31 Jul 2007

Doing the right thing is sometimes the wrong thing...

Yesterday I read a very eloquent and thought provoking post about community (or the lack of it) and it made me think about the Internet and what may be termed the 'electronic village'.

Shellys blog is the epitome of thoughtful blogging and she exemplifies the best of the Internet in terms of her ability to engender and support a virtual community spirit. I am using Shelly as a counter-point to my own experience of attempting to 'support' fellow bloggers in the 'electronic Village'.

Where Shelly is thoughtful and a good listener, never thrusting her views on others, I appear to have fallen into the habit of being an evangelical Buddhist (what a awful thought THAT is...).

My lead feet wade in with reams of advice when all that's required was maybe a sympathetic murmur and best wishes. I deeply regret this and in particular I regret a post I left on this blog post yesterday, particularly as I may have contributed to her decision to stop blogging. The reasons for regret are fairly self evident when you read her response....

The lesson today dear reader is as follows...listen, listen and then listen some more and don't assume that everyone shares your belief in Karma and positive thought. Oh, and I can be an I D I O T occasionally..

'Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.' Buddha

30 Jul 2007

Dead birds, cat herding and bowels you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy!

Weight - 241.6 lbs (-28.4).
- swimming and aborted jogging (twice)

Well, I haven't posted much over the last week or so. This is for various reasons but mostly because I have been feeling sorry for myself. I have no reason to feel this way but emotions never come in clearly marked tins showing their 'country of origin' so to speak....

I rather rashly decided to run a weight loss challenge and then almost instantly lost anything approaching interest in the basic mechanics of losing weight, i.e. diet, portion control and exercise. I also found that I am REALLY good and telling people to think positively and then wallowing in a bucket of my own self pity.

Oh, and I felt really ill last week as well - ahhhhhh!

I felt generally under the weather ALL last week - I'm not sure if the mood caused the illness or maybe the other way around..either way it manifested itself as a severe disruption to the 'trouser department' if you will, i.e chronic IBS and various feelings of nausea and general prolonged periods of unspecific 'utter shiteness' - a term not to be found in 'Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary' to the best of my knowledge, but wholly descriptive nonetheless...for your sakes I will elaborate no further...

Needless to say, it completely put me off my stroke, fitness wise and diet wise. The self control and focus flew straight out the window like a jet-powered cockatoo and I succumbed to the old twin evils of comfort eating and drinking. Double bugger!

Thankfully, towards the end of last week, my bowels regained some composure and my outlook (like the weather in the UK) started to improve. And then came the Pheasant....

As you may know, the central tenet of Buddhism is compassion for all living things - usually something I am able to cope with quite easily (except when shopping in IKEA that is - if you don't know, don't ask, it'll only set me off again....).

On Saturday, we spent a lovely day, firstly at Woburn Safari Park checking out the wild animals and then a relaxing swim at Whittlebury Hall. Well it would have been relaxing had this not happened ....

Yes, that IS a real Pheasant rammed up the air intake of a Land Rover Discovery - and yes, you CAN get a 6lb bird through a 2 inch gap if you hit it at 90 miles per hour. I know this for a fact....

Not only did I kill it (thereby blowing most of my Buddhist credibility in one go) but I proceeded to drive it around all afternoon and didn't notice it until I got back in the car after going shopping much later in the day (much to the amusement/disgust of 3 spotty youths riding their little bikes around Waitrose' car park - their faces were indeed a picture...!)

So what you may ask is the point to all this, I wish I knew. More importantly, where does the cat herding come in? Well, starting this challenge has made me realise that I was not cut-out for 'cat herding' - a notoriously difficult profession at the best of times. Trying to get every ones starting weights, e-mail addresses ( half of you have 2 e-mail addresses, some have 3 or more blogs each and you call yourselves up to 4 different names for Christ sake!! ) - but herd those cats, I most certainly will.

The one thing this last week has proved to me is that I need a challenge and also at times like this I need to remind myself that life can ALWAYS be harder...

The Fat Bloke is back - let the games (nearly) begin!

A busy weekend!

Thanks for all your comments and e-mails giving me starting weights etc for the challenge.

I will respond to all your e-mails over the next day or so - this will include a re-statement of the challenge rules and confirmation of the next weigh in date.

Hope everyone is well and I will be visiting very soon to say hello!

27 Jul 2007

Good start to the challenge!

Sorry folks, but I am struggling to get the e-mail out to all of you as many of you do not publish your e-mail on your blogs. I have employed a guard to look after your e-mail addresses to make sure they are not kidnapped and sold into spammery (see picture below) so don't worry about sending it to me!

Time for PLAN B!

Please e-mail ME (its in the left hand column) with your starting weight in Lbs, Kilos, stones, bags of flower or snickers bars, whatever suits!

Once I have every ones e-mail and starting weight, I will set up a distribution list to update you all on updates, prizes etc etc etc. I would rather do this than clog up my blog too much with organizational stuff.

I will post weekly with the top 5 etc and monthly with every ones progress. Sound fair?


26 Jul 2007

2007 FBT Weight loss competition.

Thanks to everyone that has registered for the challange! I will be e-mailing you all tonight to give you the last instructions and then off we go!

'I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.' BUDDHA

24 Jul 2007

2007 FatBlokeThin Weight Loss Challenge..(UPDATED...AGAIN!)

Right then, does anyone else want to join the 2007 FatBlokeThin weight-loss challenge ?

Anyone can join at any time but to be a founding member of this thrilling challenge, you need to let me know by Thursday 26th July 2007 (i.e. 2 days times !!).

The Rules.

Starting weight - the weight as measured on Friday 27th July 2007. I will e-mail all contestants to establish their starting weight (no helium or hover-magic shoes allowed..)

Weigh ins - there will be weekly weigh ins every Monday and a monthly weigh in on the the first Monday in each month (staring on 3rd September 2007) all weights to be e-mailed to me at the address shown in the LH side bar..(no, the OTHER left!).

Prizes - small but exquisite prizes will be awarded for biggest loser each week (if I'm feeling generous) and definitely every Month!

Remember weight loss will be measured in %age of starting weight lost to make it fair for everyone. I will publish a chart detailing everyones progress (not sure how or where yet but it'll come to me soon!).

By all means use the graphic above to publicise your involvement - I can supply different colours/sizes if required, just let me know or design your own if not, I'm not proud. There is NO requirement to show a button on your site if you don't want to. This is just a bit of fun.

Finally, F U N...this is what this is all about, it is not about starving yourself or doing dangerous things to your body to lose weight quickly. This is to create some community and some sorely needed motivation for each other. I reserve the right to discount contestants excessive weigh loss if i suspect naughtiness of any kind. Keep it real people!

Contestants registered so far :-

Chris H at http://diet-coke-rocks.blogspot.com/

Spunk http://www.100poundstogo.com/

Laura at http://lauramarie36.blogspot.com/

Manie at http://the-me-i-was-meant-to-be.blogspot.com/

Lady T at http://2whommuchisgiven.blogspot.com/

M at http://balloongirl.blogspot.com/

***** UPDATED 25TH JULY 2007 *****

new additions to the challenge...

Evita Sawyers at http://jeanstootighttomention.blogspot.com/

Victoria at http://diet-journey.blogspot.com/

Amelia at http://somethingelse.geekfamily.net/

Totegirl at http://pudgebudge.blogspot.com/

Marianne at http://practiceliving.wordpress.com/

Cory at http://dragonsloss.blogspot.com/

Tigerlilly http://whereistigerlilly.blogspot.com/

Sparkys’ Girl at http://lovinglowcarblife.blogspot.com/

Amazon Alanna at http://tri-bologna.blogspot.com/

Shrinky at http://www.shrinky.net/

MORE new additions to the challenge...

Jojo at http://toafk.blogspot.com/

Twisted Cinderella at http://tc-twistedfairytale.blogspot.com/

Flabuless at http://www.findingflabuless.com/Blog/

Not so Snow White at http://its-notso-bad.blogspot.com/

Groovybabe at http://groovybabe.wordpress.com/

Spread the word, the more the merrier!

22 Jul 2007

A wet fish swifty applied to the chops!

Blimey, I wish I had trusted my instincts and not contributed a moaning meme (it's not your fault Jessica but you'll see below why it wasn't such a great idea...) negative thoughts can be so destructive and I have gone and proved it AGAIN in such a graphic way!

I have understandably upset my blogging pal JoJo, and I never wanted to do that! She is a passionate motorbike rider and to generalise my negative thoughts to cover all bikers past, present and future was in hindsight crass and stupid. JoJo, I apologise. I am human, I get annoyed, but I have have put tremendous effort into reducing my negative outlook and reactions - I should read my own posts more often it seems to remind me what I am trying to do here!

The one slightly positive aspect of the whole 'moaning meme' saga is that it reminded me of why I am where I am.

I began to get serious about my weight loss when I began to get serious about the other aspect of my life that was in crisis - my spirituality.

I am where I am because of a spicy cocktail of Spike Milligan* and HH the Dalai Lama (well...sort of). I read a lot of Spikes books in my teens and some of the great Milligan imagery has stuck in my mind.

One of the most vivid memories is a passage in one of his later memoirs dealing with his well documented PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) during the latter stages of WWII whilst stationed in Italy.

Trust me, there really is a point to this!

Spike was struggling to deal with the harsh noises of war (that's why they used to call it shell-shock in WWI) and he had a particular hatred of the low flying fighter planes (both Allied and German) that 'buzzed' his army camp from time to time.

He took to yelling at the pilots expressing the sincere hope that they would "bl***y well crash and die!". This diversion to his day pleased him greatly until the inevitable happened and after yelling at one unlucky British pilot, the plane crashed near the camp killing the poor pilot.

Spike was immediately racked with guilt and blamed himself (quite irrationally as you'll appreciate) for the pilots fiery death.

And now to the point.....

A few months ago I was travelling through a large city in the UK and witnessed some unusually impatient road-craft from a 'gentleman' on a very high powered Japanese motorbike. Once he had dispatched me into the distance with a shake of the fist for daring to impede his hundred mile an hour qualifying lap, I came across another of his kind who obviously fancied a challenge as he set off in hot pursuit of the other rider. My well-worn reaction to these types of encounter is, in finest Spike Milligan fashion, to hope they "bl***y well crash and die!"...

Like Spike, eventually you know it had to happen....As I crested the brow of a hill about 30 seconds after my negative thoughts, a number of cars were slowing in front of me and as I came to a halt I could see in front of the cars a clearly terribly injured (and obviously unconscious) motorcyclist lying in the road with his bike almost implausibly far up the road..I felt sick. My son was asleep in the back of the car during all this. A number of people were offering assistance and calling for an ambulance on mobile phones, so I maneuvered around the obstacles and carried on my way.

I have seen accidents before and usually shrugged them off in my certainty that they were stupid and 'asked for it'...but this was significantly different. I easily rationalised that I did not cause the accident even if I had wanted it to happen but I felt deeply shocked by it nevertheless - for some reason, this was a far more visceral reaction than I had ever experienced before.

I was not shocked by the accident as much as by my extreme reaction to it. My negative thoughts made the accident almost personal in some way and as I drove home I began to think more and more about that rider - thinking of him as a person rather than an impersonal irritation. Yes he rode with arrogance and carelessness but he is as likely as not, a son, a husband, a father and a good friend to someone....I knew then that I had to learn to show compassion to all people, good and bad.

This thought reminded me of something that I had recently read in His Holiness The Dalai Lamas' book "The Art of Happiness". In it he shared the view that if we treat each other as just plain human beings, communication is so much easier. To ignore our differences and concentrate on our similarities allows us to communicate more effectively and allows us to find true happiness.

By the time I got home, I realised It was a another human being on the motorbike and I needed to treat all people with kindness no matter what they may do or however they might treat me.

See, there WAS a point to this after all! If only I had remembered it BEFORE I wrote the 'moaning meme' although I stand by the Racism one - that is a cancer that is destroying us all (regardless of colour and creed) from the inside out.

Still, I have learnt a big lesson today. I have a VERY long way to go to reach enlightenment and these set backs serve to show me the full exent of the journey still left. For that I am grateful.

* information about Spike Milligan from here (shame on you if you need this though...unless you live in Peru, then I forgive you) .

Serve you right syndrome - moaning makes you fat!

As if to prove my own theory of the correlation between positive thought and weight loss, I have put on 2 pounds since last nights rant-fest!

'All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.' Buddha

Oh dear....there is always tomorrow......

21 Jul 2007

Moaning for England!

Jessica the Rock Chick recently tagged me to answer a Moaning meme. I am not a huge fan of meme's but I made the exception as she asked so very nicely, it was hard to refuse!

The meme originated here and the questions are as follows :-

5 people who will be annoyed you tagged them.

Right I am going to 'cop-out' straight away. I hate to annoy people because I hate being annoyed - know what I mean?...I go out of my way NOT to annoy people most if the time. So I will chose to tag 5 people that should provide interesting answers...(some will be annoyed though...<snigger>)

Shelly - she's so busy this will really wind her up!
Jenny - she's not an anonymous boxer for nothing (except I know her name - doh!!)
Mrs Wibbs - she is so nice, I just want to see if she can actually moan at all?!
Crankybee - this lady is OLYMPIC standard!!Lol!
Any finally, who else but Chris H - yikes, ear plugs at the ready people..lol!!!

Hey, I've just noticed, they're all woman - what does that tell you.....(answers on a postcard boys!).

So with that over, let's begin....

4 things that should go into room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth.

1. International franchised retailers - companies that use a 'one size fits all' business model for every country and culture in the world. You are stamping on centuries of culture for pity sake, are you blind???? - BE GONE!

2. ALL shopping channels - mind rotting garbage - enough said.

3. Motorbikes, or more particularly motorcyclists - In their stupid bright leathers, they all think they are Valentino Rossi, they obey none of the rules I have to obey in a car - they ride like maniacs at speeds that would give most people a nose bleed whilst making a noise like Concord taking off and then have the utter cheek to accuse car drivers of not looking out for them when they get knocked off due to their own incredible levels of fuckwittery (sorry for the language cat lovers, I am warming to my theme).They are inconsiderate, arrogant, dangerous individuals who should be locked up for other peoples safety - my hatred of penis extensions (er don't you mean motorbikes) has got me in trouble before now and was fundamental to the reasons for me starting this blog (sorry to be slightly mysterious but I want to share the story another day). Anyway, I want to crush all their bikes into 6" blocks of scrap and make their former riders wear them around their necks as a medallion for the rest of their sorry lives..ahhh that feels better!

4. Tabloid newspapers - single-handedly that have reduced the national IQ to that of a very, very stupid plasterer.... Every time I see someone reading one, I have to fight the urge to run up to them, grab the rag and tear it to shreds before stamping on it. It is rotting the collective national intellect to such an extent that politics and debate are almost dead in the country - most of the mindless proles that read this tosh have to be told who to vote for every 4 years - it makes me VERY ANGRY in a mildly Buddhist sort of way....

3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently.

1. Talking in pyscho-gibberish business-speak. I used to have to attend meetings where we would indulge in 'blue sky thinking' and where we would seek to take things 'off-line' and be encouraged to 'sing from the same hymn sheet' - why can't people just say what they MEAN!

Also, why are all job titles so incomprehensible these days - it all started when Personnel became Human Resources and like a virus, the disease has spread (no offence to all you HR titans out there, but really, what HAVE you gone and done...) - I remember when we had a Managing Director who ran the place , now we have COO'S, CEO'S, CFO's - utter rubbish, just a load of self-aggrandising bollocks, excuse my french..!

If you want a good laugh, get a serious Sunday paper and check the job section - are these people on drugs??? Check this out if you don't believe me!

2. NOT INDICATING BEFORE MAKING A LANE CHANGE OR OTHER MANOEUVRE (sorry to shout...) - it completely does my nut in, the fact that people can drive around all day thinking that the act of alerting the rest of humanity to their future intentions is a compete waste of their time, so when driving in the UK, when you are not looking out for the Government Cash Machines, you spend your time trying to use psychic powers to determine the imminent movements of all the vehicles around you! Arrrrggh!

3. I know this is supposed to be light-hearted but racism drives me bonkers! I read this article recently and was gob-smacked to see that these sorts of archaic attitudes still exist - I just want to grab these people and make them see sense. I would love to change their skin colour for just one day and let them experience life on the other side....I am ashamed to walk the same planet...more information here from the BBC.

2 things you find yourself moaning about.

If I exclude work (I'd be here all night otherwise), I really try hard NOT to moan about stuff but in reality when push comes to shove I guess I tend to moan a lot about driving (other peoples that is) and the dastardly diet industry - I hate to see people spending money for things they could do themselves with a little encouragement!

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself.

It tells me that the Dharma is a LONG way away.....oh dear.

Finally, deese em da rules....

  • Link to the original meme at freelancecynic.com so people know what it's all about!
  • Be as honest as possible, This is about letting people get to know the real you!
  • Try not to insult anyone - unless they really deserve it or are very, very ugly!
  • Post these rules at the end of every meme!

Why 'Special K' is NOT so special after all....

I just came across this great post about Special K advertising and had to share it..I found it via Crankybee's great blog. Visit if you get a chance.

This is a very thoughtful article and really made me consider the almost subliminal negative messages in some advertising - my total rejection of the 'diet industry' is well documented and this is a CLASSIC example of what is wrong with them.

The promotion of self-loathing and the implication that some 'franken-cereal' can somehow make everything better is insulting at best, and at worst damaging to vulnerable overweight people.

If this seems like an over-sensitive reaction to some innocuous looking advertising, this must be viewed as part of a complete landscape of negative images of fat people and 'fatness' in general through-out every type of media, in practically every single culture.

I certainly don't subscribe to the notion that Fat Rocks (not sure whether this is meant to be a joke - if it is, it ain't funny and you need to get out more my friend, and you might stop being such a gold plated freak...) - being fat kills people - FACT! Encouraging people to loath their bodies PREVENTS people from dealing with their weight - FACT! The 'diet industry' is a 40 BILLION DOLLAR business in the US alone and most people do not successfully reduce their weight over a long term using these costly options - FACT!

Everyone trying to lose weight must reject these types of emotional blackmail and resist the idea that we are freaks for not fitting in - be happy with yourself and plan your positive development - don't let some 'suit' tell you you can't go out 'cause you are too fat.

We can get thin - they cannot grow a brain! Who's going to win this race?

19 Jul 2007

Anyone fancy a fatblogger race then?

Can you hear that....?? That's the sound of a gauntlet being thrown down by Spunk over at 100 Pounds to go!

I have been looking for a while for a way to link us all together and create a motivational network to keep us all focused on the job in hand - this could be it!

I have accepted the weight loss challenge from Spunk and proposed we race DOWN to 200 pounds (we are both at @240lbs so we have 40 to go).

How about I open this out to anyone who is on the weight loss journey and wants to get involved? If you are interested, simply comment on this post or e-mail me and also spread the word far and wide throughout blog-land, tell everyone that we are having a race - the more the merrier!

How about we have a weekly and monthly 'how much did I lose competition' all the way to the end of the year. To be as fair as possible, I think we should judge success by %age of weight lost rather than straight poundage - this should make it fair for people of all weights. What do you think, this is all about motivation, right?

If there is enough interest, I'll knock up some snazzy graphics etc and post weekly with everyones updates - every month there will be a small but amusing prize for the 'biggest loser' (please don't sue me CBS, or whoever makes the damn show, I am NOT a threat to 'da man', I'm just a Fat Bloke!).

Once I have the names of everyone that is interested, I will post the rules and regs and off we go!

Come on, everyone fancies a race, don't they?

17 Jul 2007

Centenary post / weight update and Comment Competition

This, believe it or not is my 100th post!

So in celebration, a few FatBlokeThin Statistics and a couple of competitions...

So, where are we now? The tale of the tape!

Number of Days since weight loss journey began - 90 days

Starting BMI - 38.7

Current BMI - 34.7

Starting weight 270.0

Current weight - 241.8

Weight loss - 28.2

%AGE weight loss - 10.4%

Lbs to lose to reach 1st target - 41.8


General weight update.

Weight - 241.8 (-28.2)
- 40 minute walk at lunchtime yesterday (during a fast - are you MAD?!)

The fast is going REALLY well. Yesterday was DAY1 and fluids only - I had the usual problems (excessive peeing, joint pain, interrupted sleep etc) but I kept focussed and woke up today feeling fresh and NOT remotely hungry.

I have eaten fresh fruit today with loads of fluids and will have vegetables and salad tonight.

The fast brought on a massive (for me) single day weight loss since yesterday - around 5lbs! Just think what it could have been if I hadn't ate like an idiot over the weekend - anyway, don't look back and it was mostly water anyway!


And now, my latest adventure in Link Love (as Shelly would call it) - over at This Eclectic life, she is both promoting a competion and holding her own. They are both 'refer-a-comment competitions' (no I had no idea what she was taking about either...).

Basically, follow the links below and leave a comment on the post using my URL as a referral (i.e. http://fatblokethin.co.uk/).

The winner is the person with the most referrals (not me as it helps to have a readership...lol!).

Finally, create a post linking to this one on your blog (just like this one) using the links to both the competition posts and hey-prosto, your in the game!

Does this make ANY more sense to you than it did to me?

Anyway, here are the links to follow :-



Best of luck!!

16 Jul 2007

Fame at last (not really...)

Those more observant amongst you will remember that I gave an interview to WLTips.com about my philosophy (eh?) of weight loss and well-being. It is now available on the website here.

link to Weight Loss Tips.com

Call the Diet Police!!!

Step away from the food!

Well, what a weekend - a seemingly never ending roller-coaster of food....

I really fell off the wagon on Saturday. Our new neighbours came to dinner and far too much food and alcohol were consumed. I ate all the things I know I shouldn't (bread, cheese, lots of olive oil etc, etc), drank wine and whiskey like the last days in Hitlers' Bunker.

I compounded this with some truly dismal food choices at a birthday party we attended on Sunday. Fried chicken, pea nuts, cheese (again) - blah, blah, blah - ughh!, what an idiot!

The obvious consequence of this is weight gain - On Sunday morning I was 3 pounds heavier than Friday!! The less immediately obvious consequence was the effect it had on my running (or indeed the lack of it...). These woefully poor food choices completely blew my energy and motivation levels - I felt bloated, tired and listless....I am so angry with myself!

Anyway, the diet police have been called and the diet is back on! I have been sentenced to a 3 day fast to get myself back on track. I will restart the running on Wednesday from the beginning of the programme, and THIS time, I will not let anything deflect me from the course I need to take.

This turn of events is truly ironic when you consider that today my interview has been published on the weight loss tips website. Ironic in the fact that of all days, I have never felt less qualified to advise anyone on mind over matter diet motivation!

Right, that's quite enough self-flagellation for one day ....

13 Jul 2007

Don't leave it 'til tomorrow...

We got married in September 1999 in the UK and spent our honeymoon in New York City, Manhattan to be precise.

We stayed in the Algonquin Hotel and took in a Yankees Baseball game (there is a whole post in that little trip - just dealing with the 'gypsy' cab ride home - OMG!), Central Park Zoo, Macy's, the whole shebang!

But for me the absolute highlight of this 10 day extravaganza was a Broadway Show (even though, unbelievably, I managed to fall asleep at one point due to excessive 'entertainment' the night before!) - not any Broadway show though, but RENT.

I have never been a particular fan of the usual musical theatre (i.e Howard Keel et al 'slap-a-my thigh'ing' all over the shop in bright red wigs etc) but I am a big fan of uplifting emotional music and was incredibly moved by the story and music of RENT.

The story is jam-packed with compassion, emotion and the tortuous road to love (of every shape and size it has to be said).

I recently watched the film of RENT and was struck again with its forceful message of love and compasssion for everyone regardless of race, colour, creed and sexual orientation - it seems to me that we all live and die the same way and deserve the same respect and compassion.

I cannot think of one single better way to be judged that by the love I have given to others.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could all exist like this together - each desperately trying to compete with each other to give the most genuine and sincere love to our fellow human beings?

The song that particularly struck an emotional cord with me was Seasons of Love (see below).

How would you like to be measured?

Seasons of Love (Rent)

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes

How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

How about love?
How about love?
How about love?

Measure in love

Seasons of love
Seasons of love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes!

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Journeys to plan.

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes

How do you measure the life
Of a woman or a man?

In truths that she learned,
Or in times that he cried.
In bridges he burned,
Or the way that she died.

It's time now to sing out,
Tho' the story never ends
Let's celebrate

Remember a year in the life of friends

Remember the love!
Remember the love!

Seasons of love!

Oh you got to got to...
Remember the love! remember the love,
You Measure in love - know that love is a gift from up above
Seasons of love.

Share love, give love spread love

Measure... Measure your life in love.

Sermon over - carry-on about your business!

Plateau officially busted?

Weight - 243.4 (-26.6)
Exercise - day off yesterday to let my shins recover (back to normal today!).

I am at my lowest weight since starting my weight loss project - this is both surprising and not surprising, I'll explain..

Firstly, I am surprised due to the visit to Buddies yesterday and succumbing to the temptation of an 8oz chilli hamburger, coleslaw and fries!! - I did have a bottle of water with it though - does that make it OK??? Yet another example of the Beef Wellington Diet - it seems the worse I eat, the more weight I lose... Now that's a diet that would sell! Ker-ching!

I am not surprised due to my much increased exercise - the running is beginning to work (if the shins hold up - thanks for the advice AB) - and I still do some power walking most weekdays.

Thanks for all your recent encouraging messages by the way - I have been very remiss recently in not replying. I will rectify this over the weekend and come and see everybody!

Finally, shameless plug, I have decided to move my photographs and Wordless Wednesday participation to another site over at Wordpress (thought I would dip my toe in and see what WP's all about). I am having a few 'issues' with uploading images via ImageShack but feel free to go across and have a look - there is a limited number of pictures at the moment but I will be updating this also over the weekend.

10 Jul 2007

Something clicked inside my head today...

Steady people, I'm not about to go 'Postal' on you!

The whole running thing hit me like a wet kipper in the face today. I suddenly realised what I had been missing for so long. I feel sort of reborn (whoa, wha-whooooaa - not that way!!) - physically reborn if you will. I'm not explaining this very well...stay with me.

I ran properly for the first time on Saturday and felt utterly terrible - if I was a cat I would definitely have lost several of my lives. I followed my version of the Couch to 5K instructions to the letter - it was hot but not THAT hot so whilst I felt really happy I'd started, I really struggled to think I cold ever get where I want to be (fitness wise that is).

That was, until yesterday...WHAM! My wife runs a lot you see (she is out now running as it happens - doing @10K with her running club). Sorry to go off on a tangent, but they go down the pub after running - what's all THAT about eh? Bizarre.. Anyway, back to the plot...

Yesterday I went running again as I say - this is my official start of the C25K programme (Saturday was a dry-run), my wife came with me to keep me honest and as soon as I started running, she said 'You run fast!' - 'Me? Fast, uh?' It then dawned on me that on Saturday I had gone running as if to escape my own homicide, not as if to get exercise! D'oh!

I now know I need to pace myself and follow the programme, but I am actually itching to go running tonight! I am gob-smacked. Up until today, I would have rather eaten my own ear-fluff than go for a jog...Look at me now Ma!

9 Jul 2007

London Buses (similarity to awards that is)...

Like the proverbial London buses (in that you wait for one and ages go by before 2 turn up together) - I am being veritably showered with awards lately (well if 2 can be interpreted as a shower, a spit of pleasant drizzle maybe!).

Hot on the heels of the recent Thinking Blogger Award, I learn from my great blogging friend Shelly at This Eclectic life, that she has finally lost the remaining marble in her bag and decided I should be awarded something! It appears to be something to do with shmoozing (is that something my mother would approve of? Who knows but sounds intriguing nevertheless..)

According to Shelly, the definition for schmoozing is :-

The natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection.” Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.

Well anyway, thanks Shelly and as far as I can tell, this is a good thing and as you know, all good things should be passed on. I am relatively new to this blogging malarkey so don't have a massive blog-roll to choose from but those that I do have really do exemplify the spirit of this award.

They are (drum roll), in no particular order,

Chris H at Diet Coke Rocks - never fails to comment, never fails to amuse and lets me get away with NOTHING! Bah!

JoJo at Are we there yet? - very quiet at the moment but usually a frequent and very welcome guest on my 'stoop' - love chatting with her.

Tom at http://tomsheehan.digitalscenic.com/ - I love his photos and the fact that he e-mails me to thank me every time I comment. A very nice man!

Karoline at Karoline in the morning - the deepest of thinkers and one of the greatest givers of comments. Always thoughtful, never dull!

And finally, Anonymous Boxer - I know you do not accept comments on your blog and I completely respect that but you get an award anyway as you never fail to encourage me with my fitness struggles. I hope I'll get to know you better one day and thank you!

For all you winners, feel free to use the award above on your own blog and pass the baton on to more deserving blogs than mine!

What next, an Oscar?

Weight Loss Tips Interview (Updated with Photo)

As you may recall, Lizza at Weight Loss Tips recently requested an interview from me for inclusion on their site. I was happy to oblige. Below is the content of my interview.

Weight before diet:

Recently, my weight has fluctuated from an all-time high of nearly 280lbs in early 2005 (I vowed I would never be 20 stones….) down to 230lbs following a concerted diet/exercise effort in late 2005 and then slowly crept back to 270 lbs by April 2007.

Weight now:

My weight has been static at 245lbs for 4 weeks now - I have reached the dreaded first plateau!

Target weight:

My goal is to reach 200lbs by 31st December 2007 and then over a period of time get insanely fit and stay comfortably between 185-195lbs for the rest of my life….

What finally made you decide to start with a weight loss program?

I have been overweight to a greater or lesser extent since I was 10 years old. I have regularly visiting health professionals over the last 25-30 years to relieve and regulate my Asthma.

Following a routine check-up in late 2004 I become a ‘medical anomaly’ – whilst having all the symptoms of the condition, the usual remedies failed to have any remedial effect. To my surprise, I was informed that I may not be asthmatic – at that time I weighed 275-280Lbs. Incredibly, I failed at that point to conclude the now blindingly obvious fact that the weight and lack of fitness was causing the ‘Asthmatic’ symptoms…the clock was ticking…

I returned for a check-up in April 2007 and was told in no-uncertain terms that my weight was slowly killing me. The time was right to act…

What type of weight loss program are you following?

My weight loss programme is not a weight loss program at all as that would imply I am on a diet – I believe diets (though effective for some) are often an excuse to reduce the weight of your bank account rather than your body.

I don’t count calories or points or anything of that kind. I am seeking happiness, spiritual happiness - and as a starting point to that ultimate goal, I have to be at peace with myself and love myself. I am studying Buddhist teachings and using them to think more positively about myself and my life.

This spiritual change has enabled me to totally change the relationship I have with food and alcohol to such an extent that I do not feel remotely that I am depriving myself as many people do when following traditional diets. I eat healthily and regularly and take alcohol in moderation. This combined with a sliding scale of physical exercise and continued positive thought amount to my weight loss program.

Why did you choose this weight loss program?

I chose to go my own way after looking at Atkins, WW and all the others and nothing appealed to me. The weight loss I am hoping to achieve will be the by-product of my spiritual journey not the other way around.

Being thin does not make you happy but I believe that being happy CAN help you get thin and fit.

The combination of healthy living and spiritual wellness can be summed up as a DharmaDiet – letting Buddha burn the pounds off!

How long have you been on your weight loss program?

As I am not on traditional organized diet, this is difficult to quantify but I have gradually found this change in life direction over months and years but in effect the catalyst for this journey was my visit to a nurse practitioner at my local health centre in April 2007.

This life change will be a central part of my existence now and forever.

What kinds of physical activities do you like doing to help you lose weight and stay fit?

I walk every weekday at lunchtime covering about 2.5miles in 40 minutes. I have also just begun my version of the Couch to 5K programme from Cool Running.

I used to love running in the way that a blind man loves a good sunset but I need to break through the plateau and more exercise is the only effective way I know to do that! Even this early in my ‘running career’ I can feel the obsession starting to be born – the possibilities are endless and I just can’t wait!

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome or are still overcoming?

The most difficult obstacle was admitting that I had a problem with food in general and the weight I had become in particular. My apathetic view of exercise is legendary but I am working on that with attempts to boost my motivation levels all the time.

Having the patience to take the long term view over a project that will take me nearly 2 years is a constant battle. I am winning at the moment!

How do you keep yourself motivated?

My Blog is my primary motivation. The friends I have ‘met’ encourage me so much and the stories of the many other people on similar weight loss journeys are a constant inspiration to me.

I weigh myself everyday without fail and keep a spreadsheet with a trend line. This trend line is crucial as it ‘irons-out’ minor fluctuations in weight and prevents obsessing over the everyday up’s and downs of weight-loss.

As long as the trend line is down, I am happy and fully motivated!

Do you have any weight loss tips for our readers?

Don’t go on a diet for a start – start a Fat Blog instead! Use your Blog to explore your feelings and think deeply about where you want to be mentally and physically.

Identify any obstacles in your way and slowly work to eradicate them from your life. Once you feel ready to make this life change, pick long term and achievable scale and non-scale goals and break those goals down into mini goals. Never use food as a reward for success – special treats DON’T work.

Do it for yourself and treat eating as a cerebral undertaking – think long and hard about what you are eating and why. Don’t be afraid to refuse food if you are not hungry or you feel you are eating for the wrong reasons.

Finally, seek out an exercise regime you can enjoy and embrace it. You will never look back!

Do you think it will be easy to fall back into your old lifestyle pattern? How do you prevent this from happening?

I know I will not fall back into my old ways of excessive/emotional eating and avoidance of exercise. I have make a public commitment to achieve certain physically goals. Failure is NOT an option!

I also make use of the Transtheoretical Model of Change to help me understand the obstacles to a successful lifestyle shift and its maintenance. The spiral model in particular is a great help in identifying the reasons for relapse and can be used as a ‘roadmap’ to get me back on track.

Finally, I constantly focus on the reasons for starting this journey and through my blog I set myself challenges and goals that I feel obliged to meet due to their semi-public nature.

Do you have a favourite Web site or blog that helps or inspires you to lose weight? (you can add your blog here, as well as four other sites/blogs that help you with your lifestyle change decision)

My toe in the cyber ocean - http://www.fatblokethin.co.uk/

My spiritual search started here - http://www.thubtenchodron.org/

JoJo, my weight-loss blogging buddy – www.toafk.blogspot.com/

Shauna, to remind me what is really possible - http://www.dietgirl.org/

Manie, to remind me to help others – http://www.the-me-i-was-meant-to-be.blogspot.com/

7 Jul 2007

Remember where you were when you heard the news...!

The pose is due to pure exhaustion but crikey, will you just look at them there shoes!

Just as when John F Kennedy was shot (my father was in the bath when it was announced on the radio by the way if you're interested...), remember where you were when I started running. Yes, ladies and gentlemen your eyes are not on strike, I said 'WHEN I WENT A RUNNIN'!'

These truly are the most momentous of times, I presently feel a mixture of elation, foreboding and utter 'knackered-ness' (mmm..., new word me thinks..) - really pleased as I have finally got off my ample backside and started the physical side of this journey, foreboding due to the frankly astonishingly, mind-bogglingly piss-poor level of my fitness (sorry, cat lovers but there really is no other term worthy of it) and finally finishing up with borderline respiratory failure for my trouble!

So I have offically started my own 10 week fitness plan ( it's loosely based on the Couch to 5K programme) and its now full steam ahead....


Finally, Shelly I believe it is your turn now! :)

6 Jul 2007

Do not adjust your sets - Normal service is now resumed!

Weight - 245.4lbs (-24.6lbs).
Exercise - 8 minutes on the 'bike of doom'.

Sorry but the last few days have given over to alot of navel-gazing contemplation and chin rubbing pondering (see below) about all sorts of non-weight related stuff. I've got it out of my system now...for a while anyway!

I have been asked by Lizza at Weight Loss Tips to contribute an interview to their site. I will post the questions and my answers tonight to give you all (ha ha and thrice ha!) a sneak preview!

Also, LISTEN UP Chris, the shoes are definitely getting used tomorrow - THE RUNNING WILL BEGIN! I may even post a picture just to prove it...

I will also be dishing out some Thinking Blogger Awards over the weekend as I have neglected to pass the baton on passed to me some time ago by Karoline.

The wife is out tonight which means I will be able to carryout some unfettered meandering through the blogosphere tonight. Expect a visit, so put the kettle on, tea - milk, no sugar would be nice. Ta!

Freedom of speech & the search for the ultimate truth.

Alan Johnston was kidnapped in Gaza whilst reporting for the BBC News organization and held captive for 114 days - he is now thankfully free. One of his first instincts when released was to highlight the plight of fellow journalists around the world.

The BBC understandably covered this resolution to the story extensively and as a consequence much media interest in the UK is focusing on Alans welcome release.

Alan Johnston has also been awarded an Amnesty Media Award for his reporting of the situation in Gaza for the BBC dueing 2o06/7.

At this happy time, it is easy to forget the extent to which many other journalists suffer to bring us the truth.

In May each year there is a World Press Freedom Day. The following is harvested from the UNESCO website highlighting the 2007 event.

'The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Barometer proves that countries involved in violent conflict are dangerous places for media professionals – with 37 journalists killed in Iraq since the beginning of 2006, 3 in Sri Lanka and Colombia, 2 in Afghanistan. But also the figures from countries like Mexico (7 deaths), Russia (3) the Philippines (2) and China (2) show that the lives of journalists are threatened even in states that do not have discernible war zones.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) recently published details about 580 journalists that were killed in the line of duty worldwide between January 1992 and August 2006.

According to this data, 71,4% were murdered, 18,4% died in crossfire or in combat-related circumstances and 10% during other dangerous assignments. Print reporters face the greatest risk of death, except in few parts of the world like the Philippines and India where radio journalists and TV reporters have a higher risk of being killed.

137 journalists and media staff have been killed since the beginning of the Iraq war, which is the deadliest conflict for media professionals since the Second World War. '

The full article can be viewed here.

Click on the image above to view the list of murdered journalists.

'From the viewpoint of absolute truth, what we feel and experience in our ordinary daily life is all delusion. Of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness for both sides. If we can realize and meditate on ultimate truth, it will cleanse our impurities of mind and thus eradicate the sense of discrimination. This will help to create true love for one another. The search for ultimate truth is, therefore, vitally important.' Dalai Lama

5 Jul 2007

Making me think - a bit like a Tesco's Value version of Bread of Life..

A welcome visitor to FBT HQ yesterday was Mrs Wibbs. She has a very interesting blog that got me thinking on many issues (anyone that can string together religion, disability and abortion in one post certainly qualifies as 'interesting'!)

She inadvertently reminded me that this blog was never intended to be just about scale readings and calories and pretty pictures, it was a way of exploring the spiritual landscape in which I live (possibly for my benefit more than others) - part of that spiritual journey was to be the continual exploration and testing of my moral framework in a religious context. I may have neglected that side of it recently...

I was born and raised Church of England - Anglican and relatively 'high church'. My profound love of music was formed through singing in a very well run church choir. Mrs Wibbs suggested that I might like to consider Christianity to solve some of my spiritual questions. To put my Buddhist leanings into context, this suggestion deserves some considered response.

With a gun to my head in a backstreet in Palestine I would probably declare my Christianity without thinking. This may be conditioning or a reflection of reality - I am not sure.

Let me get something straight, I respect anyone who has faith-based beliefs and I also respect those that chose to plough a separate unique furrow eschewing all religions. I believe in pluralism and the essential basic freedoms of life but I am concerned at the way many religions attempt to create a hierarchy of religions (usually with theirs on top it seems...). This need to feel superior and cloaked in rightness does nothing to foster love and compassion in the world - that is not to say that many religions and many religious people do not make major positive changes to peoples lives.

The reason i am looking to Buddhism for guidance is not that I need help, it's that I want to help others! To help others I need to be at peace with myself and Buddhism encourages students to question and doubt it's basic precepts and absorb and utilise the parts that they need. There is no Bible as such - its an internal moral system and this is what attracts me. I have always felt that the only church I need is the one inside me head and Buddhism is starting to give me the tools to build that church. Does that make sense? I will never try to 'sell' Buddhism to you or anyone else - this is right for me and I would not be presumptive to think that it may be right for someone else. A major part of the joy of Buddhism is the internal journey to discover the Dharma..this is unique I think.

I came across an interesting e-book recently about modern western Buddhism written by Ven Thubten Chodron which re-ignited my interest in Buddhism. It is entitled Transforming Our Daily Activities and can be viewed as a .pdf here. The book deals with the practicalities of living a modern life with Buddhist principles. I recommend it.

HH the Dalai Lama summed up this situation very well (as usual I find)...

I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter. Far more important is that they be a good human being.

Right, getting back to the specific post that caught my attention, it dealt with the highly emotive issues of elective abortion for reasons of disability, in this case Downs Syndrome. It is exactly the sort of subject that gets to the root of my internal discussions (no...I am not talking to myself...yet!).

This is an extract of her post:-

As most of you know by now, our middle son Thomas has Downs Syndrome.

This is one of God's most wonderful gifts to us, and the more we discover who he is, the more he amazes us. We would not be without him, and have never resented God for giving us a child with disabilities, because our lives have been enriched and improved by him.

When we found out Tom had DS (about 2 months after his birth), we were temporarily 'floored'. I cannot deny the shock and grief we felt, and the first 48 hours after the diagnosis were very dark. But very quickly, we knew we had no choice but to embrace this as God's will, and accept that Thomas was a child 'with a difference'!

Today, after 4 1/2 years of having Tom in our lives, I am astonished, sad, and oh so angry, by the number of pregnancies terminated after a diagnosis of (potential or confirmed) Downs Syndrome ...!!

This is the comment that I left in response :-

My wife suffered several miscarriages (prior to our beautiful son being born).

During the early stages of the final pregnancy, we were offered the usual tests etc and were told there would be some risks involved. We both instinctively knew that whatever happened we would love our child without reservation so decided not to have any tests as the outcome was irrelevant, why take any added risks?

Our son was born without problems and is a healthy 4 year old boy but I would love him no less if this was not the case. Abortion is such an emotive subject and my views on it are in a state of flux (along with many others) as I slowly search for a spiritual framework - I am studying Buddhism.

I believe in fundamental personal freedom but I also believe in mindfulness and the removal of suffering. Abortions happen for many reasons and I struggle to be able to view it in a black/white yes/no type argument.

I FEEL that a woman should decide but I am also desperately saddened by the throw-away society we live in where career or other circumstances can allow us to make such awesome decisions.

One final thing, it does take courage to unreservedly love a child with disabilities, you have it in spades, not everyone does..

This moral dichotomy is typical of my ongoing struggles with where I am spiritually. I have explored this many times before, like here. I feel I am at an intellectual crossroads as well in some way as so many of my beliefs are being challenged by my attempt to think of things in a different way.

The central precepts of Buddhism deal with compassion and mindfulness - neither of which can help in any way to to justify abortion but I find it hard to interpret these types of issues with black/white certainty. I wish I could in some ways because it would be much easier to deal with and allow me to get on with others things! But I think this would be an intellectual cop-out...

This is not meant to be argumentative but I would be interested to know what you all think about this - are moral questions such as these ever really black/white or do we need to accept some greyness at a necessary part of free expression and if so, where is that line to be drawn? A lot of questions, I know but interesting nevertheless...


Today is Thursday and usually you would find a Thursday 13 post of some sort but I have decided to stop contributing to this meme. I am unable to post to a standard that I think it should be. The time I have available to blog leaves me unable to contribute to memes and consider all the other aspects of this blog.

This is not snobbery - I will continue to contribute to Wordless Wednesday with some (hopefully) arresting photographs (trust me, there are some good ones coming up!).
*If you want to know what the title is all about - check this out (note the comment spat! Yee ha! Looks like I need to get a Thesaurus for Christmas! I'd always rather be happy than clever...what about you?)

4 Jul 2007

Wordless Wednesday - Freedom!

Free at last...!

Alan Johnston is free!

'In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than just ideals to be valued - they may be essential to survival.'

3 Jul 2007

The Beef Wellington diet strikes again.....!

Weight - 245.2 Lbs (-24.8)
Exercise - mostly chewing and swallowing.....

Well, back from France and feeling like Mr Creosote....

After much soul-searching and navel gazing, I finally got the courage to weigh myself this morning. After a week of total dietary abuse of quite simply OLYMPIC proportions, I was staggered to find that I had only gotten 1.2lbs heavier - yes ladies and gentlemen, one point two pounds (i.e. less than a kilo if you happen to be French or something)!!!

First thought, temporary cheese and wine induced blindness maybe? Re-weigh, once, twice, ...three times. Ummm...Second thought, call for back-up, wife requested to read the figures. Ummm...Third thought - Sabotage, those nasty 'Alkayeedah' boys have been messing with my 'scales of doom' (hey, it could happen...).

Finally, the cloak of disbelief began to rise like the early morning dew and there was great joy throughout the land. Clearly blessed are the cheese-makers....(that ones for you Phil).

So the question that now arises is how in the name of Christendom did I manage to achieve this feat through the ancient ritual art of Gallic fromage related abuse (the true scale of which I fell unable to fully share at this time...maybe when I know you better..) ?

This, by way of illustration is an indication of my daily diet...red wine, bread, olive oil, cheese...HAVE IT! (I did manage to avoid eating the mobile phone by the way - only just though....)

I am mostly very confused.... this is even weirder than the Beef Wellington Diet!

I am afraid the shoes remain pristine and in their box (I tried I tell you, I really did!!). This week is it - I will start running this week - I WILL!

Thus concludes episode one of Fat Bloke - The Road Trip. More later

1 Jul 2007

Back in town...time to take stock.

A whole week without posting - I never thought that would be possible! Many tales of wine, cheese and inappropriate use of wet-wipes to come (more of that later)....

I haven't weighed myself for over a week and I have eaten anything that strayed into my field of vision (duh*) so I am dreading it! Tomorrow morning is day one of the rest of my weight loss journey.

Did you miss me? Anyone..? Oh, come one, one of you??

Stories and pictures later!