#27: Update

I don’t like to leave this blog neglected and I really don’t mean to not post anything for long periods of time. It just so comes a time when I am sitting on my computer and I feel like I can post something; I’m rarely on my computer these days on account for everything else going on. This is a bad excuse – I know by now that there is always something going on. External stressors influence my day-to-day feelings and decisions to the point where I am no longer able to focus on my own wants.

There are always times when I have to do everything all at the same time and this is when I start to break. I need to be able to take a step back, breathe, and work on putting everything back together. This is where I am at just now.

I have learned of ‘thinspo diaries’. I have kept a diary before but not one in the style of a ‘thinspo diary’ and I would like to give it a try. I see this as a creative project rather than just a collection of my own sad ramblings. There will be colour, pictures, quotes, my own rubbish art etc. to really make this my own. The book that I will be using for this concealable in the sense that I can hide this on my person on a day-to-day basis – therefore I can have my neat little art project reminder to keep myself on track towards what I want.

It might end up being the case that I use this diary to write my daily statistics – if this works better for me in terms sticking to my goals then it will be my primary tool. Any interesting logs could be typed up and posted on this blog to provide a digital copy and also to stop this site from going bare.

Till next time…

~Nostalgic~

Advertisements

#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

#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~

#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~

#15: 1st Week of Diet Plans

Hello everyone,

I feel that it’s been forever since my last post. It’s been 5 days but it feels so much longer than that, but it’s because I’ve not been free enough to add content since then. The problem is that I think I lose some motivation because I am not on my site every day, reading other blog posts, browsing forums, etc. This site is my accountability after all, and it serves the purpose of encouraging me to stay on track with my goals; the less frequently I can access it, the less accountable I am therefore I am less motivated.

I have been making smarter choices with food, but still my decisions are not optimal yet. The protein shakes are going good – they boost my 7 day average up to nearly 100 grams of protein. Despite this, I am still about -40 grams off from my own protein target and I am still in excess of carbs (+31 grams over a 7 day average). Surprisingly I am 9 grams under for fats, so that is not bad. The plans go well throughout the week, but things start to slide at the weekends where I am weaker and everybody has food.

I do need to hurry up and start buying in and preparing my own stuff, otherwise I will always miss my targets. I also need to buy in more protein powder…

Anyways, just a small update – nothing major. Till next time…

~Nostalgic~

#13: First Day of New Diet Plan

Hello everyone,

Just a short blog post for tonight to give you guys an idea of how I tried to integrate yesterday’s diet plan into my meals today.

Tracking everything via the MyFitnessPal app, I had:

  • 89 grams of carbohydrates
  • 47 grams of fat
  • 108 grams of protein
  • A net intake of 1218 calories

Whilst I am proud of this, I did find it tricky to balance the carbohydrates effectively as the foods I would usually have at lunch are really high in carbs! I skipped breakfast as per my usual intermittent fasting routine. For lunch I had opted for a small bag of dry roasted nuts, 5 chicken breast slices and a protein shake instead of my usual lunch meal. Dinner is where things would get out of hand a bit since my family cooks the dinner, and generally cooks processed stuff (72.3 grams of carbs were purely from dinner, 19.1 grams of protein and 14.1 grams of fat). I then had a second protein shake later in the evening.

The food goals I had in mind after yesterday’s blog would have looked about 84 grams carbs, 50 grams fat and 140 grams protein. So in retrospect, I wasn’t too far away from this target. Bear in mind I had fewer calories than planned, but I had only slightly overdone it on the carbs by a mere 5 grams. Meeting that protein target is going to be a real struggle, most likely due to me not eating enough calories. However I think that 108 grams (36% of my calories) was still good for me on my first day of this, and I’m not going to increase my calorie intake by a whole lot.

Tomorrow is Wednesday weigh-in, fingers crossed that the scales drop lower!

Anyways, till next time…

~Nostalgic~