Friday, October 05, 2007

I can't get no .. mo-ti-vation....

Despite much piggery this week, I seem to have still managed to lose half a pound, putting the scales on 17st 2¾ this morning. I really have lost the plot, though. I was within inches of picking up a 400g bar of chocolate in the supermarket the other day (and I'd have eaten the lot on the five minute drive home if I had).

Large portion of no-point mushroom curry for dinner tonight, along with a more sensible portion of chicken curry.

Monday, October 01, 2007

... or I could just be wildly optimistic

No weight loss to report this week, though I managed to survive the weekend without a gain, either. Despite being at an event where the quantities of alcohol being consumed can only be described as "you drank HOW much?", I managed to stay the same over the weekend - put that one down to the level of activity involved.

I think there's an element of boredom going in here - or at least routine. I wouldn't describe myself as being bored at all, but I do seem to have fallen into something of a rut where there's not much of interest going on, so it's far too easy to site down in front of one screen or the other (TV or PC) with a beer or two four.

I've got a few interesting weekends coming up, and I've got some stuff going on for a few evenings this week as well. Let's see if that makes a difference to the waistline.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I think tracking is helping....

I managed to reverse the weekend damage, and lose another ¼lb, bringing this weeks result to 17st 3½lbs. The 17st 3lb barrier seems to be a real obstacle for me. This weekend has no distractions or other badness planned, so I wonder if I can actually break through that barrier next week.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Delayed Friday Weigh In

The whole weight loss thing is becoming a lot less fun when it's not actually working.

Friday's result was 17 3¾lbs, so half a pound down on the week, but hardly something to be confused with progress, and it rose steadily over the weekend, mostly as a result of a day's grazing at the Emsworth Food Festival on Saturday. At least we didn't buy piles of cheese, bacon, and olive oil to bring home.

I think my wife hit the nail on the head by pointing out the lack of tracking was probably working against me. And I think she might have been right: if you're not tracking at all, then it's hard to view the "should I have one more beer/extra dessert/whatever" decision against the total food intake for the day. "I've been pretty good today" means you'll probably go for it. "I've had 32 points today and should have had 31" gives you a bit more of an inclination to stick to the plot.

So, I'm back to tracking. Tedious though it is, it does seem to help, if only to make the last few decisions of the day a bit more sensible.

Let's see if it makes a difference.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Weigh In - Surprise drop reversed

17st 2¼lbs this morning. The overall trend is slowly downwards, but as predicted the sudden drop from last week is mostly reversed.

Oh well... keep at it...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

I knew that would happen!

The reason I advocate wieghing daily is that you get a more realistic picture of what's going on.

Friday was a good example: I actually dropped 6lbs in 2 days on the scales. Unlikely, probably just slighlty dehydrated that morning.

Now, if I'd been weighing weekly, I've have thought "oh, that was a good week", and thought no more of it until I couldn't figure out why I didn't lose weight next week.

Seeing the sudden dip means I know it was a temporary fluke, and that I should expect my weight to rise a little to compensate. And it has - 17st 2lbs as of this morning. I also know from experience that my weight often stays steady for a few days, then drops rapidly for a couple of days, then steadies out again - I can only assume this is down to the differences between weekday and weekend habits.

And this is why I do the trending... I can see that the overall movement is downwards over the whole week. That' good. That's very good.

I can also see I'm a little way behind my original target of 1lb a week. But that's OK, that'll take me three weeks longer to get there. Since getting to the target isn't the end of the diet and time to start eating for my country again, what difference does it make?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Maintenance Plan

Since I'm on the final straight - the last half a stone to lose - I thought it was time to write out my maintenance plan so that I can't change the rules later!

Original Target: 17 st 9lbs
Maintenance Target: 17st 7lbs. This is a bit lower, partly to make the numbers easy and give me a bit of lee-way under the original target, which is a BMI of under 29.999999999).
  • Under 16st 7lbs: Gold Zone: Excellent stuff. Keep polishing the halo. This is where I want to be before a holiday or other blow-out occassion.
  • Up to 3lbs over (16st 10lbs): Green Zone: Fine, don't let it go any higher. Keep weighing daily to monitor.
  • Up to 7lbs over (17st): Yellow Zone: Need to cut back and get it back under control.
  • More than 7lbs over: Red Zone: Step away from the refrigerator and put your hands up. This is the calorie police. You are under arrest for wilfully neglecting the plot.
Once in either the Yellow or Red Zone the "stick to the plot" rules apply until I'm back at the maintenance target weight.

I'll try to stick to the daily weighing anyway - it'll be a good habit to keep up and it doesn't take more than a few seconds each day.

Friday Weigh In - Surprise drop

My weight has stayed pretty much steady every day for the last two weeks... apart from the last 2 days when it's plummeted.

It'll probably go back up this weekend, but the scales this morning reported a record low of 17st 0¾lbs - so a loss of 4lbs over the week and just 5¾lbs to go to my target of 16st 9lbs.

I don't know what I did differently, but something changed. Perhaps working on the car at odd angles is a surprisingly good way of burning calories or something.

Let's see if I can crack the long elusive 17 stone barrier next week! That will bring me into the maintenance plan level for what I want to stay at.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fat Bloke Thin on diet progress

I'm not the only one struggling to keep focussed here. Over at FatBlokeThin, the man himself makes a number observations I can really identify with.
1. I have the attention span of a gnat that is really preoccupied about something very VERY important that keeps gnawing away at him even when he's not really thinking about it.
Yeah. Me too. And I find I can keep about one change of habit in the forefront of my mind, so if I'm trying to lose weight, trying to be tidier is right out!

2. If I don't get results, I get fed up and change tack very quickly - not big on hobbies, me...
I can identify with that too... I tend to try something for a while - a year or two at most usually until I can do it better than 90% of the population - and then give up and learn something else. It's not a good trait when you're trying to change your lifestyle though.
3. This blog has turned into a digital millstone in some ways. I really like to read other peoples blogs and comment about what they are talking about but the act of commenting starts a reciprocal relationship.........
I can understand that too. For me the blog is very much a conscience of mine, even though I don't get many readers, it's still somewhere that I feel I have to be accountable for my actions without the guilt associated with that accountability in real life. I'm accountable here, but I'm not going to disappoint someone if I fail to live up to the expectations - if that makes sense.

Friday Weigh In - thanks for asking - and a look back to where I started.

I could have sworn I posted a weigh in result over the weekend, but it isn't here, so I can only assume I was hallucinating.

17st 5¼ is the latest result, up slightly from the last weigh in, but given that I thought this was hiding some dehydration from the travelling (it was - the weight crept up for a few days) I'm not worried about that at all.

Life is far too busy right now - lots of fun things to do and things that need doing, so it's hard to keep focussed on losing some weight.

Holidays are mid-November - 10 weigh-ins to go - so it would be fantastic to hit the goal before I go. That means some serious focus between now and then.

I'm looking back at the rules I set when I started out....

"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." Well, I'm more or less there. It's more like two in the big travel mug, but the coffee in the office is quite bitter.

"Change No 2: Limit alcohol intake. Maximum of two beers on school nights (or 1/2 bottle wine)." Hmmm, this varies. Sometimes I stick to it, sometimes I don't.

"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. " I thought this would be the hardest to stick to, but it turns out to have been the easiest. As long as I've got something to munch when I'm peckish, I don't mind if it's not three bars of Cadbury's Twirl.

"Change No 4: Pub lunches and takeaways. Try to limit to one per week, and aim for healthier choices." I've pretty much stuck there.

With these rules, my daily points intake is around 35-37, which I could get away with when I was on 33 points - now that I'm supposed to be on 31 it's a bit too much, so I need to find a way to reduce the total down a bit. Lunch is the easy target here, I think. I need to start making a salad to take to work once or twice a week. That will give me more variety as well.

My normal day breaks down into roughly these numbers of points (multiply by 70 if you're thinking in calories).

4 for coffees throughout the day
4 for breakfast - cereal, milk, a little sugar, perhaps some fruit
8 for lunch - down from 10
8 for dinner
6 for a couple of beers

That's 32 points, so if I can stick to that plan as an average, I should be getting there.

I also need to dig out the book and start tracking points again. I've been pretty lax about that and it shows in the results.

Andy

Monday, August 20, 2007

Post Trip Weigh In - phew

The morning after getting off the plane, I got on the scales with a certain sense of trepidation. And rightly so, since I didn't think I'd been that good.

17st 4½lbs is ¾lbs up from before I left: pretty good, but I also felt pretty dehydrated. It's crept up to 17st 6½lbs since then, which is a bit of an increase, but a lot better than I expected -- or deserved!

So it's back on the wagon this week; let's see how it goes!

Friday, August 10, 2007

No weigh in, I'm travelling

I'm in the US on business this week, and generally finding it difficult to be good and stick to the plot. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Friday Weigh-in, and the elusive wagon

I've managed to shift some of last weekends gain to produce a weight in result of 17st 3¾lbs. That puts me 1lb down on the previous weigh in 2 weeks ago, which sounds better than it is.

I'm really struggling to stay focussed right now - and with a two week business trip coming up, I don't see much of an improvement on the horizon. I seem to be able to stay with it for 2-3 days, then the desire for something nice takes over, and I start to lose the plot again. I'm also really struggling to stick with habits I established quite firmly to start with - daily weighing and tracking seem like a real chore right now.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself: it's the results that matter, and the weight is still coming off, albeit in fits and starts. But the sun is shining, and what I really want to do is to go and sit in the garden with a beer and a book. And that's 3 points I probably shouldn't have today.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Worst Week Ever

A bbq, a wedding and a business trip, all in the space of 8 days.

This morning on the scales, 17st 10lbs. Not good.

Belgian beer, cheese, more beer, lots of red wine, cooked breakfast, more cheese, ...

Delicious, and I don't regret a minute of it, but it has set me back a bit, and I have a two week business trip coming up.

Oh well..

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Blogging while the wife's at the gym

I'm on a roll this morning... three posts!

Again from FatBlokeThin, a link to some subversive commenting on Special K adverts. It just had to be linked!

Philosophical Musings

I've been reading the interview with FatBlokeThin over at wltips.com

"This spiritual change has enabled me to totally change the relationship I have with food and alcohol to such an extent that I do not feel remotely that I am depriving myself as many people do when following traditional diets. I eat healthily and regularly and take alcohol in moderation. This combined with a sliding scale of physical exercise and continued positive thought amount to my weight loss program."

It struck me that apart from the spiritual change, the approach is largely similar to mine. Don't be deprived. Eat healthily, have the occasional beer or three.

However, there's a fundamental difference: my philosophy isn't at all spiritual.

Or is it?

I'm an atheist, and one of the positive aspects of that world view is that you have to accept responsibility for your own actions. You can't pass anything off as being god's will, or "god told me I should...". So I have a very simple choice: I can be fat and unhealthy, I can be skinny, healthy and miserable, or I can be slightly overweight, more-or-less-healthy, and still be happy and enjoy a good meal out and a bottle of wine once in a while.

It's not spiritual in any sense, but the end point is largely the same for both of us. The only real difference is how we got there: spiritual guidance or just presenting yourself with choices and picking one. Of course, often the trick is realising you have to make the choice.

This leads me to another thought, comparing the difference in progress between what I'm seeing and what my wife is seeing: her goal is to get into the BMI=25 or less healthy range. Getting down to 27-ish was fairly easy. Anyone who is vastly overweight can lose weight by eating sensibly most of the time. Getting your body to shed the last few pounds is more of a challenge.

Back to the interview, and another bit that struck a chord with me was "My apathetic view of exercise is legendary but I am working on that with attempts to boost my motivation levels all the time."

I hate exercise. I can't think of anything more boring that trying to exercise for the sake of it. I bought an exercise bike that I've hardly used. I've got a real bike in the garage that rarely moves - the wheels could have rusted in place for all I know. But I've been making more of an effort to do things that are active rather than just sitting in front of a PC. Spending an evening on car repair might not be exercise in the traditional sense, but it's moving around, burning calories, and more interesting that watching TV! A Sunday lunch at a pub is all the more rewarding when you park 3 miles from the pub and stroll along the canal to get there. And you'll burn off some of the excess calories on the way, as well as working up an appetite.

Friday weigh-in, 100th post

This is the One Hundredth post since I started writing this blog.

The Official Friday Weigh in Result: 17st 4¾lbs, so ¼lb up on the week. Not bad in a week when I had my birthday with all the attendant piggery that goes with celebrating a birthday.

The unofficial Saturday Result is more encouraging: 17st 2¾lbs.

That a good way to start the weekend. And the sun is shining, too!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I think the Plateau might be back....

It's going to take me all week to undo the damage of last weekend, and this weekend doesn't look like it'll be much better. BBQ at a friend's on Saturday, which will involve lots of food and beer. And the following weekend is a family wedding, which will no doubt be a weekend of cooked breakfasts and other bad options.

Having a social life is a real obstacle to being thinner!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Plateau Busting over at Fat Bloke Thin

FatBlokeThin is travelling at the moment, and he's found that he's managed to push himself off a plateau despite eating an 8oz chili burger.

It certainly mirrors something I've found: sometimes having a bit of a blow out gets the metabolic rate up and I lose that weight, plus more, quite easily.

I'm not advocating the "stuff your face like it's going out of fashion", but I do think that eating well occasionally helps stop your metabolism from going into "starvation mode".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Friday, oops, Saturday Weigh In

Yesterday morning wasn't a good start to the day. I forgot to weigh myself, and then left my laptop at home. I realised when I got to work, and had to come back home again to get it.

Frrrfu!

Good news this morning, though, 17st 4½lbs. That gets a few more milestones under way: it's my new lowest weight, a great week - 2¼lbs lost, and takes me past the three-quarter point to my goal of 16st 9lbs.

I had a "Doh!" moment a few evenings back: I passed the 18 stone barrier without re-calculating my points allowance; it's now 31 points, down from the 33 I started on. I find I can get away with a little more, so while I could lose weight steadily at 35 or 36 points before, that's come down in line and I now need to be sticking under 35 points.

This weekend won't be good - at least from a diet perspective: birthday dinner and a barbecue this weekend. Quite why we're planning a barbecue when there's a severe weather warning is beyond me. It'll be a laugh, though!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Diet Expectations

One of the problems with weight loss seems to be that everyone wants a quick fix. Yeah, I'd love to be able to do a month long program, lose the excess, and return to what I was doing before. We all would.

But life isn't like that, and a couple of articles over at the excellent Diet Blog are worth a look.

First of all, a sobering review of various trials says that the average weight loss after 12 months was just 6% of start weight. Even if you take my start weight of 273lbs, that's still only about 15lbs or so. Not much.

They also have a "ask the readers" for Weight Maintenance tips. Definitely worth a look. My own process here is slow and steady does it. I'm really trying to make sure I lose weight slowly: the last thing I want to do is to slow down my higher-than-average metabolic rate. If I can burn 300 calories a day more, that means I can eat 300 calories a day more and still lose weight. If I try to lose faster, I'm likely to bring the base rate down, and that will make maintenance harder.

Friday Weigh In

This week's diet lesson: having a cold bad for weight loss. The desire for comfort food when you're feeling miserable is hard to resist. Oh, and my cure for a sore throat might be effective, but it's also a point and a half a go: gargling with whisky.

17st 6¾lbs on Friday, and hovering around there over the weekend. Saturday was too tiring for words, and Sunday wasn't much better. I'm telling everyone I came back to work for a rest this week!

The cold is much better, and I'm back on track for this week. Thanks to Fat Bloke Thin for prompting me that I'd hadn't updated the blog last week.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Weigh In - Falling off the Plateau

Well, not quite a plateau, though the weight loss has clearly slowed for the past month or so. Today's result - 17st 6lbs - is 2¾lbs down from the week before - one of my best losses for a single week.

11lbs to go.

The next mini-goal is a tiny one: another pound means I'll have 10 pounds to go, and lost 3/4 of the weight I set out to lose.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Whoo hooo!

I feel bad that this blog is degenerating into a series of "today I weighed X" posts, but the last few weeks have been something of a struggle to keep on target.

But todays' weight (17st 6¼lbs) broke through several psychological barriers: 10% of my starting weight lost. Two stone gone. 2/3rds of the way to my target. Less than a stone to lose. All of these are now milestones I've acheived.

Oh, and my blood pressure is back to more or less normal with three sucessive measurements under 135/75.

I was a bit under my points quota yesterday, and I expected to be a one-man ravening horde this morning, but in fact I didn't feel hungry at all. At 11am I've grabbed a cereal bar, more to delay the need for lunch, and to say I've had breakfast, than out of any real need.

For readers still struggling, how about taking a look at portion size.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Huge Tasty Lunch

I just rustled up a veggie chilli for lunch. For variety, served with sautĂ© potatoes. 2½ points each. Serves two.

Finely chop 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, and one de-seeded chilli pepper.
Fry in Fry-lite until the onions start to brown.
While this is cooking, chop a green or red pepper 4-6 mushrooms, and a carrot.
Add it all to the pan with a crumbled veggie stock cube into the pan.
Rinse 1 small tin kidney beans and add to the pan, and a large tin chopped tomatoes.
Throw in herbs and spices to taste: I like mixed herbs, paprika, cumin and a little coriander, and often add HP sauce (no, really, try it) at this stage as well.

Leave to simmer while you boil some new potatoes (250g is 1½points each, included in the above). I did them for about 15 minutes so they were almost cooked. Drain and allow to cool enough to handle. Chop into slices and saute in Fry-lite.

You can either just bung it on a plate or serve in layers in an bowl. Even with a pitta bread as well, it's still only 5 points!

I'm not sure how that worked out....

Yesterday's weight had jumped up a little from Friday's weigh in result, which possibly explains why today shows a loss of 2¼lbs from yesterday, despite the Pizzah!

This shows the problem with daily weighing; the daily weight can jump up and down quite dramatically, which is why it's important to keep an eye on the overall trend, rather than an individual weight. But 17st 8lbs is a 10% weight loss, and a new lowest weight for me. Less than a stone to go!

I'm hoping I can stick to the rules for this week and actually get my weigh-in result down to below that level by the end of the week.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Weigh In - Pizzah! time

Another Friday, another weigh in. 17st 8¾lbs. So still ¼lb above my lowest-ever weight, but 1¾ lbs down from last weeks weigh in result.

That's good. The weekend ahead has a minor challenge - Pizzah!

For those not in the know, there's a difference between pizza - often frozen, cooked in a normal home oven, and kind of OK - and Pizzah! Pizzah! is the real stuff, cooked in a hotter-than-hell oven with freshly made dough and ideally cooked in a wood-fired oven. The former I can live without. The latter has to be indulged once in a while, even though it's usually lots of cheeze and mega points.

Apart from that, it should be fairly easy to stay "on the wagon" for a week. Let's see if I can break the 17st 8lb (10%) and 17st 7lb (2 stone lost) barriers fairly soon.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Weigh In (another fat Thursday)

Once again I seem to have hit my lowest weight for the week on a Thursday, only to put on a few pounds again for Friday. 17st 8½lbs yesterday, back to 17st10½ today. Both are lower than the same time last week, which is the important bit of the result.

Yesterday's lowest weight is just half a pound away from losing 10% of my starting weight, and also brings me to within one stone (14lbs for American readers) of my goal. It also, more importantly, means I've lost almost 2/3rds of the weight I set out to lose. I'm well over half way there, and a few more good months should see me there.

I'm actually revising my goal slightly. I originally set out to achieve a goal weight of 16st 9lbs. I'm redefining the end point as 16st 7lbs. That gives me a small margin below the magic BMI of 30, and also gives me a nice clear set of monitoring rules above that:

16st 10lbs - yellow warning zone. Time to watch out and eat better again.
17st - red zone. Back on the wagon. Today.

That might get revised again, but that's where the lines are drawn for now. I think they're pretty vital to not ending up repeating this exercise again in a few years time.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Weigh In

Not so encouraging this morning, with an official weekly weigh-in result of 17st 12lbs, so only ½lb lost over the week. I'm trying to focus on yesterday's result more: if I can break through the 17st 10 barrier for one day, I can stay there.

It's been a tough week, not from a diet perspective but from a work one, and I find that demands like that on my time make it a lot harder to focus on what's really important.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Encouraging result this morning

17st 9½lbs this morning. A new lowest weight - a long time since I've been able to report that - and almost - so close - to the last mini-goal I set.

Back on May 8th, I wrote it would be nice to do it during that month. It's taken a little longer, but I don't think I was planning on a business trip then.

So close, but another half a pound and I will be within a stone of my original goal of 16st 9lbs. This weekend should be quiet, so more opportunity to stay on the wagon and off the fattening foods.

It was also encouraging to see one of our neighbours that I hadn't seen for a while last night who noticed that I'd lost weight. It does make you feel like you're making some real progress when someone actually notices. It's often the people you see less often that will spot the change: a more gradual change to those you see every day is less noticeable.

Time for some nice, healthy porridge to set me up for the day!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Trying to stay on track

Well, with a fairly anti-social weekend, I think I might have not put on any extra pounds, and walking about 6¼ miles this afternoon should have helped. Yesterday was pretty active, too. Let's hope the results are measurable on the scales over the coming week.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday Weigh In

17st 12½ this morning. 1½lbs lost this week.

This is starting to feel a bit like "Groundhog Day". I've been here before, about a month ago as I recall. My average weight loss has dropped below 1lb/week at this point.

I'm still not really back with the program, though. The tracker entries for the week are rather sparse. I did half of Tuesday and, erm, just wrote in today so far.

At least there's no distractions planned for another week or so, so I should be able to keep with it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not really back with the plot

Somehow, I seem to have kept the scales moving downwards this weekend, weighing in at 17st 12½lbs this morning. But the good habits of most of this year seem to have fallen by the wayside. I updated my tracking notebook this morning for the first time in over two weeks - and still almost forgot to add lunch.

I've noticed this kind of thing before when I've tried to change or establish a habit. To start with, it's fairly easy to keep the new thing in your mind. But, over time, it's very easy to forget to keep with it - even after several months it's very easy to revert to type and go back to doing things the old way. It often takes a couple of iterations of this to really establish the behaviour - at least for me.

Rather than focusing on any specific weight loss amount this week, the target is just to get back on track. Track what I eat, stick to the rules, and shed some more pounds. After 5 months it should be easier, not harder, to stick to the habits.

Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself here?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Survived Saturday

Well, I might not have made it onto the scales this morning, but I don't think I did too badly yesterday, given the circumstances.

Today is off to a good start so far:

4 Cups of Coffee (2 points for the sugar)
Brunch: healthy eating bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, mushrooms, beans. Not sure of the total points, but about 12 or so. So 16 points ant it's half past three in the afternoon, giving me plenty for dinner and possibly a drink or two as it's the weekend.

SWMBO observed that I seem to have been relaxing the rules a bit of late, and she's probably right. This week hasn't been too bad, but I have been rather bad about tracking, and I've not been keeping away from the alcohol as much as I should. But

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Weigh In: I'm bored with this weight loss lark

Well, the good news is that I managed to lose 2lbs in the last week, with the scales showing exactly 18st this morning.

I'm not exactly sure how: I've not tracked points all week, I've eaten out at least three times in the evenings, the exercise bike is turning into a valet stand, and I've been about a hair's breadth from grabbing about a pound of Cadbury's Dairy Milk and scoffing the lot without stoppping for breath on several occasions.

I've been surprised that I've found it relatively easy to not eat chocolate - to the point that I've not actually bought a bar of chocolate all year. To put that into perspective, I used to have at least one bar of chocolate most days, sometimes two or three. But just occasionally (perhaps I'm getting in touch with my feminine side!) I have a real craving for a large quantity of good milk chocolate.

Let me change the subject. I've been sticking at around 18st. for a while now. I need to get moving, get my chart up to date on my progress, and get back on track. I'm at an awkward size at the moment: a lot of my trousers are too big, but the next size smaller is still too tight.

It's something of a turning point for me this week. Up until now I've found the weight loss fairly easy. I've been able to stick to the plan - more or less - and the pounds have been ticking slowly away. But the last two weeks have been a real challenge to keep even remotely motivated about this.

We're out with some friends on Saturday, but the coming week should be a chance for some virtue. Let's see if I can summon up the enthusiasm again!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Well that was a bad week

3 days away on business. Weight gain, 4lbs.

Official Weigh-In result was 18st 2lbs, though back to 18st 0lbs already, so not too bad. Mental note not to eat in a churrascaria restaurant again until I reach my goal weight. For those of you not in the know, this is a Brazilian style restaurant where they keep bringing you grilled meat until you beg them to stop. Mmmmmm......

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Friday Weigh In

Well, last Friday's result was 17st 12¼lbs, 1¾lbs below the week before, and officially below the 18 stone level. Whoo hoo.

Challenges this week include a weekend away, and a business trip for 4 days.

Will be tough to show a loss; the food here is excellent.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Next Mini Goal

One of the things I've found helpful is trying to have a series of mini-goals; a visible and easily attainable next step in the weight loss process.

So my next one, is 17st 9. That's "17 stone and single figures". It's a stone to go to my original goal of 16st 9, a BMI of under 32. That's another 4lbs to go, so it would be nice if I can do it this month. It might take a week or two longer; I can live with that.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday Weigh In - 2 weeks on

Depsite briefly dropping below the 17.99999 st level yesterday, todays result was 18st exactly, so that's 2½ below the result from two weeks ago (missed last week).

It's all in the right direction, though I think I need to make some effort to stick to the exact points level (which is now 31, if I'm "17st -something") instead of "low thirties" if I'm going to continue to lose weight.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Yeee hah!

Well, I stumbled blearily-eyed onto the scales this morning after a late (but alcohol-free) night and saw some fuzzy numbers. I bent down to take a closer look: 17st, 13¼lbs.

Yes. Let's keep it down there!

Monday, April 30, 2007

18 stone, exactly

Well my determination to get down to 17stone something is holding, and encouraged by weighing exactly 18 stone this morning. That's 252lbs to any American readers, or a BMI of 32.4, down from a starting point of 35.1.

April has been a frustrating month, I've only actually lost 3lbs all month, due to progress being interrupted by Easter (weekend away and chocolate eggs), my mum's birthday (well, it would have been a shame not to celebtrate it), and a business trip to Ireland (and appropriate quantities of Guinness). As a measure of the frustration, I actually put on 10lbs over the month, and lost it again plus another 3lbs.

May, I hope, will be a little easier. I'd like to get back on the kind of progress I was making back at the start of the year, but I don't think I'm going to be able to be that good!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weight Loss Support WebSites

This site has a great comparison of weight loss websites and forums. Worth a look if you want some on-line motivation.

Unhealthy Diet

Well yesterday I managed to eat 35 points. I'm supposed to be on 32, but that's within the wiggle room I seem to be able to get away with. Unfortunately, only about 10 of those points were from real food.

Breakfast: Didn't bother.
Lunch: 3½ points for Healthy Eating Pizza (half) and salad.
Dinner: pork escalope, potatoes, veg. 5½ points
Sugar in Coffee: 2 points
Total for Real Food: 11 points.

Easter Egg, 140g chocolate. 14 points.
Alcohol with friends: 10 points
Total for stuff I shouldn't have had if I were on a diet: 24 points.

Yet again, I'm tantalisingly close to being under 18st. Today's weight was 18st 1¾lbs, still just above the last official Friday weigh-in result of 18st 1lbs. There was no weigh last Friday as I was travelling and didn't have access to a scales. So, here goes for next Friday!

I'm getting a little frustrated at this point that this is the third week I've been hoping to beat that barrier, but life keeps intruding, and I'm not keen enough on being thinner to stop having a life.

Having said that, there were two nice moments - what Weight Watchers forum members call NSVs, for Non Scales Victory. The first was realizing that my smart jacket I haven't worn all year actually fits much better now (it was getting a little tight around the shoulders), and the second was our friend noticing I'd lost weight last night. Encouraging, to say the least.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Perpetually Hungry

I don't know why, but this week I seem to be perpetually hungry. I've had my lunch, less than 2 hrs ago, and I could happily go and eat the same again, with a large bowl of cheesy chips, a couple of pints, and a huge bar of chocolate for dessert.

But it wouldn't help, and I want to be thinner more than I want to eat. I don't need to eat anything. I just want to. I'll stick with guzzling coffee and perhaps a cereal bar if I get desperate.

Today's weight of 18st 0&frac3/4; lbs is the lowest weight I've been since I started, and possibly the lowest weight I've actually measured in adulthood. My jacket that I haven't worn for a while fitted me nicely yesterday instead of pulling around the shoulders. With a business trip coming up for two days, I need to remain on the wagon today.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Good weekend, bad weekend

Well, it was an encouraging weekend in that a few people actually noticed I'd lost some weight. It was a bad weekend in that I scoffed far too much, including an entire Easter egg in an act of sheer chocolate-piggery. But it was nice.

The rest of this week is going to be challenging too, since I'm travelling on business, so I guess I need to try and be good again today and tomorrow.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Weigh In: why I need my graphs

I've made a number of postings showing the chart of my weightloss that I started at the beginning of the year. I started off religiously adding the figures every day, but I've been getting lax about updating it lately. This week I felt I really handn't made any progress -- then I updated the chart. It looks a lot better; I'd forgotten about the bigger drop at the start of the week.

I'd been obsessing about the number not changing very much. So much so, that not only did I lose sight of the fact that I'm still comfortably ahead of the 1lb/week line; I totally missed the fact that as of todays weigh in - 18st 1lb, I've lost 1 ½ lbs this week, and am at the half way point: I've lost 20 lbs of the 40 I set out to loose.

The next bitty tiny goal is to shed just over another pound, so that the scales are showing 17st something. Next week? I hope so, but the week after is fine. Slow and steady does it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Creeping Down

I missed the scales yesterday morning; too busy with some early morning work that had to be done.

So today was 18st 1¼ the smallest possible step down to 18st 1lb - which means 20lbs lost and half way to my goal weight.

I've ignored the cookies, had a huge salad for lunch (4 points for the humus and meat in it), and will hopefully keep the halo polished this evening when I get home. Nearly half way!!!!!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

New lowest weight

Well, I hadn't been particular good yesterday, but I had spent most of the day being more active than usual. This morning, the scales shows 18st 1½ so close to my next goal..... It's enough to keep me off the beer!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Weightloss and fitness

I posted a while ago that I'd actually dragged myself into a gym and used the equipment there. Well, I've taken the plunge and bought an exercise bike (via eBay).

So, the target is to do 10-15 minutes, three mornings a week.

Since I've had two 4 day weeks at home since I started, I don't feel too bad that I've only managed 5 sessions in the two weeks instead of 6.

It's not the most fun way to spend my time - I'd certainly rather stay in bed the extra 15 minutes. The primary goal is to improve heart fitness and lower blood pressure rather than trying to burn calories - that needs far too much time wasted on the bloody thing! So doing a short session is a good way to start; if that gets too easy I'll make the session longer but drop it to twice a week. But that's a way down the road.

Walking in the hills over the Easter break, it was obvious that even my progress so far has improved my fitness levels. We did one walk of about 6 miles, climbing about 250m (600 feet) over the first 5 miles (and then back down again in the 6th mile!) I walked at a steady pace - 2 ½ hours for the walk, and wasn't really out of breath - there were a few pauses to take in the scenery but that was about it.

So I definitely feel that things are improving.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Weigh In

18st 2½lbs. That means I've shed the excesses of the Easter weekend, and also another pound besides.

Another week on the wagon and that 17st xx goal should be in sight. Actually, given some of the weekly losses I've seen, 17st 13 should be acheivable if I have a good week.

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks; I got down to 18st 2¾ on the 29th March, again on the 31st March, and have hovered between there and 18½ stone all month. This is on top of much of March shedding the holiday excesses.

Then again, I couldn't resist a doughnut that was on offer because of a birthday in the office. At least I only had one. How many points in a jam doughnut, anyone?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A wonderful long weekend

... even if I did put on three pounds!

Life's too short to not enjoy some of it. I'm redoubling my efforts this week, I promise!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Early Friday Weigh In

Since we're off for the long weekend, I decided to take today's weight as the official WI for this week. 18st 3¾lbs., so only a loss of ¾lbs. this week.

The weekend will involve good food and beer, so it's definitely time to renew efforts next week. And that means sticking to the rules rather better than I have this week.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A great start to the morning.

I noticed that Buzz Feed had been sending a lot of people over to my site. Turns out I'm link no 1 in their summary entitled "How Geeks Lose Weight".

That's made my weekend!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Getting lax in my blogging/Friday Weigh In

I'm obviously getting lax in my blogging here if I haven't posted since last Friday's weigh-in result. My apologies, dear reader, I am to write something at least twice a week, but I don't seem to have stumbled across anything worth blogging about.

I survived the alcholic excesses of last weekend, putting on a couple of pounds in the process. But this week I've eaten what I should, not drunk too much, and have managed to hit 18st. 4bs. this morning, which is my lowest ever Friday weigh-in. Yesterday was a bit lower at 18st. 2¾ lbs., which is a new lowest ever weight, too.

While I've stuck to the rules this week, I've been noticeably hungry more often, and also more craving for snacks and chocolate. I've resisted the urge, but it was a close run thing!

My next aim point is 18st. 1lbs. Why the 1lb? Because that's 20lbs lost in total, and I can claim the 18st. as another morale booster. It's all psychology, this!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Weigh In

Rather a good result this week, I feel. 18st 5¼lbs. That's a loss of 1½lbs despite a business trip and other distractions. That actually puts me below my pre-holiday weigh-in, though not my lowest recorded weight which was the day after.

Challenges for the week ahead: a leaving do tonight with beer and eating out, and a wedding tomorrow. I seem to be able to get away with stuff like that and still lose some weight if I'm good for the rest of the week, so let's hope it continues.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Business Trips - Just Say No

I was in Ireland for a few days, and entertaining some visitors to the UK last night. I'm amazed I've managed to keep to a basically level weight all week - it's taken some willpower to abstain from the plentiful food all the way.

I declined the opportunity to have lasagne and chips in the company canteen on Tuesday and had a plateful of salad that was much healthier and also enjoyable. I didn't decline the (delicious) 10oz fillet steak that evening, though.

Todays weight: 18st 7½. I'm happy with that.

I've still got the challenges of a leaving do tomorrow and a wedding on Saturday, but they're to worry about for next week's result. I got a really good run at this for the first couple of weeks, but now it seems there's a diet challenge in the diary every week. This blog might get a bit more interesting, but the weight loss is going to get harder!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Friday Weigh In

I'm rather pleased with myself this week; todays' weigh in result was 18st 6¾lbs. That's only ¾ of a pound above the weigh in before the holidy. I'm very pleased at how quickly the holidy gain has disappeared now that I'm back to normal eating. Let's hope I can stay on track for the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

More tips for losing weight

The Happiness Project has five good tips for people trying to lose weight.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Progress Report

What with the holiday, I didn't get to do a progress report at the end of February. But here it is, and depsite the damage done in the Carribean, I'm still basically on the point of having lost 1lb per week since I started. That's encouraging. It took a certain effort to resist the post-holiday munchies today as I reset my appetite for normal meals again, but that should wear off in a day or two.

Click on the graph to see it full size.

Holidays and Diets, revisited

Of course, the fact that I completely missed yesterday is that weighing at 9am after spending the night in a plane isn't the same was weighing at 9am after spending the night in the bed.

I seem to have lost 4lbs since yesterday, probably the result of retained fluid after the plane.

That brings my holiday gain down to 6¾ lbs. I'm much happier with that!

This does show the importance of not taking any one day's result to heart when weighing on a daily basis.

I found it much harder to keep on the "straight and narrow" during the holiday than I did during the business trip a few weeks earlier. Something about the relaxed surroundings and wall to wall food, I think. I did make an effort to not pile up the plate at each trip to the buffet, and to keep off the alcohol before lunch, but the aim to do some exercise each day and stick to salads for lunch didn't last very long at all. In fact, it didn't last past the airport when we arrived.

But it was a wonderful holiday, and with a bit of luck I should be able to undo the damage in a few weeks.

Next goal: undo the holiday damage by the end of March (3 weeks, 7lbs to lose).

Sunday, March 11, 2007

All Inclusive Holidays and diets don't mix

I guess I knew that before I went.

Weight before holiday: 18st 4½lbs.

Weight after holiday: 19st 1lbs.

Average weight gain = 0.7lbs or 2450 excess calories per day. That puts me back to the middle of January, though hopefully it will be fairly quick to lose that again.

Back to the diet tomorrow. With a vengeance.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

GTD and Weightloss

In my professional life I've been working on the "Getting Things Done" methodology as a way of being organised and successful in my job. It seems to be working, though it's largely about changing habits in how you approach each day at work.

I've been trying to approach weight loss more through changing habits than absolute points limits so far (don't knock it, it's working!) so I've been musing a bit on habits and how to change them, something I did a year ago in terms of how I organise myself at work. I used to have the messiest desk in the office; now there's hardly a piece of paper to be seen at the end of each day. For me, the secret is "mindfulness" - being aware of what you're really doing and why.

The other big thing is to make the new habit easier than the old one. So I've got a box of ww-friendly treats on the bookshelf near my desk. It's far enough away that I can't grab something without getting up and going over there. They're individual bars, so I can take just one, and they're nearer than the vending machine at the other end of the building.

So, a bit of thought, and the good habit is easier to follow than the old, ingrained, bad one. And before you know it, the good habit is the "default" one.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday Weigh In

18st, 6lbs. That's the lowest WI so far, and only 1/2 lb more than my lowest daily weight yesterday of 18st 5½lbs.

Holiday coming up, so that means it will probably be between 3 weeks and a month to get back down to this point. With an all-inclusive resort it's easy to over-eat and -drink, but I think a little restraint is called for:
  1. Don't go mad at breakfast. I'd never eat a cooked breakfast, fruit, cereal juice and pastries for breakfast at home, so there's no reason to do it while on holiday.
  2. Lunch = healthy meal. Just try and have the best option available.
  3. No alcohol before lunch. OK, perhaps just a small one.
  4. Have what I like for dinner.
I don't think it's feasible to get points values for each day, but I do want to try and do some kind of tracking. Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Another WW board Member

Hello from the sunny Carribean to goatherder on the WW message boards.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Phew!

After a week away from the scales, it was something of a relief to step on the scales this morning and see 18st, 7¾. Last week on business only added 1¾ lbs; less than a week's setback. I can live with that.

I'm a little concerned that the true weight gain was higher and I was a still dehydrated after my flight yesterday, but it's still a respectable result.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Blowing it, big style 73 points yesterday and 61 for a single meal.

So I decided to end the business trip with one meal where I wasn't caring about the points - as well as being a great change to meet up with friend and colleague and her husband.

Dinner last night was one of the best (tasty) and worst (from a diet viewpoint) meals I've had in a long time. Even before I started this diet lark.

Main course: bang bang chicken. Coconut, creamy sauce, nutty bits. Yours, sir for 31 ½ points. I didn't eat all the rice, so I probably saved about 4 points right there Like it helped. 27 ½ points for a main course.

Dessert was a white chocolate caramel latte cheesecake, which comes in an 8oz slice with whipped cream. 900 calories comparing with the ones I couldn find values for. That's 13 points before the fat. And 35 g of saturated fat, another 9 points - it actually rounds down to 21 ½ points for the dessert alone.

That whole meal contained over 70g of saturated fat and 2000 calories. Plus the beer. I ate 73 ½ points yesterday. Breakfast for 7 points, Lunch for 6, and dinner and drinks for 61 points. That's two days worth of points in a single meal. No wonder obesity is such a widespread concern!

Free Diet Plans at SparkPeople

I came across this site with some Free Diet Plans a while ago, and thought it might interest people looking for some alternatives to the WeightWatchers approach, or just some inspiration for meal plans.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wot no Friday Weigh In?

Well, since I don't seem to be able to get to a scales to weigh myself this week, there's no Friday WI. I think I've probably put on a few lbs, but I've also probably saved over 100 points over what I'd have eaten if I wasn't trying to be good.

That's all for this week; normal services will be resumed on Sunday.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Drinking Coke?

This post is a scary read on what happens when you drink a glass of coke (via).

"Have you ever wondered why Coke comes with a smile? It’s because it gets you high. They took the cocaine out almost a hundred years ago. You know why? It was redundant."

Between that and the number of points (5 points, 350 calories) in the non-diet version, it's enough to stop drinking it all together. Not that I bother very much, since I've started this getting thinner lark it's mineral water for me, largely because I don't like the taste of artificial sweetner very much - certainly not in the quantities needed to make coke palatable.

I've been experimenting with artifical sweetner in my coffee this week, since I'm in the US and it's as easily available as sugar here. It still doesn't taste quite right, but aspartame is much less nasty tasting than saccharine. Both are probably worse for you than the sugar, though, in the long run. Even though I've cut the sugar in half, I'm still using 3-4 points a day on sugar in my coffee (yeah, I know, far too much, but I'm changing enough habits in one go here right now!).

Even with that help, I still topped out at 43.5 points yesterday, and I thought that was a pretty good day for me. Salad and zero fat dressing for lunch today. And I can't find a scales here!

Andy

Monday, February 12, 2007

Losing my virginity

I thought that post title would get some attention.

Not what you're thinking, though! My "gym virginity" is what I'm talking about. I actually went into a gym and used a piece of exercise equipment for the first time in my life. Just for 10 minutes, but that was enough to get 1.5 bonus points according to the "calories burned" display on the bike.

It was actually recommended by my physiotherapist that I've been seeing for some back pain problems - my wife's wondering how the physio succeeded in persuading me to do some exercise when she's failed. If I'm going to spend an hour a week doing exercise I'd rather do it in 10 minutes a day sessions than feel I have to work at it for a whole tedious hour.

I set it for about 3/10 on the resistance scale, where I was able to keep up a moderate speed (70-75rpm) without getting overly tired. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes to see a noticeable improvement.

The biggest frustration is the time taken to work off excess calories here. 10 minutes to work off 100 calories - and 500 calories in a portion of chips.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Don't move the scales

18st 1? What? 10lbs lighter than yesterday? 18st 7, 18st 5, 18st 10.

We'd unavoidably moved the scales yesterday, and when I weight myself this morning I had about 10 different readings. They eventually settled around 18st 6, which is what I've taken as today's weight. I'm still a little suspicious that it's a artifically low result, especially since SWMBO showed a 3lb drop since yesterday as well. This means it's a New Lowest Weight, and 15lbs (over a stone) lost since I started.

So, the moral of the story is Don't Move The Scales!

I'll be weighing on a different scales for the next week as well, which is going to throw the figures off. But as long as I can keep an eye on things, I'll be happy.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Parents oblivious to their child's obesity

When you hear reports like this one, it's hardly surprising that people being overweight is such a problem in the developed world.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Weigh In

Another Friday rolls around, and I've lost 2½ pounds since last week. Excuse my while I polish my halo.

That puts me on 18st 10¼ with a new lowest-ever weight this week of 18st 8. If I wasn't going to be spending the next week in a hotel and eating out, I'd be confident of acheiving my first stne lost by next week, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to be good.

Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Dinner Tonight

Since SWMBO is off gallivanting, I thought I'd do myself a decent dinner this evening.

  • 400g potato (that's huge), cut into wedges. Coat with fry-lite, cumin seeds, paprika and cook at 200 degrees for 40 minutes turning every 10 mins. 4 points.
  • Throw two frozen cod fillets in the oven, wrapped in foil. 2 points.
  • Chop a pepper and onion. Sweat with some garlic, throw in a tin of chopped tomato and some herbs. Simmer until the rest is cooked.
  • Saute a finely sliced leek, in some more fry-lite.
A huge great plateful for 6 points. And a 200g potato and a single cod filet would have been a more "normal" meal size for 4 points.

I was inspired to continue my efforts by hitting a new low this morning. A new lowest weight, that is, of 18st 8lbs. 13 lbs lost. 1 lb to go to shift the first stone. It's easy to see how the inspiration can turn to desperation if things aren't working. So let's hope this keeps working!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Self-Motivation

Yesterday's post was a bit tongue in cheek, about the self delusional diet. But the last 24 hours have been a lesson in self-motivation, which is absolutely vital to losing weight.

On Friday, my official weigh-in day, I'd not lost any weight since the previous week. Saturday was something of a blow-out dinner, and by Sunday evening I was in a frame of mind of "I just as well have another beer, it's not going to make any difference". I actually hit my points target for the day, but could easily have been a good few points under to claw back some of Saturday's excesses.

I'd definitely got into a bit of a mental slump. It's easily done - and if you're one of the many people who are pretty sensitive about your weight and appearance, I'm sure it's very disheartening. I've said before, it's easier for us guys!

So I pulled out my spreadsheet, and took a good look. The trend is still going down. The graph hasn't visibly levelled off. This is still working! It really is. I declined a second beer, and had a nice long glass of halo polish instead (Tesco's Lime and Mandarin flavoured fizzy water, zero points). It doesn't taste anything like beer, but serves as an admirable stand in for something to sip at in the evening.

SWMBO has a veggie chili for dinner tonight, so if I can find a good option for lunch today I should be able to pull a nice low points day today. I'd really like to see 18st 7 on the scales before I head off to the US. That's 2lbs below my lowest weight so far and 3lbs below my current weight. Possible, though I'm not setting my hopes too high.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Self-Delusion Diet

A post over at scienceblogs talks about The Self-Delusion Diet, based on a study where those who told their lifestyle was healthier lost weight. It's suggested that "feeling generally better about themselves, also made small changes to their eating habits, like eating slightly smaller portions, without really thinking about it. That could account for a weight loss of .5 lb per week."

I'm not sure it would work for me, since I'm basically lazy.

After a huge pig-out on Saturday, I see to be going up and down around about 18st 11 this last week. No bad thing, the trendline is still going down so far.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Friday Weigh In

A disappointing result this week, since I stayed the same. I think there were a couple of contributing factors:
  • more than a couple of drinks and lots of nibbles at a neighbour's last weekend.
  • Points average for the week came in at 40 - almost two points higher than the previous week.
  • The last two weeks I've had one sub-30 point day, this week I didn't.
The other thing is that I think I've been more in a frame of mind of "what can I get away with eating" rather than "do I really want/need this?". That certainly hasn't helped. I do still have the consolation from my daily weighing that I did reach a new lowest weight during the week, so it's not all bad. I need to watch it for another couple of days and see if the changes so far are going to be sufficient to keep losing it.

I've got another week before my trip to the US, so I need to try and have a good week this week.

Takes deep breath, hardens resolve....

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Worst 10 things to eat

Viruz has a post on the 10 worst things to eat. I've copied the list here to add WW points where I can. These are American items, so I've given both US and UK points.

1 Pepperidge Farm Original Flaky Crust Roasted Chicken Pot Pie (1,000 calories and 18 grams of sat fat). UK=19 points, US=21.5
2 McDonald’s Chicken Selects Premium Breast Strips (1,550 mg of sodium)
3 The Cheesecake Factory’s 6 Carb Cheesecake (29 grams of saturated fat, 1½ days’ supply.)
4 Dove Ice Cream (300 calories and 8 to 13 grams of saturated fat, half cup). That's less than 100mls, and up to 7.5points.
5 Mrs. Fields Milk Chocolate & Walnuts cookie (300 calories and as much saturated fat as a 12-ounce sirloin steak)
6 Starbucks Venti (20 oz.) Caffè Mocha (Think of it as a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in a cup.)
7 Burger King Quad Stacker (4 hamburger patties, 4 slices of cheese, 8 strips of bacon)
8 Campbell’s Chunky, Select, and red-and-white-label condensed soups (Half a can averages more than half of a person’s daily quota of salt)
9 Chipotle Chicken Burrito (1,180 calories and 19 grams of saturated fat) (UK=21.5, US=25).
10 Mint Chip Dazzler (1,270 calories and 38 grams of saturated fat) (UK=27.5 points, US=28.5).

Ouch. That last one, washed down with a couple of beers is an entire days points for me, and I'm on a pretty large allowance of 33 points. But it all tastes sooooo nice to so many people.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Food on the Interweb-thingy

There's lots of fantastic food sites out there. Most of them, though, have one of two failings. They’re either very US centric (great if you live in the US, but most of them don’t even pay lip service to the fact that you might measure ingredients by weight, not volume) or aiming at one of the “extremes” of eating. There’s plenty of places for gourmet food, plenty of places for super-healthy food, but nowhere that discusses everyday food - the stuff you can eat and enjoy with minimal effort and is sensibly healthy. Or have I just given away the niche in the market I’ve discovered?

Anyone want to come and help me write a new website on eating sensibly in the UK?

On daily weighing

One of the common bits of advice to people losing weight that I see over and over again is to only weigh once a week. And I'm starting to see why. This is looking to be the third week in a row that I've put on weight on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday mornings (so, from what I've eaten the day before).

Should I

a) give up the diet because I'm obviously destined to stay fat and ugly if I put on weight on the weekend
b) stop enjoying weekends because they're slowing my weight loss and I'd be happier if I was losing weight faster or
c) try to tame the weekends a little just to make sure the losses continue.

Let me see.....

Monday, January 29, 2007

What to eat to make you sleep

Yahoo! Food has a post on what to eat to help you sleep. Now, not sleeping isn't something I suffer from, but it's worth posting a mention here.

Most of these are no more than a few points as well, so can be a worth bearing in mind as a snack if you have a few points left at the end of the day.

[via]

The scales went up a little this morning; I guess Saturday's excesses caught up with me, and that any drop yesterday was down to dehydration this morning. Back on the wagon today.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

These seven words sum up everything you need to know about healthy eating. They're the tag line in this New York Times article by Michael Pollan that takes an in-depth look at food and nutrition.

There's some hidden depth to those words - after all, the article runs to several thousand words. Mine will be rather shorter, but one of the points he makes is that there are so many contradictory studies out there on what does and doesn't cause cancer in rats, that it's almost impossible to apply that advice to everyday eating.

In a nutshell, though, I can dissect that advice into something I mostly agree with. Eat food. Not vitamin supplements, or omega-3 tables, or whatever the fad du jour is. Not processed stuff. Not artifical flavourings and chemicals.

Not too much. Yeah, right. There's a few odd-ball results out there that suggest that eating an extremely restricted diet will lead to a longer life. But overeating is definitely bad for you - and more importantly, if you follow the advice and eat healthy food, eating too much becomes rather difficult.

Mostly plants. When I first read this, my first reaction was to object: "but I like meat". Yet when I look at my diet so far today, it has been mostly plants. In fact, with the exception of an ounce of ham in a lunch time sandwich, it's been plants all the way, and dinner looks to be fairly low in meat content too. Yesterday was similar - 200g of meat all day.

So, all in all, it seems like good advice to me.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lifehacker on diets

One of my favourite websites, www.lifehacker.com has an excellent diet post from Kyle Pott with some "unconventional" tips.

I'm not sure how unconventional they really are, though.

First off, Kyle recommends getting a digital scales. Makes sense to me: more accurate than a mechanical one, and ours has a feature where the weight stays on display for a few seconds after you step off. Perfect if you're tall, short sighted and bleary eyed in the morning!

He also recommend daily weighing, which most diet plans don't. You need a very positive attitude for this to work, but I'm in favour of it as well. In fact, his only tip that I don't already follow to some extent is to drink lots of water and exercise.

I hate exercise. I always have. I don't get this endorphin thing, I just get out of breath. I don't mind a walk if the weather is nice, I don't mind snorkeling since I don't have to work too hard. I can't think of anything more boring than pushing some machine around for an hour!

And as far as the water is concerned, I think the important thing is to drink lots of liquid. It doesn't have to be pure water. I drink mostly coffee, fizzy flavoured water, and beer. None of these will cause you to lose more liquid (from their dieuretic effects) than they provide, so I'm not out to change those habits.

I seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment. Staying under 40 points (thats 2800 calories or so) seems to be the way to go for me. 18st 11¼ this morning. Certainly hitting 18st 7 before the end of Feb is looking easy at this point, even with a week in the States coming up. And that allows me to put on a few lbs on holiday!

Friday, January 26, 2007

End of month report

Back at the end of December, I decided that rather than trying to Do A Proper Diet, I was going to try and make some habit changes.So, it's almost the end of January - how's it going so far?

Change No 1: Reduce sugar in coffee by ½. Instant coffee is fine with the reduced sugar. I'm still getting used to proper filter coffee with less sugar in it, but its getting to me more acceptable. In some ways I'm finding it's taking longer to adjust to the taste than I expected, but it's also not proving too difficult. Score: 10/10

Change No 2: Limit alcohol intake. With the exception of the last week, this is working pretty well. Again, I haven't tried to cut things out completely, so I'm not feeling I'm missing things. I'm usually grabbing some fizzy water to drink instead in the evenings, since it's zero points, and coffee isn't really a help. The last week has been a bit of a challenge - very stressful long days at work, so I've bent the rules a little, but still kept points totals down to an acceptable level. Score: 7/10.

Change No 3: Healthier snacks. Sell your shared in Cadburys, ladies and gentlemen. I haven't bought a bar of chcolate all year. I finished up the Christmas goodies, and have been eating WW toffee bars, special K bars, and Jordans' cereal bars instead. Score: 10/10

Change No 4: Limit pub lunches and takeaways. I think the guys at work are also trying to be good, since there's less of a "oh, let's go down the pub" mentality, which is helping. With one exception I've had stuff with rice instead of chips. I also made the discovery that I can have two King Prawn Chown Meins for the same points as a tuna baguette! Score: 10/10.

I've been pretty generous with the scores, because I've been keeping track of my intake using the WW points system. This is easy for me since my wife has been doing the diet for a while, and both of us can look at a plate of food -- especially the stuff we eat a lot -- and tell you pretty much how many points are in it.

The official WW diet says I should have been on 33 points a day. You're not supposed to go more than 4 points under that on a given day, or to go too much over. I've been tracking the AVERAGE points over a week: 44½, 43, 39½, 40. More than WW says.

So the real question, then, is "is this working?" Am I losing weight?

YES!!!!

I started out saying I'd be happy if that was enought that I lost 1lb a week. In fact, I've lost 8lbs so far. And a little bit of maths suggests that as long as I stay below 46points a week, I should keep losing weight. Not cutting right down to the minimum points has meant that I'm not encouraging my body to slow it's metabolism right down.

There are a few rocks ahead in the road: a week in the US on business next month, and a holiday at the end of the month. But as long as I steer away from too many sticky desserts and watch the alcohol a little, I don't forsee too much of a setback.

One of the things that a I see a lot of people struggling with on the WW message boards is that they've been good all week, but have still put on a pound - or haven't been good and still lost 2lbs. Well, I've been weighing every day, and I've put a graph together of the results.


The blue line is my actual weight each morning. Almost the same time, after a cup of coffee, and any (ahem) natural needs have been taken care of. Look at the variation, though. The big drop early in Jan that recovered the next day was a hangover: I awoke feeling very dehydrated and thirsty, and felt much better after a couple of pints of liquid. The spike at the end was a couple of higher point days (40, 51 and 40) over the weekend. But I can't explain most of the ups and downs - just variation in water intake, probably.

Weighing every day is WW heresy. You have to be very careful about not attaching too much importance to any one day. That's where the purple line comes in. It's a logarithmic average of the last 10 days weight. You don't need to understand the maths degree, drop me a line and I'll send a spreadsheet that'll work it out. And this is the line I've been looking at. When it's started to level out, I've tried a bit harder to find low point options for the next few days. When it's been dropping steadily I've been quietly congratulating myself and keeping at it. At NO TIME have I used this as an excuse to go on an eating binge. The two options are "carry on" or "try harder".

Another important difference between my approach and "Pure WW" is shown up by the reactions when I dropped below 19st. My wife asked "aren't you excited?" No, I wasn't. Now that I've seen a few consecutive days below 19st, I'm more excited about it, and I fully expect to sneak back over 19st before the middle of next week.

As I said, February will be more of a challenge. Let's see if I can continue to be this optimistic with a few challenges ahead.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hello UK LadyLuck

UKLadyLuck, another regular on the WW Message boards has a useful website, which also has some more information on the Wendie Plan.

Today has been the first day I've been actually feeling hungry for any length of time. I've had a couple of very low days, so I'm letting up a bit today and not letting it get to me. Tomorrow is the official weekly weigh-in day, so it might not look as good on the weekly figures, but hey, I don't really care. It's all going down hill, in the best possible way.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

My pal in New York....

Viruz in NY is complaining about the media diet plans. I agree. This plan is crap. Too much time, too much effort. I posted a comment there that's the basis for this blog entry.

I think the secret to success at losing weight is to think about your lifestyle. Then think about the fattening bits. Yesterday, for me, was a good example.

I had a coffee in bed (thank you, dear wife). 1 sugar, no milk. Half the sugar I used to have.

Physio appointment, still in work by 9:45 am. Hungry but decided to wait until I got to work instead of scoffing empty calories of chocolate on the way.

Get to work. Bowl of cereal, 2 mugs of coffee. Sorted until 1pm. Saved another 2 points on the sugar.

Hmmm... What's for lunch. It's cold out there... Chinese takeaway anyone? ... mmm.....

Chicken curry and chips? No, too bad. I know, chow mein is good. Seafood is healthy and tasty. "I'll have a prawn chow mein please".

Work until 9pm. OK, a couple of cereal bars for sustenance, but I avoid the vending machine.

On the way home, I stop for another takeaway. Chicken kebab - grilled chicken, salad, pitta. Tasty, delicious. Low calories.

Even with a couple of beers, I ended up eating the least calories I've eaten during a day all year.

Why? Simple. Try to place yourself where you have good choices, and pick the best you can.

That's it.

I'm using the (UK) Weight Watchers system to track my eating, but I'm not strictly following The WW Plan.

So, yesterday I ate 27 points. If I'd taken the same amount of time, with bad choices. Hmmm... lets see.....

Breakfast: danish pastry - extra 4 points
Snacks: 2 bars of chocolate instead of WW snacks. +8 points.
Lunch: chicken curry and fries. Extra 10 points.
Dinner. Lamb instead of chicken. Add friess. Extra 7 points.
Drinks: 2 sugars per mug instead of 1. +5 points.

That's an extra 35 points. 2450 calories. Just from making the right choices. I more than halved my calorie intake by stopping to think for a few seconds.

That's all it takes. You can always trade a few second thinking, time to cook instead of eat out, or time to exercise instead of watch TV. Don't obsess about targets. Just stop for a second, and think about how you can be in the right place to make a good choice, and how you can make a good choice from the available ones.

I've lost 8lbs in 3 weeks doing nothing more.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Great WW quotes

From the Weight Watcher's Message Boards:

"Forget love, I'd rather fall in chocolate. " -- Candy-Girl

"Typical Libra...always on the scales. " -- 50Plus

If you've got any more, please leave a comment below....

Today was one of the most challenging days I've had. I was in work at 8 am this morning, and still there at 8pm. Having had a fairly early lunch to fit in around other commitments, by the time I got home I felt like I could have eaten a horse, and had the saddle with custard for pudding. This was after having to stop myself from walking to the vending machine. Twice.

I've had my dinner, and didn't feel the need to defrost a bread roll to go with it. I feel sated now. And even a couple of beers will bring me to 37 points, which seems to be sufficiently few for me to lose weight so far.

Final update: just the one beer, and a cup of coffee. 34.5. Excuse me while I polish my halo.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Curvy Girls Do It Better

Or so says WeightWatchers Community member Kelinda on her new website.

Couldn't resist a third beer this evening, but points totals are reasonable, so that's OK.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Cheese of Death, and KFC

I've mentioned Alan Lights WW Tips before, but this is another one that's worth mentioing:

"Cheese has lots of points and in my opinion, is basically just a flavoring. So go ahead and have that turkey or roast beef sandwich, but hold the cheese."

He does have a point. It's probably nicer to have a turkey and cheese sandwich, but the turkey alone will be filling enough. Add some chutney if you want some flavour.

Viewed in strict WW terms, yesterday was a really bad day. But thinking strictly in terms of changing habits, it was within the rules. The team went for KFC for lunch. Admittedly, it was the second takeaway that week, but the prawn chow mein earlier in the week was one of the lowest pointed lunches I've had. So I think I'm still within my rule of trying to have a better lunch, excepting one day a week when I Don't Care.

The scales show a small gain this morning - next weekend is close to the end of the month. Certainly if I were to cut right down to my 33 points I'd lose weight pretty quickly. But I want this to be sustainable, and I don't want the weight to come back on if I let up a bit at the end. So I'm sticking with my good habits for now, and will continue to do so as long as they're working. If I keep losing 4lbs a month, it's working. I'll easily lose the 40 I want to lose by the end of the year, and I'm ahead of that so far.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Weigh In

I didn't post a weigh-in result last week, but since I've only got three comments on here so far I don't think anyone will complain.... More comments, please. Let me know someone is reading this!

Last week was 19st 4, 1 ½lbs lost. All in the right direction; if I can lose a steady 1lb a week I'll hit my goal within a year.

Today's was very encouraging: 19st, 0¾. SWMBO got a good result last night as well, so we're both happy today.

I'd have been happy to get below 19st before going on holiday. If this keeps up I'll have some leeway to aim to be below 19st when I get back. Whay-hay!

Mental note: do not go home and get pissed to celebrate. That's kind of counter-productive!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Weight Wachters: Points Targets and UK vs US numbers

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Weight Watchers plan, a short explanation is, perhaps, in order.

The diet is based around a system of points scores for food, ranging from zero for all the veggies you can eat (with a few exceptions), to 20 points for 200g bar of chocolate. Your daily allowance is calculated from a quiz that takes into account height, weight, activity level, and whether or not you're trying to lose weight or just maintain your current weight.

The points values themselves are calculated from a formula which is protected by patents in the US, UK and many other countries. However, the actual formula is published in those patents, so there's nothing to stop you finding it out for yourself if you want to work the numbers out yourself. I'm not publishing them here, Google is your friend. Basically, the more calories, and the more saturated fat, the higher the points.

WW have modified the system slightly over the years, and tailored it for different countries. US points are higher for the same item of food, and are also lowered for food high in fibre. Because of the way the formula works, you can't convert one to 'tother without knowing either the calorie or fat content of the food.

SWMBO is on a might stricter rein than I am at around 22 points a day. I'm on 33 (though would be on 36 if I used the "old rules" to calculate my allowance). Those numbers drop by 1 when I get below 19 stone. I'm going over that most days at the moment. But I've said before, this is about habit changes, not following the WW diet asbolutely, and the points are just a convenient way to track the effectiveness of those changes in reducing calorie intake.

A pre-2007 day would have typically been between 50 and 60 points, possibly higher, and I'm hoping the habit changes will keep me below 40. That's the maintenance level for me, so it should work.

A final note for any non-UK readers. Most Brits think of their weight in stones and lbs, or kilos if they're younger. A stone is 14 lbs, so 19 stone 7 is (19*14)+7=273. A kilo is 2.2lbs, so the same wieght is 273/2.2 = 124.1 kilos.

Of course, the big question for me is how are these changes working out? Well, I'm not finding it too hard. I've generally been able to make consistently healthier choices than I would have done before Christmas, and I'm pretty good at stopping and thinking "which one should I have?" (instead of "which one do I want?") . The danger with trying to change habits is that it's easy to start with when it's all in the front of your mind, but as it becomes less conscious, it's easier to fall back to the old routine. As to the results, all I'm saying for now is that they're encouraging. There's be a more detailed post at the end of the month.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hello Minnie Mynx

Minnie Mynx is a regular on the Weight Watchers message boards, and her website has some useful lists of WW points values once you get past the ads. Added to my links list!

I made a rather startling discovery today - we were going out for lunch when someone suggested the Chinese takeaway. Uh oh! I had a vestigial memory of chow mein being a pretty good option, so ordered a king prawn chow mein. 5½ points!

5½ points! I can have two of those for the same points as a tuna mayo baguette. This is the first time I've come home from work having consumed less than about 20 points since I started.

I've said before that (as long as it works) I'm more into changing habits than really trying to "do Weight Watchers", and this kind of reinforces that (at least with relatively large numbers of points to play with) that you can find good choices pretty much anywhere with some thought and research. Though possibly not in the chippy!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dilbert's Pointy-Haired Boss

Dilbert's pointy-haired boss is on a diet, and he's not doing well. Check out the archives.

I'm doing rather better than the PHB. I made some good choices today:
  • No butter on my baked potato. Ideally it would have been a non-mayo filling, but the limited choices are basically chilli (which I've eaten about 3 times a week so far), beans (boring unless with cheese), or things stuck together with mayo. 2 points for a tablespoon isn't bad, but it does make a difference between an 8 point lunch and a 10 point lunch.
  • Raided the tuck box in my desk for a cereal bar instead of a bar of chocolate.
  • Raided the office fruit basket for a banana instead of another bar of chocolate. No, that's not "I still wanted a bar of chocolate", that's "I'd have eaten two if I hadn't been trying. The only chocolate I've eaten so far this year has been the leftovers from Christmas. If you have shares in Cadbury's: sell!
I guess I'll finish the day on about 35 points. It's scary how much the points add up in a day; a total of 3½ on coffee (half what I used to have, but not feasible on 22 points a day!), 4 on fruit, and 10 on lunch.

I think the biggest difference I'm noticing is that I'm actually ready for breakfast in the mornings. When I started this I'd eventually grab a cereal bar around 10am and call that breakfast. Now I'm first at the cereal bowls in the morning!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Hmmm....

Yesterday was almost as bad as the pre-diet day when I counted the points. 51 points. And it showed on the scales this morning, too: I'd put on a pound and a quarter. And while you can't really take day-to-day variations into account, it seems to be following prety accurately.

40 points or 2800 cals = losing weight
50 points or 3500 cals = gaining weight

If you think in calories, a point is roughly worth 70 calories. It's a bit more complicated than that, because 70 calories of saturated fat is more points than 70 calories of starch, but you get the idea.

It makes an interesting comparison with the figures from this calorie calculator, which says I need 2666 calories for maintenance and 2160 to lose weight.

The only reason that I think the day-to-day numbers are working is that I tend to drink a fairly constant quantity of liquid, and I'm careful about weighing at the same time, and in the same state (after the toilet, before the shower) every day. The one day I definitely felt dehydrated when I woke up showed as a big (downwards) spike in the chart.

The calculator also suggest a variable calorie intake to "trick" your metabolism into working at a higher rate. Taking the weighting of fat into account, these are close enough.

The variable intake plan is known to Weight Watchers forum regulars as the "Wendie Plan" - more on that in a later post.

Today was rather better, under 40 points again. Official Weekly Weigh-in, 19st 4lbs, 3lbs lost to date. The trend graph shows a rather better result, since my weight seems to vary by a couple of pounds from day to day, and the days either side were over a pound lower.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Instilling new habits.

Successful wieght loss is really about changing habits, and it's amazing how easy it is to "fall off the wagon" when you're first doing this. As soon as something happens to disrupt your routine, and you stop concentrating on the goal, you suddenly realise it's been a bit of a rollercoaster:
  • Good: Someone's birthday and there were doughnuts in the office. Even though there were loads left over after lunch, I refrained from taking a second (or third!).
  • Bad: Stopped for dinner en-route to visit family. I really should have ordered the 8oz steak - and a baked potato for bonus goodness. No, I went for the 12oz, with fries and onion rings.
  • Good: on the way home, we stopped at Nandos. I had a chicken pitta (all white meat, no skin, a bit of mayo is the worst bit) and spicy rice.
  • Bad: I couldn't resist the chocolate cake on offer in the office today - another birthday being celebrated.
We got home Tuesday night, and I forgot to weigh myself Wednesday morning. Wednesday was actually a spectacularly good day: if I'd not had some chocolate I would have been vastly under; as it was I finished on about 30 points for the day ("official" target should be 33).

Today has been more of a challenge - as a team we like to do a pub lunch once in a while, and there wasn't anything really good on the menu (it was either tasty or low in points, but not both). The tuna melt and fries wasn't as bad as it could have been, but it was probably still 14 points or so on it's own. And then I couldn't resist the cake, either, which is what will really scupper my score today.

Assuming today hasn't done too much damage, I'm well on my way to losing the first half a stone (7lbs) - 19st. 2¾lbs this morning.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Why the hacker diet works.....

I wrote earlier about the Hacker's Diet, and I'm beginning to understand why it's effective. I'm not following the full plan, but I am using the notion of weighing daily and using the trend, rather than the actual weight, to monitor your progress.

Today I'd put on a pound, but the trendline is still going down because of the catching up from previous days, so that's OK.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

WW Tips

Over on his website, Alan Light has some good Weight Watchers Tips. I'm going to plagiarise a few of them here, at least to add my own thoughts and comments on them.

Don’t cheat: You don’t need to cheat. Track your points carefully, and if you find something that you really must eat; then eat it and fully count its points.

This is really fundamental. You're only cheating yourself. Initially, when I started out I was tempted to skip a few things that I shouldn't really have eaten in the first place. But if I hadn't included them, how would I know if my "experimental approach" is working, and what to try and cut out next. So I included the 6½ points of chocolate I ate yesterday.

Don’t eat anything until you find out the point count: That “fat free muffin” that you see at the bakery probably has twice the points that you think it does. Do your research before eating it.

This one is kind of easier said than done. Unless you carry a points calculator with you, or a book of points values, it can be hard. Sometimes all you can do is to make the best choice from what's available. This is particularly true if you don't want to advertise you're dieting (us guys can be a bit shy about things like that).

Don’t waste points on non-filling items: Things like orange juice; non-diet soda, etc. use up a lot of points, but don’t really fill you up or satisfy your hunger very much. I also recommend that you not use points strictly for “flavor” (i.e. sauces, full-fat dressings, etc.) Save your points for items that will be filling and satisfying.

This one is also true in some respects. If you use a quarter or more of your points on stuff that's fun but high in points, it's going to be very difficult to eat properly on what you have left. On the other hand, using some points to flavour food and make it more interesting is a good thing. A point's worth of basil oil over some vegetables makes them a one point pile of tasty veg instead of a zero point pile of not-so-tasty veg. And that was a worthwhile point; I enjoyed eating it.

If you absolutely, really must have some chocolate, then you really need to make one meal very low in points. Two great ideas for doing this: first of all is Zero Point Veggie Soup: you can eat as much as you like for no points at all. We pretty much have some in the freezer all the time. The second is a sauce I concocted the other night to make vegetables more interesting. A tin of chopped tomatoes, a touch of chili powder, and some mixed herbs. Let it all simmer while the veggies are cooking, and pour over them on the plate. You can vary the herbs based on the rest of the meal, or use it instead of a gravy to make a meat dish more interesting.

Today ended up on 41 points, but the weight trend is in the right direction.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Good on ya!

SWMBO participates in Weight Watcher's message boards, and occasionally reports interesting anecdotes from dieters there. A superb post yesterday, entitled "Is is rude to point?" is worth repeating here.

Standing in the superstore, our heroine is reading labels and figuring out the points scores in something she's considering buying. An extremely large lady blunders up the aisle, bumps into her, and says "I don't know why you bother with that crap, it doesn't work".

Our heroine replies, "I bother with this crap because I don't want to end up looking like you!"

Drum roll and round of applause, please. That kind of random rudeness deserves a good put-down.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Friday Weigh In

As part of this "experiment", I'm comparing the scores from the Hacker Diet with those from a weekly weigh-in, to see which is the most useful feedback.

So, today's score was 19st. 5½ lbs, or 1lb lost this week.

The Hacker diet trend is downwards, which is all I care about; the rate of decline is irrelevant as long as it looks like a downhill slope and not an up-hill one.

Having got off to a flying start, the points score for the day wasn't good - around 55 points after the boss bought pizza for lunch. At this stage, for me it's more about changing bad habits than immediately trying to lose weight. I'll decide based on the weight loss through January if it's sufficient, or if I actually need to make more progress. I did stick to my other changes, and I made a point of only taking two slices of pizza to start with so that I'd have time to digest them a little and start feeling full before going back for me. The end result was that I ate about 3/4 of a pizza, instead of a whole one like I would have done. And that, for me, counts as a victory.

The Hacker's Diet

I've been looking over John Walker's Hacker's Diet in the last few days. What's interesting about this isn't the diet, but the approach to measuring weight.

The stuff on the website is a little mathematical - but don't let that put you off.

Traditional advice is to weigh yourself once a week, at the same time on the same day. But for many people, this doesn't give enough feedback. But your weight can vary hugely during a day as the amount of water and food (in all it's stages!) in your body varies, and weekday/weekend changes in routine have an effect too.

So John's approach it to create a table:







DateWeightTrend
1/1/07273273
2/2/07271272.8
3/2/07268272.5
4/2/07270272.2


The important thing is that the trend figure will match your real weight movement over time.

So how do you calculate it?

On day 1, it's the same as your weight figure. On each subsequent day:

  1. Difference = Today's Weight - Yesterday's Trend
  2. Divide the Difference by 10, and round to one decimal place.
  3. Add this to the trend.


So, for my example above, the difference between the 1st and 2nd is -2, divide by 10 is 0.2, and add to the trend above is 272.8. (273 + (-0.2) = 273 - 0.2 = 272.8). Do it on the calculator if you need to.

I've been weighing myself daily for the last few days, and it will be interesting to see how much the weekly figures (1lb down, 39 to go) compare with the trend average. Let's see.

Since getting weighed, the rest of the day went downhill. How many points in a slice of pizza, anyone?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Weight Watchers Magazine and BMI

There's an article in the Weightwatchers magazine this week, yet again trying to make out that you can simplify "is this person healthy" into a single number - BMI.

I really don't think it's that simple. At least this article acknowledges that BMI may be wrong for very muscular men - or conversely for very sedentary people. But I think it runs deeper than that. People have vastly different shapes and sizes: I can't believe the numbers cover that much of a range.

Today's about 40 points again. Weigh-in tomorrow. I'm not expecting there to be much change in the first week, so let's see.

200 calories?

Wisegeek has a post on what 200 calories looks like in various different foods.

I've had two un-pointable days due to travelling to a family funeral. 2 days of not watching food intake is irrelevant in the face of that, but I'm back on target today - in fact, I'm way under my points today, so I think the last bit of my Christmas chocolate might be in order.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Blood Pressure and Weight Loss

This study shows a fairly clear correlation between weight loss and dropping blood pressure. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and the studies show the expected improvement is 1mmHg for each kilo lost. So if I lose 40lbs, I should expect to see an improvement from 140/90 to something more like the healthy figure of 120/80.

Incidentally, it's the bottom figure to watch out for. This (diastolic pressure) is the resting pressure between heartbeats, and it's this number increasing that causes arteries to harden as they resist the increased pressure.

Today's score is looking like about 40 points again. I was on 24 1/2 when I got home from work, and that was with an 8 point dinner. Or I might just scoff some more chocolate. This is likely to become tedious pretty soon if I don't.

The other bit of interesting news today is that I have been recommended, medically speaking, to not take up jogging. Suits me.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'll spare the reconstruction of today's diet.

37 1/2 points today, against a target of 33 (or 36 under the old rules).

Oh, and I scoffed some chcolate as well. Probably more like 40. OK 45. 10g of chocolate is a point. Yow!

Still better than 52 though. And this is supposed to be about habit changes, not about actually being on a diet.

3 beers (one at lunchtime).