Friday, 22 April 2011

Double celebration!

Good morning all, and a happy Easter weekend - it's going to be a warm one apparently.

I'm in a rather good mood this morning, I've got two reasons to be very happy. The first reason is that on Wednesday 20th April I FINALLY managed to sucessfully give blood! It was no trouble at all this time, I did get a bit wobbly afterwards though - I get the feeling that I must have gone a bit of a funny colour as three of the Nurses descended on me at once! They were all so wonderful and put me at my ease straight away, I may have said this before but if you are able to donate please, please do. They don't get enough people turning up for it and it saves so many lives.

Anyways, onto the second piece of good news, here are the first measurements I took:

13th August 2010

Body Fat %: 52.9% ++ Very High (48.9kg/ 7st 9lb/ 107lb)
Visceral Body Fat:* 8 (0 Normal)
BMI: 34.0 (Obese)
Weight: 14st 7lb/92.5kg/203lb

And here is the measurement I took today:

22nd April 2011 (8 months later)

Body Fat %: 50.3% (43.2kg/6st 11lb/95lbs) (-2.6% / -5.7kg / -12lb)
Visceral Fat: 7 (-1)
BMI: 31.5 (-2.5)
Weight: 13st 7lb/85.8kg/189lbs (-1st / -6.7kg / 14lb)


It's taken me eight months but it's gone! I have also gone down by one on the Visceral Fat scale which is brilliant, it's taken a very long time to shift that. I am still 'Obese' but, whereas before the arrow on the NHS BMI calcuator stubbornly stuck to the edge, the arrow is now creeping towards the 'Overweight' mark.

It does look like a very depressingly small nudge along the scale doesn't it! I don't mind - it's still a stone!! I still have a long way to go before I'm in the Green but at least I'm trying.

I shall sign off now, have a very wonderful Easter everyone.

Monday, 11 April 2011

New Year take two

Well, I am treating the first few months of this year as my 'Winter Break'! The end of January and most of February was a bit rubbish for us life-wise to be honest, my family had booked a week off and three of those seven days were funerals. Everything happened all at once really. To add to it I started a new job in March, so I've not really had as much time to spend exercising as I had been when I was unemployed.

I will do a measurement in the next few days to bring me up to date, then it will be back to every two weeks on Sundays. I will start to make a concentrated effort to exercise in the evenings now that the crushing tiredness is starting to fade, who knew being in an office all day would wipe you out!

I did a couple of weeks measurements that I hadn't posted up, so here they are:

30th January 2011

Body Fat %:  51.7% (44.9kg/7st/98lbs)
Visceral Fat:  8
BMI:  31.9
Weight:  13st 9lb/86.9kg/191lbs

13th February 2011

Body Fat %:  51.5% (45kg/7st 1lb/99lbs)
Visceral Fat:  8
BMI:  32.1
Weight:  13st 10lb/87.4kg/192lbs

I'll do an indepth analysis of these numbers when I'm not quite as tired, the most obvious thing about them is that I gained a pound in two weeks. I am not surprised by this at all, the two weeks between the 30th January and the 13th February were rubbish and quite stressful for us. Everything that wasn't important just went out of the window at that point.

I shall sign off for tonight and wish you good fortune :).

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Happy New Year! :D

Well, another year has gone by. I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and even happier New Year’s celebrations, I know I did!

With the New Year comes the 'New Year’s Resolution', I don't tend to make them anymore as I know what type of person I am. I get all enthusiastic and then after a brief trial it fizzles out, like 90% of the rest of the world it seems!

A resolution is a promise, and it's one you make to yourself. I have heard a lot of people say that they want to 'Lose weight' but they rarely say how they are going to achieve it. For most people when they hear the words 'Lose weight' the instant thought is 'Go on a diet.' I think as a nation we're a bit lazy, if we don't have a history of exercising and keeping fit we're less likely to turn to it. People who half heartedly turn to exercise for the New Year after doing nothing for years and years soon give up because it's horrendously hard going when you first start up. I was quite lucky in that I had a husband who kept prodding me with metaphorical sticks every time I complained that it was hard, it was hard, really hard, but I'd made up my mind. Once I’d been doing it for a while I passed that hurdle of “Oh God why...” and it gets much easier after that. I'm determined to do this, I don't think I'd have been able to keep this up if I'd done it purely through a New Year’s Resolution.

Losing weight is more about mental strength than physical strength, I always have times where I look out the window and think "Oh for goodness sake, I really can't be bothered to go out in that...". You will only lose weight if you choose to. If you're doing it for someone else or because someone's told you to it becomes a less effective motivator. That's why personal trainers exist! It's an outside influence telling you to exercise which can be very helpful, it's a boost to your efforts to have someone else encouraging you which is why I wanted to do this weight loss effort in a blog, to have outside views and opinions.

This is quite a good site with advice and tips for keeping your resolutions if you made them this year :D. 'How to make New Year's Resolutions stick.' I carried on exercising over the holidays, admittedly not as much as I have been doing but I didn't stop my effort. The results over the holidays are as follows:

19th December

Body Fat %: 51.4% (45.9kg/7st 3lb/101lbs)
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal)
BMI: 32.8 (Obese)
Weight: 14st 0lb/89.2kg/196lbs

3 January 2011

Body Fat %: 51.4% (45.1kg/7st 1lb/99lbs)
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal)
BMI:  32.2 (Obese)
Weight: 13st 11lb/87.8kg/193lbs

In today's results I have put the number in brackets as the comparison with the very first measurements in August, it's looking quite good overall:

16th January

Bust: 42 in/106.7cm (-0.5in / 1.3cm)                                                       
Chest: 34.5 in/87.6cm (=)                                                                   
Waist: 38 in/96.5cm (-2in / 5.1cm)                                                                      
Hips: 45 in/114.3cm (-2in / 5.1cm)                                                          
Thighs: 27 in/68.6cm (-0.5in / 1.3cm)                                                                 
Calves: 16 in/40.6cm (-1in / 2.5cm)                                                                    
Upper arm: 13.5 in/34.3cm (-0.5in / 1.3cm)                                                                    
Forearm: 11 in/27.9cm (=)

Body Fat %: 51.5% (44.9kg/7st/98lbs) (-1.4%)
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal) (=)
BMI: 32 (-2)
Weight: 13st 10lb/87.2kg/192lbs (-11lb / -5.3kg)

Wow, I'm so close to losing a stone!! Well, this proves that you can keep weight stable over Christmas. You can enjoy the meals and as long as you exercise too you should be fine.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Erm, better late than never!

Okey dokey, my posting habits have been a bit non-existent of late. I have however kept up with the exercise and measuring, I will post up the results of two weeks ago first, then the readings I took this Sunday.

The measurements from Sunday the 21st November are as follows:

Body Fat %: 51.9% (46.3kg/7st 4lb/102 lbs) (=)                                              
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal) (=)                                                 
BMI: 32.8 (Obese) (-0.3)                                                                   
Weight: 14st 0lb/89.2kg/196lbs (-2lb/-0.8kg)                                                  

The measurements from Sunday the 5th December are:

Body Fat %: 51.6% (45.9kg/7st 3lb/101 lbs) (-0.3%)
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal) (=)
BMI: 32.7 (Obese) (-0.1)
Weight: 14st 0lb/89kg/lbs (-0lb/-0.2kg)

It seems that my weight is still going down very slowly, the stones measurement hasn't changed in two weeks but my weight in kilograms has. Having done the sums for the conversions I only need to lose one more kilogram to be 13st 13lbs, I haven't been 13st anything for a very long time so I'm really pleased! My overall Body Fat Percentage is slowly going down as well, I would love more than anything for it to be down to 45% or even 40% although I realise it may take a while with the slow reduction thus far. I might only take tape measurements every four weeks now, so very little is changing with them that it’s almost not worth doing regularly.

Well, I'm hoping I can keep this up over Christmas and New Year, I am approaching the most dangerous time as far as activity and weight loss goes but it's quite fun! I'm finding that I feel better after exercising and feel energised, that's not to say I don't feel exhausted and sore the next day but as I get stronger and fitter I don't hurt as much. I'm looking in the mirror and feeling better about how I fit my clothes, I'm not wanting to go for the huge baggy T-shirts option to hide my figure anymore. It feels good :D.

Another positive thing about exercising is that I almost gave blood today... Now you might be thinking "Why is she happy about not managing to donate blood?" Well, I am committed to donating to the Blood Service but I've never quite managed it. Each time I go they never quite find a vein but this time they did, I'd been exercising earlier in the day to get my heart rate up and it actually worked for about 40 seconds then it stopped. I was disappointed but it means that by exercising my veins are expanding and my heart rate is improving, thus the next time I go I should, *fingers crossed*, be able to donate a pint of blood properly. Just a reminder for people who can, Christmas is the time the Blood Service always run short so get to the Donation Sessions people!!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Weigh Day 6

Here I am again, another two weeks have passed and it's time for measurements again. I have started a new set of exercises and it seems to be doing the trick, everything is slowly going down.

Bust: 43 in/109.2cm (+0.5)
Chest: 35.5 in/90.2cm (-1)                  
Waist: 39 in/99.0cm (-1)                  
Hips: 46 in/116.8cm (-0.5)                  
Thighs: 27 in/68.6cm (-0.5)                  
Calves: 17 in/43.2 (=)                  
Upper arm: 14 in/35.6cm (=)                  
Forearm: 11 in/27.9cm (=)

Body Fat %: 51.9% (46.7kg/7st 4lb/lbs) (-0.5%)
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal) (=)
BMI: 33.1 (Obese) (=)
Weight: 14st 2lb/90.0kg/198lbs (=)
This is the comparison with the first weeks numbers, I seem to have hit a bit of a plateau with the tape measurements and I'm not sure what else I can do to try and reduce them a bit more. I've never been one of those women with a 'straight up and down' figure but I'm certain I am able to lose a few more inches than I have done!!

Bust: +0.5in/1.2cm                      
Chest: +1in/2.5cm                       
Waist: -1in/2.5cm                      
Hips: -1in/2.5cm                      
Thighs: -0.5in 1.2cm                      
Calves: =                      
Upper arm: =                      
Forearm: =  

Fat %: -1%
Visceral Fat: =
BMI: -0.9
Weight: -5lb/2kg

I must admit that I'm starting to get into my head that it should be going faster, I should be losing more weight for the amount of time I've been doing this. I'm falling into the trap that a lot of people find themselves in after so many months of trying to lose weight, I'm one of those people who have never done any real exercise at all. This is the most time I've devoted to trying to get in better shape, I tend to be slightly impatient with things and I'm a bit of a perfectionist so having my body respond slowly to the exercise is driving me a bit nuts!

I did however find something encouraging recently. A while back in July I got the opportunity to go to one of those really expensive Health Clubs on a 'Free Week Trial' pass that they do sometimes, one of those ones where the Gym equipment is so advanced that it washes you and trims your nails while you exercise. Well, in the changing room was a very fancy electronic weigh scales, it not only told you how much you weighed but laser measured your height and gave you the Fat %, Visceral Fat, BMI and how much your Fat % was in kgs. It was that set of scales that gave me the idea for the blog and for getting a set for myself. I rediscovered the printed out set of measurements the other day and it turns out that on the 22nd of July 2010 I was 14st 10lbs. As I am now 14st 2lbs I've actually lost 8lbs in three and a half months. :D That cheered me up a bit!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Weigh Day 5

Well, I am a bit late... I took the measurements on Sunday, as normal, but then promptly forgot to actually post them up. It was only when I was talking to my husband that I realised my mistake! I blame getting over the cold :).

Bust: 43 in/109.2cm (+0.5in)
Chest: 35 in/88.9cm (+1in)                   
Waist: 39 in/99.0cm (=)                   
Hips: 46.5 in/118.1cm (=)                   
Thighs: 27 in/68.5cm (+0.5in)                   
Calves: 16.25 in/41.2cm (-0.25in)                   
Upper arm: 15 in/38.1cm (+1in)                   
Forearm: 11 in/27.9cm (=)

Body Fat %: 52.4% (47.3kg/7st 6lb/104lbs) (+0.2%)       
Visceral Fat: 8 (0 Normal) =                    
BMI: 33.1 (Obese) -0.1                
Weight: 14st 2lb/90.2kg/198lbs -1lb           
By the looks of these measurements, having the cold knocked me back a bit. I just haven't had very much energy to do anything really, it wasn't totally unexpected as it usually takes me a couple of weeks to properly shift a cold. I am however starting a new exercise routine which should kick-start the progress again.

The comparison with the first measurements below are about the same, these last two weeks have hampered progress but never mind. Onward and Upward!

Bust: +0.5in/1.2cm
Chest: +0.5in/1.2cm                   
Waist: -1in/2.5cm                   
Hips: -0.5in/1.2cm                   
Thighs: -0.5in/1.2cm                   
Calves: -0.75in/1.9cm                   
Upper arm: +1in/2.5cm                   
Forearm: =

Body Fat %: -0.5%
Visceral Fat: =
BMI: -0.9
Weight: -5lb/2kg
It's a fairly short post this time as there's not that much to report, hopefully things should improve soon.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Check it out...

Right, this is something that I've had a couple of potential scares with in my life. It's something I take seriously and although this is a fairly lighthearted post, the message is fairly clear.

I've spoken about different exercises you can do to get fit, there are some things that you can do extra to exercising which will improve health... checking yourself out! No, I'm not talking about posing naked in front of the mirror to marvel at your achievements, I'm talking about ladies checking your breasts and men checking your testicles. It is such a vital thing to do yet hardly anyone does, once a week - that's all you have to do.

Ladies, check your whole breast, be thorough. This includes the armpits, breast and upper chest. There are many cancer sites that use the 'TLC' rule: Touch, Look, Check. I'll include a list of helpful websites at the bottom of the post. The average woman's breasts are made up of mostly fibrous (fatty) tissue, underneath the fibrous tissue are ligaments and muscle that support them - effectively your 'Pecs'. It's good for women to keep their Pecs exercised well, the twin towers need a solid foundation to keep them up girls!

There should be no major changes in texture, no discharge coming from the nipples, nothing should be going crusty or weeping, the nipples shouldn't have inflamed or sunk in, and there should be no large lumps. That being said many women do have what is termed by Doctors to be "Lumpy Breasts", I've had a couple of times where I've gone to the hospital because I've found a lump and I've been reassured that it's not serious. There's no shame or a black mark on your medical record if you turn up every fortnight saying you've found something, they won't see it as a waste of their time at all. Also, if the Doctor does feel something they now have to refer you to the hospital for a scan, even if they don't think it's serious. I had this explained to me the last time I went. Nine times out of ten a lump will be nothing more than fibrous tissue, but if that one time in ten is found then DONT PANIC. It's ok to be scared, there are so many support groups and Charities out there that will help you. If it's caught early then the percentage of full recovery rockets up.

Family factors also increase or decrease the risk. One of the things they always ask is "Has your mother or grandmother suffered from breast cancer." If the answer is 'yes' then you're in a slightly higher risk category, but it doesn't guarantee that you will get it. (By the way lads, you can develop breast cancer as well.)

This brings me on to the men, you thought you'd escaped didn't you. "She's a woman, she's only going to talk about breast cancer and woman's health." Wrong! In my opinion it is even more important for men to check their testicles than for women to check their breasts, the reason for this is that nobody talks about it. It's not advertised, it's barely funded and it's not cool for a guy to check his tackle, it's also a social and moral roadblock as it's acceptable to have a breast on screen but not the male genitalia. It's not a 'sexy' cancer, I don't ever see anyone organising National Fun Runs, or trying to push a TV advertising campaign about it. You can’t put a happy, bouncing family on it, nor can you use the image of a cute, elfin, blue eyed, blonde child forlornly towing a drip behind her.

It mainly affects younger men weirdly, between the ages of 20 and 55, it affects white men more than black and doctor's aren't entirely sure what causes it. The symptom that is mostly picked up is a painless pea sized lump or swelling in the testicles, as with breast cancer there are other less common symptoms. They include a dull ache in the scrotum, a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum, collection of fluid in the scrotum and feeling unwell and tired. Very rarely in the later stage symptoms can include breast tenderness, back pain, shortness of breath and coughing up blood.

It's fairly rare, only one or two in 100 of the cancers in men, it's also the most treatable of cancers with 95 in 100 men making a full recovery after treatment. Usually the treatment is the removal of the offending testicle, this doesn't mean that you can't then have children "The Gods have seen fit to grant you a spare..."

As with breast cancer family inheritance is a biggy, the main causes as far as doctors can make out are being born with undescended testicles, having a brother or father who had testicular cancer and fertility problems. Seriously guys, check them. Hey, even get someone else to check them 'While they're down there!' It's most often your partner who discovers the obvious symptoms anyway, they're a bit tricky to get into your own sight range. I really hope you'll take what I've said here to heart, just once a week for ten minutes max. If you find anything for God sake go to the Doctor fast, it could save your life.

Handy websites:

Breast Cancer.Org
Breast Cancer Care 
Cancer Research UK
Maggies Centres