I’m overweight. There’s no getting away from this fact, I have the data to
The problem here is not (mainly) one of excercise. I have a standing desk. I
like walking. I have a small child. These (especially the last) make for a
fairly active lifestyle - I have no shortage of opportunites to get my heart
rate up. Nor do I eat (very) unhealthily - we cook every night, so there’s not
an abundance of bad food in the house.
No the issue here is one of pleasure. I love food. I love to cook, and I love
to eat, and so when I cook, I make too much, and then I eat anyway. While
calories fell out of fashion in the dieting fad world, they still matter.
Whether it’s too many calories of healthy food, or too many of high-salt,
high-sugar bad food - either way, it’s still too many.
So this year, I plan to fix it. Weight loss is a notoriously hard-to-keep New
Year’s resolution, but… I have a plan! Like all good plans, it has several
The first part, and it’s obvious, is what I eat, and how much. I’ve already
said we eat fairly healthily, but there’s room for improvement, especially in
terms of pure calorie count.
For christmas this year, I was given a copy of Thug
Kitchen[probably NSFW!], which is a vegan
cookbook like no other. Let’s be clear - I have no intention of going vegan, or
even vegetarian. I love meat entirely too much for that, I mean, bacon alone,
c’mon… But we do all consume far more meat than we used to - what’s missing
is interesting ways to cook veggie dishes. On this point, this book is a
I’m already sticking to making at least one evening meal a week from this book
(I was particularly blown away with the Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas),
but it also has a great section on quick food and munchies. Now, given that I
really struggle to eat well at lunch time (working from home with a bakery 3
doors away is bad for that…), this is huge. Things like Spiced Chickpea and
Tahini Wraps can be made in 20min, and is a filling hot lunch that is way
less bad for me than a sausage roll and a fudge doughnut.
I’ve never been a breakfast person, and now that we can finally consign the
“eat breakfast to lose weight”
thing to the bin, I don’t need to be piling on the calories there.
So that’s effectively a “5-2” kind of thing for evenings, decently healthy
lunches, and no breakfast (well, maybe a slice of granary toast, on occaison).
A good start.
Of course, there’s no use in setting a goal with no way to know if you’ve
reached it. I’ve actually been tracking weight loss for some years via a Google
Docs speadsheet, but that got tiresome. So, I hacked up a quick
tracking app to help me out.
The basic idea is simple. The front page has a handy input box for me to put in
my weight from my phone whenever I have time in a morning to weigh myself.
Clearly, this isn’t every day, but so long as it’s at least a couple of times a
week, we can extract trends.
From there, I store the data in a small sqlite3 db, and calculate moving 7-day
and 30-day averages. The 7-day is useful to indicate early shifts in trends, so
I can catch myself if I start to slip, but the 30-day is the real measure of
the goal. If that is trending down, then that’s good. If not, then I’ve been at
least slightly naughty for at least a month.
The app also includes a predicted completion date based on the moving averages.
These are very crudely calculated, but again, it’s just an indicator - if that
date starts to get significantly further away, I need to reign myself in. It’s
also a way to ensure I’m not too drastic - as drastic changes to lifestyle
rarely stick. That completion date doesn’t need to be next month…
I think you have to keep a light attitude to weight, or it becomes a risk of
crushing despair when it doesn’t work. I’ve been steadily losing weight since
2013, but recently I hit a plateau, and would like to shift the last 10kg.
That’s all it is. No big deal, no drama, just something to keep an eye on.
The 30 day average and completion dates help me turn a blind eye to the
occaisonal takeaway or large slab of cake - these things are part of life, and
should be enjoyed from time to time.
In other words - everything in moderation, including moderation itself.