One mans fight with his waist line!

Archive for January, 2012

Lets Get Serious!

Posted by Tubby Paul on January 10, 2012

Last night a terrible thing happened. My IPod has stopped playing music, now for a music player to not play music makes it a paper weight, and I don’t need a paper weight! I have loved listening to some good classic dance tunes while I have been in the gym, and the beat has kept me going when I really wanted to stop on more than one occasion already! So now it’s time for some changes.

First of all, my music player. this is now going to take the form of my smart phone, my HTC Desire S. I have loved this phone since I got it, and it will be good to utilise more of its functionality. It also means I have had to go and buy a new set of headphones, as my phone will not plug into the IPod dock at my gym!! The little bud type head phones do not stay in my ears at the best of times, let alone while trying to exercise! I picked up a set of Tevion Sports Headphones for just £3.99, expect a review of these soon!

I have also been thinking about my food. I have said before, to me it is obvious that to lose weight, you need to put in less calories than you use. The trouble is; I love food!! So to help me with this, I am again going to turn to my phone, I have picked the my fitness pal app. This is a food and exercise calendar so you can plot what’s going in, and what’s going out, hopefully this will help me get my waist moving in the right direction!! Again, I will review this app once I have been using it for a while! I also need to start thinking about the type of foods I’m eating, this will be easier once all the chocolate from Christmas has gone though!

The other thing it is time to ring the changes with is my work out itself. So far I have been getting on the treadmill and running for 20 minutes, 30 minutes on the exercise bike, with a few sit ups and press ups to finish. While this is definitely working up a very good sweat, it is going to get quite boring quite quickly, so tonight I am going to investigate the weights in the gym, and create a full body circuit, high reps lower weight, that will help improve my fitness, while helping build my strength. Once I have got the MSFT passed, then I can start working on building some muscle mass, as I would love to have bigger arms!

Of course now I have head phones, there is no reason why my running should be limited to the gym, so I may start feeling brave and heading into the great outdoors for a run (well round the block at least!) I know there are several apps for mapping runs, so I will pick one of those soon too, once I am brave enough to face the outside world!

Anyway time to go, the dog is looking at her lead!

See you in the gym,


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Up in smoke, a review of Champix

Posted by Tubby Paul on January 6, 2012

I have been a smoker for a very long time. I think I was around 10 years old when I started, I certainly never remember being a none smoker. For most of that time I have been a steady 20 cigarettes a day man, although there have been times when I have been 60 plus. Over the years I have had several failed attempts at giving up, success varying from just a few hours, to 6 months when my first child was born.

Most of the time I was a smoker, I enjoyed smoking. I knew it was costing me a fortune, my logic to combat this, well you can’t take it with you right? I knew it wasn’t good for my health, on this I varied from the fact I would live for ever, to well you’ve got to die from something! I had been told so many times by so many people the reasons why I should give up, to be honest I was sick to the back teeth of the nagging! Why should I give up when I enjoy it and don’t care about the consequences?

My eldest child was born 9 years ago this month. When she was born I thought I really should give up, so I had my first proper and most successful attempt. I stopped smoking for a total of 6 months, during that time I never ever stopped wanting a cigarette, and for half the time I was still pumping nicotine into my body via the patches.

I have tried multiple times since, on top of patches I’ve used a nicotine inhalator (a plastic cigarette which you put a capsule of nicotine in and suck, tastes disgusting!), nicotine gum (like normal gum only they taste disgusting and burn your mouth), nicotine lozenges (like smints only they taste disgusting and burn your mouth!). I even read Allen Carr’s book “The easy way to stop smoking” (like a normal book, even in taste!) and yes what he said made a lot of sense and inspired me to give up for nearly a whole week!

Now I am getting older, the health benefits of not smoking are much more appealing, also over the last couple of years money has been very tight. Somehow (I’m not quite sure how) I always managed to find money for cigarettes. This wasn’t from disposable income, this was from money that really should of been spent on other things, so to not have to find that will be a real bonus! (I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my beautiful partner and best friend for putting up with me spending all that money over the past few years without nagging me to give up, she is a wonderful person with a saint’s patience!)

So I made an appointment with the Lorna, my local Smoking Cessation specialist who after a chat took a measurement of my carbon monoxide level. I knew it wasn’t going to be good when the lights kept going and going up the side of the gauge! I can’t remember what the reading was, what I do remember is that I was 10 times the level at which they have to evacuate schools! As a farther of 3, this really hit me, in fact, when I got back in my car (and yes, lit another cigarette) I was actually quite emotional. It doesn’t matter how careful you are to not smoke around your kids, just giving them a cuddle afterwards your still affecting them. Anyway, I’ve jumped ahead a little, once we had established my breath was as toxic as a car exhaust (my words, not Lorna’s) we decided that I would start a course of Champix.

Champix is a trade name for the drug Varenicline. It is a drug specifically designed to stop people smoking. It does this by blocking the nicotine receptors in your brain, therefore the cigarette does nothing for you. The course is 12 weeks long, with 1 tablet twice a day. The tablets are well presented, packaged in a 2 week blister pack, marked morning and night for each day of the week. If like me you can never remember even 5 minutes after taking a tablet if you have took it or not, this is very handy, in fact it is the champix packet which is making sure I remember I take my other medication!

The plan is you start the tablets on day one, smoke normally through the first week, and then pick a date in the second week to stop. I picked day 13, popped my first small pill and read the very VERY long list of possible side effects, ranging from nausea, funny dreams etc to suicide (I think one person committed suicide while they happened to be on the drug, so they can’t say it wasn’t a side effect of the drug, well that’s my opinion anyway!) I can safely say that having been on the tablets now for 7 weeks, I have not had a single side effect.

As the first few days went by, nothing happened. I kept smoking as normal, there was no moment of “eugh, these cigarettes are disgusting, what am I doing to myself?” I felt no difference what so ever. Around day 10 I realised I had only been smoking about 8 or 10 a day, not because I had tried to cut down, just because I had smoked less, in fact on the weekend I had 4 cigarettes in total! On the evening of day 12 I went outside for what I knew was going to be my last ever cigarette, I stood there in the cold, lit up, had about 3 drags and thought to myself “what am I doing here, freezing my arse off, sucking on this thing that is doing absolutely nothing for me?” So I put it out and went back inside!

Since that day, I can hand on heart say there has not been a single occasion where I have “craved” a cigarette. The first few days, there where quite a few occasions where I put my had in my pocket to get a smoke, before realising to myself, hang on, I don’t smoke anymore! These moments do still happen every now and then, and it’s not that I want a cigarette, it’s just that for years, that is one of many occasions my body associated with smoking! The reason the course is 12 weeks, is it is meant to take that length of time for your sub-conscious to disassociate most of these triggers.

That is about all I can tell you for now, I have been a non smoker for 5 weeks, I have no desire to go and stand out side in the cold and fill my lungs with foul smelling noxious chemicals again, nor have I had any side effects. I haven’t been grumpy (no more than usual anyway!) and its all thanks to Champix!

I will have to finish this review in a few months though, when I am no longer on the medication, as that will be the true test, however at the moment, I am highly hopeful that this time I really have kicked the habit, but only time will tell!

See you in the gym,


Posted in Health and Fitness, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Have you ever typed “keep fit” into Google?

Posted by Tubby Paul on January 4, 2012

I have, you get ‘about’ 324 million results, “Healthy living” gives 37.3 million, and “fitness” gives 1,470 million (for people over the pond that’s 1.47 billion, your billion has less zeros than ours, don’t ask me why). 

That is an awful lot of information, from an awful lot of experts, and an awful lot of different opinions! I personally do not have time to sift through all that information, but governments pay people to plough through it, so I went straight to them!

Now the National Health Service, and the Department of Health here in the UK have got together and say, “To stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do: At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week, AND muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).” This advice is mirrored on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services web site. Ok so that’s half an hour a day during the working week on a cardio machine, and 2 weights sessions, should be easy right??

Actually….it should be! Once you look into it, walk the dog for half an hour a day, at a decent pace, result, happy dog, and your aerobic sessions done! Go to a circuits class, that’s an extra hour of aerobic, and one of your strength sessions knocked off, meaning you only then have to find time to do 1 strength session, looks like good old press ups and sit ups and squats it is then, see easy done!

However, this is only a recommended minimum to maintain a healthy life style, I definitely need to do more than maintain!!

Looks like I’m going to have a happy dog AND go to the gym, oh well, the dog won’t mind!!

See you in the gym


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This is NOT a New Year’s resolution!

Posted by Tubby Paul on January 4, 2012

Honestly it’s not!! I started in the gym 2 weeks before Christmas, when I stopped smoking, but I did eat A LOT over the festivities, so now is the time to start taking this seriously!
The way I see it, no matter what excuses people come out with, if you want to lose weight, you have to put less calories into your body than you use. To quote that annoying meerkat, “Simplees”, and to increase fitness you have to exercise, again quite a simple thing, so, why on earth for the last 32 years have a been over weight / obese and unfit?? (Apart from twice, but I’ll tell you about that another time!)
I am quite lucky, at my work there is a small gym, this has some life fitness equipment, running machines, a bike, and a cross trainer and I have created an account with their virtual trainer; (I can only use this with the bike and runner though). There are also rowing machines, multi-gym type machines and free weights which I will get to once I have brought my base fitness up a bit!
Right, some stats for you then, my height is 178cm or 5ft 10 in old money, I’m not expecting my height to change, so that’s why I haven’t put it in the list!
Weight: 94 Kg 14 st 11
BMI: 28.10*
Waist: 97cm 38”
MSFT Score: Will do it at work tonight and update tomorrow!

Ok, the BMI above was worked out by the Wii Fit programme (something I will review soon) I have also used a couple of online calculators, all of which give slightly different answers, so I will stick with what the Wii says for now!
Right then, what is the MSFT Score I hear you ask? This is the multi stage fitness test, as used by the Royal Air Force to measure fitness. It is run as a 20 metre shuttle, running in time to a series of beeps that progressively get faster and faster. At my age, I have to get to level 9.10, I can’t!! It can also be simulated on a runner. 1 degree incline, start at 8km/h and increase half a km/h every minute. Each increase is roughly equivalent to a level, however they reckon you should do a couple of levels extra to make up for turning! Passing this is my first goal!
Ok, that’s going to have to be enough for today, time for work!

See you in the gym!


Posted in Health and Fitness | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Hello this is me

Posted by Tubby Paul on January 4, 2012

I am an overweight, unfit 32 year old aircraft engineer who until very recently was a dedicated smoker.  Join me as I try to regain control of my health, I will be reviewing all the stuff I use, from equipment to apps, to everything else, so you can see what helps me succeed, or just watch me fall on my fat arse, either way, I will share it with you!

This is my first ever blog, and I am still a little unsure about how this all works, so hopefully you will see this evolve too, as I get sleeker and fitter, hopefully my blog will too!

See you in the gym!!!



Posted in Health and Fitness | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

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