Standing butt-naked at midnight in front of my fridge may sound like a strange place to begin a fitness blog writes Peter Finch.
But as I try to lose my hefty muffin top it was a defining moment in my battle against the bulge.
I began dieting in August and training hard so I don’t embarrass myself when competing in the Ludlow 12k Fitness Fest on September 23.
After two years indulging on fatty foods and booze my weight had ballooned to 15st with my Body Mass Index (BMI) reaching 30 – classing me as obese.
In an attempt to complete the 12km race and avoid diving head first into an early grave I began this fitness blog and training. All was going well until that night with the fridge.
I had read losing weight initially would be relatively easy as dieting combined with exercise can shed flab quickly. In the two weeks following my first blog on August 6 the fat dropped off - I lost 6lbs.
I achieved this by running at least 10km a week (in intervals) and cutting high calorie foods from my diet such as red meats, beer and pastry.
I also developed strict rules over what grub could be brought into the house so I could control what was available and not fall back into bad habits.
However, I had not considered the underhand smuggling operation taking place behind my back.
My girlfriend Carly had sneaked home a chunk of Dairy Milk and stashed the offending bar at the back of our fridge.
Returning home from work one evening I was shocked to find her eating the orgasm-inducing chocolate no doubt supplied by Beelzebub himself to tempt me!
“May I have some”, the words escaped my lips before I could stop them and I received a warning from Carly that under no circumstances must I indulge in the sin of chocolate.
But as midnight approached and naked as the day I was born my hand reached into the fridge’s cool compartments searching for temptation.
Pulling the glistening blue wrapper from behind the salad dressing was one of the most intensely guilty pleasures I’d ever experienced.
Snapping off a strip sounded like a gunshot in the dark but it didn’t disturb my soon to be irate girlfriend.
I’m afraid I munched everything and like a petrified child trying to hide my transgressions placed the empty wrapper back where I had found it just minutes before.
I felt utterly ashamed of my dietary crime but as I continued to train and I found that despite destroying a large bar of chocolate my weight continued to drop.
After further research I found dieting didn’t have to mean cutting out all fatty foods and doing so could lead to some truly strange behaviour – such as clandestine kitchen raids.
That night of fridge piracy has helped shape my new diet and I’m pleased to say that in just over a month I’ve lost almost a stone and feel I can lose even more.
During this period I’ve enjoyed the odd indulgence and probably got drunk a few too many times but still my weight has dropped.
Below I’ve listed some dietary tips and an example of my daily routine. If you too are trying to shift some unwanted baggage I hope they may be of some use.
See you on the start line. Fatty out.
My top tips
- According to the NHS an ‘average’ male needs 2,500 calories every day to maintain his weight (women 2,000). Set yourself a target under that figure. I set a target of 1,680 which is possible most of the time if you keep track of what you are eating – see my daily food/exercise sheet below.
- Have a goal – People need something to strive towards when losing weight. My motivation and goal is to complete the Ludlow 12k and fit into an old suit. When these are achieved I’ll set more goals.
- Exercise – There’s no getting away from it. Many fat people, like myself, grow rotund because we can’t be bothered exercising and therefore have no right to bemoan our weight from the couch. One thing is for certain almost anyone with drive and determination can exercise - just think about the Paralympics.
- Remove unnecessary sugars – In my case this involved not adding sugar to the copious amount of coffee I guzzle each day and staying away from fizzy pop drinks.
- Eat a big healthy breakfast, small lunch and medium evening meal – Cramming healthy food in your belly at breakfast will give you more energy throughout the day and help stop the evils of snacking. See my daily food/exercise sheet below for an example.
- Drink when the urge to snack hits – I developed the bad habit of snacking before bed, now if peckish I’ll drain a pint of water or cordial to fill the hole instead.
- Control your diet and set rules – The main rule I set for myself was to stay away from fatty meats such as beef and pork. I’ve had a couple of relapses (such as a massive steak on my birthday and a few burgers) but I believe cutting them from the menu has really helped me lose weight.
- Cut down on the booze – For somebody who enjoys a drink like me this is hard but the evil drink is usually packed with calories and must be controlled. I’ve tried sticking to a simple rule of not boozing Monday to Friday, but allowing myself to cut loose at the weekend or for special occasions.
- Don’t punish yourself and have a treat – If you want to take advantage of summer’s dying embers and chow down on a barbecue then do it, if you want a chocolate bar then do it, but note it down and recover the calories elsewhere.
A basic day in the diet of me
For all my calorie counting I use an I-Phone app called ‘My Fitness Pal’ – it’s free and stores a wide range of foods and their calorific content.
Breakfast – Three Weetabix biscuits with one cup of skimmed milk, two mandarin oranges, mug of coffee with milk. (400 calories)
Lunch – Tuna mayonnaise sandwich on brown bread, at least five mugs of coffee through the day. (280 calories)
Dinner – 200g bowl of pasta, homemade tomato sauce, side salad of spinach and low fat cheese. (720 calories)
Total calories – 1,400
This is an actual example from my food diary. I’m well below my target of 1,680 calories and didn’t even do any exercise.
My results vary and I do have bad days where I go well over my target, but by keeping track of what I’m eating I have found it much easier to shift the podge. This approach however does require discipline.