This blog post is late, because I was putting it off. I was putting it off because, despite naming the project SLIMJIM, I’ve put on weight over the last six months. I was hoping for a turnaround that has not come, giving me a positive to write up. That said, I’ve dug into the data and think I’ve found a bright side.
My weight is now hovering around 86KG. It’s been stable there for about two months, after slowly rising from the point at which I last wrote. I chalked this up to not eating right over the summer holidays, then Christmas. But that didn’t feel quite right. Since adopting Tycho the Miniature Schnauzer at the end of October, I’ve been walking a hell of a lot more, 30% more year on year according to my Fitbit activity data. My diet contains more takeaways and pies than this time last year, but I’m still well up on the fruit and veg compared to pre-SLIMJIM. I couldn’t explain it.
The other shoe dropped earlier this week, when the thought crossed my mind that I was seeing “19%” a lot more in the body fat alert on my Fitbit Aria. It has always been an occasional thing as the reading seems to fluctuate quite a bit, but I usually showed 20-21%. I ripped the data out of Fitbit’s webapp and assembled myself a spreadsheet, which always makes me feel better. This one doubly so, as it showed that I’m not getting fatter. The mass I’m gaining must be muscle, I guess? From the walking and the Milo of Croton-style puplifting I’ve been doing.
On the one hand, this is a big relief. I’m not gaining fat. I’m gaining muscle, which feels like it has to be a positive. But swole was not the goal. My previous weight targets were informed by my assumption that as a fairly normal non-athlete, getting my BMI into the “healthy” window of 69 to 83KG was the right move. Now I’m getting healthier while my BMI is rising back to the middle of the “overweight” category? That doesn’t feel right.
It’s difficult to decide where I should go from here. That lean mass chart doesn’t look like it’s levelling off yet, and as Tycho gets bigger and can handle longer walks I can’t imagine that my activity levels are going to drop as we go into spring. I think I’m going to try and lower my body fat weight (currently around 17KG), and hopefully this will offset my MASSIVE GAINZ.
I haven’t blogged in months. Poor effort on my part. Here’s an update to my weight loss rate: it’s begun to abate. In the first month of this year I averaged -1.3KG every week. In the following two months, -0.5KG/week. Today, looking back over the last three months, I’ve lost a solitary kilogram, based on my weekly average weight.
Given that I’m not exactly dieting now, this was probably to be expected. Not that I’ve returned to old eating habits. Avocado on brown toast is the new SI unit of breakfast. Meal Prep Sunday is a lifestyle I’ve tried to join, in an attempt to save cooking time as well as enforce a healthier diet, and that’s been interesting if not entirely successful. Cooking six meals at once is a time saver, but many foods aren’t at their best being cooked, frozen, defrosted and then microwaved. Experimentation continues.
I’m not exactly where I wanted to be. My target for this point was 80KG, which I have missed. But it’s hard to feel too bad, because while this morning I weigh 82.9KG, that’s an unusual peak following a weekend of wedding canapes, contrasting the dramatic trough of 83.0KG I recorded in April and quickly rose back above. That 80KG target will be retained for the next three months, and hopefully in October I’ll be able to report that I’ve hit it. Fingers crossed, eh?
It’s been 10 weeks since I last blogged about my weight. At that point, I was four weeks in and had dropped my first six or so kilograms. I’d had it surprisingly easy; my average weekly weight (probably the most useful statistic the Fitbit Aria provides) was dropping by an average 1.3 KG a week. Since then, things have been more frustrating. I’m still losing weight, but at a much lower rate than I was before; 0.5 KG (1 and a bit pounds) a week .
I suppose the easy wins couldn’t keep coming. I’d burned off the fat that had only really appeared in the preceding six months. Now I’m working on losing the fat I’ve worn for many years. But it’s coming off, slowly. My methods are much the same as before – I’ve barely touched cheese since Christmas (is this really living?) and white bread has been a similarly rare treat. But I can’t complain too much – part of the reason for the slowdown has been a sudden glut of reasons to go out for a meal.
The trigger for this self-congratulatory post was me hitting my next target, 83.1 KG. Not just 12 KG less than the highest weight I recorded, 83.1 KG is the borderline between a “Healthy” BMI and an “Overweight” BMI for someone of my height. Which means if anyone calls me tubso now, I can throw that back in their factually-inaccurate faces. It also means that by the time you read this, I’ll have had my breakfast. Unless it weighed less than 100g (unlikely) I’ll have fallen back into the “Overweight” category, and I have no recourse against anyone calling me a fatty. So, the weight loss must continue for a while yet.
I haven’t yet decided where I want my final weight to be. I’ll be setting my next target as 80 KG, which seems like a nice round figure (which is something I plan not to have lol rofl dietjokes), but after that I don’t know. At some point, I’ll have to do the really difficult thing; stop losing weight, but also not gain it back. Not quite yet, though.
As 2016 came to a close, I had a realisation. That realisation was “damn James, you are really fat”. I mean, I’ve always been soft around the edges, and there have been occasional gags about my size, but something in my brain has always gone “yeah, you could lose a bit of weight, it’s not that bad though, there’s plenty fatter than you!”.
That changed, just before New Year. I saw the way my t-shirt hung over my belly and I was actually repulsed. I had to do something about it. First, I bought a Fitbit Aria. The various readouts said one at a time please that at 15 stone I was either nearly obese (BMI 29.1, obese is 30), or actually obese (27.7% body fat, 25% is considered obese).
That was the trigger for me to actually start making changes to my life. To avoid building unnecessary suspense, the things I’ve done are starting to work.
That graph represents my first month of being healthy. You can applaud a bit now. Not too much, I’ve still got a long way to go. But I think I’ve earned a bit of approval. I now weigh less than 89KG (14 stone for imperial scum).
These are the things I have done that I think have probably helped:
Buying the Aria and weighing in every morning (post-wee, pre-breakfast) and every evening (before bed). This A) reminds me that I am being healthy, and B) shows me my weight trend. The trend is far more interesting than any individual weigh-in. You can see a few big spikes in the graph above (representing New Year, a friend’s birthday, and a weekend at my mum’s), but none of those sudden jumps in weight depressed me, because I still had a downward trend. Honestly, the Fitbit has been pretty much the driving force for me not forgetting about my health entirely.
Cooking healthy. I haven’t been starving myself. The BBC Good Food magazine has many good recipes. A few that aren’t on their website have been the most helpful. Specifically, a red pepper prawn curry and rice meal that neither me or Coralie could finish due to the sheer size of the thing, despite how delicious it is.
Abandoning the breakfast of a lifetime. I’m no longer eating marmite on two slices of buttered white toast each day. It’s now an avocado on a slice of brown toast, with some hot sauce.
Not eating all the cake that is omnipresent in our office. Seriously, it’s like someone robbed the Tesco bakery section and stashed it on desks near me. That’s been a real test of self-control.
Not doing more exercise. I know I should, and I have tried a bit, but frankly it’s cold outside and it’s dark when I get home from work, so that will have to wait. This does mean that the weight I’ve lost has been from eating less, which has to be a good start, right?
Dry January. Apart from one night off (many vodkas, drunken kebab) I’ve not had any booze since New Year. This is something I will need to account for starting in February.
Anyway, that’s enough patting myself on the back. I met my Q1 goal in the first month. That means now I have to go on and do more, because I’m not where I want to be yet. I’m not telling you what that final goal is, because I think not banging on about weight loss has helped me lose weight and keep friends, but when I do get there I’ll let you know.