One year on - the boring, fat old bloke goes shopping

52 weeks have gone by since I first hit the streets on a rather icy evening in Dundee, so I thought I'd do a round-up.

That first night was really icy and I was probably only out because I didn't know not to. My main job was keeping my 56 year old 97kg frame from crashing with an enormous thud on the slippery pavement - so I kept to the gritted road. On 25 March - just 7 weeks later, the C25K programme had taken me to the Red Nose Day Sport Mile and, with the exception of a wee walk on the last uphill, round the THREE mile course. All you undergraduates ... read that again!

My next waypoint came one month later. A trip to Australia to visit my son & his partner included the highlights of running through the botanic garden & over the Sydney Harbour Bridge - an excellent experience that I'd never have been able to, well, experience less than 3 months previously ( Oh yes, and I almost forgot the amazing day I ran up Mount Lofty just outside Adelaide. In reality it was a brisk walk up, and an astonishing run back down that was more due to the effects of gravity than my own effort ( Some travelling over the summer just added to the great feeling and combined benefits of getting thinner and fitter. More highlights - Arnhem springs to mind, London's Embankment from Westminster to Tower Bridge and running through the Parque del Beun Retiro in Madrid. The "three mile" runs didn't get any longer, but they became more comfortable and gradually took less time.

With times improving, the thought of doing an organised run popped into my old head. Surely that would be a step (many, many steps) too far? But I found the Great Edinburgh Run in October - hmmm, could I reaally do it? But you know what? It was totally fab! So much enjoyment that I did it again on the Great Winter Run just after the New Year. Boy, though, that was a flippin' cold day! Took up Parkrun - not many so far but then I do have a phobia of cold, wet days (!) & will be more active once the clocks go forward again.

So that's the story of my first C25K year. The running has been brilliant, but how did the weight go? Down by 1/3 of my body weight, was taken off my blood pressure pills and life is feeling very good. Self esteem is a mile high. So yesterday I did something I've never done before in my life. The wife was on a full day's lace workshop so I Hopped on a bus to Edinburgh (itself a first). I spent some time in the Scottish National Gallery (only ever did that when 'encouraged' by my wife) then hit Princes Street. Emptied my wallet on great new jeans (30โ€ waist ... THIRTY, not 38โ€), some slim fit shirts (SLIM!) and some other treats. I never knew shopping could feel so good. But it was the most I've ever spent on clothes, so I guess I just HAVE to keep the weight off ...

Now I have a new wardrobe to start my new year and a new outlook to life that I'd never had achieved without Couch to 5K. Hope this encourages a few of you. Many, many thanks to those who got me through the programme. You helped make the boring fat old bloke into a thinner and 'younger' person.

Now - anyone know of a good guide to stopping being boring?


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43 Replies

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  • I'm 57so 56is definitely not old. It's official. Well done on your journey, sounds as though you had a great year.

  • Fabulous. Many congratulations to you. Did you diet too?

  • Oh yes - the evidence is clear that, on its own, moderate aerobic exercise like running has very little effect on weight. Having done a lot of reading about this, I don't actually agree. But I can see that there's a tendency for people to take some exercise then 'treat themslves' for their effort ... and so put it all back on. But if you do the exercise without eating that treat, there should be some (even if not a huge amount of) benefit. Look at it this way - a Mars bar is about 350 calories. I burn about 360 cal on a 5k run. Hmm - which is easier? Run 5k or avoid the Mars bar?

    I enjoy the run, but by not having the Mars, I get a double benefit. So that's my advice - count calories, do the exercise, lose weight.

  • Ahh thanks.

    I've not read up on this subject myself but so far have not lost any weight. If I were brutally honest I think that I've most probably put weight on.

    So now I shall continue with my running and combine this with cutting calories. I think I'll find the running easier than cutting the calories. :-)

  • Hi Mojo

    There's a lot of interesting research that gives good insight into what I describe as the 'mechanics' of exercise & weight reduction. One thing you'll read time & time again is that you don't lose weight because the reduction in fat is offset by your muscles being built up. The theory goes that muscle is more dense than fat, so you can indeed put weight on. The actual evidence says that this is the equivalent of an old wives tale. Sorry to also say that people don't lose because, although they are working hard at losing weight & exercising, they tend to under-estimate their eating by up to 40/50% I can still get 'hit' by that. Last Monday I bought a wholegrain loaf. Now I LOVE bread, & ate the lot. I thought maybe 600/700 calories? It was actually 1750! That's more than my daily allowance gulped down in one go.

    (See what i mean about the BORING old git? I do tend to go on and on)

    The best advice is to write down everything (meaning everything) you eat, look up the calorie counts (you'll quickly get to know your main items, so it's not really a hassle), and keep a total. Be honest with your records and you'll soon get to know where to focus your attention. For me it was potatoes, bread, raspberry jam. Oooh raspberry jam. I still have some every day, but a teaspoon rather than a quarter jar, and on on one slice of bread. Full flavour, few cals.

    I guess I'm saying to stick with it. Once you get to know how it works, it's pretty easy and there's no need to ever be hungry. I guess most people give up too soon because like you (and me) the early results can be disappointing. Count calories for the duration of C25K & if you haven't lost a few pounds/kilos, I'll eat my hat. (hat, felt, = 236 calories per 100 grams (:->)

  • Talking of underestimating.....

    I've just checked mars bar calories as I thought they were about 250 each. We're both wrong. According to Tesco site a 58g mars bar (is that std size?) is close to 450 (!!!!) calories.

    I agree with write everything down, you can use online resources for this. I use to record everything I eat (input amount and what (including brand) and it will work out the calorie content). There are other free ones out there, but I find this one easiest to use.

    Anyway, Malcy, what I started typing for was to say well done on the weight loss. I know how hard it is, having done the journey myself, though I took 2 years rather than one (and only found C25K when I only had about 2 stone to go). And yes shopping is more fun when you're taking size 10/12 into the changing room rather than size 22!!! Just need to maintain now......

  • Beads

    Agree 100%. I've found it really easy to keep completely accurate and up to date with myfitnesspal on the phone and pc .... and to be honest I really like the detail, it appeals to the nerd in me ;-) . I use a fitbit too which links in with myfitnesspal to let it know when you deserve extra calories for the running/exercising you've done.


    Great stuff! I started about a year ago end of January and am still running regularly. Over the year too I've got memories now of running in the Villa Borghese in Rome, along the sea front in Muscat and around Mounts Bay in Cornwall.

    C25K becomes a virtuous circle ... by excercising you are becoming fitter, by becoming fitter you find it easier to keep up the running, by keeping up with the running you lose more weight, by losing weight you find the runs are quicker and easier.

    I graduated before turning 50 and did so. But really wish I'd taken this up 10/20/30 years ago!

  • Muscat and Rome - drool! That would have been brilliant. I have a conference in Lisbon next month but can't see any 'must do' places to run. But I do have a few hours stop-over in Charles de Gaulle so might just have time to get a train into central Paris and run along the Seine past the Tuileries Gardens and the Eiffel Tower. Then again, if I get delayed and miss my connecting flight, how do explain myself? I don't suppose everyone will be as understanding as fellow couchers (:->)

  • Yep - easy to underestimate. The normal one is 458, the multi-pack ones are smaller at 254 so maybe 350 is a good average. Can you see how I got out of that hole? (:->)

    I teach computer science so produced an excel spreadsheet that I've been continually tinkering with over the year. It doesn't look up the calories for me, but I tend to have quite a limited (but interesting) set of menus for which I have the cals counted and in a list. So it's easy to just look up the dish and pop in the number. But I can see the attraction of having everything in a single place and from what I read, that app is really powerful and well put together.

    But yes, it does feel good to lose the fat. I've only got about 2kg to go and in some ways am now starting to worry about what I do then. I got into reduction ode quite easily, but might struggle in switching to the 'unknowns' of maintenance. Whatever happens, running will help keep me on the straight and narrow!

  • Thank you for taking the time to write this out for me.

    I'm still !"off sick". I've had the flu, at least it must be the flu for 1 and a half weeks now. I'm left wondering whether I can carry on where I left off. My daughter reckons that I can but she's 21 not 55. I'm hoping to carry on where I left off which is Week 2 run 1 of b to 10k. We're booked to do a 10k run next month. I've already started to watch what I eat and will focus on this now and so hopefully this, combined with exercise, I will loose a bit of weight soon.

  • Very well done and you sound anything but boring ! :-)

  • What a fantastic year, I hope my jeans size drops that much

  • Great story and achievement. Very well done.

  • Well done you. Enjoy the new you and make sure you look in the mirror daily and smile.

  • it's been a few weeks since this thread. I thought I would let you know that I saw myself in the mirror yesterday and DID feel really good at what I saw. Still an ugly old sod, but a thin ugly old sod (:->)

  • Inspirational! Well done for all your achievements. Am hoping I can get off bp meds in the longer term. Still working towards graduation at the moment.

  • Hi. Thanks for your encouragement. I'm sure the exercise will help your BP. I was on 10mg Ramipril, which I think is the max dose. I went down to 5 then 2.5 then off altogether. My GP did say, though, that coming off is unusual. I started at over 170 systolic and got to mid-teens before going back to the doc. On each reduction in dose, my BP went up, stabilised then came down again within 2/3 weeks Now, 3 months after coming off medication, I'm stable at 112-118 most days. Occasionally into the 120s but nothing to be concerned about.

    As always, knowledge is key. Assuming you have a DIY BP kit, keep a record of your results so you can track them. I also record my eating & exercise,m& this helps me look for correlations. For example, a diet-busting blow-out doesn't just mean an increase in weight. My BP also goes up. The cool thing is that by keeping stats, I can see both weight & BP go back down 2 days later.

    Good luck -I hope you get that BP down by a whack!

  • Hi ...I'm like Knittyange, am hoping to help my BP, so Malcy you give me hope :)

    I'm also on the 10mg Ramipril but have 2 other tablets as well (BP did get up to 230/110) so I started C25K in an attempt to help myself. I doubt I will ever get rid of BP tablets fully but will hopefully stop myself having to go onto a fourth type.

    I am only on week 4, so early days yet, but my BP had given me the shock I needed to change something in my life. It is coming down ... just over the 150 mark, but I'm working on it.

    Good luck Knittyange, and thanks for the inspiration Malcy :)

  • Good luck to you too amsjo! X

  • Wow! That is brilliant. I will continue to monitor and see how things go.mines not weight related but do feel better when I eat a good diet. Am on 5 mg ramipril. Running seems to have stabilized bp to 140/90. It used to be more erratic. Fingers crossed there may be more improvement. Thanks again for


  • What a wonderful story. A magnificent achievement. You must be so proud of yourself, and rightly so! Thanks for sharing your journey with us. It makes us all reach for the stars.

  • Well done you. It's amazing how this programme and the support from this blog is working for people.

    In my C25k year I've lost 13kg, dropped 2 dress sizes, run Race for Life, Great Winter run and done 21 Parkruns including one in Australia. I'm still hoping to do a run along the Thames sometime but last few times I've been in London, it's been cold, dark and wet.

    Never thought of myself as a runner but I'm loving it!

  • Hi. Which one in Oz? I thought about one of the Sydney Parkruns - we landed on the Saturday morning the flight in was too late tomlet me get there.

  • Kawana on the Sunshine Coast just north of Brisbane. It was just across the road from my sister's house. it goes from the surf club up to Point Cartright lighthouse at the head of the Mooloolah river. Did the route a few times and never did manage to run the whole way.

    The photo of me on this site is from that run.

  • Wow - sounds so cool

  • wow - an amazing year - congratulations on all of your wonderful achievements and thanks for sharing with us - think I'll try and plan a few runs in exotic locations and a few shopping trips too ;-)

  • What a lovely blog Malcy xx

  • Wow, It is so nice to read about your journey! Congratulations!

  • Truly inspirational!

  • It was great to read ur blog! Makes my attempts seem poor in comparison. But I plan to carry on! Thanks x

  • What a fantastic achievement, Malcy - thank you for sharing the story of your journey so far. And how brilliant to get all those new clothes - in such different sizes! Well done - keep it up :)

  • Well done :)

    Also, is Princes St clear of building work for the trams yet? Haven't been to Edinburgh in way too long

  • Princes Streetis now open again. But from the West End to Haymarket is dug up. Want a funny story? Walked the two miles (just for the 'fun' of it) planning to get to Haymarket station, turn round and head back. You can only go down one side of the street, so it would be a simple case of going round the end of the barriers around the tram works, and gaily saunter up the other side.

    Except it was the Scotland v Italy rugby match and, even though there were very few people around at the time, the police were out to 'help' by stopping anyone going round via the station. Ho Hum. No point in arguing - tried asking police officers to use reasonable common sense (it's a long way back, why no signs way back to direct us, there's no crowds right now) but I could see a "breach of the peace" coming along the street. Back the same way as I came, telling myself not to get upset, to relax and, despite this, have a nice day. (:->)

    Which I did.

  • A HUGE inspiration and a lovely account of your last year. Whoever told you that you were boring was lying! Best wishes for the year ahead :)


  • Great blog, I really enjoyed reading it.

  • What a fantastic story. Loved it. You deserve all those news clothes. It really spurs me on. I have lost about 8 pounds doing the C25K, but am sort of stuck now. This gives me new inspiration to watch the calories more. Been thinking of this new fad, 5.2 fasting diet. Will see....

  • Don't worry about the "plateau" - there are reasons we all encounter them (mostly,as far as I can make out, statistical). The certain thing is tat you will suddenly drop a whack,seemingly overnight!

    The 5:2 diet has,as you say, gained a lot of credence since the Michael Mosely programme. I bought the book to take a closer look but it didn't tell me very much mor than the tv show. It seems like, over the week, you drop the same number of cals in two fast days as you would by restricting by -1000 each day. That suggests it's a case of which suits you best. But, of course, there are other claimed health benefits that 'conventional' calorie restriction won't provide. On the other hand, the study on which 5:2 is based used quite a small number of subjects & the jury's still out on the degree to which the results apply in general. I'm sure it can't do any harm though!

    Best of luck and keep us all up to date on your progress.

  • Well done, what a fab blog and a great achievement :-)

  • What an inspiring and motivating blog!

    It's brilliant to hear the difference C25K can make to people's lifes. Imagine the effect it could have if we could get the BBC to do a programme or article on C25K

  • What a great journey over the past year! Onwards and upwards! Thanks for sharing :)

  • That's so inspirational, especially because you've taken your running into other areas of life and I am totally sharing the notion that having running goals for fun help gets the weight down. Good for you!! :)

  • Brilliant to read about your success a year on Malcy. Thanks for sharing with us. :) It still constantly inpsires me when I read about my fellow c25kers. I can't imagine having had the success I have without the support of this amazing community and I can't wait to write my own 'one year later' blog in July. :D

  • And I look forward to reading it to compare notes - best of luck

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