New Year, Same Quest

The Shrinking Man - One man's Quest to make less of himselfHi.  It’s been a while.

It’s three and a half years since I started this blog, a couple of years since I stopped updating it regularly and five months since I updated it at all.  I’m about the same weight as I was when I started the blog, having lost more than 60 pounds and put it all back on again.  It would be best to describe me as being pretty much the same, but perhaps a little more jaded.

On the one hand, I’ve proved to myself that I really can lose weight when I set my mind to it.  On the other hand, I’ve proved to myself that I don’t know how to stop myself putting it all back on again pretty damn quickly.  Certainly much quicker than I lost it anyway.

Anyway, I’m tempted to write a little more at the moment, so I’ll give it a try and see whether it helps or not.  When things aren’t going well in the shrinking stakes, it can be quite a negative thing to write about it, so I’m not sure whether I’m in the right place to write right now (try saying that when you’re drunk).

Let me sum up recent events.  I’ve recently dipped back into the world of Atkins for a bit, but struggled to do it ‘properly’ and then got cross when I didn’t lose vast amounts each week.  I’ve dipped in and out of artificial sweeteners altogether, cut out coke, brought coke back in, cut back on coke and generally tried to be aware of what’s going on when I eat.

Here’s some stuff that I’ve noticed recently.  This will probably sound really obvious to all of you out there in thin world, but I’ve noticed that there are some foods that fill me up and some foods that make we want to eat more of them.  That seems to be pretty significant, particularly as the foods that make me want to eat more of them are foods that I eat a lot of.  All the snacks that I like – crisps, jelly sweets, midget gems (oh those midget gems) cocktail sausages, cakes, biscuits and stuff like that – they all fail to satisfy me, and make me want to eat more of them.

It’s not just snacking either – with things more closely related to proper food such as chicken, I think there’s some interesting stuff going on there too.  If I eat a chicken breast, I find it satisfies my appetite.  If I eat chicken that is coated, breaded, or generally covered in processed crap of some kind, then it doesn’t satisfy my appetite and makes me want to eat more.  That’s not quite true actually, I do end up full from eating breaded chicken, but not till I’ve eaten too much and am already feeling really stuffed.

Let me go a little further with this and see if it makes sense.  If I put a plate of chicken breasts in front of me, then I would eat until I’d had enough, and then I’d stop.  If I put a plate of breaded chicken breasts in front of me, I’d eat more, and there’s a good chance that I’d clear the plate, no matter how much was on there.  Chicken breasts = satisfied appetite, feeling physically comfortable and mentally in control.  Breaded chicken breasts = overeating, feeling physically stuffed and mentally out of control.  Factor in all the self-loathing that goes with that and you’re halfway to describing my life around food.

Let me add in another element to that.  Some foods make me want to just eat more.  Yesterday I had a traditionally unhealthy lunch of mushrooms, bacon and fried eggs.  I felt full and satisfied.  A short while later I had some wine gums that I just happened to find around the house.  First of all, I wasn’t hungry, and I knew I wasn’t hungry.  I really wasn’t enjoying them either – I really, really had to work hard to finish them all, which of course I did.  What I found particularly interesting was that a short while later I wanted to eat crisps.  I’ve hardly eaten any wine gums or crisps for a few months, which made it easy to notice that there was a link between the two.  If I hadn’t eaten the wine gums (which I didn’t really want and didn’t enjoy) then I wouldn’t have wanted the crisps (which I didn’t really want and didn’t enjoy).

There’s something significant in here I think.  My holy grail has always been moderation.  I’ve always sought this perfect mix of healthy eating and treats, but I’ve never been able to moderate the treats.  Never.  Not for any period of time anyway.  It might just be that what I’m looking for is never going to work – the very fact that I eat some of the stuff that I tell myself I want makes it almost impossible for me not to eat more of it.

I’m definitely coming at this off of the back of my brief stint with Atkins – the foods that I struggle with are pretty much all carbohydrate-rich processed crap, which ties in very strongly with the Atkins philosophy.  What’s been quite interesting for me has been delving a little further into the low-carb world and seeing that there’s a lot of people talking about similar approaches.

So what does that mean for The Shrinking Man?  Good question.  I’d say it means this – there are some types of foods that are likely to work against me when I’m seeking to lose weight.  Foods that not only make me want to eat more of that food, but also make me want to eat more of other foods.  None of the things that do this to me are what I’d class as healthy anyway.  Are they even foods?  Does something that doesn’t fill you up qualify as a food?  That’s a point for another day I think.

Does this mean I never eat those foods?  In an ideal world yes – I’m not sure that’s all that viable in the long-run (says the man who’s stopped drinking and smoking without so much as a second thought) but it would be great.  For now though, what I’m determined to do is to go into anything with my eyes open.  If I choose to eat those foods, then I’ll do so knowing what the likely impact of that will be, and being aware of it as it happens.  (I can see a link to cigarettes in this too.  If I don’t have those foods, I don’t crave them.  If I don’t smoke, I don’t crave cigarettes – more on this later too.)

Anyway, it feels quite good to be back right now.  That was an interesting piece to write.

More soon.

The Shrinking Man

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