After a bout of navel-gazing – metaphorical and quite literal – between Christmas and the New Year, I decided I needed to do something about my weight.
I haven’t ballooned, but the Christmas season didn’t do much for my general wellbeing, what with the limitless eating and drinking, so I need to rein this back in and ramp up the exercise a little.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I take selfies to add to my weight measurements when using ‘My Fitness Pal’ and they are the best motivator to make some changes. While I might wear black and loose-fitting tops, when naked there’s no way to hide the damage the mince-pies have wrought!
I’m also going to turn 43 next month and ageing has implications for my metabolism. I figure it’ll be way easier to take the matter in hand now than attempt to deal with a more significant weight issue in a few years.
For me, this means starting with an increase to the ‘Move’ target in my Apple Fitness app. I basically live and die by my Apple Watch in terms of fitness, and feel I’ve done a good day’s ‘work’ when I fill all three of the fitness rings on the display: move, standing and exercise. Standing and exercise are fixed at 12 hours and 30 mins respectively, but you can elect to increase or decrease the ‘move’ target, based on calories burned, as you wish.
Mine has been sitting at a very manageable 500 calories for as long as I can remember. I turned it up to 800 on New Year’s Day. This means I can’t go to bed with a satisfied glance at my wrist until I’ve burnt an additional 300 calories – which, sometimes, is harder than it sounds.
On the flip side, I’ve also adjusted my diet. I’m back using Huel for breakfast and lunch, which has two hug benefits: it’s providing all the vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein I need in my diet, while also removing the temptation to snack.
I prep two batches of the stuff the evening before, so I have a breakfast ready for me when I come back from my morning run. Each drink is made differently – in the morning, I blend the Huel with a banana and for lunch, it’s blended with a couple of shots of espresso. Zing!
I realise this kind of approach isn’t for everyone, but it makes life extremely easy for me. It’s about building easy-to-maintain habits for when I’m in London. Business travel is definitely going to make this routine more difficult, but not impossible. I can eat ‘real food’ for breakfast and lunch while I’m away – I just need to keep up my exercise routine.
Huel have also launched some of their product as ready-made drinks, so I’ve ordered a sample of these. They should be great to take with me on trips within the UK – it’ll all depend on the taste! The delivery is arriving today, so watch this space for a review in due course.
Evening meals are going to be a slightly healthier version of what I normally eat. So last night, I had some roast chicken, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber. And a few squares of Green & Black’s Mayan Gold chocolate afterwards, so you can rest assured I’m not going without.
Additionally – and very helpfully – @TheFrankFlyer eats very healthily and has willpower like nobody I’ve ever met. So I can easily mirror what he’s eating without temptation. Life would be a lot harder if I had to watch him eat pizza while I’m picked at a salad.
So how am I going to fit in exercise? The simple answer is: where I can.
New Year’s Day, we flew back from the Netherlands and, after unpacking the suitcase, I actually went downstairs to our building’s gym for a quick workout. 45mins on the cross-trainer and some work with the free-weights got me over my 800 ‘Move’ goal.
Yesterday morning, I got up and, after a suitable amount of coffee, went for a 5km run. It turns out that, despite my sluggish Christmas, I managed my fastest ever 5km run, finishing it with an average speed of 5:10/km. This set me up for the day, meaning I hit the 800 ‘Move’ goal just as I was going to bed.
I really love running but I have to be realistic: I can’t do it every day. That way lies knee replacement surgery! So I’ll break it up with other forms of exercise. It doesn’t matter what, as long as I can hit the targets on my Apple Watch each evening.
And while it’s not much in the way of evidence, I can happily report that I’ve slept like a log both evenings so far this year – something I can attribute, at least in part, to moving a little more!
The biggest change I’m making this month is to go alcohol-free. Until I fly to Tokyo on the 25th, I’m not going to touch the stuff. It’s not like I didn’t have enough in December! Plus, it’s kind of soul-destroying to undo the exercise gains with the calorie-laden beers I so enjoy. I’m a big boy – I can do without booze for a few weeks if it’ll help jump-start the weight loss and firm me up a little.
And there’ll be plenty of champagne to enjoy en route to Tokyo, courtesy of Finnair!
The 800 ‘Move’ goal is here to stay and may even get increased as the year progresses. I’m sticking to Huel until I go to Japan and will then enjoy delicious Japanese food for a week. No sacrifices there! But the exercise regime will continue – our hotel in Tokyo has an impressive gym, so I’ve no excuse not to visit. And I can reward myself with a soak in the onsen once I’m done.
New Year, New Me? No, not really. But, as humans, we’re naturally attracted to fresh starts on meaningful dates – and I’m no exception. I honestly think this is a sustainable change rather than an attempt at something beyond me, which will lead to disappointment and a return to old habits.
So now it’s time to get ready for this morning’s run. I laid out my running gear last night so I’ve no excuse not to get dressed and hit the streets!