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Winning the Weight Loss Challenge

You know that expression - put your money where your mouth is? Well at Fort Regent we are doing just that. 

When I tell people I work at Fort Regent they think I must be a gym bunny but in truth I really dislike exercise.  The personal trainers in the gym are so friendly and I feel guilty refusing the offers of help, but kids, work and life just gets in the way.  They don't need to but it's a good excuse and I'm sticking to it.

My colleague Tom on the other hand, child free and having extra leisure time, loves and is really into his fitness and has an amazingly healthy diet (I know we all hate him already!).

So when he suggested that I join the annual Fort Regent Weight and Fat Loss Challenge you can imagine what I said and you'd be right, I said 'No'.  In actual fact I think I fell of my chair laughing and then I said 'No'.

But then I had a rethink.  I remembered not too far back posting an article about how to keep resolutions and one of the major contributors to success is to let other people know what you are up to.  It was time to put your money where your mouth is. 

So I signed up.

In all 23 staff members took up the challenge and on 11th January we began with an official weigh in with Exercise Referral.  The girls, very coyly, going in separately, the guys, bravely, going into together.  I believe there was some friendly banter and outraged men on discovery of their weights! 

I've always wondered (and been slightly jealous) about how people stay motivated, what's their secret!  Most people can stick it for a week but how do you keep it going? 

In an effort to discover my own secret and remembering that another road to success is to 'Write down your goals' I let Tom talk me into a one on one competition which I would blog.  It's also a bit of an experiment to see what happens.  So here it is; I will be discussing the apps we are using, diet, fitness and how we getting along. 

Tech seems to promise to make us all better at everything so Tom and I are using the following apps and websites:

Apps: Myfitnesspal and FitBit - both apps are free.

Web: Plan to eat (annual charge of around £10) and Calorie Count - free

Both Tom and I received FitBits for Christmas, which depending on your model, tracks sleep, steps, calories, movement, heart rate, exercise and tells the time.  It links into myfitnesspal. 

Myfitnesspal is a type of health journal where you log what you've eaten and it works out how many calories you have left - if you have it on your phone it can also log steps but I haven't found this to be very accurate.  It also has forums and advice.                      

The info from myfitnesspal magically appears in your FitBit dashboard and works out how your doing - including how many calories you have left and because your FitBit watch is more accurate you usually get a couple of bonus calories! Yippee.

Plan to Eat: An online meal planner making it easier to plan and stay on track.

Calorie Count: Works out how many calories in a meal (accuracy not confirmed!)

Diet method: Emma: Trying to stick to 1200 calories - no cheat days.  Tom: Balancing calories in to calories out and sticking to a percentage of food groups, ie, protein, fats and carbohydrates plus one cheat day.

Exercise method: Emma - working out at home.  Tom: playing sport, walking home from work, weight training, 3-4 times a week, including some sessions with Harry Zambon from Zambon Fitness. 

Results after the first two weeks

  Weight   Fat  
#TeamEmma - Starting   63.1kg 28.9%
After week one 62.1kg 26.1%
After week two 61.5kg 28.9%
Loss 1.6kg 1%


  Weight   Fat  
#TeamTom - Starting   90.3kg 18%
After week one 87.8kg 17%
After week two 88.1kg 17%
Loss 2.2kg 1%


Fortunately we are both down but here's what we did and didn't do!


Good: managed to log almost all my food in myfitnesspal, stayed on track with the 1200 calories, only went over on two days.

Could do better: Midweek week two I was having an emotional moment and comfort ate!  I also only exercised twice the entire two weeks.

#TeamEmma - The Low Down

Counting calories is very dull and time consuming.  Myfitnesspal is mainly American foods and even though there are items I have most days (ie, mint tea) it doesn't seem to save them as frequent foods - all the scrolling through lists of food is frustrating and when I'm busy I don't bother so it's easy to lose track of calories consumed; I need something simpler.  From this week I am converting over to 5:2 diet which promises me five calorie free counting days and 2 days of starvation!  I'm nervous as I don't want to put on what I've lost.

FitBit is really helping especially when you achieve a goal and you get a little vibration on your wrist to celebrate!

Exercise: I have no solutions!  We have a new Curve machine so I'm going to check it out - maybe the novelty will persuade me. 


Good:  I have been training hard and managed to gain strength on my big lifts (deadlift/squat/bench press) as well as playing sport to get my cardio in.  This has allowed me to consume about 3,250 calories a day and still cut weight. 

Could do better:  Last weekend I overindulged on my cheat day sinking a few pints of lager, eating sushi, a 3 course dinner followed by a muffin and biscuits all in one evening.  I then woke up and treated myself to a full English breakfast! It was a special occasion so I can live with the consequences of a small weight gain in week 2 after a positive first week. 

#TeamTom - The Low Down

Myfitnesspal is a God send for me as I have a monster appetite.  As I prep my lunch the night before I can input all my meals a day early so I don't have to worry about not recording data accurately or missing anything out.  This also stops me from being tempted to visit the vending machine or grab some fast food from the café as I have already prepared my food for the day.  Breakfast is easy to record as it is the same most days; either overnight oats, Weetabix or salmon and poached eggs on toast with avocado.  You can save regular meals in myfitnesspal so you don't have to constantly search for individual ingredients.  This gives me more flexibility in the evenings to eat tasty home cooked meals without worrying too much about the nutritional value as I have already eaten well balanced and "clean" meals all day. 

I love my new FitBit, It has encouraged me to get more sleep and start to walk when I can.  The app you get for your phone allows you to compete with fellow FitBit wearers to get the most steps in a week.  I am trying to keep up with some Personal Trainers and PE teachers so I have started walking home most days, which has also saved me in petrol money!  Wooop!

I have really upped my training recently.  I already had a good base fitness, however my PT Harry has really pushed me hard to increase my strength and ensure I stay on track with my goals.  My technique has also improved on my big compound movements.  I hate running on a treadmill or plodding away on a cross trainer as I get bored very quickly.  Instead I get my cardio in through sports.  A game of 5 a side for an hour can burn a good 700 calories and be very enjoyable at the same time.

So there's the background - from now on we'll be posting snippets on how we're doing - you can follow our progress on this blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! #TeamEmma and #TeamTom



Written by Emma Turner at 00:00

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