#onplanoctober – the results

Well – for an entire month I’ve been (almost) completely on plan.

It’s been a really useful activity – because it’s forced me to confront firstly how much I eat, where my pain points are with regard to when and why I want to eat, just how many calories can be in a salad (it’s all got a value – who knew carrots were 420kcal a kilo!) and how much I would realistically lose over time if I removed about 500kcal per day from my diet.

I started writing everything down one day after the month started – and out of 31 days I surprisingly only had one major fall from grace on the 21st where I pigged out – which I’m pleased with.

It’s also been extremely useful for putting things into perspective.

It can be very very easy indeed to overeat on one day then afterwards convince yourself that you’ve completely screwed the pooch. If you do it’s also pretty easy to spend the rest of the week filling your face thinking that you’ve failed anyway – so what does it matter?

You’ve already wrecked everything – right?

However – if you instead take that day, accept it happened and then attempt a gradual recovery then things even out over time. That one bad day eventually doesn’t mean that much at all.

It’s just another step on the road – and the last two parts of this month’s highway looked like this.

Monday 30th

  • Microwave basmati rice 366 (2 syns)
  • Can of mackerel 190
  • Handful of gherkins and pickled onions 40
  • 2 tomatoes 30
  • 400g diced beef 558
  • Can chopped tomatoes 74
  • Small sweet potato 72
  • 2x leeks 50
  • 450g swede 60
  • 240g Cannelini beans 192
  • Mushrooms x5 20
  • Chorizo meatball 83 (4 syns)
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 100g blackberries 43
  • 100g raspberries 53
  • Half tub quark 99
  • Banana 89

Total calories consumed 2067

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1533/4162
  • Cardio minutes 138
  • Steps/miles walked 22,265/10.92

Tuesday 31st

  • 3x tomatoes 45
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion & chive 174
  • 170g Aldi Piri Piri chicken fillets 200kcal (2 syns)
  • 6x apples 420
  • 6x home made mini quiches 450
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Red cabbage 25
  • Celery 10
  • Pickled onions and gherkins 60
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154

Total Calories consumed 1881

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 722/2808
  • Cardio minutes 30
  • Steps/miles walked 10,728/5.49

Now – since I’m super anal I’ve put together a little chart (after all who doesn’t love a chart?!) to demonstrate that a screw up day really doesn’t mean an awful lot at all.

onplanoctober.jpg

As you can see here my averages for the month (according to data gathered by manually working out my calorie intake and stats gathered by Apple Watch) I’ve….

  • Consumed an average of 1910kcal a day
  • Burned an average of 3968kcal overall per day
  • Engaged in an average of 100 minutes of cardio exercise per day
  • Walked an average of 21,176 steps and 10.71 miles a day.

Since I haven’t stepped on the scales yet this week I can only go on what’s happened so far in October to gauge my success.

IMG_0200

According to my book (up to the 28th) October saw a loss of around 10lbs – which I think is pretty respectable.

The question is now whether I keep writing things down – and for the moment I think the answer is ‘no’. I’ve enjoyed the experience for the most part and it’s been very interesting – but it’s also been something that I’ve tended to become a little obsessive with.

I’d rather not get buried in calorie counts long term – and although it’s good to know roughly what I’m eating the point of Slimming World isn’t to become a human calculator – it’s to enjoy life and eat ‘normally’.

My next personal project will instead be something else, related to what I’ve discovered whilst doing this – and I think in the long term it will be way more beneficial.

More on that possibly at a later date…

 

Davey

Better weather for views

Undeterred by foggy weather last week I woke up this morning, noticed that the forecast for the day in Malvern was pretty darned great (I’ve been checking it every day since Thursday) and decided that if at all possible I was going to make sure that my friend (who missed out on the views when we spent the day walking in heavy cloud) finally saw the best that this wonderful part of the world has to offer.

It was a good call. Luckily she didn’t have any plans that couldn’t be dropped and after a quick exchange of texts at 7.30am we agreed to get a move on and head out ASAP. I jumped in the shower and got dressed before popping some coffee on the stove and making myself a bite to eat.

As I was already making some microwave rice with mackerel to take along with me in Tupperware I thought that it would also be a good idea to fill up my slow cooker before I left.

I have two of these – and my smaller one’s low setting (if left on all day) cooks most things perfectly in around 7-8 hours. However, in my larger slow cooker this isn’t the case. On a low setting after 12 hours I’ve been met with irritatingly crunchy carrot and potato chunks and have had to put the food into a large saucepan to cook it even more which really really ruins the whole point of using a slow cooker!

Today as I left the house I flicked my (jam packed) big slow cooker on to ‘high’ and decided to hope for the best.

The traffic was thankfully quite light as soon as we left Warwick, but you can definitely tell that all the school holidays have ended. The roads leading immediately into and out of town were packed solid with annoyed looking people in stationary cars – and I was very very glad to see the back of them as we hit the motorway.

When we parked up by the road side an hour later in Malvern it was clear that we were far from the concerns of commuters and chugging diesel engines. The views today promised to be exceptional.

IMG_0256

We had decided at the very last minute to take a slightly different approach to the one we did last Thursday – and instead of starting at British Camp (the old Roman hill fort where I’ve begun the last two times I’ve visited) we instead parked near Earnshaw Quarry – which is further down the range.

IMG_0257

The plan instead would be to walk toward the highest point (the monument in the opposite direction to British Camp) – and maybe even do the entire length to Midsummer Hill and back.

It was pretty difficult to get up any real pace to start with though as it was next to impossible to not stop and admire the absolutely breathtaking 360 degree panoramas afforded to us at almost every turn.

By the time we reached the highest point there was only one person that I could see with a better view than we had and they were welcome to it. I don’t think I have the head for heights or intrepid nature that would have been required to join him or her in that teeny little craft.

Where we were standing however was more than good enough!

DSC03592 (1)

DSC03601

DSC03604

After stopping to admire the vistas for a while (and looking into the distance at the Midsummer hill monument – which is just visible) we then headed back the way we’d walked and onwards towards British Camp.

It was clear as we made progress that the weather wasn’t going to be anything less than completely awesome today.

The sun was beaming away and being enjoyed by all around. There were loads of butterflies, cows and wonderfully inquisitive little Robins sunning themselves today – all of who seemed to be majorly relaxed by the warm rays.

DSC03585

DSC03690.jpg

DSC03624

DSC03644

The Red Admiral in particular afforded me an unusually close up perspective of the underside of it’s wings as well – which were covered with a really surprising camouflage pattern. When it’s wings were raised together the butterfly blended almost perfectly into the autumnal colour of the bracken and foliage all around it.

It was absolutely stunning – and for a while it just sat there, letting me get closer and closer to take macro photos!

We moved on shortly after over a few more ridges – realising that the coffee shop at British camp (which I had thought might be a half way point on the way to the beacon at Midsummer Hill) was actually a lot further away than expected.

Things didn’t seem to be getting all that much closer very quickly – however it was probably because (whenever asked for my choice) I was keen that we take the steeper and more undulating paths that led over the tops of the hills rather than the lower down but level ones on the western side of the hill.

I wanted the absolute best views possible.

DSC03610

IMG_0303

IMG_0301

Today (of all days) it was completely worth the puffing and panting required to get over all the humps – but it was also noticeably slower than other walkers made the lower routes look.

By the time we reached the coffee shop at British Camp it had taken us a few hours of hiking – and lunch was very much in order. We decided then and there though that this would be the half way point and that we’d head back the way we’d walked rather than going all the way to Midsummer Hill.

That was a challenge for another day.

DSC03660IMG_0315

As we sat eating dinner my companion pointed out that there were some very peckish observers nearby, eagerly eyeing what we were munching on. I suspect they were more interested in my friend’s (rather delicious looking) flapjack than my hastily prepared rice, fish tomato and gherkin surprise though…

Either way the cheeky little robin on a fence post to my left was a delight to watch before it flew off looking for someone else that was willing to feed it!

DSC03658

In contrast the other nearby resident looked like he wouldn’t take no for an answer if he decided that he wanted my lunch…

DSC03667

Once we’d had a second cup of coffee each and rested for a while longer we decided to make a move.

By this time it was after 1.30pm and the sun had started to get a bit lower. The nearby treeline opposite the roadside cafe was making the area both cool and shady. For 20 minutes or so my (lovely and cosy) gilet, gloves and hat had already been back on – and I could see my companion getting all goose-pimply.

It was time to go if we were to miss all the rush hour traffic.

After a pitstop at the loo we briskly made our way back along the hills. This time however (at the risk of avoiding good old fashioned exercise) we took the ‘easy’ paths on the west side of the ridge and enjoyed the views of the fields and town below instead.

I’d be a liar if I said that this made the vistas any less impressive. It was still flipping fantastic – even with the sun getting lower in the sky!

DSC03674

DSC03615

As we drove home later in the afternoon it’s hard to overstate just how chuffed we both were at how the impromptu and completely unplanned day had worked out. We’d managed to get a really decent amount of exercise, seen Herefordshire at it’s best – and felt both warm and satisfied with our lots in life.

The day could only be further improved by only one thing…

IMG_0319

This happened to be a beef and chorizo stew – which was cooked to flipping perfection!

It had however reduced in size dramatically though (to around half its original volume) so I added some beans to bulk it up a bit – and got just over two large cereal bowls worth of super tasty and hearty food as a reward for all my effort during the day.

What a winner!

As you might imagine it’s been a great day for #onplanoctober – and yesterday was pretty good as well. I’m managing to keep a lid on cravings and still making good choices.

Sunday 29th

  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • 400g chicken breast 476
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 100g blackberries 43
  • 100g raspberries 53
  • 500g Aldi slim free spicy Moroccan veg stew 155
  • Bunch of broccoli 40
  • Large onion 20
  • Handful of mushrooms 40
  • Small courgette 27
  • 2x cans of tuna in spring water 240
  • Can of sweetcorn 120

Total calories consumed 1750

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1216 3,783
  • Cardio minutes 111
  • Steps/miles walked 10.25

Hope your day was as fluffing fantastic as mine internet!

Davey

Partying all night long

Wow! Somehow it’s almost the end of October – and I’ve been pretty much on plan for nearly an entire month!

I also feel rather proud of myself that I didn’t turn yesterday into another post weigh in munchie festival like I did last Saturday. Although I pulled it around over the following six days, pretty much every moment was spent with the thought ‘I must fix the damage’ going round and round in my head.

It became a little irritating if I’m honest. This time to save myself the hassle I kept things very much under control.

Saturday 28th

  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion & chive 174
  • 6x large tomatoes 90
  • 160g cooked & sliced chilli chicken breast 216
  • Sainsburys TTD Scottish smoked salmon fillets 162
  • 6x apples 420
  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • Yellow pepper 30
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 100g blackberries 43
  • 100g raspberries 53

Total calories consumed 1860

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1056/3543
  • Cardio minutes 87
  • Steps/miles walked 16,711/8.47

Consequently today I’ve had something of a spring in my step.

This is actually rather surprising because this positive feeling is despite a crappy night’s sleep due to some genius in my street deciding that partying all night long until 4.30am would be a great idea.

There’s only one way to deal with feeling this knackered however (especially when the weather’s been so lovely again – why the hell wasn’t it like this when I went to Malvern?!) and that’s going out in the fresh air for a long walk.

The Grand Union Canal looked particularly nice this morning – and since I was awake anyway I decided to make appropriate use of the clocks going back and went out bright and early to enjoy the extra daylight!

IMG_0243

I know it’s probably daft – but I’ve also been walking around feeling as proud as punch and really happy that (as per my post yesterday) I’m wearing a pair of jeans with a 38 inch waist and everything else I have on is an XL! Not only that but everything’s super super comfy!

Unfortunately a man can’t do without sleep forever – and almost as soon as I came home I ended up face planting a pillow.

Zzzzzzzzzzz….

And that, dear internet was pretty much the rest of my Sunday taken care of…

Davey

28 inches gone!

Well – the results are in. My self sabotage last Saturday had an impact – but I managed to pull things around overall. 

My week ended on a positive note and for the 6th consecutive day I kept myself well under the RDA of calories for an adult male (2500kcal). 

In many ways this and other weeks have been an ongoing experiment. 

I’ve been attempting to determine whether some conventional wisdom (that if you cut 500kcal out of your daily intake as a man or a woman then you automatically lose 1lb per week) is nonsense or not. 

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that it is in fact (for me at least) total b&@£0cks

Here’s why. 

Friday 27th 

  • Cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 300g baking potato 231
  • 3x apples 210
  • 200g pickled onions 70
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 2x Cans of mackerel in tomato sauce. 380
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Half a cucumber 11
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 100g blackberries 43
  • 100g raspberries 53
  • 370g (jar) pickled gherkins 114
  • 15 pitted green olives 60

Total calories consumed 1893

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1506/4107
  • Cardio minutes 162
  • Steps/miles walked 27,863/14.27

After weighing in this week I can announce proudly that I had a loss – of half a pound


This means that I ended the week (after quite a lot of exercise over the last few days) with an average similar to the week before. 

My intake since last Saturday was only (approximately) 100kcal more per day. 

Week’s Totals

  • Total/average calories consumed – 13999/1998
  • Active/total calories burned 9321/27,042 (average – 1331/3863)
  • Cardio minutes 849 (daily average 121)
  • Steps/miles walked 144193/74.65 (daily average 20599/10.66)

After losing ‘only’ half a pound (which to be clear I’m happy with and counting as a win) this makes me wonder – where would I be if I wasn’t exercising so much? Would I be losing more or less weight overall?

More to the point does it even matter at this stage of the game?

I’m at a place where I feel that I’m really fit (although I still want to be much fitter). I’ve also never been so healthy and physically vital in my entire life – so I’m of the opinion that it doesn’t. 

As long as the inches keep going down and I’m making steady progress then I’m good. 

However – I do want to know what kind of body fat percentage I have now. Today I called a few local gyms to ask whether they had a machine that measured this and was told that they did not. 

They could measure my rolls physically – but not technologically. However one did helpfully offer me an overall physical MOT for the very reasonable price of £700

Thanks Nuffield Health – but no thanks.

I think it’s a huge shame that Slimming World doesn’t have a scale advanced enough to determine these kind of things – because I think that simply focusing on pounds lost is not the way to promote a truly healthy lifestyle. 

A balanced diet and eating healthier choices of food is really important – but I know for a fact that my diabetes didn’t go into full retreat until I radically increased my exercise. 

Either way – today is a win for a few reasons. 

  1. First and foremost I made forward progress and lost weight
  2. I’m maintaining the right perspective 
  3. I won the group’s frikkin raffle for the first time ever and got a spice rack!!!


I’m gonna make something…. erm… herby… and ummm… spicy… 

Yay!

Finally my clothes have never been smaller and thanks to my near endless capacity for taking selfies I would now like to present to you 3XL Davey in February standing next to his thinner 2XL self in May and then current XL Davey today. 

All are taken in the same place using the same mirror. 


Furthermore today – for the very first time since around 1990 I did up the button on a pair of jeans with a 38inch waist. As they were in a sale I bought them on the spot. 



Since I started with a 66 inch waist this now represents a loss of 28 inches

I also purchased the shirt – although I need to lose a few pounds more to be completely comfortable in this. It’s a bit tight around the midriff – but it’s also MY FIRST XL SHIRT

So – yay for progress internet – in whatever form it takes!

Davey

Bright colours

‘I see the world in bright colours – but I also feel it in bright colours…’ a friend recently said to me. 

It seemed to me that as the the sentence left her mouth it hung in the air for a moment, becoming in an instant a fully formed image in my head. 

I had to stop talking and write it down. 

‘I’m stealing that.’ I said matter of factly, verbally planting my colonial flag in it and adding it to a note on my phone. 

It was a perfect way to describe her (she’s very self aware) and I kicked myself for never having that combination of words in my mind prior to her casually placing them there. 

They were just right. 

I’ve been thinking about them all day, and as if the weather had a sense of guilt (and felt it needed to make up for yesterday’s endless cloud in Malvern) the world has in a very literal sense been very colourful and bright. 


It would be easy to look at this image and think ‘that’s what she means – every day looks like this to her…’

She could be visually capable of over saturating an image in her mind and interpreting the world in a candy cane symphony of bright primary colours – but there’s more to it than that. 

In her case ‘seeing’ is instead a metaphor for feeling – and that’s how I suspect she perceives and interprets colour when she describes herself this way. 

It’s a flood of emotion that she’s describing – felt with every colour of the rainbow and none of it is classified as good or bad. It’s simply a feeling – and valid purely because it exists

I’ve realised on the course of my ‘journey’ that (without actually realising I was doing it) that I didn’t always do this, and this behaviour was almost as bad for my health as the crap that I drank and ate. 

I saw the world in black and white and often felt in shades of grey compared to who I am now. 

So many of us are used to suppressing who we are, and for many (often very valid) reasons feel we need to always appear strong, in control, to demonstrate leadership or simply feel that we can’t falter because of the responsibility we feel to others. 

We may not even consciously notice that we do it anymore if we’ve done it for years. It’s just ‘who we are’. 

Often though (and certainly in my case) it’s a self imposed and self punishing method of beating ourselves up because we feel that somehow admitting we’re in pain or aren’t coping is evidence of failure

We often think that not only will people look down on us if they learn the truth that we’re not perfect – but that ‘failing’ and allowing ourselves to break down occasionally will also finally confirm to ourselves our own worst suspicion. 

That we’re somehow ‘not good enough’

Of course it’s nonsense. 

My life is so much better since I started to embrace my sadness in the same way that I embrace my joy. It’s just as valid (if not more so) and we bury pain at great cost to ourselves. 

It won’t go anywhere. It will just slowly eat away at us deep down and poison any chance for joy. Eventually it will still come to the surface – but by the time it does (if we leave it too long) it will have been twisted by its confinement into something infinitely worse than it was before. 

I think that the best gift we can give ourselves is to accept we are all fallible. 


Anyway enough of my pop psychology. All I’m saying is you have my permission to have the occasional duvet day, and a good cry if you need to. 

I won’t think any less of you internet 😘 

So – what did I eat yesterday and how much did I move my chubby butt for #onplanoctober?

Thursday 26th

  • 3 Large tomatoes 45
  • Half jar gherkins 57
  • Pickled onions 10
  • 15 Olives 60 (3 syns)
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion & chive 174
  • 100g Aldi mixed fruit and nuts 464
  • Banana 89
  • 6x apples 420
  • (Evening meal at friend’s house)
  • 1.5 baked sweet potatoes 129
  • Slimming World Smokey streak chilli with quark salsa and steamed veg. Guesstimate (based on ingredients) 500kcal

Total calories consumed – 1950 (approx)
Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1584/4247
  • Cardio minutes 147
  • Steps/miles walked 23,629/11.94

It’s weigh in day tomorrow. Will Davey still be in the sixteen stone bracket after being naughty? Will the world keep turning if he isn’t? Will he forgive himself and move on? Will he judge himself kindly?

Discover all of this and more tomorrow!

Davey

Malvern knees 7 months later

Today I’ve been revisiting the scene of a previous blog – and have been back in Malvern. This time instead of going solo I’ve been twalking with a friend – and showing her around a nice part of the world as she has done with me in many other locations.

Typically when we twalk my companion is in the driving seat when it comes to the map handling and where we’re going – but since the last time I came here was only back in March (here) retracing my steps from A to B has been relatively easy.

Truthfully – this was a massive bonus because the spectacular views from the last time (which I’d raved to her about) were today replaced by made more familiar British weather…

March:

IMG_1130

October:

IMG_0080

As you can imagine today my descriptive powers were stretched to their linguistic limits as I searched for ways to explain just how majestic the (completely invisible) vistas were as we climbed over the same beautiful (but mostly obscured) paths that I’d travelled along previously.

Things were clearly very different today – however if I’m honest, in many ways this made things all the more enjoyable for a number of reasons.

Without the views, and under continuous drizzly rain (at least for the first few hours) we had to rely on each other for amusement and I’m happy to say that this has never been difficult between us. 

There wasn’t a moment of the day, regardless of the mud we trudged through, the dogs that bounded up and covered us in soaking wet paw prints, or getting out of breath and sweaty where we weren’t laughing and joking.

I even took her to the inappropriately named ‘Giant’s Cave’ and showed her the majestic wonder of this 6ft deep hole in the rock that goes  precisely nowhere

IMG_0109

I could tell she was impressed. I know how to wow the ladies. 

Consequently we’ve spent most of the day laughing about the ridiculousness of standing on top of the highest point in Herefordshire and at times only being able to see 20ft ahead of us. 

In truth I think it kind of made the day out just a little bit more special.

That’s not to say that there wasn’t any beauty to be found – in fact quite the opposite. Some things actually look better when they’re damp.

The differences to be found today however were’t only in terms of the landscape.

Last time my post about this lovely part of the world was called ‘Malvern Knees‘ – mostly because I’d overdone things a bit and pushed myself (in retrospect) because I knew that when I finally did Snowdon (link) four months later in July that it would be much much harder. 

Consequently I was trying to get fitter and test my limits as much as possible. I still vividly remember the very real pain in my quadriceps and knees from the downhill sections and expected a LOT more of the same today.

In truth – despite walking almost exactly the same distance (and more) it never happened.

When I arrived home (after a little nap) I decided to look at the photos from my original visit on the 26th March and compare them to the 26th of October. It’s not only time that’s moved on between now and then. 

So has my appearance.

IMG_1147IMG_1162

Back then I was 22st 4lbs

On my last weigh in I was 16st 13.5lbsnearly five and a half stone lighter.

It shows.

IMG_0076

IMG_0135

Physically today was like chalk and cheese compared to the last time – and while it was a great workout it caused no-where near the same level of exertion that it did the last time.

In March my activity log shows that I burned 1964/5304 Active/Total calories for the day, did 114 minutes of cardio exercise (as opposed to resting when out of breath) walked 20,752 steps and 9.84 miles.

At the time of writing (10.30pm) I’ve walked 11.88 miles and 23,508 steps today and done considerably more cardio exercise – but look at the calories I’ve burned!


I keep my weight details regularly up to date in my fitness apps – and therefore it knows that (with an extra 5.5 stone to carry) it took me almost 1300kcal MORE to do two miles a day less seven months ago. 

What’s even better is at the moment my legs are easily ready to go again. 


I absolutely love tangible evidence of progress like this. It’s what I work every day of every week of every month to achieve – and it tastes way nicer than any pizza or kebab. 

It’s my new normal and I love it because I also realised today that less than two years ago I could barely put my own socks on. 

In other news I’m still obsessively detailing everything for #onplanoctober. I’m afraid you’re just going to have to put up with it for another week. 

Here’s what I did yesterday. 

Wednesday 25th

  • Cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 300g baking potato 231
  • 500g 5% fat pork mince 555
  • Green pepper 30
  • 380g mushrooms 80
  • Large courgette 54
  • Small onion x2 60
  • 240g Cannelini beans 192
  • Corn on the cob x2 118
  • Bunch of broccoli 40
  • Can chopped tomatoes 74
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • Banana 89
  • 100g blackberries 43
  • 100g raspberries 53

Total calories consumed 1991

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1684/4273
  • Cardio minutes 169
  • Steps/miles walked 29,339 15.21

Nighty night internet x 

Davey

Poo bags

I feel flipping awesome today!

It might be because I’m heavily caffeinated (I’ve been drinking aaaaaaawwwwlllllll the coffee everywhere ☕️) but it’s more likely to be because of people, dogs and weather – all of which seem to be most excellent today. 


I’ve spent the morning walking with a friend and ex-colleague from work – and chatting about our shared experiences since we both left the relatively safe and uncomplicated world of employment that we inhabited for the best part of two decades. 

It’s amazing how life changes you. 

Sometimes the absolute worst moments that hit us (such as being made redundant or the death of a parent in my case) turn out to be positive forces for good that shape the next phases of our development. 

Whilst it’s true to say that neither of us have all the answers at the moment – what is obvious is that life has given us both a glimpse of what could be – not what we thought we had to accept. 

Whatever we do with that in the future it’s worth remembering on days like today that some people never get to have that change of perspective. 

It’s valuable and today I realise that I’m grateful to be at a crossroads in my life. For all the worries I have about what comes next and how I survive financially I also see an equal number of possibilities. 

That’s got to be better than feeling bored to death in a job I hate and trapped by my life choices. 


While we twalked today we were accompanied by the absolutely limitless energy of Alfie – who I discovered two things about today. 

  1. Alfie stops for a dump more than any pooch I’ve ever known. He filled four poo bags. 
  2. He absolutely hates his harness and literally had to be dragged out of his basket and all the way to the front door across a slippery wooden floor before he’d agree to go for walkies. 


I know how Alfie felt this morning. 

Last night I did some more talks at another Slimming World consultant’s group in Warwick about weight loss – and one of the women mentioned in our chat at the end that my clothes were too loose and that I should treat myself to a smaller size. 

She’s not wrong. 

Almost every shirt that I bought for my job a few months ago now looks ridiculously loose and bizarrely I realise that they all now make me feel  just as self conscious as my clothes used to back when they were too tight for me. 

The problem is that my mentality is still sometimes to buy things that are a bit ‘sack like’ to somehow hide myself in the extra material – but these days maybe that’s just not the way to go. 

I’m tucking my shirts in a lot more now (usually depending on how confident I feel on any given day) but I didn’t last night in front of the two groups I spoke to – mostly because I felt a little self conscious in a place that I wasn’t familiar with and people that I didn’t know. 

Once again though it seems that my self image differs from other people’s view of me. 

I need to get on board with the idea of more ‘fitted’ clothing and stop wearing things because I hope they will cover all my imperfections.

Today therefore is a ‘tucked in day’, wearing a ‘skinny fit’ shirt that I bought a month ago but never wore along with my smallest pair of jeans. 

I discovered this morning that these now slowly fall down without my belt, meaning I have yet another item of clothing to replace fairly soon. 


Even though I’ve said all of this I still look at the photo above and I think ‘that’s a man with a belly’. 

In reality I suppose that’s a man in a photo who just looks almost like everyone else now. 

I have to get used to that. 

I need to get to a point where I can pick some clothing up in a store and just know that it will fit – rather than looking at everything and thinking it needs to be massive

It’s really difficult though. The more I lose weight the harder it is to gauge everything. The goalposts are always shifting. 

Thankfully there are worse problems to have in life – and I’m very grateful that today this relatively inconsequential one is the only thing that’s on my mind – because I’m every other respect I feel like I’m winning

#onplanoctber continued yesterday – and I’m managing to shave a few calories off each day here and there in the hope that sooner or later I’ll make up for Saturday’s excesses. 

Tuesday 24th

  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 6x small tomatoes 60
  • Banana 89
  • 4x apples 280
  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • Green pepper 30
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 2x apples

Total calories consumed 1621

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1539/4213
  • Cardio minutes 152
  • Steps/miles walked 23,629/12.44

So for the rest of the afternoon I’m once again going charity shopping. I’m going to look at the clothes I see with a view to buying things that nearly fit – or fit snugly and that I can work towards – or become comfortable with how they feel and wear anyway. 

Wish me luck internet!

Davey

Large!!!

It will come as a surprise to precisely no-one that I’m a total geek.

This mostly manifests itself in my tendency to get attached to (and also irritable with) technology, but also is readily apparent when people are confronted with my occasionally feverish interest in sci-fi or my complete inability to grow up and stop reading comics.

I loved them as a child – and (particularly when things made me sad) I got lost for hours at a time in the same limited collection of titles that I had (mostly Spider-Man Star Wars and Captain Britain) reading them over and over again as I squeezed the absolute most pleasure that I could out of them.

I couldn’t afford many back then – but I have lots now. 

Maybe it’s over compensating but I don’t care. There’s never been a better time to be a geek. Not only are comics plentiful, in fashion and digital but movie studios have caught on to their box office potential and (unlike when I was a child) they are making pretty excellent adaptations of the subject matter.

After doing my chores for the morning today I toddled off to the cinema to see Thor – Ragnarock and arrived a bit early for the showing. As I sat in the audience thinking about how much I was looking forward to the film my thoughts were unexpectedly diverted.

In front of me was a guy who really struggled to get to his seat. He was a few years older than I am but he moved a lot slower and I could hear his breathing – which was laboured and very heavy. He was also sweating profusely (I was in a fleece – it was freezing outside) and probably hadn’t moved very far from what I could see.

He had car keys in his hand meaning that he’d most likely only come from the nearby multi-story car park – the one I used to use before I started instead walking the mile and a half to the cinema.

This man was a very big person – which is what drew my attention to him in the first place – but he’s nowhere near as big as I used to be.

As he lowered himself gingerly into his seat I could hear it creak. The way he sat down with most of his weight supported by his arms on the sides of the chair suggested that he was worried that he’d break something, and as he came to rest carefully I heard a sigh

It could have been because of pain – but I think he was sad. 

He barely fitted into the seat.

As I sat watching him shift around trying to find comfort I could hear him trying to modify his breathing and slow his heart rate. He was clearly trying not to appear out of breath to his companions – and as he talked to the person next to him I heard a familiar rhythm in his speech. 

His sentences were short and clipped. His pauses for ‘thought’ were also too long – and he appeared to be contemplating each answer.

I knew what this man was doing and why he was doing it because he’s the man I used to be. I used to talk differently and introduce false pauses into my cadence to allow me to take deeper breaths and recover from exertion whilst trying to cover up how much it had taken out of me. 

I never even realised that I did this until someone told me (when I had lost 15 stone) that my voice and speech had completely changed. 

Honestly I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and say ‘there’s another way – it doesn’t have to be like this’ but I didn’t.

In contrast to this man I sat quietly and comfortably behind him in my seat with a lot of room between me and the sides.  

I had my legs crossed (because I can these days) and my flask of coffee was resting in the cup holder to side of me because my thighs aren’t jammed into the arm rest (which prevented from me putting a drink there) like they used to be.

I didn’t have any popcorn like him because I’d had a healthy breakfast before leaving the house. I’m nothing like this man anymore and I can’t understand how I ever let that happen to myself in the first place

Sigh. It makes me sad for him though. I hope he finds it within himself to navigate out of whatever mental maze he’s in. It’s not easy finding the keys to a prison of your own making. 

Anyhow. 

The film is very good (although maybe played a little too much for laughs) and there are lots of little Easter eggs for fans.

If you like the Marvel films – particularly Guardians of the Galaxy – then you’ll love this.

After the film I decided to hit the charity shops – and BOY did I have a good time! I love days where I try on things that not so long ago would have been an impossible dream and now they just fit me – as if they always did. 

Not only did I find a swanky new black North Face gilet for just over a fiver (gilets are cool 😎 and a man needs two in his wardrobe) but I got a pair of lined Craghopper walking trousers for £4!!


If you pay careful attention to the labels you will notice that both of these are LARGE sizes – and they fit me!!!! 

Ahem. 

I just need to say that AGAIN

In case you didn’t get it. 

The gilet (which is cool 😎) and the trousers are a LARGE and they fit me!!!

So why do they fit me? 

They fit me because despite how I may feel on some days I’m sticking to plan and I’m persisting with food diaries, total honesty with myself and following through with #onplanoctober – which has kept me on the right track for over three weeks now. 

Here’s what happened yesterday. 

Monday 23rd

  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • 370g (jar) pickled gherkins 114
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60 (3 syns)
  • Corn on the cob x2 118
  • 400g chicken breast 400
  • 2 leeks 108
  • 100g cabbage 25
  • Microwave basmati rice 366
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84

Total calories consumed 1878

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1123/3325
  • Cardio minutes 69
  • Steps/miles walked 16,189/8.15

With reminders like the ones I’ve had today of why I’m doing what I’m doing I feel absolutely great Internet. 

I think I could probably lift Thor’s hammer at the moment. 


Just keep putting one foot in front of the other guys. It’s the only way to get to where you deserve to be. 

Davey

Bad tech day

I feel cranky at the moment. The last few days (for very different reasons) have seen me lose a lot of sleep and end up napping or feeling wide awake at odd times. 

Overall it’s not great for my underlying mood or willingness to indulge in comfort eating – which so far I am keeping at bay. 

Saturday is behind me now – and I’m hyper aware that I can’t go repeating it if I want to turn things around before my next weigh in.  

At the risk of angering anyone struggling with things like illness, broken bones, career issues or unruly toddlers I will state in advance that in the great scheme of things my gripes are inconsequential

However they are really annoying me at the moment.  

If there’s one thing that I genuinely struggle with it’s letting go when something technological doesn’t work properly. When something like this happens (thanks to my exceptionally obsessive side) it usually results in one of two scenarios. 

  1. I stay up all night long trying to figure out what’s wrong because I can’t sleep if I don’t.
  2. I go nuclear and replace whatever it is that’s making me see red or can’t be fixed. 

I’ve had a mixture of both outcomes in this case – and one thing that I will say without going into detail is that I’m seriously falling out of love with Apple products at the moment.  

My original reason for transitioning to their eco system of devices back in 2008 was based on the promise not only that ‘things just worked’, but that they worked exceptionally well together

To be fair to Apple when they do it’s often a magical feeling. I get sucked into what many refer to as the ‘Apple reality distortion field’ and like many others buy into the hype that surrounds a product launch. 

After a while of all your connected thingies ‘just working’ though you expect more and more of the same behaviour from them – because it’s what you paid a premium for. 

Then – all of a sudden everything seems to go wrong with everything you trusted – and unlike Windows etc (which you expected to eventually pull your pants down around your ankles in public and run away laughing) you begin to feel completely betrayed by your little technological buddies. 

I’ve been fixing (after much help from Google) my irritating and completely inexcusable technical issues for most of the night until the early hours of this morning because sadly I find it impossible to let such things go. 

Thankfully everything is once again (sort of) working as it should but I now feel like I’ve been robbed. What’s been stolen is yet more of my trust (if you remember very recently my Mac’s o/s died a death – and it took ages to sort out) and Apple has a lot to do to recover it. 

OSX High Sierra and IOS 11 I’m looking at both of you. You should be ashamed of yourselves and your bugs.

The jury is out about what I do next. 

On the plus side yesterday was a good one from a diet recovery perspective. I only cooked one dish for the day (a delicious chilli) and given that I was still full from the excesses of the previous day I didn’t need to eat anything else. 

Sunday 22nd

  • 500g 5% fat pork mince 555
  • Green pepper 30
  • 380g mushrooms 80
  • Large courgette 54
  • Small onion x2 60
  • 240g kidney beans 281
  • Bunch of broccoli 40
  • Can chopped tomatoes 74

Total calories consumed 1164
Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1223/3740
  • Cardio minutes 117
  • Steps/miles walked 15,917/8.68

Hopefully internet my Apple Watch and phone will sort their s*** out and I’ll be able to get some more stats for tomorrow. A big chunk of this week got wiped/damaged/fubar’d this morning and this in particular did not make me a happy boy. 

I know this probably bothers no-one but ME but I’ll be very annoyed if (after all my efforts over the last 3 weeks) I can’t put together a complete picture of the month when I’ve finished my #onplanoctober challenge. 

If anyone needs me I’ll be in a sulk with my technology for the foreseeable future. 

Davey

It’s all about the recovery – not about the screw up!

Although it’s a difficult thing to do I committed (back when I first started writing my blog) to detailing the bad days along with the good ones.

Yesterday wasn’t an awful day by any stretch of the imagination – but by the time the evening rolled around I wasn’t eating because I was hungry.

I was eating for other reasons.

While this was happening I really didn’t want to write down or be honest about what I’d done. 

Rather than completely hide from reality though I didn’t throw any of the wrappers or pots away so that this morning I could accurately count the damage and face up to it.

I’ve learned the hard way that such events are all about perspective – and on days (like Saturday) where this is lacking (when perhaps I don’t feel so bouyant) sometimes I need to just roll with what’s happening and then try and re-frame things the day after.

Thankfully these days don’t happen very often.

It’s usually a lack of sleep that reinforces my negative inner voices – and when this is the case I’ve got to tell myself (as I did this morning) that my really bad days now are still waaaaaaaay waaaaaaaay better than a normal day a couple of years ago.

Back then in the pre Slimming World days when I was still drinking I really went to town. 

(this list is from a previous post here).

Way to work (1130kcal)

Sandwiches eaten at desk (1725kcal approx)

  • 6 thick slices of hand cut bread (usually this was half of an in-store supermarket bakery 800g wholemeal loaf) (952kcal)
  • Benecol light spread – I guesstimate approx 20g (64kcal) per slice (total 384kcal)
  • Two packs of 125g ham – 290kcal
  • 3x tomatoes (67kcal each) and cucumber slices (10kcal) – (201kcal)
  • Two packets of Mccoys crisps (multipack ones are 141kcal each) (282kcal)

Evening meal (1595kcal)

Snacks and drinks (3023kcal)

  • Sainsburys house Soave 2.25l (I would typically drink all of this – per 125ml Soave is approx 79kcal so it totals 1422kcal)
  • 200g ‘sharing’ bag of Doritos (894kcal)
  • Ginsters large Cornish pasty (707kcal)

Total (if I didn’t have an evening takeaway instead of a ready meal) – 7473kcal

If it was a Tuesday (when Dominos do a two for one pizza offer) instead of my evening ready meal and snacks I might have eaten two huge pizzas. A large Texas BBQ – which was my preferred method of self destruction is 1976 kcal (link) and would have usually been followed by a side of chicken strippers with potato wedges at 640 kcal (link).

This would have made the day come to 8869 kcal 

I was still a greedy boy yesterday though. There’s no getting around it. I ate almost twice the number of calories that I’ve had on any other day in #onplanoctober. 

Saturday 21st

  • 2x hi-fi bars (HE) 146
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 300g baking potato 231
  • 3 small tomatoes 30
  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • 370g (jar) pickled gherkins 114
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • 3x apples 210
  • Tesco chorizo cooking meatball 83
  • 300g blueberries 129
  • 750g frozen Aldi summer fruits 252
  • 750g natural yogurt 462
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 4 hifi bars – 292
  • 500g Aldi Slim Free chicken tikka masala 371
  • 240g Cannelini beans 192
  • 3 small tomatoes 30
  • 500g carrots 210
  • 200g ham 232

Total calories consumed 3491

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 662/3137
  • Cardio minutes 33
  • Steps/miles walked 7627/3.96

As bad as all this is though I think I needed yesterday – just to get whatever it was that was going on in my head out of my system – and what I have to remember (if I want continued lifelong success) that it’s not about the screw ups it’s about the recovery – and moving on.

So that’s what I’ve been doing today.

Food wise I’m confident that when I total Sunday up everything will be better – and since I also spent a lot of time napping and relaxing yesterday (in between raiding the fridge and cupboards) I feel as fit as a fiddle this morning.

My walking so far for Sunday has been at a pretty fair clip and I’m cracking along at a regular (just over) 15 minutes a mile pace so far with loads of energy still left in my legs.

I’ve even come as close as I’ve ever done to breaking the 15 minute barrier – with an annoyingly close 15.05 (I blame the traffic lights).

So that’s it for today. Yesterday is in the rear view mirror and I’m moving on with #onplanoctober. Tomorrow is another day and I have every confidence it will be a good one as well.

In the meantime if anyone wants me I’ll be pretending to be Lego Batman.

Why? (growls) Because Lego Batman is cooool 🤗


Davey

Sixteen something or other

Well the results are in. I’m officially in a new weight bracket.

For the first time in MANY MANY YEARS this morning I just about slipped into the ‘sixteens’!

IMG_4997

Yep – that’s right. You’re currently reading the words of a man who is no longer seventeen stone anything – but instead a svelte and increasingly trim sixteen stone something or other.

I know that I should be feeling a sense of profound triumph right now – but strangely I find myself in an odd mood today. I didn’t sleep very well last night – and was dogged by unusual dreams and worries about my weigh in.

When I awoke with a jolt at 3am (never getting back to sleep) I was convinced in my dreamlike state that I’d somehow lost an entire half a stone in between going to bed and waking up. It’s proving hard therefore to shake off the feeling after my real weigh in that I could have done better.

I think

(author falls fast asleep at the keyboard, mid-sentence)

Wow – it’s really blowing a gale outside. My wheelie bin just fell over and woke me up!

It also brought me back to life half way through a sentence – and for the life of me I can’t think what I was going to say. Reading back on what I’ve written so far it seems that my mood has completely changed after snoring in my armchair for an hour and I feel great!

If I’m not mistaken a couple of paragraphs ago I was busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and about to waffle on about not doing well enough!

I think it goes without saying that sometimes your perspective isn’t what you think it is – and that there are moments when you just need 40 winks to see whats’s right in front of your nose.

What an numpty I am!

I’m sixteen stone something or other baby!!!

I guess the only questions that remain are – how did I get here and how’s #onplanoctober going?

Yesterday was a good day both from an exercise and a calorie perspective – with a lot of walking completed – and overall I’ve smashed (what I think is) an impressive number of miles and steps in the last week!

Friday 20th

  • Cottage cheese with onion and chive 176 (approx – street vendor)
  • 300g baking potato 231 (approx – street vendor)
  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Yellow pepper 30
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60 (3 syns)
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 3x apples 210

Totals (kcal)

  • Day’s calories consumed 1583 (3 syns)
  • Week’s daily average/total calories consumed – 1919/13433

Activity

  • Active/all calories burned 1698/4367
  • Week’s total active/all calories burned 10,085/29,004 (average per day – 1440/4143)
  • Cardio minutes 186
  • Week’s total cardio minutes 654 (daily average 93)
  • Steps/miles walked 26,830/13.93
  • Week’s total steps/miles walked 168,995/84.85 (daily average 24,142/12.12)

So – what are the plans for the rest of my day you might ask?

Well, for once I think I am going to relax. I’m clearly in need of a rest and the strong winds outside have now been joined by driving rain. At the moment I’m warm and cosy under a duvet with Netflix on in the background and I’ve no intention of moving for at least a few hours.

I think it’s high time internet where I have a day (just one) where I give my walking boots a break and just chill for a little while.

The pavements of Warwickshire will still be there later!

Davey

Own it

It doesn’t look like the weather is going to brighten up any time soon – but honestly that doesn’t really matter. 

Although blue skies are always preferable to grey there’s definitely a pleasure to be had in going outside on a cold and windy day with a pressing need to warm yourself up. Having to get quickly into a brisk stride and feeling the blood beginning to pump is a really nice sensation and has been further enhanced today by my new toasty yet simple pleasure

My new gilet. 

In the 80’s before things got very posh we called these body warmers and I’ve not owned one since I was at school. I’ve already mentioned this in a previous post but it makes me really happy so I’m waffling on about it again!


Part of the joy of wearing it is that it’s an XL size and (I think) it fits perfectly – which gives me a real sense of pride. I’ve noticed that I’m looking at my reflection with a wry smile as I’ve walked past shop windows today and it’s a good feeling. 

Not all that long ago I’d trained myself to just look straight ahead when I passed any reflective surface. I didn’t turn my head once. The consequences were too grave. 

I didn’t want to accidentally catch sight of myself for fear that I’d be faced with the reality of how I looked (as opposed to my necessarily deluded self image if I was in a happy place) and worried that the unvarnished truth might pollute any good mood that I might have been feeling. 

In contrast today I’m not only proud of my own reflection but also stepping outside of my usual comfort zone and meeting up with someone that I don’t know at all for a twalk

This came about rather unexpectedly as a request by one of the ladies in the audience of a Slimming World talk I did a couple of weeks ago.

She asked after I’d finished my story whether I’d like to tag along with her husband on one of my excursions. Without thinking too hard about it I replied that I’d be happy to. 

I try and say no to as little as I possibly can these days. 

It turns out (after I did a little online stalking) that he also writes a blog and has been trying to do 56 challenges in 12 months – mostly related to running with people and often with a charitable emphasis (link). 

He’s been expanding his horizons just like me and seems like an interesting guy to chat with.

I’ll be meeting him shortly – but not before I get caffeinated. 

Since I ate a bit more than I usually do yesterday I’ve decided to walk to meet him before our twalk today in an effort to get my steps and miles up. 

At the moment I’m having a quick Starbucks filter coffee whilst I add up yesterday’s damage and contemplate my weigh in on Saturday. 

To be 100% honest – if I wasn’t writing everything down then I’m sure there would have been a lot more boredom related damage in the evening. 

I have a regular reader (and fellow blogger) to thank for this. It was her brilliant idea that I get all hashtagged up for #onplanoctober and so far it’s kept me honest!

Consequently I only went over where I’d planned to cut myself off for the day (1900kcal) by a couple of hundred calories – so everything should hopefully still work out. 

Thursday 19th

  • 6 small tomatoes 60
  • 190g (half jar) pickled gherkins 57
  • Pickled onions 20
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 300g baking potato 231
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • Banana 89
  • 500g 5% fat pork mince 555
  • Red pepper 30
  • 380g mushrooms 80
  • Large courgette 54
  • Small onion x2 60
  • 240g Aldi Cannelini beans 192 (these are a useful tweak instead of using a can of kidney beans in a chilli – they save about 80kcal)
  • Bunch of broccoli 40
  • Can chopped tomatoes 74
  • 2x apples 140

Total calories consumed 2186

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1252/3892
  • Cardio minutes 86
  • Steps/miles walked 19,293/9.83

(Author heads off for his walk)

Well that was fun!

I’ve just spent a lovely five miles sharing details about how we got to where we are in our respective lives with a total stranger and feel like this is the way that life should be for everyone. 

People should just go for a walk and get to know eachother!


It’s nice knowing that there are like minded people out there that just want to be open and honest with the world about about where life has led them and reach out to whoever they can along the way. 

Whenever I talk in depth with people like this I’m reminded that (particularly when it comes to charity and wanting to create and give something back to the world) there are lots of people all around us every day that just want to do the right thing in life and leave everything and everyone better than the state in which they were found. 

We touched on some quite personal topics during our walk and I can’t help thinking every time I meet someone new that as human beings (despite who we are and where we come from) that we are we are all more alike than we are different

We all have hopes and dreams and we’re always just trying to find our place in the world whilst feeling that we belong and are needed

I’ve also reminded myself of one of the reasons I have gotten to the point that I’m at now. 

Back in February 2016 (when I started my blog) I remember getting really angry when I was attending a support group related to alcohol abuse. 

I was listening to people making excuse after excuse about why they had whatever addiction they were afflicted with. Apart from one other guy in the room I was the only person that wasn’t continually saying that it was someone else’s fault or some other circumstance that caused me to eat or drink to excess. 

The truth was that the very first time I’d had a drink it was related to my mother’s abuse.  

The following instances immediately after were also directly attributable to bad times under her control and attempts to block things out. 

Food was just the same. 

However whilst she may have been the catalyst it was ME that continued the patterns. ME that drank alone. ME that decades after she had any kind of control over me was still ordering pizza or kebabs. 

In the end it was all me and there were no excuses. Now she’s gone and I have to own it

All of it. 

For all the bad things she did and said to me I’m now the one that’s left behind with the bits of my complex mental jigsaw puzzle and how they relate to my relationship with her. 

I can either avoid them and leave the pile in a jumbled mess making everything look bad or I can slowly piece them together and look at everything from above. 

In trying to work through this I’ve had to let go of my anger, accept that no one is perfect, that there is no mileage in regret or hatred and that there can be a future – even if you think things have gone too far and that there’s no way back

My decisions were always mine to make – and whilst I could have benefited from better guidance early on in life – I made them

Now I still do but instead I choose to make good ones, for the right reasons and in the process to make my own life better and give back to others whenever I can. 

If I don’t internet then my lovely lovely gilet won’t fit any more and no-one wants that 😏

Davey

Christmas wish

It’s been a grim and drizzly day today – with barely a single break in the cloud or rain.

I’ve made the most of the awful weather though and kept up with my usual walking (and twalking) under an umbrella – but otherwise all is rather quiet on the western front today…

However – it’s not all doom and gloom.

Just to brighten up my day Her Majesty’s Department of Pednatic and Annoying Officialdom sent me a letter in a worryingly brown generic envelope this morning. When I finally got around to opening it later in the day the darned thing turned out to be a completely unexpected demand to immediately stump up a sum of cash.

Sigh.

Bureaucracy.

I really dislike it…

However – I’ve concluded that being able to buy shopping is really overrated anyway. I’ve furthermore decided that all I have to do is temporarily learn to get nutrients by licking the TV when food adverts come on as well as eating thin air for a week for everything to be just hunky dory.

With that in mind – since dreams cost absolutely nothing – this evening I’ve been treating myself to loads of them – and deciding what to write on my Slimming World Christmas wish bauble.

These are handed out in group each year and the idea is that you write your heart’s desires on it and hang it somewhere prominent to keep you focused in the run up to the festivities.

IMG_4988.jpg

Knowing what to write on these is a bit of a tricky proposition.

Last year I scribbled on mine that I wanted to have lost nine stone by the time my work’s Christmas re-union took place – which would have made me 25st 8.5lbs.

I managed to lose 8st 13lbs – landing just one pound away from my goal.

img_9793

As daft as it sounds for a short while I actually viewed that as a failure – but when it came to the event itself in the end I was just so happy to see everyone that it didn’t really matter either way.

So this year the theme is very similar. My ex-colleagues have another informal event planned in early December – and I’d ideally like to be a stone lighter by then (making me 16st 1lb).

Since that’s not quite Christmas I think it’s a reasonable expectation to want to be lighter than sixteen stone by the 25th – so I’ve decided that will be my next goal.

IMG_4990

Of course – the only way I’m going to achieve this is by remaining focused – and I’m still keeping up with listing everything I eat for the whole of October, along with all of my exercise.

I’ve promised myself that I’d make daily #onplanoctober updates about this for consistency – and for my own records.

I’m going to stick to that.

I’ll be honest – on days like today when it’s raining and I’m faced with crappy brown envelopes I’m extremely tempted to have a ‘screw it’ 24 hrs and eat all of the nicer things in my cupboards – but so far today I’ve been good(ish).

I’m really wondering whether I’m getting anywhere this week though. I still don’t feel much different compared to last Saturday – although that’s probably a good thing. It means I’m eating healthily and not trying to starve a result out of myself for Saturday.

So without further ado here’s what happened yesterday…

Wednesday 18th

  • Banana 89
  • 3x apples 210
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 6 x small tomatoes 60
  • 400g diced beef 558
  • Can chopped tomatoes 74
  • 2x leeks 108
  • 2x carrots 40
  • 900g swede 120
  • Tesco chorizo cooking meatball 83 (I know there are syns in this but as it’s not in the app I don’t know how many – so I’m guesstimating 3 as its mostly meat and it’s 20kcal per syn)
  • 1 sweet potato 86
  • 380g mushrooms 65
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154

Total calories consumed 1951 (3 syns)

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1499/4231
  • Cardio minutes 67
  • Steps/miles walked 25,409/12.7

With that internet I’m going to carry on with my evening’s activities and bid you adieu. Hopefully you didn’t get too soaked today – and if you did then I hope you dried out in front of a warm fire soon after.

Davey

P.S. Best wishes to my reader with the broken ankle. I hope things mend soon and that you manage to make good choices while you’re healing up 🙂

Hatton to Kingswood Junction

As part of a little project I have in mind I’ve once again been exploring another section of the Grand Union Canal today – and it’s not only a really wonderful place for quiet, uninterrupted twalking but it’s a fantastic little corridor of wildlife!

DSC03558

The section between Hatton Locks (where my friend and I started today) and Kingswood Junction (the mid-point of the walk) is around 4.5 miles – and despite the overcast autumn skies today and paths full of leaves the whole tone of the walk seemed very green indeed.

If you’re not shaded by a constantly leaning treelines then you’re bordered by large bushes, fields and patches of verdant moss or grassy banks.

DSC03538

It’s an absolutely great stretch to walk along – and since I last came this way a decade or so ago the paths seem to have been much improved. There’s barely any mud – even after the rain that fell overnight.

This particular stretch of the canal is also really architecturally interesting thanks to the tunnel under Shrewley – which stretches (without a towpath) 396 metres under the village and nearby fields.

The only way to follow the canal on foot at this point is overland, past the village post office, over a road, and between some houses, where you drop into a second, disconcertingly dark tunnel.

It finally pops out into daylight on a raised path and you immediately get an idea of the sheer effort that must have been required to build this section of the Grand Union Canal.

The rock has been chiselled away to make a wide channel for a few boats side by side and in the tunnel you can hear the many waterfalls of ground water seeping through the brickwork into the canal below.

The surrounding rock strata and greenery also look wonderful together!

DSC03526

I think that the engineering skill required to make these tunnels is just mind blowing.

Like most parts of the Grand Union’s bridges and complementary structures this is all constructed from individual red bricks – and while it definitely looks old it’s still as solid as the day it was opened in 1799 (wikipedia link).

Thats well over 200 years of service and it’s still going strong!

DSC03554.jpg

Between Shrewley and Kingswood junction there isn’t really a lot to speak of – unless you’re simply looking for views or whimsical names on moored boats or wildlife – and maybe because of this there are next to no passers by.

The legions of ducks (of which there were MANY) seemed half asleep for the most part and barely registered us as we strolled past.

DSC03534

In fact my companion and I met only one person with a dog and a single barge slowly chugging in the direction of Warwick until we arrived at the Tom o the Wood pub for a rest and a coffee.

Things seemed marginally more lively here – but mostly due to a resident massive black labrador called Boris who wanted to investigate all of my pockets (and man parts) for biscuits. I didn’t mind at all though, because I got to fuss him for a while!

This is also a pretty sleepy neck of the woods (apart from hungry pooches) though. The only other thing of note are some moorings nearby and really chilled out looking goats which are either being kept either by the owners of the pub – or the people living on the barges.

Whoever they belong to they sure seem to be well looked after and relaxed!

The most annoying thing about today though was the problem my compact superzoom camera has with low light conditions.

It really can’t handle anything fast moving when I’m in shadow, darkness or with a very overcast sky – and it makes it really galling when you see a pair of grey wagtails (a speedy little bird that swoops up and down across the water with incredible agility) and just can’t get a good shot of them without grain.

On the plus side for some reason my camera in these circumstances takes way better video than still photography – and I managed to get a few seconds of it walking around on the path ahead with it’s unusual bobbing gait before it shot off to the tree roots under the opposite bank.

Overall it’s been a really nice day of exploration – and it’s all helping me work towards what will hopefully be another loss on the scales this coming Saturday.

I feel like I’ve eaten more this week – but I also feel like I’ve walked further too – so maybe the two will balance each other out.

On the plus side internet (as you may have noticed in the shot above) I bought myself a really nice fawn coloured gilet from Aldi this morning super cheap and it’s an XL!

To make me EVEN HAPPIER in the photo I’m wearing two layers of clothing under it and one is a thick hoodie!!!

Yay for ever reducing fatness!

Anyway – yesterday’s #onplanoctober stats are:

Tuesday 17th

  • 2 little gem lettuces 10
  • 125g chicken roll 150
  • 200g Ham 240
  • 30 olives 60
  • 6 apples 420
  • Aldi Slim Free chicken Saag 322
  • Aldi microwave basmati rice 366 (2 syns)
  • 240g white kidney beans 150
  • half tub quark 80
  • 200g blueberries 86
  • 500g frozen Aldi summer fruits 168

Total calories consumed 2050

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1380/4122
  • Cardio minutes 84
  • Steps/miles walked 21,806/10.99

Davey

Davey sat down to a meal for one 

I had long talks yesterday not with one but with a few people about what’s left behind when you lose a lot of weight. 

I don’t mean physically what you see in the mirror (although that’s certainly part of it) – I mean emotionally. 

When we have a significant problem in life like over eating or drinking and it’s bad enough that it controls other aspects of our day to day existence it can be easy (even if it’s just on an unconscious level) to think that if we stop doing that particular thing that everything else that’s wrong with our lives will magically fall into place. 

It’s not my personal experience of dramatic change however – and the people I talked to had similar stories. 

Often what you’re left with is a realisation that you’ve simply dealt with one of many symptoms related to a far more complex set of underlying problems – and it’s those that are harder to resolve long term. 

Just because you get thin it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden your self critical inner demons get suddenly silenced. 

In my own case I’m beginning to come to terms with the odd reality that my current size and shape means that I don’t stand out in society the way that I used to any more. 

I have more weight to lose – but if I stopped tomorrow (I don’t plan to) then it’s highly likely I’d never be called ‘fatty’ on the street again. 

If I maintained my current weight I’d continue to benefit from cheaper clothes, I’d be able to be very fit and active – and I could (should I choose to) find a partner and ‘settle down’. 

There’s more at play here though. 

The moment that I really started pushing my (already pre-existing) self destruct button was when I lost something (emotionally) precious to me around 17 years ago. 

I’ve never really moved past that moment – despite the distance I’ve travelled in life, and even now I’ve yet to come to terms with how to do that and find a new place in the world that’s not alone. 

I’m so used to this state of being though that honestly I don’t even notice it any more, because I’m not lonely. I’ve developed a lot of deflection and coping mechanisms to ensure that doesn’t happen. 

In much the same way as I used to say ‘no’ to everything without thinking why I did it (I was scared of appearing like I struggled physically) I still tell myself that I don’t need a partner and that’s just not who I am in life. 

I tell myself that Davey is a single guy, and that’s how he functions best – with no complications and with none of the extra stress that a relationship would bring. 

I have a lot of amazing friends and I’m a lucky guy in this respect. I genuinely feel loved in life – but I have been thinking more and more lately that I should want something else, and that I’m hiding a part of myself not because it doesn’t exist but because I learned how to lock it away a long time ago. 

The problem is I’ve since forgotten where I put the key. 

The reality is that sitting underneath all of the weight and drinking problems I’ve been tackling recently were a set of geographical fault lines that are very similar to the ones that are still actively rumbling away under the outwardly solid and unmoving continent of my ‘single and not looking’ status.

I don’t think I ever came at partnerships in the past from the right angle because back then I never understood (until it was too late) what I needed to receive from one to be happy and what it was important for me to give back in order to make one truly work. 

For a brief period I felt that I held the perfect one in my hand – and that I had (very unexpectedly) what I needed in life – but then almost as soon as I’d found it circumstances conspired to take it away. 

If I’m completely honest it was a situation that (whilst largely out of my control) was exacerbated by my vices and weaknesses. 

I really only have myself to blame in many ways. 

I could have been a better man but at the time I had too many demons and not enough self control or awareness to face up to or deal with them. 

I’m sometimes moved to intense feelings of regret about this period of my life. I had one whilst talking to someone late into the evening yesterday and after verbalising it felt very raw and exposed for hours afterwards. 

When I see all that I’ve accomplished in the present, and all the truths I’ve learned about myself in the here and now I feel almost inconsolably angry with myself that I couldn’t understand these things back then – in the moments that it mattered so much

I feel like kicking the younger me that was so inflexible and unwilling to change – and frustrated that his behaviour helped me to loose almost everything that made me happy back then. 

Nowadays though (even if I didn’t a couple of decades ago) I definitely know more about the inner Davey and why he was driven to hurt himself over and over again. 

The food and the alcohol were simply barriers to stop feelings. 

That’s all they’ve always been. 

They only ever became a problem because I never learned as a child how to truly feel things without pushing them away and running from their consequences. 

I was taught instead to curl up mentally into a ball and feel nothing when my mother’s almost daily emotional abuse started – and I used the same coping mechanism on an ever increasing and grander scale as I moved further into adulthood.

I’m not afraid of weakness or pain now though. I want to feel them, and I want them to arrive unimpeded by any kind of drug. 

At least I like to think I do. 

If I’m truly no longer scared of vulnerability and feelings (both good and bad) why am I still alone when I know that I have an insane amount of love to give? 

Why is ‘Netflix and chill’ (if you’ve never heard of this then Google it) really only me chilling with Netflix on my own whilst eating my dinner?

Now I’m increasingly ‘normal’ (for want of a better word) I’m left with a really uncomfortable reality. 

Stopping my self destructive behaviour hasn’t ‘fixed everything’. It’s instead laid the foundations for me to rebuild other broken areas of my life and to do so with maybe a little more perspective and self confidence than I had before I began on my path back in January 2016. 

In many ways I’ve spent almost two years just being born again. I’ve simply been resetting the dials to zero – and despite the distances I now physically travel, emotionally I’m still learning to walk. 

So – maybe this lengthy and reflective post is me – taking the advice that I’ve given to many others recently about loving and being kind to themselves in the same way that they would to friends and family. 

I think maybe it’s time to begin a new chapter – and one that doesn’t start with the words ‘Davey sat down to a meal for one.’

Anyway. After that light and fluffy short paragraph full of pink fluffy clouds and rainbows, here’s how yesterday in #onplanoctober land panned out. 

I did a lot of walking….

Monday 16th

  • Apples x4 280
  • 500g Aldi Slim Free chicken tikka masala 371
  • Boil in the bag rice 440
  • 300g baked potato 231
  • 1 courgette 54
  • Half a bunch of broccoli 20
  • Half a large onion 10
  • 200g mushrooms 44
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190

Total calories consumed 1760 

(No syns eaten)

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1784/4517
  • Cardio minutes 84
  • Steps/miles walked 33,821/16.8

Davey

Satsuma sky 

Today the light is decidedly odd. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been out and about on a day where everything has seemed so… opressively orange before. 

Whilst walking along the canal today an old man leaned over the rail on his barge and beckoned me to look at his iPhone. 

He showed me a picture of the sun – which until then I’d not noticed had a tangerine hue and corona surrounding it. 

We stood looking at it for a moment and then he showed me the picture again – clearly impressed at the sight of it, and furthermore that his phone had actually captured it. 

Oddly the day didn’t start out like this. It looked maybe a little overcast – but nothing out of the ordinary to begin with. 


Prior to the oddly coloured sky as I walked along the canal everything seemed pretty normal – with ducks, swans, coots, moor hens, squirrels, sheep and really friendly horses – one of whom always comes up for a sniff and a nose stroke when I pass. 


As I sit now in the window of the Hatton Arms after the first leg of my walk the light is still filled with this almost other-worldly quality and everything looks subtly different to the way it normally does. 


Life appears to have a ‘warm’ photo filter pre applied to it, and it’s dark enough at midday for cars to be passing with their lights on. 

Whilst waking I’ve been considering the suggestions of a (highly valued) friend and reader today – who wondered whether the time might be nigh to return to my couch to 5K efforts  (or other things) from a few months ago. 

At the time I was around the 21st mark – and despite it being a difficult pill to swallow I took the advice of several well meaning friends to discontinue what I was doing in case I injured myself and de-railed my overall progress. 

It was hard to take their advice the way it was intended at the time – because it had taken a lot for me to even try to jog in public. I felt (quite wrongly) that they had no idea how hard it had been for me to take this step – and yet they wanted me to stop when I was so close to a new milestone. 

At that moment however I wasn’t really thinking too much about the physical impact that running might have and more about the fact that it would be really cool to say that I could do it. 

However (maybe somewhat paradoxically) now I’m around 4 stone lighter I’m less interested in trying it again than I was before. 

I guess it’s because in the time following me postponing my running aspirations I’ve been reminded that one of the reasons I walk so much (although it’s far from the only one) is that it’s my new social tool. 

My diary these days is usually filled with regular walking buddies – and also some that aren’t so regular – but that I enjoy seeing just as much. 

Twalking is a way of meeting people and getting to know them intimately that I’ve become very addicted to. 

The chats we have during long strolls are often very personal and always thought provoking – and it occurs to me that running (or cycling) probably wouldn’t be quite the same. 

Whilst I’m highly likely to try running again (and it’s probably not that far in the future) it would definitely be for different reasons – and at the moment what I’m doing is making me feel both centred and happy. 

If there’s one thing I don’t do anymore though it’s say ‘absolutely not’. I don’t know how I’ll feel further down the line as the weight continues to drop off. 

There’s also the question of what goals I adopt to keep me motivated when I reach target. Will they be related to continually improving my fitness or something else entirely? 

Who knows?…

For the moment though I have coffee and that makes me happy enough. 

Today I’ve walked from Warwick to Hatton and from there back to Leamington. Shortly I’m going to make my way home from the town centre and then get ready for my final local motivational speaking session. 

There’s a lot on my mind at the moment (in a good way) and I’m trying to remember all the things that I want to say. Hopefully I can pull together all the disparate thoughts and responses to questions I’ve had so far and make the last session one that people will really like. 

In the meantime #onplanoctober continues – and if I haven’t driven you away with two whole weeks of what I’ve been eating and doing for exercise so far then have no fear. 

You’re going to get another two weeks of it so there’s plenty of time to do a runner and unsubscribe from my stream of daily drivel!

Sunday 15th

  •  240g Tesco Everyday value sliced chicken tikka 288
  • 500g tangy apples 280
  • 500g Aldi Slim Free Three Bean And Vegetable Chilli 293
  • Aldi microwave basmati rice (2syns) 366
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 100g Strawberries 33
  • Jar of pickled onions 72
  • 1kg carrots 420

Total calories consumed 1949

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1231/3871
  • Cardio minutes 77
  • Steps/miles walked 21,716/10.76

Finally – I saw something purple on the way home yesterday – and in the light it not only looked stunningly lovely but reminded me of another purple themed person who always seems to be thinking of others – yet (I suspect) often forgets that she inspires other people (me included) to love themselves and live better lives. 

I took this picture for her. 

She should print it out and stick it on her fridge 😉


Davey

New and shiny

One of the consequences of doing all of the walking that I do is that I tend to get through a lot of shoes. 

I’ve learned (particularly in the last year) that footwear is something that’s a difficult balancing act to pull off between quality and cost. If you skimp on the price purely because you set an arbitrary ceiling on what you will or won’t spend then you may well up with blisters and crappy shoes. 

In more extreme instances it could also result in something like shin splints and plantar heel. I know from experience that if these are pre-existing conditions then you ignore them at your peril. 

Although I wasn’t planning to buy any boots yesterday I received an unexpected text from a friend. 

She had purchased something new and shiny and wanted the share her joy that (a) they were super pretty and (b) that they cost a mere 25% of their original price. 


Although I couldn’t see myself wearing them (I’m veh veh partial to my Jimmy Choo’s dah-links!) it did mean one thing. 

She’s my frugal buddy. 

We share money saving tips all the time. She (like myself) would remain undamaged in even the most violent sandstorm if she found herself re-incarnated as a part of a camel’s rear anatomy. 

When your frugal buddy makes a purchase though… Well – that’s just the best feeling ever, because that means you too can buy something and you know that they won’t question why you needed to spend the money. 

It’s like a ‘get out of jail free’ card in Monopoly!

So, on the way home yesterday (munching on apples – but more of the nibbles later) I found myself strolling past Lockwoods Ski and Trek in Leamington Spa and decided to wander in to look at all the lovely outdoor stuff and things and whatnots. 

Hell – I thought I might even check out the doomafirkins while I was there!

A mere twenty minutes later I was the proud owner of a new pair of AKU walking boots (more than 50% off their original price!!!) and I can tell you that after 10 miles of walking today I am very very very happy with them. 


The tread seems a lot more hard wearing than the Berghaus ones I normally buy – and they’re a bit different to walk in (they feel very ‘heel to toe’ as opposed to a bouncy ball support) but I like them a lot. 


I’ll update you on their long term survival in a later post no doubt…

It’s been a lovely day for walking though (I’m not alone in thinking this – I’ve met loads of slimming world buddies too!) and for the most part it’s been warm and sunny enough to wander around in little more than a short sleeved shirt. 


Today I’ve mostly been doing laps around the park with friends and attempting to burn off a small amount of ‘munchies’ eating from yesterday. 

Slimming World food tasting sessions always have the same effect on me. I have routinely eaten much more on Saturdays when I’ve tried lots of the types of foods present than on similar days where I just eat ‘normally’ (whatever that is). 

I’ve thought about this a few times and it’s most likely a combination of things. Firstly it’s Saturday and I’ve just stepped off the scales. 

My first thought is often ‘aaaaannnnnd rellllaaaaxxxx’ which doesn’t really help with willpower (I’m looking at you boxes of hi-fi bars) and I’m definitely guilty of entering what SW calls ‘The Twighlight Zone’ – which is where you pig out on weigh in day. 

Secondly is the fact that a lot of the foods I sample on these occasions are ‘free’ or very low syn dessert style dishes – which I like to try mostly because they’re not something I normally indulge in. 

I tend not to eat them partially because I never really crave them – but also because I know how they’re capable (in small nibbly delicious quantities) of making me overeat afterwards. 

This is why I also eat my food in order (speed first, then free, then syn) when it’s possible to do so. I’ll eat less free if I’m stuffed with speed and less syn if I’m stuffed with free. 

The taster sessions just blow this all of the water and everything gets jumbled up. Consequently I’m usually left wanting more all day long. 

Thankfully I managed to keep it under control – apart from a fruit, yogurt and gherkin fridge and cupboard clearance late in the evening. 

Things never get too out of control because thankfully I don’t have any ‘treat’ food in my house as a rule. However I also managed to keep a lid on things because I knew that I had to write it down and that I had to post it. 

Not that blogging it really matters in the great scheme of things. 

I bet almost no-one reads it – but crucially I know whether I’ve lied or told the truth – and I never knowingly lie on my blog. I can therefore chalk this up to a win (of sorts) for #onplanoctober. Without it yesterday could have gone really off the rails. 

Saturday 14th

  • Slimming World food tasting nibbles (approx 300ish?)
  • 5 large Apples 350
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Half iceberg lettuce 20
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • 165g Can of sweetcorn 60
  • Half jar pickled gherkins 57
  • 100g Strawberries 33
  • 300g blueberries 129
  • 500g natural yogurt 308
  • 370g (jar) pickled gherkins 114

Total calories consumed – 2077 (approx)

Activity 

  • Active/total calories burned – 1241/4004
  • Cardio minutes – 70
  • Steps/miles walked – 19,946/9.88

Onwards and downwards Internet!!! Just keep putting one (beautifully booted) foot in front of the other!

Davey

A truly wonderful thing

It’s 8am and as is customary for a Saturday morning I’ve not had much sleep. Today I’m doing another two motivational talks at Slimming World meetings – and rather nerve wrackingly one of them is my own group

I’m not entirely sure why this makes a difference – but it does, because whilst others see me as I am today, a lot of these people have seen me as I was back then. 

They know a lot of what I’ve been through and I like them a great deal. I feel like I mustn’t disappoint them. 

In common with all perpetually paranoid slimmers this morning I’ve dressed in nice light clothes and headed off to group early so that I can weigh in before the talk (that way I can drink coffee beforehand!) and see how my week of #onplanoctober eating has panned out. 

I’m also dressed smarter than usual in a shirt and trousers in an effort to give me confidence. 

Partially because of this I didn’t have much of an appetite yesterday…

Friday 13th

  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 6 small tomatoes 60
  • 350g celery hearts 35
  • 200g ham 238
  • 100g pickled onions 35
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Yellow pepper 30
  • Half iceberg lettuce 20
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60 (1.5 syns)
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • Half a cucumber 11
  • 2 x mor chicken tomato and basil sausages 86 (2 syns)

Total calories consumed 1269 (3.5 syns)

Activity

  • Active/total calories burned – 1252/3906
  • Cardio minutes – 106
  • Steps/miles walked 19,125/9.75

This means my seven day averages and totals for week two of #onplanoctober are

  • Average calories consumed daily – 1889
  • Average active/total calories burned – 1360/4100
  • Total/average cardio minutes – 634/91
  • Total/average steps walked 146,502/20,929
  • Total/average miles walked 73.73/10.53

Now – interestingly this is most probably the best week I’ve had in a LONG TIME with regard to being on plan yet I lost ‘only’ 2lbs – which is less than I did last week (that was 6lbs). 


However – whilst the old me might have taken this as a negative – new and improved Davey sees this as a win. 

A loss is a loss – and sticking on course will mean I’ll get where I want to be on averages – not massive weekly drops. 

I also have my seventeen and a half stone certificate baby!!! 

Although yesterday’s post was all about non-scale victories – this is still flipping fantastic!!!

(Author does his talks to the groups)

Today was also food tasting day. I usually cook mine early in the morning on these occasions – but yesterday evening I had to make something quick and easy that would keep overnight – so I fell back on a batch of the mini quiches I love so much.


In order to assuage my guilt for not making something new (which is what I always try to do) I decided to compliment them with ‘things on sticks’ and made some olive, cherry tomato and sausage cocktail nibbles to go with them. 


These tasty little chicken, sun dried tomato and basil chipolata sausages are one syn each (each stick is 1/3) and they go really nice with an olive (10 for one syn) and a cherry tomato. 


Sometimes the simple things are the best!

Everyone else’s food was (as always) delicious too, and I found myself going back for a second nibble at some rather nice turkey meatballs before I left for the day if I’m honest!

Talk wise this morning was probably the most emotional for me so far – but it’s been in a positive and life-affirming way. 

The whole experience of doing this has been extremely empowering and also very humbling. I may be standing out front today – but any one of the faces I’ve been looking at could have been me – and I them. 

The feedback they’ve volunteered has been both heartfelt and personal. At times it’s taken my breath away. People have laughed, cried, laughed again and then cried a bit more. 

I’m glad that one of my NSV’s from yesterday was that people could get their arms around me because I’ve also had lots of hugs!

I love hugs 🤗

Overall it’s been something of a rollercoaster day so far and truthfully I’m still processing a lot of the things people have said to me both in person and via social media. 

It’s nice to know in the case of all of us that we aren’t alone in the world. We all share the same fears, hopes and dreams – and I keep seeing this in the assembled faces of the rooms that I’ve talked to – which I guesstimate now total around a couple of hundred people. 

How amazing that we’re all so alike and that we all care so much about the person next to us in these groups. 

If I want anything to come out of this internet it’s for more people to treat themselves with the kindness and support that they give so freely in these sessions to me and everyone else. 

That would be a truly wonderful thing. 

Davey

Non-scale victories – The complete list…

I started jotting down a list of non scale victories a couple of days ago.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while – but hadn’t gotten around to putting them all in one place. Then some of the people I spoke to during and after my talks in front of other Slimming World groups on Monday (who wanted to know how my life had changed) made me think that I should write everything I could think of down and keep the list updated when something new pops up.

Initially it was just a few bullet points when I began.

I pulled some of out of previous posts and others were things I’d not really talked about much or had mentioned in other contexts.

When thought I’d completed it I spontaneously decided to read it out loud to a friend as I sat in her car one morning. Surprisingly I suddenly found myself close to tears – and noticed that she (sitting next to me) was too. A lot of the things on this list still make me feel very emotional. I didn’t think they would – but the pain of a lot of the things I used to struggle with every day is still raw.

Sometimes very raw.

It’s a long list – and there are some items that I still find too personal, intimate or deeply embarrassing. Try as I might I just can’t bring myself to add them – but what’s contained within it are all real pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that I’ve been putting together since January 2016.

On their own they’re pretty cool (at least from my perspective) but not always particularly amazing in the great scheme of things. I’d even warrant that most people take them for granted if they’ve never been unable to do them or not struggled with mundane aspects of daily life like I did.

Together they’ve combined to change the way I live so much that my average day is completely unrecognisable compared to what it was when I was 34st 8.5lbs.

In no particular order my NSV’s are:

  • I was unable to sleep in any position other than my left side or sitting upright at 34st 8.5 lbs. Now I can sleep on whichever side I choose (including my back) and no longer wake up in a panic because I think I’m suffocating
  • I’ve walked the cumulative 3000 mile distance from San Fransisco to New York (and much more) since joining Slimming World
  • I overcame Plantar Fasciitis, two torn calf muscles, ligament problems in my left thigh and shin splints caused by my weight and persisted with my walking and exercise
  • I’m no longer taking medication to control my (type 2) diabetes – and have a HbA1c reading of 28 compared to 94 when first diagnosed
  • My blood pressure is down from borderline hyper-tension to that of someone 20 years younger than myself
  • I’ve dropped from the 8xl shirt and 66in waisted trousers I was wearing to 2XL/XL and waist size of 40in
  • I haven’t broken any furniture by sitting or lying on it for over a year and a half
  • I can buy clothes from pretty much any supermarket or high street store. They cost approximately 75% less than they used to at specialist retailers
  • I can now fit into ALL cars and taxis
  • I can take the train or the bus because I fit into public transport and can walk to and from where it stops
  • I can fit in my bath
  • I don’t get out of breath walking up hills unless they’re really steep
  • I can mow my lawns without being in agony – and maintain my gardens
  • I can stand up without grunting or straining from pretty much any position
  • My skin no longer burns instantly when exposed to the sun (often it doesn’t burn at all now) and I don’t have dry eczema all the time like I used to
  • I no longer wear glasses for reading and have dramatically improved eyesight due to my diabetes being under control
  • I can sit in restaurant or cafe booths – in fact ANY kind of fixed bench or table seating is accessible – as well as garden picnic tables and plastic chairs.
  • I can go to the cinema and not have to pay extra for premium seating because I don’t fit in the standard seat or am worried that they will break
  • I can walk up to 17.5 miles a day and average 20,000 steps daily and 70+ miles every week. Previously I couldn’t walk to the end of my street 200 metres away
  • I can concentrate for longer periods and take in (and retain) information a lot faster
  • I need less sleep – usually 5-6 hours is enough now. I used to need at least 10 because it was so hard to get rest with sleep apnea
  • I can now walk a mile in just over 15 minutes. When I first tried to do a mile it took well over an hour to an hour and a half with continual rest stops. I usually have to stop every 7-8 miles now.
  • I can jog up stairs
  • I can jog back down stairs
  • I’ve taken large amounts of outsized clothes to charity and by donating with gift aid have helped other people by doing so.
  • I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since January 26th 2016
  • I’m now able to buy clothes from charity shops as well as deposit them and when I do they cost around 1/8th of what I previously was forced to buy
  • I can take a selfie without hating myself
  • I have climbed Snowdon
  • I no longer have constant oedemas (fluid retention) in my ankles
  • I can go outside wearing shorts without feeling self conscious
  • I don’t need to get my shopping delivered and I often walk two miles to the supermarket and carry it two miles back home in a rucksack
  • I can stand for long periods without crippling back, knee and tendon pain
  • My knees no longer hurt all the time. They used to be painful even when I was seated
  • I can’t hear my own laboured breathing when I sit and relax
  • I no longer sweat all the time regardless of the temperature and I need to wear thick socks, gloves a coat and a hat to go outside in the cold
  • I regularly meet lots of new people through my efforts, Slimming World and my blog
  • I’m now confident enough with my appearance and fit enough to stand and speak in front of groups about my weight loss. Previously this would have been impossible because I quickly became breathless and physically shook from the effort of standing upright
  • I can jog (although not very well yet)
  • I no longer get publicly bullied and called names related to my weight by youths (and adults) on the street
  • I’ve gone from eating (and burning) 7,500 calories per day to around 2000 and because of this my shopping costs around 2/5ths of what it used to.
  • I can ride a bicycle again
  • I can sit in an IKEA Poang armchair without fear of breaking it
  • I can do press-ups
  • I can climb ladders and use stepladders (none held my weight before) to get into my loft
  • A lady recently referred to me as ‘hot’
  • People I know frequently fail to recognise me in the street until I speak
  • I’ve never spent more quality time with friends, family and people that I care about in my entire life – and when I do we’re usually exercising so I seem to be promoting positive behaviour in those that mean something to me
  • I no longer make excuses not to meet up with friends I haven’t seen for a while (or don’t see them at all) because I feel embarrassed about putting lots of weight on since they last saw me
  • My friends and family can hug me and put their arms all the way around me

So there’s the (current) list.

It makes for sobering reading – because, despite all of the things I now benefit from and the future that I feel is finally open to me – I still have a sense of loss.

I’ve wasted too much time with all of the above – and lived for the best part of two decades in a way way no-one should have to.

The only thing that I can say when I look back at that ruined and unhappy man, stuck in his armchair and with his world shrinking a little more every day is that he existed for a reason. He enabled me to be who I am now, and gifted me a sense of perspective that maybe few are afforded in life.

His pain isn’t something I can forget and it drives every moment of my present, and hopefully my future too…

IMG_4624

Anyway – thats quite enough heavy stuff for one evening internet. I need to get to bed.

In the meantime here’s how yesterday panned out in the land of #onplanoctober

Thursday 12th

  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 3 small tomatoes 30
  • 300g ham 357
  • Half jar pickled gherkins 57
  • 3 Large apples 210
  • 200g Aldi Smoked Mackerel fillets 692 (2 syns)
  • 650g Aldi stir fry veg 338
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154
  • 500g carrots 210 (snacking)

Total calories consumed – 2351 (2 syns)
Activity

  • Active/total calories burned 1520/4260
  • Cardio minutes – 95
  • Steps/miles walked 20,658/9.51

Fingers crossed for my weigh in tomorrow morning!!!

Davey

Whats that in the bushes?!

Today I’ve been exploring with a friend around Blockley, Bourton Wood and along part of the Heart of England Way surrounding Batsford Arboretum. My companion for the day and I have once again had some luck with the weather. It’s been a little overcast at times – but otherwise when we arrived in at our staring point the little Cotswold village looked genuinely lovely.

DSC03273

Initially my cartographically obsessed friend had planned a ‘circular’ walk.

I’ve learned from experience during our recent exploits to take this term with a pinch of salt, and instead just trust that we will eventually return to our place of origin one way or another – and that in the process there may well be quite a few instances where we go ‘off piste’ or re-trace our steps.

In truth I love the intrepid nature of our walks, and the fitter I get the more I enjoy getting really stuck into places without any obvious paths where we need to trudge through the undergrowth and bracken.

Initially our starting point in Bourton Wood simply looked like a really nice place to explore, with a good variety of gradients on established tracks for some much needed exercise.

DSC03287.jpg

It soon became apparent though that a lot of the routes were more than a little boggy – and that if we wanted to avoid some deep, boot sucking mud we’d have to head away from the obvious routes and find new ones from A to B.

(Wait – what was that in the bushes? It sounds like something running away… Can’t see anything… Must have imagined it…)

After a bit of a false start we doubled back on ourselves and found a new way – heading off into unexplored territory.

This makes Davey HAPPY.

DSC03289DSC03293

It transpired upon my return home that surreptitious photography had been taking place that documented my clambering through the undergrowth and my ginger reluctance to press on when faced with boggy conditions…

1

23

It was at the top of this particular hill (always looking for photo opportunities) that I decided to take some pictures of a particularly impressive wasp’s nest – and learned the hard way that they don’t like having a camera shoved in their faces.

DSC03301DSC03305

The little swine that stung me made me drop my camera in the undergrowth – and (having never been speared by a wasp before) I was amazed at how much it hurt. It’s still throbbing as I type – around 6 hours later and feels like I slammed my wrist in a door.

It’s not a pleasant sensation and I doubt I’ll be quite so inquisitive when I find a wasp’s nest again…

(There’s that noise again… what’s in the bushes? It sounds like a bird…)

As we moved on I couldn’t help but stop and look at the fantastic little incidental details everywhere. There were some really really interesting bracken like leaves with furry growths on the back that felt just like the heads of bull rushes.

I’ve never seen them before and they’re great!

(Rustle rustle… What is that noise?!)

Soon after (with a bit more off piste navigation and a few moments to stop and look at the Ordnance Survey map) we exited Bourton Wood and found the small country lane leading to a field with a path to Batsford.

It was here, in the field, where we finally came across the culprits responsible for all the noises in the woods.

Pheasants.

Armies of them.

After watching these wonderful creatures for a while we stopped to nibble on our packed lunches – and then moved on to the nearby village of Batsford – deciding as soon as we entered to stop at the homely looking Horse and Groom pub for a coffee.

Once we’d had a leisurely drink (and my friend had helpfully consumed my evil complementary shortbread biscuit for me) we moved down the hill toward the Arboretum – stopping on the way to have a look at the lovely old St Lawrence church – which dates back to 1206 (it’s first recorded mention).

DSC03413DSC03424

Since I’m currently extremely skint going into the arboretum wasn’t on the plan for the day – and instead we were going to walk around the outskirts of it on the Heart of England Way in the hope that we might still catch a glimpse of the tree lines that people had paid to walk through.

Sadly we didn’t – but that didn’t really matter, because the views MORE than made up for missing out on a few pretty leaves. We also got to look at chickens.

And lets face it – who doesn’t love a chicken?!

DSC03445

 

DSC03470

It was at this point that my companion and I decided to try out the new ‘augmented reality’ element of the OS Maps application on my iPhone.

I have to say – I’m pretty impressed! It shows you where you are in relation to lots of other landmarks and makes finding out what you’re looking at REALLY REALLY easy!

IMG_4910

This is one of those instances where I have to say my skepticism about what initially appeared to me to be a gimmick intended to get Pokemon obsessed nerds out of their houses proved to be unfounded.

I think I like augmented reality! In this kind of context it can be a genuine game changer for exploration!

DSC03481

Shortly after this we were back in Blockley – and the sun was now shining – making the whole walk back an even greater pleasure than we expected it to be. With a few detours along the way we’d travelled around 7 miles and had (as usual) conducted some excellent twalking along the way.

It was almost sad to be going home – when the place we were leaving looked so damn twee and English country garden!

DSC03491

Anyway – it’s been another smashing day for calorie burning – and I’m hopefully still on track for a good loss on Saturday!

Turn over to the channel of your choice NOW internet if you’re not interested in what I’ve been eating and doing for #onplanoctober!

Here is the breakdown for Wednesday 11th

(Toby Carvery nutrition link)

  • 5 roast potatoes (10 syns) 430
  • Slice of beef, turkey, pork and gammon. 200 (?)
  • boiled cabbage 21
  • Mashed swede 20
  • Onions in gravy 30
  • sliced boiled carrots 24
  • 4 spoonfuls of mint sauce 40  (2 syns)
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 100g ham 119
  • Slimming World hifi bar x2 146 (HE)
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Yellow pepper 30
  • 3 small tomatoes 30
  • Half iceberg lettuce 20
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • Third of a cucumber 11
  • 100g blueberries 43
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154

Total calories consumed – 1970

Activity –

  • Active/total calories burned – 1217/3852
  • Cardio minutes – 61
  • Steps/miles walked – 18,526/9.54

Davey