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My personal weight loss and diet blog

Before dieting After dieting

Blog start: - Mid Aug 2012. "Our general view on diets: - GET FIT, Stay fit by regular exercise, Eat plenty of fruit and veg - and forget about diets altogether."

Having earlier said the above in our weight help page, I have now been advised by my doctor to lose weight. I've had a series of blood tests for Cholesterol, as there's a family history of high levels. My reading is over 6, with Triglycerides at 3.7, but I want to avoid having to take Statins if at all possible. My doctor says there's a reasonably good chance I can avoid them if I lose 2 stone.
I feel writing this blog will keep me focused.


August 28th. Here I am, 3 years after starting the diet, and my weight hasn't changed in 5 months from the poor 13st 6lbs I has let it creap back up to in March. Again I'll blame lack of exercise and very poor time management on my part. I'm not organising my day/week well enough to allow for the necessary ( and it IS necessary ) exercise. Arthritis isn't helping, but, having read about the side effects of longer-term 'pill' anti-inflammatories I'm deliberately taking less, and looking for, and trialling, more natural, traditional, remedies.
I'm currently taking curcumin & glucosamine sulphate but it's not proving as good at pain relief so far as Diclac pills & glucosamine. My thumb is also playing up - the De Quervain's Tendinosis is back despite my totally giving up fencing in March.
On a more positive note, I've managed to eliminate sugar from the soya milk I take by substituting 3 artificial saccharin sweetners per litre in place of the 7% sugar that the 'sweetened soya' version has. I know that saccharin in even moderate amounts is bad for me, but it's still better than the 2 oz of sugar it's replacing. My aim is now to get down to 2 saccharin sweetners per litre, or to try Stevia or another healthier sweetner that won't add to the chalories. My next set of blood checks is due. I'm not expecting wonderful results, though the 'healthy fats' part of my diet has increased, while I think I've lowered the 'unhealthy fats', so hopefully the HDL to LDL ratio will be good, and the Triglyceride number lowered.

March 30th 2015. Not good at all. At 13st 6lbs I'm in danger of becoming one of the 97%-98% of people who, having lost a large amount of weight initially, have put it ALL back on inside 3 years.
So what has gone wrong, and is going wrong ?
Firstly - plain and simple lack of exercise. Since Xmas I've been promising myself to do more walking and exercise generally, but laziness, "being too busy with other things", feeling cold and feeling sore because of arthritis in my toes and feet has stopped me. This shows a distinct lack of will-power and will have to change.
My wrist hasn't improved enough, and I've had to sit out the rest of the fencing season. I've visited a specialist who has diagnosed De Quervain's Tendinosis, a swollen tendon problem located where the tendons at the bottom of the thumb go through the wrist bones. I've had a Cortisone injection, my first for 8 years, but if I have pain returning there within 8 months I'm looking at surgery to increase the gap in the wrist bones. The solution might be to give up fencing, but I like the sport and social contact it gives, so I'll do so reluctantly if I have to.

My latest blood results are back too, and they make very poor reading. Overall Cholesterol back up at 6.2, and Triglycerides back up to 3.2, almost double the 1.8 I had managed to get them down to in Dec. 2013. My diet hasn't been disasterously bad, as, although 2300/2600 cals per day, I'm eating quite a lot of healthy fats like oily fish and extra virgin olive oil. But I'm still adding sugar to my soya milk, and eating large portions of starchy food like potatoes, bananas and rice, and I'm probably eating too much fruit and not enough veg in my "5 a day". I'm exploring sugar substitutes to completely eliminate sugar from my soya milk, but still leave it drinkable for tea and cereal use.
So it's now a choice of 3 courses of action.
[1] Do nothing and slowly slip back into risk of blood pressure/bad heart health/overweight problems
Or [2]Eat less and calorie control my eating to get back under 2000/2200 calories a day
Or [3] Eat the same amount and get moving to lose it through exercise.

Dec.12th. Another Xmas looms large, and I haven't managed to shift any more weight in the last 5 months. But I haven't put on any either, and it's getting relatively easy to resist the temptations of sugar. For instance I've started buying un-sweetened Soya milk instead of the sweetened version I had been doing, and adding my own sugar to it. This I started doing when I read the side of the carton and realized that the sweetened stuff was 7% sugar. Not only that, but probably white refined sugar too - the most dangerous sort. So I started adding brown and demerara sugars to the unsweetened soya, and now I only use 3 heaped teaspoons for a litre carton. It's probably less than one third the amount.
So, Xmas to get over, and my doctor says I can start training at fencing again after the New Year, once my wrist injury settles down. It now looks like tendon trouble rather than arthritis, so that's a positive.

Aug 8th. An apology to those following this. Having been really busy over the summer I have really only 2 things to report. Firstly - I haven't put on any weight at all. Great !!! But secondly, I haven't lost any more weight either, in spite of regular walking, and jogging, of between 5 and 10km per week. My weight now seems to fluctuate in a narrow band at between 12st 12lbs and 13st 1lb.
Approaching the "2 year anniversary" of the start of this weight loss programme, I'd like to be able to step on the weighing scales on Sept 1st with 2 stones off from my starting weight. - I'd really like to be well and truly in "The 5%"
According to the International Journal of Obesity, having lost 5 stones or more, 95% to 98% of people have it ALL back on inside 3 years. 65% have it all back on inside the first year, so I've got over one small hurdle. Although I've lost, and had to lose, a lot less, I can't afford to gain more weight in the next year. 13 stones has to be my new maximum weight limit, with a target to lose another half stone.

May 18th. After breaking through 13st again I felt really bad about my lack of control, and about "letting things slip" so was determined to really start again to do something about it. Having said in my last entry that I was going to walk 10 km a week, I can now report that I've walked an average of 2km a day since the 3rd. (just over 16km in the last 7 days). And it's showing results. I'm back down to 12st 9lbs this morning, despite having had two 3000 calorie days this week.
The first was Balmoral show with Diane, and was an excuse to try out dozens of free samples of every type of rich food, - and multiple craft beers and ciders. Then yesterday was a cake sale, followed by a "try out what we bought at the show, and the sale" evening with friends, including some lovely premium cider and home made tray-bake buns. At least 3000 cals consumed, possibly 3500, but that's why I'm extra happy with this morning's weight.
So, I'm going to stick with walking, and now have mentally got into a "set aside time for walking" frame of mind for the early evenings. I have now upped my target to 14km a week, ( 2km a day average from 1.5km) since I know I can achieve this.

May 3rd. I've put on another 4½ lbs in the last 5 weeks, and now am back over 13st. I should be ashamed of my poor lack of control. I'm not doing enough exercise, and I'm eating too much. I'm not eating very much of the wrong things, but I'm just eating too much. Too much bread, potato and starch. But at least I've avoided, to a large extent, sugar and booze. I've only had 1 pint in the last 2 months.
Time for some serious effort. I've set myself a target of walking 10km averaged over the week. So 1½ km a day should be easily achievable, even with the arthritis in my toes. 25 mins should do it, maybe less.

Mar 31st. Almost April and I'm still stuck at 12st 10lbs. Late nights helping give my daughter ( who wants to be a vet ) lambing shift practice should be burning off calories and weight. But it's cold at night, and I'm eating because of that - making up for the extra energy used. The farm workers on "lambing live" on BBC2 don't seem to have that problem, so it must be me and my attitude and will-power that's at fault. I've also started nibbling chocolate again, having stopped for a couple of weeks. Sugar-free gum this week then - definitely !!!

Mar 15th 2014. St Patrick's day coming up, and although I'm starting to get more exercise, as I'm feeding cattle I've bought, I'm not taking enough. Or at least not enough for what I'm eating. Although the amount of chocolate I'm now eating is minimal, I seem to have replaced it in my diet with fruit. Not bad in itself, but the fruit I've started to nibble in increasing quantities is black seedless grapes. They are probably the worst fruit from a calorie point of view, as they are high in fructose sugar.
I took my daughter to a "qualifying to be a fencing coach" day in Belfast today, and I'm really missing not being able to fence. But I've yet to find an alternative sport where you don't need your hands, other than football, which I can't really play because of my dodgy big toes. Walking it's going to have to be, or eating less, or the weight's going to stay on and increase. I'm up slightly from last month to 12st 10lbs this morning.

Feb.23rd 2014. Having mentioned my weight loss on Shaun Doherty's Highland Radio show, during his interview with Diane last Wednesday, it's only right that I should provide an update. It's "steady as she goes", in that I've managed to lose another pound to tip the scales now at 12st 9lbs. Not bad as I'm at home doing the cooking whilst Diane is modelling at her second show for Reuben P Joseph in London this weekend. I'm not eating any less, ( or more ) but I'm starting to take a little bit more exercise. It's not as much as I think I need to stay very healthy. I've managed to fit in a reasonably brisk circa 4km walk once a week, but would need much more - I'd say at least 2 more, of at least 2km each. I got the diagnosis that I didn't want about my wrist confirmed - degeneration of the carpal bones below my thumb, and osteoarthritis setting in. Although I still have to see a specialist, it looks at this stage that my Epee fencing days are done. So I'll need to take extra exercise to compensate for not training and fighting. I'm going to miss the camaraderie during and after tournaments - Irish and UK fencers are generally a nice bunch of people and, although a 'fighting' sport, there is a definite chivalry and good manners element to the sport that's very attractive.
With days starting to get longer, and farmwork restarting after a disasterously wet winter, I'm expecting to lose another few pounds if I can just avoid the sugar, HFCS and high calorie foods, and get fitter.
I've started chewing the odd piece of sugarfree gum - which I'm hoping will replace sweets whilst I'm at marts buying cattle this spring.

Jan 29th 2014. It's cold, and wet, and horrible. Rain and wind, although we're lucky in that we seldom get snow. But it's cold sitting in the office, and when you're cold you want to eat more. Bigger volumes, and you get sugar cravings. I'm nibbling the odd seedless grape for my sugar boost. Although not the best fruit to have from a calorie point of view, for me it's better than the alternative, which would be nibbling chocolate or sweets. A friend has suggested I try sugar-free gum, as that would have 4 benefits - no calories, a sweet taste, aids digestion after meals by more producing stomach acid / indigestion neutralising saliva, and chewing supposedly boosts brain power and memory. I must try it, although I've always had a revulsion of spent chewing gum on pavements, or on the sole of your shoe. I'll be wrapping mine a binning it properly !
Enough rambling. I avoided the dreaded 13st, and my weight has decreased again to 12st 10lbs. Perhaps Operation Transformation on RTE is having an effect. I find myself identifying with Paudie, the ex Kerry Football star, who just let himself go. I know I can shift weight, but it's finding the will power it takes. It's not easy - but it can be done. And I must take more exercise. Fencing is good for my keep-fit, but because of suspected gout in my toes, and suspected arthritis in my wrist, fencing has taken a back seat. So I must start training again, even if I don't fight as much. Exercise and calorie control - but one's no good without the other.

Dec.31st. 2013. New Year's Eve, and I'm feeling like a bloated whale after stepping on the scales this morning. 12st 13¼ lbs - ALMOST 13 STONES !!!! Christmas has been a disastrous mix of sitting around doing little, while a constant drip-feed of high sugar chocolate sweets, bars, biscuits and buns has added to the seasonal calorie pile-on of puddings with every dinner. Going away for a couple of days to a hotel over Christmas didn't help either. Kee's food was excellent, and more-ish. A bottle of wine a day didn't help either. On a couple of occasions I overate to the extent that I knew I had by feeling so full. That's bad !!!! It's showing a lack of willpower, and a loss of self discipline. Although I keep saying I must regain control I'm failing to do so.
I read in today's Daily Telegraph that scientists have re-enforced their research findings that high levels of HDL cholesterol along with low levels of LDL cholesterol, especially in middle age, reduce the formation of Alzheimer's brain plaques. Yet another reason to regain control of my diet.
Avoid trans-fats (chip-shop fast food, and shop bought, mass produced cakes and biscuits). Avoid sugar (especially white refined sugar). Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup ( in all it's many disguises ). Avoid saturated fat ( unless healthy saturated fat like milk fat from grass fed cattle ).
Eat more Oats and Oat bran, Walnuts, Almonds and other Nuts, Avocado, Olive oil, Pears, Apples, Red Kidney Beans, Prunes, Barley and Wholegrains, Fatty fish, green leafy vegetables esp. Broccoli and Fruit when I want something sweet.
Now ! All I have to do is stick to this ! Roll on the New Year, and roll off the fat !

Dec.9th. Weight slowly creeping up again. 12th 9lbs first thing this morning, and my youngest daughter has, quite honestly, pointed out that my gut has noticeably expanded. Now that winter is in, what's left of my livestock is indoors, so I'm not getting any exercise walking about through fields checking them. Feeding takes 10 mins, twice a day, whereas checking them all at grass would have taken an hour and a half. When you count it in calories burnt, that's probably an extra 250 or so, which means that I should be eating 250 less per day.
But it's cold, and I feel cold, and nothing instantly warms you up like hot, sweet, drinks. Drinks with real, calorie-laden sugar, not aspartame ! And nothing fills you up like good meat filled, but also calorie filled, dinners - it's just too cold for salads. Calories are little units of energy, and your body uses most of them for heat and movement, - I'm just not moving enough, or not moving around enough in the cold.
I've a choice to make though. Eat less, or move more. It's as simple as that. Get walking, or exercising again in earnest. ( I've had to quit fencing for now at least, as my wrist is scuppered for about 2 days after any length of time spent on the piste fighting, although I do suppose I should still be doing the training for it. That said I'd be a solitary figure exercising while everybody else is fighting )
But I HAVE to do something ! Sitting at the computer all day is not an option for health.

Nov.10th 12th 7¼ lbs this morning, but this has been a very up and down 3 weeks. Around Oct 28th I was 12th 11lbs, threatening to break 13st. Just plain overeating was doing it. Very big helpings rather than anything with HFCS or sugar, and eating an extra bit going to bed late at night. Loads of peanuts, and other nuts, because of Halloween helped pile on another couple of pounds. Cold wet weather didn't help, as that stopped me taking a certain amount of exercise - and you have to watch what calories you eat AND burn them off. Then I got angry with myself around the start of the month. I went for a couple of days eating half portions of main meals, and filling up with nibbling fruit like small oranges, apples and bananas, and bits of raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli from the fridge. The result was a drop of 7lbs in a week, to 12th 4. Having now taken my foot off that accelerator, I've put on a few pounds again.
But I'll have to be careful, and try to match my calorie intake with the energy I'm using. I was bemused by listening to Sir Ranulph Fiennes on a late night chat show telling how he'd consumed 5000 calories a day on one of his polar expeditions, but still lost a huge amount of weight because he was burning 8500. He doesn't look as if he's ever had a problem dieting !

Oct 18th. After almost a month of stable eating, avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup and white sugar, and not too much booze or chocolate, my weight is 12th 6lbs this morning. I've had another cholesterol test taken. Avoiding HFCS and sugar really is showing. My Triclycerides are now at a wonderful 1.2, although my overall cholesterol level is up again at 6.2. My doctor's not overly worried though, as he says that it's "good" HDL that's increasing, not the bad, sticky and artery clogging LDL. He recommended that I avoid high purine proteins though, to combat the continued gout type problems I still have in my toes, so I'm replacing oily fish in my diet with vegetables in olive oil, and eating a little less lamb, beef and turkey, going for a little more white fish and a few more vegetables. I've also started to add oat bran to my breakfast cereal, to help combat constipation, - and because it helps lower cholesterol.

Sept 23rd. The inflammation in my foot has started up again, so my doctor has prescribed more NSAIDs. The only trouble with these is that they result in constipation. I could also be retaining fluid. At least that's my reasoning for gaining 4lbs from the middle of last week when I saw the doc, to 12th 9½ by this morning. I haven't been overdoing it eating wise - except for a couple (and only a couple) of desserts. Mind you they both had loads of cream, and were very sugary.
1 year on from going below 14st and I'm still fighting to keep a regular, stable, weight.

Sept 11th After a stable fortnight eating-wise, my weight's 12th 6lbs this morning. Things are starting to wind down on the farm, so I'll have to watch out as sitting, not exercising, and snacking while doing these, are going to be my enemies over the winter. But at least my inflammation flare up has died down.

August 25th. Over 3 weeks since my last entry, and I really must try to keep up with what's happening, or not, with my weight battle. As a favour to a retired doctor who's a friend, I've promised to keep a daily food diary, listing what I eat and in what amounts. This isn't for weight control or monitoring purposes, but rather as a study of vitamin content and uptake - how much of the vitamins I'm eating are actually being used/metabolised and showing up in my blood. But there will be an approximate calorie count as well, so I intend adding the daily food intake here to the blog.
I've had another 'medical' problem develop since last writing too. About 12 days ago my right big toe joint swelled up, became red and inflamed, and I went to my usual health centre where a new doctor suspects gout. So I'm just finished a course of steroids and anti-inflammatories, with a uric acid test to come in 6 weeks time. I must say the steroids are mood-lifters, and seem to have worked very quickly. Thankfully I haven't felt the need to over-eat, although side effects can occur for up to 6 weeks according to the literature with the pills. Nor have I retained fluid, and my weight is still 12th 7lbs

August 3rd. My worst fear about last week came to pass. Confronted as I was by loads of small cakes, sugar-iced buns, fizzy drinks and chocolates I gave in and tucked in. With even the fruit salad/trifles having loads of cream I quickly put in 3 days of over 3000 cals, and by Friday I'd put on 4 lbs. Having cleared all the sweet tuck out of the way, mostly through my eating it, I had to make amends. So this week I've been very good, coming back down to a 1800-2000cal a day pattern. With most of my family on a short holiday, I'm in control of the cooking. Which means that I can get away with overloading the vegetables on to 6 oz servings of meat, whilst avoiding carbohydrate starch foods like bread and potatoes. Atkins actually works very well in the short-term. Especially if you're counting calories at the same time. 12th 6¾ lbs first thing.

July 20th. Having avoided a baby-shower party yesterday, I'm now confronted with stacks of leftover food. Much of which is high sugar and high calorie. The "it's a shame to waste good food with people in the world starving" in me will probably win out over the "you know it'll put weight on you". All my life I've avoided waste - probably because I've been brought up by parents who've known World War 2, and Economic War, rationing, and who didn't waste anything.
Even though I've had a stable week, I'm going to find myself fighting the 2 lbs extra that finishing these leftovers will inevitably put on next week.

July 13th. Hot weather to the rescue ! After 10 days of 25C plus, with NO BEER OR CIDER, only a little wine, and loads of diet drinks and pints of diluted orange, and blackcurrant squash, I'm gaining control again. Eating salad is helping a lot too. I'm not adding fatty bacon bits or grated cheese, and I'm avoiding high fat dressings like mayo and Heinz salad dressing. Instead I squirt a little JIF lemon juice on my salad leaves if I want a bit of tangy sharpness, with sometimes mixing lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil for flavour.
I must have sweated a bucket load at Thursday night's fencing. I know I drank 3 pints of water after finishing work before going out to practice, and I hadn't to pee once ! Overall result - I'm now 12th 5¾ again. Long may the hot weather continue !

June 28th. After a particularly big day's eating, including sponge cake, chocolate, wine and a large battered fish and chips supper, I'm 12th 10¾ lbs. I'm losing this battle again. I must avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and large amounts of high calorie fat !!!!!

June 25th. 12th 8lbs. A weekend of having Diane to myself, with both girls away for a couple of days, inspired a rich food and wine blowout. Why do calories taste so nice ?

May. 28th. Back in control at 12th 5lbs, although it's taken a couple of days working in the garden, with weed spraying, lawn mowing with a walk-after mower, and lifting / shifting rocks and bricks to build flower beds. This physical work and making sure I didn't overeat to compensate for the extra 600 or 700 calorie burn-off, must have shifted 3 or 4 lbs. I've a sore back tonight though, so probably won't do as much tomorrow. But I'll still eat 2300 cals.

May 22nd. As a follow-up experiment, I weighed myself before going to bed, and then stepped on the scales first thing this morning on rising. The difference was 1½ lbs. This shows that to be sure that you are getting a fully accurate picture, you need to weigh yourself at the same time, under the same conditions, each day you weigh.

May 17th. After a week of being in control, a funeral tea full of rich sandwiches, sticky buns and sugar coated cakes, and a couple of fish supper takeaways with a few pints has done damage. I've seen my weight creep up to 12th 9lbs again. I'll have to watch and count calories next week.
I made a funny discovery earlier this week. I weighed myself before and immediately after a shower, and discovered that I had lost an astonishing 1½ lbs. I'm putting it down to sweating whilst showering - I'm not THAT dirty :-)

May 7th. Bank Holiday over, including a fish supper for lunch and 3 tubes of Chewits whilst standing round a cattle ring in Carndonagh mart yesterday. 12th 6lbs today, so within my 'limits', although my wife probably rescued the weekend by making salads for dinner. I must get another couple of pounds off before my blood tests !

April 30th. It's frightening how quickly weight can go on, and last week's scare has shown me just how easy it would be to 'accidentally' lose control. Having watched what I was eating and choosing low sugar options where possible, I'm back to 12th 6½ lbs. I'm convinced avoiding sugar and fructose/glucose syrup is the key: - I've eaten both beef fat and olive oil in the last couple of days and still lost weight.
I've more blood tests coming up, just to be sure, as my doctor wants to be doubly sure that the last set weren't a 'once-off'.

April 25th. After a disastrous few days (from an eating point of view) I'm 12th 10lbs this morning. A very relaxed, very long lazy weekend saw me, as well as 'normal' eating, drink 3 bottles of red wine, eat 4 bars of chocolate, eat almost half a pound of Cashel Blue cheese, crackers, chocolate cake, 2 big bags of Tayto crisps, and 2 helpings of trifle and full cream. I must have averaged 3500+ cals a day, but now the weighbridge is showing me the effects of such a monster lapse of diet control. This is way above what I thought I would have put on, as I thought I'd be maybe 12th 7. I'll simply have to get a grip, or I'll balloon up to over 13st again. Fruit and veg to bulk up my meals is what's needed, avoiding the high sugar and very high fat food, and I simply must start to keep a food calorie diary again. I read this morning that just 4 cans a week of fizzy drinks will up your risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. That's the last thing a bigger person needs.

April 15th. I weighed in at 12th 4¼ this morning, so I'm not losing weight as fast as I'd hoped I would a month ago. The weather has improved and it's getting milder this week too, so I won't use as much energy just staying warm whilst outside.
I'm buying cattle to stock my farm now that grass growth has started. Hanging around the ringside at cattle markets, waiting to try to buy cattle, is a killer for diet. At the same time as not moving a lot, it's all too easy to constantly eat sweets to relieve boredom. Perhaps chewing sugar-free gum would be an alternative - I must give it a go rather than chew Oatfield chocolate covered toffees!

April 1st. I've survived my first Easter ever without a chocolate egg. Mind you I did have a big slice of chocolate cake, but managed not to over eat and was 12th 5½ lbs this morning. Well done me !

March 29th. This morning I've weighed in at exactly 12th 5 lbs. I've been eating between 2300 and 2800 cals a day for over a week, but haven't put on any weight. It's so cold outside that just doing my normal farmwork in zero temperature with a biting wind chill, is taking, by my reckoning, 300 cals more than it would in normal seasonal weather.
Avoiding a 3000+ calorie day this weekend might prove difficult. At Easter, or should that be "The Festival of Chocolate", I'd usually eat at least 3 supermarket size milk chocolate eggs, and some of those are 1000+ cals. Maybe my family won't buy them to me this year, as they know I give in to temptation all too easily.

March 27th. We had a family day out today to see the Titanic centre in Belfast, but I was determined to eat sensibly, so didn't make any unhealthy choices until tea time. Then we gave in to teenager pester power and stopped off at KFC on the way home. KFC have started to put up the calorie content of all their meals, which I like them doing. What I didn't like is that there's not a single meal option under 800 cals, and most "meal deals" are 1100+, so, to feel satisfied, even with a diet drink, I ate 1500+ cals, taking my daily total to 2800+

March 25th. Fought in the Irish National's Men's Epee yesterday, one of the "big 3" National competitions. A 2+ stone lighter (compared to March '12) version of me was much faster on my feet than last year. So, despite carrying a heavily strapped wrist because of injury, I finished inside the top 30 in a field of 47.

March 10th My weight this morning, on the digital scales, is 12th 7½ lbs. After a 10oz T-Bone steak for last night's dinner and a big glass of Tesco's "Simply Chianti" I think that's not too bad. Target loss for this week will be 1 ½ lbs, so hopefully I should be 12th 6lbs next Sunday morning.

March 3rd. Disaster ! My weighing scales aren't accurate. This last few weeks I thought I was keeping between 12th 4lbs and 12 st 8lbs. A new Weight Watchers scales arrived today, and I stepped on to compare the new bridge with mine. I'm 12th 9¾ lbs on the new scales, but only 12th 5lbs on the older scales ! I'm nearly 5lbs heavier than I thought I was, so it's back on the 2000 cals a day from tomorrow until I lose another five or seven pounds.

Feb.28th. Finally got the "before" and "after" pictures up, posing in my fencing gear, simply because the August picture was the most recent I had ! The 3" reduced belly is hard to pick up, but the losing of my chubby cheeks isn't.

Feb.12th. After spending 4 days away from home on business, and finding myself in a small town with the only one decent restaurant, I'm back. Mind you the restaurant in question was a Chinese, and had an excellent "all you can eat", choice of 80 foods, buffet at €15.90. Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Duck, Pork, Veg - raw and cooked, rice, potato, 20+ fish and shellfish, cakes, fruit - raw and cooked, and pastries. In order to "do it justice" I ate very small breakfasts, a banana and fresh bread roll from the supermarket, and then just had the buffet at 7pm. Feeling really hungry, I was tempted to eat really fast, but countered this by choosing a small salad as a starter and finishing this before going up for the main courses. Following up on what I wrote earlier about taking 20 mins for your stomach's "I'm full" message to reach your brain, I kept going back for small helpings of more food, making sure I finished everything on the plate before getting any more, and thus taking longer to eat. I also deliberately avoided everything which I thought contained "high fructose corn syrup" and sugar, and I stopped as soon as I felt full.
I'm delighted to report that, despite eating lots of food, with some of it very high fat, that when I stepped on my scales this morning I haven't gained any weight at all. - 12th 6lbs.

Feb.2nd. I've noticed that I now have lost much of the 'craving' (if it could be described as such) for snacking during the day between meals. As a result I now go into meals feeling hungry, and there's a temptation to eat too much, too quickly, if I'm in a hurry. I deliberately try to eat slowly, so I feel fuller having eaten less. If I can't 'spare the time' to eat slowly, I try to leave the table feeling that I could have eaten more. I've been reading various pieces on stomach enzyme to brain communication.
Although the vagus nerve sends a "you're filling up" signal almost immediately from stomach to brain, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to pick up the CKK Hormone released that says "I'm satisfied that I AM full - STOP EATING !" This explains, for me anyway, why so many workers I see who eat fast, like lorry drivers and those with shorter lunch breaks, tend to be heavier.

Jan. 30th. I'm a bit more relaxed about watching everything I'm eating, having kept my weight between 12th 5lbs and 12th 7lbs for the last fortnight. I fenced the Northern Irish Open Men's Epee on Sunday, and came a respectable 20th out of 28. One of my opponents, who beat me 5 - 0 last year, but who I beat this year, commented "you're quicker at getting out of the road of an attack". It's true - the extra weight off is making a difference in my foot speed and overall stamina, and I'm seeing this. If only it did the same for wrist and hand speed !

Jan. 16th. I simply must get around to the "before" and "after" pictures for this page. My local pharmacist noticed my weight loss today (hello Rachel) which made me happy. People who are deliberately trying to lose weight need and appreciate encouragement, be that a "well done" or a "you're looking well". Now 12th 6lbs. Slow and steady weight loss again, 2000 cals a day until I get to 12th 4lbs, and then I can 'relax' into a 2300 - 2400cal eating pattern again. I'm a healthy weight at under 12th 7lbs, so that has to be the target to keep to.

Jan.12th. 12th 7lbs first thing. So I'm back in control, but only just. I've now got to keep this up, without slipping into "bad days" of high calorie eating. I'll have to carry on nibbling the cheese in mouse size portions. The fridge has been restocked with veg again, so at least I have a healthy, low calorie choice if I want a snack.
The Northern Irish Fencing Open is coming up too. I've gotta get fit, or I'll finish last !

Jan.2nd. The New Year's Eve party had great [ read across:- just too tempting ] food, the wine was good and freely available, and the scales show another pound has crept back on. 12th 10lbs. There's still a load of lovely cheeses to be eaten, but I simply must get back in control. Avoid the white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) foods at all costs. High calories from fats are metabolised differently than those 'empty' calories from sugars, HFCS and alcohol. A 2000 cals target, with 2200 cals max for the next few days should do it. I might even get some of the cheese mountain eaten, but it must be counted for ! The fridge has been restocked too with vegetables and fruit, which will help.

Dec.30th. Xmas over, and my weight has now gone up to 12th 9lbs. I've actually had someone say that they saw that I have weight back on :-(
Lack of exercise is as much to blame as overeating. Sitting in watching too much TV with my family, and playing board games, and not doing any physical or farm work or playing sport or going for walks has probably reduced my daily calorie burn by 300 - 400 cals. A little extra booze, some chocolate, and a lot of very nice, but very high calorie cheese has also increased my calorie intake by 500 cals a day over this last week. One more big party to go, and then the New Year has to kick in with controlled cal intake and more exercise. I'll have to definitely start keeping the calorie diary again.

Dec 24th. 12th 6lbs at weighing first thing this morning :-(
Not at all good. If I'm going to keep to this 'end of the festive season' target weight I'm going to have to be so very very careful over the next few days. But there's just so much lovely chocolate and booze that has arrived as presents - stuff that in other years I'd have wolfed down.
I've now got 2 choices - whether to not eat and relax, or to eat and drink, but exercise a lot to burn up the weight and take it off. I can see a couple of long walks, and lots of block chopping, coming up !

Dec. 19th. 1am in the morning and I'm working late again. It's sooooo tempting to have a nibble of something sweet and sugary, but that's what often causes the extra calorie intake that leads to the pounds creeping on. First Xmas events now over, and apart from a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie, nothing food wise was forced in my direction. 12th 3lbs, but a couple of 'big nights' in a row coming up. And the party's host can't be seen to be avoiding the food on offer. I'm targeting no more than 3 lbs gain by Dec.23rd, and no more than 5 lbs by Jan 2nd. Just avoid the sugar, Fructose, and large amounts of Cheese and Choc. Gotta be able to have a drink though ;-)

Dec. 14th. The saying goes "be careful what you wish for: - you might just get it".
After 2 days of the Winter bug that's doing the rounds I've really lost weight ! (One of the local hospital had to cancel everything except emergencies.) I stepped on the scales this morning and I'm 12th 1lb. Now over the vomiting and really watery diahorrea I'm just about back to feeling ok, but Wed. evening was terrible, and yesterday wasn't great either. I'm eating normally today, but I feel I'd have coped better if I had had a bit more "weight to stand against the infection". I normally fight colds, flu and bugs on my feet, but this sent me to bed. Maybe it's time to stop losing weight, and start keeping at what I'm at.
Having lost weight at 2000 cals a day, I might now try keeping to "under 12th 7lbs" by allowing myself 2400 cals (and under). At least I'm now in a position to be able to attend a couple of functions this week and next, and not feel I have to count calories. That said, I'm not so stupid as to realize that a couple of days eating and drinking normally, without bug, won't put on again what the bug took off, as I re-hydrate. But a glass of wine, and a bit of cheese or chocolate, or both, or just a couple of bigger portions, will be nice.
I see that Nigella Lawson's losing weight by calorie counting, but she's eating the same stuff in much smaller portions, rather than avoiding high cals as I did.

Dec. 11th. The blood results are back. Cholesterol is 4.8 - a really good result and now within the "safe" range according to my doctor. The Triglycerides are at an astonishing to everyone level of only 1.8. An absolutely brilliant result, and it definitely shows what cutting calories by mostly reducing white sugar and "high fructose corn syrup" foods can do to the levels of this most dangerous of blood fats. It should mark a lifestyle change, but this result is so low I now feel I must research this more. And I still haven't lost my sweet tooth and desire for things chocolate. I'm also resolving to get a couple of "before and after" pictures to add to this blog. Can I lose more a few more pounds?

Dec.8th. Well and good: - the blood samples are away on Tuesday morning, so now I have to wait until next week until my results come back. I've managed to get a few more pounds off, and entered the Clinic on Tuesday morning weighing 12th 6lbs. My doctor is delighted with my degree of weight loss, and says that it should really show with reductions in the undesired levels of "blood baddies".
I wish I was as happy during my weight reduction process, as it's taken real will power.
Everybody says I'll pile it back on again inside 18 months, and that I'll just be the same as 96% of all the other plus sizes who lose weight very rapidly. So I'm going to have to prove them wrong by keeping it off, and keeping this blog going to document my progress.

Nov. 24th. A very cold foggy Sunday - just the sort of day you want to sit in beside a roaring fire, and eat something warm and full of calories ! But, especially being Sunday, temptation must be resisted ! 12th 10lbs again this morning. I can't figure out how so little refined sugar and saturated fat can cause so much weight gain. (I've had a smallish "pig-out" a couple of days ago, and ate 2 bars of chocolate, and a couple of beers, more than my daily 2000 cal allowance)
Eating 4oz of chocolate or cheese or eating half a pound extra of something very sugary, seems to add a full pound of extra weight. Maybe sugar, or saturated fat, encourage existing fat cells to expand - taking in more water or something. I'll have to research that later, and do some serious exercise now to get back on the weight-loss track.

Nov. 19th. After a good 10 days, and a no nights out, stay at home, weekend I stepped on the scales this morning expecting good results. And I got them ! 12th 10lbs ! But it's not easy. I've had to bin, or totally ban from the family shopping, high calorie foods that would lead to the temptation to "use them up" or "finish the jar" or "take just a little bit", as if they are here I'd just eat them. I know I just can't spread a little peanut butter on anything (it has to be a big dollop !) The same goes for Strawberry jam (or nearly all jam in my case). And the Cream Crackers to go with them - I could rack up an 800 cal snack that I'd eat in 5 mins. Take-away chips are another constant danger, especially the "family" or "large size" bag. Fried rice isn't far behind either.
The December blood test looms larger. Will all this weight loss actually result in a significant change ? Or will I have to go on pills ?

Nov. 8th. A new target date has been added to the calendar. I have been given an appointment to get my blood taken again to measure my Cholesterol and Triglycerides again in early December. I'm really hoping that this diet has paid off in reducing levels of both.

Nov. 6th. Back on track - I'm eating much smaller meals, but eating more often. Chopped logs for a half-hour today, so that should help burn off 300/400 cals extra. Having earned it I might have a (single) bottle of beer later, or a couple of squares of dark chocolate. I'm not going to weigh myself until the weekend, and I might see enough difference to really encourage me again. I wore my 38" waist heavy jeans today and they need a belt now, so that's good.

Nov. 4th. Just over 13th 3lbs, but it's been a very up and down 3 weeks. It started well - carrying on with the diet, getting reasonably regular, if not weather interrupted, exercise. I had got to 12th 12lbs eight days ago, but then I went on holiday with my family last week to the Westport Woods Hotel. We took a half-board package - breakfast and evening meal. My only problem was that the food was excellent. I quickly decided that the 2 meals in the day would do, and that I could then relax and eat all I wanted to. Big mistake # 1.
I also allowed I could have a full 3 course meal at both sittings. No use paying for it and not eating it. Big mistake # 2.
Because there was a swimming pool, and a well equipped gym, I also allowed that anything I did overeat could be burned off, either through walking about the town, or in the gym if it was wet. Big mistake # 3 - it takes a LOT of exercise time to burn off 800 cals.

Breakfast became an excuse for a full helping of cereal, followed by a nice healthy helping of either grapefruit, mixed fruit or prunes, followed by a bit of a breakfast fry. As the week went on the fry got bigger until it became, what I worked out today, a 1000 cal plateful. Fried eggs, bacon, sausages, beans and buttered toast. Pure Fat fuel !!!

The evening dinner wasn't nearly as calorie rich as the breakfast fry, but here again I made a classic weight-watching blunder. Having already taken a starter like Spring roll with salad, and a 'normal' meat / potato / 2 veg main course, I then took either a tempting dessert (full of sugar and/or chocolate) or their excellent cheese board. The cheese board alone was more cals than the 2 courses before it. Making things worse was a glass of wine with every meal, adding another 200 cals. Doing the maths now, I would have been eating 3000 cals a day on average.

This week will have to see a return to the pre-holiday eating pattern, and the diary is definitely coming out again. Weight loss means sticking to ALL the rules ALL the time. It's proving too easy to undo all the weight-loss that the diet has achieved so far.

Oct 17th. 13th 5lbs, but I've been doing quite a lot of exercise this week and really watching my cals, keeping a daily diary. I did the North West Open in Fencing this week, and I've never fought worse. I thought I'd be quicker with a stone and a bit off, but you must lose muscle as well as fat, 'cos I was slow and found I lacked the explosive energy needed for speed on the piste. Disappointed with a last place result, I was lucky I had enough cals left over for a glass of good red wine and a ( shared ) bar of dark Chocolate after dinner. Good old Sainsbury. Calories do make you feel good, but I'm constantly watching in case I go way over. On the day of the competition I allowed myself 250 extra cals because I felt I'd have burned them off during the 7 rounds of fighting. But it was back to 2000 the following day.

Oct 10th. Cold but dry outside today. I felt cold too - maybe the fat's disappearing and taking my heat with it. Definitely can see a difference in my belly bulge, and I put an extra hole in my belt this morning, although I think my rate of weight loss is slowing. 13th 9lbs.

Oct 6th. I've been "good" for a couple of days now. 2oz porridge + an apple for breakfast, 2 slices toast with chicken or tuna and lettuce for lunch, and good beef, 2 veg and boiled potato dinners. Daily intake of calories now about 1900, and I've started to snack on carrots. I keep a big bag in the fridge, and if I'm hungry between meals or last thing, I eat one. I possibly might get a week away at Halloween, so I want to be able to 'give the diet' a small holiday too. I will probably weigh myself this weekend, although everything I read says not to weigh yourself too often, as, if you don't see change, you'll get discouraged.

Oct 2nd. Home after a weekend away at an annual gathering. I didn't over eat, but between chips, fried breakfasts, fast food and booze I know I've put on something. Possibly a couple of pounds. But I'm not going near the scales this morning.

Sept 26th. Under 14st for the first time in years ! Took a 3 mile walk to celebrate. I might be sleeping more soundly too, as I seem to be waking up feeling better rested.

Sept.17th. Ate the last of the chocolate, but I was only 200 cals over my limit as I'd saved calories from earlier.

Sept 13th. Weighed myself today. 14th 6lbs. I was hungry last night, so had half a bar of Lidl's dark chocolate late on. I managed to stop myself eating it all. A big drink of water helps, and I'm starting to buy "no added sugar" diluting cordials, which usually only adds 10 cals to a pint of water.

Sept 8th. Trying to work a 350 cal breakfast, no morning snack, 350 cal lunch, no afternoon snack, and a really good 1300 cal dinner. So far, so good, but it's a bugger without snacks.

Sept 1st. - The diet starts in earnest today. I'm 14th 13lbs.

Aug 29th. I've researched calories, and drawn up the list at page bottom. I normally have breakfast, 10-o-clock teabreak, lunch, 3:30 snack break, dinner at 6pm and a snack at bedtime. I have drawn up a "hit-list" of high calorie foods I eat. I'll try to avoid or substitute lower calorie things for these. I could possibly cut out the in-between meal snacks to save 400 cals. I'll try this to start.

Aug 25th. Having researched diets for years as part of my work on, etc. , I'm now going to try what I think will work best for me. I'm going to find out the calories in everything I eat, and I'm going on a 2000 calorie a day diet.
As I think I'm reasonably fit and reasonably active as I farm, and fight Epee as a sport once a week. This diet should, by my calculations, lose about 3lbs a week for me. So by early December I should have 2 stone off.

Calories in foods I would normally eat: -
High : - Cheese 3oz = 350 cals, Chips 10oz = 800 cals , Pasta or Fried Rice 10oz = 600 cals, Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon = 120 cals,
Butter/Marg 1"x1" = 100 cals, Bread - Ciabatta 1oz = 80 cals, Brown or White loaf, 1 slice = 90 cals, Burger Bun = 160 cals,
Chocolate or Fruit or Sponge Cake, 3oz slice = 400 cals, Pint of Beer or Cider, or Glass of Wine = 200 cals. Pringles 5oz = 1200 cals,
Cream Cracker 3 = 100 cals, Jam Doughnut 1 = 250 cals, Jam 1oz = 80 cals, Chocolate 3oz bar = 500 cals, Jaffa Cake 1 = 45 cals,
Popcorn 5oz = 700 cals. Peanuts 10oz = 1500 cals

Medium : - Minced Beef 6oz = 400 cals, lean Beef or Lamb 6oz = 320 cals, Chicken or Turkey 6oz = 280 cals, Salmon 6oz = 370 cals,
Sardines in oil 6oz tin = 310 cals. Porridge 3oz = 300 cals, Black Seedless Grapes 25 =100 cals, Boiled Potato 10 oz= 280 cals,
Boiled Brown Rice 10oz = 340 cals, Sweetcorn 10oz = 330 cals, Heinz Beans 1 can = 330 cals, Fried Egg 2oz = 120 cals
Soya Milk 1pint = 250 cals, Bacardi or Vodka & Diet Coke - 2 pub shots (a double) + 1 mixer can = 150 cals.

Low : - Sardines in Water, Haddock, Tuna, Flatfish, 6oz = 220 cals. Boiled Egg 2oz = 90 cals, Orange, Apple or Medium Banana = 90cals
Orange Juice 10floz = 150cals, Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Carrot, Onion, 6oz = 70cals, Tomato, Peppers 6oz = 30cals,
Lettuce, Mushrooms 6oz = 25cals

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Diet and weight loss help and exercise advice for those who need it