Couch Potato

Couch Potato 

One of the consequences of putting on weight is how much effort everything becomes and as a consequence I tended do less and less physical activity, maybe taking the car when I could have easily walked to the shops or to post a letter. Combined with how self conscious one feels about being overweight, this leads to one wanting to hide away from the world and adopt a very sedentary lifestyle. 

If you're not walking/cycling to work and, like me, you spend most of your day playing guitar, sat behind a desk or working on a computer, you're really not getting the physical activity your body and brain needs to function correctly. 

One of the things that's made a huge difference for me this time  round is exercising every day, either walking for around an hour  or going on my exercise bike (where I'm usually watching something on Netflix on my iPad) for around 50 minutes. 
When I started back on the bike I was worried about the danger of pushing myself too hard too soon so I invested in a Polar heart rate monitor to constantly log my heart rate via the app on my iPhone. 
https://www.polar.com/uk-en/products/accessories/oh1-optical-heart-rate-sensor 
This had the added benefit of letting me know when I wasn't pushing myself hard enough to improve my fitness. 
The interesting thing is how many more calories I burn by walking than actually pushing myself quite hard on the bike. 
I'm probably the fittest I've been for thirty years! 

Making a major change in your lifetyle 

The pandemic has given me the free time and the determination to really do something about my weight, no excuses this time, the consequences are too great! 

Why do we eat? 

We eat because our body needs fuel to function but we also eat for many other reasons, because 
1 Food can be one of life's great pleasures 
2 We eat because we're happy and we want to celebrate 
3 We eat because we're sad or depressed in the hope that it will make us feel better (we then quite often get depressed about the fact that we've just eaten too much of the wrong things) 
4 We eat because we're bored 
5 We graze on salty snacks while watching tv, even though we're really not hungry. Can you eat only one Dorito? ;-) 

If you're diabetic or pre-diabetic, your blood sugar will drive your hunger, especially with regards to sweet foods. 
Sugar is the worst culprit and thanks to the greed of food manufacturers, it's pretty much everywhere in the food we usually eat. If you combine it with salt and fat you create foods that are highly addictive and that make us want to binge. Who has the will power and control to only have one chocolate biscuit? 

We all have our 'Kryptonite' when we crave a snack, mine is crunchy, sugar free peanut butter. Even in the first couple of months of the lockdown, I was getting through far too much of it! The only answer for me is to not have any in the house. 

Healthy Shopping 

Eating healthily can be expensive and/or time consuming. Junk food is cheap and plentiful, it's also slowly killing you! 
Try and buy fresh fruit if possible, apples are a good low cost option, try to find the variety that you enjoy the most. My current favourite are the 'Envy' variety. Pears, peaches, nectarines and berries are a good option (when in season especially). Bananas are ok in moderation (half or a third on your breakfast) unless they're very ripe when they'll impact your blood sugar too much. 

As many healthy Vegetables as possible 

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, asparagus, courgettes, aubergines, swede, red and white onions, red and yellow peppers, garlic, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms, red and white cabbage, cucumber and baby spinach leaves 

I try to avoid high starch vegetables like potatoes if possible apart from the occasional new potatoes or when we have vegetarian fajitas when we have a small quantity of sweet potato and parsnips. 

Fat has been demonised over the years while the real culprit in my opinion is sugar. I have full fat greek yoghurt for breakfast and cheese occasionally, feta with avocado in a salad, buffalo mozzarella with large tomatoes and red in onion and some hard cheeses like a mature cheddar or double gloucester either grated or as a snack. 

We use virgin olive oil to cook in and as a salad dressing (with a good quality balsamic vinegar). 

We've cut right back on the amount of meat we eat and have cut out processed meats almost completely. We eat quite a lot of eggs, scrambled, poached or in an omelette usually. 

We try not to eat meat more than twice a week (chicken or beef) but we also eat fish (salmon, cod/haddock, tinned tuna, smoked salmon or mackerel) 

I haven't had a pre packaged meal in nearly five months and I feel so much better for it. 

The trick, I've found, is to vary your diet as much as possible so you don't get bored while still being healthy. An occasional treat is allowed but nothing sweet as that will undo all the hard work in re-educating your taste buds. 

Portion sizes 

If we're really enjoying a meal, especially something like pizza, we'll quite often keep on eating it for the pleasure the taste and texture gives us, even after we're actually full! Learning to eat smaller portions really helps, as does having a side salad or a large portion of vegetables (steamed if possible) but by far and away the best solution is to avoid those foods if at all possible. 

Let me know if you'd like some of the recipes we use in the next post.

31 comments

  • John Mullen
    John Mullen Dumbarton
    Great reading from someone who doesn’t claim to be an expert. Very informative and motivational Steve👍

    Great reading from someone who doesn’t claim to be an expert. Very informative and motivational Steve👍

  • Roger  Harvey
    Roger Harvey Derbyshire, UK
    100% agree with you. SUGAR IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!!

    100% agree with you.
    SUGAR IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL!!

  • David Hunter
    David Hunter Maldon, Essex
    Steve, have a look at Rice bran oil for cooking. Has a higher smoke point that olive oil, great for stir-fry and a very mild taste so doesn't colour the food. My wife swears by it https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rice-bran-oil

    Steve, have a look at Rice bran oil for cooking. Has a higher smoke point that olive oil, great for stir-fry and a very mild taste so doesn't colour the food. My wife swears by it https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/rice-bran-oil

  • Marco
    Marco Italy
    Perfect Maestro, try to avoid reasons to eat 3), 4) e 5) and double the time on you bike :) I was told that to burn fat you don't have to go high on heart (polar is perfect) and spend at least 1 h 45 on the bike. keep it up!!

    Perfect Maestro, try to avoid reasons to eat 3), 4) e 5) and double the time on you bike smile I was told that to burn fat you don't have to go high on heart (polar is perfect) and spend at least 1 h 45 on the bike.
    keep it up!!

  • Jolanda
    Jolanda Netherlands
    Great blogs Steve and i agree on every word you say For the last 15 years i am also struggling with overweight and the lockdown has also been for me a period in wich i decided that i am fat up with it. I am going very slow with the weighloss... sometimes i fall back on an evening with my forbidden fruits but i know now where my mistakes are and over the weeks i manage to withstand them more and more I am using the Yazio app to help me write down everything i eat and the app puts it down in calories... an eye opener to see what those easy to eat cookies were in calories ... to become more aware of what you eat is the first step! Keep it up and may we meet in skinnier times

    Great blogs Steve and i agree on every word you say
    For the last 15 years i am also struggling with overweight and the lockdown has also been for me a period in wich i decided that i am fat up with it.
    I am going very slow with the weighloss... sometimes i fall back on an evening with my forbidden fruits but i know now where my mistakes are and over the weeks i manage to withstand them more and more
    I am using the Yazio app to help me write down everything i eat and the app puts it down in calories... an eye opener to see what those easy to eat cookies were in calories ... to become more aware of what you eat is the first step!
    Keep it up and may we meet in skinnier times

  • Tony Furminger
    Tony Furminger Summit, Littleborough
    Working nights has been my great downfall. Your body craves savouries at around 2am and I've tended to graze away the boredom during the quiet patches. Working from home has been a godsend. Instead of nibbling, the telly goes on, the stepper comes out and I can be halfway through my recommended steps in one episode of Family Guy without noticing it

    Working nights has been my great downfall. Your body craves savouries at around 2am and I've tended to graze away the boredom during the quiet patches. Working from home has been a godsend. Instead of nibbling, the telly goes on, the stepper comes out and I can be halfway through my recommended steps in one episode of Family Guy without noticing it

  • Jackie mangham
    Jackie mangham Sheffield
    Awesome reading Steve. Basically it's very subtle healthy changes that need to be made. Time is my enemy, but love to see some recipes.

    Awesome reading Steve. Basically it's very subtle healthy changes that need to be made.
    Time is my enemy, but love to see some recipes.

  • PeterWoodliffe-Thomas
    PeterWoodliffe-Thomas Aylesbury
    Steve, great blog and a really practical approach to a very difficult problem. My daughter is a nutritionist and I still find it difficult ! For me it is al about doing the right things - move more, eat less, eat the right thing and accept that the results will come in time. Don't weigh yourself every day !! as this can just be demoralising. So pleased that you are being successful. All the best

    Steve, great blog and a really practical approach to a very difficult problem. My daughter is a nutritionist and I still find it difficult ! For me it is al about doing the right things - move more, eat less, eat the right thing and accept that the results will come in time. Don't weigh yourself every day !! as this can just be demoralising. So pleased that you are being successful.
    All the best

  • Kevin Michael
    Kevin Michael Kingston, Canada
    You might want to try Sesame Oil for salads and stir fries. I also use a small amount in place of salt. You get that salty, but with far less sodium.

    You might want to try Sesame Oil for salads and stir fries.

    I also use a small amount in place of salt. You get that salty, but with far less sodium.

  • Scott B.
    Scott B. Leicester, the epicentre of the world
    Excellent advice. Hiding the microwave in the garage can resist the urge to rely on microwavable meals which are an evil and full of additives. Cooking fresh is the way to go. We enjoy our George Foreman grill too, a very good value purchase and suitable for meat and veggies.

    Excellent advice. Hiding the microwave in the garage can resist the urge to rely on microwavable meals which are an evil and full of additives. Cooking fresh is the way to go. We enjoy our George Foreman grill too, a very good value purchase and suitable for meat and veggies.

  • Andrew Glennon
    Andrew Glennon Cheshire
    Great Steve. What about breads? Do you have any good bread substitutes for a sandwich or fajitas or even Pizza?

    Great Steve. What about breads? Do you have any good bread substitutes for a sandwich or fajitas or even Pizza?

  • Chris Lyons
    Chris Lyons France
    Brilliant - eating healthy nutritious food is NOT boring, is it?! Too many people think it's about 'rabbit food' when actually it's full of good fats, taste and flavour. Eat the rainbow. Keep it up Steve, I have been doing it for 7 years and never felt better.

    Brilliant - eating healthy nutritious food is NOT boring, is it?! Too many people think it's about 'rabbit food' when actually it's full of good fats, taste and flavour. Eat the rainbow. Keep it up Steve, I have been doing it for 7 years and never felt better.

  • Charlie Marshall
    Charlie Marshall Peterborough
    Great inspirational writing Steve. Would love to see your recipes please..

    Great inspirational writing Steve.
    Would love to see your recipes please..

  • Sharon Roberts
    Sharon Roberts Wales
    Great writing Steve, diets don't work, it's a lifestyle change that does. I would like the recipes please!

    Great writing Steve, diets don't work, it's a lifestyle change that does. I would like the recipes please!

  • Dave Pritchard
    Dave Pritchard Chippenham
    Greatest of respect for you going public on this Steve. I'll be brutally honest, it made me so sad to see you when you ballooned. I used to joke about never going to another gig unless you did something about your weight. Of course that never happened, but we care about you and your health. I am so proud of you with your progress so far, and such inspirational posts. We can all learn a lot about ourselves adopting your journey to our own demons. Big love x

    Greatest of respect for you going public on this Steve. I'll be brutally honest, it made me so sad to see you when you ballooned. I used to joke about never going to another gig unless you did something about your weight. Of course that never happened, but we care about you and your health.
    I am so proud of you with your progress so far, and such inspirational posts. We can all learn a lot about ourselves adopting your journey to our own demons.

    Big love x

  • Erik
    Erik Netherlands
    Great to see the progress. Variation in healthy food makes it easier to sustain the lifestyle change. And same for excersise. Next to walking and cycling you could consider the Concept 2 rowing machine. Good cardio, but also helping you strenghtnen muscles. With rowing you use 85% of your muscles. Plus a low risk on injuries.

    Great to see the progress. Variation in healthy food makes it easier to sustain the lifestyle change. And same for excersise. Next to walking and cycling you could consider the Concept 2 rowing machine. Good cardio, but also helping you strenghtnen muscles. With rowing you use 85% of your muscles. Plus a low risk on injuries.

  • Mike
    Mike New Jersey, USA
    After receiving the double whammy of diabetes and Celiac's disease diagnoses in January, I've come to the same conclusion as you, and have lost 50 pounds doing the same things you've listed here. Having this happen during the pandemic has almost been a blessing, because it really has been a lifestyle change, as I now need to cook nearly every meal due to very few safe options for me at restaurants. Also, working from home has given me more time to exercise, which for me has been walking my dog multiple times per day. Congratulations on your success, and best wishes to you to maintain your new lifestyle. I'm looking forward to lots of new music for years to come!

    After receiving the double whammy of diabetes and Celiac's disease diagnoses in January, I've come to the same conclusion as you, and have lost 50 pounds doing the same things you've listed here. Having this happen during the pandemic has almost been a blessing, because it really has been a lifestyle change, as I now need to cook nearly every meal due to very few safe options for me at restaurants. Also, working from home has given me more time to exercise, which for me has been walking my dog multiple times per day. Congratulations on your success, and best wishes to you to maintain your new lifestyle. I'm looking forward to lots of new music for years to come!

  • Tracey
    Tracey Cornwall
    Loving the blog Steve. Some recipes was be great 💪🏼

    Loving the blog Steve. Some recipes was be great 💪🏼

  • Terry Heffernan
    Terry Heffernan Stockbridge, Hampshire
    Loved reading this Steve. I have battled with my weight also for all of my life but last year took matters into hand and lost 5 stone having done so on a similar way to you. Developing IBS at after losing our Mum strangely helped as one of the things that brought it on was alcohol so giving up booze helped enormously. Now I have more energy, am fitter that ever before. Losing weight is as much a mental thing as physical, you need to want or have to do it! I cannot wait to see the ‘new Rothers’ on stage in 2021! Good luck! Terry

    Loved reading this Steve. I have battled with my weight also for all of my life but last year took matters into hand and lost 5 stone having done so on a similar way to you. Developing IBS at after losing our Mum strangely helped as one of the things that brought it on was alcohol so giving up booze helped enormously. Now I have more energy, am fitter that ever before. Losing weight is as much a mental thing as physical, you need to want or have to do it! I cannot wait to see the ‘new Rothers’ on stage in 2021! Good luck! Terry

  • Lori
    Lori Boulder
    I'm sure you're aware but avoid at all cost anything with high fructose corn syrup! The liver cannot process it. The syrup is in everything so always Lok at labels and if it has any hfcs in it, do not add it to your shopping cart. I'm so happy for you and your commitment, maestro.

    I'm sure you're aware but avoid at all cost anything with high fructose corn syrup! The liver cannot process it. The syrup is in everything so always Lok at labels and if it has any hfcs in it, do not add it to your shopping cart.
    I'm so happy for you and your commitment, maestro.

  • Diana Lovatt
    Diana Lovatt Sweden
    Wow! This is so nice to read Steve, you are on the right way with this. Taking walks it 100 times better than being on an exercise bike watching Netflix, because you are out in the open air and breathing in fresh air that gives your mind a boost of pleasure and if it's sunny you get vitamin A that builds up the immune system. You also relaxing your brain and clearing it from bad thoughts and you can talk to yourself in your head and sort things out instead of staring on a screen. Keep it up!

    Wow! This is so nice to read Steve, you are on the right way with this. Taking walks it 100 times better than being on an exercise bike watching Netflix, because you are out in the open air and breathing in fresh air that gives your mind a boost of pleasure and if it's sunny you get vitamin A that builds up the immune system. You also relaxing your brain and clearing it from bad thoughts and you can talk to yourself in your head and sort things out instead of staring on a screen. Keep it up!

  • Zenek
    Zenek France
    Excellent Steve!!! I am so happy for you that you found your recipies and just stop eating junk stuff. Keep going my best regards

    Excellent Steve!!! I am so happy for you that you found your recipies and just stop eating junk stuff. Keep going my best regards

  • Sarah
    Sarah Somewhere near Ilkley
    Good going Steve. Keep up the good work. I have found that after years of cutting out certain foods (milk, meat etc) that my body is now intolerant to those foods. Has anyone else found this? Would be interested to hear (and see) your tried and ‘tasted’! recipes. Also - not sure if you are able to swim or if it is actually possible near you at the moment, but swimming is great and low impact - perhaps in addition to the walking and cycling. Knee’d I say more?! Ok... I’m going now!!

    Good going Steve. Keep up the good work. I have found that after years of cutting out certain foods (milk, meat etc) that my body is now intolerant to those foods. Has anyone else found this? Would be interested to hear (and see) your tried and ‘tasted’! recipes. Also - not sure if you are able to swim or if it is actually possible near you at the moment, but swimming is great and low impact - perhaps in addition to the walking and cycling. Knee’d I say more?! Ok... I’m going now!!

  • Paul Forrester
    Paul Forrester Stoke on Trent
    Thank you for another inspiring entry. For me lockdown happened as I was recovering from brain surgery. I was bloated by steroids and too tired to exercise. I think I am now on the same path as you but any new recipes would be welcome!

    Thank you for another inspiring entry. For me lockdown happened as I was recovering from brain surgery. I was bloated by steroids and too tired to exercise. I think I am now on the same path as you but any new recipes would be welcome!

  • Paul White
    Paul White UK
    Good stuff this Steve - keep it coming....

    Good stuff this Steve - keep it coming....

  • john
    john new jersey
    Hey steve....losing weight in my view is equal to quitting smoking....although food is harder because you cant completely abstain....(i still smoke) but i lost 30 lbs....so without trying to sound like the foremost authority...my solution was to reason with myself......"i can indulge in all my favorite food ,its not going anywhere,so im choosing tojust eliminate carbohydrates".....i mean under 10 grams of carbs per day.......i ate eggs.bacon..chicken..broccoli..salad(no carrots or starchy veg )......the 1st 3 days were REALLY tough.....but after the 3rd day i actually felt the ::::bloat::::: leaving...my sleep improved ...but the crave persisted for bread/starch ..not so much sweets....so for a period of about 4 weeks...i ate nothing but the aforementioned list and the weight just started dropping off....i relapsed into the bread/pasta thing briefly and it actually made me dizzy and nauseous ...so i got back on the wagon ...its been a long haul...and im not completely abstaining from the goodies...but i do try to maintain and not eat after 6pm......i do wish you the absolute best....im a lifelong bass player...and too many of my faves are not here anymore : ( ..... "noone leaves you when they live in your heart and mind".....stay healthy youre the best!! ...John 0

    Hey steve....losing weight in my view is equal to quitting smoking....although food is harder because you cant completely abstain....(i still smoke) but i lost 30 lbs....so without trying to sound like the foremost authority...my solution was to reason with myself......"i can indulge in all my favorite food ,its not going anywhere,so im choosing tojust eliminate carbohydrates".....i mean under 10 grams of carbs per day.......i ate eggs.bacon..chicken..broccoli..salad(no carrots or starchy veg )......the 1st 3 days were REALLY tough.....but after the 3rd day i actually felt the ::::bloat::::: leaving...my sleep improved ...but the crave persisted for bread/starch ..not so much sweets....so for a period of about 4 weeks...i ate nothing but the aforementioned list and the weight just started dropping off....i relapsed into the bread/pasta thing briefly and it actually made me dizzy and nauseous ...so i got back on the wagon ...its been a long haul...and im not completely abstaining from the goodies...but i do try to maintain and not eat after 6pm......i do wish you the absolute best....im a lifelong bass player...and too many of my faves are not here anymore : (
    ..... "noone leaves you when they live in your heart and mind".....stay healthy youre the best!! ...John

    0

  • Kent Bartley
    Kent Bartley
    Okay you have absolutely inspired me! Going to try my best to follow your steps

    Okay you have absolutely inspired me! Going to try my best to follow your steps

  • Sue  Beasey
    Sue Beasey Horsham
    So happy to read that it’s all going well. It’s easy to start off with great enthusiasm - it’s keeping going that’s hard! I agree about the walking. Mrs Yenz and I agreed to walk a mile every day this year - turned out you can do that very easily! Then I walked 110 miles in March for Crisis. Now that I’m furloughed I’m walking between 5 and 7 miles At least 5 or 6 days every week. I feel quite bereft on days I don’t go.

    So happy to read that it’s all going well. It’s easy to start off with great enthusiasm - it’s keeping going that’s hard!

    I agree about the walking. Mrs Yenz and I agreed to walk a mile every day this year - turned out you can do that very easily! Then I walked 110 miles in March for Crisis. Now that I’m furloughed I’m walking between 5 and 7 miles At least 5 or 6 days every week. I feel quite bereft on days I don’t go.

  • Ben F
    Ben F Mahwah, NJ USA
    Steve, Congrats on the life change and 4 stone weight lose! So true "diet and exercise" go hand in hand especially as we get older. Wife and I now walk 3-6 miles a day but if my eating is poor, I don't lose or gain.. so far down 13lbs (no idea what stone?!l lol. 37 to go... thank God for your music on days I walk alone!! Keep up the great work!

    Steve,
    Congrats on the life change and 4 stone weight lose!

    So true "diet and exercise" go hand in hand especially as we get older.

    Wife and I now walk 3-6 miles a day but if my eating is poor, I don't lose or gain.. so far down 13lbs (no idea what stone?!l lol.

    37 to go... thank God for your music on days I walk alone!!

    Keep up the great work!

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Wales
    Thanks for this Steve! That is a good and non-preaching read!

    Thanks for this Steve! That is a good and non-preaching read!

  • Shin
    Shin Alabama
    It was really great as it told how obesity is dangerous for us. And how it can slowly kill us. I was also worried about my weight and almost 2 years ago I was weighing almost around 100 kg. And at the time of my life, I became very lazy and due to an incident, I realized how dangerous it is. And from there I made it to 80 kgs. And from then I am sharing tips on the site that I made through [url=https://www.webtechcoupons.com/deals/hostinger-black-friday-cyber-monday-sale/]Hostinger Black Friday[/url] related to fitness. I think fitness is really essential and you all should start working on it.

    It was really great as it told how obesity is dangerous for us. And how it can slowly kill us. I was also worried about my weight and almost 2 years ago I was weighing almost around 100 kg. And at the time of my life, I became very lazy and due to an incident, I realized how dangerous it is. And from there I made it to 80 kgs. And from then I am sharing tips on the site that I made through Hostinger Black Friday related to fitness. I think fitness is really essential and you all should start working on it.

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