Unexpected Consequences

Friday 09 January 2018 – 03:40 am.

I am sat on the sofa writing this post. I have been up for around two hours as I am uncomfortable in bed and unable to sleep. The good news is that I do not have to work in February. Deve the hernia is gone. He is an ex-hernia. Yep, some seven months after first being diagnosed with a hernia (aka Dave) and 5 months since I ran (boo!) I had the operation yesterday. Between two weeks “sick” leave and a week on holiday I will not be working until 05 March.

Let me step back a few hours.

Thursday 08 February 2018.

My nose looks bloody massive!

A highly unimportant day for many many people around the world. An important day for me that started around 0630, showering with a bottle of Hibiscrub+ (Amazon Link) – the same stuff we used to use on my dog’s skin – before dressing in cleaning clothes. No food, not even a cup of tea (boo!) and away to the hospital for 0830.

I really don’t miss the daily commute into Portsmouth!  45 minutes to drive a little over 10 miles, the fastest bit of the journey was in the city itself.  My normal commute now (and thankfully for the last 16 or so years) has been a little over two miles in the car, yes, I am that lazy!, a journey time of 15 minutes on a bad day.

They wouldn’t let me keep the hat. 😦

Check in complete, the process was very slick and friendly in a clean and modern facility, a lovely member of staff named Kate asked a huge amount of questions (like they do!) and then I was to change into the back opening gown, dressing gown and new slippers.  I walked to the theatre (!) at 1020 and the next thing I know it’s around 1300 and I am waking up with another lovely member of staff gently saying my name.

Back to the ward, I was told that everything went well, all my bits are where they are supposed to be and, yes, I still have my winky.

I was home and sat on the sofa by 1430 having had peanut butter sandwiches and to cups of tea after my operation.

Gratuitous Ice Cream shot.

So, 3 -4 days off my feet as much as I can manage, back to “normal” activities without any heavy lifting, three weeks off work and I am good to go!

What about the unexpected consequences?  Well…

  • The keyhole entry points do no hurt.
  • The bottom rib and my shoulder do hurt.
  • Six visits to the toilet in four hours last night confirmed that I do not have restricted flow.
  • The most uncomfortable thing so far is a sore throat from having a tube shoved down it.
  • I can’t sleep.  Laying on my back makes my back hurt.  Laying on my side makes the operation site uncomfortable.
  • It’s now 04:05 am and I am still typing.
  • Asda Really Creamy Salted Caramel ice cream is my newest favourite ice cream.  Seriously, go get some.
  • It’s quicker to start the terminal and type “sudo shutdown now” than it is to grab the mouse, click shut down and confirm..

Now is the countdown to the next chapter.  In about 4 weeks (no sooner!) I hope to try running.  Before that I will do some spirited walking to ease myself back into things.

Oh, and the good news through all this?  Not having done any serious exercise since the end of September, I am back to 12 stone 8lb (79kg) having managed to get rid of the weight I gained over Christmas.  Need to get on the core exercise and lose the middle tyre round my stomach.  That will come…


Inspired To…

Write again. I realise that I have written nothing since August last year. There’s a very good reason why I haven’t. My and blogging have a love hate relationship. I love writing and always think that what I may rite will offend someone. It has happened, and, Bloke, if you’re reading this, I apologise.

So, do I write non-sensical BS that nobody wants to read or do I just get on with life.

Today, I write.

My journey through health and fitness took a bit of a plunge and I haven’t actually run once since 24 September 2017. I am injured. Feel sorry for me.

I may have (I really can’t remember) Written about being a bit of a fool, pushing myself too hard too soon and I ran 12km in one go. Easy for most runners, right? Yeah. Don’t forget that I finished the C25K programme in July and should have stopped running and walked home (or phoned for the lift of shame) at about 6km.

The result of that run is that I have a hernia in my groin. It was due to be operated on during December but for reasons of crappy nurse it was cancelled three days before the operation. I am scheduled for the operation on 08 February so I should hopefully be running again in early April. I hope to be, anyway, I have signed up for the Great South Run (10 miles) in October so need all the training time I can get!

Thankfully, during this downtime I have managed to keep (ish) my slender figure and not pile the weight back on. I did gain a couple of pounds over Christmas, but, doesn’t everyone? With the help of MyFitnessPal and calorie counting the extra ring is shrinking again slowly.

So, here’s to 2018, a great running year and the very best of British to “Bloke” who is just starting his health journey with diet, C25K and gym time.

Two Months Later (Almost) – Running Update

So, it has been almost two months since I wrote anything here.  You may be forgiven for thinking I have given up on this diet and exercise lark and gone back to couch potato.

Oh, dear readers (both of you!), you couldn’t be more wrong.  Strength, to strength, to strength!  Where to start?  At the interesting bit of course!

I now weigh (as of this morning) a slender 12 stone 10lb – 178lb or 80.73kg.  Let’s just step back a mo.  I started at 17 stone 13lb (251lb or 114kg).  That’s 5 stone 3lb (73lb or 33.11kg) gone.  Let me shout that again:


As you can imagine, I am rather happy with that!  Proof:

A Tale Of Two Bodies
A Tale of Two Bodies…

On the left was me in 2015.  Yes, I was pulling a face for effect (I think I was geocaching and broadcasting on Periscope at the time.

On the right was me just after 30 minutes on the dreadmill while on holiday in Scotland.

Speaking of Scotland,  the C25K training didn’t stop just because I was away.  I was determined to continue the training and while two runs were in the gym I really wanted to run outside.  Week 9 Day 1 of the programme saw me running outside, beside the River Tay at North Inch in the middle of the city.

River Tay
Not the most flattering photo, but, I had just run 6km!

I finished the C25K program the next week with three objectives:

  1. Travel 5K (using interval run/walk technique)
  2. Run 5K without walking.
  3. Run 5K in less than 30 minutes.

Let’s jump forward a little to last Saturday (29 July 2017) when I achieved the third (also confirming 1 and 2 were complete) in 28 minutes 28 seconds:

My Second Parkrun
My Second Parkrun

So, what’s next?  Bridge to 10K?  Nope, my run last night proved that I can do that…

I was stupid. I shouldn’t have run this far!

Yes, you read that correctly.  12 kilometres or 7.4 miles.  If It Ain’t On Strava It Didn’t Happen!

So, next up is a half marathon.  Yes, 13.1 miles.  that’s almost twice what I ran yesterday and to be honest I am slightly bricking my load (and that’s nothing to do with weightless!) about this.  I will be using Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Half Marathon Training which starts on 28 August with a rest day.  Good huh!  Between now and then it’s building on the mileage and enjoying the running.

By the way, if you are local to me and want to come laugh at me on the day, it’s Gosport Half Marathon on 19 November.

You can follow me on Strava too – would be great to have you along for the run.

Wish me luck!

Me? A Runner? NEVER! Well, maybe a bit…

I always swore that I would never run for pleasure.  Always.  I couldn’t see the point of artificially raising my heart rate for no good reason.  I used to snigger at the people plodding down the road, moving slower than I walk and call it “running”.  To those people I wholeheartedly apologise.  Why?  Because I get it.  I really do.

So, what changed?  How the hell did I (a person very attached to the sofa) suddenly realise that running is the best feeling ever?

Last summer  I was chatting with a very good friend and we got onto the subject of his recent participation in a parkrun.  Like a fool I mentioned that doing one might be nice but I would never manage 5K running.  Then he said the words:

Google for Couch to 5K

There it was.  Like I do with everything, I thought about it for a couple of weeks, ordered some running shorts and a top from Amazon and tried it.  I got no further than halfway through the first exercise before I ran out of breath.  I felt HORRIBLE.  I went to the doctor and she diagnosed asthma.  Ok, no running for me then.

Wrong.  It had been in the depths of my mind that I wasn’t going to let it beat me.  Asthma or the C25K programme.  I wanted another attempt.  That attempt happened Monday 8 May 2017:

There it is.  Week 1 Run 1 in the bag.

Run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds.  Repeat seven times.

All in the company of the most excellent Jo Whiley guiding me along.

I ran on grass, I walked on grass, lapped my wife who was walking the dog, and I actually completed the session.

I felt fantastic!

Two more like that and week one was done.  A rest day between runs means that it’s easy to run Mon/Wed/Fri and have Saturday and Sunday off.  Runs two and three were in the rain and on wet grass.  I vowed not to run on wet grass again if I can help it, my feet were soaked.  Running shoes aren’t known for their waterproofing.  Especially the cheap ones!

I bought a cheap pair of Adidas running shoes and they are for running only, I will not use them for leisure wear.  They are doing the job so far but if this becomes a long term obsession (which I think it will) then I will need to get to a running shop, get my gait analysed and purchase some better fitting shoes.

Week two came around quickly enough and even extending to 90 seconds run, two minutes walk I was still smiling (unforced!) at the end of the session.  I ran a road route rather than round the park this week and although it’s harder on the joints, it’s less boring that running round the park, there’s more to look at.

Distance and speed aren’t great at the moment, but that’s not important.  It’s time that’s important right now and I am doing it.  And really, really enjoying it!

The final run of week two is today and I have made the decision to head for the beach and run down the prom.  As I write this the wind is picking up and we have had a few spots of rain.  Nothing tragic though and I am actually enjoying running in the wet.  That may well change though!

Wish me luck, if you don’t hear from me again then you know it didn’t go well and my running shoes are now fishing weights…

No Exercise = Grumpy

I realise that I haven’t updated this for a couple of months, so a quick update:


No, really, I do.  (As per the sidebar) I have now lost more than 4 stone (60lb) in total, making me the lightest (on purpose) that I think I have been in my adult life.  I am still carrying some belly fat which is annoying me.  Yes, I know, I will only get rid of that through exercise, and that is exactly what I have been doing.

Last year (right at the beginning of the weight loss routine, I found “Fitstar”, an iPhone app that gives structured workouts to assist with general fitness or allows you to concentrate on specific areas.  Many of the routines are subscription only (which is fine!) but there’s some short (10 – 15 minute) routines too.  I installed the app and then promptly forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday (Tuesday 02 May 2017) was a rush to get to work, I nearly dropped the bike and had a basically shitty day.  It was a no exercise day.  I only (being a cheapskate) get three workouts per week on Fitstar so I am spreading them out to every other day.

This morning was such a contrast!  The dog that is staying with us kicked me out of bed at 0530 so I got up, dressed in appropriate clothes* and completed a 15 minute workout – with the curtains closed, it’s not a pretty sight to be seen, belly fat flopping everywhere – before showering and heading out to work.  I feel so much better this morning than yesterday, I fear that my body is starting to crave exercise (physical or mental craving I am not sure) and the days it doesn’t get the workout it moans at me…

I have almost got the asthma under control – reliant upon the inhaler still – and the last few nights I have woken at about midnight, sweating and coughing.  I have no idea what that’s all about, but getting up, using the inhaler and cooling down for a few minutes and I am able to go back to sleep.

  • My status on Facebook after Monday’s workout.  I will NEVER do that again!


Not A Diet – Update

It has now been more than five months since my “revelation” about my weight and my decision to do something about it.  Back in June I mentioned that I was 17 stone 13 pounds when I started.  I am happy to report that as of now I am 15 stone 3 pounds.  That’s 213 pounds or 96.6 kilos.

I still have some way to go, I have modified my target from 14 stone (196lb) to about 12.5 stone (175lb) which will still take me some time, but I am up for it.

The change of diet has worked quite well.  I have settled into a porridge pot for breakfast, the apple & blueberry and strawberry, raspberry & cranberry having settled in as the preference from the sweet cinnamon when I started.  Lunch normally consists of a mug shot (sweet ‘n sour or sweet ‘n’ smoky BBQ noodles for preference) with two or three dark rye Ryvita and Belvita biscuits.

Dinner is often a healthy home made affair which my lovely wife cooks from recipes she is finding all over the web, but primarily at allrecipes.

Calorie count most days struggles to meet 1,200 units but this is easily supplemented by a bit (50 grams ish) of the beautiful New Forest Rum and Raisin ice cream.

I paid a visit to the doctor a couple of weeks ago for spirometry and the practice nurse confirmed that I do have mild asthma, aggravated by exercise.  This would explain why I couldn’t breathe when starting the Couch to 5K a few months ago.  I have an appointment with the Asthma nurse in January so, with a bit of luck I should be able to deal with any issues when running and can start that again, along with some sessions at the gym.

Wish me luck!

The Diet

I want to say right here, right now that I am not on a diet. I have never been on a diet and never will be on a diet.

Say a word too many times and it loses all meaning. Tartlet anyone?

So, how am I losing the weight that I gained to get me to 28 stone? I had a complete change of diet. A diet is what you eat, not what you don’t.

Breakfast is usually a porridge pot or Muesli, somewhere around 200 calories. Lunch will be salad or if I am at work a mugshot with a couple of ryvita, combined with a couple of Belvita breakfast biscuits. Around 300 calories for that lot.

Dinner is then a normal evening meal, but, instead of a jar of curry mix poured over chicken it will be something made from scratch. Depending on mood his will be anywhere from 185 to 600 calories.

It is well documented that an adult male intake should be no more than 2,500 calories. Some days I am struggling to make 1200, the absolute minimum required to survive.

If you a trying to lose weight do NOT “go on a diet”. Change the diet you already have.

One of the biggest motivators for me has been to log everything I eat on MyFitnessPal. It will total my calories, take account of excercise I do (via my iPhone of Apple Watch) and will tell me when I am approaching limits for sodium, carbs, fat etc.

If you choose to use the app, go for it, but bear this in mind: for the first week make no changes to your diet, just get used to logging. Then look at where you can save a few calories. Instant Coffee with one sugar is 97 calories. Three coffees and a belvita biscuit is not a good breakfast! Perhaps if you need the coffee you can drop the mid afternoon choccy bar and substitute it with a piece of fruit or a measured quantity of nuts…

Oh, and eat breakfast. Every single day.