Slimblog

Adventures in Weight Loss!

Progress… ish.

April 6th, 2014

Report:

S – 1200 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised:  -10 pts

S –  990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

M – 2200 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: -100 pts

T – 995 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

W – 1340 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: -20 pts

T – 990 kcal consumed, 1 mile walked, 100 kcal exercised: 20 pts

Last week’s weight: 103.9 kg

This week’s weight: 103.7 kg

Weight difference: -0.7 kg (25 pts)

Total ponts: -45

Progress… ish.

So, technically I weigh less than I did last week, in real terms my weight hasn’t really shifted all that much, which is something that I lay squarely at the feet of comfort-eating.

Comfort-eating’s probably one of my greatest enemies in my grand goal of weight-loss. As many of you know, I’m constantly fending off my old friends depression, anxiety and low self-esteem (all qualities that make me exceptionally well-suited to a career in creativity, of course). Eating is one of my favourite activities, as it requires relatively little effort for a good return on enjoyability. While this would be fine if I were content to stick to fruit and other healthy alternatives, I don’t get the same level of satisfaction as if I were to have something stodgy and substantial.

What I’ve discovered this week was quite effective in curbing the cravings, on Thursday night in particular, was simple monitoring of my weight. Weight really should be something that’s measured over longer time periods in order to eliminate minor variations. However, when faced with the temptation to eat more than I should, simply viewing how much progress I have to make is an excellent way of convincing myself to stick to the plan.

Of course, this is strong negative conditioning; not particularly useful during my darker moods. However, as it’s getting lighter, I’m finding it easier to motivate myself to do more exercise. When I do my exercise, I do genuinely feel better. I feel invigorated, my mood improves, and my appetite actually decreases. Definitely an avenue worth pursuing, I reckon!

Here’s to better results next week!

M.

First Week of the New Diet!

March 29th, 2014

First Week of the New Diet!

It’s my first full week re-committing to my diet, and here are the results!

S – 980 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 10 pts

S – 990 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 0 pts

M – 970 kcal consumed, 1 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised:  10 pts

T – 1500 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: -30 pts

W – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

T – 1500 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: -30 pts

Last measured weight: 102.8 kg

This week’s weight: 103.9 kg

Weight difference +1.1 kg: -25 pts

Total points: -45 pts

It’s easy to misinterpret this as a bad week, but there are a few things to be considered:

  • In the grand scheme of things, I’ve only gained a kilo.
  • While I’ve fallen short of my target, it’s still under the average energy requirement per day

What does this mean? Well, for one thing; I don’t have as far to go as I’d feared I had which is a HUGE motivator. Secondly, while life and work is tough I’ll find myself eating more than my target intake, I can still have something a little extra and continue to lose weight. As I’ve written about before, it just extends the period of time I need to diet!

So, my targets for this week: Increase the amount of exercise that I do, try and stick to target, and make sure next week’s weight is lower than this week’s! Thanks for keeping me motivated guys!

M.

Starting Over!

March 22nd, 2014

Hello all,First off,  and welcome back to slimblog!

First off, l just went to thank the readers and friends who wouldn’t let me give up on my slimming mission; It’s been a tough couple of months, and I’ve put back on some of the weight I lost, but the diet starts again today! I managed it before, and I can do it again. I just need to refocus my efforts, take some of the good advice I’ve been given, and learn to take problems in my stride!

So, tune in next week for the first of the new diet posts! I’d really appreciate it if you all kept me on the straight and narrow, again!

M.

Toughing It Out

January 25th, 2014

Report:

S – 975 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised:  0 pts

S – 960 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

M – 1800 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: -60 pts

T – 1200 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

W – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

T – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

Last week’s weight: 102.8 kg

This week’s weight: 102.8 kg

Weight difference: 0 kg (+0 pts)

Total ponts: -20

Toughing It Out

Not the greatest week I’ve had, weight-loss wise, but certainly not the worst either! It’s been a tough week, with some fairly stressful activity going on; more on that later, possibly. And, as is my wont, I’ve succumbed to comfort eating to get me through it.

What’s interesting is that, somehow, it doesn’t seem ‘real’ until I do this writeup. Even though I KNOW when I’m eating more than I should, because I tend to avoid the scales until the end of the week it doesn’t FEEL like I’m eating too much. But, once the figures are there in front of me, and I look at the chart, I can actually quantify the lack of progress.

As I’ve mentioned before, the key is not to get frustrated. What I need to do is address the root cause of my problem – namely, the stress. Remove the stress, and you remove the ‘excuse’ to begin comfort-eating. What do you do, however, when the source of said stress is just something you have to put up with for a period of time?

I’ll be honest, I don’t rightly know! But what I’ll be doing over the next week is figuring out what I can do to mitigate the desire to eat. In this instance, I don’t think sublimation is going to work, as the desire to eat is in itself a sublimation of the anxiety I’m experiencing. Any suggestions on actions to take would be greatly welcomed!

M.

Getting Back on the Horse

January 18th, 2014

8/01/2013

Report:

S – 980 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised:  0 pts

S – 990 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

M – 970 kcal consumed, 1 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 10 pts

T – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

W – 1200 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

T – 1100 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 10 pts

Last week’s weight: 103.1 kg

This week’s weight: 102.8 kg

Weight difference: -0.3 kg (+25 pts)

Total ponts: +65

Getting back on the Horse.

Well, I’ve been back for a little while since Christmas, and I’ve gotten back on the dieting wagon. It’s not perfect, of course – look at the stats above, and note how much more slowly I’m now losing weight. On Wednesday and Thursday, I ate more than my target, which will slow down the overall burn. I also clearly haven’t been doing my share of exercise, which will not only reduce the amount of weight that I lose, but also reduces the amount of actual burn. While dieting is good at avoiding the consumption and retention of extra energy, I’ve been advised that in order to keep on losing weight, I’ll have to up the amount of exercise that I do – I appear to have mostly been burning the easier-to lose short-term reserves, while the long-term reserves are (by their nature) relatively difficult to tap into.

Nothing wrong with a spot more exercise! Hopefully, this week I’ll be adopting a more sensible sleeping schedule, and this will be able to ease back into doing exercise after every weekday! More on weekends too, of course!

I’ll also be able to write more informative and useful blog notes. I have to admit, I’m somewhat nodding off while writing here due to a late night and afotermentioned disrupted sleep schedule. Hopefully life is kind to me and lets me write this blog to fulfil its potential!

In the meantime, let’s all work to get slimming back on track for the new year! Cheerio for now!

M.

New Year, Same Diet!

January 11th, 2014
Holiday overeating getting you down?

Post Holiday Blues? Cheer up, it’s time to lose weight again! :D

Happy New Year, everyone! Well, I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas break, and you all made the most of it; I certainly did, and now my weight has gone back up just a wee bit to 103 kg. Worry not! I’m back on the diet, and full normal service will be resumed this week.

I don’t think it’ll take too long to get rid of the weight that’s returned. Since it was a lot of eating in such a short space of time, I doubt that my body has had sufficient time to convert it into long-term fat reserves.

Spealing of long-term fat reserves, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be hitting them soon, and that then the only real way to get rid of them is to exercise more. It’ll be interesting to see how I fit that in!

Anyway, welcome back, and remember: Even if you ate a bit more over Christmas, and you may have put on a bit of weight that you feel you could dow without, just remember; You’re doing something to help yourself. You’re imrpoving your life, consciously and conscientiously, and that’s something to celebrate!

M.

Suggestible

December 14th, 2013

Report:

S – 1200 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 200 kcal exercised:  0 pts

S – 950 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

M – 800 kcal consumed, 1 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 10 pts

T – 480 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 50 pts

W – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

T – 1000 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

Last week’s weight: 102.8 kg

This week’s weight: 100.2 kg

Weight difference: -2.6 kg (+25 pts)

Total ponts: +125

Suggestible

Now that’s a bit more like it! Although, I must admit, I reckon the bulk of the weight loss this week occurred due to Tuesday’s illness, where I slept for most of the day and wasn’t really all that interested in eating…

I’ve had some really great support and my mates over the last few weeks, and a good number of them have contributed by way of advice. It seems that a lot of people have set themselves on the course to weight loss at some point in their lives, and a greater number still are keen on keeping themselves fit and healthy. Who says Scotland has a health problem?

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is the great emphasis placed on exercise – Some have even gone so far as to suggest that dieting is not as important as increasing the amount of exercise that one does. I’d like to address this one first off; While exercise is vital in boosting the body’s metabolism, it’s not necessarily the most effective method of losing weight on its own. The body is startlingly efficient in the way it extracts energy from its stores; it’s why we don’t collapse in shock at the end of a long day of hiking across hills having depleted our energy reserves.  It is for this reason that, in order to achieve any meaningful weight loss via exercise alone, a prodigious amount of time must be spent expending energy.

There are, of course, some suggestions that lean almost entirely the other way. Some have proposed diets of limited types of food, or the removal of specific foods from the dieter’s intake. This sort of thing must be managed exceptionally  carefully. If one were to suddenly simply stop eating and rely on burning their fat reserves to provide energy, they would find themselves malnourished incredibly quickly, as they lacked the regular intake of vitamins and essential materials the body needs to maintain and repair itself. Indeed, if someone were planning on embarking on such a diet, I would be advising them to ensure that they are eating sufficient alternative sources of their vitamins and nutrients, and to monitor their health to make sure that they were getting enough of the right stuff.

Of course, the crux of the matter here is that different diets work best for different kinds of people. For people as driven as my sporty friends, an exercise-rich regime is perfect. It delivers the physical challenge they crave, and allows them to spend time refining a skill without them feeling as much of the obligation to ‘starve’ themselves. For people concerned about the quality of the food that they are putting into their body, the restricted diet style allows them to control their intake. By limiting consumption of the ingredients that act counter to the goal of weight-loss, people on restricted diets  can achieve weight loss and healthy living through careful monitoring.

For me, I believe sitting somewhere around the middle is best. I’m sure many readers of this blog also read my comic. those who do will know exactly how little time I have, as I’m always writing, drawing, or otherwise storytelling in some capacity. As a result, I have precious little time to devote to an intense exercise regime. However, I understand the benefit of regular exercise, and strive to keep up a moderate programme of exercise. Diet-wise, I’ve chosen to go with controlling my calorie-intake. This allows me to keep to my own tastes, and permits me to curtail much of the cravings by satisfying them in a way that is manageable to me.

I’ll be the first to admit that my method of ‘eating less and exercising a bit more’ is not exactly the most sophisticated, nor is it the quickest on earth. What I’d like to do is take on the fantastic advice that’s been given to me and integrate it into my own, personal plan. What I’d quite like to do is change up the type of exercise I’m doing from time to time, so that I’m getting some variety. I’d like to identify if there’s anything that I can cut out of my diet that’s obviously hindering my chances of succeeding in my goal.

So, hopefully people reading this understand a little better now why I’ve picked the plan I’ve chosen. I need something time-efficient, that does not necessarily deliver spectacular short-term results but is, in fact, a plan for the long-run.

Keep the support and advice coming in, guys! It’s all appreciated!

M.

‘Tis the Season for Slippage!

December 7th, 2013

Report:

S – 2500 kcal consumed, 1 mile walked, 0 kcal exercised:  -140 pts

S – 1500 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 200 kcal exercised: -30 pts

M – 700 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 50 pts

T – 950 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

W – 1000 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 30 pts

T – 2000 kcal consumed, 1 mile walked, 0 kcal exercised: -90 pts

Last week’s weight: 101.7 kg

This week’s weight: 102.8 kg

Weight difference: +1.1 kg (-25 pts)

Total ponts: -185

‘Tis the season for slippage.

We're all only human!

Nooo, come back, weight loss!

Wow, just look at those figures. Doesn’t look good, does it? Well, no, it’s definitely a setback and I could be doing better. But is it the end of the world? Most certainly not, and in today’s article, I’ll be talking about how I’m coping with slips like this.

December is probably one of the most difficult months in any slimmer’s diary. Work nights out, Christmas dinners and family gatherings all present challenges to be overcome. The challenges come in two main forms: Firstly and most obviously, is the temptation aspect. It’s very, VERY easy to justify fitting a little bit more in than you should ‘because it’s a one-off’, or having something just because it’s there and it’d be a shame to waste it. Secondly, there are some instances where, as one of my colleagues put it, there is a ‘social obligation’ to join in and eat. I’m not exactly the most socially conformist of people, but I understand fully the idea behind this. Sometimes, you’re expected to eat hearty and make merry, because it would be considered highly rude not to. I mean, I’m sure most (if not all) dieters have been acutely aware at some point or another of being ‘that person’ who eats a comparatively tiny amount at the table, either becoming uncomfortable themselves or inducing guilt in their companions.

It sounds like I’m justifying breaking my diet. I can assure you that I’m not;  I do feel a bit disappointed in myself that I didn’t stick to the diet properly this week. Just because I didn’t, however, doesn’t mean I couldn’t. Breaking down the ‘anomalies’: Saturday I met with my parents, and we revisited a restaurant we had fond memories of from when I was a child – to avoid joining in there would have reduced the emotional impact of the meeting, I feel. Thursday was the Employee Roadshow, and so much free food was had – refusal here would have been easier than with my parents, admittedly, but would almost certainly have set me apart from my colleagues (that, and it probably would have revolved around eating salad and salad only, blecch). Sunday was probably the day that was most indulgent – I had no excuse to justify my overeating, so I will say only this: Go to the Little Italy deli in York, sample some of their mortadella and their salami Milano, and tell me you wouldn’t be just a little tempted to do the same!

The important part is not, of course how one justifies skipping one’s diet on oneself. The key lies in the way in which you deal with your slippage. There are two main ways to view it:

-          “I slipped up, and I’m going to have to really ratchet up the diet for the next few days to make up for it”: You can see I tried this on Monday. And then, by Tuesday, had given up on that approach and had gone back to my normal regimen. If you were on a less stringent daily calorie target than I am, I can see this approach potentially working, but you have to bear in mind that if you increase the aggressiveness of your diet, you will wear yourself out in both body and in willpower much more quickly.

-          “I slipped up, and it’s going to take me a bit longer to achieve my target weight if I stick to the same plan as before.”: This is the approach I favour, as I feel it’s more sustainable. While it does delay you on your journey to slimming down, it makes sure that you’re still healthy and energetic enough to get through each day. Remember, there’s absolutely no need to lose weight rapidly – to do so runs the risk of putting your body into shock, and shows a lack of the kind of patience that’s required to succeed in this task. Weight loss should be done in a gradual and healthy manner, so as to encourage the loss to stick.

So, to sum, I think the key thing that I’ve found helpful in dealing with slip-ups in the slimming plan is this: Don’t panic! Enjoy yourself, and just remember that you can hit that target the next week. As long as you realise that this season of overeating is only temporary and can instil in yourself a sense of discipline for when you’re not being tempted to devour everything in sight (except Brussels sprouts, for obvious reasons), you’ll catch up on your diet in time!

M.

Keep warm, keep burning!

November 30th, 2013

Report:

S – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised:  20 pts

S – 1000 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 200 kcal exercised: 20 pts

M – 970 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 30 pts

T – 980 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 30 pts

W – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 20 pts

T – 1200 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 0 pts

Last week’s weight: 102.9 kg

This week’s weight: 101.7 kg

Weight difference: -1.2 kg (25 pts)

Total ponts: 145

Keep warm, keep burning!

It’s rapidly approaching wintertime here in the northern hemisphere, which naturally means chilly weather . It’s a natural instinct for us to consume more when we feel colder – anecdotally, I’ve heard that people living and working in the Arctic and Antarctic must consume an increased number of calories in order to maintain their body temperature.

While Manchester in winter is certainly not as extreme in its temperature as at the poles (hyperbole notwithstanding), it certainly introduces a similar, observable effect. When the temperature drops, we crave more food to keep us going. It’s not just a physical thing, of course, but also has a significant psychological component too; during the colder months, when food and resources were traditionally scarce, a full belly helped us to feel more secure and assure us of our mastery of nature in the face of its fearful and frosty wrath.

As they say in Scottish Game of Thrones: "Aye, that's the cauld weather comin' the noo."

As they say in Scottish Game of Thrones: “Aye, that’s the cauld weather comin’ the noo.”

Well, okay, that might be a little over-dramatic. But it still stands that there is temptation both ways: Firstly, temptation to overeat. Secondly, a temptation to use the increase in calorie requirements to achieve greater amounts of weight loss. Of course, the first is probably easier to address – No matter what the weather is, if you’re aiming to lose weight one must maintain discipline and exert command over one’s cravings to stick to the diet. The second one is somewhat fraught with danger – Yes, your aim is to reduce the amount of calories you consume and drop your weight. However, you want to do this slowly, in order to minimise the amount of stress your body has to endure. Remember that when you’re losing weight, what you’re actually doing is burning up the body’s emergency supply because you’re not actually consuming sufficient energy. When winter comes, your body will need that little bit extra to keep itself topped up properly. It’s got not so much to do with eating over your target calorie intake so much as it is making sure that your target is reasonable enough to permit that extra burn. If you’re consuming too little, you run into problems, fatigue and risk of shock being among them.

I think my chief message here is this: If you’re doing the diet thing like me, you absolutely have to be careful about your health. Don’t over-exert yourself; the damage you can do to yourself may be irreparable, and even in the short term stretching oneself too thinly might result in sabotaging your own efforts as you consume more to make up for the lack of energy you’ll feel.

Take care of yourselves, out there!

M.

Resisting temptation in the dessert.

November 23rd, 2013

Report:

S – 980 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 200 kcal exercised:  20 pts

S – 960 kcal consumed, 0 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

M – 975 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 30 pts

T – 990 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 100 kcal exercised: 30 pts

W – 1200 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 0 pts

T – 1100 kcal consumed, 2 miles walked, 0 kcal exercised: 10 pts

Last week’s weight: 103.3 kg

This week’s weight: 102.9 kg

Weight difference: -0.4 kg (25 pts)

Total ponts: 115

Resisting temptation in the dessert.

Temptation. If you’re on a diet, and you’re talking to other people about said diet, you will probably hear this word a lot. “How are you dealing with the temptation?” “I could never get over the temptation.” “Can’t I tempt you with this massively tasty donut?”

People seem to be obsessed by temptation and its relation to dieting. While the concept does grate, after a while, there is an undeniable skin of it throttling the core of good intentions in every diet. Temptation can come to us in a number of guises; the form that most people refer to is the innate craving for flavour and filling that probably led the dietee into trouble in the first place; this is perfectly natural, and is fairly easy to overcome through discipline. Some people even try to test themselves, by buying food that they like and forcing themselves not to consume it; this has less to do with the diet and more to do with testing one’s resolve, which is an unnecessary complication in the effort to lose weight.

The form of temptation that I usually succumb to (and, if you look at the figures above, you’ll see that I have done so courtesy of one particularly irksome email and aided by a delicious loaf of bread) is comfort-eating due to depression and anxiety. The problem with comfort eating is that it’s a learned response, often impressed on the person by themselves through years of experience. The cycle is simple, but powerful, and can often feed itself (haha! puns): The person is affected by an outside source that saps their self-esteem, which makes them feel low. They withdraw into their shells and look to cheering themselves up; often, they will suspend their diet with the rationalisation that their happiness is more important than their diet – a true statement, of course, but one that must be attended to with a view to balancing the two. The person feels good for a while, but doubt and guilt begins to creep into their mind again as they feel that they have failed in their diet, and so they look for something to cheer themselves up…

As with any destructive behaviour, the key is to change the way in which you think. For many years, I myself would fall prey to extremely low moods, self-harm, and massive amounts of comfort-eating (I swear, it’s not as bad as it sounds, but the prettier you phrase it the less truthful you make it). That changed when I went into therapy, and learned a bit about Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The lessons I learned from those sessions in modifying the way I thought about things have proven incredibly useful in my efforts to lose weight. Case in point, the blog itself and sublimating the feeling of reward I get to be attached to the benefits of losing weight, is one way of changing the way I feel about dieting. Because I view the effort as being beneficial not just to me, but also entertaining and encouraging to others, any hassle, discomfort or annoyance I pick up as a result of the diet can be mitigated by the enthusiasm I have for the greater benefits and social/literary implications.

So, although I still suffer from little slips after a hard day, there are a number of things that are different for me that I’ve found really help:

-          It’s not the end of the world! Because I have the option to do more exercise to compensate, or even just the fact that although it didn’t hit my target but still allows weight loss to occur, I don’t feel as guilty for not QUITE making it. Therefore, it doesn’t spiral downward and instead becomes a blip to keep an eye on.

-          Rather than feel discouraged when I fail to meet a target, by changing my attitude towards dieting I now feel excited when I do, which gives me motivation to work towards my targets and goals, instead of trying desperately to escape ineffectively the negative repercussions.

-          Because I have an audience to deliver results to, I generally think twice before eating anything. Similar to the external influence that pushes down on the depressive person and makes them nervous, this influence really helps to provide external expectations of quality and achievement – perfect for somebody who frequently lowers their own expectations as their own self-confidence plummets.

Anyway, I hope that this article gets you thinking about your own approach to weight loss! What about your own experiences with keeping up the faith while sticking to a diet? I’d love to hear about it!

M.