It’s So Easy To Let It Slide

Fundamental DarknessChallenges we set ourselves can be easy, or they can be hard. Generally speaking, the challenges that are worth setting, take us well out of our comfort zone. So what is the secret of success in such a situation?

Well speaking from my own experience, it is all about confidence and determination. My weight loss ‘regime’, if you can call it that, was set in motion through a determination to get into shape, both physically and in terms of my own self image. Now there is a further challenge, to stay that way for good.

It’s easy to put off till tomorrow, that which you should start today, and to give in today, promising that you will put things right tomorrow. Feelings like that are normal. It is our Fundamental Darkness talking us into wrong thoughts and deeds. The only weapon we have against it, and we all have those thoughts, is our determination to succeed. By imagining that our Dark Passenger,  as I prefer to call it, is actually something outside ourselves, we can mentally argue our case and, through determination, change our actions.

Success is sweet, failure is bitter and the only difference between the two is determination. Any goal, no matter how large or how small, is only unattainable if you lack the determination to go on.

No cause is lost until you decide that it is lost. So ignore, or better still defeat your Fundamental Darkness, have confidence in yourself, be determined, and never, ever give up. In that way, you will always be a winner, will achieve your goals, and be forever tasting that sweet taste of success.

Get Thee Hence Dark Passenger

The Scales Don't LieAs you all know by now, I’ve been on this fitness regime since May last year, and it’s been going really well. I’m keeping my weight around 12 stone and I feel terrific, but it’s so easy to get back into bad habits and undo some of the hard work.

Saturday was a perfect example. Being vegan means giving up bacon, but substitute soya bacon for breakfast was going to be a treat, fried, with brown sauce and all. And it’s all too easy to think, ‘well I’ve had this and that, so I might as well go for it’. Really stupid and a big mistake.

Like most challenges in life, it’s far more difficult to stick to the goal than it is to ignore it and let your urges take over. Sadly the scales don’t lie, and I know it wasn’t the bacon butties that caused all the trouble. One way I have stayed on course is by not having temptations in the house. But Scully’s place is full of goodies. Wine, mayonnaise, bread, peanuts, the list is almost endless, and although they are all vegan, they aren’t necessarily all that healthy or slimming.

It’s so much easier, and in some respects more pleasant to put weight on than it is to get it off. But the worst feeling of all is to lose it, and then put it back on when you know that you let your fundamental darkness take control. Double the pain, knowing that there is a chink in your determination, and that it really wasn’t worth all the angst. So get thee hence Dark Passenger. I’m off out cycling round the New Forest tomorrow with the boys, to have a good workout and burn all those stupid calories off again.

The Wonderful World Of Weird

Wonderful World Of WeirdThere was an amusing end to a dinner party last night, where I was told by one of the other guests, that I was the weirdest person they had ever met. She did soften the message by saying I was lovely, but she reiterated the fact that I was well weird.

She had earlier been giving me the benefit of her advice regarding relationships, albeit through her rather alcoholic induced sense of self confidence. I think some of the others were amused by the whole thing, and I was happy to let her continue to tell me I was too thin, given her inebriated state.

The evening ended pleasantly, with the usual cordial goodbyes, but on the way home I got to thinking about just how weird I really am.

Given that I turned up with my own food, my own drink and on my own, that set me apart from most of the others. I was the only Buddhist, the only vegan, the only one drinking fruit juice and water and one of only two who didn’t smoke, but does that make me weird?

Now eating meat, cheese or puddings that are full of fat, drinking wine, beer or spirits and smoking doesn’t make anyone a bad person, but is it really that wise, considering all the evidence of the harm to which they all contribute?

The changes I had made to my own life have resulted in me being as calm, as fit and healthy, as trim and as happy as I have ever been. I am well aware that that makes me different to many others, but if that’s how it must be, I am really pleased that I am weird.

Rockin’ And Rollin’

Rockin’ And Rollin’Since my birthday last month I have been on my bike every single day, either out and about, or more recently, with the colder shorter days, indoors on my training rollers. Now training rollers are a great way of staying fit, but compared to being out in the countryside, they are B-O-R-I-N-G, pedalling away for hours each week.

To make the sessions more fun, I searched on YouTube for a training video which would encourage me as well as keeping my focus. I found one, a really well made forty five minute session, using video taken during a group ride, with predetermined intervals of effort and rest, I love it and use it every second day, interspersed with thirty minute low intensity ‘days off’.

In a strange way, riding with the other guys on the video, makes me work harder, give that extra bit of effort when my lungs, heart or legs are screaming ENOUGH!!! It’s the perfect way to continue my fitness regime, and with my newly adopted vegan diet, my weight, and more importantly, my body fat levels are continuing to fall.

People have said, about my exercising, and more particularly about my diet, that because I live alone, I have no interruptions, nobody to take my focus away from my goals, nobody to tempt me with other foods or get in the way of my schedule. That of course is true, but neither do I have anyone to ‘watch over me’ to keep me on track, nobody except myself that is.

Temptation comes in many forms. The temptation to add salt to the vegetables, because I was used to the taste, the temptation to crumble under the pressure from others who think being vegan is strange and will lead to deficiencies in my diet, even the temptation, to ease off, slow down, give up, when it’s painful to carry on riding. After all, nobody would know, nobody except me.

Determination is a very satisfying trait, one which I have only fairly recently acquired, but one which pays you back, time and time again, and which stabs you, like a knife through the heart if you decide to give in. Determination is a form of fitness, the more you practice it, the stronger it becomes.

Today is day 235 of my regime. In that time I have cycled, outdoors and in, over 4000 km, burned 130,891 kcal and spent 180 hours on 152 various different sessions. When I started I weighed 100 kg, today I weigh 77 kg, and I haven’t finished yet. But believe me, in all that time, there have been numerous times when I really wanted to stop, give up and call it a day.

Now it may be that I am lucky to have the time to devote to my quest. It may be that I can please myself about what I eat. It may well be that I get an addiction to things, and certainly in the past that was the case. But I think you will agree that I’ve given it long enough to disprove the last of those three.

I’m not special. I’ve done nothing here that anyone else couldn’t do, given the determination. I’m proud of my efforts, though I am disappointed that I let myself get into the situation in the first place, but my determination gets stronger over time. If you are trying to reach a goal, keep going. If you stop, there will only be one person who is to blame, only one who will feel the pain of failure, and that is you.

The Right Choice

Keep calm and make the right choiceWell the weekend has been perfect for any kite flying aficionados living in Dorset, to say it has been windy is a huge understatement. Despite the breeze, I was keen to get out on the bike, having been unable to do so since last weekend.

Yesterday, I took myself off to Hengistbury Head along the promenade. There was a few piles of soft dry sand, blown from the beach, which made progress a little difficult in places, though the extra effort was nothing compared to that required to get back home against a nasty breeze.

So knowing the obstacles, I decided to have a later start to a repeat trip this morning, and spent a couple of hours reading Dr Douglas Graham’s book which discusses his 80-10-10 diet, the basis of his own, and my adopted eating regime. And very thought provoking it is too, arguing strongly and convincingly just how unhealthy the western diet has become of the last few decades.

Just reading the forward to the book makes one sit and think. So I thought I would share it with you, so you decide whether you might want to read the book, to help you make the right choices for your own dietary decisions …

As an Ironman triathlete, ultra marathoner, and holder of nearly 1,000 race first places, I know how important the right diet is. It dismays me to see how much dietary misinformation is being spread with the main goal being to make money. Because so many people are misinformed about the proper diet, obesity is at the highest rates in history, and as more people buy into these money-making schemes, obesity and its associated diseases are going to continue to increase at horrendous rates.

Over and over again, I hear people saying they’ve tried “everything” to lose weight — low fat, high fat, low carb, high carb, low protein, high protein, all kinds of pills, shots, powders, and shakes — you name it and they say they’ve tried it. The main cause of their failure is misinformation.

There are reasons for each of these dietary failures. What they were told was “low fat,” usually 30%, actually is not low fat at all, and they have no idea how to get to an effective low-fat 10% as described in this book. High-fat diets can be dangerous and put you at risk for the diseases that most Westerners die from prematurely. Low-carb diets are also dangerous, and most people have no idea that the ideal diet consists of 80% carbs. But, it must be the right carbs.

High-protein diets lead to osteoporosis, kidney disease, and lack of energy for exercise. Most people think that low-protein diets will never work, having been convinced by the meat and dairy industries that the more protein you eat, the better — and nothing could be further from the truth.

As for pills, shots, powders, and shakes, these gimmicks will never give people the health they really seek. What they don’t realize is that obesity is actually a symptom of eating the wrong diet. The same is true of most of the other diseases we suffer from, for example, heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, colitis, constipation, osteoporosis, acne, erectile dysfunction, dementia, and even vision and hearing problems. These are all symptoms of the diseases of consuming the wrong diet.

You are holding in your hands the book that will give you the dietary information we all need to have. You don’t have to be an Ironman triathlete or even want to be one, but you owe it to yourself to read The 80/10/10 Diet!

Ruth E. Heidrich, PhD
Author, A Race For Life

I’m not trying to sell the book for Dr Graham, I’m not even suggesting that any of you folks change your own diet, but I do think it would be wrong of me to keep this information to myself. If you do want to read it, this is a link to the book on Amazon, if you decide you think the diet is for you.

Slight Change Of Tack

Tipping The ScalesIt’s exactly six months since the start of my dieting and cycling regime and I’m pleased to be able to claim a degree of success. On May 1st I weighed in at exactly 100kg, 15st 11lb in old money or 220lbs.

I knew I had put on weight, but seeing those figures was the short sharp shock I needed to do something about it. So here we are six months, or 185 days later, I’m down to 81.7kg, 12st 12lb or 180lbs and I’m feeling a whole lot better for it.

It’s been a long ride, literally at times, but over the last week I’ve changed the way I’m doing things. I was limiting my calorific intake to around 1500kcals per day, about 1000kcals lower than the recommended amount for a man, and basically slowly starving myself, albeit via a carefully controlled method.

At the same time, as you will have read, I’ve been getting out on my bike a lot over the summer, averaging around 500km per month, and so burning off yet more calories. But my body, and my mind to a lesser extent, decided that they had had enough it it.

Out bodies are really smart. They know how to look after us better than we know ourselves. So having allowed me to lose the excess weight I was carrying, my body decided, that not having enough calories on a daily basis, it would take over and stop me losing any more, and my weight has bounced up and down for a while

Our western diets are packed with calories, mainly from processed sugars and fats, particularly the fructose sugars that are fermented from waste corn and maize and then added to everything from soft drinks to cereals, bread to ready meals. We are eating it all the time, whether we realise or not.

Now I have been a vegetarian for a long time now, so deciding to move to a high carb raw vegan diet (HCRV) is not much of a change for me, though it does mean that I won’t be eating cheese, drinking milk or munching on roast vegetables if there was any oil involved.

Basically, I’m going to be living on fruit, vegetables, rice and corn pasta from now on. I’m looking at it as a life change rather than a diet, as it’s something that is sustainable and, in the long run, will be a far healthier way to live.

It’s very early days yet, I only made the change a few days ago, but it’s already having an effect. Not only has my weight started to drop again, even though I haven’t been able to get out on the bike very much in all this wind and rain, but my body fat is reducing too, and that is more important in the long run.

The determination to keep going is something people have mentioned over the months, but the alternative of quitting and going back to my clinically obese self is not an option. I would like to say that I’ve cheated a bit, my faith and chanting has provided an inner strength and will continue to do so, but it’s open to anyone, so it’s not cheating really.

With the festive season fast approaching, it will be interesting to see what challenges that presents, but the effort continues and it will be interesting to see where I am in another six months.

A Determined Effort

Crunching The NumbersApart from being a dedicated Nichiren Buddhist, I have a science and maths background, and I love to know how and why things work. So I’ve been doing the maths behind my weight loss, and the numbers are almost unbelievable.

In the past three months, or to be more precise, 80 days, I have lost 12.5kg, or 1 stone 13.56  pound in old money. Now the accepted calorific value of each pound of body fat is 3500 calories, so by multiplying the number of pounds lost, assuming I have lost fat and not bone or muscle, we arrive at a staggering 98000 calories. Dividing the total by the number of days gives us an average of just over 1225 each day, every day, amazing.

Whilst the numbers are pretty staggering, it just shows why it is so difficult for people to lose weight. When you consider that running up stairs burns 30.7 calories per minute, to burn off that number of calories would entail doing that exercise continuously for over 2 days 3 hours. Burning them off on an exercise bike, peddling at a moderate pace (around 10.8 calories per minute), would take over 6 days 8 hours.

The only way I have managed to make this work for me, is by using the hunger pangs and the nagging temptations from my Dark Passenger, to build my determination. I have learned to enjoy the hunger pangs, which sounds a little masochistic. But if I am feeling hungry, my body is burning reserves, which means I am losing weight. This method works for me. Maybe I’m strange? But if you want to do it for yourself, and most people I speak to say that they would like to lose a little, you have to find a way to increase your determination to the point that it overcomes the stream of daily temptations to over eat.

You might have noticed that, apart from eating sensibly, I’ve been doing a lot of cycling too. Since May 1st, I have ridden over 500km and burned upwards of 18,000kcal, during which, I have climbed over 1km altitude wise. I still have a little way to go, but one of the great joys of this determined effort is the feeling of satisfaction each time I visit the scales.

Crunching The Numbers

Crunching The NumbersApart from being a dedicated Nichiren Buddhist, I have a science and maths background, and I love to know how and why things work. So I’ve been doing the maths behind my weight loss, and the numbers are almost unbelievable.

In the past three months, to be precise, 82 days, I have lost 13.3kg or 2 stone 1  pound (29lbs) in old money. Now the accepted calorific value of each pound of body fat is 3500 calories, so by multiplying the number of pounds lost, assuming I have lost fat and not bone or muscle, we arrive at a staggering 102620 calories. Dividing the total by the number of days gives us an average of just over 1250 each day, every day, amazing.

Whilst the numbers are pretty staggering, it just shows why it is so difficult for people to lose weight. When you consider that running up stairs burns 30.7 calories per minute, to burn off that number of calories would entail doing that exercise continuously for over 2 days 8 hours. Burning them off on an exercise bike, peddling at a moderate pace (around 10.8 calories per minute), would take over 6 days 12 hours.

The only way I have managed to make this work for me, is by using the hunger pangs and the nagging temptations from my Dark Passenger, to build my determination. I have learned to enjoy the hunger pangs, which sounds a little masochistic. But if I am feeling hungry, my body is burning reserves, which means I am losing weight. This method works for me. Maybe I’m strange? But if you want to do it for yourself, and most people I speak to say that they would like to lose a little, you have to find a way to increase your determination to the point that it overcomes the stream of daily temptations to over eat.

Backsliding

Scales Don't LieI’ve been on this diet since early August, and it’s been going really well. I’ve lost over two stone (13kgs) and I feel terrific, but it’s so easy to get back into bad habits and undo all the good work. Saturday was a perfect example. Being invited to the cafe for breakfast was going to be a treat, teacakes, coffee and all. But it’s all too easy to think, ‘well I’ve had this and that, so I might as well go for it’. Stupid and a big mistake.

Like most challenges in life, it’s far more difficult to stick to the goal than it is to ignore it and let your urges take over. Sadly the scales don’t lie, and I know it wasn’t the teacake that caused all the trouble. One way I have stayed on course is by not having temptations in the house. But Charlotte’s place was full of goodies. A half eaten birthday cake, a box of flapjacks, even a box of Dunkin’ doughnuts.

I managed to avoid most of them, but whether it was because I was tired I don’t know, but I just felt hungry, and gave in to temptation. A couple of crumpets with cheese, coffee with sugar and several Caramel and Crunchie mini bars later I was feeling better, but suitably miffed with myself.

I knew that things would have taken a backwards step when I weighed myself yesterday, but having ‘been good’ all day I was even more dismayed to find things were no better this morning either. So today has been a day for quiet contemplation and sticking strictly to my self imposed rules.

It’s so much easier, and pleasant, to put weight on than it is to get it off. But the hardest of all is to lose it, and then put it back on when you know that you let your fundamental darkness take control. Double the pain, knowing that there is a chink in your determination, and that it really wasn’t worth all the angst. So get thee hence Dark Passenger. My new cycling bits arrived today, so I’m going to put them to good use and burn all those stupid calories off again.

Being Aware

Tour de FranceOut on the bike again, I started to see things that related to the weight issue we discussed yesterday. The contrast between the other cyclists, the runners and skaters, and those folks tucked in their beach huts, was amazing.

Cycling burns about 250 calories an hour, even if you are just out for casual bimble. Hard riding burns considerably more, for example the riders in the Tour de France burn over 4000 calories a day. Now admittedly I’m no where near the pro-cyclists league, but there is a real satisfaction in the tiredness you feel after an aggressive ride.

But back to the beach huts. Most of the occupants were slouched in deck chairs, most were rather overweight, and the ice cream salesmen must have been having a bumper day, judging by the number of folks who were tucking into a cornet or lolly.

Now I’m not a party-pooper, and I have eaten my share of Ben and Jerry’s in my time, but it just served to show why some people are so overweight, while others are slim. It goes back to karma, to the cause and effect principle. It is so simple, if you make bad causes, in this case eating more calories than you need, you will see bad effects, namely weight gain.

I know a number of people who would like to be slimmer, I was one of them. But unless you make that a heart-felt goal, that you are aware of how much you are eating, it will never happen. I’m not going on some one-man crusade to get people to lose weight, but if you are one of the people who would like to, all you have to do is stick to the simplest formula. Eat less calories than you need, each and every day.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: