Posted by: mrlock | November 9, 2018

Being fit for the job – part 1 – A Food Diary

On 1st January 2018, I stood on the scales.

I weighed 17 stone. It was the first time in my life I’d been that heavy. I used to be a runner of long distance at school. Then I played football until my mid-30s. Then I refereed. And I was a vegetarian.

I stepped off. And stood on them again so that they could get the glitch out of their system. I was still 17 stone. I went and got the old scales.

They said I was heavier.

I was horrified again. I was really really overweight. I had been for years, but this was worse than any weigh in that had gone before.

I hadn’t had a drink for two and a half years, I was and am still a vegetarian and have been since I was 11. How had this happened?

“I’m going to die by the age of 60,” I thought.

So I decided to lose weight. I have decided this before, including starting a blog to track it, but I’ve never stuck to it.

Recently, lots of people have asked me how I lost weight, so I decided to blog it. This is the start of those blogs. 

The first thing I did, is that I tweeted it.

And not long later, Matt Hood, chiselled overachiever and founder of the Institute for Teaching, offered to help me.

I said yes.

This is step 1. I didn’t realise it, but I got a coach. It is the single most important thing I did. I didn’t know Matt well, but he had visited my school, I’d had a meal with him, met him on a handful of occasions, and communicated about education a few more. I respect him. This matters. I didn’t know it but I had a coach that I respect, whose opinion I cared about. This was a fortunate step and mattered a lot.

Matt gave me a brief history of his understanding of nutrition, designed to give me confidence. Then he demanded a food diary. A typical day. Everything I eat. I didn’t really have a typical day apart from I ate whatever I wanted and I hated being hungry.

I wrote a food diary.

Then I realised how embarrassing it was. So I didn’t send it to him. A couple of days later he asked for it again. I ignored him. A couple of days later I wrote to him professionally about the IFT Masters in Excellent Teaching.

Matt’s reply said “Food diary!”.

So I sent it to him. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to write, and it said this, on 4th January:

I don’t like feeling hungry, which is a problem. I’m embarrassed about this.

A typical weekday might include:
5.30am: Coffee – espresso with sugar.
Coffee recurs all day until about 5pm I probably drink 6 or 7 cups, with sugar and semi-skimmed milk. 2 cans of full sugar coke.
I don’t usually eat breakfast but if I didn’t go to bed early enough (circa 10pm) I might end up drinking one of the energy drinks in the car on the way to work (energy drinks are generally bought when I’m on long car journeys and the family are in the car so I stay alert – I also always buy multipacks of everything because it’s cheaper per capita and I can’t stand overpaying).
Sometime between 10.30 and 12.30 I’ll eat the two sandwiches I have made at home. These are usually cheese, lettuce, tomato, butter.
2-5pm Biscuits from the SLT meeting that week. Eat most or all of what is left. We should probably count it as a packet.
6.30pm ish: A subway on the way home. I’m usually starving and give up trying to make it all the way home. If not a subway I might stop for a portion of chips. This is bad, isn’t it?
8: A meal at home, pasta with sauce, plenty of cheese. Or freezer roulette, veggie portions (but usually the whole packet, i.e. 2 cheese and leek plaits.
9.30: Snack on whatever, usually toast with butter.
I will probably have eaten sweets stored in the car. I certainly will have if they are there.
Another day might include the same until 2pm. Then no biscuits, but at around 7pm I will stop at Tesco. I’ll buy a sandwich meal deal thing, cheese ploughmans sandwich, bag of crisps, orange juice. Buy multi-pack or several of chocolate, convinced that I’ll eat one and the rest is for later. It’s on offer after all. Eat at least four bars of said chocolate. Or none. But usually four or more.
Then I’ll eat a meal at home as above.
I’ll then snack later as above.
Weekends usually include breakfast – Alpen (full sugar version) with whole milk (we have whole milk because of the kids), lunch (a couple of sandwiches) and dinner (a roast, or equivalent, or pizza. Actually, often pizza, and I eat a LOT more than is normal – I can easily eat a large Domino’s, for example).
And the I eat whatever I feel like in the evening.
I eat some, but not much fruit. I don’t drink enough water.
I don’t drink alcohol.
Please don’t judge me too badly. This was honest and painful.
Part Two is here
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