Saturday, December 30, 2006

The plan for 2007

Let me be clear - I don't do New Year's resolutions. This is not a resolution, this is an intention to change some habits.

Change No 1: Reduce sugar in coffee by 1/2. So one spoon in a mug instead of two. One and a half in the big travel mug I use at work. I've already started this, and it's working OK. I deliberately made an early start on this one because I mostly drink instant at home and filter coffee at work, and the filter coffee is a bit more bitter. Hopefully the adjustment when I get back to work on the 2nd will be easier. It's going OK so far!

Change No 2: Limit alcohol intake. Maximum of two beers on school nights (or 1/2 bottle wine).

Change No 3: Healthier snacks. I just bought a load of cereal bars (2 1/2 or 3 points instead of 5), and stocked up on cereal for the office.

Change No 4: Pub lunches and takeaways. Try to limit to one per week, and aim for healthier choices. Lunch is generally my highest pointed meal of the day, so this is a clear target. It's also likely to be the most social interaction I have with people in the office in the New Year, since I'll basically be working for a remote team. Chips are definitely limited to once a week on this rule!

Let's see how that works out through January, with some weight monitoring.

Friday, December 29, 2006

So what is this all about?

Defining a goal really needs to be in the context of why I'm losing weight in the first place. And that comes down to two things, really: health and clothes.

From the health viewpoint, it would be nice to lose a little. I'm not a fitness freak - hell, I couldn't run far when I was 12 without gasping for breath. I've suffered with a variety of forms of chronic rhinitis (think of a year-round head cold) for as long as I can remember, and I just can't breathe well enough for really vigorous exercise. But I don't want to wake up one day and find it's a real health problem.

I find it difficult to buy shirts that fit me properly. I take a size 20 collar, which equates to something like a 54" waistline - rather more than the 40" trousers I'm used to. XL tee shirts are often still a little snug. And I'm right at the top end of standard sizing for jackets, too. I don't want to be shopping in "High and Mighty" all the time!

SWMBO hopes it will stop me snoring, too!

So my goal is to reduce my BMI from 35 to 30. That equals to a goal weight of 16st 9lbs, or 40 lbs to lose.

I'm initially targeting a BMI of 30 since it represents the highest level that isn't considered a risk to health. Whether I drop below that will depend on how much better I feel, and what I think I look like at that point.

The other definition of "there" is based on trouser size: if a size 36 fits me comfortably, I'm back where I was when I was 21, and that's good enough for me. That's certainly possible: I was a size 36 when I started work, and I think I was about 17 stone then.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Of course, there's a fly in the ointment

The whole decision process talked about here is happening through December 2006.

This all assumes that I'm not going to put on any weight over Christmas. Since we basically have a Weight Watchers friendly Christmas anyways, we don't have too much stuff piled around. The challenges:

1) The pre-Christmas party. Lots of nibbly stuff.

2) Christmas Day. Turkey dinner should be too bad if I don't pile on too much turkey. We cook healthy roast potatoes and stuff anyways - the traditional ones are just too greasy. No problem. OK, the half a bottle of Bellini, 3/4 bottle wine, 2 Gin and Tonics and most of a 1/2 bottle of dessert wine have a few points, but I didn't significantly better than the poster around luncthime on the WW message boards who was already up to 80 points.

3) Family get together on 27th. No control over menu.

4) New Year's Eve. Starting the new year with a hangover is a tradition, and I don't expect this year to be much different.

Apart from those 4 occasions, it should be pretty much on the straight and narrow.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A pre-diet day

So, how do I get to the magical BMI=30.

Well, let's start by taking apart a typical days diet.

The first day I decided to track was one of the worst, but worth recounting here.

I was early for an appointment so wandered into the shop across the road. Toffee and Pecan Danish. 8 points.

During the day a total of 7 points went on sugar in coffee.

Lunch. Oops. "Who wants to go to the pub?" "Yeah, OK". Steak and Ale pie: 19 points. Oh, and my arm got twisted for an extra half because the service was slow, so 4 1/2 points for the beer.

Thats 39 1/2 points so far. My target needs to be to eat 33 points a day.

Dinner was pretty good: 5 points for SWMBO's chicken in random sauce. Delicious, nutritious, and low points. And a bottle of wine over the course of the evening was another 8.

52 1/2 points.

Now, let's think how that day should have worked.

I could have had some cereal for about 4 points - that would have been a large bowl.
Let's try to halve the sugar in the coffee - 3 1/2
Lunch: Even a big egg and mayo baguette would have been only 12 points.
Dinner: Stays as is, with a 1/2 bottle of wine (or two beer) limit on school nights. 9 points.

28 1/2 points. I could have fitted in a bar of chocolate as well, and only been 1/2 point over target.

I think I can do this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I wanna be overwieght? WTF?

Why do I want to be overweight?

Well, there are a bunch of reasons. But first, what does the term overweight mean?

Medical science (vastly over-) smplifies measuring acceptable levels of weight using a value known as BMI - body mass index. It's your weight, in kilos, divided by the square of your height.

So, 6 foot, 2 inches is 1.88metres. 19 stone 7 is 124 kilos.

124 divided by 1.88 divided by 1.88 is 35, more or less.

The scale basically defines a BMI of less than 20 to be underweight, 20 to 25 as healthy, 25 to 30 as overweight but not at risks to your health, 30 to 40 as obese, and 40 and over as morbidly obese. So I'm officially obese. Yeah, I'm a fat bastard. I've been called worse.

My experience is that these figures err on the low side, unless you have a very small build. According to this I should weigh in at 13st. 13, or 89 kilos. I'd look like I'd been dug up and warmed up. They acknowledge that BMI is inaccurate for athletes and pregnant women, but not that you might actually just be wider than average even with no body fat.

SWMBO, who has been following the Weight Watchers (WW) plan for 3 years, thinks I'd look pretty sexy around 16 stone. (I think I was about 17-18 stone when we met, 11 years ago).

So with a BMI of 30, I'd be ... grabs calculator ... 16 stone 9. That's exactly 40lbs to lose.

That would just get me into the overweight category. It represents losing about 14.5% of my current weight. WW sets 10% as an initial acheivable target for new recruits.

So, 40 and 30 are the magic numbers. Lose 40lbs to acheive a BMI of 30. If and when I get there, I'll worry about whether it's the right place to be.