Just a lightning quick post … I haven’t emigrated to the moon, nor lost the use of both my hands, but I’m in three all day meetings this week and haven’t found a moment for blogging. I promise a decent post by the end of the week!
Days 191 to 193 – On Top Of The World 21 August 2008
Crazy week this week, work-wise, so I’ve been a bit slack on the blogging front. Naughty me.
The great news is that I’ve just been to my weigh-in and I’ve shifted the weight that I put on while I was in Tenerife. I was a bit down in the dumps when I came back, as I felt podgy, and as you know was endeavouring to go back into abstinence to shift the pounds. Well, that didn’t work, but a return to sensible eating and regular exercising has done the trick. I’m not yet at the weight I achieved before going into management (76 kg) but I’m not far off (79 kg). I’m so happy that I could skip. I feel so normal, for want of a better word. I had a normal holiday, with the normal indulgences, put on a normal amount of weight, and shifted it in the way that normal people do. This bodes so well for life after lighter life.
Today was a big day for me in other ways too. I’m being promoted at work (yippee!) and part of that promotion involved three hour-long meetings with my potential new clients today. I had to make them comfortable with having me moving into the role (I’m replacing a colleague who is going abroad) … in a nutshell they had to come away from those meetings believing that I had the right personality for their respective teams and that I do actually have a working brain between my ears. I realised yet again what a difference this diet has made to my confidence. I know damn well that I would have hated going through this process as fat me … I’ve mentioned this before but I was living with a perpetual sense that I didn’t deserve certain things before simply because I was so unhappy about how I looked and felt. It’s at moments like these that you realise that dieting is about so much more than the superficial matter of how you look. It goes right to the heart of how you are and what you believe you can do.
I think the meetings went well. I guess I’ll find out soon enough! I did have one fabulous moment when I realised that I’d met one of the clients before. We were having the ‘where do I know you from?’ discussion until I suddenly remembered that I’d been on a conference with him almost eighteen months ago. Without thinking he said ‘yes, I remember you … good god you’ve lost a lot of weight’ then clapped his hand over his mouth in case he’d offended me. Of course I wasn’t offended, I was delighted. He told me that he himself shed 30 kg about three years ago and I had the double pleasure of telling him that I’d lost more than that 🙂
So I’m sitting here now, exhausted from the brain strain of today, but absolutely ecstatic about the fact that I seem to be managing my weight while living the life I always have. The most significant change is the amount of exercise I’m doing. I’ve been to the once dreaded gym three times this week, and even managed 20 minutes on the rowing machine yesterday. If I can keep that up, I may soon be able to class myself as fit (in the health sense not the attractiveness sense, you understand). Just a few months ago that would have been unthinkable.
For those of you who are on lighter life, or a similar programme, or considering starting it, you will undoubtedly have read the reams of criticism online from people who claim that once you finish the diet you simply pile all the weight back on. Well … at the moment I’m proving that to be untrue, and I can’t tell you how great that feels.
Days 189 & 190 – The Best Laid Plans … 18 August 2008
I fell off the wagon on Sunday and ate lots of pies …
No, not really. But I did fall off the wagon. In fact, it was less of a fall and more of a graceless slide. On Saturday night, at Walthamstow dogs, I caved in and drank three pints of beer. I was saved from drinking any more than that by the fact that the place was packed to the rafters and the bar queue was a good twenty minutes long. I was with two of the most hardened drinkers that I know and even they couldn’t face the wait. I have to say that it was a brilliant night, though. The atmosphere was amazing … what really struck me was how many families were there, and families who are clearly local to the area and have a long-standing relationship with the track. All around us we could hear people being addressed as ‘Auntie’, ‘Dad’ or ‘Grandma’ rather than by their names … in many cases there were three or four generations of one family there celebrating the end of 76 years of racing at the track. Of course there were lots of tourists too, and Londoners (like me) who aren’t exactly what you would call regular dog racing enthusiasts! I was very glad that I was there, but I do wish that I’d steered clear of the bar entirely. Oh well.
On Sunday I went down to Chiselhurst to visit my friend’s flat, which is absolutely gorgeous. The weather was lovely and he’d booked us in for lunch at a pub on the edge of Chiselhurst Common. I simply didn’t have the heart to sit and watch him eat on his own, so went for what I thought was the most sensible option and chose a chicken caesar salad (with the lardy dressing on the side, of course) rather than the attractive but carb-laden roast dinner. Frankly, I don’t feel very inclined to eat roast dinners in the summer … for me they belong to cold winter afternoons and it feels odd to tuck in to roast potatoes when the sun is blazing outside.
So far so good … OK, I’d broken my vow of abstinence but was at least behaving sensibly. It was after lunch that it all went horribly wrong. We took a leisurely stroll back, via a couple of local pubs, and soon the bottle of wine we’d shared over lunch became two bottles. By the time we got back to the flat, two became three. I’ve said many times before just how much I love red wine, and I’ve been really disciplined about avoiding it over recent months, even now I’m officially allowed alcohol again. Well, all that unravelled yesterday and I was far from sober by the time I crawled under my duvet last night. The good news was that it didn’t make me eat more … as I’m sure many of you will recognise, drinking alcohol suddenly makes snacking seem very attractive. Apart from a few twiglets at my friend’s flat, I didn’t feel the urge to stuff my face with rubbish once the alcohol had kicked in. I was mightily pleased about that when I woke up this morning, I can tell you.
In an attempt to repair some of the damage I was up with the lark and in the gym by 7am. I did a full hour’s workout, which is the longest to date, and felt really good about it afterwards. I can’t undo what happened over the weekend, but I can try to make up for it. Clearly my plans to abstain this week have gone out of the window, so I’m going to have one meal and three packs every day between now and my weigh-in on Thursday. I’ve also upgraded my gym membership (for a very reasonable £6 extra a month … thank-you, Fitness First!) so that I can use any of their outlets. This means that I can now go to the local gym down the road on a weekend, and I fully intend to do that. I think it’s a sign of how much my attitudes have changed that I’m excited about that … I used to loathe gyms but I’m now starting to feel good about exercising and, in some ways, am now viewing it as my insurance policy against a return to fat me. Ideally I’d be swimming, but I’ve contracted some strange ear problem (like an adult version of glue ear, apparently) which means that it’s out of the question for the next few weeks at least. So the gym is the way forward at the moment. I’ve even (and anyone that knows me well will choke on their tea when they read this) considered signing up for some sessions with a personal trainer.
What’s happening to me? Am I still the same person inside that I was before the diet?!
Days 185 to 187 – Abstinence Rules OK 16 August 2008
So I’m back on the shakes and, frankly, it’s not so bad! This is my third proper day and it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be, which is a colossal relief. This may sound odd but there’s something very familiar, even comforting (!), about getting back into the rhythm of the lighter life regime. And by that I don’t mean that I intend to seek refuge in abstinence if I discover that I can’t manage my weight in the future, rather that I wasn’t comfortable about the weight I’d achieved which was like a perpetual nagging voice in the back of my brain. That voice has shut up for the time being, and I feel much happier.
I went to my group meeting on Thursday night and had a long one-on-one chat with my counsellor (most of the group are on holiday). She was, as ever, incredibly insightful and helpful. We talked about the pros and cons of a return to abstinence. Her point of view was that I needed to think long and hard about my motivations for shifting that extra stone (ish). She said, which is very true, that I’d come so far and achieved all the goals that I’d set myself … could I genuinely gear myself up mentally to do it? I came away from the session feeling very positive. She recommended that I tried three food packs a day and one light meal (similar to the first two weeks of the management programme) which would enable me to lose weight at a rate of about 3lbs a week. When I got home and thought about it I knew that this wouldn’t be enough. Weirdly I have the discipline to throw myself wholeheartedly into abstinence, but I think that a halfway house would frustrate me immensely. Also, I promised myself when I began this diet that I’d be settled at a comfortable and healthy weight by the end of the year. If I go the slow route, that might not happen, especially if the pounds start bouncing up and down like a yo-yo. At the very least, I owe it to myself to give this a shot.
You wait … the next post will probably begin with ‘I fell off the wagon on Sunday and ate lots of pies’ … 🙂
The real test, as ever, will be booze. I didn’t drink a thing for about five months which, for an apprentice alcoholic like myself, was pretty impressive. Over the last few weeks I’ve obviously been drinking again, but not nearly to the degree that I used to. I’ve tried to make myself enjoy white wine spritzers rather than pints of Guinness or buckets of red wine, and I’ve been pretty successful. But I’m going out tonight (for the last night of racing at Walthamstow dog track … what a terrible shame!) and it’s going to be difficult not only admit that I’ve had to go back on the diet, but also to be disciplined enough to drink water. I’ll have to keep thinking about how virtuous I’ll feel in the morning when I don’t wake up with a fuzzy head!
Other than tonight’s little challenge I have a very nice weekend planned with lots of things to keep my mind off dieting. My Mum’s coming round today to see the newly-decorated house, so a spot of panic-tidying is in order. (I’m hoping that the return to abstinence will put me back in purge mode and I’ll manage to get rid of the last few bits of junk that are sitting woefully in boxes in the dining room). Then tomorrow I’m off to Kent to visit a friend’s new flat. I say ‘new’ but he’s actually owned the place for about nine months … he just refused to let anyone near it until he’d completed all the work on it and everything was perfect. Well, I’ll be casting my critical eye over it, I can assure you 🙂
Right. Time to get the hoover out.
Days 172 to 184 – Fun In The Sun 13 August 2008
Well, I’m back! It feels like I’ve been away forever. Even sitting in front of a laptop feels a bit weird.
It goes without saying that we had a great time. I’ve not been on a beach holiday for years, not least because me and swimwear have never been the best of friends. And I’ve never been on an all-inclusive holiday like this one, ever. As you know, I went with the Boy’s family, and their biggest priority is keeping his 7 year-old niece and 4 year-old nephew entertained (no small feat, I promise you), so this type of holiday is perfect for all concerned. And I have to say that I felt bloody good … I was by no means the thinnest person by the pool, but I felt absolutely confident wandering about in my swimming costume and sarong. It was actually quite emotional, if I’m honest. I felt like I had a right to be there and that nobody was staring at me. One of the big triggers for me embarking on lighter life was the knowledge that this holiday was planned and booked … it would have been unbearable had I not lost the weight.
From a diet point of view, this kind of holiday is potentially nothing short of disastrous 🙂 The supply of food and drink is unrelenting … obviously, as we all know, willpower does exist and nobody is ever forced to eat or drink, but for people with a tendency to overeat then all-inclusive holidays are a minefield. Many people that I saw over the last few days were using their stay as a licence to indulge to alarming (and sometimes disgusting) degrees. It wasn’t unusual to see people consume three loaded plates of food at one sitting and then pile up another plate with cakes from the dessert trolley. I don’t mean to sound pious, but I was genuinely shocked. It was like the barbecue effect (graze until you might explode) magnified a hundred times. Now, as I’ve said before, people’s weight really is their own business, and if adults choose to be overweight then that’s entirely up to them. What really got to me was the children. It was absolutely heartbreaking to see young kids, some of whom were already significantly overweight, piling their plates high with junk, junk and more junk. I think there’s something in the mentality of an all-inclusive package that says ‘well, I’ve paid for this, so it doesn’t matter if the food goes to waste’ which meant that some families’ tables were literally groaning with food … and if kids can help themselves to as much ice cream or chips or chicken nuggets as they can carry, then that’s exactly what they’re going to do. It was incredibly sad. These are the kids who are going to grow up to find themselves in the same situation as I did … overweight, unhealthy and downright miserable.
And how did I cope? Well, I’ve not dared to go near the scales just yet, but if I’m not significantly heavier than when I left twelve days ago then I’ll be mighty surprised. I didn’t go crazy, by any stretch of the imagination (although I have identified two major personal weaknesses in the form of bread and ice cream), but I was by no means perfect either. Broadly speaking I limited myself to two meals a day (thanks to my trusty vanilla shakes), stuck to salad and protein, went easy on the carbs and avoided fried food. Back in the bad old days I had an alarming fondness for chips, so I was delighted to discover that I could avoid them quite easily (I had them once in the whole time I was there). I steered clear of beer, and drank mainly dry white wine topped up with sparkling mineral water. That said, I’m still estimating that I’ve probably gone half a stone in the wrong direction.
A couple of posts ago I was discussing the fact that my counsellor has suggested that I go back into abstinence. I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to do. Not only will it help me to compensate for the excesses of the holiday, but I don’t feel that I’ve settled at a weight that I’m happy with. Going into management early meant that I had no buffer zone and, frankly, I’ve come so far that it seems lunatic not to use this opportunity to get to where I want to be. So as of this morning I’m back on the shakes and bars. I’m hoping that I have the willpower to stick at it for those critical few weeks (I’m hoping no more than four, but who knows?). If I really do find it impossible, then I think I will compromise with three food packs and one salad and protein meal. Here’s hoping that I can do it.
Anyway, I must go. I’m up to my eyeballs in dirty washing. Deep joy!