Six kilos in six weeks: the difficult second album

horizontal-162952_1280Read the first post in this series here – Six kilos in six weeks: finishing what I started.
Just a warning, I’m going to be talking about weight loss, dieting and body image. If you struggle with your relationship with food, or have any self image difficulties, you may find it hard to read.

How am I doing?

After a very principled and well behaved week one, I did less well, but still acceptably this week.

  • I have overshot on every single day…
  • …including one day where I managed an extra 1423 kcal!

Despite how bad that sounds, I only overshot by an average of 73kcal on the weekdays. I could see my weights were on track, so allowed myself a rest day on Saturday.

Depressingly, although I had been aiming for 2000kcal, I managed to exceed this by over 800. Its a clear warning that learning to balance my appetite in a controlled manner after this diet is going to be a big challenge.

Overall, In the last week, based on a basal metabolic requirement of 2400 kcal per day, I’ve averaged a daily deficit of 701kcal, leaving me just a smidge under 5000kcal down for the week.

WhaLibra_2015-10-12t is my weight?

Apparently in the last week, I’ve gone from 70.6kg on the scales to… 69.0kg. In reality, things aren’t as simple as weighing daily, that’s why I use a rolling average (see the red line) to confirm things are moving in the right direction.

Still, I weighed 71.1kg 2 weeks ago, and I currently weigh 69.0kg, so there’s no doubt I’m on target.

What’s been hard?

The temptation to snack has definitely increased a little in the evenings.

This week I’ve had a sore throat, and generally felt pretty exhausted. I’ve not been super hungry, although the temptation to snack has definitely increased a little in the evenings.

Mostly I’ve just been bored of my normal day time food – I usually have a Joylent/Queal/soylent style shake for my combined breakfast and lunch over the day. There have been several days where this has lost out to an equivalent calorie amount of curly fries, or veggie sandwich.

I’ve struggled a little to motivate myself for exercise. Last week I managed 1157 kcal of exercise – not much short of an extra day’s calories. This week I managed 945 kcal, around 20% less. Not managed a proper run since starting the diet. I did, however, stop finding the NYT 7 minute exercise so hard, and am noticing an improvement in my press up ability!

 

Changes, changes, changes.

weightlossweek2aI’m happy about progress. If this carries on, I should hit 65kg as planned, hopefully all from fat loss. This week I’m going to:

  1. Stick with a 1400 kcal target. Although I’m missing it a little, I know myself – if I set it at 1500, I’d just miss that a little instead!
  2. Slightly increase my exercise. Aiming to beat the total calorie burn from week 1. Aiming to fit in the following workouts:
    – 2x a NYT workout twice a week
    – 2x cycling day
    – 2x running day (working on bleep test)
  3. Keep an eye on macros. Still haven’t thought about macros much. May look at this this week, or just review it at the end.

Shout out thanks to Jon Smith for keeping me accountable, and texting me daily to tell me to “put down the butter dish and walk away”. Check out his ace 5K running app at RunwithKick.com

Results

These are all updated live from a central database, so feel free to check back daily for updates…

Six kilos in six weeks: 1 week in

horizontal-162952_1280Read the first post in this series here – Six kilos in six weeks: finishing what I started.
Just a warning, I’m going to be talking about weight loss, dieting and body image. If you struggle with your relationship with food, or have any self image difficulties, you may find it hard to read.

How am I doing?

The first question in any diet is: have I fallen off the wagon yet? I’m happy to say no.

  • I have overshot, on one day by 250kcal…
  • …but I’ve also been under it by 137kcal on one day too.

In the last week, based on a basal metabolic requirement of 2400 kcal per day, I’ve averaged a daily deficit of 996kcal, leaving me just a smidge under 7000kcal down for the week.

All things being equal, 7,700 kcals would roughly equate to a kilo of fat loss. Has it…?

WhaLibra chart- 2015-10-05 12-00-00t is my weight?

Fairly underwhelmingly, in the last week, I’ve gone from 71.1kg on the scales to… 70.6kg. I’m happy things are moving in the right direction, even if they are currently moving a little slower than I hoped, after the exhilaration of reaching 70.0kg on my 3rd day.

In the past I’ve had my weight change by 3 kg over the course of 3 days!

You should expect your weight to vary significantly day by day. Drinking more water one day than the next can account for huge variations, as can the timing of bodily excretions. In the past I’ve had my weight change by 3 kg over the course of 3 days!

What matters is the trend of your weight. At the moment, I have a steadily downwards trend for my weight. On the graph on the right, the blue line is what I would need to achieve to hit my 6kg target loss. The red line is the estimate based on my weigh ins.

What’s wrong with my maths?

If I’m running at a deficit, why aren’t I losing weight? Some people say that calories in/calories out is a myth – are they right? Unfortunately, metabolism, weight loss and nutrition: none of these are exact sciences. Whilst its a helpful rule of thumb, lots of factors can derail this.

Estimations I’ve had to make.

I’ve had to make a number of assumptions and estimations for my diet.

  • Firstly, my basal metabolic rate using the Harris-Benedict equation: BMR= 88.362 + (13.397x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years ). For me, that equals 1,706kcal a day.

Already there are huge potential variabilities here – if your weight is mostly muscle, your BMR will increase, but that’s not reflected in this, and conversely, if its all fat your BMR will decrease.

  • Secondly, my daily calorie needs, based on my activity level: BMR x 1.55 (based on being moderately active) = 2,644kcal per day.

I started with an assumption of daily calorie needs of 2200kcal a day, giving me 1200 after a 1000kcal deficit. I felt pretty tired on this, and felt it made sense to increase to 2400kcal, (giving me 1400 after my deficit). The unclear aspect of the daily needs is: does one account for exercise calories if its already included in the calculation?

Unhelpful exercises

I actually found my ability to do press-ups reduced throughout the week.

A key issue here is that I’ve been doing strength exercises every day. The New York Times 7 minute workout isn’t much, but it involves a fair amount of sit ups, press ups and similar body-mass strength routines.

Doing strength exercises every day, on the same muscles, is a stupid idea. A good workout actually slightly injures muscle fibres, with the act of repairing damage leading to an increase in size and strength. They need at least a day, ideally two, to recover and be ready for more work. I actually found my ability to do press-ups reduced throughout the week.

Also, I may have been putting on muscle, which would impact on the daily weigh in.

Changes, changes, changes.

weightlossweek2

One week is down, and I’m feeling good. Sure, I’ve not obviously lost much weight, but I’m solidly on a path to being heathier, and I’m excited about it. Pretty sure there is a slight visual difference too… This week I’m going to:

  1. Stick with a 1400 kcal target. It’s difficult to be certain of my basic calorific needs (as discussed above) but its likely at least 2,400 kcal. A 1,000 kcal deficit is likely to be both effective and sustainable.
  2. Change my exercise. I’m going to do the New York Magazine workout twice a week, a decent cycle ride twice a week, and an attempt at improving my running time in a bleep test once a week. Sunday is going to be a day of rest!
  3. Keep an eye on macros. I’ve not really kept much of an eye on exactly what I’m eating, so this week I’ll think a little bit more about hitting the ratios I planned at the start.

Shout out thanks to Jon Smith for keeping me accountable, and texting me daily to tell me to “put down the butter dish and walk away”. Check out his ace 5K running app at RunwithKick.com

 

Results

These are all updated live from a central database, so feel free to check back daily for updates…

Six kilos in six weeks: finishing what I started.

wpid-wp-1447062912089.jpgJust a warning, I’m going to be talking about weight loss, dieting and body image. If you struggle with your relationship with food, or have any self image difficulties, you may find it hard to read.

Weight graphGetting healthier

I’ve been taking a more proactive approach to my health over the last two years. Amongst over achievements, I have:

  • Lost around 16kg (Around 2 stone, 8 lb) – 18% of my entire weight.
  • Dropped my BMI from 28 (Nearly obese) to 23 (Middle of normal).
  • Started running – and competing in a weekly 5K at runwithkick.com.
  • Taken part in my first Triathlon.

My “magic” technique

There’s an old cycling adage that holds a lot of truth:

You get fit on the bike;
but you lose weight in the kitchen.

I’ve always been fairly active, walking and cycling around Sheffield’s hills, but I’ve also always been completely able to eat a large pizza, followed by a large tub of Ben & Jerry’s.

The simple fact of the matter is, to lose weight, you need to eat less calories than your body is using. There needs to be a deficit. Thanks to calorie counting, a few lifestyle hacks, and a general awareness of the fact that its better to be fit than full, the weight has steadily come off.

Not quite there yet

Unfortunately, as the graph above shows, it easily goes back on. Whilst overall I’ve made a steady progress, I’m keen to skip to the end now. I’ve been aiming for 65kg for several years, and I’m planning a final push.

That would take my BMI to just under 22, and, I estimate, leave me with little enough belly fat that a six pack would emerge.

Why bother?

Last night, I came across an article by a chap who has lost around 40kg, and I showed his progress photo (below) to Katherine (my lovely wife), asking: “If you could choose, which body would I have?”. We’ve both come a long way over the last few years in opening up, and talking in a healthy weight about diet, about calories, and about fitness – I’m proud that she knows she can answer a question like that honestly, without hurting me.

She chose the second from right image. Mildly muscular, low body fat.

4dZcALk - Imgur

Now, I have a healthy weight at the moment. I’m fairly happy with how I look, how I feel, and how I weigh. But I’ve always wondered how it would feel to be a bit more slim and muscular. And there is no shame in wanting to look sexy for your wife: frankly, it’s my duty.

DSC_0252The plan

I’m aiming to lose 1kg a week (around 2.2lb). This is a healthy amount of weight loss to aim for – its recommended in the NHS Weight Loss guide. I will do this by maintaining a calorie deficit of around 1,000 calories a day.

For fitness, I imagine I will have a fair bit more muscle work to do at the end, but for now I’m going to carry on my normal running and cycling, but commit to completing the New York Times 7 Minute workout once a day.

I’m not a big believer than the macronutrient mix has a huge impact on metabolism; but I do know that protein makes me feel full more easily than carbs, which helps to hit calorie deficit goals. I’m going to be aiming for roughly 40% protein, 20-30% fat and 30-40% carbs.

Support me!

Encouragement is very helpful to me. Kind words, fat jokes, comments on how ridiculous I look in those cycling socks – anything with a spirit of “I’m behind you!” would be great. Feel free to text me, facebook me, tweet me; comments on the blog are especially nice to get.

If you want advice about making lifestyle changes yourself, drop me a message.

Results

I’ll be doing a weekly update post, but I’m going to keep track of some key stats below.

One finding I’m expecting is that my basal metabolic rate may be higher than I give myself allowance for. This will show itself in me losing weight faster than planned. If so, I may need need to increase my daily calorific intake by 100-200kcal. I can definitely cope with having to eat a chocolate bar.

I may also find that I run out of abdominal fat after 4 or 5 kilos. If so, I’ll stop.