It’s hard to write about ones own personal health issues and how one addresses them without coming across as smug, sanctimonious or oblivious to the fact that it’s all relative. I wrote back in early March about how I was going to try and get my “house in order” by losing weight and also undertaking the NHS Health Check. A six weeks on and progress is being made. However, I would just like to re-iterate that what has proven to work for me, may not do so for others. We all have our own unique relationship with our own health and therefore there is a need to find ways that work for us as individuals. Therefore my dietary regime which seems some what easy to me, may prove to be far too draconian for others. Similarly my exercise targets are also suited to my temperament and limitations. But I hope that by sharing my progress I can at least provide some encouragement to others.
I started March weighing 180.6 lbs (82 kg) which is not excessively obese but is still the wrong side of the line for my personal liking. I am just under six foot and this excess weight has been mainly around the waist. So I decided to remove all random snacking and excessive alcohol from my daily diet. I have structured meals at specific times of the day. Breakfast mainly consists of either eggs, toast and Marmite or some tediously healthy form of cereal. I then have a substantial meal in the late afternoon which is based around fish or chicken along with vegetables. Rice or beans are used as an alternative to potatoes and chips. If I feel hungry in the mid-evening, I now have fruit (mainly apples or pears) as a snack. I drink mainly coffee (with sweeteners) or diet drinks continuously throughout the day. Alcohol is now limited to Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
What this regime achieves is a reduction in calorie intake. And let’s face it, the kind of food that’s now eliminated from my daily diet was certainly high in calories. There is also scope within my current eating habits for the occasional treat once a week, such as a takeaway meal or a visit to a restaurant but no more than that. I have also found that years of recreational eating has impaired my personal perception of when I’m hungry. All too often I get the urge to eat “out of habit”, rather than because I’m genuinely in need of sustenance. However, recognising this state of mind is an invaluable step towards addressing the problem. I find that if I keep myself busy (and my life certainly does that) I can effectively ignore this faux sense of hunger. Drinking a beverage can also temporarily assuage thoughts of “being hungry”. And of course the most practical thing one can do to avoid the temptation of snacking is to just not have any in the home.
Controlling food intake is just half of the solution when it comes to weight loss. The other part of the equation is exercise. My exercise of choice is walking. I do a great deal of chores and tend to shop locally, thus providing a reason for daily visits to the shops and carry shopping home. I track my step count with my phone and have a daily step count of 10,000, which I achieve more often than not. On a side note, I bought two new pairs of trainers at the beginning of December, I decided to by alternative brands from that which I usually buy. Sadly the true cost of buying cheap has become clear, as I have worn one pair complete through in just four and a half months, but I digress. I recently had a “NHS Health Check” and was very pleased to find that everything is in order. My kidney and liver function are fine. There’s no signs of heart disease, cancer or insipient dementia. I just need to get my cholesterol level down from 5.3 mmol/l to about 4.0 mmol/l.
So overall, the first month of my new health regime has been a success. As of Monday I now weigh 174.2 lbs (79 kg); a loss of 6.4 lbs (2.9 kg) in 5 weeks which isn’t bad going. So I just need to keep going. Ideally, I would like to get my weight down to about 168 lbs (76.2 kg) and keep it there. However, weight loss is one issue. Keeping static at a target weight is another matter altogether. I shall continue to write about this subject from time to time, again in the hope of sharing information and encouraging others. Good luck to all who are currently seeking to lose weight or generally improve their overall health. It is a hard task to initiate and then stick with and there is no “one size fits all” solution. Everyone has to find the way that is right for them. As ever, feel free to comment and share your own perspective on what is a difficult subject.