14by17 week 5


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.

14by17 week 4

Once again, slow progress.

It’s easy to interpret no change upwards as one that is a positive step. At least I’m not gaining weight. It would be equally easy to say that I’m not losing it, either.

Can I honestly say that my diet has been better? No, not in all truth. I am still at the point where I succumb to cheap, high calorie snack food; nothing short of a ruthless approach to change will stop that – but I have done it before, and I can do it again.

It’s also easy to toss out the platitudes about doing something again, but I will need to commit to a date – and even the thought of doing that invokes the gods of snack foods: “No! You can’t! You’ll just slip again! You’ll just let yourself down again!”.

As with anything that requires commitment, at some point I will have to commit.

Monday the 1st of Feb. That’s when I start. One snack day a week when I can’t make myself feel guilty about eating sugary garbage, but the rest of the week I relentlessly track and shame myself if I give in.

Friday the 5th will be the reckoning.

14by17 week 3

Hmmm. Things have not been going well.

Despite my hope that the gradual progress downwards would be repeated this week, that’s clearly not the case. I was thrown by a huge leap on Saturday, and then the measurements stagnated at a small increment higher than last week – so when viewed on the graph below, the trend is starting to lurch upwards.

Now, I can prevaricate about this some more, moan and complain that despite my best efforts things aren’t working, but I’m kidding no-one but myself. It’s a lie. I have been not paying close enough attention to the food I eat, and I’m still not able to resist the multitude of small treats that float around the office.

I know that my weak point is the afternoon, when my energy levels slump and I start to hunt for little snacks to help out. Of course, this is the point when I should just double down on the work, push out the siren calls of chocolate, and drink water. Lots of water.

More baby steps, I suppose, and at least by writing about them every week I can’t claim to have forgotten.

(Addendum written after this was composed on Friday morning: having indulged in Jamaican Jerk Chicken for lunch, and pasta and garlic ciabatta for dinner, I suspect the carbs will weigh heavily upon me tomorrow.)

14by17 two weeks in

Alright then, let’s review.

I’m two weeks into the desire to hit 14 stones in weight by 2017. So far, progress appears to be improving, not least because I have been a little more mindful of the crap that I eat and the exercise that I do – without yet committing to do a 5k yet – and I think the weight is ever so slowly coming off (with the occasional wobble from here to there).

Of course, as my wife pointed out, the daily monitoring of my weight can lead to false impressions of weight loss. It’s far too easy to think that there is a trend downwards when, in fact, the data captured is just a tiny fragment of an overall trend which could be in completely the other direction.

To make this clearer, I’ve decided to change the tracking data a bit – as you can see in the graph below, I’m now including the data back to before Christmas, and also showing where the target is; this makes my progress (up or down) much clearer in the context of where I want to be.

I’m at the start of that slope which could either lead upwards into obesity, or downwards into fitness (or at least being thinner). Right now I could say that I have no idea where that slope goes, but I have the ability to influence that slope – through diet and exercise.

I also have to be mindful of talking about this a lot without actually doing something about it. For me, that has previously resulted in a great deal of written promises and very little follow up – but by using this format to check in with myself once a week, I can consider where my decisions have taken me, week by week, and hold myself accountable.

I called this project 14by17 for a reason. It’s pretty unambiguous. All I have to do is stick by it. At least this week appears to be better than the last.

14by17 one week in

So, after a week of the “diet”, how have I done?

Well, in a word, poorly. I’ve put a little graph at the bottom of this post to show how my weight has fluctuated this week, and generally, the trend is up, not down. This is not a great surprise.

I’ve found it harder to steer myself away from the chocolate treats and little biscuits as they are still around after Christmas. I’ve also found it hard to control myself when it comes to grazing; the availability of the aforementioned biscuits and chocolate doesn’t help much in this regard, but even so – self-control is failing me here.

Thankfully, my weekly budget is shrinking and the opportunity to casually snack on stuff will disappear, and be replaced by sticking to the food I bring with me to work. Couple this with increased physical activity – I’ve walked to site in London three times this week for a total of over 15 miles covered – and I should start to see a gradual lowering in weight.

Mind you, I’d be happy with it simply not creeping upwards right now.

More progress reports next week.

14 Stone by 2017

Even since I was 18, i’ve been overweight by some degree. I have heard a wealth of advice on what it means to be “fat”, but I know that the usual weight I tended to fluctuate around was 17 stone (about 110 Kg). I also knew that that was not a healthy weight – sure, I’m six foot three inches tall, so I’m a big bloke, but the usual mid forties belly never sat well on me.

So, last year, I decided to change. My new years’ resolution for 2015 was to get to 16 stones in weight, and by some miracle I managed to not only beat that, but handsomely; at one point I was down to 15 stones.

I could attribute all of this to some magical diet, but I didn’t really change a thing. I was more mindful about what I ate – laying off the snacks – and I took on a project that needed me to take a tube into London about once or twice a week, so I took the opportunity to walk to and from the station.

I think that’s what made the difference. Being more physically active meant that the weight fell off. I dropped two stones in about six months, and despite the usual bout of Christmas overeating, I’ve only managed to put on another five pounds. Right now, I’m fifteen stone five pounds.

But, of course, I’m not happy with that either. Having achieved so much in the last year, I’m now ready to keep going and push that little bit further. My target for 2017 is to get down to fourteen stones, and I know that will not come as easy, so I’m using data to track where I am at. I’m also treating this as a project, and it will have a number of steps in it; not least using the desire to lose further weight as an excuse to get running.

I haven’t set myself a ludicrous goal – all I want to be able to do is run a 5k without feeling like my heart is going to explode – and in the meanwhile I hope to be able to focus more on my diet, cut out the junk, and get down to fourteen stone. The reason for a project page on this site is that I intend to track my weight daily, and once a week write a confession page, so in the future I can look back and see where I went wrong, and what I did right.

So, here goes! Next update will be on Friday the 8th Jan.