Christmas tree?

I caught myself wondering (for the first time in many many years) the other day whether or not I should get a Christmas tree.

I was sitting in a nearby pub yesterday evening with a friend sipping a jam jar full of Diet Coke (what the hell is the obsession with drinks being served in jam jars instead of glasses these days?) looking at the tree in the corner and thinking ‘maybe it’s about time I decorated my living room’.

I know that several friends will say resoundingly ‘Yes! You really flipping should!’ because over the years they’ve pointed out to me that I’ve had a completely bare corner where a tree should be and a totally tinsel free December.

They’ve called me a Grinch more than once.

I guess the truth of it is that I’ve always considered a Christmas tree something that families have. Since I don’t have one of my own (aside from my extended one) or any children it’s always been more of a reminder of what I was missing out in in life than it was a celebration of a festive season.

I guess Christmas is one of those times of year that’s capable of making you feel really festive or a bit lonely depending on your circumstances.

I wouldn’t say though that I’ve ever felt particularly alone – but I’m also aware that this may in part be because I have actively avoided anything that may cause me to feel that way or reminded me that I might have been missing out on some things.

I suppose that just thinking about buying a tree is a signal that yet another aspect of my outlook on life is changing. Maybe it’s also a sign that I feel a having a partner and living a life that’s not defined by solitude is something that is now a distinct possibility rather than a distant pipe dream.

It’s no longer the case that I have (or indeed necessarily WANT) to be alone at this time of year any more – so why shouldn’t I indulge myself?

Maybe by the time next year rolls around things will be different relationship wise – but if I’m honest I don’t know where or how to begin plugging that particular gap.

I’m hoping it will happen organically – but I doubt very much that it will – and a couple of friends have suggested things that would require me emotionally getting off my ass and putting myself out there.

It’s either that or I put a full page ad in the paper saying ‘Funny female nerd wanted to go for twalks and watch Netflix with. Must also like cottage cheese and find farting funny.’

I have no idea what works these days. I’ve been out of the loop so long I think I’m completely oblivious to every aspect of how to go about such a thing.

Sigh.

Maybe getting a tree is enough for now internet . I’ll stress the bigger stuff later.

Davey

Gazebos and bloggers

It’s not so great when a regular twalking companion is thousands of miles away (she’s been gone for aaaaaages 😢) but what IS nice is when they demonstrate that even when in Australia on a much deserved break that they’re still taking time out from a gruelling schedule of sitting on the beach with fish and chips every day to think about you.

Whilst on an excursion to pick up a much needed Gazeebo to shelter from the heat yesterday her partner remarked about how unwieldy and heavy the box was.

Their new Oztrail deluxe 3.0 gazebo (link) was testing the limits of his endurance as he exited the store – and whilst dragging it to their flatbed utility vehicle he remarked colourfully that its 24kg was weighing heavily on his shoulders.

Jesus! How much did Dave lose?!‘ He exclaimed.

She of course couldn’t wait to tell me – and I of course couldn’t wait to work it out! Since I’ve lost 117.48kg it appears that I’m now down almost 5 gazebos!

This caused me to re-examine an old post from 2016 (link). In it was an early attempt at moving from a ‘can I really lose all of this weight?‘ mentality to a ‘this will be easier if I break it into chunks‘ frame of mind.

After finding a picture of a really really fat 2 stone cat called Ulrik (I wouldn’t want to be the one changing his kitty litter) I hit upon the idea of using the visual (and often ridiculous) element of losses just like this to motivate me. One of my most cherished milestones was a 45kg fridge freezer – which I’d lost by October 2016 (link)

Knowing that you’ve lost not only lost five gazebos but also over two and a half fridge freezers is a great way to start the day – and although it started damp and rainy it promised to be a good one.

I was meeting a fellow blogger and all round like minded lady and we were going to brave the elements together whilst I twalked her around Warwick and Leamington to see the sights.

This may sound odd to people (maybe a little younger than myself) when I say that I’ve never met anyone on the internet, formed an online friendship and then turned that into a real friendship before.

I know many people who have – and it just seems to be the way of things lately – but I’ve always been a little more traditional in this respect. I’ve preferred to meet people in person first and then think about being friends.

It’s just another testament to how my life has changed for the better however that writing this blog has widened my circle of friends and put me in contact with some genuinely lovey and interesting people – many of whom are on similar paths in life.

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Hayley is just such a person – and you’ll find her blog over here. Aside from being an all-round good egg, and a fellow Slimming World’r she’s really handy with a camera – and I’m constantly thinking ‘I wish I’d taken that photo!’ whenever I read her posts.

Yesterday however wasn’t a great day for photography. Although neither of us seemed to care in the least it was blowing a real gale in this rather grey picture – and for the majority of the day it was either threatening to or actually raining – apart from a brief moment in the park when the sun came out and the squirrels began to play.

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It’s a shame – because I really wanted her to see where I live at it’s best – but it’s always a good excuse to do it all over again when the weather is better.

After meeting for a coffee we essentially migrated through parks and coffee shops for the entire day – twalking and sharing experiences about life and the ‘journey’ (there must be a better word!) that we’ve both been on.

Another side effect of writing this blog has been how often I’m confronted with the realisation that people are always more alike than they are different. Regardless of where they come from and what they do or don’t believe in, fundamentally we’re all driven by the same dreams, and often the same fears.

When I talk to people in relation to what I’ve been through and what I’ve written about I’m often comforted by the knowledge that I’m never alone – because everyone around me is experiencing something akin to what I do.

The causes and effects differ – but spending really enjoyable day with my fellow traveller yesterday, and finding out how much we had in common just reminded me more than ever that human beings are more alike than they are different.

Thats a very comforting thought.

It means that none of us are really adrift in life, because walking to the left, right, in front and behind are others just like us – who want better lives and to be better people.

The other great thing about a day out with a like minded SW blogger (who is really really close to target!) is that we were assured to remain totally on plan. Neither of us had any intention of leading the other astray – and as such our choices were virtuous and mutually supportive. After much exercise the day ended at the Harvester with a well deserved unlimited salad bowl.

I ate not one but two platefulls like this.

Nom Nom Nom…

Needless to say I slept like a log last night – and thoroughly look forward to doing it all over again some time in the future.

Anyway internet – I’ve already filled the slow cooker (it’s beef stew for dinner!) made myself a speedy packed lunch and now it’s time to have a shower and get ready for work. I’ve another walk planned for this evening and I need to keep up the weight loss momentum that I had on the scales on Saturday.

The only way is DOWN!!!

Let the day commence!!!

Davey

 

If you try

I’ve had one of those nights where I didn’t sleep very well at all. I’ve been lying in the dark turning things over in my mind and just seemed unable to switch my brain off.

Normally times like this arrive when things are going badly. Worries get the better of me and fears become magnified without reason.

Today though I awoke from what little sleep I’d managed to get feeling amazing – because my moments of periodic (and lengthy) waking thoughts overnight had found me daydreaming (or more accurately nightnotdreaming) about future possibilities rather than obsessing over fears.

Every time I found myself awake I realised I was on the precipice in a dream of a positive thought – about to plunge into unknown depths of possibility – and all I could think about was not only how far I’ve come – but also how far I can now go.

Many many months ago any nocturnal struggles I suffered with could usually be traced back to self belief. People may not have noticed this so much interpersonally – but I realise now that whilst I knew deep down I could lose all the weight if I put my mind to it I felt I had no tangible evidence of success and in darker moments I often used historical failures as confirmation that I was still very capable of screwing up.

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This may sound ridiculous to some – because even half way through my journey at this point last year (the photo above is from the 26th Nov 2016) I had already lost a colossal amount of weight (I’d lost 8st 5.5lbs – progress charts can be found here) – in fact the entirety of one of my smaller female friends.

To most people the volumes of fat I’d shed even back then would have been good reason for them to call me a success – but deep down it didn’t mean that to me.

In my mind it was good but in many ways it still meant nothing because hadn’t gotten to the ‘end point’.

Sure – everything I’d done represented progress in life and I was happy that I had been able to do as well as I’d managed to do back then – but I was continually and profoundly uncomfortable with notions of ‘success’ and also (in particular) had a great deal of difficulty with being labelled by some people as ‘an inspiration’.

Despite writing about myself in public and posting pictures of my face left right and centre I don’t consider myself an extrovert or an egotist (although I’m not oblivious to the obvious tensions and contradictions between this opinion and my current social media presence) and being viewed this way is not something I felt comfortable with.

I’ve come to realise lately though that my ‘Rubicon’ moment not so long ago (link) when I passed the point where I weighed less than I’d lost was psychologically much more than I thought it was.

img_4882This was something I’d NEVER done before.

I’ve been able to lose large amounts of weight several times in the past – but then I’ve always slipped back into old habits and put it all (and a lot more besides) back on. I realise now that I always treated the symptoms and not the causes – and that’s why I failed so spectacularly time and time again. I also did it largely on my own or to please other people.

This time though things are different. I can feel it. I’ve surrounded myself with the right people, forced myself to be honest, confronted my fears and weakness in front of an audience and managed to carry on because of their support and the insights that this behaviour has caused me to gain about myself.

I’ve changed underlying behaviours and not just gone on a DIET.

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Because of this my sense of accomplishment is profound.

I’m not where I want to be yet but that’s now completely immaterial because my mind now believes totally without any doubt that getting to AND REMAINING AT my goal weight is not a case of IF or HOW but WHEN.

The reason I couldn’t sleep is because I’m aware that even when faced with a little stalled progress I no longer fall apart. I get stronger and more determined.

That’s not the man I was.

It’s not even close.

The old me took everything like that as continued evidence that I was worthless and used it to underpin the lazy and self destructive mindset I’d buried myself under. This repeatedly told me that it was easier not to try – because if I didn’t then I could never fail.

Now the difference is that I’ve tried and I’ve succeeded.

That may sound odd – not being where I want to be just yet – but what’s changed is profound. My fear of failure around weight loss is gone.

I know that I can do it. I know that once I’ve done it I will stick with it. I know that while I stick with it I will also begin to rebuild other parts of my life – and in doing so I want to be a positive force in other people’s journeys.

I feel all of this inside at the moment, bubbling up like a fountain, and ready to burst up into the sky with an uncontrollable force – and it’s incredibly energising.

Anyway – as always I have stuff to do. In need of energy and in honour of getting a new job, this morning I dug my Nespresso machine out of my kitchen cupboard, popped in 3 generic Aldi super strength coffee pods (one at a time) and filled my Venti sized mug with dark, frothy goodness.

Currently I’m half way down it, listening to ridiculously anti social dance music on Spotify and hyping myself up for a bunch of tasks! Hope you feel as good as I do – and if you don’t then I hope you will soon.

Whatever it is you think you can’t do internet you’re probably wrong.

I bet you absolutely totally can if you try x

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Davey

Higher consciousness

As is customary with a Saturday morning I awoke to a trance like state. This is a moment of half asleep but growing self awareness that I suspect every dieter experiences when they first open their eyes on their weigh in day.

This (when you’ve been practising the technique as long as I have) involves slipping temporarily into a state of higher consciousness. Whilst there you can evaluate every sensation present in your body.

After many years of practice a slimmer such as I can become one with their inner universe, listening to their controlled, zen like breathing, and the rhythmic, relaxed pulse of their heart. They allow these bio-rhythms to guide them and slowly begin to follow the internal energy of their mystical chi as it invisibly flows through each limb, cell and nuclei.

They spread their consciousness outward and inwardly simultaneously and momentarily exist both inside and outside their bodies – often looking down at themselves from above.

Finally – when they are completely at one with themselves they then begin to draw in all of the available sensory data and examine it carefully.

Then (and only then) with careful deliberations and with the benefit of many years of similar meditations make a decision about the findings, compare them with historical records and pronounce their considered judgement.

‘Nope. I’m still fat.’

They invariably say, whilst grabbing a chunk of it here or there to wobble.

I do this every week. I’d even begun (a teeny bit) this week to convince myself that the dreaded plateau had finally arrived. I’ve had essentially zero progress for the last two weeks, firstly losing a pound and then last week putting it straight back on. However – I wasn’t unduly upset at this potential situation.

I’m in this for the long haul and I’ve been expecting something like this.

I’d actually go further and say that I’ve been planning for it.

I know how much I eat, I know how much I burn and I know how fit I am. If something doesn’t work then I just put more effort in – rather than say ‘screw it’ and consider myself a failure. Gone are the days when I view one bad day (or week) as confirmation of my worst fears that I’m a complete failure. Now it’s just a moment – and the next moment is something else entirely..

And right now it’s also a moment that says I need to get out of bed and start the day. I have a LOT to do.

(author makes an early start to get some miles in and walks into town – grabs the things he needs, finds some excellent bargains and comes back home before walking to group.)

Firstly let me wind the clock back a bit. This week has been a real rollercoaster.

On Thursday I got all smart.

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Once I’d made myself presentable I went to a job interview.

In it I tried as best I could to be honest and open about myself and my motivations in life – including what makes me happy and what doesn’t. I attempted as much as possible not to oversell any aspect of myself and just be truthful about what I can and can’t (or won’t) do – and what I need to feel at one with myself – as well as what I think I can give when I’m at my best.

Partially because of this Friday was a good day and in many ways I felt cleansed. I got up early, walked to work (I was actually dancing along the roadside listening to Bruno Mars at one point) and then randomly decided to stop off at a coffee shop to treat myself to an Americano.

As I turned from the till with my cup I noticed a familiar face seated by the window and as I strolled out I said hello as I passed. The familiar face smiled back and said hi – but if I’m honest he looked a little blank. I lifted my coffee, smiled and said ‘see you later!’

I continued on my way to work. It was a lovely day with a thick frost and bright sunlight.

Everything was fresh and my mood was awesome!

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Then as I turned into the work car park, confirmation arrived that the day would be a good one.

Thanks to some atrocious litter bug I picked up my sixth magic Mcdonalds coffee bean, attached it to the card in my wallet and took the cup to the recycling point in the office canteen. I now have a free coffee and disposed of more litter!

Win!

Then as I sat at my desk I got a text – from the (anonymous) wife of the (anonymous) man I’d met in the coffee shop.

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Honestly this almost made me punch the air with triumph – and I turned and told the whole office what I’d just received.

Not long afterwards I was then told that I’d managed to get the job I’d applied for (which I won’t discuss on social media for obvious reasons).

It’s a new departure for me in an industry that I have no experience of – but whilst that’s slightly scary, it’s also very exciting – because whilst it’s going to be a steep learning curve its also a role full of possibility that allows me to use my transferrable skills and is a chance try something new and see if I can make it work.

I hope I can– and to do so I want to make the physical me the best that it can be so that the mental me can fire on every single cylinder it’s got .

Anyway – now you know the full context behind the moment when I stood on the scales this morning.

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This week I smashed it– despite thinking I wouldn’t.

I have half a pound to go before I have my next 18.5 stone certificate – and I have just two pounds over a frikking stone to go before I reach my 15 stone goal weight.

Remember this from October 19th?

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I’m nearly there internet!!!! I’m sooooo close!!!!

(author looks above for falling piano – but sees nothing, carries on writing)

So – the rest of my day is going to be spent on other tasks – all of which are not interesting enough to be even vaguely blog worthy (unless you have a perverted need to be subjected to my hoovering, shopping and laundry exploits) so I better bid you all adieu and get on with everything.

Happy Saturday!!!

Davey

Determined to find out

One of the unintended consequences of the last couple of years of change has been a continued underlying level of confusion surrounding many things that I previously took for granted in life.

It really never occurred to me when I was ‘old Davey’ that every major thought or decision that I made about anything was arrived at through a complex and all consuming collection of fears or suppressed pain (and occasionally anger too).

As ‘new Davey’ when I recently spoke to all of the various Slimming World meetings about my progress I briefly touched upon this topic. At the time I explained it in terms of saying ‘NO’ to everything purely because I’d got used to hiding the true reason I didn’t like doing certain things behind carefully constructed excuses.

These weren’t just served up for the benefit of others. I force fed myself a range of them too. They were specifically designed to convince me that I was happy with my lot in life and that certain things were unimportant to me.

Some common things I said to others and told myself were:

  1. Gardening is a waste of time – grass never stops growing so what’s the point? I couldn’t care less about gardening. (translation – it hurts when I do it and I get badly sunburnt because I never go out)
  2. I don’t want a lift. I don’t like not being in control of the driving. (translation – there’s no way in hell I’ll be able to get your seatbelt on or fit in your car without winding the front seat all the way back and looking like a fool)
  3. Who needs to go on holiday when you have video games? I have a virtual world at the tip of my thumbs and I can go anywhere I want without leaving my armchair. (translation – I can no longer leave my armchair and go anywhere I want.)

The list goes on and on.

I’ve become infinitely more aware of many such things like this – and irritatingly even more structures remain silently in place, hiding from view until I catch them in the cold light of day and have cause to question my behaviour.

‘Why did I do or say that? It’s not how I really feel….’

The thing is – it’s not just as simple as a straight yes or no response, and I fear that when speaking to the people in those rooms I undersold the complexity of the choices I’m faced with every day.

I had to do a personality test recently – and as I read the instructions for it prior to starting I thought ‘no problemo – this will be easy!’ I launched the process and was immediately faced with a screenful of words, all of which were either supposed to be very like me – or absolutely nothing like me.

All I had to do was choose.

However – when I’m still learning who I am, how do I answer such questions?

Am I determined? I never thought I was – but I suppose I must be. If I said I wasn’t then how do I account for my progress in life? That didn’t happen by accident. Maybe that’s who I am now?

Is the most important thing to me stability? It used to be – but then I left everything that provided it in my life behind and walked away from it (quite literally) towards something new. I’ve been doing so physically and metaphorically ever since.

Am I ambitious? Again – I could never have been accused of this in the past – but without a burning desire to be a better person I couldn’t have improved my fitness so radically, pushed my diabetes into retreat, and met target after self imposed target with my weight loss.

Then it hit me in the middle of the test.

Why am I still on my own?

The reason I became this way (I never used to be content with the silence of just myself – it was quite the opposite in fact) was because of everything I described above. It was just another mechanism for hiding from things that hurt me.

So why is it still the case?

I’m beginning to think I need to take steps to change even more radically and shift my comfort zones even further away from what they currently are. I’ve been quietly doing this behind the scenes in a couple of areas of my life – but oddly this one thing seems to be both static and unchanging.

I get to the point where I’m almost mentally there and then I emotionally withdraw again and pack it all away once more. I convince myself this is me. It’s just who I am. I’m better off this way.

Maybe it’s fear of the unknown, or fear of rejection.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve been this way for so long now that I don’t know how to be different. Maybe it’s because (and this is totally true) I feel if I’m not at my target weight that I’m not a fully functional person just yet.

still think of myself as someone that’s going to pass unnoticed by potential partners – and (in much the same way as I feel I have been for many years) I’ve never seen myself as someone that anyone would want to be with because I was both grossly obese and incapable of so many things in so many areas of life.

None of that’s true any more though is it?

I’m no longer the freakish and immense oddity that still sits in my head labelled ‘Davey’s image of himself’. I’m someone new – both inside and out. I have different motivations, and different perspectives.

I’m simultaneously stronger than I was and more capable than I’ve ever been.

Do I know what motivates me though? Do I know who I am?

No – not yet internet – but I’m determined to find out.

Davey

The beginning of something beautiful

I’ve been busy today, and have had a number of errands to run after work.

This evening has been dark, it’s been cold, it’s been wet, it’s been windy, and both Warwick and Leamington have been gridlocked with traffic. Frankly it’s not been nice – but I’ve tried to make the most of it.

As regular readers will know I don’t drive anywhere if I can help it these days – so there’s a smug sense of satisfaction to be had from walking an entire mile along the Myton Road and actually beating barely moving stationary traffic from one end to the other.

Queue forever suckers – shoe leather for the win!

While I’ve been hurrying from A to B (I nailed seven miles after work – yay!) I’ve been accompanied by my new partner in crime.

It’s been a little while since I’ve been in a truly reciprocal and loving relationship – and it seems like the one may have finally come along. It’s frankly been a while – and honestly at first I wasn’t sure how to manage the complex emotions surrounding a new and instantly intimate coupling – but I’m just trying to go with the flow.

We went out in public for the first time just yesterday and it’s fair to say that we got pretty close in front of everyone.

I think me and Supercoat 2 are in love.

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I doubt that she could have appeared in my life at a better time – as the weather has been raining or blowing a gale since I had the good fortune to walk into a charity shop in Kenilworth on Sunday (link) and tried it on – expecting that it wouldn’t fit me.

For those who missed this cataclysmic event – It’s a LARGE. There aren’t any X’s in front of that L. It’s just an L. On its own. With nothing else.

A Laaaaaaarrrrgggggeeeee….

(let’s just let that hang in the air.)

Laaaaarggggeee…..

Not that I’m extatic or walking on air or anything.

Noooo…. Not me. I’m taking it all in my stride, and absolutely NOT taking selfies all the time.

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I’ve also barely paid any attention to how Supercoat 2 looks in comparison to it’s predecessor when I tried it on way back in February.

In fact nothing could have been further from my mind.

OK. I lied.

How flipping AWESOME is that?!

I was sooooooo happy when Supercoat 1 fitted me back then. It was the first time that ANYTHING on the high street had become wearable – and because I was so bowled over I ended up spending well over £100 on it.

At the time it seemed like pocket change compared to specialist retailer prices at the Big and Tall outsized shops – most of whom didn’t make such an item in an 8XL, a 7XL, a 6XL or even a 5XL.

Now I’m wearing the finest second hand item (in LARGE. Did I mention that?) that money can buy and it cost me the princely sum of £8.

That’s nirvana right there.

I know that because the canteen at work (which is besieged by endless birthday food every single day) reminds me continually what nirvana isn’t.

If you want to know what the road to unhappiness looks like internet then look no further – because at great personal risk to myself I have captured photographic evidence.

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The Belgians.

Evil.

On the one side I have the joy of wearing a LARGE (not sure if I mentioned that), cheap and lovely coat that fits me perfectly, and on the other…

Eclairs. And Belgians.

It’s no contest really.

I’ll take Supercoat 2 any day of the week. The Belgians can keep their chocolate creamy treats.

Davey

Productive Sunday

Although I’m used to filling my day with things to do, sometimes it hits me just how much I can fit in now that I’m no longer wiped out after just waddling to my car and back.

After my less than stellar result on the scales yesterday I decided to go for it today and (probably much to the annoyance of my neighbours) was out mowing my back garden at 7.45am.

I haven’t much choice in the timing really. I had a lot to do today and I haven’t been able to do it for a while. It’s dark when I get home in the week now and I’ve been meaning to get the last mow of the year in for a couple of weeks – but have ended up putting it off again and again.

Today though it hadn’t rained. Instead there was just a lot of dew and most of it was freezing. I’ve never mowed frosty grass before – and to be honest it was a laborious task, requiring a lot of periodic poking underneath the blades with a stick to scrape off all of the clogged up grass.

The back lawn looked a bit soggy and clumpy afterwards (grass clippings don’t like collecting in my lawn mower basket when the grass is frozen solid apparently) but crucially it was done.

The next mow shouldn’t be needed until springtime.

One thing that I actually really like about my back garden is its complete lack of perfection. It’s got things growing in odd places, flaking paint, moss and a healthy population of frogs.

Whenever I investigate the little overgrown or dilapidated bits there’s always something I like the look of.

IMG_0694IMG_0701Although I need to do some weeding around the borders the garden has (for the first time since I moved in) remained well managed and accessible for the whole of summer and autumn.

I’m determined that (whilst I really don’t care about it looking like a bowling green) it will remain in this well maintained state forever more – and never go back to the apocalyptic mess that I let it become when I wasn’t coping very well.

I’ve said before that mowing the lawns used to be a major undertaking for me.

That’s actually a vast understatement- it used to be agony and I often did it whilst rather drunk or drinking with that objective in mind for precisely that reason – because it didn’t hurt so much emotionally or physically during or afterwards.

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I found this gem of a photo that I took of myself mid way through mowing my back lawn in 2012 – far from my heaviest weight. I was sitting on a stool at the time because I was in agonising pain. My back was screaming, I was drenched in sweat and (from memory) already half way down a bottle of strong white wine.

The expression on my face (I think) speaks volumes.

This morning however I finished the mowing, bundled away my tools, grabbed a hot drink and headed off for a coffee with a friend in Kenilworth, which is a four mile walk from my house.

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It was a pretty energetic four miles too.

I’ve been chasing a 15 minute mile ever since I started Slimming World thanks to an offhand statement by a guy there in the early days who said he walked four miles in the morning. When I asked how long it took, he casually said an hour – which I was completely gobsmacked at (at the time a mile took me about 60-90 minutes) so I made it my mission to do the same.

Although almost nineteen months later I’m still not quite there, what I can do instead is demonstrate a lot more stamina.

Whilst I haven’t broken the 15 minute mile sound barrier (yet) I’m still trying and in the meantime getting a lot better at keeping a continued and consistent pace up for a pretty respectable distance.

really enjoyed the walk (and the coffee and chat I had whilst in Kenilworth) but otherwise on a Sunday the place is mostly a ghost town.

Everything is closed.

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However (praise be!) there was a single charity shop open in the precinct near Waitrose – and right at the back, hidden amongst the coats and jackets was a Peter Storm combined fleece and raincoat in a large size.

I was a bit miffed.

It was in excellent condition and it was only £8. Furthermore it was just what I need at the moment as it gets progressively colder and wetter – but annoyingly it was in a large. I have a raincoat and I also have nice fleece – but I haven’t had a combined waterproof and warm jacket since I gave my 3XL supercoat to my dad.

Sigh. I miss supercoat.

We had some good times together.

I decided to try some shirts on instead – but nothing took my fancy.

Although they were nice I have plenty of shirts that fit currently – and there was no need to buy them just for the sake of it. After putting a other nice lumberjack shirt back on the rail I reached down to grab my jumper and gilet.

As I lifted my jumper I stopped.

I thought ‘I wonder how tight it is? Maybe I should try it anyway….’

So – I pulled it off its hanger, threw it over my shoulders, pulled the zip ends together and began to draw it upwards.

I fully expected it to stop at my waist, but the zip kept moving. It passed my belly button and I genuinely felt a flush of excitement. Would it fit? A coat in a large size?

Then the zip stopped dead.

It would go no further. 

….

….

At this point I’d usually sigh inwardly and put the item back on the rack, thinking ‘maybe tomorrow’.

Not today.

THE ZIP HAD STOPPED BECAUSE IT WAS UNDER MY CHIN!!!

THE COAT ONLY FLIPPING FITTED ME!!!

So I bought it.

I am now the proud owner of a new (old) large supercoat. It’s currently drying on the radiator after a spirited turn in the washing machine, so photos will have to wait for the time being – but it doesn’t just fit (and is now florally fragrant) it fits me properly!!!

So – with my super flipping excellent wonderful bloomin fantastic smashing great purchase swinging back and forth in a carrier bag I practically skipped back to Warwick in the late morning sunshine.

The day couldn’t end there however.

I had a bite to eat when I got back, did another hour in the garden and then headed off for a walk to Sainsburys in Leamington on another errand. By the time I got there I was still floating on air and (after getting what I needed and having another coffee) I headed back home – and what a lovely walk it turned out to be.

There was a terrific slow motion sunset that seemed to fill the world with orange and yellow hues – and as I passed the river on the way back to my house a couple of swans decided to float into a perfect position below me just in time for my camera.

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Sigh.

Does life get any better than this?

I think not.

I have so little in material terms nowadays – but I feel like I’ve got everything sometimes. Even a Disney themed carrier bag makes me feel happy.

I miss almost none of the stuff that I used to fill my life with to avoid negative thoughts. It was all just a parade of distractions designed to stop me truly living my life and making the most of every day.

At the time of writing I’ve walked just under 17 miles and in doing so have smashed my calorie burn and cardio requirements for the day.

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Hopefully this will go some way towards making up for my little gain – and maybe even help me have a loss next week.

Either way internet – nothing can take away the fact that today I stood in a charity shop that I walked four miles (in just over an hour) to get to, and zipped up a coat in a size that I’ve never worn in my entire adult life.

That’s a great way to end the day.

Hugs to all.

Davey

Adult credentials

Weather wise today couldn’t be more different from yesterday – but the consistent theme of continually decreasing temperatures is ever present.

I’ve therefore decided to choose the nuclear option and… (sharp intake of breath) turned on the central heating.

I think it would be hard for anyone to argue that my blog these days is anything less than a white knuckle ride that continually challenges society’s status quo. As you can see I’m not afraid to rip up the rule book and go all out with shocking and provocative behaviour.

Yep. I said it. I’ve cranked up my boiler and the radiators are red hot baby!!!

I’ll admit that I’ve probably taken the (multi layered thermal underwear) Scrooge Mcduck approach to keeping warm probably a little further than I should have – but I’m really mindful that my energy deal isn’t as good as last year’s and I don’t want a kicking when my gas bill comes in.

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Plus I love my new slippers. They’re insanely comfortable!!!

However – the alternative is being totally tit free because they’re currently frikkin frozen off!

So – in an effort to maintain toasty moobs (at least in the short term) my house is currently set to ‘tropical heatwave’ and I’m nice and warm once more.

I made this decision after coming home in the typically lightweight clothes I wear to weigh in on a Saturday.

This kind of strategic dressing is something I think all of the group attendees engage in (most appear to have their preferred ‘weigh in outfit’ and many admit to having weighed it on their scales – myself included) but the majority of them seem to arrive by car, whereas I’m walking home and therefore open to the elements – which today were inclement.

My helium filled featherweight underpants didn’t help today though unfortunately. This week I put a pound on rather than taking one off.

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However I’ve had a six week run of losses so I’m not particularly fussed. As I said to one person who asked – ‘I’m unlikely to be found face down in a trifle’.

A pound can be sorted relatively easily and in the grand scheme of things I’m not going to let it bother me.

Not being bothered is one thing however.

What I’m not saying is that I don’t care and plan to do nothing about it. I think the only way forward is to mix up what I’m eating and see what kind of an effect that has.

I’m a shocking creature of habit and I’ve had the same lunch that I’ve taken to work with me every day for two weeks (apart from one day when I had a salad at the pub.)

The lunch has been

  • 100g ham 116 kcal
  • 300g cottage cheese 168
  • 6 tomatoes 180

My reasoning behind this was that structure (I thankfully don’t get bored easily when I like a certain food) would mean I didn’t have to worry about whether I was over or under eating. Crucially too this exact amount makes me feel full and I’m not hungry again until I get home in the evening.

However – I guess it’s not particularly sensible to eat the same stuff every day – so this week I’ll try instead to make some different things in advance.

This is tricky though because once again after a trip to Aldi this morning my fridge door looks like this.

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Sigh.

My name is Davey and I’m a cottage cheese addict. 😔

On the plus side I’m also an easily pleased magpie, and it really doesn’t take much to cheer me up.

This week I’ve found another coffee bean and have two more to get for my free McDonald’s coffee (I refuse to buy them when there are discarded stickers everywhere on McDonald’s crap littering the streets – and I put the cup in the bin afterwards too).

On top of this I also found a Finding Dory shopping bag for my groceries on the way to the supermarket yesterday AND a £1 coin sized trolly token!img_0679img_0680img_0614
lf anyone is unsure of my credentials as a mature grown up they can rest assured that I am nothing of the sort.

That is indeed an R2D2 Star Wars wallet and I am an overgrown child that’s made unreasonably happy by a cartoon fish smiling on the side of a shopping bag, a sticky bean, and a trolly token.

Sue me.

The truth of it is that when I gleefully told a friend about my good fortune she said ‘That’s what I like about you. You remind me that life is as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.’

After replaying this in my head I’m 99% sure that she wasn’t calling me simple.

I think. 🤔

Instead I just choose to see little things like this as stuff that brightens up my day. It’s a sticker, a piece of circular metal and a used shopping bag – but they’re cool in my world.

It’s not about money or wealth. It’s just about being happy. Anyway internet – today I plan to do a bit more walking and then sit in my sweltering living room wearing shorts with a non alcoholic cocktail (otherwise known as coffee).

Enjoy your Saturday and make sure you take pleasure in the little things that life throws your way.

Davey

The twin towers

I’m trying not to think too much about tomorrow’s weigh in – but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind at the moment.

Although I’ve not had any major ‘falls from grace’ I feel with the loss of daylight since the clocks changed and the (flipping ridiculous) cold I’ve probably eaten more in the evenings than I otherwise would have in the summer when I was out and about more.

I feel that I’m in a kind of squirrel like ‘hibernation mode’ – and as well as wanting more (metaphorical rather than actual) nuts I’m also in need of more sleep. Whereas I was naturally getting about 6 hours shut eye in the summer, now I’m regularly taking advantage of 8-9.

It may have something to do with the fact that it’s generally darker or that I just sleep better in a colder environment with a warm bed (and fleecy jogging bottoms, a teeshirt, sweatshirt, hoodie and thermal socks) but I have no idea why…

This is on top of the fact that even though I’m only walking slightly less every day I still feel that I’m not doing enough. Honestly if the weather and light conditions were more accommodating I’d be pounding the pavements late into the evening – but I’m not going to do it if i don’t enjoy it (on my own it’s just grim in the evenings now) and resent time I’d rather have spent doing something more fun now that I’m working.

And that leads me to another thing.

Currently every weekday looks the same in my stats. Working again has effectively made apple watch continually create ‘the twin towers’.

I’m still averaging around nine miles a day (thanks to a usually very active weekend) but currently the huge gap in the middle is completely unavoidable. I now sit all day long and if I want quick money there’s no immediate way around it.

I’m also regularly back in an environment where ‘birthday food’ is a thing.

This week has seen cheese and crackers, cakes, mince pies, biscuits, vegetable samosas (Davey Kryptonite) and fish pakoras along with other various nibbles sitting in between me and the kettle when I go into the small canteen area.

Temptation is everywhere! We even get helpful e-mails arriving with notifications of the pending temptations just in case we randomly miss them.

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However – I can accept this.

It’s a fact of life and in the same way as I can happily stand in a bar without falling face first into a glass of wine or a pint of beer I’m content to eat my own packed lunch and let everyone else indulge.

Sitting down isn’t really a massive issue either as long as I’m still getting the exercise I need every single day – and so far I am.

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With precisely this in mind this morning I headed out early to get an extra extra mile or so in on the way to the office – and I’m really glad I did. The added distance around the park was a truly lovely spectacle as the sun rose and steamed the frost slowly off the surrounding grass and trees.

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Although it took me an hour and a half to walk to work (normally it’s about 55 minutes each way) it was soooooo worth it.

I find that although everything is freezing even if I wear four layers that after around a mile to a mile and a half of brisk walking I’m as snug as a bug in a rug. However – without a beard (which I sometimes miss having) my face is currently experiencing regular bouts of rigor mortis.

Smiling for a selfie when all I can feel is frost is consequently something of a tough sell, so you’ll have to excuse the expression. Personally I think I look like I have a frozen carrot secreted somewhere about my person – but I may be overstating matters.

However I’m not sure I want to be beardy Davey any more anyway. I can’t imagine having fur everywhere anymore… Although a year ago my face was less chilly I didn’t like it as much…

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There are other things however that make this kind of early morning jaunt really worthwhile.

Sitting at home, unloved and ignored was my car.

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In my old job I can’t even begin to calculate how much time I spent scraping it’s windows in winter, continually running the engine to defrost it, then once it warmed up sitting in traffic waiting to get onto one road or another after I left my house – but more importantly how much money I spent travelling 14,000 miles a year to work and back.

Frankly I’d rather eat my underpants than do that again. It’s used only for pleasurable things now or particularly bulky shopping that weighs a ton or will defrost if I carry it home. I can get to work under my own steam.

When I do this is the result.

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So – whilst I could drive to work in around 15 minutes, as opposed to around an hour of walking – look what the alternative is.

I’m fitter, healthier, more alive, less trapped by convenience, less tied down by costs, kinder to the environment and in every way worth measuring I am living an infinitely better life than I did two years ago. Furthermore I get to see all of this under my own steam with the benefit of a clear mind and a body that benefits from positive life choices and now genuinely enjoys the feeling that it gets from making it’s own way to wherever it’s going.

Screw the car, screw the biscuits, and screw feeling anything less than as good as I physically and mentally can.

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Life’s about living – and regardless of what I eventually end up doing in the future at the moment I’m living a good life.

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Now – if I can please please have a good loss on the scales tomorrow that would really make my week internet. If you can all collectively think floaty thoughts for me then maybe we can sucker the scales into telling me several pounds have evaporated.

(author imagines feathers floating on the breeze…)

Davey

Bendy lights

I was walking home tonight and thinking how much I like passing one particular shop window. Day after day I’ve found myself gazing at the coloured lamps within like a moth faced with a full moon and I can’t help stopping to admire it.

The display has reminded me of a variety of things each time I’ve passed it and tonight it made me stop and think of Christmas – although I don’t imagine that’s it’s intent.

I think they’re just trying to sell nice lamps. The shop doesn’t seem at all seasonal otherwise.

On other evenings the bendy ones have made me think back to the 90’s and a flat I had at university. Their curves are reminiscent of a similar one that I owned back then and it reminds me of happy times.

When I’ve passed on other days the shop window has simply made me think that there’s something missing in my current house – and that I want to buy something similar so I can add a touch of colour to my living room on dark and gloomy days.

I’m rather glad I passed the shop front in a good frame of mind this evening and thought Christmassy thoughts though – because when I strode by in the morning I was in a completely different mood.

I seem to be having quite a lot of vivid dreams lately – and although many just make me wake up and think ‘what the heck?’ there are one or two that have left me feeling quite disturbed.

This morning I awoke very early in the middle of what can only be described as a severe ‘body modification’ dream. It was about as close to horror as it gets – and I can’t quite figure out whether I was a victim or a powerless observer in it.

The protagonist was female – but at times I was her – yet toward the end I was external to the proceedings and watching what was happening.

This woman (who was initially me) hated herself so profoundly that she’d asked someone to surgically rebuild her as he saw fit. To do this he was adding and removing limbs and flesh as the mood took him – and slowly turning her into some kind of doll.

Instead of using flesh in place of flesh however he was choosing synthetic materials to remake her/me and the consequence of this was that she (or I) could feel nothing any more as the layers built up and covered what was real and encased inside.

By the end of the nightmare I awoke fully expecting to be made of plastic and to have only my innards left.

Needless to say it was extremely unsettling and remained with me for much of the morning. I thought about it all the way on my walk to work – and it wasn’t until lunch time that I managed to move away from it.

I’m not quite sure why all of a sudden my imagination is so rampant at night – or indeed why rather out of the blue I seem to be having nightmares instead of dreams.

In my waking life I think I’m quite content – and just getting on with my day to day business – so I’m not entirely sure what to make of these recent pulse pounding white knuckle rides. So far they’ve been (amongst other things) about my mother and now this decidedly odd topic.

Maybe this one’s about what I’m becoming – how I’ve morphed into something new over time – and made my outward appearance change so much.

However I’m not sure I understand the lack of feeling or the relinquished control aspects of the nightmare – as neither are things I either want or think that I suffer from.

Regardless of this internet I’m hoping for better dreams for the rest of the week. Waking up at the crack of dawn sweating has left me feeling like a total zombie for most of today.

Here’s hoping that tonight is instead one of fluffy teddy bears, (sugar free) lollipops and rolling green hillsides!

Fingers crossed x

Davey

Lovelyandwarmandtoasty!!!

I’m just gonna get right out there and say it. I’m really flipping happy today.

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The sun was is shining in the park and as I took this photo I felt good.

Although there’s still a serious chill in the air I really don’t care at all. My happiness – although enhanced by the weather – is predominantly caused by other things in life. I can’t stop thinking today that I’ve a lot to be thankful for – and what’s more almost none of it just fell into my lap.

When I woke up this morning (after proudly posting a before and after comparison shot on Instagram) I sat thinking about why I’d done it for a while as I sipped my morning coffee.

I never used to post my image anywhere. Now I do it a lot.

There’s a sometimes overused platitude that nothing worth having in life ever comes free or is easy to obtain. Whilst I could argue that winning the lottery might just blow that statement out of the water – from the point of view of experiencing true satisfaction in life I think I’d have to agree.

Although I still have some way to go before I’m what I consider to be fully ‘fixed’ (by this I mostly mean ‘at my target weight’) I’ve never felt so vital, so alive, so connected with others or the world around me in my entire life.

There’s a big part of me that automatically feels a little sad about that – because I’m probably already half way through my time on Earth and so far most of it has been wasted.

Like the ‘before’ shot on Instagram much of it was viewed through one kind of haze or another and I never truly lived.

However the optimist in me is in the driving seat today and frankly he’s not having a hard time finding things to be happy about. In terms of the receptacle of life my cup is currently very much half full.

Consequently (although the world may be attempting to freeze skinnier Davey to death) I now feel that everywhere I go I have a place in it. I can sit in its small seats. I can move effortlessly from A to B under my own steam. I can wear its clothes. I feel confident talking to everyone in it that I meet and don’t second guess how they might view me any more. I smile at pretty much everyone I talk to because I have a continual well spring of positivity inside me.

Even my down days are a billion times better than my good ones a couple of years ago.

It comes from knowing what I’ve done and what I’m still doing. Furthermore if people ask about my past or what I had to do to become who I am now I have NO SHAME ANYMORE.

I was massively obese and I regret it profoundly – but I’ve managed to become someone new – and that man is immeasurably better in every way than the moribund mound of sedentary fat that preceded him.

I don’t care who sees the images of the man I was any more.

I previously felt the need to hide who I had been (unless directly asked) because I thought that if new people in my life found out about the life I’d (although living is probably the wrong word) ‘lived’ before they met me that they would think poorly of me.

Now I realise the truth of it.

Who I am now speaks volumes about what I’m capable of and yet always failed to realise or understand in the past.

If by sheer force of will over the course of 18 months I can lose 18 stone of body weight (which is actually almost two of one rather dainty friend glued together) then I’m capable of anything.

That’s an incredibly empowering feeling and it makes me puff up with a sense of pride that I’ve truthfully never fully allowed myself to experience before. In the past I’ve always felt that pride in my achievements would be tantamount to conceit – and because of that I’ve usually buried any happiness related to success or brushed praise aside.

My dainty friend often berates me for this. She’s absolutely right of course (she often is) and I think that it’s time to change this aspect of myself.

Rather than becoming someone who shouts about how great he is and always wants to be the centre of attention (hopefully I’ll never be that guy) I mean instead that I should just accept that I can succeed, that whatever I put my mind to I can do and that in the future I’ll always try to live my life in a better way and be there for the people I love in a way than I was never capable of before.

Of course happiness comes in a variety of forms – and you can find it in a variety of places. It can be spiritual, metaphorical and allegorical – but also transient. Whilst present it can inspire and re-invigorate the soul.

When you find it then it makes you feel warm inside and out.

Sometimes it’s a bit more simple though.

Sometimes it can be found in the new GIANT FLEECY SLIPPERS I JUST BOUGHT!!!

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Ohmygodinternetmyfeetaresolovelyandwarmandtoasty!!!!!!

Davey

Cheese toastie – and hold the lactose.

‘Granny I want my cappuccino lactose free. It’s better that way.’ said the well spoken little voice in front of me.

‘I think everything should be lactose free…’ said a young girl in the Starbucks queue clutching her triple cheese toastie (still in its wrapper) close to her chest.

‘It’s just healthier… Jeannie said so.’ she said whilst staring at the menu board.

‘Is that the sandwich you want?’ Her grandmother tentatively enquired.

‘Yes. I always have this.’ She replied. ‘It’s yummy.’

I looked at her grandmother. She had several high street store carrier bags draped over her arms and something of a ‘thousand yard stare’ etched on her face. It seemed that the morning’s shopping trip had taken its toll. Clearly time spent with the younger generation had costs of all kinds associated with it.

I idly studied an identical sandwich in the chiller as I waited behind them.

Part of me felt almost duty bound to point out the contradiction of her granddaughter’s choices.

There were after all many chunks of (no doubt very yummy) lactose in between the slices of bread in her hand. I wondered if granny had realised or if she was oblivious – but felt instead that I’d just leave it alone. It didn’t seem to me to be a dietary choice based on gastric intolerance – and instead appeared to be a faddy one based solely on the opinion of her peer.

Instead I had already automatically added up the other, hidden cost of her pit stop as the girl also examined a large chocolate coin by the till.

(One of those is 120 kcal.)

I quickly totted up the rest. The cappuccino she wanted contained 120 kcal and the sandwich would account for a further 405 kcal. In contrast I’d just eaten a very filling large baked potato with cottage cheese which had come in at around 400 kcal. I was about to order a black coffee to wash it down with.

If the young lady held onto the coin that would be a total of 645 kcal that granny would be wholly responsible for injecting into the next generation. Mentally I willed her to put the coin back and stick with her cheese sandwich and lactose free cappuccino.

The youngster was about 12 and (according to Google) should have around 1400 – 2000 a day. Clearly children of her age are expected to run around a lot and grow all the time because I eat around 2000 a day now and I’m an almost 6ft tall grown man.

This girl didn’t look like she ran a lot though. Not at all actually.

‘These aren’t the coins you’re looking for…’ I thought to myself over and over, channeling my inner Obi Wan Kenobi.

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My Jedi mind tricks worked and she put the coin back down, completely unaware of my manipulation.

Phew.

I saved her – and she’ll never know.

I can’t switch the counting off any more. I do it all the time. This is something which is both irritating and comforting in equal measure. I don’t want to be obsessed and constantly totting everything up in a mental ledger like a bank clerk but this way of thinking seems to be here to stay.

In much the same way as I developed habitual behaviours with my over eating and drinking I think now current success is based on the same problematic (and slightly OCD) part of my personality. The difference is that these days it’s used to obsess over the right choices rather than the wrong ones.

It does however sometimes become a little too structured…

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However – despite my tendency to find comfort in repetition my compulsive side proves really useful if I make a misstep because I can’t help but count all of that as well, rather than just ignoring it.

I then continue to do the same throughout the following days, calculating rough averages as the week goes on, and I’m always trying to pull things back around. This is particularly relevant (as I mentioned in my last blog) to the next phase of my weight loss journey (I still hate that word!)

The topic of maintaining weight when at target came up when chatting to fellow travellers in my Slimming World meeting today and from what they’ve said (as they’re at target) I think my mindset at the moment will help.

Although I still have occasional moments of madness currently I’m laser focused on getting to where I want to be – and bit by bit it’s paying off.

Today I managed to hammer another nail into the coffin of my obesity and dropped a pound. That’s 17.5 pounds gone over the last six weeks – which I’m really really happy with.

Although I’m still probably going to change my target I’m currently less than a stone and a half away from my 15 stone goal – which to me is rather mind blowing.

This means that I’m also now FIRMLY in the XL bracket of clothes – and today (since I’m now employed) treated myself a little in the local charity shops.

I found (what appear to be BRAND NEW) bargains of the highest order – and all in XL!

  • Debenhams John Rocha leather jacket from Sue Ryder for £40
  • Levis 505 38in waist jeans £4
  • M&S Blue Harbour long sleeve cotton shirt £3.85

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You’ll have to forgive the poor lighting – but no matter how the photo turned out I feel like a flipping princess!

On that note internet I need to eat dinner. A salad awaits and it has my name on it!!!!

Nom Nom Nom…

Davey

Kicked in the blogs

Well it’s been a busy week – and a noticeably darker and colder one at that.

However as always my focus has (whenever possible) been on eating healthy meals and making sure that I get a good level of exercise into my day.

I’ll be honest though – on the latter topic this has been much more of a challenge than usual.

Even the camera on my phone was shivering when I walked home this afternoon in the fading light.

I’m wearing four layers here, comprising of a tee-shirt, a polo shirt, a thick jumper and a bulky fleece.

Out of shot I’m also hiding my toes in thermal socks and hands in winter gloves.

I know I’ve mentioned being cold a few times in recent posts – but honestly I’m not used to this s&&t.

I’ve been hot and sweaty in all weathers for so long that I’ve zero experience of dealing with feeling this way. Not so long ago I’d have been out in a short sleeved shirt and hardly blinked if it was snowing.

I’m not joking. I’ve done just that. Many times.

I’m totally blown away by the lengths I’ve had to go to in the evenings too. I’ve resorted to ‘full hoodie mode’ in bed every night for the last four days.

As I type I’m still layered up and sitting under a duvet.

Admittedly though I’m trying at the same time to economise on heating while I have no visitors – so I’m very much aware that this is fast becoming a battle of wills between me and the forces of nature.

Anyone planning to visit me in the near future (particularly any random vegans) can rest assured that their appearance will coincide with me cranking up my boiler and going tropical for the duration of their stay.

The dark evenings have therefore been a tough sell and partially because of this I’ve been walking slightly less than I have in previous weeks.

However – I’m probably being too hard on myself because ‘slightly less’ means that I’ve still ended each day with a pretty respectable average of 8.5 miles in the bag. This also comprises of around 120 minutes of cardio – so I’m by no means turning into a couch potato.

I have however been sitting a lot more than usual. For around 8 hours a day as it happens – because this week I’ve been back in employment.

I’ve secured (thanks to a very kind person) a full time temp role to keep me busy and stem the arterial haemorrhaging that was going on in my savings account.

This so far appears to be quite a nice job with lovely people in a pretty relaxed environment with an attitude to time flexibility that I’ve not encountered before.

Although generally I’m expected to be at work I can also take time off with very short notice (although I’ve yet to test the reality of this) meaning that long walks or exploring from time to time is still an option.

It’s a Mon-Fri role as well meaning that it won’t screw over my beloved Slimming World meetings on a Saturday like my last one threatened to do one week in three.

Sadly though it has kicked me where it hurts.

Right in the blogs.

When the summer was here and it was warm and light finishing at normal office hours would have meant that there was LOADS of day left to play with and tons that I could do and write about.

Now the clocks have changed everywhere is dark, badly lit, cold and not a nice place to be on my own – so the evenings have been spent mostly indoors – which doesn’t make for great reading in my view.

If I’m honest this has left me feeling like I’m missing out on things a bit – but truthfully that’s heavily outweighed by a sudden end to my ever growing worries about money – so for the time being it’s a worthwhile compromise.

(I hope my readers will also enjoy a brief respite from my endless daily prattle whilst I replenish my accounts.)

It’s also a fun job in many ways – and is something I’ve never done before, which in itself is quite a delight. A complete change of industry brings new challenges, perspectives and also the potential for new paths should I decide that I like it enough.

For the moment though I still want my focus to be primarily health and my fitness. The most important thing in my life is getting to and remaining at target. This job seems to make that possible whilst I earn money and still gives me the possibility of free time to pursue other things too.

So – hopefully my weight is still going to carry on going down. I’ve been careful to plan ahead and I’ve either had a slow cooker meal ready for when I get home – or food in the fridge that’s on plan and quick to prepare.

It’s therefore been a week of delicious warming stews and hearty salads – and (although I’ve not been precisely counting everything) each day should sit around the 1900-2000 kcal mark and has had a large amount of speed food and the appropriate amount of free items too.

I’m never sure what this all means though – and I’m cautious about feeling confident or worried.

Instead I’m going to trust that things will sort themselves out over time and that if tomorrow isn’t what I want then the week after everything will come good.

I’m taking each blip or falter with my eating – regardless of what it is these days as continuing education for what I hope will be a lifelong obsession with weight maintenance.

I feel I need to slowly wean myself off the highs (and lows) associated with losing (or putting on) weight every week.

Getting certificates and stickers as pats on the head is wonderful motivation – but it’s going to be gone soon and I do worry a little about how that will make me feel.

From here on Internet I am going to try and focus on the psychology of being happy with slowly diminishing ‘progress’ and instead get used to whatever my new normal looks like.

It’s probably chilly though. I know that much already.

Davey

Still my mom

I awoke last night half way through a dream about my mother.

I was angry when I woke up because in the dream (in her characteristically bombastic way) my mother had walked into my room while I was undressed and started telling me how awful it was that I’d neglected her feelings.

She ignored my obvious embarrassment and continued complaining about her own hurt feelings and how awful her lot in life was.

She was lonely she said. It had been years since anyone had talked to her and she felt that this was unfair.

I bundled her out of my room – annoyed that she didn’t even try to leave when she realised I was naked more than anything else. I looked out of my bedroom window when she was gone and thought that I was sick of this behaviour, sick of her and sick of the fact that I felt so trapped by her yet couldn’t leave.

When I opened my eyes suddenly at 3am I was still annoyed. I wanted to get up and give her a piece of my mind. This was yet another example of her selfish behaviour – which often overpowered every conversation and continually drove a wedge between us.

I looked around in the dark and realised that the room was different. I wasn’t in a single bed and everything had changed. Where I was lying was in my own house, in my own bed and in my own room.

The house was empty except for me.

I felt different too. As I replayed the events I suddenly noticed in the dream I’d been a younger man. A teen in fact.

I’d been in my childhood room, and was living under her roof instead of my own – and still subject to her endless mood swings.

I then realised that no matter how annoyed and hurt I was I couldn’t tell her how I felt even if I wanted to.

She was gone.

I was angry with a dead woman.

When realised this and my pulse subsided I started thinking about her words. She had been complaining that no one had spoken to her for years.

I remembered thinking in the dream that this was more of her usual behaviour – which typically involved blowing everything out of proportion and turning every discussion around to something about herself – but it took on a new meaning when I lay there at 3am thinking about it.

In a few months it will be two years since she passed away – almost the same length of time that she said she’d been alone…

As her statement took on a new meaning I wondered whether the dream was about me or her.

Maybe it was both.

Although there are some feelings of sadness surrounding her passing I’d be lying if I said I missed her. If anything in place of that emotion is a quiet guilt that I haven’t been able to feel that way.

This guilt exists because I know the truth.

I’m relieved that she’s gone, that finally everything is over between us and that her death finally brought an end to our continual and exhausting conflicts.

I know that this is a state of thinking that’s been largely brought on by years of emotional abuse at her hands – but there’s still a sense that I should somehow react differently to this watershed event in my life.

In my dreams (and by extension my subconscious) I feel she’s still alone, still isolated from others by her behaviour, and wherever she ended up (if there is anywhere else) my instinct is that little will have changed.

All of this just makes me sad. She could have had a much better life with a family that loved her if only she had been capable of change and contrition.

Instead over years she pushed everyone away until no-one was left.

I wish we’d have loved eachother in the way that a mother and son should have – but we didn’t and that still leaves a permanent gap inside me that I don’t think can ever be filled.

Maybe it can be worked around and papered over – even acknowledged and understood – but I don’t think the sense that I missed out on something important in life will ever leave me.

On the bright side though internet even though there’s a gap life goes on.

The absence I feel where her love should be is maybe why I’m so motivated to care about other people – so whilst I feel poor in one respect I feel infinitely rich in another.

I have a good life now, with friends I love and that also clearly care about me. In her own backhanded way my mom probably made that happen.

Maybe that’s all the reason I need to think of her memory with love – which I continually try to do.

She wasn’t perfect but she was still my mom.

Davey

Progress indicators 

I was up and out early this morning and it was a beautiful time of day for a walk. The summer is definitely a distant memory now. 

There was frost everywhere, freezing all the autumn leaves to the floor in the shape of a giant orange and slippery carpet. 


As nice as a layer of ice can look on fields in bright sunlight though the cold that accompanies it doesn’t feel all that great on my hands and feet. They’ve never been so cold as they were this morning. 

I rarely seem to be able to go too far these days without my gloves or thermal socks and although I don’t miss all the fat i used to carry around it did admittedly have some uses. 

Being cold’s not a bad thing though. It’s a sign of progress and it’s not the only one either. 

Yesterday – after ignoring it for too long – I (sharp intake of breath) tidied up my dining room

It’s been a mess and shockingly unloved for a while. My rather nice Ikea dining table has been a dumping ground for laundry and letters for months – and since I’ve no-one to sit and discuss things with over dinner I’ve just let the situation continue and gone out for a walk instead of dealing with it. 

Frankly it’s been quite low on my list of priorities. However something in me snapped just after lunchtime on Sunday and instead of going to the park with a coffee I decided to bring order to chaos.  

Since a lot of the clutter was clothing I resolved to be brutal and start bagging up things that no longer fit me properly to take to charity. 

It soon became apparent that this category seems to encompass a significant amount of my clothing. 

Whilst I’m not complaining in the least about fitting into smaller clothes I’ve been taken completely by surprise at how quickly I’ve moved from 3XL shirts down to XL. 

2XL shirts that I bought not that long ago – and expected to last a few months at least now seem ridiculously baggy around my stomach all of a sudden. 

This was always my problem area in the past – and while most things always fitted my shoulders and arms well – it was my midriff spread that caused buttons and seams to stretch in a very unappealing way. 

For a while I thought Bimuno Powder would fix this – as it felt like there was some kind of ‘blockage’. I took it for around a month and then discontinued it to see whether there was a difference with how I felt taking it every day compared to how I felt without it. 

Shortly after I stopped things seemed to sort themselves out of their own accord and my constipated feeling was replaced with a (ahem) sense of reliable regularity. 

It could have been the powder or it could have been coincidental – who knows?

Either way this had a big impact on my shape. 

Not all that long ago (in early August) I was really pleased with this suit jacket photo. I’d bought it for a job interview and the buttons just about did up snugly around my waist. 

It was a big improvement and at that time I was really pleased about how far I’d moved between January and August 2017. 


Quite without warning, between around early September and now (when I last put it on) I seem to have lost around 3-4 inches from the upper part of my belly and it’s now hanging off me. 

On the plus side I’m losing weight (yay! ☺️) but on the down side I no longer have my super smart jacket (booooo! ☹️)

Still – there are way worse problems to be faced with. 

Rather than worrying about being too huge to find clothes (which used to be the case as the 8XL I started at was the largest available from specialist retailers) I’m now faced with trying on new cheap stuff in supermarkets and charity shops – and finding bargains that will possibly look WAY better than what I already had.  

My cold hands are also not a major issue and are nothing that carrying a hot flask of coffee whilst wearing thicker gloves won’t fix. They are in fact a badge of honour rather than the brand of shame that an inability to walk from A to B in any weather used to be. 

So internet – I’ll view these issues as what they are. They’re progress indicators and I’m proud of them. 



Davey

Eighteen stone certificate

Part of me wants to get a pair of ladders, climb up the front of my house, stand on my chimney and then scream out loud from the rooftop.

This part of my personality (the part without vertigo) wants everyone in earshot to know that today I picked up not only the Slimmer of the Week award and was crowned Mr Sleek 2017 for my group, but that I also lost an extremely surprising, but very gratifying six and a half pounds!!!

This means I’ve passed yet another milestone that I thought I’d never reach.

I have now lost a mind boggling EIGHTEEN STONE!

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Although I don’t normally add photos of people today I’m making an exception (with her kind permission) and I am pictured with the fabulous Miss Slinky 2017 – who (after exactly one year of Slimming World) is now a target member at my group.

I’m sure you’ll agree she’s looking absolutely fabulous!

Shockingly I’m now not that far behind her too – and since my (somewhat tentative) target is set for 15 stone I’m now less than a stone and a half away from my goal.

I was beginning to think that my SW Christmas bauble wish (to be under sixteen stone) wouldn’t come true (link) as things were slowing down for a while – but this just proves to me yet again that gradual progress and persistence is everything when it comes to weight loss.

Although last week saw ‘only’ a half a pound come off on the scales, this week I kept plugging away at things and it has definitely paid off.

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Once again – looking at progress overall since April 2016, some weeks have been a bit slower – and at times I’ve even gone backwards a bit – but in the great scheme of things the blips don’t matter.

The trick is to just keep chipping a bit more of the marble away until finally you’re left with the sculpture that always existed beneath.

When I look at graphs like this and the history of my losses (and maintains or gains) all it says to me is that at any point in the last 18 months I could have said ‘screw it’ and started backsliding, but I didn’t.

The result is that I’m now within touching distance of my goal weight – and even if I decide to go lower still (which I probably will) then reaching that weight is also a matter of WHEN and not IF.

I WILL get there internet – and frankly I don’t care anymore whether it’s fast or slow. I’m just going to keep on keeping on.

One.

Step.

At.

A.

Time.

Davey

Truly happy

Without intending to today I set a new personal record.

in between the moment that I woke up this morning to the point where I sit typing now Apple Watch is reporting that I’ve done 254 minutes of cardio based exercise, walked over 17 miles and 32,000+ steps.

The crazy thing is that while I look at this I’m not particularly surprised any more. If I’m honest I’m even contemplating going out again later – not because I have some burning need to increase a particular stat, or to set new personal bests – but because I’m not wiped out or tired.

I feel like I do at any other normal moment of the day – full of energy.

There was a time not that long ago that a simple trip to the supermarket would require a sit down half way through. It was also most likely to make me to need a nap when I returned home as well due to the exertion required to simply walk around a big out of town store.

I used to curse the fact that the booze aisle (which was where I inevitably ended up at the end of each visit) was at the furthest point away from the entrance in any supermarket.

Now I absolutely love my life – and how vital I feel during every single moment of every single day.

646 days

If you’d told me two years ago that I’d have been sober for 646 days and counting and as fit as I am now before I hit 45 then frankly I’d have laughed you out of the room. I think I’d have also viewed you with great skepticism if you’d have told me I’d be saying ‘yes‘ to everything and saying ‘can do!‘ when faced with 99.9% of questions and scenarios in my life.

What’s even more rewarding is how much positivity and good vibrations (especially when they’re when pushed out into the wider world with no expectation of them being returned – just because it’s the right thing to do) come home to roost when you least expect it.

This week I’ve had a few things that I didn’t expect happen – and they’ve occurred because I’ve placed myself honestly and openly in front of others, with the best of intentions, and no other agenda but to be positive or helpful – and to spread that as far and wide as I can.

Oddly a friend sent me a video link in the middle of all this – and it seemed to encapsulate everything that was going through my mind (it actually put a little lump in my throat while I watched it) because it’s all true.

If you’ve scrolled past then don’t.

Stop.

Watch it.

It’s funny as well as thought provoking and it’s only 6 minutes long.

There was a time when I probably would have simply refused to view this because I would have cynically expected it to be cheese of the highest order. Furthermore if you had somehow forced me to view it I would probably have turned my nose up at it anyway.

Those days are over though, and if I have any say in the matter they’re never coming back.

I want everyone that comes into my life to think that in some way shape or form they met a good person, with the best of intentions, who had a kind heart, wasn’t cynical, cared about other people more than himself, and wanted to leave everyone happier and more fulfilled than when he found them.

I’d also like to think I’d leave them a little out of breath after a lengthy twalk in the countryside!

You don’t need to be rich to get fit – nor do you need to be extravagantly generous with gifts to make a difference. It doesn’t cost a penny to be a better person. All it takes is belief that things can be better.

The first step isn’t to look to yourself and ask why things aren’t coming your way or good things aren’t happening – it’s to go out there and make it your mission to enrich someone’s day, even in the most minuscule way.

Waiting at the traffic lights to cross the road? Pass the time of day with the pensioner waiting beside you and smile at them. Wish them good day as you walk off, or chat for a while if they seem like they have a need to talk.

Waiting in a supermarket or coffee shop queue? Talk to the person on the checkout and ask them how they are. Take an interest in how they feel, and remember what they say for the next time. Tell them that they’ve brightened up your day as well.

Say thank you to your bus or taxi driver and tell him or her a joke as you get off the bus or out of the cab. Leave them with a smile as you walk away for no other reason but the fact that it benefits them.

It doesn’t matter what we do for a living – being told we’re doing a good job or getting a smile from someone makes our day.

The point I’m making is that none of these things are to increase our wealth or status. They’re for the benefit of others and they’re the right things to do. They lift other people when they might be feeling lonely or sad and we don’t know how important or trivial these moments will be to someone unless we just randomly do it.

We may in fact never know – but sometimes we do find out – and weeks, months or even years later that person may tell you just what it meant – and how a small kindness you didn’t think twice about meant everything to them at the right moment in time.

Furthermore you can do all of these things while you’re walking and getting exercise instead of driving a mile to the supermarket. Before you know it you’ll be bumping into people everywhere that you recognise and waving at them as they pass in cars or on bikes.

You’ll feel like part of your community and not just someone that lives in the same place as everyone else.

This way internet I think you’ll be truly happy.

Davey

Buttons, bulls and starlings

You might think that by now I’d be completely bored to death of waffling on about weight loss or the way that my life has changed because of it – but it just so happens that I’m absolutely the opposite.

It still occupies a frighteningly large part of my everyday thought processes and today I’ve been thinking specifically about how I felt on 31st August 2016 – when for the first time in many many years I took the train to Birmingham (link).

When I first stared Slimming World and began taking note of non-scale victories I was as proud as punch that back then I’d just overcome a long held fear I’d had of travelling a large distance without the safety net of my car.

Back then using public transport had become (prior to this day) something that was terrifying to me. Every time I imagined using it I was overwhelmed with both the imagined and very real physical limitations that my size and mobility presented.

All I could think about was being trapped out in the open, away from home and faced with a potential struggle to get back that would probably result in a very expensive black cab ride – because I couldn’t fit into mini cabs.

I was also at that time still dealing with cripplingly tight calf muscles (which I’d badly torn) and plantar fasciitis. It was pretty agonising at times.

However – I did it – and took the photo on the left next ‘Bully’ in the Bullring to mark the occasion. Despite my scowl (for effect) I was very very proud.

I was proud today as well.

The effort required to get to the train station was greatly reduced because back in August I was 29st 9.5lbs and in a 7XL shirt with an approximate 60in waist (link to weight loss progress) compared to 16st 13lbs, 38in and a 2XL shirt (which is baggy now has to be tucked in underneath my XL fleece).

I’m around 13 stone lighter now than I was on that day – something that if you’d told me I’d be back then I’d have had difficulty believing you.

Today consequently sitting on the train was a pleasure – because I have acres of room all around me now.

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Current Davey no longer needs to avoid the seats with tables or restrictive armrests. Instead he pulls the extendable table leaf out towards him to its extremity, rests his arms on the comfortable arm rests and quietly reads as the world passes him by.

This is using public transport in a way that I’ve not been comfortable with for a couple of decades at least.

Although it represented a newfound freedom and success however that day back in August was only partially a positive memory for me though.

I’d headed off to Birmingham with some misty eyed memories of visiting the Museum when I was younger and remembering all the cool dinosaur exhibits there that I used to love so much.

In the end when I arrived at its doors I was so drenched in sweat that I was too mortally embarrassed to do anything but hide in a corner with my back to a free standing oscillating floor fan while I tried to dry my shirt off.

I’d made a tactical error and worn a blue shirt that showed up sweat in dark patches. It was very obvious to anyone that looked in my direction that I was struggling to cool down.

I never really got to look around the museum and eventually sat pretty much in the foyer looking at a statue of an angel, but feeling rather glum. I tried to make the most of the positives in my blog post that day – but I know in my heart of hearts what stayed with me above all else – and it was a feeling of inadequacy.

I was so close – yet so far away. I was edging nearer to the person that I wanted to be – but still looking across a yawning chasm with no immediate bridge to get to him in view.

In the end the dinosaurs exhibits were gone and I was ultimately left with a sense of disappointment. Although I still got to look around other things in Birmingham where it was cooler (and I wasn’t sweating so much) the day hadn’t panned out quite the way I’d imagined, and that’s how I remembered the 31st of August.

Today I took my time in the museum, trying to find something new to fall in love with.

Modern Art? Nope. Stained glass exhibit? Mmmm close… 17th Century Art? Too religious… Contemporary modern Art? Strangely Star Wars Episode 1-esque….

Mind you – I couldn’t fault the new design flourishes in the museum. It’s got a lighter and airier feel in some of the newer gallery spaces. It’s a genuine pleasure to look at.

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Then – out of the blue – in the history of Birmingham area my new (and completely unexpected) favourite thing appeared…

Buttons!!!

Maybe I’m getting old, maybe my haberdashery inclined walking parter’s enthusiasm for all things bobbin shaped has begun to unconsciously rub off on me or maybe I’m just amazed at the history Birmingham had as a world class centre of button making!!!

Look at all the beautiful little buttons and try to resist marvelling at their inherent button-ness!!!

I dare you!

Have you ever seen anything so completely buttony?!!

Anyway – I stood looking at these for a while (they had a big magnifying glass nearby thankfully) until my eyes began to ache and I moved on elsewhere.

I decided to take in a free social media course at a new Google Digital Garage (an e-commerce pop up shop) on New Street – which was really helpful and informative (and free – did I mention that?)

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There’s a whole range of courses that are available – all you have to do is pop in, sit down and listen. I for one thought it was a really worthwhile hour and a half spent in their company, and most importantly they weren’t trying to sell me a single thing.

Amongst other places I stopped to have a look in the new (for me at least) Apple shop which used to be a huge Waterstones bookstore – and is now a cavernous and amazingly well renovated mecca to all things ‘i’.

Say what you will about Apple’s business practices, pricing and eccentricities – they certainly have an eye for detail, and the interior of this space is impeccable.

However – as lovely as all this was – there was a better, simpler moment that put the cherry on my day’s cake.

An inquisitive little starling – interested in any opportunity to get a free lunch from crumbs that I may or may have not been dropping hopped up next to me to watch what I was doing.

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I’ll be honest – although these are relatively common in urban spaces, there are none in Warwick, and honestly I don’t remember seeing one before today.

If I have then for some unknown reason I’ve paid zero attention to it – and I have no idea how that happened because it’s colouring is absolutely fantastic! look at the shades of green and blue blending into the browns!

What a fabulous little bird!

Sadly it received none of my dinner. I was eating crunchy tomatoes and turkey pieces -and felt that sharing the meat was akin to encouraging cannibalism – which didn’t sit so well with me…

On that note internet I’m in need of a hot drink and must head for the kettle. My house is chilly – and in the absence of any company tonight my inner scrooge is preventing me from turning on the heating…

Davey