Those poor people who have been subjected to this blog for the last three years will know that I have had a few health problems in the past. These health problems had led to me packing on the kilos (pounds for you American types) and losing a lot of fitness. As my health improved (with some waxing and waning along the way) I was able to slowly improve my fitness levels and my overall health and well-being started to improve. I realised that it has been a rather long time since I updated you all on this part of my life.
I am very happy to say that, upon looking back on the previous articles I have posted in this regard, my health has improved massively. I have had very few relapses in the last few years and I am far healthier and happier as a result. I am also happy to say that I have lost a lot of weight. At my heaviest I was a whopping 84 kilograms (that is 184 pounds in American). I now oscillate between 64 and 67 kilograms (that is 141 to 148 pounds) depending on Christmas feasting and exercise regimes. I have thus lost nearly 20 kilograms (44 pounds) in the last few years. How I hear you all ask.
Well, sadly, I have no magical formula, no secret combination of lemon water, combined with a tablespoon of cinnamon every morning or any other silver bullet. Firstly, I was steadily able to increase the frequency and intensity of the exercise regime I was already on. As my health and fitness improved I found that I could gradually increase what I was doing. I am now at the point where I can run 3 to 5 km (1.8 to 3 miles in American) a day. My spouse has started joining me and I therefore usually only run about 2 km and walk the rest. We do this almost every day, usually only skipping weekends. I also do a series of stretching and abdominal exercises every night and I have managed to increase the repetitions and the number of sets I do.
Secondly, I got ‘lucky’. In mid-2016 I was prescribed an antibiotic. This resulted in me developing drug induced hepatitis. I am not going to say more than that I lost quite a bit of weight, quite suddenly and that it was not pretty. If you want to read more, please do so here. I would not recommend this method of weight loss, but it is very effective. On the plus side I have managed to keep the weight off.
When I was at my heaviest my 34″ jeans started getting a bit snug. I am now down to a 30″. I wear a size 10 (South African size) skirt which is pretty cool. I am still a size 14 dress as my shoulders remain as wide as ever and my bra size is somewhere between a 36 and a 38 band. The 36 can be a bit tight, the 38 can be a bit loose. Tricky!
Sadly, my hips and buttocks have shrunk a little and I have a less feminine shape these days than I used to, but I am going to start working more on my buttocks soon in an effort to make them a bit bigger.
Thirdly, I have been more careful than I used to be with my diet. In my youth I ate and drank whatever I liked, as much as I liked, and I just never put on weight. As I approached 40 and as I was on cortisone, this changed. I am now much more careful. I have stopped drinking alcohol altogether. This was mainly done to preserve my liver, but it has also helped me lose weight and I feel much better not drinking. Not only have I lost weight, but I sleep better, have more energy and generally feel healthier. I have reduced the amount of food I eat in general. For example, I used to eat two eggs at breakfast and I now only eat one. I have generally reduced all my portion sizes. I have also reduced the amount of carbohydrates I consume. I have not cut them out completely, but I have reduced them. I try not to eat any Carbohydrate after lunch time (I used to eat a carbohydrate with every meal) and whereas I used to eat two sandwiches (four slices of bread) at lunch, I have halved this.
So far, I have managed to maintain what seems to be a healthy weight for me. I am right in the lower-middle band of the Body Mass Index metric. My cardiovascular health is good, and I am feeling fit and healthy.
I find that having a goal of ‘being healthy and happy’ is far better than trying to lose an arbitrary number of kilograms. By focusing on how you are feeling and not on a scale you can make the quest for health a positive experience of joy rather than a negative one of austerity and denial. If you exercise moderately and eat more healthily you are almost certainly going to shed some weight and you will feel better about it than by denying yourself. You will then make small incremental improvements as your health improves resulting in ever increasing gains. Conversely if you deny yourself food and force yourself to exercise more intensively than you can cope with, you will resent the activity and feel that you are denying yourself pleasure. This is a negative mind set and will result in more cheat days, less commitment, less progress and increase the likelihood of recidivism. Being a bit smaller has improved my body image as I feel better about myself. My clothes also fit better and finding clothes that fit is also easier. Be happy, be healthy, enjoy life!