How I lost 15.4Kgs ( 34 pounds) in under 8 weeks.
This is the first time in my life and I am at the time of writing 61 years old 😮 I have actually been very serious about losing weight.
I’ve dicked about with diets before, tried all sorts, those slimfast drinks, low carb ones, low fat ones, all sorts.
I usually go about 3days into them and give up mostly because the food/drinks etc taste like shit.
So I have never really tried seriously to diet, for the majority of my adult life I have been around 76Kg which is a little overweight, in theory given that I am only 169cm tall I should be between 65-72Kg so around 4Kg over the upper range I was never really bothered about.
However when I did try to shed some weight to get down to 70Kg it failed each and every time. I just lacked motivation.
January the 8th to be precise was a day I will never forget, on the Friday before, Jan 4th I started to get a sore throat and a sniffle. I had caught a cold, the next day day it developed fully, runny nose, streaming eyes, shivers.. the works.
Sunday the 6th I developed a little bit od a ticklish throat and started to wheeze a little. Monday 6th I developed the full blown hacking cough.
Tuesday 8th Jan 2019 I got up around 8am and I didn’t feel that great and as well as all the other cough symptoms my ears had really started to hurt, I mean like what the fuck? since when does a cold make your ears hurt? by 10am I was in some considerable pain so I phoned my Doctor and got an “Emergency” appointment.
I saw her at around midday, I walked into her room and through my coughing and sneezing told her my symptoms.
She took my blood pressure, looked in my ears, took my temp and checked my SpO2 then she reached over and picked the phone up “Could you call an Ambulance please” she said to the reception “Yes, it’s an emergency I suspect low neutrophils or neutropenic sepsis” What? What the fuck? no, I am not that ill, I am really, really not that ill.
Next thing I remember was that it was around 5 pm and I was in the resuscitation room of the local hospital, then some vague memories of my partner coming in, doctors coming in and out and being tired, very, very tired.
The next morning was the first time I was really fully aware, I was on a ward but in an isolation room, it turned out I didn’t have a cold at all, I had something called Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) it’s a bacterial infection that can cause some serious illnesses.
Since 1992 HiB vaccinations have been given to all babies born in the UK which mean that now only a very small number of cases occur and usually only if someone has an underlying health condition.
Well that’s me isn’t it? I have cancer, Follicular Lymphoma and I have only a few weeks ago finished chemotherapy which means my immune system is very compromised indeed and I just couldn’t fight Hib off.
I spent a week in hospital in isolation being barrier nursed before I was well enough to go home, except I wasn’t well at all, what no-one knew at that was the Hib was given me pneumonia, within a week I was back in the hospital again very seriously ill.
I had pneumonia. They hit me with what seems like every antibiotic under the sun and zillions of steroids and nothing worked in fact the pneumonia turned into double pneumonia.
After nearly 2 weeks once again I was well enough to go home and I was ok ish for a few weeks, i still had the pneumonia I was still coughing but I seemed better, except I wasn’t and once again found myself in hospital seriously ill.
This was my 2019 I was in and out of hospital for the first 8 months of the year and then finally in August I turned a corner and my right lung completely cleared up. However my left lung didn’t and throughout all this time I had a continuos cough from the minute I woke up till the minute I went to sleep, even in my sleep some nights it would wake me, it was totally exhausting.
Even my neighbours one day posted on Facebook that they could hear me coughing day in and day out and felt sorry for me.
Things slowly stared to improve and eventually the cough stopped in mid December, however I couldn’t do anything without puffing and blowing like an old steam train and breaking into a drenching sweat, even climbing the stairs in the house was a major effort.
After CT scans and some tests they gave me the news, I had bronchiectasis this was an incurable, chronic and degenerative condition, I was never going to recover from it.
Jan 8th 2020
This was a day to celebrate because exactly one year to the day was the last time I smoked. did I not mention that I gave it up? well that’s because I didn’t.
Remember exactly a year ago I was being rushed into hospital seriously ill, well I was so ill and kept in isolation that I actually went “cold turkey” and didn’t even know it. I came out of hospital and non-smoker and I haven’t smoked since, this is because just one puff of 1 ciggy could set my bronchiectasis off to the level it was in 2019 and I never, ever want to go back there again.
What has this got to do with a diet?
Good question, well during 2019 and early 2020 between the cancer and my bronchiectasis I could hardly do anything, walking even to my car was major major effort and a few times I had collapsed on the little green outside my house when I tried it and then came the Covid pandemic meaning because I was immunosuppressed I couldn’t even get out and do the little things I had been doing.
In April 2020 I got an electric wheelchair, this was the only way I could get any further than about 15m so 2 things had happened at almost the same time, I had given up smoking and my mobility was reduced to almost zero, not smoking meant my sense of taste and smell had returned and food was so much nicer I was eating more, not being mobile meant I wasn’t burning off the extra calories.
This was my life from 2019, all through 2020 and into September 2021, over eating, lack of mobility also in and out of hospital with chest infections.
I got yet another chest infection, this one was qa little different from the last few, this was a really serious one and once again I found myself in hospital seriously ill, during this stay they weighed me and the nurse said “You’re 103Kg” and I replied “Can you now weigh me with just me on the scales please, not both of us” I joked, “103Kg, you’re having a joke with me right?” “no, no” she said “You really are 103Kg”
103kg.. How the fuck was that possible? the last time I weighed myself I was 83kg, where the hell had 20Kg extra come from.
To say I was shocked was a complete understatement so I decided that I really needed to do something about this.
At the same time as I was released from hospital in September 2021 I was on immunotherapy and I was having a very bad reaction to one of the drugs, so much so that we decided to stop using this drug and then to end my immunotherapy.
The thing is that this particular regimen was chosen because it was gentle and because I am so clinically “delicate” so now I am not having any treatment.
I have a meeting soon with my consultant as to the way forward and one of the options is “no treatment” this is not an option I want at all, I want my cancer dealt with, no treatment means it won’t and will continue to get worse, so the only option os to be less “delicate” and to do that I need to be fit and healthy which is exactly why I am on this diet.
Not just a diet.
My normal calorie intake should be between 1800-2000 per day which would be calculated like this
Goal – food/drink + Exercise.
1800-2000 calories is what my body naturally works on each day just doing the mundane things like breathing etc so anything over 2000 means my body will store the excess as fat so I will gain weight and anything under 1800 means my body will burn it’s fat reserves for energy and so I will lose weight.
However you can’t just stop eating, as I said a normal person would need between 1800-2000 per day and you can’t just suddenly massively reduce your calorie intake because that brings a whole different set of problems.
My goal is to reduce weight by 1Kg per week and to do that each day I have to keep my total calorie goal at 15500 or less, Ideally 1300-1400 each day.
Wait! didn’t I just say I lost 15Kg in 6 weeks?
Yes I did and if you average it out it’s not that far away from my goal, it averages out at 1.9Kgs per week
However in the first week I lost almost 6Kg and in the second week almost 5kg
How? well by doing these simple things, looking at what I eat and drink and increasing the amount of exercise I do.
The exercise was easy and didn’t actually involve that much effort, I have a “smartwatch” so I set a goal of 5,000 steps per day which is about 3.5Km and set an hourly exercise reminder.
Very simply if I haven’t moved around for an hour my watch nags me and tells me to get up and walk round. You’d be surprised just how easy it is to get to 5,000 steps each day just moving around the house even if it’s walking from one room to another once an hour. This will account for around 240 calories, so there you are 1800 – 240 = 1560 so I am only 160 calories away from my daily goal.
How to lose that 160 calories? very simple, I usually drink 1-2 cans of beer each night, each can of beer is around 124 calories so stopping that means I am taking in 248 calories less. 1560 – 248 = 1312 there you go that’s my gaol reached.
Whilst I stopped drinking beer/alcohol every day I do have a “cheat night” which is every Tuesday when my mate comes round as he has for almost 40 years now and we have a boys night where we eat takeaways, drink beer, watch crap on the TV and generally talk shit.
Of course on these nights I would maybe consume 4000-5000 calories so blowing the savings I gained for the rest of the week out of the window.
The thing Is I already seen what making just a few minor changes could do for me, so all I needed to do was to make a few more.
So I stopped getting takeaways except for the one night each week, I stopped drinking beer except for the 1 night each week, I changed all the squash and fizzy drinks I drink to zero sugar, I changes white bread to wholemeal bread or Rye crispbread, I changed butter to butter “light” I changed the cheese I ate to low fat cheese and I changed a lot red meat to fish and white meat like chicken and turkey.
I also increased my exercise, not the step count, 5,000 a day for now is about right, but I went back to doing something I loved doing when I was younger, I went back to swimming.
I don’t swim very far or very fast, my lung condition stops me doing that but I do swim for around an hour and cover 300-400mm ( a healthy average person my age can swim 3-3.5Km) in a hour. However it’s not about how far or how fast but how much energy I expend and according to my watch swimming 400m in a hour burns 750 calories.
So combing all these changes me in a little over 2 weeks I lost 13Kg, well that’s too much too soon so for the last 6 weeks I have been trying to balance everything out to achieve 1Kg a week weight loss, this I have now done by consuming everyday except my “cheat day” around 1700 calories, doing 5,000 steps each day and twice a week doing a hors gentle swim at the local pool.
Sept 14th I was 103Kg, today Nov 6th I am 87.3Kg
Here it is in time order
Sept 14th 103Kg
Sept 21 101.5Kg
Sept 24th 100.4Kg
Oct 1st 95.4Kg
Oct 4th 93.7Kg
Oct 8th 91.7Kg
Oct 11th 92.2Kg
Oct 15th 90.Kg
Oct 22 89.8kg
Oct 29th 89Kg
Oct 31st 89.3Kg
Nov 2nd 88.3Kg
Nov 5th 87.6Kg
Nov 6th 87.3Kg
17Kg to go to target If I can do this then so can you.