Friday, 13 September 2013

Progress Report - getting there!

This blog is my "journey" towards an ideal BMI.
I'm very happy to report that I have been making really good progress on that journey! I'm currently showing a 44lb loss! When I originally joined Slimmers World I weighed 16 stone 6lb and set an arbitrary target to get to 12 stone. I am now hovering around 13stone 4lb and heading quickly to be in the 12stones! I do need to question whether that target was actually a smart target. My measure was not actually a quantity that I could measure but actually how I wanted to look.
Well, the eighties judgement call of being able to "pinch an inch" is very close - on most places I can pinch much less than an inch and my flabby gut is quickly going.
When I look in a mirror, I'm quite pleased to be able to see my six pack poking out and its not going to be long before my spare tyre has been reduced to zero.
What I have done is to stick to the Slimmers World rules!
I get up every morning at 5:30am, and am out running a five mile route by 5:55a.m. After a 700 calorie route, I drink a second pint of water and do an exercise routine every other day. Breakfast is a measured spoon of muesli and a tablespoon of local honey (I had awful hayfever this year - something I had banished recently and hope this will cure it. In any case, Ill take a hit because local honey has such a huge health benefit.)
When I get to work, I make a cup of coffee and grab a fresh glass of water. I have really tried to reduce my caffeine intake but at the moment, I am not doing very well! I have a pinetof coffee roughly every hour, stopping about 1pm, but I know this is way too much!
Lunch is a salad of lettuce, onions, beetroot, olives, tomatoes etc without any dressing.
When I get home (between 4pm and 6pm), I have a similar salad with a curry or chilli with rice (home-made and in slimmers world parlance syn free)
I'm managing to shed between 1lb and 6lb of weight a week. This isn't surprising because if I eat my recommended daily intake then the 700 calories run plus 300 calories ride to work will result in a two pounds a week weight loss (7x1000 calories)
So, I should hit my terget weight of 12stone in a few weeks!
Will it be enough? I honestly dont know, but I will apply the same rule - I will look in a mirror and when I see the person I want, then that will do.
Last weeks Slimmers World meeting flagged up a possible conflict. Im still not entirely certain how I change my target weight and how adding some muscle to it will affect whether I am classed as being "at target" and hence dont have to pay, or still some way to go (so I pay!)

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Half way there!

Yesterday I got my "two stone award" and "gold body magic" award at Slimming World! For me personally, there was a statistic of far more significance: I have now crossed the "half way" point towards my target weight of 12 stone.
I'm starting to notice things about my body shape, my shorts have been falling down for a while now and I need a belt with all my trousers. I can see my whole belly now instead of having to pull it in or crane my neck. I often sleep right through the night without waking up to go to the loo. My daily run is enjoyable! I don't need an afternoon nap anymore. All good things!
Last week was the first time when my recorded weight went up, by half a pound. I put this down to the fact that I had an operation to remove the metalwork from my arm but I don't think this was the true cause. I didn't take a break from my "regime", I still ran every day and stuck to my diet. The reason for my weight loss was simple but I needed my wife to point it out to me. In slimming world speak, I was having to many syns!
After a few weeks of losing weight, and getting into the habit of running daily, I allowed myself a glass of milk every day thinking that the 700+ calories that I burn when I run 4.78 miles would cover the extra. Soon, it was a small glass of orange juice as well and then I read that chocolate nesquik was a good recovery drink after exercise so that was added to my milk. If you add the spoonful of honey that I have with my muesli, then suddenly you find that I was having over 16 syns in a meal that I always considered to be a "small meal"
All this week, I changed that to just a half cup of muesli with a spoonful of honey. The result I have lost 3lb this week!
I make up ten or more portions of chilli or curry and freeze them. Sometimes they are meat free, but if I add meat its usually one pack to the ten portions - you could quite easily quadruple the quantity of meat and it still wouldn't be excessive. To the curry, I add finely chopped onions, tinned chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, finely diced celery and carrots, fresh garlic and spices (turmeric, and curry powder, sometimes a bit more).
The chilli has a tin of baked beans, red kidney beans, chilli powder and a couple of chunks of dark (70% cocoa+) chocolate, with chili powder.
I make up two platefuls of salad every day, one for my mid-day meal and the other for the evening. I have chopped lettuce, spring onions, peppers, olives, cherry tomatoes, beetroot etc - all the usual and mostly syn free apart from the olives.
I serve this with rice (make lots of portion at once and freeze in philidelphia cheese containers). As you can see its a full plate and tastes delicious. I suppose I will get bored of it eventually but for the time being its working!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Getting myself fit.

Its been a very difficult time since I broke my elbow! Looking at data for Olecranon fractures on the web shows that most people suffer pain afterwards and that the torsion bands are usually taken out to help combat this pain.
For me, the pain has been quite bad, at times almost unbearable. I've had several strong pain killers but most only dull the pain and I have found it difficult to sleep. Probably worse is the effect it has had on my fitness The only exercise I was getting was the bike to and from work and I was constantly tired. The weight piled on, at least it seemed like it. The truth is probably that I was already overweight. When they weighed me at A&E, I was 103kg and this rose to 104kg before I decided to do something about it. I joined weight watchers and prepared myself for a long hall.
I set myself the goal of getting down to 12 stone, which is a 4 stone 6lb loss. This is 76kg.
At the start of the Summer holiday, I started to run again. I had attempted this before but the sheer effort involved as well as the pain afterwards always stopped me.
I knew that this would be hard, but I also have the time to devote to it during the Summer.
Day 1 was a very sedate 1 mile run, day 2 was 2 miles, then 3 miles, 4 miles until on day 5 I was doing a nice local circuit of 4.83 miles. I found that by running every day, the pain was actually less!
The next stage was to switch to barefoot running, or at least minimalist running. I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers and use them for my daily circuit.
Initially, this ripped my feet quite badly! I had blisters on the back of my heels and also on the instep where the strap rubs.
The effect on my legs has been interesting. I seem to be getting much more definition in my lower legs with several new "bumps" on my calves as the new muscles develop.
The running is going well, I've got the time down from 66 minutes to 55 minutes and have started to do intervals etc. with the aim of increasing the pace. My first goal is to get to sub 45 minutes.
Weight wise is also quite good news. I am now 92kg and coping with the regime quite well.
The operation to remove the torsion bands is scheduled for this Friday, and I am hoping this will have a minimal effect on my current regime.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tweaking the format

New look for the Genesis Day One
I've been riding the Genesis Day One Alfine 11 for a couple of weeks now, but have only just been able to add the extra goodies that I ordered when I bought it.
I always strip a new bike down to make sure everything is properly greased and that my portable toolkit is sufficient for road side repairs.  I adjusted the front stem height by moving the spacers from below the stem to above, and was pleased to see that the bearings were healthy.
The Day One is a good looking bike, the Reynolds 853 white tubing is complemented by light tan seat and bar tape, albeit made of plastic. On all the pictures I had seen of the bike, the wheels were plain black but mine had some awful stickers which I think really cheapened the design. I took both wheels off and removed the tyres. The sticker came off quite easily but the sticky "sub tape" wouldn't budge. Some white spirit didn't help but it did make the residue into a sludgey soft glue that rubbed off with a bit of effort. One advantage of disc brakes is that your rims remain un-marked so I do think this is worthwhile.
The Continental Gator-skin tyres are very tight on the rims - I usually can take tyres off without tyre levers but these were too tight, so I will include a plastic tyre lever in my kit.
The disk brakes were quite simple to adjust. Loosen the fixing bolts, and cable clamp then dial in the inboard adjustment (needs a torx T25 but you can just about do it by hand if you need to), then the outboard pad. With both sides dialled in, the wheel should be locked. Torque the clamping bolts down gradually and then squeeze the brake arm slightly before tightening the cable clamp. Next, slacken off the pads until they dont rub and check that the brakes work.
I love the completely silent running of the bike, there is no chain or gear noise at all and it is quite eerie spinning along with just a slight noise from your tyres on the road.
Using Sheldon Brown's gear calculator confirmed that the Day One was slightly higher lower geared than my road bike with a 53 front triple and 18-28 cassette. Im unlikely to need the top gear but I know that some of the hills around here need a low gear, so I bought a 20 tooth rear cog to replace the standard 18. Fitting it was quite simple with only a minor fight offered from the split spring. I did have to slacken the chain off which meant I had to reverse the anti-rotation washers, at least until I put a new chain on.
Lovely Apple Green Brooks B17 Very expensive Brooks leather bar tape
Next up was a new Brooks B17 saddle. You can get the standard B17 in many different colours so I went for a lovely apple green and added some very expensive matching Brooks leather bar tape.
I left the original brown tape above the hoods, and wound some reversed black electrical tape over the top. The Brooks tape is no worse than normal tape to fit, if anything it has a little more give and flexes around the bend more easily. Getting the gorgeous cork and oak end cap in was tricky and I would say is a one off operation - they wont be coming out in one piece!
I hope the B17 will be as easy to run in as my B17s was on my Brompton (i.e. zero breaking in!)
You will see from the picture that I have mounted my Garmin 800 on a genuine Garmin centre mount. Its an ideal location and fits in with the clean lines.
Shimano A530 pedals
After my accident, I am a little wary of clipping in when the conditions get a bit slippery. I think a suitable answer is the Shimano A530 SPD pedals.
These have traditional SPD clips on one side and a wide, clip free pedal on the other,
Cycle Gear agreed to upgrade the 520 pedals that come as standard but there was a bit of confusion around the models (my fault - between the A530 and the M530 in white)
I'm very happy with the A530s, they feel almost the same as my 520s and in plain pedal mode they give a wide and firm base. I'm sure they will be great if we get any more slippery mornings but I hope there won't be too many now that we are officially into spring.
The other change I had made was to fit a pair of Crud 2 mudguards. In not going to show the details of these because I have already taken them off! I want a really minimal pair of mudguards but the problem that you have with disk brakes is getting the mudguard stays to go around the brake calliper. The Crud 2s are very close fitting and I haven't been able to get them to remain in place but not rub. Work in progress, but I'm probably not going to use mudguards.
I've also opted to not fit bottle cages. For the time being, I'm trying a backpack for hydration. Im very impressed with my chosen solution, but will post a separate review when Ive put some miles in.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Back to work!

Bone is healing nicely
Dissolving stitch escaping!
Very quick update! After eight weeks off work, I can return to work, on a phased return for two weeks.
I saw the physio and fracture registrar on Wednesday. Physio was good, he said I should be able to push it a bit more now and my length of recovery is now limited to how much pain I can stand. I'm pretty good with pain so its "light the blue touch paper!"
When I saw the fracture registrar, it wasn't such good news. He is very pleased with the bone recovery and the fracture is healing very well.
The wound is a little different. As you can see from the second photo, there is still some swelling which becomes tingly sometimes and has been painful.
The reason is right in the middle of this photo. If you look about one inch above the elbow you can see a small black stitch which is trying to escape! One of the dissolving stitches obviously doesn't like the party and my body is rejecting it by forcing it out of the scar. This has possibly led to an infection which is causing the swelling. He told me to go to my GP and ask them to look at it.
He advised me not to use ibuprofen or diclofenec (which I haven't anyway) because they inhibit bone growth. He suggested I use paracetamol and keep the dose regular as that is how they work best.
I have to comment on the fantastic volunteer staff at Pinderfields. The folk in the main atrium are very helpful and put a smile on everyone's face - I think it must be a competition that they have because every person they interact with leaves with a smile. Fantastic, thank you and well done!
My GP may not share that view! She wasn't very happy that the registrar had referred me to her when he could have issued the antibiotics. Fair point I suppose, but I do feel like a pawn in the NHS chess game sometimes!
Of course the antibiotics have upset my stomach so I wont be far away from a toilet in the next few days!
Looking forward to work, I have met with our fantastic HR manager and made arrangements and they have been most accommodating. Hopefully I will have a meeting with occupational health on the morning of my return and we have already ordered a new desk which will be shoe horned into my classroom. I'm not sure how easily I will be able to fasten my shirt, but I can wear a polo shirt.