A Happy Person

I was walking to the office this morning, head phones in ears listening to a few of my favourite tracks. I began thinking about what I had to do today, what I achieved yesterday and what I’d like to achieve by the end of the week. Just to put things in perspective for the past 6 or 7 weeks I’ve been wire-framing around 4-5 different projects. They’ve been a real mix, some iPhone apps, an iPad app and two web apps. Whilst I find this highly enjoyable as it’s a huge part of my personal process, I knew that I had some iPhone app design work coming up.

I’m like a kid at Christmas when I know I can get my head deep in to photoshop and start creating some visuals.

How happy I was walking, listening and thinking reminded me of New York when I was there last year.

Jen and I had walked up and down Manhattan a couple of times but on this particular day it seems to be packed. If I remember correctly we were on our way back from the Financial District and decided to criss-cross over to fifth ave. We were wandering around as tourists do, getting in everyones way when I heard a guy singing. Generally in the UK people busk so it’s not un-common to hear buskers on the street however this was closer, this was right behind me.

I looked over my shoulder to find a young guy, early twenties singing at the top of his voice dancing in and out of the people around him without a care in the world. Most people would have branded him as mad, but you know, I bet he was the happiest guy in New York on that day because he couldn’t have cared less.

He was happy in what he was doing, just like I am today with my head stuck in Photoshop.

A Healthier Designer

Being a designer is great, right?

We get to do what we love day in, day out and that’s awesome.

What isn’t so great is that as designers we’re renowned for sitting on our ass for a ridiculous amount of hours per day, only to get up and forage for food at times when the glare gets too much for our eyes and we need a ‘break’. The food we do end up foraging is generally non-healthy-quick-to-make-and-eat crap.

Needless to say that our love for the brown stuff (coffee) is funding Starbucks yearly get-together is a known fact (maybe).

For the freelance designers amongst us it’s far too easy to wake up grab a coffee, maybe shower and then wander accidentally in to our home-office and that’s before 8am. If you don’t have a dog then you’re likely to see only 3 rooms in your house for the entirety of the week.

It’s not a good start to the rest of your life.

Dieting

Every time you say that word, somewhere a pixie dies. Normally every time you decide to go on a ‘diet’ you’ve given up within a few days because it gets boring or the food they’re telling you to eat tastes like wet cardboard. They’re just not fun. Losing weight is all about self-control and doing what’s right for *your* body.

A Quick Story

Since I was 15/16 (Yeah, I was a fat kid at school) I’ve attempted to ‘lose weight’ on numerous occasions and for the most part I’ve given up after about 2 days. It wasn’t that I enjoyed crap food, I didn’t always eat crap food like takeaways etc, I just didn’t think about ‘what’ and ‘when’ I was eating. This accompanied with the smallest hint of negative thinking about ‘losing weight’ led to a lack of self-control which in turn made you give up.

I’ve never been ‘thin’, well maybe I was in 2003 for about a year but it wasn’t natural for me to be that way. I went from 13st 6lbs to 10st 2lbs in 6 months.

I’ve also been completely the opposite when I started doing weight training in 2006. I had a starting weight of 11st 6lbs and ended up a touch under 13st in 3 months.

At the beginning of last year, my weight had risen to almost it’s highest ever point without me weight training. I’d let things slide and I seriously wasn’t happy with myself. I felt tired, irritable, heavy, uncomfortable and sad. I knew I had to do something about it.

I signed up to a gym and never went but in 8 months I lost over a stone in weight with no added exercise to my daily routine, nor did I follow a ‘diet’. Here’s how…

The Nitty Gritty…

These are just some small facts that I found out on my road to losing weight effectively.

  • Losing too much weight too quick is bad.
  • If you lose too much weight too quick you’ll put it back on in weeks.
  • Don’t weigh yourself everyday, choose one day a week to weigh yourself and stick to it.
  • Eating less doesn’t help you lose weight effectively.
  • You don’t have to eat healthily EVERY day to lose weight.
  • You don’t have to do exercise to lose excess body weight.
  • Your body holds a shed-load of fluid.
  • Track your intake then monitor week to week.
  • You need to allow time for your healthier life-style to become habitual.
  • When you eat matters.
  • What you drink matters.

My Daily Routine prior to losing weight.

6:20am – Wake Up

7:15am – Arrive in the office

7:30am – BIG cup of coffee with 2 sugars and 2 (ok, 3 jammie dodger biscuits).

8:30am – BIG cup of coffee with 2 sugars

10:30am – BIG cup of coffee with 2 sugars

12:30pm – 500ml bottle of full fat coke, greggs stottie cheese savoury sandwich, packet of walkers crisps.

14:30pm – Big cup of coffee with 2 sugars

16:00pm – Big cup of coffee with 2 sugars

17:00pm – Leave Office

18:00pm – Snack on anything I could see, biscuit, some crisps anything, not much of anything but I did snack or ‘something’.

19:00pm to 20:00pm – Dinner. Which usually was Fajita’s, Pizza, Crappy ready meal, McDonalds, or eating out somewhere.

21:00pm – Big cup of coffee and a biscuit or chocolate.

I was a fat lazy bastard. I rarely swear when writing, but I wanted to emphasise just how much looking back on that point of my life frustrates me.

I can still remember the day I stood on the scales knowing the news wasn’t going to be good. It was a Saturday morning and I’d just had a cup of coffee with a couple of biscuits about an hour earlier. I stared in to the mirror at the overweight, tired looking face looking back at me. I battled with the idea of looking down or just stepping off the scales and walking away. If I was over my highest weight I was ready to have a breakdown, if I was just under then I’d be proud of myself and my body for not going that far.

I looked down.

I was 6 ounces below my heaviest weight that I’d been in my life. 14st 2lbs 8oz. The initial reaction, I stared back at that overweight face and said “No, no, no.” No to going any higher, no to ruining my body and no to living like I was. I hopped in the shower thinking about how I was going to adjust my life to start making some huge changes. I went downstairs and chatted with Jen. The conversation went something like this;

“Jen, I’m fat.”

“You’re not.”

“Don’t tell me I’m not when I’ve just stood on the scales and I’m nearly the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. I’m sick of this, I’m not doing it anymore. My life is changing as of Monday, tomorrow I’m going to shop for what I need. I’m going to weigh myself once a week on a Saturday morning and record what I’m doing.”

“Ok.”

And that was that. From that point on, I changed the way I consumed food and water.

As of that point this was my daily routine from waking up on a Monday to going to sleep on a Friday.

6:20am – Wake Up

7:15am – Arrive in the office

7:30am – Pro-Biotic Yoghurt and a glass of water with the smallest hint of cordial.

8:30am – Glass of water with the smallest hint of cordial.

10:30am – Glass of water with the smallest hint of cordial.

12:30pm – Glass of water with the smallest hint of cordial. Tin of soup. Any soup which *didn’t* have cream in it, no Tomato Soup etc. I checked the tins to make sure they were between 180calories and 350calories per tin.

14:30pm – Glass of water with the smallest hint of cordial.

16:00pm – Glass of water with the smallest hint of cordial.

17:00pm – Leave Office

19:00pm to 20:00pm – Dinner. Chicken Salad which consisted of 1 breat of chicken fried with nut oil. Lettuce, tomato, olives, a little bit of cheese, cucumber, spring onion. A drizzle of salad dressing. I either had this or a chicken breast with vegetables.

21:00pm – A Calypso ice-lolly. This was the ‘sweet’ thing of the day.

Weekends were different, I’d technically eat whatever I wanted to within reason i.e. I’d eat but wouldn’t over eat like I used to. I ate pizza, chinese take-away, indian take-away, sweets from the cinema etc.

In the first week of doing that, I lost nearly 6lbs of weight. Most people would put that down to fluid retention i.e. you’re not drinking enough but losing an intense amount of fluid however as you can see from the above I was drinking a lot, in fact I was drinking more than usual.

Some big factors.

I gave up alcohol completely. Do the same if you want to lose excess body weight. One good night out drinking beer/wine will add on 2lbs of weight guaranteed.

I stopped drinking coffee & tea. The first week was horrible. I had the shakes, headaches the full works.

I cut out the majority of my bread intake if not all of it during the week.

What kind of weight loss did I get from doing this?

I consistently lost 1-2lbs a week. WITHOUT ANY EXERCISE. Research says that losing anymore than 3lbs isn’t good for you as your body is starving itself and it WILL put the weight back on.

Overall, I lost 1st and 4lbs doing the above and the weight stayed off.

I don’t hold any qualifications in nutrition, I just did what I thought I needed to do. If you want to lose weight by all means ask me questions in the comments but you do any action from my answers at your own risk.

All I can say is that it worked for me.

My 10 things…

I read my friend Sarah’s blog the other day and she’d written a personal post called “My 10 Things”, something which she’d noticed on pinterest. I thought it was an interesting concept and thought I’d tag along.

I’m happiest when… I’m traveling without my phone and without any access to the internet or email. When I’m walking along a foreign coastline with my Wife talking about anything and everything. When I’m sat in the shade reading a good book that I’d be happy to read again. When I reminisce about the day I got married to Jen and every time I look at the scan photos of my soon to be born child.

The best place to be in the summer… The most random place that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy was Crete, one of the Greek islands. It ended up being one of the most chilled out and amazing weeks of my life.  And of course I couldn’t help but mention New York. I really really love that city.

I could spend the whole day… writing, reading, planning, designing, tinkering, sketching, thinking, chilling. Dependant on the mood I’m in, I could spend the whole day doing one of those things. Usually I can find myself writing better in a coffee shop, designing at my desk, chilling abroad, thinking anywhere, planning constantly and reading when I can.

I always wanted to be… Fireman Sam. A journalist. An architect. A fighter pilot. A soldier. A designer. A friend that cared. A person that gave a shit.

Favorite thing about my house… that it will be the place my child will know as home.

For inspiration I… think about anything else BUT getting inspiration. I tend to get most great ideas or inspiration when I’m in the shower.

It’s worth the splurge… Books, I buy too many then forget to read them all. Anything that I use on a daily basis, if I use something regularly then there isn’t any point in buying anything second class.

Words I live by… Courage, Discipline, Respect for others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless commitment. Just do it.

Day I’d love to live again… I’d love to do my wedding day again. I was very very ill for the 2 days leading up to and the wedding day itself. So much so that there are certain points of the day that I can’t actually remember. I would love to do it again but maybe slightly differently.

Brings out the best in me… Jen.

And with that, what are your 10 things? Write them up and post the link in the comments.