August weigh-in

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‘Before’ picture (Nov 2017)
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‘After’ picture (May 2018)

Comparison pictures! The top picture was taken during a holiday in Antigua in November 2017 where I was enjoying a pina colada and just about to tuck a pizza! At this time my weight would have been around 10 st 7 lb.

The picture underneath was taken in Montenegro in May 2018 shortly after reaching my (now) usual weight of 8 st 3 lb. I found these two pictures where I was wearing the same top… one of my holiday tops 🙂

One of the main reasons for this particular challenge began on 4th December 2017 when I had a health check at the gym at work. I was dismayed to find my weight had crept up to 67 kgs (10 st 7 lb) and my cholesterol was 5.67 which was bordering on ‘high’!

This kick started my personal health campaign and I was determined to start the next decade of my life as a fitter and more energetic 50 year old! I don’t want to get to the age of 60 or 70 and have to take medication because I hadn’t taken responsibility for my health by looking after myself now.

From 4th December I successfully lost an average of half a stone each month and reached my 9 st goal just in time for my 50th birthday in February. I continued with my exercise routine and watching my calorie intake beyond February and by the beginning of May I was 8 st 3 lb. I’ve managed to maintain this weight for the last 3 months and this is where I feel happy, healthy and comfortable.

Weight today: 8 st 2 lb

Losing this weight as a result of healthy eating and a considerable amount of exercise has been an incredibly positive experience. I’ve got far more energy, I’m almost always in a good mood, I’ve suffered hardly any annoying little minor illnesses and I’ve gone from a size 12 to a size 8. I am determined to stay at this weight and not allow my weight to creep back upwards again!

Eager to find out if all of my efforts have reduced my cholesterol levels I had another health check at the gym at work today and these are the results:

  4th Dec 2017 2nd Aug 2018
Diabetes (glucose) 5.2 mmol/l 1.5 mmol/l
Weight 66.8 kgs (10 st 7 lb) 51.8 kg (8 st 2 lb)
Cholesterol 5.67 mmol/l 4.47 mmol/l
% body fat 32.4% 18.9%
BMI 26 20.2
Metabolic age 43 35

Yay! I was really pleased with these results and particularly my cholesterol level! This is the first time I’ve had it checked since 4th December last year when it was borderline ‘high’ but now I’m within normal range. Achieving this with hard work and commitment will motivate me to keep up my healthy eating and exercise in order to retain good health and without the need for mediation.

The fitness instructor suggested I needed to gain a few lbs as my ‘ideal’ weight is 56.3 kgs however I am happy with my current weight and I’m still within the healthy BMI range (a BMI of under 18.5 would indicate an unhealthy low weight).

And according to http://www.nhs.uk the weight range for my 5′ 3″ (160 cm) height is between 7 st 6 lb and 10 st 2 lb… so I was definitely a bit of a chubster at the end of last year..

The glucose test is a blood sugar test for diabetes. Like the previous time I didn’t fast in advance of the health check (having had a bowl of muesli a couple of hours before). ‘Normal’ 2 – 3 hours after eating is between 4 – 8 mmol/l. However this time was much lower so this seems pretty good too!

Finally my metabolic age has reduced from 43 to 35! This is an indication of the speed your body is ageing and basically the lower, the better… woohoo…

 

 

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July weigh-in

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A delicious Cuban meal including spicy prawns, rice and beans and pumpkin

Having just returned from a week of all inclusive indulgence in Cuba I was a bit anxious about this month’s weigh-in… however… I have managed to maintain my weight of 8 st 3 lb!!! Yay!!! How did this happen???

I spent last week consuming numerous cocktails each day, lazing around reading books on a sunbed and doing virtually no exercise… on the basis that any excess calories over the 1650 necessary to keep my weight at 8 st 3 lb, and given I was probably averaging a calorie consumption of around 3000 a day, in theory I should have put on about 3-4 lb… but no! I didn’t put on a single lb!!! Hurrah!!!

I’m not sure if this is a delayed reaction and I’ll suddenly expand at some point this week so I’ve gone back to my usual routine of not over eating and doing lots of exercise… all is good so far… and this was my gym weight this morning i.e. on heavy duty ‘proper’ scales, after breakfast and with my clothes on…

Given that I’ve managed to stay at 8 st 3 lb I’ll soon amend this challenge with the aim of sticking to 8 st 3 lb throughout the rest of 2018. This is a weight I am comfortable with and while I either have to stick to 1650 calories each day or do a large amount of extra exercise to enable me to eat more, it is all manageable at the moment…

 

 

 

 

June weigh-in

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Warm chocolate lava cake

I weighed myself the day after returning from my recent cruise and my weight is… 8 st 3 lb! Yay! This means I managed a 2 week holiday with a 9 day cruise in the middle and didn’t put on a single pound 🙂

Achieving this did take quite a bit of determination and effort which might not appeal to everyone as most people take holidays as an opportunity to relax and enjoy a little overindulgence. However, after 6 months of hard work to reduce my weight by 2 stones (28 lbs) I was keen to find a good balance of enjoying the trip but not regaining any weight. This is how I did it:

  • Rough calculation each day of the estimated number of calories I was consuming and the estimated number I was burning off which helped me to keep track and stay focussed.
  • Daily gym sessions… it was easy to be in the ship’s gym at 06:00 each morning as with the -8/-9 hours time difference I was always awake at 5 am!
  • Paying $69 for a gym pass for the 9 day cruise duration which meant unlimited classes such as pilates and cycling and suspension training.
  • Booking active excursions; each of the 4 shore trips I did involved hiking.
  • Never taking the ship’s lift… as my cabin was on level 5 and many activities were on level 12 I did a great deal of walking up and down 7 flights of stairs!
  • Walking several miles around each of the ports while I wasn’t on any of the excursions.
  • Eating healthy breakfasts and lunches but allowing a few treats each evening.
  • Not snacking between meals.
  • Throughout the day I drank black coffee, herbal tea (mint, cinnamon & apple, orange etc) and water. I mostly had just one glass of wine which was enough for me.

At each meal I opted for the healthiest choice. A typical day would be:

Breakfast (600 calories):

  • Half a bran muffin (consumed early in the morning with a coffee before any gym classes)
  • Small bowl of bircher muesli
  • Melon, grapes, pineapple
  • Poached or scrambled egg

Lunch (400 calories)

  • Mostly salad; steamed vegetables; vegetable curry and fruit from the buffet

Dinner (1300 calories)

  • Bread roll and butter
  • Starter
  • Main
  • Dessert
  • Glass of wine

For a 50 year old 5’3″ woman to maintain a weight of 8 st 3 lb my ‘My Net Diary‘ app says I need to consume 1650 calories each day. For an average food consumption of 2,300 calories (as above) this meant burning off an extra 650 calories each day. This was achieved quite easily as with daily gym sessions, walking, trekking and climbing stairs several times a day I often burned off more than this. Extra time in the gym gave me more ‘calorie credits’ to enjoy delicious food each night, such as the delicious ‘warm chocolate lava cake’ as in the picture!

 

 

 

Pre-cruise weight

With massive amounts of exercise combined with eating as best as I can I’ve managed to maintain a weight of 8 st 3 lb for a few weeks. I weigh myself at the gym each week after breakfast and with my clothes on and these do seem heavy duty and pretty reliable scales.

In 4 days time I’ll be travelling to Seattle where I’ll stay for 3 nights before beginning a 9 day cruise to Alaska with Norwegian Cruise Lines. With a permanent abundance of delicious food and alcohol tempting you at every turn, cruises are notorious for causing passengers to gain weight!

The Telegraph suggests the average cruise passenger puts on 1 lb for each day of the cruise! In theory I could come back home and weigh nearly 9 stone again!

My previous 14 night South American cruise almost certainly contributed to the weight I gained during my 2016 global adventure… the weight I couldn’t shake off during 2017…

Anyway, things are different now and on this occasion while I want to enjoy the trip I don’t want to undo the good work of the last 6 months and come back with excess baggage about my person!

Thankfully I don’t have a bad lower back issue this time so I’m planning on a daily gym session, maybe a run around the ships running track each day and have pre-booked 4 x trekking excursions. I’m also planning on taking the stairs up and down the 14 decks rather than the lifts and will try hard not to eat or drink excessively.

I’ll weigh myself immediately upon my return and report back in a couple of weeks time, hopefully with positive weight news…

 

 

 

May weigh-in

Starting weight (4th December 2017): 10 st 7 lb

January weight: 9 st 10 lb

February weight: 9 st 0 lb (weight on 1st Feb would have been around 9 st 4 lb)

March weight: 8 st 12 lb

April weight: 8 st 7 lb (119 lbs or 54 kg)

May weight: 8 st 3 lb

Total weight loss: 32 lbs

People have started to comment on my weight loss and I’m still losing weight… I don’t want to lose anymore so I’m trying to find the balance and understand how many calories I can eat against how many I’m using up in relation to the exercise I’m doing.

I have an app on my phone called ‘My Net Diary’ which has an apple logo and can help with weight management. I don’t use it although did check that for me to maintain a weight of 8 st 7 lb (I’m 5’3″ or 161 cm), I would need to consume 1673 calories each day. And this doesn’t include any exercise meaning that if I burn an extra 300 calories each day, I would be able to consume 1973 daily calories.

From past experience where I’ve lost weight and quickly become complacent again (resulting in regaining the weight) I’ve realised the only way for me to manage my weight properly is to roughly count my calorie intake each day. It is too easy to ignore the amount of food and as such calories you consume which quickly adds up and the pounds soon begin to reappear. So to stay at my current weight I really do need to tot up the calorie total each day!

As a 50 year old woman I am at the age of the dreaded menopause… I’m not sure if I’m there yet or even if I’ve had the perimenopause (which can start in your early 40’s or even in your 30’s) and is the time leading up to the full menopause. Other than difficulty sleeping most nights I haven’t really had any symptoms (although this might be due to my birth control implant which might be masking things…).

Anyway… the point of this is that getting plenty of exercise and eating properly can help with menopause symptoms by improving your mood, boosting your energy and helping to keep your metabolism faster. One more reason to stay fit and healthy!

 

 

April weigh-in

Starting weight: 10 st 7 lb

January weight: 9 st 10 lb

February weight: 9 st 0 lb (weight on 1st Feb would have been around 9 st 4 lb)

March weight: 8 st 12 lb

April weight: 8 st 7 lb (119 lbs or 54 kg)

Total weight loss: 28 lbs

I’ve gone quite a bit under my original 2018 target weight of 9 stones! The recommended weight for a 50 year old medium build 5′ 3″ woman is actually 8 st 10 lb so I’m slightly under the ‘normal’ weight for my height. I’m happy with this and would like to be able to keep my weight at around 8 st 7 lb rather than 9 st. The reason I originally set my target at 9 st was because I didn’t think I would be able to get below that weight!

Yesterday I sorted through my clothes and was delighted to find a size 10 holiday skirt which fitted beautifully! I haven’t been able to wear this for a few years and thankfully its one that never really goes out of fashion.

I’m consuming around 1200  – 1300 calories a day and still doing a huge amount of exercise most days. I’m anxious not to regain any of this weight and concerned that if I indulge in chocolate or cakes that I will lose my focus and the weight will pile on again…

A typical week of exercise for me at the moment is:

  • Mon: walk 5.25 miles to the station and back; spend an hour at the gym (700 calories burned)
  • Tue: work at home and go swimming at lunchtime (400 calories burned)
  • Wed: work at home and go swimming at lunchtime (400 calories burned)
  • Thu: walk to and from station and hour at gym (700 calories)
  • Fri: as above (700 calories)
  • Sat: walk around my local town (300 calories)
  • Sun: walk with a local walking club (750 calories)

This is more exercise than I’ve ever done so I’m probably fitter now than I was 10 or even 20 years ago!

A typical day of eating goes something like this:

  • Breakfast: a small bowl of bircher muesli with oat milk (300 calories)
  • Snack: banana (100 calories)
  • Lunch: Vegetarian soup from Pret (200 calories)
  • Snack: grapes/mixed nuts (200 calories)
  • Dinner: Sweet potato curry (400 calories)
  • Coffee: (100 calories)

The calories are estimated and rounded to the nearest 100!

Having received some helpful advice from my best friend (who is the same height as me and has had a similar yo-yo diet pattern over the years), in order to try and maintain my current weight I am going to do the following:

  • Stick to around 1200 calories a day during weekdays
  • Continue doing lots of exercise each day
  • Have treats and eat more at the weekends

And monitor my weight each week to keep a check and ensure it doesn’t start creeping upwards again!

Today I start my vegan month

 

 

March weigh-in

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Tasty grilled shrimp salad from Jamies restaurant in Chur, Switzerland

As my February weigh-in was late, there has been a gap of just under 3 weeks rather than a month between these two weight check points… but never mind… here goes for my weight on 1st March 2018:

Weight on 4th December 2017 (when I began my fitness campaign): 10 st 7 lb

Weight on 9th February (last weigh in): 9 st 0 lb

Weight today: 8 st 12 lb (56 kg or 122 lbs)

Total weight loss in almost 3 months = 23 lbs (hurrah!)

Small milestones are keeping me motivated… I had to buy a new belt last week and it was fab to buy a ‘small’ size rather than the usual medium which was too big! Yay!

I’m still keeping to around 1200 calories a day, together with a lot of exercise. I am either going to the gym, swimming or hiking several miles at a time which is burning up a lot of calories.

Having just spent 4 days in Switzerland, my calorie intake did jump a bit to perhaps 2000 calories each day… I allowed myself a few treats such as some gorgeous Swiss chocolate and *lovely meals out each night but did so without going over-the-top. While enjoying the meals I stuck to one glass of wine and no dessert 🙂

*The healthy salad in the top picture was the first night… the following evening meal was a calorie busting home made pasta with oodles of Swiss cheese…  

Thankfully I had the motivation to cut down as soon as we got home and I’m now back on 1200 daily calories…

The next dilemma now that I’ve reached my goal weight is how to stay there… I don’t want my life to be ruled by calorie counting (although I do only estimate this each day) but I really don’t want to regain any of this lost weight…

And today I start my vegetarian month

 

 

February weigh-in

Progress update…

A little late for my February weigh-in as I’ve just returned from the Maldives, a special holiday to celebrate my 50th birthday which happens to be tomorrow! As I didn’t have any scales with me I was unable to weigh myself on 1st February, i.e. the first day of each month being my planned 2018 weigh check days.

Throughout January I remained highly focussed and committed to achieving my goal weight of 9 stone (57 kg or 126 pounds). I did extra exercise when possible and stuck to an average daily calorie intake of 1100 – 1200 calories. Some days I burned an estimated extra 600 – 700 calories, for example, by walking 5 miles in addition to spending an hour at the gym. On these days, rather than eating more I stuck to my 1100 – 1200 calorie regime which I think must have accelerated my weight loss.

Almost every day I either went swimming, went to the gym or walked for several miles. When I went out for meals I chose salads or low calorie dishes and mostly had either no wine or one glass of wine. Rather than drinking cappucino’s I now drink fruit flavoured tea when in coffee shops.

So a huge effort was exerted throughout January… I even managed to have a healthy holiday! Rather than a complete blow-out I went to the gym, did yoga, went snorkelling and swimming every day and was careful to eat healthily for example by sticking mainly to proteins, vegetables and lots of tropical fruit. I also had 6 alcohol-free days!

These are the results…

Weight on 1st January 2018: 9 stone 10 lb (62 kg)

Weight on 9th February 2018: 9 stone 0 lb (Hurrah! Bang on and just in time for my big 5-0 birthday tomorrow!)

 

 

 

 

January weigh-in

OK, so I’ve made a commitment to myself to get to a weight of 9 stone and actually stay there for a year in the hope it will turn into a long term habit!

Since the age of 15 my weight has yo-yo’d up and down between a svelte and somewhat skinny 8 stones to a rather more cuddly 10.5 stones. At only 5’3″ tall and of medium frame apparently at my age my target weight is 8 st 10 lb.

Various factors have influenced my weight fluctuations over the years but mostly it has followed a similar and rather neat orderly and circular process:

  1. Realise I’m getting a bit chubby and clothes becoming tighter
  2. Decide I need to ‘nip it in the bud’ and lose weight
  3. Lose weight
  4. Get to desired weight
  5. Get complacent and lose focus
  6. And back to 1 again…

This little cycle has been the summary of my weight for the best part of 35 years!

About 5 years ago I had a shift of mindset lightbulb moment and rather than dieting focused on the blindingly obvious “eat less and exercise more”. By making a conscious effort to have smaller portions and take up more exercise I actually managed to hover at around 9 st 2 lb for over 3 years.

However this became rapidly undone when my husband Chris and I spent 2016 travelling the world and before I knew it, I was at 10 stone again… and failed miserably to shift this additional stone throughout 2017…

So how can I reach a permanent and healthy weight of 9 stone?

With my 50th birthday looming I had a sudden desire to kick myself up the backside and shock myself into a healthy weight loss programme. This shock happened on 4th December 2017 when a health check at work revealed my weight had crept up to 10 st 7 (eek) and my cholesterol was on the border of high!

A bit of Googling suggested that a high cholesterol can lead to all sorts of unpleasant health issues most notably heart disease and strokes.

This, together with the desire to feel fitter, have more energy and generally improve my overall health prompted me to join the work gym (instantly) and take up swimming (the following week).

Since 4th December I immediately increased my exercise levels with gym sessions and swimming which motivated me to eat properly and reduce the alcohol, sugar and bad carbs from my diet.

So I’ve had a bit of a head start and thankfully I’m not starting 2018 at my highest ever weight!

Weight today: 9 stone 10 lb (62 kg)

Still a little way to go but I’m pleased with this… my next weigh in will be in February 2018…