Wednesday, 31 August 2016

What to do...

And so here we are yet again. After spending a few months away from this blog I am back. I am back with a lot of questions that is. 
  • Will I continue posting often? 
  • Will I continue to keep everybody updated that cares?
  • Does it all really matter?
I think for myself and this blog we all need to go back to the original mission of why I started writing to the randomness of the internet and that was to keep myself accountable and to continue strong on my weight loss journey or as I like to think of it now, my journey to changing my lifestyle. 

This represents me trying to sort out my lifestyle

I have not been here for quite a few months now and I have to admit that in that time a lot has changed in regards to the weight loss journey. Not long after my last post Easter occurred. With Easter came chocolate and an end to my commitment to sugar freeness. From that ending things got a little bit out of hand and a little bit crazy. I went from my original 120kgs to 108kgs in April before I let go. This saw me putting on a bit of weight and consistently hovering around the 115kgs mark which is still alright in terms of I lost 5kgs and was able to maintain a steady weight but I allowed it to happen and was a bit annoyed at that fact. 
So here we are now and over the last 3 weeks I have given up sugar again. Now I just want everybody to know that I do not view giving up sugar as a magic bullet or diet that will solve all of my weight issues. I genuinely enjoy giving it up. See I have come to learn that my brain is wired to be sucky at healthy eating. By the time I try and figure out what is healthy and what is not and what I have eaten to day and what I can and cannot eat it is just saying let's go get some take out and it does not cope or last long. What giving up sugar allows me to do is to create a black and white rule which i can judge my decisions by. Sugar is one of those things that is probably not that bad for you in controlled amounts but is probably not that great for you in large quantities just like pretty much everything in my opinion. But it does allow me to cut out a lot of the crap and to cut down my kilojoule intake significantly without really trying that hard. Sure, food choices do get harder and you do need some flexibility but that is all part of the journey. For instance, I do not want to be that guy who goes to someones house and they offer you brownies that they baked that fternoon just becuase you were coming over to visit and I say "Sorry, I am not eating sugar." I think that is a bit rude so in social circumstances I instigate what I like to call the I am not going to be a jerk rule and eat that brownie!

Since round two of sugar free has started a couple of weeks ago I have instigated a few changes that may be important to note here. Firstly, I have switched to logging my weight using Google fit which is quick and easy as I can just do it on my phone in 3 clicks. I have also switched scales from using my home scales to only logging weigh ins from the gym. This is because I discovered that if I move my scales slightly in my bathroom the weight dramatically changes. I do still use them to give me a rough idea of how I am going throughout the week and to try and learn how my body changes throughout the day and in relation to what I have eaten but I rely on the gym scales for official logged wieghts so they could be different to what I logged previously. Generally I think my home scales are 1.5-2kgs lighter then the gym so when I said i was 108kgs previously the gym scales probably said about 110kgs for a comparison. 

But here is where I stand at the moment and we will see what happens over the coming weeks.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The weight loss continues...

Here we are almost into April and we have some good news. I have officially lost 10 kgs...technically speaking it could be more or technically it could be less but for me it counts and I have made the 10kg mark in only 80 days! I stepped onto the scales this morning before breakfast as I usually do so that I get consistency with my readings and it read 108.6kgs! That is a bit more then 10 kgs technically but by this time of the day I will already be back up to 111kgs probably but that is alright because I always weight myself in the morning!

For those of you playing along at home I wish to encourage you. I know that you will have probably read this 100 times before and I used to hate it because I have tried doing this so many times before but you can lose weight. It can be done it just is a sucky process to be honest. I have given up sugar (most of the time) which has helped me tremendously. I am not going to tell you to do the same because you might not have a sugar problem. You do need to find what works for you. I would encourage you to analyse how much sugar is in your diet though, just for fun because you would probably get a pleasant surprise at where it can hide sometimes. 

Here are a few lessons that I have learned so far along the way:
-We are told that a balanced diet and exercise will help us stay healthy. This is true! But to lose weight we need more calories burnt then eaten and when you discover how inefficient exercise is to burn calories (go look up how long you have to run to burn a mars bar) you will quickly realise that exercise makes you healthy but what you eat has an impact upon your body's weight. I struggled to go to the gym over the last three months because the weight just kept coming off without the sugar in my diet!
-Get someone to help you out and yell at you and abuse you and encourage you and support you. My wife is a legend and although she will yell at me and say No Josh! That is enough chips today! I appreciate that she is doing it for the right reasons to support me and keep me on track. I usually have zero will power with these things and give up pretty quickly but 11 weeks in and we are still going alright.
-Think of it as a lifestyle change not a diet. Everyone will say oh are you doing that sugar free diet thing and you will probably say yes. But for me to stick to this I have had to think about it as a lifestyle change for the better not a diet because realistically I am not missing out on chocolate and ice cream that everyone else has I am reclaiming my lifestyle and improving it. It is opening a new world not restricting my current world!
-For any of this to work (this is the first time it ever has for me after so many attempts) you need to learn the art of getting back on the bandwagon. What I mean by this is when you stumble and fall and screw up (I salute those of you who never will screw up) you need to find the ability and will power to get back into it and start out strong again. For me I might have had a not so great week because we were super busy and went out a fair few times but I would always try and start the next week strong and get back into sugar free life because I knew if I didn't I would just go back to my old ways which were not pretty. 

Here is a quick update of where I am at in term of my weight loss charts. As you can see there are a fair few times that I have screwed up but that is alright. You still have to live your life you just need the ability to be able to recover from those times!

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Breakfast...what to do!

For the last two months I have consumed countless amounts of eggs for breakfast. Most mornings consist of scrambled eggs with kale on toast with butter and a coffee. Sometimes I have rotated with bacon and poached eggs and occasionally when I am sick of it all I would eat yogurt and fruit with cinnamon instead. But after two months there is only so many times you can put up with eggs.

Last week I did have the opportunity to visit some friends for coffee and breakfast before work. In these situations I choose not to make a big deal about sugar free food as I do not want to be annoying for everyone else. So I was expecting and preparing myself for cereal or white bread or a sugar high. This never came. These friends know that I am trying to be healthier and when we arrived we had discovered  that they had baked us fresh bagel the night before that were sugar free! Score.

Bagels usually contain sugar. Many people glaze them with a sugar and water solution to give them that shiny look. Really though this is unnecessary. A bagel is essentially a bread dough that is boiled and then baked. My wife has recently taken up baking bagels and she now uses oil to coat the outside prior to baking as this gives a golden brown exterior with a little crunch much like the sugar would.

So if you are looking for something different and new for breakfast I highly encourage you to try baking (or buying) some bagels. I choose to use cream cheese on mine as it is delicious but you can use anything and can make them in all sorts of different flavours as well!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Two months in...

So I realise my promises of updating this blog regularly have largely gone unfulfilled and I apologise in case anybody was emotionally invested but sometimes life just catches up with you. But I am here to be accountable to you all and to share my experiences. Mainly for selfish reasons so that I can keep pushing on and trying to succeed in my quest to lead a healthier and thinner life. 

Month 1
If there was one word I would use to describe the first month it would be produce. Our house was stocked with fresh veggies and fresh fruit at its peak in summer with watermelon and strawberries, nectarines and peaches readily available in the kitchen. It was a marvelous time. University was on holidays, I ate no sugar  (except for the odd bit forced upon me when my aunty baked a birthday cake from scratch, you just cannot say no to that). Life was glorious, the weight was falling off, heck I even found it hard to go to the gym because it was so easy to lose weight. 

Month 2
This is where reality has set in. 'Real life' has returned. Uni has started, work is getting busier, I have less free time and as I would like to say, the struggle is real! The honeymoon period wore off once uni kicked in. The old temptations of $2 meat pies and chips are hard to resist. I had a sudden decrease in free time and couldn't spend hours thinking about what we would eat or looking for new recipes to try out that were delicious. Surprisingly I would not say that being sugar free is harder or more difficult to carry out in a practical sense. The truth is that it is harder because of my previous bad habits and routines, it is harder because of the way our lives are structured and we get tired and do not have the time or effort required to constantly fight our previous urges and temptations. My biggest struggle is trying not to fall into old traps. Trying not to go and grab a pie because they are cheap and I have an hour between classes. Trying not to go and grab an iced coffee (sugar loaded) from Gloria Jeans because I have an assignment due and society tells me as a uni student caffeine will really help get it done. 

My advice...I am not one to consider myself qualified in anyway to give advice on this topic at all. But I guess if there was one tip that I could offer anybody it is be prepared for the lame moments. These are the moments where life decides to line itself up and you have zero time, zero patience and every bit of you wants some sugar. Find things that are great to eat and find things that are quick and simple. My wife and I constantly resort to basil pesto pasta. Sometimes we make our own pasta and pesto from scratch, other times it is store bought pasta and store bought pesto but either way it is a yummy yummy meal that is quick to cook and is oh so yum! Find your favourite, simple meals and it will go a long way to set you up for success.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Week sugar for me

Here we week into no sugar. I just want to start out by saying that this blog and journey may not appeal to everybody and that is OK. I know there were hundreds of blogs about no sugar and diets and healthy eating and all sorts of similar things and I encourage you to go and read and learn. My goal here is to note down thoughts as I progress through this journey. I don't know how long it will be or where it will lead me, but I do hope that if you are reading this we can care and share thought, ideas and experiences below to encourage one another.

Back to business though, I am one week into my little experiment and it has been interesting I guess you could say. So far what has happened is  I feel rather spritely! I have more energy then I have had before and not in the sense that I can go go go all day but more in the fact that come mid afternoon or evening there is no slump or lull to the energy but rather I can just keep going or need to keep doing something to be mentally active. Although I must admit that with uni break currently in full swing and more then a month until I return I do watch lots of TV and am not the most active in life which would usually lead to lethargy but not in the last week.

The other big thing I have noticed is my taste buds. In two different ways. The first is that they always seem dry and almost as if I am thirsty. I can guarantee that is not the case as I drink a river every day in water to help clean out my system but yet that feeling remains. I think it is their way of craving sugar and requesting that sweet, flavoursome sensation again. Last night I did notice a big change though. We had baked pumpkin stuffed with mince from the I Quit Sugar website and it was yummy but that pumpkin was the sweetest pumpkin I have ever tasted in my life! It was amazing to see a new world of flavour open up. Honestly, in all the books I have read about this sugar thing they all speak of sweet vegetables and taste buds changing and even milk becoming sweet but I didn't really believe them. BUT IT IS TRUE! Things do taste sweet and yummy like they never have before!

For my wife and I this week has been an eye opener. She unfortunately got sick on the first day and vomited. She believes this was not sugar related but I am skeptical about that. Each day after lunch she felt queasy and not hungry at all as if she would be sick. Thankfully a quick jelly bean did the trick and made her feel fine so I would not be surprised if sugar was the culprit here but we will never know! Good news though, after 5 days with the jelly beans she now does not have them and feels fine.So there is hope for all of us.

But did we cheat at all? Well, we are just trying to give up added refined sugars and any sweetener alternatives for now. So carbs and fruit are still in but only whole grains and not in large volumes. We did eat home made pasta, which is delicious and some bread but the good expensive stuff. The only non strict day was when we were invited for Chinese dinner. We ate the Chinese food but avoided dessert. I am sure there is some sugar added into it somewhere but I was not too worried as it was one meal only. We do not want to be people who go and make everybody change just for us so may eat sugar occasionally if it is a\unavoidable and that is fine by us.

What we did eat was lots of vegetables, baked meats, cheese, yoghurt, bacon, eggs, avocado and nuts. Below I have some pictures of a few meals I ate. They were all yummy and you really do not have to feel like you are missing out on yummy food and eating lettuce that is for sure!
Roast Lamb with home made gravy, roast potato and vegetables

Salad with tuna, chia seeds and crushed almonds

Natural Yoghurt with chia seed, crushed almonds, banana and a freshly made coffee with milk!

Please leave your experiences below and ask if you have any questions or thoughts!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Weight Tracking

A common recommendation for achieving goals is to setup a way to track your progress and assess how you are going or when you achieve them. This means you should set a specific goal with a number to achieve. For me I am going to start by aiming to lose 10kgs. Ideally I should give this goal a time frame according to the experts but that is one reason I am blogging, to stay accountable to myself and to you guys. I only told my wife a few days ago I was blogging so there is news!

I set out to find a simple way to track my weight. Weight fluctuates up and down throughout the day and week and many people will tell you to set aside one day a week at a certain time to weight yourself. I am rather forgetful and have tried this before but I suck at it. So I decided to just record it each time I do it. For this to happen I need a really simple way to enter the weight quickly and easily. I am also a bit of a sucker for a graph that charts the progress of how I am doing so I can see it visually. I recommend the graph so it is easy to see how you are going.

I searched the internet for a solid 45 minutes googling best weight trackers etc. and found some apps for my phone. I decided a phone app was the easiest as I would always weight myself on my scales at home so my phone is always within reach as I weight myself and the data can be added straight away. Only there was one problem....there was no good apps. when I say no good apps there are lots of apps just not to my liking. I even tried linking something with ITTT (If this then that) button app but that didn't work either.

Enter GOOGLE! What I have done to quickly and easily record my weight and body fat percentage is to create a google form online and add a shortcut to the home screen of my phone (I am an android guy so that was easy!)
So here is what my second home screen now looks like....
I simply click that icon and this form appears to fill out....
This takes less then 30 seconds to complete once loaded (Note: internet connection is required which is fine in my case as I will be at home so will have my wifi!). I fill in those two boxes and click submit and am done! It actually now takes longer to weight myself then enter my data which is great to keep my motivation up!

But where does it all go?

Well if you know anything about Google forms you will know that google conveniently compiles all the data for you in a spreadsheet. This is my spreadsheet:
The spreadsheet records the time the data was entered and has a separate column for weight and body fat percentage. I added the graphs as well to see how I am traveling. The entire spreadsheet automatically updates itself as do the graphs. So all I do is enter my number on the form whenever I want and then look at the spreadsheet sometime to see how it is going. Here it has been 6 days so there are no long term trends to see. I can even add notes next to a certain day if I like. If I ever have a cheat day I might make a note on the spreadsheet to see if it has an influence later on.
The other thing to note is the reason the graphs drop right off is because I created a fake entry further down the spreadsheet with a date in July and entered my goal weight. This gives me a good visual idea of how I am going at getting towards my goal. The dream is after a couple of months the line will have a general downwards trend toward that point but only time will tell!

This is honestly really easy to do all of this and so if you have any questions about it please leave them below.


With all of this talk of trying to get healthy and live better it is hard to know what to do and what to believe as everybody quotes doctors and nutritionists and many other health professionals trying to prove their way is the best way. So I needed to figure out what to do and how to do it.

Now I am not sure if it is a male v.s. female thing or whether it is just our personalities but maybe you are thinking what my wife was thinking. Why not just commit to eating healthy food and leaving out the unhealthy foods? Well for me I just cannot do it! I am a rule follower and always have been. I need to set myself boundaries. I need to create black and white so I know what is right and wrong. I am not saying this will work for everyone but it definitely will work better for me! So I need a plan with rules to make decisions easier. After all what does healthy food actually include or not include?

So I started in one of the most resource laden places I know of when it comes to eating Mum's bookshelf. After considering our options after christmas and returning home from holidays, my wife and I have decided to try and give up sugar. Now I know what you are all we go again, another guy jumping on the fad which could be true. It is one of the latest crazes along with paleo and whatever else but it is one of the most compelling to me as well! There is only so much chocolate you can eat in a life time after all. The trouble with deciding to give up sugar is that there are a lot of books and differing people from I quit sugar to Sweet poison the 2That sugar film. So I investigated each one a little bit (I mean come on who really has that much time to read 5 whole books about sugar and what to eat and what not to eat. I skimmed the useful parts).
The main points on contention include:
  • Fruit
  • Coffee
  • carbs
  • bread 
  • gluten
So we have started our journey into no sugar land and don't really know all the rules but the main aim is to avoid any added refined sugar. For now we are avoiding sweetners too so trying not to use honey or rice malt syrup as replacements for stuff but have decided to keep eating fruit, it is summer after all and that is when the yummy fruit is around. We will probably also eat bread and carbs but the wholegrain stuff baked fresh and things like fresh pasta. But hey it is a journey and we are on it and have started so that's always a good thing! Better to jump in and try then not jump at all!

If you want to see how our journey continues then keep coming back for more....I will try and post every few days whilst I am not at uni but hey you don't have to return!