14by17 week 8

Yeah, I’m not going to start kidding myself now – my weight is going up. It really is; it’s been climbing since Christmas and based on current behaviour it’s not going to stop any time soon.

I started tracking my steps and despite the apparent increase, I think the fact that I’m slightly mindful of the step count means I’m carrying my phone around with me every time I move – so this looks like an increase in activity when in fact it’s just an increase in tracking. I’m not doing the long walks I was doing before and combining that with the ongoing snacking is just not helping things along at all.

I wonder when I’ll make the actual realisation that I need to do something about this? Odd, isn’t it – i’m wondering when I’ll do something about the weight increases as if that’s someone elses job, rather than *actually my job to do*.

Harrumph. At least I’m not making pledges – these don’t work; I suppose at some point, when my trousers split or I simply can’t wear them any more, the point will have been made for me.

Right now I’m in observation mode, rather than activity mode.

A calm manifesto

I have had a number of opinions over the last few months. Well, that would be an understatement; I’ve had a lot of different opinions over the last few months and years. All of which, when considered in the round, when averaged up and combined, thought about deeply and evaluated for their impact on my life, have added up to a sum total of very little at all.

I’m writing this because I’m starting to grow weary of my own constant desire to change and improve myself. My life over the past few years has been an undercurrent of love and gradual progress – as my wife and I have got over illness, conquered assorted fears together, overcome a myriad of barriers put in our way to have a child, and together grown up and experienced our lives through the eyes of Freddie, who is now nearly two years old.

In that time, I’ve managed to convince myself that I should write more, lose weight, exercise, take on big challenges, learn to code, teach myself formal project management, run a team, write more (again), learn to code (a different language this time), read more management books, become more entrepreneurial, and a whole host of things, most of which I don’t really stick to for that long. The vast majority of these things have made little or no difference to my life as I plod along.

While reviewing some project management documentation this morning, preparing for an exam in about a weeks’ time, I started to panic. “I’m not ready” I thought, “I’m going to fail!”

You can argue that the concept of failure is something that has roots in our very evolution – after all, failing to run or hide from that sabre-toothed tiger will result in our very demise – but that argument falls a little flat when considering the challenges of modern day life. I won’t die if I fail this exam; in fact, I’ll learn a little, try again, and probably pass – albeit a little later than expected. My family won’t starve or become homeless if I don’t learn Javascript or Ruby or some other new fangled programming language. Sure, being an entrepreneurial type would be really nice – I have, after all, come back to this subject many many times – so there must be an inkling of desire in there somewhere, but even so, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t achieve it *right now*.

But seeking the constant rush of self improvement has led me to forget (sometimes) that underneath all this is a life that makes me happy. I am fortunate enough to have a good job, a loving wife, and a happy son who makes me laugh in ways I never expected. When I write about how I should take on a new challenge and then promptly shame myself when I don’t hit that goal or series of steps immediately, I take away a little bit of the life that truly makes me whole.

When I get up that little bit earlier to get into work so I can study, or I get home that little bit later so I can finish off some piece of work or another, I may make some progress in one area, but I’m trading it for happiness elsewhere.

I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles in my life. I’ve beaten cancer, for a start; I’ve recently battled depression and come out the other side with a better understanding of myself, I’ve been promoted at work and now have a team. I’m slowly and surely making things better, and trying to be a better husband and father has always been at the top of my notional agenda, even if I sometimes fail to make it the top of my actual one.

Rather than make a series of promises, and set even more goals, I’m just writing this as a note to my future self. Hitting – or missing – a new target every day, or every week, is not really necessary; being happy is the real goal – and I can do that without constant challenges.

14by17 week 7

I have come to some sort of realisation, regarding my weight. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I was given another series of medication recently to control my blood pressure, and with any new course of medication, I always pause and consider my health and wellbeing.

Sure, I don’t rattle like a pill jar these days, but I still have to control my INR level through warfarin, and now control my blood pressure through another drug whose name escapes me at present. So, I consider my weight and the lifestyle I lead, and wonder if there is anything I really should be doing better.

I’m starting to take more notice and responsibility. I am starting to walk around a little more, and take more notice of the crap that I’m feeding myself, and saying “no” that little more often. But part of the realisation is another reliance on metrics and data that I’ve gathered for quite some time:

That graph above shows the number of steps taken per day for nearly two years now, and the increased density in the last year shows a direct correlation between physical activity and my weight loss. No surprise there, I hear you cry, but please note the right hand side – in the last couple of months the activity has dropped off dramatically. I have to do something about that.

Over the next week or so I’ll work out how to plot my steps data alongside my weight loss – adding to the public shaming – and I’ll add some more insight into the 14by17 journey.

14by17 week 6

I’m starting to wonder how long I can continue without major change in any direction.

Looking at the last week in particular, my weight has peaked and troughed but overall hasn’t really changed. I have made the major step (insert droll laughter here) of reviewing the couch to 5k programme and understanding what it expects of me; I have plans in place to do more walking both at work (during lunchtimes, I have walking routes in place) and at home – using the couch to 5k plan around the park.

The next step is actually to put on my training shoes and do the walking. At the very least I can put the trainers in my bag or in the car so they are accessible; this is about reducing the friction required to get out walking.

Beyond that, I do need to make a conscious effort to cut down on the junk. I am still allowing myself to slip far more often than I should, and am willingly allowing myself to slip rather than being aware of my consumption.

14by17 week 5

Flatline.

My weight has not changed by a single pound in the last two weeks. I have been starting to wonder if my set of scales had actually given up the ghost and refused to show any changes in weight but no – it’s perfectly capable, I just haven’t changed a bit.

This is very odd. Sure, I haven’t been pigging out but despite my suggestion of last week, I haven’t been very good either. (Diet starts next week, I promise). I would have expected to see a change in the last two weeks – probably more up than down – but nothing.

Let’s not celebrate just yet. It’s not a change for the worse, but it’s not a change for the better, either, and I’m a long way from my goal.

So I’m going to promise to really, really try this week. Even just to shift down by a single pound. Funny how the baby steps are getting smaller, but I have to show progress – this is getting ridiculous.

Needy Facebook

A few weeks ago, I stopped logging into Facebook regularly; simply because I started to hate having to scroll endlessly to catch up with people I barely knew. The absolute bombardment of ads and sponsored content didn’t help, either.

I feel much better, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much, and my life is just that little bit simpler. Facebook, however, has decided that my absence is not good enough – so knowing that I’m not using the app, it’s decided to spam me with email instead.

I think I’m going to have to log in one more time – just to turn off email notifications.