Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Week 45

2lb gain.

So the 2 pounds I lost last week has returned. Given the amount of indulgence over Christmas I have to say that I'm rather impressed that I only gained 2 pounds. The season is not over yet and I fully expect a couple more before normal service is resumed.

Certainly Maggie's home made ice creams, chocloate truffles and honey roasted parsnips have been worth the blip and I'm not feeling panicky in the slightest.

Next week will be a Wednesday weigh-in as I'll be away visiting my father for the couple of days before.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 7lb – 203lbs
Total Weight Loss: 72lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 7lbs

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Week 44

2lb Loss!?

OK, now I'm surprised! I've been out for lunch 3 times since last week - yesterday had starter and pudding too. Plus Maggie has been making chocolate truffles and fudge for xmas gifts and it's been impossible to resist having a few of them too. I fully expected to gain a pound this week and would have considered myself extremely fortunate to have stayed the same. So a 2lb loss is quite weird. I had to try out the scales several times to be sure, but they continued to say I was 14st 5lbs.

Still, at least it gives me a bit more of a cushion for the coming seasonal indulgences.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 5lb – 201lbs
Total Weight Loss: 74lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 9lbs

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Week 43

3lb Gain!

I ate out at an awards dinner on Thursday, had cheese fondue at the friend's house I was staying in on Friday, attended a medieval banquet on Saturday, took my brother, sister and kids out to an Indian restaurant on Sunday, had a "Full English" fried breakfast at the B&B on Monday, and snacked most of the drive back home on Tuesday.

All things considered I think I've got off lightly with only a 3 pound gain.

How good it was to have a bowl of Maggie's home made thick vegetable soup for dinner when I got home last night. I never would have believed that I would get to a stage where I could be desperately yearning for fruit and vegetables.

Other than a Christmas lunch with a few business colleagues next Monday, I should be able to spend the next week eating a lot healthier.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 7lb – 203lbs
Total Weight Loss: 72lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 7lbs

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Week 42

1lb loss.

It might actually only be about half a pound, but the scales said I was 14-4 more times than they said I was 14-5. That's the problem with cheap scales - they can't do fractions.

Statistical Significance: I'm now at 200 pounds exactly

Statistical likelihood of dropping below that next week: almost zero

I'm away this weekend to see friends, family, and to attend a 9th Century Reenactment Society Banquet, so anything less than a 4lb gain I will take as a positive sign.

I won't be weighing in next Tuesday as I won't be back home until later in the week.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 4lb – 200lbs
Total Weight Loss: 75lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 10lbs

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Week 41

3lb loss!

Well {insert expression of amazement and disbelief}! I'm amazed to find that I've lost 3lbs this week. Given that I had a trip away for a couple of days and the eating wasn't so easy to track, I thought I'd be lucky to stay level. I certainly wasn't expecting a three pound loss.

OK, I'll probably level out for a couple of weeks, but I'm happy for now.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 5lb – 201lbs
Total Weight Loss: 74lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 9lbs

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Week 40

2lb loss!

Phew - every time I go for a week or two without losing any weight I begin to fear that I've plateaued. However, I can heave a sigh of relief I haven't this time.

Statistical Significance: having crossed the 70lb barrier, that means that I have now lost more than 5 stone since I began. I don't go hungry and I don't eat things that taste bad. I must be doing something right.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 8lb – 204lbs
Total Weight Loss: 71lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 6lbs

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Week 39

*Sigh* No change.

I thought I'd been pretty good with my eating this week, but I guess with the continued vile weather we've been having, my activity levels have been pretty low. For a brief moment the scales flickered on 14st 9lbs, but then went back up to 14st 10lbs. Maybe I have lost 1/4 lb or something, but my scales don't do fractions.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 10lb – 206lbs
Total Weight Loss: 69lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 4lbs

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Week 38

A 2lb loss, which counters the 1lb gain last week.

However, there is significance in reaching 206lbs: this means that I have now lost 25% of my bodyweight since I changed my eating habits 9 months ago. I'm only 3/4 of the man I used to be!

Carry on at this rate and within 2 years and 3 months I will weigh 0lbs...

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 10lb – 206lbs
Total Weight Loss: 69lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 4lbs

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Less Weight, Harsher Judgements (imported from Ramblings of the Bearded One)

I have just staggered about 250 yards up the road from the hardware shop with a 20kg (about 44lbs) bag of coal and only just made it. The bit that I find really hard to fully get my head around, is not that I’m so unfit that carrying 20kg causes me problems, but that 9 months ago I was 30kg (about 66lbs) heavier than I am now.

I have serious doubts that I would have made it up the road, without having to stop several times on the way, if I’d tried carrying 30kg of coal, yet I used to carry that amount extra with me every where I went. And, if I am ever to approach that mystical realm of the ‘ideal weight’, I still need to shed another 20kg.

So why then, when I am 30kg lighter than I used to be, do I sometimes feel like I’ve never been so fat?

For a while I thought it was just because I’m so much more focused on my weight these days: being more careful about my eating habits and weighing myself once a week. But I’m beginning to suspect there might be another factor in this equation, which is I’ve shifted into a different category of person.

These days I can look in the mirror, or catch sight of myself in a shop window and I look like an overweight, middle-aged guy who’s let himself go and could seriously do with losing some weight. But when I was 30kg heavier, I was so outside the realms of “normality” that the idea that I could actually do something didn’t really come into it.

When you look at someone like Johnny Vegas (British comedian – star of “Sex Lives of the Potato Men” and Channel 4’s “18 stone of Idiot”), part of his act, and who he is, is defined in the sheer size of him. It does not occur to you that he could ever be slim, or have a well-sculpted body.

The fat man and the bearded lady of the circus freak show were firmly in the realm of “other”. They were curiosities to be stared at, ridiculed, or even pitied, but they were not anything we might become. As such, we could dismiss them and move on to the next novelty item.

But when someone is like us, but a bit fatter, or a woman’s moustache starts to get slightly darker and she finds a hair or two growing on her chin, then we freak out about it a great deal more. Suddenly we will be full of well-meaning, and probably very patronising, advice. We will whisper to our friends about how they are not making an effort. We will bitch and snipe out of fear, because that person could be us, if we aren’t vigilant enough. This attitude that, if you could be normal but don’t try to be, then you deserve every bit of harsh criticism you get, is extremely common.

So it seems I have now moved into these realms of judgement. When I was buying clothes with a number of ‘X’s on the label, then I was in ‘outsize’ clothing, i.e., outside the sizes of normality. As such, I was more easily dismissed. Now that my clothing sizes are ‘Large’, I’m into that range that says I could be normal if I just tried a bit harder.

Clearly I am not fatter than I have ever been, but the irony of it is that by losing enough weight to move out of the realm of “other”, I am now in a position where I can be judged more harshly by a greater number of people.

Bizarre really.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Week 37

Nuts! A one pound gain!

However, in my defence, m’lud, it was my birthday last week and I ended up going for 2 meals out last week and had extra cake on the day. Add to that the fact that the weather has been positively vile this week so I’ve barely left the house and I’ve used up all the excuses I can think of.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 12lb – 208lbs
Total Weight Loss: 67lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 2lbs

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Week 36

2 pounds lost this week, so I'm feeling good about that. But an even greater birthday present is the fact that today I am wearing jeans with a 36 inch waist!

My 38s have been definitely getting baggier so I suspected that a 36 was a possibility, so yesterday I went in search. I got a fright initially when, in the changing rooms, I barely got the jeans over my arse and there was no way I was going to be able to get that button done up. I couldn't believe it - I was so sure they ought to have fit. So when I took them off I checked the label and discovered I'd been trying on 34s by mistake.


So, 2lbs, and a size down in jeans!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 11lb – 207lbs
Total Weight Loss: 68lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 3lbs

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Week 35

No Change this week. I remain at 209 pounds, however, I feel fortunate not to have gained any. With one thing and another, I have been out for an evening meal twice, and eaten out at lunchtime three times in the past seven days.

Eating out is considerably more difficult to cope with because I can't really get to grips with the fact that if I'm paying for it in a cafe or restaurant, I feel I have to get my money's worth by finishing everything on the plate, including all the colslaw, mayonaise, rich dressings etc. And what evening meal cannot be finished off without a pudding?

So with my behaviour I was fully expecting to have put on a pound or two. So I feel it's something of an achievement to have stayed steady.

Statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275lbs
Current Weight: 14st 13lb – 209lbs
Total Weight Loss: 66lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 1lb

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Week 34

Now that I’m a member of the Knights of the Round Bottom, I guess I’m going to have to keep a public track of my weight losses/gains/plateaus.

Well I’ve lost another pound since last week, which takes me through another barrier. Now I know that dropping from 210 pounds to 209 doesn’t sound like it’s worth making a fuss about, but if you change the weight measurements into stones then you see that I have gone from 15 stone to 14st 13lb. And to think that I am now under 15 stone gives me quite a thrill.

So, statistical summary:

Starting Weight: 19st 9lb – 275 lbs
Current Weight: 14st 13lb – 209lbs
Total Weight Loss: 66lbs
Weight Lost since joining the Knights of the Round Bottoms: 1lb

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Knights of the Round Bottoms

After searching for weight loss blogs that seemed supportive, informative and light hearted, and getting absolutely nowhere (see Weight Loss Blogs), I was rather surprised to be invited to join the Knights of the Round Bottoms – a small group people dedicated to shifting a few pounds and keeping the comments going as they do so.

The group so far seems to consist mainly, though not exclusively, of middle-aged, overweight men, so I should slot in fine. Their links are now over on the right.

I weighed myself this morning (it’s usually a weekly procedure) and was pleased to see I’m still heading in the right direction. I’m now exactly 15 stone, or 210 pounds, which means I have lost a total of 65 pounds since February.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Clothes sizes without an X in them

I bought a new coat today as autumn is here and winter is just around the corner. But the amazing thing is the size. It is not a XXXL like the shirts I was buying back at the turn of the year; nor is it a XXL, like my previous coat; it is not even a XL. The size of this coat doesn’t have a single X in it. It is a “Large” and that’s it.

Some people might be disturbed at having to buy Large clothing, but to me it is an amazing achievement, and it’s difficult to try and get across just how bloody amazed I am at this.

In the shop they had this coat in four sizes – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Out of force of habit my wife found herself saying, as I picked one off the rack to take a closer look, “They don’t go up to…” and then caught herself and apologised.

I tried on the XL with a bit of trepidation: I’m aware that my XXL shirts are very baggy these days, but it’s a long time since I attempted to try on a XL item. So I was rather shocked to find that it seemed too big.

Giggling, almost like a nervous schoolboy, I reached out for the Large, took it off the coat hanger and tried it on. It fitted perfectly.

Bloody Hell!

So I bought it before my body could change its mind.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Weight Loss Blogs

Needless to say, having set up Losing a Hundredweight, I thought I’d see if I could find other like-minded sites out there in blogworld.

Too many hours wasted.

What I’d hoped, nay, expected, to find were plenty of blogs by people who were out there losing weight, getting fitter and sharing what works and what doesn’t.

What I actually found was hideously depressing. There appears to be only three kinds of blogs to do with weight loss:

1. Non-starters.
I lost count of how many sites have one, or maybe two entries that start along the line of “My plan is to lose 40 lbs before Christmas and this blog is going to detail my highs and lows, record my experiences and help me along with my quest. By writing this down, I know it will help to keep me motivated over the coming weeks.” Dated October 2003 and there are no further entries. So many people starting with great enthusiasm that has vanished within a week.

2. Lipophobes
There are just too many sites out there of people (primarily, but not exclusively, young women) who are clearly suffering delusional self-images and are obsessed with the culture of thin. Not health, you must understand, but thin. People for whom the term ‘ideal weight’ would place them somewhere between a baked bean and a helium balloon.

3. Money Makers
The only other sites I could find of people who had lost weight wanted to charge me a minimum of $24.99 to discover their secrets.

I mean, yes, I know the multi-billion $$$ world of dieting is screwing up millions of people’s metabolisms, mental health and bank balances, but I really thought that there must be some people out there who have a reasonably sensible attitude to the whole thing. But I gave up looking after several wasted hours.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Why did I overeat?

Eating disorders, indeed any kind of disorder, are very rarely caused by only one thing. It took me years to work out the various aspects that were contributing to my steady increase in size. This posting is going to outline what I discovered.

For those who’ve never had a problem with food, the idea that people would eat so much over such a long period of time is bizarre, so it’s easy to just dismiss it as people being greedy. End of story. Therefore, if you want to get back to a ‘sensible’ weight, you just have to engage a bit more willpower and stop eating so much. What doesn’t seem to occur to these people is that if it was that simple, we’d all be doing it.

On the face of it, greed is an issue. I saw the food, I wanted the food. I might already have eaten a plateful, but there was more food in front of me, calling me, beckoning me. I know I shouldn’t but, what the hell, a little more won’t harm. Anything that tastes that good can’t really be bad for me. So that was me being greedy – wanting more than I needed. But this explanation is too shallow. It doesn’t address WHY I was feeling that.

Leptin is a hormone manufactured by the body that helps regulate food intake. You would think that your body would work in such a way that when it needed food it would release a hormone to let you know that it’s time to eat. It turns out that it’s completely the other way round.

The natural state to be in is ravenously hungry - so hungry that you cannot think about anything other than food – and the body releases a hormone, leptin, to suppress it. When you have had enough, you stop feeling hungry. However, what happens if there’s a delay in the leptin reaching your system?

I’ve known plenty of people who would stop eating while there was still food on the plate, stating that they were full up (and it wasn’t even because they didn’t like the food). I never understood this. I don’t start to feel full for up to an hour after I’ve finished eating. This means that even if I had a full plate of food, I could eat it and still feel hungry. So I would have seconds. And then, if I took the plate out to the kitchen I would pick at the bits in the pans and, if still desperate, make myself a sandwich. About 30 minutes later I would start feeling full up, and about 20minutes after that I would start to feel uncomfortably full and bloated, by which time I would begin to regret that I’d eaten so much. At the time, all I could think of was eating. The mind is very good at conning you into thinking that it doesn’t really matter if you have a bit extra – no matter how many times you have felt bloated afterwards.

If there are abnormalities in the system, which delivers and activates leptin, the body can be in starvation mode at the wrong time. I don’t have proof that this is the case with me, but it certainly seems to make a lot of sense from my own experiences.

There’s no doubt that a lot of overeating is quite simply habit. If you are used to eating larger portions, or snacking at particular times of the day then you will, of course, come to expect that level of food at that particular time.

Then there’s the type of food you eat out of habit. Are you used to visiting a burger joint every week? Or are you used to putting excessive cream and sugar in your meals? My parents never liked their greens so my wife was quite surprised when she first cooked me peas and I expressed my dismay at the fact that they had not been cooked with a large knob of butter and a few spoons of sugar.

Another habit established in childhood for many people is clearing their plate – you won’t get any pudding until you’ve eaten your food all up.

Habits can be broken, but they have to be identified before they can be worked on, and it is rare that overeating is due to habit alone. It isn’t the only contributing factor, but it mustn’t be overlooked either.

Comfort eating is another mystery to those that don’t indulge in it. But this is multi-layered too. Sweets are treats. From a young age, many of us are treated to sweets, chocolate, ice cream and puddings as signs of affection from indulging adults. So when we are low, quite apart from the sugar rush, eating these foodstuffs reminds us of a time when we felt good, or someone was expressing their love for us. Sugar and love is a potent combination.

Beyond this, in more extreme emotional states, many of us feel loss, grief, stress and unhappiness as a great gaping hole in our stomachs. Cramming food into it is a way of trying to fill that void.

Some people deal with these emotions with drink, drugs, gambling, shopping and even sex. Some use food instead.

Some people are dealing with past or present instances of emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse. When going through such things a common reaction is to feel responsible in some way for the abuse that you’ve suffered and you will hate yourself for it.

But abuse doesn’t just have to be immediate and perpetrated by one or two people. If you are persecuted by society it is just as easy to lose your self-esteem and begin to hate yourself. And whatever reasons got you to being overweight in the first place, western society will sure as hell make you feel bad about being there. Fat people are viewed as being weak willed, stupid and un-sexy and we are constantly being bombarded with media images that tell us thin is good. So if you don’t feel bad about yourself before you become overweight you sure as hell will afterwards.

So what do you do when you feel bad about yourself? Comfort eat!

Beyond this there is another, darker side, and that is overeating as a form of self-harm. The self-loathing a person feels for him or herself can create a sense of wanting to damage this pitiful wretch they despise so much. In this case, the people are very aware of the damage they are doing to their bodies by overeating, but will abuse their body quite deliberately. This action can quite often be accompanied by alcohol and drug abuse, or even cutting and burning the skin.

Quitting smoking
Anyone who has given up smoking knows that one of the problems is finding something to occupy the hands and mouth. I quit smoking 15 years ago and put on weight quite quickly. Over 30 times a day I was used to placing a cigarette in my mouth, so mints, sweets and snacks very easily substituted this habit. However, it is worth pointing out that smoking is worse for you than being overweight, as well as worse for anyone near to you breathing in your cancerous fumes.

Much of the processed food we buy, whether at a fast food outlet or even pre-packaged in the supermarket, has an excess of salt, fat, sugar and other additives in order to make the food tastier and more desirable. Simple economics – if you want people to buy more of your product then make sure they want to eat more of it. But where is the line crossed between creating something tasty and something addictive?

If you have never watched “Super Size Me” then I suggest you go out and rent it immediately. Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonalds for one month and this film follows the rapid deterioration of his health. Quite tellingly, he discovered after a while that his mood would get extremely low and he would suffer headaches, yet would miraculously feel better once he’d got a burger in his mouth. Clear signs of physical addiction.

Fighting addiction is not simply a case of being strong. There are help organisations available for alcoholics, junkies and gamblers, but fat people are just seen as weak willed.

Summing up
We all know that eating junk food is no good for us, and that we’d be much healthier if we ate more fresh fruit and veg, so why don’t we do it? Because it’s not about being weak willed, we are up against hard sell from the food manufacturers, society, physical and psychological addictions.

It’s taken many years to identify all the different aspects of habit, comfort eating, self-loathing and addiction, to bring me to a point where I was actually able to begin to effect change. Some of these issues may have been completely obvious to you, but each one was a revelation to me as I discovered them. But it was these revelations that made me realise that the move to healthy eating had to be about lifestyle change and not just some temporary diet.

BMI - Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a rough guide to how overweight or obese you are. It is based on a formula that makes a connection between your height and your weight.

You have to go metric to make it work, but in essence you divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres multiplied by itself (W/HxH)

However, if you don't want to mess around with conversion tables and a calculator, then I suggest you visit deathclock.com (if you click on that link it will open up in a new window) and scroll to the bottom half of the page. You can then select your height in feet and inches, and your weight in pounds and it will do the calculations for you. If you're feeling really morbid, then you can scroll back up and use the information to calculate how long you have left to live, barring fatal accidents.

So here are the Obesity Definitions:

BMI under 18.5: Underweight
BMI 18.5-25: Normal
BMI 25-30: Overweight
BMI 30-40: Obese
BMI 40+: Morbidly Obese/Extremely Obese/Grossly Obese/Pathologically Obese (these are all medical terms - who says there's no prejudice in the medical profession?)

This is only a rough guide, because of course athletes tend to fall outside these categories. For example, every member of the England Rugby Team would be categorised as Obese under these definitions, although the amount of fat they are carrying is negligible. However, for the rest of us mere mortals it does work as a rough guide to where we are at

Back in February, my BMI was 43. It is now 34 (as of September 6th 2005)

Food Addiction

For those ever wondering about whether they might have a problem with food addiction, I found this list kicking out there on the net. Apparently if you answer yes to any of them then you might have a problem. I'll tell you at the bottom how many applied to me

1 Have you ever wanted to stop eating and found you just couldn't?
2 Do you think about food or your weight constantly?
3 Do you find yourself attempting one diet or food plan after another, with no lasting success?
4 Do you binge and then "get rid of the binge" through vomiting, exercise, laxatives, or other forms of purging?
5 Do you eat differently in private than you do in front of other people?
6 Has a doctor or family member ever approached you with concern about your eating habits or weight?
7 Do you eat large quantities of food at one time (binge)?
8 Is your weight problem due to your "nibbling" all day long?
9 Do you eat to escape from your feelings?
10 Do you eat when you're not hungry?
11 Have you ever discarded food, only to retrieve and eat it later?
12 Do you eat in secret?
13 Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake?
14 Have you ever stolen other people's food?
15 Have you ever hidden food to make sure you have "enough?"
16 Do you feel driven to exercise excessively to control your weight?
17 Do you obsessively calculate the calories you've burned against the calories you've eaten?
18 Do you frequently feel guilty or ashamed about what you've eaten?
19 Are you waiting for your life to begin "when you lose the weight?"
20 Do you feel hopeless about your relationship with food?

Me? Back at the beginning of the year I would have answered yes to 13 of them.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Danger of Dieting

98% of all diets fail. That is, only 2% of all people who diet manage to keep the weight off once the diet has ended. The rest put it all back on within one or two years, and the majority of them end up heavier than when they started. Most of the biggest people you see around are not people who need to go on a diet; they are people who have been dieting most of their lives.

Next up, with most diets, the first thing you lose is muscle tissue, as your body goes into starvation mode and stores the fat. However, when you the regain the weight it comes back as fat rather than muscle. So even if you end up at only the same weight, your proportion of fat will be higher.

For your average man, if he loses a significant amount of weight and then puts it all back on, he doubles his chance of a heart attack.

So if I offered you some kind of reward for undertaking a task that has a 2% chance of success, and a 98% chance of doubling your risk of having a heart attack, how quickly would you sign up?

Diets cannot work because they are temporary and, like stomach-stapling, jaw wiring or liposuction, don’t actually address WHY we were overeating in the first place. Without dealing with this crucial issue, eating will always remain a problem.

So if diets don’t work, and they’re bloody dangerous, what are we to do if we don’t want to stay massively overweight, with the accompanying health dangers? In essence, we have to change our lifestyle. The changes we make have to be healthy and they have to be sustainable.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What is healthy eating?

This isn’t rocket science. Personally I have little time for all these eating plans that mean you have to work out in meticulous detail exactly what food types you can have at which particular parts of the day. This approach undermines the sustainable side of the equation. If I have to go to that much trouble, I probably won’t bother keeping it up.

No, basically what we are talking about is eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and steering clear of processed stuff. If you ever want an insight into what excessive processed food can do to you, I seriously recommend you watch Super Size Me.

Maggie was a full time vegetarian for many years, but has now started eating the occasional bit of fish and chicken, so that’s about the limit of our meat intake (although I’m not averse to the odd ham sandwich).

So, a typical day for me will be:

Fruit juice or smoothie
Bowl of muesli with soya-milk

Bowl of home-made soup with sunflower and pumpkin seeds sprinkled on the top and a variety of rice crackers on the side.

Mid-afternoon (if peckish):
Piece of fruit

A wide variety of usually vegetarian dishes with a high vegetable content

Evening (if peckish):
Piece of fruit

The main things here are that if I feel munchy, I’ll have an apple with a cup of herbal tea (not a bag of crisps and a bar of chocolate), and that we avoid the processed food – so it’s brown rice, not white, for example, and we’re not buying things like pizzas and pies from the supermarket.

Health experts reckon you should eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day. I used to have one on average, and two on a good day. Now it’s probably closer to seven.

I don’t believe in going hungry and I don’t believe in eating food I don’t like. I would never have believed I could have enjoyed food like this, but once I stopped having food with high salt and additives (crisps for example) every day, I found my taste buds came back with a vengeance. I had no idea that over the years they had become almost numb, and that I was requiring greater levels of salt to enjoy the taste of anything.

Since changing the way we eat, not only have I been losing the weight, but my skin is healthier, my insides work better, I don’t get anything like the amount of headaches I used to get, I have more energy, I’m less lethargic, and my libido has increased significantly.

There are 2 things you need food for – energy and health. Most people understand the first, and so change the number of calories they ingest to alter their weight. What most forget is that you also need the right balance of foodstuffs in order to make your body work the way it’s supposed to.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Weight Changes (part 3) - baggy clothing

As of Tuesday, I’m down to 15 stone 9 pounds, which means I have now lost a total of 4 stone since February - that’s 56 pounds for those who don’t use stones, just over 25 kilos for those who live in the metric world, or half a hundredweight for builders. I struggle to lift a 56-pound bag of potatoes, yet I was carrying that amount of excess weight around. And if I lose that amount again, then I should be moving into the realms of social acceptability. I fully expect the next 4 stone to take longer though.

One of the upshots of this change in my size has been baggy clothing. In fact it is now getting to the stage of being excessively baggy clothing. There seems little point in going out and buying a new set of clothes if they’re all going to be too large within a month or two.

As my size 44 inch waist jeans, for example, became a bit too big, it wasn’t too bad as I still had a couple of pairs of 42s about from when I was still on the way up. However, it’s been several years since I could fit into a size 40, so there were none of them lying at the bottom of the wardrobe. I finally went out and bought a pair of 38s while they were really a bit too tight so that they would last me a bit longer. They were at a comfortable size a few weeks ago, but it won’t be long before I’ll be eyeing up the 36s.

In the meantime, the 38s needed washing so I’ve been wandering around in the 42s today and it’s like I’m wearing clown’s trousers. Hmm… maybe if the writing doesn’t work out I could have a career as a children’s entertainer.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Balance in the Universe?

There is indeed balance in the universe (or the Internet, at least).

One of the things that almost everyone does, once they get the hang of search engines, is to type in their name to Google, or their search engine of choice and see what comes up. Some people find that there is a baseball captain in some obscure mid-west US county with their name; others find criminals, accountants and even gravediggers. Occasionally people will find themselves – I once knew a woman who found her name on a list that someone else was trying to track down for a 40-year high school reunion. However, I must admit to a great surprise when I typed in my own name.

The other Kim AyresThat the other Kim Ayres I found (www.kimayres.com) was female was no surprise – my life has been plagued by people assuming I’m female because of my name; perhaps, subconsciously, that’s even why I grew a beard – however, the fact that she was a body builder and fitness instructor gave this unfit, overweight, middle-aged bloke reason to believe that perhaps there might be some kind of balance in the universe after all.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Weight Changes (part 2) - a 10 year low

I’ve just dropped below the 16 stone mark by a couple of pounds, making me as light as I have been since I graduated as a mature student 10 years ago. My old leather coat now almost fits: if I breath in a bit then I can just about do the buttons upon it, which is the state I was at just before I stopped wearing it.

With the exception of an exercise regime I embarked on for a few months seven years ago, where I lost about eight pounds, my weight change has been in an upward direction constantly since around the age of 21. This means that losing weight has become almost a kind of time travel: each stone that I lose, takes me back to an equivalent weight earlier in my life. Strangely, however, I don’t appear to be looking any younger this time around.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Weight Changes (part 1)

Over the past 5 months I have lost over 3 stone in weight (intentionally I should add).

I should be feeling good about myself, however there are times when it feels like I’ve never been so fat in my life. Part of the problem lies in the fact that I’ve never been so bloody obsessed about it for such a long period of time.

Where the height-weight charts are concerned, I’ve been overweight all my adult life, even though I can look back at pictures of myself in my late teens/early twenties and think how thin I am then.

However, at the moment, I have lost 3 stone since February. This is the largest amount of weight I have ever shed. But despite this loss I am still a middle-aged fat man with a beard. And if I were to lose another 3 stone, I would still be a middle-aged fat man with a beard. In fact I would have to lose a further 3 stone beyond that before I would get down to the appropriate weight for my height.

Somehow this seems ridiculous. I mean, yes, I knew I was overweight; I knew that I’d outgrown clothes that could be purchased in high-street shops, but I still functioned. I could still walk, talk, watch TV, play with the kids, get in and out of the car with ease, and run a business. It’s not like I was disabled.
And yet, after 5 months of eating healthily, and losing 3 stone, I am still a fat man. I am not just obese, or grossly obese: I am still in the morbidly obese category. So when I began my healthy eating regime (or I should say cutting out my unhealthy food regime, as I basically ate quite a good diet, with a lot of crap on top), at 19 stone and 9 pounds I must have been I-can’t-believe-you’re-still-alive obese.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Since February 2005, I have been steadily losing weight. When I started I was 19 stone 9 pounds, or 275 pounds for those without a calculator. At somewhere around 5' 7" tall, this is not the healthiest weight to be.

However, despite the title of this blog, weight loss hasn’t been the main purpose, rather the aim has been to eat more healthily, and the weight loss has been a by-product of this. At the point of writing this introduction (August 2005) I have lost around 56 lbs, and if I lose that much again, I will still be overweight, but will have lost the hundredweight of the title (that's 112 lbs, 8 stone, 51 kilos or 5% of one ton).

I have had several people ask how I’m doing it, where I get the willpower from, how much I intend to lose and so on. Setting up this blog seemed a good way to answer these questions, and to keep a track of my own progress without it filling up the pages on my main blog (kimayres.blogspot.com/).

For me, this is one aspect of my life, not the only one, nor even the prime motivator; however, it does count for something and if anyone else benefits from this in any way, then that can only be for the good.

At this point, I should put in a disclaimer that I am not a nutritionist, doctor or health professional. All I am writing about is my own experience.

I haven’t yet figured out if I can use blogger.com to archive postings in any way other than by date, so I’ve set this introduction into the future so that it remains at the top.

Over on the right you will find links to postings which are not date specific, and can be commented on at any time. There are other postings which have been imported from my main blog which are observations about my journey towards healthier living.

Please feel free to add comments. I am more than happy to debate causes, motives and solutions.

By the end of March 2007, just over 2 years after I started the changes in my eating habits, I had lost 100lbs. Since then I have been in maintenance mode, and have fluctuated no more than 7lbs either side of this figure. Any further weight loss I might have will be a bonus and continued side effect of eating more healthily, rather than my main focus.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Untold Riches

Go back and read the first line!!!

And if you still want to go ahead, then email me for my Paypal account details