A farewell to 2009 and to this decade

Wow. It really doesn’t seem so very long ago that I was writing my 2008 retrospective. The older you get, the faster the years go by. Scary.

I don’t really have the motivation to do a detailed analysis of this year and I’m overly introspective at the best of times anyway.


  • Making a success of the job I started in Nov 08 after the unpleasant short stint I did at the place before
  • Moving on from he who was forever beyond the scope of this blog
  • Enjoying various trips out of London to Wales, Scotland, Italy, Germany, France
  • With the exception of a bout of swine flu and pulling a leg muscle – staying healthy
  • Meeting up with friends I’ve made via this blog including Sven, Lula and Vic and also getting to know some great new people through social networking


  • Gaining a stone (14 lbs) and generally eating and drinking too much
  • Failing to find Steven (re: desperately seeking Steven)
  • Not moving home sooner than I’d wanted. Very early next year I hope to
  • Feeling frustrated by the status quo and constantly yearning for change of one kind or another

Well, this is likely to be the last post of this year (and indeed of this decade) so HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m off to a dinner party this evening and staying over. Hoping not to over do it… What is it they say?? The pathway to hell is paved with good intentions…! We’ll see.

Anyway, thanks for reading and see you on the other side! Hope 2010 is good for you.

Man boobs, muffin tops and bingo wings

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Yes, it’s that time. A new year – heck, a new decade even – is just around the corner. Such times can act as harbingers for change in a person’s life. I’m ready for change, on so many counts.

On the health and fitness front I have quite a lot to do. You see – I used to be something of a gym bunny. I used to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. I used to run at weekends. I was wonderfully slim and I loved it. I’m 6ft tall and though that’s hardly a giant, I really enjoyed the tall/slim look. The 32/34 waist/trouser leg. It gave me confidence. And to my amazement – I enjoyed the workouts. Not so much during, but the feeling you get after.

I stopped going to the gym as my membership ran out about 8-9 months ago. One of the big – and it is big – downsides of my current job is that it’s very demanding. The hours are long. No, they may not be ‘City lawyer’ hours, but they’re still 50-55 per week (which if you include 1 hour traveling each way) is 60-65 hours a week. This a lot. This leaves much less time for ‘a life’ than you’d think. And because I find the work draining and exhausting – I seek respite in food and more specifically – drink.

I’ve been drinking a lot of alcohol these past 9 months. I don’t mean ‘drinking to get drunk’. In fact, I hardly ever get drunk. In the last year I’ve been ‘totally drunk’ once (Polish friend’s 30th when I had far too much vodka which I wouldn’t normally drink), I’ve had 1-2 ‘quite drunk’ episodes (as in, feeling rough the next day) and maybe 50-75 ‘tipsy/relaxed’ occasions – where I feel fine the next day having consumed, say, 1/2 a bottle of wine and possibly a G&T or pastis as a chaser.

The big downside of social drinking for relaxing is that it adds significant calories to your diet which, invariably, end up as fat. In the days when I went to the gym, this wasn’t a big deal as you’d burn these off. But with no gym going, I’m no longer burning the excess off.

And when you don’t go to the gym it becomes a kind of ‘holistic fail’. I’ve stopped watching what I eat. I eat way too much snack food – crisps, cheeses, breads, biscuits, chocolates, etc. I’m far too tired to cook in the evenings (and I tend to have a big lunch instead) so I snack in the evening. This isn’t good.

So my plan for 2010 is to return to form. I really enjoyed where I was with 2 years gym and exercise behind me. A number of people would argue (and did argue at the time) that I’d perhaps gone too far. That I’d lost too much weight (my waist went down to about a 31), but It was just the right side of slim rather than skinny (in my eyes). Regardless, I felt really good about myself. And when you feel good about yourself you see the world through a different lens.

Ultimately, you don’t lose weight or get in shape for any one other than yourself. If you’re big and you’re happy with that – good for you. But the wonderful, uplifting feeling you get when you set your mind to changing your lifestyle and when you then see the results, well, it’s a great feeling. Seeing your body change (for the better) is hugely rewarding.

And I hate dieting. I’ve always maintained that you won’t lose weight through dieting alone. Sure, people do. But most of them are unhappy doing it. Either that or they have loads of time on their hands to plan meticulous diets. Yeh, fruit and veg is very good for you. But it can be very bland unless you have the time to prepare it in an imaginative way.

I am planning to move. Imminently. This will inform my gym arrangements. So the gym option isn’t going to happen quite yet. But I’m going to reduce my drinking in the New Year to a max of 3x a week. And I’m going to cut out all snack foods Monday-Thursday. I’m going to stick with salad or soup and salad for lunch, at work. I’m going to rekindle my former obsession with M&S natural probiotic yoghurt, mixed with chopped fruit and a handful of mixed nuts and seeds.

I pulled a muscle running sometime in summer. Ever since then I stopped running. I plan to restart in the New Year. Slowly. I totally overdid it that time which is how I pulled that muscle. I’ve learned my lesson though.

And I’ll keep going to pilates which I get via work.

So here’s to a leaner, healthier, fitter 2010 and beyond.

You are what you eat

(via anniecollinge)

Well – I certainly feel I am what I eat.

My diet has nose-dived over the past 6 months. This is a combination of working longer hours, living on my own, getting lunch paid for at work, having snacks and other not-so-healthy things provided at the office, drinking more, etc.

It’ll be a case of ‘all change’ come January 1st, however. I’ll firm-up my New Year’s resolutions before the year is out, but at the very least they will include a drastic reduction in alcohol consumption and a radical overhaul of my diet. My insatiable appetite for bread, cheeses, crisps, crackers, M&S chocolate and other snack food will be unflinchingly addressed.

Once upon a time, you see, I was one of those tiresome gym bunnies and health-food bores, waxing lyrical about ultra-low-fat probiotic yoghurt, of freshly juiced apple and carrot and of what brand of running shoe to wear. I went to the gym every weekend, usually quite early in the morning. And that was in addition to the 2x after work I’d go during the week. How much has changed…

So in 10 days time I will begin atoning for the twin sins of gluttony and sloth with a fervour that will, I hope, border on the messianic.