All posts by FatMan Slimming

Through the power of pedals and the guidance of Slimming World I will be slim

A Brand New Ride

I’m in deep, deep trouble.  I’ve a new bike now, but it’s not the bike that’s the problem, I may have ‘forgot’ to let the wife know it was coming.  Not the greatest move I’ve pulled through our relationship, but I think she’s now just about over it.

So last week I ordered a Cycle2Work voucher via my employer.  It’s a good 15 miles to work when not using the motorway so is easily achievable on a bike.  I’ve never biked to work before but I know of others who do in my office.  They come from all different directions to the office and none live in my direction, so it will be a sole commute when it happens.

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The Cycle2Work scheme basically covers off the cost of the bike and safety accessories at the point of purchasing the bike.  I then ‘hire’ the bike from my employer for 12 months with me paying for the bike via salary sacrifice (before tax – have that Mr Tax Man).  Via the scheme I also got 5% discount on the bike – win win so far yeah.

The bike I opted for is the Boardman ADV 8.8 Adventure/Gravel bike.  I’d done a fair bit or research for the last few weeks on the bikes on offer to me.  My voucher limits me to buy from Halfords, so there wasn’t a ridiculously huge range of bikes to choose from.  But my main requirements were;

  1. Quick and comfortable on tarmac
  2. Able to handle cycle trails and gravel paths
  3. Prefer disk brakes due to winter cycling
  4. Drop handle bars

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The Boardman ADV 8.8 fits all these requirements I wanted.  The bike is £750, so really it’s £712.50 with the 5% discount applied.  Halfords then gave me £36 to spend on accessories as I went via the Cycle2Work scheme and they had a deal on for £75 off accessories with any Boardman bike – £111 or accessories for free, this keeps getting better.  In the end I maxed out on the accessories by getting;

  • Helmet (I’ve been using my dads while using his bike)
  • Front and rear rechargeable lights
  • Bottle cages (2 of)
  • Full mudguards (SKS Bluemels)
  • Spare battery operated small lights (in case the main ones fail during a dark ride)
  • Waterproof helmet cover (got to keep my noggin dry)
  • Cycling glasses with interchangeable lenses (comes with shaded, yellow and clear lenses)

The weight of this bike compared to my dads mountain bike is unreal.  16kg mountain bike compared to the 10.5kg of the Boardman already feels like those hills are going to be easier and I’ve not been on a ride yet.

Last night was a shambles though, trying to get the SKS mudguards to fit wasn’t a easy as I thought it would be and maybe I should have just paid Halfords to fit them – but I’m tight when it comes to something I should be able to do myself.  The rear mudguard went on fine, no issues there.  But the front mudguard is a real pain.  After working out that the mounting points for the stays are no where around the front wheel axel, I eventually found them half way up the inside of the fork.  So no I’ve had to bend the Stays slightly to meet their new location and still straighten into the locks on the mudguard.  Now it’s time to trim the stays, but at 10pm last night I was starting to loose patience and went to bed.  Tonight I will be finishing the front mudguard and hopefully getting out for that first ride.

It’s safe to say I’m excited and can’t wait to get out on this thing, fingers crossed!

 

More information on the Cycle2Work Scheme in the UK can be found here: https://www.cycle2work.info/

More information on the Boardman ADV 8.8 can be found here: https://www.boardmanbikes.com/gb_en/products/2145-adv-8.8.html

More information about Halfords and their bike services can be found here: https://www.halfords.co.uk/

Breakfast Is Key, Or Is It?

I have been told for the majority of my life that ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’.  My parents told it me all the time when I was younger and I often didn’t want breakfast – usually to have some more TV time or something.  But is it really the most important meal of the day?

Now I’ve been alive for a little over 11,500 days.  Now quite a few of those days I was a baby, not eating food for breakfast etc, but we can safely say the vastt majority of those days I have eaten breakfast.  I’d say that commenting on how I feel through the morning if I have had or have not had breakfast could make me an expert – just like those of you who are older than me, or those who are younger but are reading this (I doubt kids are reading me drone on about weight and cycling).  Now I can’t and will not comment on how other people feel, I can only and will only comment on how I feel.

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Breakfast isn’t something I always have.  Most of the time I do, sometimes I do not.  It all depends on how I feel when I wake up in the morning or if I have woke up with enough time to grab something before going about my business.  But it is safe to say the most of the time I have breakfast.

Usually if I go without breakfast my day can go very differently compared to days I do have breakfast.  Usually without something in a morning I feel less energetic (obvious you might say), but this goes on all day.  I don’t suddenly pick up after lunch when I’ve eaten, it feels for me like the whole day drags.  We all know what it’s like for a day to really drag when you’re at work, it’s not nice.  Also, when I do get to lunch I can quite often feel the need to binge eat.  This is where I eat more than I need to, likely because I feel deprived from missing that most important meal of the day.  I then snack throught he afternoon and eat my evening meal later on.

Making sure I eat breakfast turns my day around completely.  It doesn’t deel it drags, often it feels it goes too quick and there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that needs doing.  I snack a lot less, even in the afternoon when I’ve eaten something early on.  I don’t binge at lunch, instead I just eat whatever it is I’ve planned for lunch.  I’m also a happier person around others – this is key as I work with a lot of people and lets face it, no one likes a grumpy colleague.

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So, breakfast for me is rather important, maybe the most important meal of the day – who knows?  But this is why I make sure I have breakfast when I can.  I don’t often have breakfast before heading into work though, I often have it at work due to my earlier starts.  This isn’t always an issue as we have things at work like microwaves and fridges, so some hot and cold stuff is doable.  But we also have a small canteen that serves things like breakfast cobs and cereals (if i fancy paying).  Cereals are often a favourite of mine as I can take them to work in a tuppaware bowl and just add milk at work.  I have the fortune of being able to eat at my desk – my company isn’t as strict with food/drink in the office as some others may be.

A common discussion at my Slimming World group is people who often miss breakfast and they struggle with ‘on the go’ requirements.  Most of the time these people are nurses, or carers or some kind of job that requires you to be on your feet all the time with little chance of a break.  Again I’m fortunate as I sit my fat bum behind a desk all day.  But I do often feel for thsoe who eally struggle for morning meals.  If it was me who was in a job where I couldn’t find it easy enough to eat breakfast most days – I’d be unbareably  misserable.

Heading away from Slimming World and into cycling, I read around the Internet of people using a ‘fasting ride’ in a morning to loose that bit more weight.  Heading out on the bike for a short, hard ride before having breakfast when they get back.  I envy these people if it really does help loose a bit more weight.  I could only wish of getting up a hour or so earlier to hit the tarmac, especially around this time of year going into winter.  There is nothing I like more than a nice cosy, warm bed in a morning before the kids get me up.  Maybe it would be an idea to give it ago, at least a couple of times through right?  Surely it can’t be a myth that a few small fasting rides help loose that bit more weight?  Some keen cyclinst reading this post may comment and tell me to just get out and ride (if you’re still reading by this point) and feel the benefits of a little exercise to get the metabolism going instead of food.

 

What Goes Up Must Come Down

My Slimming World journey lately has been very much like the bike rides I do.  I normally start and finish a ride at the same point, so what goes up must come down.  This is what I tell myself when I’m struggling up a hill (a hill most people wouldn’t even huff and puff at), it often gets me to the top knowing that at some point I will be going down again and can have a break, I mean recover.

I was on a roll a few weeks ago with my weight, I’d lost 12.5 lbs in the space of 4 weeks, that just over 3 lbs a week… I was feeling good.  Then the dredded manflu set in and this is what kills me more now than the actual weight gain during this period.  In the last two weeks I’ve gained 7.5 lbs, a whopping 3.75 lbs each week on average.  It kills me that it is so much easier to gain weight than it is to loose it.

The bike (or rather my dads bike) hasn’t seen any action in 3 weeks now.  That coupled with two weeks of really bad decisions food wise has left me in a state.  At the start of last week I felt really low, low enough that I started not to care about what gain I may see on Wednesday weigh night.  But then Wednesday weigh night came and long behold I found 5 lbs of that 7.5 lbs I have gained.  This hit me in the face as hard as one of those freak flies that catch you when hurtling down a road at 20mph on the bike (not that I often reach that speed).

So now the up is here, I’m not feeling all that confident for this weeks weigh-in either as I’ve not been on plan, though some meals have been.  I keep telling myself it’s time to be an adult and make the right choices when it comes to eating, my head is in the game, but unfortunately my stomach keeps winning.

But I’m not well over the spurt of manflu I had for a couple of weeks and I now have some time to get out on the bike again.  I was on call with work last week whihc restricts me a little, but no excuses this week.  Come rain or shine I will be pedalling away.  They say at Slimming World you don’t have to exercise when you stick to plan, that’s all well and fine, but getting out on the bike is the only time I get to myself, the only time I get to clear my head of all that goings off.  Being on my bike is more than just exercise, it’s where I can turn off from thinking about work for a bit, turn off from thinking about home for a bit, for that time is just me, the bike and the road (not forgetting all those impatient drivers of vehicles with engines).

Hopefully I am now at the crest of the hill with this weight gain and come Wednesday next week I will be well and truely on the way hown snaking around that bag of crisps there or that sausage roll over there.  It won’t quite be like cycling up the alps and back down again, but as long as I’m going down I will be happier.  I will believe inmyself that little more and I will not get myself stuck in a rut.  Afterall, the lighter I am, the easier it will be to get up those hills on the bike.

It’s That Time Of Year…

Not only are people starting to count down to Christmas, shops are getting stocked for Christmas and everyone is whining about Christmas decorations in public places already, but the nights are getting longer and the days shorter.

Along with longer night come cold mornings and just and cold evenings (though so far in the UK this week hasn’t been to bad in the evening).  Last week I started riding in a Windproof Jacket and some Bib Tights, but last week is as far as I got.  I’ve not been out on the bike since Tuesday last week because of a cold.

This time of year is when I start to get colds more and more frequent.  All through Winter I will have a cold from one week to the next, but I try not to let it get in my way.  I still work, I still help out with the kids and around the house, never moaning about having a cold.  I soldier on through where I can, but I can’t face getting out on the bike.  The thought of getting outside and panting while pushing down on those pedals really doesn’t appeal to me right now.  All I want to do is cosy up on the sofa and eat junk food.

It’s not doing any good for me mentally not getting out on the bike.  Right now I am feeling down and demotivated.  The constant headache, the constant snot pouring from my nose and the sore throat is driving me nuts!  All that mixed together means I’m not getting the sleep my body and my head requires at the moment.  Lack of sleep means lack of energy.  Lack of energy means lack of desire to get out on the saddle.  That then leads to me not feeling good about myself and comfort eating.

This last week hasn’t been great for sticking to the Slimming World plan either.  I even missed last nights weigh-in and IMAGE Therapy that I need.  This is a danger zone for me.  Missing a group often leads to me going way off the rails when I’m feeling fit and healthy, image the temptation of just consuming huge numbers of unneeded calories while I’m feeling like I am.  This leads to constant battle in my head.

I depend on my Slimming World group each week to keep me on track, it’s what it’s there for.  Other people in the group are likely the same as me, it’s routine and it’s required in order to keep that weight figure down.  Already today I’ve had a fight with food.  How I feel I just want comfort food; Bread, Chocolate, Crisps.  I don’t want to eat healthy foods right now, but I need to.  I can’t afford to go back to group next week with a huge gain and undo what I’ve achieved already.  I also know from previous experience that if I start to eat unhealthily because I’m not feeling great, I start to feel worse.  I start to feel depressed that I’ve given into myself, that I wasn’t strong enough to no to that take away or that sharing size bag of crisps.

This is where the Slimming World group comes in.  It gives me a new lease of life each week through my ‘life style change’.  It gives me the motivation to keep going for the next week and make the better choices.  I’m missing that now this week.  I’m sat here writing this thinking but there is a group tonight or tomorrow nearby, but I’ve a really bad cold and I don’t want to go coughing and sharing germs around other people – they certainly wouldn’t approve of it.  It’s an excuse, it really is, but it’s the time of year that colds are more common and we should be doing what we can to stop spreading them.  I’m working from home today as I don’t want to be responsible for other people in the office getting the strain of cold I have.

Physically I’m exhausted, mentally I’m tired.  I just have to keep reminding myself of the long game here.  I want to shed that weight so I can get that new bike and carry on with what I’ve found I’m really enjoying.  This cold can’t stop me achieving that, it can only set me back.  But I don’t want a set back, I want to keep going forward.  I’m going to keep drinking fluids, I’m going to try my best to keep to healthier foods.  I’m not going to give into temptation just because I feel down and tired, I can do this.

But Why Cycling?

People have asked me why I’m using Cycling to loose weight.  There is not real reason behind it other than it’s something I used to enjoy as a kid.  Long before I passed my driving test at the young age of 17 I used to go everywhere on a bike.  I used to race up to my weekend job on a bike, I used to go out with friends on my bike.  Then along came a car and convenience.

If you properly look into cycling while overweight, there are warnings of back problems, neck problems and actually having a bike that will cope with a larger person.  I currently do not own a bike, I am using my dads mountain bike.  He isn’t using it and it was stood collecting dust, so I have it for now.

Mountain bikes and Hybrid bikes are likely the better bikes for us who are on the larger side.  They tend to have sturdier wheels and thicker tubes that make up the frames.  Usually so they can take the impact of off road mountain biking, but in my case it’s on a road and supporting my overweight body.

I really want a road bike and I love the idea of getting out on the bike and churning out 20+ miles.  But virtually all road bikes come with a weight limit for the rider, of which I am a few stone over.  But it’s my goal, it’s what is keeping me going at the moment with trying to loose weight.

I am getting out on the mountain bike when I can, permitting around the kids, work and life.  The nights are coming in earlier and earlier at this time of year, but that hasn’t bothered me of late.  I’ve managed to get some cheap ‘winter’ gear in the form of a windproof/shower proof high-vis jacket, some cycling bib tights and some winter cycling socks.  Armed with these I be looking to continue going out as the temperature drops.

Cycling can be seen as a better exercise for people who suffer with their weight.  It’s not impacting the knees and ankles like running does as the bike takes your weight.  You can also very easily complete interval training on a bike too, your heart rate will increase as you pedal up the slightest incline, but then you can rest as you come back down again (when you go up you have to come back down again).  I’ve found this has helped as it gives me chance to recover a little before attempting the next incline – much better than running or swimming which I feel are constant (though swimming also has it’s advantages for larger people).

Using an app on my phone called Strava is also helping me.  It tracks where you’re cycling so you can see how far you’ve gone and how quick.  But the mist impressive thing is it’s segment information.  It breaks you ride into segments and you can see if this time you set a quicker time than last time.  It keeps me motivate towards the end of my rides as I keep trying to lower the time on the last stretch home.  It’s also free which helps those of us on a budget.

 

I Am Who I Am, Not What I Am

Weight loss for most people will give all sorts of benefits to their health and lifestyle.  Unless you’re already at a desired weight or underweight, loosing weight can make you better mentally as well as physically.

Being overweight can increase the risk of all sorts of conditions and issues, not least to mention;

  • Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stokes
  • Pains in Back and Legs

These are only some things that can be linked directly to being overweight.

Me, I’m very overweight.  I joined Slimming World back in May this year and since have managed to shift a little over 1 and a half stone.  My blog isn’t going to be a giant advert for Slimming World, instead I want to share my journey of loosing weight and share the benefits of loosing weight.

I don’t want to suffer from Diabetes (though I’m currently at risk).  I don’t want High Blood Pressure.  I certainly don’t want to suffer from a Stroke and I have the fact I sometimes suffer with back pain and pains in my knees.  Loosing weight is best way forward I see to turn my life around.

I’ve two small children, both of which I want to see live until they’re getting old.  I want grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.  I face a seriously reduced chance of seeing them at my current weight.

Now I won’t at any time reveal my weight, that’s personal to me, but at times you will see posts indicating how much weight I have lost.  Hopefully if there are other people out there who are thinking about their future and are current overweight, maybe I can inspire someone to loose a little too.

A lot of people link our weigh to who we are.  My weight is not who I am.  I am who I am regardless of whether I way 25st or 15st.  There is no right weight for anyone, other than feeling comfortable with yourself.

People have interpretations of what you’re supposed to be like. If you’re unattractive and overweight, you must have a great personality. If you’re attractive, then you must not be nicest person.

Above is a quote from Mila Kunis (according to brainyquote.com anyway).  It hits the nail on the spot in the world we live in.  So often are people who are smaller branded as not being nice, I know bigger people who aren’t nice.  Who we are is not defined by what size we are.  I like to think I’m a nice bloke and at the moment I am overweight (quite a bit overweight actually).  But eventually I will be at a weight that I feel I’m comfortable at.  That doesn’t mean I wont suddenly turn from being nice old me into someone not so nice.

Weight loss, as I said above can be good for you mentally.  Since joining my local Slimming World group, I feel better about myself.  I know I’m not the only person in my local area who wants to loose weight because they’re on the larger size.  Everyone has an idea of what size they want to be, for me I don’t know what weight I want to target, but I’ll know I’m there when I’m there.

For now though, my journey is only just beginning.