Starting Post: Day one of my health improvement journey

James - Week 1 - Current Weight: 233.7 lbs - Total Weight Loss: 0 lbs

So here we go, today is the big day. I’m making a start tracking my weight and fitness in detail. I’ll be sharing it with you in the hope that we will both get something useful out of the journey.

Background

Since my mid-twenties, my weight has gradually gone up and up. This weight gain increased significantly a few years ago when my wife had our first child. I’m not a complete newbie to training and exercise but have certainly never been what you would call athletic. I suppose up to now I’ve been the same person as so many others who sign up for a gym membership. I’ve spun my wheels for a few weeks or months and then quit without really making any gains.

Around a year ago I made another significant change in my life in that I quit drinking and smoking. I won’t go into the full details of this here as it’s probably a post all of its own. Save to say when the nicotine and alcohol went down the weight went up and I’ve probably gained another 10 lbs or so since then.

What To Expect

I plan on updating every fortnight starting with some numbers and if I can figure it all out some nice visuals of where I’m at. In addition to the hard facts, I’ll also be talking about any struggles I’ve had as well as wins and losses over the fortnight. I’ll be tracking all of my activity through my Fitbit profile using a Fitbit Charge 2 and keeping a food diary through my profile at MyFitnessPal. As time goes on I’d really like to post some strength standards as well but we’ll have to see where we end up with all of that. So without further ado below are my current measurements

Starting Stats

Weight: 16st 9.6 lbs / 233.6 lbs / 106kg

Bodyfat: 38.8%

Resting heart rate: 58 bpm

Waist: 46 inch / 117 cm

Area Of Focus

As I write this I’m 66 lbs over weight and while every piece of diet strategy I read is either demonizing one food as bad or putting another on a pedestal. I’m starting to think that strategy is flawed….

I’m slowly coming round to the fact that my perception and relationship with food is quite seriously messed up! There’s a real case of information overload going on and I’m becoming convinced that most of it is highly exaggerated.  For instance I didn’t get into this position by eating white bread instead of wholemeal. I got into this shape over a prolonged period, developing a range of problematic relationships with weight control and food in general. These include things like portion control, feast / famine cycles, alcohol and good old emotional eating. I’m also coming around to the fact that if like me, you have a significant amount of weight to lose the most important thing we can do is tackle the underlying issues that have got us into the position we’re in, rather than focusing on finer nutritional details such as rice types.

So Does What You Eat Matter

Yep, definitely, but I think a more significant issue that I’ve certainly struggled with in the past is being too hard on myself or too strict too early. Going from terrible habits to “clean eating” overnight is a recipe for disaster. For a start its immediately a negative experience. Your saying I WANT to eat this but I HAVE to eat that instead. Therefore the action you’re taking (clean eating) is inconsistent with what you actually desire meaning any compliance to an eating plan is unlikely to be anything other than temporary. This in turn leads you to bounce between eating habits with no consistency.

To that end I’d suggest that first, consistency in diet is the thing that would be useful to tackle. Because if there’s no consistency in diet and if we’re bouncing from overly strict clean eating to gorging on all of those things you’re missing out on, then we’re already facing an uphill battle to make small but permanent and manageable long term changes. Over time these small but well defined manageable changes will stack up to a whole new lifestyle.

Acceptance First, Change Later

This is why after years of following the advice of various popular websites and nutrition plans I’m now finding my own way starting with the absolute basics such as sleep, routine, consistency and then a moderately restrictive eating plan that can be sustained long term. Having so much weight to lose means being able to make any change permanent is far more important than anything else. So if its rice, pasta or french fries you need with a meal to make it bearable then that’s all fine.

I guess ultimately what I would like to try over the coming weeks and months is doing away with the diet dogma that has served me so poorly in the past. Rather than start with the restrictions laid out in some plan, I’m starting with me. I’ll ask what do I eat, when do I eat and when am I hungry. Using this I’ll pull together a comfortable eating plan as a base line. Whatever is on that plan in whatever volume is fine so long as I can maintain it consistently. When I’ve established that consistency perhaps then I’ll look at what tweaks and reductions I can realistically make. But whatever changes I make they will be subtle, definite and more importantly driven by me.


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