Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Week 27 - RESULTS...First Gain!

As the title might suggest, the only way is up...

STARTING WEIGHT:   222.3 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  225.2 lbs

WEIGHT GAIN:  2.9 lbs

Took me over six months, but I finally recorded a gain!

You want to know the strangest thing, though? My strongest reaction to seeing the gain can only be described as relief. For several reasons:

- Scales finally reflect reality. Many times in the last six months, you'll have seen me write that I expected to see a gain, but actually scored a loss. This happened too many times, and it was really starting to damage my motivation. If I can forget exercise and binge a couple of nights, and STILL see a loss, what incentive is there to do any different? This week I still haven't been running, as I can't shake this cough, and I had a very food-heavy weekend as I was with my Dad and brother, celebrating his coming wedding. If I had still scored a loss, why would I ever run again?

- No more weight-loss guilt. I'm aware that my weight loss so far has been pretty rapid, pretty sustained, and pretty darn impressive. After a while I actually started to become self-conscious about it, especially as some of my followers are far better exercisers/dieters than I've been in the last few months, but it was still me who was seeing the losses. It's almost a relief to have finally moved back a couple of paces, and to have broken the chain!

- I'm in desperate need of a fresh start. This has been the main message of my posts for a few months, I think. Since my routine was broken by the end of lectures and the start of my revision period, I've struggled to find the same enthusiasm or momentum for the weight-loss. I've been posting less, reading fewer of my followed blogs, hardly been running at all...its almost as though I don't care any more. Add onto that how much weight I've already lost, and how good I now feel - well, you're dangerously close to ending the whole thing. And now, I've started having mini-binge days, like the midnight pizza-and-icecream I reported on Wednesday. The system has been gradually crumbling for a while. I've been needing a fresh start.

And the thing is, I have one soon. Next weekend is my brother's wedding, which has always been a major reason for my own weight-loss attempt. The weekend after that is my last before the next academic year begins. So, a couple of weeks from now, I have the perfect opportunity to make a new beginning - starting a new year at University (where I'm trying to improve my attitude towards the work:play ratio), and also making a fresh start of the weight-loss, back onto the regular diet and bringing back the regular runs. 

Only problem is, its still two weeks away, with a major family celebration in between. I'm slightly concerned that I'll see the time before the fresh beginning as a chance to binge, and just eat like a pig for two weeks. I'm going to try and fight that urge, and limit the damage to my progress before the restart. But in a way, I feel like this first sprint, from February through to August via 70lbs+, has finally run out of steam. I need to recharge my batteries, catch my breath, then take the plunge into the second push. I guess its all a question of balance - finding the perfect place between relaxation and decadence, between recharging and binge-eating. Here's hoping I strike lucky!

71.9 lbs

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

'Mostly Yes' Man, and a Faux Pas

I was thinking again recently about why I wanted to lose weight in the first place. One of the reasons I always came up with was because it kept me from having a life. Of course, that was entirely my decision - I was too conscious of my shape, and so decided not to go out, and to avoid social interactions.

Now I've come so far, and regained so much confidence in myself, you'd expect that to have changed. But the fact is, since I had decided to avoid 'having a life', I now had to make another decision - to go out and live life instead.

It was strange - I would weigh in, congratulate myself, reflect on my new-found self respect, remark that finally my weight wasn't holding me back...and then I would log on to my laptop and start watching movies. The other morning I struggled to remember when I had last left the house! Hardly making the most of things...

So, I decided to start saying 'YES' to more opportunities when they arose. Within reason, of course - being between academic years also means I'm between payments of student loan, and I'm wary of loading too much onto my credit card when I still have three years before I start earning!

I've been out and about with some friends from my course a few times, which is good. These people knew me at my very heaviest, right before my self-imposed exile, and were very quick to notice and comment on how much better I looked when I finally turned up for exams, several months (and many many pounds) later, which was nice. 

Last night a few of us went along to a pub quiz, and somehow, we managed to win - hurrah! (Ironically, all those hours spent watching movies on my laptop paid dividends in the film round!) A combination of that winning feeling, and having been out and had a good time with my friends, somehow managed to bring my guard down. Quite unexpectedly, I found myself in a convenience store, at about midnight, buying a pizza, chocolate and two ice-creams!

I don't know how or why it happened. I scoffed the lot too, that same night (so, technically, VERY early this morning). I felt so annoyed with myself this morning when I woke up, that I didn't weigh. Somehow, regained self-respect had led to indulgence, which led straight back to self-disappointment! How frustrating!

I'm going to have to work hard to see a loss this week now, as this weekend I'm off up to my folks, and that usually means going out for a meal (which usually means me FEELING like I've eating too much, so I end up writing off the weekend diet-wise and then DEFINITELY eating too much). I also have to be more careful socially - its a great thing to have a good time, but I have to shake the connection between feeling good and feeling like I deserve a treat - a connection which is, apparently, still there...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 26 - RESULTS (And Progress Pics)

It was officially six months since I started my weight-loss program on Sunday - what is the tally so far?

STARTING WEIGHT:   225.9 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  222.3 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  3.6 lbs

I'm very happy indeed with this weekly loss, which is above my target for one week, despite me still not having been for a run.

To put it in perspective, my loss for last week is exactly the same as I dropped in the preceding 4 weeks - evidence (if any were needed) that my summer holidays have really put a dent in my efforts. Not much of one though, as I've carried on losing, and evidently still have it in me to record substantial weekly losses. I have now dropped below 16 (UK) stone for the first time in YEARS, and am only a hair's breadth away from the 75% mark.

Also, yesterday marked the 6-month anniversary for me and my new healthier lifestyle - hooray! I thought it would be interesting to look at how much weight I have lost in each of the six months since I started:

1st Month:    -20.5 lbs
2nd Month:   -10.6 lbs
3rd Month:   -17.0 lbs
4th Month:   -11.1 lbs
5th Month:   -10.3 lbs
6th Month:   -5.3 lbs

That last month sticks out like a sore thumb (to me, anyway). Granted, the slower rate of loss could be due to the fact that my base metabolic rate has dropped (due to all the weight already lost), but I think its more indicative of the reduced effort and focus I have had. I'd like to think that this coming month I might once again be able to record a 10lb+ loss, but I think I'd be happy as long as it wasn't lower than the result for Month 6.

Anyway, as its another month end, below you'll see today's photos compared with the ones at the start of the program. I have also included a headshot comparison this time, in honour of the 6-month milestone!

74.8 lbs

222.3 lbs  
222.3 lbs
222.3 lbs

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Making An Effort (And Not)

My plans to make this a perfect week of dieting and exercise haven't worked out, as my cough and cold have lasted longer than I expected them to. I always seem to get these symptoms after my jabs, and had another one at the start of the week (making sure I'm safe for the wards next academic year!), so that rather scuppered my exercise dreams.

It has now been weeks, even months, since I last went for a run. Its a shame, really - think of the weight I COULD have lost! But never mind - sometimes I even think its a good thing that my weight-loss slowed, as it makes me less nervous about rebounds or baggy skin when the loss is nice and gradual! The good news is I seem to be improving healthwise now, so hope to get a run in some time next week.

I have been busy in other ways though. When I knew I wasn't going to be running, I decided to get out and about, to make sure I was at least still active, and not just sitting in my room in front of the computer. I dug out my guidebook to London, and made a list of all the free attractions I was interested in. Went off to a museum this week, and have another couple lined up for next week. 

I went out and met up with some friends on Wednesday night too. That might sound like quite a normal thing to do, but it was quite a big deal for me. I've said before that I deactivated my Facebook when I was at my heaviest (back in February), lost contact with most of my friends, and wouldn't attend any social gatherings. I was too embarrassed by how I looked, too self-conscious, and didn't really know who I was at that point.

Things have definitely changed on that front now. I actually enjoy being around other people again...and dare I say, they seem to enjoy being around me more than before? Another blogger, Miss April (who I recommend you all go and read), previously reported a similar phenomenon - people seem to 'perceive you as you perceive yourself'. Back when I was self-conscious and wary and withdrawn, people would be the same with me. But now that I have more confidence, and am more willing to connect with other people, suddenly everyone seems that little bit more friendly! And people actually want to spend time with you - my calendar is filling up!

I'm really feeling like a new man these days. Maybe THAT'S part of the problem - I'm so pleased with how far I've come, I don't feel any pressure to continue. I have to keep reminding myself that I haven't finished yet - if I think things are good now, wait until this whole program is over!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 25 - RESULTS

This will be my second fortnightly weigh in a row - how have the past TWO weeks affected my weight?

STARTING WEIGHT:   228.2 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  225.9 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  2.3 lbs

Well, the above loss isn't too bad at all. I wouldn't have been surprised to see a gain, or a smaller loss than this, so very pleased with that.

I have to get back into the swing of things, though. I know I've been moaning a lot recently about having recorded smaller losses, and some of you have commented that this is bound to happen - the more weight you lose, the harder it becomes to shift those final few pounds. This is absolutely true.

However, the last few months haven't exactly been filled with exercise either. I've been dieting when I've been home, but otherwise that's it. I think this is what I find the most frustrating - if I'd been able to exercise during the last few months, I would have lost even more weight.

But heck, I've listed over and again the other priorities I had during the last few months, so I won't bore you with them again. The important thing is that they are now done and dusted, leaving me free to get right back into the weight-loss mindset.

And that means, exercise! I still have a bit of a chesty cough, so don't want to risk a run just now, but that doesn't mean I have to sit on my ass all day. I bought a guidebook to London recently, to try and discover all the free attractions in my home town, so today I think I might wander down and give some museums and galleries a visit. Means I'm up and about, which will surely burn more calories than sat in front of my laptop!

71.2 lbs

225.9 lbs

225.9 lbs

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Different Kind of Comparison...

I finally allowed myself back onto Facebook this weekend - partly because my exams are over and I don't need to worry about distractions, and partly because I'm feeling much more confident and 'at peace' with myself, and no longer feel the need to hide from the world.

What struck me instantly were two photos I had been tagged in during my absence. One was taken around January/February time, just before I started my weight loss. The other was from my cousin's wedding, which was the second week of July.

Just before I started my weight loss.

Taken about a month ago.

I've written before about how, sometimes, it can be hard to see your own progress, because its gradual, and you see yourself every day, so there's no sudden before-and-after moment. But looking at these two pics, I actually sat back in my chair and wondered, "how on earth did I do that?"

I wish these pics were from the same angle, so I could really compare them. None the less, I'm feeling really happy with what I've done thus far. The past 4 weeks have been the worst month so far in terms of pounds lost, but that also holds true in terms of effort put in, so I'm willing to accept any weigh-in tomorrow morning...then I can crack on with losing some more weight!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Since...gosh, technically since about the end of April, but really since mid-May, weight loss has not been my top priority. First I had revision for my exams. Then the exams themselves. Then I went on holiday. Then I went away again for my brother's stag. There seems to have always been something more important for me to focus on, or something that meant I was away from home, and out of my 'safe zone'.

All in all, several months have shot by, and I haven't been as dedicated to my weight-loss as I should have been. Of course, there were bursts of activity, and a few really good losses in that time period. But generally speaking, I was 'making do', relying on a calorie deficit to shift some weight, plus the occasional run.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining though, as I have continued to see losses. This post isn't to record disappointment at all, rather my excitement that now, with everything finished, I have a chance to really get back into my weight-loss mindset.

But its proving really difficult! I've been eating a lot more in the last few weeks, and foods I was tending to avoid while on my diet. That means I'm now feeling old cravings for gorge-sessions I haven't felt in a while, and my old dieting menu is looking very scant and unappetising. I also haven't been for a run in ages, and now I have a bit of a chesty cough, which I used as an excuse this morning not to go out and get it done.

I almost feel like I'm right back at the beginning of this program (mentally, not physically!) - constantly psyching myself up, getting ready for the 'big start' tomorrow, but forever putting it off. Never actually making the plunge back into the dieting mindset.

I guess that's not entirely a bad thing - actually, I almost feel like this is a fresh start, like I'm beginning all over again...but this time about 70lbs lighter than previously!

I think I'm going to ease myself into it for a little longer - start cutting back calories and doing my stretches up until Monday's weigh-in - and then take Monday as the start of the 'new' phase of my program. I'm really excited about it: three whole weeks before my brother's wedding, with nothing to think about except dieting and exercise. Bliss!

As long as I actually DO it...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London's Burning!

Hello folks! Remember me?

Apologies for the dearth of posts over the last few weeks. As I've already mentioned, I went on holiday at the end of last month, and this past weekend was my brother's stag party.

It was good fun actually - we went back to some of our old haunts in Belgium, which was a nice trip down memory lane. There was, however, a lot of drinking involved, and that inevitably (well, inevitably in MY case) leads to late night gorging on terrible fast food.

How has that affected my weight? Well, to be honest, I have no idea! My brother drove me straight down to my Mum's when we got back to UK, and I've been there until this afternoon. London didn't seem like the most pleasant place to be over the last few days, so it made sense to hang out at my folks for a while! Luckily there hasn't been any trouble in my neighbourhood.

All in all, I've had quite a busy, but a fun, few weeks since my results came out. There are positives and negatives, however...

NEGATIVES: The holiday and the stag party have meant I've been away from home, and therefore out of my 'comfort zone', where I control what I eat, and when. By and large I've been OK on the food front, but not as careful as I ought to have been. Haven't been doing my regular exercise either (although I've hardly been idle!).
The biggest problem, however, is that I have once again missed a weigh-in. I was at my Mum's on Monday, and without my scales, so I couldn't do a weigh-in. That means next Monday's result will be for 2 weeks instead of one. In principle that's not a problem - its still an accurate measurement, after all. But it means I have no idea of the ups and downs my weight might be taking. Also, I have no idea today if I am down 7lbs, up 7lbs, or exactly the same as my last weigh. Its unsettling, being so ill-informed!

POSITIVES: I have over three week's now until my next commitment (namely, my brother's actual wedding). That means I have nothing to do, and can focus entirely on my diet, and getting back into exercise. I do feel as though, in the revision period in the run-up to exams, that I lost my focus on the weight-loss. Fortunately the scale kept going down, but not as much as I'm sure it could have done. I have also struggled to get back into the weight-loss mindset since exams finished. I want to make the most of August, and really get back into my weight-loss groove. It would be nice to lose maybe another 10lbs before the wedding, but any drop will be welcome!

Anyway, I am now back in business for the near future, which is all good stuff. I need to get an early night now, as my eyelids are drooping as I type, but I promise I will make an attempt to go through all your blogs tomorrow morning, and catch up on what I've missed!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Week 23 - RESULTS

I missed my weigh-in last week, as I was away on holiday - how has travelling affected my weight loss?

STARTING WEIGHT:   229.5 lbs

ENDING WEIGHT:  228.2 lbs

WEIGHT LOSS:  1.3 lbs

Very unexpected! I have to say, last night I was preparing myself to see a gain, somewhere around the 5lb mark, so delighted that I have actually lost weight over the last two weeks!

Of course, the above weight loss for a two-week period is quite low. I actually lost more than this in the week before the holiday, so must have gained a little while I was away. Still, given how much I was eating on holiday (endless plates of schnitzel, goulash and torte), it's amazing I didn't put on more - a combination of being on our feet all day and getting very little sleep must have done it! (When I say we got three hours sleep a night that's not hyperbole, but the time between setting the alarm and it going off!)

The holiday was fantastic too. Got a chance to practice my German while in Austria (I lived in Germany for three years waaaay back), and made trips out to Slovenia and Slovakia while we were there too. I can't even begin to describe everything we've done, but I'll give you my top three - taking a hot air balloon ride in the mountains, having dinner in a castle, and attending a Mozart concert in the Golden Hall in Vienna!

Got my brother's stag party this coming weekend, so off again, this time back to Belgium (where I also lived, for six years). Not as worried weight-wise about that one - its bound to be focussed more on the alcohol than the food! Still, I have to be careful - although I've consistently seen a loss, the small results over the last few months has actually put me behind schedule weight-wise. I am a couple of pounds heavier now than I would be if I had hit my target every week. I'm not too worried - I keep seeing losses, and don't mind if they're smaller than I would like, as long as they are there!

68.9 lbs

228.2 lbs

 228.2 lbs