It’s everywhere!

I’ve no idea what the scales will say this morning – but whatever it is I’m committed to going anyway.

I’ve been good all week long – but this morning (typically) I feel bloated, sluggish and heavy. It’s hot outside and I reckon I’m going to be retaining more than just water.

Unless things (ahem) get moving soon I’m gonna have a crappy morning on the scales (pun intended).

It’s not been a crappy couple of weeks however – and yesterday I managed to navigate another work event and it’s associated perils.

IMG_5629IMG_5630As generous as my company is (and they are) there wasn’t a lot laid out yesterday for the more health conscious amongst the hundreds of attendees at its conference.

In fact the single concessions to a healthy lifestyle at the event that I could find were Diet Coke and a large bowl of apples – which I took full advantage of.

I also ate the bacon and the egg from the provided breakfast rolls – but pulled the rind off before slinging it (along with the bread) into the bin.

I’ve nothing against carbs mind you – but refined ones are something I try to avoid as much as I can. White bread is a complete waste of dietary calories and bread in general just makes me feel slow and sleepy.

Needless to say when I got home, after a long day on my feet I was both tired AND hungry. On reflection I wish that I’d made a packed lunch – but hindsight is 20/20.

On the plus side there was a complete first for me in the shape of heatwave clothing.

My company had been very clear that the event was a ‘casual casual day’ and that since the current heatwave was expected to continue we could wear shorts if we wished.

I definitely wished.

Thankfully – I’m feeling confident enough with how I look nowadays (at least from the knees down) that I’m happy to be seen by anyone in my shorts – of which I now have several pairs.

So for the first time in my life I wore shorts to work yesterday.

How cool is that?!

IMG_5620I also got to sit in the new BMW i8 (A Hybrid Sports Car) for a brief moment to have my picture taken.

It’s been lurking in the car park at work for a couple of days (along with a couple of other bargain basement automobiles) looking sleek and sexy.

I’m definitely no petrol head (I actually walk more miles per year than I drive) but this is a seriously nice car. It’s upward opening doors look awesome – as do the exterior and interior views.

I’ve not clambered in or out of many cars in this price bracket (the i8 starts at around £106,000 I believe) but I have to say that not only would this have been impossible back when I started losing weight – but it would have been bloody tricky even a year ago when I climbed Snowdon.

It’s pretty crazy to think that that at the time I was around 19st – over 5st heavier than I am now.

Navigating oneself in and out of this beast is something of a tricky task that necessitates a driver of a certain size (it has huge sills with a very low seating position) and I found out the hard way that there was just no elegant way of accomplishing it.

I’m just glad I was wearing shorts and not a mini skirt.

It’s no wonder that Paris Hilton’s underwear (or lack of it) appeared in the news so much some years back.

When you’re silly rich then cars become equally silly to get in and out of.

IMG_5622Once you’re inside mind you it’s a really lovely place to sit.

Everything is close to hand and the car feels like tailor made clothing – which is I guess the aim at this kind of price point.

If you’re spending that much money on a car you want to feel like a Saudi Prince when you’re in it.

Given my choice of shirts for the day I was shooting more for ‘Saudi Princess’ however – and I think I pretty much nailed it.

IMG_5621Overall the day was a tiring but successful event – and I was pretty proud that I came home to eat rather than cracking and grabbing a plate of sandwiches and a donut when I was flagging.

It’s all too easy though to do this kind of thing though – and it frustrates me that society as a whole has to spend the lion’s share of its time resisting everything around them rather then being presented with overwhelmingly positive choices.

Whilst looking at the BBC News today I happened to notice an article that highlighted just how badly the most marginalised areas of society have it with regard to choice.

(Link to article)

It suggests that deprived areas in the country have as much as five times the number of fast food outlets that the more affluent ones do.

From their perspective it must seem like it’s everywhere and there’s little else in the way of choice.

It would be easy to argue I guess that it’s solely a money proposition. Many might argue that fast food is cheaper than healthy equivalents – and therefore the outlets are more relevant in the local communities that they’re found.

However I know from being unemployed that it’s possible to eat well on a budget (though maybe not as easy to get so many good calories) it just requires an understanding of what types of food you should be eating and the willpower to do it.

Unfortunately I think it’s the former that’s the major part of the problem.

Far too often I listen to conversations from a younger generation that seem to have little or no understanding of food groups – or where dietary staples come from and the nutrition that they contain.

It’s education that’s lacking – and sadly when we’re willing as a society to let television and advertising teach the adults of tomorrow what’s good food and what isn’t we’ll never have a healthy society.

The obesity and diabetes epidemics show no signs of stopping and I see no evidence that we will be anything other than an increasingly overweight and heavily medicated society in the years to come.

It makes me both sad and angry.

Supermarkets have a lot to answer for – because you can’t blame a fast food outlet for driving down its costs and selling food cheaply.

A while back it was pointed out in the evening standard that food packaging can drive up the cost of even healthy alternatives by an amazing 50%.

How is it right that a McDonald’s cheeseburger at 99p is cheaper than a six pack of Granny Smiths apples (£1.60) from Tesco?

It’s the reality in which we live though – and it’s one that people like me navigate daily.

It’s really harder than it needs to be too.

It should be a darned site easier if you ask me and government should take the lead by educating the youth of today to be the health nuts of tomorrow whilst at the same time dramatically decreasing the ability of companies that sell crap to market their products.

If they can sell cigarettes in plain packaging plastered with images of cancer then they should put a picture of a morbidly obese cadaver on a Big Mac because it’s practically the same thing in my view.

Both will kill you eventually but one will taste nicer while it does.

Anyway. I’ll climb down off my soapbox. It’s time to get ready and go to Slimming World.

(Author goes to weigh in)

Well – after being set for a maintain all week my body decided to go the other way this morning and hold onto whatever liquid/solid that it felt was necessary to not let go of.

I can live with that though. After the last two weeks of events and eating out I’m pretty pleased with this result.

Now it’s time to go for a walk internet – because my waistline doesn’t modify itself.

If I want to continue wearing shorts and feeling confident I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Again and again.

Davey

It’s gonna happen

I realised the other day that it’s been four calendar months since I hit target.

Time has officially flown – and it’s been helped along by what’s becoming an absolutely scorching summer.

Every day seems hotter than the last at the moment – which oddly suits me just fine.

I’m not sure quite why the transition happened but when I lost weight and spent a lot more time outdoors my previously pallid and easily burned skin instead became easily tanned and just got on with the job at hand.

I used to hate this weather – and now I love it!

The other thing that’s really different this year is sleep – and maybe because I’m fitter, don’t snore any more and have a lower heart rate I don’t seem to get so hot in bed.

This is something that makes me seriously happy because there’s nothing worse than sleep deprivation.

I still occasionally suffer from it mind you.

Now though it’s because from time to time my mind won’t calm down (this could be related to caffeine but I love coffee too much to give it up) and I run through my day and plan things on the horizon over and over.

I think about other people too and their happiness. It occupies a lot of my time.

There is something else of equal importance however because I’m also laser focused on trying to stay on target – which is easy to lose sight of if you miss weigh ins.

Thankfully I have the scales of ultimate accuracy to keep me honest – and at the moment I’m still right where I need to be.

This is a real balancing act mind you.

In between my last and next weigh ins I’ve had to negotiate a company conference filled with free food, two meals out, a wedding and an evening with colleagues in the pub.

The week isn’t over either. Before I weigh in I have a another company conference full of free food and a meal out once again.

The only way to deal with this is try and be strict when I can, forgive myself if I can’t and just keep walking.

Often it’s the latter that keeps me sane – and at the moment I’m still keeping up a respectable average for June – although its not quite what I wanted.

I sat down a lot at the wedding last weekend – which didn’t help (there’s not much you can do to avoid that kind of thing) but it was totally worth it.

However as fun as it was I think it killed off off any chance of an epic weekend total and a new monthly average miles PB of 10.8.

It hasn’t stopped me from trying mind you – and straight after work yesterday I headed out for a walk in the direction of Stratford with a friend along National Cycle route 41.

It’s a really lovely walk (around five miles) from near the Longbridge Island at the M40 to the Wyvale garden centre.

Honestly though by the time it was finished I was melting and was really looking forward to the cool of my house.

It’s where I am now – with my feet on a large pouffe – and I’m currently thinking about something a reader raised earlier today as they commented on an old post.

I love it when this happens because not only does it prompt me to revisit things I said previously and decide whether I still feel that way but it also gives me another perspective on events.

In this case it was about the perception that men who go to Slimming World seemed more focused and just ‘got on with things’.

The comments relayed that it was nice to see things from a guy’s perspective and know that they too had a similar set of mountains to climb.

I’ve heard this before in the past in my own group – a belief that all men just seem to lose weight easily and it doesn’t bother them that they have to.

I don’t think I ever set out to prove that men struggle just as much as women (honestly I’m no crusader) but it does make me feel good that someone pointed out there were very few men out there blogging about the emotional landscape associated with weight loss and admitting that things are hard for them too.

We’re definitely not immune from fears about failure or how we’ll fit into the world, or indeed whether it and it’s inhabitants will love us when we’ve lost the weight.

As positive as I try to be there are days when I still look in the mirror and ask myself ‘who are you kidding?’

At times I feel I look a worn down mess of skin and stretch marks and it upsets me.

I’m still prone to thinking that people will judge me more for my failures than they will my successes and that every potential partner will view me as nothing but a network of scars – never seeing the man I am underneath.

The truth of it is it took me a LONG time to find the sense of balance (which at times is still fragile) I have now and to move away from the near constant fear of failure that I’ve built up after putting weight back on time and time again in the past.

However this time I think I’ve genuinely cracked it.

The man I am now feels like he’s going nowhere and that he’s learned from his mistakes. He sees the pitfalls and traps that are so easy to fall into and he knows how quickly they can lead to a vicious downwards spiral.

He’s absolutely determined that the new version of him becomes the only version forevermore.

The difference this time is that this is my life now.

It’s not a quick fix where I can ‘just go on a diet and then start eating normally’. It’s borne out of a desire to not live in the past, to not make the same errors and to be a role model to anyone that feels as lost as I once used to.

Every step forward I make is a gift – and it’s one that I never thought I’d still be here to receive or physically take.

So, when I’m out at a conference or a meal in a restaurant the temptation to indulge is always there – but it’s tempered by an understanding of what ‘treating myself’ truly means.

It’s not drinking alcohol, it’s not eating sugary desserts, and it’s not wolfing down fatty foods or deep fried carbs.

That’s hurting myself.

It’s hiding whatever problems I have with a quick fix and in reality all it does is diminish me.

Treating myself is saying ‘just a small amount’ or ‘no’ altogether and choosing a healthy option.

It’s going for a walk when everyone else is sitting on the sofa and it’s looking at my fitness stats with a sense of satisfaction as I fall asleep from genuine tiredness rather than slipping into a carb coma.

Ultimately internet – whilst sometimes I struggle to look at my body in the mirror I can now always look myself in the eye and smile.

That’s because what I’m looking at total hard work and commitment.

That’s why I’m so focused – and THAT’S why I’m getting my diamond target member badge.

It’s gonna happen.

Mark my words.

Davey

Fictitious Dave

A while back I attended a large social event – and it was a really lovely day.

The sun was shining, everyone there seemed happy and content – the music was laid back, children were roaming all over the place with smiling, painted faces and there was a nice vibe in the air.

At the time however I really struggled.

Conversation didn’t come easy and even though I chatted with people I didn’t feel like I was doing a very good job of it – which made each subsequent interaction more difficult than the one before because I started to overthink and worry about it.

People that know me may be surprised to learn that this used to happen to me quite a lot. When it did I tended to just clam up and retreat into the cover of silence – and my natural tendency is still to try and avoid repeating the same situation again.

When I spoke to friends about this behaviour I couldn’t help but bookend it with nostalgic and romanticised thoughts about alcohol.

Over many years pretty much all of my major social events have been both lubricated and propelled by it and on a few occasions lately I’ve been left feeling that things (in this respect) used to be easier when I drank.

In response they’ve naturally replied ‘have you never considered just drinking on special occasions? Just one or two here or there? Surely you’re in control now?’

The truth is that I probably am in control and would be if I did – but I really don’t ever want to do it again. The health implications regarding diabetes alone make my blood run cold.

However the more I thought about it (I try not to dismiss anyone’s suggestions – whatever they may be) the more I realised what the truth was.

I just wasn’t very good at socialising and I hadn’t had enough practice.

In just the same way as I used drink to cover or diminish intense emotion I also used it as a crutch for my feelings of social awkwardness – and having to go back to it seems like admitting I have a personality flaw that I’m incapable of addressing.

Irked by this realisation I resolved that rather then paper over the cracks of a weakness with alcohol the answer was just to get better at socialising!

If I can lose 20st then I can definitely crack being a bit nervous in front of people I don’t know.

Having some very good friends is a plus and a minus because their unwavering support means it’s comfortable and easy to be with people that I love and know well.

My life is currently blessed with many meaningful friendships and because of these I haven’t had many situations where I’ve been forced to think on my feet and walk into an environment knowing next to no-one and just fend for myself.

With this in mind I’ve been trying to work on my weaknesses.

Just like walking it’s definitely something that gets easier the more you do it – and as that happens the more you enjoy it.

Yesterday I knew I was taking a day off from SW and didn’t weigh in – instead heading over to Sping Grove House (link) in the West Midlands Safari Park.

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This is a truly stunning Georgian Mansion – and yesterday became the wedding venue of one of my brother’s best friends – who (after a lengthy engagement) had finally gotten around to tying the knot with her partner.

Although we’ve always known of one another peripherally – and spoken on social media we’ve not entered eachother’s physical orbit much in the past.

If I’m honest this was completely because of my long standing weight related embarrassment. I just couldn’t handle the fear that people would judge me harshly and I’d developed some serious hermit tendencies to cope with it.

Whenever the opportunity came up to socialise with someone I didn’t already know I invariably found a way out of it, and as a jokey reaction to never seeing me in person for many years she had slowly begun to refer to me as ‘fictitious Dave‘.

It’s testament to her kindness and persistence therefore that despite my previous reticence to engage she invited me along to share their special day.

And it was special.

The whole ceremony was lovely – and being a civil one was wholly about the love and bond that they shared, which truthfully left something of a lump in my throat.

These guys are so well suited it’s nuts.

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The venue couldn’t have been more perfect – and from the surrounding to the decor, food and music everything just flowed.

The music was also darn near perfect. The happy couple entered to ‘Somethin Stupid’ by Robbie Williams and Nichole Kidman and once married left to ‘Mr Blue Sky’ by ELO.

I doubt anyone could have picked better songs. The sun was shining for the WHOLE day – and when we exited into the garden (so that the room could be prepared for the wedding lunch) there was a lovely surprise.

On one of the tables laid out on the patio a Safari Park keeper has brought along some animals for the children to stroke – and since I’m a sucker for anything small and furry I made my way to the front where my sister in law was already petting what seemed like a baby hedgehog.

Although I forget the proper name that the keeper used this (I think) is an African Pygmy hedgehog – and it’s no baby. It’s actually fully grown and was really content with being stroked and peered at.

The next animal (a chinchilla) wasn’t so chilled however – and didn’t stay still for long at all.

However it did allow me a couple of gentle passes with my hand on its fur – and I was absolutely blown away by how incredibly soft it was.

According to the keeper (in comparison to a human) a chinchilla has ten hairs in the same space that a we would have one.

Consequently it’s so fine and delicate that it’s like touching air.

This broke down a lot of barriers with people and once we’d all sat down and agreed how cute they were I got to know a few of the guests – who I was quickly realising came from pretty much everywhere.

Before we knew it we’d been shooting the breeze for nearly an hour – and by this time everyone was really relaxed.

I don’t have many group photos of me, my brother and sister in law but this one (taken at the same time) I think is a keeper.

It’s not the only good photo though – because quite unexpectedly I found myself on a really chatty dinner table full of people that seemed to have the same sense of humour that I did.

I’m not sure whether this was planned – but two of the people actually lived in Warwick too – and the super friendly lady next to me appeared to be a really capable conversationalist who had me laughing through most of my dinner and occasionally sniggering during the speeches too.

She diverted my attention so much in fact that (despite my tendency to photograph most of my meals) I completely forgot to get a snap of the main course.

The starter looked and tasted awesome however – and was a ham hock terrine with piccalilli and a crusty piece of bread.

I’m not sure whether this is good or bad from a dietary perspective but I’d made a pact with myself to avoid the other temptation and ignored the sweets that were sitting (looking innocently evil) on all of the tables.

I also passed on dessert (which looked rather nice) AND the cake later on – but DID indulge in the buffet curry that rolled out just before the dance floor opened up in the early evening.

By the time we left though I have to admit I was flagging. Despite the excellent company I needed to prop myself up with caffeine – but sadly (even though I managed to secure several cups of brown nectar) this completely failed to perk me up.

It had been a long day though and I wasn’t alone in feeling this way.

By 10pm the girls on the table were all making pained noises about the agony of wearing unfamiliar heels and the boys were just yawning.

My work event (where I lost an entire night’s sleep) was still looming large. It’s simply not possible to miss out on that much shut eye with no consequences.

However there was still just enough in the tank to drive the people I’d met back to their nearby hotel and make my way home to Warwick with a smile on my face – which was still there when I turned off the light and climbed into bed.

I have to say it was one of the best weddings I’ve ever been to – and not just because of the organisation and the setting.

I left feeling like I’d made some new friends, strengthened relationships that I’d neglected to develop for many years, and just got to know a thoroughly lovely bunch of guests.

Dave is no longer fictitious.

There’s a face associated with the name now and he’s becoming surprisingly social.

Davey

GPS hunt

There are some teeny tiny little things in everyday life that probably mean nothing to anyone else – but to me they’re epic moments of success.

As I type I’m sitting in the back of a car full of people.

To most people this is the short straw and something of a raw deal because sitting in the front seat is infinitely preferable.

The back seat is cramped and it has three men on it who are shoulder to shoulder – however (even though it’s very cosy) I’m just chuffed beyond words that I’m one of them and able to sit here without feeling like I’m taking up more than my fair share.

My seatbelt is on, I have loads of leg room, I fit comfortably in my seat and I’m able to put my knees together.

None of this was possible a couple of years ago.

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Furthermore I wouldn’t have even been in someone else’s car in the first place.

I’d have been driving myself to my destination to avoid the embarrassment of trying (and invariably failing) to get a seatbelt on in any car other than my own.

The reason I’m in this situation is that I’m out if work today on a team building exercise and I’m staying for the evening in hotel Stratford-upon-Avon.

Oddly (although I live only 15 miles away) I’ve not spent much time in Stratford. I know next to nothing about the history of the place or the more nuanced elements of it’s character.

That may be about to change…

(Author spends the day doing things and then continues writing his blog the next day.)

Well – although I’ve not had much sleep (largely related to coffee) I’m in a pretty good frame of mind because yesterday contained another real triumph too. It turned out that simply sitting in a car was the least of the things I had to be happy about.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The hotel was pretty neat – and waaaay higher up the comfort scale that I’m used to, because if I was paying for this myself I’d definitely have been looking for a B&B!

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Normally I don’t really feel at home when every surface is covered in marble – but I made the best of things and resolved to grin and bear the hardships that life had seen fit to throw at me.

The day didn’t go too badly in this respect either because rather out of the blue I got a nice little room upgrade due to a mix up involving duplicate card keys. As I let myself into what I thought was my assigned room it turned out that I was strolling into a colleague’s room very unexpectedly!

Thankfully (although I’d surprised him) he’d already hidden the body he’d almost certainly been disposing of and there was no other significant embarrassment.

After a chat with reception to make up for this they hurriedly moved me to the top floor and into a king size with a view!

IMG_5291IMG_5275The team building event was all very useful and all the people there (a lot of whom I’d heard of but never met) seemed very happy to meet eachother – as well as willing to tuck in and enjoy the seemingly endless food that the company and venue had laid on.

As a Slimming World focused guy this all looked extremely off limits (I did have an egg and a bacon roll, but threw away the bread and the rind) – so I instead focused on the fruit and grabbed a few apples.

However there was one really great perk.

Unlimited coffee!

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Lunch was pretty similar – and while there was a buffet style arrangement with a cheesy baked pasta with deep fried wedges and breaded scampi there was also a lot of fruit and chilled meat.

Once again I made a healthier choice and grabbed a load of watermelon, some carrot and pepper sticks, a little pasta and some ham.

This filled a gap (I did go back for more) and along with (far too much) coffee managed to see me through the day.

After the event’s workshop my company had also organised a fun team building GPS challenge that would split us all up and force us to head out on foot to explore around Stratford-upon-Avon.

The idea behind it was to learn more about the people we were with, make us work together and go on a ‘guide free’ guided tour. If I’m honest I couldn’t have been happier about this – as it had already proved to be a little hard to fit in my usual amount of miles and steps with everything that had been going on.

We were presented with a GPS enabled tablet – told to head for any of many ‘locked’ areas on the map and work though the challenges that we found there.

They wouldn’t unlock until we arrived, and along the way we could earn extra points with general knowledge and business related multiple choice questions.

As soon as we set off I realised I’d been matched up with three pretty fit and extremely competitive people who were all frequently breaking into a jog to get from A to B. As soon as we left the building and they immediately took off like a hares at a greyhound race in the direction of the most distant locked point on the map.

The amazing thing (this kind of thing still surprises me) is that I was able not only to keep up but felt perfectly comfortable when I did.

As we navigated around the sites of interest, took photos, staged funny videos and chatted to random members of the public as part of the challenges that kept unlocking I became aware that I was really enjoying the energy of it all.

My pulse was racing with excitement rather than exhaustion!

As the two hour deadline assigned to us ticked down it also became apparent when the tablet started pinging that we were narrowly ahead in the rankings. When all of a sudden the scoresheet disappeared we realised that very little stood between a total loss and a resounding victory – so we rushed even more.

By the time we were back in the room we were looking at a lot of other pretty tired people – some of whom seemed to be really flagging – whilst others were similarly energised.

One of my day to day team members had been with another group and they had been very close to our score.

We eyed eachother suspiciously…

Who had beaten who?

As the winners were announced, and funny pictures or videos from the day were thrown up on the projection screen everyone seemed on the edge of their seats and the table with the four of us actually seemed like we were literally on the edge of our seats.

Then our names were absent.

The announcer callout out the table behind us and one by one put the winning medals on another team….

We looked at eachother.

What the heck?

How had that happened?

We were SO close!!!

Was the tablet broken?

Had our score not uploaded?

Then the announcer turned to them and said ‘and take those medals off and give them to the REAL winners – whose score was over 100 points higher – and pointed to my team!!!

We only went and frikkin won the whole thing!!!!!

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After a lot of laughter and congratulations (as well as commiserations) we all headed beck to our rooms to get ready for our evening’s activity – which was a meal at the rooftop restaurant in the RSC.

Once again this is waaaaay swankier than I’d normally go for – and because we were such a big group we ended up spilling over from one huge table into another room – which looked like King Arthur should have been the guest of honour…

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The food (which in my case was ordered in advance) was a pretty stress free SW experience – because although not everything I’d be eating was perfectly in plan it was as good as I was going to get.

I had the mackerel for a starter (with rhubarb and celeriac), and the chicken and bacon for a main.

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I’ll be honest and say that this didn’t touch the sides – and despite my best intentions I ended up eating the complimentary biscuits in the room later that evening (2 large chocolate cookies and 2 ginger nuts) which must have been absolutely loaded with syns.

However – I’m not going to stress about it.

Life’s for living after all.

Since I don’t drink alcohol I went to bed well before the (rather well oiled) party finished in the bar that evening, in the hope that I’d get a good night’s sleep.

However – this wasn’t meant to be – and probably because of being in a strange bed combined with all of the soft and diet drinks I’d been having (alongside buckets of sparking water) I was awake pretty much all night.

By 5.30am I decided to give up on sleep and go for a walk along the river and around the town before breakfast at 6.30.

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There was practically no-one around except me – so I just had to take a shameless tourist selfie outside Shakespeare’s house, and also outside the really odd Christmas shop thats open ALL YEAR ROUND right opposite it.

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(why?….)

Whilst mooching around I also noticed that near the RSC all of the houses had rather unique door knockers!

How cool are these?!!!

After taking snaps of people’s front doors I wandered back along the peaceful riverbank and back to the hotel for the start of the breakfast window.

I scared the life out of the lady on the booking desk who (thanks to my recent Clarkes Shoes purchase) didn’t hear or see me coming at all. Yaaay for comfort and sneakability!!!

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Faced with a lot of choice and at the same time feeling rather tired and worn out I once again tried to food optimise – but this was tough.

Buffets can be good for things like that – as long as you try and keep the ratios right – and broadly speaking I think I sort of managed it, but my willpower was at a bit of a low ebb.

I’m not gonna lie – I went back for seconds too.

But you know what – all in all I had a great time!

I met a lot of lovely people, won a challenge I’d never have had a hope in hell of even competing in previously and got to explore Stratford a bit more.

All in all internet it was a really welcome break from the norm!

Davey

P.S. thats not the only break from the usual because I’m not weighing in today. In a minute I’m heading off to yet another engagement. More on that in a later post 🙂

Vole!

Some days I don’t have a lot to say – which can come as something of a surprise to those who know me – because I’ve never the type to use bullet points when a paragraph will do.

Today though I don’t think I need to use a huge amount of words because sometimes pictures speak for themselves.

They’re nice right? Lots of grass. Lots of trees – plenty of my usual fayre.

They’re ok I guess – but nothing amazing.

Until I bumped into the subject of my next photo.

This evening I’ve been expending excess energy walking around Leek Wootton and as always I have my camera at the ready which this evening was a REALLY good thing, because as I was walking through a gate I spied THIS LITTLE GUY (about an inch and a half long) scurry for cover under a leaf.

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How insanely lovely is this Vole?!

This is unbelievably not only one of the best photos I’ve ever taken – but it’s also captured by my iPhone!

I’m absolutely buzzing right now!

This teeny tiny ball of fur and whiskers not only let me get close enough for this super precious picture – but a video too!!!!

That’s pretty much all I had to say.

(Boom. drops the mic)

Apart from this…

(Picks up the mic)

GET UP, GET OUT, GO FOR A WALK AND EXPLORE NATURE!!!!

If you want to feel good internet then this is the way to do it. You don’t need TV, you don’t need booze, and you don’t need other things either. All you need is your feet and the world around you.

I flipping love my life and what it’s become because I feel like I was was blind beforehand.

Now I can see everything in technicolour!

Davey

Peaceful hypochondriac

I’m a big believer in non-scale victories as a motivational tool and when it comes to quantifiable fitness levels due to exercise and weight loss NOTHING makes me happier than when I can see evidence of how positive choices affect my life.

A few years ago, as many of my regular readers will know I had type 2 diabetes, pre-hypertension blood pressure, high cholesterol and at almost 35 stone was unable to walk to the end of my street.

I was a man in his early forties already trapped in his house and circling the drain.

Whilst wandering through the Leamington Peace festival (link) at the weekend admiring the colourful people and soaking up the scent of vegan street food mixed with incense I stopped at a tent and looked inside.

‘Free health checks!’ Read the sign hammered into the floor nearby.

I looked briefly at the people behind the flaps and was about to move along when a friendly lady waved a blue clipboard in my direction and said ‘would you like one?’

I turned and looked at her.

‘Ummm – I dunno…’ I replied. ‘…what does it entail exactly?’

‘Well we do a few measurements – check your weight, body fat, heart rate, blood pressure, peak air flow and heart recovery. It takes about 20 minutes.’

I looked at my watch – suddenly realising when I did that I had no-where else to be in a hurry.

‘Ummmm… ok.’ I said – completely unable to think of a reason to say no.

‘Great!’ She said enthusiastically. ‘Just fill in some basic info and pop inside to get weighed.’

I did as I was told – and within a few minutes (after having my height checked – where I appeared to have shrunken an inch to 5ft 10) I was standing on a body fat measuring scale.

‘You’re 94.3kg.’ Said a helpful lady dressed in green. ‘Your body fat is in a really good range too – it’s 18.6% – but your BMI is a bit high. That’s 30.1

I smiled at her, thinking that I’d definitely have been lighter if I’d been to the loo, hadn’t been drinking coffee all morning and wasn’t wearing rather heavy clothes.

‘I’ve lost a bit of weight lately.’ I said. I’m happy with my BMI right where it is.

(The NHS concours incidentally. According to its app I’m apparently still a lardy boy – but no longer classed as obese. Personally I disagree with it’s less than nuanced assessment.)

‘Well oddly…’ She said, looking at the results ‘I’d have to agree. You don’t have too much body fat. You look quite healthy too!’

I nodded.

‘I walk a lot.’ I said. ‘Back and forth to work.’

‘That’s great – walking is a good exercise!’ She said. ‘Head over to the next desk. They’ll do your blood pressure.’

I did as I was told, and after a brief introduction where I mentioned my previous hypertension problem I soon had a testing cuff on my right arm.

As it chugged away filling with air the man in front of me told me to relax.

I sipped from my flask of coffee – forgetting that this probably wouldn’t help matters.

‘Hmmm….’ he said when it was done. ‘That seems low. Let’s do that again.’

He released the Velcro on the cuff and re-applied it to my arm. The machine whirred into life again and this time I sat in silence, didn’t touch my coffee and stared into space listening to the nearby vegans walking by.

‘Ok – well it’s come out the same.’ He said, writing the results down.

‘Do you take a lot of medication for high blood pressure?’ He asked.

‘Nope.’ I replied. ‘No medication at all actually.’

‘Well – that blood pressure is excellent. It’s 116/68 – and your resting heart rate is 43.’

He looked up at me again after noting it on my form.

‘Do you exercise?’ he said.

‘I walk a lot.’ I replied. ‘Back and forth to work, sometimes at lunch and in the evenings too.’

‘Well keep it up!’ He grinned. ‘It’s clearly working for you!’

I shook his hand, picked up my clip board and moved to the next desk – (the hydration station) where a lady told me to drink more water every day as I sipped my coffee.

I told her I was very hydrated indeed and drank at least 4 pints of water (with caffeine suspended in it) every day.

She didn’t seem in the least impressed with my efforts and gave me a plastic bladder filled with caffeine free see through water and a biblical quote printed on the side.

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‘Everyone who is thirsty may come and freely drink of the water of life – Revelation 22:17’ it said as a helpful reminder.

I thanked her and moved to where she was pointing with her biro.

A tall, fit looking wiry man in shorts with grey hair (who seemed like he was bursting with energy) was standing next to two exercise steps and holding a stopwatch in his hand.

‘Have a read of this disclaimer and sign at the bottom.’ He said – handing me a piece of paper on a smaller clipboard along with a biro. I read it through – and added my signature, confirming that I had nothing wrong with me that may cause me to unexpectedly drop dead in front of him.

Next to me a lady around my age was also filling one in.

‘Hello!’ I said, drinking my religious water.

‘Hi! She smiled – revealing a slightly twitchy grin.

‘I’ve been meaning to do this all weekend…’ She said ‘… because I’m a TOTAL hypochondriac and I want to see if there’s anything really wrong.’

She looked at my clipboard and then at her own.

‘Were you here yesterday too?’ I asked.

‘I have a stall over there.’ She said, vaguely pointing over her shoulder as she stared at the results she’d accumulated so far on her clipboard.

‘Ah ok – cool.’ I replied.

‘Right.’ Said the tall wiry man in shorts with the stopwatch.

‘I want you on the steps for three minutes…’

He looked us both in the eye.

‘…and the objective is to keep up a good pace. You need to raise your heart rate.’

He demonstrated the art of stepping as he spoke. It didn’t look unduly complex. Full feet only. No toes.

‘Ok’ I said and stood in front of the left hand step with the hypochondriac lady to my right – facing another similar step.

I looked down.

Hers had ‘Reebok’ written in big letters on it and it looked newer than mine – which was  non-descript and had a worn black rubberised surface.

‘I have one of these at home.’ She said to me, pointing down at the Reebok step. ‘I do ten minutes in front of the television in the evening.’

‘That’s good.’ I replied ‘I bet time flies if you’re watching Love Island!’

She stared at me.

I got the distinct impression she didn’t watch Love Island.

Go!‘ Said the wiry man with the stop watch.

I started stepping briskly.

‘How many flights does someone normally walk up in 3 minutes?’ I asked after a little while.

‘I don’t know. Quite a few I bet. Maybe I should work it out.’ He replied. ‘Keep going.’

After a minute had elapsed he checked in with us. ‘Two minutes to go.’ He said.

I noticed that hypochondriac lady had started stepping in time with my pace and she seemed to be breathing more heavily than I was.

‘Have you been busy today?’ I said, chatting to the wiry man with the stopwatch.

‘Yes we have actually.’ He replied. ‘Keep going. One minute left.’

‘Time goes faster when you’re talking’ I said to hypochondriac lady, smiling.

She looked back at me but didn’t reply.

‘Ok…. aaaaaaannnnd STOP!’ Said the man with the stopwatch, and reached forward to place a small blue heart rate monitoring clip on each of our index fingers.

He watched both of them for a moment as the readings settled.

‘Ok… he said to me – your heart rate is 60. Remember that number.’

I nodded.

‘And you…. you’re 119.’ He said to the lady next to me.

‘What?!’ She said. ‘He’s 60 and I’m 119?!’

For a moment I thought she was going to demand a re-count.

‘Yep.’ He replied. ‘Remember it and write it on the clipboard. He took the clips off and started his stopwatch once again.

‘Sit over there and I’ll take your resting heart rate in a couple of minutes.’ He said – pointing to the seats we’d been sitting on before.

I sat down and the lady sat next to me. Without asking if it was ok or looking at me she immediately leaned over my clipboard in total silence, reading all of my stats.

She then pulled out her phone and stared Googling numbers.

She huffed, sounding unimpressed.

She looked at her clipboard once more, then leant over again and looked at mine – still without asking or saying anything, before Googling a different datapoint.

‘Right. That’s time.’ Said the wiry man with the stopwatch. ‘I’ll just pop these on again…’ he said – and placed the little blue heart monitors on our fingers.

He waited for them to settle.

’41.’ He said to me smiling. ‘That’s really good – it’s actually the same as me!’

She looked at him, waiting for her prognosis.

‘100.’ He said to her. ‘Yours is quite high. You probably need to do more exercise.’

She looked down at my clipboard again, reading its results for a third time and verifying them against her own.

Her body language spoke volumes. It was practically screaming ‘How has he cheated the test?!!’

‘You can move onto the lung capacity station now’ said the energetic wiry stopwatch man.

I complied – and left her busily looking at things on her phone to sit in front of a young man with a lung testing device.

‘Pick one.’ He said in an eastern European accent – motioning to a large cardboard box to the left of him that was full of plastic tubes. ‘They’re all new – just grab one and pop it into the end of the monitor.’

I did as I was told.

‘Now BLOW!!!‘ He said enthusiastically.

I blew. Enthusiastically.

‘650’ He said. ‘That’s good. You’re not a smoker are you?’

‘I used to be.’ I replied. ‘I gave up.’

‘I bet you exercise too?’ He said

‘I walk a lot.’ I replied. ‘Back and forth to work.’

‘Well it’s working.’ He said ‘You’re supposed to be at 640 – so that’s better than good.’ He smiled. ‘You can move on.’

I moved on.

Better than good. I like that. Being worse than good is never good.

That’s bad.

‘Hi!’ Said a chipper middle aged lady with a nice smile and a healthy tan at the next table.

‘I’m going to fill in all of your details and tell you how old you really are.’

Her fingers were poised and ready to type above a battered and elderly aluminium MacBook Pro.

It looked like a 2008 model. You can tell by the thickness and the ports. I’m a nerd. It’s a curse. I can’t help myself.

‘How much sleep do you have?’ She said.

‘About 5-6 hours typically.’ I replied, looking at the mag-safe power connector.

It’s a really elegant design. It prevents a lot of accidents when people trip over cables.

‘I don’t find I need much more and I get up a lot in the night. I eat tons of veg in the evening so I always want a wee.’

She nodded, typing.

‘Do you eat breakfast?’ She asked from behind the glowing Apple logo.

‘Not really’ I replied. ‘Rarely.’

She carried on typing on the subtly backlit keyboard. The Macbook had a slot loading DVD drive.

Sigh. Those were the days. DVD drives…

‘I do eat breakfast when I stay at hotels – but otherwise I’m never normally hungry till later in the day.’ I said.

‘Ok – getting more sleep and eating breakfast will make you live longer.’ She said matter of factly and started printing off my results. ‘However your health age is already younger than your actual age.’

She handed me the paper and I scanned the results.

The crosses weren’t quite in their boxes.

I could fix that – but I decided not to go into detail.

I was more concerned that the promised additional 30 years of health at the top of the printout was decided upon in 1972 when people ate lard whilst smoking pipes in flammable shirts and driving cars without seatbelts.

‘You’re 43.2‘ and you already have an extra three years on your life span’ she said. ‘Get more sleep and you could have even more!’

I thanked the lady, shook her outstretched hand and moved to the last table – which was full of pulses and healthy grains in little labelled polythene bags.

I sat down in front of brown rice and noticed quinoa to my left and edamame beans in the middle of the table.

The man behind the desk stared at my results.

He was sitting in front of lentils.

‘Do you exercise?’ He asked.

‘I walk a lot.’ I replied. ‘Back and forth to work.’

I paused for a moment, focusing on oats.

‘Well – I walk a LOT actually.’ I said. ‘I actually walk around 3600 miles a year – and about ten miles a day on average. I’ve also lost 20 stone and pushed type two diabetes into remission as well as my previously high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.’

He fell silent.

I noticed that his hand was resting by dried chick peas.

‘Do you want to see a picture?’ I asked.

‘Yes!’ He said enthusiastically.

I showed him my favourite, placing my phone on the table in front of him by kidney beans.

‘I’m pretty darned proud of that picture.’ I said. ‘It represents a lot of hard work.’

‘It really does!’ He replied. ‘Well done you!

‘It’s always nice to have a check up and make sure everything is ok though.’ I continued. ‘It keeps me on track. I like to see continued evidence because it keeps me focused.’

He nodded.

For the next few minutes we chatted as if we’d known each other for a long time – and we shared thoughts about diabetes and how much of a change people can make with even just a little effort.

He was frustrated (like I was) that the national health service didn’t tell people what we both knew was possible – that it could all be fixed or immeasurably improved with continued effort and a healthy lifestyle.

I liked him. He seemed very well meaning and he genuinely wanted to help other people live better lives.

He also thought the same way I did.

You can’t tell people how to live their lives if they don’t want to listen. It’s far more powerful to demonstrate the capacity that we all have for profound change and let them draw their own conclusions.

I left (after warmly shaking his hand) feeling that the world needs more people like the ones in that tent – who freely gave up their spare time to make a difference.

It needs armies of them in fact – all ready to show anyone that will listen the evidence that is hiding in their own bodies.

Hypochondriac lady had by this time walked off. She had told me she didn’t want to receive a print out or a conclusion.

I wondered if she preferred to silently worry instead of listen. Hopefully not.

Maybe she’d left the tent with a renewed need to stand on her step in front of Love Island. Maybe she would harness her obvious dissatisfaction with my stats and combine it with her dislike of amorous youngsters in swimwear.

Maybe it would fuel her exercise for longer periods.

Maybe it was a turning point…

The thing is – you never know when such a thing is going to arrive. You just have to be in the right place at the right time – and possibly that was the push she needed to get fitter.

I hope so internet – because it would be great to think that if in a few months time she looked down at another piece of paper like this one that she’d smile like I had.

IMG_5211.jpg

Lord only knows where the back massage disappeared to though. I really fancied one of those…

Davey

Perspective and new shoes

Something that I still find rather surprising in WordPress is when I get lots of ‘single hits’.

Occasionally I’ll pick up a new subscriber who appears to have a lot of time on their hands (I do rather love these guys and gals) and for a week or two they almost single handedly account for the lion’s share of traffic hitting my site.

Typically I can spot this kind of new reader because my older blogs get sequential hits one by one. If I refresh my stats (although I can’t see who is doing this just in case you wondered) I know that someone is wading through my history in date order and following my journey as it unfolded.

It often makes me realise that the mind is a funny thing – because you can occasionally be lulled into thinking that life has always been the way it is at any one given moment in time.

It’s kind of like being in the dead of winter, standing in the snow and finding it impossible to imagine how it would feel if the sun was shining and you were wearing shorts and a tee shirt.

I’ve written so many posts now (584!) that I’m honestly forgetting what some of them contain.

This is a little unsettling because at the time I constructed these, each one was read, re-read and then read again MANY times before publication as I tinkered with the thoughts and wording.

Many remain delightfully imperfect (surprisingly I like that) and often I find punctuation or spelling errors that I’ve missed – but on the whole I thought that I knew each and every one of them.

They’re all little bits of me after all.

Each post contains the unvarnished truth of that particular moment (albeit in a literary container designed to be easily consumed) and in many ways when I pressed ‘publish’ it felt like I was watching little children wander out into the world and wondering if they’d be ok without me.

Not so long ago someone read ‘one to twenty’ (link) and when I saw this pop up on my phone I followed the link to look at the post.

I remembered the title – but not what it related to – and as I read the content it took me back to a time that I felt broken.

Back then I was struggling with almost everything in life and I still hadn’t mustered up the strength to tackle my weight.

I had been sober for just over a month and a ‘taste’ for alcohol was still in the back of my mind.

I was seeking help for what I now freely admit to myself was alcoholism and although not quite at my lowest I wasn’t that far off.

The power of writing moments like this down is very much like noting all of your body measurements when you embark upon a diet – because no matter how hard you try not to you’re almost certain to occasionally fail.

The question at the point of crisis then becomes (if you don’t say ‘screw it’ and press the self destruct button) ‘how do I recapture my drive and pull things back around?’

My blog (and old posts like this) fill just such a gap – because just like the days where you achieve inch loss instead of weight loss and thank your lucky stars you had the presence of mind to get that tape measure out when you really didn’t want to it allows me to step back in time and to stand in the shoes of someone I don’t know any more.

The gift of continued perspective just keeps giving – and I’ve learned that such insight is precious.

if I could give any advice when it comes to achieving anything in life it’s this:

You need to cultivate these nuggets wherever you can – because as uncomfortable as the truth of your past (or present) is it’s still the truth and you NEED to face it.

So – if you’re reading this and wanting to make a change to anything that you don’t like about yourself take time out to retain a snapshot of who you are now.

Even if it emotionally hurts to take a selfie, to measure your bingo wings, to check how fast you can walk a mile, to know how fast your heart beats when you climb up your stairs or how long you can stand before things begin to hurt JUST DO IT.

It’s often the difference between success and failure further down the line.

You might feel strong now – but we’re only as successful as our worst day – and when your back is against the wall you need to find some ammo in your almost empty clip.

I’ve realised that amongst many other things that I’ve changed about my life and outlook over the last few years it’s this that’s become a pivotal element of what I hope will be lifelong success.

In my case I’m everywhere now.

I’m my own top hit in Google and I can’t escape myself.

I’m plastered all over social media (despite my natural reticence in this area) and that’s a good thing.

Instead of feeling exposed and vulnerable like I expected to when I started I now feel the absolute opposite. My failures and struggles not only help other people but they help me too.

I can look back now with pride instead of regret because of this – and that’s something that’s infinitely more precious than wealth, status or material possessions.

Well – almost

I bought some new Clarkes shoes yesterday and they’re flipping awesome.

As I type I’m in the middle of a continued and prolonged footgasm.

They’re soooooo comfortable!!!

Granted I doubt they’ll win me the title of ‘trendiest guy in the universe’ but holy crap do they make me feel happy!!!

Here’s to perspective and new shoes internet.

May they both last forever!

Davey

The fast fix

It’s been a while since I wrote a post where I felt anger was the motivating factor – but as I type I must admit that my baser instincts are in the background.

After a friend recommended I have a look at it I’ve been watching a programme called ‘The fast fix – Diabetes’ – which has been on ITV (if you’re in the UK) this week. (link)

In it a mixture of normal people and celebrity guests have been guinea pigs for a university research project that aimed to prove type two diabetes is not only reversible – but the process can be done without ANY drugs – and within eight weeks.

It sounds good right?

Excellent subject matter!

It is – on both counts.

However the reason that I’m ANGRY is that watching it makes me feel seriously short changed. When I was originally diagnosed my healthcare professionals (probably under pressure – and maybe without the benefit of the latest research to hand) told me the opposite to what I’ve seen in this programme again and again.

From the moment I was handed the news that I was type 2 I was told face to face and within the literature I was given the same lies. These were firstly that whilst I could manage my condition with a better lifestyle the type two that I’d developed would always be a part of my life and secondly that it was inevitable this would eventually turn into insulin dependent type one.

Others outside the medical profession suggested it might have been reversible – and I was battered to death with well meaning link after link after link – but medical science seemed to think otherwise.

not knowing what to do for the best I deferred to the advice of my practice.

Honestly though I have to be truthful. At that point in my life it’s entirely possible (probable even) that no matter what anyone would have said I’d have been the same man with the same behaviours. Back then I had complex emotional and physical issues and I had convinced myself it was impossible to overcome them.

The thing that I’m angry about is that at a time when I felt there was absolutely zero hope the people in charge of my care failed me.

  • My initial results were lost and I went misdiagnosed for quite a while
  • My appointments for blood tests only materialised if I pestered my surgery
  • A diabetes forum at the local hospital remained closed to me after repeated requests for membership over a two year period
  • My condition was monitored only every six months (this isn’t a dig at the practice – this is standard for the NHS).
  • My blood glucose monitor (standard for type 1) was not something normally offered to type 2 patients – and even though I was prescribed the device I had to argue the case for why they should give me further testing strips so that I could monitor my condition at home.

Now – whilst I recognise that diabetes (something that I fully admit my own poor choices in life caused) puts an enormous strain on an already creaking and burdened health service the truth is that I feel I wasn’t really ‘looked after’ in any meaningful sense.

Instead of being shown step by step how I could fix this condition I was left almost completely in the dark with only the internet and forums to help me understand my problems.

My diabetic nurse was nice but 30 mins with her every 6 months was not a lot – and it was only when I took control of my own life that things started to change.

To be clear – I’m not annoyed that no-one took control for me – because I’m a grown up and it was my choice to eat and drink like a moron for years on end.

What I’m annoyed about is that the advice and prognosis was so shockingly bleak and poor and I feel I was given NO hope and NO reason in my mind to try.

My daily pill dispenser was going to be FULL forever and that was just a fact of life. Furthermore they’d given me a card entitling me to free prescriptions forever because this was the best they could do. It seemed like the NHS was rolling out a red carpet of money forever because they didn’t have the time to do anything else.

I’d need drugs – lots of drugs and most likely more illnesses would be on the horizon.

They too would need drugs.

I was now a pharmaceutical company’s wet dream and facing a no expenses spared trip to the bottom of the u-bend.

But I digress.

Back to the programme on my telly box.

Out of all the participants (who were subjected over 8 weeks to brutally restrictive calorie intakes and increased levels of exercise) over half found themselves in a blood sugar range that was no longer considered to be diabetic.

Let me just say that again.

Over half of the participants.

Furthermore in a long term study over the course of a year well over 80% of the people subjected to this regime continued to remain unmedicated and diabetes free.

Let me say that bit again too.

Well over 80% of the participants remained unmedicated and diabetes free.

With figures that convincing it’s hard to understand how the western world has largely sleep walked into a situation where it’s convinced itself diabetes is the new norm and is almost as common as getting the flu.

I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist but given the amount of money spent on advertising unhealthy food I can’t help but come to a sad conclusion.

This is that somewhere along the line people are being paid to look the other way while sugar and refined food pushers (I use this word for good reason given the addictive nature of sugar) go about the business of ruining lives for profit.

The last two coffee shops I’ve been into today, along with pretty much everywhere else in the universe is intent on pushing sugar – and often the first hit is free.

Costa and Coffee#1 clearly aren’t selling enough refined carbs. Currently they’re just giving them away.

I refuse to indulge.

My health is too important.

Five years ago I was wetting the bed because I couldn’t stop going to the toilet every 30-40 mins to flush out the blood sugars.

I was constantly thirsty, lethargic, and could barely read anything without glasses.

All that’s gone because of the healthy eating plan and exercise I’ve followed whilst with Slimming World – but this programme proves that you can do it without a group at home if you prefer – for free. Where there’s a will to change there is most certainly a way.

If this much can be done in just eight short weeks to improve health outcomes and to reverse life changing conditions like fatty liver disease and diabetes why is it not being done everywhere?!

Anyway.

I’ve said my piece. Rant over internet.

Watch the programme if you can.

Thankfully life is different for me now.

I’m a healthy and happy diabetes free man with everything to live for, and as well as continually walking everywhere I’m in control of my life and condition.

Davey

 

Muggy

The weather has become a little overcast today – and after an almost unbroken period of sunshine it’s become a lot more muggy.

Thankfully I’ve been making the most of the blue skies while they’ve been there and spent yesterday afternoon exploring Warwick Racecourse, which (rather bizarrely considering the amount of miles I do) I hadn’t realised I’d never completely walked around.

It’s a really nice space – and a round trip is almost a mile and a half – making a few laps a rather good workout.

It’s a nice peaceful place to think through and talk stuff out too – which I realised definitely needed to do as I made my way round with a friend.

Sometimes you start twalking – and a chat unexpectedly becomes an outpouring.

It’s a good thing I have friends who like to listen because I feel like I’m in a bit of a weird place at the moment. At least for the time being I’m undecided about what I should focus my energies on now the hubbub and noise that filled my head with constant weight loss has subsided.

It’s not gone altogether mind you because I’m still trying hard to focus both on staying on target and keeping my levels of fitness constant.

What I mean is that recently I’ve found that an odd ‘disconnectedness’ has set in after reaching target and the recent excitement surrounding the Slimming World competition.

I’m left wondering ‘what does it all mean?’

I feel in many ways that now I’ve lost all that weight and shaved away all that excess I’m still left with something I can’t diet out of existence and that’s the life that remains.

All of a sudden it feels curiously empty – and ever since Sunday I’ve been preoccupied with a feeling that something is missing that I never really noticed wasn’t there before.

For the first time in a really long time I guess I’m feeling acutely lonely.

Maybe a better way of categorising my thought process is that I’m left wondering ‘what does it all mean if I can’t share it?’

This isn’t because I don’t have friends and acquaintances – because in that respect I feel blessed.

I have a lot of really cool and totally genuine people surrounding me – and all of them mean the world to me.

What I mean is I’m realising that when I stand in a crowd I feel like there’s someone that should be by my side but isn’t and I need a full time presence in my life that isn’t just a friend.

With this in mind recently I stopped procrastinating and finally completed a profile on a dating app that’s been pending for over a month. Since then however the results have been depressingly limited. The people viewing my profile so far haven’t been in the least bit of interest to me – and I haven’t found anyone in my searches that’s firing my imagination either.

To make matters worse I realised in conversation yesterday evening that the last date I went on was 22 frikkin years ago.

To say I’m rusty is a massive understatement and this fills me with a sense of immediate dread.

Not only am I faced with a different landscape now (everything is online) but I’m also part of a completely different demographic.

Almost all of the opposite sex now have children and dating profiles are filled with ladies that are already parts of families, recently divorced or have taglines like ‘now it’s MY time’ – suggesting they’re finally escaping from the responsibilities of parental life and have pretty grown up offspring.

In this respect I’m even further out of my depth because I’ve never had any children of my own. Although I’m no idiot and can muddle through most situations, being in a situation where I’m potentially taking the place of someone’s father sounds terrifying.

It’s almost enough to make me remove the entire profile before anyone is stupid enough to contact me.

I’m not saying it’s something I can’t handle or don’t want to deal with (it might be a really nice family dynamic) – but I just don’t know where to begin when I feel so woefully unprepared

How the hell do I navigate all this?

There are some complex decisions that arrive with an unwanted feeling of complete paralysis – and this is one of them.

Unlike other problems I’ve overcome I don’t really know how to break this down into manageable chunks – because it’s not a physical objective – it’s an emotional and mental one where I have no easy frame of reference.

As soon as I approach it the weight of what may or may not happen buries me and I retreat to safer thoughts or go for a walk.

I come to no conclusions this way though and irritatingly I’m making precisely zero forward progress.

It’s still muggy outside – and honestly it’s apt – because that’s how my head feels at the moment too.

Davey

Awards and festivals

It was a balmy day yesterday and although there was initially no direct sunlight it was quite hot outside when I set out in the morning. Regardless of this though even before the clock hit midday it had already been a great Saturday because (finally!) a really worthy guy got the recognition that he deserved in our Slimming World group.

Although it’s been really nice to get certificates and mentions for all I’ve lost it’s definitely time to hand over the reigns to another man in our group – and one regular in our 10.30 Saturday session really deserved a mention – getting my vote and winning our man of the year award, along with a swanky red tie.

Currently he is at his lowest weight for over 30 years and he’s no stranger to these posts. I’ve mentioned him recently in passing beforehand in my because he’s managed to reverse his type two diabetes.

This makes me so pleased it’s hard to find the words, and when he eagerly told me about it some weeks ago I actually had a lump in my throat – although I never let on.

I wish the world would wake up to the reality that this condition can not only be fixed if you work hard enough – but that if you’re conscious of your food intake and levels of exercise then you never have to suffer from it in the first place.

Our winner was previously taking medication to counteract his high blood sugar for five years before the point that he stopped so I know from personal experience how incredible it must have felt for him to get the news that it could be completely withdrawn.

He hasn’t done this alone however.

He joined because his partner had been told by her doctor that she was at serious risk of health complications unless she took action. In an act of solidarity they both joined Slimming world so that they could motivate and inspire one another.

The’ve managed to not only do that within the confines of their home – but in the group too. Both he and his partner are now healthier and happier target members – proving what can be done when people join together and allow themselves to accept the support (and love) of others in a group.

For my part I’m still in target and currently near to the bottom end of my range again!

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I’ve only got another two weeks to do and I’ll have successfully maintained for 1/3 of a year.

I REALLY want that diamond target member badge!

What was truly lovely this Saturday as well were all the hugs, well wishes and congratulations I received when I arrived a little early. The wonderful guys from the earlier session had all got together to fill in a really great card.

It was also a food tasting day yesterday so everyone was cheerful, relaxed and nibbling on something nice as we chatted about how the week had gone.

(I completely forgot to take any pics of the food – I took a chilli con carne – but I did take some pics of the recipes that were particularly tasty.)

Good things had happened for good people. Everyone seemed to lose weight this week – and for those that had maintained they also seemed to be happy and winning at life.

Consequently I left my group on a high, headed home and then off to a local outdoor festival to that three of the girls I work with had set up to commemorate their significant birthday milestones.

Just as I sat down in the kitchen to have a coffee before leaving a letter popped through the letterbox.

Well. I say ‘popped’ but what I really mean is ‘flew‘.

My postman seems to be very enthusiastic with his deliveries lately – and it practically sailed the entire length of the hallway spinning in the air before skidding along the floor in the kitchen about 6ft away from my feet.

This explains why it sometimes looks like a mail bomb has exploded in my hall when I return from work. He’s actually managed to skim my mail into the living room twice this week – which (if I’m looking for a silver lining) at least cuts down the distance I have to travel with it to read the contents…

The letter sitting in front of me bore a familiar logo… It was from Slimming World!

I opened it up.

Inside there were some copies of the photos that their official photographer has taken on the day! How cool is that!

They really know how to make a guy feel special – and this morning I scanned them so that you guys can have a look because I rather like them!!!

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Although it’s often hard to be objective if I didn’t know better I’d never have said that the three three men in these photos represented a combined loss of almost sixty one stone between them.

How incredible is that?!

After looking at these for a little while I realised that time was marching on. The sun had come out now and I’d (of course) decided that since it was only a few miles away I’d take a walk along the canal to the party rather then drive there.

It was a nice leisurely three miles – which all counts toward my totals!

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As always an excuse to walk along the canal is always a great opportunity to go birdwatching too – and (although I’m not 100% sure) I think I found the family of swans that I photographed the other week near Tesco.

If it is them, then it looks like (so far) all six of the Swanlings are fit and healthy.

The festival was a great success for the ladies that had organised it – and the day was full of live music and happy people.

IMG_5136Honestly – this is one of those times when a small part of me misses the easy social lubrication that alcohol used to provide.

Not because I miss the sensation of being drunk – but more because without it I have to face the nerves of meeting people in a social setting, and as much as I’m an outgoing guy in normal life – when I find myself surrounded by people sometimes nerves kick in.

By the end of the day I’d loosened up a bit however, talked to lots of lovely people and had a really good time.

(thanks very much to the organisers for the invite – it was a lovely day!)

By the time I left the light was slowly beginning to fade – and since I didn’t have a torch I wanted to make sure that I had time to get back down the canal before it got dark.

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I think I could have probably left it a little later and still have been fine – but even so it allowed me to check out the birds and scenery in the wonderful warm light of a fading summery evening.

Sigh. I do love this little corner of the world in the summer. I can’t think of anywhere I’d have rather been yesterday internet…

Davey

I am a Slimming World Greatest Loser 2018 finalist!

So – by the time you read this the winner of the Slimming World 2018 Greatest Loser Awards will have been announced.

As you’ve probably noticed in my last few posts I’ve been somewhat vague about why I’ve been feeling a little sleepless and I can now reveal that this is one of the reasons.

Some months ago in mid February – just before I hit target – the possibility of me entering the competition was raised by my consultant Angie – and although I couldn’t really talk about it back then it was one of the things that helped to finally push me over the finish line to my goal weight after faffing about a bit in January.

When we first discussed the subject I had to lose just over half a stone to get to my target. This would also bring me comfortably into a weight range for my height that qualified.

As I neared this however the weight of every aspect of my journey became a lot to deal with and I was pretty emotional.

There were quite a few one to one chats, late night texts and and minor meltdowns on my part and several of these landed in Angie’s lap.

The emotions associated with the end of such a long journey are sometimes difficult to deal with even now – and at times they can be quite raw.

One evening after work (the week before I hit target) I even ended up pouring my heart out to my wonderful consultant over coffee at kitchen her table.

The woman is a legend.

She has been a ROCK throughout.

Honestly though – despite the amazing possibility of winning something so cool at the time it wasn’t what stressed me out. I was waaaay more focused on my own goal instead of a prize.

Being healthy and happy is all that has ever been important to me. Anything else was just gravy on top.

Initially it didn’t worry me that much at all because I’d also quickly realised that the Greatest Loser competition involved an element of chance – which made much of it totally out of my control.

There’s simply no way of knowing if you’ll even make it onto a short list. You can ‘stack the deck’ if you lose a large amount – but numbers are all relative.

They’re only large if in comparison they’re higher than someone else’s.

That’s something that you have no way of influencing, and to underline this random aspect of the award (when I Googled it) a few years ago a guy called Oliver Bales won.

He’d lost lost much more than me (25st!Link) proving that there’s always a worthy hero out there with willpower and a lot to lose.

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So – 20st in my case might seem like quite a bit – but who knew for sure? To be a winner you’re totally dependant on what others have achieved nationally.

If it was 2016 I might still have had a nice day out though because back then if you’d lost enough weight to place you in the top 10 (a cause of justifiable pride – Slimming World looks after around 900,000 UK members) it meant that you were invited to Head Office to meet the team.

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If you were lucky enough to get the (ahem) Golden Wonka Ticket you were also in with a chance of winning a prize for 1st, 2nd or 3rd.

Would I place in the 2018 top ten?

Would I in fact place at all?

Either way it seemed quite incredible to be considered for the top ten of anything – let to possibly get into one out of that many people.

Then on the 29th March the phone rang and it was Angie. She sounded excited.

No. Wait…

Nervous.

Or excited? Was she excited?

I really couldn’t tell.

“So, I’ve heard from head office and this year things have changed a bit.’ She said.

“Oh yes?’ I replied, bracing myself.

‘Usually they have a top ten but this year it’s different. It’s only going to be the top three…’

I waited, still braced.

‘…and…’

(author adds a dramatic pause for effect and invites the reader to imagine a drum roll)

‘…you’re in the final!!!! You’ve won either first, second or third!!!!

Gulp.

Wow.

I couldn’t un-brace.

There’s not much that shuts me up – but I honestly don’t think I said anything of consequence at that point other than babble that I only recall as white noise.

Then the long wait began.

I told a few people that I was in the competition over the following weeks on the understanding that they kept it super secret but otherwise I was unable to let on to most people what was happening – and we were absolutely prohibited from allowing this info to appear in social media until closer to the time.

I quietly booked off the 5th June at work and got on with life…

Then (after what seemed like decades) on Monday the 4th of June the day finally arrived to travel.

Late in the evening myself, a good friend – and Angie (after doing back to back support sessions with her Monday groups) headed for a hotel in Derbyshire booked by Slimming World.

Here we’d enjoy a nice meal and a night (all expenses paid) away from home.

As you may expect – a trip that’s almost exclusively about losing weight will always have an appreciation of food in it.

When I started writing this I realised that the only thing my camera got pointed at while in the hotel was my dinner and my breakfast – which were both delicious and entirely on plan.

The top one is a really healthy and ridiculously tasty prawn and salmon curry with pilau rice.

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Proving that nerves were taking over (see my last post if you don’t believe me) I neglected to photograph anything else until we got to the Slimming Wold HQ!

It turned out that the event was serving a dual purpose – and we were all the guests of honour at the unveiling of a new part of the complex – which is now in it’s third phase of development.

Unlike many geographically distributed corporations Slimming World prides itself on the fact that the organisation’s constituent parts are ALL in a single location. They design, support and distribute from one place in Derbyshire – and for the consultants who train there and staff on site it just got a whole lot prettier.

I quickly realised that a lot of the day was about other people taking photos of me and my fellow finalists rather then me pointing a lens at things.

Consequently I spent very little time (at least by my standards) taking pictures myself and missed a lot out that I really should have snapped.

I honestly couldn’t help myself though when I visited the toilet after the initial meet and greet and immediately whipped out my phone.

The loos looked like they had NEVER been used – and they were seriously FUNKY!

(Make sure you look closer at the song titles pics!)

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For the occasion I’d decided to dress as smart as possible – and as such when we arrived the three of us joked that we all looked like we were attending a wedding.

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As it happened the room that we were eventually ushered into looked very much like somewhere where we might attend one.

There were three tables (one for each finalist) with lovely dressed chairs and immaculate place settings.

There were also a lot of people sitting around them that were practically SW royalty. As well as containing many of the (very down to earth) head honchos from the organisation on mine there was also a a lovely lady called Tracy Topping.

I realised that she was the Greatest Loser in 2017 (link).

She was there to hand over the title to the new guy – and yes – it WAS a guy….

Just not this one.

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I placed third (something I’m immensely proud of and happy with) and since we were introducing ourselves to the assembled guests in reverse order I was first up – but not before we got to hear from the 2017 woman of the year Fay Marshall (link).

She who gave us a flavour of how Slimming world had totally changed her life – and it’s clear that she meant what she said.

Fay is now effectively an ambassador for the company – and from what I could see she has been doing a wonderful job since becoming a very different person to her former self in a whole host of ways.

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Truthfully it was really hard to hold back the emotions when it was my turn to occupy the front of the room with Angie.

Mostly because I didn’t know quite what or how to say regarding how grateful I was that I’d regained my life. I resorted to using my blog and stumbled through an impromptu speech of sorts.

In actuality I read out to everyone a segment of my non-scale victories page (link) and described – as best I could in around ten minutes – how much different my world had become after shedding 20 stone.

When I sat down at the table with my certificate and trophy I was still trembling.

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It’s overwhelming.

Third place out of 900,000 people.

Who would have thought this would happen three short years ago when I was a heavy drinking man of 35 stone edging ever closer and closer to being measured for his coffin?

As the presentations went on and the other finalists shared their stories it became apparent that I wasn’t the only one who had made life altering and life affirming changes.

Second place had pipped me to the post by two and a half pounds, and first by an impressive eleven and a half pounds.

Between us the three greatest losers had lost a combined total of sixty one stone.

(I’m not going to go into detail about who the others are or how they got to where they did because it’s their story to tell. Today Slimming World will be sending out press releases regarding how special they are and will help them share their journeys with the world. I would however like to say a heartfelt ‘Right on brothers‘ to both. You did fantastic guys.)

Once the (rather emotional and heartfelt) presentations from them were over we started to eat – and this was one of those rare occasions where I didn’t have to worry about what I was consuming.

As you might expect the menu was entirely designed around the plan and even contained all the syn values on the presentation card!

If only ALL restaurants could be like this!!!

I had the beetroot salad for a starter, the chicken as a main and the cheesecake as a dessert – and the latter was soooooooo good that I ate it before I remembered to take a photo.

It was delicious!

Whilst I was hoovering this up others were taking some more snaps.

Angie and certificateIMG_5029Angie with the winnerAfter the meal and a few more selfies (Angie is pictured above with the winner who’s now also become a consultant!) we were invited on a tour of their impressive new facilities and got to see all of the hard work that went on behind the scenes to make it possible for all of the consultants to manage their members.

It’s a really well oiled operation that still seems to have a very close family feel.

As well as having a fully equipped gym with personal trainer on site they also have a salon (open to the public) where the ladies can go and pamper themselves.

The staff seem well looked after by this employer and they’re enthusiastic when you ask them about the company they work for. Given that many of the people on their wall of historical handouts still work in the building it’s not hard to see why!

(on the right of the hair and beauty salon photo in a dark shirt next to the winner is the guy who came 2nd!)

All too soon the day was over and we headed home in the afternoon traffic to Warwick.

I have to say internet it was a wonderful day – and one that I’ll never forget. As I write I still have a smile on my face.

Although I already said it many times while I was there I cant thank everyone I met enough for making me feel so special and so welcome.

They’re a truly an amazing bunch!

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Davey

Where for art thou sleep?

I don’t seem alone at the moment in having a pretty patchy record with sleep. Now that the weather has become more humid it’s definitely a harder commodity to come by.

Nevertheless – after all of my walking on Sunday (nearly 17.5 miles) when my head hit the pillow at around 9pm I fully expected a blissfully deep slumber.

I was absolutely shattered.

The universe had other ideas mind you – and by midnight I was wide awake yet again. This was partially because of the temperature but also because I was still preoccupied about a few things.

One in particular is very much on the near horizon and I find that I’m unusually nervous about an event where a lot of attention will be on me.

Although I don’t normally find talking to new people difficult the build-up for this particular moment is one that’s taken ages.

I’ve been patiently biding my time waiting for it to come around for almost three months now – and I’m beginning to realise that this extended interval is probably why in solitary moments I’ve been so worried.

For most stressful events in life I find you get a relatively short notice period. The ‘hammer’ just drops unexpectedly and the period you have to worry about it in advance is minimal.

You just have to deal with it as best you can and move on.

In contrast the details and information relating to this one have been almost glacial in their gradual arrival – and it wasn’t until late last week (Friday) that I finally found out everything I needed to know about this event and what it would entail.

To make matters worse I can’t really go into further detail about it even now.

One of the interesting things about feeling this way though is how I’m managing it.

Sure – it’s now 2am and ONCE AGAIN I’m wide awake, but aside from that the moments that have bookended my insomnia have been dealt with in very different ways to how I used to handle such instances.

In the past, stress, or an inability to switch off used to entail lots of alcohol and lots of food.

If I’m honest the latter can still be a reaction to feeling this way – and early Monday morning (when I was sitting in the near dark of my kitchen at 3am) I couldn’t help but pick at the contents of my fridge for an hour.

Thankfully however it contained only vegetables, unsweetened almond milk and cottage cheese.

The alcohol is gone from my life. Two and a half years since I stopped drinking this has been replaced ENTIRELY by exercise.

Although my excessive walking hasn’t completely turned off my mind in the way that booze sometimes did (when I completely passed out after my third bottle of wine thoughts of any kind were impossible) it’s managing to keep me on an even keel in every other respect.

I’d be lost without it.

The heat of the last few days alone would have meant that in the past my sleep apnea (something that is no longer a problem) would have almost totally consumed me.

When the sunshine previously fell on 35st me I drowned in sweat, burned – or stayed indoors to slowly marinade in my own juices and alcohol.

I typically woke up with lots of regret and a steaming hangover back then.

These days, instead of a dull ache where my brain allegedly sat and clammy skin I have a new, relentlessly outdoorsy persona and a complexion that reflects this.

When I compare ‘old Dave’ to ‘new and improved Davey’ (despite all I’ve written on the subject) I’m still stunned at the changes that losing 20st can bring.

I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of looking back at who I was and marvelling not only at how it happened but how different I look and feel now.

There’s no denying though that it’s a battle at times – and often the most debilitating fights are fought in the dead of night when tiredness takes over and perspective is found to be in short supply.

In moments like this (which are thankfully rare) negative thoughts creep in and despite all of the irrefutable evidence of my successes I’m sometimes still moved to question whether I’m deserving of good things in life.

Deep down I often feel that I failed at so much, let so many people down for so many years and squandered almost every gift I possessed.

For the longest time because of what I’d become I genuinely wanted to die and the selfishness of that feeling still haunts me today.

That’s not who I am now though – and although I might feel regret that’s not the ‘real’ me.

Not any more.

The ‘real’ Davey is continually pacing back and forth in the background of a negative thought like a caged tiger, just waiting for it to get light again so that once more he can take control, get up and start walking.

It doesn’t matter where to, it doesn’t matter what happens on the way – and it rarely matters what happens when I get there.

I just feel a constant need to do it.

I do it so obsessively because I can, because I remember how it felt not to be able to stand, let alone walk – and because when I do I feel empowered instead of trapped by life or physical limitations.

Instead of confinement I’m free – and when I’m sitting these days It’s just to admire the view, and no longer because I can’t get out of my chair.

As I got into my car to start out on a journey last night a special lady took a picture of me from my rear passenger seat.

When we first met, I drove the very same vehicle and back then my stomach touched the steering wheel.

My weight had actually also broken it a few years down the line.

Now, as I pulled away from her driveway (with a different wheel I might add) I felt pretty damn good.

So internet – if I could only get some sleep too then life would be perfect.

Davey

Fitness and life

I’ll be honest – I’ve felt a bit off my game this week.

I’ve had a fair bit on my mind and combined with some rather thundery nights and a dog that’s intent on waking me up at ridiculous o’clock in the morning I’ve lost a fair bit of sleep.

It’s meant that when I have been nodding off it’s been at weird hours and consequently emotionally I’ve felt a little sub par.

I’ve been trying to walk it off all week and first started trying to get it off my chest in earnest on Monday whilst twalking with a friend on the Kenilworth Greenway – but it wasn’t until Thursday or Friday that I began to feel the weight of a few things lift.

I’ll write more early next week about one of the things that’s been occupying my thoughts – but over the last couple of weeks several other more important life related issues have been increasingly competing for my conscious and subconscious attention. Some have been more serious than others but all have equally been making me ask the question ‘what’s it all about?’

I’m being vague and evasive about these because whilst honesty is a theme of my blog, undermining myself or betraying the confidence of others is not – so unfortunately I’ve been left without my usual WordPress outlet. Consequently I’ve found myself writing words that will never be posted in an effort to understand and balance my thoughts.

So – you’ll have to forgive me that for the recent gap in my musings and just trust me when I say that I’ve had good reason – and that not all of it has been bad.

In the middle of all of it I’ve found that the one thing that’s been keeping me on an even keel is a willingness to remain on track health wise. Exercise fills a gap in my life that a few years ago I didn’t even realise existed. Now it’s importance in my day to day existence is something I would never have thought possible and my (maybe obsessive) walking continually provides me with a sense of physical AND mental well being.

I’ve been able to get out during my lunch breaks for a walk now the sun is finally peeping out from behind the clouds – and when I do this takes me away from an office and out into nature.

On my daily 2 mile constitutional I’ve seen some of my favourite things – and just around the corner from where I work there are some new neighbours that have moved in.

As vocal as these little guys are I think we’re going to get along just fine.

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Swanlings aren’t the only local residents I’ve been meeting for the very first time too – and I’ve bumped into a species that in all my years I’ve never ever seen before.

This is a Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) that I found just chilling in the grass near the park. It has such amazing colour on its wings that I honestly thought someone had spray painted it by accident until I got up close.

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It’s truly lovely to see all of these little flashes of nature – and I’d be aware of precisely none of it if I was sat at home with the curtains drawn.

I’m 1000% sure that today as I write I’d feel 1,000,000% worse if I’d just stayed in bed for a week feeling glum whilst playing video games.

In fact I’m now back up to my 10 mile a day average thanks to the much improved weather (the rain has mostly held off this week despite some gloomy forecasts) and after setting myself a goal to hit that metric again by the end of May on the 31st I came in bang on target.

Last month I walked 310 miles.

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This means that my step count is getting back up to an average that I’m happy with – and once more I’m in the 20,000 a day zone after a bleak winter which saw me fall well below.

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Of course all of this movement means that the one thing thats actually the most important (and the one metric that I almost solely attribute my reversal of type two diabetes to) is also looking excellent.

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I’m now once again nearing an average of two hours of cardio based exercise per day – which I’m super pleased about.

This means that hopefully a healthy heart and a long (and illness free) future lies ahead of me – AS LONG AS I KEEP IT UP.

You see – there’s always a ghost in the rear view mirror – and I see my rather massive shadow continually looming when I look over my shoulder. As slow moving as it is I feel that every time I think of slowing or actually slow down it gains a little ground.

I often feel that it’s my sole job in life to make sure the distance between us either remains constant or grows ever wider.

Currently I seem to burn (not through exercise) the calories that are expected of a normal man – around 2,500.

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The crazy thing is that even now – with as much as I do every day – I don’t even come close to burning the amount that I used to – and back when I first began my Slimming World journey (just slumped in my armchair at about 33 stone at the end of May 2016) I could eat and burn off a LOT more resting calories than I do now by waking 10 miles a day.

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You can take this with a pinch of salt or not based on how much you believe the widely accepted ‘wisdom’ that a man needs 2,500kcal (and a woman needs 2000) to survive and not lose weight.

I have limited confidence in these figures as absolute fact. 

However – even if they’re only broadly correct they show the obvious strain that being so overweight and unfit had on my overall health.

Now I have to work much harder to expend the same amount of energy and because of my increased fitness, my lower weight and other improvements I have a another stat that I am insanely proud of.

My resting heart rate.

This really really makes me puff up with pride, because it’s still 41bpm and has been at this level or slightly lower ever since Apple Watch’s iOS finally started watching it back in September 2017.

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In many ways (whilst I’m still really focused on it) my weight has ceased to be the thing that’s my ‘daily driver’. Now I’m just focused on always being outside, and being the best version of me that I can.

Thankfully this also has the (pretty ace) side effect of keeping me in target.

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Today I maintained – and (given how I’ve felt this week) that is a massive cause for celebration.

‘How does one mark such success?’ you might ask internet…

‘With a nice long walk’ is of course the answer…

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Davey