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This is Brian's weight-loss BLOG (this formerly was on

Blog start: - Mid Aug 2012. "Our general view on diets: - GET FIT, Stay fit by regular exercise, Eat plenty of fruit and veg - and forget about diets altogether."

Having earlier said the above in our weight help page, I have now been advised by my doctor to lose weight. I've had a series of blood tests for Cholesterol, as there's a family history of highish levels. My reading is over 6, with Triglycerides at 3.7. Having read negative stuff on them, I want to avoid having to take Statins if at all possible. My doctor says there's a reasonably good chance I can avoid them if I lose 2 stone. (Note Jan 1st : - and keep it off ). I feel writing this blog will keep me focused.


before weight loss after weight loss

May 18th. Having crashed up through 13st again I felt really bad about my lack of control, and about "letting things slip" so was determined to really start again to do something about it. Having said in my last entry 2 weeks ago that I was going to walk 7 miles a week, I can now report that I've walked an average of 1.3 miles a day since the 3rd. (just over 10 miles in the last 7 days). And it's showing results. I'm back down to 12st 9lbs this morning, despite having had two 3000 calorie days this week.
The first was Balmoral show with Diane, which gave me an excuse to try out dozens of free samples of every type of rich food, farmhouse cheeses and flavoured meats, - and multiple craft beers and ciders. Then yesterday was a church cake sale, followed by a "try out what we bought at the show, and the sale" evening with friends, including some lovely premium cider and home made tray-bake buns. At least 3000 cals consumed, possibly 3500, but that's why I'm extra happy with this morning's weight.
So, I'm going to stick with walking, and now have mentally got into a "set aside time for walking" frame of mind for the early evenings. I have now upped my target to 10 miles a week, ( 45% more than my previous 1 mile a day target ) since I know I can achieve this.

May 3rd. Awful !!!! I've piled on another 4½ lbs in the last 5 weeks, and now am back over 13st. My Cholesterol will be through the roof. I should be ashamed of my total lack of control. I'm not doing enough exercise, and I'm eating too much. I'm not eating very much of very high calorie, but I'm just eating too much. Way too much starch - up to 8 slices of bread, and then possibly 3 medium roast potatoes. ( or, much worse, chips ) . My only saving grace is that I've avoided HFCS, white sugar and booze. I've only had 1 pint in the last 2 months.
It's past time for some serious effort. I've set myself a target of walking 7 miles averaged over the week. So 1 mile a day should be easily achievable, even with the arthritis in my toes. 25 mins should do it, maybe less. And if it's very wet, or something crops up and I can't walk that day, I'll do 1½ the next 2 days to make up. The local shop is just over a mile away, so that's a good incentive - walk for the children's breakfast milk instead of driving.

Mar 31st. Almost April and I'm still stuck at 12st 10lbs. Late nights helping give my daughter ( who wants to be a vet ) lambing shift practice should be burning off calories and weight. But it's cold at night, and I'm eating because of that - making up for the extra energy used. The farm workers on "lambing live" on BBC2 don't seem to have that problem, so it must be me and my attitude and will-power that's at fault. I've also started nibbling chocolate again, having stopped for a few weeks. Sugar-free gum this week then - definitely !!!

Mar 15th 2014 St Patrick's day coming up, but I'll have to avoid the beer this year again. Although I'm starting to get more exercise, as I'm now feeding cattle I've bought, I'm not taking enough. Or at least not enough for what I'm eating. Although the amount of chocolate I'm now eating is minimal, I seem to have replaced it in my diet with fruit. Not bad in itself, but the fruit I've started to nibble in increasing quantities is black seedless grapes. They are probably the worst fruit from a calorie point of view, as they are high in fructose sugar.
I took my daughter to a "qualifying to be a fencing coach" day in Belfast today, and I'm really missing not being able to fence. But I've yet to find an alternative sport where you don't need your hands, other than football, which I can't really play because of my dodgy big toes. Walking it's going to have to be, or eating less, or the weight's going to stay on and increase. I'm up slightly from last month to 12st 10lbs this morning, without really being able to blame any 'big blow outs'. Not good !

Feb.23rd 2014. Having mentioned my weight loss on Shaun Doherty's Highland Radio show in Donegal, during his interview with Diane last Wednesday, it's time to provide an update. It's "steady as she goes", in that I've managed to lose another pound to tip the scales now at 12st 9lbs. Not bad as I'm at home doing the cooking whilst Diane is modelling at her second catwalk fashion show for Reuben P Joseph in London this weekend.
I'm not eating any less, ( or more ) but I'm starting to take a little bit more exercise. It's not as much as I think I need to stay very healthy - I've managed to fit in a reasonably brisk circa 3 mile walk once a week, but would need much more - I'd say at least 2 more, of at least 2 miles each.
I got the diagnosis that I didn't want about my wrist confirmed - degeneration of the carpal bones below my thumb, and osteoarthritis setting in. I'm annoyed about it. Although I still have to see a specialist, it looks at this stage that my Epee fencing days are done. So I'll need to take extra exercise to compensate for not training and fighting. I'm going to miss the camaraderie during and after tournaments - Irish and UK fencers are generally a very nice bunch of people and, although a 'fighting' sport, there is a definite chivalry and good manners element to the sport that's very attractive.
With days starting to get longer, and farmwork restarting after a disasterously wet and stormy winter, I'm expecting to lose another few pounds if I can just avoid the sugar, HFCS and high calorie foods, - and get fitter. I've started chewing the odd piece of sugarfree gum - which I'm hoping will replace sweets whilst I'm at marts buying cattle this spring.

Jan 29th 2014. It's cold, and wet, and horrible. Rain and wind, although we're lucky in that we seldom get snow, and aren't suffering the floods that are wrecking places like Somerset. But it's cold sitting in the office, and when you're cold you want to eat more. Bigger volumes, and you get cravings for something sweet (probably your body saying "I need more heat from calories"). I'm nibbling the odd seedless grape for my sugar boost. Although not the best fruit to have from a calorie point of view, for me it's better than the alternative, which would be nibbling chocolate or sweets. A friend has suggested I try sugar-free gum, as that would have 4 benefits - no calories, a sweet taste, aids digestion after meals by more producing stomach acid / indigestion neutralising saliva, and chewing supposedly boosts brain power and memory. I must try it, although I've always had a deep revulsion of spent chewing gum on pavements, or under stools and function room tables, or on the sole of your shoe. I'll be wrapping mine a binning it properly !
Back to weight-loss. I've managed to miss the dreaded 13st, and my weight has decreased again to 12st 10lbs. Perhaps seeing Operation Transformation on RTE is having an effect. I find myself identifying with Paudie, the now 61yr old ex Kerry Football star, who just let himself go, but is getting back into shape. I know I can shift weight, but it's finding the will power it takes. It's not easy - but it can be done. And I must take more exercise. Fencing is good for my keep-fit, but because of suspected gout in my toes, and suspected arthritis in my wrist, fencing has taken a back seat. So I must start training again, even if I don't fight as much. Exercise and calorie control - but one's no good without the other.

Dec.31st. 2013. New Year's Eve, and I'm feeling like a bloated whale after stepping off the weighing scales this morning. 12st 13¼ lbs - ALMOST 13 STONES !!!! Christmas has been a disastrous mixture of sitting around doing little, not exercising, while a constant drip-feed of high sugar / HFCS chocolate, sweets, bars, biscuits and buns has added to the seasonal calorie pile-on of puddings with every dinner. Going away for a couple of days to a hotel over Christmas didn't help weight-loss either. Kee's food was excellent, and more-ish. A bottle of wine a day with dinner added extra calories. On a couple of occasions I overate to the extent that I knew I had - feeling overfull. That's bad !!!! It shows a lack of willpower, and a loss of self discipline. Although I keep saying I must regain control I'm failing to do so.
I read in today's Daily Telegraph that scientists have re-enforced their research findings that high levels of HDL cholesterol along with low levels of LDL cholesterol, especially in middle age, reduce the formation of Alzheimer's brain plaques. Yet another reason to regain control of my diet.
Avoid trans-fats (chip-shop fast food, and shop bought, mass produced cakes and biscuits). Avoid sugar (especially white refined sugar). Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup ( in all it's many disguises ). Avoid saturated fat ( unless healthy saturated fat like milk fat from grass fed cattle, which is potently anti-cancer ).
Eat more Oatmeal and Oat bran, Nuts like Almonds and Walnuts, Avocado, Olive oil, Apples, Pears, Red Kidney Beans, Prunes, Barley and Wholegrains, Fatty fish, green leafy vegetables esp. Broccoli and Fruit when I want something sweet.
Now ! All I have to do is stick to this ! Roll on the New Year, and roll off the fat !

Dec.9th. Weight slowly creeping up again. 12st 9lbs first thing this morning, and my youngest daughter has, quite honestly, pointed out that my gut has noticeably expanded. Now that winter is in, what's left of my livestock is indoors, so I'm not getting any exercise walking about through fields checking them. Feeding takes 10 mins, twice a day, whereas checking them all at grass would have taken an hour and a half. When you count it in calories burnt, that's probably an extra 250 or so, which means that I should be eating 250 less per day.
But it's cold, and I feel cold, and nothing instantly warms you up like hot, sweet, drinks. Drinks with real, calorie-laden sugar, not aspartame ! And nothing fills you up like good meat filled, but also calorie filled, dinners - it's just too cold for salads. Calories are little units of energy, and your body uses most of them for heat and movement, - I'm just not moving enough, or not moving around enough in the cold.
I've a choice to make though. Eat less, or move more. It's as simple as that. Get walking, or exercising again in earnest. ( I've had to quit fencing for now at least, as my wrist is scuppered for about 2 days after any length of time spent on the piste fighting, although I do suppose I should still be doing the training for it. That said I'd be a solitary figure exercising while everybody else is fighting )
But I HAVE to do something ! Sitting at the computer all day is not an option for health.

Nov.10th. 12st 7¼ lbs this morning, but this has been a yo-yo up and down 3 weeks. At Halloween I was 12st 11lbs, threatening to break 13st. Just plain overeating was doing it. Very big helpings rather than anything with HFCS or sugar, and eating an extra bit going to bed late at night. Loads of peanuts, and other nuts, ( because of Halloween) helped pile on another couple of pounds. Cold wet weather didn't help, as that stopped me taking as much farmwork related exercise - and you have to control what calories you eat AND then burn them off as well.
Then I got really annoyed and angry with myself around the start of the month. I went for a couple of days eating half portions of main meals. I then filled up with nibbling fruit like small easy-peeler oranges, "fun-size" apples, and bananas, and bits of raw vegetables like carrots and broccoli from the fridge. The result was a drop of 7lbs in a week, to 12st 4. Having now taken my foot off that accelerator, I've put on a few pounds again.
But I'll have to be careful, and try to match my calorie intake with the energy I'm using.
I was bemused by listening to Sir Ranulph Fiennes on a late night chat show telling how he'd consumed 5000 calories a day on one of his polar expeditions, but still lost a huge amount of weight because he was burning 8500, dragging a big sledge in intense cold. He doesn't look as if he's ever had a problem dieting !

Oct 18th. After almost a month of stable eating, avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup and white sugar, and not too much booze or chocolate, my weight is 12st 6lbs this morning. I've had another cholesterol test taken. Avoiding HFCS and sugar really is showing. My Triclycerides are now at a wonderful 1.2, although my overall cholesterol level is up again at 6.2. My doctor's not overly worried though, as he says that it's "good" HDL that's increasing, not the bad, sticky and artery clogging LDL. He recommended that I avoid high purine proteins though, to combat the continued gout type problems I still have in my toes, so I'm replacing oily fish in my diet with vegetables in olive oil, and eating a little less lamb, beef and turkey, going for a little more white fish and a few more vegetables. I've also started to add oat bran to my breakfast cereal, to help combat constipation, - and because it helps lower cholesterol.

Sept 23rd. The inflammation in my right foot has started up again, so my doctor has prescribed more NSAIDs. This will probably kill my taking part in fencing competitions too, although training is reasonably pain-free. The only major trouble with NSAIDs is that they result in constipation. I could also be retaining fluid. At least that's my reasoning for gaining 4lbs from Tuesday of last week when I saw the doctor, to 12st 9½ by this morning. I've been good eating wise - except for a couple (and only a couple) of desserts. Mind you they both had loads of cream, and both the cheesecake and christening cake were very sugary.
1 year on from serious calorie-counting and going below 14st, and I'm still fighting to keep a regular, stable, weight

Sept 11th After a stable two weeks eating-wise, my weight's 12st 6lbs. Things are starting to get less busy on the farm. After an excellent grass growing year, meaning that I've not had to carry about extra feed, I'm getting less exercise doing so than last year. I'll now have to watch out as sitting, not exercising, and snacking whilst sitting at the computer, are going to be my enemies over the winter. But at least my inflammation flare up has died down.

August 25th. Over 3 weeks since my last post, and I really must try to keep up with what's happening,( or not ) with my weight battle. As a favour to a retired doctor who's a friend who's doing a vitamin metabolism research study, I've promised to keep a daily food diary, listing what I eat and in what amounts. Even though it's for vitamins, there will be an approximate calorie count as well, so I intend adding the daily food intake types and amounts here to the blog.
I've also had another 'medical' problem develop since last posting. A fortnight ago the base of my right big toe joint swelled up, became red and inflamed, and I went to the health centre where a new doctor suspected gout. So I've had a course of steroids and anti-inflammatories, with a uric acid test to come in 6 weeks time. I must say the steroids are mood-lifters, and seem to have worked very quickly. Thankfully I haven't felt the need to over-eat, although side effects can occur for up to 6 weeks according to the warnings with the pills. I haven't retained fluid, and my weight is still 12st 7lbs, so it's so far, so good as my "diet birthday" approaches.

August 3rd. My worst fears panned out. Confronted by loads of small cakes, sugar-iced buns, fizzy drinks and chocolates I gave in to temptation, and the "don't waste good food" urge, and tucked in. With even the fruit salad/trifles having loads of cream I quickly put in 3 days of over 3000 cals, and by Friday I'd put on 4 lbs. Having cleared all the sweet tuck out of the way, mostly through my eating it, I now had to make amends. So this week I've been very deliberately controlled in my eating, coming back down to a 1800-2000 cals a day pattern. With most of my family on a short holiday, I'm in charge of the cooking. Which means that I can get away with overloading the vegetables, with good 6 oz servings of meat, whilst avoiding carbohydrate starch foods like white rice, white bread and potatoes. Atkins actually works very well in the short-term. Especially if you're counting calories at the same time. 12st 6¾ lbs first thing this morning.

July 20th. There was a baby-shower party at our home yesterday, and I'm now confronted with stacks of left-over food. Much of which is high sugar and high calorie desserts, and can't be fed to our dog because it contains chocolate. Confronted by choices, the "it's a shame to waste good food with people in the world starving" in me will probably win out over the "you know it'll put weight on you". All my life I've avoided waste because I've been brought up by parents who've known war-time rationing and hardship, and who didn't waste anything.
Even though I've had a stable week weight wise this week, I'm going to find myself fighting the 2 lbs extra that finishing these leftovers will inevitably put on next week

July 13th. Hot weather has come to my rescue ! There have been 10 days now of 25C plus heat. I've been very good and well behaved diet-wise: - NO BEER OR CIDER, only a little wine, and loads of diet drinks and pints of diluted orange, and "No sugar" diluting Robinson's cordials. I'm gaining control again. Eating heaps of salad is helping a lot too. Again I'm watching carefully what I eat. No fatty bacon bits or grated cheese in salads, (lean chicken, or tuna instead) and I'm avoiding high fat dressings like mayo and Heinz salad dressing. Instead I squirt a little JIF lemon juice on my salad leaves if I want a taste of tangy sharpness, with sometimes mixing lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil for flavour.
I must have sweated a bucket load at Thursday night's fencing. I know I drank 3 pints of water after finishing work before going out to practice, and I hadn't to urinate once !
The result of 10 days of heat assisted effort - I'm now 12st 5¾ again. Long may the hot weather continue !

June 28th. After a particularly big day of non-stop eating, (and no exercise) including sponge cake, chocolate, wine and a large battered fish and chips supper, I'm 12st 10¾ lbs. I'm losing this battle again. C'mon Brian ! Get a grip ! You know you must avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and large amounts of high calorie fat !!!!!

June 25th. Danger ! Danger ! - 12st 8lbs. Both girls were away at the weekend with events relating to school, so I had Diane all to myself for the first time in ages. This 'freedom to do whatever you want' inspired a rich food dining and wine blow-out. Why do calories taste so nice, especially if cooked for you by somebody else ?

May. 28th. Back in control, although it's taken a couple of days gardening, with weeding, lawn mowing with a walk-after mower, and carting rocks and bricks to build flower beds. That and making sure I didn't over-eat to compensate for the extra calorie burn-off. I've a sore back tonight though, so probably won't do as much tomorrow.

May 22nd. As a follow-up experiment, I weighed myself last thing yesterday before going to bed, and then first thing this morning immediately after getting up. The difference was 1½ lbs. So; - to be sure that you are getting an accurate weight, you need to weigh yourself at the same time of the day under the same conditions.

May 17th. After 8 days of being good, a funeral tea of rich sandwiches, buns and cakes, and a couple of fish supper takeaways with a few pints has seen my weight creep up to 12st 9lbs again. But this is a constant battle I can't afford to lose, so I'll have to watch calories next week. I've also made another funny discovery earlier this week. I weighed myself before and immediately after a shower, and discovered that I had lost 1¼ lbs. ( I'm putting it down to sweating in a hot shower - I'm not THAT dirty :-) )

May 7th. The May Bank Holiday's over, including a fish supper for lunch and 3 tubes of Chewits whilst standing at ringside in a cattle market yesterday. 12st 6lbs today, so I'm still within my self-imposed 'limits', although my wife Diane probably rescued the weekend's eating by making salads for dinner.

April 30th. It's frightening how quickly weight can go on, and last week's scare has shown me just how easy it would be to 'accidentally' lose control. I've watched what I was eating and chose low sugar options where possible. I'm back to 12st 6½ lbs. I'm convinced avoiding sugar and fructose/glucose syrup is the key: - I've eaten both beef fat and olive oil in the last couple of days, - high calorie foods, yet still lost weight by avoiding nutritionally empty sweet foods.
I've more blood tests coming up as my doctor wants to be doubly sure that the good results last time weren't a 'once-off'.

April 25th. From an over-eating point of view I've had a huge lapse. I'm weighing 12st 10lbs this morning. Since I last wrote, as well as 'normal' eating, I've downed 3 bottles of red wine, ate 4 bars of chocolate, almost half a pound of Cashel Blue cheese, crackers, half a chocolate cake, 2 big bags of Walkers crisps, and 2 helpings of trifle and full cream. I've consumed at least 3500 cals a day, but now the weighbridge is showing me the effects of such a monster blow out. This is away above what I thought I would have put on, as I thought I'd now be maybe 12st 7.
I'll have to get a grip, or I'll balloon up to over 13st again. Loads of vegetables to bulk up my meals is what's needed, and I have to avoid the high sugar and very high fat food. I simply must start to keep a food calorie diary again too.
I read this morning that just 4 cans a week of fizzy drinks will up your risk of type 2 diabetes by 20%. That's the last thing a bigger person needs, but shows just how big an enemy high fructose corn syrup and refined white sugar are to the otherwise healthy person.

April 15th. 12st 4¼ this morning, so I'm not losing weight at anything nearly as fast as I'd hoped I would. It's getting milder this week too, so I won't burn as many calories just staying warm whilst outside. Hanging around the ringside at cattle markets, waiting to try to buy cattle, is a killer - it's all too easy to constantly eat sweets to relieve boredom. Perhaps chewing sugar-free gum would be an alternative - I must try that !

April 1st. I've completed my first ever chocolate egg-free Easter weekend. Mind you I did have a big slice of home made chocolate cake, (and very good it was) but managed not to over eat elsewhere, and was 12st 5½ lbs today first thing. A job well done !

March 29th. This morning I've weighed in at exactly 12st 5 lbs. I've been eating about 2400 - 2600 cals a day for over a week, but haven't put on any weight, simply because it's so cold outside that just doing my normal farmwork is taking, by my reckoning, 200 cals more than it would in warm weather. Avoiding a 3000+ calorie day this weekend might prove difficult. Easter, or should that be "The Festival of Chocolate", is a weekend where I'd usually eat at least 3 supermarket size milk chocolate eggs, and some of those are 1000+ cals.

March 27th. Had a day trip out with my family, but I was watching calories so didn't make any unhealthy choices until tea time, when we gave in to pester power and stopped off at KFC. They've started to put up the calorie content of all their meals, which I'd commend them for. What I wouldn't commend them for is that there's not a single meal option under 800 cals, and most "meal deals" are 1100+

March 25th. Fought in the Irish National's Men's Epee yesterday, one of the three "Category A" rated competitions. The now slimmed-down (compared to March 2012) version of me was faster than last year. So, despite carrying a wrist injury, I finished inside the top 30 in a field of 47.

March 10th. On the digital scale today's reading is 12st 7½ lbs. Dinner last night was a 10oz (520 cal) T-Bone steak, 2 medium potatoes, peas, sweetcorn, saute onions and garlic mixed, gravy (approx 700 cals) and 2 glasses (550 cal) of Tesco's "Simply Chianti". Considering that feed I think that last week's loss isn't too bad. My target loss for this week will be 1 ½ lbs, so hopefully I should be 12st 6lbs by next Sunday morning, again by keeping to the 2000 cals a day regime.

March 3rd. Disaster ! The weighbridge I'm using isn't accurate. This last few weeks I've been keeping between 12st 4lbs and 12 st 8lbs, or so I believed. The family have bought a new, digital, Weight Watchers scales, which arrived today, and, of course, I just had to see if there was any difference. What a shock ! I'm 12st 9¾ lbs on the new scales, but only 12st 5lbs on the older 'spring' weighing scales ! I'm 5lbs heavier than I thought I was ! I can't afford to have any weight increase and risk cholesterol problems coming back, so it's the 2000 cals a day diet from tomorrow until I lose another five or seven pounds again.

Feb.28th. Finally got the "before" and "after" pictures up on site. I'm posing in my fencing gear, simply because the August picture was the most recent I had ! The 3½" smaller waistline is hard to pick up, but the losing of my fatter thighs and chubby cheeks isn't. The jacket, although a different make, is the same size in both pictures, so the extra wrinkles and sagging is due to a smaller body in the 'after' photo. But I've got older looking - a thinner face shows up more wrinkles, and there's less plump pink skin to counter-balance the grey hair.

Feb.12th. Back home after spending 4 days away from home on business, and finding myself in a small town with the only one decent restaurant. That said the restaurant in question was a Chinese with a fabulous "all you can eat", choice of 80+ foods, buffet at €15.90. Beef, Lamb, Chichen, Duck, Pork, Veg - raw and cooked, rice, potato, 20+ fish and shellfish, cakes, fruit - raw and cooked, and pastries. I quickly determined I was going to "do it justice" so I ate very small breakfasts, a banana and fresh bread roll from the supermarket, and then just had the buffet at 7pm. Not having eaten for most of the day, I was tempted to eat really fast, but countered this by choosing a small salad as a hunger killer starter and finishing this before going up for the main courses. Having written last week about taking 20 mins for your stomach's "I'm full" message to reach your brain, I was very aware of that fact. I kept going back for small helpings of more food, making sure I finished everything on the plate before getting any more, and thus taking longer to eat. I also deliberately avoided everything which I thought contained "high fructose corn syrup" and sugar. I stopped as soon as I felt full, having either a single glass of beer, or water, or tea, with the meal.
I'm delighted to report that, despite eating lots of food, with some of it very high fat, that when I stepped on my scales this morning I haven't gained any weight at all. - 12st 6lbs. Eating pattern does not seem to matter, - if you can keep the total daily calorie count down.

Feb.2nd. I've noticed that I now have lost much of the 'desire' (if it could be described as such) for snacking between meals. I now go into meals feeling hungrier, and there's a temptation to eat too much, too quickly, if I'm in a hurry. I try to find the time needed to try to eat slowly, so I feel fuller having eaten less. If I can't 'spare the time' to eat slower, I try to leave the table feeling that I could have eaten a good bit more.
I've been reading various pieces on stomach enzyme to brain communication. Although the vagus nerve sends a "your stomach's stretching" signal almost immediately from stomach to brain, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to recognise the CKK Hormone released that says " I AM full - STOP EATING !" This explains, for me anyway, why so many folk I see who eat fast, like lorry drivers, fellow farmers and office workers with shorter lunch breaks, tend to be heavier.

Jan. 30th. I'm a bit more relaxed about eating, having maintained my weight at between 12st 5lbs and 12st 7lbs for the last fortnight. I fenced the Northern Irish Men's Epee on Sunday, and came a respectible 20th out of 28. One of my opponents, who beat me well last year, but who I beat this year, commented "you're quicker at getting out of the road of an attack". It's true - the extra weight off does make a difference in speed and overall stamina, and I'm seeing this.

Jan. 16th. I simply must get around to the "before" and "after" pictures for this page. My local pharmacist, who hasn't seen me in a couple of months, commented positively on my weight loss today, which cheered me up. People who are deliberately trying to lose weight appreciate encouragement, be that a "well done" or a "you're looking well". I'm now 12st 6lbs. and into a slow and steady weight loss pattern again. I'm targetting 2000 cals a day until I get to 12st 4lbs, and then I can 'relax' into a 2300 - 2400 cals eating pattern again. I'm a healthy weight at under 12st 7lbs, my blood cholesterol is right, I feel fitter and more active, and so that has to be the target to keep below.

Jan.12th. 12st 7lbs first thing. So I'm back in control, but only just. I've now got to keep this up, without slipping into "bad days". The Northern Irish Fencing Open is coming up. I've gotta get fit, or I'll finish last !

Jan.2nd. The New Year's Eve party had great [ read:- just too tempting ] food, the wine was good and freely available, and this morning's weight reading shows yet another pound has crept back on. 12st 10lbs. There's still a load of lovely cheeses to be eaten, but I simply must get back in control. A 2000 cals target, with 2200 cals max for the next few days should do it.

Dec.30th. Christmas day and Boxing day are now over, and my weight has ballooned up to 12st 9lbs. I've actually had someone say to me this morning that they noticed I have put weight back on :-(
No exercise is as much to blame as overeating. Sitting in watching too much TV, playing board games, and not doing any physical work or playing sport or going for walks has probably reduced my daily calorie burn to less than 2000 cals. A little extra boose, some chocolate, and a lot of very nice, but very high calorie cheese has also increased my calorie intake by over 500 cals a day for last week. I've still the New Year's Eve party to go, but the New Year simply has to kick in with controlled calorie intake and more exercise. I'll have to definitely start keeping the calorie diary again.

Dec 24th. 12st 6lbs first thing this morning :-(
Not good. If I'm not going to sail past this 'end of the festive season' target weight I'm going to have to be so very very careful over the next few days. But there's sooooo much chocolate and boose has arrived as presents - presents that in other years I'd have wolfed down. So the choice faces me - don't eat and relax, or eat and drink, but exercise to take it off. I can see a couple of long walks coming up !

Dec. 19th. 1am Working late again. It's very tempting to have a nibble of something, but that's what often causes the extra calorie intake that leads to the pounds creeping on. First event over, and apart from a glass of mulled wine, nothing food wise was forced in my direction. 12st 3lbs, but a couple of 'big nights' in a row coming up, and the host can't be seen to be avoiding the food on offer.

Dec. 14th. The saying goes "be careful what you wish for: - you might get it".
After two and a half days of the Winter bug that's doing the rounds I've really lost weight ! (The local hospital has stopped everything except emergency admissions.) I stepped on the scales this morning and I'm 12st 2lbs. After bouts of vomiting and really watery diahorrea I'm just about back to feeling ok, but Wed. evening was awful, and yesterday wasn't great either. I'm eating normally today, but I feel I'd have coped better if I had had a bit more "weight against the infection". I normally fight any colds/flu/bugs on my feet, but this sent me to bed. Maybe it's time to stop losing weight, and start a programme of not gaining weight, - keeping at what I'm at. Having lost weight at 2000 cals a day, I might now try keeping to "under 12st 7lbs" by allowing a daily intake of 2300 cals. At least I'm now in a position to be able to attend a couple of functions this week and next, and not feel I have to count calories. That said, I'm not naive enough to believe that a couple of days eating and drinking normally, without bug, won't leave me back at 12st 6lbs again.

Dec. 11th. My blood results are back. My Cholesterol is 4.8 - a really good result and now within the "safe" range according to my doctor, although it could go to 4 to be ideal. The Triglycerides are at an astonishing to everyone level of only 1.8. An absolutely brilliant result, and it definitely shows what cutting calories by mostly reducing white sugar, "high fructose corn syrup" and high carb foods can do to the levels of this most dangerous of blood fats. This result especially should mark a lifestyle change for me, but this result is so amazingly low I now feel I must research this more. Why over 50%? Why so much ? What exactly is to be avoided and can a life lesson be learned ? Especially as I still haven't lost my sweet tooth and desire for things chocolate or cheesy.
I'm also resolving to get a couple of "before and after" pictures to add to this blog. Now, can I lose a bit more ?

Dec.8th. Well and good: - my blood samples, having been taken on Tuesday morning are away for analysis, so now I have to wait until next week until my results come back. I managed to get 4 more pounds off, and entered the Clinic on Tuesday morning weighing 12st 6lbs. My doctor is delighted with my degree of weight loss, and says that it should really show with reductions in the undesired levels of "blood baddies".
I wish I was as happy losing the weight as he is to see the weight off, as it's taken real will power, and it's not fun having to do without all that high sugar, high fat, high salt but extremely tasty food. Artificial sweetners just don't taste the same as sugar!
Everybody now says I'll pile all the weight back on again inside 18 months, and that I'll just be the same as 96% of all the other plus sizes who lose weight very rapidly. So, having achieved my first goal in losing over 2 stone, I'm going to have to prove them all wrong by keeping it off, and keeping this blog going to document my progress. Normally I'd never look twice at what I was eating over Xmas, but this year is probably going to be different. It's going to be hard saying no to that second glass of wine, or bottle of beer, especially as I will always have a driver as Diane, my wife, doesn't drink. And as for those chocolates that are always passed around at every Xmas function, - that's going to be torture !

Nov. 24th. A freezing cold foggy Sunday - just the sort of day you want to sit in beside a roaring fire with someone you love, and eat something warm and full of calories ! But, especially being Sunday, temptation should be (and I know can be with will-power) resisted.
12st 10lbs again this morning. I can't figure out how so little refined sugar and saturated fat can cause so much weight gain. I'd been very careful for a couple of days, with extra walking and exercise, but I've had a "pig-out" a couple of days ago, and ate 2 bars of chocolate, crisps and cheese, washed down with a couple of beers, and all on top of my daily 2000 cal.
Eating 4oz of chocolate or cheese or eating half a pound extra of something very sugary, seems to add a full pound of extra weight. Maybe sugar, or saturated fat, encourage existing fat cells to expand - taking in more water or something. I'll have to Google that later, and do some serious exercise this week, along with watching calorie intake carefully again, to regain control and get back on the weight-loss track.

Nov. 19th. After a good 10 days, and an especially good [i.e. no nights out] weekend I stepped on the scales this morning expecting great things. And I got them ! 12st 10lbs ! But it's not easy. I've had to dump high calorie foods that would lead to the temptation to "use them up" or "finish the jar", as if I'd kept them I'd have just eat them. I know I just can't spread a little peanut butter on anything (it has to be a big dollop !) The same goes for Strawberry jam (or nearly all jam in my case). And the Cream Crackers to go with them - I could rack up a snack that I'd eat in 5 mins, but that would be more than a third of my daily calories.
The December blood test looms larger. Will all this weight loss actually result in a significant change ? Or will I have to go on pills ?

Nov. 8th. A new target date has been added to the calendar. I have been given an appointment to get my blood taken again to measure my Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels in early December. I'm really hoping that this diet has paid off in reducing both. I don't want to have to feed on chemicals just to stay reasonably healthy if there's a natural way to do it instead.

Nov. 6th. I'm back to my diet's eating pattern again - I'm eating smaller calorie counted meals, but eating more often. I chopped logs for a half-hour today, so that should help burn off 300/400 cals extra. Having earned it I might have a (single) bottle of beer later, or a couple of squares of dark chocolate. (and I might resist the temptation). I'm not going to weigh myself again until the weekend, and I might see enough change to really encourage me to keep this up. I wore my 38" waist heavy jeans today and they need a belt now, so that's good. People are noticing that I've weight off, and are saying so, so that's good too.

Nov. 4th. Just over 13st 3lbs, but it's been an up and down 3 weeks. It started well enough, carrying on with the diet, getting reasonably regular, if not weather interrupted, exercise. I had got to 12st 12lbs, but then I went on holiday with my family last week to the Westport Woods Hotel in Mayo, Ireland. It was a half-board package - breakfast and evening meal. My only problem was that the food was excellent. I quickly decided that the 2 meals in the day would do, and that I could then relax and eat all I wanted to. Big mistake number 1.
Having thus decided, I allowed I could have a 3 course meal at both meals. Big mistake number 2.
Because there was a swimming pool, and a well equipped gym, I also allowed that anything I did over-eat could be burned off, either through walking about the town, or in the gym if it was wet. Big mistake number 3.
Breakfast became an excuse for a full helping of cereal, followed by a nice healthy helping of either grapefruit, mixed fruit or prunes, followed by a bit of a breakfast fry. As the week went on the fry got bigger until it became, what I later counted, a 1000 cal plateful. Fried eggs, bacon, sausages, beans and buttered toast. Deadly !!!

The evening dinner wasn't as calorie charged as the breakfast fry, but here again I made the classic weight-watching blunder. Having already taken a starter like Spring roll with salad, and a 'normal' meat / potato / 2 veg main course, I then took either a dessert (full of sugar or chocolate) or their excellent cheese board. The cheese board alone was more cals than the 2 courses before it. Compounding the putting on of weight was a glass of wine with every meal, adding another 200 cals.

This week will have to see a return to the pre-holiday eating pattern, and the diary is coming out again. It's proving too easy to undo all the weight-loss that the diet has achieved so far.

Oct 17th. I now weigh 13st 5lbs, but I've been doing quite a lot of exercise this week and really watching my cals, and I've started filling in a daily diary. I did the North West Open in Epee Fencing this week, and I fought disasterously badly. I thought I'd be much quicker with almost a stone and a half shifted, but you must lose muscle as well as fat, 'cos I was slow and found I lacked the explosive energy needed for speed on the piste. The other fencers were quicker, and I actually felt "fat and slow". Disappointed with a last place result, I was lucky I had enough cals left over for a glass of good red wine and a ( shared, so half ) 100g bar of dark Chocolate after dinner. Good old Sainsbury. Calories do give you a temporary boost, and make you feel good, but I'm constantly watching in case I go way over. On the day of the competition I allowed myself 250 extra cals because I felt I'd have burned them off during the 7 rounds of fighting. But it was back to the 2000 limit the following day, and I've stuck by this since Monday.

Oct 10th. Cold but dry outside today. I felt cold too - maybe the fat's disappearing and taking my heat with it. Definitely can see a difference in my belly bulge, and I put an extra hole in my belt this morning, although I think my rate of weight loss is slowing. 13st 9lbs this morning but only had 1820 cals yesterday. I was hungry last night late on, but resisted the urge. Probably should have grabbed an apple.

Oct 8th. Weighed myself this morning. 13st 12lbs, so back on track after last weekend's excess. Weight not shifting as easily now.

Oct 6th. I've been "good" for a couple of days now. 2oz porridge + an apple for breakfast, 2 slices toast with chicken or tuna and lettuce for lunch, and good beef, 2 veg and boiled potato dinners. Daily intake of calories now about 1900, and I've started to snack on carrots. I keep a big bag in the fridge, and if I'm hungry between meals or last thing, I eat one. I possibly might get a week away at Halloween, so I want to be able to 'give the diet' a small holiday too. I will probably weigh myself this weekend, although everything I read says not to weigh yourself too often, as, if you don't see change, you'll get discouraged.

Oct 2nd. Home after a weekend away at an annual gathering. I didn't over eat that much, but between chips, fried breakfasts, fast food and booze I know I've put on something. Possibly a couple of pounds. But I'm not going near the scales this morning.

Sept 26th. Under 14st for the first time in years ! Took a 3 mile walk to celebrate. I might be sleeping more soundly too, as I seem to be waking up feeling better rested.

Sept.17th. Ate the last of the chocolate last thing, but I was only 200 cals over my limit as I'd saved calories from earlier. It helps if you can bulk up with some fruit or veg at lunch time.

Sept 13th. Weighed myself today. 14st 6lbs. I was hungry last thing last night, so had half a bar of Lidl's dark chocolate late on. I managed to stop myself eating it all. A big drink of water helps, and I'm starting to buy "no added sugar" diluting cordials, which usually only adds 10 cals to a pint of water. But a carrot would have been better than Choc.

Sept 8th. Trying to work a 350 cal breakfast, no morning snack, 350 cal lunch, no afternoon snack, and a really good 1300 cal dinner. So far, so good, but it's a bugger without snacks.

Sept 1st. - The diet starts in earnest today. I'm 14st 13lbs after my shower first thing this morning.

Aug 29th. I've researched calories, and drawn up the list at page bottom. I normally have breakfast, 10-o-clock teabreak, lunch, 3:30 snack break, dinner at 6pm and a snack at bedtime. I have drawn up a "hit-list" of high calorie foods I eat. I'll try to avoid or substitute lower calorie foods (& drink) for these. I could possibly cut out the in-between meal snacks to save 400 cals. I'll try this to start.

Aug 25th. Having researched diets for years as part of my work on, etc. , I'm now going to try what I think will work best for me. I'm going to find out the calories in everything I eat, publish it below, and I'm going on a 2000 calorie a day diet.
As I think I'm reasonably fit and active as I farm, and fight Epee as a sport once a week. This diet should, by my calculations, lose about 3lbs a week for me. So by early December 2012 I should have lost 2 stones

Calories in foods I would normally eat: -
High : - Chocolate 3oz bar = 500 cals, Jaffa Cake 1 = 45 cals, Popcorn 5oz = 700 cals. Peanuts 10oz = 1500 cals, Cheese 3oz = 350 cals, Chips 10oz = 800 cals , Pasta or Fried Rice 10oz = 600 cals, Olive Oil 1 Tablespoon = 120 cals, Butter/Marg 1" cube = 100 cals, Bread - Ciabatta 1oz = 80 cals, Brown or White loaf, 1 slice = 90 cals, Burger Bun = 160 cals, Chocolate or Fruit or Sponge Cake, 3oz slice = 400 cals, Pringles 5oz = 1200 cals, Square Cream Cracker 3 = 100 cals, Jam Doughnut 1 = 250 cals, Jam 1oz = 80 cals.
Pint of Beer or Cider, or a medium Glass of Wine = 200 cals.

Medium : - Minced Beef 6oz = 400 cals, lean Beef or Lamb 6oz = 320 cals, Chicken or Turkey 6oz = 280 cals, Salmon 6oz = 370 cals, Sardines in oil 6oz tin = 310 cals , Porridge 3oz = 300 cals, Black Seedless Grapes 25 =100 cals, Boiled Potato 10 oz= 280 cals, Boiled Brown Rice 10oz = 340 cals, Sweetcorn 10oz = 330 cals, Heinz Beans 1 can = 330 cals, Fried Egg 2oz = 120 cals, Soya Milk 1pint = 250 cals,
Bacardi or Vodka & Diet Coke - 2 pub shots (a double) + 1 mixer can = 150 cals.

Low : - Sardines in Water, Haddock, Tuna, Flatfish, 6oz = 220 cals. Boiled Egg 2oz = 90 cals, Orange, Apple or Medium Banana = 90cals, Orange Juice 10floz = 150cals, Cabbage, Kale, Broccoli, Carrot, Onion, 6oz = 70cals, Tomato, Peppers 6oz = 30cals, Lettuce, Mushrooms 6oz = 25cals, Water = no cals at all.

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