Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions

Hello, my name is Peter and I am a KFC addict

Today is New Year’s Eve – the last day of excess before the slate is wiped clean. It’s the day when everyone leaves the past behind and tries to change their lives for good, or at least until they try again next New Year’s Eve!!

I think I have a better claim than most people that New Year’s Eve changed my life. It was on this day 18 years ago that I met Cate in an Italian restaurant in London. Although I didn’t know it at the time, we would be engaged less than a year later and married within 18 months. Events don’t get much more life-changing than that!

Then four years ago, on New Year’s Eve 2010, I made a resolution to get off the sofa, shed the increasing amount of weight I was carrying and get myself fit. I had no idea as I made that New Year’s resolution, of the incredible journey I was about to embark on.

I had reached New Year’s Eve 2010 with my weight at an all-time high of 14st 10lbs. That doesn’t sound much if you are six feet tall, but I am not, I’m five feet seven. According to the NHS height weight chart I had strayed in obese territory. I had never thought of myself as obese, porky yes, but obese, really? But let’s not worry about the terminology – it was in danger of becoming a health issue.

Before

14st 10lbs – during the KFC years!

It was especially frustrating for me because for a large part of my life I had been very fit. I ran county level cross country and was in the county rugby squad at school. I spent five years in the Army where being fit was kind of what you did!After the Army I continued playing rugby and running into my early thirties.

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12 stone – KFC a distant memory

It is easy to fall back on convenient excuses for why I let myself get fat and unfit. I could blame a business career, I could blame being married to an excellent cook or even fatherhood. They would all be untrue. The fact is that I just got complacent and stopped bothering. Alongside that, I had a bad relationship with food and the two made for a toxic combination.

As a bachelor living in London, takeaways were my downfall. If I tell you that I lived near an Indian Restaurant that would bring a takeaway to your house and I was on first name terms with the delivery boy, then you get some idea of the scale of the problem.

I also like fast food. For some reason I particularly liked KFC. I liked it so much I would go out of my way to find it – I even had a KFC map in the car which untitled (8)showed every outlet in the UK, so I was never far from the Colonel’s Recipe. Where I worked, it was a Friday lunchtime ritual to send the junior person in the office off to the KFC Drive Thru to bring us back a bucket of the stuff.

In my mind, KFC is still a symbol of all that was wrong with the way I ate in the bad old days.

Then on 31 December 2010 that all changed. I threw the take away menus in the bin and took hold. My aim was to drop two stones by Easter. At the same time I tried to get myself fit. I still remember the first two-mile run. Slow and painful with several walk breaks – I found it hard to believe how far away I was from being the cross-country runner and rugby player of my younger days.

Gradually the weight came off and the runs got less painful and the walk breaks less frequent. Then the distances became longer and the rest, if not exactly history, is documented in the pages of this blog. In 2014 I even managed to race at a weight that started with the words “eleven stone”!

I haven’t been back into a KFC since that day – four years clean! I don’t think I am in quite the same position as a reformed alcoholic or smoker who doesn’t dare have one drink or cigarette for fear of opening the floodgates again. KFC feels like something I used to do then and that I don’t do now and so for the time being at least, it will stay that way. More symbolic than anything.

So on New Year’s Eve I will raise a glass to many things; a happy New Year to everyone, eighteen years with my lovely wife and four years since I took control and unknowingly started the most extraordinary journey. A journey that has taken me to places I never imagined I would go and one on which I have met, actually and virtually, lots of fantastic people many of whom I now think of as friends. That’s worth more than any medal or personal best I have gained along the way. But the best part is that it is a journey that continues with lots of new challenges and it will continue without KFC!

I wish all of you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I hope 2015 brings you everything you wish for.

 

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Getting specific in 2013

I have to very honest and say that I am sad to see the end of 2012. As an English sports fan I have to rate it as a vintage year. Amongst the many highlights were a home Olympics and a Tour de France champion. It is also the year in which I ran my first marathon, at the age of 52, and equalled my half marathon personal best (PB) of 1.52 hrs. And if that wasn’t enough I also did my first triathlon and fell head over heels in love with the sport this year.

But I am not a great one for looking backwards and dwelling on the past – I prefer to look optimistically to the future. The fact that I couldn’t tell you exactly where my London Marathon medal is, but suspect it is buried underneath a pile of socks in a dresser drawer with various other finisher’s medals, illustrates how un-nostalgic I am about the past! So what about 2013?

I try to be very specific about my New Year’s resolutions, especially where they concern my running and triathlon. Last night I listened to several people resolve that in 2013 they were going to “get fit” or they were going to “eat better”. How do you know if you have been successful? How do you assess these? I think if you are to stand a chance of staying motivated and achieving what you set out to achieve then you have to set yourself very specific goals that you can measure.

As an example the very first objective I gave myself when I decided to get off my sofa and get myself fit and healthy (I can scarcely believe that it is over two years ago now) was: To lose 30 lbs by Easter. Then it was: to run 10k in under an hour by the end of June. No grey areas, these were “pass or fail” objectives.

Here are the goals I set myself this time last year (and the results):

  1. Complete the London Marathon in April (success)
  2. Complete my first sprint distance triathlon in the summer (success)
  3. Beat my 1/2 Marathon PB (almost – I equalled it!)
  4. Complete an Olympic distance triathlon (fail – I got injured a week before)
  5. Beat my 10k PB (fail – I didn’t attempt it for several reasons)

There is no hiding from these and I can’t pretend that I succeeded where I failed. I like it that way.

This is want I want to achieve, on the sporting front, in 2013

  1. Beat my 1/2 Marathon PB in March at the Bath Half
  2. Run a sub 50 minute 10k before 1 October
  3. Complete an Olympic distance tri in the summer
  4. Complete a 1/2 Ironman Tri before the end of the year (I am entered for Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote on 5 October)

I have one other sports related goal and here I am going to break my own rule about being specific. I want to get a better understanding of the extent to which what I eat day-to-day has an effect on my performance and then try it out. I am going to start with an obvious one and cut out alcohol until after the Bath Half on 3 March. I am not a big drinker anyway but I think that even small amounts of alcohol effect my recovery between runs. If you are in a training program that involves four runs a week it is important that you recover quickly after each one. Maybe once I understand the relationship between food and performance I will make a more specific resolution.

As sorry as I am to see the end of 2012, I am really excited about what 2013 has in store. As well as sporting challenge I am hopeful that 2013 will bring me some really exciting challenges professionally and personally. But above all else I hope we all remain healthy and happy.

Whatever you are planning or hoping for this year I hope that 2013 is everything it can be and more for all of you. But remember when you set your goals – get specific!!