! I'll be a Hercules!

All the pics above can be enlarged with a click (and my one gives you an insight into the reading matter of a procrastinating med student!). Hopefully its useful to anyone else aiming for close to 100lbs!