Blog

#26: Regaining Focus

I realise that many of my more recent blog posts have not been particularly on topic or beneficial to myself with regards to what this blog represents. ‘The Male Body Image Experiment’ is an ongoing investigation to establish what works and what does not work with respect to my personal fitness and weight-loss goals. Thus I need to regain some focus and be more objective in future blog entries.

I have slowly been taking steps to bring myself on track, and for the last few days I have been successful in that respect. I am going to list below what I have done which, so far, has worked for whatever reason:

I re-organised my phone – This may sound silly at first, but a good clear out and movement of apps is what actually kick started my new found focus and motivation. This meant clearing out the clutter of apps on the main screen, new wallpaper and deleting some old apps for space. Thus re-organising my phone allowed me to start afresh and rebuild from the ground up in a manner that would empower me to reach my goals.

I installed new apps and moved them to my home screen – With all the clutter removed, my home screen is now only occupied with apps that will help me in some aspect. This means the first apps I see when I unlock my phone are the ones relating to my fitness and weight. I can clearly see these apps as they are no longer swamped in a sea of other apps. I organised them and grouped them all together neatly so my home screen looks organised and clear. The apps I have are MyFitnessPal, Instagram, Thinspo and a file manager – I know a trick with file managers that allow me to hide my own thinspo/fitspo etc safely within my phone without them appearing on my picture galleries which is why a file manager is included.

I started using Widgets – I might be showing my age here, but I accidentally discovered that widgets could be a vital asset to helping me maintain some fitness and weight-loss focus. Basically widgets can display snippets of information from your apps without you having to actually click on the app. MyFitnessPal and Hydro Coach are apps which both have widgets, which I have now displayed across my homescreen. The MyFitnessPal widget displays the calories I have left on a given day, and I cannot emphasise enough how simply seeing that number helps me to stay on track without the need to open the app. The number is always there for me to clearly see every time I unlock my phone.

I feel that the above 3 points have been the steps that have brought forth my ability to stay on track again. What I need to do now is move some thinspo/fitspo across to my file manager and organise my Instagram to display relevant and motivational feeds.

That’s all for today.

Till next time…

Nostalgic

#25: Optimism

Hello everyone,

For the first time in a couple of weeks, I feel good. I feel good that I’m able to relax a bit more for now, so much so that I feel like I can do things again. I feel like I can plan again, set goals again, and have a stronger willingness to achieve again. I don’t get this feeling of optimism all too often and I want to keep a hold of it for as long as I can.

I’ve picked up some of my hobbies again, motivated myself to do some exercise and I’m actively trying to make some healthier food decisions again. I think what I learned about in my last post helped me to start making these decisions again.

I don’t really have anything else to add today; I just feel happier and wanted to share that with you folks.

Till next time…

~Nostalgic~

#24: Sugar, you’re oh so sweet!

Hello everyone,

So today I had a thought; maybe the reason why I have such a hard time getting myself back on track is because of how much sugar there is in everything. So I had a little dig around to see what information I could find on the matter…

It turns out that the consumption of sugar releases a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is generally associated with reward-based behaviours, the consequence of such can lead to addiction. The problem is that sugar is virtually everywhere, so unless a lot of attention is paid to what you are eating, then chances are you are consuming a lot of it.

Too much sugar, and therefore over activating the brain’s ‘reward’ system, can lead to loss of control, craving and a tolerance build up which makes your brain want more of the ‘good’ stuff to get that ‘good’ feeling.

The next question I wondered is ‘how do I break away from all the sugar that I have been taking’? A couple of videos suggest just going cold turkey and cut as much of it out as possible, and also interestingly cut out foods containing flour (i.e. bread) as such foods also have the same negative effects. Introduce protein, fiber and healthy fats into your diet but avoid starchy vegetables. There are other factors that are meant to help break the habit like getting proper sleep and managing stress properly. You can allegedly break the sugar habit by detoxing for around 3 to 21 days, although some other sources say 10 days, assuming you effectively cut out sugars.

So to complete my basic understanding of all this, I searched for a list of sugars which are likely to appear in my everyday life. Here are a few:

  • Fructose
  • Glucose – starch is composed of this type of sugar
  • Galactose
  • Maltose
  • Sucrose – i.e. white sugar
  • Lactose  – i.e. the sugar found in dairy stuff like milk
  • Plus many, many more

Basically it seems that anything ending in -ose is a good indicator that it is some kind of sugar, although inspection of a sugar list will have state some other kinds of sugars.

I think I learned something from all this, time to plan and actively reduce sugar!

Till next time…

~Nostalgic~

References
http://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-starch-definition-function-chemical-formula.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHI-7I9kD5k – “How to Break Sugar Addiction: 7 Steps to Help You Stop Eating Sugar”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWGl3TIO00A – “Break your sugar addiction in 10 days”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEXBxijQREo – “How sugar affects the brain – Nicole Avena”

#23: re:accountability

Hello anyone,

I have to evaluate the factors which led to me falling off the wagon, resulting in my absence these past few weeks.

The first factor is accountability. I neglected my own responsibilities to this blog which in turn allowed my mind to be distracted by other aspects of my life which have been going crazy. By ignoring my commitment to this blog, I have ignored the accountability rule. Furthermore, by not regularly accessing this blog I have inadvertently neglected the opportunity to surround myself with media that would encourage or motivate my weight loss journey.

Outwith this blog, I have ignored accountability further by not logging my calorific intake for weeks. If the motto ‘what gets measured gets fixed‘ is anything to go by, then how can I expect to achieve my goals if I have not taken any measurements whatsoever for such a period of time? I am responsible for the trash that I allow myself to eat so I should be monitoring it, not ignoring it. Seeing the numbers on MyFitnessPal helps me to be more mindful of what I am eating; too often I find myself not focusing on what I am eating, too often I gorge, and too often I am not actually needing or enjoying what I am binging on.

Another factor to discuss is my frustration regarding the weight-loss plateau that I  encountered. For a few weeks I maintained the same weight, and that is demotivating. The issue however was that I knew I was eating more and exercising less as the weeks went on so the plateau was actually quite unsurprising, yet I was losing my mind each week on the scales. I felt that I was never going to reach my remaining targets, and I know that now I am further away from those goals now which feels worse. I think that at this point, I should have spent much more time thinking hard about if my plan was really working for me, and how to tweak it so that I could start losing again.

The last factor I want to share was that my plans had all went to shit. Reflecting, I feel that the problem starts on the days where I have breakfast and choose not to apply my intermittent fasting schedule to organise when I can eat. With breakfast consumed, I start to get hungrier earlier and thereafter my eating plans are all over the place – I snack more, eat more sugary stuff, and just generally eat more. And it is on these days that I start to not count the calories or log them into MyFitnessPal. The next day then becomes harder as my fasting routine is interrupted, my body gets confused and I just generally want to eat all the time.

I think I have rambled enough for tonight. I am trying to sort and figure out several aspects of my life right now relating to work, family, and of course this blog and my weight-loss.  Planning starts again.

Till next time…

~Nostalgic~

#22: Wednesday Weigh-In

Hello everyone,

It is that time of the week again, and the weeks are moving so quickly too! But I am going to keep this post brief: I weigh the same as what I did last week – 148 lbs.

I’m somewhat relieved to be honest, because it has been another one of those weeks where I have felt like I have eaten everything but have not gained. Obviously not as good as losing weight, but at least I’m not any further away from my goals.

It is not all mediocre news though – I have been able to kill my weightlifting workout and increase the weights that I am able to lift, so that’s something I guess. So I may be building some muscle, but I need to lose the fat that surrounds it in order to be lean.

As usual, images will be uploaded onto the respective progress page, but this week is very much the same in terms of appearance.

Anyways, till next time…

~Nostalgic~

#21: Wednesday Weigh-In

Hello everyone,

It is with regret that this is the first week that I have gained weight instead of losing/maintaining it.  I weigh 148 lbs as of this morning. Thankfully it is just 1 lb that I have gained and not more. However this does still set me back by at least 2 weeks – if I had lost 1 lb instead of gaining 1 lb, I would be 146 lbs instead. As usual, my progress page has been updated accordingly.

I have been looking at my progress photos again – exactly 1 month ago I was 3 lbs heavier than what I am right now. Whilst I take some pride in that I have lost weight since then, I do feel that the weight is coming off far too slowly. Hence I need to review my calorie targets and ensure I stick to them better, something which I briefly mentioned on Monday’s post. The rate of weight loss may be (somewhat) consistent, but it’s so slow – I have my goal weight to reach and I’d like to reach it before summer is here!

I am making more efforts to try and view images that will provide inspiration on a more frequent basis. I think that I could do this more effectively by having such images on hand/easily accessible yet still hidden from others. This will hopefully help keep me motivated and fight off those binging feelings.

Fingers crossed next week will have some better results. Till next time…

~Nostalgic~

 

 

 

#20: Falling Off the Wagon

Hello everyone,

It seems that I have fallen off the wagon a bit this last week. Despite having reached my first goal weight, this last week has been really bad for me in the sense that I have generally been unable to fight off cravings for food. It is ironic how eating more makes me feel hungrier than what I would feel if I had less to eat, but this is exactly the problem. I have been eating more of whatever there is, and more often too.

So what do I do now? I need to spend some time and evaluate what the bigger problems are, and then try to resolve them.

I feel that a major part of the problem was that I stopped tracking what I was eating, therefore I need to be more mindful of what I am eating. Possibly related to this, I have been getting hungrier even earlier in the day and even later at night. This has thrown my Intermittent Fasting routine out the window. Therefore I also I think that being more mindful of when I eat will help me break into the routine again. I just need to push through the morning for a few days until the routine sets back in.

I spent the majority of last week feeling drained: this is not as much of an issue today but I feel that it may be related to (a) training myself a bit too hard and (b) caffeine withdrawal. As much as I love my energy drinks, I feel that I need to break away from them. I have been reliant on them for close to 6 years now and I love the taste of them, but I fear that they are detrimental to both my mental and physical well-being. I never needed them or coffee when I was back at high school, and I felt much better then than what I have felt in recent years.

One of the worst problems I have is this: once I know I have eaten too much, my mind goes ‘fuck it, might as well have it all, you’re overboard now’. Instead of having a sense of willpower to stop and acknowledging that I have had enough, I just go nuts and eat all of what I can find. I thought I was getting close to being able to stop on my own free will this last week, but evidently that was not the case – it seems that I am not yet strong enough. I will however have to find a way break this mentality at some point, so that I may regain control should I ever feel myself losing it again.

A few points I should note, so that I may reflect of some positives and not just the bad. I have been eating more ‘healthy’ foods. I have also been more conscious in choosing healthier options over unhealthy choices, generally. I have also been more proactive in preparing foods ahead of time too. Small things like these give me an odd sense of pride in that, for once, I am taking better responsibility over my food choices – whereas previously I would just opt for meal deals in the shop or see what processed crap I can make quickly.

I think I am done for today. Plans to upload my weight and photos on Wednesday are still good, and I will upload them irrespective of whether I have gained or lost weight.

Till next time…

~Nostalgic~