One Year, Five Stone

If you follow me on Instagram you will have recently seen a photo I posted showing myfive-stone-weight-loss-ben-redgell weight loss progress I made in 2016. It hasn’t always been easy but I am pleased with the progress I have made and I’m looking forward to carrying on losing weight in 2017.

I think the New Year is a great time to reassess your habits and set new goals for the year to come. When I went back to university in September my healthy eating didn’t go to plan as much as I had hoped but the new year has given me new motivation to get healthy, drink more water and go to the gym a lot more. My graduation is likely to be in November and I want to look the best I can so I can look back at photos and be happy with the way I looked.

I have decided to stop eating carbs again which I did for around seven months last year and saw great results. Instead I will fill up on lots of fruit, veg and meat. I may try and introduce porridge to my breakfasts to give me fuel for the day but I don’t particularly like it and am enjoying smoothies at the moment!

I’ve also decided to seriously cut down how much Diet Coke I drink; I can easily go through a big bottle a day and have decided it’s time I need to cut down. I began this a bit last year and I started getting a lot of headaches when I began cutting down which showed me I might have been addicted to the caffeine more than I thought. Instead I will be switching to water or squash and only drinking Diet Coke as the occasional treat or when I drink alcohol.

If you are considering losing weight or getting fitter this year I would say go for it. Skip the fad diets and work out what works for you. In my mind losing weight is simple, avoid processed foods and opt for healthy options and do a little more exercise and you should start seeing results. But I know it isn’t easy and it takes a lot of will power and self control to choose healthy options, particularly if others around you are eating unhealthy foods.

Set yourself small goals that are achievable. If you have followed my blog or instagram for a while you will have seen that I like to measure my weight loss in bags of sugar and it was extremely motivating to track the progress I was making in a visible way.

I would also advise taking a picture of your beginning weight, even if you are never going to share your progress, just so you can see for yourself the progress you have made. I never thought a year ago I would be sharing progress pictures of my weight loss but I am a lot happier and confident today!

Finally I want to wish you good luck! Why not see if you can lose a bag of sugar this year?

If you liked this post you may also like Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or My Clothes Were Making Me Fat

 

We’ve Become Desensitised to Racism

I’m a white male and with that comes privilege. From a young age I always knew racism was wrong but also thought it was a thing of the past. We learnt about racism in history, we were shown the terrible treatment people were subjected to, we couldn’t believe how people were treated. I associated racism with older generations, too lazy or indoctrinated to change their views, a way of thinking that would be erased as the older generations die. But it’s 2016 and we still see racism daily; in the news, on social media, in person. Racism hasn’t left, we’ve just become desensitised. We’re so used to racism it no longer shocks us and that’s a problem. 

We only have to look at the UK and US to see just how many issues still haven’t been addressed. Brexit and the rise of UKIP highlights some of the issues we have here in the UK. Whilst I voted to remain in the EU, I understood there were logical reasons why some people were choosing to vote leave particularly in terms of business agreements and UK legislation rules. However, a lot of the Brexit campaign was based on xenophobia, using immigration as an excuse for the downfalls of our government and country. It seems almost ironic or simply ridiculous that a nation who controlled the British Empire and forced themselves upon countries around the world are now deciding they want independence.

Of course the recent US election bares perhaps an even more depressing reality check. A man ran a campaign fueled by hatred and intolerance and won the election. It baffles me that a man who is so openly sexist, racist, homophobic and xenophobic to name but a few, was voted into power. The majority of voters who voted for Donald Trump were college educated white women and I cannot understand how a woman was comfortable voting for a man who has joked about sexual assault and repeatedly made sexist, derogatory comments towards women. Regardless of Hilary Clinton’s flaws, she did not run a campaign based on hatred and intolerance and I believe her concession speech only highlighted the hopes she had for young girls and women in America.

As I write this I have just seen a story stating that a Mayor in America has said “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified first lady in the White House. I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels” about Michelle Obama. Michelle, a woman who has fought to improve the education for girls around the world, improved the support for veterans, service members and their family and fought to address the issue of childhood obesity to name a few of her achievements. The fact that a woman who has achieved so much and has held her position with respect and dignity can be torn down because of her skin colour baffles me.

It’s 2016 and people still have issues over something people cannot control. The pigment of someone’s skin should not scare you, it should not intimidate you, it should not make you feel anything at all. Respect people’s heritage, celebrate cultures around the world, educate yourselves on different ways of life but do not allow someone to be discriminated because of the colour of their skin.

One of the most common excuses I have heard when witnessing an old person make racist comments is that it’s just their generation, they don’t know better. This very ideology is ridiculous, with age comes experience and they have witnessed the unnecessary horrors racism and discrimination has caused over time. If anything, older generations should be more switched on than any of us and realise racism only produces negativity.

As I write this, I’m reflecting on my own behaviour and prejudgments and I’m in no way perfect. I make assumptions based on stereotypes, I’m ignorant to a lot of modern racism issues that people face everyday. I’m worried I will come across as preachy but having the conversation is important. I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot recently and have been discussing it with my friends but it was Hannah Hart’s video response to the recent US election that made me decide to write this post.

Have conversations, ask questions, challenge discrimination.

Have a great day,
Ben

If you liked this post you may also like White People, Get In Formation or White Supremacy & Cultural Appropriation.

 

Healthy Lifestyle Update #7

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I weighed myself the other day and realised I hit my sixth bag of sugar meaning I have lost over 30kg! My current weight loss stands at four stone, twelve pounds and I’m excited to shed two more pounds so I can hit five stone!

I feel like I am back on track with my diet and gym routine now but have recently decided to make a few changes. After chatting to my housemate about my current structure of strict weekdays and weekends off, I realised I was letting my weekend get out of hand, cramming in as much unhealthy food as I could manage before going back to healthy eating on Monday. I’m worried this is really slowing the progress I could be making so I’ve decided I am going to allow myself three cheat meals over a weekend giving me room to have a nice breakfast, lunch and dinner! Hopefully this should stop me going mad and eating everything in sight.

I’ve been having loads of smoothies recently in the mornings for breakfast using bananas, smoothie-over-carbs-ben-redgellfrozen raspberries and blueberries and any other fruit I can get my hands on. I’ve also been introducing wholemeal pasta and noodles into my diet which taste exactly the same as the usual offerings. I still drink a lot of Diet Coke which probably isn’t great for me but I will face my addiction one day and cut down (but today is not that day)!

I’ve been going to the gym with my friend Liz who has shown me a load of new sets to try which focus on my arms and abs. I also asked my Dad to search the garage for the old weights we used to have which he sent down with my sisters when they came to stay so I can use them on days I don’t go to the gym.

All in all I am feeling really positive going forward and cannot wait until I can say I have lost five stone this year! I’ve been thinking about how much more weight I would like to lose before the year ends – ideally I would love to hit six stone but that might be over ambitious but I can only push forward and see where I end up!

To keep up to date with all my over-edited healthy food pictures you can head over to Instagram and find me at chinsnomore. Or if you prefer twitter, my username is also chinsnomore!

Have a great day!

If you enjoyed this post you may also enjoy My Typical Workout or if you’re interested in veganism head over to my friend Laura’s blog: My So Called Vegan Life

 

 

 

 

I Want To Go Travelling – But Where?

For a while now I have been thinking about going travelling after I finish my final year at university. I saved up over my placement year and realistically I won’t get a better time to go because as soon as I begin work I will more than likely begin the cycle most go through of getting a new car then mortgage, then miserable about the prospect of working for the next fifty years of my life! So before I have to take the final jump into adult hood I think I would like to go travelling and experience different cultures and places around the world.

But where? I have thought about the typical travelling package for people my age where you spend some time in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia which does look incredible but part of me can’t help but think I would rather travel around America instead. I love how each state offers different cultures, foods, experiences and sights and feel like you would never get bored travelling from state to state.

However, ideally I would like to go travelling with someone but not sure if I have any friends who would want to travel America for a few months over the summer. I’m also not sure how much it would be travelling from state to state by myself. I could do a few Trek Americas but I’ve been told by a few people that whilst they are great experiences, it’s cheaper to organise it by yourself. Another route I could look into is graduate schemes in America however that would come with a lot of admin including looking for a place to stay and working visas.

So basically I’m stuck with what I should do, where I will go and whether I should go travelling for a year or just for a few months before my graduation ceremony in November! If you have any advice or recommendations please let me know!

If you liked this post you may also like I Was On A Billboard In Times Square or Rockerfeller or Empire State?

My Typical Workout

I have finally got round to signing up to the gym which I can use whilst I am in my final year at university and thought I would tell you about a typical workout. I’m excited to get back into the gym again but if any of you have advice on anything I should add in or how I could get more from my workouts I would love to hear!

I should probably begin by setting out what I hope to achieve from going to the gym. When I first signed up the guy setting my gym program asked me what my goals were and I simply said to lose weight but I realise now it goes a little bit deeper than that. I would of course like to carry on losing weight, particularly around my chest, stomach, hips (love handles really) and thighs. I also have worried in the past that I would get excess skin from losing weight so if anyone has any advice on how to prevent this then that would be great! I think losing weight at a sensible weight and doing a range of exercises and weights should help to prevent too much loose skin but if anyone is more of an expert please let me know!

I would also like to improve my strength at the gym, in particular building muscle in my arms. It sounds silly but I think I already have fairly big muscles in my legs (at least in comparison to my arms) because I was carrying around so much weight when I was a lot bigger. But there is still definitely room to improve, and I would like to lose weight on my legs and build my strength – particularly because I sprained a ligament in my knee this year and it still sometimes hurts or aches.

So with that in mind my current workout usually consists of the following:

  • Warm Up – Walking on an incline for at least ten minutes, usually increasing the steepness as more time passes. Before I came to uni I was slowly beginning to introduce running, running for one minute, then walking for two which was hard work but wasn’t as bad as expected – I was worried about how my knee would cope. I like to get up to 100 calories minimum in my warm up (I know they are only guides on the machine but it’s nice to have something tangible to measure a workout).
  • Weights – After I’ve warmed up I then used a number of weight machines, two that focused on legs and six that focused on arms. I would do 15 reps in a set and make sure I did two sets on every machine.
  • Cardio – I would normally always use the cross-trainer to get my cardio in. I like that you get into a rhythm and it wasn’t too intense on my knee. I would generally do 200 – 400 calories worth depending on the time I had.
  • Warm Down – Walking on the treadmill, beginning on an incline and slowly reducing the steepness until I am walking on flat ground at a slow pace. I would generally do around 50 to 100 calories for my warm down.

As you can see I like to measure my workouts in calories so I can have an idea of how much I have burnt. I would generally warm up for just over ten minutes, spend fifteen to twenty minutes on the weights, twenty minutes to half an hour on cardio and then ten minutes warming down. I normally always like to make sure I burn at least 400 calories in a workout with weights on top – thinking about it I have no idea how many calories doing weights burns!

I haven’t been to the gym properly now in over a month but am excited to get back into it and begin my usual routine. I think I may also get another program set to see if the trainers suggest any new machines to try! If you have any advice, comments or even good gym playlist recommendations I would love to hear from you!

Also let me know if you enjoyed this post because I may include more posts like it in the future! In the mean time you may also enjoy Five Easy Healthy Alternatives or my most recent Healthy Lifestyle Update!

Have a great day!

My Clothes Were Making Me Fat

One of the best things about losing weight has been being able to walk into a shop, see something I like and buy it. At my biggest, I could only fit into a few certain shops and so I normally always avoided shopping because I knew it was pointless.

But one thing I have struggled to change is wearing baggy clothes. I never considered myself overly self-conscious even at my biggest – sure I didn’t like the way I looked but I didn’t let it stop me from doing anything. But looking back I suppose I was and still am to an extent because of how baggy my clothes were. I always thought having clothes that clung to my fat was horrible, yet when I think about it I was the same size regardless of whether my clothes clung or not.

I recently went through my wardrobe with the help of my friend and sister and threw out about 90% of my clothes, donating the good quality clothes to charity and binning the clothes that had seen better days. Even then I had very different opinions to my friend and sister about what was too big and what should be thrown away. But I’m slowly learning that wearing baggy clothes can actually make me look bigger than what I am and some clothes should be a tighter fit. When I go shopping I can still struggle to pick the right size and usually get a friend’s opinion to make sure it isn’t too tight or too baggy.

Hopefully I’ll continue to lose weight and learn over time what suits me! I thought I would finish this post with a small comparison of the size I used to be and a photo of myself and sisters at my sister’s graduation. I know the angles are slightly different and my sister’s robe hides me a bit but I am so pleased with the progress I have made so far!

 

Healthy Lifestyle Update #6

When I look at old photos of myself, I can’t believe I let myself get that big and there is no one else or anything to blame other than myself. Whilst I still have a long way to go, I’m happy with the progress I have made and am determined to keep going. My end goal is still my graduation in 2017 which gives me roughly a year to lose weight and tone up.

After finishing my placement I had roughly a month off before I came back to uni and my eating and diet definitely suffered without a structure. Working each day meant I had breakfast, a snack bar, my salad for lunch and dinner each day and it was easy to follow. Going to the gym after work also became part of my routine and meant I was going three or four times a week. However as soon as I finished placement I got lazy and let myself have far to many days off from eating well and doing regular work outs.

I’ve been back at uni a week and as expected went out a lot so didn’t pay much attention to what I was eating. However I am back on track this week and will be signing up to the gym as soon as I get my student card through so should soon be feeling like I am making progress again soon. I’m worried about final year at university too. I’m not in uni regularly and instead have to manage all my work so I will need to be careful to ensure I don’t let uni work become an excuse to skip the gym. As long as I am organised and committed I should be able to work out regularly and get my uni work done.

I’ve also made a few changes to my diet after chatting to my sister and a couple of friends. I’ve begun reintroducing carbs to my diet and have bought brown rice, wholemeal pasta and couscous to have with my evening meals or salads. I don’t regret being strict with myself for the majority of my year because cutting out carbs, junk food, cheese and other unhealthy options did work. I think the shock did me good and going cold turkey stopped me slowly slipping back to my old ways. But that isn’t to say I haven’t fallen of the wagon a few times a long the way! I didn’t expect it to be plain sailing and I’m sure the next year won’t always be perfect either but I’m back on it, I’m back blogging and am excited to throw myself into the gym and carry on changing my body for the better!

So hopefully the next few months will see me writing about the progress I have made and maybe I will post more about my diet and workouts along the way? If you don’t follow me already, you can find me on Instagram at chinsnomore where I post a lot of my meals if that is something your into!

If you liked this post you may also like to read about my weight loss tips or five easy, healthy alternatives I use in my diet!