Maybe I can

Sometimes a holiday is in order.

In my case I haven’t physically been anywhere but I have been taking a break from social media.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been almost completely absent online and it’s been a very nice change of pace.

At some point a few years ago I made a conscious choice to become a very public person – and once I had it soon became my new normal. Blogging about everything I went through and sharing photos of my life soon felt as natural as a morning visit to the smallest room of my house.

There are times however (particularly in recent weeks) that I feel it’s just not appropriate or even very comfortable to write about how I feel and what’s going on in my life.

The really frustrating thing is that this (in something of a chicken and egg way) tends to coincide with a period where I don’t cope very well overall.

I’ve never fully figured out whether a lack of writing is caused by or in itself causes the mood dips I experience – but they definitely feed each other and quickly become related even if they don’t start out that way.

The other thing that gets fed in instances like this is my stomach. The hands I have connected to it decide that they will pass the time by picking up anything in the fridge and consuming it relentlessly until it’s all gone.

My efforts to stick with #onplanoctober (writing everything down and being good) lasted a mere 8 days – and then I just threw myself under the culinary bus. I ate and overate and then overate some more.

Once I’d done that then I grabbed a bit more food and overate it until it hurt a bit.

The net result?

Well I don’t really want to go into forensic detail because I’m ashamed and feel like I’ve been letting not only myself but the entire world down.

To add insult to injury none of my lovely lovely shirts fit properly at the moment and my waistband is noticeably tighter.

Some of my smaller sized jeans appear to have shrunk even further in the wash…

There’s a line that must be drawn – and on Sunday (where I inexplicably found myself awake early and feeling motivated) I drew it.

The truth is I have to weigh in soon at Slimming World.

I haven’t done so since the first week in September and need to do it every 8 weeks – and when I do it’s not going to be pretty.

Furthermore I have the ultimate ‘imposter syndrome’ moment looming in my calendar in the shape of the Slimming World ball.

The invites arrived in the post the other day and honestly they filled me with dread.

I’m invited as the outgoing MOTY and truthfully at the moment I don’t feel in the least bit worthy.

Instead I feel like a complete fraud because the suits I usually wear over all of my nice shirts that don’t currently fit don’t fit either.

I can sense what you’re all thinking though – and from experience I know what a post like this will provoke in terms of comments.

I’m pretty certain that people won’t take long to pick me up on my self deprecating tone and remind me that I should be kinder to myself.

I know I know.

If I was treating myself as a friend in crisis I would say what many people in my life have already said to me.

I’d tell myself that I have nothing to prove.

I’d tell myself that I still look good and that I’m still doing well in life.

I’d tell myself that no-one (including virtually every other slimmer of the year or weight loss prize winner ever) is perfect and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

I have it on pretty good authority that they are all a little heavier than when they won their award and they have mostly across the board found a weight that suits them, even though it may not coincide with what they thought they originally wanted.

I’d say to myself if I was a friend that it’s just a number and that I can totally fix any gains because I know how and I’m not the same person that I used to be.

In my mind however the ‘truth’ (if you can call it that) is poking me with a sharp stick.

When my back is against the wall I hate that I still use food to cope.

That’s never changed (although the types of food I teach for have) and I don’t think it ever will.

I’ll almost certainly be riding an emotional rollercoaster for many many years if not forever in this respect.

There are other considerations however because it’s not all about the ball.

I’ve taken my eye off the ball a little for a number of reasons.

Firstly there’s always the ever present ‘what to do about a career’. Thankfully I think I may have found a way forward on that score – so hopefully in that respect things will soon be on the up.

Secondly there’s having a new home dynamic.

Living alone allowed me to be obsessive in the extreme in some respects – but now I’m part of a couple rather than a single guy.

My tendency to punish myself isn’t something that I can easily do any more – and there’s nowhere to hide.

If I hurt myself then I hurt my partner and I don’t want to do that.

My relationship is frankly more important to me than anything I can remember in recent memory – and my ways of coping with stress have had to adapt because of this.

This has been going on for some time – but now we live together I’m trying to deal with some very entrenched habits (basically going quiet and withdrawing from the world) that can no longer exist in solitude – but that instead someone else gets to see and feel.

When my mood dips and I begin to retreat they also feel the impact of that – because happy Davey leaves the building.

We all have these moments – and they shouldn’t be stemmed or buried because they’re natural, but if (like me) you’ve been single or even with someone but not living together you’ll be more used than you think you are to dealing with emotions and problems by burying your head in the sand (or in my case cement) from time to time.

What used to be a period of quiet and solitary sulking and wound licking before a gradual return to the world several days later that affected no one but me now has an impact on someone else.

Consequently the temptation to hide my mood dips because of this is immense.

It’s not the way to go though.

Burying everything leads nowhere – and it’s been my policy to hide nothing.

It’s also selfish – because if I’m only ever giving help and allowing no one to help me in return where does their sense of satisfaction and self worth in a relationship come from?

So I allow myself not to cope and I force myself to show that sometimes I can’t ‘adult’ any more.

Sometimes I need to be carried – and part of learning to live together is remembering that’s OK.

I can’t say that I haven’t felt guilty about being (in my eyes) less than a positive force for a little while though – but the truth is that you have to let people step in and support you.

You’re stronger when you’re around others – despite the unease that you might feel when you realise that it’s someone else’s job all of a sudden to be a chirpy and cheery person.

On Saturday I could barely speak.

I was so mortified by what I saw on the scales at home that when I accompanied my partner to our Saturday group I could hardly talk.

I nodded at people and forced a smile or two but that was about the most I could manage.

It was an important moment though – because although every fibre of me wanted to run away I stayed where I was and sat to hear the group talk.

I’m not sure I would have been able to do this without someone holding my hand however – and to see my other half step in and take over conversations or feel the warmth of her thumb nudging my leg at just the right moment made it all doable.

In the middle of all this (making it all much harder) the entire country seems to have received a mail from the NHS with my face plastered all over it.

It’s busy proclaiming how successful I am at turning things around at precisely the moment I feel like I’m struggling to do so.

I regret nothing about being chosen to receive (and accepting) the MOTY title – but there are occasionally times that I wish I could put this particular genie back in the lamp.

No one else has ever put any pressure on me because of the award (especially not Slimming World who always ask rather than expect when it comes to publicity) but it’s been difficult to live with the knowledge that when I inevitably fail I have to fail publicly.

I suppose that someone has to though, and maybe the whole point of being a public face dealing with issues related to personal perception is that I am seen not to be perfect but continually trying to be better than I am.

Which I do.

I’m currently back to swimming daily after not dipping a toe in a pool for almost two weeks and also back up to an average of around 10 miles a day (it recently dipped temporarily below 6).

Although it’s probably not real weight loss (fluid etc has a big impact) my numbers on the scales have plummeted. Both the additional exercise and the positive progress since Saturday morning have caused me to feel a lot better and once again I think I’m winning.

I’m not only making forward progress in terms of my waistline mind you.

After boarding my entire loft I decided to try my hand at replacing my coal bunker door – which was in a bad way when I moved in to my house over a decade ago and hasn’t been touched ever since.

I’ve always wanted to do something about it but felt that I lacked the skills, confidence and tools to attempt the task.

After successfully completing my loft boarding I decided that it was time to have a go – and after purchasing some exterior pine cladding, a couple of lengths of wood for a frame, a few hinges, a latch and a bunch of screws I decided to rip the old door off and give it a go.

The first issue was that the coal bunker was full of crap…

Thankfully that wasn’t an issue for long – and after a small amount of dragging and yanking the detritus and rotten cardboard that I’d stuffed in there years ago (along with a ton of unhappy earth worms and spiders) sat forlornly on my patio.

I’m far from an accomplished carpenter – but I did do a year or so of woodwork at secondary school and (even if I do say so myself) made a pretty swanky pencil case that I still have knocking around somewhere.

The simplest thing to do seemed to be to copy what existed previously, and before I knew it I had a perfectly serviceable frame with a simple join to put my new door into.

Once this was done the tongue and groove cladding that I’d bought made creating a shape to fill this hole surprisingly easy and within another few hours I had a makeshift door already wedged in place.

I only made one small mistake and if you can’t spot it then I’m not saying anything!!!

This whole process was continually hampered though by the frankly atrocious weather (note the tarpaulin) which illustrated quite plainly what a complete pain in the arse sawdust is when it rains.

It sticks to everything and gets everywhere.

It also doesn’t help much with expansion or contraction of the material that you’re working with – and (as I learned later on) it’s worth making a door a few millimetres smaller than you think it needs to be so that it doesn’t expand in its new home and become completely wedged tight when you paint it and leave it open to the elements.

When I’d eventually finished trimming, sanding, generally tinkering with the hinges and modifying the fit of the door with a plane this was the end result.

I’m quite proud of this even if I do say so myself.

One by one the times where I tell myself I can’t do things as opposed to starting jobs with a mindset along the lines of ‘maybe I can if I try’ are diminished.

Proving I could lose weight and change my life altered a lot more than just my new waistline.

I seem to have found a new interest in DIY – which initially I used to fill the gap created by not having a job – but is now becoming something else entirely.

So – maybe I can get into a suit for the ball.

Maybe I can feel good about myself on the day.

Maybe I can also change the washer on my bathroom tap – which frankly scares the living s**t out of me.

Hopefully my next blog won’t be called ‘how I flooded my home’

Davey

Being a role model

So. October is once again a distant memory.

Hello November.

Last month’s legacy has been a mixed one. In one respect I feel like I’ve recently made genuine life progress and begun to confront something that I’ve been deferring for a long time.

In others I’ve been working hard to convince myself that I will indeed be slim for life – and that my history of continually yo-yo dieting is finally at an end.

At the start of the month I wasn’t at all convinced. My self confidence was faltering – and whilst winning an award for Slimming World was nice it didn’t really change the fact that I’m still trying to deal with and process many aspects of my new life.

I’ve moved from ‘pathetic’ to ‘successful’ in a relatively short space of time – but just because I’m ‘fixed’ on the outside it doesn’t mean everything is perfect on the inside.

One of the downsides to this newfound attention (as nice and exciting as it can be) is that when you’re losing weight in Slimming World groups you’re in a comfortable and supportive bubble.

Everyone’s in the same boat. We feel the other’s pain, and more often than not we navigate away from saying things to each other that we know may hit a nerve or that aren’t supportive.

We ourselves have a lifetime of learning what hurts our feelings and we don’t throw that in other group members faces.

In short there are many things in Slimming World you will never hear.

In the outside world though it’s all fair game – and you have to quickly develop a thick hide, because when you’re available on social media and appear in the press then the people contacting you for advice don’t necessarily share the same approaches.

Their goal is not to support you – more often than not it’s to get something from you – even if that’s with the best of intentions.

Often (because it’s the way of journalism or the public’s perception of how you should act if you’re present on social media) many people I’ve encountered since the award don’t bother to get into the preamble of getting to know me before lurching into some really quite intimate and personal questions.

If those relate to things that already occupy your thoughts or drive your fears then you’ve got to find a way of coping with lots of people asking you about them over and over and over again.

It doesn’t matter whether I’ve been asked about my journey by dieters or people who’ve never suffered with the same problem – the starting point always seems to be the same.

‘What do you do with all the skin?’

I’m not sure why this is the first thing on everyone’s mind because it was never the first thing on mine when I saw other people losing weight – but I’ll be really honest when I say there is a lot of it left, it does worry me that I’ll never be accepted or loved because of it and I don’t want to have to cut lumps out of myself to be feel better or because someone else wants me to be ‘normal’.

It undeniably hurts though sometimes to be questioned like this – and after the hundredth plus time (I’m not kidding – it’s probably a lot more) of politely answering this question whilst trying to be measured and helpful there have been moments where I’ve felt like screaming ‘it doesn’t matter – why don’t you just want to be healthy and to live a better life?!’

I don’t though.

Like many things this is something (for all the public wrangling I do with my feelings) that I internalise and I don’t usually talk about.

I’ve discussed it with a select few and shown parts of my body to only three other people since I started losing weight and I am terrified of how everyone else will look at me if they see me disrobed.

I can’t bring myself to wear short sleeved tops, shorts above the knee, or go swimming (yet).

I am not ashamed of who I am but I still feel that I don’t want to draw attention as a freak or curiosity like I have done for so much of my life.

I was bullied for so long in my past that the scars from it still run really deep.

Instead I want to blend, be part of everyday society and try to focus on the times that people say to me ‘you don’t ever look like you’ve been big’.

This worry about both acceptance and appearing ‘normal’ has contributed to a major meltdown recently – which as many of my worst ones tend to do – happened almost completely without warning and affected me (and I’m ashamed to say others) deeply.

I’ve been trying to convince myself that many things don’t matter – that’s it’s ok to still be alone at this point in my life, that the skin issue is immaterial, that I will eventually find someone that loves me, a life purpose that drives me like weight loss has, and that I have a future filled with health, vitality and companionship.

I also don’t want to be a fat, drunken failure again and my fear of this is always in the background.

Paradoxically this fear sometimes leads to me right back to the doorstep of comfort eating, and despite losing twenty plus stones I’m still capable of sliding backwards and ‘failing’.

The thing is that now (with my award) I feel much greater pressure to be ‘perfect’ than I ever did before.

Whereas prior to this I was just a guy in a little group in Warwick quietly trying to rebuild his life (albeit in a very public way) now I have the added status of being a role model to add to the mix (not my words – this is what people keep telling me I’ve become) and if you take that the wrong way it can be quite damaging.

The truth is that I’m having to continually confront and remind myself of the fact that to be a healthy ‘role model’ perfection is not required.

Unhealthy examples in social media of plastic smiles and perfect bodies make us all feel undermined and undervalued – and I’m just as guilty as anyone else of feeling like I’m less than I should be because I see a picture of someone who seems to have everything I lack.

I’ll never be Hugh Jackman or look like Chris Hemsworth.

The true role model though is NOT the airbrushed Superhero or Hollywood icon. It’s not to be found in the gym selfie with perfect skin tone and abs – and it’s not in the youthful swimsuit photo on a far away beach – because none of us can be that forever, and even if we are it’s just for a fleeting moment.

Life changes us and our bodies are reflections of the paths we take.

Our baby bellies tell stories of the joy that children can bring and our saggy parts often remind us that we’ve improved our health by losing the weight that once filled those spaces.

We’re more than visual perfection – we’re human beings and we are perfect just the way we are without cutting anything off, without colouring or bleaching our skin or burying our faces in makeup.

We have to make the best of what we have – and if we can do that with confidence then our smiles and our happiness become our social currencies – not the images of us without clothes or posing with a camera pointing down from the sky to get the best possible angles without chins.

So – October (for me at least) has been about getting back to dietary basics, of following the Slimming World plan, of writing a personal food diary every day, of going to group and facing the music or just going there because it helps.

#onplanoctober has worked.

Although I never told a soul this was how the month started on the 1st of October.

After a few really bad days (where if it wasn’t bolted down I ate it) the scales said I was ridiculously out of target.

Officially (in my mind) I was a failure again.

I’d not only taken the expectations of my friends but now also Slimming World’s officials and my blog readership and I’d failed all of them.

Catastrophe.

I was going to destroy myself again and it was all inevitable.

I couldn’t tell anyone the depths of how ashamed I felt that I thought I was once again eating the pain away.

These are all just things we tell ourselves when our negative inner narrative takes over though. None of it is true and none of it defines reality.

It just leads to bad decisions – of which I’ve made a few recently – and they all happen when I try to deal with things in isolation.

The truth of it is that on Saturday I will stand on stage and accept an award that in many ways I still feel I am undeserving of.

That’s not false modesty.

I know I lost huge amounts of weight. I’m not daft. I’m proud – and I totally killed that objective.

Yay me.

There’s more to getting an award like this though because it’s not about numbers. It’s about being judged ‘worthy’ – and how do you ‘win’ something with that criteria when surrounded by so many others who are just as deserving?

Not only do I struggle with being viewed as inspirational after years of being seen (by myself and others) as a failure – but I met many other men who were in line for the same award as me – and none of us were any less or more deserving of the award.

Yet for some crazy reason it ended up in my hands.

I want to be worthy of it.

I want to be a good example.

I want to be able to help people.

But flawless role models don’t help anyone.

They just show an image that seems to be completely unobtainable and convince people that the journey is impossible – that for whatever reason they will never have what that airbrushed social media personality has.

So I write about how much I fail as much as I feel I can in public- because I feel that my pain, regrets or insight might have value for others.

If they see my weakness they know it’s ok to feel their own – and believe it or not I’ve also found that this makes me feel stronger.

Sometimes I can’t bring myself to do it though and that last picture of me standing on the scales after a week of pigging out is one of those times.

I couldn’t post it or admit it a month ago. I just wanted to fix it without anyone knowing.

With some determination I’ve pulled it around however – and in doing so I’ve not starved myself. I’ve followed the plan, been honest with myself about what’s going in my mouth and I’ve done a LOT of exercise.

My record daily average distance (it’s now 12.5!) has been smashed due to my efforts and this month alone I’ve walked over 387 miles to reach my objective of being healthily under my target weight.

If you wonder what I’ve been eating every day then here’s a typical diary.

Lunch

  • 200g baking potato
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive
  • Jar of gherkins
  • 3 Tomatoes

Dinner

  • 500g 5% fat pork mince
  • Red pepper
  • 380g mushrooms
  • Large courgette
  • Small onion x2
  • 240g Kidney beans
  • Bunch of broccoli
  • Can chopped tomatoes

Dessert

  • 100g blueberries
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits
  • 250g natural yogurt

Snacks

  • 2x apples
  • 2x conference pears

The point that I want to get over here is that in doing what I’ve done in October I’ve not starved myself.

Far from it.

I’ve just eaten (a lot of) healthy food and burned more calories than I’ve consumed.

I drew one of those infamous ‘lines in the sand’ that we all make from time to time after a bad patch in Slimming World and promised myself I will not not cross over it.

My personal line was the screenshot of the scales above.

Yesterday the impetus this picture of personal dissatisfaction gave me meant that I finished with a bang.

After an epic ten mile walk around St Nicholas park (even by my standards this was huge) that had an average mile speed of 15 minutes and six seconds I went home and stood on the scales.

Although they’re my scales and not Slimming World’s I know that they’re accurate (the one in group is always identical) and because of that I have demonstrated once again to myself on an ‘every other day’ basis that over the course of a month if I eat well and work hard good things happen.

I’ve dropped nearly a stone and a half.

It’s worth pointing out too that during the last month things did go both up and down.

There were some odd lurches back up on the scales in October that I simply couldn’t explain – but I stuck to plan, followed it all through and kept going.

So – if anyone out there wants to refer to me as a role model or an inspiration I’m not going to say I feel any more comfortable with the position than I did a month ago – and I doubt I ever will.

I’m still filled in dark times with a crippling lack of self worth and a fear that I’m not going to measure up to peoples expectations of me.

I’m terrified that I’ll let myself down too (my standards are way higher) and I’m often paralysed by how I’ll move forward in life or find love and acceptance in the world.

However – if there’s one thing I can do that will make that fear and insecurity worthwhile its sharing it and making sure that others looking to me for answers will see it’s ok to not be perfect.

It’s ok to fail.

It’s ok to not feel like you can cope from time to time.

It’s ok to worry about who will love you and what they’ll see when they look at you.

You just have to try and take each day as it comes.

If you do internet then good things happen.

Davey

Still determined

I’m a man that feels he is need of a win today, despite (to all intents and purposes) already being someone that’s winning.

Outwardly things are often very different to what’s on the inside though, and I (like many people on the same journey) have times where everything tastes of ashes. I know that dark days are little more than fleeting moments though in the great scheme of things – and that all it takes is the gradual passage of time to get over anything – but occasionally perspective is elusive and there are times where I can’t seem to find it.

The last three days on and off  (despite what outward appearances may have suggested) have witnessed me feeling like this.

It doesn’t seem to matter how far I walk at the moment because there are thoughts that I just can’t escape easily. Elements of my emotional landscape that previously seemed secure and comfortable now feel like I’m trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole and I can’t understand why.

Some things can’t be changed though.

You just have to deal with them for what they are, try to accept them and focus on the things that you can make a difference with. I’ve learned the hard way via many many mistakes and failures in life that regardless of what happens there is always a way through it that doesn’t involve self destruction.

So many times in the past I told myself that because I felt down I deserved a junk food treat, or that alcohol was the answer to my problems, and not once did the bulging waistlines or epic hangovers do anything but make me feel even lower than I was before.

There are some days though…. Some days when I want to just say #### it and give in to my absolute worst impulses. Sometimes I do with regard to food – but that’s OK as long as I forgive myself and move on.

There are other times that I know if I start then I just won’t stop.

Thankfully I (mostly) understand now when my mood has an off switch and when it doesn’t. These days (whilst I still sometimes ignore my own advice) my coping mechanisms are also different.

In moments where I feel like I’m not managing very well I get up and I put in my shoes.

I look in the mirror in my hall and I tell myself that I’m worth more than my inner monologue suggests, and that I can be whoever I want to be in life.

Somewhere in the middle of my journey a friend told me that I was both ambitious and determined and I keep that at the forefront of my mind.

I keep telling myself it’s true – because up until that point (and sometimes even now) I’d never recognised these traits in myself, but they exist and I have to always hold onto them. 

I’m not unique though.

They exist in all of us.

So, on a day like today I pull on a warm coat and I head for a pavement, because there is always a world out there – and it needs us in it.

Sometimes our journey is solitary though, and that’s OK too because our inner determination (if properly nurtured) will remind us that regardless of what happens, no-matter how we feel, we can do it.

We can hit our goal and we can fit at least one square peg into a round hole.

In my case the peg is an average of 10 miles a day.

Every day.

Without fail.

It doesn’t matter if it’s freezing, and it doesn’t matter if it’s raining. The weather is immaterial. The miles are what count.

At the moment my daily average for October is 12.3 (a personal record) and during this month, regardless of how I’ve felt I’ve followed #onplanoctober almost to the letter.

It hasn’t been easy though. When it’s cold and dark and you’ve not been able to sleep or your negative thoughts will not turn off, the temptation to remain indoors and hide under a duvet by the TV is immense.

That’s not me though.

Not any more and never again.

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Whatever the world throws at me I intend to fight it and persevere, and to do that I need to be fit, healthy, vital and active.

It’s not just a walk to me though, because whereas previously the outside world had come to represent fear it’s now become my place of safety. I can travel anywhere I want completely unaided because the only limitations I have are the horizon and my mind.

My other place of safety is of course Slimming World, and when my mood is low I can always rely on it to lift my spirits, regardless of what happens on the scales.

Although Saturday was a day where I decided not to weigh in I have the Slimming World ball coming up next weekend, and because both me and my consultant will be there it would have been three full weeks (officially anyway) before I weighed in again.

That’s a really long time – and I’m not sure whether having that much leeway is a good thing for me at the moment, so today I went to a different group and weighed in on a different day at a different time.

It’s always great to see new faces and today the stories of the health improvements that the group had realised by following the plan and living better lives were legion.

Diabetes had been reversed, cholesterol was being beaten into submission, a pancreas had returned to life and the men and women seated in that hall were flourishing.

They gave me the win I needed.

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Some may say that my book ‘only’ says I lost half a pound – but if they do then they’re missing the point. It’s a win – and strangely this half a pound is one of my most personally impressive for a while because it means quite a bit more to me.

To do this took a lot more discipline than it may seem like it did on the page above.

Hell – even a maintain would have been a victory in my book.

Many of my Saturdays after standing on the scales are relaxed ones. Sometimes Sundays are too, and I tend to gradually address whatever damage the weekend has done from Monday through to Friday.

If it’s a bad week then bad things can happen.

I’ve seen it many times before.

Not this week. I’m determined not only to be firmly in my target range, but be as close to the bottom of it as possible when I climb into my suit and stand on stage to accept my Man of the Year award next Saturday, because this is something I can control.

Ignoring things and eating feelings does no good at all, and this is now how I cope in life.

I look at my Slimming World book and its numbers, my blog and its history, my health app and its cumulative miles and I have evidence of my determination, and what it can accomplish.

It’s why I’m sitting here now instead of dead – and why you are reading this.

So if you’re thinking you can’t then you’re wrong, because you CAN.

If you’re thinking you’re not worth it then you’re wrong, because you ARE.

If you’re thinking it’s impossible then you’re wrong because it’s NOT.

You too are determined, and you too have ambition. If no-one has ever cared about you enough to tell you this – OR TO MAKE YOU BELIEVE IT – then let me take their place.

It’s all true.

You can be whoever you want to be.

Davey

Stardust and eggs

It used to be the case that an obsession with technology meant that you had a rather sedentary lifestyle – however these days (particularly today) I’m seeing evidence directly to the contrary.

The park has been packed this morning with crowds of people at it’s choke points (most have been dressed in black and look very pasty) all of whom are oblivious to people like me trying to get past. They’re all staring intently at their mobile phones and wandering around looking like extras from The Walking Dead.

Oddly this phenomenon doesn’t seem related to a single age group or sex – but appears to be crossing all demographics.

I had no idea what they were up to – and occasionally heard sentences like ‘I’m putting egg and stardust on!’ as I walked in between the little groups dotted around Jephson Gardens.

My curiosity eventually got the better of me and I decided to ask a man with his two engrossed sons what was going on. The boys had iPads and their dad was holding a large Android phone.

The younger (more fidgety) of the two children was relentlessly prodding a tablet that had a thick blue rubber case surrounding it. I noticed that it had either failed miserably in its job or had been applied after the device in the child’s hands had suffered a seriously smashed up screen.

The tablet seemed to be working nevertheless and he was furiously tapping here and there on it, intently working away at the task in hand. His father clearly didn’t think there was potential for digit lacerations – but to me it seemed like a clear and present danger.

All three were connected via three lengthy white cables to what I can only assume was a large power supply in the man’s messenger bag, which was hanging on a short strap in front of his stomach like a papoose.

They too were discussing stardust and eggs.

‘I have to ask…’ I started ‘..what is everyone doing? They’re all just staring at their mobiles!’

He seemed slightly irritated that I’d interrupted him, but answered me nevertheless, barely lifting his eyes from the screen in his hands as he did.

‘It’s an augmented reality game with a special event.’ He replied.

He didn’t look like he was planning to expand further but I dug deeper.

‘Oh really?’ I said. ‘Which one?’

‘Pokemon Go.’ he answered abruptly – before returning his undivided attention to scanning the bushes and chasing whatever creatures appeared to be visiting the area. He continued on his way in silence.

Ah. That explained it.

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When this game first came out in July 2016 I’d only just begun to try and get fitter by walking around my local parks – and had noticed many many people nearly walking into trees and rivers whilst hunting elusive little Pokemons (link).

At the time I spent a lot more time seated under trees than I do now…

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II wasn’t interested in this game at the time – which I found a little puzzling – as I was a devout video gamer back then.

I suppose I wanted to get as far away from the things that I felt had contributed to ‘my downfall’ as possible – and I’ve always viewed video games as one of them, although truthfully it was probably more of a symptom of wider problems than the cause.

The argument with Pokemon Go and other games like it is that they get people off their sofa and this means that they’re much more active than they otherwise would be on a Playstation or XBOX. If this morning in the park is anything to go by I can’t really disagree – although I feel that to call it exercise would be stretching the truth somewhat.

The game requires the bare minimum of movement from its players – and their engagement also meant that whilst they were physically grouped together the people playing seemed largely oblivious to their companions.

I guess the way that people interact these days is changing but I’m not sure whether this could be called progress or not. At least they’re not sitting on the couch waiting for a heart attack like I used to.

The fact that they’re outside (and together) is definitely a plus – and it’s nice to see that technology can play a part in encouraging this rather than preventing it – but I’d really love them to see what’s around them with their own eyes rather than via what’s appearing on their screens.

If they looked up and around them they’d see the most beautiful colours and sky as I have today whilst I’ve been wandering and eating my lunch.

 

However – not everything has to have colour. Some things look better if they’re a little more traditional and reserved – and with this in mind I can announce that I have finally completed the outfit that I’ve been putting together for the Slimming World ball in November.

I’ve been absolutely adamant that I didn’t want to wear a black tuxedo and black bow tie – and i definitely didn’t want to rent an outfit either.

This seemed to me like it was a total waste of money in both instances as I’m highly unlikely to wear this ever again if I own one and I’m just throwing money away if I rent it.

I’d like to be able to re-use it.

Plus – after some tests in M&S and Moss Bros I’m even more convinced that it would just make me look like a beardy Hugh Hefner.

 

When the missing piece of my personal puzzle arrived by courier yesterday I tried the whole ensemble on for the first time and took some photos for a few second opinions.

I’m loathe to reveal it just yet, in case I change my mind – but here’s a hint.

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It’s absolutely NOT this.

Right – now we’ve got that cleared up I guess I better let you know how I did on the scales yesterday.

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It seems that the week went well – although I would have preferred to lose weight rather than maintain. I want to go toward the bottom of my range (taking me down to 13st 11lbs) – but I’m detracting nothing from this. Crucially (and most importantly) it’s a win, my outfit fits perfectly and I’m still in target.

Now I’m in range I’ve stopped being quite so militant about #onplanoctober but I’m still taking very careful note of everything that passes my lips and paying close attention to my exercise as well.

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This month (according to my Apple Health app) I seem to be doing even more than I usually do – although to be truthful I haven’t been consciously trying to. I’ve just been keeping active and trying to fill my days productively, and this seems to have resulted in a fairly silly average of nearly 13 miles a day.

Still – it’s not forced in any way. I’m just genuinely enjoying getting out and about with people and chatting away about sunrises and changes of seasons.

My intention though is to be on tip-top form for the upcoming event – and since my consultant Angie is going to look like one of Charlie’s Angels when we stand on stage together (I s**t you not – I’ve seen a picture of her in the dress and she looks amazing) I need to feel my very best.

Anyway – that’s enough for the moment.

Feeling great and staying on plan means cooking proper meals and eating at the appropriate times, not just snacking – and so far I’ve been doing very well on this score. I have purchased zero Hi-fi bars or Aldi benefit bars this week (after recently identifying them as my ‘gateway drug’) and thats proven to be a great decision.

Last night for some reason I really hankered for garlic and my usual go-to chilli recipe found itself slightly modified to include virtually a whole bulb of the stuff and a few leeks.

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Needless to say there are times where it’s a good thing I don’t have a partner or smoke in bed – as I’m pretty sure I blew the duvet almost completely off on a number of occasions during the night.

A naked flame nearby my sleeping form would probably have meant that I’d have said goodbye to both my windows and most of the bricks in the front of my house…

Tonight I’m having a stir fry with smoked haddock.

I’m going to stuff another metric tonne of garlic into it and enjoy every last flipping mouthful!!! Feel free to pop round internet – that is if you no longer need your eyebrows and have lost all sense of smell.

Davey

 

Very damp

Despite the absolutely awful weather today I’ve still been out and about putting in the miles.

The inclement skies have tested my recent statements about there being ‘no bad weather just bad clothes’ to the absolute limit, because it seems that not all of my clothes are… good.

I’m very damp.

In no particular order…

  • My trusty Berghaus walking boots seem to be leaking thanks to some epically deep puddles today and my feet are soaking wet
  • My ‘waterproof’ Peter Storm gloves (that I bought full price from Millets last year) needed around an eggcup of water (I’m not kidding) wrung out of each one of them when I sat down.
  • My Mountain Warehouse supercoat has (to be completely fair to it) kept water out of everywhere… Except its pockets
  • My waterproof Regatta overtrousers in contrast have been doing a grand job but the perspiration they cause when I wear them on longer walks undermines any upsides they might have regarding keeping rain at bay

When I started writing this post drinking whilst coffee in a pub (hiding from the rain with my overtrousers taken off and turned inside out) my outer clothing was all drip drying nearby.

By the time I reached home later in the afternoon the situation hadn’t really improved much and my feet were totally sodden and ‘pruney’ when my boots and socks came off.

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For the first time since maybe January I unclenched my wallet’s sphincter muscle and turned on the (cue drum roll) central heating…

Still – I may be wet and cold – but one thing I’n NOT is outrageously hungry after my 9 miles in the pouring rain. I’m not in the mood for food probably because I did a little bit of experimental cookery last night and the outcome was extremely satisfying.

To be honest it wasn’t really fine dining – but it did taste flipping delicious.

It consisted of a couple of packs of Aldi’s fajita chicken stir fry mix (which are admittedly 8 syns a pack according to the SW app – but they were half price – yay!) a punnet of mushrooms and a pack of Aldi sundried tomato and garlic flavour cous cous (0.5 syns a pack).

The whole meal came to around £3.50!

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I cooked the mushrooms, pre-marinaded chicken and stir fry veg (peppers and onions) for about 20 minutes, chucked in the sachets of sauce, stirred those in for 5 minutes – then sprinkled in the couscous and reduced the whole lot down for another five minutes until the couscous was swollen with flavour – then served it up.

Honestly this ended up being rather spicy but also felt like really comforting food for a cold and dark evening. Although it was definitely a bit higher in syns than meals that I’d usually cook frankly it made up for it by being so tasty that my tastebuds were practically ready to crown me emperor of the known universe for cooking it in the first place.

If there was ever a way to intelligently use syns with Slimming World then this is it in my view – because at least this way they’re filling you up rather than just hiding in empty calories like crisps or chocolate.

The truth is though that although I really enjoyed eating this I’m not really a fan of pre-prepared pack in sauces.

If you look closely at the ingredients for both the marinade that’s already on the chicken and it’s additional (admittedly optional) sachet of stir in sauce both have sugar in them.

The reason why this is included in any savoury food continually baffles me.

Why on earth does a fajita kit need sugar in it?

If I cooked this from scratch there’s not a recipe in the world that would say ‘and now grab a bag of silver spoon and start pouring‘.

Sometimes (like last night) I turn a blind eye to this kind of thing purely for cost and convenience’s sake as they’re usually one off’s – but honestly the presence of sugar in cook in sauces irritates the s&&t out of me. It’s no wonder the whole western world is lurching toward a diabetic and obesity armageddon when sugar is added to everything.

You may have seen my previous rants about this (and other similar food crimes) on Instagram…

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In many respects I don’t blame Aldi or it’s competitors for doing this though. Human beings are their own worst enemies.

Supermarkets taste test their products with consumers and then base their decisions on the feedback about what people prefer to eat. Sadly human beings seem to want more and more sugar. It’s just a fact of life I guess and I suppose that every now and then it doesn’t hurt to treat yourself.

Anyway – I’m very focused at the moment on eating the right kinds of things and accounting for all of it not just because of hidden sugar – but also because the Slimming World ball is coming up soon.

In early November I’m going to be up on stage to be presented with my Man of the Year award, and when I have everyone and their dog looking at me I want to feel (and look) my best.

I’m still not sure yet what ‘look my best’ will mean though…

Whilst I’ve been out today I’ve taken the opportunity to drip on the floor of some clothes shops and search for inspiration regarding colour and pattern combinations. I’m still no further forward with my decision – although I DO know that I’m almost certainly not going to pay the prices that high street shops are willing to charge me to do this.

I want to be frugally creative if at all possible and see what kind of an outfit I can pull together from ‘pre-loved’ sources.

This is considerably more stressful than just throwing money at a cashier when I find something nice – but on the plus side if I manage to pull it off I reckon I’ll be able to get a whole outfit for a similar or lower price than the (admittedly very nice) tie from Moss Bros (paired with the grey jacket in the last shot)…

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Either way – I find this kind of thing a fun challenge. Seeing individual items randomly in different places and then trying to mentally combine it with something else is a strangely addictive pastime…

Only time will tell whether I will be able to pull it off!

Watch this space internet!!!

Davey

Triggers and target outcome

I may be a target member (currently lapsed) but I’ll be completely honest and say that I’ve been like a cat on hot bricks about whether or not I’d be back in my target range this week.

I’ve been really really focused this month regarding my adherence to #onplanoctober and as I’ve previously mentioned this has paid dividends.

I’ve been closely monitoring and recording my eating, weight and exercise every day for the whole of the month so far. Even though I’ve not weighed in for the last two Saturdays I’ve barely taken my eye off the ball at all – and when I have I’ve forgotten about it and moved swiftly on the next day.

Whatever happened on the scales today would be by the skin of my teeth though – and I’m being completely open here when I say I even weighed my clothes before putting them on.

Furthermore I went for a long walk in the dark at 6.45am and I took ZERO prisoners.

Although for a while I’ve been able to easily get under the 15 minute mile mark what I’ve not really tried to do very often is sustain it lap after lap.

Since everyone needs targets, improving my 4 mile time has been something of a ‘thing’ for me.

When I first started Slimming World (some seasoned readers may remember) a guy casually mentioned that he walked four miles in an hour. Since it took me about an hour and a half to do one mile at the time this quickly became something I was obsessed with.

It took me a couple of years to get to the point where I could comfortably do the same – and now my breathing barely changes when I (regularly) crack the four mile hour.

My record for a mile walked (admittedly with a little jogging involved) is now 13 minutes 23 seconds – but I’m not really interested in short sharp bursts.

I want capabilities that enable sustained, effortless exercise and that means pacing myself.

Unfortunately that doesn’t yet equal shake free selfies in the low light conditions of the park at 7am or an expression that resembles a man that isn’t smuggling a coat hanger in his mouth.

But I digress – and I’m teasing you dear reader – because you no doubt want to know how I fared on the scales.

Since I have your undivided attention though I shall abuse it further and make you wait a little longer – because I have one more thing to talk about.

Triggers.

Angie was oddly enough talking about these in group today – which was prescient because it’s been on my mind all week long.

Hers was sugar – and in many respects when she became allergic to the stuff it was a huge tick in her personal win column.

She’s confessed both in private and in front of the group that since this happened she’s had to bulk up on other kinds of food because she’s struggled to keep weight on rather than lose it.

Without sugar in her life creating supplemental cravings (and the increased risk of diabetes) she flew down a dress size and is (in her words) ‘smaller than when she was born‘ now.

I’m not one to challenge a lady’s honesty – and I’ve never met her mother (who may be positively Herculean) but I struggle to wrap my mind around the logistics of that particular event.

I also can’t find any mention of it in medical text books, so I’ll just leave her tenuous statement (and mental image) alone for now and move swiftly along.

Personally I’ve never had a sweet tooth. My dad and my brother do – but it’s never been my Achilles heel.

I didn’t crave sugary food when I started Slimming World – and I haven’t had a chocolate bar for probably more than three years.

Instead my weakness is (and always has been) savoury food.

However – there’s one thing I do that completely undermines this blanket statement.

I doubt Angie noticed what was different about me as she talked about sugar being her weakness. If she’d been paying close attention she may have noticed that this week I wasn’t munching on a hi-fi bar.

They’re lovely.

I adore them.

I also usually eat an entire box of them on a Saturday morning during image therapy as my treat for doing well – and generally this is the start of a largely (or utterly) off plan Saturday.

I’m focused at the moment though. I’m having NO SUCH THING derail me and I’m making sure that I do as much as I possibly can to limit the days this month where I ‘screw the pooch’.

I didn’t buy any and therefore I didn’t eat any. When I walked into town for a coffee shortly afterwards I did so with (no joke) a pocket full of carrots.

So – my satellite objective this October is to avoid triggers.

When I do good things happen.

Like getting back into target baby!!!!

(Drops the mic, exits stage left)

Davey

Dreaming before Lickey

Strange dreams seem to have been an unwanted feature of my life for a couple of days.

Some are recurring and not worth mentioning – but last night saw an entirely new variety arrive that I’ve never had before.

In this particular variant I was with some people (mostly a variety of random but well known public figures) and realised that each time one of them moved further away from me they came back much older than when they were near.

I woke up, realising that this was just a dream and that their advanced age was something to do with time moving faster for things further away from me than it was nearby.

I went back to sleep thinking that was that – but in my next dreamscape I was popping out to get a lettuce (yep I’m even DREAMING #onplanoctober eating at the moment!) and when I returned everyone was again older.

In some cases the things further away were gone completely and even the surrounding buildings had turned to dust.

I awoke once again, realising that in this dream it was loved ones that disappeared when further away from me rather than random famous people.

Noting it down in my phone I once again turned over and nodded off.

Then in a booming voice my inner monologue took control of my next dream and shouted at me ‘if failure was impossible WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

I remember being paralysed and unable to answer the question – instead meekly replying that I wanted an ‘absence of want’ (oh the irony) in my life.

So – there’s a whole host of things to unpack and sift through today.

  • A fear that stepping further away from my comfort zone will result in loss
  • A concern that true change means that loved ones will drift away
  • A fear of failure causing a degree of paralysis
  • Guilt that I still covet material possessions (I really want the new Apple Watch) when I absolutely want to be anti consumerism.

As always walking seems to help – and I gave up trying to get uninterrupted sleep at 6.30am to hammer out 6 miles around the park.

Putting one foot repeatedly in front of the other doesn’t appear capable of providing any concrete answers though – but instead enabled a grudging acceptance that this sudden flurry of multicoloured dreams is a natural process.

I’m mentally decompiling after leaving my most recent place of employment – and my mind is still trying to make sense of it all.

I know I’m still questioning why I have such profound guilt about not having a job, when I know that I’m a burden to no-one and I’m supporting myself.

If this is that case what does it matter if I take a while out to reflect on what comes next and enjoy life?

The answer is it doesn’t matter at all – yet I’m still stuck in the mindset (which a friend referred to last night as a Protestant work ethic) that I should be doing something at all times to make me a ‘productive member of society’.

The book that I’m still dipping in and out of on Chinese philosophy (The Path) from a last week is obviously resonating with me and I find that I’m either consciously or unconsciously returning to bits and pieces of it throughout my day.

This is the one that’s still on my mind currently.

Mozi – on of Mencius’s contemporaries held a worldview that there are certain stable factors that can be counted on in a world that is largely coherent – and this assumption affects our decisions.

(…)

For Mozi and his followers, Heaven was a moral deity who laid out clear guidelines of right and wrong. Humans had to follow these guidelines in order to live a good life. If they did, they would be rewarded; if they did not, they would be punished.

(…)

We are stable selves who live In a stable world. We should act as rational-choice agents, calculating what will benefit us and what will cause us harm. If we look within, discover who we are, set out a plan for how we can flourish, and then work hard to fulfill that plan, we will prosper and grow as we should. In short, we are Mohists.

(…)

His philosophical writings sketch out his vision of a just society in which anyone who worked hard would prosper.

The counterpoint to this is that if you accept that everything is ordered and life outcomes are both quantifiable and consistently achievable through established methodologies (train hard and you’ll succeed) then the world essentially becomes a transactional place.

If you simply do what you need to do to prosper then you’re not doing things because they’re the right thing to do you’re instead doing them because they will ultimately benefit you.

This is of course a reductively simplistic way of looking at things – and the reality is that society needs a level of structure.

The generally accepted truth is that you can statistically improve your chances of success by doing certain things such as studying for qualifications or building stamina for a marathon.

However this view fundamentally ignores the truth of the world – and that is that our structures sit atop chaos.

They are applied so that we can cope with the underlying uncertainty of everything that surrounds us and they allow us to remove a potentially constant worry about what will happen to us in the future.

It’s all an illusion though.

I spent three years studying for a degree to become something that never came to pass.

Marathon runners might train for a year and then trip over a pavement slab just before the finish line.

You may climb the corporate ladder your entire life only to be made redundant suddenly with no severance pay.

The reality of our existence is that there is NO certainty – but the question this poses is how do we embrace chaos and move forward when we’ve been taught throughout our whole lives to live within a framework of order?

Sigh.

I don’t know.

There’s a middle ground somewhere that I’ve yet to find.

I’m definitely going through a period of existential questioning at the moment (this isn’t a bad thing – it’s a growth spurt) and I’m just going to have to hunker down while it works itself out.

In the meantime today I’ve been out twalking and exploring woods with a friend – and I’m happy to say that amongst trees there are still reassuringly ‘holey’ holes in the floor.

I like to illustrate this by pointing at them.

I love a good hole.

You can’t beat one.

Well – unless you consider mushrooms – because woodland ones trump holes.

Whilst my day may have started with me questioning the nature of the universe and my place in it – the remainder of my day was actually spent just being thankful that it was there in the first place.

I once again visited the Lickey Hills with my friend – and it represented a day of personal triumph for her.

Around seven months ago she fell over while we were walking here and badly damaged a ligament in the process (link).

Today was the first time we’d been back – and we picked a lovely time of year to do so.

Broadly speaking we followed the red woodpecker trail (around four miles or so) which was absolutely lovely.

It’s not too undulating – and it’s a really gentle and relaxing stroll for the most part – so it’s highly recommended if you’re moderately fit or recovering from an injury like my companion.

While the skies remained steadfastly grey (they turned irritatingly blue on the way home) the forest canopy and floor was a riot of interest and colour.

Autumn has to be one of my favourite times of year.

There’s a small sweet spot in this season where everything is green in the canopy above and everything looks red or orange underfoot.

It’s wonderful.

Around about now is that time and because of this I’m often more fascinated with the floor than I am the treeline – which was completely peppered with acorns and chestnuts.

Sure – grey skies aren’t as nice as blue, and I already miss the summer but you really can’t beat being surrounded by nature.

It’s certainly better than the comical stuffed animals in the visitor centre – which don’t appear to have been dusted or shown any love since the last time.

The fox still looks very sorry for itself.

And the squirrel still looks like it’s seriously cranky.

Mr rabbit has also seen many many better days – but I love him nonetheless.

So – despite being dogged by odd dreams I’m convinced that today is a great day to be alive.

I’m #onfire with #onplanoctober and #fuddinglovinit.

If you aren’t already exploring the woods or going for a morning walk then I suggest you do so now.

The shorter days are on the way and you need to make the most of the daylight internet!

Davey

#onplanoctober revisited

As soon as I entered the public toilet in the deserted changing room I knew I was in trouble. The walls were unbearably close, and covered in a thin later of fine soil.

The black plastic seat in front of me was cold and also covered in the same sprinkling of earth.

I could barely turn around, let alone undo my trousers – but the need was pressing, so (with great difficulty) I did – and once I was unbuttoned I attempted to sit down.

At this point the walls (which were already touching my shoulders) closed in a little more, and I realised I was wedged.

As I was assessing how to get out of this predicament I heard movement outside in the cold and echoey room.

There were many cubicles – but it seemed that the anonymous person joining me had decided (against all unspoken but universally understood toilet etiquette) to choose the one immediately next to me.

To add insult to injury he also started talking to himself and then (through the wooden cubicle wall) asked me a question.

For the life of me though I can’t remember any of the things he asked me about.

When I responded however he immediately parroted my answer back to me, reflecting everything that I’d said to him in my own voice.

Freaky.

Could this be the worst public toilet experience in the world?

Actually no – because at this point I woke up – wondering what the heck this dream meant.

Checking Google in the cold light of day suggests a variety of things relating to different bathroom dreams – such as me needing to release emotions or feeling like I’m unable to get any personal space.

None of them ring true – and universally fail to provide any suggestions about what the mirroring of my answers means – or why the man in the next cubicle appeared to have my own voice.

The simple explanation for the bathroom dream is that I actually needed the loo – which in this case was absolutely bang on the money.

After making a note of the dream I hurriedly headed to the smallest room of the house and engaged my sprinkler system.

Once finished I went straight back to bed and immediately nodded off.

As with many odd dreams though I find that now I’m awake again I’m mildly preoccupied with it.

I’m not worried or obsessing over it’s meaning mind you. I think I know what it relates to.

Control or a perception that I’ve not had any in certain areas of my life.

For a while I’ve felt that events have been controlling me rather than the other way around.

Over the last few days however I’ve turned something of a mental corner – and amongst other things I’m once again filling in regular food diaries.

Before the end of September I looked back on some of my old posts from around the same time in 2017. In these was following #onplanoctober (link) and decided I’d resurrect the practice again for a month.

Last time I did this the results were undeniably positive (link) and over the course of few weeks the extra focus showed some really positive progress towards my target weight.

Although I was a heavier back then and my goal now is maintenance rather than significant losses it makes sense to do it again.

I dutifully started on the 1st and am keeping a notepad file of all my exercise and what I consume on my phone.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done this.

For a long time I honestly felt that I’d ‘cracked it’ – and didn’t really need to write anything down anymore because food diaries were for people still trying to get to target.

However I’m also really aware that I’m not yet back in target.

Furthermore – due to being ill (I’m still not at my best but much improved in case you wondered) I didn’t weigh in last Saturday.

I’ve also booked a holiday with Angie for this coming week because I’ve had exciting plans on that day for months

The problem with this is that knowing I’m not going to stand on scales for a couple of weeks will almost certainly invoke my natural tendency to mentally relax and indulge a little.

It’s a slippery slope though – and regardless of how far you’ve come, whatever awards you’ve been given or whether or not you’ve appeared in the media being touted as someone that’s ‘succeeded’ YOU’RE ONLY HUMAN.

A little can soon become a lot and I’m only too aware of my proclivities in this area.

I’m not just a high achiever in the field of weight loss – I’m a flipping guru in the field of weight gain as well.

A few years ago I managed to lose ten stone (this isn’t my first journey on the tubby train) and then put it all back on at the rate of over a stone a month.

If my ability to gain weight was transposed into the field of martial arts I’d basically be Bruce Lee.

I’m that good.

The truth is that I really don’t want to write anything down.

In fact it’s the absolute last thing I want to do – and this tells me something really important.

If I don’t want to do it it’s because I’m hiding from the reality of what I’m capable of eating when I’m not 100% on plan.

Deep down I not only know that I want to over eat – but that given half a chance I will.

I also know what I need to eat in order to maintain my target weight – and I’m writing a diary to make 100% sure I’m consuming it and no more.

Since doing the same old things often results in bad behaviour I’m also switching up my routines and changing my meal times so that I stand a better chance of avoiding danger periods (usually in the evening) where I’m more likely to over indulge.

For a few months I’ve also been (mostly unconsciously) avoiding carbohydrate rich ingredients too – and I’m re-introducing some of these free foods to my meals purely for the sake of variety.

I don’t post pictures of food very often because I feel that this is something that the internet (and particularly Instagram) is already overwhelmed with.

The world really doesn’t need another guy like me posting pictures of his dinner every day.

In this case though I think it’s relevant – if for no other reason but to illustrate that I’ve used noodles in my stir fry for the first time in absolutely ages and I really enjoyed it.

In this case I used a couple of pre prepared stir fry vegetable and mushroom packs from Aldi, a few chicken breast strips, a load more mushrooms, a ‘cake’ of Sainsburys dried egg noodles (these have been in my cupboard for around two years!) garlic, a chicken stock cube and Worcestershire sauce to create something absolutely delicious.

But that’s not all…

It may sound nuts but I’ve only just realised that when making a stir fry (at least the way I usually do it) there’s a lot of water generated by the veg.

I’m sure I’m just not cooking it fast enough – but I don’t have a wok – and getting things REALLY HOT with spray oil never works out well in my experience.

So, rather than trying to cook the liquid off (your stir fry just gets mushy and overcooked if you do) or pour it away (meaning all that lovely flavour is suddenly lost) putting dried noodles in the middle of it neatly absorbs all of the excess fluid – and also has the added benefit of infusing the noodles with wonderful flavour.

Previously I’d always cooked the noodles separately – so this discovery is something of a revelation to me.

The taste difference is genuinely noticeable – and if you’ve never tried this then I recommend giving it a go!

Anyway – as you might expect I’ve been out and about walking since quite early – and have just stopped for fuel.

Since I’ve posted one picture of my dinner I may as well give you one of my lunch.

Sharing is caring after all…

In my case lunch happens to be another concession to carbs and is a chicken enchilada from La Tasca.

Thanks to my Wuntu app (which gives you lots of lovely deals and free things if you’re a 3 mobile customer) this meal set me back a wonderfully frugal £3.

Since the price is usually around £12 (which I consider too steep) and my mobile bill is £9 a month (from which I typically also get a couple of free coffees at Costa and Greggs) I can’t fault this particular indulgence.

On the plus side I also know that La Tasca’s toilet walls will NOT close in on me and the loo seat will not be covered in soil.

As far as I’m concerned internet that’s a win win win situation .

Davey

2017 retrospective (part two)

(Part one here)

July

The seventh month of the year is a big one and starts with me in unfamiliar territory.

My teens.

I haven’t managed to time travel to the 80’s – instead I’ve just about managed to creep into the 19st bracket, and I’m fighting to stay there.

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My efforts to power through small slump this are self evident though – and I decide that it’s time to really see how far I can go. One morning (for no reason other than to see if I can) I decide to get up and walk from Warwick to Solihull (link).

It’s fifteen miles and I’ve never tried to go this far in one day before.

Although it was essentially just an exercise in determination and distance this was and still is a very important achievement for me – because it truly meant that there was practically no-where any more locally than I could drive to and get stranded in (a big fear in my mind that was always with me) because of weight related mobility issues.

If my car ever broke down in Solihull and I needed to I could now walk home.

Transitioning mentally from a man that originally couldn’t walk to the end of his street to one that could walk to Solihull was both profound and emotional. Even more upsetting though, during the journey my Apple Watch was pronounced sick and in need of repair.

I leave my fallen comrade with Apple and I’m without it for over a week.

At home I’m still working on the garden and have finally managed to turn it into a welcoming (rather than impassable) space.

My ongoing dissatisfaction with items in my house also results in the death (by hacksaw) of an old armchair and the purchase of an Ikea Poang chair – which is a step in the right direction – but also something I’m too scared to sit on in case I break it (link).

As I continue to prepare for Snowdon I look for more challenges – and revisit Burton Dassett via a longer walk from Avon Dassett (link). I’ve also got Apple Watch back, and although the gap without it has left a big hole in my stats I couldn’t be happier.

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An important milestone arrives when I suddenly realise that I can now get into charity shop clothing – and I buy my very first wearable item from one (link) a Penguin jacket (which I was reliably informed was rather trendy).

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I take this item of clothing (and quite a few others) to Snowdonia where on Saturday July 22nd at around 19.5 stone I climb Mount Snowdon with a friend (link).

It’s one of the proudest moments of my life – and is both very emotional and extremely symbolic. I’ve come a long way – and it’s a superb reminder of how much can be achieved!

Mostly because of this strenuous activity Supercoat (which is now way too big for me) is given to my father (link).

I’m also suddenly in 40in waisted Jacamo jeans (link) and shortly after getting my 15.5 stone certificate I also climb Thorpe Cloud (link).

August

The start of the month is excellent (link) and my HbA1c level has now dropped further to 28. My diabetic nurse tells me that if I was re-tested at that point I would no longer be diagnosed as type 2.

My diabetes appears to be in full remission.

I’m once again preparing myself for a potential return to work by buying interview clothes. The physical changes since the last time I went about this around six months before are readily apparent (link).

On August 14th I start another job (link) in the hope that this time I’ve made the right choice. It’s different mainly because I can walk to it – so therefore I can build exercise into my every day routine without feeling like it’s unnaturally forced.

Initially my feelings about the job are really positive and I’m happy. I take the long route to work whenever possible and I’m loving how fit I feel.

I’ve come a long way in terms of body confidence too and have started posting comparison shots like this on Instagram to spur me on.

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It’s working – because by mid August I have my sixteen stone certificate and my the end of the month realise that I’ve walked (since April 2016) the cumulative distance from San Francisco to New York(link)!

September

The weather in September is great and although I’m working again I take advantage of it as much as I can in the evenings and weekends. I’m wandering over hill and dale with my camera and trying to capture as many pretty things as I can.

Quite out of the blue an unexpected watershed moment arrives on the way home from work and (as has happened many times in the past due to my weight) I get abused by a bunch of teenagers whilst walking through the park.

However – instead of calling me a fat c**t as I pass by (a previously preferred moniker such people had for me) they instead all shout ‘BALDY!’ (link) in unison – both stunning me and leaving me with a lot to think about.

If they don’t see me as fat any more and the worst they can come up with is an insult about my hair line – do I now look ‘normal’?

I’m forced to admit that my self perception is now seriously at odds with reality – and to further underscore this I slowly approach a significant ‘Rubicon moment’ (link).

I’ve slowed down a little – but I still have my 17 stone certificate.

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However – not all is going well – and once again I realise that the job I’ve chosen isn’t for me. I decide to leave (link) and once again I don’t know what this says about me to my friends or what it means for the future.

Without warning again I feel like a complete failure.

Something does manage to cheer me up towards the end of the month however – and I attend something I booked with a few friends the year before. It’s an event I probably couldn’t have gone to easily when I said yes to it – but my hope was I’d lose enough weight to make it a reality – and I did.

I’ve always wanted to go to EGX gaming expo at the NEC but was never fit enough to stand for the time required or capable of comfortably walking the distances required around the NEC.

When I finally made it I really geeked out!

October

Largely because of a my own sense that I was losing my way a little with my diet October was dominated by #onplanoctober (link) which kept me on the straight and narrow.

I calorie counted every last morsel of food that passed my lips for the entire month.

If I’m honest this really tested the limits of my patience – but I’d promised that I’d do it – and by the end of the exercise it paid dividends because in the space of 5 weigh in’s I managed to lose 16.5lbs.

Mid way through the month I get my 17.5 stone certificate and I’m also handed a little cardboard bauble for a Christmas tree. I write something on it and then largely forget about it…

This also means that my Rubicon moment has finally arrived — and on the 7th of October I’ve finally lost more than I weigh. I make myself a Club 50 award. Over half of my original body weight has now gone.

img_4882In the first weeks of the month I start speaking publicly at Slimming World meetings (link) about my weight loss. In total I do nine of them in Warwickshie – and they’re all a humbling experience – but also very rewarding.

To see how far I’ve come in the pictures I pass around and hear the gasps in the room when I put on my old clothes is quite emotional.

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I also return twice to (the now colder) Malvern Hills  (link) and Ilmington Downs (link) for more attempts at both – and I’m struck in these locations by how much easier things are getting.

Although I still have weight to lose I’m pretty darned fit at this point – and I barely get out of breath on the ascents.

I finally get around to compiling a list of non-scale victories (link) which I read to my friend for the first time and both of us start crying. In response to this I realise how important the recognition of these accomplishments is and I make a regularly updated site page (link) and add something new each time it occurs.

By October 28th I’ve lost a staggering 28 inches from my waist (link) and my photographic diary of February 2017 to October is showing some serious progress.

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Furthermore I’m also able to fit into my very first LARGE items of clothing (link) and ever since I mention the word LARGE at every opportunity I get. This means that since getting into a LARGE I’ve said LARGE a LARGE number of times.

November

November kicks off with me getting an 18 stone certificate and a Mr Sleek award – which is a bit embarrassing – but also a really nice pat on the back!

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My public speaking has also been received positively, and because of it I’m offered some work at a local company in a temp role – which comes in very useful as it manages to stem the outward flow from my bank account and promises to make Christmas a little less daunting.

On the 6th of November I start my job and find that (being something I’ve never done before) it makes me feel quite alive. I also get to walk 3 miles there and three miles back every day which means that I can keep up my now regular average distance of 10 miles walked per day (link).

It’s getting colder though and it’s not only the floor thats frozen – my hands and feet are too.

I keep up the walking however – partially because I rather like my new place of employment. I like it enough in fact to apply for a permanent position at the company (link) for which I’m accepted.

It’s also another thinly veiled excuse to dress up for a job interview, which underscores just how much I’ve started to enjoy clothes shopping and looking smart.

It’s my new thing!

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November ends with another first and I meet a fellow blogger (link) who comes to visit for the very first time! I have a real live internet friend with a face and a body and everything!

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December

The final month of 2017 finds me in an unusually festive mood and after no small amount of agonising I decide to do something for the first time in my adult life.

I buy a Christmas tree (link) and I put my little October cardboard bauble amongst it’s branches. It’s hastily scrawled words are now a reality!

I’m also now officially into 36in trousers, meaning 30 inches have been lost from my waist’s starting point.

I get my 19 stone certificate (link) on December the 9th – which is quickly followed by another unusual event.

I go dancing (with Angie and my Slimming World group) for the first time since the 90’s – and I have a fantastic time. All in all I’m on the dancefloor for around two and a half hours (completely sober) and I’m so pumped and full of energy I virtually skip home afterwards!

December seems to content to keep supplying me with firsts as well – and on the 14th I’m featured in the local newspaper (link).

img_1078This is followed soon after by an offer to appear on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio (link) which is very exciting indeed (it’s due to happen this Friday 29th December at 10-10.15am) – but for some reason I’m more preoccupied with my washing machine – which is completely broken.

Priorities eh?

That pretty much brings us up to date. I had a fab Christmas – and after discovering earlier in the month that I suddenly love red (link) and wearing geek things I did pretty well for presents!

So – thats 2017 almost at a close!

I hope you enjoyed reading the second part of this retrospective as much as I did writing it internet! Join me again in a year (if you’re not already sick of me) and we’ll see what comes out of the next twelve months!

Thanks for sticking with me – it’s a genuine pleasure to write something that people like to read and comment on.

You guys and gals make it all worthwhile xxx

Davey

#onplanoctober – the results

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

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

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

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

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

You’ve already wrecked everything – right?

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

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

Monday 30th

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

Total calories consumed 2067

Activity

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

Tuesday 31st

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

Total Calories consumed 1881

Activity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on that possibly at a later date…

 

Davey

28 inches gone!

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s why. 

Friday 27th 

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

Total calories consumed 1893

Activity

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

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


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

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

Week’s Totals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Nuffield Health – but no thanks.

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

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

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

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


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

Yay!

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

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


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



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

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

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

Davey

Bright colours

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

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

I had to stop talking and write it down. 

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

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

They were just right. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That we’re somehow ‘not good enough’

Of course it’s nonsense. 

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

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

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


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

I won’t think any less of you internet 😘 

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

Thursday 26th

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

Total calories consumed – 1950 (approx)
Activity

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

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

Discover all of this and more tomorrow!

Davey

Malvern knees 7 months later

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

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

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

March:

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October:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So has my appearance.

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Back then I was 22st 4lbs

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

It shows.

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Here’s what I did yesterday. 

Wednesday 25th

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

Total calories consumed 1991

Activity

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

Nighty night internet x 

Davey

Poo bags

I feel flipping awesome today!

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


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

It’s amazing how life changes you. 

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


I know how Alfie felt this morning. 

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

She’s not wrong. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

I have to get used to that. 

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

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

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

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

Tuesday 24th

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

Total calories consumed 1621

Activity

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

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

Wish me luck internet!

Davey

Large!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He barely fitted into the seat.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyhow. 

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

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

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

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


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

Ahem. 

I just need to say that AGAIN

In case you didn’t get it. 

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

So why do they fit me? 

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

Here’s what happened yesterday. 

Monday 23rd

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

Total calories consumed 1878

Activity

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

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

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


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

Davey

Bad tech day

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

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

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

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

However they are really annoying me at the moment.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The jury is out about what I do next. 

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

Sunday 22nd

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

Total calories consumed 1164
Activity

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

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

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

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

Davey

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

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

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

I was eating for other reasons.

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

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

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

Thankfully these days don’t happen very often.

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

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

(this list is from a previous post here).

Way to work (1130kcal)

Sandwiches eaten at desk (1725kcal approx)

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

Evening meal (1595kcal)

Snacks and drinks (3023kcal)

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

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

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

This would have made the day come to 8869 kcal 

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

Saturday 21st

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

Total calories consumed 3491

Activity

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

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

So that’s what I’ve been doing today.

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

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

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

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

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

Why? (growls) Because Lego Batman is cooool 🤗


Davey

Sixteen something or other

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

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

IMG_4997

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

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

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

I think

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

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

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

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

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

What an numpty I am!

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

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

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

Friday 20th

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

Totals (kcal)

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

Activity

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

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

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

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

The pavements of Warwickshire will still be there later!

Davey

Own it

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

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

My new gilet. 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday 19th

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

Total calories consumed 2186

Activity

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

(Author heads off for his walk)

Well that was fun!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Food was just the same. 

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

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

All of it. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Davey

Christmas wish

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

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

However – it’s not all doom and gloom.

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

Sigh.

Bureaucracy.

I really dislike it…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m going to stick to that.

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

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

So without further ado here’s what happened yesterday…

Wednesday 18th

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

Total calories consumed 1951 (3 syns)

Activity

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

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

Davey

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