Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Lent's over - now what?

After 46 days successfully eschewing alcohol, meat, confectionary, added sugar, salt, fast foods, salt snacks, and working on reducing my stomach circumference - it's all over. Question - return to pre-Lenten ways?

Here are my conclusions.

Exercise: The reason my regime has gone so much better this year than in the past (I've shaved nearly 4cm off around my middle - from 102.2cm to 98.5cm) is that I've been recording output in a spreadsheet. Very good motivation.

Sit-ups - by the end of Lent, 110 in the space of 3 minutes, twice a day, the daily norm. I intend to keep this up, limiting the exercise time to three minutes, no longer. My record in this space is 126 sit-ups (from back on floor, to elbows touching knees) in that 180-second time frame. My target circumference (tape-measure around the navel, the fattest part) is 91.5cm, (36"), so a long way to go.

I shall also continue with walking, aiming for a daily target of 10,000 paces. I'm managing to do this comfortably. In the first quarter of this year, I walked 730 km. Walking is extremely good exercise, low-impact, natural, useful. Give up the car and you can achieve 10,000 paces too.That's around 8km a day, around an hour and a half if you take it easy, an hour and a quarter if you walk briskly.

Exercise on its own will not get you shedding cms and kgs, nor will any kind of sensible diet. The two need to go in combination with one another. This I will continue to do.

Sugar - fatal stuff. Cakes, confectionary - no good. Useless, empty calories, the equivalent of heating a house using firelighters. We can all live without sugar. No return to it for me (unless naturally occurring in fruit). One thing I will keep eating though is chocolate, as pure as possible. Lindt has just brought out a 99% chocolate. It's very good for the brain - if the sugar content's minimal, it's OK.

Salt - unlike sugar, it is needed by the human body, but in far smaller doses than we give it. I was shocked when returning to my staple soup (Barszcz ukraiński by Profi) just how unpleasantly, artificially salty it tasted after after 46 days without salt. I pledge to keep the salt cellar beyond arm's length. And to keep off the salt snacks (crisps, salted peanuts etc) for good.

Alcohol - giving it up was without any problems. Yes, it was a bit limiting in social functions, but no adverse physiological symptoms noted. I shall go on as I started at the beginning of this year - drinking only in company, never on my own, not exceeding the UK Government's safe limit of 21 units a week.

Caffeine - giving it up all together was pointless; huge withdrawal headaches, and besides not drinking coffee is bad for the brain (memory, increased Alzheimer's' risk). As for Lent, I shall continue with one coffee per day (20gm of ground coffee made in an espresso machine), then herbal or fruit teas. Although green tea, an antioxidant, is healthy too.

The hardest part is the five portions of fresh fruit and veg a day, now being upped to seven. This requires a huge effort. Fruit juice only counts towards one; the bulk of the five/seven should be veg, brocolli being considered the healthiest of them all. I very rarely do five, a usual day it's three. So more work here.

Next year's Lent starts 15 days earlier than the rather late 6 March start in 2014.

This time last year:
Completely in the dark

This time two years ago:
Ruch Palikota - a descent into populism

This time three years ago:
I cross two unfinished bridges

This time four years ago:
What's the Polish for 'grumpy'?

This time five years ago:
Do not take this road!

This time six years ago:
Seated peacock, Łazienki Park

This time seven years ago:
Spirit of place: 1930s Kentucky - or Jeziorki?


friv 3 said...

Totally agree with your conclusion, and the fact that we can experience. Nothing is too complicated and difficult.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!! Yes, Lent's over but now we have Easter and shouldn't miss Lent too much, although I agree with most of your long-term decisions. Wesołego Alleluja and "enjoy your eggs" (my translation of the Polish greeting)

Ian said...

Congratulations on the work so far, good that you are going to continue it. I hope one day we can meet and compare training notes :-)

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Anonymous said...


nice to read about successes of other people.
I'm on paleo since Dec two years ago. Children were complaining at first, but now not any more.
But it's hard not to cheat, like eating wallnuts with honey (only small teasppon, but - damn - three times a day - pitty).
So I'm back from 77kg at 83.
All started during last Christmas. Must switch back to pure paleo - it's easy to eat as much veggies as you write, since paleo doesn't tolerate any cereals, in any form. Instead of cereals you have to eat veggies. Even not fruits, since there is also a good load of sugar.

Cheers and further success