Midweek update

It’s been ages since I did a midweek update!  This wasn’t ever supposed to be just a once-a-week thing, as I always envisaged that it would be a “whenever the mood takes me” sort of thing, but it would appear that for the past I don’t know how many months, clearly the mood has only taken me on a Sunday morning.

Until now!

It’s Tuesday evening, and I’m feeling rather inspired right now, so wanted to put keys to keyboard to try and sum up what’s going on.  Sunday was good for me this weekend – first of all, I lost some weight, and it’s been a while since I did that, even if it was just a pound.  Secondly, I set my final target in stone (12st 4lb of stone to be precise) which was something that I’ve been avoiding doing since the start of this whole process, and while I think I’d avoided it for good reasons up to now, actually setting it has given me a significant lift.  Lastly, I went clothes shopping.

I have never enjoyed clothes shopping.  Never.  And yesterday I spent about three hours doing just that.  Enjoying clothes shopping.  I bought myself four shirts, three polo shirts, four t-shirts and 12 pairs of socks.  Nothing had an X anywhere on the size label, and the three L polo shirts were all too big for me.  My wife and I took them back up to Gap (where I’m happy to remind you that I couldn’t even fit into Gap’s largest sizes just 51.5 weeks ago) and I tried on an M.  My wife had a look not too dissimilar from horror on her face when I stepped out of the changing room, insisted that they were too small, and that I shouldn’t change them.  She’s probably right (she often is on these things) but I don’t think they were all that small, and they often stretch out a bit once they’ve been worn, but what they were like on the day shouldn’t have been relevant.  I don’t want to wear clothes that are too big for me.  I don’t want to wear clothes that are too small for me either, but I really, really don’t want to wear clothes that are too big for me.

So I’ve changed them all for M sizes, and I’m going to lose more weight!  So there!

This whole journey started for me during a telephone call on June 7th last year with a (very) old friend (old in both senses of the word – she’s positively ancient) when she mentioned to me that she’d started doing Weight Watchers.  By the end of the call, I’d been on the WW site, found out that they did an online option and signed up myself, presumably having stopped listening to anything else she had to say quite early on in the call.  Signing up just seemed like the right thing to do, and for me it certainly was, for her seemingly less so.  51.5 weeks later, I’m 57 lbs lighter, and she’s a walking STS.

Anyway, I took that same friend out for lunch today, and she sprang a surprise on me.  She has established that she has 27lbs that she would like to lose, which by a remarkable coincidence is also the same amount that I have to lose to reach my final goal.  She’s seeing this synergy as some sort of sign, so being aware of our competitive natures, she’s essentially challenged me to see who can lose the 27lb first.  I think I’m at something of a disadvantage here, as I’ve already lost 57lb, so am expecting it to be a harder ride for me than it is for her, but it’s given me a bit of a kick that I think I’ve needed for a while, so have happily accepted her challenge.

It was quite interesting to see how our attitudes changed as soon as the word competition arrived on the scene.  Up to now, I’ve been very supportive whenever she’s been aiming to lose weight, and she’s been exactly the same to me.  Once we’d established that it was now a competition, we both started trying to sabotage each others efforts by encouraging each other to eat more than we were planning too.  I think we got it out of our system by the end of the meal, and I expect us to be properly supportive from here on in, but if it continues, then all she’s got to look forward to is watching my shrinking continue, while she balloons to the size of a house as a result of my over-competitive nature.  But I think we’ll be supportive of each other really.  Probably 😉

We’ve struggled to come up with a suitable prize for the winner, so any suggestions then click the comment button at the bottom of the screen and let me know.

So the shrinking continues!

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

Crumbs! That’s a lot of biscuits!

Morning all.

Week 51 weigh-in just completed, and I’m pleased to report a -1 for all my hard work.  After three weeks of STS, it’s nice to see a little bit of movement in the right direction, although it’s still difficult to see it as ‘real’ progress.  I’m stuck in a similar position to where I was just after Christmas, in that any progress I make doesn’t really feel real.

At that time it was because I’d put on a lot of weight over the Christmas period, and it didn’t feel like real progress until I’d got back to my previous low, and that made that period quite a struggle.  This time it’s certainly to do with re-losing weight (although it’s only a few pounds this time, until I get down past 14st 1lb, which was been my lowest so far, then it’s difficult to see it as progress) but it’s also just due to it having taken so long to get through this stage.

I’m not sure if I’ve made this clear or not, but I know why I’m finding it so difficult to get below 14st.  Seriously I do.  It’s because…(wait for it) – it’s because I’m eating too much!  What I’m still struggling to work out is why I’m eating too much 😉

Most days, and on the whole certainly most weeks, I’m eating a little bit more than I should.  Not enough to make any significant moves upwards, but certainly not enough to keep me moving downwards.  It ought to be simple to not do it, but it’s not.  Really it’s not.  I’m eating loads of biscuits at the moment, and I’ve never eaten a lot of biscuits in my life.  I’m going to the biscuit tin to grab a little treat (which after all is a totally sensible and appropriate thing to do) and instead of taking one rich tea, I might take two rich teas, two shorties and a custard cream.  And then I eat them really quickly.

Why? Honestly no idea.  I’m not hungry, and I don’t even particularly like biscuits.  I’m also eating them too quickly to get any real pleasure out of them, so I’m really getting nothing from this.  I won’t labour this point too much, but whatever psychological process guides this sort of behaviour has a lot to answer for, and if I could only understand it, I think my life would be a whole lot easier.

This sort of pattern is so familiar to me, and it’s played a fairly huge part in keeping me fat for the past 20 years.  The positive thing is that I’m doing it in much smaller quantities, and with generally better foods.  Traditionally I’d do the same sort of thing with bags of crisps, or cocktail sausages, and instead of three or four it would be three or four packets, or 30 or 40 sausages.  But the pattern is still there.

I’m not going to get too hot under the collar about it, but it’s an issue, and one that I have to learn to deal with a little better if I’m going to lose more weight, and particularly if I intend to keep it off.  Which I do.  If I removed that unnecessary stuff from my diet completely, I’d be having no problems shrinking right now.  Having said that, removing it completely probably just shifts the problem onto other types of food – it’s the drive to do it that’s the problem I guess.

Anyway, I’m a pound lighter than I was last week, I’m a step closer to saying goodbye to the 14st somethings, and I’m feeling pretty good about myself generally.  I’ve questioned whether I’m happy to stay where I am, and the answer to that is a firm NO.  I will go further with this.  I’m much happier being where I am, than where I was (and in that sense, the last few weeks have really helped me come to terms with that, so some good has come from this) but I’ve still got a couple of stone or so to go I think.

Actually, I’ve been avoiding doing this for the best part of a year, but I think I now have a picture of where I want to be at the end of all this, so let’s set my stall out properly:

My final target weight is 12st and 4lb.

I’m currently 14st 3lb, so that’s a grand total of 27lb away, and I’m sure it will take some time to get there, but get there I will.  I’ll need to work out a whole load of interim targets too, as that really does seem like a long way away, but I’ve now got something specific to work towards.  And every hurriedly-eaten biscuit will increase the time that it takes to get there!

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man


Has it really been 50 weeks?

50 weeks!  That’s nearly a year!

Well the weigh-in for week 50 has just been completed, and I’m relatively non-plussed to report yet another STS.  I’m slightly disappointed not to have lost a teeny bit this week as I’ve been back in the pool and have done a whole load of exercise this week.  That does suggest that I’m still struggling to get my head around some of the simpler elements of this whole thing, because I ate all my daily points, all of my weekly points, all of my exercise points and a few extra for good measure, so should never have been expecting any loss whatsoever.  There’s a weird sort of denial of reality going on there somewhere – even as I’m tracking in detail what I’m doing, I’m still thinking “I’ve done lots of exercise, so I ought to lose a little bit of weight” instead of “I’ve done some exercise, but eaten everything that’s earned me and a little more, so I’ll be lucky to get an STS this week”.

Anyway, as the weeks go by I’m feeling more and more relaxed about the lack of progress.  Of course I have no idea whether that’s a good thing or not, but I’m taking it to be a good thing at the moment, as I’m generally a positive kind of guy.  What I feel like I’m proving to myself is that I’m capable of maintaining this sort of weight should I choose to do so.  I’m eating well, but generally in moderation and would certainly have no problem eating like this on an ongoing basis.  Now I know that this isn’t the weight that I want to stop at, but if I did, and managed to learn to stay here, then that would be a truly fantastic achievement, as it’s the staying at a weight that has historically always proved to be a problem, rather than the initial loss itself.

I even ate some midget gems on Friday!  And didn’t die either.  Although they weren’t very nice midget gems, so perhaps that might have helped.  It wasn’t planned, although they have been calling out to me at a significantly higher volume of late.  A work celebration included a “cup full of sweets for 50p” stall, and the proceeds were going to charity, so I thought I’d join the queue and show willing.  Had I known there were midget gems there, I probably wouldn’t have joined the queue at all (and if you believe that, then I’m getting much better at lying) but there they were.  For a short while at least.  Part of me is proud that I only had two cup-fulls in the end.  Part of me knows that there is nothing to be proud of at all, because my second cup emptied the tub completely.  Part of me just wants to eat midget gems :-).

I’ve really enjoyed swimming this week – I’ve done a bit of cycling recently, which has kept my exercise levels up a little bit, so it wasn’t quite as painful as it can be sometimes to get back in the pool after a long gap.  I swam 80 lengths three times this week – three days in a row actually – and while it was difficult and I ache a bit right now, it proved that my general levels of fitness are still pretty good.

In another couple of weeks I’ll have been on this journey for a year!  That’s a really strange feeling – on the one hand this has all become a regular part of my life (including my Sunday morning blogging) but on the other hand, I’m still pretty certain that I could undo all of this good work in significantly less time than 12 months.  I think perhaps where I’m gaining a better understanding is that I’m starting to realise that there’s nothing significantly different about me in that respect – anyone could put on four stone if they consistently increased what they ate.  What’s different is that I’ve got a lot of years of history of doing precisely that, and that’s why I have to be a little more aware than most people of what I eat and how how much of it I choose to have.

I was going to write that my natural response to a lot of everyday life situations is to eat to excess, but that’s not true.  I think it would be truer (and far more helpful) to say that my usual response to a lot of everyday life situations is to eat to excess, but that isn’t a natural response.  I wasn’t born like that.  I’ve learned to do that.  And what I’m doing at the moment is unlearning it.  And as long as I keep on focusing on it, I’ll get better and better at not doing it.

That sounds like 50 weeks well spent to be honest – have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

49th Nervous Breakdown?

Morning all!

Weigh-In number 49 has just been completed, and I’m pleased to report an STS.  That’s not normally a cause for celebration, but in light of my general mental well-being over the last few weeks, I’ve taken a very relaxed attitude to things this week, so am happy.

Genuinely happy.

I’m four stone lighter than I was 49 weeks ago, and I’m starting to let that really sink in.  Four stone!  That’s huge!!!  Or more to the point, I used to be huge, but I’m not any more.  I’ve taken the time to treat myself a bit this week, both in terms of food and other stuff – If I noticed myself instinctively denying myself something, then I’ve been stopping and asking myself whether I’d genuinely like the thing.  Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t (which was quite interesting in itself) and if I wanted it, then I had it.  I’ve had four (yes four!) mars bars this week 🙂  And I really enjoyed three of them!

I also went clothes shopping again, and deliberately bought some clothes that were too small for me, as I wanted to see how far off of getting into them I was.  It was only a few weeks ago that I brought myself a pair of 34 inch waist jeans, but they’re actually quite loose.  Trousers are a problem for anyone with a belly, as you can either have the trousers up over the belly, which makes you look like a serial killer, or have the belly over the trousers, which means the jeans are too low and your bum looks saggy.  Anyway, I brought myself a pair of 32 inch waist jeans, just to see what they were like.  I can get them on, and I can do them up!  I’m not going to wear them just yet, because they push all the belly stuff up over the top into what I’m reliably informed is known as a ‘muffin top’, which doesn’t look all that good.

But they’ll look ok in another stone or so.  Whenever that happens.

I also bought a Medium shirt and that wasn’t too far off of being ok either.  I could do it up, but it was tight around the muffin top, and a little tight around the chest.  Again, in a while, that will fit as well.

It’s quite odd coming to terms with the fact that I’m not a big guy at all.  No big-bones here to blame anything on – I’m going to be quite puny at the end of the day, which is quite amusing to be honest!

I have no idea what this week will bring in terms of weight gain or loss, but whatever happens, I am determined to enjoy being without those 56 pounds.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man


48 Crash!

Not a crash, but the only song title I could think of that has 48 in it…

Morning all.

Weigh-in number 48 has just been completed, and it’s an STS.  Not too surprised, but a little disappointed to be honest with you.  I’m really struggling with all of this at the moment, and had a terrible start to the week, managing to eat most of my weekly points in the first couple of days, but after that I knuckled down and have had a much more enjoyable rest of the week.  Still, the scales don’t lie, so I need to accept it, be pleased that I’ve proved yet again that I’m good at staying round this sort of weight, and try to sort my head out properly for next week.

I had a very, very odd and rather scary experience last Monday.  I’d over-eaten for two days, and had just binged on a fair amount of stuff that I didn’t want or need, and was feeling generally rubbish about myself.  And that’s when I found myself thinking very rationally about making myself sick to try and make it all better.  Now let me state for the record that I didn’t do it, and that I haven’t found myself thinking like that since then, but I think I had a brief insight into how easy it can be for this losing-weight stuff to get out of hand.  It wasn’t a jokey “perhaps I should make myself sick to sort it out” and it wasn’t anything born out of desperation of any kind.  That would have been easy to deal with to be honest.  The problem here is that it was such a calm and rational thought process and that scared me.  I almost felt compelled to do it.  It was a bit of a wake-up call to be honest, and I’ve thought a lot about it since then.

What I’m trying to do here is very important to me, but I have to be careful that weight-loss itself isn’t the goal.  The goal here is to make myself happier and healthier.  That’s all.  And that should be enough!  And right now, for whatever reason, I’m not allowing myself to feel happier.  I’m four stone lighter than I was 48 weeks ago, and that means I’m four stone healthier than I was 48 weeks ago too.  I just don’t seem to be four stone happier, and that’s a little weird.

There are times when I’m absolutely chuffed to bits with what I’ve achieved, but I think those times tend to coincide with when I’ve lost a significant amount of weight that week, and that’s a bit of a shame.  I need to find a better balance between what I’ve achieved (or not) that week and what I’ve achieved in the long run.  I should be walking on air at being four stone lighter, yet I’m contemplating making myself sick in case I’m not four stone and one or two pounds lighter in a few days time.  That’s pretty messed up to be honest with you.

All the while, sitting at the back of my mind, is the knowledge that it would be really easy to go back to fat-bloke status.  Really easy.  And that way I wouldn’t have to deal with the crushing sense of failure and worthlessness that comes from a gain or an STS, because I wouldn’t be weighing myself.  No expectations, just the comfort and familiarity that comes from fatness.  All it takes is a decision to stop.

But I’m not making that decision!  Over the past 48 weeks, I’ve come up against a whole load of different situations, any one of which in the past would have stopped me in my tracks.  For whatever reason, I haven’t made that decision to stop, and that’s why I’m sitting here at 14st 4lb instead of 18st 4lb, AND I LIKE BEING 14ST 4lb!  I don’t want to stay at this weight, because I think there’s at least another couple of stone to lose, but I don’t want to be bigger.  If it takes me a few years to get there, then that’s OK, as long as I feel happy about myself along the way.

I really am still a work in progress aren’t I?

Let me leave you with an example of how I’m not dealing with the positives very well.  As part of a work thing this week I had to ask a group of people what they thought my favourite drink was.  I overheard a conversation that went like this:

Person 1:  “he’s got a bit of a beer belly, so I reckon he drinks lager”

Person 2:  “Nah, he’s not got much of a belly at all – I don’t think he drinks at all”

I came away from that exchange feeling a bit fed up about someone saying that I had a bit of a beer belly.  A bit?  48 weeks ago, that would have been a LOT of a beer belly.  Or they would have said “he IS a bit of a beer belly”.  And someone said that I didn’t have much of a belly at all!!!!  I should have hugged them both.  But that’s against all sorts of HR policies, so I’m pleased I didn’t…

The bottom line for me is this.  I’m really struggling to reduce my weight at the moment, and that’s upsetting me.  I need to find ways to stop that upsetting me, because dissatisfaction with my progress in the short-term is overriding my happiness at my progress in the long-term and that’s just daft.  Maybe I need to stop trying to lose weight for a while, and just learn to enjoy where I am.  Perhaps I need to never think like that because I’ll end up putting four stone back on in the next few weeks.  Perhaps I have absolutely no idea what to do and need to just stop thinking too much, relax and enjoy myself a bit more.

My name is The Shrinking Man.  I have so far managed four stone’s worth of shrinking, and I need to celebrate that, because it’s a really great achievement.  I look better, I feel better physically and I know I’m a whole load healthier as a result.  Happier is proving difficult at times.  That’s what I need to work on.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.

Ho Hum etc

Week 47 weigh-in has been completed, and I’m relieved to only report a +2.  It’s disappointing in some ways, because that’s only the second time that I’ve gained two weeks in a row since starting this, and the other one was the period that we don’t talk about called Christmas.  In reality though, I’ve not eaten well this week, so it could have been much worse.

It’s time to take stock a little bit, as it feels like I’m in a bit of a rut at the moment.  I promised last week that I wouldn’t indulge in any self-flagellation over Easter, so I’ll need to be careful how I word this, but it’s safe to say that the week didn’t start well.  Delighted as I was to receive a gorgeous Hotel Chocolat £25 Easter egg, I ate the whole thing in two days, which did make the whole WW points thing a little bit of a challenge for the rest of the week.  The egg itself equated to about 60 points, which is about a day and a half’s worth of normal eating.  I enjoyed it, although I definitely ate it too quickly – I do not seem to have a “let’s just have a little bit” mode for situations like this at the moment.  The positive thing was that on both days when I ate the egg, I felt unpleasantly full afterwards, which I think is a good sign, as I don’t think I would have noticed anything this time last year.

I think perhaps the speed at which I eat generally is something that I need to look at, as by the time I’ve noticed that I’m feeling full, I’m already really stuffed because of the pace of it all.  There’s something to play with there I think…

What I need to come to terms with properly is that things like Easter indulgences are fine – they just need to be factored in, and it’s the factoring them in that I need to get better at.  In general I didn’t respond too badly too it – I’ve upped the exercise and swum three times this week, which was the right thing to do.  There were other areas where I didn’t do as well.  I sat and watched a film with my Wife on Easter Sunday and managed to devour three quarters of a large bag of toffee popcorn.  That’s not good.  Well it was, but you know what I mean.  I’ve also snacked when I wasn’t hungry, even though I was up against it in terms of points.

It’s quite difficult to feel satisfied with my general progress at the moment – things are still generally moving in the right direction, but with so many backward and forward steps that it’s so very, very slow.  I’m actually just 8lb lighter than I was before Christmas, and it really feels like a bit of a slog at the moment.  If you factor in the 10lb that I put on over Christmas, then I’ve lost 18lb since January, which feels slightly better, but not much.  I still haven’t quite forgiven myself for Christmas I don’t think.

What I appear to be very good at is keeping my weight at between 14 and 14.5 stone, which is probably something to be celebrated, particularly when you consider that a year ago I would have been proving myself to be very good at increasing my weight gradually from 18st 4lb.  It’s less of a cause for celebration when you want to keep on shrinking though.  Part of me is thinking that perhaps I’ve reached my ideal weight already, and that I’m destined to be this lumpy sort of guy forever.  Most of me knows that’s complete rubbish though, so I’m not paying attention to me on that 😉

The bottom line is this – if I keep doing what I’m doing now, then I’ll continue to get smaller for a fair while longer.  It might be slow, but it IS still going in the right direction, and that’s really all that’s important here.  I guess I’m starting to come up against the ‘real-life’ stuff that will happen when I get to whatever weight I decide that I want to be in the end – how I eat will determine what weight I end up at.  Nothing more complicated than that.

The big lessons for me this week are that:

  1. I need to pay more attention while I’m eating, and eat slower
  2. I need to make better decisions after something like an Easter blow-out

That’s all.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.