After struggling with my knee through March, I’m happy to report that it’s finally feeling better. It’s not totally healed but the exercises and activities that the physiotherapist gave me have certainly improved matters significantly. And. without doubt, given all the recent disruption to my routine, it has been this ability to exercise that has allowed my continued weight loss success through April. Looking at the figures:

I ended March at a weight of 237lb (16st 13lb/107kg).

My weight on 30th April was 227lb (16st 3lb/103kg).

As such, my weight loss success in April was another 10lb (4.5kg).

Now, while a 10lb weight loss in April is still a success, it’s my lowest monthly weight loss to date. I lost 12lb in January and 11lb in each of February and March. It’s only a small decrease and a small gradual decline but it’s something I need to be aware of. It’s important that I don’t let complacency creep in. That said, I’ve had a lot of weight loss success in the months to April and I should be focusing on that.

And I am. I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved. I’d be happier still if I knew exactly what I’d done.

It’s like winning a trophy but not knowing what it was for.

The problem, you see, is that I started dieting on 28th December 2018. But I was embarrassed to weigh myself at that point, because I knew it would be high after Christmas. So I didn’t. I only weighed myself on 31st December, when I was 271lb (19st 5lb/123kg). Needless to say, I completely regret that decision now. I’m sorely tempted to add a couple of pounds to my start weight, to better reflect reality. But I can’t know my actual start weight with any certainty, which would make me even more twitchy…

No, I made my bed and now I have to lie in it.

Besides, a loss of 44lb (3st 2lb/20kg) is nothing to be sneezed at. It’s definitely a good start.

And, like I say, my routine was very disrupted this month, which lead to me taking a Cheat Day…!

I won’t go into the Cheat Day here, as I’ll talk about it later in a dedicated post. The most important thing, as I sit here typing, is that it didn’t prevent my weight loss success in April.

The challenges surrounding the disruption to my routine, however, I do want to talk about now.

Well, not right now. Right now I’m off to watch Shazam! I’ll finish up when I get back…

M’eh! All the best bits were in the trailer.

For me, weight loss success is based around a stable routine, and I didn’t have that throughout April. Which meant I struggled to only eat what I was supposed to be eating. And having eaten other things, I redeveloped a taste for such things and had to work hard to get past that again.

Having spent the last weekend of March in Birmingham with some friends, we spent the first weekend of April in Northern Ireland. It was a business trip and we stayed with my brother. We weren’t there long and I took my porridge and I managed to stay strong.

We spent the second weekend of April in France, visiting friends. It was a long weekend and we stayed with them at their house, which is above the restaurant that they own… Where Grant is the chef… Again, I took my porridge and I did my best but the guy’s a chef in a French restaurant, in France. I can only take so much…!

The next weekend, of course, was the Easter weekend. A time of truly epic amounts of chocolate in the Lewis household. I lasted until Easter Monday before the pressure became too much and I decided to have a cheat day. But, as I’ve said, I’ll address this in a separate post because it’s quite a big deal. Or, at least, it was for me.

At least last weekend, the final weekend of April, was just a normal week. Nothing that shook the routine. Even so, I had three weekends in a row when I was away from the house and then the very next weekend was Easter. Frankly, looking back, I’m even more happy with the weight loss success I managed to achieve during April.

Another new development that has built up during April is, oddly enough, the amount of exercise that I’m doing. Because my knee is considerably better, I’m able to do longer and more intense periods of exercise. The upshot of this is that I’m feeling hungry more often. I’m also spending long periods of time, after these types of exercise, feeling listless and lethargic. Basically, although my calorific intake is still heading down, the calories I’m burning through exercise are heading up…

It’s not a comfortable or sustainable situation.

My concern is that this is going to leave an unsustainable calorific deficit that is going to lead to me eating more. Something that I’m starting to notice I have a desire to do, late at night after heavy exercise. And this is particularly challenging, because ‘late at night’ was when I used to do all my secret eating of unhealthy snacks and goodies. That is not a habit I want to fall back into. On which note, I think a trip to the Calorie Calculator is in order.

At an activity level of ‘Moderate’, which is defined as, ‘exercise 4-5 times/week’, I’m allowed 1,862 calories a day at 227lb.

Alternatively, at an activity level of ‘Active’, which is defined as, ‘daily exercise or intense exercise 3-4 times/week’, I’m allowed 2,028 calories.

As ever, both of these calorific levels are to achieve the ‘extreme weight loss’ of 2lb/week.

I’m currently doing two 20 mile cycles a week and an hour of front crawl, lane swimming, at the local pool. The question is, “Are these activities classed as ‘intense’?”

Certainly, since I started swimming again, it’s felt pretty intense. But then, when I went on Tuesday, I managed to swim the full hour without having to stop for any breaks. As a result, my average heart rate has dropped to 106 bpm. It was 117 bpm during my swim on April 23rd and 123 bpm on April 4th. Does this still count as being intense enough?

Likewise for the cycling. Sure, I’m cycling for more than 100 minutes at a time, but my average heart rate stays at around 100 bpm. Again, does the length of the activity mean that I can classify it as ‘intense’ even if my heart-rate remains low’?

Our current route. It’s around 20 miles and is the starting point of the training towards the cycle tour I’ll be doing in September.

Given all that I’ve just said, I think that I’m going to have to assume that the activities count as intense. Simply because I don’t think that reducing my calorie intake further, given how hungry I often am, is a good idea.

I’ve taken the precaution of buying some cucumber, tomatoes and a low-calorie dressing. I get the feeling that I’m going to have to start eating something to compensate for my current levels of exercise. And, with these ingredients, I can get a reasonable sized plate of food for around 50 calories. The only problem is that these vegetables are mostly water, which means I’m going to have to take more trips to the toilet than I already do. And I already go so frequently that I’m often having to get up in the night. This disruption of my sleep is not helping anything.

But then, no one said that losing a large amount of weight was going to be easy. Or without its inconveniences.

On another note, in an effort to vary my porridge meals and increase my protein intake, I tried something new. I had a couple of poached eggs with the porridge. Of course, in order to balance the calories for this, I had to make the porridge with water instead of milk. And, clearly, I had to forgo the honey and dried fruit that I usually have, Which is how I was able to stretch the calories to two large eggs.

Yeah, not a favourite. It was edible but terribly bland. I imagine that if I added some more seasoning and some herbs and spices, I could improve it. And I’ve no doubt that for those who have no sweet tooth to concern them, it might even be preferable. But, for me, I need the honey, milk and sultanas to keep me going back every day. Still, it was worth a try.

Moving forward, though, in May I think I’ll stick to the same size porridge meals I had during my April weight loss success and hope it carries on. I can always make adjustments during the month, if necessary.

Right, so let’s see if the weight loss success I managed in April has changed my body measurements at all:

Key – Current Measurement (change this month) [total change]

  • Neck –  43cm (0cm) [-0.5cm]
  • Left bicep – 37.5cm (-0.5cm) [-1cm]
  • Right bicep – 37.5cm (-0.5cm) [-1cm]
  • Chest – 115cm (-1cm) [-4cm]
  • Waist – 109cm (-2cm) [-5cm]
  • Hips – 109cm (-1cm) [-4cm]
  • Left thigh – 65cm (-1cm) [-4cm]
  • Right thigh – 66cm (0cm) [-3cm]
  • Left calf – 43.5cm (-0.5cm) [-1cm]
  • Right calf – 43.5cm (-0.5cm) [-1cm]

So it seems like most things are still getting smaller, which is good. No decrease on my neck size, which doesn’t worry me in the slightest. No change, also, on my right thigh. Given how much I’ve been favouring my left knee for the past couple of months, this makes perfect sense; my right thigh has had to get bigger to compensate. No doubt it’ll even out over time.

That means that I shrank a total of 7cm in April, compared with 15.5cm in March. Only about half as much… That said, I’m pretty sure I messed up the thigh measurements back at the start. Six of the March centimeters came off my thighs, alone. The most likely explanation is that I measured in the wrong place, first time around. Either way, I’m not going to get hung up on the differences between the total shrinkage; I need to gather more data before I can understand what means what.

Last month I said I’d look into how to use this ‘shrinkage’ data. Well, I’ve tried and there doesn’t seem to be any obvious consensus. I think it’s mainly a way of moving some of the focus away from the scales. So that even if the scales don’t change, you can still see that you’re achieving an element of ‘shrinkage’, allowing you to stick to the diet. Makes sense to me.

In light of this, I’m going to feel happy about my 7cm shrinkage in April and look forward to what May has to bring.

And how does this shrinkage look in real life?

That’s actually quite an impressive array of scars.

All told, I do feel that the weight loss I achieved during April was a success. I am, however, a little concerned that the rate of weight loss is slowing down, although this is clearly to be expected. I’m also a little worried about how often I’ve been left feeling hungry in these last few days. I hope that isn’t a sign of things to come or I might have to completely reevaluate what I’m doing.

Because I’m not there yet. I’m not even close.

And while I don’t actually have a target weight in mind, I can’t help thinking that I’ve got at least two more stone (28lb/13kg) to go. Even though I suspect I’ll need to get below 14 stone, I’ll know when I get there. I’ll look right to myself. I’ll feel right in myself; that’s when I know I’ve made it.

Anyway, my point is, I’ve got too much of the journey ahead of me to try and tough it out and feel constantly hungry. I already know that doing that only leads to the premature end of a diet.

At least May looks to be a much more stable month. You know, apart from that one weekend where I’m going on a hiking trip with Emma. Two days of hiking and camping out, to help her prepare for her Duke of Edinburgh Gold award, expedition. I’m not sure how I’m going to make it work, but I am looking forward to it. No doubt I’ll do a post on how it goes, in due course.