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Self Control Isn’t Working Anymore
14 Apr

Self Control Isn’t Working Anymore

Full disclosure, I hate reading self-help books. In my 670 library I think there are only 4 such books. That all said this post was spurred on from such a book.

As many may know I’ve been on a health journey for more than a few years now. And to say I’ve been taking the seismic route is just a polite way of saying “five steps forward four steps back”.

Self control has been my main method all this time, despite reading, more than once, willpower is a finite resource. And it’s true, least for me. As the day goes on it gets harder and harder to saying no to the temptations all around.

So if will power and self-control aren’t the answer what is? That’s kinda where I am just now, working out what the solution is, and why I’ve been reading this book; Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy.

According to his book

A lot of the basic research in psychology says that your willpower is essentially an exhaustive resource,


It’s not unlimited; it runs out very fast.

Since that matches my experience I can relate, and that’s probably the only reason I keep reading.

Hardy goes on to say our behaviors are out sourced to our environment. His premise is most things are addictions, either for types of food or simply short-term rewards.

It sounded strange to me at first but the more I think about it the more it makes some sense. I know when crave sugar and sweets I’m at work. At home it never crosses my mind. Over the weekend my diet, for the most part, is better. Far from perfect but better all the same.

Read more »

What is food
13 Apr

What is food

We all need it and we all eat it. We have a relationship with food and I think that relationship defines our health.

I want to eat healthily, but I’ve not been for years so this is still something I need to talk myself into. When I’m good it’s easy, when I’m not I slip.

My Slimming World classes teaches me to plan and organize my meals, and I do try, but no amount of planning will make up for a general apathy when the time comes to cook.

Just now food for me is a mechanical thing. I’m eating what’s to hand and what’s easy. The number of sandwiches I’m going through is disgraceful. I’ve misplaced my passion for what I’m eating. If I don’t enjoy my food how do I find the enthusiasm to cook it in the first place.

I know this relationship with food is at its best holding me back and at the worst dragging me backwards.

Read more »

Fitbit Ionic
09 Apr

Fitbit Ionic

Fitbit’s first smartwatch debuts with personalized guidance, on-device dynamic workouts, relative SpO2 sensor, industry-leading GPS, swim tracking, on-board music, contactless payments and 4+ day battery life.

Week 1 Day 2
12 Dec

Week 1 Day 2

What a nothing day. I really don’t like Tuesday’s, it’s also it day which doesn’t help at all.

But I started my day off with the same breakfast as yesterday but this time I paid attention to portion control and stuck too the 45g serving. But Pain Au Chocolat for morning break was a key down. I didn’t go looking for it, it was just put infront of me and I eat it. So that’s on me.

Week 17 Day 4 – Huel, After Humpday
20 Jul

Week 17 Day 4 – Huel, After Humpday

We’ve made it to Thursday which means the weekend is now closer than yesterday. Which I suppose is always the case, but still it’s the principle.

This morning’s Huel was fairly simple. 50g Huel powder and 250ml water, but I also added 60g frozen summer fruits. This time at least there was flavour so I’m happy, and yesterday’s reluctance to finish my breakfast didn’t reappear and I finished it off quite easily.

Even with twice as much fruit as before the oat taste is still there, just with company. All in a definite improvement over previous mixes. Another important thing to note, no headache! I’m fairly happy to state yesterday’s retraction was nothing to do with Huel.

It’s not even 9am at time of writing but I’m already thinking about tomorrows breakfast, might try adding coffee

Week 1 Day 5 – Completed A Day
31 Mar

Week 1 Day 5 – Completed A Day

Yesterday I was finally able to honestly say I’d completed a full day. Recording from morning to night I have a honest reflection for the day. To be fair though it wasn’t a really good day, featuring too much junk but it’s a start.

Today’s been a new day and got off to a good start. I had a nice healthy breakfast and an egg mayo lunch, but it went south from there. The afternoon was filled with chrisps and cream eggs. I also failed to go for a walk after work.

I’ve gone over my previous food diaries and I’m starting to think bread is a big part of my downfall. It seems everytime I have bread, be it breakfast of lunch, I end up snacking between meals. This is only a ruff guess sadly since my recent logging as been pitiful so I’m going to add two new items to my Nomie setup; Bread and Snacked

Farely simple and self explanitory but I hope this will ether shed highlight a pattern or disprove it. Obviously I hope to disprove since I’m quite attached to bread but we’ll see in a couple of days what the numbers say.

  • Target Weight: – 188 lb
  • Starting Weight: – 193.21 lb
  • Current Weight: – 194.23 lb

But its time to call it a night, so – if you have been – thanks for reading
Stu

Week 1 Day 3 – 21 Days is what it takes
29 Mar

Week 1 Day 3 – 21 Days is what it takes

Last week I took a day off and here I am week later coming back to it. After a quick search I find common research seems to think it only takes 21 days to form , new habit, so adding it up if I can commit to my doing everything I want to everyday until Week 4 Day 3 then the habit should be formed… 

Right? I’m sceptical but we’ll see.

Week 0 Day 1 – Another Push
20 Mar

Week 0 Day 1 – Another Push

I’ve started and stopped this fitness thing so many times in the last few months I’ve lost track of where I am and sadly have little faith this will be the final restart. I’m also moving house next month and have been thinking that would be a good time to put this off till – a clean start and all that.

But too stick to that assumption would be giving up before I even started and waiting till I’ve moved is just a stalking tactic. Same as saying you’ll quitting smoking, after the one your drawing on as you say it. The only way I could quit was to stub it out half way through and make the commitment there and then.

So no matter what this is I’m starting again and if I had a doughnut in my hand I’d throw it away, but as much as I’d like to start my day with a doughnut I don’t so I can’t.

Next step is to setup some goals and a time frame to work towards. I’m getting married in August so August 1st that seems like we good a target date as any.

  • Weight – my target will be 188 lbs with a body fat around 20%
  • Blogging – the best success I’ve ever had was when blogging daily, so by week 3 I want to be blogging at least 5-6 times a day.
  • Streak – so far my best steps streak is 14 days, I want to beat that.
Week 0 Day 2 – 2017
17 Jan

Week 0 Day 2 – 2017

I’d love to say this isn’t a case is New Year, new me but it probably is in part.

I’ve been dabbling with my health for years now, but am at my most successful when blogging. See it turns out I need to be held accountable for my lapses and I know of no better way than recording my successes and failures here.

This is week Zero, it’s decided I need a week Zero as a prelude to week One too get myself setup and mentally ready since this is a big push.

I’ve got two targets over the next six months, first is March and the second is August.

  • By March I want to increase my general activity levels ready to go skiing – the idea of not being fit enough too spend the day on the slop is a driving force.
  • By August I’m planning on getting married so in a perfect world I’d like rid of it ponch !

So, if these are my goals for 2017 what am I doing with week zero? Well I’m not sure. I need to come up with some form of reward system thats not food based, and ideally not about spending money – although I am thinking about a financial penalty system, just not sure how any of thats going to work yet.

Please jump down to the comments section and leave your ideas for a reward/punishment system too.

But its time to call it a night, so – if you have been – thanks for reading
Stu

Week 1.4 – Wednesday
07 Jan

Week 1.4 – Wednesday

I have said before I want to start writing longer and more in depth articles this year, with the goal of one a month, now I’m almost ten days into January and I’m not sure what I want this month’s focus to be. I have a lot of ideas, but just too many to tie myself down to one.

After Christmas I have another spare raspberry pi just waiting for a job, so I think that will be my focus in January. I’ve always wanted to setup my own OpenVPN.

Week 1.1 – Monday
05 Jan

Week 1.1 – Monday

It’s come again, a new year brings with it a flood of new year resolutions. It’s far from original but in 2015 I’m jumping back on the treadmill and MyFitnessPal.

I’ve been paying no attention to what I eat or do since getting back from last year’s skiing holiday, so with another skiing holiday fast approaching it’s time to decide what I want from this attempt at fitness and health.

I’ve no illusions about what state in starting in and no intentions on becoming the owner of a six pack, but I do want to be fitter, eat better and exercise more.

Since last year failed to make a long term change in breaking this into smaller ‘bite size chunks’ over the next month my goal is to move more. I want to see my beloved Fitbit reading 10,000 steps every day. Since I average around 5,000 a day this should be a challenge.

I know I don’t have allot of weight to lose but it still feels like a big change to make. It’s easy to eat right and exercise more over a short time like a week or months then once you reach your targets you soon slip back into old habits. With on a year your back where you started and on January 1st 2016 you’ll be rewriting your resolution post for another year. Enter the world of the yo-yo diet.

I did it in 2013, 2014 and here I am in 2015 doing it again. I want more this time. I am looking for a long-term change in my lifestyle and those are hard to make.

18 Jun

Day 24 – Wake Up Call

No matter how hard I try today I can’t seem to stop snaking. Everyday this week I’ve been wasting 500 calories on snacks. I just wish I had any idea how to stop it since will power alone is getting me no where.

I also have to think about how I’m going to increase my activity levels. I’m in day two of my twelve week Fitbit programme and I’m hitting the targets but only just, so if I don’t change something soon I’m never going to reach my goals next week.

I know this is a long term goal and there are no quick fixes, but sometimes it’s just hard to see how I’m ever going to get there. I was doing really well last year and after only a few weeks of giving up on now in a worse starting point than I was last year.

16 Jun

Day 22 – What a week

Well I’ve not been doing to well of late. The last two weeks have seen me spend more time in front of one computer or another than is healthy. From turning Excel into a poor mans relational database, to doing some long over due homework and finally rebuilding my primary server after a failed Ubuntu 14.04 upgrade. The down side to all this had been snaking, and very little exercise. Now it’s time for change.

I spent the weekend updating my Drupal [Fitbit](http://nx15.at/myfitbit) plugin and adding more graphs and more importantly bringing the information I want most to the front page. So now for the hard part, filling up the progress bars.

I’ve started another Fitbit twelve well improvement plan, hopefully I will see myself increasing my admittedly terrible activity levels from abysmal to moderate – I am, if nothing else, realistic.

28 May

Day 3 – Another Shocker

Another shocker today, I’m over my budget but only by 301 calories. The surprise is I slipped badly at work and snacked my way thru another late night. If you take the 885 calorie snacks out of my day I could have ended with 584 calories.

People may be wondering why I’m focusing on the numbers so much. This week is about logging and nothing else. I’m trying to make the healthy choice but I’m also trying to be honest about what I’m actually eating. Its in this honestly I’m able to look back and with hindsight see the healthy choice I could have made. For example today I should have stayed away from the Boost bar and Rice Crackers!

27 May

Day 2 – The Saga Continues

Another full day under my belt and for reasons I may never understand I am under my calorie budget. Breakfast I can say was a good day but after that things went a little off the rails.

Lunch was delicious, but it was still a sausage roll and beans. Dinner fared no better. In fact I had two of them. What started as peanut butter sandwiches turned into lamb stew and bread, as well!

My weight and Body Fat trends are still on the rise but they are levelling out a bit. This is only day two and these things take time, the fact that breakfast was healthy is a big step for me. With one day down another day will start soon, just need to wait and see how that one goes.

26 May

Day 1 – My Silent Return

According to MyFitnessPal I was only a couple of weeks away from my first years, the problem was since I stopped logging I was only signing in to check other people status updates and reaching a year like that seemed to much like cheating so instead I decided to reset my counter. My new count starts from today.

My friend’s and family will know or have noticed I burnt out after my skiing trip this year, it’s hard to explain why but the best I can put it was coming home to find after a week of daily and intense exercise to find I weighed the same as when I started all this last may was possibly to much for what was a tired and possibly jet lagged mind. So I stopped trying. Of course after that it quickly became a self perpetuating cycle. Couple that with completing work on my Fitbit plug-in meant my drive and enthusiasm slipped away.

According to MyFitnessPal I was only a couple of weeks away from my first years, the problem was since I stopped logging I was only signing in to check other people status updates and reaching a year like that seemed to much like cheating so instead I decided to reset my counter. My new count starts from today.

The first thing to do is stop looking at my weight. For me it’s like clock watching between half five. The more you look the worse it becomes. I know I want to track my weight and I know to see progress, but I don’t want to be in the situation where a small hiccup spoils weeks of work. So how do I do it? Since my Fitbit scale syncs with their site I don’t need to see it each day, if I really want to know I can check on the site. If I use my own site or TrendWeight I’ll always see the bigger picture.

The blog has to start again. I used to post daily and at some point decided it was a ‘good idea’ to step down the frequency of posts, but it was a bad idea. I became complacent on days I didn’t post and on the days I supposed to post I skipped the bad days.

At this point I’m not sure of all the details and cant even admit to having a proper plan, just the intention of a plan

Friday – Week 17 Day 5
21 Feb

Friday – Week 17 Day 5

Tomorrow I start my skiing holiday in France and by this time I’d hoped I would be better prepared, but I’m not. My last week dash to get ready was not enough time to make a difference.

Well I was able to make some difference. In the last week I was able to improve my diet but didn’t increase my activity level the way I wanted. Never mind. For the next week I will probably not be online the way I have before but we’ll see what happens over the next few days.

I will be around as much as I can, but it may be on and off

15 Feb

The Return – Week 16 Day 6

I’ve been away some time now. Not recording my meals and not really paying the attention I should and taking almost no exercise. In the last few days I’ve started coming around. I can see what is happening and what has happened.

I’ve no idea why this has happened. I know better than most what my mood swings can be like, if I could plot them out they’d look like a strange Sign graph, this week I hit the lower end and am now starting to climb up the other side. I think I’m somewhere here…

Today marks seven days before I go to France for a week skiing. I had hoped I would be allot fitter by now but I’m not and there is little point in dwelling on that. I still have seven days and that is enough to make a difference. If I really put in the effort I want to I can improve myself before I go, so while I’d wanted to have done more by now least I’m coming out the dip while there is still a week ahead.

When I stepped on the scales this morning I was 78.9 kg and had 22.5 % body fat. I would like to get both of these down, but not having done a full week routine I can’t say how much by. I will obviously be on the scales again before I leave so we will see what progress is made.

Shall we just say this, week 17, will be a better week than the weeks it precedes

05 Feb

Wednesday – Week 15 Day 3

Sadly I have very little report tonight. I still haven’t managed to recover from my day of last week, which has just gone to show my desire to be fit and healthy still hasn’t sunk to the level of routine but I still have faith. I was out on Monday so forgot to blog, and that bothered me more than I’d have expected, and in all honesty tonight blog is nothing to write home about ether.

The only upside is I have gone back to my diet and am eating sensibly again so my main focus now must be exercise, its always been my weakest point and so must be where I put the most attention.

I have a couple of days off work this week, so I am hoping to make up for some lost time then if I don’t before hand. I will keep my eye on this more closely than before.

Wednesday – Week 14 Day 3
29 Jan

Wednesday – Week 14 Day 3

This is a logging day but I am really struggling to put on together. Since getting back from work I’ve been working on a side project to put some heart rate data onto Fitbit from my Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor which has kind of distracted me from blogging the way I wanted too.

However, I’ve had a good couple of days. Both this morning and yesterday I hit the treadmill and did some weights as well as other body weight exercises all in I’ve been spending at least an hour working out both mornings. My diet however isn’t working as well. I’ve been slipping at work but I’ve traced this down to my work load. My day job is a call centre and when no one is calling I started to nibble, eventually this just builds up so I’m not ending my days as much under budget as I would like. I am however pleased with what I’ve been eating, on the whole anyway.

Unfortunately my new found exercise hasn’t found its way to the scales yet. My weight is steadily climbing which is easy to put down to muscle gain but I’m sceptical this would happen so quickly when I still have weight to lose. For now my focus is completely on my body fat % which is decreasing, but looking at the graph this morning saw a huge plum-it and I really don’t believe that is here to stay. I really wary of any of these miraculous overnight changes, I am expecting these everything to be more gradual progressions and that is what I’m looking for, but I want object too much if the miracle sticks around.

Tomorrow is my day off, so no food logging only water. I’ll decide when I wake up if this is exclude a work out but part of me hopes it want. I still haven’t come up with a reward system to use though, and really feel I need one! What do you use?

Monday – Week 14 Day 1
27 Jan

Monday – Week 14 Day 1

It has gone well past the time I started paying more attention to my weight loss journey.

As you can see from the pictures I’ve uploaded I’ve really not been doing well since Christmas. I started a Fitbit twelve week plan and for the last five weeks I’ve not been hitting my goals and the only excuse I have is simple distraction and lack of focus. So how am I going to change things and get out of the rut I’m in? By shaking things up a bit.

First step is accountability and tracking. Until yesterday I had no idea how much I’d fallen, so once again the Blog will come back into play. In a previous post I said that perhaps a nightly Blog was no longer required, and its not, but structure is required. So I will post a blog three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Since Thursday is now my day off each week this schedule will give me two days to blog about instead of trying to find content in just the one. While I might still blog thru the other days these are the days I am setting aside to always blog.

Second is harder to label. I am project driven and the problem with weight loss a fitness is they are long term at best. An even better description would be lifestyle changes. So I need to make it a project as well. I already have the Blog and I publish my Fitbit reports each week, the next step is recipes, which I am going to start added as well. I have no illusion this site will become the goto for anyone but it will become the first reference for me. A recipe will look like this Greek Style Salad demo and contains everything needed to replicate the meal.

Final step is reward. I’ve been looking for one that is free and does not include food, having a Mars bar to reward you for exercising isn’t of much use. Problem is now I am still stuck on this one. I really have no idea what reward system to use, although I know I need one.

Wednesday – Week 13 Day 3
22 Jan

Wednesday – Week 13 Day 3

Since I stated using my new scales yesterday I thought I would go the full hog and weigh anything that fit on them. This morning I started with breakfast.

Now I’ll be honest, I’ve always just scanned the barcode on food packages and left it as that. This morning proved that might be my problem. I’ve attached two cereal photos today, the first shows a suggested serving of 30 grams (how you’re expected to have 125mls of milk to that is a mastery to me) the second what I would normally eat. What surprised me most is I’m eating twice the suggested serving. Spread that over a 7 day week and it’s scary. The one up side is I don’t actually use 125mls of milk, I actually use barley 25mls.

The rest of my meals haven’t been bad for the first time in ages I avoided a pie and beans for lunch, but couldn’t skip the snacks. I’ll keep working on it although I think the only practical solution will be buying lots of grapes and carrots to eat at my desk but I keep forgetting to get supplies in. Dinner was home made macaroni cheese extremely good and all ingredients were properly weighed and measured so I’m happy.

Now pact. This was suggested to me yesterday so I thought I would give it a try. The basic premise is you set yourself a goal, mine is to log 4 meals a week in MFP. If I do that I’ll get $0.80, great, but for each of the four I don’t log it’ll cost me $5! At present I’m playing with the starter amount, so I want actually be allowed to withdraw anything unless I sign up to actually pledge my own money. I’ll probably give it a try, 2014 is my year of trying new things after all.

Today’s weigh in reported a 0.8 kg loss on yesterday, I’m not sure how excited I want to get about this yet till I see if it’s going back on tomorrow so I’ll hold back judgement.

Tuesday – Week 13 Day 2
21 Jan

Tuesday – Week 13 Day 2

It’s been far too long since my last post and in that time nothing good seems to have happened. I haven’t so much back slid as stalled altogether. Over the weekend I lost 0.8 kg’s and by the next day I’d put most of it back on.

The truth is I knew/know that weighing my self daily produces these kind of results and for the most part its only water, which is why I also use TrendWeight to give me a clear picture of my long term historical information and a forecast of what will happen next, assuming nothing changes. As you can see from the screenshot and or site my last four weeks hasn’t seen much change. So what I am taking out of this is that what I’m doing now isn’t enough to get me reaching my goals.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about this directly. The obvious answer is “move more, eat less” but that been the solution from the start, so I need to change something to get me back to this place.

I bought myself some new kitchen scales after Christmas so this will become heavily used. Logging the weights of everything I’ve eaten will not only give me a more accurate logged amount but it will force me to pay attention to ingredients, not just throw stuff at the cooking and see what sticks. I also plan to photograph my meals, I know allot of people have reported success with this so I’m going to give it a try as well.

Before the end of last year I was blogging every night and it helped allot. Such a simple thing forced me to pay attention to what was happening during the day. Logging in MFP is a great tool, but its not enough for me to pay attention to what went in the diary, this blog helped me better understand all aspects of diet, and in most cases the reason for my laps. I’m not sure a nightly blog will be required, but that’s what I will aim to start with.

10 Jan

Friday – Week 11 Day 5

This has been a week of ups and downs. Yesterday I talked about my toothache, and sadly the dentist wasn’t able to sort it out today so its going to be another week before I go back. Yet I’ve decided this isn’t going to stop me any more. With enough thought it shouldn’t have too.

As for logging, well today hasn’t been any better than the others I still forget about lunch time and start to snack a little more than I’m exactly happy with. The name of this blog is ‘accountability’ I always behave better when people are watching and for that to be effective over this medium then I have to be honest with both myself and you. So honestly, I’ve been bad. Each day this week has been a bad one and I stopped logging my meals as soon as I slip with one snack or another. Before the new year I allowed myself one day free of logging anything. I always found this helpful and was able to eat properly during the week knowing I had this free day to relax, even if I didn’t use it, and I think now it’s time to go back to that routine.

My activity levels this are also nothing to boast about. I started a Fitbit twelve week plan in December, I am now at the end of week 6 and for the last three weeks I have not been doing well. Looking at the Fitbit charts I can see that Christmas week was the worst, New Years was slightly better and this week better still so I suppose I shouldn’t be too worried about it, but it is still something that could slip quite easily if not watched. Also, since I am self reflecting tonight, my own personal activity targets are being missed all week and not by much. This can ether been looked at as “I am getting close and making a good effort” or, more accurately, as “I’m not trying hard enough”. My target are really that high and yet I still haven’t been hitting them.

My ambition over the weekend is to do a six month review of my all my Fitbit information. I haven’t decided what format this will take yet but I joined Fitbit in June so June to December is a nice benchmark to look back on so I am hoping to put this together for Sunday so stay tuned.

Well that’s enough from me for one night. As always if you have been, thanks for reading