Somehow, I’ve managed to make it to 49.
In my head, I’m still mid-twenties at best. (Until I go out with a group of mid-twenties people, at which point no, fucking hell, I’m not) But no, forty-bloody-nine is where I’m at.
Usually over the last few years I’ve done a list of what I’m planning to do in the next year, and what I’ve achieved in the past one. I’m not doing that this year on either side – 2020’s been such a horrendous clusterchuff in so many ways, and there’s not really any positive end in sight, so I’m looking more at spending the coming year figuring out some of that stuff.
Of course, 2021 could be (hell, is likely to be) even more of a grimdark shitscape than 2020, what with Brexit, Covid, America, and whatever else is hovering on the horizon, waiting to dump it’s crap over all of us.
And on that happy note, let’s get on with it.
I said a while ago that I’d write this, and then never got round to it. (I also thought I’d written it before, but a couple of searches didn’t find anything. Which is odd.)
Anyway. Back at the start of 2018, I did my semi-regular checkup visit at the local GP, which all worked out as “fairly healthy in general“. As usual, the main ‘problem’ was that I’m significantly heavier than I “should” be. So I asked for help from the GP, asked what they could do or suggest. And the response? “Oh, you’re not obese enough to get NHS treatment“. Well OK, that’s about as helpful as a kick in the cock.
So, being me, I pushed for some referrals – I already wanted to lose weight, but that kind of attitude really steamed my piss, and I wanted to get some better figures and find out more about what was going on. I’ve been logging my food intake for years now, and also keeping track of what I walk and so on, so I knew beforehand that my usual calorie intake was around the recommended 2,500 a day mark (albeit with some days/weekends of excess) and I walk an average of at least 10,000 steps a day.
First, I got a referral to Slimming World – and the less said about that, the better. An unremittingly negative and unhelpful experience all round.
I also got a referral to the Dietician service at Bedford Hospital, which wasn’t much more positive, but did end up with some good connections and results.
With the service, we tried a set of calorie-reduction diet plans, none of which worked. However, through it I also got a connection to the Uni of Beds’ Sport Science department, where I was able to (finally) get one of the tests done that I really wanted – an RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) test, to establish what level of energy I’m actually burning. RMR is basically a measure of the calories the body burns if it’s simply laying in bed doing nothing. No food intake, no exertion at all. It took about an hour to run from start to finish, and then a couple of weeks to crunch the data and produce a report.
So. My RMR is 2,800 calories a day – even if I just laid in bed and did sod all, I’d need more calories than the recommended 2,500 a day. Taking into account calories for digestion, as well as exertion, It’s likely I’m burning around 4,000 a day. (As it turns out, I did write about BMR/RMR – ten years ago!)
On the downside, this information never really sank in with the Dietician. They kept on insisting that eating less had to result in losing weight. And in all honesty, it should – but didn’t. Looking at the figures, I’m already taking in less than I’m expending, and dropping the intake simply widened the gap even further. All it did was leave me even more tired, and seriously grouchy.
It ended up with a bit of an argument as my sense of humour finally failed, I wrote a full bulleted list of what was happening (with all the information from above) and why I suspected things weren’t working. That actually finished things fairly positively, although they didn’t have any better suggestions once we were outside the standard answers.
Also along the way, I ended up joining a local group called “Gutless” for overweight men. It consisted of two hours a week, one of food education, and one of physical exercise and workouts. For me, I didn’t learn much from the food education, but the training was positive, and started me doing more than I had. And since the Gutless course finished, we’ve maintained the exercise routine with the same trainer, which has also remained positive.
All told, I feel happier with how things are – if nothing else, my health record contains the whole list of things tried from the Dietician, and the RMR figures from the Uni of Beds. It means that when the GP tries their “you’re overweight” thing again, they can see what’s been tried.
However, I don’t really know what the answer is. My food intake has stayed much the same (and some of those weekends of excess actually make me lose weight) and I do more, with the extra workouts twice a week, and the archery I’ve recently re-taken up as well as maintaining the walking I do. I’m far, far stronger than I was, my shape is better, my stamina is fearsome, and I feel far healthier – but somehow, my weight hasn’t actually changed in a good decade, no matter what I do.
I’d like to lose more some – it’s just that still, everything I try isn’t working. I think that at some point I’ll have to go back and get more data and ideas, but really I don’t yet even know the right questions to ask.
I’ll figure it out one day, I’m sure.
I’ve known it’s coming for a while, but this coming fortnight is probably the one that’ll grump me the most about the Lockdown so far.
It’s the time when I had a lot of events lined up, all of which have now been moved to next year. Among other things, that list includes
- Tonight, when I was supposed to be seeing Skunk Anansie at the Royal Festival Hall
- Tomorrow, when I was likely to have been at the Taste festival in London
- Saturday, when I was supposed to be seeing Jessica Chastain in “A Doll’s House” at the Playhouse Theatre
- Next week, I was supposed to be at the Lead Developer conference in London for two days
- Next weekend, I was supposed to be seeing Much Ado About Nothing at the Globe
So yeah, bit of a slump of “I should’ve been doing [x]” for the next couple of days.
I had a similar slump a while back when I got a load of “this won’t be happening” emails over a couple of days, and this is much the same. I’ll get over it, and it all could be much, much worse.
But still, blah.
Over the last twelve weeks, it’s been interesting hearing that a lot of people have put weight on, mainly through a lack of available exercise opportunities, and generally eating loads of crap food while “working” from home.
I’m happy to say that hasn’t been the case here – in some ways that’s really bloody annoying, and in others I find it quite reassuring.
My food intake hasn’t really changed – for obvious reasons, my restaurant visits and occasional weekends of excess haven’t been happening. (Although they’ve never really affected me either) But I’ve not ended up eating a load of junk – the cake, biscuits and crisps that a lot of people seem to have been going for in a big way – which also probably helps balance things out.
However, I’ve also not been exercising anywhere near as much. (This has been intentional, as I’ll explain in a bit) Over the last two years I’ve been taking a member of a local fitness group at least twice a week, as well as my own workout routines, fairly epic weekend walks and activities, and averaging well over 10,000 steps a day.
As a result of that lack of exercise, all logic dictates that I should’ve put on weight, with maintaining my intake but not burning off anywhere near as much as usual. But it’s not been the case – throughout this lockdown, my weight has varied by only about a kilo either way.
The reason I chose to stop doing the workouts and so on was to see what happened – again, logic would dictate that I’d have gained weight, and I wanted to find out. I did a lot of work in 2018 to find things that worked for me (and failed on all scores, but came out with more information and hard data/figures) although it looks like I haven’t actually written about that whole thing here. (so that’s something else I can write at some point soon)
It’s frustrating, because I’d love to find an easy answer for losing weight. It’s reassuring, because it does also show that whatever I’m doing is suiting my body – the fact that nothing has really changed shows that. Swings and rounadbouts, and all that jazz.
Turns out, it’s eight years today since I moved to the current house.
A lot’s happened in that time, and I’m still here. It’s the longest I’ve lived anywhere since I left home, which still feels very weird.
I keep on thinking about moving on (and, as I said in a previous post, right now I’m glad it hasn’t happened) and being somewhere new, but so far I haven’t found anywhere I really feel right about moving to.
I don’t know what the future will bring, or where it’ll find me, but for now well, eight years. Wow.
Decades ago, I used to be highly into archery, and enjoyed it a lot, including shooting up to County level.
Then life got in the way for a while, until I was reminded (15 years ago now) that I enjoyed it when we went to Center Parcs that I went and sorted out a bow and so on and started to get back into it again, and then life got in the way again.
I’d kept the bow and so on, even though I wasn’t doing the archery, and kept on looking for local(ish) archery clubs whose schedules worked with my own. (This is actually a lot harder than you’d think – most of them are on school grounds or similar, so only open specific evenings, and usually ones where I was already doing stuff)
Anyway, about a month ago now, I found a semi-local (within about 30-40 minutes drive) club that has an outdoor range which is open to use seven days a week, which does suit me. But before I could join properly, I had to do their beginner’s course, in order to prove I could use a bow safely.
I did that a couple of weeks back, and again really enjoyed myself.
The final step was to get my bow properly checked out and serviced (it’s not been fired in eight years, I wasn’t going to try it without getting it inspected!) and that happened a week ago on Friday at a place I’d been recommended to use. Again that was a really good – if not cheap – experience, and by the end of my time there, I was grouping my arrows (at a shorter indoor range) within the space one gets if you circle fingers into an OK gesture.
I filled in, signed and sent off the membership forms the following day, so now I’m just waiting to get my confirmation and card.
All told, I’m generally feeling pretty optimistic about it, and looking forward to seeing how things go.
Back in December I said about planning to have things being quieter and calmer in 2020, and I’m working on it. But it’s decidedly odd in some ways.
Each weekend of January has had a day “off”, where I’m not doing as much. I usually prefer to at least get out and do something (even if, like today, ‘something’ is just going to the cinema to see stuff) but there’ve even been a couple where I didn’t leave the house – and they definitely felt weird.
It’s actually something that is – for me – very hard to do. It’s taking time to think of it as being “OK” to have days like these. What makes it harder is that I’m physically used to being out and doing stuff – the days of doing Not Much actually leave me feeling achy, tired and grouchy. I honestly don’t yet know how long it’ll take for that to stop happening, or at least get easier.
I’m still working on it though. February is currently planned to be similar – I’ve only got one weekend where there are things booked for both days. So we’ll see how things have progressed in that time, and whether I’m doing better on Not Much days than I currently am…