The Shrinking Blog

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




The Shrinking Blog

Midweek update

It’s been ages since I did a midweek update!  This wasn’t ever supposed to be just a once-a-week thing, as I always envisaged that it would be a “whenever the mood takes me” sort of thing, but it would appear that for the past I don’t know how many months, clearly the mood has only taken me on a Sunday morning.

Until now!

It’s Tuesday evening, and I’m feeling rather inspired right now, so wanted to put keys to keyboard to try and sum up what’s going on.  Sunday was good for me this weekend – first of all, I lost some weight, and it’s been a while since I did that, even if it was just a pound.  Secondly, I set my final target in stone (12st 4lb of stone to be precise) which was something that I’ve been avoiding doing since the start of this whole process, and while I think I’d avoided it for good reasons up to now, actually setting it has given me a significant lift.  Lastly, I went clothes shopping.

I have never enjoyed clothes shopping.  Never.  And yesterday I spent about three hours doing just that.  Enjoying clothes shopping.  I bought myself four shirts, three polo shirts, four t-shirts and 12 pairs of socks.  Nothing had an X anywhere on the size label, and the three L polo shirts were all too big for me.  My wife and I took them back up to Gap (where I’m happy to remind you that I couldn’t even fit into Gap’s largest sizes just 51.5 weeks ago) and I tried on an M.  My wife had a look not too dissimilar from horror on her face when I stepped out of the changing room, insisted that they were too small, and that I shouldn’t change them.  She’s probably right (she often is on these things) but I don’t think they were all that small, and they often stretch out a bit once they’ve been worn, but what they were like on the day shouldn’t have been relevant.  I don’t want to wear clothes that are too big for me.  I don’t want to wear clothes that are too small for me either, but I really, really don’t want to wear clothes that are too big for me.

So I’ve changed them all for M sizes, and I’m going to lose more weight!  So there!

This whole journey started for me during a telephone call on June 7th last year with a (very) old friend (old in both senses of the word – she’s positively ancient) when she mentioned to me that she’d started doing Weight Watchers.  By the end of the call, I’d been on the WW site, found out that they did an online option and signed up myself, presumably having stopped listening to anything else she had to say quite early on in the call.  Signing up just seemed like the right thing to do, and for me it certainly was, for her seemingly less so.  51.5 weeks later, I’m 57 lbs lighter, and she’s a walking STS.

Anyway, I took that same friend out for lunch today, and she sprang a surprise on me.  She has established that she has 27lbs that she would like to lose, which by a remarkable coincidence is also the same amount that I have to lose to reach my final goal.  She’s seeing this synergy as some sort of sign, so being aware of our competitive natures, she’s essentially challenged me to see who can lose the 27lb first.  I think I’m at something of a disadvantage here, as I’ve already lost 57lb, so am expecting it to be a harder ride for me than it is for her, but it’s given me a bit of a kick that I think I’ve needed for a while, so have happily accepted her challenge.

It was quite interesting to see how our attitudes changed as soon as the word competition arrived on the scene.  Up to now, I’ve been very supportive whenever she’s been aiming to lose weight, and she’s been exactly the same to me.  Once we’d established that it was now a competition, we both started trying to sabotage each others efforts by encouraging each other to eat more than we were planning too.  I think we got it out of our system by the end of the meal, and I expect us to be properly supportive from here on in, but if it continues, then all she’s got to look forward to is watching my shrinking continue, while she balloons to the size of a house as a result of my over-competitive nature.  But I think we’ll be supportive of each other really.  Probably 😉

We’ve struggled to come up with a suitable prize for the winner, so any suggestions then click the comment button at the bottom of the screen and let me know.

So the shrinking continues!

Have a good week.

The Shrinking Man

The Shrinking Blog

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


The Shrinking Blog

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

The Shrinking Blog

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.