Healthy and unhealthy foods laid out on a table

100 Healthy Days

I’ve been doing super-well on achieving my 2017 goals so far this year and this is motivating me to achieve as many of them as possible. Goal 1 of my 2017 goals is the same as goal 1 of every other year since I started this in 2012: Get to a healthy weight.

I’ve done a lot over the years to help with this,

  • I’ve learned to love vegetables where before I had practically zero veg in my diet, I now have a lot.
  • I’ve given up sugary drinks – I still have the occasional fanta but you can probably count the number of fizzy drinks I have per year on my hands now where before you would have probably needed a super-computer to calculate them. My main drinks now are water and sugarless tea/coffee. Still with milk though. If I want a treat, I’ll get some fruit juice but I try to make that an irregular thing.
  • I’ve (mostly) given up heavily processed foods – I used to be a ready-meal addict, these days I cook a lot more things myself and even when I don’t, I go for quick assembly items which are usually not full of chemicals and e-numbers. In fact there used to be a time where my freezer was full and these days I can go weeks without even opening it.

For my efforts, I’ve gained weight and now stand at 250lbs which is exactly where I was at the start of my last major attempt to lose weight when I recorded my ‘Developer on a Diet‘ YouTube series. As you might imagine, this is tremendously frustrating and makes me wonder if somehow my body works in reverse.

So I’m going to try one more thing before I concede that I must be some sort of backwards alien and drown myself in Big Macs and Oreo milkshakes.

I’m going to join #100healthydays.

 

I’ve got to be honest, I naively thought I’d come up with this myself, I’ve been doing the #100happydays hashtag on instagram for a while now (currently on day 87) and I had the idea of kick starting a new ritual of healthy eating by applying the same logic to health as I did to happiness. So I googled 100healthydays and found that someone beat me to the mark. However, like I have discovered with other dieters, they usually started at a weight below my TARGET weight and indeed, before she began she weighed 196lbs.

Like with my ‘Developer on a Diet’ experiment, I was more interested to find out what this sort of thing would do to a completely sedentary and lethargic person who is seriously overweight.

So my variation on 100healthydays will be a little different and I’ve given myself some specific rules to follow:

1: No Processed meats

Now, ‘processed’ is a bit of a vague term, diced chicken is technically processed food so it’s hard to follow this one to the letter, needless to say I’m referring to things like bacon and ham. The point of this is to make sure I know what I’m putting into my body.

2: No added sugar

This means that I can’t put sugar in anything but I can eat things that have sugar in already. 100 days without the occasional chocolate bar or doughnut just won’t happen so there is no point in kidding myself. Plus as I’m going to attempt to get close to veganism, I need to give myself a treat sometimes but no more sugar in tea (I’d just quit that anyway), no sugar on cereal and no sugar on fruit.

3: At least 2 100% vegan days per week

As I get used to this one (which I’m presuming I will) I will probably increase it to a higher number but at the start of the challenge I want to give myself time to ease into it and I think 2 days is completely manageable.

4: At least 1 100% veg meal per day

On days I’m not feeling it, this will be just a bowl of corn flakes but ideally this will be a main meal.

5: Be active at least 30 mins a day

I suck at getting out and walking when I’m not in the office and that is something I need to change. I suspect this will get easier as the days progress and will be very hard at the start. I can easily spend 30 mins in VR though and that can be knackering if I do it right.

6: Keep a public food diary

I’m using myfitnesspal for my food diary as I’ve used it on and off for years and I find it very useful. I’ll also be posting regular journal posts which will also have a food diary in it.

You can see my MFP diary here: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/diary/foxleigh81

7: Do a weekly health check

At the start of this process I did a health check. This involved checking my weight, body fat percentage, visceral fat and muscle mass. I’ll do this every week, usually on a Sunday unless I forget.

My first health check results will be posted as part of my journal later on.

8: No more than 5 cheat meals.

As this plan focuses on a healthy lifestyle, I don’t see me doing many of these cheat meals anyway. The only things that would be against the rules would be things like going to McDonalds or having a bacon butty. I’m sure I can live without these things, at least for 100 days so I’m only going to allow myself 5 slip-ups.

9: ‘Junk’ food must be home-made (or purchased from a high quality restaurant)

This basically means that I need to get my food from high quality sources, so no more fast food establishments for junk food. If I want pizza I need to either make it myself or go to a good quality pizza restaurant (sorry pizza hut, you’re out).

10: Drink at least 2 litres of liquid a day.

At the moment I’m pretty bad at getting my liquid intake, I can often go a full day on one coffee and a bottle of water. So my goal is to increase that to something a bit healthier.

Holding myself accountable

When it comes to my personal health, I’ve got very little will-power, however I don’t like to fail and I certainly don’t like it when those failures are public so I’m going to share my journey over the next 100 days (well 96 days as I’m technically already on day 4 – sorry, I’ve been ill) on the following places:

This blog will be the place you can receive detailed updates about my progress, I probably won’t post daily but I will post as often as possible, I’ll also post my journal updates to here which I’ll make sure I do at least a few times a week.

Instagram is where I’ll be the most prolific as to be a part of the #100healthydays hashtag you need to post to it daily. So expect a lot of pictures of meals and the great outdoors and maybe as the days pass, some progress photos too.

YouTube will be where you can watch any videos I make. I have attempted to do a video blog of diet progress before but that was on an old YouTube account, however if you are interested, you can still watch those here.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, I’ll also be keeping a public food diary on MyFitnessPal, so you can keep tabs on me there.

If I fail

Rules are no good unless there are consequences to failing them. So should I not make it to the end of the 100 days or if I have more than 5 meals that break the rules then I need to pay a price. That price will be a £150 donation to the Conservative party. I’m very anti-tory and I’d actually feel sick knowing that I helped them so that’s a big penalty for me.

I’ve got some moral support from my lovely wife as she is joining me on my journey but any support you can give me will be great too, every little helps!

Wish me luck!

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Alex Foxleigh
Freelance UI Developer at
Freelance User Interface Developer, Aspiring novelist and ill-informed political writer from Sevenoaks, UK.

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