The Shrinking Blog

Has it really been 50 weeks?

50 weeks!  That’s nearly a year!

Well the weigh-in for week 50 has just been completed, and I’m relatively non-plussed to report yet another STS.  I’m slightly disappointed not to have lost a teeny bit this week as I’ve been back in the pool and have done a whole load of exercise this week.  That does suggest that I’m still struggling to get my head around some of the simpler elements of this whole thing, because I ate all my daily points, all of my weekly points, all of my exercise points and a few extra for good measure, so should never have been expecting any loss whatsoever.  There’s a weird sort of denial of reality going on there somewhere – even as I’m tracking in detail what I’m doing, I’m still thinking “I’ve done lots of exercise, so I ought to lose a little bit of weight” instead of “I’ve done some exercise, but eaten everything that’s earned me and a little more, so I’ll be lucky to get an STS this week”.

Anyway, as the weeks go by I’m feeling more and more relaxed about the lack of progress.  Of course I have no idea whether that’s a good thing or not, but I’m taking it to be a good thing at the moment, as I’m generally a positive kind of guy.  What I feel like I’m proving to myself is that I’m capable of maintaining this sort of weight should I choose to do so.  I’m eating well, but generally in moderation and would certainly have no problem eating like this on an ongoing basis.  Now I know that this isn’t the weight that I want to stop at, but if I did, and managed to learn to stay here, then that would be a truly fantastic achievement, as it’s the staying at a weight that has historically always proved to be a problem, rather than the initial loss itself.

I even ate some midget gems on Friday!  And didn’t die either.  Although they weren’t very nice midget gems, so perhaps that might have helped.  It wasn’t planned, although they have been calling out to me at a significantly higher volume of late.  A work celebration included a “cup full of sweets for 50p” stall, and the proceeds were going to charity, so I thought I’d join the queue and show willing.  Had I known there were midget gems there, I probably wouldn’t have joined the queue at all (and if you believe that, then I’m getting much better at lying) but there they were.  For a short while at least.  Part of me is proud that I only had two cup-fulls in the end.  Part of me knows that there is nothing to be proud of at all, because my second cup emptied the tub completely.  Part of me just wants to eat midget gems :-).

I’ve really enjoyed swimming this week – I’ve done a bit of cycling recently, which has kept my exercise levels up a little bit, so it wasn’t quite as painful as it can be sometimes to get back in the pool after a long gap.  I swam 80 lengths three times this week – three days in a row actually – and while it was difficult and I ache a bit right now, it proved that my general levels of fitness are still pretty good.

In another couple of weeks I’ll have been on this journey for a year!  That’s a really strange feeling – on the one hand this has all become a regular part of my life (including my Sunday morning blogging) but on the other hand, I’m still pretty certain that I could undo all of this good work in significantly less time than 12 months.  I think perhaps where I’m gaining a better understanding is that I’m starting to realise that there’s nothing significantly different about me in that respect – anyone could put on four stone if they consistently increased what they ate.  What’s different is that I’ve got a lot of years of history of doing precisely that, and that’s why I have to be a little more aware than most people of what I eat and how how much of it I choose to have.

I was going to write that my natural response to a lot of everyday life situations is to eat to excess, but that’s not true.  I think it would be truer (and far more helpful) to say that my usual response to a lot of everyday life situations is to eat to excess, but that isn’t a natural response.  I wasn’t born like that.  I’ve learned to do that.  And what I’m doing at the moment is unlearning it.  And as long as I keep on focusing on it, I’ll get better and better at not doing it.

That sounds like 50 weeks well spent to be honest – have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

The Shrinking Blog

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.