False Starts

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So, It’s been over a year since I’ve written a blog. I’d like to say that not much has happened, but it’s actually been more eventful that usual. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about today. I could spend the next ten thousand words talking about failing at dieting, loosing my gallbladder and starting to look at houses with my partner.

But I’m going to forgo that rubbish – and tell you about the stupidest thing that I have done recently.

Last year in my quest to loose some fucking weight. Yes, I used the F word. I, once again, put my name into the hat for a place in the London Marathon. Well, I never expected to get a place until that magazine landed in my letter box – gleefully telling me that I’ve been lucky enough to endure months of pain, stress and nagging from my partner “have you started running yet”, all the way up to April 24th, 2016.

So, The Virgin London Marathon 2016 – I’m in – and to prove to myself and everyone who thinks that I’m never going to make it round the grueling 26.2 miles, I’m going to do it.

I just don’t know how.

Actually, I do know how. Running – a lot. And dieting – sort of. (we all know how that’s never really worked for me)

Might as well do it for a good cause

I decided to raise money for UNICEF for 2 reasons, I actually like the work they do, it’s both here and internationally – and with all the shit that’s going on in the world, organisations like UNICEF can use all the help they can get, Also – I’m a Star Wars nut – and “Force for Change” also supports UNICEF.; so go figure. Anyway, according to a lovely guy (I assume he’s lovely) called Luke, I should start blogging about my training to drum up support. So here it is.

It’s not going very well.

I have had so many false starts, I keep finding excuses not to start training – I keep thinking “what’s my problem – I used to LOVE running” – but the truth is I’m scared. I’m scared of the pain, the disappointment and I feel that I don’t have what it takes to get through that pain barrier. But I do – I know I do.. So what’s my problem.

Laziness. Most likely.

So this is day one of my running blog. I trust that the next one will have a little more progress.

 

Being Consistent with Calories

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One of the reasons that I’ve I championed the Cambridge Diet is that every day you know that you’re getting all the nutrients that you need and that the calorie count is also consistent. Sometimes dieting is easier when you don’t have the annoyance of having to choose what you eat – taking ages in Tesco while you read the backs of packets. With diets such as Slimming World and Weight Watchers, the premise is the same – You’re given an allowance of ‘syns’ or ‘points’, this is either a daily allowance or a weekly allowance – but the point of these diets is that you don’t count calories. Since a calorie is a unit of energy, it’s always been my personal opinion that ensuring a calorie deficit – this is something I’ve banged on about for ages now.

Personally, I describe myself has having an addictive nature when it comes to food. I go through periods when I’m restrained and then reward myself with a calorie binge. For me, these binge times are usually at the weekends – a little treat.. which turns into a.. well, you know the story.

So 7 days ago, I started badly and continued to binge on Saturday and Sunday; the problem with  weekends is that it’s hard to be consistent with calorie intake, especially when you’re not in a routine – so from Monday – Thursday this week, I was really good. I had low calorie ready meals and stuck to coffee in the day. I did get the “half spoon” sugar which adds a super sweet 8 calorie hit to my tea and coffee. I have though been skipping breakfast and lunch most days – I did manage to loose 1lb this week, which I’m not going to turn my nose up at – but I wont pretend like I’m not disappointed in myself.

So, with a 1lb loss, it seems that this week, I’ve only really working at a 3,500 calorie deficit, – I think. Actually, I’m not to sure. I’ve been thinking about the process of calories becoming that horrible wobbly mess that surrounds my mid section and I found this on Livestrong

“Once food is consumed, your body either uses calories as energy to fuel your body, or stores these calories in fat cells to be called upon at a later time. Dr. David Katz, reports in “O, the Oprah Magazine,” that the body begins to store consumed calories as fat within four to eight hours from the beginning of the meal. As you consume these calories, the body automatically stores the first 1,000 calories within the liver and muscles for immediate energy reserves. This calorie storage is known as glycogen. Once the glycogen calories are utilized for energy, the body then activates stored calories within fat cells, known as triglycerides, to replenish the depletion of glycogen calories.”

So I guess one thing to try and ensure a consistent loss while staying in control, is well.. by following the same thing that people have been telling you for ages – and this is the “little and often” Set alarms to ensure that you eat the same time each day – then try and have the same number of calories. eg.

7am – 100 calories

9.30am 200 calories

11am 30 calories

1pm 400-500 calories

3pm 30 calories

6pm 600-800 calories

total calories = 1360 to 1660

Now this is approximate, and it really doesn’t matter how these calories are made up. So instead of having a rice cake at 11am, you can have a piece of toblerone from duty free (just the 1 bit though – put the rest in the fridge!)

My point is that it doesn’t matter how the calories are made up, just know that you’re going be have a lot less if you opt for something fatty than something leafy. I’d like to follow my own advice, but be all know that aint going to happen 🙂

 

Slimming Cults

I seem to be making a habit of apologising for not updating my blog at the start of each update. And this is no different. Sorry. Oops. My bad.

So a couple of weeks ago, I started to calorie count again and in my first 7 days of my new diet, I’d lost 4lbs. Loosing 4lbs is great – well no it isn’t – because I’m yo-yo-ing. Basically, and I’m going to be super honest about this – I’ve managed to get right back up to where I was (nearly) you can see from my little ticker, that my overall weight loss is 7lbs. Which isn’t bad – though it is bad for a couple of years worth of dieting. So, how am I doing it this time? Well, the girls at work are all over Slimming World, a diet which my all accounts, I simply do no understand. However, the truth is the the people who I know who have done Slimming World do actually lose weight, and they manage to keep it off. Suffice to say, I don’t like the idea of going to so silly AA style meeting and stand up in front of people and declare “Hi, I’m Ant and this week I ate two helpings of bread and butter pudding”. (I did actually eat 2 helpings – with extra cream – it made me feel a bit sick)

One thing I do understand from the girls is that for some, staying on track is about having someone to answer too – and the meetings are a great idea for this – you get weighed on a calibrated scales and you get praise – and I’m sure it’s not sarcastic in the slightest “Oh Una, you’ve done SO well, half a pound – GOOD FOR YOU” or if you’re like me, every two weeks you get the tuts and the Mary Berry stare – “It was the bread and butter pudding, wasn’t it?”. “yes, miss”. When I was going to Cambridge each week, on the rare weeks I did put a few pounds on, I could feel the sheer disappointment. So I guess going to Slimming Cult works.

For me, I weigh every Friday. I started back at 16st 13 and a week later I was 16-9 and some change. I’ve been obsessively calorie counting – made some amazing carrot and cumin soup, each portion is only 140 calories (and that’s a large portion) and literally pulling packets out of the bin that I forget to scan into my fitness Pal. I’ve also been using Strava to track calorie burn from my daily bike ride to work. The next plan of action is to get back into the gym. I’ve contemplated running outside, but it’s now “pissing it down” season and I’d much rather a treadmill. No fancy getting big and bulky. Right now it’s about getting 2/3 inches off my 38″ waist and to do this through cardio and ensuring I’m at a calorie deficit. Seems easy? Well the new gym I just opened doesn’t open for a month, so until then I’m just watching what I eat. Watch this space.

The Ark: Building my first PC – Introduction

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Over the last year; I’ve been researching a PC build. Usually the story goes that I start to put money aside and then I book a holiday (Hello Mexico, Dec 2014!) so that becomes an economic priority; then something else comes along (Hello, Orlando, June 2015).. so before something ELSE comes along – like the big move – I’m making the replacement of my ageing laptop my new obsession.

So this series of blogs is going to take you through my research. Everything from CPU choice to the balance between waiting and getting it now. I’m not the richest wanker in Manchester, so it’ll take a good few months getting the parts a bit at at time. over the past year I’ve been looking at different stuff and the internet is full of information that’s frankly overwhelming, so I’m going to try and keep this simple for those who are also thinking about their first PC build and who also don’t now what a RAID configuration is. (I didn’t get it until this morning – and these are things to consider)

There are things that I need to consider:
1. Budget
2. Use
3. Lifespan

I don’t want to spend any more than about £1200-£1300 on the initial build. This doesn’t include the GPU (Graphics card) as I am waiting for the new Nvidia GTX’s to come out – and the card I’ve got my eye on at the moment should drop in price. (Currently it’s the GTX 780 Ti and it retails for about £500)

2. Gaming. I want to be able to play current games on high-ultra settings with a good frame rate (FPS) 4K screens are coming down in price and I want my build to be able handle this (this is very much a GPU issue and I’ll talk later about GPU SLI configurations, how it works putting more than 1 graphics card in a build.

3. Lifespan – 5 years. This is a significant investment, and I want it to last. it’s easy to replace the odd component as required – however the guts of the build (Motherboard/CPU/Primary SSD) need to give me 5 years without need of replacement.

Anyway, that’s enough for now. I’ll keep returned back to this (probably weekly) looking at different aspects of the build and hopefully this’ll be of some help to those who need it.