Monday, 29 November 2010

The CLD Christmas Weight Challenge - Week 5

A week of mixed fortunes saw the cold win the upper hand and knock me for six.  The exercise regime took a break until Sunday morning when a brisk walk around Cissbury Ring burnt off a few more calories.  I was tempted into going out for a curry on Saturday night but managed to keep it light with a Tandoori Chicken Tikka, plain rice and side salad.  Saying that I did have a naughty treat of a pint of Cobra beer (steady on!)

I was a bit nervous when I got on the scales this morning but very pleased to discover I'd lost another 2lbs!  That's 12lbs gone now which I am very, very pleased with.  There's still 3 more weigh ins to go so I should be more than able to make that original goal of 16lbs.

Other news this week saw the launch of my blog page for the Nepal Trek in October.  The blog page is here or you can donate here

As I'm feeling so good, I thought I'd spoil you with another little article, this time on working out how many calories you need to lose weight.  Enjoy!

How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight? Here are the magic numbers

I want to lose weight. I want to lose weight quick. How many calories should I eat to lose weight? That answer depends on many factors, there is no magic number, if you will. A person's daily recommended caloric intake for weight loss will depend on such factors as height, current weight, fat to muscle ratio, etc. However, there are some general rules of thumb that do apply.

If you are wondering, "How many calories should I eat to lose weight?", a great place to start is to find your personal BMR (basal metabolic rate). There are many BMR calculators available online that will do these calculations for you. This calculation will give you the number of calories you will need in order to maintain your current weight. From here, you can decide at what rate you would like to lose the weight and subtract calories from this number. To lose one pound, the body must be deficient of 3500 calories. A person can deduct these calories either through exercise or by deducting calories from their daily food intake. By simply cutting 250 calories from your diet each day when figuring how many calories should I eat to lose weight, and walking moderately for 30 minutes five days per week, you can lose at least one pound per week.

Cutting at least 250 calories from your diet each day should not be difficult. If you are a soda drinker, a great way to cut out those calories is to skip a can of soda per day. Sodas are full of sugar and chemicals and are com plete empty calories. This means that they only do harm to your body. Sodas have absolutely no nutritional value. Skipping the fast food line is also an easy way to cut the unwanted calories and fat from your diet when deciding on how many calories I should eat to lose weight. It is common knowledge that fast food is laden with fat and unneeded calories. Instead, opt for fresh salads, small amounts of proteins, and small amounts of complex carbohydrates like brown rice. If you do splurge for fast food, order the smallest burger on the menu and remove the top half of the bun. Instead of greasy fries, order a side salad, and instead of a soda, opt for water instead.

As you can see, "How many calories should I eat to lose weight?", is a question without a simple answer. There are many theories floating around out there that do not force a person to count calories, but most of these theories lead to fad dieting, which is unhealthy and unproductive.

The good news is that it is fairly simple to calculate how many calories you need to consume in order to lose the weight in a healthy manor. As long as you remember that you need to delete 3500 calories in some way, shape or form from your body to lose a pound, you can easily figure what foods are worth eating and which ones you need to steer clear of. Once you learn to eat in moderation and exercise regularly, the weight will start to come off. Weight loss is not a crap shoot, it is simply science.

Source: Articlesbase

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The CLD Christmas Weight Challenge - Week 4

Sorry for the delay folks but that old man flu struck me down...

Anyhoo (thanks Carly) it's week 4 of the weight challenge.  After a storming start things have slowed down.  The calf injury and cold this week has hit the exercise regime and my Wii is sitting under the tv, looking at me with pity.

Still, even with all that, I managed to lose another pound this week, which means that I have now lost a total of 10lbs, far beter than I thought I would.  My 12 pack is now getting closer to the 6 pack that I was hoping for!

I have heard that some of you were trying to leave comments (and I'm sure they were all supportive) but couldn't.  The good news is that you should be able to now, so fire away!

Keep popping by, there's another 4 weeks to go.  In the mean time I'll leave you with this little article I found online:

How to Get a Good Looking Body

It is often possible to get very near to that amazing body you always have dreamt of. However, it can cost a lot of effort and time to get all the way to the goal. Still you can achieve a lot with less time and cost, as long as you are persistent in your endeavors. Here are some advices to get a better looking body:

You should first plan how you will look. You must decide which body parts you want to be muscular and have round curvatures, and which parts you want to keep slim and gracious.

Most persons will probably feel most well with a balanced body shape: Muscular in the area under the shoulders, strong breast muscles, strong muscles around the shoulders, moderately muscular arms, slim around the mid, firm but not too great belly muscles, round and muscular buttocks, muscular thighs and strong calves.

Other persons will prefer a more v-shaped figure with more muscle mass on the top, and somewhat less at the bottom.

You must also decide if you want changes in you posture, and define these changes. By consistent training you can greatly improve your posture. Your plan must however be realistic. You skeleton sets some limitations of shape and size you cannot surpass.

You must also decide if you want to loose body fat or perhaps gain some fat on your body. You must decide how important it is for you to get a better general condition and gain general wellness, and decide if these goals are more important than improvement in body appearance.

Then you must make a plan for your training, your diet and otherwise for your lifestyle.

The training should contain exercises to gain muscle mass and strength, exercises for your general condition and exercises to get a flexible and agile body. Improvement of posture will result from the combination of stronger muscles and flexibility training.

A repetitive three day's plan with training 45 minutes to one hour each day will give you great results, if the plan is consistently adhered to:

In day one you perform exercises to gain muscular mass and muscular strength, like weight lifting or analogous training methods. You should train all your muscles, but those body parts where you have planned to get must muscles, should be exercised the most.

If you have posture problems, curvatures or bendings in body parts caused by weak muscles or bad habits, these can often be helped for by strengthening the muscles that flex the body parts in the opposite direction. If however, the bending is due to scoliosis or some other disease under progression, the problem need professional treatment.

In day two you do exercises that enhance your general condition, like jogging, swimming, playing ball, and cycling. Choose something that you find funny, and you can also vary between different activities. It is also good to invite some friends to exercise together with you on this day.

In day three you do no hard activities, but stretch out and do exercises to improve your body's flexibility in all natural directions. Yoga exercises are very good to enhance your flexibility and improve your general health. It is also advisable to set out some time for meditation in day three.

The diet is important for achieving and maintaining a good body shape. You must eat 3-5 good meals each day, but do not over-eat.

You need enough proteins. Every meal must have some protein-rich food sources, like: Fish, seafood, lean meat, lean cheese, foul or mushrooms. Also nuts, almonds and sunflower seeds contain protein. These are good food sources, but because of the content of fat, you should not consume too much of them. Eggs are a good protein source, but eat it in moderate amounts to avoid getting too much cholesterol.

In each meal you need some fat from natural sources and you need some carbohydrates. You should however control your consume of fat and sugar. You must not add very much fat or sugar to your food, and you must not eat too much of food with a high content of fat and sugar.

Also vary between different natural fat sources to get all the essential fatty acids you need: Fat fish, nuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, olive oil, rape oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, marine oils, nut oils and sunflower oil. Do not use only soy oil or corn oil as many people do. Neither use much butter. Do not consume chemically altered fat.

As sources of carbohydrates use mostly full corn bread or cereals, peas, lenses or beans, but also add some sweet fruit.

In order to get enough fiber, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, every meal must have some fruit or vegetables in a natural condition. Supplements of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and special nutrients can be of help.

A training program as depicted combined with a good diet, will often make you loose fat over time. However, if you are heavily over-weight, a more specific slimming regime can be necessary.

 Source: Free Articles

Book Nerd...

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Those books you've read in their entirety make bold, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.  Let me know what your list looks like.
1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien

3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23 Carrie - Stephen King

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26 Farenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40.  Winnie The Pooh - A.A. Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52 Dune - Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75 Ulysses - James Joyce

76 The Inferno - Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94 Watership Down - Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Monday, 15 November 2010

The CLD Christmas Weight Challenge - Week 3

3 weeks already!  The challenge is going strong and the will power is holding out.  Even though an evil temptress at work tried to entice me with her yum-yums (no, that's not a euphemism and you know who you are!) I stuck to my guns and it all paid off.

First thing this morning I almost ran into the office so that I could jump on those scales.  The official weight judge wasn't in so I had to get an independent witness to observe the event and was extremely pleased when she said that the scales read 13st 3lb.  Yes folks another 4lb!  At this rate I'll be half the man I was by Christmas.

This evening I got even more of a boost when the Wii Fit declared my Wii Fit Age to be... 38!!  Unfortunately I was in such a rush to do my routine that I forgot to warm up properly.  I think I may have pulled a muscle in my calf getting out of the shower.  A real lesson learned there methinks!

Don't worry though fans, I'll rest it up and not let this little annoyance get in the way of the challenge...

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Father Forgets

I was driving in my car earlier listening to the audiobook version of "How To Win Friends And Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.  Suddenly I was listening to the following -


W. Livingston Larned - condensed as in "Readers Digest"

"Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, "Goodbye, Daddy!" and I frowned, and said in reply, "Hold your shoulders back!"

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive-and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. "What is it you want?" I snapped.

You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding-this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: "He is nothing but a boy-a little boy!"

I am afraid I have visualised you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother's arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much, yet given too little of myself. Promise me, as I teach you to have the manners of a man, that you will remind me how to have the loving spirit of a child."

It made me realise just how easy it is to forget that that little bundle of energy is still only a child.  Brought a tear to my eye...

Monday, 8 November 2010

High Adventure

Yesterday, Sunday 7th November, was a very exciting day for me.  It was the first meeting of the Nepal Trek group.  I got to meet the people that I will be spending a few weeks with next year trekking through Nepal to see the world's highest mountain, Everest (just in case you weren't sure!)

We'll be doing it for charity and I'll be posting more details about this soon, as well as all the preparations that we'll be going through to get us ready for the trek.  For now though I'll whet your appetite with a picture of the great mountain itself:

The CLD Christmas Weight Challenge - Week 2

Yep, it's the second of the 8 week challenge and a very wet and windy Monday started with the weigh in.  I've had a good week, stayed off the booze, cut down on the cakes and biscuits and had some planned (and unplanned, thanks to Brighton Hospital!) exercise so I was really expecting to lose some weight.  The question is, just how much had I lost?

The Jenga blocks were laid, the scales placed on top.  I stood on and watched the dial spin round.  13st 7lb!  This meant I lost 5lb this week.  Quite a feat!  I have to admit that I was wearing my jeans at the first weigh in so that probably accounts for about 2lb so 3lb for a week sounds great.

Now on to week 2.  Plans for this week include keeping the cakes and biscuits down and more on the Wii.

I'll keep you posted!

Monday, 1 November 2010

The CLD Christmas Weight Challenge

Today saw the launch of the first (and quite possibly only) CLD Christmas Weight Challenge.  For those of you worried about acronyms, CLD is Corporate Learning & Development, the part of West Sussex County Council I work in.  There are 4 of us in it at the moment but a couple of people weren't around so there may be more soon. 

I'm taking the brave step of publicising my involvement because, let's be honest, this Blake has got a little bit bloaty in his old age (just check out the profile pic!).  One way of sticking to goals to share them with friends and family:
" is a well-known tenant of goal-setting that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you tell your family and friends about them. Not only will you want to avoid looking inconsistent for abandoning a goal, but their support and assistance can be invaluable..."

So, I want to stick to this and to make life more interesting, I'm sharing it with you.  I'll even go as far as telling you my start weight.  Although now I've actually said that it does seem a little hard to type it.  Ok, here goes: (bear in mind I was fully dressed and had eaten!) 13st 12lb.  I know, shocking!  That means my BMI is 27.5.  Yes folks I'm officially overweight.

But enough, the change starts here!  I even got the Wii out, loaded up the Wii Fit and did some exercise!

According to the BBC: "A sensible rate of weight loss is around 0.5kg to 1kg (1lb to 2lb) a week." So 2lb a week for 8 weeks makes 16lb.  That's my main goal, to lose 16lb by the end of our challenge.  My first goal is to lose 2lb by next Monday.

It's going to be tough because I'm really going to miss the red wine, chocolate, cakes and biscuits!  But I know it's important to get this right, to get healthy.

Wish me luck!

Let's get this party started...

01/11/10 - Got quite a nice symmetry to it that date, don't you think?  And what better date to kick off the new blog?

So what can you expect from this new addition to the blogosphere?  Well, the only thing I really know well is me (although occasionally I surprise myself) so there will be lots about the things I do, the places I go, the people I see.  I will, of course change the names to protect the innocent (and not so).

I'll also comment, as and when, on news stories, magazine articles, books and films. 

I'll experiment a bit and I'm already investigating podcasts and video blogs.  But let's not run before we can walk.

So, pretty much me but online.

There'll be room for you to get involved.  Feel free to post a comment or two.  I can imagine some of you already thinking up your witticisms.  Go ahead, you know I can take it!

Grab a drink, tuck into the snacks, the music's on and the party's just getting going.