A sigh of relief and a promise to try harder…

Morning all :-).

Weigh-in number 25 has just been completed, and I’m actually a little relieved to report that I’ve stayed the same. I’ve not had the best of weeks and was expecting to either STS or to put a little on, so the STS is just fine to be honest.

On a brighter note, I bought myself a new Fred Perry polo shirt on Friday, and it didn’t have any Xs on the label. It just had an L. And it fitted!!!! This is indeed extremely good news, and it’s difficult to put into words just how good I feel about it. When I started this journey, I was just fitting in to XXL Fred Perry polo shirts and I’m now fitting comfortably into L ones.

On a slightly less-brighter note, at the same time I also discovered one of the slightly less positive aspects of this weight-loss thing, albeit one that I have to make sure is a temporary one. It’s a white top and by it’s very nature slightly see through. That means that it really shows off what I can only describe as the rather shapely pair of breasts that I seem to have managed to grow as I’ve lost bulk on my top half. Grow isn’t the right word – it’s as if some pope or other had said to Michelangelo “start with this big lump, and chip away bit by bit until you’ve got some nice floppy bits left over. And make sure it’s embarrassing for him OK?”

It’s only temporary, but it’s a combination of amusing, embarrassing and frustrating right now, and if they didn’t look so appealing I’d be distraught. Can you see now why I’m doing this anonymously?

Anyway, I also managed to fit into a Gap L shirt, which again is a major victory, as before I started this I couldn’t even get into a single item of gap clothing, and now I’m leaving their XL range behind. Just to prove it to myself, I brought some XL T-Shirts, and they’re without doubt too big. I’m probably not quite small enough for the Ls yet, but give it time…

I’ve had an odd time with the whole food control thing this week – at times it’s been just second nature to eat properly, but for the majority of the week I feel like I’ve been battling with myself a bit. I’ve eaten a lot of crap, and have struggled (and failed) to stay within my points on a number of occasions. When you combine that with just a single trip to the gym, due to a combination of general laziness, bad planning and actually being quite busy, you can probably see why an STS works out just fine for me this week.

It’s difficult to describe why it’s been quite so difficult, but let me have a go. I’m deliberately not saying “get thee behind me Satan” every time I feel like eating a bag of crisps, or some midget gems (insert salivating smiley here), partly because that’s not much fun, but mainly because I don’t think it’s realistic to try to banish all the bad stuff from my diet completely. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to say “well while I’m losing weight I won’t have them, but once I’m a more sensible weight then it won’t be so important and I can eat them again. I’ve been there in the past, and each time all that happens is that those foods become the trigger for a rapid return to former eating patterns and then by default to renewed weight gain.

All I want to do is to learn to eat those things sensibly some of the time. I know that must seem like a ridiculous statement to the thin-people amongst you, and I feel quite pathetic writing that I need to learn how not to eat like an idiot, but it’s true. There is definitely some learning/re-education/un-learning required here.

For me at the moment it seems to go like this:

I eat some rubbish food, because I want to be able to eat some rubbish food. That should always be fine – I can eat what I want, but there are consequences to eating that rubbish, which is basically that I’ll have to reduce what I eat later on to compensate. When it comes to it though, I’m currently struggling to do the balancing act properly – I’m eating rubbish, but then resisting the desire to compensate for it afterwards, which is why I’ve not lost any weight this week.

There are some really interesting things going on in my head right now, and so far I’ve not been able to pick my way through them properly. I’ve not reached any conclusions just yet, but I’m very conscious that there may be some very unconscious self-sabotage going on here. I’m not sure I could provide a sensible reason why I might be sabotaging myself, but I guess fear of change, and the desire for the safety of “how things used to be” could be enough to drive it. Whatever it is, it’s fascinating to be reminded that however much my conscious mind and activities may be aligned towards weight-loss, my unconscious mind has the power to unsettle it if I let it. My head hurts.

Anyway, all the target stuff from last week still stands – I need to drop another three pounds to hit the 14st something mark, and I’ve got another half a stone to go before I’ll have lost 20% of my starting weight. All these things will come to pass – this week is but a barnacle on a blip of an inkling of a setback. Or something better written than that 🙂

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

24 Weeks! That’s a whole lotta shrinking!

Morning everyone 🙂

Week 24 weigh just completed, and I’m pleased to report that the shrinking continues with a further 1lb off.  I know I’ve talked a lot about the struggle to accept that losing something as seemingly insignificant as a pound is a good thing, but I think I’m actually pretty much there.  To be honest, as long as the scales are moving in the right direction over time, then I’m happy, and can just get on with life.

It’s the second week on the all-new Weight Watchers ProPoints programme, and it’s been hard work, but I lost weight again, so it’s clearly working.  I spent an interesting hour in the supermarket earlier in the week as it felt like I was starting from scratch.  Over the past months I’ve educated myself pretty well over the sort of food choices I should be making, and have tried to make sure that I can estimate the points value of pretty much everything that I buy before I buy it.  I’ve also got into the habit of buying a fair few Weight Watchers branded products on each shopping trip, along with a few supermarket own-brand products that also have points values on them on most occasions as well.  This time everything was different.  I had absolutely no way of calculating the points values of an single item of food in the shop, and every product that had a ‘points’ total on it was incorrect as it showed the old points value rather than the new one.  The odd thing was, I found it quite a fun experience.  On the one hand, I was able to punish WW for mucking me about, by choosing not to buy any of their products.  On the other hand, because I had absolutely no guidance whatsoever, I was on my own, and ended up filling my trolley with mainly unprocessed, simple food.  This has to be a good thing, but I doubt it was what was in the minds of the WW people when they introduced the new system.

I can’t help thinking that WW have really shot themselves in the foot here.  In the absence of any sensible reason from them for the wholesale changes they’ve made, the general conclusion amongst the WW community seems to be this:

  • WW’s points system had become pretty much common currency amongst dieters.  They’d become part of the everyday fabric of life for many, many people
  • Large numbers of those people weren’t giving any money to WW to attend classes, or follow the system at home.  They were just using the WW principles to manage their lives and waistlines
  • Other food manufacturers were also using WW points values on their foodstuffs, which WW didn’t receive any money from, and which competed directly with WW own-branded goods

To address these issues in one fell swoop, WW chose to introduce a system that ensured that:

  • The system changed enough to ensure that people’s previous knowledge would become useless
  • The only way people could follow the system was to pay money regularly to WW
  • By replacing points with the trademarked term ProPoints, then they could either restrict or benefit from other manufacturers using their system

The bottom line of all of this is that they’ve decided to make life considerably harder for their existing, paying customers, so that they can make sure that the people who don’t pay them any money don’t benefit from their system.  In a short-term world I can see the logic of that.  In a long-term world, it looks to me to be insane.  It’s the common currency element that seems most bizarre to me here though – they’ve reached a point where their system had become part of the very fabric of everyday life for millions of people, and they’ve deliberately decided to sabotage that.  It’s as if Coke decided to stop supermarkets selling cola off the back of their hard work by changing the name of Coke – rearrange the following words into a well-known sentence – nose spite cutting to off your face your.  (The above is all speculation of course, but in the absence of any sensible explanation, I’m fairly happy with it.)

Anyway, I promise I won’t rant too much about this.  Well not too much more anyway 😉  The database is still a fairly rubbish equivalent of what was there a couple of weeks ago – still lots of their own products missing, still lots of supermarket products missing, and if anything, they’ve managed to make the searching less effective than it was before.  I’m their customer, and they’ve not treated me well.

I’m also 44 pounds lighter.  Did I mention that?  I really wasn’t sure whether I would lose, gain or sts this week, so I’m really pleased to drop a pound.  I’ve been pointing everything as well as I can, but with the database being as poor as it is, and with all of my previous knowledge being pretty much useless, unless I’ve had the time to manually calculate things it’s been a challenge.  Eating out has been a real lottery, so I’m pleased that I’ve done it relatively well.

I weighed in at 15st 2lb this morning (96.4kg in new money) so I’m getting closer to the wonders of being a 14st something man again – that will be really exciting, and I’m set on getting there before Christmas.  If only so I can get back up to 15st something over Christmas of course 🙂  One of the strangest things this week has been that I’ve started to think of myself as a fat-bloke again.  That might seem a little odd, but it’s very easy, as the weight comes off, to start to think of yourself as being thin.  I know in comparison to the 18st 4lb fat-bloke of 24 weeks ago I am thin, but in comparison to your average guy in the street, then I’m still a fat-bloke.  But I’m a normal fat-bloke.  I’m at the stage where most men will say to themselves “blimey – getting a bit porky – need to lose some weight”.  And you know what?  That feels pretty good!  I feel a lot more normal right now, and that’s a really pleasant feeling.

I know I have a long way to go, even though I still haven’t decided on my final destination 🙂  And that’s OK.  My current target is to get to 14st 9lb, which will mean that I’ve lost 20% of my starting weight – after that I’ll reset my target to 25% and we’ll see how it goes.  I do have a figure in mind as my end goal, but right now it seems so unrealistic that I’m not going to bother with it.  As I get closer to it, then I’ll reassess.  So those are the key targets right now – 3lb to become 14st something man again, and -7lb to reach my 20% target.

All of this will happen.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

A drum roll please Ladies and Gentlemen…

I’ve just had a brief discussion with my wife about the best way to represent a drum roll in type.  We haven’t a clue.  So please do me a favour and imagine a drum roll in your head for the next 30 seconds or so.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to announce (keep the drum roll going) that for the first time in many years, I am, officially…[pause for dramatic effect].

OVERWEIGHT!

Now I know for the majority of people that may not seem like all that much to celebrate, but I promise you, for a fat-bloke this is a fairly immense moment.  The underlying truth of reaching overweight status is that I am no longer obese.  And that’s official!  There’s a little shame-filled section of my self-image that no longer has a home.  I am no longer an embarrassment to my health service and my country.  At least not for that reason anyway…

Being overweight is great isn’t it?  I’m fairly certain that if I had any friends, we’d be down the gym right now, swapping overweight jokes and starting to feel, just for a moment, that they’re now meant for other people and not for us.  Sadly, I’m an anonymous fictional construct, made up by a frustrated fat-bloke in an attempt to allow himself the freedom to post truly openly whilst on this journey, so friends are out of the question.  I’m popular in real life.  Honest 🙂

It’s been a very odd week.  Weight Watchers introduced their new system on Monday, and it’s possibly the worst organised launch of a new product that I’ve ever seen.  Which is nice.  The principles seem to be fairly straightforward.  I’m reading between the lines here, because the information they’ve given is so sparse, but it goes something like this:

  • The old system worked out the points value of every food by calculating the amount of calories and the amount of saturated fat
  • The new system works out the points value of every food by calculating the amount of protein, carbohydrate, fat and fibre in every food
  • The old system didn’t distinguish between chocolate bars and bananas.  If they had the same points, then they were the same and you could choose whichever you liked
  • The new system makes all fruits points free so you can still choose whatever you like, but there’s an incentive to eat more healthily
  • On the new system you get an extra 49 points to ‘spend’ as you like throughout the week

That all makes sense, however they’ve chosen to make the whole thing wonderfully complicated by doubling the points totals for most foods and only increasing the individual points allowance by about 1.5 times.

When you add in the fact that:

  • Vast quantities of foods that are available in shops, supermarkets and restaurants across the country have simply ceased to exist as far as their food database is concerned (and without that you have to work out the points for everything manually, which is just not practical)
  • They haven’t even managed to add all of their own foods into the database – seriously!  I have weight-watchers branded foods in my cupboards that they haven’t even bothered to add into the new database
  • Every supermarket in the country still has high stocks of Weight Watchers branded foods for sale that have the older incorrect points values on their packaging
  • There appears to be no avenue available for dialogue or complaint, as Weight Watchers don’t actually respond to anything placed on their official forums

it all starts to look more than a little shoddy.  Still I’m sure it will all work out, but there is no way I could begin to think about recommending WW to anyone else right now.

Look at me – 23 weeks in and I’m more concerned about the way they’re administering the program!  lol.  I really AM making progress here…

Let’s summarise where I am:

  • I’m 43lb lighter than I was 23 weeks ago (19.5kg in new money)
  • That’s about the weight of a 5 year old child (I’ve lost a Libby if her mum is reading this 🙂 )
  • Or the weight of a Welsh Springer Spaniel apparently
  • I’ve lost 17% of my starting weight
  • I was wearing XXXL clothes at the start of this, and I’m now finding XLs much to big
  • My BMI has dropped from 35.7 to 29.7
  • I had to get my watch adjusted as it was falling off of me
  • I’ve had to move a ring to my middle finger
  • My shirt size has dropped from an 18.5″ collar to a 16″.

All in all I’m happy 🙂

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

This gets very difficult sometimes…

I’m struggling right now.  It’s not the end of the world I know, but it’s weeks like these that make me realise that I’ve still got a long way to go before this becomes a way of life and not a diet.  I’ve just completed my 22nd weigh-in and I’ve stayed the same, which would normally be a little disappointing, but this week it’s a relief.  I really was expecting to gain some weight, so am rather glad that I haven’t.

I’ve not gone mad and binged out or anything, but I’ve just found it really difficult to stay within my points this week.  I think a better way to describe that would be to say that I’ve found it difficult to want to stay within my points this week.  Providing you’re tracking what you eat, then staying within your points isn’t difficult – you just stop eating when you’ve hit your points total.  My issue for the last few weeks has been that I didn’t really care whether I went over my points or not, and oddly enough, managed to go over my points on quite a few days this week.

I think there are a few things going on here – first of all, I think it’s safe to say that I’m a bit bored.  I tend to find things that I like to eat, settle into a pattern of mainly eating those things for a while, and then don’t notice in time that I’m a bit fed up with that.  When I get fed up, I stop eating the things that I’m bored with, don’t have much of a plan of what to do next, and then end up eating crap.  Or at least crapper.

It’s the lack of motivation that’s the biggest concern for me though – I’ve lost 40lb so far and I’m looking and feeling better than I have done for years, yet I can’t seem to get myself motivated to carry it on.  What’s that all about?

I think I’ve reached a stage where if I’m consciously deciding what to eat, then I can make some pretty sensible choices, which is indeed progress from 22 weeks ago.  What I’m becoming more and more aware of each week is that underneath that, I’ve still got a lot of bad habits to deal with.  If I’m not consciously deciding, but just instinctively choosing what I ‘want’ to eat, then my former eating habits come to the fore.  That’s both worrying and intriguing.  I’m not sure whether that’s something that will get better over time, or whether it’s something that I’m stuck with, and that will never change.  The positive side to that dilemma is that it’s not that difficult to counter – all I need to do is to have a bit of a plan for what I’m going to eat during a week, and the instinctive decision making ceases to be relevant, but I still find that intriguing as to what it says about how I got here in the first place.

A quick question for all you thin people out there – are you always cold?  I’m feeling the cold more right now than I ever have in my life, and it must be due to losing the weight.  Is this what I’m stuck with forever now?  Will I always be looking for jumpers every time someone opens a window, or will my body learn to regulate itself better?  Anyone with any idea on that, then please let me know either by commenting on here or email me at theshrinkingman@theshrinkingman.co.uk.

The other thing that’s unsettled me this week is that weight-watchers are apparently changing their entire approach to weight loss tomorrow morning.  That’s a fairly dramatic event, and while I’m interested to see what’s happening, I’m appalled at the way that weight-watchers have chosen to go about it.  A few weeks ago, there was a hint on the website that something new was coming, which was quite intriguing.  Then suddenly articles started appearing in the press with what claimed to be fairly detailed breakdowns of what the new plan involved, but nothing coming officially to the WW customers.  I’ve been left feeling really isolated by this – those who go to WW meetings have apparently been getting information at those, yet those of us who pay to use the WW online tools have had nothing.  It would appear that as of tomorrow, everything changes, but they’ve chosen not to tell me.  That scares the pants off of me, and makes me quite cross too.  It suggests that WW aren’t interested in their online customers, and just see them as a source of easy money, but it also suggests that WW as an organisation have no idea just how fragile the mindset of the common or garden fat-bloke in weight-loss mode really is.  Rant over.

Anyway, it’s been a tough week, and I have to get myself sorted out properly and start wanting to stay on top of this whole thing, else Mr Fat-Bloke will be back, and that is quite simply not going to happen.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.