Fat to Fit: January update

Fat to Fit

One month into 2019; four months into my ‘Fat to Fit’ journey. How am I doing so far?

Actually, pretty well. I’ve posted my update for the first half of January already. Here’s how the second half went.

Saturday 19th January

I fell off the wagon today, in spectacular fashion.

It’s Toby’s birthday, so we took him out for lunch. Then we had a barbecue with our neighbours.

Then some bright spark suggested cocktails. (Yes, it was me.)

Net result: 5,000 calories consumed, give or take the odd incinerated sausage. Oops.

I’m not feeling guilty, though. Yes, it will take a week to work off the extra calories but life is for living and I’ll do less damage in the long run by having the occasional blow-out but being good the rest of the time. That’s my excuse anyway, and I’m standing by it.

Monday 21st January

Our bathroom scales and I are not on speaking terms.

Allegedly I put on five pounds over the weekend. That’s 17,500 calories, which translates to 130 sausages. Or 80 pints of Guinness. Or 16 tubes of Pringles. Even I can’t eat that much. (I could get close, though.)

Having done the maths, I consumed enough calories on Saturday night to gain the best part of a pound. But not five.

I know the reality is the weight gain is a combination of measurement error and water retention. So I’m not worried, as I know it will correct itself within a few days. But it’s still annoying. Bad scales!

Wednesday 23rd January

As predicted my weight measurement has dropped, so I have withdrawn my threat to take a chainsaw to the scales.

I’ve never experienced this before but I now find myself eating more snacks in the evening rather than cutting back. I’m doing at least an hour of exercise most days so I typically find I have a huge calorie deficit and can eat extra without compromising my weight loss plan.

As I’m trying to increase my protein intake to build muscle, that means I can tuck into cheese, nuts, biltong and some rather nice lower-fat pork scratchings that I’ve discovered in Sainsbury’s. Who said dieting needs to be all about sacrifices? It doesn’t.

Thursday 24th January

Isaac had joined me on my previous two runs but I went on my own tonight. I missed his company but, alone with my own thoughts, two things occurred to me.

Firstly, I realised I’m not afraid of running any more. Initially I was terrified of being too unfit to do Couch to 5K. Or that I would pull a muscle. Now I just head out and ignore the aches, pains and nagging doubts. I know I’ll hurt but I know I can do it.

Secondly, someone told me recently that when you start increasing exercise, it can take your body up to six weeks to catch up. I’m not there yet but already I can feel a difference and I’m definitely recovering faster. My legs are definitely more toned too. For now, though, they still constantly feel like lead weights. I can’t wait for my body to catch up and stop hurting all the time.

Friday 25th January

With six days left in the month, I’m on track to beat 200km in January – double my target and 38km more than my personal best. I also passed 400,000 steps this evening.

I’ve been focussing mostly on shorter-term targets but I’ve decided to set myself a goal of five million steps in 2019. I passed four million for 2018 on New Year’s Eve, so it’s a 25% year-on-year increase. It’s good to have something to aim for, right?

Tuesday 29th January

Toby has been asking for his own Fitbit for over a year. At the weekend, he finally received a Fitbit Ace as his belated birthday present from his grandparents and uncle.

He hasn’t stopped walking since. Or talking about it, in that super-obsessive way he has when he discovers a new interest.

This is the sloth-like boy who likes nothing more than to lounge on the sofa watching Match of the Day. He considers changing out of his pyjamas to be strenuous exercise.

Not any more.

He did 27,000 steps on Sunday. On Monday morning I found he and Isaac doing power-walking laps downstairs before breakfast. Then Kara joined in, borrowing Heather’s Fitbit so she didn’t feel left out.

Today he came with his brother and me for a run. In the dark. (He hates the dark.) In steady rain that turned to sleet by the time we got halfway round. When we got home, rather than complain about the weather he proudly showed his mum his step count.

The bug has bitten. And the best part of it is that his sudden interest is driving some friendly sibling rivalry with Isaac. And that in turn encourages me to do more too.


Thursday 31st January

I took a long, hard look at myself in the mirror today.

Human psychology is a funny thing. I really started to notice a change in my body shape during November and I was delighted with what I saw and the fact that I could wear clothes I hadn’t fitted into for years.

Since then, I’ve lost another ten pounds. So you’d think I’d be happier about my body. But I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not unhappy. I’m not desperate to develop a body-builder’s physique. But I’m definitely more self-critical than I was.

Here’s the thing. I’ve been massively overweight for the past 20-plus years. I was so far removed from the notion of being slim that I easily accepted I was just one of life’s fat people. I was okay with that.

But here I am, nearly two stone lighter than when I started four months ago. I’m no longer clinically obese and when I look in the mirror I can now see the thin person inside trying to break out. All of a sudden there is a slimmer me that feels achievable. I don’t need to be that person – but I wouldn’t mind nudging a bit closer towards what he looks like.

The goalposts have moved. I probably could lose another stone, maybe more. I’m not going to be depressed if I don’t, though. I’ve achieved so much already. But there’s a bit of me that is now wondering whether, at the end of my current journey, there is a new destination that I might want to set off for. We’ll see.

Progress this month

It’s been a good month. I’m on track across the board – and that feels good.

In terms of my weight loss plan, I closed the month having lost eight of the 11 pounds I’m targetting by the end of March. I can feel it’s getting harder to shed the pounds than it was 2-3 months ago, but I’m delighted with my progress nonetheless. I’m 26 pounds lighter than when I started, so even if my weight stabilised now I’ve done well.

In terms of fitness goals, I deliberately set a conservative target of 100km as I wasn’t sure to what extent the stress of running would hinder my ability to walk so much. As it turned out, I’ve been walking even more than before and more than doubled my January target. So for February – a shorter month – I’ve revised my target to 150km. Not excessive – but not one I can reach without putting in consistent effort. It’s more about quality than quantity of effort now.

The Couch to 5K programme is going well. I’ve now completed week three. Each ‘week’ is actually taking about nine days on average. I struggled with soreness early in the month and then the wintry weather over the last week hasn’t helped either. But I’m still on track to complete it by the end of March.

Life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes, so even though I’m nominally taking longer to progress than I should, I’m okay with that. I’m doing lots of walking and efforts on the cross-trainer in between, and even doing some light weights. So it’s not as if I’m doing nothing.

Anyhow, that’s January done and dusted. Let’s see if I can maintain the momentum in February.


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