My name’s Dave Baird, I’m English, but have been living in Brussels, Belgium for the last 13 years. I’m 46 years old and married to Charlotte, who’s Danish; we have three kids: Summer Elise, Elanor Rose & William.
I work as a freelance IT Project Manager, currently at the European Commission, so most of my day is spent on my backside (although I do try to get up from my desk as much as I can and although I work on the 5th floor I rarely use the elevator).
Back in the 90′s I was quite a fitness fanatic, but after breaking my leg badly playing football my physical condition slowly deteriorated and middle-age spread crept up unnoticed and mugged me.
About five years back I read a great book Everything You Need to Know About Fat Loss by Chris Aceto. This book wasn’t great in terms of prose – Chris is a bodybuilder, not an author – but it was packed with pretty clear guidelines on how to eat to lose fat without sacrificing muscle. In essence it was a moderate carb diet with high protein and low fat. The biggest challenge for me was that it went against all the dogma I’d learned during my fitness years, the conventional wisdom of “healthy whole grains”. Nevertheless, I followed the guidelines of cutting carbs, avoiding fats and counting calories to produce a small deficit versus my Basal Metabolic Rate needs.
The diet worked. In ten weeks I lost 9 kilos, dropping from 94 to 85 – according to the scales I had back then… This was done without too much hardship and with a paper diary for tracking the calories (these were the days just before the new generation of iPhones and although I had a QTEK 9090, the calorie tracking software was as clunky as hell). The biggest changes I made at that time were dropping most bread from my diet and stopping beer – both foods, along with potatoes, that I consider my favourite.
Fast-forward to 2011 and all that weight has crept back on and I’m 94 kilos again, eating way too much carbs and drinking myself into oblivion most weekends; it was time for action. Enter Atkins.
Like many others I regarded The Atkins Diet as quackery, but like most this was based on pre-conception and prejudice; I was looking for a quick-fix, so I decided to have a go. I bought and read the book A New Atkins for a New You and commenced. It was quite tricky to track the carbs, I found the iPhone app Low Carb Diet Assistant invaluable in this respect, although the whole carb-tracking malarkey isn’t the funniest thing to do…
My starting weight dropped to 89 kilos and then my scales broke (insert joke here) and I purchased some Withings WiFi Scales – not the cheapest scales around, but very nice design, accurate, nerdy as hell and incredibly motivating to have your weight tracked on your iPhone. The only problem was that they weighed me quite differently from the previous scales and as there was a week or so before they were delivered I couldn’t tell you accurately the delta; my best guess was about 5 kilos – I was weighing about 89 when the previous broke and 93.5 on the new. When I started the Atkins I was 94 on the old scales, ergo I was 98/99 kilos actually!!
A couple of blips along the way, but I was really into the swing of it from March – June, helped by a little food-poisoning that dropped me below 88 for a few days. Then work got a bit stressy at the beginning of June, I ended up having to take a sandwich at my desk for lunch which spread to eating bread at work, the beer started again and went to excess very quickly – 2 kilos put back on before I stopped the rot about two weeks ago, since when it has started to improve again.
Which brings us to today, 13th August 2012, and the start of this blog.