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Hello and welcome to my website. I am a British-born, naturalized American, living in California. Based in Los Angeles, I work as a correspondent for BBC television, radio and digital outlets, covering everything from US politics and world affairs to technology, natural disasters and Hollywood. I also host the Live Long and Master Aging (LLAMA) podcast. My special interest is the science of human longevity - food, fasting, exercise and long-term health. All views expressed reflect my personal experiences. I advise anyone considering adopting a new diet or fitness regime to first consult with their doctor. Links on this site are to my personal portfolio of audio, video and text. Copyright of broadcast works remain with the BBC and LLAMA podcast content with Healthspan Media LLC. Thanks for the visit!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

50 days into 2012. What next...?

It's February 19th and we're 50 days into the New Year already.  It hardly seems new any more. The weeks have flown by, although we're still in the depths of winter (figuratively speaking, for those of us in California) and summer holidays aren't quite close enough to get excited about. But what ever happened to those well-meaning January resolutions to lose a few pounds and live a healthier lifestyle?

On January 2nd I did a radio show with fitness trainer Alwyn Cosgrove, co-owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita.  We discussed goal-setting, time management and achieving results.

Listen to Alwyn's philosophy on training and goal-setting

Alwyn, a two-times cancer surviver, pointed out that none of us is guaranteed "the western idea that we'll work until we're 65 and then retire end enjoy it".

He added: "We don't know how long we've got, so don't put things off.  It's not just about looking better, it's about feeling better and being able to do things.  If you knew you only had 10 years left, what would you do with it? And how do you know you don't?"

Such talk focusses the mind, especially for those of us of a certain age. Next month I will turn 50 and he has my attention.

As of January 1, 2012, the Results Fitness scales told me I was carrying 21.6lbs of excess fat. So, challenge accepted, I decided to set an ambitious year-long goal to reduce my 24.5% body fat to about 10%, which I acknowledge is a huge change.  Additional challenges in the first 4 months of the year will be to compete in at least one triathlon (March 3rd) and a mud run (April 15)

My personal challenge also coincides with a group fat-losing effort at Results Fitness, involving teams of 5 people, over a 6 week period. We're already into week 2.

As it happens, I have never felt better, physically.  I've been doing triathlons, marathons and regularly working out for decades. I'm in pretty good shape, despite having one or two age-related conditions to contend with and a genetic predisposition (most likely) to elevated blood pressure. Thanks to medication, it's under control.

When I checked in on the scales at the end of January,  I had lost 4.8lbs of fat (a drop of 1.8%), which put me comfortably ahead of schedule, for my 12 month goal.   Weight: 188.5lbs, BF 22.7%

The triathlon training has been going well - I'm trying and enjoying a new sleeveless wetsuit for the swim portion - my least favorite leg - of the swim/bike/run.  Resistance training sessions, solo and group classes, number at least four a week.  The only hiccup has been a foot/muscle injury which has been frustratingly slow to heal. So my running training has been compromised. But the foot's improving.

So, as we enter the next 50 days of 2012, in addition to the above, my goal is to focus on diet. Not so much what I eat (though important) - but keeping track of it all and portion size.  Every trainer says we should write it all down. I've tried, for a day or two, but stuff happens and it's the first thing to stop.   So, maximum effort for the next 50 days (it's not something I am going to do for ever) - and when better to do it than a 50-day spell when I know I am going to be extremely busy with other things. Like the Oscars this coming week and then a week spent at the TED conference in Long Beach.  Then it's the triathlon. Oh and then I turn 50 - not so much a goal, but an inevitable milestone.  As I say, it focusses the mind.

Hope you enjoy the next 50 days as much as I will! Or do I mean years?

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