I’ve written this up after my post on the Lonely Goat Facebook group chat that kind of went bonkers it had something to do with the two pictures of me 365 days apart and how I managed to do it so I hope this helps.
A couple of things. This is how I did it. It’s not going to be the answer but it might help. It’s not easy. Shit it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Looking at myself honestly and with out lying to myself took me to some places that I had forgotten and wasn’t proud of. I’ve lost some of the bad influences and destructive people in my life too but am I sad? No life goes on and I’m better off without those negative influences.
It was on the 15 the Feb 2021 that I sat down with my wife and did a video for a good friend of ours for his 50th Birthday. I had just got back from a trip to Ireland working and was in a pretty good mood. I set up the camera and had a good laugh recording the message.
We replayed the video on the TV and it struck me and my wife just how, and I’ve got no other way of putting this, fat I looked. I looked old and fat. That was me, I didn’t like what I saw and that was the moment I said to myself. Things just have to change.
I’m sure we have all gone through this sort of thing before, I know I have at least 3 times and it always started the same kind of way but for some reason this time it felt different. I had an idea this time that I needed to try to lose the weight but in a different manner than the times I’ve tried before. This time I wanted the change to last.
I think the biggest change this time is I decided that it wasn’t as much a diet as a lifestyle/habit change that was required. I didn’t diet I changed who I was. This came about after reading a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I realised that I needed to make small adjustments to my habits for a long term gain and could apply this to losing the weight and getting fitter.
The first thing was to lose all the crap food that I snaked on constantly, no crisps in the house no Jaffa Cakes no chocolate. We bought healthy food, fruit to snack on and most of all I logged every thing I ate in Myfitnesspal app. I paid for this to make a financial commitment, it’s part of making habits stick, and bought a set of scales. I weighed and logged everything and started to weigh myself everyday on a set of scales that connected to my phone and the app.
I started to see the weight coming off but I knew that I’ve got this far before. My next step was to sign up for an online diet, this was also part of the habit book, become accountable. By joining something like Slimming world, weight watchers and in my case Noom I became accountable for what it was I wanted to achieve. I also paid a fair sum to make it financially painful to fail! The Noom course cost me £90 for 6 months but I made the commitment and that was important.
So far I had made my diet a financial commitment and made it accountable I now needed to reinforce and that was by making it obvious. My fridge became full of health foods I also signed up for a food delivery service Gousto I did this as we got 4 meals a week that were new interesting and above all healthy. They were good sizes and gave an idea as to what a portion should look like. This made dieting more fun. I don’t know about you but we were trying to diet and ended up eating probably the same 5 meals all the time and after a month we just got bored so this helped keep it interesting and saved that time when we would just think I’ve got no idea what I want to eat fuck it lets get a Chinese! We stopped buying the crap processed foods that we used to buy and this meant that food choices become obvious and healthy!
My biggest change and habit to break was the alcohol. I’ve always relied on booze to get my head in a better place after a shit day at work. I knew it didn’t help but that’s never the point. So I made it difficult to drink. I hid all the beer and other booze and just stopped drinking. I know if I saw a bottle of wine or a 4 pack of beer I would drink it so I didn’t have it anywhere I could get to it easily. I made a choice when I was away to call myself a non alcohol drinker too. I now enjoy a pint or two not to numb the crap day but to socialise and savour the dizzy affects don’t interest me anymore and I can’t remember the last time I woke up feeling shit!
It was about this time that I also realised that just dieting was OK but it was time to start moving. Now I love reading and music, so to get myself moving I made a pact to myself. I would only listen to music while walking and then the break through. I started to listen to books while walking. I got an audio book account and picked a couple of books and started to walk and listen. It’s quite a thing when you thinkI’ll just walk a bit further because I want to finish this chapter! This is known as habit stacking. Find something you like and add it to something you want to do and it worked brilliantly for me.
So far so good. Now for the difficult bit. I usually self destruct by this time and I knew I needed to get through it. It was time to get to the real issue. Mental health. It’s easy to say oh I got fat because of one reason or another but in my case I deep down knew it was because I had such a poor self image. I was happy being a fat old bloke with dodgy knees, iffy indigestion , crap sleep, snoring etc. It’s what I was and what I deserved to be as that was the way I saw myself. From the age of 16 I have suffered from bouts of depression and self destruction I would set myself up to fail and feel that I was right I was useless and didn’t deserve anything. Over the 40 years I’ve done the manly thing and ignored it and got on with life but this time I just had to do something about it. So I did.I got help I understood what was going on and got to the root of the issue. I won’t bore you with the process but what I would say is for me it was probably the most important thing was to understand why I had this desire to fail and didn’t deserve to be anything other than what I was. You may be different but I would seriously look into your soul and find what it is that stops you from succeeding in changing your life. There are actually no reasons not to succeed.
I started walking about 5k every day. I was locked down in France, not a requirement, but I took the one hour a day allowed and walked every day for 30 days around a 5k course and up and down the stairs too, 7 flights 4 times a day. I never take a lift now unless I have heavy bags with me. I did start to feel a little fitter and had lost around 2 stone by now. It was a slow progress but I was lighter than I had been for many years and people started to notice. A few compliments makes you feel different and justifies the efforts! I got back from this 30 days and told my wife I’m going to do the couch to 5k thing.
I had tried this a few times and every time I got shin splints after week 3 and just gave up. I figured like so many I just can’t run as I’m too old and knackered for this. So this time I made a commitment I paid for an app. I bought a pair of proper running shoes and I told loads of people I’m doing this running thing. Off I went and this time I managed to complete the course. I think the walking Yoga and general conditioning before even starting to run made a big difference.
I then applied one more mind trick. I know someone who decided to run the New York marathon it was his goal to do one and he did it he got out there and trained even when the weather was awful but he did it no matter, he didn’t enjoy it. It was a goal some thing to achieve. He asked me the other day how come you do so many miles no matter, I told him I don’t run for a goal or for an achievement I run because I’m a runner! This is why I joined Lonely Goat Running Cluband bought the shirt to identify myself as a runner with a club. That’s it. Identify as a runner have no goal to achieve no finality just a set of achievements and improvements going for a 1% improvement in a PB or an extra 1% on the distance. It takes a bit of mental gymnastics but it is doable. I have no desire to enter the London Marathon I will at some point but it will be just because I can. I’m not training for it and I’ll probably run that distance for no other reason than I had a few hours to kill and I felt like it. My first Half marathon distance I ran because I wanted to finish a book my second I went sight seeing around Bermuda main island (22k round the coast) not for anything else. It’s great I do them in around 2:10 but I don’t worry about the pace I just get on as I’m a runner.
It’s been a bit of a long write up but short another ways but this is the final bit. I posted on Facebook after one year and it was the final part of the journey. Praise and understanding that you should be proud of your achievements no matter how small. This was my last hurdle in changing who I was. Accepting praise is something I have never done. I never felt what I did was anything special and that is true in all aspects of my life ask my friends and they will say how great I am and I still don’t recognise who they are talking about. So to post something like that to the internet was a massive step and I was expecting the usual couple of like and I could say told you not that good. I didn’t expect the response I got and it’s completed my journey so thank you all.
- My indigestion has cleared up.
- I fit in aircraft seats better.
- I can buy nice clothes in a small or medium fit.
- Blood pressure is lower.
- Heart rate lower
- Back pain gone.
- and one more, bedroom gymnastics is much better, and more frequent 😉
I’ll finish with a list of how to do this.
- Make a commitment, financial to friends but make it painful to fail.
- Make it obvious. Buy health foods, get them delivered, more cost I know but see above.
- Make the bad things difficult, don’t buy crap food, tell people you don’t drink.
- Count every calorie and weigh all foods.
- Habit stack your exercise. Find something you like and only do it while exercising
- Sort your head out.
- Don’t set goals set changes and identify as a healthy person.
- Celebrate your success!
- 1% improvements are measurable and accumulate into big improvements.
- Be a Blue Goat. Blue goats are the best and succeed in life.
My fitness routine includes Yoga most days running 4-5 days a week I do around 30-45k a week at the moment. I do not have a real target at the moment but l seem to be running a little longer distances just for fun. I do some core workouts 3-4 times a week and some strength training too I’ve been doing some pilates too just to try it out and find it good too. I think it’s important to mix it up as stronger all over helps and as I get older I need all the help I can get. Finally I meditate every day, sometimes for only 10 minutes but I find that calming my mind and letting the world go by helps too. How do I fit it all in. I’m in bed by 10 up around 6-6:30 and don’t beat myself up if I miss a day. I mean it took me 40 years to start so a day off won’t kill me.
I’m now 57 I’m an engineer and work away from home most of the time. I’m often away for 18 days then home for 9 and then back. I work all over Europe and live in hotels and eat out every night I’m away. I have a brain that never switched off and I’m a worrier. Details matter and things have to be in order. I will wake up at 02:00 with a solution to a problem and a plan to fix it. My loving wife often refers to me as her project, she worked in mental health all her life and accepted me for what I was! I have a high IQ and learn fast and get bored faster which is why I start things and never finish I get bored. I taught myself to read music and play a guitar, put it down and never played again done that didn’t like it. I’m not particularly good at socialising, people know fast if I don’t like them. I’m not great at reading people. How ever I’m a kind person and will help out anyone in need, I’ve taken in friends of friends and got them help and will most often drop everything to go and do something for someone but never ask for help.
Basically I’m a bit of a fuck up but believe it or not running seems to have helped it has given me something I didn’t realise I needed. I don’t know what it is and I’m glad because if I understood it I’d probably stop doing it! Enough of this I’ve read it back and it seems like one of those things that I’ve read and thought what a load of bollocks!
Well have a go see if it helps and good luck and don’t forget You are awesome!!