Taking new steps

Taking new steps

Hi all.

So I set up this WordPress last year as a way to keep you and I motivated. I did a few posts and then it kind of stopped. Why did it stop then? Well for a few reasons. One, I was studying a pretty intense course, had a foot operation, had a few other things going on.

So why am I picking this is up again? Well for a few reasons. The first is the fact that I am very nearly 40. Like very very nearly 40. Like a month away 40. With that of course comes contemplation – what have I done with my life? What have I done? What should I have done? I guess you could call it the dreaded mid-life crisis.

But the crisis gives a person a chance to reflect and think on where they are now in their life and where they want to be. You think where you are professionally, romantically, health wise, and you think where you want to be and plan and how you want to get there.

Professionally I want to do more. Be more. I wrote a dissertation in 2015/2016. I want to publish it. I did a physical assessment course last year. This year and next year I plan to start an Advanced course which will elevate my skills and my future employability options in a fast changing UK health service. Romantically I am seeing a beautiful woman. I want to take our relationship from strength to strength. I would like to have a family one day, and to plan for that. Maybe it’s an old fashioned notion but I like the idea of a child being brought into the world by a mother and a father in a loving and secure home.

Health wise – I need to take better care of myself. My partner and I have had a few talks about this and I have reflected on it as well, about taking better care of myself. And coming up to very nearly 40, I realise I need to make some substantive changes: I need to eat better, I need to look after myself.

I need to know myself first though. I have a poor relationship with food. I eat when I’m bored. I eat when I’m stressed. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and eat. I make poor eating choices. I sometimes buy food on the go. I work long hours. I work night shifts. I drink too much coffee. I don’t drink enough water.

So I thought the best thing to do, and I find this with most things, is that if you want to get something or somewhere, you need to do some reading. You need do some reading and some research.

Challenge 1: how to lose weight. So I did some reading. It’s not about just exercise. It’s about what you eat. And boy do I eat. I love to eat. And my issue with fat loss diets is that I find them utterly boring and uninspiring. I would rather pull my teeth out than eat boiled chicken and broccoli day after day after day. And that’s why I feel a lot of fat loss diets fail. You start off well but then you crave and you binge and you jump off the wagon because a grilled cheese sandwich is so much more beautiful than boiled chicken and broccoli.

So I thought, ‘Can you have your cake and eat it?’ Can you enjoy your food AND lose weight? Well it turns out you can. I have found some exciting and tasty looking recipes which are low calorie and high protein and am looking forward to trying them. I will let you know how I go with these. But before I did that, I read about the key to lose weight – and it’s calorie deficit. Calorie deficit is about eating less calories than your body needs. As a male aged 30+ (for now) I need around 2700 calories daily to maintain my weight. As a fairly sedentary overweight male who exercises when I can, I need a calorie deficit where I consume around 1800 calories daily. I have toyed with the idea of intermittent fasting but I know that when I need to eat, I need to eat. And if I don’t eat I risk blood sugar levels dropping, being grouchy, being less productive and binging. So I took that option off the table. Eating every 4 hours of a calorie deficit of 1800 calorie daily with exercise. Let’s see how that goes. So I found some recipes, I have bought some ingredients, I have made a few meals. This will be my diet for two weeks. After that I will keep to the deficit but change the meals. Why? Well as I said earlier, if I eat the same thing day and day out I risk going off the rails due to boredom.

And I love coffee. Man do I love coffee. So I can’t eliminate coffee. So I will be keeping my morning coffee, but after that, will drink green tea if I want a warm drink and water to stay hydrated.

But I know that comes with preparation and dedication. In the past I have been lazy or too tired to make food for the next day, which results in me waking up, rushing to work and buying crap. So I know the only way to break that cycle is to prepare the night before and stay dedicated to the process. So that’s what I need to do. And if you see me breaking the process please feel free to tell me.

I have however also realised that while I may have lost weight in the past with some diets, I have had moments when I have craved and eaten crap on a clean day and messed it all up. So I have proposed this idea.

Day 1-6: calorie deficit days 1800 cal

Day 7: calorie surplus.

Day 7 keeping to the principle of the healthy deficit but having a cheat meal. So instead of home made chicken wrap, having a pizza.

I think part of the process is enjoying the process. No point in punishing yourself and depriving yourself day after day week after week. Have a reward. Have a treat. But give it a window. Have a treat but keep the discipline. I guess the way I look at it is to keep a reign on the horses.

Challenge 2: tracking weight loss. So going back to the calorie deficit. At a calorie deficit of 1800 from a 2700, it is possible to up to 1.5lbs a week / 6lbs a month / 2.73kg a month. So how to track it? Well I find the worst thing is to measure weight daily. Some days it goes up, some days it goes down. I feel that the best way to measure something is to set a realistic measured period of time. So I have set that as an end of month measure point. At the end of each month, measure the waist and the weight. I’m not taking any body pictures. My target weight is 10kg below my current weight, and I have set myself all year to do it. Why that? Why not 3 months? Why not 4 months? Why all year? Well I believe that in order to lose weight and to keep weight off, you need to make lifestyle changes and keep to these lifestyle changes. There is no point in making the changes for 3 months to lose weight for a wedding only to go back to eating crap and putting on weight ++ afterward. I apologise if this idea offends you, but I recognise that within myself. I know I have lost weight in the past, but I have put it back on after sticking to a routine. The way i see it, if you want to keep to something such as weight maintenance, you need to make it a lasting lifestyle change and choice.

Challenge 3: activity and time. As someone who is very nearly 40 and who has a busy schedule of work, studying, publishing, socialising, I know that time is something I have less and less of. So it’s about training smart: smart with exercises and smart with time. I know that as someone who very very nearly 40, my body is producing less testosterone, so weight training is important for testosterone production, bone strength and stress management. So I have drafted a programme where I do weight training of up to an hour a day for 4 days. The 4 days work all major muscle groups in functional exercises. This will also hopefully increase lean muscle mass with the eating plan, and with increased lean muscle mass will see a raise in resting fat burning metabolism. One extra day is other such as a spinning class / yoga and the other two days are other activity days such as going for a country walk. Aiming to keep it simple, keep it consistent, keep it fun.

I’m not a fitness instructor. I used to be many many years ago. Over those years since then I have seen myself put on weight due to poor lifestyle choices. So if you want professional advice from a personal trainer, please don’t ask me. This is my personal journey and I don’t want to take away from the hard work that personal trainers do. So please see your personal trainer for professional fitness advice. This is just my personal journey which I would like to share with you. Should I you wish to know updates, recipes etc, I will do my best to help.

I will post a blog update at the end of each month on measure day.

Until then have a great month. Stay happy, stay healthy. 😊

A bit about the author:I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course with the view to start studying toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in late 2019.In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars. 

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