No, I'm not on heading overseas, or even going on holiday. I'm on a journey and recording the highs and lows on a travel blog site seemed to be the way to go. The fact that I already had an account and was familiar with the site helped.
This is the long version of WHY I'm doing this, WHAT I will be achieving, HOW I will be doing this. So whats the Journey? It's all about going from over 115kg to well under 100kg in 9 weeks!!! and winning a competition at the same time.
I have been overweight for a very long time. I recall the 'fat shaming' sessions I was forced to endure whilst at my prep school when I was 9 or 10 years old. Each Sunday evening I was made to parade in the central area outside the dormitories wearing nothing but my underpants. All the fatties would line up and one at a time we would get onto the scales and be weighted. The matron would announce our weight and how much we had put on or lost that week. It was humiliating and frankly achieved nothing in terms of helping us lose weight. It did the opposite, it made us a target for the bullying that followed.
I've never really been the fit sporting kind of person. I was usually the last to be picked for any team sports, and frequently returned to class late after a cross country session as I was that slow. Somehow I managed to perform well at swimming, and loved the adventurous training activities I was able to do at Welbeck college and even managed to pick up an award in my final year. I loved canoeing (and even came 13th in the Army Slalom Championships out of around 100 paddlers from all Corps), excelled at climbing (even though I have vertigo), and was a caving instructor with a local group that took schools and corporates on adventurous training activities (caving, canoeing, climbing, camping, archery). But I was always the fat one who got puffed out first, could never do overhangs, got stuck in tight places underground - you get the idea.
Working in an office has it's benefits when you are that kind of person. There's no need to be fit, healthy, in fact working in the office really, really helps you to go in totally the opposite direction. You lose strength, coordination, flexability, and quietly put on weight each and every day. Do you realise that putting on just 5 grams a day, every day, is over 1.8kg per year, over 10 years that's a heap of weight and doesn't take into account the weight that we all put on 'naturally' as part of the aging process.
Enough of the WHY, I'm sure you get the idea, it's too depressing. Let's move onto the WHAT.
I've tried diets in the past. Heaven knows Camilla has been at me time and again trying endlessly to get me to lose weight in an attempt to get my diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure all under control. She's a saint and I love her for so many things, but especially for never giving up, even when I have. I've had very limited success with diets, my best effort was about 19 years ago when I tried 'Lite n Easy' - they were a new company back then. They delivered a weeks worth of food once a week, all labeled, frozen and bagged up. It worked well and I lost several kg. Then we had a trip to England and when we got back I never resumed. Probably too expensive.
As for the gym - Ha! Exercise - the bikes we have in the garage get ridden once a year when my sister in law Miranda comes down, and she and Camilla take them out for a spin, even that doesn't happen every year. Do you know anyone with an 18 year old bike that still has the little knobbly bits on the original tyres? I do, me.
I did join the gym, I've been a member there for I have no idea how many years. Do I go - sure I do. Has it made ANY difference? Not to my weight, but I do run (shuffle) a mean 5km in 45 minutes! How I would kid myself that I was going to do Run Melbourne (a 10km run) in under 60 minutes. I can't blame the gym, they have all the equipment you could want, personal trainers galore, group sessions every morning and evening, at the weekends, and periodic '12 week challenges' - for which you pay a heap of money and apparently over 70% drop out in the first 3 weeks.
They have a new idea to get people fit - Acceler8, and 8 week program that costs $99. Charlie is a Personal Trainer at the gym, one who gets results with the clients who want to get results. I don't say that because he is my son, I say that because it is what happens. The fact that he is my son just means that it's in my face all the time. We see his highs when a client achieves new goals, and his frustrations when they just don't want to put in. His demeanor is almost dictated by the approach and desire of his clients. Good clients - good Charlie. Bad clients - time to leave the house.
I asked him about the Acceler8 program, and his response was 'Don't bother', but it must have sewn a seed of thought as at the end of the weekend James approached me. He and Charlie had been talking and had a proposition. They would train me, they would prepare every meal (but I had to pay for the food), we would enter the Acceler8 program and we would WIN. All I had to do was 1) trust them 100% - that's the easy part, 2) religiously follow the training program they would put together for me and train hard each and every time, and 3) only eat what they prepared for me. Oh I am allowed unlimited water, black tea, black coffee and herbal teas. No sugar free cordial not even gum. The whole idea is to wean me off this insidious drug called sugar. I needed to go cold turkey. They reckon I will lose over 20kg in the 9 weeks, I need to change the way my body metabolises it's energy, I need to get back to basics and use fat and protein for energy, not sugar and carbs in it's so many refined formats. Did someone say paleo? Almost but not quite, it's about getting back to basics and eating unrefined basic foods (at east I think that's what it's about). For years I've complained that the food we purchased has effectively already been half digested as it goes through the refining process, and (I believe) is a primary cause of the increase in diabetes that has become a world wide epidemic.
I love all of my children and seeing the commitment they were making to me made it a very simple decision to 'get on board'
So HOW will this be achieved?
I'm writing this on Week 1, Day 3 so I have an idea of whats happening, but I also know that what I'm doing now will change with each stage. I have no idea what the stages are, or when we will transition from one stage to the next (even the boys probably don't know when that will happen). The boys have prepared a weeks worth of meals, I pick what I eat and when. It appears to be similar to the Atkins diet, but at an extreme level, absolutely NO carbs. I cook breakfast. Bacon and eggs, with 1/2 an onion, and 100g of kale. Have you seen how much Kale there is in 100g - try it one day. So I'm very happy with breakfast, love it. Then I get to chose 3 magic containers each with it's own surprise - so 4 meals a day. So far I've had salmon pieces with tahini, lettuce, carrot & tomato, chicken with spinach sag, beef with sweet potato and beans - I'm not complaining. I've suggested coleslaw (I love it) and spinach pesto (I'll even prepare it for them) which seems to have been greeted with a nod of approval. I've been given a training program that involves one on one sessions with both Charlie and James as well as group sessions at the gym. The sessions are both in the morning and evening often both morning and evening, with the occasional 'rest' session. Personally I'd prefer to see more morning sessions and rest sessions in the evening, but I've committed to doing what they tell me. I prefer working out in the morning as it's great when you get up from your desk in the afternoon and can feel the ongoing benefit of the workout you did that morning.
We have started our program a week before the Acceler8 program - I guess that's so we arrive at the starting date with some existing momentum, rather than starting cold on day 1 saying 'OK what do we do next', we will already have it worked out and underway.
So there you have it, WHY, WHAT, HOW.
Now lets see if I can keep up a blog at the same time as not letting Charlie and James down, getting to the gym for my workouts - some of which can be up to 2 hours long, working full time, and committing 20 hours a week to an 'out of hours' client..