Category Archives: The Shrinking Blog

Updates from The Shrinking Man documenting his quest to make less of himself.

I’m Very Strange

careyHi all,

Just a quick update here to keep you in the loop around what’s happening here in Shrinking Land.

I’ve been coke-free now for more than a month.  That’s rather weird to be totally honest with you, but I’m pleased.  I’ve honestly not missed it since the first week of tough withdrawal symptoms, and while it would be really easy to have some and start the whole cycle off again, I’ve not felt any pressure to do that.

That’s the positive stuff.  The negative stuff is centred around the fact that I can now safely say that diet drinks haven’t been the sole cause of my general fatness.  I do believe that diet drinks have been a contributory factor, but I still have all the same cravings and urges that I’ve come to know and despise so much.  I think I can say with little doubt that those cravings and urges are caused by sweet stuff of all kinds.

I’ve been experimenting with a variety of different drinks, and can report that I’ve drunk too much sugary stuff, and I’ve put on weight again.  The drinks themselves have contributed there, but the cravings and urges that they lead to are probably the main culprit, but the common factor is the sweet drinks.

My liquid intake these days is a mix of stlll water, sparkling water, water mixed with fruit juice, water with Ribena and 7-up.  I can’t remember whether I mentioned this before, but 7-up has no artificial sweeteners in it, so that’s my ‘treat’ drink of choice.  Of course, being me, I don’t tend to have it as a treat, it can very easily become the main drink on any day.

I’m deliberately not worrying about the fact that I’m drinking too much sugary stuff, or that I’m putting on weight.  I’ve just removed Coke, Diet Coke and all forms of artificial sweetener from my diet in one hit, and I need to give myself a bit of a break.  That’s enough for now.

I’ve noticed a couple of really interesting things in the last couple of weeks:

  • I noticed that artificial sweeteners give me headaches.  I went out for a drink with some friends at the weekend and drank orange juice and lemonade, and lime and soda.  It wasn’t possible to confirm, but I believe that the lemonade will have had sweeteners in it, and that will also be true for the lime cordial.  The next day, I had the sort of headache that I used to get if I didn’t have coke for a few days.  It hurt like hell, but didn’t last.
  • I can challenge myself when I’m eating crap stuff.  An example from this very morning – I was in the kitchen and saw a big bag of crisps on the side.  That’s usually enough.  I ignored them, and got on with the day, and I quickly forgot all about them.  Until the next trip to the kitchen.  But I ignored them again, and this time put them in the cupboard so they were out of the way.  I’ve not thought about them since.  A while later, I went to the biscuit tin and grabbed four biscuits.  I ate two really quickly, and then had a brief chat with myself.  I wasn’t hungry, I was eating them too quickly to be enjoying them and I’d hate myself afterwards if I did eat the other two.  So I went and put them back in the tin!  That’s quite a step for me!

I’m really conscious at the moment that I don’t eat like most people.  I’ve never really ‘got’ just how different my eating patterns are to other people, well to the thin people anyway.  Little things.  I had a bag of wine gums in the car the other day, and picked a friend up.  I said help yourself to the wine gums, and he didn’t.  He didn’t want them.  I sat and ate them one after the other until they were pretty much gone.  But he didn’t want even one.  That’s weird.  Not to him obviously.  I presume it’s weird for him to see the fat bloke just stuffing his face that way.

All I’m going to do for now is to relax a bit, try to challenge myself while I’m eating stuff that I don’t really want or need, and start to bring more water into my diet.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

Coke Schmoke

Grant WilliamsHi all

It’s now been more than three weeks since I last took so much as a sip of Coke/Diet Coke of any kind.  That’s rather cool 🙂  Odd as it feels now, I really didn’t think I’ve ever be able to cope without it.  In those three weeks, I’ve done my best to avoid all forms of artificial sweetener too, though I’ve been amazed at how difficult that is if you’re not really studying labels.

Just to give you an example of what I mean by that, I took a little time to study the labels in the fizzy drink aisle of my local Morrison’s last week.  It’s not too surprising to find that all of the “no added sugar” drinks include artificial sweeteners.  What I was really surprised by was finding that the majority of the regular non-diet drinks also contained artificial sweeteners.  of the entire aisle of drinks, there were only three fizzy drinks that were sweetener-free.  For the record that was Coke and a couple of the less-common Fanta drinks.

That means that every time you’re drinking lemonade, or just about any other fizzy drink, you’re drinking sweeteners.  That’s quite scary.

Anyway, let me tell you a little about what it’s been like for me.  I went totally cold Turkey at first and was only drinking water.  That felt good, but it was also a little boring at times, so after a few days I began to drink Fruit Juice mixed with water, which gave me a lot more options, and was a lot more pleasant.  I’ve also bought some fizzy stuff as a treat every now and again, but only ones that use sugar to sweeten them.

So let’s summarise that for a moment.  I’ve gone from a world where I drank almost nothing other than fizzy drinks with artificial sweeteners in them to drinking mainly water, but with occasional fruit juices mixed with sparkling water, along with occasional sugar-based drinks.  I’m sure that in time there’s an argument that says that some of those should be removed from my diet altogether, but for now, I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved so far.

It wasn’t pleasant at first, but I feel absolutely fine now, and I’m really proud of myself for getting through the initial withdrawal symptoms.  What’s been most interesting to me is that I’ve also learnt a lot about the impact that the stuff that I drink has on my general appetite and well-being.  I can best explain it like this:

  • Artificial sweeteners trigger off cravings in me to simply eat
  • Now I’ve stopped the artificial sweeteners, I no longer have the same cravings
  • Drinks with added sugar trigger off cravings too, but not as strongly
  • Fruit juices can trigger off cravings as well, but less so than drinks with added sugar
  • I’m not sure if it classifies as a formal addiction, but the withdrawal symptoms from sweeteners and caffeine are very unpleasant
  • It’s easier to control the sugar cravings than the sweetener cravings
  • If I’m not sure whether something has sweeteners in it, it’s best to avoid it
  • I’ve noticed that if I have some fruit juice, I’ll want to have another glass straight away.  That’s diminished if I mix the fruit juice with water, and if I use carbonated water, it tastes nicer too.
  • I’ve noticed that if I have a drink with added sugar, I’ll WANT to have another glass straight away, but that if I have a glass of water, then the WANT goes away
  • I’ve noticed that if I have the second glass of sugary drink, whether fruit juice or added sugar stuff, then I’ll want to eat.  Whether it’s sweet or savoury doesn’t matter at all – I just want to eat.

So what does that mean?  Well it’s early days right now, but let me have a stab at some sort of conclusion:

I’ve always considered that the stuff that I’ve been drinking for my entire adult life had at worst a neutral impact on my weight, and probably helped keep it off.  Put bluntly, I’ve always felt that if I wasn’t drinking diet drinks, I’d be even fatter.  I’m starting to believe that there’s a fundamental lie in there, and that in ways that haven’t been properly explained, sweeteners can actually contribute to weight-gain.  I was watching a UK TV programme last week called The Men Who Made Us Thin, which takes a four-part look at the diet industry.  The third part discusses the impact of sweeteners on the brain, and suggests that it can trigger the desire to eat.

As for weight, I’ve been a lot less fussed about it recently – I’m cutting out sweeteners for health reasons rather than weight ones, and oddly enough, I’m losing weight.  Not lots, but I’ve replaced the sweetener drinks with a mix of water and sugary drinks and I’ve lost a few pounds.  What’s most impressive is that I feel a lot more in control of what I’m eating.  I’m still having bad days and bad meals, but I’m starting to identify the patterns in what I consume that trigger them.

For now, that’s progress.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

 

A coke free week

Hi all,

2090370915_a73f319b07I’m writing at the end of what has been the first coke/diet coke free week of my adult life.  I’m torn between feeling embarrassed and proud of that to be honest, but the pride is the one that’s fighting its way to the fore.  A week without caffeine.  A week without Aspartame/Nutrasweet.  It’s also been a week without any other form of artificial sweetener, so no Sucralose, Sachharine or anything else either.

I feel pretty good right now to be honest, but it’s been a week of withdrawal symptoms, some I was expecting, some I wasn’t, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to feel as bad as I did.  I also wasn’t expecting the cravings that I’ve had to be as strong as they were, and that’s really helped me solidify some stuff in my mind about what this stuff really does to me.

Let me step back to the start of the week – I was feeling angry and determined to take control.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to take control of, but I was fed up with feeling helpless in the face of all of this, and was going to take control of something.  Diet coke seemed like as good a thing as any, but I wanted to go further and cut out all forms of diet drinks too – artificial sweeteners and caffeine were on the way out.

I was expecting the headaches.  They’ve pretty much gone now.  I wasn’t expecting the trapped wind and stomach pains.  That’s been quite interesting because I’ve had problems with those on and off for a while and hadn’t made the connection between them and me cutting back on Aspartame.  I’m now pretty comfortable that when I cut Aspartame out of my diet, my body responds by making me hurt.  It’s been really uncomfortable, and while it’s almost gone, it’s still there.  That’s quite disturbing.  I had pretty what I’d describe as mild flu symptoms to accompany the headaches and stomach pains too, which was nice – shivers, sweats, nausea – again pretty much gone now, but I had a difficult start to the week.  A few days later, I started to ache in all of my joints – particularly my elbows, which was a little odd.  That’s still there.

Now all of the above could be coincidence.  I’m no Doctor (I trust that doesn’t surprise you 🙂 ) so I don’t know that these symptoms were a reaction to me making significant changes to my diet, but I’d be willing to bet a significant amount of money that they were.

The cravings were very difficult to deal with, and made it pretty clear that there was something significant going on in relation to what I’d cut out – It felt as if I had a voice in my head, prompting me to drink some form of sweetened fizzy drink, and that then everything would be fine.  Everything.  I’d feel much better.  I wouldn’t hurt any more.  I’d be happy and everything would be back to normal.  Scary stuff.

Anyway, I’m pleased and proud to say that I’ve not listened to them, and at the moment at least, they’ve backed off.  It’s quite difficult to work out precisely which of the three things that I’ve stopped drinking is responsible for any of the cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  Caffeine, Aspartame and Sucralose are the three that I’d suggest are the culprits – I’ve ingested vast quantities of each of those daily for decades – Sucralose being the latecomer as I’ve sought out non-Aspartame drinks to replace diet coke with.

I went to a wedding on Friday, and decided to have a few glasses of lemonade to celebrate (I really know how to let my hair down).  I checked it was full-fat lemonade with no sweeteners in, and was assured that it was, and had three glasses of it throughout the day.  That was the first significant sugar I’d had throughout the week, and it really showed.  For starters, when I got home, I demolished a big bag of crisps that I simply hadn’t wanted to touch for the rest of the week.  Secondly, the next day, the cravings were back.  Not as strong as they’d been at the start of the week, but a definite difference that must be down to the sugar.

So let me summarise what I think I’ve learned this week.

  • First of all, the coke and other diet fizzy stuff that I’ve drunk for years aren’t good for me.  I’m going to avoid them from now on.
  • Secondly, I’ve learnt that when I’m not drinking that stuff, I don’t seem to want to stuff my face in quite the same way as I usually do
  • I’m not sure whether it’s sweeteners, sugar or what it is, but for now I’m going to say that it’s sweet stuff that really works against me.

I’ve lost four pounds this week – did I mention that?  Difficult to get too excited about it, having so much to lose again, but I’m going to hold that loss close to my heart, as a reminder that I’ve managed to cut out some really nasty things that have been a huge part of my life for decades, and still manage to lose weight.  That’s a good thing.

In the first part of the week, I drank water exclusively.  Later in the week I introduced some fruit juice, and over the last 24 hours, I’ve been experimenting with mixing fruit juice and sparkling water, while still trying to mainly drink just plain water.

I’m feeling good.

The Shrinking Man

Caffeine and Sweetener Withdrawal

careyWow.

This hurts.

It’s now the fourth day since I stopped drinking fizzy drinks of any kind, and have drunk nothing but water.  This has been the first time in my adult life that I’ve gone without some form of sugary or sweetenery fizzy drink for as much as a day.  That sounds so terrible doesn’t it?  How juvenile do I sound?  I’ve never drunk tea, and have no more than one or two cups of coffee a year when business protocol demands it, so I’ve always lived on sweetened drinks.  As a child and teenager it was usually fruit squashes, as an adult it’s been mainly fizzy stuff.  Coke was the main culprit at first (which probably goes a long way to explaining why my teeth are so poor) as diet coke used to give me headaches, but over time I got used to diet coke.  I rarely drink water, and that means that for my entire adult life, I’ve lived on sweetened drinks.

The impact of the sugary drinks is relatively clear – my teeth are poor and I’m fat.  But what’s the impact of the sweetenery drinks?  That’s harder to see, but I’m going to stick my neck out and have a guess.  I’d suggest that there’s a great chance that the impact of the sweetenery drinks starts with damaging my teeth by mucking up the ph balance.  I’d also suggest that there’s a strong chance that they’ve contributed to my weight problems too.  I’m reading more and more suggestions that the body’s reaction to sweeteners is very similar to its reaction to sugar – cravings for carbohydrates can be triggered by both.  There’s a whole load of scary stuff out there in internet land about just what the chemicals in artificial sweeteners can do to your body, though it’s difficult to know what to put your faith in.

It’s safe to say that I don’t believe that the artificial sweeteners do me any good (I’m still fat 🙂 ) and there’s a very good chance that they’re doing me significant amounts of harm.

So I’ve stopped them.  And it hurts.

In the four days since I’ve stopped them, I’ve experienced severe stomach aches, an upset stomach, almost consistent headaches, flu-like shivers, sweats, nausea and what can only be described as very depressed moods.  I’ve had major cravings to go and have something sweet and fizzy, with the very clear message that if I have the sweet and fizzy drink, then everything will be alright.  That sounds very much like addiction to me.

On a positive note, all of the above had made me feel pretty rough, and it’s been really easy to not overeat, so I’m certainly going to lose a bit of weight while I’m feeling this poor.  I hope these symptoms won’t last long, though a bit of web research suggests that I’m hitting up against both caffeine and sweetener withdrawal, which can cause problems for weeks or even months.

This really isn’t easy, but I think it’s important in two ways.  First of all it’s a significant step towards me regaining control over my life, and secondly I think that I’m going to benefit from getting this stuff out of my life and my body.

I’m going to track what happens with this, and keep you posted.

My head hurts.  My stomach hurts.

But I’m feeling proud.

Laters.

The Shrinking Man

Anger and taking control

imagesI got angry on Saturday night.  Really angry.  Anger isn’t a normal response for me – frustration and deflation are familiar responses, but anger doesn’t come out all that much.  But I really was angry.  And that anger was directed at myself.

It was about 11:30pm, and I was sitting alone in my front room, watching the telly.  I’d eaten relatively well that day.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I hadn’t eaten well that day, but I hadn’t eaten awfully, at least until about 11:30pm.  Within the next thirty minutes, I’d eaten the remainder of that evenings Chinese takeaway, the remaining half of the large bag of crisps that I’d already started earlier in the evening, two-thirds of a pot of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food and three chocolate biscuits.

Now I’m aware that I’m a fat guy.  Honestly.  Even though I’m still surprised just how fat I look when I see photographs of me, I do know I’m fat.  But I don’t want to be fat.  So why am I acting like I want to be fat?  Am I fat guy who wants to shrink, or a fat guy who wants to stay fat?

Just to revisit that Saturday night, I need to clearly explain what was happening while I was eating that stuff.  First of all, I wasn’t hungry.  I’d been quite stuffed earlier in the evening after the Chinese takeaway, but hadn’t eaten anything after that.  Actually, scrub that – I’d had half a large bag of crisps, which is the equivalent of three normal bags of crisps.  But I wasn’t stuffed.  But I definitely wasn’t hungry.  And I knew I wasn’t hungry while I was eating all that stuff.  I was aware that I wasn’t hungry, and I was hating myself while I was eating it.  Now it’s really common for me to hate myself after I’ve eaten badly, but it’s not that common for me to be conscious enough to hate myself while I’m eating it.  I was eating way too quickly to taste the food, let alone enjoy it – I was wolfing it down really, but I was really having to force myself to eat it because I just wasn’t hungry.

Let’s sum that up – I knew I wasn’t hungry, it was physically hard to eat, I wasn’t enjoying it and I was hating myself for doing it, yet I still managed to consume, at a conservative guess, more than the recommended calorie intake for a man, in just half an hour.  All this at the end of the day where I’d already consumed more than the recommended calorie intake for a man.

I can’t explain it.  I really can’t.  But I’m angry.

I’ve spent what seems like my entire life watching from the sidelines while I harm myself, and that’s what’s made me angry.  I’ve always looked on while I’m doing this to myself, as if I’m helpless to control it, or to intervene in any way, and that stops here.  Well actually it stopped in the early hours of Sunday morning, but it stops.

I refuse to be a helpless observer in my own demise.  Point blank refuse.

I don’t have much of a plan here – I don’t want to start-up again on any diet plan or programme.  I want to be in control.

The first significant step that I’m going to take is this – I’m cutting out the caffeine and artificial sweeteners in my life.  I don’t drink tea or coffee, and have pretty much lived on fizzy drinks, either diet or regular, for my entire adult life.  I rarely drink water, even though I enjoy it when I do.  The first thing I drink in the morning is a diet drink of some sort, and the last thing I drink at night will be the same, along with pretty much every drink in between.  I have no idea what that’s been doing to me, but I’m pretty certain it’s not good, and it certainly hasn’t helped me lose weight.  So it’s going.

I’ve cut back on coke products before, and suffered from serious headaches, and have always gone back.  I’ve always replaced coke with lemonade or some other fizzy drinks, so I think I can say with some embarrassment, that I have never gone without sugary or sweetenery (my word – sorry) drinks for as much as a single day.  Not once in my adult life.

So for now, I’m angry, and I’m determined.  I will not be a helpless observer in my own demise.  I will take control.

And it starts with the drinks – bring on the water.

The Shrinking Man.

It’s Been A While

The Shrinking ManQuite a long while when all is said and done.  Not as long as the gap between posts would suggest, for reasons that I’ll explain in a minute, but it has been ages.  I have much to tell you, but I’ll start with the important bit.  I couldn’t begin to tell you how upset, sorry and to be completely honest, rather embarrassed I am to announce that I’m fat again.  A couple of minutes ago I weighed in at 17st 7lb.  That’s not as fat as I was when I started this, but it’s not far off of it, and let’s be honest, I know that I’m on the way back there and beyond unless I make changes.

A brief summary of what’s happened since the last update on here:

  • I decided to try and change the site from being a simple blog to more of a community site, as I believed that my success to date could help more people that way
  • I went backwards in my shrinking (there’s no connection between the switch to a community site and stopping shrinking – it just happened that way)
  • I very quickly found that writing about my struggle became uncomfortable and embarrassing rather than inspirational and supportive
  • I stopped writing
  • I kept growing
  • I didn’t renew the community site (it cost too much for a site that I wasn’t using)
  • I didn’t take a backup of the posts made since the move to the community site (though there weren’t many, there were some, including some by other people who joined up – to those people I’m very sorry but your contributions have been lost in the ether)
  • I switched back to the original blog.  Yesterday.
  • And now you’re here.  Hi 🙂

So what happens next?

Honestly I’m not sure.  I know that I used to find this blog very useful, and I know that other people going through a similar experience found it supportive too.  I need help again, so I’m hoping that I can find a way to use this site to help me.  That’s about as far as I’ve got at the moment.

Originally the concept behind The Shrinking Man was to document my journey from fat bloke to thin bloke.  Having gone from fat bloke to much thinner bloke and now back to fat bloke, I’m not sure if that concept still works, but I’ve got a feeling that it can.  Put simply, it may not be as simple a journey as I’d hoped, but perhaps that makes the concept of The Shrinking Man even more important.  This isn’t a simple journey from A to B.  Perhaps it’s more like a journey from A to Z.  I can see where I want to get to – that’s Z I suppose, but I can’t find the right roads, so I’m having to travel all over the place to get there.

So what happened then?  What made all my hard-won shrinking disappear?  Why did I get fat again?

I guess if I knew the full answer to that, then I wouldn’t be fat again, but as usual, I’m going to try to make some sense of it all.  The mechanics of it are simple – I got fat again because I stopped eating sensibly and exercising regularly.  So let’s ask a slightly different question:

Why did I stop eating sensibly and exercising regularly?

The generic answer is simple I think, and that is simply that I haven’t dealt with whatever it is inside of my head that makes me want to eat unhealthily and to not exercise.  I end up in a spiral where I know all the right things to do, and I have techniques that have proved themselves to be highly successful.  But I just can’t bring myself to do them.  Something stops me.  But what?

Let me list the likely candidates:

  • My relationship with food is just mucked up and has been since childhood.  I’m still trying to impress my mum by cleaning my plate and gain praise by eating lots in some weird juvenile throwback that is so ingrained that I struggle to overcome it
  • I have some sort of self-loathing thing going on that means that whatever my conscious mind decides that I want to achieve, my unconscious is basically saying “Sorry fat-boy – that isn’t happening.  You’re fat and you deserve nothing better, so you’re staying that way”
  • My unconscious mind is trying to keep me safe by fighting my conscious efforts to change
  • I just don’t have the willpower to see this through – I’m just not trying hard enough
  • There are elements within even my healthier diets that work against me and set me up to fail in the longer-term.

I think I could make strong arguments for all of the above being contributory factors except for the willpower one.  This isn’t about willpower – there are other forces at work here, and it’s my lack of understanding that’s stopping me rather than a lack of desire.

I need to think about how to use the blog going forwards – in reality, the struggles that I’m facing are probably more important to document than the pleasant weeks, so I’d like to see if I can get started with it properly again, but I’ll need to change the structure a bit.  The ‘Shrinking So Far’ block on the left of the screen doesn’t work, or at least elements of it don’t – the idea of average weekly loss over this time period is dead and buried at least.

The weird thing at the moment is that when I was down below 14st, I wasn’t happy.  I was thinking that I needed to get to 12 st something or other and that then I might be happy.  Whereas now I’d give my right arm to be dictating a blog post that announced by arrival into the 13st something club.  That’s my target now – I want to weigh 13st something and I’m going to get there, and I’m going to be bloody happy when I do get there.  And I’m going to work out how the hell I stay there too.

Have fun.

The Shrinking Man

Too Busy to Eat?

Evening all.

My apologies to those of you who find it difficult to start a Sunday without your regular TSM fix, but I’ve been jetting all round the country today visiting relatives who just happened to have chosen the same day to visit different parts of the country from very different parts of the globe.  That meant that I couldn’t weigh-in properly this morning (not on ‘my’ scales anyway, and I’m not in the mood for any traumatic differences in either direction due to Different Scale Syndrome (DSS as I’ve just decided to call it).  And I didn’t think early enough to weigh-in properly yesterday.  So I ended up weighing myself about midday yesterday.  After I’d eaten a hearty breakfast.  And drunk a couple of pints of fluids.  And I was still showing a healthy -2.  So I’m pleased.

To be honest, I’ve had a really, really busy week, which I’m starting to recognise is definitely a good thing for me in the shrinking stakes.  There is a bit of a correlation between me finishing the end of my studies and this latest bout of pitiful struggling, although I think I can always find a healthy handful of things to use as a reason/excuse for a bout of midget-gem indulgence.

Weirdly, I’m feeling quite good, even though I’ve eaten pretty poorly over the last 48 hours or so.  The usual visiting family combination of “don’t you look fantastic” followed by “I’ve piled your plate so high that it can be seen from outer-space” has made it a tough time, but worse things happen at sea.  I’ve spent some lovely time with some people I really don’t see often enough, some for good reasons, some for no good reasons.  And that’s worth it.

I’ve had a week of patterns, and they’re interesting, to me at least.  First of all, the week starts well, and gets progressively worse as it goes on.  That probably says something very important about what’s going on in my head.  Secondly, I’ve noticed that the busier I am, the less I eat.  If I don’t have much to do, then I find food to fill in the gaps.  That’s quite depressing really.  Thirdly I’ve noticed a direct link between me having food to hand and me eating it.  That might sound obvious, but what I mean is that if I buy a bag of something, and have a few, then I’ll keep having a few more until they’re gone.  If instead, I buy a bag, have a few and then stick in a cupboard/draw/glovebox, then I don’t.  I’ll go back to them at some point, but not then.  That’s really quite interesting.

I managed to get to the gym once this week, but am slightly ashamed to say that instead of doing my usual 50-60 minute power-swim, I spent two hours chatting in the jacuzzi with the friend who started me off on the shrinking thing.  She’s currently losing weight at a far greater rate than I am, but she started a whole lot later, so I’m not going to feel too bad about it.  Anyway, we talked about WW, about life in general and about chaffinches, so that really makes it ok.

One positive thing I’m feeling is that once I’ve had a rocky start to the week (which I have definitely had today) then I know that I need to push myself to the gym a little harder and do what I can to cancel it out.  I’ve avoided that part of the whole WW equation for a while, and it’s been hurting me, so I intend to pick it up again.  Even if I can’t get to the gym, then I can go for a walk, spend some time walking up and down the stairs, get the Wii out – lots of options.  I just need to choose them and use them.  Oh yes.

Anyway, it’s getting late and I’m nowhere near ready to stop working just yet, so I need to go.  I’ve had a good week, and I’m looking forward to this one, whatever it brings.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.

 

 

Is this what it’s always going to be like?

Evening all.

Week 75 has come to an end, and it’s been a tough, difficult, challenging and generally horrible week. The end-result wasn’t anything like as bad as I’d expected – an STS, which would normally be ok, but following on from last week’s +4, it’s not great. When you consider that I was expecting something closer to another +4, I’m relieved, but I’m considering it to be a fluke, as I’ve really not had a good seven days.

I’m torn right now. I’m unsure how to proceed, because on the one hand I’m clearly struggling, and want to write about what that feels like. On the other hand, I’m also aware that people reading week after week of me whining and whinging about how terrible it all is can’t be much fun. In the end though, the purpose of this blog is to document what it’s like throughout the shrinking process, warts and all, so those of you looking for a positive and uplifting experience, might need to look away now. If you’re here to find out what it’s really like being a former fat-bloke trying to first of all remain a thinner-bloke, and then go on to become a thin-bloke, then pull up a chair, take the weight off your feet, and rejoice in my misery:-)

Did I mention that it’s been a tough week? I’ve found myself beating myself up on a pretty regular basis, trying to resist the temptations that have been calling out to me pretty constantly. With a degree of success at firstq admittedly. Then I’ve found myself giving in to the voice that says “Just give in. Eat the whole packet of biscuits. Then I’ll be quiet. But only then. You might as well do it now. You know you’re going to anyway. Because you’re useless. And you’ll be fat again soon.”

The kind of compulsion that means I end up sitting with two packs of crisps, a couple of chocolate bars and a bag of midget gems one minute, and a pile of wrappers, and a whole load of guilt and self-loathing.

There have been positives at times this week too, and while I’m aware that it might interfere with the general mood of gloom and despondency that I’m creating here, I think it’s important to provide a bit of balance. On two occasions I’ve felt so bad after a binge that I’ve dragged myself down to the gym to make some sort of half-hearted apology to myself for it all. Once I went for a swim, and managed 80 lengths. I had the feeling that I would be able to do more, and was feeling quietly confident that I could break the 100 lengths barrier, right up until the moment that I almost threw up after the 80th. The second time I went, I even ventured into the gym itself, and managed 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the cross trainer thing. Both of these reactions were very positive, and are the perfect reaction to bad eating, but I’m really struggling with just how difficult I’m finding it to control the initial bad eating itself.

I’m definitely noticing some patterns around when I struggle with food. It tends to be when I’m not doing anything. Does that sound silly? I’m still coming to terms with having a little more time on my hands since I finished studying, and those times are a particular problem for me. Not sure what that says to be honest – I don’t want to have to keep making myself busy just so I don’t eat sweets all the time. That would be daft.

What’s concerning me the most is that I seem to losing control of things more and more each week. This isn’t something that seems to be sorting itself out, or just a phase. I’m slipping back into the sort of habits that got me fat in the first place, and that’s really quite scary. I’ve responded better to it this week, so that’s perhaps a positive sign. It has to be, but it’s difficult to see much positive news right now.

So let me try and deliver a positive ending to this weeks diatribe. I’ve done a bit of checking back through my stats and the first time I reached my current weight (14st 6lb) was about six months ago. From a losing weight perspective, it’s difficult to see absolutely no progress in six months as a positive, but I think that it IS a positive outcome if you look at it in terms of staying thin for the long term. It’s not been a pleasant experience for a lot of the last six months, as I’ve been up and down like a yoyo, but the fact that I’ve managed to keep the weight off for six months is a fairly significant achievement. It’s always the keeping it off where I’ve struggled in the past, and I guess what I’m doing right now is managing to deal with the ongoing challenges in a better way than I’ve previously managed, no matter how tough it seems.

Is that positive? I have absolutely no idea.

But it’ll do for now.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.

You eat crap, you get fat

I believe the phrase the youth of today would use is OMG! Week 73’s weigh-in has just been completed, and I’m disgusted to report a +4 for the week. +4? OMG! Again.

Would it make any sense if I said that it was not a surprise, but still an incredible shock? I mentioned a week or so ago that I’d been the perfect poster-boy for the whole weight-watchers experience, and this week has been quite like that. Except it’s been the complete opposite. I’ve managed to consistently do the opposite of what I should have done for pretty much the whole week. I’ve snacked when I wasn’t hungry, I’ve stopped tracking what I’m eating, I’ve made the wrong choices when I actually stopped to think about what I was eating. I’ve eaten midget gems, wine gums, crisps by the gallon, avoided be gym completely, even though I had more chances than I can remember to actually get there and generally had a terrible, terrible week.

And would you believe that I’m still quite shocked that I’ve put on four pounds?

It’s in weeks like this that the challenge I face both in maintaining my original weight loss, and in continuing to lose more weight, is laid bare. It’s weeks like this that make me fear for the future, and it’s weeks like this that make me feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, scared, upset and generally fed up.

It’s probably not the least bit helpful, but it’s also weeks like this that absolutely fascinate me, as I still feel that if I could get my head around why I put myself through weeks like this, then I’d finally be able to crack this whole shrinking thing. I think I’m still clinging on to the hope that somewhere in my twisted little fat-bloke’s mind, there’s a little switch that if I can just flick it, will make it clear to me why it’s not a good idea to eat like a pig when you’re trying to lose weight. Just in case you’re new to the blog, I ought to state, for the record, just so you don’t think I’m totally insane, that I do know that it’s not a good idea to eat like a pig when I’m trying to lose weight. I really do. Or at least I do before the fact, and I definitely do after the fact. But clearly I don’t know that in the moment. At the time that I’m reaching for the midget gems, something overrides the whole ‘logical and sensible’ side of my brain, and I seem to revel in the general naughtiness of the self-destruction I’m wreaking upon myself.

What makes this whole thing so frustrating is that I’ve been able to find the right mental switches to deal with smoking and drinking, neither of which I do at all any more. And I have genuinely dealt with them – I don’t have these stupid lapses and smoke for a week every now and again. I stopped smoking because I managed to get myself to see smoking as a non-smoker saw it, and that flicked a switch in my head almost instantly, and overcame years of addiction once and for all. Am I mad to try to find the same thing for my over-eating?

To try to relate it to the smoking thing for a minute, I always believed that I enjoyed smoking. I now know that wasn’t true, but I genuinely believed it to be true at the time. I tell myself that I don’t enjoy over-eating. But I’m not sure I actually believe it. Deep down I mean. That’s the switch that needs flicking. When I’m pouring a bag of midget gems down my throat, I’m clearly getting something from it. But what actually is it? To link it directly to the seeing smoking as a non-smoker sees it, what would a thin-bloke think while watching me eating them? Would they be missing out on something by not eating them? If they could see what I was getting from them, would they reach for a bag and start gulping?

It seems so obvious to say no. They wouldn’t do it. So why do I?

I think there’s something else going on here. I think that when I’m eating badly, the urge that I’m satisfying might not have anything to do with food itself, but is more to do with overcoming denial. There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something that I know I shouldn’t that I think is the reward I’m getting from over-eating. I think it’s related to the same switch, and might actually help me to flick it, but it does involve looking in a different place.

I wonder if any of the above makes any sense to anyone else on the planet? It fascinates me to know how posts like this must read to different people. If you’re a thin person who’s just stumbled across the blog by mistake, then I’m guessing it must seem insane. If you’re just starting on your weight-loss, it must seem strangely irrelevant, as things are probably going ok. If you’ve lost lots of weight, and are keeping it off, then you’re probably wondering what I’m going on about, and not understanding why I’m making it so difficult. If you’re struggling, then I hope it makes some sense 🙂

Not for the first time, I find myself in an odd place. I’m not concerned that I’m going to fall apart and put it all back on. I know I could do that, but I’m happy that I won’t. I’m sure I’ll lose a pound or two over the next few weeks, then gain a bit, then lose a bit and so on. I’ve got a horrible fear that I’m going to spend the rest of my life bouncing around between 14 and 14.5 stone. Not the end of the world, and considerably better than bouncing around between 18 and 18.5 stone. But still not what I’m looking for.

The frustration is that I can feel the solution nearby. I feel like I’m blindly working my way around a darkened room, and that every now and again my fingers brush against the light switch I’m looking for. But then I lose it before I have a chance to flick it, and so still can’t see things properly.

How very odd.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.

Feeling a little gutted…

Morning all.

I hope you’re well and that you’ve had a good week.

I must confess to feeling a little disappointed ths morning. I’ve just completed the weigh-in for week 73, and I’m showing a -1 for the week, and I was really hoping for a little more than that. I know I’ve said many times on here that -1 is a great result, and it’s true – it is. Losing a pound a week would mean nearly four stone in a year, which would be a great result in anyone’s book. Providing they were trying to lose weight of course, otherwise I guess that could be more than a little concerning, but I digress.

The reason I’m disappointed with a pound this week is just that I’ve been so good! Truly. If WW was looking for a poster-boy this week, someone who embodied everything they stood for, and who could stand up and shout “yes! It’s all true. Just look at me!” then this week, that would have been me. I’ve asked myself all the right questions, I’ve come up with all the right answers, I’ve made sensible choices, I’ve not deprived myself and I’ve pointed absolutely everything that has passed my lips. I’ve swum, albeit just the once, and have gone out of my way to be more active generally wherever I can. If there’s been stairs, then I’ve hunted them down and made them my own, and I’ve shunned lifts, escalators and travellators. I’ve even been ready to reject offers of piggy-backs and fireman’s lifts in the admittedly unlikely event that they might have been offered.

Yet still just one measly pound.

The other reason I was expecting a bigger loss this week was that I feel smaller. Clothes are fitting me better, and I feel at least two pounds lighter. Not one. Two! Again, I’m aware that this is actually a positive thing rather than a negative one, but I guess what I was really hoping was that I was going to get some reassurance from the scales that things were going as well as I felt they were.

And I didn’t. And destructive as it will sound, that makes me want to reach for the crisps/midget gems/curly wurlys. I’m not going to of course, but it makes me want to, and thats really annoying.

Anyway, even at this rate, I’ll be getting back down to my dreaded sticking point of 13st 12lb in time for Christmas when I’ll pile the pounds on again. And then I can start the whole thing again 🙂

I will snap out of it soon. Probably.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man.

Week 72 and a Milestone Re-reached

Morning all 🙂

Hope you’re having a marvellous weekend and all that.  The weigh-in for week 72 has been completed, and I’m part-pleased and part-disappointed to report a -1.  In itself that’s a sign that I’m getting myself back on track, as I’d have bitten my arm off for a -1 a few weeks ago, but it’s also a sign of just how far I’ve still got to go.

The scales were teasing me this morning.  I climbed on board, and the clear digital reading showed me a -2.  -2?  That’s great – just what I wanted!  Thanks very much. Oh. -1.  I tried a few times, just to make sure, but each time, they looked like they would settle at -2, but jumped to -1 right at the last moment.  So -1 it is.

I’ve had a pretty good food week for the majority of the last seven days, but have struggled in the last 48 hours.  I’ve been feeling a bit rough, and it’s been interesting/frustrating to note that in my slightly weakened state (I’m feeling your compassion and pity right now!) I allowed my carefully controlled eating to go out of the window to be replaced by semi-indulgent snacking.  On the one hand, it’s quite easy to explain it away as being just for simplicity’s sake – “I’m feeling poorly, so instead of taking the time to make a sandwich, I’ll grab a box of cakes and take them to bed with me”.  On the other hand, I think that’s quite indicative of how close to the surface some of my demons still really are, as my first reaction when things are slightly out of the ordinary, is still to reach for the cakes.

Nothing that can’t be dealt with of course, but still something to be aware of.  I did say semi-indulgent snacking earlier, which perhaps deserves some explanation.  As a general rule, whenever I let myself go these days, I’m still pleasantly surprised to discover that I’m not really letting myself go at all, at least not in anything like the manner that I would have done in my previous life.  When I say that I grabbed a box of cakes, what I should probably point out is that what I actually meant was that I grabbed a box of weight-watchers cakes.  And ate all six cakes.  Over two days.  That’s still a long, long way from the “pretty much no limit to what I can and will eat without provocation” me from a while back.  Which is a good thing.

The other thing I’ve had going against me this week is that I’ve still got a temporary crown in place which has made eating a bit difficult at times.  That’s meant that where I’d usually have reached for the fruit bowl, when there were only hard fruits in there, I often went for something less healthy instead.  What I’m trying to say is that once we’d run out of bananas, I had a pretty good excuse to eat something else instead of harder fruit.  What I didn’t have was a pretty good excuse not to go and get some more bananas, or even to ask someone else to get me some when I was feeling rough, so I’m aware that it’s something else that’s easy to hide behind if I let myself do it.

The milestone I’ve re-reached is that I’ve stepped under 200lb again.  My natural instinct is to ignore these re-reaching of previously reached milestones, but I’m not sure that’s the right way to play it.  It’s important to have things to celebrate, yet the natural reaction to any weight gain is to categorically refuse to see anything as progress until you’re back at your lowest point.  That’s quite a difficult scenario to pick your way through, because you don’t want to belittle your actual achievements by celebrating them every time you get there, but as I said earlier, you NEED things to celebrate.

I know that after I’d put on 10lb over Christmas I took far longer than I should have done to shift that weight again, and part of the reason for that was because I couldn’t see any progress towards shifting it as progress in itself.  I could only see the failure that needed to be wiped from the record, and until I’d done that, I was a failure.  I’m not sure that I’m explaining this well enough, either to myself or to you, but I think there’s something highly significant in here.

It’s probably sensible to accept that at times, anyone will put on weight, particularly those of us who have a track record in that area 😉 .  If we don’t allow ourselves to embrace and celebrate minor reductions in that gain, because for some reason, we feel that it ‘doesn’t really count’ until we’ve lost it all, then that looks like a pretty good recipe for turning a minor problem into a major one.  That says to me that EVERY loss, no matter how small, and no matter where it fits into the overall pattern of weight-loss, should be celebrated.  Probably.

At some point in the next few weeks I’m going to try and come up with a list of significant learning points that I’ve reached, because I’m conscious that I’m re-reaching those due to either forgetting them, or just being reminded of them in better ways.  I think perhaps I need them printed out somewhere.  Or tattooed on my knuckles or something like that.

Anyway, am off to do some real-life stuff – have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

Well that’s a bit better…

Morning all:-)

I hope you’ve had a good week. For the first time in a while, it feels like my week has been pretty good, and I’m pleased to say that the scales agree with me. The weigh-in for week 71 has just been completed, and I’m feeling very proud to report a -2 for the week. Hurrah etc!

I know that in the wider scheme of things, a -2 isn’t the most incredible result in the world, but I’ve been struggling recently, and it feels great to have started to turn myself around a little bit. Perhaps it’s a little early to say, but I feel like I’m back on track, and ready to continue shrinking some more.

It’s been a week of controlled eating, sensible decisions and a fair amount of physical activity, so in shrinking terms it’s been pretty great, and I’m pleasantly surprised to be reminded of how good it feels to be in control. I’ve even been to the gym for a swim, which I hadn’t done for many weeks, and while it was a bit of a shock to the system, I did pretty well. I like to swim a hundred lengths when I get to the pool, and while I didn’t manage that, I managed seventy, so was pleased with that, particularly as my muscles were begging me to stop after about twenty. It felt good, and while work is making things a little difficult in terms of time at the moment, I need to make sure I get to the pool once or twice a week. I’ve also made a point of trying to be more active in other areas, so during a trip to London during the week, I took the stairs on the underground instead of the escalators, and walked from the station instead of getting taxis. Small steps but important ones.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve had any major revelations of any kind this week, instead it’s been a week of pleasant reminders of how good it feels to be doing things right. It hasnt been difficult to do, which is weird when you consider how difficult it has been recently, but if I was to single out one thing that’s made a difference, then I’d suggest that it’s not always trying to look at the bigger picture. Just treating each food choice as just that. A choice. Do I really want to eat that? Really? What will happen if I don’t eat it?

One other thing that’s been interesting this week is dental problems. I need to have a couple of crowns fitted, and in preparation, have had temporary whatchamacallits put in (I think that’s the correct term). That has meant that I’ve had to eat quite carefully, and therefore considerably more slowly than I would usually do. And slowing down makes it easier to notice when I’ve had enough. That’s cool! I can recommend dental problems for anyone looking to shink 🙂

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

Getting a little scared now

Morning all.

Week 70!  70 weeks!  That’s ages that is.  Well the weigh-in for week 70 has just been completed, and the fact that I’m a little relieved to report an STS should give an indication of how things are going right now.  I’m really finding shrinking difficult at the moment, which I think is perhaps where this whole thing starts to get interesting.  By interesting, what I mean is that for me at the moment it’s generally petrifying, frustrating and difficult, but on reflection, when I come out the other end skinnier than I went in and with a better understanding of what’s going on, then I’ll look back and say “that’s where it got interesting”.  Probably 🙂

It’s like this.  I know what to do.  It’s not difficult.  But somehow I can’t seem to get myself to do it.  Not consistently anyway.

The WW thing gives me a framework that I know works, and all I have to do is stick within that framework.  I have all the tools that I need to do this, and none of them are difficult to use:

  • I need limits that I can understand – I have those, and in WW terms that’s 40 points a day, with an extra 49 points for the week if I need them
  • I need to understand what those points mean in terms of everyday food and drinks – I have that, and in better formats than I’ve ever had before.  The WW website has all of that, and I’ve now got access via a iPhone and an iPad too
  • I need a simple way of tracking things – I have that, again online,  iPhone and iPad.

So why am I having so much trouble in doing it?

On a daily basis I’m having to force myself to track every single thing I eat, and I’m failing on a fairly regular basis.  Whether I’m tracking properly or not, when the killer question comes up (which for the uninitiated is “shall I have that?”) I’m genuinely struggling to come up with any answer other than yes.  With the fairly regular exception of when the answer becomes “Ooh yes!  And I’ll have another couple as well” of course.  It’s weird.  I can’t explain it, and I don’t seem to be able to find the motivation to stop it, and that’s really getting me down a little bit.

I went clothes shopping again today, as I needed a suit for work, and I had to buy a larger size than I bought a few months ago.  I know that’s not really a good idea (and genuine thanks to those who got in touch after my tales of shopping and size dilemmas last week) but the last suit, along with just about everything that I bought recently, were just on the tight size of fitting when I bought them.  That meant that providing I stayed where I was or lost more weight, then they’d fit great, but if I put anything on, then I’d have a problem, and that’s where I am – I’m half a stone or so heavier than I was when I went shopping last, and there’s no point pretending otherwise.  The new suit will be a little bit big on me, and I’m planning to make it much too big for me as soon as I possibly can, but I need to feel good and comfortable in what I’m wearing, and I wouldn’t be able to do that had I bought the same size as before.  Incidentally, I also went back to Gap and bought myself a shirt that’s going to be just a little bit too small for me, but it’s there for when I fit into it properly.

It’s a little odd to be sitting here wondering what to do next.  Actually it’s not the what, it’s the how.  I know what I need to do – I need to track everything I’m eating, and make sure that I make smart choices, and don’t eat more than my allowance.  So how do I make myself do it?  No idea.

There are positives in this.  I’m clearly not eating anywhere near as bad as I think I am, as I’m not piling the pounds on, but I’m not losing it either, and I’m still sitting here 8lb above my lowest weight so far.  And that’s still a fair way off of where I want to be.  I guess this is the real challenge going forward.  Not losing the initial weight, but making enough changes to my daily habits to get me to a stage where I can keep weight off for good, rather than just taking a temporary trip to slimville.

I need to get myself to the pool as well – that’s something I’ve avoided fairly consistently for ages now, and in the last week I’ve had opportunities that I’ve not taken.  Having said that, even without exercise, I can lose weight by controlling what I’m eating, and I have to keep coming back to that.  Control the input, and everything else will deal with itself.

I think there are a couple of significant patterns that I’ve noticed that I need to sort out.  One is that traditionally, if I had a heavy lunch, then I’d have a lighter dinner, and I’m not doing that now.  Not sure why, but it should be something that will make a significant difference if I focus on it.  The second one is late night snacking.  Even if I’ve had a great day and I’ve tracked everything perfectly, I keep finding myself pigging out when everyone else has gone to bed.  The fact that I’m waiting for everyone else to go to bed before I do it will probably keep my future psychoanalyst in comfy chairs for decades to come, and I’m not sure I want to delve too far into that, but in terms of the basic snacking, I can tell you something very important about it – I’m not hungry in the slightest.  Not at all.  Not even remotely peckish.  Yet last night for example, in the space of 30 minutes or so, I had a pack of discos, a pack of french fries, a chocolate cookie and a curly wurly.

Anyway, lets sum it up.  I’m struggling.  I’m not sure why.  Not even sure if the why is important.  And I have no idea how to make the change.  Feel free to tell me snap out of it and just do what I know works.  That’s what I’ve been telling myself for ages now.  Perhaps I’ll listen to you in a way that I clearly don’t listen to myself.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

TW3

Morning all 🙂

I’m going to be slightly unfashionable here and not start this post by saying how great the weather has been.  Well sort of anyway.  I’m going to start this post by trying to describe just how busy you have to be to not even notice how good the weather has been, even when it’s apparently been the hottest few days on record ever.  Well sort of anyway.

Each day this week, I have been waking early, walking from the bedroom to the office that occupies the room next door, sitting down and working on an essay.  That’s it.  All week.  Nothing else.  Occasional trips to other rooms to deal with whatever needed dealing with, but that’s all I’ve done.  I did leave the house on a couple of occasions, but only after dark, so wouldn’t have known about the weather at all, were it not for the hundreds of thousand of people making sure I knew about it via phone, mobile, text, facebook, twitter etc.

Anyway, the good/great/amazing/dull (please delete as applicable) news on this is that I have finished not just the essay, but also the whole year’s study and also the whole six years of degree!  That’s it.  Over and done with.  I won’t actually know whether I’ve passed or not for three months, but providing nothing ridiculous happens, as of the end of December, I will officially be TSM BA (Hons) History.  If you had any idea how terribly challenging the young TSM found formal education, you’d be clapping even louder than you undoubtedly are that I’ve managed to stick at it for this long.  I won’t go on too much about this (well too much more anyway) but when I started this, I’d presumed that general maturity and the passage of time would have dealt with all of the things that caused me problems in my school days.  Guess what?  Nope!  They’re all still there, they’ve had 25 years to really bed themselves in, and they’ve found a whole load of mates too.

The reason for mentioning this is that I’d done a deal with myself that with the essay deadline falling at the end of this week, then I wasn’t going to let anything distract me from that, and if that meant that I was going to eat less well than I otherwise would, then so be it.  Well so be it indeed 🙂  I surrounded myself with every form of comfort food known to man, and boy did I comfort myself.  I’ve ended up with a +1 for the week, which is quite amazing to be honest, and far better than I deserved, particularly as earlier in the week I was showing a +5 at one point during a sneak-peek at the scales.  I guess the overall weight gain was less than it could have been partly because at times I wasn’t actually eating meals, which must have helped a bit, partly because there’s been 36 hours since I submitted the essay, and I’ve had a couple of days to settle back into a more normal eating pattern, and partly because the + sneak-peek freaked me out so much that I must have scaled things back a bit.

So now the real work begins once more.

I’m really not enjoying being heavy again.  Actually, that’s not quite accurate is it?  Let me rephrase that.  I’m really not enjoying being heavier again.  I’m a few pounds heavier, but nothing that could be called ‘heavy’ in the same way that I used to be ‘heavy’.  I’m still a couple of pounds under my post-holiday peak, but I’m also still 8lb above my lowest point so far, and I can really see and feel it.  Clothes that were fitting me fantastically a couple of months ago now don’t fit well at all.  It’s actually a little difficult, because I went a little mad and threw out everything that was even slightly big on me, so am struggling to find things to wear at the moment.  Which throws up the standard yo-yo dieters dilemma I guess.  Do I buy some bigger clothes, or do I wait until I can fit back into the smaller ones that I have?  That’s a toughie to be honest – the motivator part of me knows that to buy larger clothes again would be something of a defeat, and could possibly make me more comfortable with the size I am, rather than encouraging me to lose weight again.  The same part of me also knows that wearing clothes that make you feel uncomfortable and fat doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, and that can encourage poor eating.

Well I went to Gap yesterday – they’ve got a sale one, which is something that I try my best to take advantage of these days.  I picked up a nice top.  With an M on the label.  And I knew it wasn’t going to fit me.  Wifey told me so as well (which you might remember is her job on occasions like this apparently) but I knew she was right.  I looked for an L.  They didn’t have one.  I left the shop.  I think if they’d have had an L, then I would have bought it, but as they didn’t, the dilemma is still a ‘live’ issue.  What do you think?  Let me know if you have a minute – I’d appreciate your views.

So, as of this week, I have no excuses for putting more weight on, and no excuses for not losing a pound or two to be honest.  I’ll have to see what I can think of during the week…

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

An interesting week full of interesting thoughts

Evening all

(was that Dixon of Dock Green?)

Welcome to yet another week of weight-loss/gain related ramblings from yours truly.  It’s now week 68 of my quest, and following my weigh-in I’m not all that fussed about reporting a teeny +1.  It’s not an ideal result, but a fair reflection of the week.  Following last week’s -4, I’ve had a few days where I was under my points, a few days where I was over my points, and one day where I had such a heroic blow-out that, disgusted as I was with myself, it was impossible not to feel ever so slightly proud.

My excuse at the moment is that I’m in the last days of a six-year part-time history degree course, and am therefore in a position where I am absolutely refusing to let anything else worry me.  That means that where I might ideally like to respond to pangs and cravings with a lengthy period of internal debate, a change of focus to take my mind off of it, a bit of a “will I or won’t I” period followed by a refusal to let it derail me, at the moment, I’ve taken the stance of least resistance, which is often just eating it.

My heroic day involved me sitting at my PC working on an essay all day, and that’s something that I’ve not done when I’m alone in the house for ages.  It’s a perfect example of the sort of situation where, in the past, I would go to town, by myself a room full of treats, stuff my face, cook myself something stupidly unnecessary for lunch and then repeat the whole process in the afternoon.  And that’s pretty much what I did.

Was it a good idea?  Nope.  Did I enjoy it?  Some of it yes.  A lot of it no.  Did I hate myself both during and after it?  Yes.  Was it the right thing to do at that time?  Probably.  From the moment I planned the day on my own, my poor little subconscious mind had been going mental preparing for the food I would eat.  Seriously.  I would be having a conscious conversation with myself (in my head rather than out loud if that makes me sound any less insane) about what I needed to do, and I could actually hear the unconscious part of my mind joining in with food related comments.    I would think “I’ll take Mrs TSM to work, then come back home and get straight on with it” and in the background, I could actually hear my own voice chipping in and saying “better stop off at Tesco express on the way back and pick up some Midget Gems”.  I’m serious here.  Am I ill?  My conscious mind would be saying “I’ll focus on the introduction for a couple of hours, and then look to create the outline for each of the main topic areas” and I’d hear “and chocolate.  You’ll need a lot of chocolate.  And did I mention midget gems?”

The bottom line is that I had the voices in my head patiently explaining that it had a day of gluttony planned for me, and if I attempted to do anything other than just go along with it, I’d be spending the day battling with myself over it rather than studying.  So I gave in.

Not great, but not the end of the world either.  The nice thing is that I didn’t wake up the next day with a overwhelming urge to drink a pint or two of double cream.  Well no more than usual anyway.

Anyway, I’m hovering around the four stone off mark and have been for ages really.  I’m still telling myself that I have a target of another couple of stone to lose, but it doesn’t feel very real or achievable right now.  I’m not sure if this is a problem or not.  I don’t feel like I’ve finished yet, although I’m so much happier than I was when I started this, and I guess in some ways I would be happy staying where I am.  Sort of.  One of the things that I still find interesting about this whole thing is that psychologically I’m really not sure what, if any, lasting changes I’ve made.  I still have the feeling that all it would take is for me to take my foot off the accelerator for a month or two and I’d be back on the road to fatdom once more.  And then I think that it would still take a hell of a long time to put all that weight back on again, and somehow I’d have to either not notice, or to consciously avoid noticing for all that time.  And that’s where I feel like it’s different.  While I have a feeling that some of the food challenges that I have will stay with me forever, I really don’t think that I could let myself get really fat again.  But that doesn’t stop me worrying about it 🙂

Come the end of this week, when the study pressures have faded, and all being well I’ll just be waiting for confirmation in 3 months that I’m now TSM BA (Hons), once that’s sorted, perhaps I’ll find it all a little easier to pick up and focus on again.

Or perhaps not.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

Life is getting in the way…

Hi all,

I’m really quite sorry to have been so sloppy in my updates over the past month or two.  A combination of holiday (good excuse), loads of work (good excuse), loads of study deadlines (remarkably good excuse) and a whole load of couldn’t be bothered at the time (less than good excuse) has led to a dearth of updates, so for those of you for whom this has become a regular part of your week, I apologise most profusely.

Just to recap where I was the last time we spoke.  I’d been on holiday, had gained 8lbs, and was looking nervously towards a week of hotel living as I went away for business.  Well just to relieve the tension a little, let me say that the week did not go well.  A combination of restaurant meals, snacks in my room and a whole load of midget gems ended in an STS.  After a week like that, an STS has to be seen as something of a result, however following a +8, I was quite disappointed with myself to not lose a single pound of it.

As is usual in cases like these, there are two options:

  1. Let it put me off for a few weeks before I finally knuckle down and get back on track
  2. Don’t let it put me off for a few weeks before I finally knuckle down and get back on track

I’m rather pleased to say that I chose option two, and am chuffed to report a whopping -4 for the week.  I’ve got a way to go before I get back to where I was a couple of months ago (another six pounds to be precise) but I’m really pleased to have taken control again.  I haven’t gone mad and stopped eating – that -4 came in a week where I had a KFC and fish and chips – but I managed to avoid over-eating throughout the week, and basically remained in control.  It’s also true that I was stupidly busy at work all week, and was literally running all over the building for most of the week, but it’s always the food that makes the biggest difference.

A few points that I’ve noticed over the past few weeks:

  • Adding 8lbs to a 14st frame makes a much bigger difference than taking 8lbs from an 18st frame
  • ‘New’ weight feels very different on your body the week after you put it on
  • A few pounds can really make you feel fat

Perhaps the biggest conclusion that I’ve drawn recently is that I really would have to go some to put all of my weight back on.  I’ve proved on a number of occasions that I can pile weight on pretty quickly, but I’m finding it difficult to understand how in the past I’ve allowed it all to go back on, almost without noticing.  I’m so aware of the weight I’ve put on recently, and that’s just a few pounds.  It feels horrible physically, and I feel quite horrible mentally.  My clothes don’t fit as nicely as they did a couple of months ago, my face looks fatter than it did, and I’m generally very aware of the differences.  I’m really struggling to understand how that could continue for long enough for me to put on four stone, but in the past it has.  I feel different now though.  Really I do. Is that good?  Or am I just fooling myself?  Who knows.  The most important thing for me is that I’m moving back in the right direction, and that I’m still four stone lighter than I was when I started this.  That’s what’s generally known as a good thing.

Anyway, that’s all for me for now – I’m intrigued to see what happens this week.  I’ve got a slightly less busy week at work, and have a bit more time on my hands in the evenings too, which is often a sign of impending difficulties, but I’m feeling fairly comfortable that it will be OK.

Speak soon etc.

The Shrinking Man

It’s been ages – how the devil are you?

Well it has been a while hasn’t it?

It’s week 65 and my last update was at the end of week 61, so let me give you a quick run through what’s happened since then.

Week 62 – a difficult week due to loads of work and study pressures. I didn’t eat all that well, but ended the week with an STS, so was quite comfortable with that. I was too busy to even think about updating, so please forgive me. I’m very, very sorry:-)

Weeks 63-65 – in the middle of week 63 I went on holiday to Crete for a fortnight, so I got back in the middle of week 65. And this morning I stepped on the scales for the first time in three weeks. Now I said that I wasn’t going to point while I was away, and I didn’t. I said that I wasn’t going to o mad, and I didn’t. I said that I expected to put on weight, and I have. Perhaps a bit more than I expected or hoped to, but not the end of the world. Well perhaps it’s close. After three weeks of taking a very relaxed attitude to what I was eating, I can report a fairly significant +8 on the scales.

+8!!!!!

That’s almost as bad as the Christmas unpleasantness, which regular readers will remember saw a rather impressive +10 in just two weeks, but on the whole I’m not too concerned. Let me tell you a little about the highs and lows of the period.

First of all, I really upped the exercise levels while I was away. I swam 60-70 lengths of the pool every couple of days, and while it was only a 15m pool, that was both immensely satisfying and really enjoyable. Secondly, I ate pretty well while I was away too, whatever the scales may say. I ate fresh fruit and yoghurt for breakfast every day. I drizzled gorgeous fresh Cretan honey all over it, which wasn’t the best of moves, but it was sooooooo gorgeous, I honestly don’t care. For lunch I ate fresh bread, cheese and ham most days, followed by some fresh fruit. In the evenings, I ate a full meal, often with chips, but when I felt full, I usually stopped and left whatever was on my plate. I snacked on crisps and boiled sweets, and I even drank a glass or two of raki after dinner, which for someone who hasn’t drunk a drop of alcohol for more than eight years, was more than a little odd.

To be honest, the only bits that I found concerning in the slightest were the few day before I went away, and the few days since I’ve been back. For no readily understandable reason, I’ve eaten like a pig either side of the holiday, and that needs to stop, else I’ll be starting to undo the good work I’ve done so far.

Putting on more than half a stone isn’t a good thing, but it’s not hugely worrying either. It’s the sort of thing that normal people do when they go on holiday, and I quite like the idea of being a normal person. Just to see what it feels like of course…

A few other highlights of the holiday – first of all, just being able to walk around in my trunks and not feel self-conscious, or even feel slightly fat. I honestly didn’t even think about it, and that’s pretty great on reflection. Secondly, not being the fattest guy around the pool. That was great. Lastly, having a photo taken by one of the other guys, here he referred to us as “the bald one, the tall one, the fat one and the short one”. Guess what? I was the tall one! I’m still actually grinning about that one.

Anyway, I need to knuckle down and get back on track, and start to shift the extra weight. It’s going to be a little tough I think, and I’m staying in a hotel all week, which won’t help (I’m writing this on an iPad, so no pictures or anything fancy this week) but I’m actually quite looking forward to it.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man.

Yo-Yo, Yo-Yo-Yo-Yo, Yo-Yo-Yo-Yo, Yo-Yo there’s no lyrics

Morning all!

Welcome to week 61 of The Shrinking Man’s exploits, and I’m certainly thinking of changing my name to The bobbing-about-a-bit Man.  The weigh-in for week 61 has just been completed and I’m not too surprised to announce a +2 for the week.

It’s not in the slightest bit surprising really, as I’ve not pointed things very well this week, and as a result have eaten too much.  Actually, that works the other way around too, because when I eat too much, that often makes it tempting to avoid pointing it, so I can pretend that it’s not really happening, and I think both of those have been true this week.  That’s about all there is to say on it really – when I make sensible choices and balance any heavier-eating periods with lighter-eating periods, then I lose weight.  When I just stuff food down my throat without any concept of quantities or control, then I put weight on.  Anything else and I’ll end up somewhere in between.

I’m not disheartened in the slightest to be honest, which is a little weird, when you consider the depths of dispair that I was plunged into when I put three pounds on a while ago.  I think that was a really useful reminder of how it works.  You eat well you lose weight, you eat poorly and you gain weight.  When I put on those three pounds, I managed to convince myself that the whole thing was doomed and I would be 18st again in a matter of hours.  Whereas what actually happened was that I knuckled down a little bit, started doing the right things again, and I lost the weight again.  Then I stopped doing that (is knuckling up a phrase?) and I’ve put some of it back on again.

That helps to put some of the longer term elements into perspective I think, because whatever happens in a bad week, it only needs to affect that week.  In reality, I definitely need to work harder to stop bad days becoming bad weeks, because that was all that happened this week – I had a couple of bad days, and then spent the rest of the week living down to the standard that I’d set for myself.  That is quite liberating in some ways, because it makes me feel a little normal.

I still have a tendency to think that there’s something different about me when it comes to food, and that the normal rules that apply to other people don’t apply to me.  I know that, without attention, then I definitely eat more than the majority of people, but that doesn’t make me any different to everyone else.  Anyone else who ate what I would eat without me paying attention to it and controlling what I’m eating would gain weight too.  That’s how it all works.  The only difference is the habits that I’ve got myself into, and how I respond to food triggers (that and the overriding compulsion to EAT that I get sometimes too, but that doesn’t fit the idea I’m trying to describe here, so we’ll ignore that for now 🙂 ).

Anyway, I’ve got just over a week before I head off on my holidays for a couple of weeks, and I’m not going to sit here and kid myself that I won’t put weight on while I’m away.  I’m sure that will offend the amateur psychologists amongst you, so feel free to go ahead and feel offended.  Realistically, I’m going on holiday, and controlling what I’m eating is going to be a little further down my list of priorities than is usually the case.  Somewhere beneath relaxing, getting a tan, lazing around a lot and eating lots of ice-cream.  I don’t intend to go absolutely mental, but you know what, even if I did, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, because whatever I manage to put on, I can take off again.  And I’m going to feel better in my swimming shorts than I have ever done before 🙂

This week can best be summarised as a bit of a non-event.  A gain, but not a huge one, and certainly one that matched my expectations based on how I’ve eaten.  We’ll see how this week goes, then we’ll start worrying about the Ice-Creams!

Have a good week everyone.

The Shrinking Man

 

60 Weeks! Is that a Ruby?

Afternoon all!

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…

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

 

Stepping in the right direction

Morning all.

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.

All in all, I’m very pleased with this week.

Have a good week yourselves 🙂

The Shrinking Man