Tag Archives: hotel food

Two Steps Forward; One Step Back

Morning everyone 🙂

Week 37 weigh-in completed and a +1 to bring me back down to earth.  The only surprise about this really was that the gain wasn’t greater – it has not been a good week, and I’m not sure how the gain has managed to stay so low.

There are some extenuating circumstances I guess – I’ve spent 8 of the last 14 days living in cheap hotels for one.  That brings a combination of limited food choices and a lack of gym/pool to work with for most of that time, which certainly doesn’t help, but it’s not the whole story.  Those things really just set the scene upon which I managed to eat relatively poorly every day this week, going over my points on every day, making poor choices where I had the opportunity to do better and generally sabotaging my progress.

I’ve not written about self-sabotage for a while, but this week has been a great example of that.  It’s an odd thing that happens on an irregular basis, but there does seem to be a pattern of sorts – whenever I’ve had a consistent period of weight-loss, particularly after a very good couple of weeks, this attitude of self-sabotage kicks in.  It leads to a period of me actively doing the wrong things and consciously making the wrong choices.

It’s the fact that it’s conscious that makes it difficult to grasp.  This isn’t something where I realise afterwards what I’ve been doing.  I’m fully aware of what I’m doing while I’m doing it; in fact I’m fully aware of it before I do it, which is probably even worse.  The awareness really ought to be enough to nip it in the bud, but it isn’t – it feels like I’m just watching it from the outside, and feeling completely powerless to do anything about it.

It’s not the end of the world of course – it’s not going to stop me from getting where I want to be, even if it does slow me down a little bit.  It might even be a necessary part of the process – some sort of mental correction going on that keeps me going in the right general direction.  The worrying thing for me is that it’s precisely that self-sabotage that kept me smoking for so many years after I’d decided that I wanted to stop.  In these moments, the ‘just one cigarette’ would pull me back in (am I the only one reading those words back in an Al Pacino voice?) and all my progress would be gone.

Actually that’s a really positive thing!  I’ve always struggled with the fact that I could stop smoking and drinking completely, but couldn’t manage to kick the over-eating thing.  The different scenarios around self-sabotage show that they really aren’t the same thing at all.  One cigarette used to pull me back into being a smoker, and whatever progress I’d made previously had gone.  This isn’t like that.  Not at all.  One bad choice doesn’t negate anything that I’ve achieved so far.  Nor does a week of them.  I can just pick myself up, dust myself down a bit, and then get on with heading to thinsville just the same.  I might be a pound heavier than this time last week, but I’m 50 pounds lighter than this time last year and that’s the important figure.

Let me tell you what the worst thing that comes from my periods of self-sabotage is.  Can you guess?  Tesco’s sales of value Midget Gems go up (three bags by Tuesday this week 🙂 ).  That’s about it.  I’ve had this uncomfortable worry about my tendency to self-sabotage lurking in the back of my mind for a long time.  I know it’s there, and I’ve always had this fear that it would be my undoing.  You know what?  In the last few paragraphs, I think I’ve started to process of putting that to bed for good.

Psychologically speaking, it would be great to understand a bit more about what’s going on with me when I self-sabotage, but it’s not as important as I’ve been thinking it is.  It’s a strange process, but in the wider scheme of things, it’s not actually going to stop me getting where I want to go.  I’ve often wondered if I’ve got some strange sort of food addiction going on, but for the very first time I can see that isn’t the case.  I’d love to know what the medical possibilities are of being addicted to Midget Gems, as if there’s a support group for that, I’m signing up today, but other than that, there’s no addiction going on here.  Just some really mucked up thought processes and habits that have built up over the years that are taking a while to unravel.  But they ARE unravelling, and with each little moment of self-discovery comes greater awareness of what’s been happening, and greater confidence that it will be OK in the end.

I’m not sure whether any of that will make sense to anyone else, but to me that’s a couple of pretty huge mental breakthroughs that have happened right there before my very eyes.  I’ve got a sneaking feeling that I make all of my mental breakthroughs in weeks where I gain weight too, which is an interesting concept too.

I’m not addicted to food or overeating (just possibly midget-gems).  And my self-sabotage can’t hurt me.

Bring on week 38.  I’m ready.

The Shrinking Man

Suddenly; I’m 80% of the man I used to be…

Morning everyone!

Week 36 weigh-in just completed, and I am very pleased and also immensely proud to report that I have dropped another 2lb.  That pushes me over another couple of milestones, so I hope you’ll excuse me if I go on a little bit this morning 😉

First of all, that brings my overall weight-loss to 51lb (23.22kg in new money), which really is a pretty huge amount of weight to have misplaced.  That’s about the weight of a seven year old child, so if you have one of those, then go and pick them up and that will give you a pretty good idea of what I’m no longer carrying around with me all the time.  You’ll also have a pretty good idea of just how annoyed a seven year old child can get, but that’s the risks you take when you follow instructions blindly.  It’s also about the weight of a small adult dalmatian, so if you’ve not got a seven year old child, and don’t learn very quickly about the risks of following instructions blindly, then go find one of them and pick it up.

Secondly it brings me to the point where I’ve now lost 20% of my starting weight.  20%!  That feels really significant and huge to me.  A whole fifth of the me that started this thing hasn’t made it through to this point.  I am aware that this achievement is only possible thanks to the huge fat-bloke that I once was, but that’s what I was, and I’m starting to accept that it really isn’t what I now am.  Slowly.

I’m particularly pleased with this week’s results because they follow a week spent in a hotel, with the associated lack of control over exactly what I’m eating, the mind-numbing boredom of five evenings alone in a hotel, and the general expectation that I’d probably put weight on as a result.  Hotels aren’t necessarily the enemy of The Shrinking Man, but in some cases they certainly don’t make it easy.  Sadly this wasn’t some high-class swanky top-notch five star establishment, where a simple word to Marcel in the kitchen would have the finest salad money can buy being presented on a silver platter.  Nope, this was the cheapest Premier Inn that East-Anglian currency could buy, with a set ‘Meal Deal’ menu which allowed you to choose from eight separate highly calorific main courses.  And chips.  And puddings.

When I checked in to the hotel on Sunday night, I got an inkling of just how much I’m starting to change as a result of my shrinking.  I checked into a hotel which had no gym, no pool and which had a menu that provided no healthy-eating options whatsoever.  I hope you’ll believe me when I say that the pre-shrinking me would have been in his element.  But not the new me.  Not the ‘I’ve already lost nearly 20% of my starting weight and I’m now looking to lose exactly 20% of my starting weight’ me.  I immediately started estimating the points values of the foods on the menu, planning my breakfasts, working out which foods would be ok as they were, and identifying whether there were any that might be ok with a bit of substitution.   I also started hunting round the web for local gyms to see if any had offers on that might be useful.

The end result was a couple of starters that were ok, one main dish that was ok on its own and a couple more that were ok once I’d explained to the staff that potatoes could come in different options to chips (seriously – this took a while).  None of the desserts were ok, but with a bit of persuasion, I was able to substitute with a fruit salad each day.  I also managed to get a three-day pass at a local gym.

I’m a changed man I tell you!

I know it’s not all sorted for ever, and that it would still be really easy to slip back into my old ways.  What’s been really interesting is that, in a week where I had many things to use an excuse for doing just that, that I not only didn’t, but also, and most importantly, I didn’t want to.

The other interesting thing for me was that for a number of reasons this week, I’ve only been pointing my food properly at the end of the day.  Usually I try to do it as I go along, so I’m always aware of what I’ve got left for the day, but this week it was something I couldn’t do properly until the end of each day.  It turns out that I was pretty good at estimating my way through the days without the aid of the usual database/safety net.  I wasn’t always spot-on, but I was generally close.  The only place where I was significantly out was where I chose a sandwich for my lunch, thought I’d chosen one of the lower pointed options and turned out to have bought the highest pointed option.  The key thing there was that as soon as I started eating it, I knew I’d made the wrong call, as it had cheese in it that wasn’t in the product title, and just tasted heavier.  I kept the packaging and checked it properly that evening, and it was about double what I’d estimated.

I’ve just realised that I need a new target now!  I’ve reached the lowest that I was prepared to say I was trying to get to, and now need to decide where I’m going next.  I could stay here and be much happier and healthier than I was when I started, but I wouldn’t be happy knowing that I could go so much further.  Having gone through 5%, 10%, 15% and now 20% of my starting weight, it now seems a bit daft not continue the cycle, so my next target will be to lose 25% of my starting weight.  Actually it’s going to be to lose 1lb more than 25% of my starting weight.  That will take me to 13st 9lb (191lb/86.8kg) which will be 1lb below the lowest weight I’ve been in living memory.  I did get down to 13st 10lb for one week in a previous stint on the Atkins diet.  To get down below that weight by eating sensibly and exercising (aka something sustainable) rather than doing anything drastic like Atkins will be a huge achievement, and I’m really looking forward to it.  I’m 14st 9lb today, so that’s another stone to go before I get there, and I’m aware that it might take a while, but get there I will.

A statement like that would have felt like bravado a few months ago.  Now it feels like the truth.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man.