Fat Boy on a Diet: August Update Part 2: Saw That Coming

So, yesterday I finally climbed onto the scales for the first time in a while.

It didn’t make for good reading.

I’ve put back a bit of weight and the gains I made a couple of months back have been wiped out.

There’s no excuses, this is all on me. While I have been getting a fair amount of exercise in the form of walking more, I’ve also been guilty of snacking and overindulgence. This shit has got to stop.

It’s like I’m sabotaging myself, and when I do then check in on the scales my confidence takes a knock and I feel crappy. This cycle needs to stop, I joined the gym a while back and haven’t been yet, which speaks to my laziness, and frankly isn’t good enough. I don’t have the money to throw away, and so starting from the next payday I’m going to set aside some cash to ensure I can bus to the gym a few times every month.

Also, wasting days off on the sofa is out, and every day I’m free I will take the dog for a walk and try to eat better.

I really need to lose weight, doing so will not only help my physical health, but it will also help me mentally and curb the self loathing that strikes now and then. Dark Chris has had a field day over this news, and I was pretty low yesterday.

Time to stop talking and get doing. Hopefully the September update will show some improvement.

Not a fun post to write, and probably not that fun to read. Apologies, but still in a bit of a funk over this.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Fat Boy on a Diet: August Update: The Great Unknown

I realise that this weight update is a couple of days late, but I was away at the end of last week, and Monday was the date with the scales.

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t make Chub Club on Monday evening, and so, I have no idea what my current weight is. You’d think that this would render this update pointless, but I did make it one of my resolutions to have a monthly update. So, technically I’m keeping that going.

I’m not sure how I feel about not weighing on Monday, as obviously it was bad, but on the other hand kinda good.

I say kinda good, because I’m worried that August hasn’t been a great month for me, diet-wise. I’ve stuck to it for the most part, but WoM went away last week for a few days, and my eating there wasn’t great.

Similarly, while I have done a decent amount of exercise this month, it was less than I’d intended. Thanks in part to work getting on top of me again, and the whole cramp issue. So, while I’d been hopeful for August, I don’t think I’ve made much progress.

Of course, not weighing does have it’s negatives.

I have no idea how I’ve done.

This leaves it up to my mind to make wild guesses.

Logically I know it can only have swung a little bit, but I will admit to not knowing which way it has gone. Unfortunately, logic doesn’t help silence the inner voice that tells me I’m a failure and that I’ve probably gained heaps this month.

This negative voice, who I’ll call Dark Chris (or DC), is always there in the background. Much of the time, I can silence him or defeat him with common sense. But the realm of body image and weight issues is where he shines. It’s DC who offers the unhelpful commentary when I catch sight of myself in a mirror, who tells me I’m gross when I’m all sweaty through exertion.

I weigh on Monday and hopefully will be able to shut DC up then. At least I’ll have an accurate sign of how I’m doing. There’ll be an update after that, but I’m trying really hard to be good this week.

Whether this pays off will be revealed next week for the more accurate August update.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Couch to 5K: Stoppable

Written on Sunday morning.

A little over a week ago I wrote about starting running again. I was pretty excited about it and the next day I dug out my old trainers, and grabbed my mobile. I’ve downloaded a new C25K app, which features Sarah Millican as one of the guides, which I think is pretty cool having a familiar and friendly voice with you along the way.

sarah millican

I cued up some tunes and got under way, following the instructions of beginning with a five minute walk. Then I had the first run, which only lasts a minute. It’s been a while since I ran and I was struggling to find my rhythm and my old trainers (bought for work, not running) were massively uncomfortable.

By the third run I felt I was struggling, but I remembered that back when I did this in 2011 I’d found it hard at first. This along, with the shoes was probably the problem, I told myself and once I got back into the swing of it things would be better.

On the fourth run I had to stop.

I was starting to get twinges in my calves and I knew these were the early stages of cramp. I hate cramp. I’m a bit of a wimp, and I knew if I cramped up I would be in trouble.

And so, I limped back home.

This was a low point, and I felt really crappy about it. All those positive things that I got from running before weren’t happening. I felt weaker, tired and like a failure. And was nowhere near the Juggernaut Zone.

juggernaut stopped

In all fairness, I’d not really laid the foundations for success. For starters, I’d started the run in the evening, after doing a shift at work, and foolishly, I forgot to do any stretching beforehand. I think this was what caused the cramp.

I intended to get right back on the horse, but as I was working five consecutive days, and work has been especially draining, I couldn’t get the mojo to hit the road again.

In truth, my confidence had taken a bit of a kicking and I was scared of cramping up again, and worried I wouldn’t be able to finish again. Of course, the more I put it off the more nervous I got. On Friday, my first day off of the week, I’d intended to go but woke up with a killer headache, and wound up going back to sleep for two hours hoping to shift it.

I then wasted the weekend, so my plan is to go out tomorrow (Monday) and run then. I’m posting this to explain why the Couch to 5K update was delayed, but also because I think sharing that I’m going to run tomorrow will push me more to do it. I’ll update further about how it goes later in the week. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have got a few runs under my belt and be moving back towards the JZ.

juggernaut

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Born to Run? Why I’m gonna start running again.

One of my major regrets is that I stopped running when I went back to university in 2013. By that point I’d been running for almost two years, and I loved it, not only was I in better shape, but it was a great chance to clear my head, it made me feel good and I just enjoyed doing it.

So, why did I stop?

Well, the first hurdle was trying to adjust to university life again. Unlike Film Studies, Nursing was a pretty intense course and I was in lectures pretty much five days a week, in the evenings I was wiped out and would just hang out with my flatmates and I didn’t fancy waking up super early for a run before lectures I found difficult.

The other issue was that living in halls put me off the idea a little. I didn’t want to come back after a run looking all sweaty, red faced and gross. I know that’s daft, but in 2013, despite being at my lightest for years, I was still massively self conscious, and cared a lot about what other people thought about me. I think moving to a new city and going back into halls had really shaken me, I was around a decade older than my flatmates and I felt a bit of an outsider. I also worried that I looked lame trying to hang out with them and that my running might be judged, which is silly and not something I should have let get under my skin.

As a result in the entire first year I managed about three runs.

It was pretty dumb as the running probably would have given me a release valve for the stresses of the course and with a Park Run a few minutes away I could probably have improved my performances over that time. Unfortunately, I just kinda let it peter out.

Of course, the major impact of this was that my weight started to creep back up, not helped by the fact that I was drinking more and eating crap.

But I think a worse effect was on my mental health and wellbeing.

I was never a super runner, I wasn’t the fastest and I didn’t cover massive distances, usually around the 8-9k mark in around an hour. And I probably looked a total mess, but the thing is, none of these things mattered.

I’ve heard of “runner’s high”, this feeling of being utterly in the zone, exhilarated and even a bit euphoric, and I totally had a version of that. After a few minutes I would find my rhythm and enter what I call the Juggernaut Zone.

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This was the feeling of being unstoppable I got when I was in full flow. I’d run straight ahead, feeling that anybody on my path had best get out of my way because I felt unstoppable.

It was a great feeling, especially for someone like me, who usually felt kinda powerless or adrift. When running I had purpose, I had power. I was the Juggernaut, b***h!

I’d love to get that feeling back again. While my life is a lot better in lots of ways than it was in 2013, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that some stuff has got worse. Not only am I physically worse now, but my body image has taken a real kicking. I’ve always been self conscious and never felt particularly proud or happy with the man in the mirror, but I know that when I was running I felt better about myself.

This wasn’t because my scales were telling me that (in fact, I was only weighing about every six months or so, if that) but because of how I felt about myself. Sure, I was tired after a run, but I’d earned that tiredness, and it was getting easier all the time. That good feeling didn’t end with the run, it carried over into my everyday life. Hell, that newfound confidence was part of what gave me the nerve to gamble with going back to university.

That might not have worked out, but I think if I hadn’t I’d probably still be working my crappy job in Swansea, living in a rented room and never would have met WoM and built the life that I have now.

I’m not saying that running is gonna cure everything, but if it helps with my weight loss and body issues, that alone will be a good thing. But I think having that outlet and doing something constructive and for myself every couple of days will make me feel a lot better in myself. And if I feel better about myself I’m probably more likely to try to better myself further.

So, I’ve downloaded a new Couch to 5k app and I’m going to give it another go. It got me there the first time, so here’s hoping it can do the trick again.

juggernaut return

It’s coming…

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: July Update: Meh

Apologies for this one going out a couple of days late, I’m sure the suspense has been killing you. I was in work on the 31st and too bushed afterwards to write anything down.

I seem to be in work all the time at the moment and I ain’t gonna lie, it’s draining me quite a lot. While my sleep has improved the fact my days off are fewer and more spread out it means I haven’t had the chance to really recharge.

This means I’m crabbier and less motivated, content to spend my evenings on the couch watching The Miss Fisher Mysteries. But I don’t want to go on, we all work and we all know working sucks. I’m sure there are jobs that don’t but these seem to be rare.

This means that while I lost weight in July it wasn’t the big improvement that I was hoping for. I’d built it up that this would be the month where I really got going and turned it around. Lots of healthy eating, more exercise and a big loss at the weigh in.

Unfortunately, the weight didn’t fall off as quickly as planned and I finished July feeling a bit disappointed. It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great. It was frustratingly average.

Here’s hoping August goes better I guess.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


The Tattoo I Don’t Regret Not Getting

It’s been a long time since I got my first tattoo. I remember it clearly, being nervous as I took my seat, hoping that I wouldn’t be such a wimp that I’d cry or have to stop. I hadn’t made it easy for myself by choosing a big piece to pop my ink cherry. Thankfully, it didn’t hurt that much and I’d go on to get more tattoos over the years.

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My first four tattoos. More will follow.

My first tattoo wasn’t what I’d originally wanted. While I am still a fan of Motorhead and  their late singer Lemmy, I’d originally wanted something else.

I’d wanted a Welsh dragon. I was a recent convert to Welsh patriotism, and of all the Welsh logos, the red dragon was the coolest. I wasn’t sure I could pull off a daffodil, and I’m not sure anyone could pull off a leek tattoo.

However, in the run up to booking my first tattoo, I started to notice that a lot of people had the dragon tattoo. And many weren’t people I wanted to have more in common with. There was something a little chavvy about it, or so I thought at the time. I’ve changed this opinion and think the traditional red dragon actually looks good. But unfortunately, at the time the only examples I could see were on the flesh of Nessa from Gavin and Stacey and a guy I knew who had his own initials tattooed on his neck. No, I never found out why.

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And so, I got the Motorhead tattoo, and while it might be a bit more metal compared to the rest of me, I dig it. In fact, I’m tempted to get some more music related tats around it.

Over the years I’ve added to my tattoos, and occasionally turned back to the idea of having something in honour of my Welsh heritage.

For a while, I was thinking about getting a three feathers tattoo.

Boy, am I glad I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still times when I daydream about wearing a shirt with the badge on, and scoring a World Cup winning try for Wales, but as much as I love our national side, I can’t deny I have issues with the WRU logo.

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The problem is it’s based on the emblem of Prince Charles, in his role of Prince of Wales. And frankly, I’m not impressed.

I’m not hugely fussed on the royals, I’m not calling for us to build guillotines or anything, but they do seem like a frightful waste of money and it’s kinda ridiculous to still have such an archaic institution going strong. And I’m not fussed on the fact that the ruling monarch can just make their oldest boy the prince of my country. It’d be like my Dad deciding to name me Duke of Neath, only instead of it being an inside joke he’d demand that other people go along with it all.

The fact the Welsh rugby team wear this emblem is kinda like legitimising Charlie’s nickname. He’s not my prince.

Hell, he didn’t even bother getting a Welsh motto for it. He stuck on “Ich Dien”, it’s German for crying out loud. At least Latin is classic.

Nope, I can’t get behind the three feathers or the idea of someone being made prince of my country. Prince Charles? Well, I didn’t vote for him.

So I’m kinda relieved that I didn’t get the logo tattoed on me. I’d never be able to look at it without a tinge of regret. I love my country, I love our rugby team, even if they don’t always treat me right, but I don’t love what that badge stands for. I just think the WRU should ditch it and get something that’s actually Welsh.

If they don’t want a dragon because the football lads have it, then why not a daffodil? Hell, I’d even take a leek.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

 


How I learnt to Love Wales and Being Welsh

I think one of the things that would surprise sixteen year old Chris the most is how much thirty-three year old Chris feels about Wales. I wasn’t a patriotic kid, and didn’t feel any real affection or pride in my Welsh heritage. Welsh was the language of school, and the books we studied there. Sure, there’d occasionally be something which broke through like Pam Fi, Duw? but a lot of the Welsh things I was exposed too were kinda naff.

The change has happened slowly over the years, partly because of my time at university. Although I attended a Welsh university, we Welsh students were the minority, and most of the students seemed to be English. It was these English students who shaped my growing love for Wales.

There was the normal things you expect from English students- sheep shagger jokes, whining about the bilingual signs and, of course, telling us we weren’t a real country. English people then get really huffy when you point out that if Wales isn’t a country, then neither is England as both are part of Britain.

The Welsh students banded together, especially when the Six Nations started up, and we were lucky enough that our first year, 2005, saw Wales win the Grand Slam.

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It wasn’t just the rugby victory that started to win me over, it was starting to realise just how Wales had been treated. South Wales, the area I grew up in still bore the scars of Thatcher’s war on the unions, with mass unemployment and closed down factories, mines and failing steelworks.

As time went on I learned more about how Wales was routinely overlooked, poorly funded and treated as a poor relation or joke. Finding out about Welsh towns literally flooded to create a reservoir to serve England, about attempts to kill the Welsh language and how Wales was just used for it’s resources. It made you realise how hard people had worked and fought to keep Welsh culture alive.

It made me proud. It made me angry. For me the words of Phil Bennett before a match against England captured my feelings towards Westminster and how Wales was treated:

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It made me appreciate the Welsh language more, regret all the times I saw it as a pain or dismissed it as a dead language, cursed my parents for sending me to a Welsh language school and complained about the dire novels we had to read.

There are still English people who complain about the Welsh language. Laughable arguments about the signs being too difficult for them and dangerous, when all they need to do is ignore the first line. Who grumble that they go to places and the Welsh speak Welsh. Who whinge about how money is wasted on Radio Cymru and S4C.

Sod them.

The Welsh language has endured similar attacks over the years. Banned in schools, marginalised and underrepresented, those channels and stations were the result of hard fighting and lengthy campaigns. The bilingual signs a massive victory in ensuring our heritage was respected and returned to prominence.

I’m glad every Welsh kid is taught some Welsh now, I only wish they were taught more about the attempts to destroy it. How speaking Welsh is a sign of rebellion, of resistance, of a culture refusing to let itself be erased to satisfy it’s oppressors.

I’ve tried to embrace Welsh in new ways. I watch S4C when I can, I’ve sought out Welsh language music and even looked into reading some Welsh books.

I’ve even been inspired to find a new way to engage in the language thanks to an anti-Welsh tweet. Some gammon who chose to live on this side of the bridge but refuses to respect his new home made a sarky point about how the buttons for the Welsh option on ATMs is never as worn as the button for English. Well, since reading that I always pick the Welsh option now, so that they know it’s used and appreciated, and as a thank you for all the people who stopped it from dying.

In the words of Dafydd Iwan, “er gwaetha pawb a phopeth, ry’n ni yma o hyd” (“in spite of everyone and everything, we’re still here”)

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

 


Fat Boy on a Diet: June Update: Positive Steps

As a fat man I have not been flourishing in this heat, reduced to nothing more than a puddle at times, it’s hit the proposed exercise regime hard as I’ve quickly baked in the sun and required copious amounts of drinks whenever I can. This means that June’s weight loss has been a failure.

To be honest, finding this out at my last weigh in was a major kick in the teeth, and left me feeling properly shit. I decided to write a monthly update to motivate myself, but for the last couple of months it’s basically been an exercise in publicising my failures. And as the weight has crept back up I’ve found myself feeling increasingly fed up.

The warm weather doesn’t help the fat man’s self confidence, as you feel all sweaty and gross, and that’s without throwing in a marked increase in chub rub. Any misgivings you have about your physical form are amplified by the discomfort. Looking at myself in the mirror is never something I particularly enjoy, but I hate it even more when I see a sweaty mess staring back at me.

So, standing on the scales was not a fun experience.

Time for a change.

But isn’t that what I said last month? And the month before? Why, dear reader, should you put any store in this statement?

Well, because I’m putting my money where my seemingly always full mouth is. I have paid out money in my endeavour to shed some pounds (and hopefully stones).

Step one, has been rejoining Chub Club. A previous membership actually helped quite a bit. The twin pillars of a clear eating plan and more regular weigh ins should work to keep me on the right path and remained focus.

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Step two is something I’m not looking forward to. Yes, even less than standing on the scales in a crowded room. I’ve joined a gym.

WoM has joined the other day and is taking part in some of the classes they put on there. I’m less keen on doing this, so will be exercising on my own. I’m figuring if I use the bikes and treadmills while WoM is in her class, maybe even start doing some weights, it may not be so bad.

My ideal gym would be made up of several contained pods, with all the gear inside. That way I could exercise without fear of how bad I look doing it. I think I need to buy some new headphones and maybe an MP3 players so I can just tune everything out and stop caring about it.

Previous experience from when I used to run tells me that after a while I’ll stop giving a damn anyway as my confidence and comfort grows. It just sucks until that kicks in and you just feel self conscious and like everyone is laughing at or judging you.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: May Update: There are no calories on your birthday

Little earlier this month as I decided to have my last weigh in for May earlier in the week as I knew that with my birthday on Friday and a couple of celebration meals planned waiting until the end wouldn’t be the best course.

I’d been kinda good in May, or at least I thought I did. I made an effort to exercise more, managing to crack 10,000 steps most days. I could have done better on the eating front, and this turned out to be my undoing.

A pound and a bit.

A bloody pound is all I lost. That is frankly pathetic.

Really need to focus on the food side of the equation now. Pointless burning off all those calories walking if I then cancel it out by scoffing junk in the evenings.

At least I’m moving in the right direction, but I really need to do better.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Fat Boy on a Diet: April Update: Fail

April has been a pretty shit month, with a lot going on that has been pretty rough. As a result of this I’ve spent a lot of this month stuck in the house, either bored stupid or stressing out.

And like the stereotypical fat man, I respond to both boredom and stress by overeating.

For an extended period I was stuck in the house and so instead of stocking up with proper food was just going to the shop around the corner and gettting quick, easy food.

So, when I finally got back on the scale, I wasn’t confident. Unfortunately it was a lot worse than I’d feared.

I’d put back on pretty much all the weight I’ve lost this year. This is terrible news as it undoes a solid start.

I’m not feeling great about myself right now.

This means that I’ve really got to knuckle down and get back on track. Which means more exercise and less taking the easy option. I’m also going to keep less snack stuff in the house to stop me munching them just because I can’t think of anything else to do.

Gotta sort my head out and not be so dumb in future.

Any thoughts?;You know what to do. BETEO.