Stairs and how I’ve learned to love them

It’s been busy day that’s been a little disappointing in one respect, but encouraging in others.

I had been expecting a call back from a recruiter today about a job that I’d been interested in – but when he didn’t contact me by midday I decided to call him instead.

That particular job is no longer available – and after discussion – even if it was the role would have been unsuitable for a number of reasons. One of these is that (my paraphrased words not his) I have more experience than the role requires.

I have mixed thoughts about this – on one side I’m glad that I’m being recognised as someone that has a lot of good employment history – on the other it doesn’t really help me too much with my current fiscal needs.

It seems that I’ve initially set the employment bar at the incorrect height, and I think tomorrow I need to revisit this and maybe do some further work on my CV.

On the plus side I had a long chat with the recruiter and got on quite well with him. If nothing else I’ve added someone to my list of people to speak to in the future.

Everything I guess is in some way or another a step in the right direction and there’s nothing about this process that’s truly negative. It’s all a learning experience and is less about what happens and more about what you’re willing to take from it.

I choose to look at the good rather than the bad. I probably feel like this because if I get stressed I can walk it off.

The last couple of days have been pretty good for this weather wise and I’ve been rather impressed at how good my body has felt after a short recuperative break.

Two nights ago I went for an early evening stroll, intending it to be nothing more than a contemplative meander. However it turned into something of a race with myself – and an uphill one (physically rather than metaphorically) at that.

I found that rather than feeling like I was dying on the incline I was instead speeding up. This was partially because the sun was going down and I hadn’t brought a torch, but also because I was really enjoying the exercise.

This came as a complete surprise to me given my leg problems – and I kept pouring it on to see if things would begin to cramp up. Oddly they didn’t and I managed just over a 19 minute mile (mostly) uphill. My heart rate also seemed to be stable at around the 125-130 range and I felt GOOD.

Really good!

The walking was more sedate this morning though – as it was a chance to catch up on a friend’s week as we wandered around the park.

We spent the best part of two hours ‘twalking’ – and finally after a couple of weeks without seeing it I caught sight of the swanling (yay!)

As I approached the sun seemed to be hitting the river at the perfect angle and its webbed feet were clearly visible under the water, moving it behind the scenes effortlessly towards and then away from me.

I love it when the water is clear and you can see what goes on beneath its regal plumage. It’s like seeing a spellbinding play and being able to look behind the sets or curtain at the artifice being constructed invisibly behind.

It’s beak is STILL not orange, but the rest of it is becoming whiter by the moment, and when the swanling lifts its wings the feathers underneath are almost completely those of an adult bird.

The park and its occupants looked quite lovely today – with yet another beautiful blue sky (several days in a row now!) and not a single cloud in sight – although it was pretty darn cold.

This never used to phase me, but I definitely notice it in my feet and fingers now neither are quite so padded. I’ve taken to wearing gloves lately which is unusual for me – but a nice change.

I also know my feet are smaller because I can again wear shoes that had previously become too tight. I also have to put on thick socks for my boots to keep my feet from moving around too much.

It’s a nice feeling to be changing bit by bit.

A lot of things are these days though. I mentioned in my Slimming World Facebook group earlier today (it’s a lifeline sometimes when you’re struggling) that I’d become aware that just moving around the house had become radically different lately.

Walking up and down stairs is much much easier and quicker – and if I forget something I go straight back up and get it rather than leaving it till later, which I used to do.

This was also in evidence yesterday when I visited a friend’s brand new flat to drop a TV off. I was going over for the first time, and had no idea where it was or what it looked like until I got there.

She met me at the door, with a cheerful but shy toddler in her arms.

‘It’s up two flights of stairs’ she said smiling.

This in the past would have been bad enough for old Dave without a TV in his arms, and he would have subsequently been in all kinds of trouble because there were no seats in the flat to sit on and recover.

Not so for new and improved Dave.

This version of Dave can not only carry heavy objects up flights of stairs unaided but new and improved Dave can also continue a conversation while doing so! Then upon arrival this better version of me can walk casually around the new abode (which is lovely) and comment on where to put the furniture (over there, not THERE).

I’m sure that I’m boring people to death with pointing stuff like this out but I’m loving the sudden and happy shocks that come with a realisation that something has just naturally changed.

I’m hoping that something else that’s about to change (with maybe a little intervention) is my water bills.

On the advice of the friend with whom I wander regularly around St Nics with I finally had a water meter fitted in my house today.

Compared to my current ‘water rates’ billing this should save me (hopefully) around £160 per year – which is pretty frikkin awesome.

I’m really rather enjoying learning to live within my (new) means at the moment and shaving money off bills wherever I can.

I can’t see why I’d want to go back to my old habits. In many ways redundancy was a blessing in disguise that opened my eyes to a lot of things which previously, in my comfortable little bubble I was completely insulated from.

Hopefully Internet this resolutely frugal attitude I’m currently afflicted with will mean that when I do get another job (and I will) it will means I’ll be able to earn less, save more and also not worry about the future.

At least that’s the plan!

Davey

Fried sprouts and selfies

I unexpectedly found my happy place in some sprouts just now. I bought them last week thinking that I’d make them part of a recipe with some bacon, but never got around to making it. This afternoon though I suddenly had a hankering for their sweet but slightly bitter taste and decided that I was going to have a hot and filling comfort food lunch.

It’s a cold day and I thought it would just fit the bill.

I’ve said again and again to people (I did again this morning to a lady who I’m finding quite inspirational) I don’t really want to use my daily syns on junk food like chocolate or crisps and that I’d rather include them in my meals. At the moment this for me means very mundane things that some may not see as a treat – but a level tablespoon of set honey (which is 2.5 syns) in a hot fruit tea can make the difference between me feeling deprived or treated. I mostly have sweetener – but sometimes I pull the jar of honey out of the cupboard and indulge. When I do it tastes fantastic.

Today I was cooking with olive oil (6 syns for my level tbsp) and some flavoured rice thats been hanging around in my food cupboard for a while (I normally only use boil in the bag unflavoured rice but this is 2 syns).

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The olive oil may seem like a waste of syns to many – but I have a lot of it left and very rarely use it. I’m doing so today because I’m both economising and because when I bought it I was probably being a little over cautious.

I’d heard some not so great things about spray oil and Soy Lecithin from a friend with some serious health issues.

I’ve since looked into it in a bit more depth and found that the UK (Dairy Crest) product Fry Light (both the sunflower AND olive oil varieties) contains Sunflower Lecithin which is an entirely different matter and has a wide range of health benefits not associated with the (often GM) Soy alternative widely used in the US.

(If you’re interested there is a broad overview here.)

Having done some research I think I’m switching back to the spray alternative as soon as this 1 litre bottle is done – although it’s not done me any harm so far. I’ve been using it for a few months and it’s about half way down. So far I’ve seen zero impact on my weight loss as I’ve been careful to add it to my daily ‘budget’.

Once the mushrooms, onion and sprouts were fried down and soft I added some Worcestershire Sauce to the turkey steaks (a free food) and then mixed in the beef flavoured savoury rice with the veg. My ratios seem spot on here. At least 1/3 free food, 1/3 protein and 1/3 carbs. I washed it down with a pint of water and a large black coffee. This meal accounts for eight of my 20 syns available today and was flipping delicious.

Plus I feel stuffed.

I suppose I’m focusing on all this because I want to make a significant push in the coming week to meet one of my unspoken goals. I have a couple of weeks to do it and in order to get there I need to now have a very good couple of weeks – but I can still do it.

Today the scales at Slimming World said I had lost two pounds – which pushes me a little closer to my eight and a half stone award and also managed to net me the Slimmer of the Month award along with a sticker and a cool inspirational fridge magnet!

Honestly I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going at the moment. This morning I managed to get into yet another previously ‘snug’ shirt that I haven’t worn for almost eight years and I can’t put into words how good that feels.

Every time I post a selfie like this I’m almost duty bound to post another more awful one next to it to continually remind me where I was – as opposed to where I am now. There’s still a long way to go – but my word do I feel better.

Now internet – what to do for the rest of the day…? I might just go for a walk into town before the light fails.

Have a good Saturday 🙂

Davey

 

 

Frosty Jack

Perspective is often the only thing that separates us from feeling depressed and feeling elated. I’m sure that in 99% of cases it’s simply a choice in life to feel positive or to feel negative – and I continually TRY to choose the former.

This morning the sun was shining and even though it was bitterly cold outside I was very much looking forward to the two mile walk to the Jobcentre for my new bi-weekly work hunting progress check. Sure – the destination kind of sucked – but it was a great excuse to get up really early, prepare some food for the slow cooker, make some sweet sweet nectar (coffee) and go out into the big wide world.

The walk immediately underlined how much of an idiot I can be when I’m hard on myself about properly resting an injury. When I do I still end up thinking that it’s some kind of ‘failure’. I can quickly tell the positive difference that rest makes when I have a few days off – and I definitely noticed an added spring in my step when I started out.

Last week security at the Jobcentre had taken issue with me drinking from my flask of coffee on their premises (it’s a potentially lethal weapon in the wrong hands it seems) so this morning I arrived early and sat over the road on a wall to finish my beverage before my appointment. It also enabled a nice little moment of relaxation whilst listening to some chilled Jazz and contemplating how nice and blue the sky was.

On the next wall along another guy was performing a similar ritual and completing the last dregs of a two litre bottle of Frosty Jack strong cider before going in. He seemed to be looking down at his feet rather than up to the cloudless sky, and appeared to be utterly miserable.

I’m pretty sure that his perspective on today was radically different to my own – and the expression on his face spoke volumes. The words on his bottle mirrored his expression completely and he looked like he expected the absolute worst from his day and from anyone that he was likely to meet.

I’m relatively sure that with this kind of start he was almost certainly going to achieve those expectations, and wondered how much just choosing to be happy rather than miserable would have changed his day.

Although it wasn’t on my mind before seeing him next to me I couldn’t help but thinking of a motivational phrase that I KEEP coming back to and wondering how much it might change his life if he just accepted it – even for a few minutes.

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Sure – he may well have significantly more serious personal issues than I can discern from just briefly observing him – but I know from intimate experience that disappearing into one kind of oblivion or another only serves to perpetuate any underlying problems.

I wonder if there was something magical that I could have said to him at that particular moment in time to make him decide to view life differently? I know it took a long time for me to change my view of the world, and a pretty significant event to make it happen. I wish that I could distill all the pain, joy and clarity of that moment when I began to modify my perspective and explain to him the feelings behind it with all of their context and history in one simple sentence.

If I could I’d deploy such a sentence in moments like this because it’s desperately sad to see someone that seems so shattered and despondent – especially when you feel so different.

I put my now empty flask into my rucksack and left him to finish, crossing the road to the job centre. I couldn’t help but noticing the signage again. It had stuck in my mind last time and when I’d first seen the languidly hanging and missing letters it confirmed all of my worst fears about how depressing and unhelpful this place was going to be.

It looks as unloved and dishevelled as it seems possible for a sign to be.

However, the sign has nothing to do with the people within and my case worker has so far seemed really nice and very positive.

I went in, said ‘hello’, asked her about her week and outlined what I’d been doing to find work whilst she browsed through my application history. Before I knew it I was done. We both smiled at each other and I left to continue my day.

It seems from her demeanour and probing that I’m making much more effort than maybe some of my peers are and that I’m filed currently in the ‘not a problem’ bracket, which suits me just fine. So far I’ve applied for quite a lot – but not yet heard anything back.

It’s early days though – so we’ll see what time brings. I’ve just done another two applications whilst sitting on my laptop in a coffee shop and I’m pleased with the day’s progress so far. Something good will happen soon. I can feel it in my bones.

In the midst of all this positivity though I’m getting into my usual ‘it’s Friday and I’m nervous about standing on the scales’ mode of thinking. This involves me continually trying to evaluate in the back of my mind whether or not I’ve done enough to ensure a loss or not this week.

Honestly I can’t call it at the moment – although that’s nothing new. I never can.

Since most of the week has been without walking (and in the past my activity appears to produce results that are deferred rather than immediate) I can only speculate. Despite everything that’s been going on recently I’ve still managed to ‘not eat all the pies’ though which is a big win in itself.

I’m actually really rather proud of that.

Maybe one day I’ll develop a more relaxed frame of mind about whether I’ve lost weight or not but at the moment I’m still driven and obsessed on a daily (and often hourly) basis with it.

Anyway – enough of naval gazing. What will be will be Internet and since I can do little more to influence it I’m going to enjoy strolling around some more whilst making the most of a beautiful cloudless blue sky.

Davey

 

Teeny tiny Chewie

I feel flipping wonderful.

Apple Watch has been dutifully monitoring my activities so far today and it’s reporting that a little under seven miles has been walked. I’m back baby!

I know. I know.

I said I wasn’t going to walk on my shin splints for two weeks but it hasn’t hurt for a couple of days and I couldn’t resist. Being benched has frankly been doing bad things to my sense of well being and I needed to get OUT!

I’m glad I did – as my friend was waiting in the park to meet me with a buggy full of the best dressed smiley toddler I’ve seen in ages.

The little fellow had a Chewbacca onesie on! 😍

This insanely ace piece of clothing even had a little bandolier sewn diagonally across the middle and looked super furry and warm. The teeny tiny wannabe wookie looked as snug as a bug in a rug – especially with his matching (although not strictly Star Wars related) puppy faced mittens with floppy ears.

‘Did your other half buy that onesie?’ I enquired.

‘No no – I bought it for him ages ago – it was too cute!’ She said.

I stared at her.

Wow. My kind of woman. Drawn to Star Wars merchandise and making a voluntary purchase without coercion!

(Note to self – find a special lady at some point in the future with nerd tendencies.)

As we set off around the park sipping our respective coffees while mini-Chewie snoozed the conversation naturally turned toward the weather and how the recent dip in temperature (and suddenly epic levels of precipitation) had affected our moods.

It seemed that both of us were missing the summer.

It’s odd for me to admit that I do – because for so long I hid continually in the shadows from the evil and nasty yellow ball in the sky. I was well known for this – and my friend remembered that side of me well.

She seemed mildly amused when I said that I wanted the sun back.

It wasn’t just the sunshine that had gone away though. My daily walks with people had dropped off as soon as ex-colleagues found jobs, went back to work and had moved on in life.

Through my own choice though I’d taken a different path and had decided to take more time out to get fit before returning to work. Although this still seems like a great use of this period in my life it can also really make hyper aware of time that I feel may be being ‘wasted’. It can seem sometimes like a big clock is endlessly counting down to an endpoint in the background if I’m ill or can’t walk.

When I first hurt my leg it also coincided with the start of a lot of ex-colleagues and friends going back to the workplace. It was around this time that I realised how isolated it was possible for me to feel without a job to provide human contact and living on my own.

I didn’t like it at all. My social side was suddenly dramatically under nourished and to compound the negativity this brought with it I also kept hearing a voice in my head telling me I was failing in my dietary and fitness objectives.

So – to have my leg all fixed up is the absolute BEST medicine that any doctor could have prescribed. I might have felt down last week but all I needed was a blooming good walk and a two hour chinwag.

Almost as soon as we’d started our stroll we were finished, having hugs and I was waving goodbye to drive home. Time flies when you’re having fun, but we both had other things to do that day.

‘Something smells nice!’ Said my other friend as he walked through my front door into the kitchen later in the afternoon.

‘Beef stew in the slow cooker.’ I grinned. ‘Lift the lid and have a look.’ It had been cooking since around 10.15 and I could already tell it was going to be tasty.

He raised the hot ceramic top with his thumb and forefinger and peered inside.

‘It smells gorgeous!’ He said.

‘One of the ladies from Slimming World brought some fresh bay leaves in to group the other day.’ I replied. ‘I’ve been putting them in beef and chicken stews – they are absolutely awesome!’

Down on the kitchen floor Boris paced back and forth looking up. He clearly agreed.

My friend’s pooch – a hound concerned at all times with food and where it can be pilfered from was staring up intently at the work surface. He was unable to see my developing dinner, but was clearly well aware of how magnificent it smelt.

I made a cup of tea for my guest while we talked about bay leaves and other seasonings and then moved to the living room where I slumped into my armchair.

‘Bloody hell.’ My friend said. ‘I see you all the time – but sometimes I don’t notice how much weight you’ve lost.’

He stared at me.

‘You’re disappearing into that armchair. You look really different!’ He concluded.

I thanked him. It’s still hard for me to accept compliments. It doesn’t come naturally. They always make me feel uneasy – but I’m learning bit by bit to just say ‘thanks’. It does make me feel good when people point things like this out though.

It’s a sensation money can’t buy and stimulants can’t replicate.

I tapped my lap and Boris hopped up, resting his bottom on my left leg and his two front paws on my right.

There wouldn’t have been room for a dog before. I didn’t have a lap that he could have sat on, just an epic expanse of stomach. Now the little fellow has just enough space and he can casually jump onto it and receive some fuss.

Today cost nothing, apart from some petrol. All I did was walk, talk, drink coffee and pet a pooch – but honestly I feel high on life.

I have no idea why years ago, hemmed in on all sides by all the bad habits you could imagine its possible for someone to have that I failed to see the simplicity of what could make me TRULY happy in life.

It’s not money, it’s not possessions, it’s not cigarettes or alcohol, and it’s certainly not status or power.

It’s as simple as a walk in the cold around the park with a good friend and a toddler dressed as Chewbacca or a coffee with my mate and his constantly hungry bulldog.

Today I’ve shared plenty of thoughts and feelings, had a few hugs, walked several laps round a nature reserve, petted Boris, drank coffee, talked about videogames and I’m going to finish the evening with an epically delicious (and diet friendly) beef and lentil stew.

If that’s not a winner of a day Internet then I don’t know what is.

Davey

43% less likely to suffer amputation or death

It’s very early days for my job search but I’m already becoming increasingly aware that it’s going to be a big test of mental fortitude.

Since I started looking for work I’ve been trying to regiment myself so that I do something each day towards finding something but I’ve found it very hard to look at job vacancy after job vacancy and focus on the things that I feel I CAN do as opposed to the things I can’t.

When I was first made redundant it seemed to me that it wasn’t such a big deal. In my mind’s eye I looked back to the jobs I did as a younger man and I didn’t really see any issues with doing pretty much anything to make ends meet.

In the past I’ve done a variety of things many might consider menial jobs, but at the time – regardless of their sometimes repetitive nature I rather enjoyed the majority of them (even though they didn’t pay very well). I’ve been a barman several times, worked on a supermarket checkout, been a warehouseman, stacked shelves, unloaded articulated lorries, photocopied (and accidentally shredded) architecture plans, cleaned houses, sold internet services, sold PC’s, made cold calls (which was my most hated job – I left it with nothing to go to) delivered newspapers, been a pub doorman (very very briefly and I was terrified) and cared for people with learning difficulties.

In my mind this meant that I really wasn’t concerned with what earned me money – I was prepared just to get on with it. The problem was that I hadn’t really thought too much back then about what this REALLY entailed.

Uniforms for one thing.

I can’t get in to anything lower than a 5XL at the moment. While getting down to this is a massive achievement in itself (since I started at 8XL) it doesn’t help me when it comes to thinks like being a postman.

Those that know me from my previous job may think that when I say postman I’m being flippant – as it’s very different to what I used to do. However when a friend suggested it to me not so long ago it kind of lodged in my brain. I realised I could now actually do a job that meant constant exercise and get paid to stay fit! It sounded absolutely perfect! I looked immediately at the Royal Mail website when he said it.

Nothing but seasonal sorting staff.

It was then that the uniform question first occurred to me. When I worked at Sainsburys years ago this was already becoming an issue – and I lost count of the number of pairs of trousers that ripped right up to the belt seam from crotch to butt when I was bending over to pick up a box.

I also have a problem at my current weight with the ligament in my left thigh. It’s fine if I keep moving (which is one of the reasons why I like walking) but if I stand still in one place for too long it’s agony. This not only rules out being seasonal sorting staff but irritatingly also bar work, where I may not have needed a uniform.

This all leads me full circle back to the kind of job I did before (in an office) which is better paid than all of the above, and uses my brain rather than my legs. However, trying to find something in the area that I want and the location that I would like may be a challenge.

There is though something locally I’m very interested in and I’ve already contacted the people to enquire twice. If I hear nothing soon I’m calling them to introduce myself and trying to get a foot in the door. It’s easily within walking distance and I could do the job (from what I can see online) standing on my head.

It’s also close enough to walk home and let a dog out at lunchtime, which opens up entirely new life possibilities…

In other news my shin splints appear to be on the mend. I haven’t felt pain for a couple of days now, but I’m trying to be sensible about the whole thing and keep resting. Honestly though I very much doubt I’m going to manage a whole two weeks. I’ve agreed to go for a walk on Thursday not because I have to but because I really really need to.

While talking to a friend today I questioned how I ever managed to be upbeat and happy in my old life. Maybe in retrospect when I was it was all artifice or self delusion…

Currently I’m so itchy to NOT stay within the confines of my home that my day quickly becomes a failure in my head if I don’t get up and do something. My mood has become directly related to how often I get out and what I do while I’m out there. Simply sitting in my living room is no longer enough and I don’t want it to ‘satisfy’ me ever again.

But…

Despite how temporarily deflated looking for work can make me feel I have to look at my feelings of dissatisfaction about the content of my day as major progress. Everything that I want to do in life (and am looking forward to doing) requires further change, more impetus, continued effort, lifelong commitments and a willingness to improve myself in almost every respect.

I can’t help but focus primarily on my health though – and my diabetes is something that is always in the back of my head. I’ve seen quite a few grim documentaries lately (a recent BBC Panorama programme was particularly horrible) about the long term effects of a badly managed type 2 condition. They frankly leave me feeling terrified.

My results have been good though and I’ve already stopped taking my Glimepiride (with the doctor’s approval).

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve also been dropping down on alternate days from four to two Metformin (I’m supposed to have two in the AM and two in the PM) and wondering what if anything it would do to my blood sugar readings.

The answer so far is absolutely nothing. ‘Normal’ is between four and seven mm0l/L and today I’m testing at 4.6.

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The chart above is from the diabetes.co.uk pages – which are a very useful resource of information on the condition (here). This current number is still putting me well below the levels at which (if I was unmedicated) I would be diagnosed as diabetic.

I’m sure if I stopped the pills altogether there would be a different result – but I want to see exactly how much I need in combination with my improved diet and exercise to remain stable and in the ‘normal’ range.

So, while getting a job may be a pain in the ass in the short term, in the long term at least I can be

  • 19% less likely to suffer cataracts
  • 16% less likely to suffer heart failure
  • 43% less likely to suffer amputation or death due to peripheral vascular disease

All of which would make finding suitable employment INFINITELY harder…

So – today has been all about keeping my eye on the prize and remembering the bigger picture, especially when the fridge is constantly soooooo close that I can almost smell its contents.

Hopefully tomorrow I might get a reply from an employer internet – who knows! If not tomorrow I’m sure it will be soon. 🙂

Davey

Setting interim goals

A long chat with someone yesterday left me thinking about ‘the man I was’ vs ‘the man I am now’ vs ‘the man I am becoming’.

I’m very much in a transitional phase of my life – and as happy as I am with what I’ve achieved so far I don’t in any way see it as an end point. I’m often insanely worried that at some point my focus will lapse and i’ll get ‘comfortable’ again and take my foot off the gas.

So far I’ve resisted setting myself too many specific goals, mostly because the ones that were really important to me initially seemed so far away. That and I still have an ever present fear of failure.

For an hour or so I’ve been reading some of my old posts back to myself. I use everything I write now as a diary and a self teaching aid. Whilst I may not instantly see improvement and positives when I construct something and post it, often with time the ‘reality’ behind it becomes apparent and I’m granted insight into that most confusing of things.

Myself.

Sometimes it’s not profound. Sometimes it’s just a nice moment where I can say ‘you’re doing ok Dave. You’ve got this. You can make it’. Tonight I’m having one of those nice moments – having just re-read this post which I wrote on August the 2nd when I was 31 stone exactly.

At the time this represented just over three and a half stone lost and I was ONLY JUST able to get into a shirt I’d bought for my best friend’s wedding. I took this photo walking just outside Leamington. I was only just getting used to taking selfies – something I’d always avoided.

It was a really lovely day and I felt very very proud.

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I know from this post that at the time I could just about do two laps of the park and had to sit down twice during these. After doing so I required sleep. I had not at that time started to walk to Leamington under my own steam and I’d parked on that day not too far away from where the photo was taken which is close to the high street.

On that day I felt like I was making huge headway – and I was.

The shirt is a distant memory now. It finally went to charity many weeks ago and now someone else is hopefully enjoying its soft silky material. The goals that I talked about in that August 2nd post suddenly no longer seem so far away. Now it’s mid November and I realise that they are within touching distance.

old weight

I first posted the above picture as both a carrot and a stick for myself here on May 6th. I was exactly 34 stone on that day and the number on the slip on the right just about seemed possible. The number on the left representing the weight I used to be in mid 2008 was a fairy tale. It referred to some fictional character from the past – not me.

I would have to loose an entire person to get there.

I am now EXACTLY TWO STONE AWAY from this figure on the left. I currently sit at exactly 26 stone 5 pounds. If I can keep up my average weight loss of 3.5 pounds a week (or even slightly less) then sometime in January I will be the lowest weight I have been since 2008.

Honestly I need to take a moment with that in my head because it’s pretty insane.

The chat that was the catalyst for this post has reminded me of all the things I struggled with as a younger man. Things that in some cases until January the 26th 2016 I still felt unable to change many many years later. I discussed candidly my failings and past inflexibility both as half of a relationship and as a single man. They were legion.

In some respects this conversation sparked a sense of pride in how far I’ve moved forward.

However I also I sit now (in the early hours of the morning) with a sense of loss when I consider what could have been if I hadn’t been so closed off to change and unwilling to make the effort to begin becoming someone new.

I’m not going to lie. There’s still a part of me that’s intensely angry with myself that I didn’t find it within me to do this before January. It really irks me that even in the past when I thought I had turned a corner I still managed to sabotage myself and undo any progress I’d made.

I can’t change any of that now though. Whenever I recognise this self loathing surfacing I try as best I can to let it go. Sometimes I find it easy – sometimes it requires the help of friends.

Tonight I’m finding it from the perspective my posts provide.

Although fundamentally regrets are a negative feeling, if they have a positive dimension it’s that they serve to remind me why I must continue to be better. I choose to embrace regrets, and accept them. Since they don’t seem to be going away any time soon they can help to provide continued impetus and bolster my resolve for progression.

But they won’t control or consume me – because I’m winning. I’m actually winning. For the first time in so many years I feel like there really is hope for the future.

And what is hope to me? Hope (at this very moment in time) comes from regret with perspective.

I failed before primarily because I chose not to learn from my mistakes and instead to repeat them in the hope that this would somehow result in change. The probably over quoted definition of insanity (according to Albert Einstein – although it’s also been attributed to Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin) is precisely this.

I didn’t write down what I did wrong and confront it because I didn’t feel strong enough to face it. I couldn’t effect change because I wasn’t willing to make the effort that change required.

Now I am.

My goal therefore is that by the end of January 2017 I will be lighter than the man I was in May 2008 and lower than 24st 5lbs.

After that the next goal is 22st 12lbs – which will be the lightest I have been this millennium by half a pound. If I keep at it then I should get there by March or April 2017 – by which time I will have been attending Slimming World for around year.

Finally – I ended my writing session re-reading this post – written on the day I joined Slimming World (April 16th 2016). It seemed like I was about to climb the north face of the Eiger that day. I felt emotionally broken after the results of standing on the scales.

Not any more internet. I might have my wobbles (this last week has been one in some respects) but I can do this and I’m NOT going back. Only forward.

Davey

Puppy love

Back when I started writing my blog I had the twin objectives of getting myself a dog and getting fit.

The latter has very much become the focus of my life but the former is like a niggling itch that for whatever reason I just can’t scratch.

I talked myself out of it at the time for very sensible reasons (such as who would look after it when I’m working) but there’s rarely a day or week where I don’t question that decision, and wonder again whether I could get a dog.

Today I feel that itch burrowing away and poking my brain deep inside my head. It’s all I can do to resist going to the local kennels.

The reason?

This impossibly cute little guy called ‘Max’ who belongs to one of the ladies at Slimming World. He sat on my lap throughout most of the session, initially nervously shaking, then nibbling and tugging at my beard as he got used to me before finally falling asleep on my arm.

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He’s teeny tiny for a puppy (he’s a Jack Russell so he won’t be ever be huge) and seems to have the softest fur and most perfect paws and eyes that it’s possible for a dog to have. I honestly fell madly in love with him for a whole hour before I reluctantly gave him back to his disgustingly lucky (and lovely) owner.

To be honest I didn’t want to disturb or frighten him so I barely moved throughout the SW session – and it was pointed out by the ladies that the award I recieved today was met with a more muted response than usual. Rather than jumping up and down with joy I was just happily breathing in the sweet sweet odour of puppy fur.

To be honest if I had a dog like Max I don’t think I’d give a toss about eating or certificates ever again. I’d just sit around and play with him or her all day long!

However – I’m STILL pretty chuffed that despite a lower amount of walking and exercise this week that I managed to pull a loss out of the bag to get my eight stone award and little gold sticker.

I lost 4.5 pounds today.

I have another 3.5 to go before I get my eight and a half stone award – which is an excellent motivator for the week ahead to be good. I may be able to nail it next week!

One of the kind people at slimming world also put something of an extra special treat in this week’s food basket and with my coffee to celebrate (while I write) I’ve just indulged in this lovely gooey squidgy chocolate fudge brownie.

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At a mildly decadent 4 syns it’s not going to break the bank – and it tasted really nice!

Thankfully I’m not really someone with a sweet tooth, so the lingering taste of chocolate is unlikely to make me crave anything else in a similar vein. I think instead that later on today I’m going to make an EPIC chicken soup to use up some swede and carrots before they go a bit soft and bendy.

If I can attribute this week’s success to anything (given my largely downbeat frame of mind for most of it) it’s chunky and warming broths.

When it’s absolutely freezing outside (I’ve been forced to turn on the central heating which is unheard of for a tubby trucker like me unless I have visitors) nothing fits the bill more than a hearty bowl or two of chunky soup.

Although I could use the swede and carrot to make something different.

I also have a recipe for beef and Guinness pie on the January page of the 2017 SW calendar (it came with this month’s magazine) that I’m considering making. However as I don’t drink any more I don’t know whether I should use the Guinness to make it – or sub in something else.

It may sound silly to some people but I want absolutely nothing to do with alcohol – even if its baked into food. When I was down last week I found my mind drifting while watching a supermarket Christmas advert for beer and reminiscing about the feeling of drinking Southern Comfort on the 25th of December.

This is probably about the only Christmas tradition I had – and although it’s not a particularly festive drink it almost single-handedly ensured that year after year I never made it to the end of ET The Extra Terrestrial.

What happens in the end to the adorable little walnut with the glowing finger is still a mystery…

It’s maybe silly to think this way – but in moments where I feel a happy nostalgic memory about booze I head over to my online counter (here) and it reminds me where I am with abstinence. Currently it stands at 297 days.

My ambition eventually is to count this in years rather than days and months.

Maybe I’ll try it with some sort of yeast extract instead. From what I can see on the recipe it’s the only thing that adds syns anyway so I’ll probably be doing myself a favour all round.

Anyway Internet – that’s my (positive and happy) start to the day. Wherever you are and whatever you want to improve about yourself or whatever you’re wrestling with I hope your day is going well too.

As a very very kind lady I know keeps reminding me ‘Just keep swimming.’

Davey

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Phishing and old jeans

It seems that at times I’m still my own worst enemy. Even after all my progress lately I’m at times (irritatingly) prone to looking at the worst aspects of my life and feeling glum about things when deep down I know I have a lot to be grateful for.

I suppose that this week’s darker mood has been coming for quite a while. For one reason or another I think I’ve not really confronted the reality of being made redundant since it happened. My focus has instead been elsewhere, and pointed almost exclusively toward my health and fitness.

Everything else has been a secondary consideration.

Such single minded focus (whilst useful for losing weight) is a double edged sword sometimes. Whilst I’ve made big inroads towards where I want to get to in life from a health perspective, sometimes I’m still emotionally very fragile. My growing (but fledgeling) self confidence can easily be dragged down, and when this happens (annoyingly) it’s usually ME that does it rather than anyone else.

After my ‘walk’ around Ryton Woods on Sunday I’m also again suffering with an injury to my leg that’s stopped me going out and it’s not helping my positivity.

Once more I chose to ignore the pain and walk through it, and once more I’m having to learn the hard way that I can’t do things like this. It just ends (like it did walking with my friend on Tuesday) in a situation where I’m literally hopping in pain by the side of the road as I inevitably pull/tear whatever it is in my shin that has decided that it doesn’t want to play ball at the moment.

So once more I’m confined to the house, and once more it’s hit my previously positive frame of mind like a sledgehammer through a pane of glass.

All this has been compounded by registering for unemployment benefits recently and having to lay myself bare before a government department in an interview in order to get a weekly handout.

At least that’s the way it feels to me in my current frame of mind. I’m not ungrateful for the support, and the lady I spoke to at the Jobcentre was actually very nice.

I’m just not used any more to being told what to do by officialdom, and I’ve managed my own affairs for so long that I dislike the sense that I have to rely on them for anything. I resent even more the need to account for my daily whereabouts and availability. However, it’s a price worth paying and is the reality of the process I’ve embarked upon to find another job.

My initial feelings about the available jobs locally are ones of dismay. Although there is no part of my mind that doesn’t believe I will find a job eventually the whole process of putting my CV out there and applying for positions is providing fuel for the worst elements of my personality. These are the parts of me who (if left to their own devices) will convince me that my worth is much much lower than it actually is.

To compound my less than stellar feelings about myself yesterday I fell (partially) for a phishing scam after signing up to multiple job sites. I replied without thinking to a e-mail about a role locally which seemed like it offered good money. It turned out instead to be a scammer pestering me over and over to open dodgy attachments in order to view ‘the role’ which would allegedly pay me ridiculous amounts for doing next to nothing from home.

Although I realised what was going on before opening any of the documents (which would no doubt have installed trojans and other nasty things on my computer) this moment of stupidity compounded some already pretty downbeat thoughts about myself and feelings about the whole process of looking for work.

Primarily it made me feel stupid and more than a little bit alone just at the point when I was trying to focus on my sense of self worth and suitability for a position of responsibility.

I guess this week I’m probably feeling personal isolation more acutely than I have for many years, and it’s not pleasant. In reality I still have excellent support structures around me and great friends – but all of a sudden I have begun to feel a bit like it’s me vs the world.

I don’t like writing about this, and regular readers will note that my blog has been quiet this week. I also don’t want to appear as if I’m moaning or feeling sorry for myself. However when I don’t write people soon start asking me (which is lovely and I’m very grateful it happens) if I’m ok and what’s wrong.

I went for a coffee this afternoon with just such a friend who closed our conversation today with ‘I look forward to reading your blog.’ I suspect this meant (in the most supportive and nicest way possible) ‘get back on the horse and pull your socks up.’

It’s good advice – and as always I only hurt myself when I hibernate. However if I’m going to write about it I’m also going to try and counter my downbeat side by attempting to draw the positives out of my week.

Firstly I haven’t gone off plan with my diet. Although Saturday and Sunday were both days where I ate out, the meals were all accounted for and in target. I’ve maybe eaten a bit more than I should at the start of the week but I’ve made up for that with soups and good home cooking ever since.

As always I don’t know what the scales will say tomorrow but I’m hopeful they will be kind to me.

Secondly I’ve also been going through my old clothes in an effort to order my wardrobe and decide what’s now junk to take to charity and what’s current. Just for fits and giggles I tried on my old 66 inch waisted jeans. I contrasted them with the fawn coloured pair below which are a 54 inch waist.

(Apologies for the grim lighting. Blame the eco-lightbulbs in my house. They save the planet but don’t help with smartphone photos!)

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It does make me sit up and take notice when I look at changes like this – and enables me (at least in part) to remember that even though I might feel a bit low now, it’s absolutely NOTHING compared to how low I would feel having to go and look for work at 34 stone 8.5 pounds when I could hardly stand up, let alone walk to the Jobcentre.

Thirdly – I’ve started the process of getting another job. Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and mine has to begin somewhere. I may not feel it yet but what I’ve done this week has all been positive and ALL of it is part of a process that will improve my life and future.

So, here’s hoping that tomorrow’s weigh in goes as planned, that my CV will eventually spark interest in a local employer (I’d ideally like to walk to work in the future rather than drive), that officialdom will be kind to me, that my leg will improve, and that it will finally stop frikking raining outside.

Onward and upward internet!

Davey

Ryton Woods

I woke up early this morning. I’d been feverishly dreaming of video games and my slumber had consequently been spent in outer space, heavily outnumbered by hostile alien forces, cut off from reinforcements and left with nothing but my wits to survive.

Well, my wits and a mighty level 40 rocket launcher that does massive damage to a wide surrounding area with additional post explosion cluster munitions. It’s no picnic in space when you’re a video gamer.

I sat up with lurid images of Jerry Bruckheimer style explosions still in my mind. I could easily have got out of bed, had some breakfast and just switched on my XBOX.

I find that in matters like this Sunday is a crunch day for me. After Saturday weigh-ins I can either choose to relax and think ‘I’ve won! There’s no further effort required!’ or ‘Move your ass fatty!’

99% of the time my bottom experiences motion shortly after this thought process completes. Today wasn’t going to be one of the 1% where it didn’t. I’d checked my phone and the weather forecast was lovely so I decided to go somewhere new and explore.

A few people have mentioned Ryton Pools to me over the last few months and I’ve had a few (subsequently aborted) trips planned to visit there with friends. It’s about 7 miles outside Warwick and is a country park with measured walks. The ‘pools’ in question are several small lakes/ponds that are apparently home to quite a few species of birds and other wildlife. The nearby woodland and plants are managed and conserved – so it seemed like a nice place to spend the morning.

After a short drive I arrived at the already busy cafe and visitor centre and had a look at the trail map.

The yellow route around the lake was shorter than I expected, but undeterred I thought I’d walk the yellow and red routes a couple of times to get some proper exercise.

The paths around the pools were excellently looked after and really good for people with mobility issues or wheelchairs. There were plenty of benches and quite a few decked viewing points by the lake where you could park up pushchairs or scooters and watch the birds, who were busy swarming around anyone that looked like they had bread – even though the signage expressly forbade feeding them.


The seagulls and ducks were flanked on either side by rather bored looking anglers that didn’t appear to be having much luck or fun. Their perches didn’t seem to be in particularly relaxing spots either as the busy nearby road did a great job of drowning out the sounds of nature that I was hoping to hear.

Instead of birds and trees all I could pick up was the continual noise of traffic.

Nevertheless I carried on around the lake – past legions of dog walkers and adventure playgrounds full of intrepid and spirited children on climbing frames.

Everywhere I went there seemed to be an abundance of civilisation, and even when people weren’t present the sound of the outside world still was. Furthermore (although this I don’t really mind because it makes me smile) each puddle and tranquil pool had a Labrador enthusiastically jumping into it chasing sticks.

So – when I came across a fork in the path that said it led to Ryton Woods I decided to investigate. No-one appeared to be heading in this direction so it became instantly appealing.

It became even MORE alluring when I arrived at the gated entrance, which proclaimed that I could get lost and that I was heading into unknown territory.

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However – I was armed with technology.

I knew precisely where I was.

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As I moved further into the woods the trees closed in. This was indeed PROPER woodland.

The little yellow posts that the sign warned about appeared to follow no logic whatsoever and although I didn’t consciously follow them they seemed to lead to odd places with dead ends. The ‘paths’ were at times extremely wide and solid underfoot, and then suddenly overgrown with brambles or required big detours due to muddy bogs and swampy reeds.

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The dew covered grass and bushes either side of the path were filled with intricate silky spider webs that suspended any droplets of moisture on their impossibly thin strands.

It must have taken the spiders forever to construct these elaborate and deadly traps.

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But this woodland wasn’t just beautiful. It was blissfully quiet.

There was no-one here but me.

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In places it seemed that people had rarely or maybe never trodden on the same ground as me – and in others there were reminders all around me (such as decomposing wooden and metal carts) that people had been moving through there for much much longer than I had.

Randomly every so often I also found little carved ‘stump seats’ which looked like they were missing their resident hobbits. These were too cute for words and were absolutely crying out for some little fluffy woodland creature to pose on them. Sadly none stepped forward.

Thanks (I think) to the boggy, uneven and rough terrain my shin splints had begun to hurt after a while and I was irritatingly reminded once again that I’m not invulnerable.

As there really are NO managed paths in Ryton Woods, after about 45 minutes to an hour of exploring I decided that (as lovely as it all was) there was only so much that I could do off the beaten track.

I decided it was sensible (instead of pressing on and injuring myself again) to make my way back to the lakeside walk – although I’d try and go a different way and see if there was anything more to look at. I checked my phone. I was pretty much in the middle of the wood now. The map looks like there are definite trails – although in reality these aren’t obvious or are now overgrown, so there wasn’t an obvious route to take.

Then unexpectedly a really wide path appeared. It looked like the right way to go, and way less hard going. It seemed like it would lead around the outskirts of the wood and then back to the lake entrance.

 

I couldn’t have been more deluded.

I think that this was some kind of old river bed – as further down the trail almost every part of the woodland appeared to drain into it, creating an intermittently waterlogged swamp. Once this soggy mire had been (gingerly and slowly) navigated the path then helpfully narrowed into overgrown bushes and brambles – and more mud.

Much more mud. Impassable (at least without wellingtons) mud. Covered with brambles. With trees that had fallen or grown into and through it.

I stopped and looked at my phone.

In the centre of the map was a large brown area without trees. It didn’t look like water from the satellite photo, so I decided to double back and move off the path to see if areas that hadn’t been so regularly trodden were easier to pass.


It turned out to be one of the more tranquil and easily traversed areas of the wood. Instead of water it was carpeted with comfortable soft moss underfoot and topped with autumnal and slowly mulching bracken. The clearing had a vibrant, damp, woody feel that immediately filled your senses with a sense of freshness and life that’s totally absent in my usual surroundings.

Often I fail to remember the world is like this. I walk on concrete pavements from home to coffee shop and back again in between houses and past parked cars, where everything is ordered and rigid.

It’s not like that in the centre of this wood.

As I stood still and listened every so often a branch would move or the undergrowth would rustle and remind me I wasn’t alone. There were animal droppings all over the place and I’m convinced there were gangs of rabbits watching me from multiple vantage points, waiting to mug me and steal the hidden bag of carrot batons I’d brought along with me in my pocket.

After crossing this small expanse (and tramping through some more mud on the other side in between some pointless yellow posts) I was surprisingly almost back where I’d started – and again saw the exit from the woods.

Although my leg was hurting, my jeans were soaked and I was super sweaty I’d REALLY enjoyed exploring on my own.

When I checked the distance on my watch I hadn’t travelled far at all (As I type later in the afternoon Apple watch reports five miles) but navigating the terrain had made it all the more interesting and exciting. Even though I’d never been lost for a moment I felt absolutely apart from the hustle and bustle of the world and completely at peace.

Furthermore (and as regular readers will know this is SO important to me) I went into something completely unknown under my own steam and made my way out again.

It’s all something that I could NEVER have done back in April.

And frankly there was only one way to celebrate. I needed some lunch. I’d walked for hours on a flask of coffee and a bag of carrot batons and I was tired, wet, scratched by brambles and pleasantly warm all over.

I walked back to the visitor centre. There was a cafe there. Maybe they served something Slimming World friendly?

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Pffft. Who was I kidding? The entire world seems to be obsessed with eating fattening crap, and all I could smell was burning chip fat through the nearby open window of the cafe. It didn’t look pleasant or smell appealing. There was only one sensible alternative.

A Sunday lunch.

I skipped back to my car, thinking of all the yummy yums yums in my near future and drove to the nearest Toby Carvery. 10 minutes after arriving and asking for some pork, beef, turkey and gammon my plate looked like this.

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Then I filled it with lots of speedy carrots, onions, cauliflower and cabbage (peas aren’t speed foods – they’re free) and 5 roast potatoes (2 syns each)

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And then ten minutes later, with a few pauses to have a drink (it’s good to drink and eat so that I don’t overdo it) my plate looked like this.

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When I’d arrived the waitress had tried to tempt me with ‘pigs in blankets’. I’d declined. She then asked me if I wanted a starter. I had turned down this kind offer as well.

Finally, sitting with my glass of diet coke and a big contented grin on my face she delivered the coup de grace.

‘Would you like any ice cream for desert?’ She asked, almost visibly sprouting little red horns and a long pointy tail.

I could smell brimstone.

‘No thanks – just the bill please’ I replied.

I had a smug sense of self satisfaction when I said this, because the night previously I’d put some frozen berries, oats, cinnamon, stevia and natural yogurt in a bowl and secreted it in my fridge for an evening indulgence.

Screw it. I WAS GOING TO HAVE DESSERT – but I was going to do it on my time, on my terms, with my own Slimming World alternative.

When I got home I grabbed a spoon, opened the fridge and this is what was waiting inside.

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That, internet, is what I am going to eat right now.

The perfect end to a perfect day. I hope yours was just as good!

Davey

 

Miley twerks no more

It’s been a drizzly and damp day today – and I guess maybe as a consequence the group this morning at Slimming World seemed smaller than usual. However they were no less bouyant or positive – regardless of the inclement weather outside.

There were a good few happy grins today as several ladies stepped off the scales with big smiles, having worked hard for some pretty significant losses.

Many have set a Christmas wish for themselves to reach a certain goal before the 24th of December. They all seem to be very motivated to get as much hard work out of the way as they can before the festive season when the twin spectres of mince pies and egg nog will no doubt descend to do battle with their good intentions.

For my part I’ve been rather reticent to make a seasonal wish. I’m slightly wary of targets and the impact they have on me if I don’t meet them.

Truthfully I do have a Christmas goal, which I voiced in the group this morning – but for the time being I want to otherwise keep it to myself. It’s nothing particularly heavy or serious – just something that I want to get done by a certain date. I’ve mentioned it to close friends in further detail along with my reasons, and for the moment thats more than enough for me.

I don’t want to jinx it.

I was no less excited than the ladies this morning however as I’ve been waiting for a few weeks for my stickers to be delivered to Angie to go with my last two certificates, and today they arrived.

They’re also gold (which doesn’t photograph very well).

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I’m not sure why these shiny little things mean so much to me – but I’m majorly addicted to putting them all over (and now inside) my SW record book. I’m like a cub scout with a new tea making badge when I get one. If I could sew it onto my shirt I probably would!

I very nearly got another one today too as I managed to get rid of another 6lbs this week, taking the total really close to eight stones lost.

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I really didn’t expect the eight stone mark this week though – so I’m not in the least annoyed by the near miss – it will come next week hopefully.

One of the members today reminded me of my goals post (here) where at eight stone I’ve lost Miley Cyrus. However, I re-visited the photo I uploaded for that blog and it turns out I’ve actually already lost her as I’m now 111 pounds (50.5kg) lighter than when I started.

Miley will twerk in my trousers no more.

In fact I have less than half a stone to go and I’ve lost an entire Kim Kardashian!

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Today was a success for more reasons than this however. Loosing weight is one thing, but getting a table at Coffee Architects in Leamington Spa is quite another.

This insanely trendy place on the high street is continually packed whenever I pass by and so far my attempts to go there and get a seat have been thwarted. Even getting a coffee is a challenge most days as the queue often means you have to stand on the pavement outside.

Angie today had mentioned it in group though and I decided that since I was heading in that direction to meet my brother anyway that I’d give it another go. I’m glad I did – the coffee there is absolutely divine, as is the food!

Since pretty much everything on the menu had some kind of syn contained within it I decided to live a little and indulge myself.

I chose the Billy Can Beans from the specials board.

I rarely use syns on convenience food or snacks – and I much prefer to factor them into meals like this one, which seems to me like a far healthier approach to eating. I feel far more virtuous after eating this than I would after a packet of french fries (4 syns) and a curlywurly (3.5 syns) in front of the telly, even though they may overall have less calorific content.

As I know (from Angie) the food here takes Slimming World into account I checked with the waitress what the syns of the two potato cakes came to and was told they were around 4.5 each. This tallied with others I could find in the SW app – and combined with the roughly half an avocado on top (which is 7 syns) I estimate this absolutely scrumptious meal came to 16 syns in total. The bacon rashers were already trimmed medallions (free) and as you see in the pic I cut all visible fat off. The beans were free foods.

What’s more as I walked back to my car I felt satisfied and happy. It was warming, just the right size – and perfect for a cold, rainy day.

I’m not sure what the rest of the weekend holds – but I’m pretty sure that CV writing will be a part of it. I have an interview at the job centre coming up early next week and I doubt they will be as happy as I am if I show up with my book full of stickers, expecting them to be impressed.

All I need to do now internet is decide what the hell I want to be when I grow up.

Davey

Extra ventilation

This last few weeks has seen the demise of a couple of old acquaintances.

Thankfully they were not people, but elderly denims that did not appear to have benefitted from being locked away in a suitcase for almost a decade. They’d survived time, but unfortunately when I heard the tearing and ripping sounds that accompanied bending over or crossing my legs I realised that they would not manage to survive me.

Comically I tore a giant hole in precisely the wrong place on the most recent pair, although I can say that the sudden ventilation was refreshing if nothing else.

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These were my last but one pair of 56in waisted jeans – and the only other ones I thought I had left have amusingly (to other people, not me) long legs. When I bought them I’m sure I was under some kind of delusion that I was a basketball player – and now the only way to walk around the park in them (as I did this morning with Boris and my friend) is with deeply unfashionable 2-3inch turn-ups.

I’d come to the point that I thought I was going to have to buy more clothes – but since money is exceptionally tight these days I really don’t want anything that isn’t ABSOLUTELY necessary. Buying something that I know will probably last me a couple of months is just annoying.

I chiselled my padlocked wallet open yesterday and bought myself a cheap fleece jacket to keep me warm (but not sweaty like my waterproof mac) on my walks. The outlay wasn’t something I really wanted, but neither was shivering with just a shirt while walking in the cold either.

The jacket however is truly lovely. I feel as snug as a bug in a rug and I think it will last me through the winter until next year when I will probably need something smaller.

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So – I started browsing on eBay, looking for cheap and cheerful items like jogging bottoms and tee-shirts to accompany it that I consider to be relatively disposable. I found some that looked reasonably priced and paused on the sizing charts while I considered whether or not to buy them.

I started in 8xl tops and joggers in April – and I’ve been wearing my 6xl shirts recently. In my head this seemed about right. However, when my friend came over the other night she playfully tugged at the excess material on my upper arm and asked ‘when are you going to get some shirts that fit?!’

Truthfully they feel comfy and because of that I was surprised she said this.

I don’t like wearing tight clothes, and in my head I often think ‘the baggier the better.’ Maybe she had a point though – I’ve also been adding notches in my belts to hold up increasingly gravity obsessed trousers, and I might be able to get into something smaller.

If you remember earlier blogs, the largest pair of trousers I used to own came in a 66 inch waist, although usually I wore a (long suffering) 64 inch black pair. Instead of clicking ‘buy’ I looked up at the green suitcase on top of my wardrobe. It contains lots of clothes that still don’t fit.

Or… At least they DIDN’T USED to fit me…

I pulled it down from its resting place, unzipped it and looked at the clothes within. There was another pair of 56’s! and they had shorter legs! I pulled the light blue jeans on and did up the button.

Easily. Surprisingly so. Hmmm. I held the waistband up with my hand and walked to the next room to look in the mirror…

Well – thats ok – but maybe something smaller will fit?

I grabbed another pair – this time a 54 inch waisted pair of black corduroy trousers (also with surprisingly long legs – what was I thinking when I bought all this?!). They fitted too!! They weren’t tight either! I sat down in them to see whether they would cut off the blood supply to my previously well ventilated parts.

Nope – all was good!

I looked further down the now quite diminished pile. My absolute prize pair of trousers are some dark grey cargo/combat pants with loads of pockets up and down the sides. They’re super hard wearing, and I love them for one specific reason. I wore them on the walking holiday I went on in Cornwall before everything started going wrong and I put all of my weight back on.

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This is me, on that holiday in 2008 wearing those trousers. I also have the polo shirt that I’m wearing in that photo in the suitcase. I’d forgotten what size the trousers were – but it seems that they’re a 52 inch waist.

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They also fitted – although they need maybe another inch of weight loss to be perfect. To add to the joy of these fitting pretty much EVERY 5xl shirt in the suitcase is now wearable too.

The only ones I can’t get into have a 4xl label

I was going to take a full length photo of me in my cargo pants until I bent down to wipe a mark off the bottom of my mirror and the button unexpectedly broke on the waistband. It was bit of a surprise as they didn’t feel tight – so maybe buttons get old too.

Consequently the only thing I actually ended up buying off eBay tonight was a pack of 17mm trouser buttons to make a hasty repair. It’s best not to rush these things. I’ll try them on again in a few weeks. Surprisingly the button breaking hasn’t dented my mood at all. When I started Slimming World I couldn’t even get them up my legs!

So – this is both good and bad news.

It’s good news because of course I’m getting smaller all the time, and I now have access to a whole bunch of old clothes that were previously off limits to me.

It’s bad news because I’m going to have to get another job ASAP to keep buying replacements for things that become too big, wear out or tear. Nothing lasts forever it seems.

On the bright side in one pair of jeans I found some chewing gum.

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And who knew?! Chewing gum is still tasty and chewy a decade after being opened. Yay for preservatives in odd gummy food substances!

So – top tip internet. Never throw away your chewing gum – but beware of old denims wearing out when you least expect it!

The moral of the story appears to be that chewing gum lasts longer than clothes!

Oh and weight loss is ace! That too…

Davey

No curtains

I feel optimistic today – which given the dull, grey and overcast sky is not really how I guess I expected to feel when I first looked out of my curtains this morning. However I’ve quite enjoyed being outside in the chillier weather. It’s the little things that I’m oddly enjoying – such as noticing that the tip of my nose is cold while I walk or that my face feels suddenly really warm when I get back to my house. Everywhere I walk there’s also condensation from my breath on my moustache and it’s a nice feeling being toasty and snug from exercise in such cool temperatures.

My leg is definitely on the mend (although still feeling like I’ve been kicked hard in the shin) and Apple Watch reports that I’ve covered around eight miles today, making my total sixteen since Monday. I started my day with a gentle stroll around the park and ended it with a longer walk around the streets of Warwick.

I don’t normally walk in the dark, but lately I have been with one particular friend, as the time slot suits us both. We’ve taken to walking where there is street lighting as the dark evenings have drawn in and the parks aren’t universally well lit. Tonight we were strolling around some local housing estates and doing a big loop around them back to my house.

‘Is that someone you know?’ she said to me as we crossed the road. I turned to look at the passing little blue VW car she pointed at, but I didn’t recognise it.

‘They were waving at you…’

I looked again at the car, which was getting smaller as it melted into the distance.

‘No idea. It’s happened a few times lately’ I said ‘and I never manage to see who it is that beeps or waves before they’re gone.’

I like this new phenomenon though.

It’s a nice feeling that someone who knows me from somewhere just saw me out and about and has seen that I’m alive and well. It makes me feel like part of a community. The not knowing who waved is also kind of cool as well – as it might spark a conversation with someone at a later date when I least expect it.

It has a few times already.

The streets in Warwick were otherwise quiet tonight though – and all of the traffic and people appeared to be elsewhere. Inside each little house we passed there was a light inside and as I walked and talked in the background I imagined little families in all of them snuggled up and happy – together in the warm.

A particularly big television was showing Pixar’s ‘Cars’ high up on the wall in one living room as I passed, and although I couldn’t see the occupants below I imagined the children next to their parents on the sofa – or watching with wonder on their own from a comfy rug on the floor.

‘I have no idea why people don’t have curtains.’ I said to my companion, musing on the odd phenomenon of being able to look right inside someone’s private space as I walked past.

‘Me either.’ She said. ‘It’s crazy! Why would you want to be on view?’

I have blackout curtains in my living room. They’re lined with opaque plastic and stop both heat AND light penetrating my inner sanctum unless I want it to. People will only manage to catch a glimpse of me in my pants if they bring an x-ray machine and set it up on my front lawn.

Yet other people sit watching TV on their sofas with their lights on and curtains either wide open or (more mindbogglingly still) completely absent. I find the psychology of both standpoints fascinating – as I consider neither ‘wrong’ or ‘right’.

I personally don’t want to be seen from the street because I feel that it invades my personal space and I want my privacy. Other people may not view their personal space with the same boundaries and are entirely OK with being looked at. They’ve no problem with me walking past their house and seeing Lightning McQueen entertaining their children.

They may even find it quite comforting and normal – just like I do when a car passes and someone waves at me.

In fact I might seem odd to them for putting my thoughts online. Some might even argue that what I do gives people a far more intimate insight into my life than the lack of any curtains may do – but for some reason one is a line I don’t feel able to cross and the other is not.

People’s willingness to be seen or not seen is something I’ve been thinking about on and off all week as I’ve considered my body image and how both I and other people view me.

I’ve always been amazed that some people are quite happy being seen completely or partially naked on a beach for instance – yet I can’t currently bear the thought of going swimming at a public or private pool.

Why are my fears about being seen in person so radically different to my lack of fear about people reading my innermost thoughts? If I’m happy to be overweight and exposed in print then why is the physical equivalent any more upsetting when I consider it.

In lots of ways I’ve stopped feeling any kind of public shame at all about the problems or ‘failures’ associated with my weight. Oddly though I still occasionally beat myself up about them, and then like a masochist tell everyone about that too…

I wonder what makes me so simultaneously open and yet fiercely private almost in the same breath.

Maybe I should go and find a beach that legally allows it and just go and take all my clothes off for the hell of it – just to see what it feels like to be physically as well as emotionally exposed. Maybe it’s a barrier that at some point needs to be crossed so that I can get over the huge mass of negative self images that I have in my head.

Why should I care what people think of me when they look at me? What does it matter? It’s my body and its the only one I’ve got. If I can’t be happy with the one I have I’ll never have another and I’ll just end up miserable.

Sure it will get slimmer and more toned as time goes on but it will still bear the scars of a life lived without care for many years.

If I want to live life to the full at some point I’m going to have to metaphorically (and maybe physically) open my living room curtains and let the world look. Maybe then, just like with my writing, I’ll learn how not to care what people see and just love myself for what and who I am.

Hopefully when I do internet they will look at me without judgement in the same way that I look at them.

Davey

Hello park, I’ve missed you!

It’s an absolutely beautiful autumn day today and the park this morning is filled with wonderful colours. A light breeze is in the air, and it’s a bit chilly – but the sun is shining and it feels nice and warm on my skin.

I’ve missed the park. It’s like I haven’t seen a good friend for two weeks and we have some catching up to do. It’s been busy changing into its new seasonal attire and has a lot to share with me, such as its regular occupant.

I haven’t seen the swanling for a while now – and today he/she was (as seems to be the norm now) on his/her own – flanked only by an armada of ducks rather than two bright white doting parents.

I’m not sure that this wonderful creature knows what colour it is or even cares how close an interest I’m taking in its development. It probably has no concept of how much I’m aching for its beak to turn orange just so I can see the change.

It doesn’t matter. There’s no rush. I’ll keep coming back and checking on it. As long as it’s well I’m happy.

It feels so good to be outside and moving under my own steam again. My shin is still hurting quite a bit but I’m taking it slow and only doing two laps today.

(When editing this later in the day I noticed I have written above ‘only’ two laps/miles. I’m suddenly struck by this word. It occurs to me as I tinker idly with the grammar of my post that in April this distance would have been a major coup for me… How things have changed!)

I’ve been walking and talking about everything and nothing with my regular park buddy from Slimming World. She’s managed to simultaneously encourage me to go for a more gentle stroll than I otherwise might have done and also is keeping me in check and telling me not to overdo it.

I’ve assured her I will do no more walking after I go home – which truthfully I do want to do. It’s hard not to though. Everything is well with the world today and once again I feel happy and want to be part of all it.

I want to move on to other destinations and explore this wonderful autumn afternoon – but I know she’s right. If I ignore my body I’ll pay for it later. Instead I’m going to busy myself with other, more sedate tasks which I’ve been putting off.

I’ve decided that I need to start the ball rolling with looking for work again.

Up to now I’ve not claimed any kind of income support because I didn’t feel it was right to lie to people at the job centre about whether or not I was looking for work.

I had originally planned to take at least six months off – but I’ve noticed that in the background I’m quietly beginning to think more and more about money and the fast approaching lack of it. I’m by no means well off and I need to work eventually. I know I probably won’t find a job immediately, so now seems like the right time to think about the future.

Although I’m not yet sure what kind of job I want to do some of my ex-colleagues are currently signing on (as it’s called in the U.K.) to get benefits while they look for work. They’ve mentioned that their experience has been pretty positive and that the regular requirement to attend a job club has been quite beneficial.

My last brief period of being on benefits was not that pleasant. If I’m honest my memory of the couple of months that I signed on in 1998 has coloured my perception of the task at hand A LOT.

The people in the job centre always appeared miserable, angry and withered by life. They they seemed to take their depressed view of the world out on everyone that walked through their doors and I hated going to see them.

Since I can now honestly say I do want a job I don’t feel any guilt about claiming benefits -and I want to go back into the task with an open mind.

So after doing a bit of shopping that’s how I plan to spend my afternoon (with my leg up).

I’m a bit disorganised though internet. It’s going to take me FOREVER to find all of the paperwork I need. I’m not looking forward to that bit at all…

Davey

Normal service has been resumed

Ok – from the moment I woke up today I felt different. Lighter somehow – and not in a physical sense. The dark mood from yesterday was gone. I went to bed earlier than usual last night and slept for 13 hours, which really made up for me stressing at 3.30am yesterday. 

Yesterday I also had the counsel of very good friends who pushed me not to hibernate but to shake off my mood, chat and pop over for dinner etc. 

I’ve also had something of a moment of clarity today. 

I didn’t bother to put a belt on when I removed my jeans from the radiator this morning. As denim tends to be after a wash, they were stiff when I put them on and had little give. 

After sitting to eat my breakfast (30g of oats, 250ml of natural fat free yogurt, some frozen berries and 50ml water which was left in the fridge overnight with stevia and cinnamon) I stood up to go to the toilet and my trousers immediately fell down. 

Thankfully I wasn’t walking otherwise I’d probably have unceremoniously face planted my breakfast bowl. 

They’re not the smallest pair of jeans I can get into, but I like the material and they’re soft against my skin inside the legs. I don’t want to give them up. 

I couldn’t get into them in April. Not even close. The legs were tight and I had a huge gap where the button and zip were. I couldn’t do them up. 


Now I can not only do them up I have lots of room to spare. 

Serendipitously I also noticed an unopened letter by the front door which turned out to be from the Age UK charity shop that I’d taken my huge unusable clothes to a few weeks ago. 


Since I’m a volunteer (currently between tasks) for this charity and know that they’re putting on a free Christmas lunch locally for the isolated elderly locally I KNOW that this has meant that some pensioners get both company and a hot meal because of what I’ve achieved. 

That’s pretty heartwarming. 

After breakfast I realised that yesterday I’d (like an idiot) forgotten entirely to take my diabetes medication. I’m supposed to have 4 Metformin a day – half in the morning and half in the evening. 

I instead had zero. 

I’d had some fruit throughout the day on Saturday (four apples and two oranges – I was treating myself a little bit truthfully) which always makes me a little paranoid about my blood sugar levels. 


I needn’t have worried. It’s supposed to sit between 4 and 7 mmo/L and it’s pretty much right in the middle – exactly where it should be.

After watching some horror story documentaries on BBC iPlayer a couple of weeks ago about people going blind and toes getting amputated when they ignored their condition this is something that is insanely important to me. The thought of going blind is terrifying, and I rather like my toes. 

These two very positive things started me thinking about what other ‘little’ things have changed in my life recently that I’m beginning to take for granted. 

I used to have a lot of problems putting my socks on. My thighs were so fat and my stomach so big that I had to rest the outside of my leg on something like the corner of my bed and sit down behind it, pushing my leg towards me into my belly so I could reach my foot. 

The strain of forcing my leg into this position REALLY hurt my (already struggling) knees and I had to hold my breath while I did it because I couldn’t breathe properly. 


That’s my foot. At the end of my casually crossed leg. Sitting on my sofa, which I also never used to sit on because I couldn’t get comfortable on it. 

When I sat upright here previously my stomach protruded so much that it was further out than the edge of the seat cushion. If I lay on the sofa I had to take the back cushions off so that I didn’t feel like I was falling over the edge onto the floor. 

My car was no different. It’s a good thing I have long legs because my seat was pushed back as far as it would go in January before I stopped drinking. My stomach was touching the steering wheel even though I was as far back as the car would allow. A year previously I had to have the seat repaired because I have snapped one of the steel supports underneath it. 

I’d also managed to break my steering wheel when I slipped in the rain and held onto it with all my weight when getting into my car. 


My trusty VW has borne all of this abuse silently and stoically. It’s one of the reasons I’ve held onto it for so long. It’s seen me through some tough times and just carried on. 

I put my trainers on and went out to my car. My seat is now usually set a bit closer to the pedals, so I pushed it back to where it used to be. 


I’m still closer to the wheel than thin people – but I’m getting into a much more comfortable range and can fit my hand in the gap where once there was no space. 

My seatbelt was also a big issue. I could rarely get into other people’s cars or taxis because of this and I’d had a lot of problems leaning forward to check incoming traffic at junctions because my belt was so tight. 


It’s not tight any more – and I can see the traffic just fine now. 

I suppose what I’m saying is that last week I chose to ignore little baubles of joy like this and instead focus on all the things I can’t do yet. Also I was preoccupied with my relatively minor injuries – which (I was reminded by both a gentleman infinitely smaller than me in SW yesterday and also my most avid reader and fellow blogger) happen to all of us – not just tubby truckers like myself. 

This week I’m going to get back on track – and while I’m doing it I’m going to try to focus on all the positive changes I’ve seen in my life lately and forget the hiccups. 

Because that’s what they are. They’re pauses for breath, pit-stops, small detours, scenic routes or moments of relaxation. They’re just real life – and it’s a one that I’m now living – not just watching from a window in an air conditioned office or from behind my living room curtains. 

Sorry for being a grumpy sod last week Internet. I think I have my head back in the game now.

Normal service has been resumed. 

Davey

Seven and a half stone off.

Today I feel oddly deflated, which is particularly perverse given that I’m actually back on track. After a week of going back to basics and writing down EVERYTHING that passed my lips I pulled back the 3lb gain last week and nailed my seven and a half stone award.

Since I promised in my last but one post about portion sizes to be open about what I’d consumed over the last seven days – here is the remainder of my week of eating.

——

Wednesday

Chilli – 250g mince, half can kidney beans, half red pepper, broccoli, half can chopped toms, half large onion, mushrooms (remaining half of Tuesdays meal)

Chicken and bacon soup – chopped garlic, carrot, swede, onion, broccoli, courgette and potato with a can of mixed beans and a large handful of red lentils. Made with a can of chopped tomatoes and a carton of passata (two breakfast bowls eaten – saved the rest for Thursday)

Half a jar of pickled gherkins

Thursday

Rest of chicken broth (2 bowls, same as above)

2x salmon steaks half a punnet cherry tomatoes + half tub cottage cheese

2x medium potatoes, can of tuna in spring water, 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard, Sainsburys light mayo (approx 3 tablespoons), carrots, tomato, yellow pepper, celery, lettuce and red wine vinegar

Several carrots while watching TV

Friday

Lettuce, carrot, green pepper, pickled onion, celery, tuna and whole grain mustard salad served with 6 x mini quiches (made in a muffin tray with 2 medallions bacon, courgette, onion and ham with 3 eggs and 1/4 tub quark)

(same again saved for Saturday’s lunch)

——

Well before I recieved the good news that I had lost weight I woke up worrying about standing on the scales at 3.30am. I simply couldn’t get back to sleep.

Eventually after staring at the ceiling for what seemed like an eternity I finally ended up sitting downstairs in my armchair shooting aliens on my xbox until it was time to go to SW. Consequently when I arrived and stood in the queue my eyes were dead tired and I felt like I’d got absolutely zero energy.

I walked to Slimming World this morning – despite it not yet being a week off my feet (as recommended by the doctor on Monday) and my shin was throbbing.

As I waited in line my mind was still racing away – busy working overtime to convince myself that I’d messed up my week. I was mentally examining every aspect of how I felt and busy churning through stupidly negative thoughts over and over again. Did my clothes feel tighter? Did I feel bloated? How was my jacket fitting? The zip didn’t seem as loose. Was my poor mood noticeable as well?

I’m no good at hiding it when I feel low and I was so sure by the time I sat down (even with my good news) that I looked like a huge grumpy puss that I’d have honestly preferred to just climb into my wardrobe at home and not let anyone look me in the eye.

It’s stupid. I don’t know why sometimes I end up mentally snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I should have felt positive and energised but even when I’d weighed in and clearly done well I still couldn’t shake off my negative thoughts.

My feelings about my success and self worth seem to bear little relation to reality this week and I know I’m honestly not feeling myself. It’s only been 5 days without getting out for a good walk and I’m already feeling a massive difference in my mood.

I have been told again and again this week to not be so hard on myself – to focus on my success and how far I’ve come and not this little blip.

I’ve found it really hard (actually next to impossible) to do.

Somehow I seem to have decided this week that the only way to succeed in the absence of exercise is be ultra critical or hard on myself and to feel guilt for everything imaginable (both past and present).

I know I’m doing it. I can see it coming a mile off, and logical me knows its stupid – but I find myself occasionally slipping back into old habits and convincing myself (quite wrongly) that I need to hate myself in order to change myself. I thought I’d gotten past this kind of self destructive thought process and moved on to better ways of dealing with my problems.

Maybe not.

Several people on Facebook and in group have also suggested other exercise I could do in the meantime – but for me these (well meaning and helpful) ideas are serving only to remind me I can’t easily get around outside under my own steam at the moment.

This might sound daft – as all exercise is beneficial to my cause – but I have my own internal ‘logic’ sanctioning why I feel this way.

Over and over again I’ve said I don’t want the body magic awards at SW. I’m still proud of what I personally achieve but I don’t want my exercise tracked simply as ‘Dave got his heart rate up for 30 minutes today and got a tick in a box’.

The idea of exercise simply for the sake of it at a gym or on my bike indoors leaves me completely disinterested. For me it’s all about being out in the world and although walking speeds up my weight loss it’s not the main reason I do it.

Being indoors just reminds me of what I often feel has been a largely fat and unproductive life and I don’t like it any more.

Whatever comes after Slimming World if (when) I reach a reasonable weight has to be organic and part of my everyday routine. Walking for me must be an everyday necessity that’s woven into every part of my life and ideally I want it to remain a very social pursuit. Strolls with friends are something I genuinely look forward to and the people I meet up with motivate me to get out of bed and moving toward my goals way more than staring at a wall while I pedal like a hamster on a wheel.

As I write and read all of this back I’m almost at the point of wiping it and starting again. I think I sound ungrateful for my success and just plain miserable. I wonder what people will think of me. I’d rather they thought I was happy.

But I won’t delete it. Where does not being honest get me?

No-where.

It’s how I feel at this exact moment in time and regardless of whether its consumer friendly or not I almost feel I need to pour it out of my head onto a page to get rid of it

Despite the content of my post seeming (to me) largely negative and downbeat it’s genuinely how I am dealing with life at this particular moment in time. I want to record it so that when I don’t feel the same way tomorrow or the day after I can look back with fresher eyes.

Hopefully when I do it will reaffirm that emotionally kicking myself for nothing all week has brought me no more success than being happy with myself on other similarly successful weeks.

I live in hope that eventually I’ll realise that feeling like this is a complete waste of time, and be better able to snap myself out of it when I see it coming on the horizon.

Maybe not at the moment though internet. I’ll get right back onto feeling positive in a short while.

Davey

 

Distance update

Although it seems strangely inappropriate to celebrate the number of miles I’ve walked lately (given that doing it to excess appears to have caused my current injury) this morning I’ve exported the data that has been gathered in Apple Watch during October and added it to my ongoing table to show totals for both miles and steps since I started Slimming World.

For those who are particularly forgetful (or entirely new to my blog) some months ago a friend pointed out that I had walked the distance of the English channel in a week. This was something quite new for me and I began to write about it in posts and discuss it with others. A delightfully jaunty lady at my SW group then suggested that I build on this milestone and plot my walking progress across a virtual earth.

In the related post (here) I thought it would be fun to see if I could walk the distance from Land’s end to John o Groats – which is 847 miles according to Wikipedia. I am now on target to complete this (hopefully) by Christmas.

miles-and-steps-april-to-october

At the moment my left leg is elevated and I’ve just taken my pain medication – so I’m not 100% sure how I feel about this graph. Currently I feel like I’ve set myself back quite a bit by being too over zealous, and people I trust to tell me the truth are worried I’m pushing myself too much.

Every single day I’ve been walking I’ve had these totals in my mind and have been trying hard to do more and more month on month -continuously increasing my steps and miles walked.

My tendency (like when I had the flu last month) when I miss a day is to do twice as much the next day to make up for it. I’m going to be out of the game for at least a week this time and it’s probably unwise to risk another injury by repeating the same slightly obsessive behaviour again.

I think November therefore may well show a significant decrease in steps and distance – depending on how quickly I get over this.

Anyway – today’s post is not a long one, as not a huge amount of things happen when I’m largely confined to my house. I’m still keeping a close eye on what I eat and I’m trying to be as virtuous as I can with quantities.

I’m also trying not to think about the scales on Saturday – which are edging ever closer and looking (metaphorically at least) over my shoulder at my dinner. Mentally I’m not sure how well prepared I am for a maintain or (heaven forbid) a gain. I might need a little more than a hug if this is the case.

On the plus side, after fiddling around and faffing about on and off over the last few days in Skyrim on my Xbox I am now a level four mage and can cast a rather impressive fireball that appears to do a very good job of immolating the undead. I also have a new tunic for my wizard that improves my magic capability by 50%.

I’m sure that this revelation will prove to be a better contraceptive for the time being than any prophylactic or male pill on the market – but just in case this unexpectedly stirs any amorous feelings in my female readership please let me know in the comments and we can discuss my fireballs further.

If anyone needs me I will be lost in fantasy while things heal up.

Davey

Portion control – a work in progress. 

There are a lot of people who have said to me at some point or another that they’re amazed that I could be so open in public on my blog. Truthfully when I started writing it I expected a lot of abuse from the internet.

It’s what I often received in the street so why should (what I imagined to be) an bearpit of online trolls be any different?

Surprisingly the opposite happened and instead I got nothing but support (often from total strangers) which re-affirmed my faith in human nature at just the right moment in time. 

Furthermore I’ve found that my online honesty has improved and even created many friendships that probably wouldn’t have changed or happened if I hadn’t started writing about how I feel and what I’m trying to do to improve my life. 

It’s a force for good for me and I love writing it. 

However – although I’ve never lied in my blog there are some things I still find it really hard to talk about. I have often felt guilty of lying by omission – which is probably ridiculous but absolutely honest. 

While I’m completely up front in my Slimming World group about what I eat and my habits (if I’m asked) I’m aware it rarely touches my blog.

I suppose it’s because it’s nice to feel that my outward  literary persona is a successful one – and that even when I’m flawed in front of an audience I can still demonstrate progress. 

In an ideal world I would like people that read my blog to think that I have my eating completely under control – but in many ways I feel I still don’t and I’ve been putting off talking openly about it. 

So I’m going to do something that I find quite scary in an effort to push myself a bit further. I can’t walk at the moment thanks to my pulled ligament – but I can focus on what I eat while I’m burning less calories and be totally transparent while I do. 

I’ve been writing EVERYTHING I’ve eaten down since weighing in on Saturday and I think it’s time I was honest with myself and readers about what a ‘normal week’ (so far) of eating is to me at the moment.  

——–

Saturday

Large pack of ham and a punnet of cherry tomatoes

2 medium baked potatoes, 2 salmon steaks, light mayo, teaspoon of oil for stir fry, stir fry (speed veg)

1 Banana + natural fat free yoghurt (250g) frozen berries, 30g rolled oats + Stevia sweetener 

Punnet of 6 plums (eaten in two fridge visits during the afternoon and evening)

Sunday

250g of chicken and handful of prawns prawn stirfry (pre packed and chopped speed veg) + teaspoonful of oil

250g chicken in a stew with a handful of prawns, carrots, swede, courgette and onion + two spoonfuls of patakas balti curry paste (two breakfast bowls worth eaten)

Monday

Two medium baked potatoes, four large tomatoes, 8 gherkins, half tub onion and chive cottage cheese, 4 pork medallions

Punnet of cherry tomatoes with 115g of ham slices.

Punnet of cherry tomatoes plus sainsburys garlic and herb chicken pieces and a packet of sainsburys ham chunks (125g each). 

Mug of hot chocolate (two heaped spoonfuls of Aldi light version wich is 2 syns)

Tuesday 

Frozen berries (free), 30g oats, 250g fat free natural yogurt + cinnamon and stevia

Chilli – 250g mince, half a can of kidney beans, half red pepper, broccoli, half can chopped toms, half large onion, mushrooms, tomato purée. (Other half saved for Wednesday)

Beef stew – can of chopped tomatoes, carrot, swede, potato and onion with 500g stewing steak (this made two breakfast bowls. I ate it all.)

Cherry tomatoes punnet (1am post meal snack)

——–

I’m aware that I eat more than most people at meal times. I keep it under control when I’m with friends or eating out but when I’m alone I can still easily eat 2 meals (sometimes even 3) in short succession. 

Honestly the above list is less than I used to eat – both in bulk and the number of calories – so in many ways I feel I’ve progressed. I’m still craving TWO bowls of stew though when I should be satisfied with one. 

I end up both angry and guilty not just that I feel like this but after a meal when I feel I’ve succumbed to temptation and overeaten – even if it’s been good food. 

In some ways I don’t feel I’ve moved forward at all. But I’m trying. I’m REALLY trying. 

As if by magic (the universe was once again listening) Angie (my SW consultant) texted me earlier to ask how my week was going. 

When I received the message I was getting dressed and ready to go out. I wanted to sit in Starbucks to write this so that I wasn’t stuck at home in my armchair with my aching leg up 10ft away from the fridge thinking about food and bargaining with myself. 

I sent her my food list above in rough form and she also highlighted the portion sizes – plucking the thoughts seemingly right out of my brain. 

My willpower is REALLY struggling with the concept of a ‘normal’ (I really hate that word) portion size and the Slimming World view that I should eat until I feel satisfied. 

Honestly I’m a really poor judge of satisfaction and always have been. 

In the past it’s always meant the point that I reach when I am physically incapable of doing anything to even greater excess. In eating terms it’s been the moment I would fall asleep in a ‘food coma’. 

Although the food comas are almost a thing of the past I really want to change my mindset – and I’m really worried that without all of my usual exercise I’m going to screw up on the scales again this week. 

I said as much (rather emotionally) to my friend last night during a particularly in depth heart to heart. 

I ended up unexpectedly vocalising one of the prime reasons I’m so obsessed with walking. It just fell out of my mouth without me planning to speak about it or thinking about it beforehand. The reason had clearly been there – quietly lying in wait in my brain, waiting to pounce on the opportunity to jump out and be discussed. 

Fundamentally it’s fear. Fear of the world around me and not being strong enough to support myself in it. 

I’m not agoraphobic or prone to feeling tangible terror but like someone that goes to self defence classes after being attacked I’ve been walking (although there are also lots of other more enjoyable reasons) as a form of personal empowerment. 

I want to feel capable of simply holding myself upright, crossing the road, running out of the way of a car or getting away from the people that slow down or stop on the street to call me names. 

This hasn’t happened for a while now – but I’m always hyper aware that it could come when I least expect it. 

I’ve felt (on a largely unconscious level I think) so vulnerable and under threat outside for so long and so conscious of not being able to protect or look after myself in so many situations that any current sign of weakness or lack of forward progress (such as my current inability to walk) become blown out of all proportion to me. 

I know that I’m my own worst critic and that I’m also the type that can overthink things. 

Both are blessings and curses. 

As I type someone from my Slimming World family is reminding me to be kind to myself – and last night I was told in no uncertain terms by my confidant that I should treat myself the same way I treat my friends. 

It’s good advice – but often hard to follow. I can be a crap friend to myself at times. 

On the one side I like to think I can learn about what make me tick – but on the other side I also become obsessed with things way more than I should and label myself as a total failure. 

Self image and portion sizes. Both are ongoing works in progress. 

Anyway. I’ve shared now and for the time being got it off my chest. You know just a little bit more about me. I hope if you, reading this, feel the same way or do the same things that you realise you’re not alone. 

I’ll keep you up to date on this. As much as I really don’t want to, I also feel I need to be open so that there’s nothing left to hide from and less chance of failure. 

Since I like to finish on a positive note however – after some spirited feedback on Facebook, Instagram and this blog I decided that I’d act upon my recent hat love and buy the cap from the other day. 

Amazon delivered it yesterday and I can report that after the birth of this new partnership both hat and Davey’s head are doing well. The newborn pair are happy and warm.

I have hardly removed it since the courier handed it over and am wearing it in Starbucks while I write this. 

For some odd reason it makes me really happy 😊.


Davey