Sunday, 3 July 2016

Post 12: Eating My Own Words (plus my food, my exercise, and my weight)

Hi Guys,

I’m back baby! 

How did the holiday go? 

Let’s have a look:

BF% Est.
calamari, M&S chicken protein pot, dark chocolate, salad, veg, salmon, potato
pizza, strawberries, double cream, dark chocolate
sausage (pictured below) with salad, broccoli, Greek meze, thatchers
cockles, mussels, ice cream, cream tea (pictured below), salad with eggs, potato salad, tuna, and mackerel (pictured below), magners
big salad with broccoli, eggs, avocado, mackerel (pictured below), raw chocolate, fish, chips and mushy peas (pictured below), ginger beer
mixed nuts, dark chocolate, biltong, mackerel, salad and steak, primal pantry bar, blueberries

Woah! That’s a lot of info. We’re going to unpack it, but first, let’s revisit the advice I gave mid-week (which can be found in full detail here):
  • Load up up protein and vegetables where possible
  • Fast when appropriate and BIF when possible
  • 1 minute of exercise a day

This post is going to be easily digestible (pun intended, as always), addressing each piece of advice I gave and the list I set up in the title. It’s going to be a kind of holiday Q&A.

What did you think about the weigh-ins?

Being one of the few people who would actually take their scales on holiday with them, I could react to the daily fluctuations. I knew that coming off the back of a big meal (Wednesday and Friday) I would weigh more the following days, and I could adjust accordingly.

I think this is something that people can get hung up on. Remember that most of it is just water weight! I didn’t gain 3.2lbs of fat between Friday and Saturday just as much as I didn’t lose 1.2lbs of fat between Saturday and Sunday!

Newsflash! If you eat a very large meal containing a lot of carbs and sodium, particularly if eaten late in the day, your weight will fluctuate upwards!

This was why Friday to Saturday’s jump was the biggest of the lot.

What did you eat?

See my food diary, and some delightful pictures I've included here! Keeping a food diary is great and can be used while on holiday and at home to keep you accountable and mindful of what you’re eating.

Was it a lot?

Compared to the “average” person, yes. It was more than I was used to, but I saw the expected rises and falls in weight each day. I was on holiday so what did you expect? Remember that this is all about damage limitation.

How did you focus on food quality?

This was easy to do since as a family we’re very food-quality conscious. When we had a pizza, it was from a nice Neapolitan bistro rather than a takeaway. When we had the Greek meze it was from an authentic taverna. When we had the cream tea it was homemade and the scones would crumble under the lightest touch.

Focus on food quality. Don’t eat crap, unless you want to feel and look like crap.

How did you react to each day’s food? Did you get any new perspective?

You can see from the weight fluctuations what my immediate reactions were, but the aftermath goes far beyond that.

I started to feel a little tired all the time. I felt like I could always take a nap, and I wasn’t filled with the usual boundless energy. Sometimes it felt like I just needed to shut my eyes, but I was sleeping more and interacting with screens less. My suspicion is the food I was eating, while high quality, still had those kryptonite ingredients: grains and in particular gluten. I was also consuming a little more sugar than usual.

This is why I’d recommend following the Bulletproof Diet school of thought: eating only the approved foods for two weeks, but then finishing with a huge pizza and beer!

You really don’t perceive your symptoms until you’re free of them.

So yes, this did give me some new perspective. It’s been so long since I ate this way and I’ll be keeping a vigilant eye out this week to see if they die down.

Did you increase protein and veg portions?
Yes, when having the salads, I made sure to load up on high mass ingredients. Then you dress them with EVOO, add some protein and healthy fats, and have you yourself a delicious, humongous, salad.

Did you practice IF/BIF?

I did BIF (full information here) for a couple of days, but I only had a little hand blender, so it didn’t go very well. Because of this, I resorted to standard IF for most days, and started the day with either a black coffee or green tea.

Did you exercise for 1 minute each day?

I only actually came up with this advice on the Wednesday I released the post, but practiced my advice every day afterwards. I chopped and changed each day, using a combination of ab work, press ups and squats.

Was the advice easy to implement?

Yes! However, I was in an environment which supported me in doing so. Adding in a load of extra vegetables was easy, because I had access to my own kitchen. Bulking up in this way meant that I never felt hungry at any point. I think this would be simple to implement either way since if you eat out you can order extra sides to complement your meal. If you’re eating in, salads are one of the easiest meals to prepare and to bulk up.

I’m used to fasting each day up until midday so it was easy to carry on. For someone not used to it they would find it harder, which is why I would advise eating more in the evenings to take you longer into the next day. Eat when you’re hungry, but over the course of a week you’ll find that time pushes further and further into the day.

BIF was near impossible without a proper blender so I would advise against it just to avoid the fuss of organising it.

It was really easy to knock out the daily exercise. You set a timer and before you know it the minute’s already gone! Simply pick a few bodyweight exercises you’re comfortable with and cycle through them.

Were you happy with the results?

On the whole yes. There was a 2.4 lb weight gain, but remember what I was saying about reverse thinking (link here)? My weight last Sunday was actually 197.8 lbs, so that’s a 0.4 lb loss over the week. I didn’t feel like I was holding myself back at all anywhere too. Great success!

Went on holiday and lost weight?
What would you consider a fair limit to weight gain?

For someone like myself, around 7lbs. It sounds like a lot but I’m a big guy who can hold considerable water weight and has a considerable appetite! For the “average person” I think that somewhere around 5 lbs gained would be fine. After 2 or 3 days of on-point eating most of the water weight would fall off leaving you with a small, true-weight gain.

Consider that given you’ve gained 5 lbs in a week: if we pay attention to the somewhat archaic formula of 3500 surplus calories per pound of fat you would need to be eating an extra 2500 calories a day every day! That would mean nearly 5000 calories a day!

Were there any missed opportunities?

Yes and no. I would have liked to have done my 1 minute of exercise every day. I could have said no to an extra portion of chips or had salad instead. I would have been just as happy without the boiled eggs in my salad. I could have not put milk in my tea. But how much does this add up to? Not much, in the grand scheme of things.

Here’s today’s takeaway: if you want to instigate a large change in your life, then you need to make a large change in what you’re doing. The 1,2, and 5% changes are great, but they’re not going to take you very far down the road. Focus on the big picture.



  1. Losing 0.4 after a week on holiday is decent, good effort :). I really like the takeaway comment, totally agree. Making big changes is hard at first, but that's what self improvement is about and it'll usually be worth it.

  2. Thanks. Woke up at 196 lbs today so tbf, over the week it was a 1 lb weight gain, which I am more than okay with! Glad you liked the takeaway :) Sometimes I think people need to remember not to get hung up on the ups and downs, and focus on the big picture.