Healthy Figures

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.


Lockdown – Health and Resilience

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.


LockDown – Getting On

It’s been a strange couple of months, with all the Coronavirus stuff, and the resultant lockdown. At the time of writing, we’ve completed five full weeks, and it’s looking like there’s still at least another couple of weeks of it to go (at a bare minimum)

All told, I’ve actually done OK (so far, so far) with the whole thing, and it hasn’t affected me too badly – indeed, for the most part my daily life hasn’t changed all that much.

A lot of people have found it tough to be on their own (or in a very restricted domestic situation) and they definitely have my sympathies, but for me it’s been much the same as usual. Indeed, the whole thing has really just proved to me that – for me – it was right to go back to being single, and staying that way. (That one might end up being a larger post in the fullness of time)

Additionally, a lot of people seem to have had real issues with shopping, panic-buying and the like – and again, so far I’ve been pretty lucky, and been able to get things done without running out of anything. (That’ll definitely be a bigger future post) There have been things where I’ve changed the supplier, or found a different method on-line, but so far there’s been nothing I’ve run out of (or even short of)

My health’s been fine, and so far there’ve been no signs of picking up the virus or anything. I’ve slacked off a bit on the whole exercise thing – although I’m still doing some, it’s just nowhere near what I was doing – and in a fit of irony, I actually lost a small amount of weight as a result. (Yeah, my body chemistry is still epically fucked)  But I’m also not snacking and nibbling – which again seems to be a lot of people’s coping mechanism – so in general things are pretty good.

Even work-wise I’ve been lucky and most of my stuff is keeping on going. Obviously that might change with time, but for now it’s all still stable, and going well. And there’s a couple of new projects coming in as well, which should (I hope) make things easier as well.

So all-in-all things are good here. And I know that makes me ridiculously fortunate, and far, far luckier than many others.


Small Wins – Suited

As part of the “generally busy” of the last few weeks, I was asked to attend a funeral/cremation for the father of a friend of mine.  As the dresscode was described as “formal” I opted for my much-loved three-piece suit that I got made in Cambridge. Turns out, that suit is exactly 12 years old (I took delivery of it at the start of April 2007)

Anyway, when I tried it on, I was really pleased to find that it still fits just fine – the most I had to do was brush the dust off it, as I haven’t worn it that much in the last few years.

So basically, I’m taking it as a small win that actually I haven’t changed size/weight/dimensions over that 12 year period.  I know I’m still overweight and blah blah blah, but it’s been utterly consistent for over a decade, which I’m pretty happy with.  I know there have been fluctuations over that time, but this current state certainly appears to be my default.

And I’m OK with that.


Ten Years Back

This weekend there’s been a bit of a “ten years ago” meme going round social media, and while I won’t get involved (mainly because I don’t do photos of me, let alone photos of me from a decade ago) it did make me go back to the archives here and have a look at what was going on.  Which was quite interesting (to me, anyway)

Ten years ago, I was still with Herself, we were in the Norfolk house, and sleeping abysmally while also sick as chuff with a chest infection of sorts. So, some things never change. I was working in a local-government job I hated – and the post about that was exactly ten years ago today – and generally doing OK.

I did also find a post about my weight – and again, not much has changed. I’ve lost a bit of weight since then – which I’m happy with – but all told it’s really stayed pretty stable. (There’s another post back in Jan 2005 about the same thing, with similar figures to where I’m at now)

Of course, there have been a lot of changes in that ten years, but it’s also interesting to see what’s stayed much the same…


Closing The Year

And so we’re at the end of 2018. And as such, it seems apt that the last post of the year should be a quick assessment and overview.

All told, it’s been a good – and busy – year.

There’s been more travel than usual, with that week in Toronto to add into the bargain.

There’s been more work, but also more fun times, trips out, meals, etc.

I’ve been doing a lot of work on weight-loss which has ultimately ended up not doing much – but I have more knowledge, more figures, and the steps I’ve taken have improved my health, strength, stamina, and resilience. They’ve just done sod-all to lose actual weight. But I’m OK with that, and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.

On the downside, I’m ending the year with a bit more debt than I’d like. It’s nothing earth-shattering, nor even major. A fair chunk of it is for tickets for things in 2019, of which another decent chunk is owed to me by others for their tickets. But all the same, it’s more than I’d like it to be.

However, in a fit of progress and being grown up, it’s also now all in one place, with zero-interest ’til 2022, and it’ll be done by the end of 2019.  I could do it even quicker if I wanted – and I may do so – but it’s all under control, and I’m OK with it.

There are, as always, things I haven’t done – no matter the good intentions, they just haven’t happened. I’ll continue to work towards those things, and I’m going to write more about that tomorrow.

All told, it’s been a positive year, and I’m feeling pretty good at the end of it.


A Very Foodie Week

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to make my birthday into a bit of a foodie thing, since starting off the whole “Eating on my own” thing with the Michelin-starred restaurants a couple of years back.

This year I’d taken the week off and booked a week in Northumberland, which made it even more fun.

So this year my actual birthday meal (well, the day after, but it counted) was at L’Enclume.  One heck of a drive across-country – two and a half hours each way – but still better than the five hours each way it would be from home.

Then during the week was an evening at House of Tides – which I love, and rarely miss taking the opportunity to go to when I’m in the North-East.

And finally, while I was in Manchester I visited a very new place, Mana, because it sounded interesting. (And it was!)

So it’s been a foodie week, and very enjoyable. But I might need to walk a lot over the coming week or so to make up for it…