2018 and Beavers

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So I set out at the start of the year to lose weight, improve fitness and to get outdoors more often.  Get busy like a beaver!  Approaching 50 I wanted to improve my chance of living quite a few years beyond it in good health.  I undertook a number of steps with some success although the last few months have been blighted by a knee injury.

Weight loss and food relationships.  Well this is the core issue, I was recorded as morbidly obese using the BMI scale (I disagree with its optimum weight for height and build but it’s a useful scale to pit yourself against purely as a marker).  Food was and still is to a lesser extent a large part of my life.  I enjoy food and I have enjoyed being over full.  This is key, being over full is not a good goal to have when sitting down and it has been achieved eating bread and potatoes as a carb/starch mix.  I love them both.  I have been asked numerous times by friends and family why I don’t bake bread because I love it so much.  My reply has always been if I don’t make it I won’t eat it or more accurately eat too much of it.  No willpower, I’m afraid.  I joined Weightwatchers (or WW as it’s now been rebranded) having had success in the past I decided to go for it again.  This time with some vigour.  They change their plans every few years and I started on the Flex plan.  It’s been great for me and I love it.  If I can recommend a winning solution with WW is to have food ready-made as much as possible, we freeze a lot of recipes so  we don’t have to work to hard to cook a healthy dinner and have lots of zero point snacks (fruit, fish/poultry protein) in.

Weight is one part of what I was trying to reduce I was also looking to change my body shape.  I’ve had success in both and that has included partying, holidays and breaks.  I weighed myself 07 Jan 18 and measured myself.  The scores on the door were;

  • Weight  19stone 8lbs
  • Neck     18.75”/47.5cm
  • Chest     51.5”/131cm
  • Stomach      52”/132.5cm
  • Thigh     27”/68.5cm
  • Calf     20”/51cm

I weighed myself again 24 Dec 18 prior to Christmas

  • Weight  16stone 2lbs
  • Neck     17.25’/43.5cm
  • Chest     45”/115cm
  • Stomach      42.75”/108.5cm
  • Thigh     23.25”/59cm
  • Calf     18”/46cm

The lowest in weight I’ve been has been 15stone 9lb but with visits to Berlin, London and pre-Christmas drinking has seen me add a few pounds.  I don’t doubt there’ll be weight increase after Christmas but I’m confident that I can kickstart my weight loss again.

Other improvements have been dropping from a 40” jean to a 36” jean.  Feeling better all round and easier moving.  It’s been interesting as I’ve tried to reduce my pack size when out walking and camping the biggest, and doubtless more beneficial improvement, has been a loss of the weight I was carrying up front around my stomach rather than the weight on my back.

I’ve got out more often and wrote about some of my walks and outings here.  I have equally been camping more often.  My work has me away most weeks in the month and I’ve taken advantage of some of the lovely areas on the Scottish west coast to camp.  It certainly beats some of the average to less than average hotels I’ve stayed in.  Certainly it’s given me a greater distance and recharged my batteries for home and for work.  A bonus all round.

I also took a Woodlore bushcraft course the ‘Fundamental’ course.  It was a great and busy week, again I’ve written about it on here.  I have been frustrated post course at getting out and practicing what I’ve learnt but my whole plan to get out more has been hampered with a ‘dicky knee’.  My knee has also hampered my indoor rowing.  Not good but there has been an improvement in the last few weeks after a steroid injection and rest.

So I consider 2018 a success, still with B, love her, B2 has grown up and passed her bronze award at dog training.  We got B3 who is a completely different temprement from B2 but a loving friendly little pup.  She’s a bit poorly at the minute and is off to the vet tomorrow but hopefully she’ll be fine.  Work hasn’t had the same success unfortunately but if home is right I think that’s more important for my life at the minute.  My Dad’s been ill but he’s home and seems to be doing okay.  Friends have had worse years and I genuinely do consider myself lucky.

On to 2019, the focus; maintain family life and improve my working life/career prospects.

As the year has drawn to a close 3B and I took a walk down one of our more common dog walking areas.  It’s along the banks of a river and I’ve been there hundreds of times in the last 10 years.  I haven’t been along there for about 4 – 5 weeks as I’ve rested my knee.  Walking along there yesterday I was very suprised to see a lot of evidence of beaver presence.  I’ve never seen it along there before and there was a lot of it.  The area sits between two other areas of beaver activity but is seperated by 3 – 5 miles if not more.  Whether beaver move that far I’m not too sure, I’ll get a map and measure it.  I’m reluctant to pinpoint the specific areas although it’s pretty evident when you see it.

Apologies for the photograph they’re courtesy of my iPhone.

I remember years ago hearing a loud splash in the river as I walked along the path in the early morning but saw nothing.  I wondered then and now if it was a beaver, certainly in my earlier videos you can hear them make a bit of noise as they enter the water.  This spurred my on to put out my wildlife cam again down at the previous site where I’ve seen them before.  I left it out for two nights, thankfully it was not disturbed by anyone and I caught a brief video of a beaver.  It’s a brief video and only a few seconds of the beaver but what was interesting was that for the full five minute video (it’s timed for five mins when activated) is that another beaver can be heard out of camera shot munching away on a tree.  These are some big trees and one or two will be ready to fall soon.

Happy new year to you and yours, may 2019 be all you want and more.  Feel free to follow and leave comments.

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