Niall’s virtual diary archives – Monday 27th February 2017

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Monday 27th February 2017: 3.34pm.

As long time readers likely know and/or have observed here, when we moved to Canada back in 2012 I puffed up a lot weight wise, hitting 180 lb (81.6kg) pretty quickly, and I have found it hard to shift despite trying multiple strategies. Unfortunately with me my blood pressure is very sensitive to my weight, and I was tipping past 135/85 resting last September as my weight reached an all time high of 86.4kg (190 lbs) and I was beginning to get signs of the same blood pressure related problems as which sent me to A&E almost a year before, throbbing headaches, chest pains, palpitations, dizziness etc. After all, 135/85 resting turns into 160/100 plus during your work day, not good.

So, after five years of being fat I clearly needed to go as far as was needed to get my weight down to pre-Canada levels once and for all, and I am glad to report that I have dropped below my Canada weight of 81 kg and I am on track for my pre-Canada weight of 72kg (160 lbs) by September. Below is a graph of my weight since September, the small fall between September and Christmas is me coming off booze as I usually do before Christmas, but it's been since the start of 2017 that I've begun my diet in earnest, losing about 2kg (4.4 lb) per month.

My diet is not the typical diet. Firstly, I've completely detached myself from eating with the family, I now eat separately so I can calorie control. Secondly, I've chosen about as different a diet as is ever recommended by anyone, so it's worth explaining it here because I've found sticking with this one much easier than any of the others I've tried which tend to leave me hungry at work which means I can't work. The key to this diet is a large lunch and minimum dinner and breakfast, this prevents me flagging from hunger at work in the afternoons. In the morning a latte and banana might be 150 kcal, the lunch is a microwaveable ready meal as shown in the second picture at 500-700 kcal and dinner consists of a lean sandwich (no cheese, 250 kcal) and a quarter kilo of fruit, usually oranges (150 kcal). Total is therefore 1,050 to 1,250 kcal per day, at an admittedly high cost of €6/day.

That amount of calories might seem low, but sedentary work where you commute by car as I do only burns 1,700-1,800 kcals/day, so to lose weight you need to come a fair bit below that again. And I tried the exercise route last summer by cycling to work every day, did wonders for my fitness but barely touched my weight. So calorie restriction it must be, unpleasant as that is.

Getting below my Canada weight has already had big effects on my resting blood pressure which is now down to 118/74 or so. I know from the one other time in my life I got fat which was during the EuroFighter job that getting below 75 kg should bring my blood pressure back to perfect (110/70) and every kilo lost after that has a much smaller, but beneficial effect on my resting blood pressure. Of course, I was in my twenties then, but even at St. Andrews when I went from 65 kg (143 lb) to 72 kg (160 lb) partially due to entering my thirties, partially due to excess fun, my resting blood pressure didn't budge much. I am hoping that still remains true, as getting back to 65 kg would be far harder and require very significantly more sacrifice than getting back to 72 kg.
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