Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Week 12! Time for mince pies.

Week 12

Carrying the tree home feeling like Arnie in Commando.
So this it it, 12 Weeks done! Still doing my best for the 12th week but this close to Christmas there's going to be blips in the program, there's definitely been a few Quality Street floating around.  Spending most of my free time usually at the gym or at home makes the diet easy enough but lots of late nights out this week in the party spirit makes it hard. Here's the off-plan seasonal damage done in the lead up to Christmas.  Usually I'd be drunk this whole week, obviously.

Monday: Work Christmas do, cinema and dinner - 2 beers, gluten free but HUGE meal at Big Easy (some chips nicked from the next plate), also dessert.  Not a great start.
Tuesday: Screening of Ex Machina at the BFI - 1 beer.  Check this film out when it comes out next year.  Wow.
Wednesday: Ginger's birthday gig - No beers (Most years I have a colossal hangover the morning after this gig, result!).
Thursday: Christmas movie double bill of Gremlins & Die Hard - brought healthy snacks from home.
Friday: A needed night in and a chance to do some exercise, 50 lengths at the pool.
Saturday: Meshuggah gig. 2 beers. Not very a very Christmassy band it's true, possibly should have gone to see The Pogues again.

Note: I wrote the days in my blogger last week and filled in each day as I went expecting this week to get messy. It didn't go nearly as bad as I thought it might, partially because I knew I'd have to write my discretions down here.  Just goes to show that a bit of accountability goes a long way.

Not been in the gym as much as I'd like due to all this. Even slept through my early morning Wednesday weights session, gutted. I was all ready to go to my usual early Friday session too but the gym was closed due to the 12 Rounds Christmas shindig on Thursday night, a fine example! (and completely understandable).  Oh well, just show as much self control as possible to make up for it.

I always put a song in the opening of each blog.  I'm part of a music playlist group on Facebook so this week rather than one song here's my albums of the year (with track links) from that group on the off chance anyone's interested

1. Ginger Wildheart - Albion
2. Ginger Wildheart - G.A.S.S. 
3. Run the Jewels - Run the Jewels 2
4. Anaal Nathrakh - Desideratum
5. The Interrupters - The Interrupters
6. Job For a Cowboy - Sun Eater
7. Mastodon - Once More 'Round the Sun 
8. Killer Be Killed - Killer Be Killed
9. Devin Townsend - Z2
10. Bloodbath - Grand Morbid Funeral

Also, not a new album as such but the Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack CD has probably spent more time in our home stereo than anything this year, so much fun,

So that's it!  It's been 12 weeks on the 12 Rounds Boxing transformation program and where I don't exactly feel like a beautiful butterfly emerging from it's blubbery chrysalis the difference is notable.  13 weeks ago I was miserable, feeling huge and in a lot of pain.  Now most of the pain has gone or at least is much more manageable, I'm sleeping much better, I'm fitter & stronger, feeling positive, motivated and most importantly for the first time I'm starting to gain a real understanding of why I feel different, what I need to continue to do and what's required to take it up a step.

We had a session at the gym on Saturday that counted as the official end of the program.  Went out on a high with another personal best deadlift (140kg) and a decent boxing class followed by watching some sparring in Santa hats, my weigh in and final measurements (38lbs lost in total) and a long sit down with Kat to reflect on the last 12 weeks on camera.   Video coming in the new year.

This 12 week program might have started as a self-contained course but in reality it's been a primer. Starting 1st January I'm going to count out another 12 weeks and do it all again, but step it up, I'm feeling better than ever and just getting started.  Thanks to Laura and Femma who have been on the course with me and have been a great source of support and motivation both on line and in the gym and HUGE thanks to Kat who got me off the sofa in the first place, made me want to get in better shape and who can take the lion's share of the credit.  And indeed thanks to the whole crew at 12 Rounds Boxing who have always been brilliantly supportive.

So...  before and afters as promised in week 1.  Pictures on the left were taken on the 1st October and pictures on the right are from 20th December.  No I've not grown 4 inches, blame Diana's photo skills.

This makes me deeply uncomfortable, so no making fun of my Moobs.

Still have a way to go, but not a bad start I think.  Hope you all have a great end to the year, relax, enjoy yourselves, don't get too fat and hit the ground running in 2015.

Here's a cat showing incredible tolerance for a doucebag tortoise.

I'm going to go put my feet up for a week.

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Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Damage Control

Week 11

Or Week 11 and a half. I'm late I know, I do try and do these every week but with the festive season kicking in and Diana and I going to Amsterdam for the middle of last week my days are all over the place.  Here's this week's festive blog reading music, enjoy!

Amsterdam. You beautiful bastard.
Amsterdam was a pre Christmas break perfect for Diana's voracious appetite for museums and mine for Dutch apple cake.  This might not have been great for the diet, I'm going to justify it by saying I've been saving up most of my cheat days for the last 10 weeks, plus we had fun, and there were lots of cats, and we got lots of exercise walking about the city. In fact that's bollocks, I don't need to justify it, just know that diet-based misdeeds occurred (see left).

Work parties used to be drunker that this
At least it's low carb.
Getting home from the break my ankle hurt from walking cobbled streets for 3 days so stayed away from the gym and went swimming, got to do what you body tells you and I know I've got to do what I can to offset the damage done while away and the damage that's bound to happen at Christmas which means making good choices in the gaps.  Which means at the time of writing there's 9 days left 'till Christmas and many of those days are filled with  goings on - dinner out with my girls from work, festive trips to the Prince Charles Cinema to see Trading Places, Die Hard & Gremlins, all Chrimbo classics (Christmas wouldn't be Christmas in our house without a visit the PCC) a couple of gigs including the annual, amazing Ginger Wildheart's birthday bash and last but by no means least, Diana's birthday! I'm even too busy to get to 12 Rounds Boxing for the Christmas Social.

So where these events are invariably going to include rich food and a degree of boozing and I'm certainly going to indulge (I just am) it's again about making good choices in the gaps.  There will likely be beer had at the Ginger gig - it's an annual year end pissup - but that doesn't mean I'll be having all the beers and greasy sandwich to help the next morning as I may have done previous years.  Busy evenings and a sore ankle are keeping more out of the gym more than I'll so make up for it by getting to swim before work or doing something at home.   Meals out tend to be filled with temptations and harder to make healthy choices, (especially when we're heading out somewhere special like this for Di's birthday!) so I'm making sure my other meals at home or work are on point, can't let it slip on all fronts even if I'm going to a little on one front.

Gluten free almond pancakes, fruit and Greek yogurt.  
Lean protein, green veg, low GI carb.  Feckin' outstanding dinner.

 It's important to be realistic.  I'm not going to enjoy this holiday period eating the same way I have for the last 11 weeks but I am going to go right back to that way of eating on New Years Day, the gaps between the indulgences until then are going to be healthier than ever and I'm even going to keep getting off the sofa over the next couple of weeks and get the exercise in when I can.  Next week is week 12 of the 12 Week Transformation....   can't let it all go to pot now!

Thanks for reading, here's a couple of Dutch cats as your reward

Living exhibits at the Cat Museum www.kattenkabinet.nl

Shi Shi joined us at our table for dinner.

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Work harder! Take a load off.

Week 10

Here's this week's blog reading music.  Guardians of the Galaxy came out on BluRay this week so myself and Diana sat down to watch it again like the utter geeks we are and this song's been filling the house ever since (My ipod on the other hand sounds a bit more like this this week, not really blog reading music for most of you I'm sure but one of my albums of 2014).

Doesn't feel like it's been the most successful week this week.  My shoulder problem from earlier this year has been giving me a bit of grief and I turned my wrist over in an awkward way hitting the bags so that's been hurting too, plus a few other aches and pains.  Nothing horrendous but things that get in the way of working hard in the gym the way I'd like too.  I know my trainer, Kat from 12 Rounds, has been dealing with similar frustrations and she's making a real effort to pay attention to her body and do what's right for it, so I'm doing the same.

As ever, the cat leads the way in relaxation techniques.
I have an chronic problem with my Achilles tendon due to the fact that years ago I tore it while running and never got it seen to, I only found out what I'd done to it when I had an MRI this year and it turns out that's really not the kinda thing to just work through, so now I can basically never run. A year ago a pain in my body when training meant I should grit my teeth and make it through the exercise/round/session and that approach ended up with me eventually on the sofa, miserable, in pain and hardly able to move.

These days I'm making an effort to have a different approach and recognise the difference between something being difficult (WORK HARDER!) and something not being right with my body (STOP NOW!) and also the difference between being lazy and just not going to the gym and taking time off for a few days to rest when it's needed.  It's not easy when you automatically find yourself behaving in ways you always have but recognising you're doing it is half the problem.

The Prince Charles, home from home.
In that spirit I took the weekend off the gym and a friend and I went along to the wonderful  Prince Charles Cinema for a John Carpenter all-nighter on Saturday night.  Great fun and I swapped the M&Ms, fizzy drinks and popcorn we usually survive on at these nights for dried fruit, nuts and protein bars but skipping a whole Saturday night's sleep and hitting the caffeine when you've mostly given it up do not help when it comes to getting your already worn out self into the gym on Monday morning.  Sitting on one's arse for close to 11 hours while you're supposed to be sleeping is not really that restful it turns out.

Only a couple of pounds lost again this week but as long as it's not going up it's still a win. Still, got another personal best deal lift of 125kg.

Thanks for reading.  As a reward here's some home baking instant hedghogs

Work colleagues being supportive as ever.  I've not had one.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Fighting fat with fat

Eureka Machines
Week 9

This week's blog reading music is the Eureka Machines' cover of Walk Like an Egyptian. We went to see them last week in Camden, what a great band.  They're always really fun live, loads of great sing alongs to be had, seem to be genuinely grateful for the success they've had thus far and they're 100% independent.  I've got a lot of time for Eureka Machines, they've got a new album on the way too, happy times!

It's been a good week at 12 Rounds Boxing this week.  Been doing my two early morning bag work sessions, 1 weight session (new deadlift personal best, 120kg) a bit of swimming (another new PB, 54 lengths) as well as more actual boxing classes which I'm so happy to get back to.  Working on boxing technique is so much fun for me and when you're really enjoying what you're doing you get a work out in without even noticing, so much better than just forcing yourself to stay on the crosstrainer at Fitness First another 15 minutes.  Looking forward to doing much more actual boxing training next year now my fitness is starting to come back to a decent level, can't wait to get back to sparring.

This is week 9 on the 12 Week course and when I think of the difference from week one to now it's amazing.  Week one was a struggle to get in the gym at all and now I've got so much energy once I get going I don't want to stop.  Feeling worn out towards the end of a session doesn't make me want to slow down and wish it was over anymore, it makes me want to push harder.  Getting just a little bit fitter makes it a little bit easier to work harder, and working a little harder than last time every time makes me a little fitter, I like this momentum a lot and I can really feel the difference in how my body feels.

The 12 Rounds crew did the Men's Health Survival of the Fittest 10k obstacle course run thingy last weekend and while I'm probably too broken and injured to ever do that it looks like so much fun that it makes me want to get my fitness up to the level where it might me possible.  We'll see, that might be another blog.

Mmmmm fat.
Diet's a bit changed this week.  Kat's got us eating more protein and fat (healthy fats - coconut oil, butter, avocado, oily fish) which does a good job at keeping me full, stops me snacking during the day as much and I'm only eating carbs the night before training.
 Eating more fats seems like a strange thing to do when you're trying to lose fat and it's taken me a while to come around to it as a concept.  Makes perfect sense though, your body needs fats for essential functions all the time and any extra calories your body doesn't use will be stored as excess blubber, not just the fats we've eaten.  As far as I understand it in my new and limited knowledge of how this works is the worst thing to eat for extra blubber reserves are sugars and carbohydrates (which are basically sugar, who knew?) and low-fat versions of foods tend to be packed with sugar!  Have a look at the back of a flavoured 0% fat yogurt and see how much sugar (or any ingredient ending with -ose) is in there.  Horrendous.  Have a natural greek yogurt with fresh berries, much better.   In the last 9 weeks I've pretty much cut out all refined sugar, but a friend gave me a slice of birthday cake one afternoon, rude to resist, and Jesus Christ...  you get really sensitive to that stuff when you've not had it for a while.  Two minutes later I felt like I'd shotgunned 6 espressos, had to bin it.

I went end for an awesome Sri-Lankan curry and a beer on Saturday. Can't take this stuff too seriously can ya? Only lost a couple of pounds on the scale this week but more importantly the jeans I bought before this program started that I couldn't even get into now fall off without a belt.  Much more important than what the scale says.

Super healthy, includes fats.  Roast duck with plum sauce, cauliflower
 and parsnip puree and baby leeks. I love cooking ( and eating)

Thanks for reading, as a reward here's a chimp doing it's best to babysit and a teddy bear getting some treadmill work in.

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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Anchovies make everything better.

Week 8

Oh I love food.  If having to be on a health kick meant I had to be hungry this whole thing would be a write off from the very beginning.  I've not had any processed foods, bread, pasta or added sugar for 8 weeks now.  Starting a program like this starts off with the surge of willpower needed to stop myself picking up a bag of McCoys (king of crisps) but after a while it really stops being an effort and I'm actually craving healthy food rather than the sugary/salty/carbogeddon cravings I used to have.

This is true, but slightly disingenuous by the way.  I would still absolutely destroy a pizza and a stack of chocolate chip cookies, you just wait 'till after Christmas when I write my shame blog after all the horrible things I've done to myself.

So in that spirit, rather than just write a diary this week here are basic recipes of a few super-healthy things I've been cooking lately.

Cauliflower rice is the shit.  Seriously.
Cauliflower rice.  Not rice, just grated cauliflower, but this is so much better than that sounds.  Discovered on this program as it's a low carb alternative but seriously, if I'd known of it before I'd have been eating it forever.  Fry up mustard seeds and cumin seeds in some coconut oil and then add the grated cauliflower to the pan, salt and pepper and cook for a just a few minutes. Legitimately wicked and a lot quicker than rice. Might sound weird but try it, it's legit.

Oat bars
Oat bars.  I've got a sweet tooth so cookie alternatives are a must.  Blend bananas and dates (or mash with fork if you have soft, over-ripe bananas to use up) and mix in toasted seeds and chopped nuts, then add gluten free oats (could toast these too) until you have a nice thick batter. You want it thick and sticky so it holds together. Add the zest of an orange, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Bake in a tin lined with baking parchment and slice up when cooled on a wire rack.  They have a texture kinda like bread pudding.

Kale and eggs

Kale and eggs.  Another thing I started cooking as a healthy alternative and now love, I eat this for breakfast every weekend.  Coconut oil, garlic and a couple of anchovy fillets in a frying pan followed by finely sliced onions then chopped kale.  Once the kale is wilted a little add seasoned eggs and chopped tomato to the pan and scramble together.  Served with a handful of seeds and hot sauce.  Goes great with bacon.  Obviously.

The value of a being able to cook a decent tomato sauce cannot be underestimated.  I grew up on massive plates of pasta with bolognese sauce (explains a lot) so filling that gap is important to me now I'm off gluten. A rich tomato sauce with brown rice and fish or as the base for a quick chilli or a vegetable dish is perfect for easy midweek winter comfort food. Rules -  1. Use plenty of garlic. 2. Anchovies make everything better.  3. Cook it slowly, ideally twice.
A cheaters risotto with steamed salmon.

I love to cook so if you'd like some actual recipes with food amounts and and cooking times for healthy food, (y'know, ones you can actually follow), let me know in the comments and I'll start putting them in future blogs

Another 6 lbs lost this week.  I knew the scale would be back on my side after last week's snub. That's 30lbs lost since I started, still got a way to go though.

Thanks for reading, as a reward here's a cat being...  err, not cute.  Weird and a little scary really.

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Wednesday, 12 November 2014

The awkward, creeping horror, NOOOOO!

Week 7

Welcome back.  Blog reading music this week comes from Coheed & Cambria, another all time favourite (I've got Coheed & Cambria tattoos even) with a boxing themed video, seems a perfect fit.  This it total LETSGETPUMPED gym music for me.

Remember a couple of weeks ago I did my weekly weigh in, hadn't lost anything and got pissed off? Same thing happened again this week but this time I shrugged, walked off and got on with my day.  It's weird, each week I either lose 7 pounds or nothing.  But it didn't bother me, one of the big things about this 12 Week program is self awareness and I remembered how I felt about this last time, how I rationalised it and moved right on with my day. Feels good to recognise that I avoided something that previously would have stressed me out.  Even without the weight loss I hit a milestone this week, 100kg deadlifts (almost my bodyweight), which seemed impossible when I started, Kat told me early on she'd have me lifting triple figures and I laughed at her.

My gym time since starting the 12 week program had been 2 sessions a week hitting the heavy bags and 1 session of weight training.  These have been doing the trick and I've wanted to step it up so have been adding in some more classes at the gym and doing a bit of swimming, classes where rather than hiding in the corner of the gym and hitting the bags I'm hitting pads with a partner and doing a more footwork & head movement (y'know, actual boxing stuff) in a busier class.

I've always struggled with social anxiety. When I had put on all the weight and not been to the gym in months the idea of huffing and puffing my way through a class I didn't think I could complete with a dozen other people filled me with dread.  But after easing myself in, losing a bit of weight, gaining a bit of confidence, get back in there I did. And it felt good to do so, working out in a group is so much easier than just trying to motivate yourself alone. Seriously, if you're struggling go to a class of somethinganything.

In the summer when I was injured and putting on weight and went along to a 12 Rounds event at the Clapham Grand to watch a fight and The Chimp (those niggling, irrational fears and responses that come from the primal parts of your brain) was powerfully in control. So anxious and uncomfortable, John & Kat from 12 Rounds are lovely, and the people from the gym I knew are all friendly but I spent the whole night crawling in my skin, stumbling through conversations, fighting to be a normal, social person but desperate to get away from crowds and I remember breathing a huge sigh of relief when I left and hastily made my way home utterly stressed out.  That old depressive black cloud following at my heels.  A couple of months later I had a talk with Kat and started this 12 Week Transformation program.

A few weeks ago we had a dinner with out little crew of 12 Weekers (social interaction with people I hardly know?  ARGHH!) which was really nice and helpful for keeping the motivation up, then a couple of weeks ago I met a load of complete strangers from the internet to go to gig in Manchester (Virtual strangers danger! The awkward, creeping horror, NOOOOO!) which turned out to be wicked late night fun.  Next spring I've arranged to go to a 3 day music festival with 1 person I knew years ago and a group of about 8 strangers and I'm not bothered in the slightest.  Obviously keeping on top of something like this is an ongoing process, but I feel much better equipped to do so.  It's amazing what a good diet, exercise and a bit of awareness can do for your self esteem.

I'll probably lose more weight next week.

Thanks for reading, here's an adorable video of a kitten and a great dane (WARNING Has caused two women in my life to cry this week) and here's another picture of my cat Bambo because he's awesome.

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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Deadlifts in the Mosh Pit

Week 6

Welcome back.  This week's blog reading music comes from my all time favourite, Ginger. **WARNING** Contains an exceptionally rude chorus that's so catchy you'll end up singing it without realising and offending loved ones or work colleagues.

What a great week I've had.  Ginger is this week's music because this past weekend was one I've been  looking forward to all year, the first ever, hopefully annual, Ginger Wildheart's Halloween Hootenanny, held in Wolverhampton with 6 bands (including the fantastic Eureka Machines) and an almighty piss-up with the great online community that surrounds the bands.  Diana came with me for Halloween and headed home to London the next day while I went on to Manchester to see Ginger and Eureka Machines play another gig and meet up with another group of people I previously only knew online.  Now, I made some provisions to make sure this wasn't a total write off health-wise, packing healthy snacks for the train, getting a good breakfast in before we left and hunted out healthy, protein rich salads for lunch but Kat does tell us it's OK to have a cheat day once in a while and if I was going to have one this was going to be it! Still I avoided beer (mostly), but did get a post-gig late night drunk-burger and a spectacular breakfast to smash the hangover both of which included *gasp* GLUTEN (Kat would tell us that gluten is more horrific than anything Halloween can dish up).
Not an opiate
Diana and I also went out to dinner on the first night and I finished with a coffee, my first coffee since this whole process started, a super powerful Turkish coffee at that, and it set me off like a rocket. What a beautiful brew it was, but after being off the stuff for a while a dose this hefty drove me giddy, felt like I was having palpatations.  That's what killed Dee Dee Ramone...  apart from it was with heroin obviously.

Muffins, poached eggs, chorizo, salsa, hollandaise. Breakfast of champions.

Possibly shitfaced
Now if you read Week 1 you'll remember that before I started this 12 Week fitness program I was in a pretty miserable state and it's amazing how the booze kicked me right back to it once it wore off. Not the hangover (I deal with that like a trooper) but for a day or two later the old familiar black cloud settled in.  One of the big things about this process is recognising how the choices we make are affecting us and it was clearer than ever to me after last weekend that alcohol really causes my mood to plummet (not at the time obviously, that's a picture of a happy chap above) and not for anything in particular, I'd just had the weekend of the year, just a general miserable bleakness.  Recognising that the after effect of alcohol had probably messed me up rather than just reacting to that fact that I was down really helped in turning it around quickly.  Also, no more booze 'till Christmas, I like being happy. 

So the weekend was a bit of a cheat but I was right back to it when I got home, off to the pool for a swim (44 lengths, a new record) and back in the 12 Rounds gym this week to hit pads for the first time in ages which was great fun and also our weekly weight training session with Kat.
Weight training I'm starting to really enjoy as I can see the improvements week on week as we add bit more weight to the bar, there's something really satisfying about moving something heavy around (not so much chin-ups, my body is still too much weight to lift).  I particularly noticed it this week when I headed out to see extreme metal band Anaal Nathrahk (here's their cover of a Specials song, not for the feint of heart).  Plenty of stagediving going on and the moshpit was full of people flying all over the beer soaked floor (I had water, told you I'm off the sauce 'till Chimbo), I was standing just at the edge of the pit so had quite a few people hitting the deck in front of me, I chuckled to myself as I leaned down to pick them up with my best deadlift technique, scooped 'em up and shoved them back into the swirling mass of bodies, piece of cake!  See?  Real world application of gym work.

Apart from the weekend blunders the diet has continued to be really good.  Just discovered cauliflower rice which is fantastic especially when spiced up and I think it's time to do some baking too, I love making bread and cakes so will be a challenge to make something healthy.  Will update next week if successful.  Another 7lbs lost this week even with the boozing so we're well on the way!

Thanks for reading, here's a kitten giving itself a hug..

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Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Free booze and free cake, dagnammit.

Week 5

Last week I left you with a determination to double down and stay focussed and since then it's maybe been the best week yet on this program.  Here's your blog reading music for the week, Run the Jewels new album is out as a free download and if you have even a passing interest in hip hop you'd be a fool to pass it up, the first album is classic.

The diet's been really good this week.  I keep a food diary and send it to Kat every week and this week she said she didn't know how she could improve on it.  Nice.  Kat has warned us that this is the point, a month in, where motivation is likely to start slipping so it's really time to make sure that doesn't happen.  This is supposed to be a 12 week commitment after all, be a shame to start flagging 1/3 of the way in.   Food's really important to me (like it is for a lot of us, what with all the metabolism and that) so I'd hate to be on "diet", something that makes me miserable because I'm constantly denying myself or, horror of all horrors, going hungry.  As it is I find the healthier I eat, healthier I want to eat so it's massive salads-a-go-go, lots of protein and veg and I don't really miss bread and pasta (that much).  Had a craving for a burger Saturday night so while I toasted buns for my girlfriend I made a salad of all the stuff I'd usually put in a burger and made baked sweet potato chips.
90% of a burger is still awesome.

Just a couple of substitutions and I had a super healthy meal which still scratched that burger itch.  I'm smashing through that recommended 5 a Day, drinking lots of water (man, I piss A LOT), eating often during the day (fresh & dried fruit, nuts, boiled eggs, rice cakes with peanut butter - my new favourite thing) and I'm never hungry,  Not being hungry means I'm not getting cravings.  Winning!

The gym's been good too, slowly but surely but I'm definitely getting fitter.  Kat has us doing deadlifts and it'super satisfying upping the weight every week, and having the Dropkick Murphys in my head one morning doing a bag session had me seriously fired up.  Getting up before 6 and
This is pre-gym in the morning. THE MORNING!
heading out in the dark and the rain is actually fun,  well 'fun' might be pushing it but it's legitimately motivating, though as a result I don't have the option to stay up all night playing GTA as often these days but hey, got to make some sacrifices eh?  It's not like I'm not writing this on a day off which I'm mostly using to get a massage and play the newly remastered GTA San Andreas while eating a bit of healthy cake (HEALTHY CAKE!) prepared by my fellow 12 Weeker Laura, so don't feel too bad for me,

Speaking of fellow 12 Weekers we had a meal out together at the end of last week.  We're all chatting and sharing meals on our facebook group but was good to be able to met up outside the gym environment to talk about how we're all getting on.  The fact that we're all doing this along with other people I think is a big help.  If you're reading this and thinking you should make more of an effort I'd really recommend trying to get someone on board with you to share the experience, it's supportive and also gives you something to be accountable to.

Another night out this week with free booze and free cake, dagnammit. This time at the legendary Prince Charles Cinema (a place I've spent so much time in it feels like my living room) for a screening of a new Breaking Bad documentary, so blue meth cocktails and Heisenberg cupcakes were deftly avoided on not even missed to be honest.

So all in all a very positive week, not even the realisation that I'm developing Reed Richards hair could get me down this week.  Another 7 lbs lost this week can only be a good thing.

Thanks for reading, thought and comments always appreciated,.  Here's your reward for getting to the bottom of this post, a kitten noisily eating a corn on the cob.

Follow me on twitter @savageless
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Check out 12 Rounds Boxing here
Twitter @12_roundsboxing

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Slapping down the Chimp.

Week 4

It's been a different one this week. it's important for me to remember this is the 12 Week Transformation Program, not the 3 Week Transformation Program.  Here's your blog reading music for this week, new Devin Townsend double album out next week.   Sweeeeet.

Still loving getting in the gym 3 mornings a week.  Getting a workout in early on a Monday morning is a great way to feel superior to all the mouthbreathers going to work on the Waterloo & City line. The diet has mostly been super clean too, Kat (check out her blog too) set us a theme of 'Green
Mostly green
Week', lots of green tea as much green in our meals as possible, quite a lot of my weeks prior to starting the program tended to be 'Brown Week' and I certainly feel better doing it this way.  For the first time since we started I had alcohol this week and framing that in my mind was important.

Also green
Couple of nights out this week, one to a screening of a very silly b-movie by the name of Wolfcop (it's about a cop who's a werewolf, obviously, which you should definitely check out if like me you're a fan of cheesy, gory, b-movies) and another to the Whitechapel Gallery where a friend works and kindly invites me along to exhibition openings.  The problem here is that both of these events provide plenty of free booze which I avoided a Wolfcop but at Whitchapel I literally had a beer pressed into my hand before I could refuse by my boy Luke.
Green breakfast

 Now, drinking too much was one of the main reasons I put on a tonne of weight while I was festering at home unable to get in the gym so this needed to be dealt with properly.  One beer down and Luke and I had had enough of pretending we understood art and I retreated to the pub where I made a sensible choice,  Luke's always been my drinking buddy so I wanted to enjoy a night in the pub talking crap but without the traditional million calories and a weeks worth of carbohydrates that beer provides so I looked at the beer tap and ordered a vodka and tonic.

Includes green
A few of those down and a good night was had, although plans were made for a weekend get together which as usual ended with our girlfriends heading to bed and Luke and I sitting up 'till the early hours drinking rum and watching this awesome amateur Robocop remake. I cooked for the four of us and sticky toffee pudding was had (I made it, I had to have a piece!).  The following day I was off to a child's 3rd birthday party.  Surrounded my tiny sandwiches, bowls of crisps, marshmallows and cake and there was me drinking water and scanning the room for gluten free party snacks.

The important part of all this is to remember this
Worth it
is an anomaly, not a regression.  I'm NOT going back to boozing apart from these 2 nights and I'm NOT making a habit of making pudding even if the ones I make are spectacular.  So I was feeling great when I jumped on the scales after my workout Monday morning.  7lbs loss last week and this week and they reported no further loss at all.

Fuck it.

No weight lost this week after all that (mostly) good eating and exercise and yoga. 7lbs pounds last week wasn't really that big a deal as I have plenty more than that to lose than that but everyone does say "oh well done, that's really good" and for a miserable git such as myself a little positive reinforcement goes a long way, so getting off the scale in the gym and heading to the shower I was pissed off and disappointed.  Part of this 12 week program is taming what Kat calls 'The Chimp', the base part of our brain that controls our fight or flight response, the part that's kicking in with the emotional behaviour defensively or with anger and recognising when we are reacting to things using this response rather than our logic.  So in the shower I started to think about The Chimp and why I was so pissed off.  I know I'm feeling happier generally on this program, I know my clothes are starting to fit better, I know my stamina is improving and my back pain is lessening off so why was I pissed off at the number not moving?  I even know that the body reacts in different ways when you start making changes to it and slowing down of the weight loss on a diet is totally normal. That number doesn't really matter beyond me reporting it here. By the time I got out of the shower I'd slapped that Chimp down.  You're not the boss of me Cheetah.

This isn't the time to be discouraged, this is one third of the way into my 12 week commitment and it's time to double down and refocus.

Thanks for reading.  This week's cute cat is my own cat Bambo who was helping me work from home.

Adorable, right?

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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

"You need a lot of work"

Week 3

This is when I GET UP! Madness.
It's 6 o'clock Monday morning, it's dark, the autumnal chill has kicked in, it's been raining constantly since last night and still it's hammering down and I'm actually keen to be leaving the house.  Packed my bag and laid out my clothes last night so it's up, dressed, brush teeth, rub the cat's head, banana on the way to the tube and before I've even woken up I'm back at 12 Rounds Boxing with Kat for 12 rounds on the bags along with fellow 12 Weeker Laura and a handful of other brave souls.  So full of enthusiasm that I knocked the bag off the chain it hangs from with my first punch and proceeded to beat seven bells out of the damn thing in the first two rounds and find myself utterly knackered by round 4, that's fine, only 8 more rounds to go, the trick is not to count them, take deep breaths and just keep going, just keep going.  What a stark contrast to a few weeks ago when I was totally sedentary, lazy and miserable.  Who'd a thought that this being healthy lark actually feels good! When we sat down to a Walking Dead marathon on Sunday I kinda felt like I'd earned it.  Bag sessions Monday and Friday, weight training on Wednesday and all starting at 6.45am, I'm enjoying this, looking forward to getting in the gym rather than forcing myself to go.

Got a massage this week to try to loosen up some of the discomfort caused by all my little injuries and months on the sofa (see Week 1) to be told "you need a lot of work", tell me something I don't know.

No booze, still! (Saw this, if I do want to have a drink I'm going to have one, not some horrendous monstrosity, same with food, if I want it I'm going to have it, the key is to not want it). I've been eating gluten free, no coffee, and very little carbs. Kat said to cut down on coffee but I've cut it out which is weird as I lived on the stuff, green tea fills the gap.  Kat told us it's OK to have a cheat day one day a week but haven't felt like I've needed it yet, eating well and getting the exercise in really does boost the motivation to keep eating well and exercising.  It's just getting the wheels rolling in the first place that was the problem, now I'm up and running I'm not craving the junk food or the booze.  So without the usual drinks in hand this week Diana and I went to another stand up gig Laugh for Leukaemia (featuring the peerless Daniel Kitson who doesn't do internet and Nick Mohammed as Mr Swallow which is one of the funniest things I've ever seen, the man's a wonder), and also an amazing concert by Hans Zimmer at the Apollo with band, orchestra & choir.  Diana was literally moved to tears.

Apple, yougurt, berries and seeds.  Delish.
Fallen in love with mackerel this week
So a big part of eating healthy is being organised, making sure I've got plenty of the right kinds of food in and knowing when I'm going to eat, plenty of protein, salad and veg available at work and at home. Like most of us I've got a sweet tooth so got some dried figs and dates in (no added sugar), Kat told me to have nuts too when I eat these to level out my insulin which is OK cause dates and brazil nuts in combination turned out to be just about the BEST THING EVA (this week). Fruits like apple, pear and melon are better generally because they are lower GI, apparently. I'm still a bit confused about the whole GI/insulin thing.  Like some kind of tiny, driven, slightly scary Scientologist, Kat is only revealing the secrets of her method piece by piece as we go along with the process (we only just found out why we've been skipping precious coffee) and she asks only our utter and complete obedience in return.  I'm sure it's fine and not at all some kind of mind control cult.  Probably.

Work colleagues are so supportive.  I did not have one of these delicious looking bastards.

Still doing yoga, Erin Motz provides a daily dose of calm along while at home Diana is channelling the 12 year old me by taking up the yoga system developed by former pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page, he's her favourite new person in all of the internet.

2nd weigh in this week so the first time I can record a change, 7lbs off.  I'll have my ideal body shape before I know it.

Thanks for reading, comments appreciated, here's your reward kitten for getting this far.  Make sure your speakers are on to appreciate how incredibly adorable/utterly terrifying this is.