Sadness leads to belly-fat-busting failure…

I have to admit folks, I fell off the belly-fat-busting wagon. I haven’t increased my weight since the last update, but neither have I lost any. I have continued to attend kickboxing classes 3/4 times a week… but as for diet, carbs have been the order of the day.

The reason (there’s always a reason, isn’t there?): our beloved dog became increasingly weak and poorly, at one point showing sudden improvement only to start dipping again. We were having to carry her upstairs, lift her onto the bed and the couch and into the car, and we knew the inevitable was coming… the thought of which sent a shock wave through my chest, taking my breath away. When it reached the point at which we were having to hover over her every time she needed to move or go out to the garden, we knew it was unfair to keep her hanging on, just because we couldn’t bear to lose her. She was 15, which the vet gently insisted, several times, was ‘old’… and the steroids were no longer having the magical effect they once did.

So, on a grey Wednesday morning, as she lay on the couch, we stroked her as the vet administered the dose that would release her from the stiffness and the reduced sight and hearing that had clearly been depressing her. I had started drinking before the vet arrived (unable to face saying goodbye sober), and continued for the rest of a day that would become nothing more than a blur. She was the friend I had walked with daily throughout the woods and along the beach, season in, season out. Last summer, I video’d one of our walks, and I am so glad that I did. Although those times have now come to an end, and a new chapter has begun, I can revisit whenever I want to.

Anyway, I was back at kickboxing two days later, and it was a welcome distraction. Sensei has announced more than once that I am the fastest in class when it comes to jab/cross, and I am quick on my feet whilst sparring, and I am definitely not the first to be heaving and gasping during fitness routines… not bad for an old bird. But it is time (again) to address this tractor tyre that has taken up residence around my middle; I will feel, and look, so much better without it. And it is time to start writing again, as this is the first thing I have penned in weeks. I buried myself in working with my customers, going to kickboxing and reading; I hit the John Grisham’s with a vengeance until I could no longer stomach another lawyer-mafia-murderer story. Time to let the light in again.

 

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Pounds of belly fat to lose: I am counting calories, carbs, protein and fat!

I am notably fatter than I was, and here is the proof.

This is how I look now:

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And this is how I used to look, not too many years back:

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And this is me today, 1st April, on my aged bathroom scales… 10st 4 lb. I was 10st for the longest time, no matter what I ate, becoming unhappily complacent… until I recently gained another 4 lb. It really is time to get to grips with this, and right now!

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I am 5ft 2” (I used to be 5ft 3”, so have shrunk a little!), am 61, and more than 28 lbs heavier than at my happiest weight.

I do NOT buy into something that I have heard too many times from middle-aged folk: “well, at our age we need a bit more padding”. Why? Have we suddenly started falling over every five minutes? The truth is, NO, we don’t need extra padding! What I do agree with though is that for various biological reasons, our fat settles itself on different parts of our body than it did when we were younger. 75% of my fat has taken up residence around my waist, the rest on my face, upper thighs and bottom. I look as if I am wearing an overstuffed bumbag around my middle. And although I am definitely fitter and stronger than I was, thanks to 3-4 kickboxing classes per week, I am still eating too much of the wrong kind of foods… and indulging in too much alcohol. And again, to those who say, “if you exercise regularly you can eat as much as you like without gaining weight” – NO, you can’t!

So, I have been a long-term calorie counter, and in the past it worked very well for me. I have lost a reasonable amount of weight twice in my life, keeping it off for years, courtesy of calorie counting – but I feel that it is no longer the magic wand it used to be, probably because my body has changed. However, I am struggling to completely let go of it, and having done a fair amount of research, I have decided to pay more attention to the balance between carbs, fat and protein, whilst counting calories. I am not a nutritionist and am not pretending to be any kind of expert – and I don’t want to get into anything too intense or complicated. I have looked into the Keto diet, but I don’t relish going into ketosis (plus, years ago, I tried the Atkins diet more than once and absolutely couldn’t hack it!).

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But I do recognise that I have been eating and drinking far too many carbs than can possibly be good for anyone, and that it isn’t just about the number of calories I consume… it is about the quality of those calories! I know that I HAVE to change… not next week or next month, but NOW!

Unfortunately, I have turned into a wimp, when once I was hardcore. Around 15 years ago I lost 4 stone (56 lb) within a couple of months, by eating only 600 calories a day and going to bed hungry every night. I would absolutely not recommend this to anyone as a good or healthy way to lose weight, because obviously it isn’t (though it didn’t appear to have any detrimental effect). Nowadays I struggle to be hungry for even an hour, which is pathetic given that there are so many genuinely starving people on the planet. I believe that my body has become programmed to react like a growing baby seagull, constantly and persistently demanding to be fed… because it knows for sure that I will comply. Well, now it is up to me to reprogramme my own body for its own good, and also for the sake of my personal pride. I don’t want to look like a 21 year old, but the fact is that I have been heading in a direction that is beginning to frighten me, never mind dishearten me. I have had enough.

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According to a website I looked at this morning, for my height, weight and activity levels, and in order to lose weight steadily, I need to be consuming no more than 1600 calories a day. That may well be almost half of what I have been eating on some days, I am ashamed to admit, but I am giving it a go… whilst being aware of the kinds of foods that are making up those calories. I am aiming for 8 st 12 lb, which will require me to lose 20 lbs, and then I will decide where I go from there!  

Anyway, I have a kickboxing class within the next hour, so I had better sign off. Now that I have made all of this public I am duty bound to put my money where my mouth is (luckily there are no calories in money!), and I will make periodic updates on my progression!     download