Week 55

Morning all!

Well I’ve had an interesting week – I hope yours has been fun too.  The dull thing I have to report is that the weigh-in for week 55 has just been carried out, and I’ve only got an STS to report (STS = Stayed The Same for the uninitiated).  After last week’s excitement of matching my lowest weight in living memory, it was probably always going to be this way, so I’ll just have to wait a bit before I venture into truly uncharted territory.

I’ve been experimenting with a few things on the site, which might make life more interesting in the future.  If you’re reading this on an Android or iPhone handset, then you should be looking at something that’s much easier to read and navigate your way around.  If you’re not reading this on an Android or iPhone handset, but you have an Android or iPhone handset, then if you’ve got a minute, give it a try – I’d love to hear whether it ‘works’ or not.  If you don’t like the new interface, then you can switch back to the old one at the bottom of the page anyway, but I think it’s much easier to use.

I’m also exploring the possibility of adding in a few ‘members only’ type features to the site such as a discussion forum along with a handful of other bits and pieces – I’m not sure whether that’s sensible/required/insane/off-putting/dull, but if you’ve got a view, then let me know, either at theshrinkingman@theshrinkingman.co.uk or by adding a comment to this post.

In the Shrinking World, this week has been mostly about clothes.  I’ve just been through my whole wardrobe and sent another couple of bin bags of clothes off to the charity shop, and that means that someone is going to be getting some bargains in shrinking land.  The really noticeable thing this time is that most of the clothes were a whole lot newer and a whole lot smaller than I’ve ever thrown out before.  I’ve been quite ruthless, and anything that was too big has gone for good.  That was a bit of a weird experience, as it wasn’t too long ago that I was so proud to be getting into Gap clothes with an L on them, and I’ve now thrown out a whole load of them for being too big, and they’ve hardly been worn.

I’m genuinely enjoying the fact that I can go into a clothes shop and be able to choose ANYTHING in the shop, rather than just the few things that have a load of Xs on the label.  The fact that in most shops I’m now comfortably in the M category gives me a little boost every time I buy something.  It’s a little disconcerting that some labels seem to operate in different spatial zones to everyone else, particularly some of the ones that I’m very fond of – Ben Sherman in particular – I’m only just getting into L Ben Sherman stuff, and I have an M Ben Sherman shirt bought by mistake that I don’t think will ever fit me – my bones just aren’t that small.

To be honest I’m slightly concerned that I’m getting just a little bit vain at the moment – I’m checking myself out in mirrors/shop windows/spoons more than ever before, and find it difficult to talk about much else with Mrs Shrinking at home.  In reality, I think I’ve always checked myself out in mirrors, but traditionally all I’ve been looking at was my face – I managed to avoid seeing anything below the chins, whereas now I’m looking at the waistline (or more specifically the lack of it).  I’ve promised my wife that this will be a short-term thing, but that I’m just enjoying it so much at the moment, that I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.  Alright, let’s be totally honest, I just don’t want to.  So there!

This next week will be very interesting, as I’m off to foreign climes on business for a week, so will have considerably less control over what I’m eating than is usually the case.  Part of me is petrified that I’ll come back a stone heavier, and that will be the end of my shrinking – there is definitely a little bit of me that is planning the onslaught on the midget gems as soon as I hit the airport.  Part of me is just intrigued to see what happens, and how comfortable I can be at making the right choices in a less controlled environment.  Part of me is just accepting that in this sort of situation I’ll probably gain a little, as would most people, but it won’t be the end of the world, and I’ll deal with it.  The more positive thing is that I’m off to a conference, and the last time I was in a room with these people I was two and a half stone heavier, so I’ll be feeling just a little smug/vain/chuffed for a while there too!  That’s if I’m allowed in to the country – I’ve just checked my passport photo, and it really doesn’t look anything like me any more!

Anyway, I have a case to pack, so I need to go and rejoin the real world for a while.  Wish me luck, and have a great week yourself.

The Shrinking Man.

On the verge of a great breakthrough!

Morning all!

The weigh-in for week 54 has just been completed, and I’m pleased to announce the departure of another pound.  A -1 for the week brings me up to 62lb lost, and down to 13st 12lb, and that weight is really significant to me.  I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I’ve lost weight on a number of diets in the past, and the diet which allowed me to lose the most previously was the Atkins diet about 7 years ago.  Atkins was/is a great way of losing weight, but like every other diet plan you’ll find, if you stop eating according to the plan, then the weight comes back on.  I know that every diet plan will tell you that you can continue eating their way forever, but for me at least, Atkins didn’t fit into that category.

Well can you guess what weight I got down to when I did Atkins?  13st 12lb.  Go to the top of the class!  And I stayed there for about a month.  And then the slow but steady rise back up the pound scale began.

This is a significant stage for a number of reasons – first of all because it serves as a reminder that it’s not losing the weight that’s really important, it’s what you do after you’ve lost the weight.  Secondly, this is significant because while I know that none of the diet plans consider themselves to be diet plans, WW genuinely isn’t a diet.  It’s allowed me to change the way that I eat in a way that I genuinely believe is sustainable in the longer term. Alright, let’s be totally honest and say that it’s allowed me to change the way I eat in a way that I genuinely HOPE is sustainable in the long term.  The thought of going back to where I was before fills me with dread, and I’ve always had this 13st 12lb figure looming in my head.  To go past the level I could only reach before in an unsustainable fashion, but to do it in a totally sustainable fashion, well that’s pretty exciting to me, and shows that I’m doing pretty good at the end of the day.

I had a wonderful experience yesterday that I can describe, but not show you, as it involves photos of me, and one of the key elements of the whole anonymity thing is that it’s a little more difficult to remain anonymous when you put photos of yourself up.  Anyway without giving any specific details away (and because it makes me feel like a spy when I have to hide details and that’s fun) yesterday I did a thing that I also did at the same time last year, and on both occasions people took photos of me.  The two photos genuinely look like different people (in fact they almost look like different species!) and I’m absolutely chuffed to bits with the new one.

Highlights of the week this week include going to Gap and buying a huge bag of clothes in their sales.  Not an L in sight 🙂  And it all fitted except for a pair of swimming shorts that seem to come up small.  I bought a pair of Gap jeans with a 34″ waist and they’re too big for me!  I’m keeping them, as the 32″ will be way to small right now, but that’s exciting.  One of the genuine pleasures I’m getting right now is shopping for clothes, which is a very new experience for me.  Traditionally, clothes shopping has been a matter of finding a place that had lots of Xs in front of the Ls on their labels, then choosing something that was loose enough to allow me to think that it would somehow cover up the walrus within.  I have no fashion sense at all of course (I’m a heterosexual male) but I’m loving rejecting clothes because they’re too big.  I still smile when I think about that!

Another highlight was an exercise-related one.  A few weeks ago I set myself a new bunch of targets (see http://theshrinkingman.co.uk/2011/06/01/the-next-goals/) and three of them were exercise-related.  My exercise of choice is swimming, and I’ve pushed myself over the past year from swimming 40 lengths at a time up to 80 lengths each visit.  I set myself three swimming goals, which were to swim 100 lengths, 120 lengths and 150 lengths and this week, in a moment of madness decided to push myself to see if I could hit the 100 lengths.  One of my challenges at the moment is getting to the pool more than once or twice a month, and it had been a few weeks since I’d swum at all, but while the last 20 lengths were unbelievably hard work, I’m proud to announce that I can now tick off the 100 lengths.  It hurt like hell, so I have no idea how I’m going to do the other ones, but I never thought I could do this one anyway, so what do I know!

Before I go, let me just share something that I think will be of great importance to anyone new to the whole shrinking thing.  Last Sunday I was over the moon to see a 13st 13lb on the scales, which was a -4 for the week.  I really was absolutely delighted.  The very next day, I weighed myself again (never the best idea, but I wanted to check) and the scales showed 14st 2lb, which was an increase of 3lb in a single day.  A day on which I’d done everything ‘right’ and certainly done nothing to trigger a gain like that.  I’ve weighed myself on most days this week and have seen my weight gradually decreasing throughout the week, but there’s a really important point in there somewhere.  Whether that means that the -4 weigh-in was a blip, or whether something weird was going on in my body or whether I missed something important last Sunday and ate a horse without realising it, none of that really matters.  What matters is that your weight can fluctuate by quite a few pounds without you doing anything, which means that it’s a really good idea to take what the scales say on ANY given day with a pinch of salt.  It’s the longer term picture that’s important.  What I find most interesting is that I’d really knuckled down that week, and felt that I genuinely deserved a huge result.  Had the days worked out differently and I’d stepped on the scales and seen a -1 rather than a -4, that’s the sort of blow that could knock you off track a bit and really dent your motivation.

That’s quite interesting actually, because I’d generally suggest to people that they don’t weigh themselves mid-week, as nothing good can really come of it.  This week I think that something good HAS come from my extra weigh-ins.  If I’d have carried with a “I’ve just lost four pounds” attitude, I can pretty much guarantee that I’d have relaxed a bit more, and ended up looking at a 2-3lb gain this week.  As it is, BECAUSE I weighed myself when I ‘shouldn’t’ I was aware that things might not be quite as I’d thought, so have perhaps been more focused this week.  Food for thought anyway.

Look – it’s like this.  I’m just about to step into unchartered territory – I’ve not weighed less than 13st 12lb since I genuinely don’t know when.  I’m feeling a weird mix of emotions right now, because on the one hand I’m feeling elated at my progress, and on the other hand I’m feeling terrified at how easy it would be to slip back into fat-bloke eating.  Although I’m starting to doubt just how easy that might be, and I guess that’s progress.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

Goodbye 14st Somethings – Hello 13st Somethings!

Morning all!

The Shrinking Man is absolutely ecstatic to announce the departure of 14st-something man, and equally proud to announce the arrival of 13st-something man.  Indeed I am 🙂  Weigh-In number 53 has just been completed, and a whopping -4 brings me to 13st 13lb (195lb/88.6kg) and puts my total weight-loss to date as 4st 5lb (61lb/27.76kg) which represents a grand total of 24% of my starting weight.  To incorrectly and inappropriately quote Tony Hancock, that surely has to be more than a leg-worth!

I’m now a 13st-something man for the first time in a very long time, and that really feels fantastic.  This has been a long time coming – the last half a stone has taken me over three months to shift, so I’m feeling chuffed to bits that I haven’t given up, binged, built and then eaten a model of the Close Encounters mountain out of midget gems (mashed potato is so last-millennium) and generally let all my good work so far go to waste.  Because that’s exactly what I’d have done in the past!  Well perhaps not exactly, but you know what I mean…

The odd/great/intriguing thing about this sudden leap in the right direction, is that it was totally predictable, and to be totally honest, I could have done it at any point in the last few months.  All I’ve changed is that I’ve gone back to controlling my eating a little more closely than I have been in recent weeks and months, coming in on or under my points total each day (as opposed to coming in over, or really over my points total each day) and suddenly everything clicks back in to place again.  I have still snacked on occasions, but it hasn’t been the norm, and I haven’t done it if it would take me over my points.  I have still had junk food on occasions, but again I’ve one it within my points, and I’ve made a conscious point of not snacking if I’ve had, or am planning to have junk food.  A Burger King and a Fish and Chips this week.  And a few subways for lunch too!  Diet?  What diet?

I’ve been doing this too long now to not be aware that this could all stall again this week.  A big loss for me is generally followed by an STS or a small gain, so I’m not getting carried away here, but this is a really positive reminder of the mechanics of this whole thing.  I think it goes like this:

  1. If you stay within your points, then you’ll lose weight
  2. If you don’t, then you won’t.

Tough system huh?  Not sure if I’ll ever really be able to get my head round something that complex 😉

A few other positive things from this week.  I had someone who I know to chat to but who I don’t see very often fail to recognise me yesterday, which was pretty cool.  Also, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d bought some Large Gap tops that were a bit big, and that against my Wife’s advice (as they were certainly a little snug), I decided to change them for Medium Gap tops. Well yesterday I wore one, and she didn’t notice!  That was a genuinely pleasant experience, because I appear to have a better handle on my size at the moment than she does, which is quite remarkable because I’m usually rubbish at that, particularly in relation to clothes.

When I’m doing it right, it does all feel very different.  There’s a lightness in my body as a whole that just feels ‘right’ when I’m eating the right amount for me.  At times I’ve let it go too far the other way, and have ended up feeling too hungry and that doesn’t feel nice.  A little bit of hunger in the run up to food can feel really pleasant, but not for too long.  I’ve also eaten too much at times this week, and that doesn’t feel nice either – horribly stuffed and unpleasant, even though the old me wouldn’t even have registered what I’m eating as a snack, let alone as being too much!

The interesting thing for me at the moment is that I’m learning more about how I eat, and I’m really becoming aware of some things that I will need to work on to keep this weight off in the long-term.  First of all, I eat too quickly.  Almost always.  That’s not good for a number of reasons – first of all, it means that I don’t actually enjoy my food very much, and secondly, it makes it easier to eat rubbish, because I’m not taking the time to really taste the difference between great and rubbish foods.  Secondly, I still have (and perhaps always will have) a tendency to binge, it’s just that these days I tend to binge on healthier things.  For lunch one day this week, I had a Subway Melt (disturbingly delicious, in the sense that it feels like there’s something put into it that makes me really, really want another one) followed by a whole punnet of strawberries and a whole punnet of cherries.  I didn’t eat all the fruit because I was hungry, and after about half of it, I wasn’t even enjoying it any more.  Yet I still ate it.  What’s that all about then?

For now, let’s just say “who cares!  I’m a 13st something man again, and that’s fantastic” and we’ll come back to it later, but there’s definitely some stuff to think about in there.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man


One Whole Year of Shrinking!

Morning all 🙂

On the 7th June 2010 at about 6pm, I made the rather impulsive and spur-of-the-moment decision to sign up to WeightWatchers online and get my weight sorted out once and for all.  It genuinely wasn’t planned, and at that time I had no idea what would happen.  The only thing I promised myself at the time would be that I would go into it with my eyes wide open, and without the blind optimism that had preceded all previous attempts.

I’d lost weight before.  Many times in fact.  I’d actually lost a lot of weight before on diets like the Atkins diet, and even a fair amount on WeightWatchers too at one point in the distant past.  Like most serial-dieters all I did once I’d lost the weight was to go back to however I used to eat, which surprisingly enough very quickly took me back to how much I used to weigh.  And a bit more for good luck usually.  This time I needed to change how I ate for good.

So, I weighed myself.  18st 4lb.  Not the heaviest I’d ever been – at one point I’d tipped the scales at about 9lb heavier than that, but to be honest that’s still way too heavy.  I’m in my forties, and the threat of diabetes, heart problems and just about everything else-problems was starting to loom very large in my future, so action was probably long overdue.

The other decision that I made within the first few hours of that decision was that I would write a blog of my experiences.  I wanted to be able to document what I was doing, what I was feeling, what worked and what didn’t, and I wanted to do that without fear of embarrassment, shame or humiliation.  That indicated that the blog needed to be anonymous, because I wanted to be able to write with complete honesty, and that’s when The Shrinking Man came about.

It is now 8am on June 6th 2011, so we’re just about 52 weeks on from that fateful evening, and I’m feeling pretty good about things at the end of the first year of the new me.  I’ve just weighed in for the 52nd time, and I hit the scales at 14st 3lb.  That’s an STS (stayed the same) week-on-week, but a grand total of 4st 1lb (57lb) lighted than this time last year, so I’m going to rightly sit back and congratulate myself this week.  To be honest, I think I’d have dropped off a couple of pounds this week, but I have been away for an anniversary weekend with my wife and have eaten pretty much what I wanted for two days, so really can’t grumble.

I actually lost most of the weight in the first six months, and since then it’s been a bit of a struggle, but I’m still going in the right direction, albeit achingly slowly at times.  What fills me with optimism is that historically I would have lost the weight in the first six months, and then put it back on in the next six, so the fact that not only have I kept it off, but have continued to lose makes me think that I’m doing pretty well.

I’m not finished with this by a long shot, but my end target is in sight.  I have a further 27lb to lose, which will take me down to 12st 4lb, which will be six stone lighter than when I started.  I’m aware that it might take me a while to lose the rest, but I’m quite relaxed about the fact that I will get there, and that all the hurdles that I will face will be helping me prepare for the longer-term project called “keeping it all off”.

The fundamental thing that’s different this time round is that I’m learning to eat more sensibly and in a way that is genuinely sustainable in the long-term.  I’ve still got some way to go, but learning to balance weekends like this one and modifying what I eat to respond to that, is all part of the longer game.

Anyway, this is my end of year report:

The Shrinking Man has dedicated himself to shrinking this year, and should be proud of his achievements to date.  He’s managed to lose 57lb, and shows every sign that he will continue to lose until he hits his 12st 4lb target, which is 27lb away.  He’s rightly proud and happy of what he’s achieved so far, and has genuinely learnt a lot about himself over the past 52 weeks.  If he continues to apply what he’s learnt to his shrinking, and accepts the fact that if he’s in it for the long-term, then he has to learn to incorporate periods of difficulty into his plans, then I’m sure he’ll go on to make a success of himself.  Good luck TSM.  (Report provided by whatever twisted part of your mind keeps making you refer to yourself in the third person).

Here’s to the next 52 weeks.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

The Next Goals

Three times in one week?  It’s like we’ve just started seeing each other!

It was a genuinely positive experience recently when I rediscovered the goals I set myself back in July last year (see http://theshrinkingman.co.uk/?p=125) and realised that I’d already hit most of them.

On that basis, and in the renewed excitement of being part of an official challenge, it seemed like a sensible idea to try and come up with some more.  So I have.  It was much harder to come up with than it was last time, as I’ve already done lots of the standard things, but I’ve come up with a list of weight-related goals and a list of non-weight-related goals to help me through the next 27lbs:

Non-Weight Goals

  • To need to get my watch adjusted again
  • To need to get my ring adjusted
  • To fit comfortably into a Medium Fred Perry
  • To fit into the three Ben Sherman Large shirts I’ve got in my wardrobe (they come up very small – honest)
  • To fit comfortably into the 32” jeans that I’ve got in my wardrobe
  • To be able to swim 100 lengths (80 is my limit at the moment)
  • To be able to work out where my waist should be
  • To be able to lie on my back in the bath and be completely underneath the water without having to stay completely still
  • To be able to cycle to Stony Stratford (no idea how far it is, but it’s further than I’ve cycled in at least 25 years)
  • To fit my belly in my trousers rather than over my trousers (aka to actually have a proper waist)
  • To be able to swim 120 lengths
  • To be able to swim 150 lengths
  • To get some nice family photos done

Weight goals

  • To reach 60lb lost (3lb to go)
  • To get under 14st (4lbs to go)
  • To get under the lowest weight I managed to get on the Atkins diet a number of years ago (5lb to go)
  • To have lost 25% of my starting weight (7lb to go)
  • To reach 65lb lost (8lb to go)
  • To get under 13.5st (11lb to go)
  • To have lost 5st (13lb to go)
  • To have lost 75lb (18lb to go)
  • To get under 13st (18lb to go)
  • To have lost 30% of my starting weight (21lb)
  • To be officially classed as not overweight (does that have an actual name?  Normal?) – 22lb to go.
  • To have lost 80lb (23lb to go)
  • To get under 12.5st (25lb to go)
  • To have lost 6st (27lb to go)
  • To have won the challenge (27lb to go)

That should keep me going for a while!

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man