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So in my current edition of “turn over a new leafness” I took a piece of advice from one book and elected to get myself a pair of thermometer pants. Now I had already got myself some scales which show body fat percentage and started to take some regular measurements and various other steps to judge how the process is going without relying solely on the scale. I didn’t want to be discouraged by the failure to “pull big numbers” so the idea was to have some alternative measures to see how things were going.

As it happens, at least so far, my efforts to concentrate on what I am eating and in particular to cut out white and processed carbs has kept the scale ticking over at an unprecedented rate of knots. Hm, maybe doing some of that previously might have been an advantage. However, one measure which I have quite enjoyed is the thermometer pants. The idea is to get a pair of fitted pants (I took from this that tracky dacks would defeat the purpose) which are one to two sizes too small for you. The idea is that you try them on again every so often and you begin to notice that at first you can’t get them past your thighs, and then one time you can’t get them past your hips, and then you can put them on but can’t get close to doing them up etc. I chose a pair of jeans that were probably only a size too small. I had bought them because they were a super bargain and the tag misrepresented the actual size of the item (I hate that). As such, though I wear some items that have the same size written on them, when I tried in early January I couldn’t get them past my thighs. Even if you know something is too small, forcing yourself to actually see how far you can get into it is pretty demoralising.

(Heh, I just remembered an occasion when I was in my late teens/early twenties and I tried on some shorts and had to get a size 14 to fit. I remarked to my friend that if I had to resort to a size 14 to get it to fit me then they were being wholly unreasonable with their sizing and I would refuse to buy their clothes! Ahh look at the naive little poppin)

Anyway, although I had been feeling much more comfortable in my clothes and retiring an item or two at the top of the range, I hadn’t tried on the thermometers for a while. At last try they had not managed to get over the hips. I was going through the wardrobe looking for replacements for recently retired items of work clothing when I saw the thermometers lurking. On a whim I decided to see how they went. To my great surprise, I managed to get the zip up and the button fastened. Now, by no means would you say they *fit*. There was some incidence of muffin-toppage, and I don’t know what the tensile strength of the denim was to be able to cope under the onslaught for very long. But I was thrilled. At this rate in another fortnight or so I will be on the lookout for new thermometers.

So far I have found it a particularly good measure of my progress, so next time I am tempted to go with both bottom and top thermometers and might pull out one of my funky button-up shirts whose buttons haven’t met in a while and see if they can prompt similarly successful progress.

I have been a pretty keen follower of the Biggest Loser in the past, mainly because of the voyeuristic car-crash cannot-look-away nature of the whole debacle. I finally caught up last night to watch the first couple of episodes. We will see if I can invest in this season and keep on watching, but for now I will give it a go.

But the format of this season dug completely into an absolute pet peeve of mine. I know that it is bloody stupid to point out the flaws in a reality TV production, but I can’t resist. If you haven’t seen it, the current season is built around families who compete against each other to lose weight. Each family has a trainer assigned to them. The twist is that the trainers go and live with their assigned family for a week, eating everything that they eat and drinking everything that they drink. Which hello? Is ridonculous. But good television yada yada yada and you get to see people spewing from eating bad stuff rather from lots of exercise.

However. What also makes good television is showing that the contestants in their ordinary lives are so over the top out of control with their eating EVERY SINGLE DAY and EVERY SINGLE MEAL that it was giving me the irrits. So you had the one family of sisters and cousins who is eating a lunch of basically eight varieties of baked carbs – home-cooked mind you. And you have the family who cracks their first beers at breakfast (though we later find out that breakfast is at 3pm). And you have the family whose idea of TV snacks is frankfurters, sponge cake and whipped cream.

Now this (just like the binge that they used to do in previous seasons) is obviously considered good television. But it just seems to completely defeat any attempt to genuinely prompt in the audience an attitude that will “change people’s lives”. I am sure that there are people who eat McDs at every meal and have the sort of appalling habits which are depicted in the show, and maybe even these contestants fit into that category. My bullshit detector says no though.

The family that they featured the least on this part of the show revealed two meals from the week that the trainer shared – one a BBQ with what seemed like a lot of food, but apart from a bit of potato salad and white bread, seemed like a meal that was fairly adaptable to more healthy eating. The other meal that they showed was bacon and eggs – hardly the rarest indulgence going around. Poor portion control, but if those are the two most disgusting or TV-worthy meals they can come up with then they don’t particularly scream that this family is a bunch of irredeemable gluttons.

Which is probably why the blue family barely featured in this segment, with them preferring instead to focus on the contestant who professed to eat microwave pasta with pasta bake sauce, sour cream and clotted cream every day for “breakfast”. It was all a set up job obvs but they couldn’t seem to decide which way they wanted to jump. The whole story was that *everything* that these people did was horrifying. Which led to one of the trainers being pictured crying after having to go through the terrible ordeal of eating a chicken parma and some bruschetta. Seriously – if that is enough to make you cry, maybe you should take a long cold drink of HTFU.

The thing that was frustrating me is that presumably we are meant to like these people on some level. And yet they set out this idea that these fat people are obscenely self-indulgent and greedy and slack and they only walk as far as the fridge and only to get another beer. It’s like that reality is so much easier to compartmentalise than the one where people who don’t eat eight types of carbs at every meal or four types of drive-through takeaway in a day can still put on too much weight and struggle to lose it. Or the one where most people who try to lose weight generally do try to make good food choices most of the time, even if unsuccessfully. Or the reality where some sedentary self-indulgent and slack people don’t for whatever reason end up massively overweight.

And this of all shows features an absolutely brutal diet and enormous amounts of exercise – so don’t be doing the knowing glance at the two pies for breakfast, when you know darn well to “transform” them you are going to be a darn sight more radical than just introducing them to vegetables and cutting out the chocolate.

Harrumph.

PS Does anyone else find it vaguely endearing when after all this time reality TV contestants still seem a bit shocked when they are asked to do something they find humiliating? (What, weigh myself in front of my family and friends? I just thought I was going to do that on prime time television in front of anyone in the country who cared to turn the idiot box on!! I never imagined I would be asked to do this!!)

I am loving the gym at the moment. I don’t get there as often as I like, but I am loving the switch to strength training. My circuit takes around 50 minutes or so once I add in some cardio for warmup, and surprisingly enough I don’t feel as self-conscious as I thought I would spending all my time in the boys’ part of the gym. I am coming up to finishing the current card for my program and the normal routine would be to pony up for another fitness test and program. I think I might do that, and then if I am still enjoying things in another 3 months, I might look at adopting some of the programs I have seen around the place.

I find it odd that I would enjoy the environment of the gym with all the fluoro lights and mirrors and stuff. But I have even moved away from the over concealing baggy gym clothes as well. Because the thing about doing these exercises is that despite the ample padding, I can still see the muscles moving. When lifting weights, even my body with lots of work to do becomes strong and powerful and dynamic. And I might be fooling myself, but I feel like I can see the bits that will remain when the other currently more visible bits fall away.

I never feel that way from doing cardio – even running (which I love). All I can see is the unfit person trying to pretend that they are up to this. But in the unforgiving lights and mirrors of the scary weights part of the gym – I can see the part of me that is for the moment hiding.

It’s pretty darn cool, I gotta admit.

I think I should reconsider having Monday as my check in day, coming as it does after the weekend. My new regime of recording the food means that I have a terrible Monday morning quarterback recounting of all the things I shouldn’t have eaten. Kind of makes it clear why they reckon that simply recording what you eat leads to more consistent better eating. It is the shame factor of course.

Went to vote on Saturday and after having spent my time poring over websites and policies to decide how to vote below the line, I left my print out at home and had to try to reconstruct my thoughts. Of course I ended up getting mixed up and misnumbered one of the boxes and had to go to ask for a replacement ballot. I had to explain what the problem was, which oddly enough required me to show my ballot to the volunteer. Part of me thought that I shouldn’t have to do that in order to get a replacement ballot when I had made a mistake. Then the lady asked me whether I was aware that I could just number one box above the line. Thank you, yes, I was aware of that. Anyway, she gave me a replacement and I managed to get all the right numbers in roughly the right boxes so that I could hand in my ballot.

I suspect that the hung parliament is going to be fascinating over the coming months for however long it manages to last. Hopefully it should give both parties a bit of a wake-up call about the fact that people will vote for other parties if they become disillusioned with the main parties. My idealist side hopes that it will mean that the parties will learn the lessons about not taking the electorate for granted and providing genuine engagement with people about the direction of the country. I suspect that might be a little optimistic though.

One thing that I am quite excited about as a means of tracking progress etc is the new scale which arrived today including a body fat measurement. I don’t want to really primarily track on the basis of weight as that kind of isn’t the point and plus it can be quite misleading as to progress depending on what I am doing. So I have started to include measurements and now body fat recording as well. I will be interested to see whether that helps to see progress which might not be immediately apparent.

It is still pretty dark in the evening when I go running, and I am conscious of the fact that there are fewer street lights and other general safety markers than where we used to live. Hub has suggested I take Toby the dog-shaped boy with me when I go out running in the evening, so I am thinking I will try that tonight. He will be absolutely insufferable though – as he will need a good month or so practice before he will properly behave with me, particularly seeing as he doesn’t really understand the concept of a run/walk program. To wit, an artist’s impression:

“Whee!! We are running, running, quick, quick, run”
“What, where’d you go? Why did you stop running? C’mon, this way”
“Yay, we are running, running, running, running like the wind!”
“Again? What’s with the stopping and walking again? We should be still running”

Etc.

UPDATE – I copped out and left Toby the dog shaped boy at home. Good thing too – felt dreadful the whole way and his chipper personality would have annoyed me.

Okay, so I have joined a 6-8 week challenge with some of the ausrunners.. As many of you know, I used to post my weekly numbers here but I swore off it because it did my head in. Anyway, I am still comfortable with that, and mostly the scales kept moving incrementally in the right direction.

But when I took time of work recently, I didn’t do anything particularly naughty but came back after three and a half weeks to realise that a big chunk of incremental progress was wiped out in one not-so-incremental backwards step. So I have joined the 8 week challenge, which will take me to 11 July. I am monitoring my weight for this challenge on the basis that my weight this morning is zero. My A goal is -6kg over 8 weeks and my B goal is -4.5kg. Both of these would enable me to reach a milestone in the PROJECT.

But the real thing that I am going to monitor over the 8 weeks is my ability to stick to my rules. If at the end I stick to my rules and find that it hasn’t made much of a difference (whether to weight or measurements), then I will need to get me some new rules. If I find that it does, then that just means that my moments of poor progress are from being a lazy butthead.

Rule Number 1 – keep running

Run at least 15km per week. I had a glance over my running log recently and noticed that although my good weeks are increasing and getting better, I still too often have really slack weeks where I only manage one run or something. This is often due to being busy with work etc, but I am never so busy that I can’t run 15K. And there have been too many weeks when I haven’t managed this. If injured, I need to do three times this distance on the bike.

Rule Number 2 – be strong

Do at least two strength sessions per week. I really notice a difference in my progress from when I was going to the gym and doing weights sessions regularly. I have weights. I have time. I will have a better body for men.

Rule Number 3 – Don’t eat crap

I think dietgirl said one time that at some stage you find you have dealt with most of the really crappy bad habits and the changes in diet have to focus on smaller and smaller adjustments. I haven’t really conquered this one yet. Most of the time I am good and then I blow it. Who orders a salad sandwich on wholemeal without butter plus a mineral water for lunch and then orders two fried dim sims on the side? Loser. Anyway, this is eight weeks of a concerted effort to cut out the crap.

Rule Number 4 – Eat breakfast

I like breakfast. It just cuts into my sleep. But for eight weeks, it is breakfast every day, even if it is just some toast or a piece of fruit when I get to work.

Anyway so that is the plan. Weigh ins are on Wednesdays. We’ll just see whether I can hold together good behaviour for 8 weeks.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 102kg
Total weight loss – 5.5kg
This (3) weeks’ weight loss – 0kg

I am satisfied with this. I had a couple of good weeks with exercise and one virtually non-existent, and holidays generally result in poorer eating. Onwards and upwards though.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 102kg
Total weight loss – 5.5kg
This week’s weight loss – 0kg

Ouch ouch ouch, my ribs are really sore this morning after my run last night. Last night looked in the mirror and could tell for the first time that I have lost weight in my face. And it is weird getting used to the fact that my jeans don’t just fit me, but they move around on my hips. Not loose by any stretch but still a strange feeling.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 102kg
Total weight loss – 5.5kg
This week’s weight loss – 0.5kg

Have had a chest infection all weekend and have felt like crap. Had yesterday off work and did nothing but sleep basically but have to be back on deck today which I am not loving. But hey, at least the above is a good result. However, have not been able to go out for a run since Friday so that kind of sucks.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 102.5kg
Total weight loss – 5kg
This week’s weight loss – 0.5kg

Back again. Well all going in the right direction albeit slowly.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 103kg
Total weight loss – 4.5kg
This week’s weight loss – +2kg

Mumblegrumble. The scales are all over the place lately – have had vastly different readings over the course of the last couple of weeks. Maybe they are menopausal?

Someone got to this blog by searching for “getting buff in one week“. Me thinks they might have been disappointed. No magic tricks, here!!