Thursday, 30 July 2009

A day in the life of a dieter

Well, Jae and Andy have diet blogs going so why shouldn't I?

Also, a while back, Stig did a picture blog recounting a day's activities and I've always wanted to do something similar, so I thought I'd combine the two ideas and provide a photographic record of a day's activities relevant to a guy trying to lose some flab.

The idea is to provide details of everything of nutritional significance that went into my mouth and every significant calorie-burning activity in one day, in this case Tuesday 28th July 2009.

(Nutrition details come from packaging (not that there was much packaged food involved) and an excellent site I found called Nutrition Data com.)

9.53am, coffee with dash of milk, approx 25 calories

12.12pm, bowl of Special K cereal (approx 120cal) with semi-skimmed milk (approx 120cal) and a chopped banana (approx 100cal) = 340 calories

2.10pm walk to my dentist to discuss my checkup appointment

2.51pm and from there to the Bull ring Open Market to do some fresh fruit and vegetable shopping.

and from there to my gym, a total of 2 miles or 3.2km. Burned approx 200 calories.

3pm arriving at gym.

3.32pm First exercise completed: 20 mins rowing, burned 220 calories

3.46pm Second exercise completed: stretching and flexing. Burned approx 10 calories

4.28pm Third exercise completed: 20 minutes (plus 1 min cooldown) on bike. Burned 200 calories

4.36pm Break in fourth exercise: resistance training (in all, 3x12 shoulder press, 3x12 chest press, 3x12 pecs, 3 x 3x12 leg resistance exercises). Burned approx 40 calories

5.17pm Fifth exercise completed: 13.30mins cross-trainer. Burned 200 calories.

5.20pm after a mad rush, sitting down for some R&R in the sauna. No calories burned immediately, but it feels good!

5.30pm More R&R in the hydrotherapy pool. No swimming today (big pool off shot to the right; note sauna & steam room straight ahead). No calories burned, but muscles well massaged!

5.55pm three small plums (what else!) bought earlier at the market as a prize to myself for completing the wortkout. Approx 25 cals each = 75 calories
I forgot to provide evidence of two apples eaten during the course of the evening once I got home, about 95cals each = 190 calories
9.08pm late dinner of mixed salad with cottage cheese and lemon dressing (approx 100 cals altogether) and grilled lemon & ginger & paprika chicken breat pieces (basically, home-made nuggets, approx 260cals) and watered-down sugar-free cranberry juice, approx 40 cals = 400 calories

9.33pm dessert, Flora pro-activ low fat apricot yoghurt, 71 calories

11.42pm mid-evening cup of blackcurrant tea (4 cals) and currant bun (which was a lot tastier than it looks!) 174cals with cottage cheese filling (approx 20 cals) = approx 200 calories

1.25am late-night cup of Rooibos tea with a splash of milk = approx 25 calories

I haven't recorded the 3 litres of water drunk at the gym and during the evening while sitting at the computer, with no calorific value.
The balance, though: 1125 low-fat calories in and about 870 calories burned with exercise.
Two unusual things about this day: normally there'd be a sandwich, salad or bowl of soup in the mid-afternoon/early evening with a value of about 300 calories, and I'd not walk to the gym so I'd burn about 200 cals less. Even so, I'm extremely surprised I'm not losing weight more quickly (OK, admittedly there are a few food sins along the way on a weekly basis, but I'm fairly consistent...).
Any comments, tips or hints are most welcome!

Thursday, 16 July 2009


I am starting to write this at 1.46 local time having spent the evening drinking local French rosé wine (1€20 a litre from the wine cooperative down the road) with my sister (3l of said beverage has been drunk between us). I say that to explain why this blog is probably full of typos and non-sequiturs and drunken ramblings.

The evening and the conversation we had has made me think about and re-evaluate a few things.

For the first time in my life, at the age of 47, I uttered the phrase "yes, I am gay" to, and in the physical presence of, one of my siblings (I have 5 sisters and one brother).

It's not that I've ever lied about this rather important element of my life, or tried to hide it. The simple fact of the matter is that in our family, we don't talk about these kinds of things. Not about people we like nor about relationships nor about our deep-seated dreams and/or fears. Most of us will happily talk about these things to other people, but not to each other. We are, in short, a fucked-up family.

All my adult life I've assumed that my status as not-entirely-heterosexual was taken as read among my siblings. I've left enough clues through the years and said more than enough things that should leave them wondering. Through the years, several people outside my family have picked up "vibes" from me and asked me outright whether I'm other-than-straight, and I've never lied. And that's apart from circumstances in which people have known from the moment they met me for whatever reason.

From what my sister said to me during our drunken conversation, she is not aware that any of my other sisters suspect that I may be gay. This leaves me wondering whether I'm an idiot, or they are. Or alternatively, that conversations between my sisters go as I think they do, as I have most definitely outed myself to one of my brothers-in-law before (both of us were stone cold sober at the time, so forgetfulness doesn't come into it) and I'm open with another of my sisters about passers-by I find alluring.

Do most straight people REALLY find it that problematic that others in their midst might not be like them, that they need it spelled out?

Are streotypes in our society so entrenched that short of dressing in a skirt (of the non-kilt variety) or being as camp as Graham Norton, Alan Carr or their ilk, that being gay is just not a valid reasoning for most people? I've never talked about having a girlriend to any of my siblings, never presented a female as a potential girlfriend to any of my family, never talked about attractive
female celebrities (though VERY frequently about male ones) and what's more, I attended an all-boys boarding school.


I might be oddd, I might be shy, or I might be gay. There are no other explanations.

I don't dispute that I display one or more or these characteristics at any time, but people who know me very well (as my siblings should, and unlike our parents, they should at least consider some things as "normal" which an older generation didn't and I know that none of my sisters are even slightly hompophobic) really should be able to addd one and one and get two.

I had no problem coming out to my sister and I didn't feel the weight lifting that so many gay people before have mentioned about their conming out. My primary emotion is wondering, as staated above, which one of us is the idiot? My sister((s) for not making (to my mind) obvious assumptions I'd make about anyone else, or myself for expecting them to make these assumptions?

On a completely different level, and this perhaps comes under the "blowing your own trumpet" heading, I had a kind-of epiphany this evening about the kind of person I am, regardless of my sexuality.

I need to say that reason I'm here in the first place is that my sister is in deep financial and emotional doo-doo and effectively needs to sell her house (which was bought with the intention of being a retirement home) in order to survive financially and emotionally, and I've paid my own way to come here to help her prepare it for sale (it needs a lot of work). She is currently completely pissed on wine, and so am I. By some fluke, I had the presence of mind to put her to bed, wash up after dinner, clean up the mess we'd made, lock up the house and wash all the tools we'd been using prior to our break for a drink (which ended in a lot more), feed her cats and basically make sure we're all safe, secure and in a position to carry on normally in the morning as if it had been an ordinary evening.

What I'm trying to say is, I think, I'm a good person, and I have my wits around me.

So why the fuck doesn't anyone want me? Or even answer my calls?

Am I THAT fucking ugly?

P.S. There are different kinds of drunks: merry ones, maudlin ones, violent ones, incoherent ones, philosophical ones, sleepy ones, etc. Normally, I am a merry drunk who then becomes a sleepy drunk. So what's happened this evening that I've gone through maudlin and philosophical (and, arguably, incoherent) insteead?