Weight loss in football fans from the Lancet

Being a fan has its health implications. While it’s obvious it’s nice to know that people are actually looking into how to make it a healthier experience.

Weight loss in football fans is a story assessing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the Football Fans in Training programme, a weight loss and healthy living programme delivered to fans in Scottish professional football clubs.

A shame though that the focus is less on what clubs can do to help their fans, making the process of supporting a team healthier. Instead it’s simply about telling people to get fit. the Football Fans in Training site does nothing more than set you goals.

Hmm, so you’re telling people that they’re big and should do something about it but it’s their fault. They’ve got to go for a run and eat less during the week so they can come and sit in a cold stand and eat a hotdog while supporting their team.

Sounds like a great approach!!! Am I too harsh? you tell me.

Dealing with stomach pains from dehydration

A problem with eating certain types of foods is pain in my stomach during or particularly after intense exercise or any other time I get dehydrated. It is a key reason why eating while or before moving can be bad for you

Fibre and dehydration causes pain

I’ve noticed it most when I eat a bran, high fibre, type breakfast and played tennis at lunch. I found it often hurt afterwards and my explanation is that the stomach doesn’t get much blood while playing tennis yet it is still digesting the meal.

I play tennis pretty intensely so my body is in conflict between supplying blood for movement and blood for digestion. In this situation of intense movement my body needs all the water it can get so  my digestive system removes the water from my breakfast for my muscles to use. This reduces the water content of my meal while it is still travelling through my body. With lots of fibre in my meal this can cause problems and pain.

Fibre needs water

The point of bran and fibre rich foods is that they don’t get digested by the body. That’s why they clean your system because they act like a brush. Pushing things along your digestive system instead of letting them hang around. The firmness fibre provides is important but is also the source of pain when you are dehydrated.

Fibre needs a lot of water to make your digested meal a thick soup so that the fibre can do its work without irritating your digestive system. When water is removed it starts to become thicker, possibly chunky. These thicker chunks can irritate the digestive system and become quite painful. That’s the basic reason why healthy foods can hurt your stomach and cause pain. Most of us don’t realise just how much liquid must accompany the fibre.

Drink water to relieve pain

The good news is that once I learnt this I rarely have this problem. If I know I will get dehydrated during the day then I plan my meals accordingly. If I do get pains that I’ve just described then the fix is water as quickly as possible. Since the pains come from dehydration then replacing water becomes an obvious solution.

It doesn’t matter too much what the water is e.g.

  • coffee
  • tea
  • fizzy drink
  • plain water
  • hot/cold

It just matters that you have some and have as much as you feel you need. You learn how much you need over time so it’s best to drink too much than too little. You’ll pee more more be in less pain.

A quick fix

It’s quite surprising how quickly this can fix the problem. Sometimes within a minute but always within 5-10 minutes I’m fine. It’s uncomfortable, sometimes very painful so it’s very comforting to know I have an easy fix available.

Now you can can understand now why I make sure I have water available whenever I can. 🙂

Everyday activities

Tomorrow I will explain how this knowledge helps me enjoy everyday activities more.

Why eating while moving can be bad for you?

Building on the idea that it’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it it’s important to explain the reasons why moving while eating can be bad for you. Knowing this can make sure it never is bad for you by empowering you to get all the benefits and not the problems.

Moving around conflicts with Digestion

Besides health and safety reasons like distracting you while doing dangerous things or encouraging you to spill liquids when you are working around high voltages its really an issue of your body finding it hard to move around while digesting food at the same time.


So it’s actually a resourcing issue. Moving requires more oxygen, energy, water and other nutrients which are all delivered in blood. So moving means more blood is delivered around the body. The faster you move and the higher its intensity the more blood that’s required.

Blood supply

The problem is that the stomach is generally the body system that requires the most nutrients and therefore blood. Moving is basically the only thing that requires more blood so these two systems often compete for a limited blood supply. It is why your pulse goes up when you exercise. It’s your bodies way of getting more blood around the body.

The same can happen when you eat, just at a much smaller scale. It’s why you often feel tired after a big meal. All the blood is being diverted to digest the food you ate so less is available.

This is why the most important factor in whether activity is ok or not is the intensity of the activity versus the difficulty of the meal to digest. This is about the size of the meal and type of food eaten.

High intensity exercise is fine when a meal is easy to digest meaning it is:

  • small
  • high in water content
  • low in bran and high fibre foods
  • low in protein
  • preferably liquified like soups, thinner soups preferred

Medium intensity exercise is preferred when your meal is moderately difficult to digest. Things like:

  • bits of softer food like cooked pasta and rice.
  • a medium size meal
  • thicker soups

Low intensity exercise is better when your meal is hard to digest. This includes:

  • a big meal
  • high protein content particularly tough meats like beef
  • lots of hard solid food: not liquified

I can see quickly how these lists can be misinterpreted so I’ll work on them over time. For now I hope their simplicity can be a useful guide. Common sense is always recommended, these details just complement.

Don’t challenge your stomach

The basic idea is that anything that’s a challenge for the digestive system will require more blood from the body. That puts it in conflict with the blood required by the movement system. If the blood required for both digestion and moving is greater than your body can provide then problems arise because one system or both won’t get enough. So either you can’t move as well as you like or your body can’t digest things properly.

The right balance

You must therefore find the right balance with the key being eating foods that are easy for your body to digest. That’s why liquified foods like soups and drinks are so good when you move. Your body just doesn’t have to do so much to digest them because they are already broken down. Reducing the challenge on your digestive system and thus your body and its ability to supply blood.

Stomach pains

Dehydration, whether it is caused by exercise or something else can cause pain while your body digests a meal. Tomorrow I will explain how I have learnt to deal with stomach pains from dehydration

Everyday activities

In two days I will explain how knowing all this helps me enjoy everyday activities more.

How to lose weight: It’s not what you eat but the way that you eat it.

An important reason I find it easy to keep my weight down is because the way that I eat my food is different than those who put weight on. I’ve talked about setting aside specific time to eat and doing nothing else. That’s one way but lots of people do that and I’m not talking about eating up side down either if you thought it would be something silly :-).

What I am talking about is of course something simple that anyone can do but the general advice from experts, until recently is not to do it. They were adamant that it won’t have much impact on weight loss. Have you guessed what it is yet?

The secret

Moving. Yep it’s as simple as that. Walking, dancing, playing. Anything that gets you physically active. Just try and move any chance you get. an obvious idea is to move while you eat, instead of sitting down to eat. Stand or better, move around.

There area  a few gotches though so I’ll go through a little of what I have found in my years of moving while eating. I do it all the time but I’ve spent time learning how to do it right.

I often move while I eat. Sacrilege I know but because I know sports science and know why it can be bad for you I also know how to make it work and get around the bad aspects so it won’t hurt you.

Burn calories while you consume them

The basic advantage of eating while moving when considering weight loss is relatively obvious. If you burn calories while you consume them then you’re obviously having a dent on your energy balance. Though this is no use if it is the only time you move or you move less at other times of the day as a result of moving while eating. The idea is just about increasing the opportunities in your day to burn calories. Make this effortless and the weight will simply come off. Sounds too simple to work but it does for me so why won’t it for you?

Over the years I’ve found so many situations where this works perfectly, complementing my life and even making me appreciate my food more instead of less.

I’ve been doing this for years without problems so I feel ready to share. I just need to explain why it can be bad for you so you can learn how to do it without problems too.

There are a number of reasons why eating on the move could be a problem. Firstly you should know the basics of what eating on the move means to me.

Health and Safety

I only eat while moving slowly and where it won’t be a safety hazard. As silly as it sounds its important to make this point.

Normal rules apply. Use common sense. If I’m doing something potentially dangerous like DIY I don’t technically eat and work at the same time. For example I will do some drilling, stop put the drill down, have a nibble or a drink, put the food or drink down and resume drilling.

I’m pretty safety conscious and I know what I am like when I am busy and follow someone elses instructions I can easily misinterpret things so I feel it’s worth being pretty clear.

What situations?

The main situations I eat while moving are while doing house work, particularly:

  • washing up,
  • loading the dishwasher and washing machine
  • cooking.

Though not while doing things where my hands won’t be clean like

  • hoovering
  • cleaning

I only do certain types of activities when I eat and generally it’s stuff that:

  • has low intensity
  • doesn’t require much thought

Enjoy the experience

That means I can focus most of my attention on my meal and thus fulfil the principle I laid out of setting aside time specifically for eating so you can enjoy the experience.

Kick back

These mundane chores are now a chance for me to kick back and do something I enjoy. My senses tune into the food not the boring task at hand. At the same time I get something done that needs to be done.

Multitask: Don’t add work more to your busy day

This fulfils the next principle of not adding even more work to your day. Quite the opposite. You have now combined tasks, eating and chores and burnt calories in the process. Achieving three tasks for the price of one.

Multitasking. That’s how I roll and why it works. Over time I have found more and more situations where this works and so my life has become easier and easier. Weight loss and the strengthening act of moving is built more and more into my day.

Putting it to work

Thanks for popping by. I hope this helps and please let me know what you do with this information. These points have freed up my life a lot. I just get stuff done and have more time for fun yet I’m much more active throughout the day. Though it’s taken time to figure out how to apply the ideas. Absolutely get in tough if you want to know more.

Want more?

This is the first in a series of posts on weightloss. If you like this then checkout the other articles listed below.

How to exercise more in normal life. Toddlers and Ikea part two

Following up last week’s visit we went back today to get one of the items we saw last week.

It was another good time. Much less effort this time since we knew what we wanted.

I took the stuff to the car and loaded it while my life and little one got their food.

Worked like clockwork really.

  • He was entertained. 
    • He loved it. 
    • He liked their toys in the restaurant. 
    • Once he finished his dinner he had great fun pulling around a truck he found.
  • We got out got stuff done
    • freed up the weekend
    • can build it while watching the Australian Open 🙂
  • Hassle free. 
    • it was virtually empty
    • No queueing
    • Parked right out front.
    • Plenty of seats in the restaurant
It’s not the biggest deal but options like this can really make the difference in a busy week with a toddler. I can see how we can sort out the living room over time without it being a huge chore. 
Of course finding the actual stuff in the Ikea warehouse is the real challenge but that’s just IKEA isn’t it 🙂

What can snooker tell us about obesity? Yes, it might actually have health benefits part two

If you haven’t already Read Part one of this three part series.

Snooker is physically a much more accessible sport than most others. Few people cannot play pool or snooker. That’s a very good thing because many who struggle with their weight do so because they can’t relate to the role models out there. In snooker I just see normal guys. Not superfit athletes pounding the pavement but guys walking around a table and standing around most of the day.

In part two I look at just why snooker could help you understand how to create a calorie deficit through normal life.

What can snooker tell us about obesity? Yes, it might actually have health benefits part one

Snooker is probably the last sport that you would consider to be in any way healthy, let alone teach you anything weight loss or how it prevent obesity. I was so surprised myself when I realised something very basic about snooker.

I cannot name a single snooker number one or world champion that had serious trouble with their weight during their triumphs.

Find out why I think this happens and how it can help you in part one of What can snooker tell us about obesity over on my other blog the competitive urge.