Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Change of heart and news update!

Having been advised to go to Wordpress, I have decided that I do not like it as much as Blogger so have decided to come back here. Hopefully this gets to all those lovely people who had decided to followed my original blog and that they are still here!

Lots been happening in my life so it has been a little difficult to keep up!

Firstly, like many other people I have been subject to the dreaded 'R' word - redundancy. It is not nice and I would not wish it on anyone, but what happens happens and all I can do is respond tht situation.

Sometimes though it does not seem so at the tme things that happen to us can be blessings in disguise. Having to re-think my future is one of those occaisions, and I have decided that I am no longer going to depend on others for my future security but will rely on my own resources. This means that I have to do things and offer to the world services that will be of value to others. While I have a number of ideas that I am progressing the one that s relevant here is the launch of 'Lean For Life'.

Lean For Life is a number initiatives that will give people the opportunity to make lifestyle changes which will result in fat loss and a leaner halthier body, in a way that can be maintained for a lifetime not jus for the next few months.

As I have said this will be done through a number of initiatives:

Website: www.iwillbeleanforlife.com

The site will have articles and information and I would be very pleased to hear from guest contributors. So if you would like to write an article please visit the site and send me an email.

Seminars: It is intended to run a series of seminars where peole can get experiential learning of how to change the way they think which will help make change easy and sustainable which they can take away with them and use on day to day basis.

Ongoing email coaching: Changing body composition does not happen over night and it is not divorced from our day to day lives so situations will arise when maintaining compliance to a new way of life becomes more difficult to follow. Having attended a seminar it will be possible (for a small monthly subscription) to have access to email coaching as and when required.

So that is what I am up to, I would like to take this opportunity to give a big public thank you to Pearl who ishelping me to make the most of these new methods of getting known on this here internet. Thanks Pearl, you are a diamond!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Moving House!

I am moving to Wordpress!

I am told (see I do take advice!) that this is a much better way of blogging and if you would like to go visit me there you will see some news of the plans I am making to turn the Lean For Life words into action.

So please do follow me on my trip across cyberspace to my new home at http://www.gotowillsblog.wordpress.com

If only moving house in the physical world were this easy!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Isn't the human body amazing?

This post is prompted by someone who emailed me after my last blog entry wondering whether they could have a real influence on how the body re-builds itself given what has been put in in the past.

My answer to that is without a doubt. Our bodies have largely evolved to respond to the environment and to what we are doing with them.

If we lift heavy weights they tend to build muscle (certainly for men), if we sit around and do nothing our muscles tend to waste away and our joints seize up.

I just wanted to recount my own experience to illustrate this. Not that I am in anyway remarkable as a specimin, anyone is capable of doing similar but it does go to show that we do hold a good deal of influence over how our bodies constantly remake themselves.

Six months ago (August 09) I was just on 16 stone and totally unfit, my body fat % at that point was 36% fat. I could not run without stopping to our nearest shop (500 meters). If I had taken no action at all I would by now have billions of new cells in my body but my body would have been little different to look at or if it were measured.

However I decided to change that. I now weigh around 12.5 stones and have a body fat % of around 12. Last night I went out for a run, intending to do at least 5K (awful day at work and didn't feel much like it) but at various places decided to take the long route and ended up doing 10.5K. Ironically my Runkeeper App told me that I had done 10K just as I passed the shop I could not run to 6 months ago. I must admit I chuckled to myself as I lengthened my stride and gave it a last push for home (10K time was 58 mins 55 secs for anyone interested, not Olympic standard but not bad for an old git of 51!).

As I say nothing special about me but there is something special about this physical body we all possess that it is so forgiving for all the years of abuse and misuse that with a bit of cajoling and effort it can remake itself into something which can pass for decent!

Moral of the story for me is that it is just never too late to do something about it and that time will pass anyyway so if it takes six months or a year so what, in six months or a years time you will be that much older, the question is 'how' do you want to be? We are constantly instructing our bodies as to how we want them to be based on what we put in and how we use them. Makes you think doesn't it?

Saturday, February 20, 2010


'They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks' or should that be that 'There are none so blind as those that will not see'.

I have been weight training off and on for 30 odd yeas now (more off than on it has to be said!) and while I have known all along it is better to use less weight and better form, I am not 100% sure I have really applied this until recently but now know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the truth.

How can I be so sure? Well if you take squats and lunges for example I have dropped a fair bit of weight off the barbell and really relly concentrated on form, both in keeping my back in the correct position and getting the 'drop' in both exercises as far down as I can while retaining good form and balance. Result DOMS in my legs for two days that I have not had before (and bear in mind that I have been doing these exercises for some months before) and in the case of lunges my heart rate was hitting plus 170 which certainly never happened before.

So my conclusions are two fold, firstly that I may have known something logically for years but it wa not until I really experienced it did it finally become a belief and secondly that there is no fool like an old fool!

Also would add that a good steady 10K run (this ime on the treadmill due to snow and ice) is a great cure for DOMS!

With the weekend here and nothing to get in the way intend to do a Shoulders, Chest and Triceps session this afternoon, and a Legs,Back, Core, Biceps session tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How does your fare. fare?

We are what we eat. It is true and there is no getting away from it. Our cells are renewing themselves at the rate of billions per hour and they can only do that from what we take in as food. Therefore to argue that our bodies are not affected by the quality of that food makes no logical sense to me at all. If you put poor fuel into a highly tuned engine it will run but not as well as it might. So it is with us.

The argument that is trotted out that a ‘calorie is just a calorie’. It is in it’s most simplistic sense for sure. But if you are going to stop there I think you are in danger of totally misleading yourself with such ‘flabby’ thinking.

Our bodies are much more than just energy! Our experience of life is much more than ‘can we stay alive?’ Our experience of life is a very emotional one, it is about how we feel, both physically AND emotionally and one often feeds the other.

This to my mind is where the question of food makes SUCH a difference.

Not all the food we eat is created equal. Some of it should probably never be created at all!

I have been thinking about this a good deal recently and came across a way of thinking that divides up foods in 5 grades A,B,C,D, and F (I know E is missing but F stands for Fail in my book!) What follows is influence by that but adapted to my own requirements.

Grade A: Is food that is consumed as close to how it came out of nature. Take the shell off a Brazil Nut or peel a pineapple and you have grade a food. These are the foods we are most evolved to eat and which often carry the highest nutritional density.

Grade B: Close to nature but undergoing a certain amount of processing, which adds nothing and takes as little as possible away, an example would be whole wheat bread. It has to be milled, it has to have yeast and water added but that is all it needs to make it bread.

Grade C: A process has taken place which alters the food significantly by either the addition of what was not there or the taking away of what was. A good example would be many commercial white breads. The wheat germ has been removed and other ingredients have been added to make it last longer or taste more palateable.

Grade D: Highly processed foods that still bear some relationship to the original but are highly processed with the addition of fats, sugars and other additives with the sole intention of making them ore palatable.

Grade F: Foods that bear no relation to anything found in nature. (Have you ever seen a naturally occurring Quaver?) Many of which have little or no nutritional value or worse still can be harmful.

To illustrate what I mean let us look at the humble apple. As it stands it is Grade A. It comes off the tree you eat it nothing added nothing taken away. Would unsweetened apple sauce be grade A? I would suggest not. For a start the skin has been lost and there are nutrients in the skin, secondly it has been boiled and heat affects the vitamin content. So it is Grade B still good though!

So we sweeten it with sugar it becomes Grade C.

Fruit juice (which means that much of the fibre is taken out is Grade D.

It ends up in one of those nuclear zapped apple pies from MacD’s the ingredients of which most of us have no idea of without searching them out on a website and this has to fall into the Grade F category.

Of course there is no ‘official’ grading of foods. Perhaps there should be but believe me folks it is never going to happen, The big food conglomerates have way too much power to ever allow ‘GRADE F’ to be plastered all over their products!

Here are some examples of what I would regards as Grade A – F

Grade A

Leafy green veg
Root vegetables
Peas, sweet corn and other legumes (fresh or frozen)
Fresh fish
Lean red meat
Fresh Fruits
Unrefined Oats

Grade B

Wholemeal flour (including simple breads)
Canned fruit and veg
Natural Yoghurts
Brown Rice
Cous Cous
Snack bars with 100% natural ingredients
Canned fish
100% whole grain cereals (such as Shredded Wheat)

Grade C

Dry Cured Bacon
White Rice
White flours made into simple additive free white breads
Ready meals and sauces with few or no ‘chemical’ ingredients
Butchers quality sausages
Non Wholegrain cereals

Grade D

All processed food masquerading as ‘real food’ i.e. you would hope to find the main ingredients in nature but by now have been so highly processed and messed about that they would be barely recognisable.

Supermarket bacon
Low quality sausages
Ready meals with a long list of additives
Potato Crisps
Shop bought cakes
Biscuits and cookies
Rice Puddings in a pot
All 'Lite' foods

Grade F

Rubbish. That is food so highly processed it really does not deserve the title food. That has been chemically enhanced to make ingredients that would be unpalateable.

Low value burgers
Packet snacks (Quavers/Monster Munch )
Fizzy drinks
Cheese Straws

I stress this is MY list and not any sort of official classification, nor is it exhaustive you can add or change anything you want..

My suggestion to you is that if you are serious about your well being, use the classification above to look closely at your own food choices and see how they rate. No one is telling you to change them, no one is saying you should do this or do that, you may even want to finesse your own definitions of the various grades.

However I am saying that in my experience the more Grade A and B foods I eat the better I feel. It affects my mood, my self esteem and my ability to exercise. If I feel better I exercise more if I exercise more (up to a point) I feel better. It is a virtuous circle.

I have also not made judgements in terms of fat or calorie content in the grading because that can be taken into account with regard to amount consumed within overall limits. 1 brazil nut is MUCH higher in calories than the equivalent weight in Haribo but I know which is better for my well being!

What amazes me having been a member of Weightlossresources.com and now of a different calorie logging website is just how few people make the connection between high grade food and wellbeing.

Indeed part of the reason I was booted off of WLR was that I dared to say that you would get better results if you were critical of your diet. We have evolved to eat mainly grade A foods (for hundreds of thousands of years that is all hominids ate). It is only in the last 10,000 years that we have started to introduce Grade B and C foods and only really in the last century have we seen the massive increase in Grade D and F foods.

So if you are reading this and are serious about your physical well being I really do suggest you have a look at the quality of the foods you eat, it does make a difference believe me, and I make no apology of being an advocate of high grade foods.

Monday, February 15, 2010


It's funny isn't it how a number of things crop up around the same time and if you are lucky you see the pattern and make something of it. If you are not tuned in the moment passes and is lost.

Such is the case with me. For a couple of weeks now this whole question of purpose has been cropping up, and in a way refuses to go away.

Let's go back a bit first to put some persprective on it and then it may (I hope) become clear what I am rambling on about.

Many years ago my brother gave me a copy of a book by Tony Robbins called 'Unlimited Power'. If anyone reading this knows the work of Mr Robbins they will attest that he is a very charismatic and powerful man. He stands about 6'5" built like an athelete and one of the world's best known success coaches. This is a man who knows about power.

Have a look at his web site, if you follow the Robbins approach there is nothing that you cannot achieve. And you know what, he is right, if you want it enough you can have it, but the trick really is in knowing what you really want.

Indeed most of the 'motivational' and 'success' coaches will put great emphasis on material success. They will have you writing lists and making picture boards with all sorts of 'things' on them. I don't mind admitting when I first discovered this world and the power of it that was what I did as well, but I never seemed totally motivated to follow through on it.

I now realise where I was going wrong. I did not want all that stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I like nice things, but not enough to do what was needed to do to get lots of them.

My dear wife once said to me some years ago "The difference between having a car and no car is huge. The difference between having a 10 year old BMW and a new BMW is really not that great." How wise is that? Think anbout it. The difference between having a 37 inch flat screen TV and no TV is huge. The difference between having a 37 inch and 42 inch not that great. You can carry this on across all sorts of material things.

Though this is not the case in relationships. The difference between having one loving relationship or no loving relationships in your life is enourmous. The difference between having one and two equally loving realtionships is well....double!

This was the blinding flash of inspiration that has been dawning on me for about the last 5 years,(I never said I was quick on the uptake)it really is not things that make me happy (don't get me wrong, I would rather be comfortable than poor) but people. Indeed it is not even people that make me happy it is 'me' that makes me happy, when I know I have interacted with someone that is of value to us both.

Now I have to be careful here in sounding just too 'mom and apple pie' but I am beginning to discover that working at getting as many interactions in my life as right as possible will pay me back with huge dividends, it makes me feel good and I like feeling good!

We are after all pretty selfish creatures, even our altruism we do because it gives us a feeling that we want.

What has this got to do with being 'Lean For Life'? Well I have been wondering over the past few weeks why I write this Blog.

I started it full of evangelical fervour when I found a way to change my body composition easily and effectively, which I have to say some other people seemed unable to do.

I blogged intermittently as I really only wanted to blog when I really had something to say, but the feedback I got was that some people enjoyed it and looked forward to my posts.

Since getting my marching orders from WLR I wondered what was the purpose of it? Though there were other calls on my time over the last couple of weeks I thought should I carry on? Would anyone miss it? When I got emails from two people asking how I was and why I had not been around I took that to mean that there are people out there who feel a benefit from what I have to say, which is great. I will therefore be very happy to give what I can, to anyone who feels they can make something of it.

Which dovetails in with two other projects I have going on a present, both in very very early stages, and if anyone would like to comment on they should just fire away.

The first is that I feel the whole area of fatherhood has been devalued in our society and consequently we have a lot of young men (particularly) that have suffered from lacking the sort of older male role model that I was fortunate enough to have. I would like to get something going by which men like myself who have been though the process of bringing up children, (especially boys) and who would like to give something back by mentoring youngsters who want to make something of themselves but are possibly finding their energies directed in a less than positive way.

The working title for this project is "Just one is a success". Which I think encapsulates what I am thinking of, if I could help just one person turn their life around and follow a path that they would never have found to a happy and productive life then I would count it a success.

The other is similar but not quite the same in that I was talking to two business owners in the building that I manage and it became clear that they may benefit from having an outside person to ask them questions and possibly suggest different strategies for them to achieve what they want. I have offered to help them in anyway I can.

So to me it is becoming clear what my purpose is, it is to be a mentor. Someone who creates the space in which others achieve all that they want and all that they are capable of being.

What is a Mentor? I have looked up a few probably the best easily accesible one of which is " a wise and trusted guide and advisor". Personhally I prefer Robert Dilts's version "someone who creates the space for others to be come all that they can or want to be".

I don't even know if you can just say, 'I want to be a mentor', but then again I suppose you have to because there is really no mechanism set up for others to come along and tap you on the shoulder and suggest you do it. Perhaps it is a bit like The Field Of Dreams - 'build it and they will come' well perhaps if I just hold the space and I am ready for it then those that I can help will find me.

If you have got this far, I apologise that this blog has strayed a little from what it was a few weeks back, but hey nobody has to come read it!!! There is an element of musing in it and as you might guess all the thoughts are not fully worked out as yet.

I would be really appreciative of any feedback that anyone is willing to give.

Did I say the going was getting tough????????

I really wasn't joking! You may have noticed that I have not been around much the past couple of weeks, indeed a couple of lovely people even emailed me to see if I was OK!

To say it has been a trying couple of weeks would be a bit of an understatement.

Firstly the spectre of redundancy stalks where I work like a great big stalking thing, and when that happens you tend to get your head down and try to make yourself as indespensible as possible, no? So it is probably true to say that my head has been elsewhere!

On top of that my car went in for an MOT two weeks ago (today) and I only just got it back yesterday. A part they needed had to be ordered from Germany and when it came it was the wrong one! In the end the girl there managed to work her charms on the examiner and get it though on a repair rather than a replacement! It just goes to show how much we take personal transport for granted.

On top of that I suffered a minor tear in my calf while out running two fridays ago so had to rest up. Which would not have been a problem if I could get to the gym but not having the car and Mrs F working different hours to me made things a bit of a problem!

On top of that we were having work done at home in the bathroom which needed re-decorating this weekend!

So I am still alive and kicking but have been fighting fires in other areas!

On the Lean For Life Front, I am just starting to get my head around being aware of what I am eating and how much but not counting every calorie that I eat. I really don't want to count every calorie for the rest of my life and think that I have a sufficient handle on the whole thing for it not to be a major issue in the future.

Part of being lean, fit and happy must be being able to maintain the right sorts of balance in life. I know I have a tendancy towards the obsessive and it is something I really need to guard against.

Yesterday was a case in point. Two months ago (while still losing) I would have stuck to my calorie quota. Yesterday as it was Valentines day I decided that I could be a little more adventurous and cook something nice for myself and Mrs F. She deserved it after really putting in a shift with the paintbrushes and rollers over the weekend. So on the menu was :

Roasted tomato, anchovy and prawn salad.

Free range breast of chicken with breadcrumbs, parma ham and rosemary (it is all chopped finely and stuck together with butter then stuffed under the skin and roasted)

This was served on a bed of crushed new potatos and leeks with a side dish of frech beans tossed in garlic butter.

Dessert was one of the little Gu Chocolate Banoffie Pies (cheating I know but we were busy doing other things!)

1 glass red wine.

Now looking at that it is not something I would normally have eaten during my fat loss time but most of it is whole foods (the Gu aside!) and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all concerned.

I also felt better about going a bit OTT because I did get out and do a 5K run setting a new PB of 28 mins 10 seconds (that is 1 minute 20 better than previous best!

So I think the corner has been turned on this difficult period (and it wan't all that difficult now was it!) so you should be getting a bit more from here in the coming days!

One last request, as I am no longer on WLR please feel free to leave a comment so that I know you have dropped by. This is particularly true if you think I can help in anyway or you would like me to address a particular subject in this blog.