Tag Archives: sustainable weight 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

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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.

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.