Welcome to Week 5 of my diet.
I’m into the final 2 weeks of my One Meal a Day for Six Weeks project. rather than setting a goal weight I’ m aiming to concentrate more on diet adherence to see what can be achieved. The number on the scale is important but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Brief summary of the diet so far:
Week 1 started at 185 lbs, saw a low of 181.2, and finished at 183.6.
Week 2 started at 184.8 lbs, saw a low of 179.8, and finished at 181.4.
Week 3 started at 182.6 lbs, saw a low of 180.2, and finished at 182.4.
Week 4 started at 182.8 lbs, saw a low of 178.8, and finished at 181.2.
I am tracking my Daily Weight.
Last week’s numbers:
You can view my progress pictures.
This is the most recent:
Here are the key measurements:
MONDAY 15th AUGUST 2016
Today started with an increase in weight to 181.6 and a 25 minute walk.
The increase was fully expected and nothing to be concerned about.
Just checking on the weight tracker shows me that this is my lowest starting week for each of the five weeks so far.
it’s going to be a good week!
This can be a crappy time of day for me, at least as far as my diet is concerned.
While I was a stay at home dad, this was usually the first opportunity in my day to take a break for ten minutes.
After getting the four children out of bed, getting them washed, dressed and fed. I’d then be on the road fighting with rush hour traffic, dropping one at school, the other at nursery and then, rain or shine, I’d take the other two with me into the forest to walk the dogs.
I’d have one child in an all-terrain buggy and the other would be strapped to my back.
At times it was gruelling and stressful. One thing that seemed to help get me through was tea and cake at 10.30.
That was my time. Unless catastrophe beckoned, I’d sit at the kitchen table and wouldn’t move until I’d finished my tea and cake (or biscuits or cookies or whatever other delight I fancied).
This habit has a tremendous pull on me. Even now. I’ve been back in the workforce again since October 2012 and yet when 10.30 swings around I’m ready for cake.
This afternoon I spent 40 minutes walking in the forest. It has been one of the nicest days this summer. It’s mostly been cloudy and cool, but today it was sunny and warm.
Dinner: Roast chicken with baked potatoes, salad and mayo.
Followed by a Coco Pops cereal bar.
Dinner was great. That plate was piled high with chicken the photo doesn’t do it justice. Normally I’d have butter on my potatoes as well as mayo on the side. Today though I went with mayo only. Only a slight compromise.
The coco pops bar was meh. I felt cheated. Oh well, you live and learn.
So far so good. Only the body weight exercise to do now.
Just because I had a good dinner doesn’t mean I don’t want to eat more. I’m not even hungry and yet I still want to eat more.
Were it not for the self imposed constraints of the diet, I probably would.
I mentioned earlier that I had a habit of eating cake at 10.30 am. I had a similar habit of eating a big bag if sweets around 8.30 or 9.00 pm. Revels or Maltesers. Maybe a bar of Dairy Milk chocolate.
This coincided with the end of my childcare duties in so much as the kids were in bed and I didn’t have any immediate demands on my attention. I felt had earned it. After all, I’d worked hard all day and I deserved a treat.
It’s been another tricky habit to sidestep. Fortunately it doesn’t have quite the same pull as the cake habit. That’s largely because I no longer have an evening TV watching habit which was the trigger for chocolate eating.
I think if I didn’t build some treat foods into my eating plan I would cheat like crazy and easily slip back into old habits.
I’m still struggling with the internal voice trying to talk me out of doing my exercises.
I made myself get up to do them and had to deliberately talk myself around to doing them.
In the end I reasoned that I should get them over with quickly, but not by doing maximum rep sets. For example, I can do fifty dips but it’s a challenge and it hurts. Instead I agreed with myself (which is an odd concept I admit) that I could do forty. Forty is still pushing it, but it’s relatively comfortable. So I did 2 sets of 40.
To make up the last 20 I made the same agreement about press ups. I didn’t fancy doing 20, but instead I happily did 2 sets of 10.
Well that’ll do it for today. See you tomorrow.
TUESDAY 16TH AUGUST 2016
Today starts with a drop in scale weight from 181.6 to 181.2 and a 25 minute walk in the forest.
A good start!
I took the opportunity to get my 100 daily exercises done much earlier than usual.
I did 4 sets of 25 press ups in between ganging out the washing.
It was lovely and sunny so I decided I could use some sun. Last year I discovered I was deficient in Vitamin D so I don’t feel too bad about blinding all the neighbours as the sun reflects off my milky white skin. I’m only following doctors orders!
I also thought it would be good to take a few pictures, but this time not to look at the fat loss, although that is coming along well. But instead to look at muscle retention.
One of the things that’s important to me is losing weight without losing muscle. I don’t want to finish my diet and discover that I’m skinny fat.
One of the reasons I do the press ups, dips and squats, is to convince my body it needs to retain my muscle instead if using it for energy.
Have a look at these pictures (unless you’re eating!) and then carry on reading.
Are you still with me?
OK. So first of all I’m under no illusions that I’m muscular or that I’m some sort of aesthetic god. I’m not. I’m a 47 year old man who in the grand scheme of things probably isn’t doing too badly.
Picture 1. What I’m hoping you’ll see is that I’m not completely devoid of muscle. Hopefully you can see that I have some shoulder muscle. You can’t really see it in my left arm because I’m pale, still a little fat and the camera angle isn’t great. But in my right arm, the arm holding the camera, you can see evidence of a delt. Yes you can. Look harder!
Lat development isn’t really there, but again I’m going for retention not development.
Picture 2. Whereas in picture 1 you can’t really see it, picture 2 shows some evidence of pec development especially in my right pec (because the angle is different in this one). I think I actually have gained muscle here. The muscle is round and full towards the outer portion and there’s some evidence of increased muscle in the inner portion too. A good B cup maybe?
Just touching on the fat loss, I have definitely lost fat from my lower chest. There’s still some there, but it’s no longer in man boob territory.
Picture 3. Alright. I get it. My arms are not big. But again I would stress that this isn’t my goal for now. But. But neither are my arms completely skinny.
My biceps are underdeveloped for sure, but my triceps are doing OK. It’s something I’ll work on further down the line, but for now I’m going to stick to my plan.
I’m joking about this a little because it’s an uncomfortable thing to do. And yes there’s some self deprecating humour but actually I’m not ashamed. In fact I’m quite proud.
It’s important to me to be strong as I move towards my fifties. I think I can improve on this but all told I think it’s not too shabby… especially for someone on a diet.
I’d like to add that I’m not so much proud of what I look like — beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that — and after all, there’s a limit to what I can achieve and everybody is different in this respect. But I’m proud that I’m trying to make some positive changes in my life. I’m proud that I’m in better shape than I otherwise would have been.
I’ll never be invited to be on the cover of Men’s Health, and that’s probably a good thing, but as long as I know I’m improving, I can be happy.
Thank you for sticking with me this far. I know I subjected you to an ordeal, but I hope it helps you somehow.
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese with salad.
Followed by lemon roulade.
Just in case you’re in any doubt, I ate the slice in the foreground.
40 minutes of walking in the late summer sun.
See you tomorrow.
WEDNESDAY 17TH AUGUST 2016
A walk in the mist starts my day. It felt very autumnal this morning and reminded me that it won’t be long before I’m walking in the dark again.
Hitting 179 this morning was a surprise. I thought I’d have to wait until Friday to see that!
Catastrophe! No apples! I was forced to eat some Belvita biscuits.
Well, not actually forced. No one was whipping my buttocks with a wet towel and threatening me.
It was a choice I made consciously. That said, I don’t think I put up much of an argument against it.
Oh well, it wasn’t a terrible thing, it was just not part of the plan.
I didn’t take a picture but I’ll take one tomorrow and include it retrospectively.
Nooooo! This is too long to wait for my dinner. I was on the verge of being hangry.
Dinner: Pizza, garlic bread, coleslaw, potato salad and salad.
The recipe book you can see is what my boys have promised to make me for
dinner tomorrow. Chicken wrapped in parma ham.
Dinner was followed by some chocolate cake made by my 10 year old daughter.
Another 40 minutes spent walking in the forest with my blurred dog. (I clearly have awesome photography skills!)
Close call. I nearly got mown down by a load of maniacs on mountain bikes!
They obviously have no idea that the entire forest belongs to me and that they were trespassing. I’ll overlook it just this once though.
It’s been a busy day. I feel like I’ve been productive at work and at home. I really am ready for bed now.
I have just this minute finished my exercises. And what a great way to end the day… I managed to do 60 tricep (chair) dips followed by 50 more.
I can’t remember whether I’ve ever done sixty before, but recently, this is definitely the best total for a single set.
Goodnight. See you tomorrow.
THURSDAY 18TH AUGUST 2016
What a crazy day! This is the first real chance I’ve had to update the blog today.
First of all, 178 lbs? That’s 1lb down from yesterday’s 179 and just over 3lbs down from Tuesday’s 181.2lbs.
It’s a wild ride!
After weighing in this morning I got stuck into a 25 minute walk around the forest.
It was raining as I started out. The sun made a brief appearance and I was at the right place at the right time to see it.
As I walked I was very aware of a muscle spasm in my back. I thought myself so clever yesterday evening for doing 60 dips, but that little victory came at a price.
It started just as I was trying to get to sleep last night and kept me awake for ages. To add to my misery I couldn’t get a song out of my head. The same line of the song kept churning over and over. It was frustrating then… but now it’s funny.
The muscle spasm eased off as the day progressed.
After work I got home to discover that my sons had not in fact made dinner as I was promised. I feel cheated. Bah.
I’m making dinner right now and after that I’ve got my evening walk. Sorry that there have been no updates throughout the day, work got busy and I didn’t take any breaks.
I’m rubbish at this today!
Let me backtrack again…
I had dinner at 6.45pm. It was roast chicken and roasted red skinned jacket potatoes, with carrots, broccoli and gravy (not picured).
Dessert was chocolate cake with whipped cream and raspberry filling. This one was made by my 9 year old daughter. It was gorgeous!
At 7.15 pm I walked for 40 minutes. It was raining and I tried to take a picture to capture that, but the dogs ruined it by jumping into the water. I abandoned that idea and took a different picture.
At 10 pm I started doing my exercises. My back is still a bit sore from the muscle spasm so I was very gingerly doing my press ups.
I did 3 sets of 25 press ups and 1 set of 25 very cautious dips.
I’ve got a feeling my weight this morning was artificially low. It doesn’t matter, it’s just interesting. I suspect I won’t be any lower in the morning but I’m excited to find out.
That’s it for today. See you again tomorrow.
FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST 2016
Who owns my life? Because I’m sure it’s not me!
What an insane day.
I can’t believe I’ve had to wait until now to update this post. Luckily I remember everything that happened.
My day started at 5.50 am when I weighed myself and discovered that the scale is broken. It must be broken because it says I’m down to 177 lbs!
Yesterday when it said I was 178 lbs I questioned whether my weight was at an artificial low. So you can imagine how surprised I was to see 177 this morning.
I am do pleased that this is happening because yet again it shows what a wild ride scale weight can be.
Surely though, I won’t weigh less than 177 tomorrow?
Reminds me of the Kipling poem where he advises that triumph and disaster should be seen as imposters and treated just the same.
I got out of the door by 6.20 am and spent 25 minutes walking in the forest.
It was raining, so to mark the occasion I bring you another photo from my recent ‘blurred’ series.
After that I went to work and spent the day drinking tea and coffee. I was hungry and in the end ate 4 pieces of fruit.
I got home around 4 pm and went straight back out into the pouring rain for my afternoon walk.
I couldn’t quite recreate my earlier blurring success, but if you check out the tail there’s some evidence of it. I might start a new series – hint of blur.
I got soaked and only spent 30 minutes walking. I went quite far but I made sure to go quite fast.
There was only me at home for dinner so I pulled out some leftovers from the back of the fridge.
Dessert was great after being out in the rain. BlackBerry and apple crumble with cream.
It’s very tempting to eat less in order to keep the number on the scale dropping but I’m not into that game. That’s where it starts to get silly.
I stuck to the plan today but I ate more fruit and drank more tea and coffee calories than usual.
The amount of food on my dinner plate was all that was there to eat. It’s a smaller meal than usual, but it wasn’t a deliberate choice.
At 8.00 pm I did 1 set of 20 press ups and 1 set of 30 press ups. I still have 50 reps of something to do before I finish.
Done! 50 dips done in one set. Now I can go to bed.
If I wake up less than 177 tomorrow I think my head will explode. I won’t though. I’m guessing 178.2.
See you tomorrow.
SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST 2016
I had to wait around before I could get out for my walk. 7.30 is much later thsn i usually go and I’m surprised no one else was out at this time of day.
176.4 lbs. That’s another half a pound drop since yesterday.
Last Saturday I was 178.8 which means I’m down 2.4 lbs over 7 days. That’s great of course but that’s not all fat.
You’ve seen what I’ve been eating all week so you know I wasn’t on starvation rations.
I think I’ve been retaining water like crazy and over the last week my body has released it. It’s a phenomenon I’ve seen before – several times.
I’m always cautious about scale weight but I still like seeing a lower number every Saturday.
Onto the measurements now. Last week there was very little change, but this week there are some significant changes.
There’s a reduction in all but one measurement. My waist is finally back in the 34 inch range. I loved being here the last time, it’s good to be back.
Notably my belly measurement shows a reduction of half an inch.
Last week I was complaining of feeling fluffy and waterlogged. This week I have no such complaint.
As I write this I haven’t yet viewed today’s progress picture again last week’s. I have no idea how they compare.
Before I do post them I’ll tell you that I feel that there’ll be a difference. I’ve struggled over the last few weeks to see any marked progress but today I think I might.
That’s a relief! I can see a definite improvement between the picture from five weeks ago and today’s picture. Even comparing today to last week shows some improvement.
I feel like my belly fat has reduced its footprint and the chest fat is reducing too.
I can even see that my pelvis is starting to show through.
I actually feel enthusiastic about my results now. The scale doesn’t tell he whole story and I don’t trust it, but seeing the measurements and the progress pictures helps to reassure me that the diet is going well.
I’m really pleased!!
I’ll add the latest progress picture to the gallery.
Lunch: Chicken nuggets, French fries and salad.
I know that eating more at the weekend always causes my weight to go up again for a few days, but if you can handle the wild ride of the scale weight, it’s worth it for the sake of adherence to the diet.
Knowing that I get to eat lunch on Saturday and Sunday keeps me honest during the week. It’s something to look forward to and it stops me cheating — and the issue with cheating is it tends to be uncontrolled and unconfined.
I think it’s better to plan in what you might call a ‘cheat meal’ than wing it and hope you don’t binge.
A 25 minute walk.
I know this is a strange picture but it shows how dark it gets in the forest under the canopy. As the track goes up the hill it opens into a clearing and the difference is stark.
Dinner: Bangers and mash with vegetables and gravy (added after I took the pic).
Dessert: Raspberry ripple ice cream.
I ate dinner late in the day, but because I had lunch today, it was okay to eat so late, it really didn’t bother me.
I haven’t done any squats for a long time so I did 2 sets of 25. I’ve been having trouble with my knees again so I’ve been avoiding squats lately.
I finished the day with 2 sets of 25 dips to make up my 100 for the day.
I should mention that I didn’t want to do any body weight exercises today, but I did them anyway!
See you again tomorrow for the last day of week 5.
SUNDAY 21ST AUGUST 2016
I couldn’t get the updates done throughout the day as I usually do. I hope you don’t mind that I’ve saved it until the end of the day.
The weight… up to 178.4 lbs. No surprises there.
I didn’t walk this morning. Instead I went to muck out the ponies with the kids.
When I got back home I started resizing a gate because I wanted to move its position to a narrower gap. I took the opportunity to reinforce it because it was starting to sag.
I also put on a combination lock to make it more convenient to open.
It took me all day. It was hard work.
At 1 pm I took a short break for lunch. I had a tuna sandwich with crisps and cucumber.
I finished the gate and hung it just around 7.45 pm. And by 8 pm I was in the forest walking.
It was cloudy this evening which meant it was dark. I took this picture from the car park which leads directly to the entrance to the forest. You can see just how dark it is.
You can also see something that looks like a bionic chicken. It’s not a chicken, it’s actually a blurred dog running at a thousand miles an hour.
I finished the walk at 8.25 pm and by then it was dark to the point I needed a torch. What a shame I didn’t have one!
At 8.45 pm I finally had my dinner. It wasn’t anything special because I didn’t have time to do much more than throw some potatoes in the oven and grill some pork chops.
After that I had a bowl of ice cream. I didn’t take a picture because it was exactly the same as yesterday. Instead I’ve flipped yesterday’s picture just to make it look different. So lazy!
My last diet related activity today was to complete 50 press ups and 50 tricep dips – all in sets of 25.
What a great week this has been. I’m starting to see some changes in my weight and my body composition. I think I might have seen the back of the 180s.
See you tomorrow for the final week – week 6.