Dieting – lessons learnt

Taking corners at speed on a bicycle is usually something that makes life worth living; but when centrifugal force unexpectedly overcomes friction, that can quickly change. So it was one Sunday morning at the beginning of Lent, that what I’d planned was suddenly replaced by a more violent grounding and a trip to A&E, X-ray and the plaster room. Health is finely balanced.

Lent (Latin: Quadragesima,[1] ‘Fortieth’) is the solemn Christian religious observance in the liturgical year commemorating the 40 days Jesus Christ spent fasting in the desert and enduring temptation by Satan


Whilst being seen at the hospital my blood pressure was taken and found to be high. Even though the excitement might’ve affected it, there’s good reason why hypertension is known as the “silent killer”.

A useful life hack is to reframe setbacks as positives, to play with perspectives until the glass is half-full, so joining up the dots, and having previously observed Lent by being vegetarian, the opportunity presented to take better care of my personal endowment from four billion years of evolution and lower the old blood pressure. Things are what they are, but whether we react or respond is a matter of choice.

If you need to close a funeral, Eric’s right up there with “My Way” and “Angels”.

The causes of high blood pressure and circulatory problems are widely accepted as: being overweight, lack of exercise, high salt processed food, smoking and alcohol. Understandably, I’d never considered myself obese, but a visit to the NHS healthy weight calculator forced a rethink. So after a lot of “Youtubing” I set a target of losing 5Kg over the 5 remaining weeks of Lent (the upper limit of NHS weight loss guidance). I also started listening to Dr. Eric Berg who’s an advocate of the keto diet. There are of course many diets out there: Mediterranean, Atkins, high fat, low fat, Sirt food…, but I settled on the Keto’s 18:6 eating pattern (breakfast, lunch, fast until the next morning and a weekly OMAD (one meal a day). But whichever way you cut it, losing weight takes effort and denial, unlike gaining it which is easy and gratifying.

Blue cast, blue pants, just need the top.

Sticking to a diet, and fasting tests resolve and willpower. A widely agreed tip I’ve come to appreciate is a daily weigh-in. We don’t usually remember what we ate a few days ago, but having the consequences stare up from between your feet brings yesterday’s behaviour into sharp focus, and motivates what goes down the hatch today. Also, recording your weight reveals patterns and trends.

So this Easter I’m a different shape and feel better for it, with the only downside being to need a new belt. Following the diet also led to a number of other benefits: healthier meals and snacks (you eat what you buy), drinking more water, walking further, and a better understanding of metabolism and physiology. So in hindsight, though I’d of preferred to have stayed rubber side down, it wasn’t all bad, not at all.

Not a straightforward journey and a noticeable tail-off. The real trick will be to sustain -4.8 and close in on that “healthy weight” with -10.

2 thoughts on “Dieting – lessons learnt

  1. As you say, weight loss is very hard and 5kg in 40 days is impressive! Do you think it was the fasting or the diet change that was the biggest factor? There are lots of additional benefits to fasting too, I think I would find it easier to skip breakfast than dinner though…

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