Wednesday, November 29, 2006

My big fat bastard blog

I was going to post this on completion which I hope is just a couple of weeks away, but seeing as I’m not going to get on here very often, I’ll post it now.

<>The following is a very long account of a journey that started in late June. It’s one that I needed to make and charts my losing 3 and a half stone in weight (that’s 25 kilos for my international friends), with a view to losing 4 stone overall. I warn you this was written mainly for me and as such it’s terribly self-indulgent. I didn’t want to commit it to blog as I was a little worried by failure, but as it’s been a success I’m posting it.

The diary started in mid-September but, I had already lost over a stone at that point. I decided to commence writing it, because it has provided me with real focus and also as I lost more and more weight, it helped to remind me how I felt all along the way. It was important to understand that when I only had a few pounds to go, how ecstatic I had been as I reached early milestones and this really kept me going.

I warn you there are over 10,000 words contained here, read it if you like, but I have posted it here as I always intended this blog to be a means of looking back over my own life in the coming years as much as it is for people who now come and read this regularly.

Monday 11th September 2006

16 stone 12 pounds

The start of a new life

So there I was in the recovery room. Yes, I was off my head on morphine, but in nowhere near as much of a mess as some of these unfortunate souls.

...''Would you like some more morphine?'' comes the disembodied voice of what I turned to see was the nurse.

''God, yes please''

I was in hospital for an emergency procedure on a perianal abcess. To you and me that's a pussey monstrosity, right next to my arsehole. Not the easiest to keep sanitary and bloody painful. It's relatively normal, but nevertheless, I've come to view it as my wake-up call.

Two weeks previously I had come down with flu, my third bout of 2006 and this one took me off my feet for a week. The illnesses seemed to be coming more frequently and more often than not I felt awful.

Prior to the flu I was weighing in at 18 stone 4. I'm a 5' 10'' man so I was way over weight. I used to play a lot of rugby and in my heyday around 21 years old (12 years ago) I weighed in at 14 stone 3 pounds. That was a long time ago though and 12 years of working my arse off (or more appropriately on) had seen me pile on four stone (28.5 kilos).

I'd never been bothered by my weight. I'm a confident character and clothed I actually carry it pretty well. Yes, I look overweight there's no denying that, but at 18 stone 4 pounds by rights I should be wobbling about like Mr Creosote, but mercifully it hadn’t come to that.

However, now I’ve got the two boys. Eben’s three in a couple of weeks time and Louis is six months. This summer Eben’s worn me out. I can't keep up with him. I can't play with him like I want to. I can't roll down hills all afternoon with him, because I have to stop after five minutes. I can't run around the park after him, because I pull up wheezing. I can't spend all day in the indoor play centre, because I'm a big, greasy, sweaty mess, but so far I've just about got away with it.

Next summer they're going to be four and one and a half. Next year, I'm going to be absolutely fucked, if I don't do something about it.

So this is my 'big fat bastard' diary. It's a record of how it went.

Just for the record, when I'd finally recovered from my operation at the beginning of August I was 17 stone 1. Today I am 16 stone 12 that's after a summer where I have been fairly unable to control, what I eat, after a month of summer holidays and excursions, so I'm pretty pleased with the start.

So how have I lost the weight so far. Well wherever possible, I was eating well, not dieting, but well, everything wholemeal, everything fresh, everything organic, fish and lots of fruit everyday. And I've started exercising like an absolute bastard.

I've been threatening to cycle to work (7 miles each way) for years, but finally I dusted off the hybrid and got on it and am now riding every day I can (only punctuated by client meeting days). Nic and I have signed up for the Aspire Channel swim, the equivalent of a channel crossing in a pool (minus all the extra swimming you have to do to combat currents and stuff). Something we have to complete in 11 weeks. So we're doing 2 miles a week and it's all for charidee. And lastly, I'm running. About which I'll post again soon.

My aim is 14 and a half stone, it's going to be a tough call, but I reckon the time has come to feel well again and run around with the kids so here I go.

Thursday 14th September 2006

17 stone

What’s the fucking point?

Since Sunday I have run 3 and a half miles, swum just over 2 miles and cycled 41 miles. That’s 5 hours exercise in 4 days. I’ve eaten Weightwatchers points on each of those days and that doesn’t include the extra points I got from the exercise. Having been 16 stone 10 on Monday I got on the scales this morning and I’m 17 stone. For Fuck’s Sake.

Does make me think though. Despite all that effort, I went out on Tuesday night with the boys drank 7 pints, had a curry and then got peckish and had a sausage roll and then a burger on the way home. I told you I was a proper glutton right? Drinking makes me baaaaaaddd.

So my punishment is putting on 4 pounds. People have told me it’s impossible to lose weight after 30 years old, but this is ridiculous. I probably have one big blow out with the boys a month, if that one night out’s going to scupper the whole process I might as well just not expect to ever lose weight. <>

Monday 18th September 2006

16 stone 9 pounds

I have discovered the secret?

A diary of the long weekend

  • Breakfast: Bran Flakes
  • Lunch: with client swordfish steak and salad and 3 pints
  • Dinner: Sashimi (lots, but heh it’s raw fish)
  • Evening: 4 pints for Fred’s birthday
  • Evening snack: cheese on toast x2 slices
  • Evening snack 2: Half a 15” pizza at 2pm in the morning, 2 glasses of wine
Exercise - No exercise


  • Breakfast: Bran Flakes
  • Lunch: Beans and scrambled egg on toast
  • Dinner: Jacket potatoes with cottage cheese and coleslaw
  • Evening: canap├ęs (too many), chicken supreme and all sorts of vegetables, two plates of chocolate roulade, about 10 bottles of Stella, 3 glasses of champagne
  • Early morning snack: at 3am when arriving home from party, ¾ of a 200g bar of dairy milk praline, big slice of cheese
Exercise - No exercise <>

N.B. Following early morning snack, at 3.15, Eben woke up with a fever, resultant calpol gave him a sugar rush and he then proceeded to not go to sleep until about 5ish. Louis awoke at 6.15. Nic had been sick three times during the evening. I got up with Louis. Being up all night isn’t quite the same thing it used to be.

  • Breakfast: 2 slices of toast and jam (lots of tea)
  • Lunch (note this was about 11.15am): Half a Sainsbury’s Pepperoni and chilli 12” pizza
  • Dinner: lightly curried chickpea and spinach tagliatelli
  • Bed at 8.15pm because we’re such lightweights and have had to look after 2 children all weekend despite being drunk or hungover for most of it. Thank God Eben was ill. If he hadn’t been it would have been far worse.

Exercise – Cycled 10 miles to Chiswick to pick up car left at party previous night. Thankfully brother and sister in law were there having stayed for babysitting and were able to look after children while Nic lay groaning on sofa.


Wake up with Eben’s cold. Feel achey and sinuses are busting, get on scales and have lost 5 pounds over the weekend.

So there you have it, eating crap, drinking loads, getting no sleep and being ill aids weight loss, but only as part of a strictly out of control diet.

Wednesday 20th September 2006

The ablutions trick

6.52 am 16 stone 8 pounds

7.43 am 16 stone 6 pounds

When I was ill in July I dropped from 18 stone 4 pounds to around 17 stone. I somehow managed to keep it off, as I cut my intake of food and started to eat far more healthily. Very little passes my lips that isn’t a whole food these days (ignore long weekend post above). I eat at least 5 pieces of fruit a day, start it off with Bran Flakes with sultanas every day. Eat oily fish in my lunchtime sandwiches and probably 1 day out of 2 have brown rice for dinner. In short I have become let’s say errrr…. an efficient processor of waste.

However, when I was fully recovered and started exercising properly as well as eating properly I somehow expected to start losing from 17 stone straight away. But, throughout August and early September nothing. I hovered around the 17 stone mark however much I did. When I was on holiday I was cliff top running 2 out of 3 days and walking all over the place, but nothing. I cycle 14 miles a day. Nothing. I started swimming properly again. Nothing.

My general weekly routine at present is as follows:

Monday – Cycle to and from work 14 miles
Tuesday – Cycle to and from work 14 miles – swim 1 mile
Wednesday – Cycle to and from work 14 miles – run 3 ½ miles
Thursday – Cycle to work, cycle to Crystal Palace National Sports Centre 15 miles – swim 1 mile – cycle 2 miles home
Friday - Cycle to and from work 14 miles
Saturday - Nothing
Sunday - Run 3 ½ miles

Normally I’ll have a day maybe two when I don’t bike in because of client meetings but the above is the general rule of thumb. All this and I wasn’t shifting a single pound, despite watching what I ate.

Nicky had a theory that the 1 stone 4 pounds I lost was simply fluids and actually in reality I should have piled it back on as soon as I was better. However, because I shocked my system, by starting exercising hard and eating less it didn’t go back, despite its best efforts.

She then goes on to expand this theory to state that all the time I was desperately trying to lose weight I was actually just doing the work I would have needed, to go from 18 stone 4 pounds to 17 stone if I hadn’t been ill in the first place. So it took 6 weeks to get to that point.

It makes sense. I’ve gone on diets before and I have tended to lose a lot of weight (lets be honest, I had a lot to lose) very quickly. My problem is I’ve always got disheartened when I plateaued. This time I’ve stuck through the plateau.

I guess the difference this time is there’s more at stake than simply fitting into smaller clothes. I have the motivation of wanting to be able to play with the kids without looking and feeling like an old man. It’s a far greater motivator.

Anyway, I guess this is all a round about way of saying that in the past week I suddenly seem to have started shifting again. I jumped out of bed this morning got on the scales and weighed in at 16 stone 8 pounds. Unless you’ve been a yoyo dieter it’s difficult to understand what these small successes feel like. The fact that the pounds figure next to the 16 has gone from double digits to single digits is a hugely big deal so much so that when I completed my daily ablutions 45 minutes later I got back on to the scales and was down to 16 stone 6 pounds (ok, ok I know it doesn’t count but heh, I’m a dieter, we kid ourselves).

Thursday 21st September

16 stone 8 pounds

BMI Bollocks

There’s been a lot of talk in the papers recently about Lily Cole. You know the one, the model that got all the As and is off to Cambridge. Tall, beautiful, girly swot. Anyway it turns out that her BMI measurement is less than 18 and as a result Milan fashion week has refused to allow her to model. There’s been huge congratulatory messages from all corners saying this is a wonderful move, but have you seen Lily Cole? Undoubtedly she’s thin as a rake, but she looks healthy as you like. She’s obviously not anorexic. I’m not saying eating disorders aren’t a problem in the fashion world, but to arbitrarily use BMI as a measurement is bollocks.

I’ve long hated the BMI charts as they’re absolute rubbish. When I started this I was 18 stone 4 pounds. At 5 foot 10 that put me at 36.7 BMI which is medically termed ‘morbidly obese’. I admit I was obese, but technically I should have been under medical supervision and I’m sorry but I had a weight problem not a crippling illness. Even now at today’s weight, my BMI is 33.3. BMI 30 is the magic obese number, 35 is morbidly obese. I’m still overweight but almost morbidly obese, it’s utterly absurd.

The thing that really gets me though is that at my target weight of 14 stone 7 pounds my BMI will be 29.1, which means that technically I will be very, overweight. It’s nonsense. I’m simply not going to get much below 14 stone 7 pounds. I might in my wildest dreams get to 14 stone but still that would make it 28.1.

If I’m going to get my BMI under the magic 25 – the number at which you are termed normal weight, I’d need to get down to 12 stone 6. I don’t think I’ve been 12 stone 6 since I was about 14 or 15. The whole thing is an absolute joke.

Friday 22nd September

16 stone 9 pounds

Weight watching – otherwise known as watching your life pass by, veeeeery slowly

Christ I’m having a hard time today. I blew my points yesterday, by which I mean I had 40 instead of the 31 I’m allowed, but most of that was milk. I was just craving milk OK. <>

But today I’m ravenous. I’m right on the verge of going out and devouring a Wagamama’s but I know I shouldn’t. But I want to. No, go and buy fruit.

Wednesday 27th September

16 stone 10 pounds

Danger, danger, danger

When I diet, there always comes a point when I subconsciously switch from committed to satisfied. Since I’ve hovered around the 18 stone mark for some years this has always happened around 16 and a half stone mark. Normally the catalyst is a combination of smug, self satisfaction that I’ve managed to lose the weight – and so easily – and some trigger event, that throws the whole thing off kilter.

Here’s how my spiral of the last few days panned out.

I woke up Saturday feeling great. Fit, awake, very cool. We spent the day as a family in Guildford scouting around for potential places to move to. Then at 4.15 I got a text from a mate. ‘I’ve got a spare ticket for Quins v Leicester’. I said I’d love to come, I got on a train and went (having had nothing to eat). At 10pm after 5 pints of Guinness I wended my way home.

Now, I’ve mentioned, alcohol is my undoing. Well…. I rang Nic from the ground and said ‘I’m going to be an hour, fancy a curry?’. She said ‘yes’. I was working on the basis that if I ordered now it would be there waiting for me on my arrival home. So I placed the order, which in time honoured fashion contained far more than I needed to eat. My part of the order was Saag Gosht, pilau rice and onion bahjis, plus a Naan for balance and then I got on a train. On the change over of trains half way, I was ravenous. So I picked up a packet of crisps, walked up to the platform and waited – ate the crisps – realised I had another ten minutes to wait and went and got another packet of crisps, which filled the time gap in which I would have become so bored. Having spent 15 minutes on the train, I got off and began the ten minute walk home – passing a fried chicken establishment – I got 2 pieces of fried chicken to keep me occupied on my walk home. When I walked through the door Nic said ‘Oh just in time, the curry’s arrived – fancy a beer?’ ‘Yes please babe’.

I was very full and drunk when I went to bed.


I got up with a bit of a hangover. However, I have learnt that having kids is the best hangover cure known to man. They force you to do stuff, so that you forget you’re hung over at all. However, symptoms remain. Those symptoms include having to fill yourself up, so I finished one of the bahjis from the previous night and had 4 rounds of buttered toast. Proper butter of course none of the low fat muck I’d been using.

Now here is a small insight into the trigger event’s psychology. For some reason, rather than standing and thinking ‘yesterday was a terrible day, I’ll have a really good day today’, I inevitably think, ‘Oh fuck it. I’ve had a terrible start to the weekend, why bother today?’. And so begins the slide. Rather than eating in moderation, I adopt a kind of catch up stance. So, I eat anything, when I want and as often as I want. This means, I can’t tell you exactly what I ate on Sunday, because it would be a never ending list of snacking, Oh and a whacking great Sunday roast with cheesy potatoes that are my friend’s speciality.


And so, on to Monday. Eben’s 3rd birthday to be exact. I came home early to organise and run his party. A three year old’s birthday inevitably involves an awful lot of very unhealthy snack food and chocolate. But, being the terrible metropolitan folk that we are it also involved, a lot of parental wine and beer and a whole bunch of out of the packet oven snacks. Spring rolls, dolmades, falafel, little mini cheesy tings and on and on.

Once the party was over and the kids were in bed, we felt it our duty to finish everything. That included wine, beer, snacks and kid’s party food polished off. Then, once that was done Nic stood in the connecting doorway waving a bottle of vodka at me, with the sing-song question; ‘Seabreezes??’ ‘Fantastic idea’ I replied. I was very full and drunk when I went to bed.


3 days of excess had left me feeling a little jaded. I didn’t need to be in town for work, as I had a meeting in Brighton so I was going to head straight from home. That meeting got put back to lunch, so I headed down at 11,30. I’d awoken with a resolve, so on meeting my client I suggested sushi rather than Italian and we headed off. I had sashimi which I felt terribly holier than thou about. It was a good meeting, the recommendations, that I’d wanted to take him through were taken on board and I headed back on the train at 3.30, satisfied of a good days work completed.

I have to change at East Croydon. At East Croydon there are food concessions on every platform. I bought and ate a tuna sandwich. I realised I was on the wrong platform. I changed platform. On the right platform, I bought and ate a double egg and ham sandwich. I felt vile and fat and a little bit ashamed. The trigger of Saturday night had sent me in to the well known spiral.

So here I am on Wednesday, technically in the grip of ‘the spiral’. On weighing myself this morning I am 16 stone 10. Frankly I’m amazed, however, I have still been exercising. I rode to work on Monday. I swam last night. So I guess that must have counted for something. I’ve admitted my covert eating to Nic, so we’re back on it, supposedly. Having said that though, in ten years of dieting I have never once, defeated ‘the spiral’. I have never lost more than 2 stone during one diet. On this diet so far I have managed 18 stone 4 pounds to 16 stone 8 so that’s 1 stone 10 pounds. That’s pretty much standard before ‘the spiral’ kicks in.

My challenge now is to defeat ‘the spiral’. Nic’s set me a goal to be below 16 stone 8 by next Wednesday morning. Somehow I think writing this is going to really help me. Somehow I think putting my gluttony on paper may actually bring it home to me.

Here’s hoping. I guess you’ll have to read on to see whether I defeated ‘the spiral’, or not.

Thursday 28th September

16 stone 6 pounds


I don’t really understand this weight loss business. As you can tell from yesterday’s post I really hammered it this weekend and actually it was today I was expecting to see the real result. I don’t know why, but it always seems to be a few days after a bender you see the weight really pile on. But no, this morning I hopped on the scales and there it was 16 stone 6. So, the first thing I did was move the scales on to a different part of the floor, still 16 stone 6. Move them on to a different part of the floor, 16 stone 6. Went downstairs, with the kids, came back up half an hour later 16 stone 6. Blimey. I have swum 2 miles in the past 2 days but can it really make that much of a difference?

Mind you I may have blown it. I’ve just been to lunch with friends and sunk 2 pints of Guinness, Cod with parsnip mash, bread, olives and olive oil, plus half my mates chips. Mind you I did walk the 25 minutes either way and that is something new. I’d almost without doubt have taken the tube in any time during the past 5 or 6 years.

Friday 29th September

16 stone 11 pounds

Oh for God’s sake!!!

Forget everything I wrote yesterday.

Monday 2nd October

16 stone 7 pounds

The trend is downwards

So, I had another bizarre up and down time this weekend. Woke up a day after my 16 11 spike, weighing in at 16 stone 5, that’s the lowest since I began and then this morning I was 16 stone 7 which seems about right. However I thought I’d plot it on a little graph to see if the trend was actually down and here it is.

Apart from the very bizarre spikes that have been going on in the past week there does seem to be a general move down.

However, what this graph does tell me is that I’m slightly falling back on my goal of 14 stone 7 pounds by Christmas.

Oh yeah, I put a target date on it. I was 16 stone 7ish on Eben’s birthday so I thought if I lost 2 pounds a week for 13 weeks to Christmas day that would be 14 stone 9. A little bit of extra pressure and drop an additional couple along the way and maybe 14 stone 7 is achievable by Christmas.

However I do want to get a good start on this so I kind of had in mind dropping to 16 stone by 11th October i.e. a month after I started this blog. No reason why really, just sheer stupidity I guess. Anyway, that means I will be crash dieting for the next week and upping the exercise to see if it’s possible.

So here’s to hoping.

Tuesday 3rd October

16 stone 5 pounds (or 16 stone 4 if I stand in the right place)

Who am I kidding?

There comes a time in every diet, when you begin to try and kid yourself. So today I got on the scales and the little readout flickered between 16 stone 5 and 16 STONE 4!!!!! Yes come on!! Quick take your pants off that’ll do it. Nope still flickering. Be light, be light. Gah, it’s settled on 16 stone 5. But it did try to be 16 stone 4. Pathetic really isn’t it. I’ll be back up to 16 stone 8 tomorrow, you watch.

Wednesday 4th October

16 stone 4 pounds

2 stone down, 1 stone 11 pounds to go

Wahey, the magical two stone mark. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve never made it to the 2 stone lost mark during a diet so this is a fairly momentous day for me. Even better than that, I appear to be back on track after the spiral. Nic set me a challenge to be less than 16 stone 8 by this week, I’ve smashed through that, now I have to shed another 4 pounds by next Wednesday. Realistically it’s a big ask, I’m with Louis on my own from Thursday evening through this weekend, so I’m not going to get an opportunity to actually exercise it off, but I can eat well and give it a damn good crack. So here goes. <>

Thursday 5th October

16 stone 2 pounds

Come on

Right. Now I’m really shifting. I got straight out of bed this morning and jumped on the scales. I knew it, I knew I’d lost more. Don’t know why. I’ve got 6 days to go to hit my 16 stone target, however a whole weekend with Louis. On my own. There’s always a temptation to eat badly when you’re on your own. Oh no I can hear the demons. ‘Take the weekend off, it doesn’t matter you can start again on Monday’ Noooo. Keep focussed. Look at the trend. <>

Monday 9th October

16 stone 2 pounds

Have you lost weight?

Bad weekend. I’ll post about that later though for the time being I thought I’d flag this.

I think I’ve mentioned that I always carried weight well, but I didn’t realise just how well. Up to today I’ve lost 2 stone 2 pounds, that’s a shed load really isn’t it. I’ve dropped two belt loops, I’ve gone from barely squeezing in to a 40 inch waist jean to being comfortable in my newly bought 38 inchers (I tried on the 36 inchers, it wasn’t quite happening just yet). My wedding ring actually fell off me the other day and when I swim I have to switch it from ring finger to middle finger for safety and my watch needs a link taken out of it. I seem to be losing absolutely everywhere. Maybe that’s the key, if I was carrying weight in my wrists and in my fingers then maybe there was a totally even distribution which was why I didn’t seem massively fat – which I was, let’s not kid ourselves here.


And this isn’t vanity honestly…


No one has yet said to me ‘Have you lost weight?’

OK it’s a bit vain.

Nicky’s noticed it massively, but then she sees me unclothed and it’s not exactly easy to hide when you’re starkers, oh and my parents, but they don’t count. Actually, interestingly with my parents it turns out they had been very worried about my state of health, which is fair enough I was heading for a heart attack in my 40s, but they hadn’t wanted to meddle. They’re good like that, but sometimes meddling’s worth it.

But no one else has noticed. Maybe it’s because I’m still wearing the same clothes, which incidentally are now hanging off me, but I don’t think so, I just don’t think I look like I’ve lost loads. I wish someone would say it. Boo hoo. Still it’s a spur to keep me going. Maybe they’ll notice in another 12 pounds time.

Tuesday 10th October

16 stone 1 pound

One day to go

Despite completely losing my way over the weekend in a big way I seem to have kept on the right track. When I say lost my way, my main meals were virtuous. I do hope you can’t eat too much fish because variously I had tuna sandwiches for lunch every day and then on Friday had grilled sardines, Saturday had poached haddock and Sunday had king prawn risotto.

<>However, just as a little taster of the way my path went I also had a McDonalds breakfast on the Saturday - the Sausage and Egg McMuffin in there is God’s own creation (so much so I had two). Chocolate spread on toast. Copious toast with real butter, chocolate buttons and all sorts of other stuff. See what happens when the wife’s away. No will power.

Anyway, doesn’t matter I’ve still managed to shed a pound over 5 days so I have one to go. I plan a day of starvation; I’m cycling home and swimming a mile. If that doesn’t shift it nothing will.

Do you wanna bet? Odds are I’ll be 16 stone 3 in the morning.

Wednesday 11th October

16 stone 1 pound


To tell you the truth when I got up I knew it. I felt it. Despite eating within my diet, swimming furiously and cycling home yesterday and spending the rest of my evening on my feet doing chores until midnight, I didn’t make it. Damn it. I’m really pissed off. I knew it was a big ask, but now I’m regretting those bloody Sausage and Egg McMuffins at the weekend. Yes folks it’s got to self-flagellation time.

I did rock back on my heels and it momentarily dipped to 15 stone 13 and then up to 16 stone but I’m not kidding myself. I haven’t made it and there’s no getting away from it.

On the plus side though, I am on course for my Christmas day target of 14 stone 7 pounds. It’s 75 days until Christmas day and I’ve got 22 pounds to go. That’s 1 pound every 3.41 days. Oh sod it, I’ve got to lose 2 pounds a week for 11 weeks.

Friday 13th October

15 stone 13 pounds

Oddly disappointing

Now I can’t honestly remember when I was below 16 stone. I think I was around 15 and a half when I got married and I know I started putting weight on pretty rapidly after that, so lets say it was a year after I was married that I went over 16. That would be 7 years ago.

So I’m now the lightest I’ve been for at least 7 years, but I’m not really that buoyed. Why? Well I think it’s to do with the pound score. For some reason 15 stone 13 pounds doesn’t feel psychologically as good as 16 stone 1 pound.

I think there’s probably 2 reasons for this:

First, is to do with how far I’ve got to go. If I’m honest I’ve been counting down in stones. I’ve just achieved my 2nd stone milestone, so I’m now right at the start of my next stone which seems daunting. It’s a bit like standing at the bottom of Ben Nevis looking up and thinking, ‘oh fuck have I got to walk all the way up that?’

Second is to do with the pounds total. Being in double figures pounds wise always seems a bit dis-spiriting. It feels like you’re losing a battle rather than winning it, despite the fact that you know the trend is inevitably downwards.

The psychological milestone therefore is 15 stone 9 pounds, get through the next 4 pounds and I’ll feel all the better

Monday 16th October

16 stone 3 pounds

Bad weekend

Nuff said.

Tuesday 17th October

16 stone 1 pound

The secret

It’s not rocket science, but I think I’ve found the strategy for long-term weight maintenance once I’m down to my target.

I had a terrible weekend, starting Friday with a pissy lunch with a supplier and following on Saturday with dinner with friends that descended in to far too much cheddar cheese. They had 7 different types and we did far too much tasting. Apart from anything else one of the buggers gave me blisters on the top of my mouth.

And all in all I put on 4 pounds, but with discipline and exercise during the week, I do seem to be able to shed the excess and beyond during the week. All I need now is a few weekends where we’re not out and drinking and eating, bat that’s not happening any time soon by the looks of things.

I’ve cycled in today, I’ve got swimming tonight. I reckon I’ll be back down under 16 stone tomorrow and then I’ve got to push for 15 stone 9 pounds by mid next week. I know it’s unrealistic, but I’m finding these little mini-targets a really good challenging way of getting there.

My changing face

I’ve actually got a face shape back. Both Nic and I were discussing the fact that we think we’ve got reverse anorexia. i.e. we look in the mirror and see people that are far thinner than we actually are. I hadn’t really noticed how fat my face had got, but now I’ve got cheekbones and a jaw line that had all but disappeared. I didn’t realise quite how devastatingly attractive I was.

Wednesday 18th October

16 stone 0 pounds

As I said yesterday I can shed it after a weekend of excess, my worry is although this is a good weight maintenance strategy, it’s far from a decent plan for actually losing. Problem I have is I have 4 successive weekends where we’re either entertaining or away with friends. I’m starting to worry that I’m just not going to get anywhere near this 14 stone 7 mark, unless I start ducking out of a lot of the fun. Woe is me.

P.S. BMI currently 32.1 i.e. very obese. Ridiculous.

Monday 23rd October

15 stone 12 pounds

Good weekend

We had people over for the weekend, but despite this I managed to be good. It’s always easier to deal with things when you have control over the cooker, so Nic (no I don’t have control over Nic) made sure we ate properly.

Tuesday 24th October

15 stone 11 pounds

Shifting again

I did think I’d hit a bit of a mini plateau, but I seem to have gone through it again.

Actually I think if I draw a line through the trend I’m slightly ahead of the game which suggests I maybe shouldn’t go on such massive binges at the weekend.

People have started to notice now. Lots of people - including people I see very often - have started to remark on how much I’ve lost recently. If I’m honest I was kidding myself that I was just doing it for myself, my main motivation was health but, it is a very good feeling when people notice, I think it’s because it’s a universally positive response. If you get a new hair cut people may go ‘Oh errr…. yes very nice’. None of that with weight loss. Everyone says things like, ‘You’re looking very trim’ or ‘I’ll have to tell my husband to do something’, or ‘You look a lot more athletic’, or ‘Oh will you shut up and make the kids breakfast you vain arse’.

Wednesday 25th October

15 stone 9 pounds

On target for Christmas

Woohoo it’s going well

Thursday 26th October

15 stone 12 pounds

1 cheese sandwich + 2 child size meatballs = 3 pounds

I had the cycle home from hell yesterday.

It was my godson’s 5th birthday a couple of weeks ago and I bought him an amazingly cool hovercopter. Basically it’s a rubber disk with a propeller in it, controlled by a remote control that will lift it about 10 metres off the ground and hover wherever you like. Very cool. Except the one I got was unbalanced, so it flipped over and came crashing to the floor every time it was used, resulting in very angry children.

So, I promised to change it. An easy enough request, except I got it from Hamleys, which is miles from my office and a right pain on the tube. So yesterday (it had to be yesterday, Nic’s seeing my Godson’s Mum today and she’s promised. It’s not a promise that can be broken, not to a five year old), I decided to cycle over at the end of the day and then cycle straight back home from there.

And it pissed it down.

I’m not talking steady rain. I’m talking driving stair rods the kind that requires your fast wipers in the car and it’s still not enough. Add to that that it was dusk and Central London, you have possibly the worst set of conditions for riding safely it’s possible to imagine and on top of that I’ve got a hacking cough that is a remnant from a bug I got last week. All in all it was a shitty journey. An hour on a bike with God throwing buckets of cold water at me (and hitting every time).

So when I got home all I wanted was to sit in a chair with a blanket over me and watch four hours of back to back Friends or something equally as challenging. Problem was Nicky went straight out swimming when I came in, so I had to put the kids to bed. Then I had to clear away tea, cook dinner for when Nic got in, clear the toys away, before building a chest of drawers, putting up four velux blinds, and clearing out the cupboard in the lodger’s room.

Not very relaxing I have to say, so as I cleared away tea I popped the two meatballs Eben hadn’t eaten in to my mouth and at about 11pm just before I embarked on clearing out the lodger’s cupboard I made myself a cheese sandwich. Comfort food you see and I thought fuck it, I’ve had a crappy old day I really need this (and I did really need it)

And for that I’ve put on three pounds. I’m not sure I can put in to words how pissed off I am.

Tuesday 31st October

15 stone 5 pounds

I have no idea how this thing works

We went to the lakes this weekend. It threw it down so we spent the majority of the time in the pub (kids were being looked after by grand parents). We ate comfort food and drank Guinness from Friday night to Sunday morning.

I didn’t even dare get on the scales yesterday, but having had an absolutely storming swim last night I thought I’d take the plunge last night and I weighed in at 15 stone 7 pounds, which I thought was a bit odd, but then I never take my evening weight it’s always the morning weight. Bit of a cheat because it’s normally lighter than when you go to bed (yet to understand the physiology of how this works). But for consistency I thought I’d better take my marker from this morning and lo and behold there I am 15 stone 5 pounds.

Maybe I’ve increased my metabolism to such a degree that I’m burning calories far more efficiently. To give me my dues, we did do quite a bit of walking, so I guess that must have come in to the equation, I dunno.

All I know is that I’m now in to my last stone, a situation I didn’t honestly believe I’d ever reach. I have twelve pounds to go and I’m now ahead of target for Christmas.

Time to Christmas - 7 weeks 6 days

Pounds to lose - 12

Average per week - 1.527 pounds

I’m going to put a target of 12th December on it which is ideal as we have our annual friends Christmas lunch on 16th, so it’ll be some what of a celebration. If I can even lose a couple more then I can afford to put a bit back on, but let’s not count our chickens.

Trend’s going potty.

Those spikes really are bizarre, but I’m starting to put it down to daily anomolies on any given day. They do say that you should really only weight yourself every week. If that were the case the trend graph would be thus.

Yeah that’s really not much better is it.

What it does say is that I’m losing 2.625 pounds a week on average, which actually for a bloke my size and for the amount I’m doing exercise wise really isn’t too bad.

Maybe I’ll revise that prediction. If I hit my average weight loss for the last 8 weeks I’ll hit 14 stone 7 pounds on 2nd December.

A question.

Have I become slightly obsessed by this?

I only ask because I’m worried for the long term maintenance once I get to my goal. I mean after that I’ll have no aim.

Having said that though, I have been seriously considering a triathlon. Maybe that should be my goal, once I’ve lost the weight.

Actually looking at that graph I can’t help but think today is an utter anomaly, I think I’m going to creep back up a few pounds in the next couple of days.

Monday November 6th 2006

15 stone 7 pounds

Meandering along

It’s been an odd week all in all. I’ve kind of forgotten all about the diet really. <>It’s been really busy. I was out Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We didn’t really cook a proper meal until last night, because Nic was out a couple of nights as well, so I’ve kind of just snacked. I guess on the whole it was good snacking, rather than ‘tons of pork pies’ type snacking. But I’ve carried on cycling and swimming as well and I guess the 15 stone 5 pounds measurement can be put down to a blip now, which I had strongly suspected anyway.

Tuesday November 7th 2006

15 stone 5 pounds

Back again

Well here I am at 15 stone 5 pounds again. I guess inevitably Tuesdays and Wednesdays are always going to be low weight days as invariably I have not only cycled but swum twice on the first days of the week.

Rather bizarrely I’ve seen very good friends and family in the past week and despite having seen them all the way since I started this back in June, they have all seen me and said ‘Oh my God how thin do you look?’ Maybe it’s a tipping point thing. Despite the fact I’ve been losing steadily they haven’t noticed until suddenly I look far thinner.

Wednesday November 8th 2006

15 stone 3 pounds

10 pounds to go

Told you Tuesday and Wednesday’s were low weight days. Having said that though I didn’t go swimming last night so no real reason to suddenly drop another couple of pounds in a day.

As I’ve said before, there is no real rhyme nor reason to these fluctuations.

However, despite that I sit here with just 10 pounds to go. It’s funny to say that because for most people I know, going on a diet normally means they have a target of about 10 pounds to a stone and to them it seems insurmountable. To me - knowing I’m 43 pounds down so far - 10 pounds seems like an absolute piece of piss.

Having said that though I stood in front of the mirror naked this morning and I’ve definitely got more to go than 10 pounds. I reckon realistically there’s near on another stone and half to come off. Nevertheless I’m not going to revise things just yet. I’m going to wait until I get there and come to an opinion then. After all it is actually a long way to go and once I’m there I’ve got the whole of the festive season to come so I’m almost definitely going to be piling the pounds back on for a couple of weeks.

Thursday November 9th 2006

15 stone 5 pounds

Pound Bungee

We went out last night, took a swim and then went for some dinner. Had a rather delicious Thai meal and, we were both fairly good. Didn’t eat too much had a couple of beers but nothing atrocious. I got home got on the scales and weighed in at 15 stone 8 pounds.

Now considering I was 15 stone 3 pounds in the morning and the scales were stood in exactly the same place that means I was 5 pounds heavier in the evening as in the morning. Does that make any sense? Well no, not really, especially considering that when I got up this morning I’d dropped 3 pounds and I was back at my new 16 stone 8 pounds, yes folks welcome to the stasis that is 15 stone 5 pounds.

Just as an aside. I do actually now look thin. Granted that’s in my clothes. Out of my clothes I look like I could do with losing between a stone and a stone and a half. However, as of today my BMI is 30.8, that’s obese ladies and gents. If I went in to a doctor’s today and they said to me, I’m afraid Mr. Heath that you have to lose 3 stone to ensure you’re not overweight, I’d punch him in the face.

Friday November 10th 2006

15 stone 4 pounds

Steady as you go

It feels like this is about right today. After a week of fluctuation I’ve settled at 15 stone 4 pounds which is exactly 3 stone lost. I have to say sitting here today the last stretch feels like a bit of a chore. I am still on target for Christmas though.

Wednesday November 15th 2006

15 stone 4 pounds

Hectic lives are not conducive to dieting

We’ve had three weeks now where we’ve been so busy we haven’t had time to eat properly. You know those times when you get in and you don’t actually sit down at all, the first time you actually rest is when you drop in to bed at around 11.30, knackered.

What that means is we haven’t really eaten a proper meal more than about three times in three weeks. We’ve been out a few times and eaten then, but that’s difficult to control and as a result we’ve picked. Tons of hummus and cottage cheese and all sorts. Granted it’s all fairly good stuff (if you don’t count last Friday when I lost all sense of moderation and had two cheese and mayo sandwiches and a whole packet of chocolate chip cookies) and it’s been fairly wholesome, but nevertheless when you pick you tend to eat too much and that’s definitely what I’ve been doing. As a result I have reached a static point. I really do need to get this last push going, but I’m finding it really hard to get going. I’ve lost a pound in two weeks not really good enough.

The one ray of hope though is that Nicky’s gone away for a week with the boys. That’s part of the reason things have been so busy, we knew we’d lose this week before Christmas, so we needed to get things sorted. It means the house is pretty much in order. On my own I’m such low impact* it doesn’t take me long to tidy up, which means I can go and exercise every single night. So that’s what I’ll be doing for the next week, absolutely caning it, I think.

* Addendum Thursday November 16th 2006 – I’m normally low impact. Yesterday I came in from my run and walked all over the cream rug with wet mud all over my trainers. Doh! I’m really looking forward to cleaning that tonight.

Thursday November 16th 2006

15 stone 2 pounds


Sometimes tiny little - what should be insignificant - achievements really buoy you. When I got on the scales this morning I weighed in at 15 stone 1 pound, not believing it I moved the scales to a different place in the room and sure as damn it I was 15 stone 2 pounds. 15 stone 2 pounds isn’t any sort of mini target, but because I’ve hit a bit of a plateau of late* it really cheered me up, especially after my redoubling of effort last night.

I went running for the first time in ages. Along with not eating properly the running has been put on the back burner a bit of late so it’s the first time I’ve got out for about 3 or 4 weeks, but the cycling and swimming must have been really getting me fitter because I felt extremely strong. There is a 70 metre elevation on the route I run which I just blasted up yesterday.

Weeeeeellll Paula Radcliffe might not think it was blasting up, but in comparison to the huffing and puffing I endured 4 or 5 months ago this was blasting. I guess you’d call it strong and steady and definitely faster than walking pace. When I first attempted the same route a few months back - -although I didn’t stop - I probably could have walked the route at the same pace, but yesterday I was all pumping arms and controlled breathing and grit toothed determination. It really made me feel like I’d got somewhere and I guess that’s the benefit of not having done the run for such a while, I haven’t noticed getting stronger swimming and cycling as I’ve been going so consistently, but when that increase in fitness translates to a different discipline you notice the difference hugely.

* Breaking the plateau

A small note about the new wife

While I’ve been trying to shed all this mass, Ncky’s been on it as well and she’s managed to get below her pre-pregnancy weight with Louis. She’s gone from 9 stone 12 pounds in July to 9 stone dead yesterday, a particular achievement as her nephew is to be christened on Sunday and she’s been maniacally trying to reach the 9 stone goal she’d set herself two months ago. To put it in context it’s actually 9% of her original body weight and when you think of it that way it’s amazing so hats off to Nic especially considering she doesn’t have the opportunity to do the cycling I’ve been doing.

Tuesday November 21st 2006

15 stone 2 pounds

Not even half the story

By the looks of things I’ve plateaued through the weekend. Well that’s not strictly true. I actually got down to 15 stone 1 pound on Friday. However, I went up to Edinburgh for my nephew’s christening this weekend and inevitably it was a bit of a feast and a feast of nibbles more to the point. Lots of party in a cellophane packet type food. It meant that when I stepped back on to the scales yesterday I’d gone back up to 15 stone 5 pounds.

Yesterday, however I had a bit of a manic day which meant I skipped breakfast, something I almost never do nowadays, had a sandwich for lunch and then got so busy in the evening that I forgot to eat and ended up having a bowl of cereal at 11pm just before bed because I suddenly realised I was starving. The result I’m back to 15 stone 2 pounds.

I’m aiming to have got under 15 stone by the end of the week. I’m not joking when I say, if I achieve that milestone I will have genuinely amazed myself. I have spent the last few years thinking it was simply unachievable and consoling that myself that actually it’s fine to be overweight, it’s not a big deal. If nothing else it tells me that I have discovered a new psychological resolve and control over my life that I was previously lacking.

Wednesday November 22nd 2006

15 Stone 0 pounds

46 pounds down - 7 to go

Well I’ve now lost 2 stone since I started writing this diary which is amazing considering I’d never managed to get beyond 2 stone on a diet before.

I now know for definite that my 14 stone 7 pound target was a little bit toppy. Looking in the mirror I definitely have another stone to go. I’m now in 36 inch jeans comfortably. I’m down four belt loops and need to get myself a new belt as this one isn’t going to be much good to me soon.

I read an article a couple of days ago that stated men’s weight should be much more about watching waist size than BMI and weight. It makes sense. When I was in my teens and early 20s I used to buy 32’’/34’’ jeans. I remember once buying a pair of skin tight tartan tailored trousers that were a 30’’ waist but that’s faintly ridiculous. I guess my aim now then is to yes, lose that extra stone (although I will be ecstatic when I get to 14 stone 7 pounds) but more importantly, get down to a 34” waist trouser.

Conditioning is the key. If you were to look at me today without ever having seen me before the giveaway that I’ve been a fat man are the love handles. I’m told that they’re always the things that are a nightmare to get rid of and that the only real way to get rid are copious amounts of stomach toning exercises*. I hate stomach toning exercises, they’re really boring. Worse still I’m going to have to buy something like Men’s Health to find out the best way to get toned. Oh god I’m in to exercise routines.

I think I’ve now moved in to a new psychological phase. I know I can lose weight, that’s no longer the challenge. The challenge now lies in getting in the best shape I can possibly be. Need to try and look like Daniel Craig in speedos by next summer. Lol.

* Addendum

Turns out the love handles can’t really be helped by stomach exercise, but that I just have to keep exercising and reducing my body fat, but apparently the swimming is a very good way of burning overall fat reserves, so I’m buoyed by that.

This all makes me think that maybe I’ve got even more to go than I thought originally. Could it be that I’m actually aiming for more like 13 stone 7 pounds. Oh god, suddenly things seem difficult again and maybe my BMI ranting has been a little unjust.

Apparently though the following will help to pull muscle in to shape:

Torso twists

  • Abdominal crunches
  • Side bends
How dull.

Having a starving day

Nic and I have always maintained that our biggest problem in losing weight was to do with our inability to maintain balance. We were completely all or nothing. Either we were gorging ourselves and not caring or we were on a strict regime that meant we were incredibly boring people to be out with at the weekend, because we ordered salad and tap water.

One of the key differences this time round is we have found a much more balanced way of eating. We’re very disciplined during the week, eat three low fat meals a day with no snacking and then by and large we let ourselves off the hook at the weekend and do what we want. The excessive side does tend to kick in and I guess that’s something that will always be there but by acknowledging that that’s part of what we are we’ve found a much better equilibrium. It helps that Nic’s at home and we have the kids as before, we would invariably get home shattered and go our for dinner. Nicky has been an absolute marvel in menu planning and keeping us on the straight and narrow and I acknowledge that without her behind this I would have got absolutely nowhere. She’s always been my rock and none more so than in doing this.

Having said all that though, I have the odd day when I just wake up absolutely starving. I have a feeling that I’ve under-eaten and over exercised in the past couple of days and today I am completely ravenous, I could eat for the rest of the day the way I’m feeling. It’s currently 10.45 and I’ve just eaten my lunchtime sandwiches and still feel hungry.

Friday 24th November

14 stone 13 pounds

Still Obese

I got on the scales this morning and cheered, not in an ironic way, but a proper full blooded real roar. Never thought I’d be here, I know I’ve said that before in this diary, but this is really important to me. I don’t think I’ve been this weight for about 10 years.

Now, my sternest critics and most disapproving weight loss advocates are my grandparents. They’re always on at me to lose weight. Now through a bizarre set of circumstances I haven’t seen them for about 3 months and boy am I looking forward to seeing them. They will be truly amazed. Hoorah.

p.s I’m still technically obese by the way, my BMI is exactly 30 today. One more pound to go and I’m no longer the nation’s problem.

p.p.s Nic’s lost a stone now. She looks absolutely fantastic.

Tuesday 29th November

14 stone 12 pounds

Ladies and Gentlemen I am no longer obese but merely grossly overweight

I guess this is a fitting last post, today I am 29.8 BMI that means I’m merely grossly overweight. Hoorah, still crap of course I ran 8 miles on Sunday and I’m sorry but are you telling me someone obese could do that, it’s unlikely without a coronary.

So here I am 5 pounds off the target, but I’m confident I will make it

Friday, November 24, 2006

Mohammad Yousuf fails

Mohammad Yousuf failed today to post his favourite recent score. Having posted 192 runs in two out of his last three matches he fell one short and just managed 191 yesterday. Absolutely pathetic, the bloke's useless.

By the way there is a post brewing about the discipline that adherence and conversion to Islam appears to have on cricket players, which cannot go uncommented on when talking about Yousuf, however I might leave that for today

Just as a note it's interesting to point out that three of the world's top four batsmen at present, Ponting, Lara and Yousuf all scored near to or actual double tons in the past four days. What I'd give for the consistency of any of them. Despite Pietersen's undoubted talent, I still don't trust him when he walks to the wicket. He might score 300 tomorrow, wouldn't mean I'd trust him any more the next time he walks to the middle.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Seven Hours to go

So this is it. This is the time we see just how far we've come as a team.

We walk out at the Gabba tonight arguably in better shape than we were in during summer 2005. Some say Michael Vaughn's and Simon Jones' absence will make a huge difference, but who knows and frankly if we're to prove that we're now world beaters we need to be able to do it without key players. We will always have injuries and the test of a great team is having players who can step up and make a significant contribution.

I'm not going to make predictions. Mainly because I think it's just too close to call. My one hope is that the English player's hold their nerve. If the frail psyche's of Harmison, Mahmood and Bell can hold up when the bullets start flying we're in for an absolute stormer of a series again. I for one can't wait.

A short speech for those boys out in brisbane that's close to my heart and I feel is appropriate at this time:

Act IV Henry V

''This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks, That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.''

Ok so it'd be nice if the Ashes could have started on October 25th and the Australian's were French but heh it'll do.

Let battle commence.

London 2012 set to be most cynical games of all time

London has been congratulated by the International Olympic Committee for the most cynical reponse of any nation to ever host the games.

Picked out for special commendation was the UK population's complete unwillingness to 'go with the flow'. Jacques Rogge stated that 'We knew that the British were world renowned misanthropes, but this level of whingeing could only ever have been dreamed of at the IOC offices in Geneva'

Ms. Tessa Jowell's announcement that the budget was to increase by £900m to £3.3 bn overall took over 12 hours to be fully clarified as a result of the amount of tutting that her speech recieved. One journalist said that he only caught about 20% of her announcement because Tim Shipman of the Daily Mail spent the entire hour repeating the mantra 'I told you so, I told you so, tsk what do you bloody expect.'

The Olympic Delivery Authority's pronouncement that the Olympics would provide, a new transport infrastructure for London and the South East, the regeneration of the most deprived area in the UK, housing for 40,000 people, a 6 to 7 year job boom and at the end of it all a 2 week party was met by the throng of hacks sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting 'La la la la la, we're not listening, we're not listening'

Friday, November 17, 2006

Unidentified floating objects (UFOs)

It doesn't matter where you swim in Britain you seem to end up encountering detritus in the water.

When we first moved to Streatham, we were mightily pleased to have a pool virtually at the end of our road. However, on our first outing there, we discovered it to be quite the filthiest experience either of us have ever had. I'm not exaggerating when I say it felt like swimming in a sewer. The bottom was completely green and there was brown unidentified muck swilling around at the bottom. I lasted three lengths before I suggested to Nic that we leave which she happily agreed to.

When we complained and got our money back, we were told that the pool was fully chlorinated and anything nasty would be neutralised. I replied that that wasn't really the point and that they had stuff floating around at the bottom of the pool that was obviously some sort of human deposit and needed sorting. It's a common complaint of London pools.

What we hadn't realised at the time was that the plot on which the council swimming pool stands had been bought up by Tesco along with a large stretch of the property on the High Road. There was a plan to build a huge Tesco Superstore in it's place and as part of the deal the Supermarket were obligated to build a new swimming pool, leisure centre and the ice rink all of which were due for demolition. The result of this was the council halted any new funding for the existing buildings, but inevitably there was a huge planning dispute which meant nothing got started. Three years on still nothing's happening and the leisure facilities are falling apart literally.

Anyway our first swimming experience meant we had to re-evaluate where to swim and we ended up as regulars at Crystal Palace, we're lucky that we live just a 10 minute drive from one of only two 50m pools in London (which is in itself a disgrace, but that's another post), but we have come to love it there.

The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace is getting a little worn around the edges, especially considering the level of usage. There is never a time when the place isn't packed out. It's an extremely inspiring place to be. You get to see sports being played that you wouldn't really see anywhere else, so you can watch national standard trampolining, diving, basketball, waterpolo and all sorts of other weird and wacky pursuits. Kids today get a very bad rap in my opinion for being lazy couch potatoes, but spend some time down at Crystal Palace and you see nothing but positive, happy, competitive kids having a brilliant time, keeping fit and keeping of the streets and out of trouble, it's very life affirming.

It was our big hope that the successful Olympic bid would mean the centre would get a huge facelift - which it very much needs - but unfortunately it doesn't even figure in the Olympic Delivery Authority's plans for training facilities, so I can only see a decline. Maybe it would be cheaper to start from scratch, than to try and update a facility built over 40 years ago, but it seems frankly daft not to include it in the plans and no one seems to have provided a reason for the decision.

Anyway back to my point (UFOs). As it is one of only two 50m pools in London it is inevitably hugely oversubscribed by swimming clubs from all over London, which means the ongoing cleaning process is immense. The pool sees over 2000 bodies in and out each day, that's an awful lot of potential human detritus and yesterday I found that to my cost.

I really didn't want to be there yesterday. I'd swum on Monday and run Tuesday and Wednesday and that was on top of my cycle to work. Nic's also away with the boys, which meant
I had to cycle there. Anyone who knows Crystal Palace will know what a bastard it is to get to by non-motorised means, as it's built on one of the highest points in London, hence the positioning of the radio mast ( incidentally it's England's tallest self supporting steel tower and also the principal transmitter for the BBC).

I had no choice, but to go though, as I am currently trying to complete the Aspire Charity Channel Swim Challenge and I needed to complete my 18th mile as I've only got two weeks left to complete the other four that I need to have done the equivalent of the channel. So I got there knackered, flopped in to the pool and proceeded with my mile breast stroke, as I just couldn't muster the energy for freestyle. 1,200 metres in and frankly hating the whole thing, as I bobbed my head out of the water and sucked for breath, I sucked up a tube, which completely panicked me. Luckily I'd had the whole lane to myself for 24 lengths, which is unknown, but it takes away all the lane politics and trying to swim round people which makes lane swimming such a pain in the arse, but my steady zombie like rhythm got completely shocked. I stopped dead and spat out the tube and lo and behold it turned out to be a tampon applicator. Great, just what I needed, I'm used to swimming through plasters, or dressings or the odd bit of paper, sweet wrappers all of which I wonder how they got there, but please a tampon applicator. I almost hurled. I guess it's just one of those things you have to accept that they can't keep the place meticulously clean at all times of the day, however that didn't stop me raging at the lifeguards, who reacted with a mixture of apology and barely concealed mirth. Anyway, I'll be watching where I'm going in future, I need to tweak my technique anyway, if that can somehow incorporate no breathing maybe I won't have to inhale any more sanitary products.