I have been meaning to write about this for a while now and new year’s eve (grammar?) seems quite appropriate. In mid-January we changed gyms from Virgin Active to Greens. Part of the reason was because Greens was in a more convenient location, some because Virgin Active had become so busy over the last few months it was difficult to use and partly because their staff never really delivered on their promise of offering regular training advice as part of our membership.
In 2005 I made some progress and got into better shape but didn’t really get anywhere near to reaching my goals of losing weight and getting into better shape. I think I tried my first ever diet in 2005 too, starting off with just trying to cut out junk, then trying the Atkins diet for a while and then going back to just cutting out rubbish again. The first picture shows a photo of me in July 2004 before I started out on my quest to get back into shape. Below is pretty much after about a year of going to Virgin Active and trying various diets (and getting married) in January 2006.
By January I had lost some weight, I was swimming pretty regularly, eating pretty well most of the time and we had found a reasonable diet that made sense and that we stuck to on the whole - the GI Diet
which to me seems like a healthier, more scientifically sound and less extreme version of the Atkins diet. It also doesn’t require too much planning which is great for me. We also watched a TV programme and I later bought a short paperback book written by Paul McKenna called “I Can Make You Thin”
which contains some very simple advice which I could have probably thought of on my own but hadn’t taken the time to consider until reading it.
As part of my induction at Greens I met a woman called Debs who is one of the trainers there and she outlined my initial exercise program. She also invited us along to a healthy eating session the gym runs for its members and encouraged me to use my monthly review session. At Greens they really seemed to stick to their end of the bargain which helped me to stick to mine. Most of the time I managed to eat healthily and adopted Deb’s philosophy (and the GI diet’s too I think) on trying to eat natural unprocessed foods as much as possible.
I slowly started running on the treadmill (hadn’t run for more than three or four minutes before that since school), going to a few classes like spinning and following my exercise program. I also weighed myself at least once a week and kept a record so I always knew how I was doing without becoming neurotic about the occasional blips. The result is the last picture. In a year I have gone from having a BMI in excess of 30 (which horrified me when I found out) to one of just over 26. I think I have lost over 25 kg in the last year (although a little has crept back on in the last month).
I usually workout three to four times a week now, I ran my first 10km race for the British Heart Foundation
and am planning to go in a few more and do the Sheffield half marathon
in May next year! I feel better by far and have gone from being an overweight geek to a much leaner one - I remember Donnie noting how open source developers tend to be overweight or very skinny
in a previous post. I am pleased to be moving over to the skinny side of the fence!
I feel much better at my leaner weight and my health in general has improved. We have also cut out the majority of processed food and tend to eat wholegrain stuff and well in excess of the five a day (portions of fruit and vegetables) the government recommends. Going forward into the new year I will probably shed a bit more weight, that should make the half marathon a little easier. Other than that I am going to try to improve my aerobic fitness and concentrate on completing my doctoral thesis and finding a job!
It was tough getting back into shape but well worth it. I for one am glad to be out of the obese bracket and never intend to go back there. I think having hobbies such as scuba diving really help me stick to that. Seeing the photos all on one page it really does shock me just how different I look now.
Update: This xkcd entry
seems especially relevant