The Whole 30 Challenge

I’m nearing the end of the Julia Buckley Fat Loss program with just 2 more weeks of hard graft before I take the final measurements and review the before and after photos.

Julia’s program has a very structured training plan but the nutritional aspect has been left much more fluid, enabling the recruits to guide themselves towards a healthy and workable nutrition plan. The food motto for the JBFL program would probably be “Mostly good, most of the time”, where good means low in processed carbs.

I started my diet plan with a predominantly Paleo foundation, so immediately cut out bread, pasta, potatoes and sugar. I’m afraid I was following a French caveman who turned out to be a founder member of the Stella Artois brewery and alcohol managed to sneak past my paleo principles.

3 weeks ago I decided to take the plan a bit more seriously and went in search of hardcore Paleo rules.

The Whole 30I found the Whole 30.

For the last 25 days I’ve been following an über strict paleo detox. So that means NO milk, NO alcohol, NO bread, NO sugar, NO pasta, NO grains, NO pulses, NO flour.

I’ve been living off jasmine tea, eggs, chicken, tuna, veg, fruit and cashew nuts. That’s pretty much it. If it weren’t for the cashew nuts I’d probably be wafer thin by now.

Its been a struggle. Cutting out milk in my tea turned out to be the surprise challenge. I had a very sulky patch during week 3 – I was bored with the monotony of it all and wanted a god damn beer. I did have a couple of blips in the end. I had two bottles of Mythos at a Greek restaurant and a dollup of Elmlea fake cream with some strawberries. On the whole though, this has been a rewarding and successful challenge.

One of the main ideas of the Whole 30 plan is to detox or get clean for a whole month so you can slowly re-introduce food types into your diet to assess for any intolerances. I don’t think I’m bothered much by food intolerances so expect to be able to re-introduce milk and alcohol almost immediately. I hope I’ve learned something about moderation though.

My intention is to stick to a mostly Paleo inspired diet, the reduction in processed carbs and sugars has freed me from many of the intense food cravings I had and I feel much less of a slave to food. I’m looking forward to a bit more freedom and flexibility though.

If you’re tempted by the Whole 30 Challenge I would recommend the following two books “Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat” and “It Starts with Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways” as well as this amazing iPad recipe app, “Nom Nom Paleo” which is a joy to use and includes some really delicious and inspired Whole 30 compliant recipes. Despite having cut out a number of potential ingredients from my diet, with the help of these 3 guides I’ve actually been incredibly creative in the kitchen, knocking up homemade mayonnaise, Chinese style cauliflower “rice” and a rather special Vietnamese beef dish.

Big Fat Sitting Duck

Hardcore workouts appeal to me, at least the “idea” of hardcore exercise appeals. I have a copy of Insanity and have once attended a British Military Fitness class, I’ve even watched Jillian Michaels on the telly and I can confirm that it was a brutal experience.

The latest initiative by may well be a step too far.

Overweight folk are being invited to part with £199 and sign up for 10 sessions of target practice.

Just to make it clear – the fatties are the target.

The idea is that the participants will be unarmed and have to run the gauntlet while staff take pot shots at them with the paint guns.

“There will be several shooters in place and so it’s unlikely any of those involved will be in a safe area for too long, which, combined with wanting to avoid getting hit, should result in a lot of running around, shedding hundreds of calories in the process.”

I’m sure it’s good exercise but what on earth would encourage you to go back again for sessions 2-10? I imagine that after you’ve admired the array of bruises on your wobbly bits and scrubbed the remains of the emulsion from your skin, a gentle jog in the local park will look far more attractive.

Maybe you can progress through the ranks and swap kg’s for ammo and armour – first kilogram lost gets you a shield and when you reach your weight loss target you are rewarded with a pump action, sawn-off, paintball accelerator so you can get your own back on the staff who’ve had free rein with your nerve endings for the last few sessions.

“Getting hit by a paintball can really sting and so I’m sure anyone who takes a shot will be even keener to avoid the next one, which will hopefully enable them to burn even more calories.”

The company believes that fear based exercise could well be the next big thing but I’m not sure if I’d be brave enough to sign up for this level of torture, I’d be worried that they’d turn the session over to the latest stag party and I’d end up cowering by the nearest tree like a big fat sitting duck.

KiFit Body Monitor – The Update

I’ve been wearing KiFit body monitor for 3 weeks now and have just downloaded the stats for analysis.

I love this bit. I have masses of data points for each day and feel compelled to create myself a database to store it all in. I can look back on each day determine my calorie intake, activity level, calorie expenditure, sleep quality, nutrient %, alcohol overload and probably more.

At the moment I am having to make do with a spreadsheet but that is fascinating enough.

I’ve matched the daily calorie deficit with a predicted weightoss (on the basis of 3500 calorie deficit = 1 pound) and matched it with actual weightloss.

Despite having a marvelous second week, this last week has been pants and my three week total was a paltry 2lbs. The calculated cumulative deficit suggests I should have lost a far more acceptable 6 lbs. I’m not dejected though, as I have the data to fall back on.

A quick glance over the stats reveals a few discrepancies. I didn’t enter any food on the first day of registering the KiFit armband and another day I forgot to enter my dinner. These knocked the expected weightloss down to 5lbs and then Lynn started looking over it with a critical eye. “Did you record those chocolate orange segments on Friday night?”

What chocolate orange segments?

I staggered home somewhat inebriated on Friday and only vaguely remember stealing the kids sweets. Having been prompted though, a few more sins crept out of the woodwork. There had been a stick of rock upstairs for quite some weeks and that seemed to disappear on that Friday night too. I woke up on Saturday to find the wrapper in the bin. I “forgot” to enter the smoothie I had at lunch yesterday and Thursday’s 50g pack of peanuts was recorded as 1 peanut rather than 1 bag of peanuts.

Having cleared up the data my expected weight loss dropped to 4lbs and no doubt a few other items bypassed the recording phase on their way to my mouth. So I think we are sufficiently within the bounds of acceptable data entry error for me to accept the data and start to draw some conclusions.

I haven’t exactly been hitting all my targets and the only one I’ve surpassed is the calories consumed target. Not the best one to pick.

I’ve run over my daily calorie consumption as well and looked back to the days where I came in under the 1700 cal target. I think I’ve got loads of room for improvement and I should be able to make progress without too much pain.

Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be making renewed efforts to hit my step target and to limit the food intake – I need to build that calorie deficit up.

I’ve found the KiFit experience to be fascinating. I really am quite a sedentary beast at heart. I’ve had 25 mins on the treadmill today, running through a high intensity routine and have still only managed to record 600 steps by 8pm. It’s easy to see how you could lull yourself into a false sense of security by partaking in the occasional gym based exercise and spend the rest of the day with your feet up consuming recovery drinks.

Running Snacks and Protein

I’m on the look out for the perfect running snack to sustain me through the long runs. I know that the sugar laden syrupy shots are very popular, but they make me gag and besides, refined carbs play havoc with my weight.

As a runner with a weight problem I struggle with the concept of sports drinks and nutrition, it absolutely galls me to replace all the calories that I’ve just struggled to sweat off with a sweet sports drink or jelly bean. If I attempt to run on water alone though I crash terribly after 10k.

I’m having a little bit of success with my weight loss at the moment by monitoring intake and expenditure with the ki-fit body monitoring gadget and dabbling with a slow carb diet. This basically means I’m restricting refined white carbs such as bread, rice, pasta and increasing the proportion of protein in my diet.

Any form of diet that balances protein and carb intake seems to work for me and as a result I’ve been dabbling with a huge array of snack bars that have a higher than typical protein content.

Don’t worry – I didn’t eat all these at once!

They aren’t particularly easy to get hold of and like anything that comes out of a health food shop they are shockingly expensive. The protein flapjack bar was an astounding £1.99

The Trek energy bars and Clif bar are my favourites. They have a very satisfying texture. Solid and chewy but not too difficult to manage between short gasps while on the run. They hold together pretty well too, and remain in one piece despite being crammed into a waistpack or rucksac and you can just break off pieces as you go. They work pretty well as emergency sustenance at work too, the protein content seems to extend the duration of satisfaction so you don’t get the high and slump associated with highly sugared snacks.

In the Great North run goodie bag there was a pack of Powerbar Ride Shots. They look pretty disgusting on the pack and remained in my drawer for months. Following my new protein craze though, I’ve been encouraged to retrieve them and I’ve used them on my last two running commutes and have found them to be ideal. They have a firm jelly consistency with a citrus centre. They stay in the mouth just a little too long for heavy breathing comfort but because they aren’t too sweet they can sit in your cheek to be savoured slowly.

I was sent some Nature Valley Granola bars to try out the other week. These aren’t protein enriched, having about 3g of protein per bar compared to approx 9g in the Clif and Trek bars, but I wanted to try them out as a possible running fuel.

Granola is very popular with ultra runners so it ought to be perfect for my more modest yet time consuming runs.

They are delicious but I find them just a little too crumbly for running with. When you start to break them up they fall to pieces and you end up trying to snaffle up individual oat flakes. They are best served at home, with a cup of tea and preferably with your feet up.

Ki Fit Body Monitoring Gadget

I’ve been watching back to back episodes of the Biggest Loser for quite some time now and in the later series the Bodybugg became an integral feature on the flabby arms of the contestants.

I’m not sure why the new gadget took so long to register with me but within three days of me acknowledging the device and researching it on the web, I was donning the British version on my own flabby arm.

The British version is sold as the Ki Fit and looks the same as the US Bodymedia gizmo but the subscription service has supposedly been optimised for the UK market.

It’s a fairly pricey piece of kit or at least it becomes so once you’ve bought the obligatory subscription to the web service. I went down the expensive route and bought the premium option with the shortest subscription. Everyone in this household was very keen to point out that gadgets have a notoriously short half life for me, so I compromised and committed to 3 months only.

The KiFit is a 24/7 body monitoring device. It has a number of sensors that pick up movement, skin temperature, conductivity and who knows what else to determine your metabolic rate or calorie burn per minute.

I’ve no idea how accurate it is. Of course the website claims its super accurate and clinically proven but I’m a little cynical. I’ve still be drawn in though and by day 4 I am loving it. As with most things, such as weighing scales, fat percentage monitors and skin fold calipers, it is consistency that holds the key, absolute accuracy is probably a pipe dream.

This gadget enables me to derive some form of analytical study of my lethargic body. Calories out, activity rate, sleep efficiency and providing I log my food intake properly I’ve got the calories in part, sussed as well. It feels as though some element of control has been handed back to me. There is no need to guess whether I’ve balanced the activity and food well enough to put me into a calorie deficit.

The web service is key to bringing the whole thing together and I am incredibly impressed with the system. It works so well – even on a mac!

Here is the activity breakdown from today. I’ve been trying to get on my feet a bit more than usual, so I had a very short stint on the treadmill at lunchtime and a walk around the common before tea. On a working day I’ve been shocked to find that my time at work is no more taxing than a night in bed, my activity level rarely moves above comatose.

I’ve set the target at 10,000 steps per day, and given my days are generally pretty sedentary, its a reasonably stretching challenge. I was still on the treadmill at 11:45 last night trying to reach the desired number.

The sleep monitor perplexes me somewhat, I can’t decide what it detects. This recording comes from Friday night so I managed a long lie in and the best sleep efficiency rating to date. The past two nights I’ve recorded less than 5 hours sleep and regardless of the duration, my night is always broken into multiple chunks. Is it normal to wake so often?

Monitoring the calorie intake is obviously a vital part of the equation and I’ve found the website offers the best interpretation of a food diary that I’ve tried to date. The search facility is fast and accurate and enables you to select items by serving size or weight, which is very handy if you are eating out or with friends and don’t feel able to pull out the scales. Where food items aren’t available you can enter them extremely easily. I actually prefer to do this anyway so that I can be sure the data is accurate and it is particularly useful when when you make up a meal from scratch.

My only problem is that I can’t easily access the website from work so I use the Tap and Track iPhone app to record my intake during the day and then manually transfer the details in the evening. I notice the US site is offering a native iPhone app for recording food intake on the go and hope the UK version isn’t going to be far behind.

I’m going to maintain a photo food journal and kifit stats resource on the semi-anonymous posterous site. If you are interested in seeing my daily intake, feel free to check it out.

9 Top iPhone Apps for Runners

I’ve been running with my iPhone for a couple of years and I think I have now got a fairly stable armory of running or health related apps that I would be prepared to recommend. I’ll split them into 4 sections and go from there.

The Running Logs

The iPhone is my ever present mobile computer. It bothers me that my training logs are locked away on the laptop at home, or worse, spread across a few online logs like Garmin Connect, Adidas miCoach and Fetcheveryone. Surely when someone asks me how my training has been going for GNR or VLM, I ought to be able to pull out my phone and demonstrate with a pretty chart or a weekly distance log. It’s taken a bit of effort but I can now do that. Of course no one has asked how my training has been going for a while.

Athlete Diary (web link) (iTunes Link)

So for example I have set up a few keywords such as wt, Avg HR, Shoe 1 etc. Each keyword can be defined as total, avg or non-numeric which determines how it is shown on the charts and summaries. As far as I know there aren’t any limits to the number of keywords you can have but it does pay to think about it at the start so you can build up a consistent data set as you go along.

Having set up the keywords I can head back to the search facility and select the date period covering the last year, select running as my sport and perhaps select the training type as race. If I now look at the log it will show me all the running races in the last year. Moving to the summary sheets the same applies – running races in the last year. If I now choose the chart option I can select the keyword of interest so for example max HR to show the variation across the selected events. If I selected a specific keyword in the search facility such as Shoe 1 my log and summaries would show all the runs where I wore shoe 1.

It is such a customisable application that is very nearly worth £11.99

The feature that makes me so particularly happy about my purchase is the import/export functionality. The designers have gone to huge effort to enable you to get all your data into the log. It’s a bit of a faff and I had to wipe the database clean and start afresh a few times before I got the hang of it but I do now have every single run from the last 4 years loaded up. I pulled data out of Sporttracks, Garmin connect, Fetch and others, faffed around with it in excel to get the right format, converted to a text file, emailed it to my phone and the copy and pasted it directly into the import screen of Athlete Diary – Genius!

It’s hard to believe how happy that makes me. All my data inside my little phone. The Athlete’s Diary – Stevens Creek Software is well worth the initial investment in time and money.

HRM Log FM (web link) (iTunes Link)
Before I came across the Athlete Diary I was convinced that the answer to my problems was an app that synced with Garmin Connect. Admittedly I don’t have all my runs on there, I had a life pre-GPS and sometimes I run on the treadmill but in recent times it is fair to say that most have been uploaded to Garmin Connect. Garmin Connect is a terrible website though and it doesn’t help me get the stats and data on my phone.

After a lot of searching I came across HRM Log FM. As an app it doesn’t do a lot, you can’t add runs or modify data in any way but it is a perfect way to view data stored on Garmin Connect. The sync is fairly painless and new runs are added to a calendar view, clicking through enables you to view the details – summary, lap details and a pace and heart rate chart. The route map isn’t shown unfortunately but it’s still very useful.

The GPS Apps

I am not a big fan of the GPS apps but then I have a Garmin Forerunner so why would I bother?

The GPS reception is not as good as the purpose built watches and the effort drains the battery far too quickly for my liking. The last time I used it I nearly found myself stranded at the end of the Wandle Trail with no juice left to call for my pick up vehicle.

Having said that I have tried a good few and have been impressed with two: Adidas miCoach and Nike+ GPS. I’ve previously reviewed the Adidas mobile miCoach app and you can read that here.

Technical Running Stuff

PaceCalc (web link) (iTunes Link)

A very simple little app. There are many websites around that will perform the same function but it’s handy to have it wrapped up in a stand alone program.

You enter your time for a race or a custom distance and Runner’s PaceCalc FM returns a screen with pace and speed conversions in metric and imperial and then on another screen it displays projected race times on the basis of your entry. It also provides a series of recommended training paces.

Cadence (web link)

This is perhaps a bit gimmicky but I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about efficient running styles at the moment. I don’t have one but would like one and apparently one of the ways to get there is to shorten your stride length and increase your step rate or cadence. 180 steps per minute is the holy grail apparently. Seems unattainable to me but I’m happy to give it go.

This app is just a running styled metronome, I set the rate to 180 (or some other number) and the little feet beat out the pace for me to follow.

That’s all there is to it.

Diet and Weight

Some runners and particularly this one, need to keep on top of their weight, or more accurately chase after it like a hurtling runaway train.

I’ve got two favourites weight logs, True Weight and FatWatch.

True Weight (web link) (iTunes Link)
I’ve used True Weight for a long time, it’s very simple and uses the Hackers Diet principles to show the “true weight” after all the fluctuations have been smoothed. The display is clear and you can view the actual weight recorded as well as the trend line.

I have to admit that unfortunately, these figures are not mine.

FatWatch (web link) (iTunes Link)
I recently moved over to FatWatch as I wanted to record both my weight and my fat %.

It uses a very similar method for plotting the trend and allows you to set a goal and show your progression (or lack of) against it.

Both applications enable you to export your data via email so you need never lose data to a locked in app again.

As you can see I have an unfavourable divergence between the green (target) and red (trend) line so it’s time to take remedial action and start the calorie controlled approach for a while. This is where the last app comes into it’s own.

Tap&Track (web link) (iTunes Link)

This app gets reviewed all over and has proved to be incredibly popular because its so intuitive and smooth to use.

You start by entering your height and weight details and after setting your weight loss goals it determines your daily calorie allowance. By the grace of god or perhaps metabolism, you can increase your daily allowance by logging some exercise. I’ve just this minute bagged 30 mins on the treadmill so that I can polish off half a bottle of bubbly without having scale anxiety tomorrow morning.

Tap & Track -Calorie Counter is a typical food, exercise and weight log and works on the principal that if you diligently record everything that you eat, you might just think twice about putting it in your mouth. I find it quite effective but you have to be strict and record everything.

Like most of these logs it has the American bias but it does still seem to have a lot of foods available locally (including Sainsburys and Pret a Manger) and besides its an absolute doddle to enter your own items which you can then save to your favourites list. I don’t mind doing this, when I go on a diet I tend to eat a rotation of very similar foods so after a fortnight I’ll have just about all the options covered.

I read reviews where people doubt the accuracy of some of the nutritional entries, I’ve found a few problems as well so its advisable to sense check new items or enter them yourself from the label.

It doesn’t seem to handle alcohol particularly well. I’ve entered the details for Stella manually but it doesn’t have a section for alcohol content and so the nutrition chart doesn’t include a piece of pie for the proportion of calories that comes from alcohol. That’s a bit of a shame for me but maybe something they could easily add as an update.

Despite a few niggles, this app is a joy to use, very well designed and so far it seems to be helping me towards my goal.

So there you have it, 9 top iPhone apps for runners, have I missed any must have apps? Let me know.

Great North Swim 2009

So the big day arrived, not quite the day that every girl dreams of, but as days go it was big enough to require the same sort of dietary preparations. 6 weeks of off and on Stella abstinence brought me to a point where I was prepared to at least attempt a public shoe-horning of my wobbly bits into the rubber encasement.

Sunday was a hot day and the combined sweat of 2402 lady swimmers had condensed on the marquee roof and was starting to drip onto the dressers below. Other peoples sweat, wet skin and rubber only combine to create more stress and more sweat. I successfully directed my right foot into the wetsuit but then started hopping around and cursing my full English breakfast as I tried to squeeze my left leg through my left arm hole.

There was no time for this sort of faffing, we were late and were already supposed to be sitting in the lake “warming” up. Despite expecting the seams to burst at any moment leaving me pink and vulnerable like a lizard shedding its skin, I did actually manage to yank up the zipper. After patching all my grasping finger nail holes with a puncture repair kit I waddled out in full glory looking like a fat, black, naked lady with a severe nicotine withdrawal problem.

Not exactly my best look but here we go – that’s me next to the tall skinny guy, who I will not be swimming with next year. I’m going to find myself some fat friends.

GNS Yellow Wave

As per last year I secreted myself towards the back of the pack in a vain attempt to avoid mid-lake battles. This year though I wasn’t swimming in the last wave and had to cope with the chasing hoards of sub 30 minute swimmers.

I had a few new strategies for this year’s attempt at the Great North Swim. Firstly I was going to remember my nose clip and then stick my head in the water, I wasn’t going to bother much with my legs as they’d proved useless in unscientific pool timing tests, I was going to wear shoes (?) and finally I wasn’t going to get asthma.

The nose clip really helped as you’d expect and I’m still sure that legs are overrated in swimming; I tried to observe every swimmer that passed me and a good deal of the sub 30 minute swimmers did not appear to be kicking with their legs. Of course they may have been kicking like crazy up til that point but its good enough evidence for me.

Probably the most significant decision in my overall performance was to give the asthma a wide berth. No idea how I did that, I took on heavy quantities of caffeine in the run up to the event, stuck my head in cold water a few times but there also seemed to be less motor fuel hanging around on the surface of lake this year and that may have had something to do with it.

Camp Finishing Run

So all in all, I had another pootle round a stunning lake, positively enjoyed myself for a few hundred metres and came home with a new pb, knocking 10 minutes off last years time and dragging myself out of the bottom 1% and well into the top 96% of all competitors. Result!
The only disappointment was that I managed to look decidedly camp in my sprint finish photo, not that I need to share that with anybody.

Actual stats:

Time – 1:01:57
Overall – 4392/4579
Age/gender – 366/385

As Dan can’t be arsed to keep a record of his times, I will jot them down here for prosperity:

Time – 0:44:14
Overall – 3148/4579

Oh and I got a new t-shirt.

Tag You’re It!

Oh dear, I’ve been had, EatDrinkWoman tagged me the other day and although I did my best to ignore it, I now notice that Kathy got in on the act and tagged me too. Clearly no escape, I have to answer a list of questions, boring you all senseless in the process and then make folk like JogBlog and NoWetsuit Girl repeat the chore – I’m sure they’ll love it.

Jobs I’ve Held: Newspaper gal, fruit picker, sandwich maker, factory worker, care assistant, packer, merchandiser, van driver, supply chain assistant, SBO analyst, SBO manager, data analyst, web master, personal tutor, management accountant. A little eclectic selection of jobs many of which all of which have been carried out between studies. So in addition I’ve been a medical student, a chemistry undegrad and a postgrad astrochemist.

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over: None, I can’t imagine anything more torturous than watching a film I’ve already seen. I might come back to this though, there is perhaps something I’d be prepared to watch again. I’ve been to see the musical Blood Brothers 3 times if that counts?

My Guilty Pleasures: Gadgets and Stella, and for a very guilty pleasure I might combine gadgets, stella and a box set of the L Word – joy for a week!

Places I have lived (in order): Aldershot, Cyprus – Larnaca & Limassol, Bridlington, Sheffield, Nottingham, London

Shows I enjoy: L Word, Desperate Housewives, The Apprentice

Places I Have Been on Holiday: Good grief, I can’t imagine anyone would be interested in this stuff! Cyprus, N. Spain, S. Spain, Portugal, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Switzerland (I know, I should have just put W. Europe and be done with it), San Francisco, Madeira, Borneo

Favorite Foods: Chilli, Spag Bol, Curry, chilli prawns, listen I’m salivating now and this list could go on for ages, how about we say I like every type of food except Celery!

Websites I Visit Daily: The pages that open automatically on my browser are: admin pages for my blog, iGoogle,Bloglines which then leads me to read as many of your updated blogs as I can manage, Flickr, Facebook, Runnersworld and PhysicsDiet. I couldn’t live without Bloglines and facebook though.

Body Parts I Have Injured: Skin and right side from hip to toe. Nothing to really moan about though.

Awards I’ve Won: got a few judo medals in my prime and the odd consolation academic award

Nicknames You’ve Been Called: Deathwish, warriorwoman and Wolfie – take your pick!

Health Statistics

Latest Nerd Diet Stats

Here is the latest trend chart, updated at and based on the Hackers Diet principles that I blogged about here. The blue line is the exponentially smoothed moving average (trend) and green means great!


Monthly Phys Stats

Here are the approximately monthly results from the speak your weight machine:

This page is going to show the scary truth of my weight and given that I possess numerous gadgets, from blood pressure monitors to speak your weight body composition monitors, I ought to be able to include a whole variety of other stats.

To date, I have lost a total of 7 stone over a period of 6 years. Unfortunately I didn’t keep records until fairly recently. I tend to find that my weight loss occurs in steps and sometimes it can be a struggle to push myself from the plateau. The chart below shows how I have pushed myself through numerous weight loss phases over the last year and shows, quite frighteningly, what happens when I take my eye of the ball.


I’m hoping that by being so open in the blog, I will be encouraged to keep regular updates and therefore keep a check of any weight increases. I could have saved myself a lot of hassle last year just by staying exactly as I was!

I’ve recently discovered The Hackers Diet which uses engineering principles to reduce the noise from charts like the one above to allow the actual trend to be extracted. The suggestion is that people who struggle with their weight have an inefficient feedback system so fail to stop eating at the optimum point and likewise fail to cut back following a pig out. By using trend data you can actually use the spreadsheet as your feedback system, in a sort of aid to maintenance.

Check out the official Hackers site for details and the spreadsheets.

About Me & Contact Details

Click to email me

It struck me a few years ago that my life was a little unbalanced, in that my love for all things cerebral seemed to prevent me from taking part in anything physical. As a consequence my health wasn’t all that smart and I weighed in at a massive 22 stone! Walking to the corner shop left me with rotten back ache so I didn’t bother moving a lot, I did however, have a huge list of the things I was going to do when I miraculously got thin.

Emotional upset was the trigger for me to start putting my life in order. I chose to quit waiting and start doing, it wasn’t my weight that was stopping me living, I was managing that all by myself. In 2001 I started exercising slowly (this meant walking around the local park) and I started reducing my intake. As I started getting fitter I was able to take on more and more, I went on walking holidays and took up cycling again. I still have room for major improvements but I am very much fitter, 7 stone lighter and I am living.

This blog centres around my new found interest in exercise, particularly cycling and running, along with the gadgets and statistics that the physical activity has enabled me to play with.
Running has been particularly fulfilling, the clear progress has given me a sense of achievement that outstrips any pride that I may feel towards my academic success. I would really recommend that anyone takes it up if they are looking for a satisfying challenge.

I run around the Thames in West London and assorted commons in South West London, it would be great to discover a few more local runners in the blogosphere.

Click to email meContact Details

If you want to contact me you can comment on the blog or email me directly at

Review Items and affiliate Links

I regularly review gadgets and products, most of which I have bought myself but I am lucky to get sent freebies to review as well. I will only review products if I think they are a fit with my blog and if I feel I am free to write as I see fit. 

Historically I have identified freebies by saying something along the lines of “I was sent….” rather than “I bought…” but I now intend to be a bit more transparent in this respect. 

I will attempt to revisit old posts to reflect my new approach but it might take me a while. From July 2015 I intend to tag posts where I discuss or review gifts with “freebies” and indicate this at the end of my post. 

I almost never accept paid posts because they rarely form a good fit with my blog. If I do I will tag these with the word “sponsored”. 

Finally I do also use affiliate links, mostly to Amazon books. I can’t remember the last time I received an Amazon affiliate payment, so this is by no means big business for me. I will however start to put an * after each affiliate link so you can choose whether to follow or not. I’d obviously appreciate it if you did.