Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The Lying Milkshake

This week's blog reading music is Methamphetamine Blues by the Mark Lanegan Band.  A dirty, driving slab of grinding blues from one of the greatest vocalist of a generation.  Seriously, listen to Mark Lanegan.

I've been getting pissed off about the food industry again this week.  I've noticed a trend towards marketing products with a high protein content as health foods as if just mixing a scoop of powdered whey into anything makes it better for you.  Protein bars which are about as good for you as a Mars bar, protein infused ice cream which is just ice cream.  I mean look at this bloody thing, it's a Snickers high protein milkshake with a 'Sports Cap', y'know, because it's healthy and provides 22g of protein.  IT'S A FUCKING MILKSHAKE.  Some of the ingredients of this healthy drink - Rapeseed Oil, Xanthan Gum (derived from corn syrup, the worst thing in the world for you short of cigarettes), Salt (because you need extra salt in milk), cane molasses (sugar), sucralose (sugar) as well as artificial sweeteners and flavours.   Another one, my friend Femma who started the 12 Week Transformation course with me last year was handed this outside a train station this week (it was a promotion not just a milk pusher....  I hope), milk with added protein sounds healthy right?  Here's what's added - Sunflower oil, corn oil, Beta glucan (what?), Trisodiumcitrate (what?), Carrageenan (what?), Dextrose (sugar), Salt, Sucralose (sugar) and artificial sweeteners and flavours again of course.

I wanted a proper shake so I made one in a blender.
  Cottage cheese (yes, really) lots of berries and a spoon of peanut butter.  Delicious AND healthy. 
It's no wonder that people struggle to lose weight when they walk into a shop and see products like this marketed as a healthier option, much like the low fat versions of packaged foods that tend to be packed with sugar and salt, they're no healthier for you than the full fat version.  People with the best of intentions who are trying to be mindful of their waistline will pick up baked crisps, or low fat breakfast biscuits or yogurts or 'healthy' bread options and then be surprised when nothing changes for them, unaware that the whole time their body is dealing with a massive dose of sugar most of which will be stored as fat.  My advice, always read the ingredient list, you'd be amazed the amount of products that have added sugar in one of it's many guises, salt, or fats.  Better than that even is just to buy real foods as much as possible, if something's been made in a factory it's probably not ideal for helping you get into shape.

Need extra protein? Just eat real food that's
high in it. Like me eating LOADS of eggs.
This kind of stuff has been on my mind a lot this week so I watched a documentary on Netflix that I'd recommend that deals with sugar in foods and childhood obesity called Fed Up - trailer - It's American-centric but a lot of what's covered applies to the UK too, especially the ways in which foods are marketed to the public.  Marketing sucks, remember if someone's trying to sell you something they have their profits higher on their list of priorities than your well being.  Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, learn to cook, exercise, you'll feel lots better than drinking a milkshake that's lying to you while you do so.

Oh look, real food.  This lovely summer stew took about
10 minutes to make.
Thanks for reading, here's a great big dog who's scared of kittens and a pitbull who's definitely not thinking about eating all these baby chickens.

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Twitter @12_roundsboxing




Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Sad Step

This week's blog reading music is Testify by Rage Against the Machine.  This was on in the gym this week and is a perfect heavy bag hitter.

I've had a couple of moments this week that remind me that this whole process is still going well and that's important because I took the weekend off and was very lazy, technically I was being sensible and needed a rest because I was worn out from the gym but I enjoyed being lazy.  So I had this random picture taken of me in the office, totally normal boring photo right?  Well for me to see this photo was pretty cool, being someone who has been overweight their whole life I always hated seeing myself in photos, I knew I didn't look great but seeing myself was always even worse that the mental image I had.  So as a result this was a pleasant surprise, not posed or angled or sucking in the gut or any effort made for appearances but a reasonably healthy looking person in their natural habitat.  Almost didn't recognise me.

 Things like this are important, my guru/spirit animal Kat from 12 Rounds has taken a few ladies from the gym to Thailand on a fitness retreat (yes, I'm jealous) and posted an update the other day about body weight and how getting on the scale is not necessarily the best way to measure our relative success or failure and it's really not, I do use the scale as a general state of where I'm at but there's so many things that can effect it a few lbs either way it's really not something to get hung up on, the amount of sweat that's poured out of me in the gym recently would see my weight bouncing all over the place if I weighed myself before or after working out. Seriously, it's gross.  Stepping on the sad step every morning and not seeing a change in your weight can be depressing, seeing a photo of yourself looking kinda the way you'd like to look or fitting into clothes that were too small is  much more motivating.

4 days off from the gym and my first session back was an
hour spent with these bastards.   Urgh.  Felt great, afterwards

Yeah, BEEFCAKE!
Another non scale related success this week - I sat down to give blood on Monday (you do give blood if you're able, right? Click here if not.) and had the big velcro strap around my upper arm to take blood pressure, "Just make a tight fist for me Daniel" as they always ask and RIIIIIIP!!!  Open comes the velco Incredible Hulk style! WOO HOO!  Now, I'm not actually getting big beefy arms and I don't lift big beefy arm type weights but this definitely never happened before. Purely something only I would notice but a cool thing.  Also a pair of shorts that last year I couldn't fit past my thighs this week fit with space to spare, super satisfying! So these things all made me happy even if the scale's been pretty immobile the last week.  Actually I've probably put on a couple of lbs after my lazy weekend (there was pizza, twice) but screw it, I'm happy, motivated and looking forward to noticing all the small changes I'm making happen, only one of which will be a number on the scale.


Got into making frittata this week. Simple to make in advance
and keeps well for lunchess

Thanks for reading.  Here's a puppy enjoying a massage.

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

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

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen.

This week's blog reading music is Swimwear by Hey! Hello! who I went to see play last week, perfect summery goodtime pop goodness.  Play it, it'll improve your day.
Just fuck off.  Right off.

I'm using Instagram a lot, there's a big community of people on there using it for support and motivation, posting pictures of healthy food and weightloss progress and whatnot and it's always good to have like minded people to encourage you, even if they're just on social media.  So of course alongside some great before and after photo of someone who lost 100lbs or a delicious looking grapefruit (this happened, I've been really into grapefruit all week because of an instagram picture) you get a decent amount of horrendous bullshit motivational memes like this awful one right here.   Urgh.   But I saw one that actually was just good advice that said "Get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen" and that's so true.  I remember years ago thinking that if I go to the gym regularly that would make up for me basically eating whatever I liked.  One counteracts the other, right?  Wrong, really wrong. Obviously what I'm looking for is to be generally healthy all over but diet and exercise don't have the same effect on the body and it's taken a while to realise.  You can get get fitter and stronger with improved recovery times and better stamina by just hammering away at the gym but you'll never get rid of your love handles that way, that's got to be taken care of in the kitchen.

Badass.
So I've been in the gym lots and enjoying it more than ever, and doing yoga and even taking it outdoors to work out on Clapham Common in the sunshine, but I've been thinking a lot about eating really clean this last couple of weeks and the weight's coming off more quickly than it has in a while.  I've always loved food and if losing weight meant I had to go hungry this whole this would have never got off the ground for me but I think there's a perception that if food id good for you then it either is going to be boring or taste bad, now pizza is great and all but I find that the healthier I eat the more I enjoy healthy food.  But healthy food doesn't mean a plate of leaves and a boiled chicken breast, it's all about balance, I've really enjoyed cooking new things this week and it's all been good.  We got a BBQ going at the weekend with veggie kebabs with a honey mustard glaze and GIANT prawns that was wicked. My steak cooking skills are getting pretty good so we had a huge rib-eye on Friday with salad and a stack of garlic mushrooms cooked in butter (yes, you can have butter and still be healthy).  I made a spiced spinach and kale soup from chicken bone broth with crispy bacon on top which was just packed with good nutrition and was delicious and I've been making baked egg muffins, frittata from egg whites with feta and brocolli, salmon and squid curry....  basically just been packing in loads of protein and veg and the old bread and pasta and sugar cravings that haunt me have gone away.  I've noticed a change in my attitude towards food and it might be just because I'm feeling really motivated about the entire health thing but I find myself thinking more about what my body needs rather than what it is I want.  I'm heading home after a workout and I don't WANT cookies, I NEED some carbs, I like this change in me because it doesn;t feel like there's any effort or willpower involved in eating healthy, I'm just naturally making healthy choices.

I achieved one of fitness the goals I set for myself this week in that I finally did a full pull-up, I've been able to to one where I jump up and get my chin over the bar for a while but now I've been able to do a couple from a proper, straight-arm hang from the bar and pull myself all the way up.  A big deal for me as when I started this journey last year I couldn't even support myself hanging from the bar for 30 seconds.  Next goal - a full set of 10, pulls ups are really hard.
.
The 12 Rounds Boxing crew after working out on Clapham Common.
I'm in the middle at the back, my guru/spirit animal Kat is front and centre.
We got a BBQ going this week, those prawn were HUGE and delicious.

Thanks for reading.  In case you didn't see it here's the coolest rockstar moment ever and a kitten who doesn't realise he's being watched


Follow me on Instagram for fitness and food based posts.
Befriend me on My Fitness Pal to share your fitness journey and keep tabs on mine.
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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Real food and the diet of the future.

This weeks blog reading music is Capable of Anything by Ben Folds where Ben has taking his joyful pop sensibilities and has recorded an album with a classical chamber ensemble. I'm listening to loads of death metal at the moment but I loved this track, very appropriate now the sun's shining too.

The future's idea of a fry-up.  What do they know?!
So I started a new diet this week, it's a diet system imported from the 31st century where you can eat whatever you like and the company supplies you with all your food in easy to consume capsules taking away all the fuss of you needing to cook, clean or even digest.  Let me make this clear, the future is going to be rubbish, look at the photo for God's sake! Does that look like double bacon, eggs, mushrooms and a fried slice to you  Bah!  What a load of balderdash.

I'm talking bollocks of course, I just take a handful of supplements every day, but I get wound up at the concept of a 'diet'.  These short term unsustainable plans that promise an amazing transformation but only succeed in emptying people's wallets. As someone who's been overweight and unfit their whole life and is finally making real changes it's clear to me that the only way to really get rid of the fat and get healthy it to eat real food, healthy food, consistently and permanently.  There's no 6 week plan or magic pill to take after which your life will be different, you need to actually change the way you approach your life.

On my colleagues desk at work, don't fall for marketing. 
I've been thinking about real food a lot this week.  I've taken to using Instagram a lot as there's a big community of people on there who use it for health/fitness/weightloss inspiration and it's always good to surround yourself with people with common goals but I see a few people on calorie controlled diets feeling very proud of their limited Hula-Hoop intake or only eating 2 slices of white bread and this really isn't real food.  Obviously if they were previously eating 5 bags of Hula Hoops or a large pizza instead of the bread it's an improvement but it's still not ideal.  One of the biggest lessons on this whole journey for me had been the cutting out of precessed foods, anything with more that a couple of ingredients on the label is generally a no-no and even things that market themselves as healthy quite often are not all they're cracked up to be.  Look at Shreddies for example which Nestle (who are utterly evil anyway) market as a healthy breakfast and proudly proclaim"Whole Grain!  High Fibre! Fortified with vitamins!", what they don't point out is that 6% of a Shreddie is made out of 2 different types of sugar and sugar is the worst thing for anyone trying to lose bodyfat.  If you're watching your diet and you must buy processed foods always look at the ingredients as sugar gets packed into everything, especially 'low fat' versions of food.

I've been cooking new things this week.  These egg muffins are great, protein helps keep me feeling full and I got bored of eating boiled eggs.  Just whisk up a load of eggs and whites with veggies and seasoning and bake in a muffin tray, they'll stay good in the fridge for snacks all week.  Real food!



After slipping on the diet a few weeks back I'm currently feeling really motivated and I realised today that I've flipped my approach.  I used to be unhealthy all the time and occasionally make an effort to go 'on a diet' which would generally last a couple of weeks before I'd quit and was back to old habits, but these days it's more a case of healthy living is the daily norm and every now and then I'll go off the deep end for a couple of weeks, eat crap and get drunk.  I can embrace the unhealthy times and enjoy them because at this point I know it's the exception to the rule.  I'm back, I've already lost the extra pounds I put on at the festival I went to and more besides, I've also finally been able to do a proper, full pull up (sometimes several) without jumping for the momentum so have achieved a goal I set for myself last year and that feels good too.  Next goal a set of ten.


Slow cooked a beef short rib this week for the first time.
That's some real fuckin' food.
Thanks for reading.  Here's a dog who sure is pleased to you meet you.

Follow me on Instagram for fitness and food based posts.
Befriend me on My Fitness Pal to share your fitness journey and keep tabs on mine.
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


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The awkward, creeping horror.... Is OK actually.

After last week's horrible bleedin' racket this week's blog reading music is Bliss by Tori Amos.  I've been a fan of Tori's for donkey's years and think it's a shame that a lot of people only remember her for one huge hit single in the 90s.

Temples was awesome  \m/
After the weekend I just had at Temples Festival in Bristol I need something a bit gentle too. Temples is an extreme metal festival and a great weekend was had but aside from getting up and doing yoga and pushups before the drinking began Jesus did I fall off the wagon with the boozing and being a music festival food choices were exclusively brown.  As a matter of fact falling off the wagon seems to be a bit of a theme in recent weeks but each time with a different attitude, and it's the attitude that really effects how I'm going to deal with this going forward.  The first week was that I was being lazy, just slacking on the whole health and fitness thing and slipping back into old habits, by far the worst by far, the week after that I had a concious decision to have a day off over the weekend and this last week I've just had a load of socialising to do and although it was hardly the most clean living week I had a great time doing it and actually found a benefit in other ways.

12 Rounds representing at the Clapham Grand.
So last week, yoga, one strength & conditioning session and that was it, evenings and the weekend were fully booked and I just let myself off the chain a bit.  Wednesday was a Nintendo based quiz night in Stoke Newington (beers), Thursday was a boxing event at the Clapham Grand where we had 7 fighters from 12 Rounds on the card who went 6 wins, 0 loss & 1 draw on the night, (celebratory beers) and then Friday to Monday was Temples (ungodly amount of beers).  Huge respect to Kate, Rachael, Daniel, Ludo, Will, Tom, Joel who got in the ring representing 12 Rounds and to Kat, John & Kirk for working the corner. Great performances all around and I'm so inspired to get in there myself, watch this space!  That's hopefully the future but as working out and diet goes it's pretty much a write off for me this last week, but I've had the chance to work on something else instead.

If you've been reading for a while you'll know that I suffer from social anxiety. I can get really uncomfortable in social situations, especially when I don't have someone or something to latch onto and this has been known to work itself into full-on panic-attack mode in the past, give me a night out with one or two close friends and I'm happy but too much beyond that comfort zone and I'm a state, or at least that's always been the case.  The night out for the fights was the kind of night I used to absolutely dread - loads of people, most of whom I only knew in passing milling about and making small talk but I had a great night.  It helps that pretty much everyone who trains at 12 Rounds is a sweetheart but in the time since I started this blog and started getting my arse into shape I've got so much better at this kind of thing, it shouldn't be surprising to someone looking in from the outside but I've been amazed at how much getting myself healthier has effected how much more confident I am and how much more positively I interact with the world around me.  As for Temples, that was a whole other level, I don't have a lot of friends who are into the same kind of music as me and was invited along on Facebook by someone I've kinda known for years but who's never been a mate, he invited me months back along with 6 other guys all to stay in an apartment together, I agreed but was frankly terrified by the prospect....   3 days with 6 strangers and one person I kinda knew?  Absolute horror.  But at the time it was booked I knew this whole social problem was something I was trying to work on and and I knew if it was a trip I committed to it would be something I had to work on even more, nothing like terror for motivation eh?  Turns out I spent the weekend with a nice bunch of chaps and the occasional moment aside the old creeping terror hardly raised it's ugly head at all and the only social weirdness I took part in was being an absolute drunken buffoon...  y'know, like a normal person.

So I'm home, feeling happy with the fact that I seem to be doing better at being a person, I'm seriously craving some vegetables, I'm sworn off the booze for the time being, my diary is full of almost nothing but booked gym sessions and yoga and I'm feeling like I'm going to do better than ever this summer.

Just as soon as this hangover wears off.

Oh, I missed you.  I won't go away again for a long time.
Thanks for reading.  Here's some baby goats wearing jumpers and a shark who loves a belly rub.

Follow me on Instagram for fitness and food based posts.
Befriend me on My Fitness Pal to share your fitness journey and keep tabs on mine.
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