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Month: August 2019

Yes, it’s me

32 in ch waist jeans and a medium T shirt

Strange things have happened this week, I appear not to be me anymore. Well that is what I would be led to believe based on three incidents that have happened in the past five days.

Andrew. Wednesday 14th August and I find myself in Cork for the 68th running of the City Sports. This is a truly fantastic event, an international athletics event featuring some of the World’s top athletes and it is right on our doorstep. It is an honour and privilege that I can play some role in this event and it is one of the highlights of my personal sporting calendar. Andrew is one of the national photofinish team and we have worked together for several years now on a multitude of events. He is, like me, an out and out geek and for anyone listening to us we must sound like we are talking a different language – call it technobabble. Well this day was no different to any other day – I was talking away to Andrew about something techy whilst he was doing something equally techy with a computer and wires. We had a conversation and then suddenly he stopped. You could feel the synapses working over time and then he looked at me and said ‘ Jesus Iain, I didn’t recognise you, I genuinely didn’t realise it was you’

Lisa. Lisa, like most of my circle of friends is completely dedicated to athletics. She is a coach who I have the utmost regard for and she has a great family dedicated to the sport, and she is dedicated to them. Today is Sunday 18th August and I am in Limerick at the Aldi Community Games National Finals. I am on duty providing photofinish services at the games, and today it has been a bit of a slog as the rain has been relentless and brutal. Local Galway athletes have been performing well and I find myself at the end of the long jump pit as one of Lisa’s kids is competing in the long jump final. I am wearing my wet weather gear, so I am done up a bit like the Michelin Man so in fairness may not look like I normally would. Lisa is about 6 feet away from me watching her daughter and we are in the middle of a group of Galway athletes, parents and coaches. We are all talking away making comments, giving advice, but the main focus is on the event. Then it happens. Lisa suddenly turns, looks me straight in the eye and the recognition dawns on her ‘Oh my God Iain, I didn’t recognise you, you look great’. The usual conversation ensues about the weight loss – 30+ kilos, health markers normalised. She really hadn’t recognised me, I had stood within a few feet of her for about 10 minutes and although she was distracted with the competition she had looked at me a few times. This was starting to get weird.

Karolina. I have worked with Karolina for over a year, she is part of my Operations team at work and we pretty much see each other every day. Monday 19th August, first day of my vacation, and as usual I am in work. I am not dressed in my usual shirt and trousers but have jeans and T shirt on. In work for 10am, walk through door, first stop the coffee dock and a double espresso to jolt me into action. Walk through the foyer at work, see some of the team having coffee break, wave, say hello and walk on up the stairs to my office. Jump forward a few hours and I am down in the nerve centre of Operations where most of my team are based. Person I need to speak with is at Karolinas desk. I start talking to them and then Karolina hits me with it, ‘Iain, I didn’t recognise you this morning. You walked past and I just didn’t realise it was you’. This is a person who can’t claim that they haven’t seen me for months, they saw me on Friday !! This was really beginning to get strange – 3 for 3 in non-recognition.

In the previous week I have walked past a sales rep I have known for years (probably 10+ years), I said hello, they looked up, looked at me and there was absolutely no recognition there at all. Arriving at Community Games and the team I worked with last year pretty much didn’t recognise me, all eventually commenting on that I was half the man I used to be.

I am now firmly in the transition phase out of the FAST800. I am starting to eat a few more treats, and my meals are larger. There has been a re-introduction of bread and other carbs (rice / pasta) and I must say, I haven’t been feeling too well since doing it. I think this really is the word of warning I would give people who have been on calorie restriction – transition out is likely to be uncomfortable. I was 13+ weeks on FAST800 and my body had got used to the food I was consuming, much smaller meals, and a very different nutritional balance from previous normal diet. Whether it is the larger amount of food, or the type of food I don’t know but my IBS has flared up, I feel somewhat bloated again and I am quite tired of a night time. Maybe I have done too much too soon, maybe I should only make small increases to transition slowly, maybe I still need to keep off the bread. I have also broken one of my new rules – I have been eating way past 6pm and I think this is having an impact on how I feel. Once I get back into my normal daily routine after I return from vacation then I will have to address the late eating, no point undoing all the good work and making my self recognisable again.

I am hovering around the 95Kg mark, and low 20% body fat, so even with a very quick return to ‘normal’ food I seem to be maintaining the weight which is good to see. The next 10 days will be a challenge away on holidays, but hopefully will get out for a run each day with Liam and counter any excesses.

Postscript – the new look. I went to the shops yesterday as I needed to buy new clothes for holiday. Thought I would have another go at trying on 32 inch waist trousers – they fitted. Just for a laugh – medium slim fit T-shirt – it fitted. What have I done to myself, who is that guy in the photo ? Yes, it’s me.

Crashing the Wagon

I didn’t so much fall off the wagon this weekend as strap a rocket to the wagon, launch it down a really steep hill, firing it into a solid brick wall catapulting me so far that I ended up landing in a completely different timezone !!

Lets backtrack.

Friday 9th August – 6am

I was in the gym last night – was a hard session on the treadmill. I ran further and faster than I have for years and the legs were a bit wobbly. I needed to push myself as I was very very near to another goal – 95Kg. I had set that goal to be met at the end of August, but I found myself mid-month and so close to achieving it. I was going away for the weekend and I really wanted to be able to say I was 95Kg, which put me into the 14 stone bracket – somewhere I had not been for 12 years. If the session was hard, and given I had only consumed 800 calories that day I expected the numbers to give me good news. I had woken up at 5am, feeling hungry – I hate waking up feeling like that. I know it is a sign that my body is in ketosis, actively burning up my fat reserves, and lowering the weight, but it still feels horrible. I tossed and turned and at 6am I had to give in, I needed to eat and before that I needed to weight myself. Going to bed I had been 95.3Kg so I knew the numbers would be good. Step on, feet in same position, scales on their marks so the act of measuring is always uniform. I haven’t got my glasses on – again, to keep the act of weighing uniform so I do struggle to see the green LED signal. I think it says 94Kg something. Step off, glasses on, 94.8Kg, 20.3% bodyfat. Smashed it. Doing the conversion on my phone and it says 14st 12lb – I like those numbers, I like them a lot. That is pretty much 5 stone lost and I don’t care if I am a pound or two off the exact mark, 5 stone lost is what I am telling people this weekend.

Back to the present

The smouldering wreck of the wagon can be seen on the horizon and I have just stepped off the scales again – 96.8Kg and 20.2% bodyfat. Now I know I am about to start transitioning off Fast800 and try to resume a fairly normal diet, but lets review just what did get consumed this weekend.

Friday (Total Approx 1900 Calories):

Breakfast: 2x Hardboiled eggs, 10 black olives, 30g Feta cheese, large green bell pepper

Lunch: My new Beef Bolognese sauce mix, 20g Feta cheese

Dinner: 55g protein shake.

All the above were pre-wagon launch, then we hit T-0 and lift-off

Second Dinner: Goats cheese tart, salad and a big bowl of fries. Followed this up with a gluten-free carrot cake, scoop of ice-cream and dollop of whipped cream. When I got back to my weekend apartment I topped this off with two slices of white bread toasted and a biscuit.

Saturday (Total approx 3000 Calories):

Breakfast: 3x big sausages, 3x fried eggs, 3 x rashers, 2x black pudding slices, 1x white pudding slice.

2nd Breakfast: 3 slices of white bread toasted.

Lunch: Fish and chips (2 VERY large chunks of battered fish) and plate of fries.

Dinner: Didn’t get one. Probably at this point I will explain that this weekend I am working on our annual Connemara 100 mile road race. I am covering a couple of the checkpoints that the runners have to pass through and I have been up since 5am, and on the road since 6am. Food is likely not going to be regular and will probably have to eat what I can get my hands on.

Extras: 1x Donut, 4x slices white bread toasted, 2x mini Crunchies, 4x biscuits, 2 more slices white bread toasted. 3x Jaffa Cakes. 2x bottles Heineken Zero

Sunday (Total Approx 2500 Calories):

Breakfast: 3x hard boiled eggs on 2 slices white bread toasted. 1x mini Crunchie, 2x biscuits.

Lunch: Fish and Chips followed by apple crumble and ice cream. 2x bottles Heineken Zero

Supper: Sandwich of beef and 60g Mozarella with Olivio spread on wholegrain bread. 8x chocolate digestives.

I am now sitting here feeling ill and fairly sorry for myself. My stomach hurts, I am bloated and my bowels are in turmoil and I can feel an IBS attack coming on. Do I regret it – not at all, I enjoyed every minute of it. I worked a hard 24 hour shift in Connemara and spent it in the company of my best and most dearest friends.

A blow out is good now and then, but it does demonstrate something very important as part of the journey. You simply can’t go from Fast800 to resuming what was my previous diet lifestyle. There has to be transition, and lessons learned for what food stuffs are eaten have to be carried forward. Blow outs are good, but they shouldn’t become the norm.

Looking to the horizon, I can’t see the wagon – what I thought was smoke rising from its ruins was simply mist on the hills. I am still sitting firmly on the wagon, I simply had a premonition of what could be if I was careless, and I don’t want that. I don’t want that old life back again. I will spend 2 days putting my body back in ketosis, and by the end of the month I will be back around the 95Kg mark, hitting the target when I was supposed to. Normality resumes. Just need to plan the next few weeks carefully, keep the wagon away from the edge of the cliff.


I saw a bunch of people this weekend I haven’t seen for close on 12 months, those who know me well enough commented on my new figure ‘half the man I used to be’, ‘looking good’ – everyone genuinely interested in how I had achieved it, and all in support of the ‘how’. Made me feel good, not that I was looking for that level of affirmation, but still nice to receive the compliments. Probably the best comment, and one that I hope is an indicator of what I have done to my body in the past 3 months. ‘You look younger, I would put you in your late 30s now’. At the age of 49, I will take any level of age reversal.

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