After the exploits of Ely and “Saddle-gate” ( see last week’s article by me ) I had a complete week off to recharge the batteries and to let things heal up. It was just what the doctor ordered, I think I was physically and mentally burnt out. I even indulged myself with pizza and chocolate, two things I love but seldom eat anymore, as let’s face it they aren’t the healthiest of foods. I figured in my ‘treat week’ a little of what I fancied wouldn’t kill me, and I’m happy to report it didn’t.
Following on from this I’ve started training again and on September 1st became much more disciplined with my food intake. As I’ve previously said next May I shall be doing Ironman Lanzarote, my training plan for that starts in November. So I’m having two months of trying to lose weight to give myself every advantage with my forthcoming training, which will also hopefully see me shed the pounds. It’s kind of a pre-Ironman detox. After all more exercise = more calories burned, it’s not rocket science, and it’s a good job because I failed the NASA entrance exam.
I’m a big bloke, a Clydesdale. I need to be a mountain goat by next May. There is a huge difference between the two. To bridge that distance it will take will power, determination, fear and desire – all qualities that Ironmen have. I also know that I have a bad relationship with food, I’m compulsive, I find it difficult to walk away from the cookie jar after just one. Combine this weakness with an underactive thyroid and you get a sense of the current I’m swimming against. My wife Emma, says I see things relating to food in black & white, all or nothing. She’s right, rather than make a bag of M&M’s last a week, eating a few a day, I wolf them down. Once they are gone, they are gone and they can’t call to me anymore. This is something I’ve addressed this week. There is a bag of my favourite candy in the fridge, I had one on the 31st August, I’ve not had one since. I see them every time I go for some milk or fruit and each time I smile as I don’t want one. You might think this is a form of self-torture, and maybe it is, but to me it’s building will power. I close my eyes, imagine how it tastes, that all-encompassing chocolaty goodness , and then imagine the biggest hill I can think of with me at the bottom on my bike. All of a sudden that chocolate is the last thing I want, and that is why I smile.
I’ve also begun keeping an online food diary. Lots of literature recommends that people trying to shift excess pounds do this, I can see why. I for one have been underestimating my calorie intake. It’s actually quite shocking when you look at some of the ‘healthy’ choices we make when picking up ‘diet’ or ‘lite’ products in the grocery store, they are loaded with hidden sugars. ‘Fat-Free’ can sometimes be a worse choice than its traditional full fat cousin. The programme I use like many others lets you scan in barcodes, ideal for making better choices whilst shopping. It also gives you your daily calorie goal (Basal Metabolic Rate), based on what you would need just to survive without moving. What I find fascinating is the balance between the nutrients, and the reports it gives me – the other day I could see that my protein intake was too low, so I was able to add some chicken to my evening meal to reach my target. Again no rocket science involved.
So over the coming months I’ll report back on how my weight loss is going. Initially between now and November I’d like to lose 14 pounds. I’ve set a small, achievable goal, hopefully the first stepping stone on my way to my best ever season in Triathlon. 2012 will be the year that I get a new Ironman personal best, I have to be in the shape of my life to do that. Wish me luck, and I’d love to hear any tips readers have that helped them achieve their weight loss goals.