Note from Gaz, I have a few guest post’s lined up, if you want to submit one, just leave a comment with your emails and i’ll come back to you:
Clive, it’s over yo you….
I guess an introduction is in order. I’m Clive Chapman, I’m 48 years young, married with a 5 year old son and a 15 year old daughter. Some of you may remember that I used to blog about weight loss through cycling, after being inspired to do so weighing 22 stones 4 pounds in June 2009, originally by cycling/weight loss bloggers Frank Kinlan, then James Ashberry and our very own Gaz here! Their sites are still very much up and running! My Blog though not updated anymore can still be found here. http://massivemtber.wordpress.com/
I’ve kept in touch via text and email with Gaz regularly since around 2010 and I had a text off him this week asking me to do a guest post as he won’t be around for a bit and he kindly said folks who used to read my blog (and his) would be interested in an update since my last entry in April this year.
So here goes…
Interesting stuff first. Bikes. I’m very much still cycling, mainly at the weekends and I’m still in love with bikes! In April I had 4 bikes. My Giant Defy road bike, my self built eBay Carbon Framed road bike, my full suspension Specialized FSR MTB and my single speed, rigid forked, steel framed Genesis IO MTB.
I now have 3 bikes. I sold my Carbon Road bike on eBay as it wasn’t being used, I had intended to use it as Summer “best bike”, but when I’m in “best bike” mood in the Summer I go MTBing! Not long afterwards I sold my Specialized FSR. I never bonded with this bike, it was ok, a bit too much bike for the trails I live by now since I moved house last September and it had one or two ground clearance issues that narked me. It had to go. That left me with my Giant Defy a brilliant road bike for the money it cost me and my singlespeed Genesis IO. Which I use to go MTBing with my 5 year old son Dan. His kiddies bike (a good one) is singlespeed and rigid forked so I use the Genesis as an equaliser to know how he is doing. Plus it’s a great “around the Village” errand bike.
My new MTB is an idea I wanted to fulfil since I was towpath commuting back in my blogging days. A steel framed, belt driven, hub geared MTB. The ideal low maintenance commuter. But since I moved to the trails I live by now, with a suspension fork added, the bike becomes a brilliant low maintenance off road machine.
I sourced all of the parts from eBay, got the belt drive kit from Mark at Milk Bikes (Google it), had my eBay Cotic Simple frame reworked by a genius old school frame builder Lee Cooper in Coventry (Google Lee Cooper Frames) and hey presto my idea was born. With a super Reynolds 853 steel frame, Roxshox suspension and a brilliantly reliable Alfine 8 speed hub powered by a lovely quiet belt it has rapidly become my all time favourite bike, with a ride quality that in my opinion beats Carbon and Aluminium hands down. Only a Titanium frame would beat it!
That’s the bike story caught up. Now onto weight. I got down to 14.5 stones in the summer of 2011, which considering my fighting weight when I was playing Rugby, in the Military and as fit as a Butcher’s Dog was around the 14 stones mark wasn’t too bad. I’m now hovering around 18 stones. Which moves up and down by a few pounds depending on how often I can cycle and how the food management goes.
No excuses next, just a series of facts.
My last job was situated 13 miles away which meant I could commute by bike, either on the road or by canal towpath. I sat in an office all day largely alone and was in control of food intake.
This job at Jaguar Landrover is 42 miles away and precludes a cycle commute. We are a one car family (wifey has the car for her work), so I motorbike. My work hours are 6 in the morning until 3:30 in the afternoon. (That’s a 0500hrs get up), there is no Public Transport from my house to Coventry operating at the times I need, so a Park and Ride is out. This means getting my exercise is very difficult for a naturally lazy bastard like me. My daily timings after work are very tight due to Child Care arrangements, I have to be back at a certain time to look after the kids. Add on cooking, general house admin and other family stuff, plus falling into my chair totally fecked at around 7:30pm means not much room for manoeuvre. Oh and my Rugby Coaching as well, musn’t forget that!
Let’s talk about food. I lived a pretty solitary existence in my last job, at Jaguar Landrover I’m very much not alone, after training when I moved to my permanent team (a crushingly good bunch of folks) I discovered very quickly that food would be a challenge. Here’s why.
The main reason is I’m surrounded by people who are constantly eating. And I mean constantly! They start with Porridge or cereal first thing, then off to the canteen at 10:00am for a sandwich, then at 11:00am it’s something like a cake or biscuits, then at 12:00pm it’s dinner, usually a curry or a bolognaise, After dinner is a conveyor belt of biscuits. Oh and let’s not forget the regular Birthdays when the celebrant brings in cakes and or Curry starters. They’re not normal!
As you may recall in my last job I went from getting up, working all day with the cycle commutes, to home time for an evening meal with out eating, or the odd banana, or bowl of porridge. Faced by the onslaught of food here at Jaguar Landrover, by dinnertime I’m struggling and very hungry. Usually I can hold out, but I do have the odd bad day (not very many I’m proud to say) when I succumb to temptation and take the offered food. I am still not carrying cash as I still can’t trust myself not to buy stuff. This is making my working day very trying.
Weekends, ah weekends. Now the difficulties really kick in and I’m reminded just what a food and drink issue I really have. Friday is the family evening out at the legendary (now thankfully reopened) Dodford Inn. At 4:30pm we are walking through the door and I’ll have 3 to 4 real ales and a take away afterwards. I’ve always done that even when I was losing the weight successfully. But I’m back to drinking at home too Friday evenings after the Dodford Inn and on Saturday evenings. I’m talking 3 or 4 bottles of ale. I don’t get drunk, I’m totally in charge of my faculties (obviously I don’t drive). But, and I alluded to this in a draft of a piece that I had published in What Mountain Bike, am I an alcoholic? Not a falling down drunk who is ruining family life and can’t contribute positively at work and in life. Because I’m not. But some one who can’t not drink. Is there levels of alcoholism? I don’t know. I know when I drink I eat too much, I always have done. Is the ale the “elephant in my weight loss room?”
I’m guessing yes. No not guessing I know it is. But I enjoy ale. I enjoy the atmosphere of a good pub. The thought of cutting back or stopping is not yet on my radar. I could cite various stresses I have been under, job loss, a nightmare of a house move, a family member with a serious case of depression, another family member suicidal. Hell fire, even my Son is permanent stress with his hyper behaviour. But I won’t. It’s all bollocks. It’s nothing any other family doesn’t have to cope with every day of the week.
I drink Friday and Saturday because I like too. Simple as that. I look forward to an ale and the pub. Drink causes me to eat more. So my good weekly calorific intake is negated at the weekends. Even with my off road pedal on my Cotic with (or without) Dan taken into account. And as we all know it’s not the exercise that counts, it’s the food management if you want to lose weight that matters the most.
So that’s where I am. In summary I am 4 stones lighter than I was in June 2009 and maintaining that. But I’m also 4 stones heavier than I was this time last year.
I haven’t yet sat down and planned a strategy to deal with my new working circumstances and the ale issue. I know I need to if I want to start getting back down towards 14 stones again. In my usual blunt assessment of myself, I’m not certain when that’ll happen at the moment.
But it’s not how many times you get knocked down that matters, it’s how many times you get back up.
In the absence of my blog, you can follow me on Twitter @CliveBees for all things, bike, weight, rugby and life related. Bees is my Rugby Club by the way, that of Birmingham & Solihull Bees. I’m on Facebook too.
So, many thanks to the ever inspirational Gaz for the opportunity to update you all. I’m sorry it’s not the glorious story of continuing success that you all hoped for. Just another chapter of a never ending War against food and drink addiction.
My name is Clive Chapman and I’m an addict…