There’s no getting past it; June was a tricky month in terms of weight loss success. In fact, if this had been a couple of months ago, I’m not even sure if I would have categorised the weight loss I achieved in June as a ‘success’ at all. It is, of course, a success. I am, after all, lighter at the end of the month than at the beginning. But only by five pounds (2kg). There are undoubtedly reasons for this, which I will get into, but June represents my lowest rate of weight loss since I started. The figures look like this:

I ended May at a weight of 219lb (15st 9lb/99kg).

My weight on 30th June was 214lb (15st 4lb/97kg).

As such, my weight loss success in June was 5lb (2kg).

Five pounds off in a month is only a little over a pound a week. Thankfully, I talked about this in my May update, so it isn’t as much of a shock as it might have been. Even so, it is a very real continuation of the downward trend in the amount of weight that I’m losing. Something that really isn’t going to change during July, as I’ll get into later.

First, though, the reason for the diminished weight loss success in June. Maybe, ‘justification’ is a better word than, reason’? The reality, I think, is that I should be using, ‘excuse’ but I really don’t want too.

I had a cold…!

Now, because I live in Britain and because I’m of the Male persuasion, a lot of people have just scoffed and blurted out, ‘Man Flu!’

If you’re one of those people, this next bit’s on you!

I’m feeling a bit defensive at the moment, what with all the anxiety I’ve been struggling with, so I’m going to describe the experience of one of these colds of mine. And, to anyone who thinks that I’m just using this as an excuse to gross people out… you might be on to something…!

I’ve had these colds for as long as I can remember. That said, I haven’t actually had one for ages now, not since my last chemotherapy. And that finished in September 2016. I didn’t have any sort of illness during chemotherapy either, so it’s been well over three years since my last cold.

Up until I was diagnosed with cancer, I always assumed that it would be one of these colds that would be the death of me. I’d go down with a cold when I was too frail to cope with it, ideally in my 80s or 90s, and that would be me. This might sound morbid but, I’m telling you; these colds suck. Besides, that’s the way my mind works.

I always know when a cold is on the way, I get a weird smell of soap when I blow my nose. That’s my cue to stock up on Night Nurse medicine and tissues, because It! Is! On!

Other options are available, but these are supposed to be gentle on the nose…!

By the end of the day my nose will be streaming and my eyes watering and I’ll feel listless and weak. The endlessly running nose makes sleep virtually impossible for both that and the following night. My only chance is to prop myself up on pillows and try and doze in a, more or less, sitting position. If you’re worried about Julie, don’t be; she moves into the spare room at the first mention of of the word ‘soap’.

Those two nights are the roughest, in terms of exhaustion, which is a shame because the day in between is when I went coasteering with my brothers. But I’ll circle back to that. In the meantime, it’s about to get gruesome…

After the second night, when I’ve been blowing my nose pretty well constantly, exhaustion kicks in and I can get some sleep. This doesn’t mean that my nose stops running, it just means that I’ve stopped blowing it. And all that mucus has got to go somewhere. So it does. It runs down the back of my throat, while I’m asleep, and then sort of… congeals somewhere. I’m not really sure where it gathers, but gather it does. And not in a place that my body likes. Because every day, often extremely early in the morning, the coughing starts.

And the coughing doesn’t finish until all of this congealed mess has been coughed up. This can easily take half an hour and involves hacking of such magnitude that I’ll usually be coughing up blood before the end of the week. This isn’t blood off my lungs, just off my throat, so it isn’t dangerous. Just painful.

The bloody motif fits in nicely, though, because by the end of the first week my nose is rubbed so raw from all the blowing that it, or my top lip, will oftentimes bleed. And don’t talk to me about balsam tissues, I know all about balsam tissues; they help but they’re not enough. Thankfully, though, the end of the first week marks rock bottom.

From there, it’s another week of steadily decreasing coughing fits and nose blowing until I start to get my energy back at the end of week two. Sometimes, I then go straight down with another of the same type of cold. That happened over Christmas, once. That was a tough one because I was cooking the Christmas dinner that year. Everyone mucked in and it went surprisingly smoothly.

Anyway, that’s one of my colds. And I know that there are still those among you who are still going to be thinking, “Typical man, making a fuss about nothing as usual; a woman would just soldier on.” To those people I would like to point out, according to this article (and many others), that women are almost 50% more likely to take sick days than men…

Yeah, that’s right; I went there! What are you going to do about it. that’s the question?! Hmmm? Hmmm?

Wow, but that was a long-winded way of saying: I wasn’t able to lose much in the way of weight for two weeks, because I was feeling ill.

I was also feeling sorry for myself, and my brothers were around, which meant that I partook in a number of ‘cheat days‘. I’ll take the exact number of said cheat days with me to the grave but, suffice it to say, it was too many. Given all of the above, managing to achieve any weight loss success in June has got to be considered a bonus.

The Lewis boys (and Travel Bunny) before we went coasteering.
There is no after photo, we were far too cold for things like that…

The reason that my brothers were around was that, by way of Christmas presents, Simon had booked us an afternoon of coasteering. The location of the expedition was at Baggy Point, near Croyde Bay in North Devon. The date of June 11th had long since been booked and it was all systems go. Which is why, when I went down with my cold on the 10th, we were still going coasteering. After all, Alan had flown in from Northern Ireland specifically for the trip.

For those of you who don’t know what coasteering is, it goes like this:

  • Put on a wet suit
  • Find a bit of coast
  • Jump from said bit of coast into the sea
  • Get out and repeat from increasingly higher jump points

Essentially, you climb onto rocks and then jump into the sea; you keep doing so until you’re too cold and/or exhausted to go on. And, of course, as we were doing this during the British summertime, it was raining and the water was excitingly cold.

Despite the weather, we had a great time, and ate more junk food than you would believe possible. It was, though, arguably the worst thing I would have done for my cold. And, along with it, my potential for weight loss success during the month of June.

I still managed to do a reasonable amount of exercise in June, outside of the infected zone. It is this, I think, that allowed me any level of weight loss success in June at all.

To be fair, that’s a reasonable number of calories burned.

I even went for my first run (June 7th), since I did the last of my five Parkruns, back in May 2017. Astonishingly, I managed to run four miles without having to take a break. Fine, I wasn’t able to manage a particularly fast pace but I was still well chuffed with that.

“This running lark is easy!” I thought, harking back to the late ’80s and early 90s, when I could run half marathons without training for them. I even did the London Marathon in 1998. Maybe, magically, my running fitness has stayed with me?!

Nope!

I did the same route on July 6th and I nearly died. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration but I did have to start walking after less than 2.5 miles and then ran/walked the rest of the way. But I think that this is more due to running in a fasted compared to a non-fasted state. Training in a fasted state is an element of intermittent fasting. And 16:8 intermittent fasting is something that I have ended up doing, more by luck than design.

I won’t go in to the pros and cons of intermittent fasting here, I’ll save that for a dedicated post. What I will say is that I was better able to run after my first meal of the day, compared with before my first meal of the day.

And I’m sure that, for some people, that sounds as obvious as saying; “I was wetter when I got out of the bath that when I got in the bath.”

And I take your meaning. But some adherents of intermittent fasting seem adamant that training in a fasted state gives you more energy. I, incidentally, am not one of these people, I just seemed to stumble into the 16:8 intermittent fasting routine. But, like I say, I’ll look at this in more detail at another time.

But, back to weight loss success for June: it was complicated by illness and less than it might have been, as a result.

Surely July will be easier…?!

Weeeeeell, no!

We’re off to Croatia for a couple of weeks. The question, once again, becomes one of priorities. Is it more important to have a good family holiday, where we can all relax and have fun, or should I focus on my weight loss…?

The answer is obvious; family comes first.

This isn’t to say that I’m going to have 14, back to back cheat days. That would be stupid. I know, from past experience, that I can easily pack on a stone of weight in a two week holiday. I’ve got no intention of doing that. I’m going to take my porridge and continue to eat that for two meals a day. We’re also in self catering accommodation, which means, when we’re not eating out, I can cook healthy, nutritious meals.

But when we do eat out, if the family is having dessert, so will I. Otherwise they all feel guilty about eating dessert in front of me, and that’s not fair on them. Likewise when we stop for an ice cream, we’ll all be having ice creams. so everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.

The ice cream in Croatia is excellent, especially the nut flavours.
Photo by Mark Cruz on Unsplash

So I will be eating extras and, to compound matters, I won’t be able to exercise as I normally would. I tend to cycle three times a week, for a total of around 5-6 hours; clearly I can’t pack my bike. I will, however, take my running gear and, if it’s cool enough, I’ll try and run every other day. This will have to be after the Sun goes down and only works if the temperature falls below 20°C (68°F), otherwise I’ll just overheat.

Because of all this, it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll be able to lose any weight in July. I just hope I don’t put any on. In all honesty, my idea of weight loss success in July is that I’m the same weight as I was at the end of June.

That is, however, still a whole month gone. On which basis, i’m left with a lot riding on the weight loss I can achieve during my cycle tour in September…

You see what I did there?!

A lot riding on it…?!

Ah, Dad Jokes are the best.

Anyway, back to the here and now and time to see how my weight loss success in June manifested itself in my measurements:

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

  • Neck –  41.5cm (-0.5cm) [-2cm]
  • Left bicep – 36.5cm (-0.5cm) [-2cm]
  • Right bicep – 36.5cm (-0.5cm) [-2cm]
  • Chest – 110cm (-2cm) [-9cm]
  • Waist – 102cm (-3cm) [-12cm]
  • Hips – 105cm (-1.5cm) [-8cm]
  • Left thigh – 64cm (-0cm) [-5cm]
  • Right thigh – 64cm (-0cm) [-5cm]
  • Left calf – 43cm (-0cm) [-1.5cm]
  • Right calf – 43cm (-0cm) [-1.5cm]

Not bad. Not bad, at all. I haven’t lost anything in my legs, and nor would I expect to. With all the cycling I’m doing, I’m putting on muscle as fast as I’m losing fat. Some more good losses on my chest, waist and hips. So, again, even though the weight loss isn’t huge, the fat loss is acceptable. I’m doing walking, running, cycling and swimming, that’s bound to increase my musculature. More muscles is a cross I’m willing to bear…

Not, I think, that you can see much in the way of evidence of any such muscles in the photos:

No obvious muscles but plenty of obvious sunburn; I really must put on sun cream,
even if it is cloudy!

Despite the illness in June and the anticipated difficulties involved in maintaining my weight loss in July, I’m still aiming to hit 14 stone by the end of September. Assuming I do stay the same through July, I’ll try to lose six pounds through August. This leaves a massive 12 pound loss for September but, with a 600 mile ride thrown in, that’s actually pretty achievable. Not that I’m going to be too precious about any of this. While it’s nice to have targets, the most important thing is to keep moving in the right direction.

Keep your finger’s crossed for me through July and I’ll let you know how I get on…