Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

08 Oct 2015

Why you are heavier than you think...

Today I went into my local M&S to try on trousers. In the casual section the smallest available size is marked as 32" (81 cm in real units). They are way too large for me and would fall down without a belt or braces. They apparently make some ranges in 28" and 30", but only stock them at the larger stores. As I've mentioned before they are all about 2" larger than they, say, so I was actually trying on a pair of 34" trousers - which I already know are too large.

The point is if you think you haven't put on any weight because you are wearing the same size of trousers that you did a decade or more ago, then you are sadly mistaken as in the interval your trousers have got bigger like you have but the sizes have lied to accommodate the change.

I use to wear 34" trousers at university and went to 36" shortly after. My most recent trousers were 36" and so I assumed (in error) that I had not put on weight over the years. As it happens I had and the vanity sizing had mislead me. In fact if it were not for vanity sizing I would have noticed this earlier and I may have done something about it earlier...

Vanity sizing doesn't seem to apply to French clothing from Decathlon yet, but seems to be wide spread in the UK market.

03 Oct 2015

Green gage chutney

Yesterday we made two batches of chutney: one was green gage and apple plus lots of spice and the second was just green gage based and less spicy. We now have used up all our green gages from this year - at long last...

27 Sep 2015

French Clothing Sizes

On Friday we spent several hours and quite a bit of money buying stuff in Decathlon. We needed some specific things and some things were on sale after the summer. Owing to my body shape change as a result of losing nearly 20 kg this year, a lot of my clothes - regular and sport - don't fit properly. Some I've been able to alter and some I can get away with, but some are now uncomfortable to wear or look absurd...

Decathlon design a lot of their own kit and then have it made all over the world. In that respect they are no different from many other companies both British and foreign. What is striking though is that unlike British and American brands, the stated size is more often the actual stated size, rather than a vanity size. For example to buy M&S or Next trousers I need to buy one size smaller than the quoted size or they fall down, but at Decathlon, I just need to buy the correct size and they fit...

16 Sep 2015

Vanity Sizing

Owing to a reduction in my body mass I've been forced to buy new clothing. It's been an expensive process and annoying to replace otherwise perfectly usable clothes...

I happened to have some older clothes that were not used much as they had previously been a little on the small size. The good news is that I've been able to wear them more regularly so I've avoided buying a few things!

One thing does annoy me. Unlike women's clothing which uses strange numbers, most men's clothing using simple actual measurements, waist of x inches / y centimetres. It's a fairly straight forward system, you know how big your waist size etc and should should be able to buy off-the-peg clothing without too much of a worry. However it's not true anymore! My older clothes when measured with a tape are the size that the label says. The modern ones vary wildly - though they all seem to be much larger than the label says. For example:

  • 20 year old pairs of M&S St. Michael Jeans, says 34", are 34"
  • 20 year old pairs of BHS chinos, says 34", are 34"
  • Modern M&S relaxed fit chinos, says 36", at least 38" more as they age
  • Modern Craghoppers Kiwi walking trousers, says 30", more like 33"

Some clothes, like jeans and those with elasticated bits do get larger with wear and washing, but even so modern clothes seem to be at least once size (2"/5 cm) larger than the label says they should be. Older clothing from the same company is the size it says...

At the moemnt I'm about a real size of 33"/84 cm waist, which is a pain as British men's trousers don't come in odd sizes, so it's either a real size of 32" (tight) or 34" (loose), but in vanity sizing that could be anything from 30"...

13 Sep 2015

Weight Reduction Rate

Over the weekend I recalculated my weight reduction rate target. As you lose weight your BMR falls, mine has come down by about 700 kj. That means to lose weight at the same rate as before I have to eat even less than I was previously. That means eating such a low energy diet that I'll probably miss important stuff out and I could start to lose muscle mass rather than fat.

Since hitting my weight plateau a few weeks ago I've been careful to not over indulge and to push harder on the bike. Re-plotting my weight against target on the new weekly reduction rate of 550 g per week rather than 750 g per week has resulted in a more realistic trajectory that I'm sticking to. Even after my holiday I'm still on target and should hit a healthy weight at the end of November this year.

One problem I do face is clothing. Lots of my clothes now fit me like a tent. Trousers fall down and shirts flap about in the wind... I've bought some smaller clothing, men's size small or medium rather than large or extra-large as previous, but I'm waiting until I reach my healthy target weight so I don't end up with new clothes that are too large. One problem I will face is that, in Basingstoke at least, I can't buy men's casual trousers in a small enough size in any of the local department stores, they don't stock anything small enough! Jeans I can get as they sell them to teenagers who should be smaller than full grown men, but they aren't really allowed for work...

09 Sep 2015

Cambridge Gage Jam

Last year our gage tree (probably a Cambridge Gage) had plenty of fruit but they were all inedible. This year it had plenty of fruit, so much so that as fast as we collect it there is even more ready to collect....

It's been a while since we had gages to jam. I used the same method as previously, though I added a fraction more sugar as the fruit wasn't fully ripe. Today's batch was 1.7 kg of fruit (cleaned and destoned), 350 g water and 1.2 kg of sugar, plus the usual juice of a frozen and defrosted lemon. The yield was pretty good and as we have loads of fruit left, even after we give some of them away I'll do another batch later this week.

04 Sep 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 14)

Today is our last day...

We left our campsite for the last time, said good buy to the animals and cycled back to St Peter Port. While getting bread I had a nice conversion with a local politician who asked me how I found cycling on the island, then we went and queued for our ferry home. Condor ferries were as useless going back to the UK as they were for getting us here and we were about the very last people to board, even though we had arrived with hours to spare...

We had an easy train ride home, with no problems, and a nice dry ride from the station to home. Total distance travelled on holiday 371 km (230 miles), not quite as much as the 929 km from last year, but more hills this time!

Picture of the day: Filter In Turn.

03 Sep 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 12/13)

Today was supposed to be nice so we booked a day trip to the island of Sark. We left the port early in the morning after buying bread for our sandwich and took the ferry to Sark.

Guernsey is very pretty and Sark is also pretty but in a different way. We had a jolly nice day there on foot and in the sunshine once we had escaped the hoards that came with us. The Bailiwick 1:10000 map was almost unusable as virtually all structures on the ground were not on the map and neither were field boundaries, but we survived and mostly didn't get lost!

Picture of the day: Castle Pier Lighthouse at St. Peter Port on the way out.

After yesterday's beautiful sunshine and walking on Sark, today we planned to circumnavigate Guernsey again for the last time before going home. So after popping into town for bread and some shopping - I got a very good deal on a cycling rain jacket in a water-sports shop, we returned to the camp for lunch. Once fully refuelled we set of on our second Tour de Guernsey!

Picture of the day: In the distance.

01 Sep 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 10/11)

After yesterday's busy day, we had another nice enough day and we were out and about most of the day. We had a nice long bike ride in the afternoon.

After the bike ride we went up to see the pigs, we arrived just as they were escaping and had to help the keeper put them back in the enclosure. We had a log chat with the animal keeper at the campsite who is a casual worker who just came down for the summer.

After feeding and re-homing the pigs I sent a TXT to a local outdoor company to enquire about see kayaking, as tomorrow should be a good day.

Picture of the day: Our Tent made in France no less...

Today was a bit different. As we knew it was going to be nice and after a certain amount of dithering on my part we booked up to try sea-kayaking. I didn't take my camera on the kayak so I've not pictures of the event.

Interesting coincidence, as we were waiting for someone to come out of a sea cave I passed a comment about the pink granite rocks, and our guide made a comments about the colour being quite red/orange rather than pink. I said it reminded me of home (i.e. Lancashire) and he asked where that was. I said Hampshire now days but I really meant Lancashire - where I grew up - to which he asked which bit as he was also a Lancastrian. So I said East Lancashire, and then he said which bit, so I said Rossendale and then he volunteered he was from Bacup! Spooky to find someone from your home town while bobbing up and down of the southern coast of Guernsey!

After changing out of my swimming trunks, we then cycled back to base for lunch and then half way round the island on a glorious afternoon!

Picture of the day: Petit Bot Bay, where we went out to sea. It had a lot less water in than when we left an hour or so earlier. Our guide/instructor told us there was a 10 metre tidal range, which is rather a lot.

30 Aug 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 08/09)

We went to see the market at Sausmarez Manor this morning. They also have a nice Fair Trade shop which we had a look round - though didn't by anything in the end. After buying our bread in town we cycled back to base.

In the afternoon we decide to walk to the coast and have a look around, it was cool and overcast but didn't actually rain and we worked up a fine appetite for dinner back at the tent.

Picture of the day: Say Cheese!.

Today we cycled into town as and arrived as the 2015 Guernsey Marathon was coming to then end. Most of the stalls from yesterday's market were also out on the sea front.

After watching the race and buying our bread for today and tomorrow (the shops being closed on Sunday), we (for fun) cycled half way round the island to go home.

Picture of the day: Winner.

28 Aug 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 06/07)

Today was another dull and damp day, but as we had planned for it we were okay. We first cycled into town to visit the Victor Hugo house, but we were lucky getting in as the tours run a fixed intervals and this is not mentioned on the official leaflet. We bought some food on the way home and returned to base for lunch. The house is worth a visit and is not what I expected at all - and now we'll have to visit the other one in Paris...!

In the afternoon we went for a walk to the German underground hospital, which is a huge man made hole in the ground that must have been a pretty miserable place as a hospital... The facility is massive and was dug by slave labour during the occupation. The site is interesting but was a bit light on the plight of the forced slave labour that built it and what it looked like when it was operating.

When we came back into the light we had a short walk around the area and out towards the coast before returning to base for our bread and soup.

Picture of the day: Escape shaft.

Today the weather was a bit nicer and we planned to cycle most of the way round the island again, but specifically to stop in a few places to have a look around. We spent a lot of time on the western tip investigating the German positions and looking for seals in the sea (which we didn't see). We were a bit unlucky on the cycle as we always seemed to have a bit of a head wind, which is annoying as we cycled all the way round so you would expect a tail wind some of the time...!

Picture of the day is the famous Les Hanois Lighthouse, built from Cornish stone in 1860-1862 and has been automated since 1996.

26 Aug 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 04/05)

After yesterdays very wet and windy day, we knew that today was also going to be damp but we hoped for a dry afternoon. It was dry enough to cycle into town to check the weather at the Tourist Information Centre and buy bread for the day. While it was damp it wasn't cold, so it was okay to be out and about.

In the afternoon we went for a walk to the Little Chapel, a crazy miniature church on the edge of a hill. When we arrived it was still damp so it was not swarming with tourists and I was able to get a few pictures without people wondering in and out of shot. I dread to think what the place is like on a hot sunny day! Next door is a silverware gift shop in which we whiled a away an hour or so while it warmed up and I bought a book mark. They had the largest collection of Seiko melody chiming clocks I've ever seen - the people who work there must be deaf or mad...

Eventually on our walk back to base the sun came out and it was quite nice and warm, apparently it will carry over into tomorrow, which is supposed to be dry so we're planning a more out doors day.

Picture of the day: The Little Chapel.

After yesterday's damp start and dray finish we hoped for a dry day today. Today was indeed a dry day in a damp sandwich, yesterday was damp and tomorrow is predicted to be damp so we took the best advantage of the sunshine that we could.

In the morning we cycled into town to get bread and provisions from Waitrose, and spent some quality time in the sun having lunch back at our campsite. In the afternoon circumnavigated the island on our bikes. The sun held out as planned and we had a very nice circular cycle round the island, though we did get lost once or twice! Today's picture is a church with a circular tower and spire, it's called Torteval Church and apparently it's the tallest church on the island.

Guernsey is basically the top of a mountain that sticks out of the sea. It's mostly flat on top and easy cycling, but it does have some fearsome climbs that don't seem to end. We aren't doing the distance that we did last year but we've gone up the odd hill instead...

Picture of the day: Round.

24 Aug 2015

Summer Holiday 2015 (Days 02/03)

We had planned to shop when we arrived on Saturday, but because the ferry was late to arrive & unload and the campsite did pizza on Saturday nights we opted to not shop and survive until Monday for the main shop. Because the big shops are closed on Sunday in Guernsey we knew to look for a smaller Co-operative Locale or a Food Hall to get enough for the day, so we went north by bike to the coast to find enough for today. It was a nice ride there and along the coast but a bit hard to navigate.

After lunch we had a look at the campsite animals, pigs, sheep and chickens, then went for another longer bike ride along the north coast.

All in all a very nice day, though it clouded up in the evening and the night and following day were forecast to not be so good so we did our best to make hay while the sun was out...!

Picture of the day: Sleeping Piggies.

It seemed like it rained all night. The morning was still raining but not so bad and the wind had dropped a little so we set of to the shops to get provisions on our bikes. The roads were wet and horrible but we made it there and most of the way back in the dry - the heavens opened on the last 200 metres and we got a good soaking...

We changed - though modern technical clothing dries quickly anyway and after lunch we hid in the tent while it rained and blew up a gale. At one point we went out to re-attach a neighbour's tent which was almost ready to blow away. At least I was able to read a book I had borrowed from a friend.

Picture of the day: Ball in rain.

22 Aug 2015

Summer Holiday 2015

We're going camping on Guernsey for our summer holidays this year - we liked our long weekend so much we decided to go back for a proper holiday.

The day didn't start very well as I had a flat tyre and had to change the inner tube on my bike before we even left the house... We made it to the station in good time and watched an empty train go past (it doesn't stop at our station) and so were a bit annoyed when we changed at the next station where the first train did stop to discover we were playing sardines for an hour or so - which is no fun with a bike - on a very full train...

I understand that it's no fun for anyone on a busy train, but I don't see what right people have to put luggage in the designated cycle space or on a seat when there is space overhead and they are preventing other people from using the available space properly...

No matter, we made it to Poole on time and in once piece, I even found 5p outside a shop as we went through the town centre, and we arrived at the harbour in plenty of time to watch the Condor Liberation berth and unload (very slowly). Compared to Brittany Ferries who are a well oiled machine, Condor Ferries are pretty lame...

On arriving late in Guernsey (Condor are painfully slow at unloading as well) we cycled in the drizzle to our camp-site to settle down for the night. It was a bit late to go to Waitrose as we had planned to we opted for camp-site pizza instead - which wasn't bad at all.

Picture of the day: Liberation.

13 Aug 2015

Weight Plateau

After nearly 22 weeks of continuous and even weight loss I've hit my weigh plateau and not changed my weight for over three weeks now.

There are three basic reasons for this:

  1. My energy intake now equals my energy use. As you lose weight your total metabolic demand falls, so the deliberate energy deficit gradually shrinks to nothing. This is normal.
  2. Calorie creep, over time it's easy to add a little extra to your diet, which means the energy deficit isn't as big as it should be. This is common.
  3. Laziness creep, over time it's easy to slow down and not stick to the exercise plan. This is also common.

The closer you are to your target weight the more likely, and the easier it is to give and stay put. In my case all three are probably happening, my BMR has probably fallen by 168 kcal / 702 kj, which is 400 g of milk or 30 g of almonds - which isn't much but if you eat a few extra nuts or an extra glass of milk, it adds up...

To correct this, I've made sure I don't eat too many nuts (they are good for me in moderation) and I've cut down on the milk in my porridge, substituting water. I've also trimmed my bread, as good though it is, wheat has ~ 360 kcal per 100 g. I'll also try to push harder on the bike and walk faster...

I'm currently stuck under 74 kg, with about 8 kg to go...