And for my next trick…

…I shall manage to do something else relatively unexpected.  I’ve done more exercise this week than I have managed in any of the last 9 weeks, and I managed to put on a pound!

Oddly enough while I’m a little disappointed, I’m really not that concerned about it.  I lost four pounds last week, and the week after a heavy loss is quite often a difficult one, both psychologically and practically, so it’s not really a surprise, but it is a little funny.

I also had a bit of a blow-out on Friday evening, even though it was within my exercise points, so perhaps the huge pizza might have had something to do with it anyway.  Stranger things have happened I guess…

No time to chat this week, so will say bye bye.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

20 weeks, a size 16 collar and an adjusted watch strap

Well what a week it’s been!

I’ve just stepped off of the scales following my 20th weigh-in and I am delighted to announce that I’ve dropped 4lb off this week.  That brings the running total to 41lb, so I’m just a pound off of having lost 3 stone in the last 20 weeks.  This is what is commonly known as a good thing.

It’s actually felt like quite a difficult week, so I’m really pleased that I’ve got such a great result to show for it.  I’m still having trouble with my motivation at times (although results like this will certainly help) and I’ve still got problems with my shoulder so I’ve not been able to swim at all either.

Having said that, I knew I’d lost weight, and it felt like quite a lot, so I’m not too surprised.  My clothes are feeling looser, and even clothes that I’ve just bought are starting to hang off of me a little bit.  I bought a new pair of jeans yesterday and I bought the same size as I did just a few weeks ago, and while they still sort of fit, they’re definitely looser than the last pair were.

My wife and I are off to a charity ball this evening, so I dusted off my DJ and tried it on earlier in the week.  It’s too big.  It’s not clown suit too big (as one of my other suits was referred to by a client earlier in the week – that’s the last time I’m wearing that one) but it’s noticeably too big.  This is obviously a good thing, however I’m not exactly flush for cash right now, so it’s also a bad thing as I really can’t afford to replace it.  I hummed and ahhhed for a few days about it, because although it would have looked quite large on me, I could have worn it.  In the end I decided to take the plunge and replace it anyway, which was quite an interesting response for me to be honest.  It means that I’m caring more about my appearance than I have done for a very long time, it means that I’m quite proud of how I look right now, and it means that I just want to show off how much weight I’ve lost.  Even though there will be next to nobody there who I know well enough for them to notice.  And even though I fully expect to shrink out of the new DJ in a few months time anyway.

The visit to the tailors was a really positive experience, and I hope you’ll understand when I say that that isn’t a phrase I often use to describe any clothes-buying adventures.  First of all, I kept choosing things that turned out to be too big.  And they weren’t the biggest sizes either.  I was genuinely enjoying this experience, and was starting to think that I might leave looking somewhere decent.  Trousers and Jacket chosen , I asked the man with the tape measure to check what size shirt I needed, as I know that ALL my existing shirts are a fair bit big on me these days.  All of the shirts I own are either 17.5″ or 18″ collars.  He measured me and said ‘16.5″ sir’ which was great news.  Then came the bad news.  They didn’t have a single dress shirt in 16.5″ collar.  He suggested a 17″ as that would probably be ‘ok’.  I said that I wasn’t interested in getting a larger size, as I was getting smaller, not bigger and asked to try on the 16″.

It fitted perfectly.  Get in there!  I’m still grinning about that one actually, and went out and bought myself a few more work shirts that actually fit as well.  I now can’t afford to eat for the next few months, which I guess might help anyway…

I’m told that it’s important to visualise how you want to be, in order to help get you there.  I’ve always struggled with that, and I certainly never considered the possibility that I would lose weight on my wrists and fingers, so my visualisation would never have been accurate.  I’ve got a ring that I now have to wear on my middle finger, as it actually falls off of the ring finger and I don’t want to lose it.  My watch has been slipping further and further down my wrist for the last month or so, so much so that I’m worried that I must look like I’ve got some strange nervous tic as I keep stretching my arm out and shaking my wrist to get it back into position.    I took my watch into the jewellers to get it adjusted yesterday, so even that now fits.

I guess the most satisfying thing this week has just been the simple demonstration that this whole eating sensibly thing works.  I had a bad week a couple of weeks ago where I put on a couple of pounds after a ‘letting myself go’ kind of weekend.  As a result, I didn’t panic, I didn’t move into Pizza Hut and I didn’t beat myself up.  Well not too much anyway.  All I did was got back on with eating sensibly, and oddly enough it all starts moving in the right direction again.

Anyway, have a great week everyone – and keep shrinking!

The Shrinking Man

19th Nervous Breakdown?

OK – very quick update this week, as I’ve neither got the time or the motivation to spend here.

I lost a pound.  This is good of course, but it doesn’t feel like it.  It’s totally understandable – I’ve not been able to exercise much due to a problem with my shoulder, I had some very good days at the start of the week, but let it go a bit towards the end of the week.  I ended up with something like 1.5 points to spare for the week.

Very, very down.

I guess this is where it gets difficult.  I’m very aware that writing this all down genuinely helps.  Perhaps that’s why I don’t want to do it this week – perhaps this is all part of the standard pattern of self-sabotage that seems to plague my every attempt to make long-term changes to my weight?

So perhaps I’m going to write it all down anyway, not that it will probably make all that inspiring a read (sorry about that) but I think it might be important for me.  Please ignore the opening sentence – this might go on a bit now.  Strangely enough I’m now smiling.  The power of the written word never ceases to amaze me…

It’s like this.  I’ve lost something over the past few weeks, and I’m really not sure what it is, which makes it really difficult to know where to find it.  I’m finding it very difficult to stay motivated to eat well.  I’m not at a stage where I’m looking to go and eat badly necessarily, but I’m finding myself saying “it’s only a few points extra” on quite a regular basis and going a few points over my allowance.  That’s a fairly substantial shift from where I was before, and I think it’s quite significant, but it’s difficult to know whether it’s a real problem or not, and most importantly of all, it’s very hard to understand why.

Is it odd to review one’s own actions in the third person?  If it is, then I’m sorry, but that just makes me weird I guess – I’m trying to review myself, my actions and my thoughts from an external perspective, because that’s the only way that I think I can be aware if I’m making any sense or not.  There’s not a fat person alive who doesn’t have a very well-rehearsed explanation on their own head as to why they’re the way they are, and I’d suggest that in pretty much every case, they’re deluding themselves in one way or another.  It all makes sense in their own head, but for every person who’s managed to convince themselves that they’re big-boned, or that they have a slow metabolism, there’s half a dozen people who know them well who know it’s because they eat chips for breakfast.

Anyway, I don’t eat chips for breakfast (any more 😉 ), I’m not big-boned, and I do not have a slow metabolism.  I’m just not good at eating the right amounts of the right foods to keep me fit and healthy.  But I’m getting better.  Let me tell you how I know that I’m not ‘big-boned’, whatever that actually means.  Oddly enough, I think it’s true to say that the concept of a fat skeleton is pretty much unknown to medical science, so that’s a fairly good example for starters, but I’ve got a better, more personal reason.  I’m buying clothes a bit more at the moment, and while they still have an X in them, they only have one, rather than two or more.  When I put on an XL shirt or top of some sort, what I can see is that while it fits me nicely over the chest and stomach, it’s actually too big for me on the shoulders.  That’s big-bellied, not big-boned.  And it’s a lot less belly than it use to be.

I took a break from this a few minutes ago to take a few measurements, as I’ve not updated them for a month or so.  I won’t bore you with the detail, but I’m losing inches over all the important bits, and I’m gaining definition on all the others.  My waist measurement is more than four inches smaller than it was 19 weeks ago, my chest measures more than three inches smaller too.  My arms, my thighs and my calves are between one and two inches smaller too, but they’re also so much firmer and defined.  I don’t want to be to narcissistic about this, but it’s really rather pleasant to look at your body and not feel repulsed by it all.  OK I still don’t like to appearance of my belly, and generally I look like an overweight man in his forties, but I’m looking a lot less like an obese man in his forties, and that’s a really, really positive thing.

I’m struggling to exercise much at the moment, partly because I’ve had a stupidly busy couple of weeks, but also because I’ve got a problem with my shoulder that’s taking its time to get better, and exercise has made it worse.

If ever there was a reason why this blog is important to me, then this is it – at the start of this post I was feeling terrible.  Downhearted, disillusioned and in despair.  I’m not exactly feeling all that great now, but I do feel a whole lot better, as once again, I’ve got a bit of perspective on things, having taken the time to sit back and review it a little.  I’ve lost a pound in a week where I’ve not been able to exercise much at all, and where I’ve not been as fastidious as I have been in the past.  That’s a pretty good result really.  I had a couple of fairly large losses a few weeks back, and it’s hard to then accept that losing a pound is a very positive thing.  If I lose a pound a week for the next year, I’ll be 52 pounds lighter – that’s three stone and 10 pounds.  That would be amazing, and would take me to within a pound of the figure that I’ve almost decided is going to be my end target.  But that I’m not going to talk about just yet.

There are a few things that need to change.  First of all, just because I can’t swim doesn’t mean I can’t exercise – I need to compensate for the lack of swimming by either trying other things at the gym – get on that treadmill and see how it holds up, or by just being more active anyway – walk to the shops instead of drive.  It all counts.  Secondly,  I need to be more careful about some of the snacking that I do.  I still eat a whole lot of crisps, and while that’s not a problem in principle, then it is in practice if I’m struggling to stay within my points.  Planning meals will help here.

This has been an interesting update for me, and if you’re trying to lose weight yourself, then I hope it has been for you.  The power of perspective is a wonderful thing, and whatever it takes to get it is worth doing.

Keep shrinking!

The Shrinking Man

The first real blow-out

Morning all!

I’ve written a couple of times in recent weeks how I’ve been amazed that even when I let myself go and have a bit of a blow-out, it’s nothing on how I used to eat normally, let alone on how I used to eat when I let myself go.

I can safely say that I’m amazed no more.

I’ve just stepped off the scales from my 18th weigh-in and I’ve gained two pounds.  Other than the three pounds that I put on when I was on holiday, this is the worst weekly result that I’ve had since the start.  I’m not surprised, other than that it’s only two pounds to be honest.  Diet wise, it has not been a good week.

I think in some ways I’ve been building up to this, and I think it will turn out to be a good thing, but I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a precipice right now.  I can peer over the edge and see a huge drop, but I can also feel the solid road beneath my feet.  I know that if I plunge off over the edge it won’t kill me (well not immediately anyway) but it’s a long, long way down, and it will take me a long, long time to get back up here again.

So what happened this week?  To put it simply, I just switched off for a few days.  I had a couple of days where I was still pointing everything, even though I was going over my points by quite a way, which was sort of OK, as I was at least aware of what was happening.  Then as a family we went away for the weekend to a family wedding, and I just gave up for 48 hours or so.

To be honest I’m not even sure that I ate as much as I would have usually done at a wedding before I started this journey, but I know that I ate more than I have done at any time in the last 18 weeks, and that there were no sensible choices made whatsoever.

There are positives to take from this – seriously!

First of all, there is more proof of how simple the whole process is.  If I go back to my old eating habits, then I will gain weight.  No ifs or buts, just simple truth, and I think I needed it.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been less and less stringent about how I was eating, and have perhaps ‘got away with it’ for a while.  This brings that strongly into focus.

Secondly, I didn’t enjoy it that much.  I enjoyed the freedom of not having to think about what I was eating, but I didn’t enjoy the bloated feeling that came with it, or the guilty feeling that was never far away either.  It would be fairly easy to get rid of the guilty feeling, but the bloated feeling would always be there, and I’m so much more aware of it than I ever have been before.

Thirdly, there was a fat bloke there.  Now I’ve often found it difficult to really see where all the weight that I’ve lost came from.  I’m not very good at ‘seeing’ myself properly, which has often been a big part of why my weight has crept up consistently in the past.  Anyway, when said fat bloke came in, one of the first things I said to my wife (unkindly of course, but I feel I can lay myself bare to you dear reader) was “well at least I wasn’t that big”.  Her uncomfortable response made it pretty clear that actually, I had been that big, and that four and a half months ago there would have been people saying to their partners “well at least I’m not that big” about me.  Well no more.  I looked pretty damn good if truth be told 😉

Fourthly, I’ve had lots of photos taken of me, and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed of how I look in them.  That’s a big thing.  Really!  Massive actually.  The fact that I’m no longer massive is massive 🙂

Fifthly, I’m back on the straight and narrow again.  Yesterday morning, at breakfast in the hotel, I had a bowl of fresh fruit and an organic low-fat yoghurt.  The day before I had a full fry-up.  I didn’t have to force myself to go healthy again, it was what I wanted.  I did have to ignore the voice that was whispering “have some baaaaaaacon – just a leeeetle bit of baaaaacon” to me (the accent in my head is as odd as it looks on paper btw) but that was actually quite easy to do.

Anyway, I’m standing on a precipice, peering down into the depths below.  I’m fully aware that the simplest thing to do, in the moment, right now, would be to jump off and fall down to the bottom.  It would mean no more worrying about what I ate.  Eating what I liked, when I liked.

Except there are other things that come with that picture.  I’d be that fat bloke again, and I genuinely, honestly don’t want to be him.  I don’t want to be the man that can’t properly cuddle his wife because his belly gets in the way.  I don’t want to be the man who doesn’t go near the dance floor because he’s just too big and out of shape to consider it.  I’m much, much happier to be the man who stands at the side of the dance floor aware that the only thing stopping him from joining in is his complete and total lack of physical co-ordination and rhythm. I guess one of the key points is that I know that I’d need and want to scale these same heights again, and it would be far, far harder to climb back up than it is to jump off and fly down again.

I still have a long way to go, but I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far.  To extend the picture slightly, I’m on the edge of a precipice looking down, but I’m only halfway up the mountain.  Behind me is solid rock, but if I look closely, there are steps built into the mountain that are going gently up and round it.  I still can’t see the top of the mountain, but I can see that there’s a simple approach to reach it.  It just means pointing myself in the right direction, one step at a time.  This week, I’ve slipped back a couple of steps, but that’s all.  I’ve not slid down the banister to the bottom of the staircase, and I don’t intend to either.

One step at a time.

The Shrinking Man

Tough week, but still it comes off…

Hi all:-)

Week 17’s weigh in has just been completed and I’m delighted to report that there’s another 1lb off, bringing the current weight to 15st 8lb, 218lb or 99.1kg.  That means I’ve hit my current target and have now lost 15% of my starting weight, so I’m now 2st 10lb, 38lb or 17.3kg less of a fat bloke than I was 17 weeks ago.  The new target starts here, so 14st 9lb is the next big step.

17 weeks doesn’t sound like all that long in the wider scheme of things, but it’s long enough for this to have become a way of life for me.  I’m quite surprised at how well I’ve adapted to it all, but also still quite shocked at how easy it is for it all to come tumbling down.

Let me tell you a story…

Earlier in the week I had to drive up from Milton Keynes to Leeds straight after work.  It’s at least a two hour journey, and I just wanted to get there, so I left the office, got in the car and started driving.  Actually, let me take you back a short step to just before I got in the car.  First of all, when I left the office I took with me the remnants of the biscuit tray.  It’s not big, and it’s not clever, but on occasions I take any leftover biscuits home for my wife and daughter (they get thrown out otherwise), so it wasn’t something I’d planned in any way, just something that I sometimes do.   I got to the car, put my bags in the boot, shut the boot and then went to take off my jacket.  The biscuits were in my jacket pocket, loosely wrapped in clingfilm, and I didn’t want to end up with crumbs everywhere, so I took them out of the pocket.  It was at that point that I realised that I wasn’t going home, so there would be no-one to give them too, which raised my nerves slightly.  I hummed and hahhed for a second or two as to where to put them, but so I could get away quickly I just put them in the drink holder at the front of the car.

Can anyone guess what happened next?

There were ten biscuits in that little clingfilm wrapper.  Eight oaty ones and two shortbread ones.  I know this for sure, because over the course of the next 50 miles or so, I ate one biscuit.  That was fine – I estimated about 2 points for that biscuit, and relaxed.  Not the end of the world at all.  I’d had a fairly large lunch, and would be eating in the hotel later that night, so would have less control over what was in what I ate, but a single biscuit wasn’t going to kill me.  Nor would another.  So I had another.  After the second biscuit, I managed to wait another 10 miles or so before I finally gave in.  I even considered pulling over and chucking them out of the window.  But I didn’t.  Instead, in an orgy of crumbs and clingfilm, I ate the last eight biscuits in less than a couple of minutes, and sat back, feeling mildly disgusted with myself.

It was an interesting scenario.  I had a few opportunities to avert that catastrophe, and my spidey-senses were tingling at every one of them, which is reassuring as it means that even if I’m not consciously aware of what’s going on all the time, my subconscious is trying to look after me.  When I realised that I wasn’t going home, but was loaded up with a packet full of calories, I could have just stuck the biscuits in the boot.  When I decided to stick them in the car (to save time? perhaps my subconscious isn’t entirely on my side here) I should have stuck them on the back seat, or in the glove box, or indeed anywhere except for the “right in front of me in the middle of the car where I could both see and get at them really, really easily” place that I chose.  I could and should have pulled over and dumped them out of the window, or stopped at the services and given them to a hungry looking stranger.

The most interesting thing was that I didn’t let it divert me from my goals.  I still needed to eat later that day, and it saw me flying past my points for the day (and almost for the day after as well), but I didn’t throw in the towel and pig out.  Instead, I chose sensible, healthy food that filled me up, and started to work out how to get myself back on track from the 25 points that I’d gone over.  In the end I didn’t manage to get myself completely back on track, as I finished the week 7 points over, but by cutting back a little throughout the week combined with a trip to the pool for a 40 minute hard swim, I’ve still managed to lose a pound.  Again, it’s a perfect example of the WW concept in action.  Stuff like this happens.  And it doesn’t matter.  What matters is how you then respond to it.  And I think I responded OK to it overall.  And I lost a pound.  That’s a whole guinea-pig!

Let me give you some highlights from the week!

This week, I have had to add an extra hole to my belt.  This week I have managed to get into clothes from Gap.  And probably best of all for me, this week I have managed to get into a pair of 36″ jeans.  And I need to wear the belt with them.  It’s difficult to describe just how good these things make me feel.

Anyway, it’s been a difficult week, but I’m still smiling, and most importantly of all, I’m still shrinking.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man