Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Dinner suit disaster!

Yesterday we discovered that my wife used to be married to a fat man.  It might sound strange, but it was as much a shock for her as it was for me.

It all happened quite innocently…  a work Dinner Dance offered a rare opportunity to wear my Dinner Suit or, more correctly, one of my Dinner Suits (as I have accumulated several “emergency” suits over the years).

I’ve always thought I looked good in a Dinner Suit too!

I’ve always felt good in a Dinner Suit.  I’ve enjoyed getting dressed up ever since I bought my first one from a Charity Shop to attend my first “Ball” when I was at school.  Yes, it is easy for men; we always get to wear the same outfit, no particular thought is required, and we can accumulate accessories over time.

Generally the key pre-requisites have been to (1) remember to get the suit cleaned after particularly heavy / boisterous nights out and (2) make sure the Dinner Suit is in the right location for the Bash (this has been the primary contributor to me owning multiple suits).  On top of this, there is the concern of whether the suit will still fit – the irregularity that the Dinner Suit is usually donned means it provides a good commentary on the (usually expanding) waistline.

My latest Dinner Suit was my favourite.  A simple, single breasted Ted Baker Suit with a light grey lining.  Nothing special, but it was a good fit and I always felt very comfortable in it.  I looked after it, and it looked after me.

Organised as always, at around midday on the day of the Dinner Dance, I got out my favourite suit for a last minute readiness check.  I knew I had lost some weight but I anticipated a belt or, in the worst case some braces, would be all that was required to make it “fit”.

This used to be a snug fit!

When I tried it on I was shocked!  Louise was shocked!  The suit was HUGE!  How could it ever have fitted me?  It looked absolutely ridiculous!

With growing desperation, I tried on the other suits in the wardrobe… they were all way too big!  Even a made-to-measure suit I had made about 5 years ago, when I thought I was fit was way too big.  A disaster!

It takes a lot to get me to visit a shop, particularly a clothes shop, but even I had to (reluctantly) admit that an emergency visit to the Menswear Shop was required.  Fortunately, thanks to the help of a very understanding Assistant Manager, I found a suit that would meet my immediate need.  It’s not quite my old favourite, but I think he’s history.

Now all that’s left is for me to do is to pluck up the courage to go through the rest of my wardrobe and get rid of the clothes that in all probability I’ll never be able to wear again.  Even packing some of the clothes away “just in case” is too depressing a thought… that would mean all my hard work has been in vain, and wouldn’t augur well for my future health.

Fat and Bald

I turned 43 this week.  I definitely consider myself middle aged despite the fact people try to convince me that I’ve got a long way to go… middle age starts at 60 apparently (mostly according to people too young to really care, or old enough to be horribly biased!).

images (13)Like many men of my age, I had been losing the battle to maintain the physical attributes of my youth… although, to be fair, I wasn’t fighting very hard.  I was drifting towards the stereo-typical look of a middle aged man who’s slightly let himself go… “Fat and Bald”.

My personal journey into middle age took an “interesting” twist with the Heart Attack in the summer.  I am quite proud of what I’ve managed to achieve since in relation to getting myself into decent shape…

It’s been 150 days since my first post-Heart Attack visit to the Doctor.  At that stage, I had been out of hospital for about 10 days, and I was able to walk for about 15 mins, twice a day.  My Body Mass Index was about 29 (Overweight, borderline Obese) and the amount of superfluous weight I was carrying seemed ridiculous (See:  It all smells a bit fishy – 28th June 2013).

Since then I’ve lost about 40lbs and really started to build some strength and fitness.  For the first time in a very long time, my weight is officially in the “normal” range:

Body Mass Index

To achieve this. I wouldn’t say I’ve dieted as such.  If I’m hungry I eat.  I just tend to eat much more healthily.  I have significantly reduced the amount of fat and sugar I consume.  I haven’t drunk any alcohol.  I eat lots of fruit and vegetables.  I also make sure I have Breakfast every day, which I think makes a big difference.  Regular exercise has also made a huge impact.

In summary, as far as the “Fat and Bald” equation is concerned, I am fighting back (and winning) on the “Fat” front… which brings me to hair loss!

I visited the Barber’s today.  A not particularly frequent or regular trip to get my hair cut.  I have to say, I look forward to these visits less and less as time goes on.  In particular, I don’t look forward to the end of the visit when a mirror is produced to check that I’m happy with the back of my head… actually, “No, I’m not!“.

Bald Patch

My poor baldy heid!

My hair is quite fair.  Technically I could argue I still have a reasonable covering of hair however it isn’t very effective at making itself seen!  In short, I have a bald patch that has been increasing in significance in recent years.

In the great scheme of things this really isn’t a big deal (although it causes much amusement to some members of my immediate family!) and I’m looking forward to the day when I get all my hair cut short so the patch becomes irrelevant.

In the meantime, I guess it acts as a good reminder that time only moves in one direction, and I should spend my energy on things that I can directly influence.

Let middle age roll on… I’ll fight it where it matters!

One of those weeks

It’s only Wednesday, but it’s already been one of “those” weeks…

We had our first dusting of snow on Monday.  Winter is definitely on its way.  This means frosty mornings, traffic chaos and general disruption.  Great!

Snow Deer

Fortunately the snow wasn’t quite as deep as this!

The cold is one thing my medication doesn’t help with.  Whether it’s the blood thinners, my weight loss or something else, I feel the cold much more than I used to.  Gone are the days of me being a one-man, furnace with  unlimited internal heating.  Reluctantly, I have had to invest in extra layers to keep me warm.  Perhaps I’ll even be “ne’er casting a clout” come next May!

Tuesday was my birthday.  Another year older.  I’m grateful for the gifts and cards, and it was nice to be the centre of attention for a day (at home at least!).  I guess it’s natural to have some sort of emotional reaction to my first post-Heart Attack Birthday… a reminder that I’m well and truly in the “lucky to be alive” club!  To be honest, I’ve just found myself feeling a bit colder and older.

Birthday

To compound matters, it feels like I’ve hardly done any exercise recently.  I think this is largely because the grind of the week has made the days seem longer.  I was therefore looking forward to my swimming lesson on Wednesday evening.

As I arrived at the pool it looked like there was a gala on and my plans would be ruined (“Please, not those pesky Brownies again!!!”).  There were cars everywhere.  Just my luck!  Fortunately the pool was just busy, “Zigzag down the pool to find some space” busy as I had a quick swim to warm up (in more ways than one!) in advance of my lesson.

Although my swimming has improved, and the distance I’m covering in each session is gradually increasing, I’m still finding it exhausting.  I guess this is positive as I want it to be good exercise, but I’m not progressing as I hoped I would.  Discussions during my lesson focussed mostly on this… and we concluded that I’m a “sinker”.  I have not been naturally blessed with buoyancy.  As a result, I’m generally too tense, and a lot of my swimming effort is spent preventing myself from sinking (or drowning, whichever way you want to look at it!).  I am therefore inefficient, using much more energy and “puff” than I should need to.

Swimming Unbderwater

My natural swimming position!

Short of getting floats installed, the only way I can see of addressing this issue is through patience and practice.  So, more of the same.  Onwards and upwards (to the surface of the pool at least)!

Only 30 days until the days start getting longer!  🙂

I’d like a “Man Salad”

I’ve found eating out tricky since I’ve been watching what I eat.  I want to eat healthily.  I want to eat a varied diet.  I want to eat well.  However, one of the big challenges is that despite this, I still have a man’s appetite.

Deep Fried Cheese & Chips. Tasty, but not the healthiest option!

My menu options are extremely limited in many of the places we go out to eat.  I guess people offer what sells. For example, it’s surprisingly common to find deep fried cheese and chips as the (what I would expect to be “healthy”) vegetarian option!

I realise I’m overly strict on myself with my menu selections (some might argue I’m getting close to the point of obsession).  I am definitely being more strict than I need to be (technically I can eat anything, just not loads of the wrong stuff).  In my defence, I feel like I’m on a roll and I’d like to stick to it.  It seems to be doing me good, so why change it?

Since the Heart Attack, I’ve generally favoured Sushi joints for socialising as I get a good selection of food that I know hasn’t got lots of hidden bad stuff in it.  This does however result in tricky stand-off when I eat with someone who’s allergic to seafood!  I have also discovered that teenage kids can only take so much fish!  So going out starts to become an issue.

Not what I had in mind!

The menu restrictions often result in me ordering some sort of salad (dressing on the side).  The good thing is that I like salad ingredients, some of them a lot.  The bad thing is that my hunger is rarely fully satisfied.  Why?  Just because you order salad doesn’t mean you have the appetite of a tortoise.

I think the logic must go along the lines of:

  • People who order salads are watching what they eat …
  • People who watch what they eat want to lose weight…
  • People who want to lose weight need to eat less…
  • To help them eat less we’ll give them a smaller portion…
  • Therefore, people who order salads get smaller portions!!!

No!!!  What I really want is a “Man Salad”.

Some places “get it” (see last night’s example below), most don’t.

Man's Salad

That’s what I call a salad. Nicely loaded on a large plate.
Substantially more than a nibble!

How nice would it be for an order to go along the lines of:

Waiter / Waitress:  “… and for you sir?”
Me:  “I’d like a Salmon Salad please.  Can you bring the dressing on the side.”
Waiter / Waitress:  “Certainly sir.  And, how hungry are you?”
Me:  “Oh, I’m hungry.”
Waiter / Waitress:  “Then we shall prepare you a proper salad sir.  A man’s salad.  Would you like a larger table?”

Honesty is the best policy (FD +46)

Honesty is the best policy!

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed people looking at me with a little sympathy in their expressions.  I had assumed it was because they knew I had been away recuperating after the Heart Attack, and they felt sorry for me.

I could understand it… if I was in their position, I’d find it difficult to know what to say.  I’d probably have mixed emotions.  I’d be glad they were “OK” and back at work but relieved it didn’t happen to me, and a little concerned that it could happen in the future.   That made sense.

Today, someone was honest with me…

“I thought you look like you’ve lost weight because you’re really sick!”

I didn’t realise trying to get fit would result in such a harrowing experience for others!  Sorry!

I feel good.  Better than I have in a long time.

As I’ve said previously, I tend to lose weight in my face first, so a little weight loss may look a bit more extreme than it is in reality.  I can assure you, there’s still plenty of scope for slimming down before I get anywhere near my fighting weight.

I guess it’ll just take a little time for people to get used to the new, evolving shape of me… and get comfortable with the fact I’m not just fading away!

Awakening (FD +35)

Five weeks ago today I was spending my first day in hospital trying to come to terms with having just had a Heart Attack.  It seems like only yesterday, and a lifetime ago at the same time.

Lots of things have changed without needing to make an effort change them.  The cumulative effect of many small alterations have resulted in some big differences:  differences to what I do.  differences to how I do it.  I’m still the same person, although you might find it increasingly difficult to recognise me.

Is it sustainable?  Will I change back?

People say that over time I’ll forget what’s happened to me, what everyone has been through; I’m not convinced.  Apparently only a very small percentage of people who have experienced Heart “Events” actually make lasting, positive changes to their lifestyles.  Will I be one of them?

There are lots of reminders out there…  since I’ve been out of hospital the unfortunate deaths of James Gandolfini and, only yesterday, Mel Smith, have hit the headlines.  A few weeks on from Gandolfini’s death, it’s unfortunate to see that more lessons appear to have been learned (more correctly, reported) about Estate Planning than the cause of his death (which I suspect is more relevant than the vast majority of us!).

In a lot of respects I’m a novice at many of the new features of my life:  healthy eating, regular exercise, weight loss, relaxation, medication.  but I’m not making any new discoveries.  The things that I’m learning are obvious to many if not most people.  I guess I was aware of them myself to a certain degree, somewhere below the surface, buried deep enough not to influence my day to day actions.

Remind yourself:  Preventing Heart Disease

The single biggest “awakening” for me is what I eat and drink.  Given I’m trying to eat healthily (Healthy Heart) and also trying to lose some weight (Calorie Control), I’m very aware of what I’m eating now.  The scary thing was how unaware I was before.  I’m quickly starting to realise that anything that has been “prepared” (by others) is likely to have been “abused” in some way… addition of large quantities of Salt and Sugar.

A light, tasty snack!

There are so many examples of seemingly healthy or wholesome foods that are really not great for you, it’s unreal!  And that’s only looking at the “healthy” choices… a fraction of what’s available.

I know I’m late to the party.  I’m sure you were aware of the hazards lurking in our supermarket aisles, but there are plenty of people that aren’t… aren’t aware, don’t care or are hiding from reality (as I was).