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.