So it’s 2009. Ish. Like I said in the previous post, I was drinking a lot and it was all a bit of a blur. And my friend Jules had been with me through thick and thin. Recognising I was in a vicious dieting cycle, she correctly pointed out that I’d done all of this without a hint of exercise.
She may have been onto something!
She said that a few years back she had found these things called Couch to 5k podcasts. I now know that Couch to 5k is a very popular training program for getting people running. But at the time I thought that Robert Ullrey was a genius. Regardless of if he invented it or not, he changed my life. Thank you Robert.
So Couch to 5k is basically a program where you run and walk for fixed time periods. It starts out with only 1 minute running intervals and gradually works its way up over 10 weeks to get you running for 30 minutes. It could have been done with a stopwatch, but the podcasts told you when to run, when to walk, and also gave you some great motivational advice – all over the background music of some cheesy american dance music. Jules and I followed the program religiously, and we kept running for about a year. Eventually Jules lost interest with the running, and doing it by myself got pretty hard.
Food wise I was on a self prescribed diet of Jacket Potato and Beans. I had that probably 4 times a week. The other 4 times a week I’d have a minced based dish. Jules used to take the piss that I was on a mince diet! But as a single person wanting to control his portions I found the easiest way to do it was to bulk cook food, freeze off in portions and heat up as and when needed. So I used to spend every few weeks cooking huge pots of Chilli, Bolognese and Curry, and portion it off into the plethora of take away containers I’d kept from my really fat days. I’d rarely even eat breakfast or lunch. Stupid I know but in my head I wanted fast results, and I’ve never been one for patience.
The system really seemed to work for a while. I was about 7lbs away from target – the closest I’d ever been! Without Jules’ running motivation i thought it was high time I joined a Gym to shift the last bit of weight. And I have to say, it was the biggest mistake of my life.
I went from running 3-4 times a week to gymming 3 times a week, following a prescribed program. I don’t think it’s their fault, but the programs (There were several) were never able to get me to lose the weight I wanted. Despite me saying I wanted to lose weight, they were too excited to get me toning and on weight benches. I figured I was burning more calories, and ate more.
After 3 months at the gym I put on a stone. And no, it was most certainly not lean muscle mass.
Around this time I was playing a bit of five a side football on a sunday, and I ended up hurting my knee. I only went back to the gym a handful of times, and that was to use the treadmill when it was too nasty outside.
Of course being injured I could do no exercise at all and my weight fluctuated a reasonable amount, but I was generally heavier than I was lighter. As my knee got better I wanted to strengthen it, and thought I’d try the running thing again. Another 3 months of running helped me shift some weight. And guess what happened.
Confidence. Girls. Comfort. Food. (Though to be fair to this girl, this time, I am going to marry her – exactly a year today!)
But I had learned my lesson (So i thought) and kept running. My weight maintained a reasonable level. I was due to go on holiday for my mum’s wedding in July 2012, so in the 4-5 months leading up to that I made a concerted effort to shift some timber and get some sort of holiday body. I discovered myfitnesspal and through calorie counting and running I got to around 10 pounds from target again.
I should note here, when I say “running” i use the term quite literally. It wasn’t anything I took seriously. I put on some gear and ran. No science to it at all aside from the LogYourRun app I used to see how far and fast I was going. I got to running 6 miles in about 55 minutes which I was quite pleased with.
So there I was, 10 pounds from target, on a family holiday in Florida for my mum’s wedding. Given I still had no self control, I went wild. All you can eat, big breakfasts, massive steaks. I put on a stone and a bit on that holiday. And over the next 5 months, with only a couple of short runs and not paying attention to what I was eating, I was back to a weight I didn’t want to be at. In fact, it was 18st 8lbs. Almost 4 stone from target. And only 3 stone lighter than my heaviest. It was Christmas 2012, and something had to change.