Tag Archives: Loss

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

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

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

 

 

 

Good Evening England, this is Stockholm calling!

Morning all 🙂

I hope you’ve had a delightful week – I certainly have!  I’ve been in Stockholm on business all week, and can safely say that I have never seen a more beautiful city in my life.  We’ve had warm, sunny weather, I’ve spent a week with some great people, and all in all I’ve had a fantastic time.

So what of the weigh-in I hear you ask?  We’ll come to that in a minute 🙂  Let me first of all describe the highlights and lowlights of the week for you – a selection of the highlights first:

  • It’s difficult to describe how great it feels to sit in a seat on a plane and to only feel uncomfortable rather than stuck.  It was still a pretty unpleasant experience, but being able to move around in my seat to try and get comfortable was a new and exciting experience (I’m very easily pleased of course)
  • Being able to do the seatbelt up with loads of extra inches left on the belt was a pleasure I hadn’t considered, along with being able to relax knowing that the stewardess won’t have to try to peer under my belly to see if I’ve got the belt on or not
  • People who I’d not seen since last August being genuinely surprised at how much weight I’d lost felt pretty good as well
  • Being able to wear tight-fitting t-shirts and tops and feel good in them was fantastic.  I know I don’t look amazing just yet, but fantastic will do for now 🙂
  • While I only got to the hotel gym a couple of times, I walked everywhere whenever I could, and have done more exercise this week than I have in months
  • When leaving Sweden, the passport control lady had to check my big fat-faced passport photo four times to check that it was really me – that’s a bit of a result!
  • Lastly, while genuinely struggling to lug my huge suitcase between hotel and airport, to realise that this massive, ungainly 21kg load weighed less than two thirds of the massive, ungainly weight that I’ve already lost felt amazing.

And a selection of the lowlights:

  • It was pretty much impossible to point things during the week.  I tried for the first day, but just couldn’t do it, mainly because a lot of the time I had absolutely no idea what I was eating
  • No fruit was available for breakfast most days, which threw my schedule right out, and meant that my usual zero point breakfast was becoming a five to ten point breakfast.  Fruit was available later in the day, so I tried to make up for it then, but it gave me a difficult start to most days
  • Some of my shirts felt a little tight at times – I’m really not quite at the right size for some of the clothes I’ve brought recently, but I’m getting there
  • Eating a few too many biscuits and cakes throughout the course of the week didn’t feel great
  • Binging a bit on chocolates that they put on the conference desks on the last day certainly wasn’t brilliant
  • Sharing a bag of jelly sweets on the plane on the way back and noticing that I was eating about ten times as much as my colleague was a bit of an eye-opener as well.

So – let’s sum it all up.  No fruit for breakfast, and unable to point for most of the week.  Doesn’t sound promising really.  With all of that in mind, I am absolutely delighted to announce an STS for week 56, and am feeling very proud of myself.  Throughout the week I’ve eaten as sensibly as I could at mealtimes, tried to limit my snacking, stopped eating when I felt full and generally tried to stack the cards in my favour where I could.  And it seems to have worked 🙂

I’m happy.

That’s all for now – have a good week everyone.

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

Goodbye 14st Somethings – Hello 13st Somethings!

Morning all!

The Shrinking Man is absolutely ecstatic to announce the departure of 14st-something man, and equally proud to announce the arrival of 13st-something man.  Indeed I am 🙂  Weigh-In number 53 has just been completed, and a whopping -4 brings me to 13st 13lb (195lb/88.6kg) and puts my total weight-loss to date as 4st 5lb (61lb/27.76kg) which represents a grand total of 24% of my starting weight.  To incorrectly and inappropriately quote Tony Hancock, that surely has to be more than a leg-worth!

I’m now a 13st-something man for the first time in a very long time, and that really feels fantastic.  This has been a long time coming – the last half a stone has taken me over three months to shift, so I’m feeling chuffed to bits that I haven’t given up, binged, built and then eaten a model of the Close Encounters mountain out of midget gems (mashed potato is so last-millennium) and generally let all my good work so far go to waste.  Because that’s exactly what I’d have done in the past!  Well perhaps not exactly, but you know what I mean…

The odd/great/intriguing thing about this sudden leap in the right direction, is that it was totally predictable, and to be totally honest, I could have done it at any point in the last few months.  All I’ve changed is that I’ve gone back to controlling my eating a little more closely than I have been in recent weeks and months, coming in on or under my points total each day (as opposed to coming in over, or really over my points total each day) and suddenly everything clicks back in to place again.  I have still snacked on occasions, but it hasn’t been the norm, and I haven’t done it if it would take me over my points.  I have still had junk food on occasions, but again I’ve one it within my points, and I’ve made a conscious point of not snacking if I’ve had, or am planning to have junk food.  A Burger King and a Fish and Chips this week.  And a few subways for lunch too!  Diet?  What diet?

I’ve been doing this too long now to not be aware that this could all stall again this week.  A big loss for me is generally followed by an STS or a small gain, so I’m not getting carried away here, but this is a really positive reminder of the mechanics of this whole thing.  I think it goes like this:

  1. If you stay within your points, then you’ll lose weight
  2. If you don’t, then you won’t.

Tough system huh?  Not sure if I’ll ever really be able to get my head round something that complex 😉

A few other positive things from this week.  I had someone who I know to chat to but who I don’t see very often fail to recognise me yesterday, which was pretty cool.  Also, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’d bought some Large Gap tops that were a bit big, and that against my Wife’s advice (as they were certainly a little snug), I decided to change them for Medium Gap tops. Well yesterday I wore one, and she didn’t notice!  That was a genuinely pleasant experience, because I appear to have a better handle on my size at the moment than she does, which is quite remarkable because I’m usually rubbish at that, particularly in relation to clothes.

When I’m doing it right, it does all feel very different.  There’s a lightness in my body as a whole that just feels ‘right’ when I’m eating the right amount for me.  At times I’ve let it go too far the other way, and have ended up feeling too hungry and that doesn’t feel nice.  A little bit of hunger in the run up to food can feel really pleasant, but not for too long.  I’ve also eaten too much at times this week, and that doesn’t feel nice either – horribly stuffed and unpleasant, even though the old me wouldn’t even have registered what I’m eating as a snack, let alone as being too much!

The interesting thing for me at the moment is that I’m learning more about how I eat, and I’m really becoming aware of some things that I will need to work on to keep this weight off in the long-term.  First of all, I eat too quickly.  Almost always.  That’s not good for a number of reasons – first of all, it means that I don’t actually enjoy my food very much, and secondly, it makes it easier to eat rubbish, because I’m not taking the time to really taste the difference between great and rubbish foods.  Secondly, I still have (and perhaps always will have) a tendency to binge, it’s just that these days I tend to binge on healthier things.  For lunch one day this week, I had a Subway Melt (disturbingly delicious, in the sense that it feels like there’s something put into it that makes me really, really want another one) followed by a whole punnet of strawberries and a whole punnet of cherries.  I didn’t eat all the fruit because I was hungry, and after about half of it, I wasn’t even enjoying it any more.  Yet I still ate it.  What’s that all about then?

For now, let’s just say “who cares!  I’m a 13st something man again, and that’s fantastic” and we’ll come back to it later, but there’s definitely some stuff to think about in there.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

 

Crumbs! That’s a lot of biscuits!

Morning all.

Week 51 weigh-in just completed, and I’m pleased to report a -1 for all my hard work.  After three weeks of STS, it’s nice to see a little bit of movement in the right direction, although it’s still difficult to see it as ‘real’ progress.  I’m stuck in a similar position to where I was just after Christmas, in that any progress I make doesn’t really feel real.

At that time it was because I’d put on a lot of weight over the Christmas period, and it didn’t feel like real progress until I’d got back to my previous low, and that made that period quite a struggle.  This time it’s certainly to do with re-losing weight (although it’s only a few pounds this time, until I get down past 14st 1lb, which was been my lowest so far, then it’s difficult to see it as progress) but it’s also just due to it having taken so long to get through this stage.

I’m not sure if I’ve made this clear or not, but I know why I’m finding it so difficult to get below 14st.  Seriously I do.  It’s because…(wait for it) – it’s because I’m eating too much!  What I’m still struggling to work out is why I’m eating too much 😉

Most days, and on the whole certainly most weeks, I’m eating a little bit more than I should.  Not enough to make any significant moves upwards, but certainly not enough to keep me moving downwards.  It ought to be simple to not do it, but it’s not.  Really it’s not.  I’m eating loads of biscuits at the moment, and I’ve never eaten a lot of biscuits in my life.  I’m going to the biscuit tin to grab a little treat (which after all is a totally sensible and appropriate thing to do) and instead of taking one rich tea, I might take two rich teas, two shorties and a custard cream.  And then I eat them really quickly.

Why? Honestly no idea.  I’m not hungry, and I don’t even particularly like biscuits.  I’m also eating them too quickly to get any real pleasure out of them, so I’m really getting nothing from this.  I won’t labour this point too much, but whatever psychological process guides this sort of behaviour has a lot to answer for, and if I could only understand it, I think my life would be a whole lot easier.

This sort of pattern is so familiar to me, and it’s played a fairly huge part in keeping me fat for the past 20 years.  The positive thing is that I’m doing it in much smaller quantities, and with generally better foods.  Traditionally I’d do the same sort of thing with bags of crisps, or cocktail sausages, and instead of three or four it would be three or four packets, or 30 or 40 sausages.  But the pattern is still there.

I’m not going to get too hot under the collar about it, but it’s an issue, and one that I have to learn to deal with a little better if I’m going to lose more weight, and particularly if I intend to keep it off.  Which I do.  If I removed that unnecessary stuff from my diet completely, I’d be having no problems shrinking right now.  Having said that, removing it completely probably just shifts the problem onto other types of food – it’s the drive to do it that’s the problem I guess.

Anyway, I’m a pound lighter than I was last week, I’m a step closer to saying goodbye to the 14st somethings, and I’m feeling pretty good about myself generally.  I’ve questioned whether I’m happy to stay where I am, and the answer to that is a firm NO.  I will go further with this.  I’m much happier being where I am, than where I was (and in that sense, the last few weeks have really helped me come to terms with that, so some good has come from this) but I’ve still got a couple of stone or so to go I think.

Actually, I’ve been avoiding doing this for the best part of a year, but I think I now have a picture of where I want to be at the end of all this, so let’s set my stall out properly:

My final target weight is 12st and 4lb.

I’m currently 14st 3lb, so that’s a grand total of 27lb away, and I’m sure it will take some time to get there, but get there I will.  I’ll need to work out a whole load of interim targets too, as that really does seem like a long way away, but I’ve now got something specific to work towards.  And every hurriedly-eaten biscuit will increase the time that it takes to get there!

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

 

Something tells me my lucky number’s gon-na be thirty-four

Happy Easter!

I hope you’ve all had a good week, and that you are currently staring at a huge pile of chocolate and cursing your family for their lack of understanding and consideration.  Mine aren’t up yet, but I’m certainly hoping they’ve followed instructions and bought me loads of really top quality chocolate – it’s not as if this happens every year is it?  It’s only right to take advantage…

Week 46 weigh-in completed, and a +1.  Yada yada etc.  I think it’s probably a good thing that I’m not bothered by that in the slightest, whereas a few months ago I’d have been rendered fairly distraught by such an outcome.  To be honest, following on from a -4 last week, I’m quite impressed that’s all it is.  I always struggle to remain motivated after a very good week, and this week has been no exception – over daily points, over weekly points and no exercise points earned = weight gain.

Anyway, enough of that, what’s done is done etc.  I have more important things that I wish to share with you!

I went clothes shopping last Sunday with my ever-supportive wife.  I wanted to try on some smaller jeans, as the ones I’m wearing are so baggy round the bum that I look like I could fit huge quantities of contraband in there.  When I started this journey, I was wearing 40″ waist jeans and the ones that are currently baggy have a 36″ waist, so I’m already making significant progress, but I wanted to try a 34″ to see whether they fitted.  My wife told me that I’d still need a 36″, as they’d just stretched out a lot and lost their shape, partly because she knows how upsetting it can be for me when I can’t get in to clothes, but partly because I think she struggles sometimes to see how much weight I’ve lost.

Anyway, she helped me pick out a couple of pairs of 36″ in a different fit that she thought would fit me better, against her advice I picked out a 34″ and off I went to the fitting room.

Oh yes!

The 34″ fitted just fine and all is well in my world!  I should add that there’s still a fair bit of belly that sits above the waistband, but that’s always been the case, anyway, I was/am absolutely chuffed to bits!  I decided to chance my arm a bit and popped down to Gap to pick up a couple of tops to go with my new pairs of jeans.  Now when I started this, I couldn’t fit into Gap’s largest sizes, and was really pleased when I’d lost enough to get into their XL tops.  This time I bought a couple of L tops.  And if anything they’re a bit big!!!!!!

The hot weather meant that shorts were on the agenda too, and on my wife’s advice, I picked up a pair of shorts from Gap with a 36″ waist, as “they often come up smaller, particularly at Gap”.  Got them home, tried them on and they’re massive.  Way too big for me.  They’ve now been swapped for a 34″, and I’m starting to consider not taking Wife shopping any more.  Except that being a man in my forties I have no idea how to dress myself, so need her for guidance purposes too.  Actually, I was rather happy to prove her wrong.  Twice.

Just to lower the tone slightly, I then went off to Next and bought some new pants!  And they have an M on them!  Not M for Monday – they’re not those sort of pants.  M for Medium!  From XL to M – a journey in pants, by The Shrinking Man.  That’s the name of the TV documentary right there…

Anyway, it’s been a great week – so great that a +1 can’t dampen my enthusiasm.  It being Easter, I’ll probably blow it big time this week, but if I do, then I hereby make this pledge, both to you and to myself:

“I, The Shrinking Man, being of occasionally sound mind, and being the possessor of pants with an M on the label, do hereby solemnly declare that should I over-indulge over the Easter break, I will make every effort to enjoy it.  I will not wallow in guilt or self-pity, but will instead savour every minute of it, accept it for the treat that it is, and once it’s done, I will get back on to my Shrinking horse and carry on Shrinking.”

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

I’ve always liked the number 42…

Morning 🙂

Dear reader, this is a significant moment for me.  Week 42’s weigh-in has just been completed, and I am thrilled and delighted to announce that I tipped the scales at 14st 4lb/200lb/90.9kg.  That means that in the 42 weeks since that spur of the moment decision to do something about my weight back in early June 2010, I have now managed to lose a grand total of FOUR STONE!  That’s 56lbs!  Or 25.49Kg!  Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of weight, and as I type this, I’m grinning like, like…, well to be honest I think I’m probably grinning like a man who’s lost four stone would grin 🙂

The higher the numbers go, the harder it gets to visualise them and to work out what that 56lb really means, so I hope you’ll forgive me for a moment if I give you some comparisons.

  • First of all, go and get a bag of sugar out of the cupboard.  Feel its weight in your hands.  Then get another 27 bags and balance them on top of the first one.  Now walk around for a bit.  I’ll admit that my weight was probably a little better distributed than you’re holding right now, but that is how much weight I’ve lost.
  • For an alternative, take three bags of sugar and hold them in your hands.  Feel their weight.  Now balance those bags of sugar on the head of a small dalmatian, pick dog and sugar up and walk around for a bit.  I’m guessing that the balancing is even more difficult than before, unless you’ve got a specially trained dalmatian, and there aren’t many of those around.
  • One last one (honestly 😉 ) – take the three bags of sugar and feel their weight in your hands.  Now stick the three bags of sugar in the pockets of a seven year old boy.  Pick boy and sugar up and walk around for a bit.  Apologise to child and continue with blog…

Does that help you to picture what 56lb represents?

Just to continue the self-congratulation for a while (feel free to jump to the end if you haven’t come here to join in the celebrations) my physical dimensions have changed over the past 42 weeks too.  The dreaded tape measure has been out too this morning, and I have managed to lose:

  • 5cm from my neck
  • 14cm from my chest
  • 4cm from my calves
  • 20cm from my waist
  • 6cm from my upper arms
  • 2cm from my thighs

I have absolutely no idea why the WW tracker asks for measurements in cm when I’m tracking weight in lbs, but it does, and I’ve never bothered to convert them, so if cm don’t make sense, then feel free to convert.  And send them to me once you’ve done that.  Thanks.

So what happens next I hear you ask?

Well there are some very significant targets looming, so I’ve still got a lot to aim for:

  • One more pound and I’ll be under 200lb
  • Four more pounds after that and I’ll be under 14st
  • Three more pounds after that and I’ll have lost 25% of my starting weight
  • One more pound after that and I’ll be under the lowest weight I’ve been in more than 20 years
  • Three more pounds after that and I’ll be 13.5 stone
  • Three more pounds after that and I’ll have lost 5 stone

Every one of those targets excites and inspires me, and every one of them is achievable.  It will take me a while to get down to the bottom go that list, but you know what?  I think I’m going to enjoy getting there!

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

41 Weeks and Counting

Morning all!

My name is TSM, and it’s been more than two weeks now since I last had a Tesco’s Value Midget Gem…

The weigh-in for week 41 has just been carried out, and I am pleased to announce that the scales are showing a -1.  I must confess that they didn’t at first, but I was slightly out of kilter this morning, and hadn’t completely finished my morning ‘routine’.  Once normal service had been resumed, then the scales did their job properly.  Sorry if that puts you off your breakfast, but it’s the truth 🙂

Anyway, it’s been an interesting week.  I’m feeling pretty good about myself at the moment, and feel like I’m definitely back on track – to be honest I was actually a little surprised and disappointed that I struggled to get the -1 today, as I’ve felt like I’ve been losing more than that.  Having said that, I made a point last week of just how much my weight can vary from day to day, so I’m not going to let it get me down at all.

I’ve reached the point where the L clothes that I’ve bought recently (as opposed to the XL, XXL and XXXL clothes that I still wear around the house sometimes) either fit perfectly, or are now starting to look a little on the big size.  I think it will be a while before I’m ready to take the plunge and dip my toe into the wars of Medium clothing, but I’d say a couple of months and I’ll be there – that will be exciting!  My first purchase will definitely be a Medium Fred Perry, as that’s my clothing measure of choice – I started this in an XXL, moved into an XL and now have a couple of Ls that are a bit too big across the shoulders, but OK across the stomach.  That’s the next move 🙂

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my lack of desire to eat rubbish food this week.  I’m doing a lot of work at a client where I’ve not been for a couple of years, and they have a canteen serving a variety of hot food as well as the usual sandwiches.  When I’ve worked there before it’s always been a treat to just fill myself up, and the people I’m working with are having cooked breakfasts, cooked lunches and snacks throughout the day.  I’m sure I’ll have something like that at some point, but at the moment I’ve not been in the slightest bit interested.  I’ve been having a sandwich and a fruit salad when I’m hungry, and a pack of Walkers French Fries if I fancy a snack.  The key to the pleasant surprise is the lack of desire rather than any denial – that makes a huge difference.

I’ve got some fairly momentous targets coming up soon, and am starting to get a little bit excited by them.  Let me map out my next steps for you:

  • Once I’ve lost another 2lb I’ll have lost four stone, which is pretty massive (in every sense)
  • One more pound after that and I’ll be beneath 200lbs
  • Four more pounds after that and I’ll be thirteen stone something
  • Three more pounds after that and I’ll have lost 25% of my starting weight
  • One more pound after that and I’ll hit my next major target of 13st 9lb which will take me below the lowest weight I’ve been at any point in at least 20 years, and will be under the lowest weight I reached in a previous Atkins Diet attempt.  Simply from eating sensibly and exercising 🙂

I saw a post from someone on the WW forums this week who’d just reached 5st lost and that really got me thinking that that is totally achievable for me too!  I’m still not looking past that 13st 9lb target at the moment, but that did get me thinking about where I can go with this.  To reach 5st lost I would need to lose 16lb from where I am now, and that sort of figure is soooooo achievable it isn’t even scaring me any more!  When you factor in the fact that even at 5st lost I would still be classified as overweight, then it becomes almost rude not to hit it!

Targeting is an interesting element of this – I have a feeling that part of the reason I’ve struggled a little bit recently is that I set a target that seems a little too far away.  All I’ve done with my targets so far is to set them in chunks of 5%, so my initial target was to lose 5% of my starting weight, then 10%, 15% and 20%.  Once I hit 20% it seemed sensible to just go for 25%, however I think it might make sense to decrease the targets a little as my weight comes down.  It makes sense that my weight-loss will slow as this goes on, so smaller targets might make sense.  I’ll think on that and might reset my target over the next day or so.

That’s all from me this week – have a great week.

The Shrinking Man.

Well I’m Still Here!

Morning everyone 🙂

The weigh-in for week 40 has just been completed, and I’m chuffed, relieved and more than slightly proud to report a -4 to get me back on track.

As of this morning, I weigh a grand total of 14st 7lb.  That’s 14 and a half stone, 203 lbs or 92.3kg in new money and brings my running total up to 53lb/24.13kg lost.  The 18st 4lb fat bloke that started this thing back in June 2010 now has hip bones and ribs!

I’d like to offer my heartfelt thanks to those of you who took the time to get in touch after last week’s blog and offer some advice and support.  The shrinking world can be a very lonely and scary place at times, so to Dave, Jim, David and Kate in particular, your kind words and encouragement genuinely helped me to pick myself up, dust myself down a little and just get on with it.

This week I’ve been the model WW shrinker.  I’ve eaten within my daily points on most days, used some of my weekly points for special circumstances on a couple, pointed everything I’ve eaten, drunk lots of water, and generally ticked all the right boxes (and not a midget gem in sight!).  And oddly enough, I lost weight.

And yet last week, where I ate above my daily points on most days, used all of my weekly points within the first few days, didn’t point everything I’d eaten, didn’t drink much water and generally ate as if I wasn’t trying to shrink, I put weight on.  Strange how it all works isn’t it?

The simplicity and predictability of this is quite powerful at times.  You do the right things, and you get the right results, as with just about everything else in life I guess.  That doesn’t help when you know that, but aren’t actually doing it, but that’s just something that I’m going to have to learn to deal with as I go on 🙂

I tend to make a point of only weighing myself once a week, but this week I weighed myself almost every day.  I wouldn’t recommend it, and certainly won’t do it regularly, but it really throws up some interesting information when you do.  I weighed myself after a couple of days of knuckling down and doing things properly and the scales showed a -4.  Obviously thrilled to bits with that.  The next day, I was showing -2.  Slightly less thrilled.  The day after that, I was showing a STS (stayed the same).  The next day a -1, then a -3.  Put simply. it was all over the place!

That tells me a couple of really important things.  First of all, if ever I had any doubt about just how much your weight can fluctuate naturally from day to day, then that’s just sealed the deal.  The answer is lots.  Secondly, it tells me that there really is no point weighing yourself more than once a week, and that you should never get too down or happy about any particular weigh-in, as it might not be showing you the true picture.  Lastly it tells me that how I’m eating is more important than what the scales are showing, as that will, in the end, be the thing that will control what the scales are showing.

I’ve had a great week, and I’ve enjoyed being back in control.  I feel a little bruised and battered right now, but I’m very aware that it would have been easy to drop the whole thing last week.  The fact that I didn’t let it drop fills me with hope for the future, and confirms that this time I’m approaching my shrinking in a sensible and sustainable manner.  I also feel less alone, so thanks again to you all.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man

Another one bites the dust…

Morning all 🙂

Weigh-in number 33 completed and another 1lb lost.  Mildly disappointed, as I felt like I’d earned a little bit more this week to be completely honest with you, and I also physically ‘felt’ like I’d lost more too.  A loss is still a loss though, and it keeps me moving in the right direction, so I’m really not going to complain.  Much 😉

I’ve noticed a really interesting pattern this week, which would certainly explain why my loss this week wasn’t as much as I’d hoped, but also raises some very interesting questions about just how sustainable my current method of eating is.

Just for the record here, my goal is to reach a weight that I’m physically and mentally comfortable with, and then to stay there or thereabouts, pretty much indefinitely.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually stated that out loud before, but I think I’ve alluded to it on a number of occasions anyway.  From that perspective, I try to question how I’m feeling about what I’m eating on a regular basis, and to ask myself this question – “could I eat like this for the rest of my life?”.  If the answer is yes, then it ought to be sustainable, but if the answer is no, then that sounds more like a diet to me than any sustainable approach to eating.

Just for the record again, the problem with diets from where I’m sitting is that at some point you reach the end of them.  When you do that, by definition you then change how you’re eating, and it’s what you change to that determines whether the weight stays off or not.  In reality, most people go back to how they ate before they dieted, and then oddly enough, the weight just piles back on again, with a little bit more, and the cycle continues, and the self-loathing increases.  Losing weight is not a problem for me.  I’ve done it before.  Lots of times.  And I’m proving that I can still do that now.  Keeping it off however, is a rather different story.  I have never done it before (obviously).  Not once.  And I’m really, really aware of that fact pretty much every hour of every day right now.

Anyway, the pattern that I’ve noticed relates to how what I eat is spread across the week.  One of the key elements of the WW strategy is that you track what you eat.  One major benefit of this is that it really helps raise your awareness of what you’re eating, which might sound a bit stupid, but from the perspective of a fat-bloke is really important.  I can still remember my first day on this WW program – I decided to start it at about 6pm, and rather than start the next day, decided to start by tracking what I’d eaten that day.  It took me a few minutes, but I was able to sit back and see where I was for the day fairly easily.  And then over the course of the next 6 hours I kept remembering other things that I’d eaten and that had simply slipped my mind.  I’d actually missed about half of what I’d eaten from the first list!

Another benefit of the tracking is that it also allows you to see patterns developing, and what I’ve noticed is that I always peak towards the end of the week.  This week for example, by the end of Thursday, I’d eaten my daily points each day, and had eaten about 20 of my 49 “use them if you want to or need to” bonus points.  By the end of Saturday, I’d used up the other 29 bonus points and dipped into a few of my exercise points.

One of the most challenging things about what I’m trying to achieve here is to work out what’s going on in my own mind, and whether that’s actually different from what I think is going on in my own mind.  I don’t trust my mind to always do what’s in my best interests here – after all, it was my mind that controlled the approach to food that got me to 18st 4lb in the first place.  In relation to the peak at the end of the week (that’s a phrase that has a certain something to it!) my mind is giving me a couple of reasons why that’s all ok and tickety-boo.

  1. It’s the end of your week, and you’ve got points left – eat them and stop worrying.  You’re still losing weight aren’t you?
  2. It’s because you weigh-in at the weekend!  Everyone lets themselves go a bit at the weekend.  Relax.  It will all be OK.  And you’re still losing weight aren’t you?

They’re both viable explanations, and they both make perfect sense.  But I don’t think they explain what’s going on.

If you’ll allow me to digress for a moment, sometimes I feel like a spy.  Not in the James Bond kind of way (although that would explain the costumes and night-vision goggles) but in the fact that I’m trying to listen to all the ‘chatter’ going on in my head to see if I can pick up important details.  It’s an immensely dull pastime, but no-one else is going to do it for me (hopefully) and it’s only by doing this that I’m able to start to identify the thoughts I have that might just contradict the “everything is going to be alright” messages.

I think that I’m eating more towards the end of the week in response to thoughts that go something like this:

You’ve been depriving yourself all week, and you’ve got a few points to spare, so let yourself go a bit and eat.  Do it.  You know you want to!

That’s all OK except for the third word of the first sentence.  I have a problem with depriving myself, or to be more specific, I have big concerns about how I react when I do deprive myself.  There’s a sort of self-indignant thing that kicks in and encourages me to have my fill of whatever it is that I think I’m depriving myself of.

I’m opening up a big can of worms here to be honest, and I need to go and think some more about this so I can make some sense of it all.  I can see three specific things coming out of this:

  • On the surface, the issue is that as far as I was aware, I was happy eating what I’m eating, and that it felt sustainable.  I hadn’t realised that I felt deprived in any way, but subconsciously, there’s something going on that I’m not completely aware of just now.
  • Underneath all of that, there’s this question of deprivation and whether that’s a bad thing or not anyway.  One of the triggers to me starting this whole WW thing was accepting that it was a lack of personal deprivation that got me fat anyway, so I needed to accept that I would have to deprive myself of things to lose weight.  But how does that fit with the whole sustainability thing?
  • Lastly, I have to question whether it’s a good idea to spend so much time questioning what’s going on in my own head, and thinking about myself and my thoughts and actions in the third person.  Slightly concerned this morning.  Lol.

This is definitely a “to be continued” session.  Need to go and think.

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

Mumble grumble moan etc.

What is it about me that means that whenever I really apply myself to this and get a great result, I seem to fall apart the next week?  There’s definitely a pattern here, and it’s stupid, annoying and frankly a bit ridiculous!

Hi by the way 🙂

Week 32 weigh-in just completed, and 1lb lost.  On the surface of it, losing a pound is great, but in my head this isn’t even a real pound, as it’s still taking off weight I put on over Christmas.  Following last week’s spectacular 5lb loss, I wasn’t expecting a repeat performance, but I was expecting to drop two or three pounds and get myself back closer to my pre-Christmas highs (well lows, but you know what I mean).  In fact, to be honest I probably was expecting a repeat performance, and wouldn’t have been happy with anything less than a -5 to get rid off the last of the Christmas weight, but a measly pound?  Frankly I’m almost insulted.

The really disappointing thing about this week is that I haven’t deserved or expected anything better.  For the whole of last week I was focused and dedicated to removing that Christmas weight, and it wasn’t a surprise when I dropped off a lot.  This week I’ve been the opposite.  I’ve snacked and picked and pulled at the boundaries on every point, I managed to eat half of my daily bonus points on day 1, and have struggled pretty much all week long.  And it wasn’t a surprise when I only lost a pound.

So how to respond?

The immediate reaction is to knuckle down and repeat the focus and dedication of the previous week, but perhaps that’s part of the problem.  If I always follow a very strict week with a very lax week, then perhaps the strict weeks are causing problems by being just a little too strict?

With it being resolution time, the forums (and the gyms, but more on that later) are full of newbies, and there’s been a recurring question coming up over the past week or so, from fat blokes of all degrees of fatness and that’s:

  • “Do I really need to eat all of these points?”

For me there’s an important point in there – the simple answer is probably that if you’re looking to lose weight, then no, you don’t really need to eat all of those points.  If however you’re looking to keep weight off for good, then perhaps you do.  I’m not looking to lose weight, however obsessed I might seem about that on a weekly basis on here.  I’m looking to educate myself into a better, healthier and sustainable way of eating that will allow me to keep the weight off once I get to wherever it is that I’m going.  My presumption is that the people who are asking whether they need to eat all their points are people who are focused on losing weight, which in the short term is great, but they will probably go back to eating how they ate before once they’ve lost the weight.  And guess what happens then?  No need to guess of course, because we’ve all been there before.  The weight comes back on.  And brings a friend along for the journey .

The $64,000 question (I wonder what that figure should be when adjusted for inflation?) that I think needs to be applied to what you’re eating is this:

  • Could I eat like this for the rest of my life?

If the answer is yes, then it’s a sustainable way of eating.  If the answer is no, then whatever it’s doing in terms of weight-loss, it’s not achieving anything towards the goal of keeping weight off.

Was my approach to food in the previous week sustainable?  You know what, it probably wasn’t.  It was a deliberate response to a heavy gain to shift as much as possible as quickly as I could.  So in that respect it was a completely appropriate response to a large gain, but also possibly counter-productive in terms of the long-term goals.

Can I draw any logical conclusions from that?  I think perhaps that I can.  If there’s a line of sensible eating drawn in the sand, then perhaps it’s totally understandable that if I spend a week too far on one side of the line, then rather than just returning immediately to the middle, I drift into the other side for a while before I regain proper balance.  That’s not saying it’s unavoidable, but it does sort of make sense.  What that really means perhaps is that spending too far on one side of the line isn’t without complications, even if it’s supposedly the good side of the line.  And maybe I’m not too different from all the new guys on the forum after all…

Let me pick out a couple of real positives from the week to make sure we finish on a high (although I’m actually feeling pretty positive after making some sense out of the above anyway).  First of all, I’ve really pushed myself in the gym this week, and have broken a couple of personal records.  I’ve been feeling a little odd that even though I’ve been swimming regularly for more than seven months now, I’m still swimming pretty much the same distance in the same time, even though I’m more than three stone lighter.  I asked about that on one of the WW exercise forums and got some pretty helpful advice, the crux of which was that if I really wanted to see an improvement in my speed or distance, I would really have to push myself, but also that it was only a problem if I saw it as one.

Anyway, as a result I’ve approached my usual three swims this week a little differently.

  1. My first swim I did as usual, and managed my traditional 1200m in 40 minutes
  2. My second swim, I pushed myself and managed to swim 1400m in 45 minutes
  3. For my third swim I really pushed myself as hard as I could and I managed to swim 1600m in 45 minutes, and I’ve never swum that far before in my life!

I can’t move my arms, legs, back or shoulders without wincing at the moment, but I feel really proud of myself for pushing myself to break through a barrier.  It felt gooooooood.

The other thing that was great this week was also exercise related.  I got my Wii Fit out for the first time in a few years, and it didn’t believe it was me at first, as I was 2.5 stone lighter than the last time I stepped on it.  This is a good thing.

Anyway, I’m intrigued to see how things go this week.  Having noticed a pattern where a great week is followed by a difficult week, I’m conscious that a difficult week can easily be followed by a terrible one or a great one.

I think I’ll settle for a good one.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man.

Well that’s a bit better then…

Morning all 🙂

Weigh-in number 31 done and 5lb lost.  Isn’t the body a fascinating thing?  You eat without control for a couple of weeks and stop exercising, and you put on 10lb.  You control what you eat and do lots of exercise, and you lose 5lb.  That’s scarily like common sense!

It’s been an interesting week.  It started out feeling quite difficult, as I’d been used to eating whenever and whatever I wanted for a while, so I was having to keep myself in check quite a bit initially.  That in itself turned out to be a positive experience, as I was able to study what happened when I ‘denied’ myself food.  Oddly enough I didn’t die, panic, fall apart or suffer in any way whatsoever.  In fact, I just put that bowl of peanuts/piece of shortbread/bag of wine gums/pound of lard to the back of my mind and got on with something else.  The desire to eat was clearly still there, as it would reappear from time to time, but there’s an important point in this – when it reappeared, it wasn’t any stronger than it had been before.  That seems to me to be extremely significant, because it changes the worst case scenario that is often in my mind, and that often leads me to just eat.  My inbuilt belief is that until I give in and eat whatever it is I’m craving, then I won’t get a moments peace, and the desire will grow stronger and stronger.  So I might as well just eat.  So historically, that’s what I’ve always done.

I’m starting to look at this weight loss thing as being a combination lock.  If that seems a little odd, then bear with me for a while and I’ll try to explain a little better.  Actually, I’ll rephrase that statement – I’m actually starting to look at this ‘keeping weight off’ thing as being a combination lock.  Losing weight isn’t a problem.  I’ve proved before that I can do that, and I’m proving again that I haven’t lost the knack.  What I’ve so far been unable to do is keep that weight off, and that’s the part that is of most interest to me.

My initial response to the rather ridiculous 10lb that I put on over Christmas was to just accept that I would need to follow some sort of weight control method for the rest of my life.  In other words, I accepted that I simply couldn’t do this on my own, as whenever I removed the external control from what I ate, I immediately ate too much.  That’s not a great feeling, but I think it’s a fairly practical response, and one that would pretty much guarantee that I would keep the weight off for the long term.  The more I think about what happened over the Christmas period however, the more positive I become that it’s all in my mind, and that there might just be some fairly simple misconceptions that are making this difficult for me.

I can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned this before, but over the past 12 years or so I have stopped smoking and drinking completely, and in both of those situations what made the difference for me was to ‘get it right’ in my head.  I won’t go into the whole story here, but in simple terms, once I managed to understand that I didn’t actually enjoy smoking, it was rather easy to stop and stay stopped, and exactly the same applied to drinking.  The comparative ease with which I managed to stop those two things has always amplified how difficult I’ve found it to stop over-eating (you wouldn’t believe how long it took me to work out that it was over-eating I actually needed to stop) and that’s always frustrated me.

So back to the combination lock – getting clear in my head that not giving in to cravings categorically does not lead to greater cravings feels like I’ve just found one of the numbers to the combination, and that therefore one of the wheels has just clicked into place.  There are others that have already clicked in to place:

  • Understanding that weight gain is a cumulative thing, and that something relatively insignificant in itself (like a packet of crisps) adds up over time
  • Understanding that weight loss is also cumulative (that one literally just clicked into place this second!)
  • Accepting that the only reason that I’m overweight is that I eat too much.  Not metabolism, not hard luck or anything else
  • Realising that I feel better physically and mentally when I eat sensibly
  • Discovering that I genuinely enjoy exercising
  • Discovering that I don’t actually enjoy the over-eating itself (not sure if that wheel has properly clicked into place yet actually!)

Each of those probably seem stupidly obvious to the thin-bloke on the street, but I’d be interested to know how commonly they’re misunderstood among the fat-blokes of the world.  It might be just me of course, but that doesn’t really matter – I can state for the record that I genuinely and honestly did not know or believe any of those things until very recently.  Each new wheel that clicks into place makes me feel stronger and more capable of dealing with all of this in the long term.  The only issue is, I don’t know how many numbers I need to find, but I guess that’s what’s going to make this interesting :-).

I feel so much better about myself this week than I have for the last couple, and I’m pleased to have shifted 5lb of that Christmas weight.  I’ve still got 5lb more to lose before I can start to make real progress again, and realistically that’s going to take a few weeks to achieve, so I just need to be a little bit patient and keep doing the right things.

Have a great week.

The Shrinking Man