2016.2

Previous: 266lb
Current: 263lb
Loss this week: 0lb
Total loss: 3lb

The number on the scale only tells part of the story. Friday night was particularly boozey complete with kebab at the end of the night. After a night like that I can expect a higher number on the scale for the next couple of days as my body deals with the carnage. At one point I was down to 259lb during the week.

It has been a stressful week though. I’ve been sick and turned to comfort food on monday/tuesday (pizza). Those days also had some bad snacking. Wednesday/thursday were much better, but then Friday came along and was a blow out. I felt like I need to celebrate the end of a tough week and part of meeting that feeling was with drinks and food.

At the time the comfort food may have felt good but it was a short-lived feeling. Perhaps sometimes we need to be ok with feeling “blah” and not trying to do anything about it? In my studying I’m reading about the relationship between positive and negative emotions. In positive psychology there has been a focus on eliminating negative and promoting positive, which is being challenged as the “negative” things can often be opportunities for growth and change (in an ultimately positive direction in terms of wellbeing and individual flourishing). This is slightly different, but wouldn’t it be nice to feel like crap and not try to self-medicate it away? Or at least turn to things that have a net-positive effect in the long-term.

This week I want to work on my “rice and beans” strategy again. I know that if I lock down 2/3 meals then I’m going to post a lost next week.

2016.1

Previous: 266lb
Current: 263lb
Loss this week: 3lb
Total loss: 3lb

Ah, here we go again! This week I rediscovered my old friend the capricious bathroom scale. One day we’re up, the next we’re down, and just when you think you’ve lost or gained for the week, he changes his mind once more! The scale showed a lower number mid-week and there were daily fluctuations, but I’ll take 3lb every time though.

The challenge this week was to focus on the standardisation of meals.

  • Breakfast – 100% consistent. Porridge with chopped banana, with a couple of flat whites coffees.
  • Lunch – mixture of eating at the work canteen – (3 days) and at home (2 days). I ate 1 meal out over the weekend.
  • Dinner – 5/7 meals were “rice and beans” (!) 1 meal out.
  • Snacks – 6/7 days I ate additional pieces of fruit (satsumas and apples). 1 day I ate a cupcake (it was for charity!). On thursday I ate crisps and chocolate from the work vending machine.
  • Alcohol – a bottle of beer and 2 glasses of wine on friday night.

    Breakfast is sorted. I’m happy with the nutrition I get, I like the food and I don’t even think twice about it, my behaviour is fully integrated/automatic.

Rice and beans was a success this week. I cooked the recipe 3 times producing 6 meals. The only day I didn’t eat this meal was Friday when I ate out. It’s easy to prepare, cook and clean. It tastes good enough, it reheats well, and it’s cheap. Longer term it’ll be easy to vary the base recipe to mix it up.

It’s interesting that I was trying to standardise my lunches this week but instead it was my dinners that became “rice and beans” most days. It was nice to come home from a stressful day at work and zap some leftovers in the microwave, or even just cook the dish as it’s so easy. Rice in a pan, chop the onions and start flying them, chop the peppers and add them to the onions, tidy the kitchen, add the beans to the mix. Done – wait for the rice. Mix together. Eat. Snacks and alcohol were good overall. I had one bad day on Thursday when work was getting me down and I hit the vending machine, but otherwise this was a disciplined week.

Next week

More of the same I think. I’m happy to let lunch at work be the little bit of variety in my diet. There’s often a half-decent vegetarian option and perhaps I can mix eating in the canteen with coming back home for some eggs.

Good start.

2016.0

I’m getting back into the habit of posting weekly reflection posts. I’d like to make some lifestyle changes (or tweaks!) in 2016 and I know this is a good way for me to get some honest feedback from myself. It’s particularly useful when I investigate the reasons why I’m not doing the things I want to do. And generally, the process of reflection helps me organise the thoughts in my mind and solidifies my internal narrative. I’ve also enjoyed re-reading some of my old posts and would like to capture “me in my words” at this point in time as well.

Weigh in #2016.0 – starting weight for the new year.

Previous: 266lb
Current: 266lb
Total loss: 0lb

The holiday period has been indulgent but not excessively so. I’m actually fairly pleased that the scale said 266lb this morning.

Next week

The first week back at work. What can I do this week that will help me get to where I want to be? I think standardising my diet was a part of my prior success, I ate a lot of the same meals. I guess taking it to the extreme if you only ate 1 dish every day for breakfast/lunch/dinner, there would be a bunch of “economies of habit”. For example you’d quickly become efficient at preparing that meal, you would remove a lot of decision-making from your daily routine, and I think you’d quickly adapt and get used to eating the same meal. Food shopping would be an easy affair and “what’s for dinner” wouldn’t even be a question that you’d ask. Imagine if you could only eat one dish due to some form of economic or physical restriction (I have a stereotyped picture of people in third-world countries eating rice and beans); If you couldn’t actually eat anything else other than your one dish, do you think you’d have any weight issues? Take out pleasure, choice and desire from the equation, and I think weight-loss is probably easy. This feeds into my “prison theory” – if you locked an obese person in a cage and fed them a controlled diet, giving them no choice in what they ate, then they would lose weight (losing weight isn’t a nutrition problem, it’s a psychological problem). This is kinda what happens with bariatric surgery as well, the stomach is reduced or bypassed so that food cannot be physically taken up.

So, standardising my diet? To an extent I’ve implemented this in my breakfast routine: I eat porridge almost every day. (Funnily enough I also actually had porridge for dinner last night.) I think I could also get on-board with doing this for lunch as well. I’d like to stop spending money on the staff canteen so if I could get into a good “bring my own rice and beans” lunch routine that would help me out financially as well. I found the following recipe and am about to give it a try.

This week is all about rice and beans :D.

Weigh-in #105+6: Messy Two Weeks

Peak: 256.6lb
Previous: 248.4lb
Current: 248.0lb
Loss this week: 0.4lb
Total Loss: 8.6lb

Last week’s weigh-in was a fairly big gain if I remember right (something like 5lb). It was enough to want to hide it from the world and stick my head in the sand and I didn’t write a weigh-in post. There’s an irony in preaching a public disclosure of your weight in order to leverage social accountability and then not actually posting when it hurts the most to do so. It’s a good-uncomfortable feeling though. Embracing the discomfort has helped me turn things around and I’m happy to post a minor net-loss today.

My diet and routine has spiked between being really good and really bad over the last 14 days. It’s felt like a roller coaster for my mood too; I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I think part of this has been caused by “end of season blues”. All the friends I’ve made here are slowly leaving. The season is ending and people are moving on to new things, or moving back to old. I’m stressed with my study and stressed with with trying to figure out what’s next for me. There are lots of conflicting desires and trying to resolve them is making me feel drained; I haven’t fully internalised the idea that you can’t have everything, and my mind toils away trying to solve a problem that can’t be solved.

I’m now halfway through this 12-week block. My goal is a 25lb loss which means I’m 3.4lb behind where I should be for halfway. Still, I’m moving in the right direction. Given my current social environment and lifestyle I’m pretty happy it’s not worse! The next 6 weeks are arguably going to be more of challenge as I anticipate I’ll be on the road a lot. When I leave Nelson I’m going to have to consider some strategies for dealing with this. Off the top of my head I like the idea of treating this as a bit of a backcountry hike… albeit within an urban environment. I will have a limited ability to prepare food and the temptation will be to eat out a lot – bad for my wallet and my diet. I’m thinking about simple breakfasts, trail-mix “lunches”, and giving myself some flexibility with eating out in the evening. I guess a lot of this depends where I am though… which is another set of decisions I’ll have to make shortly.

 

 

Weigh-in #104:

Peak: 256.6lb
Previous: 250.4lb
Current: 248.4.lb
Loss this week: 2lb
Total Loss: 8.2lb

A good-enough week to see a -2lb loss. I’ll take that every time please.

My studying is going really good, perhaps too good. It has become my sole focus and all my energy is going into it. That’s great considering where I was before but I’m concerned that it’s going to affect other things I want to achieve.

This is a retrospective post as I forgot my Monday post. I was too busy with my studying.

Weigh-in #103: Good studying

Peak: 256.6lb
Previous: 251.0lb
Current: 250.4lb
Loss this week: 0.6lb
Total Loss: 6.2lb

Food has been disappointing on the whole. I ate out more than I should have and again, like last week, when I do that I tend not to eat as well as if I were at home. The other problem is the booze again. I went from drinking 1/7 last week, to 5/7 this week. I had no more than 2 beers or wines on any of those five days, but still… that’s like 400 calories/day of extra stuff that I could have done without. And the scary thing is I didn’t realise how often it was until reviewing this week; they were in my food log, but just not on my mind.

The focus this week then is on home-cooked food. I already know there will be days where this won’t happen. Thursday is “ribs night” at the pub and I enjoy this little ritual with my friends. I will be skiing this week and i


What a GREAT week for my studying. I can’t believe I’m on a 5-day streak :-). The shift happened after doing some thinking-out-loud with a fellow Zen Change Lab member (Yvonne @ Gainstorming). I think there have been two parts to it.

Firstly I’m now building “being a student” into my identity. I’m not someone who works and studies part time, or someone who is doing ski-season and studying on the side. I am now, first and foremost, a student.

Secondly I’ve reframed the short-term and long-term objectives. Long-term I want to become an expert in psychology; a grey-haired, elbow-patch wearing, superhero master of the mind! I have this projection of my future self. This awesome dude who went back to school in his 30s, became an expert in a new domain, switched career and took his life in a more meaningful direction, one where he uses his new knowledge to help people and make the world a better place. I really want to be that guy and that image is now driving me forward.

The short-term change is to focus on really understanding the topics I’m reading about. That sounds like it’s obvious and a standard part of “studying” and “learning” but I’ve found myself studying for assignments or exams… and not studying for the knowledge itself. I don’t really care about having the degree; it’ll make a nice line on the resumé and is a prerequisite to taking my knowledge further, but ultimately it’s all about me learning and knowing as much of this stuff as I possibly can, and not about a piece of paper. I would much rather know these topics properly and score an average grade, than score an excellent grade but have a flakey/patchy understanding.

 

 

Weigh-in #102: No booze, no problem!

Peak: 256.6lb
Previous: 253.4lb
Current: 251.0lb
Loss this week: 2.4lb
Total Loss: 5.4lb

Oh yea. A nice 2.4lb loss this week. It was a week of “mostly good food” with a few slips here and there, particularly over the weekend, but overall I felt there was more good than bad in my diet.

A big success was my alcohol intake. I refrained from drinking for 6 out of 7 days. What’s particularly pleasing is that I was in a pub or restaurant on 5 occasions, sitting with others who were drinking. So I was still able to socialise without getting tempted with a drink. I told my friends this is was something I wanted to do this week and almost everyone was supportive. There was one dissenting member of the pack, and if I had to pick one person beforehand it would have been him. Every time we were in the bar he’d try and goad me into having a drink. I don’t think it bothered me too much, although the one night I did drink, he was involved. I had fun that night and don’t have any problems with having a few beers, it was one night out of seven and I had fun.

On the days where I ate some “less optimal” food (I want a word that isn’t “bad” to describe bad foods I ate) there were a few things going on: –

  1. On Friday I was rushed and ate pizza because I was hungry and needed to grab something on the go.
    (Need to make healthy choices when eating out)

  2. Also on Friday I had some friends over for a movie night. I played the host, serving up some less than healthy food and snacks.
    (Peer pressure in social situations)
  3. On Saturday I went to the cinema and had popcorn, soda and some chocolate.
    (Food associated/paired with an activity)
  4. On Tuesday/Wednesday I ate a couple of peanut butter & banana bagels.
    (I bought bad food, then I ate it)

These are all familiar situations for me. None are all that worrying given that I lost weight this week. I think it’s enough just to be aware of what’s going on.

My focus this week is to maintain the alcohol restriction and to make healthier choices when I eat out. I also want to cut out the chocolate/sweets as they are a no-brainer bad food. Nothing about them is good for my body… except they taste so goooood!

Weigh-in #101: Terrible Week

Peak: 256.6lb
Previous: 253.6lb
Current: 253.4lb
Loss this week: 0.2lb
Total Loss: 3.2lb

The number on the scale is a flattering reflection of how things went. I drank alcohol and made poor food choices on 5 days out of 7. What the hell am I doing?! This was supposed to be the first week of tightening my diet and making some good changes. Instead it was boozey and loose. Terrible!

The main problem here is the socialising. I enjoy hanging out with these people and that’s often done with a beer in hand. This week then my big challenge is no alcohol. Funnily enough a buddy here is also feeling a little self-indulgent after the weekend and wants to join me for a week of zero boozing. That’s pretty cool – we’ll have some moral support for each other whilst still hanging out down the pub.

Hopefully cutting out the booze will help drop me into an energy deficit. Not only will I consume fewer calories, I’ll also benefit from making better food choices without the negative influence of drink or drugs. Jeez, I kinda feel like a mess at the moment that I wrote that last sentence.

Reflecting on the rest of my week the study practice was poor: 3/7 days is just not good enough. Whereas I’m confident I’ll address the food/booze issue, the studying feels like a much harder task. Whenever I consider doing some study my body seems to revolt and doing anything else is instantly more appealing. Right now I don’t have a solid strategy for dealing with this. Something that might work is writing a short “todo” list for the tasks that I want to complete on a given day. I did that this morning and it only has 3 things on it, each reasonably small and discrete, but already that feels much more doable than simply “sit down and study for 3hrs”. Part of the problem is not knowing exactly what work I should be doing, so a little bit of planning might go a long way.

I’m not focusing on fitness / physical activity at the moment, but I do want to either snowboard or run most days this week. Getting up and doing some physical activity simply makes me feel good about myself.

Recap of the plan for this upcoming week:-

  1. No alcohol.
  2. Figure out some more study strategies and try them out.
  3. Try and do something physical in the morning.

 

Weigh-in #100: A New Start

Peak: 256.6lb
Previous: 256.6lb
Current: 253.6lb
Loss this week: 3lb
Total Loss: 3lb

Here we go. I’ve rebooted the blog and am now back in the zone. I’ve been hovering around this weight (~250lb) for the last year. My lowest weight before was around 225lb. These 25lbs make a big difference for me! I have clothes that no longer fit and I feel and see the difference in my body – both aesthetically and physically. I want to get back to my lowest weight and possibly push it lower.

Last monday I weighed 256lb so that is going down as my new “high”. It feels right to reset the numbers back to what I’m at now. I don’t identify with being “Old Rich” any more and this new weightloss is really about the slimmer me wanting to shift 25lbs, rather than the obese me wanting to shift 225lbs.

So how about a 3lb loss to kick things off?! Treat that with a pinch of salt. I’ve been bouncing between 250 and 260 for at least the last 6 months. A year ago I was 240lb. Let’s hold off the celebrating until next week; if I bank another loss then I’ll get excited and fired up, right now I’m lacking a little self-efficacy.

I’ve been recording my weight and food each day for the last few years using Evernote. And I haven’t lost any weight. Perhaps it’s stopped me putting on any more, but I’m skeptical of the correlation between recording the data and losing weight. It’s a useful and interesting thing, but simply recording things seems a bit impotent if you don’t act on the information. This is where I think the reflective writing comes into play. It is a chance to process the data, examine my thoughts, be more aware of what’s going on… and then make some conscious changes.

Looking back on this last week I hit a low of 251lb on Thursday. Monday to Thursday was pretty good and then it fell apart over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I got stoned on Friday (weed – for the first time in 10 years) and had a classic case of the munchies; I don’t think I’ve eaten 2 takeaway pizzas in the same day since I was 400lb+. And some pancakes with maple syrup. Yum! D’oh! The next day in my log I wrote “Too scared to weigh in”. Says it all really. Saturday and Sunday were both better days, but both contained alcohol and Sunday had some particularly bad pub-related choices. I still lost 3lb over the week though, so will keep my trespasses in perspective.

This week I want to work on two different diets. One for days when I’m skiing and one for days when I’m at home. Each environment has different challenges. On the ski-hill I need to prepare food and take it with me and I need to avoid the lattes, cakes, beer and other goodies that the lodge sells. For days at home I need to avoid snacking when I procrastinate or get bored. I’m also more tempted to eat out when I’m at home; I’ll often go café-hoping and tie that in with eating lunch or dinner somewhere. For both types of day I need to manage my boozing. The socialising is a big part of this experience and I find it hard to say no to a beer (and after the first, hard to say no to the second!). Generally though, I think my diet is good. I need to tighten up some areas but the underlying nutrition is fairly sound.

Weigh-in 98: FFFFUUUUUUUUU

Peak: 435lb
Previous: 225.8lb
Current: 228.6lb
Gain this week: 2.8lb
Total Loss: 206.4lb

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Annoying. It really didn’t feel like a gain week. Food was not too bad. Hmn, scratch that. I’ve just looked at my food diary and whilst there weren’t any blow-out events, every day did have bad food on it:-

Monday: choc-chip shortbread
Tuesday: cookies, chocolate bar
Wednesday: cookie
Thursday: chips, left-over pizza
Friday: biscuits in the office
Saturday: cider, ice-cream, brownie
Sunday: shortbread, huge latte, chocolate bar

This is cool: the week didn’t feel bad, but having a 100% honest and accurate food diary shows that it probably was. I wonder whether my mind is adapting its definition of normal and ok. Any one of those days would normally be ok and I wouldn’t worry about it, but having 7 of them is a problem.

Exercise was better. My running feels back on track and I’m knuckling down into marathon training now. I’ve just seen a friend complete a marathon in a time much lower than he or I expected, which is a bit of wake-up call: you need to put the training in. It’s ridiculous really, every time I go running I always feel amazing afterwards, yet it’s often a struggle to get out the door. Why does my brain have a hard time making the connection between the two things? You hear that brain, running makes me feel good!

The bike riding was non-existent again, which is a real problem. It’s so hard to get motivated enough to overcome my fear and anxiety of cycling on the road. I need a new strategy; I think I’ll try early morning rides this week and see if that works.

Another thing to note, which might be related to the gain, is that I was really stressed last week. The whole week felt heavy, and I still feel it now. The countdown to my trip has reached 2 weeks which is super exciting, but it’s cranked up the pressure at work. Ahhhhhh, only one more monday-morning before I leave ;).