Sunday, 29 August 2010

Metabolic Kick Start

...and cue music:

There is a theory that from time to time when you’re dieting you should have a bit of a blow out, as it kick-starts your metabolism (Dan, out of interest, the most recent research shows that for best results, this mega-blow out should be around lunchtime every day, and around 9pm every night). Well, last week I was clinging to this theory in the same way that Dan holds dearly to the “shouldn’t go running when you’re overweight” maxim as an excuse not to go running.

You see, it was my birthday.

My 36th was the most surprise-filled birthday since my 8th where not only was I taken to see the double bill of Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back, but I got a Grifter... which had GEARS! Liz took me and the wairns out in the morning to see Toy Story 3 (when you’re at the cinema, it’s practically unheard of not to have a packet of Maltesers or Minstrels... and I didn’t want to deprive the kids of the grapes Liz had thoughtfully brought along), and then as we were miles away from the house, [well, about 9] we had to have lunch out, and the Chiquitos signs were all colourful and inviting, and the fajitas flavoursome and spitting hot.

Then to tea in the afternoon, and the most delicious home-baked vanilla-icing-ed malteser-on-the-top moist sponge cake ever. Mnyomm!And then in the evening, I was even more surprised by the babysitter coming round, and Liz telling me that we were off out into Edinburgh for 2 events at the Fringe... Alex Horne’s “Odds”


and Mark Watson’s “Do I know you?”.

At the first, I got randomly selected (1/120 – how’s that for odds?) to be Alex Horne’s assistant for the evening – now here I think I may actually have shed a pound or two with the stress of possibly being called on at any moment to perform some fruitless task which the audience would bet on (peeling an orange was admittedly not strictly fruitless, but running to the toilet to grab a sign high above the urinals definitely was – very confused looks from the two blokes in there at the time!).

But then we had only 5 minutes before we had to head to the second show (the not-quite-as-good-possibly-because-the-atmosphere-was-less-intimate Mark Watson) and we hadn’t eaten... the only food on offer at the Pleasance was a burger... oh well. And then it might as well be cheese, right? Sauces? Of courses!

So although the weigh-in didn't show that I'd lost as much as I could have done, I think it was a necesary step. Consider the metabolism kick-started! Should see results really start to show over the next couple of weeks...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The last laugh

Here is a grand tale of come-uppance. I shall savour every keystroke.

Several months ago I bought an exercise bike. Not any bike. A Lifecycle 9500HR. It was pushing ten years, but in its day, this £2k harmonious fusion of technology and functionality was found in every decent commercial gym in the land.

I got it at a knocked down price of £25 because it was broken; structurally sound, but the monitor didn’t work. This was not an insignificant problem as the monitor is required to control tension, as well as all the programmes. It is self powered, controlled by its own alternator (oh the beauty of it), but pedalling yielded nothing but a bank screen.

I learnt there were a couple of crafty things one could do that solved 95% of these problems. I learned shortly afterwards that the seller had been even craftier. So short of importing electronic components from Mexico at a cost which would have justified a holiday across the Atlantic to collect in person, it was a write-off.

It’s been sitting in the living room, in various states of disrepair, ever since, like a shipwreck. It, and I have been subjected to a barrage of abuse and mockery, Mr Venables included. The boys have made good use as a climbing frame, but otherwise it has not been a popular addition to the household.

This weekend I finally got round to putting it back together to flog on Ebay. Hooking up one of the connectors I thought I heard a beep. Bemused, I tried pedalling. Blank screen. I disconnected, and hooked it up again. Another quiet beep, like the distant call of an earthquake survivor – there is still life here. I pedalled again, and this time hit the start button (I’m sure I’d noticed that there before), and it exploded into life, wishing me a wonderful day, and asking if I might be interested in partaking in one of its many programmes. It even aroused sideways interest in my Other Half.

From inappropriate climbing frame... 'good morning sir, would you like some coffee?

So I bite my thumb at all the doubters. I’m not just ‘buying gear’. With any luck I’ll be fitter and have made a tidy profit. Of course, the challenge is which one to get rid of, the 9500, or the Ergocycle? How does one chose between a Ducati and a Bentley? It will clearly take a few months of thought.

Paris Pt.2 The power of love

Following the somewhat resigned undertones of yesterday, the motivation to get in shape is all around you in Paris. A population of slender waifs makes one feel trim just by opening one’s eyes. 

Took my first jog for 3-4 years yesterday, around Montparnasse. No idea how far I went, but never has there been such a rapid transition from elysian elation ( first 3 minutes) to dogged drudgery (the remaining 32 minutes). Speaking of dogs, having to keep on the lookout for canine IEDs certainly adds to the workout.

Parisian motivation: push and pull factors

Paris Pt 1 - and it was going so well

It’s not really possible to diet in Paris. It madness not to eat out (it’s not my money anyway), and there’s no better way to round off a long day (after a run of course). And then, to order anything less than 2 courses would be both cheap and an affront to the gastronomic kingdom. My compromise has been not to dip into the bread basket. Having said that, I accidentally ordered tartare de boeuf last night – perhaps salads and soups for the rest of the week.

Breakfasts are equally challenging – need to eat something, but pastries are the only option. As a wise Frenchman once said, if you’re going to have a croissant it might as well be an almond.

compromise: I passed on the bread

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Off the mark - despite Caro & Kerry Curry Carryout Shocker!

Well, week 1 was good, despite muffled guffaws at my attire from people who strolled past me as I was jogging along... 3 x 25 minute runs in the gorgeous sunny Scottish countryside...

...and porridge for breakfast every day (from someone who doesn't normally have breakfast), combined with watching what I eat for the rest of the day, has lost me a tidy 3lb.

And that's after a blow-out on Saturday night with big sis Caroline and her mate Kerry visiting, and beers and curry over a game of Ticket to Ride ("Woo-hoo! I'm laying track, baby!").

3lb might only be a small step, but in TTR terms, it's a wee Portland-Seattle on the way to hopefully the longest route (laboured but you get the point).

In other news, Dan - when you're in Paris, I strongly recommend the Bouillon Racine - went there last year for my Dad's surprise 70th lunch, and it was fabulous: large portions of deliciously mouthwatering fare, and the puddings were to die for. Knock yourself out - have one of each! Bon app!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

galactic intimidation won't work

Well I must say I was becoming a little deflated at the prospect of a one horse race. But now I see I'm competing with the fusion of a Fame reject and the darker side of a trekkie convention - and am as motivated as ever.

2 weeks in, 3.5kg down. A cracking start, although I suspect the curve will soon convex as I dehydrate to the state of a preserved neanderthal.

More alarming, I'm away for 2 weeks from Saturday, including a 5 day work trip to Paris. Looks like I may have to dig out the running shoes after all, although diet will be out the window - inconceivable to have a meal unaccompanied by a pichet of rouge.

New York High School of Performing Arts - the focus of Pete's weight loss ambition

All very interesting, Dan... but what people really want is an update on your numb nethers. P.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ready to play, what's the day?

Pete here: Right! Back from holidays (and cakes, chips and brother John's legendary "Edwardian London Grill" for breakfast) and I'm raring to go! I have decided to take a slightly different tack to Dan, however, choosing to spend my time exercising my body rather than on exercising my credit card on ebay purchases, most of which don't even work properly, or on researching penile dysfunction?!

I therefore went out for a run and - confident that I was looking good, felt like a million pounds after 30 mins or so of jogging round the beautiful Scottish countryside... (a million pounds weight, that is); still, I've now got that "nice ache" feeling you get, and am happily on the way... as you said, Dan... Game on!

Looking good is half the battle

PS - good job losing 4% of your body weight so far, Dan! I've always said it's about time you got a haircut.

Monday, 9 August 2010

cycling or offspring?

 Having delighted in reading over at BeginnerTriathlete that, being overweight, I should refrain from running, I'm now discovering the perils of cycling. 10 minutes on my Kettler Ergoracer (German forerunner of the GT) and I literally cannot feel my nether regions. This seems to be an area of some controversy (cycling, not my undercarriage).

A 2005 NYT article first stirred things up in the general public domain when they covered a special editorial in the Journal of Sexual Medicine on compressed perineums, quoting that 5% of men who cycle intensively developed moderate to severe ED (erectile dysfunction). Counter evidence that this is three times less than statistics on the normal affect of male aging suggests that cycling is actually good for one’s loins – even if this argument was first made by the owner of a cycle company. 

One study focusing on professional cyclists found 71% of male competitors after a race suffered impotence up to 3 hours after, 13% a week after (my other half would be lucky to get any attention 3 days after a triathlon, let alone hours). A recent 2010 meta-study on such research, published again in Sexual Medicine concludes “[T]here a significant relationship between cycling-induced perineal compression leading to vascular, endothelial, and neurogenic dysfunction in men and the development of ED” (Women suffer the same consequences, but there’s considerably less research on this. Sounds familiar.)

Other factors, apparently, are also conspiring against me: I’m overweight, compounding the compression; I have a rather bony backside; I’m using a cheap saddle with no padding in my shorts; and I’m abnormally well-endowed. Ok, so I may have made one of those up.
 So it looks like I’ll soon be seen sporting a rather fetching pair of Pearl Izumi's, and will also be scouring ebay for a new groove-style saddle – something like a Specialized Toupe, although it seems I have to go and get my buttocks measured for the right size (ooh, suits you sir!)

                                            castration contraption

 some temporary remedial action has made a significant difference. I’ve tipped the saddle forward and lower, and flipped the handle bars 180 degrees, creating a much more comfortable ride. I’m starting to love the flexibility of this bike. And future progeny saved.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Weigh in

So we're away.

Pete unfortunately missed the official weigh-in ceremony. He was busy cramming in a few more packs of sausages and lost track of the time.

Game on