Establishing A Baseline: Progress report, Weeks 1-2

James - Week 3 - Current Weight: 232.2 lbs - Total Weight Loss: 1.5 lbs

Progress report, Weeks 1-2
Progress report, Weeks 1-2

Current Weight: 232.3 lbs / Fortnight Weight Change -1.4 lbs / Total Weight Change: -1.4 lbs

Its been quite a fortnight. I started my journey two weeks ago and in my starting out post I set out some clear objectives. These objectives mostly revolved around rest and sleep as I feel that’s one of my biggest flaws when starting this type of thing. All of the data provided in this post is collected using MyFitnessPal.com and a Fitbit Charge 2.

Rest

sleep, rest, report,
Sleep report. 6th March 2017 – 19th March 2017

Like so many people life is pretty busy and more often than not just getting a decent nights sleep is one of the most difficult things to accomplish, it’s also one of the most important things I feel I can do.

The week started off ok, fluctuating between 5 and 7 hours a night. That was until the night of Thursday 9th March when I stayed up until 3am working on the site and ended up getting up at 5:39 am. From there it was a case of playing catch up that seemed to stretch right the way through the week. Fortunately, Katy let me have a lie in over the weekend so I was able to catch up but still averaged 6hrs per night week 1, and 6 1/4 hours week two.

Going forward it seems that 6 1/2 hours a night would be a pretty decent starting benchmark for me to shoot for going forward as that seems to be where I end up.

Diet

diet, food, nutrition
James Nutrition Report – 6th March 2017 – 19th March 2017

The main focus for me during this period has been to avoid junk food and try to establish a baseline diet plan that I can first stick to, and then adjust.

As you can see from my Food Diary I’ve had mixed success in this. So yes, there are BigMacs, Easter Eggs and Cornflakes that fall outside of the plan but there are also a number of days where it was pretty consistent. Most of the times I went off plan it was around the times when I hadn’t had much sleep. This made meal prep and quite frankly the hassle of being hungry a stretch too far.

Going forward my goal will continue to be to stick to something resembling a balanced eating plan. Once that’s established and I’ve added training into the mix I’ll then adjust, according to what the scales are doing.

Exercise

Exercise, activity, trainnig
James Activity Report – 6th March 2017 – 19th March 2017

As yet I’m not putting too much pressure on myself to engage in a particular training schedule. While I’m sure a ton of people would disagree with me I feel that proper rest and nutrition are more important for my goals right now than a training program.

That being said I’m still using my Fitbit Charge 2 to keep an an eye on my daily calorie burn which at present appears to be averaging just under 2000 per day from activity. Its worth noting of course that the fact I’m significantly overweight means just moving myself around on a day-to-day basis is going to burn a significant amount of calories.

Starting a training program is a step I’ll have to take soon however I’m still not 100% sure how I want to approach it in this journey. At some point I’ll be giving considerations to various strength standards I feel are important and most likely making a decision off of that. Until that point however I’ll continue focusing on rest and nutrition and getting those areas in check before putting too much pressure on myself to move on.

Weight / Bodyfat

Weight and bodyfat measurements taken using Fitbit Aria. This period has seen a weight loss of 1.3 lbs and a reported bodyfat percentage decrease of 2.7%. While the weight decrease could be accurate given the approx 500 calorie deficit the bodyfat decrease seems a little high. Bodyfat measurements are well known to be incredibly difficult to gauge accurately so I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.

While a 1.3 lb weight loss over two weeks isn’t a particularly huge drop I feel its absolutely appropriate for the stage of foundation building i’m currently at. You can probably see from my Food Report that as well as the odd slip up with content I really haven’t attempted to limit portion sizes at all.

Conclusion

An average start to my fitness journey. I’ve established a baseline meal plan that I feel I’ll be able to stick to. Over the next couple of weeks my plan is to do my best to stick my rest and nutrition plan and also start to give consideration to how I want to implement some kind of achievable training structure into my daily routine.

Fortnight reflections

One of the main reasons/excuses I seem to find for not sticking to a plan is tiredness. It’s the reason I give for not prepping meals, it is the reason I give for missing training sessions. It’s even occasionally the reason I give for bingeing on crappy food saying “I’m tired and just wanna eat…”.

I’ve always just treated tiredness as an excuse for not sticking to a plan, but I’ve been thinking lately that maybe there’s something there. What if after all this time, getting a decent nights sleep is a fundamental key to success I’ve been overlooking. As a result proper rest is one of the first things I want to tackle at the beginning of this journey. After reading around I thought I’d share some of the findings I’ve come across.

The Impact Of A Lack Of Sleep

Adequate rest is absolutely vital for many of our core functions.

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep has a negative impact on a wide range of areas such as immune function, mental well-being, sex drive, heart health, weight gain and obesity. Perhaps more shocking is that a lack of sleep has been identified as a probable human carcinogen, in simple terms, this means that it has been linked as a direct cause of cancer.

Cultural Sleep Deprivation

Despite these clear warnings, over the past several decades a cultural trend has developed where we sleep less and less. In fact, it is estimated that the average person sleeps 1.5 hours less per night than in the early 20th century. An ability to continue to operate on a day to day basis on minimal sleep is widely perceived as an admiral trait and strength. This has led to a situation where many of us are walking around in a state of voluntary sleep deprivation. What this cultural shift fails to recognise is that while it may be possible to function in some form while in a sleep deficit it is far from optimal. Meaning many in this state aren’t ever reaching their true potential.

What Does This Mean For Us

The result of this cultural shift is that many of us could be sleep deprived without actually knowing we have a problem. The impacts of which aside from those mentioned previously could be motivation and an ability to comply with reasonable eating and exercise habits. This could easily be written off as a lack of will power or focus but how far can we really expect to get with achieving so many of our goals, when we are just one bad night away from exhaustion?

A Successful Day Starts The Night Before

When starting out on any road to self-improvement the first thing that we have to get right is our sleeping patterns and rest routines. The quality of the rest we get will be the foundation on which of our other efforts are built. Get that wrong, and everything else we try to do for ourselves in our lives will be twice as difficult to achieve, and none more so than weight loss. An additional point to remember is that when attempting to improve our health and fitness, at some point the question of engaging in training and exercise will come into play. Without adequate rest and recovery, we all find it very difficult to recover properly and so receive the benefit of the effort we put in.

As a result, I would suggest that before questioning our diet, before questioning our exercise and certainly before questioning our ability we should all take a look at the sleep quality we are getting on a nightly basis. We should work on getting this foundation in place so that when we choose to tackle our health issues or engage in any other lifestyle change we can be sure we are giving ourselves the best chance of success.

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