The weigh-in for week 60 has been completed and I’m delighted, if a little surprised, to be able to report a -1. It’s not been the easiest of weeks as far as WW is concerned – I’ve been travelling on business, living in hotels and eating in restaurants, which is never the best starting point.
I’ve eaten OK at times and terribly at others, so honestly am quite pleased to be able to knock another pound off. What has been interesting this week is noticing that my mind and my body seem to react differently to periods of poor eating, which could be quite important in the long run. A couple of times this week I noticed that when I’d eaten poorly (left-over KFC for breakfast, followed by a bag of Midget Gems for example, not that I’d ever do such a thing of course) my mind seemed determined to keep me going in the same vein. The incessant chants of “eat, eat eat!” were building from the very start. My body had other ideas though, and while it wasn’t all that easy to hear it, my body was saying “stop it. I’m full up.” The fact that I listened to my body rather than my mind on a couple of occasions this week probably explains why I’m reporting a -1.
Not the most earth-shattering revelation I guess, but quite useful, in the sense that even when my mind seems to be in self-destruct mode, it doesn’t have it all its own way, and my body is sending me signals that I’m perhaps just not used to responding to (or even noticing to be honest).
Did you know that Dutch people sprinkle chocolate onto their toast in the mornings? Either flakes of chocolate or little hundreds and thousands type things? Me neither. No less sensible than nutella I suppose, but I’ve never been a fan of that either.
Anyway, I’m absolutely snowed under with work and study things today, so am going to leave it there for now, which must surely make this my shortest update in a very long time. Possibly ever. Although if I just keep typing for a while, then that won’t be true any more…
First of all, thanks for everyone who got in touch last week following my rather gloomy update. Your kinds words were much appreciated, and certainly helped make Shrinking World (not a phrase I’ve used before – that might stick!) a less isolated place. For those of you who got in touch last week to tell me to just shut up as I was depressing the hell out of you, then my thanks go to you too – the thought that I was low enough to actually depress someone else actually cheered me up more than anything else 🙂
The weigh-in for week 59 has been completed, and I’m pleased to announce a “getting back on track” style -2 for the week. I had a pretty tough start to the week, and had managed to eat about a third of my weekly points by lunchtime on the first day (for those of you unfamiliar with the whole weight-watchers approach, just take it from me that that isn’t a good thing) but I knuckled down, and on the whole I feel like I have taken control of things pretty well this week .
I’ve promised myself from the start of this process that this blog will be a warts and all account of what happens. The whole reason that I’m doing this anonymously is to allow me the freedom to write what I’m feeling, without the need to filter or censor it because of what ‘people’ might think. Because with just a couple of exceptions you don’t know me (although I have shared more with you than with my nearest and dearest, so maybe you know me better than I’m prepared to admit) I am able to share my deepest, darkest fears. I must say that as time goes on, I find myself wanting to reach out to the people who’ve really taken an interest in what I’m doing here – there’s been more than one occasion where I’ve been tempted to step out of TSM and introduce myself to people properly, but I still think it’s the right idea to give myself the platform to speak freely, and that wouldn’t be the same if the veil of anonymity were lifted. So it stays. The plan I have in my head is that on the day I hit my 12st 4lb goal, I will stick up a before and after picture, just so that people can say “what a disappointment” and leave it at that anyway.
Just as a quick reminder, I’ve been down to 13st 12lb in the past on the Atkins diet, and managed to put it all on again, so the fact that I’m in that region again but in a far more sensible manner with WW (WW summary – eat sensibly and exercise) fills me with confidence. Having said that, this 13st 12lb has been hanging over me for quite a while now, first of all because I’ve not been able to get past it, but also because I seem to be managing to convince myself that not only will I never get past it, but that I will fall apart at this weight again, and will put it all back on again in the next fortnight.
I’ve written before about mid-week weigh-ins and I’m always fairly certain that they’re not generally a good thing. Having said that, I do on occasions weigh myself mid-week and this week I’ve done it a few times, perhaps because I needed some reassurance that I was doing OK. One particularly interesting thing this week was that on Wednesday I tipped the scales at 13st 11lb, which is officially my lowest weight in recorded history. It’s not an official weigh-in (and reaffirmed why midweek weigh-ins aren’t good, because in reality I’m less happy with my perfectly respectable -2 than I otherwise would have been, because -4 sounds much nicer) but it’s proof to myself that the 13st 12lb barrier is self-constructed, and that I can break through it.
It’s going to be an interesting few weeks, as I’m feeling a little more positive, and will break through that 13st 12lb barrier on an official weigh-in fairly soon, which is great. In a few weeks I’m also off on holiday for a fortnight, so the possibility that I’ll find myself back on the wrong side of 13st 12lb again is very likely. Which is less than great. But realistic.
Well good evening to you all – sorry for the lateness of the update this week, but had a date in a recording studio at 9am this morning, so couldn’t get this written before I left. Saying I had a date makes it sounds like I actually had a ‘date’, which would have been interesting (as it’s a very long time since I’ve been on a date) but I’d probably have received less support from my wife had that been the case. When you bear in mind that as I had the alarm set for 7:30 on Sunday morning, I didn’t get all that much support anyway, so it’s safe to say that actual dates weren’t on the agenda. Just doing music stuff.
Anyway, what’s been happening this week?
First of all, the weigh-in. An STS, which was certainly less than I’d planned after last week’s disastrous +3, but it seems about right for the week as a whole. At times I’ve been pretty perfect, and at times I’ve been pretty useless this week, neither of which are really what I’m looking for.
Just in case I don’t get this point across in any subtle way, let me make it very clear that I’M HAVING A TOUGH TIME WITH THIS AT THE MOMENT! I’m in one of those situations where I’m regularly doing the wrong things, all the while knowing that I’m doing the wrong things, but somehow lacking the motivation to stop myself doing the wrong things. That then leads to colossal periods of beating myself up, which lowers my self-esteem still further, and makes it more likely that I’m going to do some of the wrong things. I think.
I’ll apologise in advance for those of you who are looking for a nice upbeat “everything is going to be alright” update – if that’s you, then it might be wise for you to jump towards the last paragraph or two where I’ll undoubtedly try to find a silver lining for the weekly clouds. I’m trying my best to understand what’s happening in my head and how that affects the success or otherwise that I have. I’m a serial dieter, and I need to understand what stops me keeping the weight off. I’ve tried “just ignoring it” in the past and it hasn’t worked. I’ve tried “wishing really hard” as well, and oddly enough even that hasn’t helped. So I’m going to try to understand it instead.
There’s a few things that have been going on this week that it’s worth trying to to describe. First of all, there’s a general lack of motivation at the moment, which I can’t explain, but it’s certainly making it difficult for me to make sensible choices right now. It could be one and the same thing (but it feels separate) but there’s also a general lack of self-esteem at the moment which is strange – it feels as if I’m feeling rubbish about myself generally, and that’s affecting how I eat. It could be the other way around, in that I could be eating poorly and that’s affecting how I feel about myself and that’s affecting how I eat. It just feels like it’s separate. Can’t explain it better than that – sorry.
I’ve had other things this week too. In the last few days I have had fairly consistent and strong compulsions to just EAT! Not to eat anything in particular, although it drives me towards sweet stuff, but generally just to EAT! I’ve only had these feelings this strong a few times since I started on this journey, so it’s different enough for me to notice it, and it really is a dominant thing. I’m also fairly certain that this was what life was generally like before – a constant battle against these urges, but because they were always there I never noticed them, if that makes any sense. I’ve been trying to establish whether this is psychological, and therefore linked in with the stuff I’ve mentioned above, or whether this is a physical thing, and perhaps linked to something that I’ve eaten. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s genuinely a physical thing, not in the most scientific way, but it seems fairly sensible to me. A couple of days ago I had a doze on the sofa in the early evening. Literally the second I awoke, my mind starting shouting EAT! at me. That’s just weird and it really struck me how strong and how immediate it was – it doesn’t seem possible for that to be a psychological thing.
I can’t describe it except to say that it feels just like the feeling I used to get when I was trying to give up smoking. That all encompassing urge to just give in that dominates your every waking moment. You can distract yourself from it, but it doesn’t go away, it just sits in the background, waiting patiently for your mind to stop doing whatever it’s been doing. Once the distraction is over, the compulsion returns. EAT!
I think it might be refined sugar. This might be insane of course. This is just a former fat but now considerably thinner bloke trying to make sense of what’s going on in his head, so if anyone has thoughts or ideas on this (or has had similar experiences and can at least let me know that I’m not completely mad here) then please let me know. It was my birthday a few days ago, and I went out for a meal where I had a fairly significant dessert that probably contained more sugar than I’ve had in one go in a long while, and there does seem to be a link between that and the urges returning again. Having said that, there were a couple of flapjack and donut experiences earlier in the week that may have contributed to this as well. As I said, it hasn’t been the best of weeks. It feels like a pressure in my head – a buzzing pressure that will only be relieved by eating. I can’t say for definite whether it’s specifically for sugar, but eating sugary foods seems to help reduce it.
I’ve found myself getting quite emotional about it all a few times this week. I don’t know how to cope with what’s going on in my head right now, and I’m so scared that I’m on the verge of mucking it all up and going back to my old ways. I know it’s simple and all I have to do is just go back to doing what works, but it’s precisely because I know that already and am finding it so difficult to do it, that this all gets so scary. I’ve found myself wondering whether I need to try to consolidate for a while, and wondering whether I’m asking too much from myself. That then makes me wonder whether that would make it more or less likely that I would end up putting more weight back on. That then makes me want to sit in a dark room and cry for a few days.
So how do I sum up where I am? Well first of all, I’m struggling. I’m going quietly mad here at the moment, and I’m very scared of what happens next. Having said that, I’ve had an STS in my birthday week, which in most situations I’d be quite happy with. I’m stupidly busy at work at the moment, and under a whole lot of stress with my studies as well, so this could all just be real-life stuff getting in the way of my shrinking ways. Another positive this week was in the pool – I only managed the one swim this week, but managed to do 100 lengths, which equals my record. The fact that I can swim that far when I’m not going regularly is a good sign.
All in all, I’m struggling to come up with a positive conclusion this week, and I’m not going to fake it.
It’s been an interesting week. I hope you’re well etc.
The weigh-in for week 57 has just been completed, and it’s been such a terrible week that I’m almost relieved to only be reporting a +3. +3! It’s been a while since I’ve had a result as bad as that, and to be honest it’s been a very long while since I’ve had a week as bad as this. It could have been much worse, so I’m counting my blessings in some ways, but it is still a fairly disheartening experience.
This started in the duty-free shop at Arlanda airport, Stockholm. Before I flew out there, I was aware that I had some really strong cravings for my usual nemesis – jelly sweets. I seemed to be planning a binge even before I got to the airport, but I was aware of it, I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t be giving in to it, and had a really good week without it. Just to recap, I had a week where I couldn’t point very well, as I had no idea what I was eating, but managed an STS. That was great.
Back to the duty-free shop. I had some Krona to get rid of, so was doing the usual tired-traveller drudge around, trying to find something that would either be nice for my family or for me. I chose a few things of chocolate for my wife and daughter, and some chocolate for me. I chose some jelly sweets for my daughter, and some jelly sweets for me. And some jelly sweets for work. And some more jelly sweets for me. So just to recap here, The Shrinking Man, the man who much as he’d dearly like it to be otherwise has a complete inability to eat jelly sweets in moderation, is currently heading back to the UK after a great week abroad, and he’s carrying two large carrier bags full of jelly sweets and chocolate.
I knew I was kidding myself even then, but it’s like some strange sort of willing blindness that kicks in and I wasn’t prepared to openly accept that I was doing anything even remotely foolish. I opened a bag of jelly sweets on the plane, and shared some with a colleague. Even at this stage, I noticed that I was eating about ten to every one that my colleague ate, but that realisation sat in the back of my mind like some minor irrelevance, rather than a warning of impending doom.
Anyway, the next few days went something like this:
Saturday night – arrive back home. Have burger king, followed by dessert of jelly sweets and chocolate. And Jelly sweets. And some more chocolate
Sunday – have deliciously healthy fruit breakfast, then jelly sweets during the journey to Father in laws for a BBQ where I ate too much of everything, accompanied by crisps and snacks a plenty. Arrive home and have a dessert of jelly sweets and chocolate. And jelly sweets. And some more Jelly sweets
Monday – Have jelly sweets before breakfast. And chocolate. Back at work – decide not to take in jelly sweets for work colleagues, because “I don’t want to eat them during the day”. How do I manage to convince myself of this stuff? Eat relatively sensibly during the day. Decide that this is all getting out of hand, so decide to finish off chocolate in one go for dessert, and am so disheartened once I’ve finished it, that I then finish a whole can of jelly sweets to “remove the temptation”. Decide that I will definitely take the others into work the next day
Tuesday – Consciously forget to take the jelly sweets into work. Eat ok during the day. Pick at jelly sweets during the evening. When wife and daughter have gone to bed, eat lots of jelly sweets. And cakes. And biscuits
Wednesday – eat jelly sweets before breakfast. Work from home. Spend day picking at jelly sweets
It took me until Wednesday evening before I finally did what I should have done somewhere at the airport. I picked up everything that I had left, which was still quite a bit, and threw it in the bin.
For the rest of the week, I’ve eaten relatively well. Not brilliantly, but relatively well. Until yesterday that is. Yesterday, for no readily apparent reason, when I got up, I had one of my daughter’s jelly sweets. Just one sweet. I even commented to my wife how much easier it seemed to be to have just the one when they were someone else’s. She just gave a wry smile as if to say “here we go again”, but I chose to ignore it. I ate relatively well until I was out at the football yesterday afternoon, and then had a twix, and a large bag of quavers. Not the end of the world there either, but not ideal. Later on at home, I asked my daughter for one of her jelly sweets. And found a few more of my own that I hadn’t noticed – even now I’m deciding that these ones don’t count because they’re sugar-free. Still not all that bad. But once everyone else had gone to bed, I managed to devour two bits of cake, a caramel biscuit, a couple of packs of crisps and some chocolate. All in about five minutes. Seriously.
It has been a long time since I’ve had a binge like that, and it’s one of the scariest weeks I’ve had since I started this, because it’s served as a chilling reminder of just how easy it would be for me to go back to where I started. I’ve made some fantastic progress over the past 57 weeks, but the demons that got me fat in the first place are still there. And they’re very strong.
The main positive from this week was that I managed to snap myself out of it on Wednesday night and turn what could have been a terrible week into just a terrible few days.
The main lessons from this week are that:
My powers of self-delusion are as strong as ever
I need to accept that, for whatever reason, I can’t do moderation when it comes to jelly sweets, and I need to stop kidding myself. I’m aware that if you read back through previous blogs, then you’ll find that sentence a number of times, but I think I believe it this time (Even as I write this, I’m trying to rationalise a way through this that doesn’t make jelly sweets the problem. God I hate this. How can little lumps of sugar cause me so many problems?)
There’s something very messed up about the way that I’m waiting until everyone else has gone to bed and then eating – it’s like I’m too ashamed to do it in front of them, but not too ashamed to not to do it – that’s a little weird to be honest
Deciding that the solution to eating too many sweets is to eat them all in one go to remove the temptation really makes no sense whatsoever (and that honestly is the first time that I’ve seen the lack of logic in that process)
When I ate well this week, I did the WW points thing properly. When I didn’t eat well, I didn’t point everything properly. I think it’s probable that the cause and effect are a little mucked up in that sentence, because I think that the pointing is a genuine help to me, and that when I stop pointing, I start eating poorly. That needs a bit more of a look at, because I’m keen to understand it a bit more.
It’s been a truly awful week. I’m feeling absolutely disgusted and disappointed with myself. I’m going to try to draw some positives out of it though.
I think that this is one of those crossroads weeks where it would be easy to give in to the demons, and to just give it all up. The general self-loathing that I’m feeling right now, coupled with what I can best describe as a feeling of helplessness, would in all previous attempts be the trigger for just that. Giving up feels safer and friendlier. It feels like that’s where I belong. It feels like that’s all I deserve. (I’m welling up here).
I, The Shrinking Man, am not finished. I am not the weight that I want to be. I am not the weight that I deserve to be. Whatever I’ve done in the past is only relevant because I can use it to help me get to where I want to be, and that’s 12st 4lb. I have a long way to go, but I’m learning at each stage of the journey, and that’s a good thing. I’m looking to change my relationship with food, and to understand and control the demons that challenge that, and that’s why weeks like this are important. These are a necessary part of the process, as it’s learning to deal with weeks like this that will allow me to stay where I want to be. The destination isn’t the key, because this isn’t a holiday. When I find 12st 4lb, I’m moving there for good.
I hope you’ve had a delightful week – I certainly have! I’ve been in Stockholm on business all week, and can safely say that I have never seen a more beautiful city in my life. We’ve had warm, sunny weather, I’ve spent a week with some great people, and all in all I’ve had a fantastic time.
So what of the weigh-in I hear you ask? We’ll come to that in a minute 🙂 Let me first of all describe the highlights and lowlights of the week for you – a selection of the highlights first:
It’s difficult to describe how great it feels to sit in a seat on a plane and to only feel uncomfortable rather than stuck. It was still a pretty unpleasant experience, but being able to move around in my seat to try and get comfortable was a new and exciting experience (I’m very easily pleased of course)
Being able to do the seatbelt up with loads of extra inches left on the belt was a pleasure I hadn’t considered, along with being able to relax knowing that the stewardess won’t have to try to peer under my belly to see if I’ve got the belt on or not
People who I’d not seen since last August being genuinely surprised at how much weight I’d lost felt pretty good as well
Being able to wear tight-fitting t-shirts and tops and feel good in them was fantastic. I know I don’t look amazing just yet, but fantastic will do for now 🙂
While I only got to the hotel gym a couple of times, I walked everywhere whenever I could, and have done more exercise this week than I have in months
When leaving Sweden, the passport control lady had to check my big fat-faced passport photo four times to check that it was really me – that’s a bit of a result!
Lastly, while genuinely struggling to lug my huge suitcase between hotel and airport, to realise that this massive, ungainly 21kg load weighed less than two thirds of the massive, ungainly weight that I’ve already lost felt amazing.
And a selection of the lowlights:
It was pretty much impossible to point things during the week. I tried for the first day, but just couldn’t do it, mainly because a lot of the time I had absolutely no idea what I was eating
No fruit was available for breakfast most days, which threw my schedule right out, and meant that my usual zero point breakfast was becoming a five to ten point breakfast. Fruit was available later in the day, so I tried to make up for it then, but it gave me a difficult start to most days
Some of my shirts felt a little tight at times – I’m really not quite at the right size for some of the clothes I’ve brought recently, but I’m getting there
Eating a few too many biscuits and cakes throughout the course of the week didn’t feel great
Binging a bit on chocolates that they put on the conference desks on the last day certainly wasn’t brilliant
Sharing a bag of jelly sweets on the plane on the way back and noticing that I was eating about ten times as much as my colleague was a bit of an eye-opener as well.
So – let’s sum it all up. No fruit for breakfast, and unable to point for most of the week. Doesn’t sound promising really. With all of that in mind, I am absolutely delighted to announce an STS for week 56, and am feeling very proud of myself. Throughout the week I’ve eaten as sensibly as I could at mealtimes, tried to limit my snacking, stopped eating when I felt full and generally tried to stack the cards in my favour where I could. And it seems to have worked 🙂