Saturday, 28 February 2009

An exercise in self-restraint

This evening is going to be a bit of a test for me as I'm attending a dinner party at a friends house. In fact this whole week has been a bit of an exercise in self-control as I've been out socialising quite a bit.

Following the successful visit to the cinema on Tuesday, I stayed with a friend on Thursday night, and she was nice enough to ask me what I'd like for dinner, since she knows I'm on WW. Made a healthy choice (grilled scampi, jacket potato, peas and salad - yum) and stuck to my pre-decided limit on the alcohol.

Last night was pub night - I made the decision to indulge in a Chinese takeaway since I had quite a few points left at dinner time, but decided not to push my luck too far and investigated the invaluable resource that is Noreen's blog to check out points values before I even considered what I wanted. Luckily for me Chow Mein is one of my favourite dishes, but just by making a conscious decision on what I was ordering before I left the house I felt far more in control. I'm not entirely convinced that a portion of Chow Mein from the takeaway is really only 7.5 points, but there you go - it's not something I do often and my god it was nice!!! Decided I wanted to be able to drink last night, as I've been staying away from it recently - so approached last night from a point of view of alternating vodka and slimline tonics with diet cokes - having made my decisions before I got to the pub, I was then able to have a nice relaxed evening knowing everything was sensibly accounted for. Luckily, our awesome local pub (The Nags Head - really is superb) is a 15 / 20 min walk away from the house - so I get the bonus of earning some activity points on the way there and back!

Back to my opening topic though - dinner parties! This is going to be a bit more of a challenge, as I get no option to choose my food, and it's not going to be hugely diet friendly. So - I've decided to point it all up this morning as best I can, and then work the rest of my day around it. The food, as best I can work out, is going to come out at something like a whopping 27 points - before wine and other drinks!! (FYI - my daily points allowance is only 24). Thankfully, the same people who are holding and attending the dinner party, are also going mountain-biking today. I'm going to go too, as that should be good for about 8.5 activity points. I've also got a few saved points from earlier in the week, and I thought if I have a bowl of cereal for breakfast before I go on the bike ride, and make some quick vegetable soup when I get back, that minimises the damage for the rest of the day. I want to be able to enjoy tonight without feeling guilty - I can't make lifelong changes if I can't handle social occasions - so I'm just going to have to find a way to deal with them!

Still, after all this eating out this week if I can even make a tiny loss of half a lb on Monday I'll be super happy - not for the loss itself, but for the proof that I can enjoy my lifestyle and still make it work - wish me luck!!

On a different note, I treated myself to a little bit of shopping yesterday on my afternoon off - and I was soooooo good!!!! Shopping's a major downfall for me - I see all the shiny things and promptly lose any hint of self-restraint! So I went in yesterday thinking if I set myself a budget of £40 then I won't feel guilty afterwards - and I stuck to it!!! In fact, not only did I stick to it, but I got loads of bargains so was super happy - I should do this more often!!!!

Found some lovely underwear in M & S that was on the sale rack - £10 for a bra and knickers set, and they're so pretty!! Then went into New Look, where it's always a bit touch and go as to whether stuff fits me. Picked up about 5 skirts and trousers, and with the exception of one short skirt which was ridiculously small and wouldn't even do up (strange since they were all the same size - an 18), the others all fitted pretty comfortably - was rather chuffed. I found some nice work trousers, but they were beaten hands-down by the skirt I bought - a black pencil skirt, with the current fashionable high waist and tuxedo detailing across the waist band. I've not tried any of the high-waisted ones on before, and this one is ridiculously flattering (well I think so anyway!). Gives me some great curves (I'm naturally high-waisted with flaring hips anyway), but also seems to really flatten out the belly and hug the bottom - love it!!! And it was a tiny £17!! Tried it on with a black ruffled shirt tucked in when I got home - know what I'm wearing to work on Monday!! :o) My final purchase were some killer heels (a measly £15) - also from New Look - dark red, slight snakeskin effect (sounds gross - actually looks nice), with hidden platform and square toes .... and 5in heels!!! The only slight problem appears to be that they were actually a tiny bit loose when I got them home, but nothing some heel grips won't fix. Couldn't believe how comfy they were to walk in though - doesn't seem right!

Hey ho - more items for my bulging wardrobe - perhaps I should instigate a new "one in, one out" policy on my wardrobe at this point and actually go through and throw out some stuff too ....

Right I've rambled for long enough - have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Everything tastes so good now!

One thing I'm really loving about doing WW's is that I'm back in the kitchen cooking again, and I'm finding it so nice having good, fresh food and loads more veg - it just tastes so much better! I don't think I'd realised how lazy I'd become with my cooking habits - ready made calorie-controlled meals are all very well, but even the M & S ones don't taste a patch on doing it yourself! Had venison grills, home-made potato wedges in cajun spice (couldn't believe how many there were from just one potato!) and fresh spinach and lettuce, with a little blob of low fat mayo last night - tasted awesome, there was loads on the plate, and best of all the whole thing was only 6 points.

Really enjoying my food like this makes it seem like an adventure instead of a chore - who can feel deprived eating such nice food!! Best of all, I still had some points left last night to go and join my neighbours for pancakes afterwards - just had two - one with lemon and sugar, and one luscious one with melted chocolate (only a teaspoon or two which I reckon equates to a square or two on a bar) and enormous fresh blackberries - god it was good!!!!

Also felt saintly at the cinema later in the evening as I stuck to my new routine and just took a little treat size bag of Cadburys buttons with me, and my own bottle of water, thus avoiding the temptation of the concessions counter. Oddly, one of my friends had a full on sundae from the Ben and Jerry's counter, and I looked at it without feeling and longing at all - strange for a girl who would formerly have counted good ice-cream as one of her vices! Hopefully, this is a sign that I'm learning, and that my body is adjusting to the fact that feeling full (thanks to the lover-ly dinner and pancakes) means I can take or leave the next thing offered - fingers crossed!!

I'm hoping to have a pretty good result this week - it sounds silly, but I'm overly excited about getting my first stone off, which could be a possibility this week with only 2.5 lbs to go .... we'll see. Going to have to remind myself not to be too disappointed if I don't quite get there this week though as it'll all come off eventually!

On an exercise front, I'm really enjoying being out and active again. I put a profile up a while ago on a site call As Fit As A Butchers Dog, which is a free service matching up exercise buddies in the local area. I thought it would be good to find someone I might be able to either do more outdoors stuff with, or possibly even the holy grail that is Street Dance classes. Just had a mail back today from a guy not far from me, which sounds pretty promising - I'd almost forgotten I was on the site, so it was all a bit out of the blue, but he wants to do more biking and walking (and in fact comes complete with his own Springer Spaniel), so I'm hoping this might work out quite nicely! The only think is I'm a but scared he'll be super fit and might sneer at me / get really frustrated. Still I was really honest on the profile about my fitness levels (or lack of them), and even mentioned that I was doing WW's so hopefully that won't be a problem.

Think I might leave the Street Dance classes until I've lost a bit more weight yet. As daft as I sounds this is the one area that my confidence fails me in. I really want to do it, but I'm just really scared that it'll be a class of size 8 people who will sneer, or that they'll tell me I'm too big / unfit to be able to do it. I know it's irrational, as I one of my friends knows the instructor, but still can't shake it. So I'll just gain a bit more confidence before I hurl myself at that hurdle!

Hope everyone else's week is going well.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

This 'ere dieting lark might even save me money!!

I have to put my hands up and confess that I am in fact a shopaholic. Financially speaking I've got myself in and out of trouble more times than I can count - which is a bit depressing really when you consider how much money I could have saved into a nice little nest egg if I'd never overspent in the first place. Kind of ironic for a qualified accountant don't you think?

The problem is, I know exactly why I shop, and have just never been able to break the cycle. Every time I buy something new, shiny and pretty I buy a little slice of confidence and re-inforce my feelings of self-worth. It's pretty tragic isn't it? When I'm bored I'll window shop - usually on the internet, but the irresistable need to buy usually comes when I'm either feeling down about something, or when I've got a situation coming up where I don't feel confident.

I'm sure, that when it comes to clothes, I use them more like a suit of armour, than modesty-protectors and decoration - if I can make the outside look good enough, nobody will notice the distinctly shakey self-esteem hiding behind it. For me confidence is something you project like a hologram, not feel. Occasionally if you're very lucky the hologram becomes real and you do feel good.

Anyhoo, I find myself in an interesting conundrum now I'm starting to shrink a little bit. Normally, if there was even a niggle of doubt that something doesn't look good on, it gets tossed to the back of the (cavernous) wardrobe, and something suspiciously new-looking magically appears in it's place. Well, now several of my old faithful pairs of work-trousers are starting to look distinctly baggy round the bottom and thighs (hooray!), which is never a great look, but I find myself thinking, I'll just hang on a bit before I get something new. Similarly, I was looking on the Hobbs website earlier and found a gorgeous dress in my size that would be lovely for a wedding I'm going to in May, and some beach stuff and board shorts on the Fat Face website - ditto for upcoming holidays, but I'm not tempted to buy any of it. Actually, it's more that I'm hesitant to buy it.

I think the fact that my size is changing, and will hopefully continue to change is confusing me - I'm part afraid to hope that I might actually reach a point where I need smaller sizes, and part hopeful that if I buy stuff for future events like holidays it might be too big for me by the time it rolls round. At this rate I'm not going to be doing a lot of shopping any time soon and I am going to be one rich girl!!

Perhaps even rich enough (and beach-confident enough!) to go on the holiday to Hawaii that my friend suggested this morning for the summer!! Ooooh - now that's an incentive to save!!! Watch this space!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Conditioned to fail?

There I was, driving along in the car this morning on the way to work, and mulling over the fact that my weigh in this morning showed I'd stayed the same. I was trying to work out how I felt about this fact, as it's the first time that I've not registered a loss since starting this. There were definite feelings of disappointment - after all, I'd taken a SP yesterday and the scales has said 15st 7lb, and yet here I was this morning back at 15st 8.5lb *sigh*. There were feelings of justification - the guilty conscience trying to reason that it's only temporary, and just due to the fact that I went out for a large meal quite late last night, but it was all pointed into my daily allowance, so should be back to normal soon. And there were feelings of vindication, because I'd proved myself right.

Whoa!! I'd proved myself right??? What kind of sick sense of satisfaction am I getting from that! And then it occured to me, that the book was right, and I'd never even noticed this before. The book in question, is the same book that triggered the motivation list in the previous post - a book on the psychology of dieting. The next chapter on had been talking about how most dieters fail, because we are inherantly conditioned to think that dieting is hard, that it won't work, and that we will therefore fail ..... and if I'll be damned if I wasn't sat there in my car this morning, having those exact same thoughts!

It's an alarming thought - that we in the habit of thinking we will fail, and therefore we do .... well, if, as the book said, I've successfully formed the habit of eating to stay overweight, then I can change that - I can form a habit to get slimmer and to believe I will succeed. Well, it's made me more positive for today at least!!

So I've reminded myself of all the stuff on my list, and actually I feel far more positive about this.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

My Motivations

I've been reading in bed this morning, and it happened to be a book on the psychological relationship we have with food and slimming - something I picked up from my flatmate's bookshelf. It's actually pretty interesting.

One of the first things it advises you to do, is to physically write down the reasons you want to change - so here are mine in no particular order:

  • Fashion - I love fashion, and I hate being constrained by the shops' ideas of what I should be wearing at my size (incidentally, an 18, going on 20 in some shops - although getting a little smaller already). I want to be able to shop where I want to, and try on any style, before I make my own decision as to whether or not it suits me.
  • In a similar way, I get deeply annoyed that it's so hard for me to find clothes for the sports I do. Gym stuff is fine, but try finding decent clothes for mountain biking, snowboarding and windsurfing when you're above a 14 - it drives me demented.
  • I want to be more comfortable with myself and my appearance - whether it's swimming, in front of the doctor / physio, or in front of a man - the times when everything's on show shouldn't automatically turn into stressful moments.
  • I want to smile at the world more, and be more open to people. I think that years of little negative reinforcements have left me too defensive with the world. I have a big wall around me to keep people out, and I don't want it to be there anymore - I don't want to be scared of rejection, and I think I link rejection to my size in my head. I don't know if this is because I occasionally got teased about my size when I was younger, or at least I was so conscious of it in my formative years that I interpreted it as teasing, but whatever it is - I need to reverse it. I'm fed up of wanting to hide that bit of me away, the fat bit, of being so controlling of what image people see of me. These thoughts are all so confused in my head, and maybe most people would tell me I need to sort them out before I change my appearance, but I guess there's plenty of time along the way to work on them.
  • I don't want to be held back from trying things because I'm scared I'll look stupid - well, stupid due to my size anyway. I don't have a particular fear of looking stupid, but it's a different brand of humiliating when it's due to something like them not having a climbing harness big enough to fit you (actually despite all my worst fears, that's never happened to me yet - 4 out of 4 occasions they've fitted me - phew!!!).
  • I don't want my size to be a factor in how good I am when I try new sports / activities. If I'm rubbish because I have no inherent ability, so be it. But I can't help wondering how much my snowboarding and windsurfing would improve with a smaller, lighter me - I'd be less scared of falling and hurting myself, it'd be easier to get back up (well, certainly for skiing and windsurfing anyway), and I'd be more agile.
  • Which brings me to my fitness - I would love to be a fitter me with better endurance. To not tire as quickly, to be better able to keep up on the long walks and to have more energy.
  • This one's important - my health. Whilst I might not be physically aware of it now, I'm conscious that my weight could have a serious impact on my health in future years if I don't start looking after myself properly now. My dad has what I suspect is mild angina, and my mother suffered from arthritis from the early age of her mid-40's - if I can go someway to preventing this being me, then I should grab the opportunity with both hands. My grandma was also diagnosed with breast cancer last year, at the age of 94 (? - actually it's a bit of mystery what age my grandma is - even she's not entirely sure!) - as it happens she's responded incredibly well to treatment, but that's not the point. Cancer is said to be higher risk with obesity, and that's enough warning for me!

I think that list covers the major points - there's probably a few other minor ones, like wanting to feel more attractive, but to be honest, I think that falls out from achieving the ones above - the more confident you are, the more attractive people find you, and the more confident you become. It's a bit of a vicious circle, but having the confidence in myself is where it starts.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Midweek Blues

Since the beginning of the week I've been steadily losing confidence that Weight Watchers is going to work for me. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what has bought this on, but I think it's a combination of factors.

Firstly, that so far I've actually found the plan pretty easy to stick to without denying myself anything, and I've had reasonable losses each week. Yep - this is actually a reason to inspire doubt, folks!! You see, nothing is ever easy (at least in my world), and nothing comes for free, so I'm deeply sceptical of anything that seems this good. Where's the catch? When's it going to stop working?

Secondly, that my losses have been gradually decreasing as the weeks go by. Now logically, I know that this is due to the fact that actually my losses were pretty big the first couple of weeks and that they're now settling into a steady pattern, and that this is common. But, due to my unhealthily cynical mind (see point 1), I'm convinced that this means they're going to tail off into nothing and I'll be left sitting on a little plateau.

And thirdly, that I've been trying very hard, starting last Monday, to obey the golden rule that you only step on the scales on weigh in day. And apparently I'm a little paranoid about what happens when I'm not looking!

Despite this challenge of avoiding the dreaded SP (sneaky peek for those who don't speak WW parlance), I caved yesterday, much to my disgust. In fact I think most of my disgust was due to the fact that the scales said I'd put on a lb since Monday, but I was remarkably unsurprised by that (see point 1 again). Hey ho - I've jumped back on that wagon anyway and avoided the scales this morning, apart from eye-balling them balefully as I walked past them - damn things rule my life anyway, so I was buggered if I was going to give into them on this occasion!

And so there we have it - instant demoralisation. In spite of that, I'm still sticking to the plan, although I've got dinner out tonight at a restaurant that looks like it might be just a little challenging to say the least. Can you say "cream in every dish"? Just have to do a bit of catching up over the weekend.

In other news, my osteopath told me never to darken her door again yesterday. She did mean this in the nicest possible way, as I've been seeing her for a couple of weeks for inflammation around the spine after a particularly innocent-looking snowboarding accident last month (why are they always the worst ones?), so I skipped out of her office full of the joys of Spring at being all shiny and better again. Can you guess the next bit? Yep - 10 points and a gold star to you in the front there - after a week of virtually no trouble at all, I'm walking round today like a flipping arthritic 80 year old again. God knows why, but I'm just hoping it sorts itself out for good soon, as I'm getting deeply fed up of not being able to stand up and move around properly. Grrrrrrrr....

And on that note, I shall finish today's rant!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Hi ...

Well, as this is the opening post, I suppose I'd better introduce myself - I'm 28, single, a standard girl with a good bunch of friends, a decent social life to keep me busy and a love of extreme sports ... and I'm overweight.

It's not like it's crept up on me when I wasn't looking, I've never been small, but there's no reason for it, as both my parents were a normal build when they were young. I've never seriously dieted before - not sticking to a set routine - my weight has just slowly rollercoasted up and down quite naturally over the years, but overall the "ups" have outweighed the "downs", and now enough is enough.

I'm not the heaviest I've ever been, but I can see so many benefits of doing this now - my health, self-confidence, my general fitness - that I think I've finally got the focus to do it.

This blog won't just be about my weight loss (I hope), but this is a major thing for me, and I'd quite like to document it, whether or not anyone else reads it. You see, having never been slim, or at least not since I was about 6, I can't imagine what it will be like to be that way. And that scares me a little bit - will I be the same person if I manage this, or will I be irrevocably changed? And for the better or worse?

So - the ugly details - I joined Weight Watchers 5 weeks ago, at the starting weight of 16 stone and 6 lbs. The first couple of weeks have been surprisingly easy - at my 4th weigh in on Monday, I'd already lost 11 and a half lbs, so I'm currently 15 stone 8.5 lbs. But I've got a hell of a long way to go. Ultimately, I'd like to get into the healthy BMI category which means getting to 11 stone dead on - that's a loss of 5 stone 6 lbs. Frightening? I think so.