In case you haven’t heard, MR and I are starting a weight-loss competition called The 10 Pound Race. Here’s what we’re thinking as we go into Day 1.
The main reason that I want to lose 10 pounds is because I have a few pieces of clothing that don’t quite fit me anymore and I’d hate to have to retire them. Also I just want to look and feel my best – and be confident enough to post pictures that weren’t taken from a strangely high (and magically slimming) angle. I have no desire to get down to a size 0, but I’d be happy losing a little less than a stone.
I really like food. I love junk food and pizza, as well as more grown-up foodie food. What I do not like are boring salads and feeling hungry – so this is going to be tough. I also like drinking loads of wine – of the red, white and sparkling variety. Oh, and I thoroughly enjoying sleeping in and binge-watching episodes of Law & Order (SVU, obviously) on the sofa. So, no, I would say diet and fitness do not come naturally for me.
I’m sure my plan will evolve as I track my progress and see what’s working. But here’s the tentative strategy…
1. Do at least 3 spinning classes a week. I’ve found it’s really the only form of exercise that I enjoy and that works for me.
2. Go for a 30 minute walk at lunchtime every day. I love listening to podcasts at lunch – especially This American Life (and don’t even get me started on the amazingness of Serial. Was it Jay? Was it Adnan?!). I usually eat lunch at a table while listening, but I could just as easily listen while I go for walk and then eat my lunch at my desk. However, this plan will obviously be abandoned whenever it’s raining.
3. Avoid alcohol during the week. I’m in the habit of drinking a few glasses (bottles?) of wine in front of the telly, many nights a week. I’m going to make every effort to stop doing this and save my boozing for social occasions. (Though I’m not making any promises).
4. Drink more water. Actually, I could be more concise: drink water. Yes, it’s true that at the moment I don’t really drink ANY water, except for occasionally when I’m super hungover in the morning. Other than that I drink coffee, diet soda and wine. That’s really it, and it’s not good.
5. Make healthier food choices. This one is pretty vague but I’m just going to start by trying to consume fewer calories and see how I get on.
Until recently, I considered myself a fit man. I mean fit in the sense that I exercised and ate correctly and didn’t drink too much. Unfortunately simply “considering” yourself something doesn’t make it true. I am also an evidence-based person, so after noticing that my trousers no longer fit and that my scale is, in fact, not broken, I had to accept that my view of myself was diverging with reality.
Now I’m not saying they will need to knock down the wall of my flat and airlift me to hospital, but I am not the same guy that I was three years ago when I was getting in shape for my wedding. I don’t blame being a married man (well I do, but for the purpose of this article we shall say I don’t) – but there is definitely a bit less pressure to stay in shape since tying the knot. Also I have recently moved countries, started two new jobs in 18 months, bought a flat and started watching Homeland again – so obviously my attention has been focused elsewhere.
So when MRS suggested that I participate in The 10 Pound Race, well I thought “sure that’s just the excuse I need”. (Well actually my first thought was, “if we’re racing to see who can spend £10 first, you will obviously win.”)
Blimey where do I start… Since moving back to the UK from the US I have rediscovered my love for beer. When I first moved to the US I spent a few years complaining about the beer and then I developed the love for light beer that I still have today. Unfortunately it’s not easy to come by in London. But of course I wasn’t going to die of thirst, so I quickly reacquainted myself with the local brews… And well I wouldn’t consider myself a “problem drinker”, this is going to cause me some problems.
Luckily my other weakness is coffee — I love it and I will not give it up for anyone. There are very few calories in coffee.
Regarding food, I am not a big eater – so I’m reasonably confident that I can stick to a healthy diet. However, I’m less confident that I can stick to an exercise routine. It’s a bit embarrassing to say but I’m going to put it out there: I once stopped working out for five weeks because of a cold. I find that once I get some momentum with an exercise schedule, I am okay until my routine is broken. Then I make excuses and I have to really put some effort in to get back on the horse again.
When we were getting in shape for our wedding we instituted a ‘no drinks during the week’ policy — this entailed not drinking from Sunday evening until Friday at about 6pm when the flood gates would open. This strategy worked quite well for us but it can be hard sometimes after a crappy day at work to resist a frothy pint.
Next let’s turn back to that cruel mistress, exercise. I used to work out a lot, weights and cardio 5 to 6 times a week. I don’t think there is any realistic way of shedding 10 lbs without her. She isn’t pretty, or kind, but damn she’s effective. I haven’t yet decided what combination of weights and cardio I shall employ… I expect I will start off initially with cardio. The guys at work run 2 or 3 times a week so I will probably start running with them at lunchtimes. Then I will try to hit the weights a couple of times a week too. I have to be a bit careful, however, because the last time I tried to pick up my old weight regime I made a few mistakes — the largest one was thinking I could just pick up the same amount of weight after a year out. I spent a couple of weeks unable to move my arms above my head. So I think cardio and light weights to start and then ramp up the weights as the weeks go by.
And if worst comes to the worst, I can probably figure out a way to cheat. Somehow by hook or by crook (probably crook) I will win this!