My Healthy Midlife Crisis – Days 22 to 28

Day 22

Calories ate: 2100
Calories lost through exercise: 673
Net calories: 1428
Exercise:  Swimming, 50 lengths of the local pool in about 45 min

Nice to feel that I’m back on track and doing well.

Day 23

Calories ate: 1941
Calories lost through exercise: 502
Net calories: 1438
Exercise: Ran 2.02 miles at an average pace of 10 min 52 sec per mile

Today was really tough (diet wise). I was busy all day, leading a PCC away day for our church.  It was great, but by the time I came home I was completely drained.  The day included being fed a big meal in the middle of the day.  So I had to be very careful in the evening because I had very few calories left.  But that was nothing compared to dragging myself out for a run.  I hated it.  Really really hated it.  I wish I could find words to describe just how much I didn’t want to go running.  But … I did it!

Day 24

Calories ate: 2096
Calories lost through exercise: 410
Net calories: 1686
Exercise:  Gym – 10 min on the treadmill, 10 min on the bike, 5 min on the stairmaster and a round of weights.

I was fed a wonder dinner by someone today. It was really hard to not have more (and I have to admit felt a little rude!  Which made it even harder).  It made the evening tough, as again I had so few calories left. So once again I have to admit, that going out to the gym later was awful. I found I was much, much slower than normal, and feeling quite sick. Think I might be coming down with something.

Day 25

Calories ate: 1823
Calories lost through exercise: 355
Net calories: 1469
Exercise: Gym – 10 min on treadmill, 10 min on the bike, 5 min on stairmaster, 5 min on rowing machine and round of weights

Sure enough I woke up with a sore throat (I assume because it did a lot of speaking on Saturday). I felt I am not feeling well at all.  A fuzzy head, not thinking clearly.  So getting out to the gym was hard, but pleased to say I still did.

Plus, it’s Day 25, which means I’m quarter of the way there!!

Day 26

Calories ate: 1946
Calories lost through exercise: 372
Net Calories: 1575
Exercise: Gym – usual round of treadmill (10 min), bike (10 min), stairmaster (5 min) Row machine (10 min) and round of weights.

Normal day of work and fitting in exercise. Fitting it into a working day is incredibly difficult, but needs to be done!  Still suffering from a sore throat and fuzzy head.

Day 27

Calories ate: 1987
Calories lost through exercise: 359
Net calories: 1628
Exercise: Gym – 10 min on tread mill, 10 min on bike, 5 min on stairmaster, round of weights

Still struggling with a sore throat, so exercise is still be a struggle. But boy am I glad I joined the gym.  For me it feels so much nicer in the gym than out and about.  Maybe when I feel a bit better I’ll try another run, but while this sore throat lasts, I’m sticking to the gym!

Day 28

Calories ate: 2067
Calories lost through exercise: 483
Net Calories 1584
Exercise: Gym – You know the gym routine by now, but for the record I am running further, biking further etc, etc.

Sore throat still there, but slowing improving.  The head was definitely fuzzy today.  But exercise continued!

Week Summery

Weight: 15st 8lb
Weight lost this week: 3lb
Total weight lost: 13lb

It’s definitely been a tough week, with meals provided during the day (making the diet hard, even if it makes the days brighter) and with not feeling well towards the end of the week.  Having said that, I finish the week feeling positive at the weight I’ve lost and still good to go!

Carole has also done brilliantly this week.  It’s so great to do this together, to be able to cover each other as we exercise.

Also, a number of you have let me know that these blogs have encouraged you to try to get fitter and lose weight.  I love that.  So many of us struggle with these things, so to know I’m encouraging others is a big boost, and letting me know encourages me right back!  Keep going everyone!

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My Healthy Midlife Crisis – Days 15 to 21

Day 15

Calories ate: 2095
Calories lost though calories: 565
Net calories: 1529
Exercise:  Swam 40 lengths of the local pool

My enthusiasm has returned. But I know this week will be hard. My parents are staying on Saturday. I have a very full day on Sunday. And will be down in London for the day on Tuesday! So this week will be tough!

Day 16

Calories ate: 1987
Calories lost through exercise: 503
Net calories: 1484
Exercise:  Ran 2.02 miles at an average pace of 11min 29sec per mile

Felt really pleased with my exercise today as I managed to run the whole first mile without having to stop and walk at all! I know that’s not a big deal for some, but it felt like a big achievement to me.  I also managed to run most of the second mile.  So definitely feeling positive.

Day 17

Calories ate: 1890
Calories lost through exercise: 383
Net calories: 1507
Exercise:  Gym – 10 min on treadmill, 10min on bike and a go on the weights

Really struggled to fit in exercise today. The fact the weather was freezing didn’t help either! Went to the gym, but soon ran out of time. Ended up very nearly being late to a confirmation service at the cathedral (I was so rushed I forgot the confirmation register and poor Carole had to bring the girls to the cathedral to deliver it!).

Day 18

Calories ate: 1919
Calories lost through exercise: 453
Net calories: 1466
Exercise:  Gym – 10 min on treadmill, 10 min on bike, 5 min on stairmaster, 5 min rowing and a round of weights

A good day and still feeling motivated.

Day 19

Calories ate: 2631
Calories lost through exercise: 547
Net calories: 2084
Exercise:  Gym – 10 min on treadmill, 10 min on bike, 5 min rowing, 5 min on stairmaster and a round of weights

Went down to London today for work (this involved getting into a ‘healthy debate’ with the Duke of York, but that’s a different story).  It unfortunately also meant completely and utterly messing up my calorie count!  I ate out, and then just surrendered in the evening!  My motivation completely deserted me!

Day 20

Calories ate: 2759
Calories lost through exercise: 848
Net Calories: 1911
Exercise – Swimming at least 45 lengths of the pool in roughly 40 min (it may have been 47 or 49 lengths, I kind of lost count!)

So I really struggled today.  The day started off well, getting plenty of good exercise. But, unfortunately, the day ended badly (in terms of the diet, not in terms of anything else).  I was meeting a friend in the evening and the calories count did not survive well!  I really, really need to get back on track.

Day 21

Calories ate: 1942
Calories lost through exercise: 434
Net calories: 1508
Exercise:  Ran 2.02 miles at an average pace of 10min 54sc per mile

It was good to get back on track today after two bad days. I really have began to notice the pattern that if I make bad eating choices one day, then the next day the exercise is much, much harder. The run today felt tough and fitting it into the schedule was really hard, as I had stuff in the diary for morning, afternoon and evening.


Weight: 15st 11lb
Weight lost this week: 2lb
Total weight lost: 10lb

This week has definitely been my first blip.  It would have been so easy to quit, but luckily the wonderful Rosie Goodwin asked me how the diet was doing on Facebook, and I remembered that I’d been sharing this diet, and so found the will to continue. So please do keep commenting and asking, sometimes I need the motivation.
Having said that, I’m pleased to say I’ve also noticed positives. Exercise is getting less difficult (I still wouldn’t say I’m enjoying it though!).  I can breathe easier and keep going better.
Next week is set to be a difficult week. Tomorrow (day 23) I have a cooked meal and pudding provided, I’m at someone’s house for dinner on Sunday (day 24) and I’m having dinner with the Bishop on Monday (Day 25).  There could be trouble ahead!  But I’m determined not to mess it up!  Wish me luck.

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My Healthy Midlife Crisis – Days 8-14

Day 8

Calories ate: 2180
Calories lost through exercise: 596
Net calories: 1584
Exercise:  Swimming – I swam 40 lengths of the local pool in about 40 minutes

I enjoyed swimming.  I also enjoyed getting my exercise over and done with nice and early in the day.

Day 9

Calories ate: 2236
Calories lost through exercise: 680
Net calories: 1557
Exercise:  Ran 2.02 miles at an average pace of 11min 23sec per mile

I really struggled to control my eating today, for some reason I really had a case of the munchies!

The run was awful!  As I ran through the park it transpired that there was an official race taking place, and suddenly I was surrounded by runners running twice my speed.  I practically killed myself because I didn’t want to stop and walk in the crowd!  Eventually I managed to turn down a different path.  As such I ended up with my best time yet, by far!  I can’t imagine I’ll beat it for quite a while!  Something else I found helpful was doing the run nice and early, it was nice to have the exercise out-of-the-way for the day.

Day 10

Calories ate: 1922
Calories lost through exercise: 347
Net calories: 1575
Exercise:  Ran 2.02 miles at an average pace of 12min 3sec per mile

I’m definitely starting to struggle with motivation.  It was a real struggle to get myself out and exercise. But I did it!

Day 11

Calories ate: 2168
Calories lost through exercise: 611
Net calories: 1558
Exercise:  Ran 2.02 miles at an average pace of 11min 58 sec per mile

Having learnt the advantage of doing my exercise early, I went running first thing.  But, like last time I did this, I really struggled with the munchies!  (As you can see from the number of calories I ate!).  Luckily we did a LOT of walking so the app on my phone took lots more calories off because of the walking.

Day 12

Calories ate: 1896
Calories lost through exercise: 408
Net calories: 1487
Exercise:  Went to the gym and spent 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the bike, 5 minutes on the stair master and a quick round of the weights

I’m seriously starting to feel the enthusiasm dip as it’s getting harder to get out and exercise.

Day 13

Calories ate: 2159
Calories lost through exercise: 440
Net Calories: 1719
Exercise:  Went to the gym – 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the bike, 5 minutes on the stair master and a round of the weights.

Today was the hardest day I have ever had dragging myself out to do exercise.  I got to the gym a lot later then normal and found it full of big muscled men and lycra covered women. And in comes chubby me!  Still I did it!

Day 14

Calories ate: 1969
Calories lost through exercise: 356
Net Calories: 1614
Exercise: Ran 2.04 miles at an average pace of 11min 11sec per mile

For some reason my motivation seemed to return today!  I was really chuffed after running my first mile in under 10 minutes! (9 minutes 31 seconds to be exact!).  Unfortunately I so knackered myself out doing that, that the second mile was really, really slow (hence the much longer average time).  But it feels like I’m back on track.

Week Summary

Weight: 15st 13lb
Weight lost this week: 3lb
Total weight lost: 8lb

This week was definitely harder than last week, and I’m sure there are harder weeks to come.  But I am finishing the week pleased with my progress.  I even bit the bullet and joined the gym today!

Only 86 more days to go – wish me luck!

P.S. Carole also continues to do well.

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My healthy midlife crisis – Days 1 to 7

Day 1

Calories ate: 2052.
Calories lost through exercise: 407.
Net calories: 1645
Exercise: Swimming – 30 lengths of the local pool in roughly 30 minutes.

Started with swimming. I’ve always liked swimming, so enjoyed it. The trouble with swimming is that half an hour swimming takes at least an hour out of your day, normally more.  So not really possible when it’s not my day off.  I did start to ache before I went to bed though!

Day 2

Calories ate: 2,225.
Calories lost through exercise: 538.
Net calories: 1687
Exercise: Ran (OK, tried to run, but did a lot of walking!) 2.16 miles at an average pace of 12min 56sec per mile.

Woke up aching all over!  I also realised something that shows just how foreign exercise is to me.  I literally have no cloths suitable for exercising!  Seriously, nothing.  All my trousers are either jeans, combats or dress trousers.  None of which can be used for running.  Most of my shirts are shirts or polo shirts.  This led to a trip to the shops, in which I realised I didn’t even know what clothes should be used for exercise!  In the end I picked something and my healthy midlife crisis continued.

Day 3

Calories ate: 2110.
Calories lost through exercise: 416.
Net calories: 1694.
Exercise – “ran” 2.06 miles at an average pace of 12min 31sec per mile.

If I thought I was aching yesterday, it was unbelievable today. By the end of the day I could barely move!

Day 4

Calories ate: 1907.
Calories lost through exercise: 496.
Net calories: 1411
Exercise: “ran” 2.02 miles at an average pace of 13min 19sec per mile (I know that’s slow, but I was aching so much a could barely walk, let alone run!)

Today I could barely walk! I must have looked like a demented penguin whenever I went up or down stairs. But I still went for a run!

Day 5

Calories ate: 1982.
Calories lost through exercise 260.
Net calories: 1722
Exercise: Went to the gym! Spent 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 minutes on the bike, 5 minutes on the step master and 5 minutes on the weights.

Less stiff and achy today. Still sore going up and down stairs, but much better.  I actually quite enjoyed the gym, certainly preferred it to running round the park.

Day 6

Calorie ate: 2100
Calories lost through exercise: 446.
Net calories: 1654
Exercise: Went back to the gym. Spent 10 minutes on the treadmill, ten minutes on the bike, 5 minutes on the step master, 5 minutes on the rowing machine and a circuit on the weights.

Day 7

Calories ate: 2077
Calories lost through exercise: 409
Net Calories 1667
Exercise: Ran 2.03 miles at an average pace of 12min 21 sec per mile

Week Summary

Weight: 16st 2lb
Weight lost this week: 5lb

The first week has been good, although getting used to the exercise will take time.  The hardest thing by far has been wrestling with the guilt of taking time away from work or family to actually do the exercise.  I spend most of my time feeling I shouldn’t be running, or whatever, but should be inside doing some work!  I guess that’ll get easier with time.

Of course the first week is bound to be easiest, the enthusiasm is still there.  It may be harder to motivate myself as time moves on!  Wish me luck.

P.S. Carole has also kept up her exercise, and lost 4lb this week.  It’s so much easier having her do this too.  Great mutual support.

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My healthy midlife crisis – Day 1 of 100

Today it begins, my healthy mid-life crisis.

I’m going to spend 100 days getting fit.  So here are the rules:

  1. I will be tracking what I eat – everything.
  2. I will be doing at least 30 minutes exercise a day.

Now my current situation:

Weight: 16st 7lb
Exercise: I have no idea – I don’t exercise!

To be clear, I’m too young to have a mid-life crisis, I’m only 35.  But I’ve been inspired to write this blog by a Youtube series called 100 days (see here).  If you’ve never come across John Green and the vlogbrothers, you’re welcome, your life just got better.  In the series they had ‘a healthy midlife crisis’ where they exercised, ate well and supported each other. But they had dietitians, personal trainers and lots of help.  Not to mention that John is a professional youtuber, meaning he can justify spending that long each day exercising.

I have a busy job, a young family and no help.  But I do need to get fit, so I’m asking you all to help me by keeping me accountable.  I will share each week how it’s going.

Last note – my wife, Carole, is also going to join me in doing this.  She has not given me permission to share her weight, so I won’t be!

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God – Speak Christian

The first in the sermon series about the meaning of different Christian words – this week we look at the word “God”.

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Happy Christmas

Some thoughts for Christmas 2016

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One last thing about Genesis 1

Dear reader,

As I’m sure you’ve now all heard, I will be leaving St. Anne’s this summer.  Next month I will write and tell you a little about the parishes I’m going to and in September’s magazine I shall write a few final words.  But for now, I thought I would give one last thought on the creation story in Genesis 1.

In my experience people seem to take one of two attitudes to Genesis 1:

  1. It’s what is written in the Bible, so it must have happened like that – I don’t care what science says.


2. Science has shown the world wasn’t made like that so the passage is silly and has nothing to tell me.

I find both points of view ridiculous.  I think the question of whether or not God made the world in 6 literal days is just a way of avoiding what the passage actually says.  In recent magazines I’ve tried to show two other things that the passage tells us.  I could write lots more!  So, before I go, here’s one more look at Genesis 1.

What word would you use to describe the Garden of Eden?  Forget for a second whether or not it really existed – that’s beside the point.  Instead ask yourself, what do you picture when you hear the phrase ‘Garden of Eden’.  I suspect many people naturally go for the word ‘perfect’.  Now the idea of perfect is a Greek idea, and means something that is without flaw.  It means something that cannot be improved.  It makes us think of things that are static, fixed, unchanging.  But Genesis wasn’t written from a Greek perspective, it was written from a Hebrew perspective.  Read the story again, it doesn’t say that the Garden of Eden was perfect – does it?  No!  It says that it was ‘Good’:

‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.  And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.’
Genesis 1:31

This comes from the Hebrew word “tov”, and it doesn’t mean perfect and static.  It means something that is moving in a particular direction.  Something that is dynamic and changing and growing and evolving!

Please notice this, in Genesis the world that God creates is not finished!  In Genesis there are stars and fish and birds and animals and they are not fixed, but moving.  The plants are called to grow and make new plants (Gen 1:11-12).  The animals are called to increase and grow and make more animals (Gen 1:25).  Adam and Eve are told to subdue and take care of the earth – to harvest the plants and look after the animals (Gen 1:28-30).  This is not a perfect, static, picture.  Instead it is a world exploding with life and vitality, with everything changing and growing and evolving to that every tomorrow will be different from the day before.  The world is heading somewhere.  The creation is pulsating with possibility.  And this is the world God declares ‘very good.’

Now, the name Adam means “the human one” and the name Eve means “the mother of the living.”  In other words these people are supposed to represent the whole human race.  And they find themselves in the centre of the beautiful, exotic, unfinished and evolving world and are basically told – “Make something!  Do something with this world I have made!  Enjoy it!!”  In other words Genesis is telling us that God creates humanity to be his partners, his co-creators in the world! (That’s the point of Genesis 1:28-30 by the way).

If you read Genesis 1 for the first time the questions you would have are : What will humans do with this world?  What kind of world will they make?

Which leads us to now!  What are you doing with your life?  What are you using your energies doing?  What kind of world do your actions help to create?  Are you working in the world the way God would want the world to go?  Or are your actions pointing in another direction?

Now I find that way more interesting than whether or not the world was made in a literal 6 days!

God bless,
Reverend David


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Original Goodness

Dear reader,

I know that not everyone who reads the parish magazine regularly attends St. Anne’s Church, and so some of you may not have heard our news.  I have been appointed the vicar of St. Andrew’s and St. Mary’s Church Wakefield and St. Catherine’s Church Sandal.  We will be sad to leave St. Anne’s, but we’re excited about this new step and eager to see all that God has in store for us. I will not write my farewells today, as I have a few more months with you.  I will save my words and good byes for a future magazine.

Instead, I want to talk about Genesis 1.  Back in the March Magazine I wrote about how Genesis 1 teaches that we are made of both dust and spirit.  That we are both physical and spiritual beings.  That we are made of atoms, atoms that replace themselves, the same atoms and molecules that also make up everything else.  We are made of dust.

But we also reflect and love and despair and dream.  We experience transcendence.  We suffer loss and heartache and brokenness.  We are made of dust, but we are also made of spirit.

I find this discussion so much more interesting than whether or not the world was made in a literal period of 6 days!

Now I got a lot of feedback about this parish magazine article, including the statement ‘That’s just one verse in Genesis 1, what about the rest of it!’  Now I could write a whole bunch of articles on Genesis 1, it is a brilliant, wonderful, subversive, revolutionary chapter.  (Maybe I’ll write another one next month?  We’ll see!)  So I thought today I’d write something about the whole chapter.

In Genesis 1 God creates the world, with a repeated refrain ‘And God saw that it was good.’  (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), culminating in verse 31 ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’

So God sees this world, the plants and animals, the sea and sky, the man and woman, and he declares the whole lot ‘very good’.  God sees men and women, together, multiplying and calls it very good.  God makes plants that can make more of themselves (Gen 1:12).  He makes animals that can make more of themselves (Gen 1:25).  He creates human kind in his image, and instructs them to work in the world and create in the world (Gen 1:26-30) and then he declares the whole lot ‘very good’.

Only in Genesis 3 does this go wrong.  In Genesis 3 sin enters the picture.  The relationship between people and God is damaged, the relationship between people and the creation is damaged and the relationship between people and other people is damaged.

Now to state the obvious, the Bible does not beginning in Genesis 3, the Bible begins in Genesis 1!  This is so vital.  It affects everything about how you see the world and how you see the Christian faith.

The story starts in Genesis 1!

If you start the story in Genesis 3, then the world is a dark, sinful place and we need to get out of here.  The main story is about removing sin.  If you begin in Genesis 3 then the important thing is that Jesus forgives you your sin and rescues you from this evil world.

But, if you begin in Genesis 1, then the world is fundamentally good, and the story is about redeeming and restoring this world that God has declared ‘very good’.  This obviously includes forgiveness and the removal of sin, but it goes way beyond it to the very ends of the cosmos!

If you begin in Genesis 3 then the fundamental posture towards people is telling them what they aren’t.  Telling them that they aren’t good enough, they aren’t holy enough, they don’t read their Bible enough, they don’t attend church enough.

If you begin in Genesis 1 then the fundamental posture towards people is telling them what they are!  Telling them that they are made in the image of God.  They are daughters and sons of a loving heavenly Father who spoke over them at creation that they are, at their original core, ‘very good.’

From the beginning this heavenly Father has had an unconditional, all-embracing love for all of creation.  This creator God is endlessly diverse and creative, making all things and declaring it good.  You are made in His image, and, no matter what you’ve done, or how bad you think you’ve messed up, you contain that divine spark.

As a human being you were created to be a co-creative partner with the creator God.  The world that He made wanting it to move forward.  Making the animals to make more animals, the plants to make more plants and the humans to multiply and subdue (read create in and take care of) the world.

Now we all know that we’ve sometimes gone against this movement.  Sometimes my actions have increased the evil in this world, and not increased the goodness.  We all now that Genesis 3 is true, that this world is not always good.  But the story starts in Genesis 1 – with a loud declaration that the world is ‘very good’ and that we are in His image.

We often talk about ‘original sin’, which I find a bizarre term, because sin wasn’t original!  Sin didn’t enter the story until Genesis 3 (now I get that that is not what original sin means, that instead it’s saying all of us are born with the capacity to be part of the problem.)  But if we start in Genesis 1 the emphasis should actually be on original goodness, because that really was original!

When we start the story in Genesis 1 the story is about how this world and we humans are fundamentally good and God is determined to put it right again.

Now I find that far more interesting than whether or not the world was made in a literal period of 6 days!

God bless,
Reverend David

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Esther in 5 minutes (ish!)

Esther in 5 minutes (ish!)

Watch the first of the series here:

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