Posted in Weight Loss Journey

BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

Have you ever wondered what your body uses in calories for just staying alive.  Well you can work it out yourself.  There are many websites that have handy little calculators to do this for you, but the nerd in me wanted to know the formula behind them, so here it is.

Men – BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age )
Women – BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age )

The formula to calculate BMR is accurate for the majority of people. However, it does not factor in muscle to fat ratio, because of this, it will underestimate the calories burned by persons with very muscular bodies and overestimate those burned by clinically obese people. If you fall into these categories, you should use a formula that calculates BMR for your body composition.

BMR will decrease with age and increase with weight and height.

Posted in Weight Loss Journey


I have just purchased a FitBit One, and I must say I love it.  Basically it’s a small unobtrusive device that you carry around with you, and it measures your activity and gives you feed back, via the Fitbit website, on your progress.

It counts the number of steps you do during your day and the number of floors climbed, this is converted into a calorific figure which can then be added to your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), to give you a net calories burned for the day.  If you link this website with your MyFitnessPal website it will give you a net calories remaining figure for that day.  This should allow you to control you calorie intake, no matter what your activity has been like that day.

Another function of the device is to monitor your sleep pattern.  A good way to see how dieting is affecting your sleep.


Posted in Weight Loss Journey

Tips on weighing yourself

I have read quite a few articles on weighing yourself.  Here are the top five tips I have picked up.

  1. Always use the same scales.  Do not use other peoples scales or scales found in shopping malls etc.  They will almost certainly be setup differently and their accuracy will be different.  They may tell you that you have gained or lost a different amount of weight than your own.
  2. Weigh yourself on a flat and rigid surface.  A surface that has some flexibility in it will give a slightly incorrect reading on your scales.  ** If you have been on a diet for sometime, it may be advisable not to change the location of you scales, as this could change the reading.**
  3. Always weigh yourself with no clothing on.  Clothes can add a surprising amount of weight
  4. Always weigh yourself at the same time.  I weigh myself weekly on a Thursday morning whilst getting ready for work.
  5. Don’t rely on weigh ins alone, take measurements and photographs.  It is as much about how you look and feel about yourself as it is about how much you weigh.  Don’t forget if you are exercising as well, muscle weighs more than fat.

Good luck!!

Posted in Weight Loss Journey

Typical menu for a low calorie day

On a low calorie day it can be difficult to find inspiring foods to get you through the day, here is a typical menu from one of my low calorie days.  I don’t try to be too clever on these days, I have found keeping things simple yields better results.

Breakfast (Approx 100 Calories) – Apple, Actimel

Lunch (Approx 200 Calories) – Salad (leafy, tomato, light dressing), 100g roast chicken

Dinner (Approx 300 Calories) – Two pieces of low calorie toast (Tesco’s Danish), Pro activia spread, two poached eggs, 50g smoked salmon, Salad (leafy, tomato), Cracked black pepper and salt to taste.

Drink plenty of water, especially if you are feeling hungry, it is easy to mistake dehydration for hunger.

Posted in Weight Loss Journey

My weight loss journey

Hi everyone, and welcome to my ‘Weight Loss Journey’ blog.  My intention is to publish a diary of my weight loss so far.  I hope to be putting up a few recipes and other tips that may help others.

Here’s my story.

I am in my early 40’s now and ever since I passed my driving test, my weight has slowly increased and my fitness has slowly decreased.  I’m sure that many people in my position know the story, many contributing factors to eating, contented lifestyle, comfort, boredom, plus many more but they all lead to the same thing, you gain weight and become unfit.

At the beginning of February 2013 I decided enough was enough and I had to do something about it.  I had been reading and hearing about a diet that seemed to be working for a lot of people, ‘The Fast Diet‘ by Michael Mosley.  After some careful reading of the various link provided on the web page, I had decided that this diet was for me.

I don’t want to kid anyone into thinking that this diet is easy and the weight will fall off, but if you have a determination to succeed and can muster the will power then I thoroughly recommend giving it a go.  Of course it goes without saying that I am by no means an expert in diet/nutrition/medical matters or for that matter anything else that is discussed on this blog and anything you do, you do so at your own risk.

My target is to lose 4 1/2 Stones or 63 pounds or 28.5 kilograms.

To help me keep track of my progress I am also using the website My Fitness Pal.  There are some useful Apps and a very good forum that you can turn to should you feel the need.

Finally I would also recommend that dieting with someone is also preferable.  It can be a struggle on you own, with someone you can bounce ideas around and turn to them when you are feeling low.  I have been fortunate that my wife also wanted to diet so we have been doing this together and have both achieved similar results.

Here is my progress ticker, it is up to date as it is linked directly to the My Fitness Pal website.

Created by MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

Posted in Computing

Raspberry Pi, using different distros.

OK, I have been thinking of ways to switch between the three different distros that I am experimenting with on my RPi. Preferably without swapping SD Cards. This is my solution. I’m not suggesting this is the best way but it works for me.

First I got Debian working from an SD card. Then I connected a 250gb powered USB drive and partitioned it using gparted, as near as I could equally into 3. Formatting each partition ext4. This gave me /dev/sda1 (for Debian) /dev/sda2 (for Fedora) /dev/sda3 (for Raspbian)

Once I had copied the root filesystem for Debian to /dev/sda1, I changed the file /boot/cmdline.txt to allow Debian to use it, and rebooted. So far so good.

Next I booted from another SD card in with the Fedora distro on it and copied it’s root filesystem to /dev/sda2, changed the /boot/cmdline.txt to allow this SD card mount /dev/sda2 as root, and rebooted. This also works no problem

Finally I did the same with an SD card with Raspbian on it, i.e. copied the root filesystem to /dev/sda3, again after reboot all works OK.

One thing I did notice whilst the Fedora and Raspbian distros seem to notice when an SD card is inserted or removed the Debian distro does not, maybe someone can advise me if there is a way to fix this.

At this point I have got 3 SD Cards with 3 distros, all mounting a different rootfs from a USB hard drive.

Next how to get it all using 1 SD Card.
Currently I have setup small scripts on each distro to copy the contents of the /boot on the SD Card to a subdirectory, just in case it has been updated, and then replace the files in /boot with the ones I need depending on what distro I want. Not the most elegant way, but again it works for me. If anyone’s got a better idea I’ll gladly try it.

I hope this helps someone

Posted in Computing

My Raspberry Pi, one week on.

Well, I’ve had my Raspberry Pi for one week now………

…..and I love it.

The nostalgia that it evokes would have been enough for me, but it is also the challenge of getting various things working.

I had no initial setup problems, just imaged an SD Card with the Debian Squeeze distro, plugged in a keyboard, mouse, monitor, ethernet and power.  Booted up first time with no issues.

The first thing I did after booting was to update the firmware with the latest available.  To do this I used rpi-update from here.  After that I issued the two following commands.

apt-get update     {this command updates the package index files}

apt-get upgrade    {this command upgrades everything to the latest version}

After using the RPi for a couple of days like this I decided it was time to start trying a few things to improve the experience.  First on the list was Gnome.  Would it run and was it useable.  Well the answer is yeas and no.  It did run but not that fast, the CPU was maxing out almost continuously when trying to do the simplest tasks.  I tried a couple of things to give it a little more ompf.  Tried the different memory configurations, e.g. 224, 192, 128.  None of these made that much difference.

Next thing to try was creating a swap partition on a USB Flash Drive, but first I needed to get a suitable powered hub.  After referring to the elinux wiki, I found that my local PC World had this one in stock.

So £12.99 lighter, I plugged it in.  All seemed to work OK.  The only issue that I had was one that has been mentioned by a few, power being fed back into the RPi through the USB ports.  I decided to butcher an old USB extension lead and ‘cut the red wire’.  There are various thoughts on what is the best solution to this, I choose to ‘cut the red wire’ as I have limited knowledge of electronics, and cannot get my head around all the other explanations.

With the hub installed and working, it was time to setup the swap partition on the flash drive.  A very easy process, just used GParted to format the USB flash drive as a swap partition then selected Swapon.  The performance of Gnome was a little better but not enough.  So I decided to remove Gnome for now and just use LXDE.

Next thing to try was moving my rootfs to a USB external drive.  I just happen to have a 250gb one available.  Quite a simple task really, but I must admit I got some good pointers here.

Briefly.   Use Gparted to format drive to ext4, copy partition using rsync, edit cmdline.txt to point root to the new drive, in my case /dev/sda1.  The RPi is now booting from the SD card but mounts root from the USB drive.  I must say there is a vast improvement in performance now.  I may even give Gnome another try, although I suspect it is getting CPU bound so this may not help.  Roll on utilising the GPU.

Thanks to everyone at the RaspberryPi forum.  I haven’t posted much but I have learned a lot from reading about other peoples problems/ideas.