How to start exercising

How to start exercising – Part 1

Welcome back!

In the last article I described why its a good idea to compliment your dieting with exercise.  In this and following articles I’ll suggest ways that you can do this, most of which are completely free, point you towards mobile apps that’ll help you count your exercise (including Strava and Map My Walk), and explain why this is called the Bank Diet.


The simplest form of exercise, that requires no lycra (unless you like it a lot), is to go walking.  If you have a dog or a particularly cooperative cat, you may be exercising just by walking them.  If not, then its simply finding somewhere you’ll enjoy walking and going there, and walking.  If you walk to your walk, then that’s even better.


I’m fortunate that I have country on my doorstep.  If you aren’t then you might want to visit your local tourist board’s website or simply google ‘best places to walk’ or similar to find a site that will advise on local walks you can do by driving to a start point, parking up and grabbing the walking boots from the back of the car.

A site that I came across that was easy to use is Walking Britain.  You simply add your town and it’ll find walks in your selected radius, e.g.

walking britain example map

Hovering over a red balloon on the map will give you a link which will then allow you to see details about the walk including how to get to it, and information on similar close walks with mileages and links to further information on them.

I know its probably teaching granny to suck eggs – after all what’s difficult about walking!  but, the following may be useful if only as a reminder.

If you’re looking to walk a few miles it pays to take a small backpack with water, the walks instructions, your mobile (charged up of course), some food in case you get hungry, waterproofs and perhaps a jumper in case the weather changes for the worse.  As its winter, its advisable to also carry a torch.  The key thing to remember is that there’s no downside to having more clothes than you need on a walk as you can always  take them off and chuck them in your backpack.  If you’re not a hat wearer and its cold, try to wear one as your head is more sensitive to changes in temperature than most of your body, and without one you’ll feel colder.

If you’ve heard that you lose 90% of heat from your head recent research alleges that this is a myth which began with incorrect US Army training manuals in the 1950’s.

If its pretty cold, take a thermos of tea or coffee.  If you’re walking in the country on exposed tracks, you’re subject to wind chill which will likely make you feel colder faster than you think.

Also, if you’re walking in the country, try to let someone know where you’re going and the time that you expect to be back, in case you run in to difficulties.

If you can find someone to walk with, all the better, as you’ll provide conversation and motivation for each other.   The Ramblers is a charity whose web pages say that their goal is to protect the ability of people to enjoy the sense of freedom and benefits that come from being outdoors on foot.  Their site includes information on local walking groups, which is why I’m including it here.





Try to take regular drinks before you feel thirsty.  If you feel thirsty then technically you are already dehydrated and this can disturb your energy levels.

I have read that you only need to be 2% dehydrated to lose 30% of your performance.  How you measure this is another thing.  I try to take a small drink every kilometre and this seems to work.

There’s no harm in taking more water than you need.   Getting thirsty with miles still to go is no fun.

Try to take snack(s) with you as well.  If you’re out for a couple of hours, snacking will keep your metabolism going.  Chocolate is a good snack while walking as it will provide fast energy should you start tiring.




If your walk is going to take you into dusk, try to take a torch and some bright or reflective clothing.  You may find yourself on a bridleway used by horses and mountain bike riders.  Mountain bikes can travel at some speed and may not be able to see you until the last moment if you’re completely blacked out.  Torch and reflective clothing also allows you to be seen by motor vehicles for those occasions when you need to take to or cross roads.

If you’re on a road without pavements, it makes sense to walk on the right hand side towards oncoming traffic but try to stay on the outside of corners, crossing the road beforehand if its necessary – traffic will see you a lot quicker.  If you can get hold of a red rear facing light you can clip on the hood of your jacket or backpack, this improves visibility to traffic behind you.    e.g. these lights from Amazon.

If you have a mobile with applications like Map my Walk or similar, then turn it on before you start, and just as important to your calorie control, stop it when you finish.  Nothing worse than finishing a walk, only to discover that you’ve been logging your footsteps around the house for a couple of hours afterwards.

Saying this, if you know what time you set off and finished, you can work out roughly how many calories you used.  Most people walk about 4 kms an hour and this consumes roughly 240 calories, or 60 calories every 15 minutes.

If you don’t use mobile walking apps, try to keep a simple log of how far you’ve walked.  It should show black and white improvement in distance and speed over time.

Walking Apps

There are loads of these and you don’t necessarily have to spend any money to get one.

‘Map my Walk’ is a good example and is downloadable from either the Google App store of Apple’s App Store.

map my walk example screenshots

It shows:

  • Duration
  • Distance
  • Current Pace
  • Average Pace
  • Calories Used

It also gives you an audio description of your stats every kilometre and shows you in map form where you have walked.  The map is useful if you’re not on a circular walk and need to check that you’re returning the way that you went out.  The app will also usefully let you takes photos of your location and let you add a journal entry describing your walk.  You can also see your walk history.

You can pay for premium analytical services which I haven’t yet tried, which give you services including:

  • Live location tracking
  • Interval Training
  • Audio Coaching
  • Heart Rate analysis
  • Routing services (Route Genius)
  • Mobile coaching

Paying means you get an ad free experience, but I haven’t found the free service’s adverts too intrusive.

I use the audio feedback every kilometre as a reminder to drink to prevent dehydration.

After you’ve completed the walk


Relax like Mr Tibbs above, have a cup of tea etc and then establish how many calories you’ve burn’t by walking.  When you have the figure, add this to your allowed calories.  You wouldn’t expect to run your car without adding fuel and you’re just the same.  You have to pay (in calories) for that exercise.   The nice bit about the paying in this case is that you get a bunch of calories that you can add back into your diet.  Don’t worry – the diet will still work – you’ve used the energy already and now you’re putting it back.

e..g If you have a calorie limit of 1800, and have walked 4 kilometres, you’d add roughly 240 calories which then gives you a new limit of 2040 calories.  Don’t forget to take off any snacks you’ve consumed while walking.

If you don’t have time to walk

If you don’t have time to get out and walk on an established route somewhere nice, there are other ways you can introduce walking as exercise.  On the way to work, try parking the car further away from work than normal and walk in.  When you arrive, take the stairs instead of the lift.  Go for a walk for half an hour at lunchtime.  Park at the Park and Ride and walk in (as long as its safe to do so).  You’ll be surprised how the calories tot up.

If this isn’t enough, and its too dark to go walking after work, you could join a local gym.  Perfectly good ones only cost around £20 per month, are invaluable when its raining, and have walking machines which give immediate calorie count feedback.

I’ll be going in to more detail on gyms in the next article, speaking of which …

Next Time

This article has introduced the use of walking as a form of exercise.  Next time there’ll be advice on cycling for fitness, detail of a mobile app to help you count the calories while cycling, a beginner’s guide for the use of gyms to keep fit, and how the ‘bank’ part of the bank diet works.

Hope to see you then, and keep up the diet!

All the best. Ian.

How to start exercising, Losing Weight

How Exercise can help you lose weight

Welcome back to this series of articles on turning your life around, getting your weight down and most importantly making changes to your lifestyle to keep it that way.

I think a lot of people think that to lose weight, you need to either undergo a strict calorie controlled diet or spend an inordinately long time at the gym or pounding the pavements.  In truth, to make reasonably fast progress on a diet, its a combination of much less of each of these.

The previous articles have shown how to understand what your ideal weight should be, methods for measuring food and drink intake and what to do on those occasions when diet plans don’t go well.  This article shows how you can use exercise in combination with calorie control in a balanced way, and introduces one of the fundamental principles of what I call the bank diet; swapping out exercise for calories to make the diet more flexible and maintainable.  (The bank bit is explained next week).

Why exercise is important, and how it makes dieting easier

You’ll probably already be aware that exercise burns calories, but did you know that it also changes how your body maintains its energy?  Metabolism is used to describe how your body turns food into energy and keeps you going.

If you exercise regularly, you’ll put on muscle as your body adapts to perform the exercise more efficiently.  In terms of moving towards your ideal weight, replacing fat with muscle is important because muscle cells burns more calories than fat cells, even when you’re resting.

In the first article, I said that the fundamental principle of successful dieting is using more energy than you take in and how important that is.  How your muscles use more energy is alongside that in importance.  If you exercise regularly, you’ll find calorie controlled dieting much easier.


I get it that the word ‘exercise’ looks intimidating, especially if its been a while since you’ve put training shoes and gym gear on for their original purpose.  It doesn’t have to be.  Success using the Bank diet doesn’t rely on you doing exercise, but it will be assisted if you are working out in some way or another and will aid you reaching your target faster.

I didn’t exercise very much when I started trying to lose weight.  However, when I moved to the south downs a year and a half ago, I thought that it would be a waste to not get out and see the local scenery, which had been one of my reasons for moving.


This isn’t my local countryside, (it’s actually in Ireland) and neither is the picture above it, but you get the idea.

I started by going out on a mountain bike for a few miles.  I found the closing stages of this hard work because I was out of condition and lugging around three and half stone extra weight.  I started what I now call the bank diet around the same time and the two went together – it was much more diet than exercise to start with, but this changed so that now I’m probably doing between 7 and 10 hours exercise a week and dieting as I need to, to maintain a BMI of 25.  I also do bi-monthly 30 mile cycling sportives, which I have to be honest were really hard work to start with, but have become easier, and they use an awesome amount of calories.

Where do you find the time to Exercise?


I read in a Telegraph article from 2013, that scientists had established that exercising for 30 minutes a day is more efficient than exercising for an hour.  If you do this over 5 days, this is 2 and a 1/2 hours and is actually a very small amount – only 1.5 % of the 168 hours in your week.  You might spend more time washing and refuelling your car!

Some of the rest of your time might be spent as follows:

Sleeping         56 hours.
Commuting   10 hours.
Eating             18 hours.
Working         40 hours.
Shopping          3 hours.

The remainder is 41 hours or so.    If you do 30 minutes exercise 5 days a week, this still leaves 38 and a 1/2 hours free, so you may have more time available than you think.

Cycling is a good form of exercise, and so are walking and swimming.  By the way you don’t have to be all togged up like this rider.  (The helmet is important though).


45 minutes on a bike will consume 200 calories.  A 3 kilometre walk will use up 180 calories.  If you walk to the shops 15 minutes away rather than drive, you’ll have burn’t up 120 calories by the time you get back.

The advantages of exercise

Increased Metabolic Rate

It does this by building muscle mass which consumes more energy than fat.  The grin factor here is that you’ll be able to consume more calories when you’re not exercising as well.

The exercise needs energy, and this comes off of your calorie count.  If you walk for half an hour you’ll burn 120 calories.  (Walking is a very good exercise in itself).

You have to pay for this somehow – this energy isn’t free, so in this case, you ADD 120 calories to your calorie limit.   See what’s just happened?  Exercise requires you to eat more in order to pay for it. You wouldn’t expect to run your car without fuel and the same goes for you when you exercise.


Photo supplied by Robert Linder at FreeImages.

So as an example, say you have a calorie limit of 1800 calories, and go walking for 30 minutes.  You now add 120 to this so your day’s limit is now 1920 calories.  You are now almost up to ‘normal’ calorie intake but still losing weight!

By now you’ll appreciate what 120 calories represents – a nice yogurt or a banana or a two slice kitkat.  If you do an hour’s walking this is doubled.  Think what you could do with this extra 240 calories!


Muscle Tone

If you exercise consistently, you’ll find that your body definition will change, and you’ll actually be able to see your muscles, where before they may have been masked with fat.


I was really surprised by this.  I’m not talking about the kind of definition body builders have, or that displayed in this great statue, but you will see a marked difference in how your body looks and feels if you maintain a reasonable amount of exercise every week.

Feeling happier

That sounds daft right? How is exercise going to make you happier?

Cute dog that looks like it's grinning

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which are morphine like substances that dull pain experienced following exercise.  The side product of this is that they produce a feeling of euphoria.  The British Heart Foundation corroborates this in their Good reasons to cycle article.

Feeling more awake

I found that exercise, (which I thought was the last thing I wanted to do after working all day) was great for giving you more energy for the later evening, whilst still allowing you to drop off to sleep.  An article in the science journal Scientific American supports this and says that we think and learn better when we walk or do another form of exercise.

Getting out of the house

Exercise allows you to get out in the fresh air for a while, and gives you the opportunity to appreciate your surroundings.


I find with my bike – that although you’re still aware of whats going on, you kind of zone out after a while as your body gets into the rhythm – its a good way for your mind to drop all the clutter from the day for a while.  The only thing I’ve found that’s similar is when I’m drawing portraits and get so caught up with the picture that everything else fades away.  If you exercise in a group, its also a way for you to keep up with friends, and being together adds extra motivation to stick to your exercise plans.

The next article (due Saturday the 25th of November)

So, here we’ve discussed the reasons why its a good idea to compliment your dieting with exercise.  In the next article I’ll suggest ways that you can do this, most of which are completely free, point you towards mobile apps that’ll help you count your exercise (including Strava and Map My Walk), and explain why this is called the Bank Diet.

If you want to get started before that, and haven’t exercised for a long time, take it easy to begin with and try gentle walking to get your body and mind used to the idea of regular exercise again.

If you like this article and would like to see more in the series as they are published, please click the follow button and supply your details, and you’ll be notified by email when future articles are published.  I promise your details will not be redistributed or sold on.

The more followers and likes the articles have, the higher the articles will go in Google’s search engine listings and the more people will see them.  At the moment they’re way down the bottom so there’s a really tiny audience, so any help here would be really appreciated.

All the best and don’t give up on the diet.  You will get there!


Advantages and disadvantages of Dieting, How to recover when the diet slips

What do you do if the diet goes pear shaped

Welcome back.  Hopefully, you’ve been reading this series of articles and are now embarked on this plan for losing weight.

How is it going?  Love to hear how you’re doing.

This article discusses:

  • What to do if you miss your day’s target completely, you find yourself in a situation where you cannot count the calories or the wheels totally come off.
  • How to count calories when cooking meals yourself or for the family. Things you may not be counting (that make a difference).
  • Foods that lose you calories when you eat them.
  • Things you can look forward to, and
  • The albeit not to bad disadvantages of successful dieting.

What to do when the wheels come off

So first off, the big question – it was all going swimmingly and then you just had that bad day or couple of days – what do you do?

Well don’t give up.  Its not the end of the world, and it won’t make that much of dent in your diet.  I found that as long as I didn’t do this more than twice a month, it didn’t make much difference at all, as long as I didn’t go crazy and eat everything in sight.  I’d even suggest that if you haven’t had unplanned days off, you try to schedule one every two weeks, so you can have a break from the regime.  The key thing is to return to the diet the following day, and you’ll find yourself rededicated to keeping to your planned calories.

If you have more than a day off of the diet, its going to be a bit more difficult and this is largely  because it takes a fair bit of discipline to return to the regime and get yourself back to eating within your calorie limit.


Holidaying on a diet is difficult, especially on all inclusive holidays.   I found it impossible.  You’re there to relax – so enjoy yourself but don’t go mad.  Return to the diet when you return.  You’ll have lost a little ground, but your body and mind will have had a break from the regime, and as before you’ll be eager to get back to the lifestyle which for you, is becoming ‘Normal’.  You may find that returning to your diet feels surprisingly good, and you’ll find yourself on the way to being back on track.

Fresh Cooking

This calorie counting malarkey’s okay for someone who has time to count calories and isn’t cooking for a small tribe but how do you do it if you are, or you cook up meals in larger serving amounts for freezing?


Photo by Matt Alaniz on Unsplash

Count the calories for everything that goes into the meal, and then, as best you can work out how much of the meal you think that you’re likely to eat at one sitting.  If for example that’s a fifth then divide the total calories for the meal by 5.  Lets say the whole thing is 4000 calories.  Dividing this by five will give you 800 calories.  With family meals, remember that you’re likely to eat less than other people, not because you have to, but because you’ll feel full up faster.  If you find, shock horror! that you have left some of your own portion, work out how much this is of your portion and then subtract it.

I think the key here is to be sensible and not get too stressed about the maths.  Some days you’ll over estimate and others you’ll under estimate – its likely to balance out in the end.

This may not work for you.  I’d be interested to hear what you think on this.  If you have alternatives that have worked successfully, please post them in.

Calories you may be missing out, or including when you don’t have to

I found that there were quite a few things that I failed to realise that I had to include when I started calories counting.


Do you drink tea or coffee? If you use milk or sugar you should include the calories from these.  I add 20 calories for milk and 50 calories per sugar.  If you like coffee house coffee, Latte is astronomical – Starbucks Grand Latte is 190 calories.  Sites like Fat Secret will give you the lowdown on similar.   Drink five or six teas or coffees a day and it soon stacks up.  Add sugar each time and your calorie count will go through the roof.


If you eat bread or toast, you want to add 10 calories a slice if you use spread, and 20 calories if its spread on toast. (It soaks into the toast as you spread it so you use more).
If you use Jam or Marmite, check the pots for the calories and add appropriately.

If you think fruit is free, think again.  As examples, a satsuma is around 15 calories, an average apple is 55 calories and large bananas can be up to 150 calories.   Tinned fruit in juice is expensive calorie wise, because of the juice that accompanies it.

Alcohol is surprisingly high in calories.  A small wine is 95 calories and a premium lager is around 240 per pint.  Watch out for orange juice as well – lovely to look at and drink but high in calories.  The good news is that drinks like Diet Coke have very low or zero calories, so you can go to town on them.

All these are just examples.  I’m sure that you can work out your own list of food and drink that sneaks in under the radar.

Calories it probably isn’t worth working out

The following are so low in calories, that unless you eat vast amounts of them its hardly worth working it out, especially as the energy you expend eating them is probably more than you get from them.  If I’m cooking or have these in a salad, I just don’t count them.


Some of the things you can look forward to

Ok, we’re looking long term here – at least halfway into your weight loss plan.  If you stick to the calorie limits, these are some of the things that will will make it all worth while.

  • You’ll have a much lower risk of suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, and certain cancers.
  • You’ll be able to buy slimmer clothing.  The grin that you get when you realise that you dropped 2 inches off of your waistline is priceless! (and of course if you then do it again).
  • You’ll be able to move with less effort and get tired out less easily.  Handy for those shopping trips buying new slimmer clothes.
  • People who you haven’t seen you for a while may not believe their eyes.  You can experience this yourself if you look at famous celebrities who’ve lost a lot of weight.  Some examples are John Goodman, Jonah Hill, Christina Aguilera and Ricky Gervais.
  • You’ll be able to go to the beach, and enjoy that slow walk out of the waves reprising Daniel Craig or Halle Berry in the Bond films.
  • You can go to parties and not have to breathe in when someone fit passes by.
  • Your food bill will be lower. (but you’ll spend the money anyway – see below).

There are some disadvantages too

  • Throwing out clothing with waistline that cannot be altered.  I had to throw out a black tie suit because Moss Bros couldn’t alter the 7 inches I had lost off of my waistline.  (I bought it when I was bigger than my photo in About).
  • Buying all your clothes again.  I have to say though, that the grinning is worth the cost.
  • Customs and the Police may give your old passport and driving licence a double take.  Lets hope you don’t get into that last one.

Next Time

The next article shows how exercise can allow you to eat more and get away with it, enjoy a boosted metabolism more of the time and benefit from the positive feelings which come from your body producing endorphines as and after you exercise.

Also, you don’t have to go mad with the exercise to get benefits.  Simple things like walking to the shop instead of taking the car, and using the stairs instead of the lift can make a real difference, and if you’re already taking your dog out for a walk, you’re already exercising.

If you find this series of articles is helping you, please use the LIKE button.  (The more likes it has, the more people will see this blog, and hopefully the more that will benefit from it).

Oh – in case you were wondering – Halle Berry walked out of the water in in Die Another Day and Daniel Craig repeated it in Casino Royale.  For those with longer memories, they were both repeating what Ursula Andress did in Dr No in 1962.



Advice about snacking on a diet, Determining calories in food

How to measure calorie count and start this weight loss plan

Hi and welcome back.

This article shows how to measure calories in your food and drink, and shows how  you can lessen the bodies automatic reaction where it locks down energy reserves in what it perceives as a crisis.

If you’ve been reading this series, you may have already read about how to put your stats on the NHS Choices website, establish your BMI and get a reasonable range of calorie count to work within.  Calorie counting is an important part of this plan.  If you’ve never counted calories before or have, and found it a pain, I hope that the following section will make it easier.

Most packaged foods have calorie information on them.  If you buy fresh food from a market, greengrocers, butchers or fishmonger, you’ll need to work it out, and there are a number of ways that you can do this;  You can use a calorie book or values from a website, or alternatively for those comfortable with apps, you can use a utility like Calorie Counter which is shown below and can be used on your phone or pad.

Android Diet Utility 1


These utilities also analyse the food and drink you eat, calculate targets and provide diet tips and advice.  If you cook with your phone by your side, these have got to be the easiest option, and save you from ever having to write down and calculate totals yourself.

Another neat aspect of them is that they allow you to scan products to find them more easily.

It takes a little while to put custom food and drink in, but the saving in writing down and arithmetic is well worth it.


It plots your progress through the day and shows you where you are for the day and on your plan.  It doesn’t allow you to create a plan on it which has you losing 2 lbs or more per week, so it kind of validates the 1.5 lb limit I mentioned before.

There are plenty of alternatives, and I plan to write a review of the best of them as part of this site.

Supermarket shopping seems easy enough, but there are a number of things you should consider when buying packaged food:

Nutrician facts

  • Calories are often shown per product, per x grams and per 100 grams.  So you have to be careful which figure you’re reading.  The x grams figure is usually a normal portion.
  • Sometimes the manufacturers endeavour to make their products look less calorie laden by only displaying half the calories.  Look carefully and you’ll see (in small print) something like “half of this (e.g. pizza) is equal to x calories”.  Double it up and you’re closer to the true figure.
  • Sometimes labels say things like 1/9th of this (e.g. cake) is x calories.  I think you’re doing really well if you’re dividing a cake into nine before eating it, and sticking to the portions they suggest.
  • Some supermarkets now use colour-coded nutrition labels on their own products to help shoppers make more informed choices.  Sainsburys helpfully explain how this works on their healthy eating pages.  Greener food choices generally follow a lighter calorie path.


This sounds bad, after all shouldn’t you be religiously sticking to 3 meals a day?

Actually snacking can help your diet.  If your normal regime is three meals a day, and you don’t normally snack have a snack of 50 to 100 calories between each meal.  If you find that you snack a lot, try and cut down so that the total between meals is 100 cals or less.


Because you’re likely to be eating less (otherwise I guess you wouldn’t be reading this) your body will notice and may start changing the way it stores energy.  Although you’re the boss, your body may have different ideas – it doesn’t know that the change in eating habits doesn’t signal a crisis of some type, and will actively take steps to protect itself by changing the way that it processes and stores food, so that energy use is limited.  Needless to say this isn’t helpful if you’re trying to lose weight.

How do you stop this happening? Its unlikely that you’re going to stop your bodies autonomic reaction completely but you can slow it down by tricking it a little.  Snacking will camouflage the diet because at least some food will be coming in, and persuade your body that it can cancel the panic button.

Like an engine that’s turned off, food processing takes a while to get going when its stopped.  If you keep your engine idling, you’ll process food faster when you eat your meals.  Wasteful in a car but really useful when you’re dieting.

Do remember to snack though – its easy to forget or think “I’m not hungry” but that’s not the point – you’re doing it to prevent your body taking steps to lock down fat reserves and to steer it towards processing food faster.


Useful snacks are fruit, low calorie crisps, crispbread, muesli bars, low calorie yoghurts and cup a soups.  If you’re particularly fond of vegetables, you can try chopped carrots or celery.  NB: You have to eat quite a bit of both of those to consume the same calorie count. I’m sure you can think of your own low calorie snacks you can add to the list.

Try to have moderate snacks in between meals, e.g. at 10 am if you have breakfast at 8 and lunch at 12.  This will allay your bodies concerns and keep your metabolism geared up.

Feeling Hungry

Feeling hungry may not be something you’ve experienced for a while.  I wasn’t used to it, and it made me realise how much I ate when I wasn’t actually hungry.   Sticking to your calorie limits should address this.  Remember, you’ve been used to eating more and your stomach hasn’t yet adjusted.  Its expecting food in the quantities that you used to eat.  After a while it will actually reduce its size slightly and you’ll find that the occasions that you feel really hungry will start to reduce.

Key Points

These are the key points from the blog articles so far.

  • To reduce weight you need to consume more energy than you take on board.
  • A healthy ideal BMI is between 18.5 and 25.
  • Like a ship on a course, you should have an idea of your target weight, how much weight you’re going to lose per week, and when you anticipate reaching your target.  (If you don’t know this, have a look back at this page or create a plan on your mobile app.
  • (Moderate) snacking is ok and can help prevent your body fighting your weight loss efforts.

Your next step

This article has shown you how to measure calories in food and drink, and introduced the idea that snacking (within limits) isn’t bad for you and can counter adverse body reaction.

You now know enough to start the weight loss plan.

Try to split your day into your three main meals, allot maximum calories you can to each of these and add in the calories for your snacks.  Have a go at keeping close to your calorie limits.  The closer you can get to the lower limit off of the NHS Choices BMI page, the more weight you will lose.  Just managing to keep within the top limit doesn’t mean you won’t lose weight – you’ll just not lose it so fast.

Next Time

The next article, due on Saturday the 11th of November will show you:

  • How to count calories when cooking meals from fresh ingredients.
  • What to do when you’re cooking for more than just you.
  • What to do if you miss your day’s target completely or you find yourself in a situation where you cannot count the calories.
  • Discusses calories you may not be counting (that make a difference), and the foods which have so few calories you really shouldn’t bother.  You may be surprised what you miss.

Thanks for reading.  I hope that this helps you and that you can make it back for the next article on Saturday.  If you’ve been impressed by this post please click the LIKE button. (Its in the Share This section below).

Have a great weekend.



Planning Weight Loss

Establishing a sensible weight loss plan

If you’re returning to my blog, welcome back.  If this is your first visit, thank you for taking a look.

Hopefully you have your weight, in either pounds or kilograms.  If not, find it out when you can and follow these instructions.  With this as a starting point, we’re going to put together a safe and just as importantly, realistic schedule for reaching your ideal weight.

Finding out how much weight you have to lose

Ok, the first step is to visit the NHS Choices BMI Healthy Weight Calculator.

This opens like this:

BMI Healthy Weight Calculator

Click the Start button and you’ll be shown this panel:

BMI Healthy Weight Calculator 2

Enter the fairly self explanatory values it asks for.  The buttons at the far right allow you to switch between metric and imperial.  When I used it, I added the following:

BMI Healthy Weight Calculator 3

The Calculate button will take you to a new screen which will ask you to select your assessment of your activity levels.

I chose the following, which was correct at the time:

BMI Healthy Weight Calculator 4

Select the Next button reveals its results .  You can’t close your eyes at this point – remember its going to help whatever it says.

Mine (over a year ago) gave me this result:

BMI Healthy Weight Calculator 5

The slider bar pointer and the orange banner below it show two important things; firstly your BMI, and secondly the calorie intake you should be using to address this.   If you’ve tried some diets, the calorie figures might look higher than you expect.  This surprised me at the time, as the lowest weight I’d ever been as an adult was 14 pounds higher than this, and I remember thinking to myself “That is impossible”.

BMI or Body Mass Index quantifies the amount of tissue mass (muscle, fat, and bone) in an individual, and then categorises that person as underweightnormal weightoverweight, or obese based on that value.

If your BMI pointer is in the yellow or red areas, you probably need to lose weight.  Your eventual target is to reach the green healthy weight band which has a BMI range of 18.5 to 25.  A sensible first target is the yellow zone if you’re not already in it.

Is your result what you expected, or have you been surprised as I was?  I thought about it in terms of bags of sugar – 49 pounds is almost 25 bags of sugar! Can you imagine filling a shopping trolley at the supermarket with that lot and then carrying it around with you?  Because the weight comes off slowly you don’t actually notice the reduction.  The people who do notice are those who haven’t seen you for a while!

I found that the bulk of the work of reducing my weight was dedicated to getting to within a stone of the 25 BMI figure.  Getting to 25 became a part 2 as it were.  If you get to within 14 lbs off of the eventual target, believe me, you’ll already be grinning like a cheshire cat!



Okay, you got me – this isn’t a Cheshire Cat, but you get the idea.  (He could still have come from Cheshire, or like their cheese).

The good news is that getting to the green band is not impossible, and the information I am going to show you will help you do it.  (There isn’t any bad news – at least not here).

Establishing a timetable

Ok, you’re now ready for the next step which is to establish how long this will take you.

Not saying that you’re not great at arithmetic but if you’d like to use it, you may find this easier using Google calculator.

Please write down / add your actual weight.  For me this was 15st 1lb which is 211 lbs.  If you have kilograms instead, that works too.

Then write down/ add your highest healthy weight figure in pounds or kg.  (For me this was 11 st 11 lbs which is 165 lbs) e.g.

BMI Healthy Weight Calculator 5a

Now subtract the second figure from the first, e.g. 211 – 165.  In my case this gave me a difference of 46 lbs (or 3 st 4 lbs).

Now divide the result by 1.5.  This gave me 31.  1.5 is how many pounds you’ll be aiming to lose every week.  31 was the number of weeks it was going to take me to lose the weight if I lost it at this rate. e.g.

Weight        211
Target         165
Difference    46
Divided by   1.5
Equals           31 (weeks)

If you follow the steps above, you should the number of weeks its going to take before you look like a brand new you.  The weeks figure may look like a long time, (it can be made to look better if you convert it to months and remember that instead).  Anyway, time flies, and if you follow my guidelines you’ll soon be looking back and grinning, and wondering why you had never been able to do this before.  (That might be because you hadn’t read the right stuff).

Why 1.5 and not 2 or 3 or 5?

The reason I’ve put 1.5 is that this is achievable.  It may be slower than perhaps you’ve predicted, but it is achievable.

Ever rushed into a diet only to find a few weeks later that the weight is going back on even faster? One of the reasons for this is that the human body doesn’t react well to sudden change.  For instance it can take six months or so before someone emigrating from a hot country to a cold country feels that it isn’t freezing.

Like a tree that bends in a storm and doesn’t break, the more that you can work with your body rather than against it, the more successful you’ll be at losing weight and keeping it off.


Working with your body and knowing how you can counter its sometimes overkill reaction to what it perceives as an emergency is something that is discussed in the next article.


You’ve taken the first step to reducing your weight and improving your health!  Not only by reading this blog this far, but by working out how long it should take you to get to a healthy weight.  Wasn’t too painful was it?

The next article shows you how you can start to do this.  Once again there’s no hidden costs or agenda – I just want to share what I’ve found has helped.

NB: Although this plan is pretty gentle, if you’re at all concerned, speak to your doctor and ask them if they have any reservations against you starting a calorie controlled diet.

Explain that you’re looking to lose a couple of pounds a week and tell them your target.  If they are happy that your body is capable of sustaining this, you’ve got the green light to continue.


I’d love to hear your feedback (below) whether its good or bad, and if you really like the page please hit the Like button to show you’re impressed.

This blog has shown you how to establish the time it will take you to lose your excess weight and explained why a slow burn approach may work better.  Part 3 explains how to start using the calorie figures and embark on your new lifestyle.  Its not as far fetched as it may sound.  It really can happen, and if I can do it anyone can.

Catch you in part 3.

Best wishes.  Ian.


Establishing your BMI

The First Step to a Healthier You

Hi and Welcome!

Thanks for taking a look at my blog.

If you’re looking to change your lifestyle and leave dieting behind you for good then this may be perfect for you!

It will help you lose weight and keep it off, and is designed to pass on my experience of losing weight, and the techniques I’ve used to reduce my weight, and maintain it at a safe level, for just over 15 months.  It isn’t really a diet, because they are temporary.  Its more a set of guidelines that will help you to see how to eat and drink and exercise in a way that lets you drop your weight steadily and healthily.

My blog doesn’t contain a miracle cure. The guidelines I’m going to be showing you need a reasonable degree of work and commitment, but I’m confident that most people will be able to use them to achieve a healthy weight.

They say that you should visualise your goals and that that makes them easier to work towards and achieve.


When I started I had been reading articles about Diabetes and heart disease, and its growing prevalence in the UK, and this had persuaded me that I simply had to do something about my weight to lower my risk factors.  I probably scared myself into action, but at the end of the day this was useful because it gave me a strong reason for maintaining losing weight.was centred around dropping my weight enough to get myself into a safer BMI.  When I got closer to the weight I wanted it made me realise that half of what was realised at the end hadn’t even been in my mind. (more on that later though).  What are your goals? How will losing weight help you?

The problem I faced, as so many others must do, is that I’d tried a lot of different techniques for losing weight but had found that none of them worked, or at least not for me.  Sure I’d lose substantial weight when I started, but this would soon pile back on after a couple of weeks – yoyo dieting I think they call it.


I’d read in a British Heart Foundation guide that losing weight is simple.  It didn’t seem like Rocket Science – If you use more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight.

Again, if you use more calories than you take in, you’ll lose weight.

Normally you have to wade through pages and pages of text to get to something useful in help pages, but here in this first part of the blog, you’ve just read the one crucial bit of information you need to turn things around.

Knowing it and doing it are of course two completely different things, and there are a lot of things that I’ve learnt that help in applying it.  In the blog pages that follow, I hope that what starts off simply as a blog, will become, through your participation, something organic and truly helpful. My objective is to show you how you can apply this one simple fact to losing weight and keeping it off, for good.

By the way, there’s no tie in to weight loss products or an attractive looking E-book with ’all the information you need’ that only costs a small fortune.  There’s also no affiliate advertising littering the pages and making the articles difficult to read.

This information is free and this is because I just want to share techniques that I’ve found have reduced my weight, improved my health and made life a lot easier. They also make life a lot easier for my car!

I don’t it has to be said, have fancy qualifications for handing out this advice.  It is purely methods I’ve found that work, after thirty years of being overweight and using methods that hadn’t.  (I managed to lose 3 and a half stone, or 49 pounds).  There’s a picture of what I used to look like on the About page.

If nothing else has worked in your bid to lose weight, I am confident that the guidelines I’d like to show you, will.

Ok, if you’re on board, I have some homework for you to do.

Don’t rush off – It’s not a lot !

You need your weight to establish a starting point.  Don’t worry – You won’t be telling others what it is.  You’ll need it to determine a starting point and with the help of the next article in the series, plan out a weight loss schedule.

So, please find out your weight and then read the next article which helps you put together a safe and just as importantly, realistic schedule for reaching your ideal weight.


See you soon.