Friday, 16 August 2013

7 day detox plan - Will it work for me?

I've never written a serious post before so I've decided to give it a go.

Over the years I've never had to watch what I eat. The reason for this is activity and exercise. As a school teacher I regularly walked at least 20 thousand steps a day. In addition I trained with weights, I boxed and over the last few years I have run 7 half marathons and a full marathon as well as numerous 5 and 10ks.

I know this conjures up the image of some super fit chap. However, just to clarify, I did all these things extremely slowly!! Never the less this active lifestyle has helped to limit the effects of my diet.

My diet isn't 'bad'. On the whole I eat fresh foods as I enjoy cooking. However, I never refuse to eat anything. If I want a takeaway no problem. If I'm passing Macky Ds and I fancy stopping in on the way home for my tea I do it. Fry ups? happy days. If there are sausages or bacon in the fridge those bad boys are going to be in a sandwich pretty soon. Fact! I regularly have takeaways whether it's Chinese, Indian or Pizza as well as the compulsory kebab after a night on the lash.

I also have some other diet 'issues'. The first is portion control. I don't have any. One evening when walking home from the pub I stopped in three different takeaways.

I live the philosophy that things never taste quite right until they've got cheese melted on top. You'd be amazed how many meals you can apply this to if you try hard enough.

Then, there are crisps. People complain that a bag of crisps contains far fewer crisps than it used to back in the day. I have not been effected by this problem as I always, without fail, eat one of the massive family sized bags to myself. Don't even get me started on crisp sandwiches. I'll eat any number of those while I'm standing in the kitchen cooking dinner.

And then of course, there is liquid refreshment. Lets start with coffee. I started drinking coffee in university. I was a smoker back then and, to put it bluntly, I preferred to buy cigarettes than milk, and coffee was the drink I could stomach without milk. As I got older tea became less of a feature as I realised that, wherever you go it is almost impossible to fuck up a cup of coffee. Whereas tea is a very personal choice and very disappointing if it's not done right! Now I exclusively drink coffee. One or two cups a day would be fine. However, and many parents will appreciate this, my kids are up at the crack of dawn. Most days I have had at least 4 or 5 cups by 9 o'clock otherwise I simply wouldn't function.

Which brings me on to alcohol. I absolutely bloody love it. In all its forms. The only thing I will not drink is Pernod. Short of that I'm an off-licence owner's dream. I have never knowingly purchased just one bottle of wine as I know it just won't be enough. I drink every day. Less on Weekdays of course (only just) but bloody loads at the weekend. I find drinking a pleasurable social activity which has been a mainstay in my life since I was old enough to blag 4 cans of Strongbow from the local spar. My absolute favourite activity is a good session with some close mates.

So what's the problem? Well, age for one. I've reached a certain age. I won't tell you how old but put it this way, when I hear a 'new' song on the radio it's likely that I can now personally remember the previous 3 times it was released. Also I have had some health problems over the last year which has meant that I have not been in school. I have spent much more time writing. An extremely pleasurable activity but totally static.

My increasing age and sedentary lifestyle has meant that the effects of my diet have become more and more difficult to combat. Plus, with two small children at home, opportunities for exercise have become few and far between. I know you can make time for this but I'm pretty much exhausted most of the time. As such when the kids have gone to bed there is no real contest between an hour of heavy bag work or sitting on the sofa with a large pepperoni and a bottle of pino grigio.

As you can imagine, the effects are visible in many forms. My waistline for one! I am now consigned to shopping at the 'short and fat' section of M and S. I am also lethargic, short tempered and easily stressed. Not useful qualities with a young family.

So I decided to do something about it. I have always exercise at home or on the road as I have weights, boxing kit etc. But for the first time in years I joined a local gym and paid to have a specialised program put together for me by a personal trainer. Every year my friends and I take part in the Mens Health survival of the fittest race in Cardiff which is at the end of September. I also have a place in next year's London Marathon. I am fully aware that in my present condition I'll be hard pushed to be able to bend down far enough to put my trainers on let alone run a 7.5 mile adventure race with obstacles and assault courses. I thought a personal program, designed by a professional, would be the best way to kick my arse into shape.

After the program was designed I went along to the gym for the instructor to go through it. Oh dear!! I barely survived the warm up and have not been back since.

I started to realise that I needed to do something about the fuel I was putting in if I was going to be in any shape to train. This is where the detox idea came from. I don't believe in diets. I've seen so many female friends, not to mention Mrs Hapless, try every new diet under the sun with the same result every time.

However I do believe that you feel better when you eat the right stuff.

There are some pretty hardcore detox plans. Some of which involve surviving on water. That's just not going to work for me. So I've gone for something a little more manageable. It involves cutting out tea, coffee, alcohol, read meat, wheat, dairy, anything processed or packaged, sugary stuff, fatty foods and general unhealthy crap. I'm hoping that by cleaning out my system a little I'm going to lose a few pounds and get enough energy back to train.

Today is day 1.

As I have only just decided to do this I've already had four cups of coffee so perhaps not the best start but my plan is to stick to it for the rest of the day and continue tomorrow.

How do I feel? Panicked! Not so much about the food but how in the hell am I going to survive without coffee and 42 pints of lager? The short answer is I don't know.

Over the next week I'll post every day on how things are going - along with my usual blog based drivel. Finger's crossed by the end of the week I'll actually be able to see the keyboard of my laptop over my ever expanding gut.

Wish me luck.

Hapless Dad.

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