Friday, 23 October 2015

While I wasn't playing MMOs

In the last 3 months I've lost about 10% of my body weight. Fortunately, unlike in late 2012, this time it was entirely deliberate. I just want to take a few minutes to say why I did that and how.

When the summer came around and we started playing outside again I quickly realised that I couldn't actually play with my kids. I was so unfit I got out of breath and physically tired playing a 2 minute game of tag. The time had absolutely come to stop talking about it and do something. But I still didn't. Then one day the scales told me I'd hit what I'm pretty sure is my highest weight ever. That really shook me.

I've always maintained a fairly steady weight. I found by being a careful for a few weeks I could get occasional blips, like Christmas, back under control quite quickly. It seems those days are behind me! I also partial blame learning to drive. Obviously I was walking a bit less (walking distance trips are still done on foot mind!) but the biggest problem was that any food I desired was a short drive away. So, it started to mount up.

The first thing I did was cut the following from diet completely:
  • most fizzy drinks
  • chocolate bars & other confectionery (I miss you Starburst!)
  • desserts (yeah)
  • lattes
  • pastries
The next thing, in collaboration with my wife (who was also trying to shift a few pounds post-pregnancy), was to reduce portion size in our evening meals. It's very easy to over eat. This is relatively simple to deal with and we follow the "GI diet" recommendations, which is something like 30g of pasta and 40g of rice (that's dry weights). We'd done that in the past and noticed it made a big difference.

Before this starts to sound too preachy let me tell you want I do still eat:
  • takeaway chinese and curry
  • Lilt and Sprite
  • Chocolate Frogs
  • americanos (mainly decaff)
  • sugar (a bit on my cereal and a bit in my tea/coffee)
On weekdays I eat what most people would consider to be a normal (British) packed lunch: sandwich, apple, bag of crisps. And for dinner we have totally "normal" things, like spaghetti bolognase, chilli, fish fingers and chips, sausage and mash. We just eat a bit less.

My trick has been to find snacks or treats that are under 100 kcal and limit how many of those I have a day. I normally aim for 2 at the most but sometimes it's 3. And I spread them out: never eat two together!

Basically, it comes down to: don't eat shit. We eat so much crap. There's almost no nutritional benefit in most of it, it's just extra calories. My favourite example of this has become Starbucks. Apart from a small selection of sandwiches literally everything they sell has no real benefit. It's just extra calories. What makes Starbucks even worse is this, we don't even notice we're eating these things!

And, that's it! I just stopped eating things I didn't need to eat and eat a bit less of the stuff that I do. Of course it takes willpower but that's all it really takes. There's no need to follow some complex diet plan. Eating better is mainly about stopping doing things, rather than needing to do anything differently.

Of course, none of this actually made me any fitter but it made the other thing I've been doing that it easier.

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