I suspect some may scoff at my paltry mileages, mostly weekend only riding & the occasional use of an exercise bike instead of proper cycling, and to some degree I have to say they're right. However before condemning me or ignoring what I write out of hand I figured it might be worth writing a little more about myself.
I've probably been overweight in increasing degrees since my mid 20's. This year in July I'll be 45. However I never truly realised that I was overweight; no one really said anything and I guess I kind of ignored it as its a slow progressive thing. Its not like you wake up one morning with an extra tyre around your abdomen so its easy to blind yourself to the fact that you are progressively increasing your quota of body mass.
Along with this slow but steady increase comes an increased stomach capacity, which means that you feel the need to eat more before you become satisfied, and if you are a food-a-holic like me you love the varying flavours of different foods which can mean you eat mroe than you have to because you love the taste so damned much.
I used to do a fair bit of canoeing (often called kayaking) with firstly Maidenhead Youth Club and then with Windsor Canoe Club, so always had a broad upper body. I used to go skiing & hiking with my brother in my younger days (he has always been an outdoors person), and we'd do things like walking around Mont Blank, walking the Ridgeway and South Downs Way etc.
I'm sure I'm like many in that with a desk or driving job the amount of exercise you take goes downhill fast, coupled with eating the wrong kinds of food, and getting home late at night never working for a local company means that you haven't the time or inclination to do any exercise at night or n the mornings. Then you get married, have (great) kids, settle down, life is easy...comfortable.
The only time I can remember doing any serious activity after the above was about 11 or 12 years ago at a previous company where a load of guys roped me into doing the London to Brighton Bike Ride, a journey of 54 miles. The only thing I did in preparation for this event was to change the saddle on my old 10 speed racing bike that I hadn't ridden for at least 10 years. I tell a lie - I think I rode up and down our street once to check it worked okay.
At this time I was what I would call quite fat and definitely lazy, nevertheless for some reason I was gullible enough to go for it, and finished the trip despite a front tube blow out on a steep bit of downhill. I can remember it was a long, hard & mostly lonely slog and I got about 5 yards up Ditchling Beacon outside Brighton before deciding there was no bloody way I was going to finish cycling up it. Hell I had trouble walking up it!
That was pretty much it for determined exercise until the start of this blog. The only time I have been "underweight" in all this period was when I came out of hospital a few years ago after having Severe Acute Pancreatitis, but then I was in there so long I had to learn to walk again. I didn't look good though - more gaunt than anything and what with everyone saying "you need to put weight back on"....well I did. Too much of it. My own fault though as yet again I did no conscious exercise. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and there are many things all of us would love to go back and change given the chance and the knowledge we now have, but it's our lot in life to live with what we do and accept what is past. All we can do is try to change the future in some small way.
Following the loss of 80% of my Pancreas (allegedly caused by a "faulty" gene), it actually took a few years before I became Diabetic. I wonder whether if I had exercised more would it not have developed? Who knows, but probably eventually I would have become Diabetic as the doctors thought that as soon as I had the pancreatic operation I would be.
I left hospital after about 4 months, having in my time there broken 2 out of 3 dialysis machines with my bad blood, suffering complete organ failure for 40 seconds, been kept in a drug induced coma & with an open wound in my stomach where they had cut me open (it took about a year before I managed to get them to do a hernia operation to properly close it up again). I did attempt to lose some weight before this hernia op but failed to get close to where I needed or wanted to be - again probably due to a lack of willpower to do anything positive.
I now attend the Diabetic Clinic at the Royal Berks Hospital for Type 2 Diabetes and for some time I have been what they have called "Morbidly Obese" - a horrible term.
I don't know for sure what really got me started on this programme of trying to lose weight now. Its late in the day but hopefully not too late, & I deeply deeply regret my lack of energy when my kids were younger and I want to be there for them in later years. There's no certainty that I will never get another bout of Pancreatitis so I tend to live day by day; at least I do when I think about it.
I guess maybe the combination of realising that I could create a blog with a Google account helped, and then considering what I could do with it, plus reading some of my friend Stout's posts on cycling, hearing from my niece & her future huspand Ralph about their cycling activities (they have lots of bikes plus a tandem), all of these things and more helped me to start this ball rolling.
So as you can see from the above, I'm not by nature a person who would easily forsake the "easy life" of getting home from work and settling in the sofa. I am however more determined than I have ever been to change my life for the better, for myself, my kids and my wife, and with your help hopefully for others who read this too and realise it can be done.
I may falter by the wayside, make the occasional slip and for that I need people to help me get back on track, so I hope you can support me by commenting and making suggestions to my blog updates. I in turn will do whatever I can to return the favour.