My journey from a BMI of 38 to 31 in 2014

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My journey from a BMI of 38 to 31 in 2014

This topic contains 11 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Greenwheels 8 years, 2 months ago.

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  • Hi I am 52 old man who has been overweight since my my early twenties and peaked at a BMI of 40 in 2010 when 48 years old. At that time I was diagnosed with sleep apnoea and advised to lose weight. I managed to to lose some weight using weight watchers and slimming world and other DIY approaches but had been able to keep all the weight off. In 2012 I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation (unstable and high heart rate) and once again advised to lose weight.

    So even with serious health issues I was unable to motivate myself to eat well and take enough exercise – I was pretty fed up with myself as a result – as of course this behaviour makes no sense at all – and I like to think in all other areas of my life I am not quite so stupid!

    So in early Jan 2014 my BMI was 38 and I decided to try the 5:2. I am very pleased with the result as at a BMI of 31 I am now close to my objective of getting to a BMI of 30 by xmas 2014. The total weight loss is 3.5 stone or 47 llbs, and I am probably at my lightest since my mid 20s.

    My approach on the 2 fasting days is a low fat yoghurt for breakfast (60 to 90 Calories), a soup for lunch (65 to 120 Calories) a range of evening meals which stick to 250 to 350 Calories plus a few more in my tea. On the other 5 days I try to stick to 2000 to 2500 Calories. Alcohol is restricted to Fri/Sat and Sunday and no more than half a bottle of wine per night. I have had a few weeks when I have avoided alcohol completely. I have also switched entirely to 1% fat milk, this is lower calorie than semi skimmed milk but has an acceptable taste, I find skimmed milk unacceptable.

    So have I stuck to it completely, no of course not. My weakness is savoury food and snacks so I have had the odd high calorie takeaway, extra meal, packets of crips or peanuts. But have always managed to get back on the 5:2 the next day.

    Exercise is of course also important and my target was 3 visits to the gym each week and I have managed this a lot but have fallen to 1 or 2 visits on some weeks and occasionally O. I also walk our dogs 2 or 3 times a week for an hour.

    So I feel much healthier, I am fitter and look much better I am told. I have had to buy 2 new sets of clothes during the year

    I had hoped the sleep apnoea would be cured with the weight loss as my neck is down to the magic 16″ which for a man is the warning sign for sleep apnoea any bigger than 16″ and you are deemed higher risk. Mine was only identified after my snoring got so bad GP sent me for a sleep test. The atrial fibrillation (AF) is unchanged and I remain on drugs to keep it under control. I have had 3 cardio versions and 2 catheter ablation treatments to try and cure the AF without success but some improvement. It is possible I will have another catheter ablation next year.

    So what next, well I will continue the 5:2 and hope to get to a BMI of 30 by xmas and will restart on 2 Jan and stick to it until my BMI is 25, I will probably allow myself 8 months to achieve this and then reduce down to 6:1 after that.

    So I am left puzzled by my inability to eat and exercise appropriately all my life when I have always understood the inevitability of the calories in vs calories out equation, but have spent 30 years eating too much and moving too little and knowing I am doing it – so maddening.

    I have paid a significant price with my health. I am convinced being overweight has contributed or directly caused both the sleep apnoea and AF. Oh and I forget I even ignored early GP warnings from my late 20s about blood pressure and weight and have been on medication to control my BP since I was 40, even this was not enough to change my behaviour.

    I have considered gastric bypasses and bands several times over the years and am please I did not take this route.

    What is different in 2014 in terms of my motivation, well in all honesty I am not sure I am just pleased I have found sticking to the 5:2 easier than any previous diet. I still consider myself to be addicted to eating and this is my real ongoing struggle to avoid all the temptations of savoury meals and snacks.

    Just seen a few typos.

    In the first paragraph it should ….unable to keep the weight off….. not able.

    And in the 8th paragraph I should have said the sleep apnoea is not cured.

    First of all well done on your success to date! I relate to your frustration. I’ve stuggled with my weight for years, lost and gained back – so stupid! Luckily no health issues for me so far but the excess 40-50lb definately had a negative impact on my life. However, we can’t change the past only look forward and as the song says ‘let it go’. If it helps – we are not alone. Human beings are hard-wired into patterns of behavior which are very difficult to break. Diets come and go but the success comes from maintaining the change in eating patterns and losing dependance on food for emotional needs (imo). You my find the following link of interest. Best wishes

    Sorry wrong link -

    Well done, Cristatus! That is fabulous. I’ve been doing this for 3 months now, and delighted to report a loss of nearly 8kg (which I am pleased to see is a bit more than the average – not that it’s a competition, but it is a reminder to stop beating myself up when I don’t stick to the regime).
    So I see your post was about 16 months ago, and wonder how you’ve been going in the meantime? In particular with your blood pressure.
    My doctor prescribed anti-hypertensives for me a month or so ago, and while I don’t have very high blood pressure, a little google research showed me that I was still at twice the average risk for a stroke & heart trouble, which would seriously annoy me – I’m busy & I want to keep getting on with my life! So I am taking them, not noticing any side-effects, but none-the-less, wanting to improve my health generally.
    I also wondered if you have investigated something called “tapping”, which I have found helpful for some emotional problems, as overeating definitely is for me, in particular when I am tired. Scroll down a bit in the link until you find something which explains tapping for you.
    Good on you, and keep going until you hit that goal weight – that is my intention, and I can do it.

    So here is an update after about 18 months, I failed to achieve my objectives I set out in October 2014. My BMI has fluctuated between 31 and 33 during this time. I have only managed to maintain this and prevent all the weight going back on by intermittent use of the 5:2. I am today at a BMI of 31.

    Another big positive is that about 6 months ago I was completely signed off by Sleep Apnoea team at Papworth having had a prolonged period of monitoring without the use of CPAP. My blood pressure remains well controlled with medication and my Atrial Fibrillation is also generally well controlled but I do get the occasional episode which is debilitating and unpleasant, further surgery is not recommended but my heart specialist reviews this every year as surgical techniques improve.

    I have kept up the exercise which is dog walking most days and gym twice a week so my fitness remains good.

    I have looked at the links from CAnnbewarra but they look like money making scams, if it was just buying a book I may have jumped in.

    So I am now determined once again to apply myself to the 5:2 properly and try and get to a BMI of 25 by end of the year. I remain obsessed by food and find it very difficult every day, whether it be a 5 or 2 day, to control my cravings which are savoury food focussed.

    I still do not know what is behind my over eating or why I find it so hard to stick to any sensible eating routine.

    A few months ago I saw a program on TV about the variety in ability to use our minds eye. The program explained that abilities range from being able to conjure a full colour virtual HD image at will to not being able to see anything at all with their minds eye. Now this was a revelation for me as I had of course heard this term hundreds or thousands of times during my life but had not realised that I was unusual in not being able to actually see images in my mind. I wonder now if this may contribute to my problems with overeating – stay with me here – my theory is that body image is something that is important when trying to control food intake or diet – without the use of my minds eye I cannot conjure an image of myself from the mirror in the morning. Now this may of course be nonsense but I would be interested in others views.

    So I have been trying to develop my minds eye without success after a few weeks but I intend to persevere.

    So to test your minds eye ability close your eyes and try and see an image of someone or thing close to you, a child, a partner or a pet. What can you see, crystal clear in colour, colour but not very clear through just black and white to fuzzy or indistinct to nothing at all.

    So I have been trying to use photographs of myself like the old technique of a fatty photo on the fridge door, but I have one on my phone to look at when being tempted to eat something inappropriate. Early days yet but so far it is too easy just to not refer to the photo and carry on eating, not sure if this is the case with your minds eye but I guess you can just avoid this as well. So I am left wondering is there any link between minds eye capability and controlling over eating behaviour.

    Hi Cristatus
    Actually well done in remaining committed. I write on my blog that accountability of ones self is a priority, the fact that you returned to post a blog shows you are accountable. I am no sage just doing it my way. I started Jan 1st with a BMI of 36 (I think) and now it’s 31. I am really looking forward to breaking through 30 and totally committed to achieving this. However I too have bad days and yesterday over ate big time.
    Whilst it may it help you let me tell you what I do. I have an A5 diary and record every cal in and take off every cal from exercise. I over estimate if I don’t know exactly how much I eat.
    I also keep a notional running total of 2,600 daily which is what I calculate I could consume just to maintain my weight. The third figures are what I need to consume to achieve my target of 91.3kg by the end of the year. That’s a daily cal consumption of 2,200. So if I stay below that I should be 91.3kg. My calculations are correct as 7700 cals equate to 1kg weight lost and I am at present 70,000 calories under my daily intake. As I have lost just under 10 kg that puts me exactly on target! Goodness I hope that all makes sense!
    Anyway it keeps me focussed. You see I am obsessed like you by food. Love the stuff, so instead of trying to deny myself I focus even more on what I eat everyday, don’t miss one day. I stay accountable to myself this way.
    I really hope I haven’t sounded evangelical, just want to share what’s working for me.
    Stay strong and good luck.

    Thanks Bigby I admire your focus on the numbers and had calculated similar numbers for myself but always find counting the calories in very hard. My Fitbit does a great job of estimating the daily calories burnt. Can you offer any tips on easy estimation of calories eaten? If I meet my exercise goals I use close to 3000 calories per day and my rule of thumb has been stay below 2500 on the 5 days and below 700 on the 2 days. So that gives me a calorie deficit of about 7000 calories per week which should get me close to the 1kg per week loss as well.

    Hello again all – I made it to my first goal over the weekend – a BMI of 30 from starting point of 35 5 months ago. I had a bit of a blip there for a few weeks, but I seem to be back on track now.
    I’m going to not stress too much if I linger here for a bit, but my next goal is to get about half-way to BMI 25 (normal weight), and see how that feels.
    Loving the fact that I have lost so much weight and even if I have a bad day I am still way ahead of when I started, so it is still all good.
    Sorry you didn’t like the links Cristatus – it’s true that you can buy heaps of resources about EFT but I haven’t bought anything – I just get emails and sometimes there are free meditations which I have found very helpful over the last few years (a few family stresses).
    I can understand that not being able to visualise can be quite challenging – I imagine it’s a bit like being colour-blind or not having a sense of smell so hard to explain to anyone else?
    I’m really impressed that everyone has the tenacity to count calories – I totally refuse to do that because I found it too easy to get obsessive then anxious when I didn’t live up to my own (overly high) expectations. So on a ‘fast’ day, I drink as much milky tea & coffee as I want, try to ensure I eat protein (usually a hard boiled egg or a small tin of salmon) and salad. And not eat in the evening! Which has been my biggest downfall…
    But I wrote myself a big sign saying “Do NOT eat at night” and I’ve only slipped up twice, so I’m quite pleased with that.
    Keep going – we’re all going well – and will get to our goals. And the getting there is the point, not how long it took or what we did; just the fact that we made it!
    Have a great week!

    Wow!Great loss, well done! Please continue!

    Instead of the fatty photo as a guilty reminder to avoid the unhealthy snacks, why not try a more inspirational tactic. Post a photo of the slimmer you.. Or someone you admire (not a celebrity though) to keep you on track. Having a vision of your goal is so much more positive than an image of the effects of your past failures.

    Be kind to yourself, but not with food. A helpful quote I have in my food and mood diary is “Ask yourself, what am I hungry FOR? Life is about fulfillment. If your life isn’t fulfilled, your stomach can never supply what’s missing”.

    What we don’t buy we cannot eat. Every time we make healthy food choices we should celebrate our self care decision, and each time we eat mindfully, savouring the tastes of our choices and tuning in to our feeling satisfied, not ‘stuffed’enough to stop eating, we stop seeing food as a reward or comfort. Automatically reaching for the biscuits we are hostages to our impulses, often using that eating activity to block out emotion. We find ourselves eating mindlessly, repetitively, often secretly, always with guilt and remorse.

    What are we hungry FOR???

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