Sunday, September 03, 2017

The 6 Week Challenge - Part 2

Six weeks ago I drove my wife, daughter, son and mother-in-law to Heathrow. Later today I will go back to pick them all up. The six week challenge I set myself - to extend my life expectancy by 6 weeks - is over.

So, how did I do?

Well, the truth is I have no idea. I probably should have researched something on life expectancy to see what my goal was. Oh well.

What I can do is compare my 2nd 3 weeks to my 1st. In the 1st 3 weeks I lost 3.4kg of weight, in the 2nd 3 weeks I lost 2.8kg. 

Bummer right? Wrong.

As I mentioned last time, "weight loss" is an irrelevant figure. It is focused on so much because its easy to measure, but relying on it too heavily is stupid.

Lets look at it a bit closer:

First thing to point out is that I have no idea what the kilo of "other" that I've lost is. I've checked and I still seem to have all my fingers, toes and dangly bits so I'm guessing it wasn't important.

The other thing to note is that my surplus fat loss has been fairly consistent in both periods, the key difference is that my muscle loss has halved. That makes my 2nd period much more successful than my 1st.

For anyone thinking of starting their own challenge, let me leave you with some of my top tips:
  • If you're doing it to "look good" be prepared for disappointment. I've lost 6kg of weight, including 4kg of fat and, honestly, I don't look any different. But I do feel better, which is far more important.
  • Ignore all the vast amount of often conflicting "advice" out there. Unless you're planning to be an athlete, it doesn't matter if you get the "best" or most "efficient" plan. Keep it simple: eat healthy and exercise. Build the details around what works best for you. For example, if I tried to force myself to go to a gym, I probably would have found a long list of excuses not to but I found doing over 10km of walking a day quite relaxing. Figure out what works for you.
  • Don't make any food "forbidden", just acknowledge that some of it is stupid. If you eat a bit of stupid food, oh well, live and learn. Making things "forbidden" just increases people's desire to have them. I'm fairly certain if a new law was made to outlaw punching yourself in the face their would be an immediate increase in the number of people punching themselves in the face.
  • Get yourself a scale that measures fat/muscle. These figures won't be as accurate, but weight loss isn't always a good thing.
  • For your sanity, make a graph. 
Right, now I'm off to pick up two of the worlds greatest chefs (Jean & her mum) to come live with me. Think I can keep the weight off?

Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The 6 Week Challenge - Part 1

Three weeks ago I drove my wife, daughter, son and mother-in-law to Heathrow. In three weeks time I will go back to pick them all up.

They are having a fantastic time in China, seeing the rest of Jean's family and friends, eating great food, going to loads of play places, ice-skating, even learning to play the piano.
If I were a "glass-half empty" kind of guy, I may worry that I'm missing out on 6 weeks with my little ones that I'll never get back. Luckily, I'm more of a "top me up" kinda guy.

I'm just going to increase my life expectancy by 6 weeks. Simple.

Disclaimer: Whilst I am technically a "doctor", I'm not the useful kind. I don't know jack about health and medicine. Everything below is just details of what I am up to, NOT advice on what you should do.

Three weeks ago I weighed around 78kg. Apparently for my height anything over 75kg is overweight and ideally I should weigh 65kg. So, how to get from A to B?

The plan: Eat less, exercise more.

I know right? I'm a genius.

So, now that I'm half way through, how's it going.
Not bad. I've lost just over 3kg and I'm no longer officially overweight. If I keep up the pace I'll get down to around 70kg by the time my 6 weeks are up.

Oh, one piece of advice I would give to anyone trying to lose weight. MAKE A GRAPH. Seriously, as you can see from above, it's not every day my weight goes down. Those peaks do not relate to times of "weakness" - weight is random. If you just weigh yourself from day to day those increases can be soul-destroying. It does not mean you have done anything wrong, it does not mean you should give up.

But, of cause, none of the figures I've quoted yet are actually important. "Weight" is kinda irrelevant in that "weight loss" is only good if you're losing surplus fat, not muscle.
Whilst not as accurate as the measurement of weight, it is nice to see I'm mostly losing the fat. Though I may need to up my game on the exercise to keep my muscle mass up.

3 down, 3 to go. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Happy 5th Charlotte Day

5 years ago my little angel was born.

After 5 days of labour I was shattered. Jean was probably tired too. But we had both never been happier.

5 years on, not much has changed. I'm still shattered, Jean more so, and we've still never been happier.

Charlotte is amazing.

I asked her yesterday what she liked most about being 4. She thought for a while then eventually said "I liked that it was the Year of the Chicken."

I asked her if she was excited about being 5, she didn't hesitate: "Of cause!! How can I not be excited!! Everything in front of me is so beautiful!!!"

Happy birthday my wonderful little girl. Enjoy being 5 and stay beautiful.

Smile, be happy.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Mrs and Mr Treble

Liam McNeilis. The one that got away.

I had been working on my "treat 'em mean, keep 'em keen" master plan for well over a decade - getting married, having kids, moving 200 miles away. Another 20 or so years and I would have been ready to make my move.

But after 5 minutes of seeing him with Jenny I knew my dream was over.

They were made for each other.

And, on April 28th, they had a wedding that was perfectly made for them.

The location was beautiful. A magical land hidden away in the heart of Southport.

The service was a lovely love story.

The food was delicious and plentiful.


The speeches were fantastic. Especially Beth, who at such a young age just stood up and absolutely nailed it. She really lived up to her title of "Best Person".

The Flower Girls, I believe I can say without any parental bias whatsoever, were the best Flower Girls ever.

The music is still stuck in my head.

But all of that is just very tasty icing on the cake. By far the most important aspect of this, and any, wedding is that the Bride and Groom clearly love each other more than words can say.

Thank you for making Charlotte a part of such a special day, and thank you even more for allowing her to bring the rest of us as her guests.

Congratulations to the newlyweds, Mrs and Mr Treble.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mothers Day 2017


A lazy Sunday morning just relaxing in bed. But with two young kids it doesn't last long.

Sure enough, in bursts our little Charlotte.

"Happy Mothers Day" she exclaims excitedly as she hands Jean a cute Pug faced mug followed by a round of hugs and kisses.

She then turns to me and, in a volume of voice far closer to shouting than whispering, says, "Daddy, you need to keep Mummy in bed for a bit. I'm going to go make her card and I don't want her to know."

She returns a little later asking me to come help her with her words. Mummy, who obviously has no idea what we are up to, still has to wait in bed.

"Ok, what do you want to say"

"Hello Mummy. I love you." I dutifully write it down on some scrap paper for her to copy onto her card. Once she's finished I suggest we go give Mummy her "surprise".

"Wait! I also want to say: I also love Daddy, but I love you best."

Really?!? Hmm.

We had a great day and I hope all the Mummies out there had a great day too. You all do amazing work.

We love you best.

Happy Mothers Day!!

Smile, be Happy.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Parental Sexism

For the past five years, I've repeatedly been given countless reasons to ponder one question: "Why is sexist parenting so socially acceptable?"

It starts from the moment you tell people you're having a baby: "Do you want a boy or a girl?"

It never seems to end.

Bafflingly, it often comes from the strangest places. Adults, male and female, who treat each other with respect and equality - as soon as they become parents they seem to feel the need to "teach" their little ones that blue is for a boy and pink is for a girl.

For little children, the entire world is split into "boys" things and "girls" things. Flowers, football, dolls, cars - the list goes on and on.   Even if someone "allows" their child to break the mold, they feel obliged to make statements such as: "she's not really a girly girl, she's more of a tomboy."

Why? At an age when girls and boys have most in common, why does society do everything they can to split them up?

Maybe you think I'm being silly, they're small, it's cute, what does it matter? I can't help thinking all the battles for gender equality stem from this one area we seem to have all agreed to ignore.

We split boys and girls up, we make their interests not overlap, they grow apart or face social ridicule. They only start noticing each other again over a decade later when their minds turn to sex - at this point they turn each other into objects and, hey presto, we have all the grown up, less cute, sexist issues.

Maybe you think I'm wrong. Boys and girls just are different. Maybe. But why do we need to amplify those differences? Why do I see so many parents pushing their little boys away from the pink aisle in the toy shops? "Those are girls toys."

Why can't a little boy be interested in pretending to be a daddy? I was. I still have my doll, gave it to my kids. I also loved Transformers, watched Carebears, like Thundercats, was (am) bored silly by football.

I don't think I'm alone in having a mixture of "male" and "female" interests - I think the people who don't have any mixture are far more unusual.

So why do we falsely "teach" our children that their are "boy" things and "girl" things?

Why is sexist parenting so socially acceptable?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Year of the Cock.

I'm not normally a believer of horoscopes, but you have to admit the Chinese have nailed it: 2017 is definitely turning into the Year of the Cock.

I'm very tempted to go into a rant about what a hideous excuse for a human being Trump is, but I doubt I would be telling you anything you don't already know.

Instead, let me skip straight to the conclusion I've come to:

"What the world needs now, is love, sweet love."

Trump has made the world a darker place. We need to brighten it up again.

So, this year, whatever situation you find yourself in, think "What would Trump do?"

Then do the opposite.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!!!

Smile, Be Happy.