Weight gain – the reasons why it is happening

Mon 31 May – Sun 6 June 2021

So cut to the crap, my blog this week is all about my awareness that I am gaining weight. And trying to work out what this is telling me and how I can reverse it. Indeed, this whole blog is written from a perspective of ‘how can I change my everyday life and thinking so that I am losing weight rather than gaining it?’

Over the 13 and a half stones mark

I raised in my previous blog (read it here) that I am seriously going to have to take action if I want to lose weight. My increase to over 13 and a half stone has continued albeit perhaps with some slowing of the rate of gain – see the details here. I’m now just under 13 stone 8 pounds. 🙁

I kept my weight under control during lockdown. But now it is creeping up. I know I’ve got to exercise more and eat less – we all know that. But there are deeper reasons why I am gaining weight and so much of it is to do with what is happening in my head and bad habits I need to change.

lose weight now

The mental health angle to weight gain

I eat when I am pre-occupied and over-thinking. I can be on holiday and skip eating because I am so chilled. But sometimes I get over-thoughtful which can lead to negative thoughts and feelings. However, this is all in my head. It is this false thinking and ‘catastrophisation’ that is helping me gain weight.

And there is no reason to be stressed or over-think. Last week began with blessed Bank Holiday Monday – what a scorcher. 🙂 Indeed, a week of lovely sunshine apart from a cloudy and wet Friday. The good weather gave me the opportunity to get into shorts. I love wearing shorts – I associate them with summer, holidays, and freedom. So that was good but awareness of sun and the need to wear less clothes in many ways makes me more aware of my weight. That always presents me with the constant choice – accept I’m fat and stop thinking about it or really make the effort to lose?

Sun with glasses

So what is making me over-think, what is giving me negative feelings so stopping me doing the things I need to do to lose weight? It’s partly to do with my new job. I am enjoying it but I have written about how much I give my life meaning through the work I do. I want to be successful and so I am focusing a lot of energy on it. I actually need to relax more and accept how things go day by day.

Plus I over-think and worry about things generally in everyday life. All this means I am not doing what I need to do. Which is reject the feelings for food when they are unnecessary and make time for exercise.

The exercise angle

Exercise makes me feel good. There’s always the problem of motivating yourself initially but I don’t think anyone regrets exercise after it’s over (unless they’ve had a stroke or heart attack LOL). I love my long walks – I just feel free. It’s a total boost to the nice nomadic feelings I enjoy. 🙂 I used to do my slow jog-runs. Stopped those primarily because I can’t do them on my work days. And on my non-work days I am often doing long walks to get to and from places.

The physical limitations angle

Regular readers will know that I am having an ongoing problem with my knees. Almost certainly linked to the general degeneration of one’s body as you age. But the fact I haven’t been on a jog-run for over a month has not made the pain any better. It’s enough to wake me up in the night sometimes. 🙁 The good news is that I have an appointment with a GP next week to get it checked out. 🙂

The bad eating habits angle

The long walks on their own could probably keep my weight down. But that only works if I am not over-eating particularly at night and especially things heavy in sugar and carbohydrates – comfort food. Definitely need to cut back on this as I am not going to sacrifice my glass of wine each night. Totally empty calories but the nice feeling it gives me is better than food so I would rather sacrifice that.

INR – chronic health problems affect us in many ways

I live with chronic health issues including being HIV+, developing blood clots, and mental health issues. Very many people who deal with such chronic health problems also express their issues through being either over or under weight. Ultimately, you’ve just got to live your life alongside your chronic health issues rather than let them dominate.

Back for my INR test on Tuesday to check my blood-clotting levels. Just within range – slightly higher and I would be at risk of internal bleeding. But a sufficiently good result to enable me to not have to get another test for 4 weeks. 🙂


Tech For Good

Promoting the Social Change Lab

I am enjoying my new job not least because I really believe in what I do. The potential that tech provides excites me enormously. And I want to harness that potential to create a better world. Tech will save us! LOL Thus it is so exciting that I am promoting the great Tech For Good pro-bono offer that is the Social Change Lab. High quality, free of charge tech expertise to help not-for-profit organisations be more successful and more effective. Read about it here and please spread the word. Application deadline is Fri 9 July.

Really nice last week to do a briefing on it to all UK ThoughtWorks staff. Particularly important to get people excited to help promote the initiative and be involved in selecting the organisations to work with. We also started having conversations with some organisations who are very interested in applying for the pro-bono support and had requested such dialogue. I really want orgs to talk ideas through with us before they apply.

Family and Friends

Family: mum

All is good with mum. However, I need to be careful not to take on board all her problems. And she doesn’t have a very positive view on life. Some gurus will tell you to just surround yourself with positive people. Not always that simple. But what you can do is try to frame your mind to deal with the situation. Indeed, that is true of all situations we face.

A mini-break with Dave

Treated me and Dave to a hotel stay on Sat night. A bit self-indulgent when we both live in London (albeit in separate flats). But it was simply nice to have some sort of feeling of being on holiday. We are all gagging for holidays abroad despite the climate change damage it will do. But it may well not happen this year. So important to create scenarios that give the nice feelings that come with going away.

Checked into the Earl’s Court hotel on Sat afternoon. Drinks and a lovely walk around Brompton Cemetery, so full of wildlife. Then dinner at a lovely Turkish restaurant. Back to our room for a night of TV about Tina Turner. Then up the next morning for a coffee and a relaxing walk. 🙂

Brompton Cemetery

Friends: Karl Wilding

Main friend catch-up last week was with an old colleague and friend, Karl Wilding. I have known him for many years and he went on to become CEO at NCVO – the umbrella agency for voluntary and community organisations. Now he is a freelance consultant. Great just to have a life check-in as so many things have happened to both of us since we last met. And he gave me some great ideas of people to talk to about the Social Change Lab. I would definitely recommend him as a consultant – his website is here.

Books and Reading

Reading is vital to my good mental health. It allows me to escape everyday life and stimulate my mind particularly giving me new things to think about and completely new ways of thinking. When my mind is engaged in a good way then I’m not eating and putting on weight. I am reading a couple of short story collections before I sleep each night – one is the pure escapism of Dr Who and the other is by the stimulating writer Ken Liu.

Meanwhile, two other books to record.

‘Citadel of Dreams’

Finished this Dr Who novella by Dave Stone. I love the familiarity of Dr Who but also when it is in a new setting from the TV adventures I am so familiar with. This was an OK book but not a great one. It’s actually quite confusing being about a city where time is falling in on itself and the city itself has to be ‘renewed’. Oh well, Dr Who is great even when it’s not great. 🙂

‘All the Young Men’

This is my main current reading book. The one on kindle I read as I am walking. It’s the real-life story of a straight woman in conservative Arkansas looking after gay men dying of AIDS in the mid-80s. A horrible time I remember well – so many good people died and I attended so many funerals. 🙁 But out of all evil comes some good with a fantastic community response of which I was proud to be a part.

Velvet Page book club

Failed to attend last week. 🙁 I had not read the book. Thursday was a day-off but I had to do some work stuff so I was too knacked by the time of the meeting. It is actually an awkward time at 7.30. If we were all meeting at Waterstones then I would have eaten before. But that’s the time I have my dinner and after spending so much time on zoom for work I really don’t want to do it in my leisure time.

Velvet page book club

Art and Culture

Books and culture make me feel good. And when I feel good then I don’t need to eat and I don’t put on weight. So I need more books and culture in my life. If only it were that easy. Life isn’t just about doing the stuff that makes us feel good.


Wrote about this movie in my previous blog because I had started to watch it and was really enjoying it. Finished the film this week and it is a lovely, quixotic movie. Perhaps it doesn’t end up being as amazing as I initially thought. But it is still well worth a watch. The story of a middle-aged man with learning difficulties who searches for his lost hammer.

The right hook comes with it being set in a nudist camp. And all the nudity is not the least bit salacious. You get completely used to it and, if anything, can only see how unpleasant many people look. The message is bodies are normal and not all amazing. Meanwhile it is a movie dominated by the colour brown and beige. Which really does reinforce it as a celebration of a mundanity. Ultimately the life we all live and need to be happy with.

Other Stuff

Two other areas in my life that affect my thinking and outlook that in turn affects my eating patterns so ensuring if I gain or lose weight.

  • Personal Development When I am enjoying learning then I don’t feel hungry. I wonder if it is to do with hormones being released? But there is never enough time to do all the personal development / learning I want to do. 🙁 Duolingo sends me a weekly analysis of how I have used it over the week and compared to previous weeks. Good to know that I was up on previous usage. But still no time for learning coding. 🙁
  • Sustainability The environment makes me feel good. I love being out in nature. And I still love offloading the stuff I have gained by hoarding in the past. I think buying stuff is a bit like eating and putting on weight in that it is caused by over-worry, stress, and unhappiness. Owning unnecessary stuff and carrying unnecessary weight are definitely similar problems.

The Week Ahead

  • Must not put too much on it as medics aren’t magicians but hopefully my visit to the GP about my knee may put me on a path to easing the pain
  • Actually not working on Fri as I need to take some leave before the half year mark (TBH wouldn’t have taken time out yet of my own choice). But that gives me and Dave the excuse to visit the V&A 🙂
  • I have laid out in this blog some of the reasons why I am over-eating and under-exercising leading to my weight gain. In that context I must remain aware of these and try to lose weight over the coming week.
  • Lots of long walks, will carry on doing reading, and watch a new movie 🙂
  • Going to continue promoting the Social Change Lab and enjoying my work though also enjoy and make the most of my non-work time 🙂
  • 2 good catch-ups on Thurs: my old colleague Matt and the Tech for Good London meeting on Open Source

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