Week Seven is over – Long Live Week Eight!

A very quick update here, as today is going to be rather busy…

OK – important update first.  I’ve weighed in a day early as I’m off on holiday for a week tomorrow morning, and have lost 2lbs.  That brings me down to exactly 17st and I’m really pleased about that.  To be completely honest, I’m pretending that my scales are accurate enough to track fractions of a pound and that I actually lost 2.1lb, as that would bring me into the realm of the 16st man for the first time in many years, but in reality, that will come anyway.

I’ve had a good week – I’ve eaten well and I’ve exercised even weller.  I think I’m probably right in saying that I’ve exercised more this week than I ever have in my life – four trips to the gym and a total of 220 lengths swum, so I’m not surprised that I’ve lost weight.  I can also see changes in the appearance of my belly as the weeks go by, and that’s a really encouraging sign.  It feels very strange and different too, and I keep feeling my stomach and getting used to the dips and contours that it’s starting to develop.  I’m a very, very odd person at times…

The main topic of concern for me this week is the holiday.  We’re off on an all-inclusive week to Cyprus in the morning, and that will be an interesting experience food wise to say the least.  It probably won’t be possible or practical to track my eating to the same level of detail that I’ve been doing recently, so it will be an interesting test for me to see how well I manage without that safety net.

I’m not going to let it ruin my holiday though – I intend to do some serious relaxing, and some extreme-reading by the pool.  I’m hoping to be able to get some proper swimming in while I’m there too, but that will depend on how busy it all is I guess.

Anyway, that will do for now.

Actually – one strange experience from yesterday to tell you about very quickly.  We had a Chinese takeaway last night, and I had a chicken ball.  This in itself isn’t that striking news – it’s happened before, and I’m sure that it will happen again.  What is striking news is the fact that I didn’t enjoy it!  It may have just been a particularly bland chicken ball, but I have a sneaking feeling that it wasn’t, and that instead, my taste buds are responding to all the decent, fresh and healthy foods that I’m eating, and I’m starting to be able to identify fat-filled crap for what it really is.  More on this story as it develops.

That’s all for me right now.

The Shrinking Man

I need to get me some goals…

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I’m not sure what my end-goal needs to be, and that I’m pretty certain that I don’t even want to think about something that far off right now.  That’s still true, but I need to think of some interesting goals along the way, as they might be really helpful in terms of keeping me focused and motivated.

This was triggered by one of the guys on the WW message board announcing proudly that he was no longer obese, and was officially just overweight.  I laughed, but I knew just how good that must feel, so that’ s certainly going to be one of my goals.  But what else could I go for?  The standard WW ones are related to percentages of your body weight – my initial target was to lose 5% of my starting weight.  Once I’d hit that one (which seems like ages ago, but was probably only three weeks or so) I reset my target to 10% of my starting weight, so I’m currently aiming for 16st 6lb, but I like the idea of having some less serious goals as well.

There was another thing that happened this week which really gave me a boost, and it was quite unexpected.  I could do my jacket up.  Now I wasn’t cold, and it wasn’t raining, but I tried to do a jacket up, that I’m not sure that I can ever remember being able to do up.  And I could.  That was a great feeling, and it even got a beaming smile from Mrs TSM too!

If I can identify things like that before they happen, then it will be really quite cool to tick them off as they happen.  Some of these can be short term and some can be long term I guess.  Current thoughts are:

  1. To become overweight! (rather than obese, but I like it without the qualification)
  2. To have to buy some new jeans because the ones I’m wearing are now too big
  3. To buy an item of clothing to wear on the top half of my body that has an L on the label but not an X or two
  4. To have someone who hasn’t seen me for a while notice that I’ve lost weight
  5. To have someone who sees me all the time notice that I’ve lost weight
  6. To buy an item of clothing to wear on the top half of my body that has an M on the label
  7. To need to redo the photo on my business card because it doesn’t look like me anymore
  8. To walk into a room and to not be surprised that I’m not the fattest person in the room
  9. To get my haircut and notice that my chins have gone (they’ve already diminished somewhat)
  10. To fit into one of the suits that I moved up to the loft
  11. To fit into the jacket I bought when I was much skinnier
  12. To buy a polo neck that fits and makes me feel good
  13. To need to buy smaller Fred Perrys to replace the ones I bought six months ago
  14. To need to replace all of my work shirts as they’re too big for me
  15. To hear someone describe me as “that bloke who lost all the weight”
  16. To need to get my watch adjusted because it’s too loose
  17. To need to get my silver Arabic ring adjusted because it’s too loose

I’m not sure how many of these I’ll actually keep in the list, but they’re definitely the sort of thing I want to be working towards, so it will do for starters.

The Shrinking Man

Nothing like a bit of moral support…

Just a brief update here, but I had to share a conversation that I had earlier today.

I happened to be discussing my progress with my good lady wife earlier today (alright I was boring the pants off of her with it like I have been doing for six weeks now) and mentioned that very soon, I would need to go shopping for some new clothes.

“Well make sure you keep the old ones” was her immediate reply.

Very supportive 🙂

Amusing though it is, it was quite an eye-opener.  She expects me to fail.  She’s probably not alone either – everyone that I know will also probably expect me to fail.  I’m still not sure that even I expect me to succeed.  That’s because in the past I’ve always failed.

My long suffering wife has helped me to sort through clothes and throw away the ones that don’t fit anymore a number of times in the past, both on the way down and on the way back up.  It’s not surprising that she expects me to fail really, but I won’t lie – it hurts a bit too.

Is that lack of self-belief what lies behind most unsuccessful dieters, just sitting there and waiting for the right moment to trip them up?  Is it that if you’ve failed once, you’ve set in place a cycle of expectation that’s difficult to break, but that seems to operate totally in the background?  The belief of others isn’t really relevant here – it’s the self-belief that’s they key I’m sure, but if there’s a total lack of belief from the people around you, it can feel quite isolated.  I feel quite isolated now anyway.

Not that I’m going to let it be a problem, but it’s really brought me back down to earth a bit.  I was flying this morning, and now I’m just a little bit maudlin.  I ought to make this clear – I don’t blame her at all.  It’s not the fact that she said it, or even the fact that she believes it that’s unsettling.  It’s that I can see exactly why she would believe it.  It makes sense.  It’s a smart move.  It’s where the sensible people would put their money.

Well let’s grab an annoying phrase from the financial services and misuse it totally:

Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.  Weight can go down and stay down.  And it will.

So there.

Laters.

The Shrinking Man

And we’re back on track…

Sixth weigh-in and 4lb off.  To say I’m relieved would be something of an understatement.  In fact, to say that I’m totally, completely, 100%, unbelievably, ‘think of just how relieved you think anyone could possibly ever be and multiply it by 10’ relieved would still be something of an understatement.

I’m grinning too, which is great, but I don’t think I’ve ever approached the scales before with such hesitation.  I circled them slowly for about 20 minutes (seriously) before I finally took the plunge and jumped on.  When I say jumped, I still mean gingerly stepped on, but jumped sounds a little more dramatic and on the whole much better suited to such an occasion.

Every fat bloke’s major fear is that the normal rules don’t apply to them.  It’s probably because it helps us believe that there are other ‘external’ reasons why thindom eludes us, but whatever the reasoning behind it, any setback is taken as possible proof that it’s just not going to work out for us.

Last week’s 1lb gain would, in any normal, rational mind be taken as a blip.  A minor inconvenience that couldn’t stop the march to the palace of the thin no matter how hard it huffed and puffed.  Of course that’s what I wanted to think, but it reality, deep down in the dark recesses of my fat mind, there was an ever-present voice that has been taunting me for the last week.  It’s sometimes difficult to notice the commentary that goes on in my head – I guess I’m just so used to it that it doesn’t stand out much these days, but it’s there all the same.  It’s not surprising that fat people have so much trouble losing weight when the commentary in their head (did I really suggest he should be called Sebastian the other week?)  can best be summed up as “That’s as far as you’re going – you’ve done ever so well to come this far, but you’ve reached your limit, and it’s back to where you started from for you”.

I have no idea whether that’s my conscious mind talking to my unconscious mind, whether it’s the other way around, or whether it’s something completely different going on in my head, but I do know that it’s got a lot to answer for, and has played a big part in keeping me fat in the past.  There’s a big part of me (no irony intended) that wants me to stay fat, and in the past, it’s that bit that has won.  Every time.

That’s quite a sobering thought to be honest…

Anyway, let’s summarise a few things right now, as there are some valuable learning points from this week.  First of all, a blip like a small gain is just that.  A blip.  If I carry on doing the right things, then all will be well.  I’m aware that in the future the blips might last longer, and I’m not sure that will be so easy to deal with, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.  Secondly, I’m just two and a tiny bit pounds away from being a 16st something man.  I still feel like an 18st something man, which is both weird, and a bit concerning.  I need to get used to this and start to feel like a 17st something man pretty quickly, otherwise I’ll have missed it altogether, and I’ll have to make the leap straight to 16st something.

That’s quite strange actually – I’ve lost 16lb so far.  1st 2lb of me has just disappeared, but because it’s gradual and because I’m so focused on the week by week progress, it doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved much so far.  16lb doesn’t sound like all that much, but when you translate it into real weight, it’s quite incredible that I could ever have carried that around with me.  I was looking around in the kitchen the other day for real-world things that would help me get a handle on what I’ve done so far.  We have some large bags of flour in the cupboard – 3lbs each.  They’re pretty heavy and I am now carrying the equivalent of more than FIVE of those less weight around.  I defy any thin person to carry that weight around with them and not sweat more than I do usually ;-).

Anyway, if 18st 4 to 17st 2 doesn’t seem like much, then 18st 4 to 16st something certainly does.  I’m looking forward to that quite a lot!

May the shrink be with you.

The Shrinking Man

Isn’t it strange…

Isn’t it strange that following last weekend’s traumas, I haven’t felt the need to update the blog at all?  Well it’s strange for me anyway – not sure it’s all that important how you feel about it, what with there probably being no-one who is actually reading this anyway 😉  Must do something to publicise this at some point…

That does raise an interesting point actually.  I made a conscious decision to make this an anonymous blog right at the start.  Partly out of the traditional shame and fear that comes with being a fat bloke, but primarily so I could write what I truly thought and felt, without fear of public embarrassment, worrying concerned friends or being concerned about how it would be taken generally.  Over time, the main benefit I get from the anonymous stance is that I can just write.  Dear public, it may come as a terrible shock to you, but what you are reading now, and in every post I’ve made is exactly what I was thinking at the time, put together in exactly the way it first poured out.  This blog isn’t edited for style, content, sense or anything other then general spelling and grammar, so what you see is my best, but also first attempt at describing how I was at the time that I wrote it.

I have told a couple of very close friends that I’m doing this, and even that at times I regret (sorry), just because at times I’ve found myself thinking “**** would find that quite pathetic”.   I’ve fought the temptation to take that into account, and will continue to do my best to be truthful for however long this blog lives.

I’ve set up a facebook page and a twitter account, so please follow me.  Over time I’ll get the blog set up a little better and get it integrating with the other pages a little better, but right now it’s all a bit manual, so sorry for that.

Anyway, if you happen to be discussing diets, weight-loss, fat-blokes or custard with anyone, feel free to point them in this direction:-)

I went out for a birthday meal last night, and made what I thought at the time were sensible choices.  It turns out that they were less sensible than I thought, but I’m not going to get hung up on that too much – I was conscious of what I was eating, and I did all the right things.  It just turns out that my actual subject-matter knowledge was a bit lacking, that’s all, and that will come with time.

That’s made me slightly less (for slightly less read totally less 😉 ) comfortable in the run-up to tomorrow’s weigh-in, but I’m not going to fret about it too much.  I’ve eaten sensibly and healthily for most of this week, and while I know it’s not as good as for all of this week, six days out of seven is pretty good, and the seventh wasn’t all that bad either.

If I lose some weight, then I’ll be happy – ideally I’d like to lose a couple of pounds, which would mean I’m moving in the right direction again after last week’s one pound gain, but even a pound would be great.  In reality, even if I manage to stay the same weight, then that will be a good thing, as I will have stopped last week’s gain turning into a pattern.  Of course all I can really think about is putting weight on, but I don’t really expect that will happen this week.  Not two weeks in a row.  Well if it does, then I’ll know that I probably need to have a good look at everything I’m doing, because that would suggest something isn’t going quite right.

Anyway…

Life goes on, and I’m smiling.

The Shrinking Man

That which I have feared greatly…

It’s Sunday morning, the sun is trying to clear away the rain, and I’m sitting at my desk with tears flooding down my cheeks.  I’m aware that this is a rather ridiculous state of affairs, but as usual, this is hot off the press, real life being played out before your very eyes, so you get the truth.

I’ve just done my fifth weigh-in, and I’ve managed to put a pound on.  This was always going to happen at some point, and how I respond to this is going to be absolutely critical in relation to my long-term shrinking plans.  I’m not sure yet how I’m going to respond, and what, if anything, I need to do, but I’m absolutely NOT going to do what every pore in my body is telling me to do right now, which is to give up.

First of all, there are a few reasons why this might have happened:

  • It could just be one of those things – stuff happens sometimes
  • It could be unfortunate timing – a persons’ weight can vary quite a lot over the course of a day.  (I know this to be true, because when I weighed myself at 5am this morning, the scales showed that I’d put on two pounds and not just one 😉 )
  • I know for a fact that I’ve eaten more this week than I have done in previous weeks.  I was deliberately trying to slow down my weight loss, as WW had advised me that I was losing weight a little too fast to be healthy.  To that end, I’d let myself go a little bit more than in previous weeks, but all still within my saved and earned points, so in theory, I should still have managed to lose some weight
  • I might be doing something wrong – I might be miscalculating some points somewhere down the line.  It is difficult to be exact in some cases, and I might have under rather than over-estimated.
  • I might have under-estimated my intake at the two rather sizable blow-outs that I’ve had in the past week, making them outside rather than inside my saved and earned points
  • I might be miscalculating my exercise points.  I’ve marked myself down as doing high intensity activity, which is obviously a little vague as a description.  If in reality I’m calling that wrong, then I’m not earning as many exercise points as I think, and therefore could have gone over my points for the week

I’m actually feeling  a little better already having written that list.  It’s a tough situation, because in the wider scheme of things, I know that weight loss or gain for any individual week means nothing.  But that doesn’t make it feel any easier knowing that I’ve taken a step in the wrong direction this week.

I need to get this clear in my head, because again, this is one of those points where in the past, I would have give in.  I need a name for these points – not sure what to call them.  U-Turn signs?  Something like that.  These are situations where all the signs are telling me to turn round and go back the way I’ve been coming, so that I end up safe and fat.  It’s at situations like this where there doesn’t seem to be any road ahead, but instead of turning round, I need to map out where I want to go and build my own road.  Or something like that ;-).

It’s an interesting situation, because this has happened at a time where I can put my hand on a number of specific potential causes.  This will also happen at times when I can’t do that.  Where I’ve done everything right, I’ve not made any changes, but that I’ve still put a bit of weight on.

Either way, I have to be able to deal with it in the same way, and find the questions to ask myself to make it easy for me to carry on in the right direction.  Right now I think these are the questions to ask:

  • Am I still going in roughly the right direction?  Yes!
  • Do I need to change anything?  I’m not sure this time, but I need to keep a close eye on how I point things and how I assess my exercise points.
  • Can I still be proud of what I’ve achieved?  Absolutely!
  • Am I allowed to be a little upset too?  Yup!
  • Can I use this to help me towards rather than away from my end goal? I think I can.

Anyway, I’ve had a set back, but I’m not going to let it get me down for too long.  It’s something that I can learn from, and I will take the sadness that I’m feeling right now and use it to increase the happiness at the next weigh in.

Have a good day.

The Shrinking Man

Chinese Buffet Blow Out

Went out for a Chinese buffet last night, and ate myself stupid 🙂

There are some positives and some negatives to take from the experience.

First of all the negatives:

  • I didn’t really think things through very well before I went
  • I didn’t stick to the plans that I did make
  • I ate way more than I really needed to overall

I know going out for a meal shouldn’t really need that much thinking through, but when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important.  Next time I go somewhere similar, I’ll try to keep the number of dishes to a minimum, as that will make it much easier to calculate before and afterwards.  Picking little bits of loads of different dishes makes things very hard to work out.

One thing that I had identified beforehand was that a particular danger area for me is around the starters.  They tend to be fried, battered, coated in god knows what and I absolutely adore them.  I’d decided that to get me off to a good start, I would pick out a few low point starters and then concentrate on the main courses, where I could make some more sensible choices.  I was still planning to do exactly that as I approached the starters section with my big Alan Partridge style plate in my hand.  I can’t really explain what happened, but I ended up with a plate full of unhealthy high-pointed crap, and very delicious it was too.

I’ve only been eating in this more sensible fashion for just over a month, but in that time I’ve gotten out of the habit of feeling totally stuffed.  I hadn’t really noticed that before, but it really hit home last night, and it didn’t feel nice at all.  I felt heavy, and bloated and physically uncomfortable, and I really didn’t enjoy feeling like that.

And now the positives:

  • I did my best to point everything that I’d eaten when I got home
  • As I knew that I couldn’t calculate or even remember everything, I added on a whole load of points just to be safe
  • Having gone overboard on the starter, I was a lot more careful over what I chose for my main courses
  • I did it all within a combination of my allocated, saved and earned points
  • While I ate more than I needed, I stopped when I’d noticed I was really full
  • I ate a sensible pudding at the end of the meal, despite the rows of rather delicious desserts lined up for the taking
  • Lastly, and probably most importantly, I carried on eating sensibly the next day

It would have been easy to just write yesterday off and not even bother to try and work out how many points I’d eaten, but I’m fairly certain that would be a recipe for disaster.  One of the cornerstones of the whole WW thing is that you point everything.  Good or bad.  It’s the truth and avoiding it will help nobody.  I think there are a few real positives that came from deciding to point it all when I got home, the main one being that I was able to see that even though I’d had a bit of a blow out, it was actually all within my allowed points.

Again, it would have been really, really easy to underestimate what I’d eaten, and there’s no way to be sure that I haven’t, but the decision to add on a whole load of points just to make sure was the right thing to do, and I feel quite proud of myself for doing it.  I was sitting with people who have some experience of the WW thing, and they all felt I’d over-estimated the total point count, so I’m kind of happy with that.

There was a rational decision making process going on after the starter debacle.  I consciously chose dishes that were low in points, and that’s what it’s all about – compensating for poor decisions with better ones.

It’s not a major event either way really, but I feel that it was an important day in terms of my learning, and I can tick a couple of boxes that show that I’m making progress.

Quite what the scales will say on Sunday remains to be seen.  I’ve done things within my points, but I’ve used my saved and earned (exercise) points to do it, and that’s not something I’ve done before, so I have to be prepared for there to be an impact.  Having said that, I think there’s every chance that I’ll still lose weight this week.

I will now go and worry about that for the next 36 hours or so 🙂

The Shrinking Man

One of ‘those’ conversations…

Just a quick update today – I mentioned this in a previous post, but it’s happened again, and I’m not sure if I should even be paying attention to it, but it really bugs me at the moment.

During a facebook conversation with someone who’s become a pretty good friend recently, we were chatting about the gym, as we both go to the same one.  We were discussing what we were doing there, and what we were trying to achieve, and she said that she was “in EXACTLY the same place” as me (her capitalisation, not mine).  Now she might feel that she’s got to lose a bit of weight, but we’re talking about a few pounds here, or perhaps a stone or so.  She’s at least 15 years younger than me, she’s fit and healthy.

IT’S NOT EXACTLY THE SAME!

IT’S NOT EVEN SLIGHTLY THE SAME!

This is quite difficult, because I’m not looking for sympathy, or understanding, but what I’ve got to deal with is not the same as what she has to deal with.  She’s fine tuning, and I’m rebuilding.  Or some other equally crap analogy.  Perhaps just recognition of the task ahead of me would be something.

I’m feeling sorry for myself aren’t I? lol.

I probably need to let this go, and quickly, but right now, that bugs me sooooooo much.

That’s all.

The Shrinking Man

An interesting few days…

Hi – I’ve had a couple of interesting experiences over the past couple of days, so thought I’d better share 🙂

First of all, I had a bit of a scare at the gym.  I was on the treadmill, and I was pushing myself quite hard.  It’s probably worth noting here, that this is all relative – what I mean is that I was alternating between walking pretty quickly and jogging slightly quicker, but believe me, that IS pushing myself quite hard.  Anyway, I was jogging for longer than I usually manage, and started to get a very tight feeling across the left hand side of my chest.  It didn’t hurt, but it didn’t feel good, and I slowed down quite  a lot to see what happened.  It stopped once I’d calmed down, and I was able to carry on with the rest of my workout, but it shook me up a bit.

I went to see the doctor this morning, just to talk about it, and he’s booked me in for some blood tests, but he’s not overly concerned.  Or at least I hope he’s not, as the blood tests aren’t for ten days or so.  The morbid side of me is slightly amused at the epitaph that sentence would turn into if he’s called this very, very wrong…;-)

It made me think about the way I’m approaching the exercise.  So far, I’ve been pushing myself harder and harder each time I go, and I think I need to take a step back and take things a little easier for a while.  I’ve been loving feeling myself getting stronger and fitter with each week, and at times I’ve felt absolutely fantastic, but I think I need to acknowledge that I’m not 20 anymore.  Not that I was all that active at 20, but you know what I mean.  Anyway, I think I need to be happy with exercising at the same level for a while and take things a little slower.  What I’m doing now is a massive step up from what I was doing a month ago, so I don’t have to keep pushing further and further.  Not just yet anyway…

The other thing I wanted to talk about was an interesting revelation that I’ve had.  This is another one of those that I’m sure the thin world already knows perfectly well, but it jumped out at me as something quite interesting.

Here it goes.

Crap food doesn’t fill you up.

At all.

My standard response to feeling a bit peckish when it’s not a traditional mealtime is to grab a snack of some sort.  A bag of crisps, or a biscuit or something relatively unsubstantial and unhealthy.  I’m a little more aware of feelings of hunger at the moment, and I’ve noticed that if I’m actually feeling hungry and I have some sort of snack, I’m still usually feeling hungry afterwards.  That means that I usually end up eating something sensible and more filling afterwards anyway.  If I do it the other way around, and eat the healthy, filling thing first, then the hunger goes.

There are two specific outcomes to taking the former route, one for my current shrinking life, and one for my former non-shrinking life.  In my current shrinking life, that means that I end up using points that I didn’t need to use, and meaning that I need to cut back somewhere else in the day to stay within my daily allowance.  In my former non-shrinking life, it would mean that I’d eat more and get fatter.  Hence the non-shrinking 🙂

This concept of there being consequences to my eating choices is still an interesting one for me.  I can eat whatever I want, but if I eat something that’s heavy in points (or calories/saturated fat in a non-WW world) at one meal, then unless I cut back somewhere else as a result, then I’m going to store those extra calories as fat, and I’ll put on weight.  It’s horribly straightforward when you look at it in those terms isn’t it?

Shall I tell you the truly big thing that’s going round my head right now?  This journey is not about losing weight.  Let me repeat that.  THIS JOURNEY IS NOT ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT!  It’s about learning how to eat sensibly.  When I do that, then the weight will come off anyway.  I’ve proved time and again that it doesn’t work the other way around.  If you focus on losing weight, you don’t necessarily learn to eat sensibly.  That means that as soon as you stop actively trying to lose weight, you put the weight back on again.

The Shrinking Man should really be called The Learning To Eat Sensibly Man, but it doesn’t sound anywhere near as good, so I’ll stick with the original idea 🙂

More soon.

The Shrinking Man

First Target Reached :-)

Right – first of all, I’m really pleased with myself right now.    I started this journey at 18st 4lbs and I tipped the scales yesterday morning at 17st 5lbs, which means that I’ve just reached my first target, which was to lose 5% of my starting weight.  This is what is generally regarded as a good thing.  I’ve now reset my target to 16st 6lbs, which will mean that I’ll have lost 10% of my starting weight.

I’m not sure yet what my overall target is.  I have an idea that it’s somewhere around 12st, but that seems so far away that I’m not interested in focusing on that just yet.  I think there’s an important issue there for fat blokes, as we’re usually encouraged to identify a very clear end result and go for it, but I think that approach can cause problems.  This might just be me, but setting a smaller target like the 5% means that a very small weight loss can still make a significant difference towards the target, and that can really help to keep positive.  I’ve currently lost 13lbs.  That’s just one pound under a stone, and it’s something I’m very proud of.  When measured against the 5% target, or the 10% target, that feels like a real achievement.  When measured against a total target of over 6st to lose, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never get there.

One of the key things that I’m preparing myself for is that the rate at which I’m losing weight will drop.  It will do soon, and it should do too – as I updated my progress online this morning, I was informed that as far as WW are concerned, I’m losing weight too quickly, and it’s not good for my health.  The recommended rate of healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs a week, and if you work on the basis that the lower figure will be the norm, the time that it will take to reach any target obviously increases.  If my target is to lose another 13lbs, then it’s OK to look at that and see that at 1lb per week, then I’ll reach that target in another 3 months or so.  That’s a long time, but it’s something that seems feasible, and it seems feasible that I can maintain what I’m doing for the next 13 weeks.  If my target is to lose another 75lbs or so, that’s difficult to imagine, it’s difficult to accept that I can do it, and it’s difficult to see a 1lb loss as anything significant.  I’m not sure if that makes any sense to you, but it seems very sensible to focus on shorter term, smaller targets right now.

I’ve had a couple of very interesting experiences in the past 24 hours that I wanted to get down on paper/screen/whatever you call it these days.  First of all, I had a bit of a binge evening yesterday.  I actually weighed myself a day early, as I knew I wouldn’t be near my scales this morning, so knew that I’d hit my target, and went off to a family BBQ with a big grin on my face.  I ate a lot.  This is actually a good thing in a number of ways.  First of all,  I’d saved up a large number of points throughout the week, and also earned a large number of points at the gym, which mean that even though I pigged out a bit, and ate more than I really should have, or even wanted to, I still ended the week with about 15 points to spare.  Secondly, I’m reliably informed by my good lady wife that even though I felt like I’d eaten a lot, I didn’t eat anywhere near as much as I would previously have done.  Thirdly, I still wrote down everything that I’d eaten, and pointed it all – that’s the point at which it’s very easy to stop writing it all down (as it doesn’t make fantastic reading) but I took it all in my stride, pointed it all properly, and carried on eating more healthily today.

The other experience was potentially more disheartening, but I am refusing to let it be so.  I weighed myself a day early, as I was going to be staying with relatives, but this morning I found myself in the bathroom, looking at my relatives scales and wondering whether I should step on.  The little voice in my head (did I really call him Sebastian the other week?) was giving me some very good advice, saying “nothing good can come from this – do NOT step on those scales”.  Of course, I didn’t listen, and got on the scales anyway.  Result?  According to those scales I was actually a full 6lbs heavier than I was the previous morning.  Sorry Sebastian – you were right!  Anyway, whereas something like this may have crushed me in the past, it’s not going to this time.  Had I put on 6lbs in 24 hours? Nope.  End of story.  It’s possible that my scales are consistently recording me as being 6lbs lighter than I am, but even if that’s true (and it’s just as possible that my scales are accurate and the other ones are wrong) then I’ve still lost 13lbs in the last four weeks, so IT DOESN’T MATTER!

So there.

Speak soon.

The Shrinking Man

The first really difficult day

I’m not sure why it’s been difficult, but today has been pretty horrible.  For no reason that I can discern, I’ve felt an overwhelming compulsion to eat on a number of occasions.  It’s a feeling that I’m familiar with, as it’s been a fairly regular visitor for as long as I can remember, and it’s quite difficult to describe.

It’s not a craving, or at least it’s not in any sense that I’d understand.  If I understand it correctly, when people talk about experiencing cravings, they’re referring to an urge to eat a specific food.  This isn’t like that.  It’s not a craving for anything in particular – just a compulsion to eat.  That’s what it feels like anyway.

From previous experience, I’m aware that all isn’t what it seems in this situation.  The compulsion doesn’t disappear, no matter what you eat, so it probably isn’t even a compulsion to eat at all, but that’s definitely what it feels like.  It’s like an itch that needs scratching, or an emptiness that needs to be filled.  It’s odd actually, because it obviously does disappear at some point, but I’ve never actually noticed when it goes, just that in the past I’ve piled food down my throat in response without noticing any relief from the compulsion.

Whereas historically, this would definitely have ended whatever diet attempt I was making at the time, I haven’t let it stop me shrinking just yet :-).  My immediate response was to grab a biscuit (albeit a low points Weight Watchers biscuit) but that didn’t change anything.  That’s where I would normally dive into anything that I’ve got in the cupboards and keep on eating, but instead I reached for the fruit bowl and grabbed a banana.  Oddly enough, eating something healthy seemed to do the trick for a while, although I’m not completely convinced just yet, as there’s another angle to this that I need to consider.

I drink a lot of diet coke.  And I mean a lot.  I’ve never tried to keep track of the amount that I drink, but I’m aware that I drink too much of it to be healthy, particularly bearing in mind the caffeine content.  One of the things that I didn’t have in the house today was diet coke, and I think there’s a possibility that a lack of either Diet Coke itself, or perhaps the caffeine it contains might have something to do with the compulsion.  It may just be coincidence, but the other thing that I did after I’d eaten my banana was take a walk up to the local shop (not a drive I hope you’ll notice) and buy some Diet Coke.

That suggests that there are possibly five things that dealt with whatever that compulsion was all about:

  1. That glorious banana
  2. The walk to the shop
  3. The Diet Coke
  4. Anxiety about not having any Diet Coke
  5. The walk taking my mind off of it

It’s come back a few times throughout the day, and I don’t have the faintest idea whether that makes it easier or more difficult to pin it down, but it’s been manageable.

What I do know is this.  Something that I can’t really define or explain that often happens to me, that when it happens usually puts a halt to any attempts to lose weight, happened today.  And I didn’t let it stop me shrinking.

This is undoubtedly a good thing.

The Shrinking Man