A Year of Effort

Over the past year I have been publishing results of my attempts to get fitter. Let’s be honest, tweet, blog, vlog, facebook and all. I have had Zombie’s chasing me around parks and updates in the wee hours from the gym.

It started almost a year ago (I started on the 6th January 2017 but it was as close as damn it to New Year) when I decided 2017 was the year to kill the excess weight I had and look and feel better. It was how I felt about my body and my overall health.

Since then I have lost about 60 pounds (to be fair I lost nearly 70 but have fluctuated up a little in the past few weeks due to lack of gym and running time and holiday over-indulgences). I still have some way to go, about 15 pounds now since I threw some back on. But I am confident that it I can achieve it and I have set a date of 2019 to lose that weight so I don’t have to push myself.

This post is the last time you will see the fitness graphics from 2017 and it shows a general high level of activity. In total last year I did nearly 5.5 million steps which is an average of 448,215 steps each month or 14,736 steps (about 14km) each day. None of that includes the gym time and the efforts to make a better diet.

I was aiming at doing this for a year to make a lifestyle change and I think I have achieved that Where I go from here is about 15 pounds lighter and to keep up the exercise that I do. I will probably randomly keep you informed (unless you follow my runs and I start getting chased by zombies at which point you are going to hear about it much quicker).

A¬†year ago I honestly couldn’t run for 3 minutes without feeling very tired and out of breath and running up the stairs had started to make me sound like a steam train puffing up a hill. Now I can jog for an hour (usually between 6-10Km) and sometimes twice a day and feel satisfied. I am concerned that there is a toll on my knees and back, but for now I can enjoy feeling better.

I also know that I have the ability to dedicate myself to a very strong cause and to carry through with it.

Which means I probably need to find a goal for this year…

 

Ranking up Achievements

If by now you are getting bored of me talking about hitting fitness goals and my achievements this year you might want to give up now. Though you’d miss all the pretty graphs…

For those of you still here this blog post is all about the recent achievements.

Yearly Goal

At the start of the year( well actually a few days into it but that’s just because I don’t do New Year resolutions at midnight on the 31st I think through and make sure I want to do them after a few days) I set a goal, I wanted to beat the last recent low weight I had in 2014 which was 3 stone less than the weight I was at the start of this year (I was 18 stone 1 lb at the start of the year and my previous best was 15 stone 1 lbs).

I did that about 2 months ago, so I set a new goal. I wanted to hit by the end of the year the healthy weight band that the NHS has for my age/height. By now you should have guessed it, I did it:

This is the first time that I know of (so my living memory) where I have achieved this. I am a Healthy Weight. So I have a new goal which is about 12-14lbs under this weight and that is a lifetime goal and one to keep and maintain. I reckon I should do it for the end of the year but earlier would be nice.

Challenges

I also wanted to get more active and a good benchmark for that is to be vigorously active for 25% of the time I move around. This would be either fast walking, cycling or other exercise. That was a big challenge as it a big percentage of the active part of a days movement.

However I thought this was a goal that can be achieved, the easy way to do it would just be to walk a lot more energetically, this will be recorded by Google Fit as jogging/running. Of course that energetic state is not just swift walking it is ‘fast’ walking which is a semi-jogging pace.

I passed this as well, in fact I passed it so much I am more vigorously active than just active – I run more than I walk.

It’s also nice to note that I pass 500,000 steps in a couple of months and come close on others, which puts my daily average at about 17,300 steps.

Another thing I have started to do is to accept fitness challenges from friends and on various apps. These work out well for me as I am fairly competitive so I can be pushed, it is also nice to win for a change (at school I was generally last and considered amongst the wets/weirdos/fatties – I pretty much was in all 3 of those categories judging by the nicknames and insults hurled).

This was the most recent challenge, a Mon-Fri event. It was helped by the fact that I ran 10K each morning and ran at 4 lunches with either Leigh or Tom (names and images are purposefully blurred and Leigh and Tom were not in this challenge ūüėČ ).

Heart Health

My family has a history of poor heart health. My maternal grandfather and father both died in their 50s from heart attacks and my mother has suffered with Angina, my sister has a congenital heart defect. So having 3 young kids and being very overweight and approaching 50 I was suddenly filled with a lot of concern.

My blood pressure was high (125-142/80-90) showing signs of hypertension starting and my resting heart rate was averaging 75-82. I couldn’t go upstairs without being slightly breathless from the weight and fast breathing.

When I started with a fitbit heart tracker I was ‘Average’ for the heart tracking, by that point I had been exercising for close to 3 months, I was likely at ‘Poor’ to ‘Fair’ when I started. This week I was happy to sneak into ‘Excellent’ though two days later I dropped .3 points and went back to 49.2 and just ‘Very Good’ – but at the top end of that.

As you can see my resting heart rate is now around 60, though it hovers between 56-63. My last blood pressure check I was at 110/65 and I average 107-122/63-81 dependent on the time of the day and what I am doing.

All in all I am feeling happy about my health. Since December I have lost 4 stone 9 lbs (65lbs/29.484Kg) and this year it is 4 stone 7 lbs (63lbs/28.576Kg) so my current weight is 13 stone 6lbs (188lbs/85.275Kg).

 

Goal Stats

This is an update to the post on this year’s goals that I published back in March. One of the goals I set for the year was to lose weight. I have been working hard to achieve this goal and it has taken considerable will power. I have:

  • Started exercising on most days, in fact I run¬†almost every morning.
  • Watch how much I eat by counting the food intake, but sticking to sensible limits as defined from the NHS website (no calorific reduction to approved intake – 2250 calories) – I use the myfitness app.
  • Changed my diet to have a lot more fruit, vegetables, fish and fewer sugary foods.
  • Try to get a balanced diet of fats/carbs/proteins, again no specific Ketogenic/Atkinsons or Paleo stuff, just balanced eating using the myfitness app. to¬†monitor.
  • Reduced my alcohol intake and switched from Lager/Cider and predominately white wine to real ales, red wine and spirits with low calorie mixers.

So what are the stats so far I hear you cry. Well I have a few for you that I would like to list.

Stats

136  Р Days Counted

Weight

18st 1lb/114.759kg  Р starting weight

14st 3lb/90.265kg – current weight

3st 10lb (52lb)/24.5kg – weight lost

32.9 – Starting BMI (Obese)

26.8 – Current BMI (Overweight – but not by much)

The loss of close to 4 stone (26kg) feels great.

Body Measurements

Body Part / Starting / Current
(all measurements in Inches as the British are random like that)

Neck / 19.5 / 15.9

Chest / 48.6 / 42.5

Waist / 45.5 / 36.5

Hips / 44 / 41

So I have taken a huge 8 inches or 20cm from my waist, which I am very happy about.

As mentioned above I run on most days and walk a lot more than I did last year. An average month last Autumn saw me doing between 220 – 260,000 steps or between 8 – 10,000 steps a day – which is okay but I do like walking and try to whenever I can.

This year I have increased that by about 50%, in fact I have a couple of charts for you to look at below.

My average daily step count is between 17-20,000 steps now which is about double from the previous year. You might notice that the column which shows the percentage of my step count from running has increased from below one fifth to about one third of my monthly average. A last couple of stats I want to share with you are to do with the step count and specifically the running.

When I started in January I could manage to run for 2-3 minutes before being very out of breath with a heart rate that was high. I wear a heart monitor and regularly check my stats so I can give these now:

January

Heart Rate (running): 172-185

Speed: 8-8.5Kmph

Resting Heart Rate: 78-83

Blood Pressure: 135-145 over 85-98 – avg 132 over 86
(Very high end of acceptable, this was bad but it was still lower than last October where I was actually hypertense all the time)

SPO2: 95-97% – avg 96%

Distance: 3.5Km in 36mins
(walking and running 22 mins walk to 16 mins run)

May

Heart Rate (running): 155-162

Speed: 9.2-10.5 Kmph

Resting Heart Rate: 61

Blood Pressure: 115 over 83 avg.

SPO2: 98-100% – avg 99%

Distance: 6.3Km in 41mins
(walking and running 5 mins walk to 36 mins run)

I have managed to complete the Couch to 5K challenge, can run with a steady pace that makes me breathe fast and a little breathless but I am not out of breath. I have done a few longer runs of 45-55mins in length and managed 8-9.5 Km before feeling too tired to continue.

I never thought I would run as long and as steady and have until now never run as far. My longest run that I can recall, even as a child, was 25mins and I completed about 3.3 Km.

And a final piece is a couple of photos. The first was me in December:

 

And this is me about 2 weeks ago with my youngest child.

Feeling pretty different and a lot happier about my weight.* And there have been lots of nice comments about how I look, my favourite was only yesterday.

‘You have gone from the respectable looking businessman who likes his lunches to a wiry goat’ (Thanks Kay ūüôā ).

-Exunt: Chased by a bear**

*Which makes up for all the other sadness I feel at the moment which I mentioned in 2 previous posts Doughnut 1 and Doughnut 2.

** At least these days I might be able to out-distance the bugger.

 

 

2017 Goals and Aims

I¬†have spoken at some length in a previous post (see¬†http://www.markkeating.me.uk/2016/11/11/the-me-me-goal/¬†) about one side of goals, which i called the ‘me goal’ a form of internal embiggening[1] yourself. Today i am going to speak about my goals for 2017.

Well not all of them.

And this is not a continuation of the previous post just I thought I’d mention it so that you could go and look and I could make some mild link that has no value because the kittens have knitted a jumper.

…anyway…

This year I have set myself a number of challenges to do with personal, professional and family life. I have also accepted a challenge from Leigh (www.leighkeating.me).

I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Personal: Been feeling fat and unhealthy and my lifestyle in regards to food and drink has got out of hand. So I¬†have decided to lose weight, exercise more and drink less. I started on the 5th January. I am 2 stone lighter, I am eating better and drinking less. It is a hard regime, I am not massively overdoing it, but I am being firm with myself. So that’s going well, but I need to see if i can mange a year.

Leigh: Leigh asked me to publish a book, I did do one last year and you can find it for free (or make a small donation) on The Dog Ate My Bookshop website. The last book I published was a series of Haiku’s from 2015. this time around it will be a novel of some sort.

Family: Well I have kids and a wife that is devoted to me. I have resolved this year to make the most out of that and to sort out some better way of being a better husband and father. This is not to say I am crap, just that I know I can do better and I know they deserve the best version of me.

Professional: This is a hard one as I am pretty dedicated to my professional work. But this year I am trying to extend the notice that I give to what I, and my work colleagues, do.

We spend a lot of time working with communities in groups both in meat-space and elsewhere. I want to make sure that we get the acknowledgement (this is not respect, recognition or promotion but simply awareness) of what we do. So I have been focusing o making sure I put news on the company website (go take a look if you like) and trying to blog more about the company and the people.

That’s some of the goals I¬†have for the year.

I don’t call them resolutions and I don’t conceive of a fully structured plan. These are changes I want to make or think I¬†need to make and as such they have few requirements or definitive aims.

The weight loss has a general goal, as does the fitness. the challenge from Leigh has an aim but I am not bound to it. And in family and company these are desires to see a change that will benefit a group not an individual-only need.

Hopefully I will report back to you later in the year on how I am doing.

[1] yeah I stole it from The Simpsons

 

Write A Day 2

Back in March, in my last post, I mentioned that I had been doing a writing challenge in 2015 where I would write at least a page for each day in a small journal. It’s the start of 2016 and I haven’t really blogged much here (though i have managed to blog significantly to my company blog and news pages). I can happily report that I completed my challenge.

So the three things I set out to do (not resolutions but goals) in 2015 that I completed:

  1. Write a page for each day in a journal; Completed.
  2. Write one Haiku for each week; Completed.
  3. Complete 50,000 words in november for Nanowrimo; Completed.

I didn’t complete the two other writing goals I had set myself, but I had a feeling that I wouldn’t as the whole wish list was pretty large. However i do feel very proud of what I have done.

So what now? Well I have already announced to some friends that I have at least one goal for 2016 and I will let you all have another here. I will be publishing the Haikus I wrote in 2015. They need a little editing and a little cleaning but I will publish them as an eBook. I will likely make this available for free to download with a donate if you like link. The idea of a pay what you want appeals to me for the poems, there are at least 52 of them with a few others spread around. This is on the list for release sometime around Easter to Summer. I hope to let you know more soon.

-mdk