Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Of grindcore and wall smashing.

This week's blog listening music is Built to Grind by Agoraphobic Nosebleed.  Hey, it might be utterly horrible sounding and probably even a bit painful for most of you to hear but at least it is only 22 seconds long.   This coming weekend I'm going to Temples Festival in Bristol which is all extreme metal bands and there's a rumour that Agoraphobic Nosebleed might play an unannounced show, this is very exciting for old Dan as they've only ever played one gig despite being a band I've been into for 15 years or so.

Right, so after last week's realisation that things had started to go badly and I wasn't dealing with it properly this week was much more back to business as usual. OK, so there was a drunken night over the bank holiday weekend but I least I drank straight whiskey rather than beer - gotta watch those carbs after all (I didn't care so much when I needed pizza the next day to deal with the hangover but there you go).  But that was a blip, and a conscious decision of a blip at that and that's the important aspect, making a decision to get drunk or eat a pizza isn't nearly as band as slipping into a state where booze or pizza or other unhealthy choices are the norm which is what was starting to happen the couple of weeks previously.  This week's been 90% on point and that's not bad.

Back to business.  Lunches were getting lazy.

Weight isn't really the best way to measure overall health but I did jump back on the scale this week to see I'd put on a few pounds, not as bad as I thought it would have been though, it's also back to tracking food on My Fitness Pal which I'd also kinda forgotten about but I've really found to be a useful tool when I actually use it.  Gotta keep myself in check and still use it even if I'm not eating well. It's all well and good putting all the salad and steamed salmon in there but kinda misses the point that when I eat a slab of cheesecake I conveniently leave that off eh?  The point is it's about being honest with myself -  there's no point thinking everything's going OK when it's isn't, there's no point convincing myself a bag of salt & vinegar McKoys is a reasonable thing for me to be eating at lunch (it is the King of all crisps but it's also so unhealthy and one of the last things I should be be eating) and there's really no point in finding excuses or justifications for myself to eat badly or exercise less and I did all of these things, total self-defeating behaviour.  I know I feel happier and healthier when I stay accountable to myself but it's an effort and it's easier to take the path of least resistance.

Less proud of myself than I look.
Whoops!

So, recognising all that is pretty healthy I think and I've still been in the gym plenty.  We had a strength and conditioning session at the weekend which resulted in my smashing a plaster wall with a medicine ball.  The class instructor demonstrated the exercise first but clearly she didn't have my ball chucking gusto obviously and a couple of people went before me as we do our circuits in rotation but I'm a fair bit stronger and twice the size of most of the ladies in the class so when it was my turn it got good and smashed.  I immediately took my ball over to a brick wall but the person after me went right back to the smashed plaster wall and put another great dent in it!  Oh well, gives the gym a spot of character I suppose and I offered to plaster the hole up which will be fun.  I watched some good sparring sessions at 12 Rounds this week too as we've got 6 people from the gym fighting at the Clapham Grand this Thursday (Come! It's always good fun) and I have to say I'm getting the itch to get in there again, think I need to have a word with the management about getting some sparring in so I can take my aggression out on people in the gym rather than the gym itself.

Sparring session at 12 Rounds is fun to watch.
Hopefully that'll be me before too long.
Thanks for reading, here's cow enjoying a cuddle and a budgie doing an R2-D2 impression.  I'll check in next week with an update on quite how unhealthy my weekend festival experience was (I'm not expecting a good one).

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Oh, for fuck's sake.

This week's blog reading music is Fall Back Down by Rancid.  It's been a bit of a crap week or two diet wise, the fact that I skipped writing the blog last week is always a bad sign but it's time to pick myself back up again.  There's not too many vibrant, empowering punk rock songs written about slipping on your low gluten diet and then getting back to being healthy but there's loads about being brutally dumped and having to dust yourself off, so I'm appropriating this one for the minute.

Organisation is key.  People always says this about being healthy, I've said it in this blog even, and I've I've not been properly organised.  We've had a couple of weekends filled with family and friends and food and while that's lovely and a great time was had there's been street food stalls (visited the Rib Man in Brick Lane and finally had poutine amongst others), cheesecake, burgers, beers, a wine tasting...  it's not been great.  The worst of it though is that while having a couple of days here and there to cut loose and not watch everything you eat is good for the soul it's amazing how quickly you can undo the good work you've done.  If it was a case of a day off, treats, and then back to business it'd be fine but it's more a case of one day breaks the healthy habits I've been building up then a couple more days slip and before I know it I'm eating crap habitually and I've not had anything green all day. This is something that needs continual work and I have to remind myself that the point is to keep working at it not to get complacent and just coast. I've had almost 40 years of a pretty terrible diet and a unhealthy relationship with food - the work I've done so far isn't going to change all that in my head right away.


You evil, delicious, bastard.
It's an addiction really. For me it's sugar, but it's the same kind of process with foods or cigarettes or booze or any other compulsive behaviour. It's fine when I've been cutting the processed sugar out completely but once I've had a slice of cheesecake the cravings kick in like nobodies business.  Without wanting to get all tin-foil hat crazy there's a good reason that corporations pack your processed foods with sugar, and it's not for your benefit, it's so you keep coming back for another hit.  I need to remind myself how much happier I feel when I'm eating properly and staying away from sugar and that the effort to do so isn't nearly as bad as the way I'll feel if I slip back to being lazy.


An example of the type of healthy choice I should be making more often.
Also, I got to prepare this snack with a hammer - winner!
This sounds like everything's been terrible recently and it's really not, more a realisation that I've not been doing as well as I should have.  Busy evenings meant I swapped some of my gym sessions to early mornings which is always good, getting a good sweat on before work really sets you up for the day, and so I've still been getting 4/5 sessions in a week which is good but the diet is key.   


Still in the gym.  Hulk socks for weight lifting - DAN SMASH!

Speaking of which I've been trying Matcha green tea powder which is apparently incredibly good for you but I can't find a way of consuming it without it being utterly rank.  Anyone got any tips?

Right, off for a week of super clean eating before I ruin it all again by going to a 3 day heavy metal festival next weekend with a load of heavy drinkers.  Oh Jesus.

Thanks for reading, here's some yawning kittens.

Follow me on Instagram for fitness and food based posts.
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For great protein powders and other associated health stuff visit Bulk Powders and use code DB4MY2 for a £5 discount on your first order over £15.

Check out the 12 Rounds Boxing website here
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Twitter @12_roundsboxing

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Everything in moderation (including moderation).

This week's blog reading music is Temple of Love by the Sisters of Mercy. Some properly old fashioned danceable drum machined goth-rock that actually got old Dan up on the dance floor all the time back in the day. These days the very thought of dancing makes my skin crawl but for some reason fat, drunk, teenage Dan used to quite like cutting a rug in rock clubs - must have been quite a sight *shudder*.  But then if we didn't look back on being a teenager with at least a degree of embarrassment we probably were doing it wrong.  This weekend I started singing the 80s classic Dance Hall Days which led to putting on this 80s pop complication CD and then onto the Sisters.  I love working out to a bit of 80s cheese at 12 Rounds although we tend to get plenty of generic dance music, not my preference but I'm not complaining, we had White Zombie, Nine Inch Nails and The Wildhearts on there last week. Nostalgia aint what it used to be.


¡Ay, caramba!
You've probably heard of the concept of 'cheat day' where people who are actively monitoring their diet take a day out every week or whenever to just eat what they want and forget the plan.  Now this works for a lot of people but I don't have a specific cheat day, I have far too addictive a personalty that if I just left myself have  a couple of slices of pizza and a beer every Friday I'd be off the deep end in a hurry so when it feels like it's time for a cheat day it's just time for a cheat day.  This past weekend was time for a cheat day.  This week started in the gym with a lot of gusto, lots of classes and a good atmosphere including stoopid sports day style relay races, pads, heavy bag and weights sessions but the last few weeks exercise schedule has been a bit full on and by the time it got to this weekend I was feeling sore and tired and it was time for a few days to rest up. My beloved Diana on Friday had just got to the end of doing a 21 Day Fix program which she thought was fantastic and was deserving of a cheat day to celebrate that too.  On top of that we've been having a new bathroom installed recently and because Wickes are so horrendously inept (seriously, don't use Wickes) we've gone 3 weeks without a bathroom and it finally got finished Saturday so we had something to celebrate and celebrate we did *hic*.  So we got drunk on tequila, had dessert, chocolate, even bread (I'm SO not allowed bread these days) and generally had all the fun that leaves you feeling like such crap the the next morning that you just have to have a breakfast that's not really allowed either.


That's not my normal hair.  Really pleased to fit into this
previously far too small shirt this week.
So cheat day was great fun but cheat day comes rarely and this is important. It's important not because I have to stick to being on a strict diet where pudding and beer and bread are not allowed and I have to work out every day, it's important because eating healthy, exercising (and for me at least, not drinking much) is something I want to be a permanent change in my attitude and approach to life.  I'm totally allowed to drink beer and have pizza if I want them, I'd just much rather really want to have them, have them and then leave it behind, not just have them out of habit.  I want a Sunday hangover and feeling bloated and sluggish from eating crap to be an occasional reminder of a Saturday where I indulged myself not the baseline that I'm always fighting to keep myself away from, which it definitely used to be.  I used to drink loads of coffee, like a pot a day, and in the last six months I've drastically cut down to maybe one or two cups a week.  One day this week I drank two strong cups in succession and was buzzing off my head for a morning, I enjoyed those two cups (and the buzz) so much more than all the coffee I used to pump into myself habitually every day.  Everything in moderation (including moderation).


Flourless pancakes with greek yogurt, fine even when it's not cheat day.
Here's the recipe from the awesome Shannon's Kitchen.
Thanks for reading, here's a kitten that doesn't understand lizards and a puppy who doesn't understand hiccups.



Follow me on Instagram for fitness and food based posts.
Befriend me on My Fitness Pal to share your fitness journey.
Or follow me on twitter for geekdom and more cute animals.

For great protein powders and other associated health stuff visit Bulk Powders and use code DB4MY2 for a £5 discount on your first order over £15.

Check out the 12 Rounds Boxing website here
12 Rounds Facebook page
Twitter @12_roundsboxing