From Fat to Fit at Fifty

Part 1 – In the beginning there was blubber

Not me – but not far off!

Turning 50

Since March I have been on a bit of a fitness drive. I have been meaning to blog about it, so here I am, late as usual. I was too lazy to take any before and after pics (but I still have plenty of me looking porky) so I thought I’d immortalise my journey in blog form.

I don’t know about you, but 50 was a bit of a benchmark for me. I really struggled with the concept of being 50. I was born in the 70s and back then, 50-year-old men were wizened old perverts who smoked 40 fags and told inappropriate jokes to us youngsters. Now, having already ticked off a few of those, I was worried that I was turning into the 50-year-old relatives and fake uncles (you know, the ones you called uncle because they borrowed your dad’s strimmer, or they used to work with your granch). I was terrified that I was destined to skulk around family gatherings, telling rude jokes, getting drunk beyond belief and terrorising the little uns.

It’s fair to say that I didn’t take 50 very well.

It’s now May and I am beginning to make my peace with it…. a bit.

Anyhow. Turning 50 made me reflect a bit about where I was in life. Completely changing career, like an idiot, but happy in all other respects. I have a great family, an amazing wife and kids. Just kids. I love ’em but they can be little shits at times. Standard really.

But then I took a look at my health, determined that I was going to stay looking relatively together for as long as possible. I didn’t want people thinking my beautiful wife was my carer.

The day of reckoning

I have always been pretty fortunate with the signs of aging. I still have all my hair, and it’s still ridiculously thick (something I don’t complain about anymore), and no sign of greying or receding yet. That was working in my favour. My patchy weedbed of a beard has turned a little bit grey but I can cope with that.

But after spending the last 2 years sat on my fat disco dancing ass, I realised that I was beginning to spread quite considerably. I’ve never really worried about being a little overweight – I love my food, what can, but it was looked like it was getting out of control.

One day, after seeing some photos of me where I was struggling to get in the frame with my ambitious chins, I decided to hop on the scales.

Big mistake.

Emphasis on big.

I was scared to look. But look I did. Peering around my belly, and squinting because of my tired myopic eyes, I wasn’t sure that the numbers looked right.

I was 16 stone 3.

That is the biggest I have ever been in my life.

Reeling from the shock, I wobbled off the scales and squeezed through the door to consider my options.

Option a) Go and get a six pack of wotsits and wagon wheels, go upstairs, draw the curtains and devour it all, while sobbing, or

b) get off my fat gut and do something about it.

I can’t really say fat arse here, as the weight doesn’t like my arse, it avoids it at all costs. No matter how big I get, my arse remains the same size, which, as you can imagine, looks ridiculous.

So what did I do?

My first thought was – help? I didn’t really want to do this alone.

I like a routine and to be told what to do. So I was looking for something to just tell me how to fix it in simple, easy to understand steps. I also wanted to do this at home, all alone – I wasn’t ready for public or group shaming.

So, I turned to the Noom app.

It wasn’t cheap, but I equated it to the price of a takeaway a month (we were having plenty of those), which made it easier to swallow. At this point I really was eating everything!

What I like about it is the clear and simple daily goals that have an immediate impact. Tracking what you eat is really simple, as is tracking your steps, weight and exercise. There is also a lot of information about nutrition and mindset which really helped me in the initial stages.

So, as you can see, there are massive gains to make in the beginning with seemingly little effort.

The First Month

So, for the first month, I found it pretty easygoing. I made some small changes to my diet and hydration, and the weight was falling off. The most significant change for me was hydration. I have since learned that you should consume 1 litre of water for every 25kg of your weight. Just upping your hydration at the beginning was a game-changer for me and it is part of my daily routine.

Not only does it help with weight loss, but after a few days I felt like I had more energy, I was sleeping better and I just felt healthier. Previously, I have been drinking about 6-8 cups of tea or coffee a day, and I was often prone to falling asleep on the sofa in the evening. After sorting out my hydration and dropping the teas and coffees, I felt hugely different.

The other thing for me that had the biggest impact on my first month’s progress, was identifying where my problem points with food were. For me, it was bread. I was a bread fiend. I would think nothing about consuming half a loaf over the course of the day and it was always white bread. Just cutting out white bread and cutting down on bread, in general, has had a massive impact. It has become so habitual now that there are some days when I don’t eat any bread at all!

In the first month, I lost 16 pounds, or 1 stone and 2 pounds!

I was amazed.

I know, I know, the first stone comes off easy, but it still needs to come off and I couldn’t have been happier with how quick it dropped off.

Just so you know, the basic premise with Noom, as with any sustainable diet, is to work on a calorie deficit. On average, men need about 2500 calories a day – I was consuming about 2000 every day, which is why I made such good progress.

There are no bad foods or good foods – there are just foods with a higher calorific value and a lower calorific value. If you balance the books and keep in deficit, you will see progress.

So that was my first month, and although my target was to lose another 2 stone, I was really happy with my progress.

Yes, it got harder, and at times it was really frustrating, and more changes needed to be made to sustain the weight loss, but as a start it was ace.

Find out how month 2 progressed in my next blog.

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