Tag Archives: Atkins

And so it goes on

incredibleshrinkingman2Morning 🙂

It’s been an interesting week or so here at Shrinking Towers.  I’ve been very relaxed about what I’ve been eating over the last week or so, as I’m unsure of just what my next approach should be.  I’ve not necessarily eaten to excess that often, but I’ve not restricted my food choices in any way – I’ve eaten whatever the rest of the family have been eaten, and I’ve eaten whatever I wanted.  Can you guess where that ended up?  It ended up with me last night, sitting on the sofa eating multiple bags of crisps, chocolates left over from Christmas and midget gems.

Just in case there had been any doubt in my mind about it, that’s a useful reminder of what happens when I stop controlling what I’m eating.  I eat uncontrollably.

What is also clear to me is that this is not how it has to be.  For the last month or so where I’ve been eating a generally low-carb diet, I haven’t wanted to snack out at the end of the day.  I’ve occasionally had the urge to eat something in the evenings, but when I have, I’ve eaten something that fills me up, and you know what?  I’ve felt full and that’s been enough.

Actually, scrub that.  I really don’t think that full has anything to do with it.  I’m pretty much always full.  My desire to eat in those situations isn’t connected to hunger.  Does that make any sense?  My desire to eat, which is at times uncontrollable, has no connection whatsoever to being hungry.  There’s rather important stuff in there isn’t there?  First of all, if the desire to eat isn’t driven by hunger, then eating isn’t going to get rid of the desire to eat.  Secondly, it begs a different question – what exactly is driving this desire to eat?

I don’t believe I’m necessarily an emotional eater, though I’m not completely convinced of that.  I’m coming round to the point of view that what I’m eating is driving my desire to eat.  When I eat sugar-packed processed foods, I get uncontrollable urges to eat.  I’ve read a number of articles and books that support that as a possibility, most of which centre on insulin as the culprit, so there are certainly people who’d agree with my clumsy diagnosis.

My mission in life is to get in control of this.  It annoys me – it really does – and I’m determined that somehow I’m going to master this thing.  My instinct is to dive back into Atkins, embrace it fully and relax into a world of low-carb heaven.  I’m resisting that at the moment for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I’ve found it difficult to do the Atkins thing with enough commitment recently.  Secondly, it feels like I’m giving control to the late Dr. Atkins rather than getting control myself, which just doesn’t feel right.

Having said that, I want to eat a lower-carb diet, and cut back on the processed stuff that’s in my diet.  I’d like to think that will do a couple of things – first of all, it will stop the cravings and allow me to be in control of what I eat, and secondly, it might just help me to lose a little weight.

So – just random thoughts really, but very key to what’s going on with me right now – I’m not in control of what I’m eating, and I want to be.  And I will be.  Christ knows when of course 😉

Have a good 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

 

 

 

On the verge of a great breakthrough!

Morning all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

Four steps forward, after one step back…

Morning all!

The weigh-in for week 45 has just been completed, and I’m delighted to announce a whopping great big 4lb loss.  That brings me under 200lb, under 90kg (thanks for that one Reg!) and very close to my next target.  Just to recap my total progress so far, that means that in the last 45 weeks I have lost a grand total of 59lb/26.85 kg.

The BMI figures are also quite significant, as my new BMI figure is 27.5.    That feels pretty great to be honest, because when I started my BMI reading was 35.7, which is officially classified as being huuuuuuuge.  I know that I’m still considerably overweight, but I’m now exactly halfway between the overweight mark (25 and above) and the obese mark (30 and above), so from here on in, I’ll be closer to being “not overweight” than I will be to obese.

What do you call “not overweight”? Oddly enough, I don’t seem to have the terminology to describe it, which is rather strange.  Do you call it normal?  Or healthy?  Skinny?  Shrunk?  Interesting…

It’s been a strange week, as yet again, I’ve not eaten what would be considered to be the healthiest of diets.  A combination of work pressures on both myself and my wife, together with a distinct lack of organisation and planning has led to a Chinese takeaway, a KFC, a Burger King and a Fish and Chips this week.  I almost feel guilty at losing weight to be honest, but it’s a pretty good example of the whole WW concept in action.  First of all, while my evening meals weren’t great, they were balanced by very sensible and healthy breakfasts and lunches.  Secondly, the choices I made for each of those takeaways were considerably better than I would have made 45 weeks ago – the difference between a BK Chicken Royale that I had now and the BK XL Bacon Double Cheeseburger that I would have eaten then could feed a family of four for a few weeks.  Probably.

It’s also a good indicator that things even themselves out over longer periods.  The last couple of weeks have brought me a +1 and an STS, even though I haven’t felt like I’ve been all that far outside of the system.  If you even that out over the past three weeks, it means that I’ve lost an average of a pound a week, which is much more sensible.

My watch is getting looser again, my ring is getting looser again, and I definitely need some new jeans, as the ones I’m wearing are hanging off of my backside.  Not a pretty picture I know, but much better than it was.  I met up with a friend yesterday who started on a similar journey at about the same time.  We’ve been encouraging each other along the way, and he’s been a useful benchmark and a bit of competition for me.  He started lighter than I was, and has now reached a weight where he’s happy, which is to remain somewhere between half a stone and a stone heavier than I am now.  That means that he’s fatter than me!  And he looks it!  And even my wife noticed!!!!!  He still looks much better than he did before, but that’s not the point – the point is that he looks fatter than I do 🙂  Am I a bad person? 😉

My weight currently stands at 14st 1lb/197lb/89.5kg.  That means that I’m now just 2lb from being 13st something for the first time in a very, very long time, and that’s quite an exciting prospect.  The other big target that I have coming up soon is to reach 13st 10lb, which will mean I’ve lost 25% of my starting weight, which will be pretty cool.

Sitting in between those two points is another target that is hugely significant personally.  Once I hit 13st 11lb/193lb/87.7kg I’ll be in completely uncharted territory.  I’ve mentioned a few times that I lost a lot of weight on the Atkins diet in the past, and it’s probably worth explaining a little bit more about that.  I managed to lose just under 4st over a fairly short period about 8 years ago, felt great about myself, but then went back to eating ‘normally’ and put it all back on and more.  Which pretty much sums up my dieting life before, and to be totally honest, haunts me on a daily basis right now.

I’ve actually got a record of my weekly weigh-ins throughout that whole period, and there are some very significant points to draw from it.  First of all, when I started that time, I weighed 17st 8lb.  This time I weighed 18st 4lb.  Secondly, the lowest I got that time was 13st 12lb.  I’m currently 3lb heavier than that, but have no idea yet how far I’m going this time, but have a sneaking feeling it will be a fair bit further than that.  Thirdly, I had to use Atkins that time, whereas this time I’m doing it by eating sensibly and exercising.  That time, I knew that I would be able to stay there as long as I kept eating within the Atkins program.  This time I know I’ll be able to stay there as long as I keep eating within the WW program.

And there lies the rub.  This gets scary precisely because I’ve been here before.  The toughest challenge for the serial fat-bloke is to be honest with yourself about the fact that you’ve succeeded in losing weight before (probably many times) but that you have never succeeded in keeping weight off before.  I see people come on the WW forums talking about how they know that WW is a good system because they’ve lost weight on it before.  That scares the life out of me, because losing weight isn’t the point.  Losing weight isn’t even difficult once you put your mind to it.  Keeping weight off is the challenge.

What fills me with hope is that to my mind there is a significant difference between the long-term outlook now and the outlook before, and that’s all based on the principles behind the WW system.  If I had kept on eating within the Atkins system before, then I wouldn’t have gained weight again, but I don’t think that was ever a realistic proposition.  While it’s very effective whilst you’re within it, the whole Atkins thing just didn’t represent how I want to live my life.  But Weight-Watchers does.  It’s eating healthily and exercising.

That means that I can do it.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man