Starter for 10

Hello and welcome to “Middle Mark”.

This site is the work of Mark Hadley, a forty six year old, father of two, who has somehow managed to make a living as a web designer/developer for over 15 years!

I live in Sheffield in the UK.

I am a freelancer and I work from home. Over the years, and in numerous ways, my lifestyle as a sedentary computer based home-worker has taken it’s toll on my health.

I started this site to document my experiments to improve my health, work, and life, and I hope these posts will be useful to other people who find themselves in similar situations!

There’s more detail on the “About Middle Mark” page.

Okay, so let’s dig in with health.

I’ve been “middle aged” for a while now and like many people I try not to associate myself with it in any way – it has very bad connotations, well it did in the 1980’s, and those images are still with me!

There is one area though where it’s unwise to ignore the realities of age, and that’s your health. As you get older you try to brush off the slow accumulation of evidence that your body and mind are ageing and changing, and that you need to look after yourself better. You also live under the illusion that at some point soon you will actually do something constructive about it, tomorrow maybe!

At a certain point it becomes a very good idea to no longer ignore these things unless you want some serious health issues to start arriving at your door. I reached that point early last year, and I had all the classic middle age health problems…


At that time (January 2015) I weighed 14st 5lbs which according to the NHS BMI caluclator put me almost 2 stone (26lbs) above the top point of my ideal weight range – 12st 7lb (the BMI scale isn’t perhaps the most useful of scales but it’s a good starting point). I’ve struggled with my weight most of my adult life and tend to fluctuate within the lower/mid part of the overweight category. I have learnt about diet in some depth over the last few years and generally slip in and out of a roughly paleo/whole food philosophy with some good results, but never anything that I manage to stick to for longer periods.

Bad back

It’s a problem I’ve been dealing with for many years. Caused by years of sedentary computer work – sitting in chairs and no exercise. I’ve had three acute periods where I “pulled” my back and ended up lying on the floor in a lot of pain and unable to move much for a couple of weeks. I tend to have some level of discomfort most days, nothing too great, and I manage it by sitting in different places to work including a Swiss Ball, and a routine of stretches that help a great deal, but it’s still ever present.


Although at that time I had been walking a few times a week on and off for a couple of years it was nowhere near enough. I’ve never done much exercise, no sport, no running, no working out. So a couple of walks a week didn’t really cut it.

I also thought I might be developing more serious health problems. Everything was okay in the end but it did shake me up, so I signed up for the gym and have been going regularly ever since.

I usually go twice a week and apart from a couple of months last summer I have managed to keep it going for nearly a year.

So here we are now in January 2016. I’ve been working out pretty regularly for a year, I watch my diet – on and off, and I try to get out and have a walk a few times a week. Not a bad start. But also, it seems, still not enough.

In the last year I’ve lost 8lbs – hurrah! But I’m still 18lbs off my upper target weight of 12st 7lb. I do feel a lot better and fitter but not as much as I’d have liked by this time, so it’s time to step it up again and that’s what I plan to do this year.

I’m re-doubling my effort. Trying to be stricter with my diet, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of my workouts and setting myself some specific challenges for the year ahead. I’ll also be looking at home-working and health in much more detail – and I’ll be writing about it all here.