My Journey to Hunkdom
I have two amazing children, Alex (20) and Emily (18) and in October 2011 they had words with me that I should be taking better care of myself.
Due to the work I do, I lead a sedentary lifestyle, and throughout 2010/2011 I had piled on the weight. I was quite unfit, weighed in at 18 Stone lbs (261 Pounds), I found it difficult to walk any distance and was smoking my way through 40 roll-ups a day, as well as smoking a pipe!
I had talked to Alex and Emily about the fact that since I’ve reached my 50′s it was sad that I was losing so many of my friends as several had passed away recently. It was when they both pointed out that if I didn’t take better care of myself I might be joining them that it hit me like a brick, and I sat up and took note.
This also happened to be about the same time I was working on re-branding my www.ianmckendrick.com website. About that time I had also been sent some new photo’s of myself giving a presentation at a business seminar. I couldn’t use them because I looked so huge and sweaty, and when I saw this photo of me, with my big belly bursting out of my shirt, and the collar that I couldn’t do up, that I thought I looked like Jabba The Hut out of Star Wars!!
Something had to change…
I’ve tried dieting, and giving up smoking many times before but without any success, and I knew that if I was to succeed then I needed some serious, professional help. One chap’s name sprung to mind – A gentleman we had interviewed many times before on The Business Hub by the name of Andy Gibney who happens to be one of the UK’s leading authorities on helping people move their lives and careers onto new levels.
I gave Andy a call and let him know that I wanted to lose weight, I needed stop smoking and was looking to become a Hunk! Andy kindly offered his help and he began to put a plan together. He came over to see me on the 30th October 2011 to work his magic and we decided that it would be sensible for me to tackle my weight and fitness first, and sometime early in the New Year we would deal with the smoking. Here’s a list of the rules that Andy defined for me:
Rules to Achieve Hunkdom
- Drink 3-4 pints of water per day
- Regular meals 3 times per day
- No meals after 8pm
- Eat whatever you like…
- …but stop eating when you’re full
- Upload a photo of every meal
- Count the calories of everything you eat
- 30 minutes activity at least 3 days per week
When I started on 31st October I decided to share my “Journey to Hunkdom” with my Twitter fans and followers, and to do that I came up with the following 10 point Social Media Strategy:
My Social Media Strategy
- Maintain a tri-daily food blog
- Upload photographs of everything I eat
- Keep a public calorie count
- Track all my exercise and share publicly
- Group the conversation with a common Hashtag
- Find a suitable social network for “Fat People”
- Involve my fans and followers
- Make it fun and interesting for everyone
- Minimal impact to daily activities (automate)
- Build a loyal following for help and support
Maintain a tri-daily food blog - Upload photographs of everything I eat
Andy lives many miles away so it was impractical for us to have regular sessions together. So that Andy could keep a close watch on the food I was eating and the portion sizes, he wanted me to post a photograph of every meal I ate, so I set up a new blog on Tumblr.com called Ian’s Food Diary
Find a suitable social network for “Fat People”
Become calorie aware – Keep a public calorie count of everything I eat
This was far easier than I thought. I found a great social network for “Fat People” and I set up an account at www.fatsecret.com. FatSecret.com also has mobile and web applications for managing your diet, tracking your calorie intake against a goal, as well as keeping track of the calories you burn with regular exercise. the FatSecret site has great connections to Android phones, iPhone and iPod Touch, BlackBerry phones, FaceBook, iGoogle and the Firefox web browser as you can see HERE>. The iPhone / iPad / iPod App from FatSecret that I use is called Calorie Counter and you can download it for FREE from HERE>>
I have also set up my Food Diary blog to link each photo to the relevant FatSecret page. By simply clicking the photo of the meal it sends you to my FatSecret entry for that meal and you will see a complete nutritional breakdown of everything in the photograph that I’ve eaten – How cool is that!!
I also use the Tumblr iPhone App as it makes updating my food blog very easy and it can be done from anywhere. You can download the Tumblr iPhone App from iTunes store for FREE here>
Track all my exercise and share publicly
Another iPhone App came to the rescue for this called Pedometer Ultimate GPS+This App made keeping track of exercise a breeze as it used GPS to track distances, speeds, and calories burned – It even integrates with Twitter so I can tweet out summaries of my exercises and activities, and automatically include my #hunkdom hashtag!
Group the conversation with a common Hashtag
In all the Tweets about food and exercise I decided to keep everything together by using the hashtag #hunkdom. As you can see, just by clicking the link it brings up every tweet in my weight-loss and fitness conversations. You can find out more about Twitter Hastags from this great video by Lee LeFever Here>>
Involve my fans and followers
As you can see by my tweets and my Food Diary blog entries, I ask lots of questions, as well as instigate and join in many conversations. Since embarking on my journey I also receive many more private (direct -DM) messages from followers who want to become fitter themselves or lose weight, or who even want to help, guide and support me on my journey. It’s been such a massive inspiration for me, and I would personally like to say a huge “Thank You!” to those of you who have been, and are still out there helping and supporting me on my journey.
Make it fun and interesting for everyone
I tend to be quite conversational, particularly in my tri-daily food blog updates. For example mentioning whether I ate everything on the plate or not, or making my descriptions of the food seductive, romantic, or sometimes a little silly. I’m also very careful about the photo’s I take and try to make each meal look as appetising and interesting to look at as I possibly can.
I often receive private messages from people from outside the UK asking for more information on the food I’ve eaten, like Yorkshire Puddings, custard, mint sauce, Coleman’s English mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Maldon Sea Salt flakes etc. The fact I’m receiving so much correspondence really demonstrates the interest that people have in what I’m doing.
Minimal impact to daily activities (automate)
Through the careful selection and use of iPhone Apps keeping up with the sheer volume of output is really quite easy. The fact that the Calorie Counter App has a barcode scanner saves me an enormous amount of time for entering the nutritional details, calories and fat content of the food, and as the database is so massive and supported by so many people and businesses it’s been a great help. Up until recently I had used Co-Tweet in the evenings to respond to my Twitter messages but since this service has closed down I’ve now moved to using Hoot Suite
Build a loyal following for help and support
At the last count (January 2012) I had acquired over 500 new followers on my @Watercolourjrny Twitter account with fans and followers engaging with me on matters relating to weight-loss, fitness, well-being, and even food photography!
Results to date (February 2012)
I now weigh 14 Stone 4Lbs (200 pounds) having lost 4 Stone and 9Lbs (65 Pounds) and my waistline had shrunk from a massive 54″ to 40″ (having lost 14″) all of this has been achieved in under four months. With Andy’s help I became a non-smoker at the end of January and I have no desire to ever smoke again, however I’m finding it difficult to lose my total dependence on nicotine supplements but I’m sure I’ll overcome that hurdle in time.
I still have a long way to go on my journey as I want to get down to my ideal weight of 12 Stone 7 Lbs (175 Pounds) As long as I reach that goal by May 2012 I’ll be very happy. I’m now walking up to 12 miles every week, have started cycling, and very soon will be jogging, then eventually running. Rest assured I will keep you all posted on my progress. Take a look at my comparison photo below and you can see by my complexion, and even in my eyes at just how much more healthier and happier I have become. I’ll update this photo in May and let’s see where I’m at then!
The thing that has affected me the most is that I can’t get over the sheer volume of offers of help and support that I’m receiving every day from what were only a few short months ago total strangers. These people range from nutritionists to health and fitness coaches, as well as cooks and chefs who have offered that I pop into their establishments to try their “healthy food” options nest time I’m passing – I’ve also had several offers from Health Spa’s and Fitness Centres to use their facilities for free, as well as food photographers who have offered their advice on taking more attractive and seductive pictures of the food I eat every day. I know that many of these people are running businesses, and that some of them will probably be doing this to help build up their reputation and profiles as experts in their fields, but hey, if you’re in business, then that’s just how you should be using social media – isn’t it?
Ian is an aspiring watercolour artist, passionate about painting the world around him in watercolour and sharing his experience with others.
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