Snowdrops in Hatton

I’m a little achey after the up and downhill of the end to end walk in Malvern on Sunday.

It’s currently precisely midnight on either Monday evening or Tuesday morning (depending on how you view it) and I’m lying in a warm bed within an unusually warm house whilst the world outside turns into an icicle.

On days like today I don’t care about the cost of heating. It’s worth it.

Monday was a day I had decided to a while back to just take off work and had no plans in particular other than chill out and recover after Malvern.

I suppose that I could have done that – but where’s the fun in sitting down?

It would have been super easy to melt into an armchair and just veg out – but nature (at least in my case) seems to abhor a vacuum and events rushed in to fill the spare time.

I’m not complaining mind you. I couldn’t sit still if my life depended on it these days – and my first hook up of the day was meeting a friend in the local Mecca of consumerism -Touchwood in Solihull.

Oddly – as small as this place seems now, a while back it felt like it was almost more than I could deal with. Despite having convenient parking right underneath the Apple shop that I used to visit from time to time I really struggled with moving around the place.

Typically I parked up and waddled to my destination and then back to my car before collapsing wheezing in the front seat while I struggled to get my seatbelt on.

Once I even moved my car from the Touchwood car park after going to Apple and then re-parked in another nearby car park to go to another shop less than 500 metres away.

Sigh.

Those were the bad old days…

In contrast this morning I was there extra early to meet a friend for coffee in Starbucks and idly wandered up and down the length of the Mall as I passed the time by calling my Dad and window shopping.

As I strolled I couldn’t help but notice a relief motto on the ceiling.

Maybe the designers had a sarcastic side – or the builders were feeling whimsical as they bolted these words of wisdom to the wall in one of the richest boroughs of the county (outside of the M25 area).

I’m sure there’s more than a spoonful of irony that this is hanging above the nearby Nespresso, Apple and Tesla shops – however far be it from me to judge.

If I did I’d be throwing stones whilst standing in a glass house.

Whilst I’m generally very frugal I do like Apple products (despite their usually ridiculous price tag) and sadly (although many may disagree) I think quite a bit of what they sell is actually worth the extra money.

Apple Watch for instance has been instrumental in changing my life. I wouldn’t be without it – or my iPhone.

I can’t help but buy things from there when I’m in the mood to treat myself and today my credit card stepped in to perform the heavy lifting as I left the shop with a pair of Apple AirPods.

The assistant knew she had a sale after I had inserted a test pair and jumped up and down for five minutes like an idiot as well as shaking my head like I was at a heavy metal concert whilst I tried (unsuccessfully) to dislodge them.

Annoyingly they refused to fall out and appeared to defy gravity with each lurching movement whilst still sounding totally awesome. You can barely feel them in your ears – which is seriously disconcerting.

They’re just… there – like little earbud ghosts…

Amazingly once you pair them to your phone (all you have to do is open the case and a prompt appears on your phone) they’re also paired to everything else in your Apple eco-system.

Later in the evening I was playing music on my watch, iPad and MacBook just as seamlessly as I had on my iPhone. When I opened my iPad it too paired with my buds and immediately gave me to option of using them. I didn’t have to unpair anything on my iPhone or faff about in any way.

In contrast my other (largely unused) Bluetooth headphones are a pairing nightmare.

The playback is also capable of shifting almost immediately between the player on my Apple Watch and my iPhone without any re-pairing or faffing about. Just press play on one in the middle of the other playing and the AirPods switch over.

Press play on the other device and it swaps back.

They’re irritatingly good.

I say irritatingly because I’m supremely aware that cost wise there are other (possibly more capable from an audiophile perspective) wireless headphones out there with lower price tags – but the heart wants what the heart wants and today these were my birthday gift to myself in the absence of alcohol or food.

These will accompany me on many many walks and get a lot of use on the way to and from work.

There are times however when I’m never going to use them and those are when I have real live twalking buddies to spend time with.

Today I had filled the rest of my free time vacuum by arranging a walk to Hatton with a friend – and it turned out to be during a rather nice (if flipping cold) afternoon with hints of sunshine and occasional blue skies.

The weather was not like this the whole way though – and temperatures were definitely not shifting above zero.

Several times snow threatened to arrive and stick around – but thankfully (the news suggests bad things are on the horizon) it disappeared as soon as it had arrived – but for the brief time it was in residence proved to be very pretty!

There’s sometimes a trade off with inclement weather however – because while it’s chilly and uncomfortable it can also produce some incidental beauty in the hedgerows and roadsides.

I haven’t seen icicles in ages – but today they were in abundance.

Also – everywhere along the edges of our route were the most delightful little snowdrops, framed perfectly amongst a sea of brown leaves under a completely absent canopy.

By the time we reached the Hatton Arms I was most definitely ready for the loo and a coffee though.

I think I need some thermal pants because I think I now know where the engineering inspiration came from for Newton’s Cradle.

However although elements of my anatomy and the outside world may have been freezing this pub never seems less than warm and inviting.

I do rather like their approach to hanging mirrors as well. I think there motto is ‘you can never have too many’ and I definitely agree.

Their wall looks funky.

After a coffee and a quick natter we headed back to our respective homes and into the waiting arms of central heating heaven.

Upon returning to my man cave the only thing to do was make something warming and hearty – so I decided upon a chicken and baked bean soup.

Since I rarely follow recipes this was just thrown together at the last minute and contained

  • 500g chicken breast
  • 1 drained (but not rinsed – they still had some sauce in) can of baked beans
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 diced potatoes
  • 500g Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 2x chicken stock cubes
  • A generous ‘glugging’ of Worcestershire sauce
  • A large Courgette
  • 500g of sprouts

Let me tell you right now that this was darned nice and it’s also going to supply me with a very hearty lunch at work (today – it’s now 1.30am!) too.

So – on that note I’m going to sign off internet.

Hopefully it won’t snow as badly as the forecast suggests – but if it does fear not. I’m prepared dear reader. It’s going to take a lot to stop me walking.

Aches and pains and complaints about crappy weather are for the weak. Slimming World target members (and those that want to become one) walk to work regardless!!!

Davey

Malvern hills end to end and back!

It’s 5am on Sunday, my alarm has just gone off and I’m tired. REALLY TIRED. I can lay the blame at the feet of temporary insomnia – which usually only occurs before Saturday but absolutely never usually happens after Saturday.

The truth of it is though that this broken sleep comes without my usual twin helpers (stress over weight loss or over indulgence in caffeine) and is clearly attributable to something else.

I’ve been waking up over and over because I feel deliriously happy.

Yesterday I became a target member at Slimming World and I’m buzzing.

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So – despite feeling totally shattered I’m in a really good mood. My friend is picking me up shortly and we are going to walk the length of the Malvern hills and back again today.

Both times we’ve been together before the weather turned out to be awful – and she’s never managed to get see beautiful blue skies you can get there combined with the practically endless views that I have in the past – but today the forecast looks rosy and I have high hopes.

We’re both fit and are definitely capable of doing the full end to end challenge in the right weather. If we’re lucky it will be windy but bright and clear and we won’t be found frozen to the fossil of a cow by archeologists in a thousand years or so….

(Author gets ready)

Well we go here in good time and parked up near the North Quarry car park – which I’ve never been to before. We checked the map quickly and then headed up the nearby dirt track to the top of the first hill.

Although everything was thawing nicely down in the town below, up on the hills the wind chill factor was epic. Pretty much everything around us was frozen solid – and the puddles we found here and there were thick, rock hard sheets of ice.

There’s no denying it though – this type of environment is where I now feel most at home and complete. It just makes me feel at one with the world and it’s where I always want to be. I don’t care if it’s windy, raining or snowing. I just love being here.

In a relatively short space of time (not long after 8am) we’d reached the commemorative monument at the highest point of the hills.

The scenery looked fabulous – but it blowing a gale that made the camera impossible to hold straight and it was hellishly cold!!!

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We headed off with our objective barely visible in the distance – and were going at a good pace. This didn’t seem tough in the least – and when you have a companion that conversation is easy with time just flies. After much spirited twalking we’d quickly reached the British Camp car park for a rest stop.

By this point I was really in need of some nourishment (breakfast actually!) and a coffee to warm up.

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It was here that one of the tamest robins I’ve ever met decided to come and say hello – and perched on the bench behind me sitting so ridiculously still that I managed to slooooooowly get my camera out of my rucksack and take a great little zoom photo of him.

He just sat watching us quizzically the whole time!

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After moving around beside us for a while he then hopped under the table to have a root around by my feet too!

Once this cute little guy had finished rooting around and flown off we finished taking on board some sustenance and headed up the hill by the British Camp car park with our sights on Midsummer Mount and its monument in the distance.

As we climbed I couldn’t help but sell my companion on the majesty of the Giant’s cave – which she had never seen. I asked whether she was ok with the dark and capable of going into an extensive underground complex without getting lost.

She assured me that she was capable of functioning in even the most extreme environment. I needn’t be worried, she reassured me. She was sure she’d be OK.

(It’s only 6ft deep…)

Upon arrival I couldn’t help but feel that she was a teeny bit disappointed…

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After she recovered from the experience of the underground wonderland that I’d presented her with we made tracks. We were soon at the needle – which has clearly seen better days.

Worryingly chunks are falling off it by the looks of things and it’s been cordoned off since I last visited…

At this point we’d done half of the distance we’d planned for the day – and the next task was lunch. After popping on a preventative plaster or two (you have to ensure you don’t needlessly get blisters!) We headed back towards the British Camp car park for a hot dinner and a sit down – one again making good time!

The sky was a wonderful azure blue and the view (although a little hazy) looked incredible.

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In the pub I decided to have a baked potato (the butter was left on the plate) and some seasonal vegetables – which really hit the spot.

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It was at this point however that I realised I’d managed to catch some sunburn on both my hands and face.

Despite it being largely freezing I’d suddenly noticed I was intensely itchy and had completely neglected to put any suncream in my rucksack. Thankfully my companion came well prepared and I liberally smothered myself with some of hers while we sat chatting.

After around an hour of talking, eating and drinking coffee we headed to the nearby roadside cafe where I filled up my flask with a nice hot Americano and we made tracks for the car.

Although much had begun to thaw on the top of the hills the wind was still bitterly cold and I was amazingly glad that I’d brought my gaiter along for the trek. It came in really useful – although made talking next to impossible! How the hell Spider-Man manages is totally beyond me!!!

The rather hardy hillside animals seemed completely unphased by the weather in contrast and just happily munched the cud as we passed by…

Our next brief stop was at the loo – and there’s a really nice little covered seating area just outside where you can stop for a breather and sip coffee without fear of being battered by the elements.

After a brief rest we powered on for the last leg of the journey enjoying the views as we twalked. It was a great day to see miles and miles into the distance, and although it wasn’t the clearest day I’ve seen there, it was still pretty darned great.

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Before long we were back at the car, and feeling suitably tired! It wasn’t the longest walk that I’ve done – or even the highest that I’ve climbed in one day – but this was something a bit different to me.

This was the fifth time that I’ve travelled to Malvern for walking since I began getting fit and pushing my limits.

When I first came here I was getting fitter – and working towards climbing Snowdon – but still had a long way to go (link). I couldn’t do the whole end to end distance at the time (not even close) and at 22st 4lbs, although I’d lost over 12st by that point I looked a lot different.

I also suffered a lot the day after.

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In contrast today (it’s now Monday – I flaked out yesterday shortly after having some food when I got home) I feel just fine – and we did it. We walked the whole thing in a day!

Life is good.

Life is better when you twalk.

Life is even better when you twalk with great friends in a wonderful place on a fantastically sunny day doing something you absolutely love doing.

(although my hands and face are REALLY itchy!!!)

Davey

Feeling loved

I don’t normally write two posts in one day – but today has not been a normal day. I was so shell shocked earlier on that I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around what had happened.

In most respects I still can’t.

I’m suddenly a target member and with that comes a range of emotions and new challenges. When I stepped off the scales and sat back down in my chair at group today I just started sobbing and periodically I’ve continued – but every single tear has been one of joy and relief.

As if the achievement wasn’t enough today there was more in store.

As is often the case on Saturday I’d agreed to meet a friend for a twalking date. Normally we go to Coombe Abbey or somewhere else, and she rarely suggests the park. She is after all an off piste kind of girl. However, in this case she was (with retrospect suspiciously) keen to go for a stroll at Memorial Park in Coventry.

I really don’t mind. I love the place, I love the company, I love walking. One venue is as good as another if you have someone to chat with. As we drove there her phone was unusually busy. ‘Would you like to answer that?’ I said as I drove from her house to the park.

‘No – it’s OK, I don’t recognise the number.’ she replied, and I carried on chatting while her phone beeped away with texts and calls.

Soon we arrived and as I stepped out of the car she grinned and pointed behind me. It was ANOTHER twalking friend!

But… Wait… They don’t know each other…

‘How did this happen?’ I thought – but didn’t delve too deeply.

I was too happy just to see them both and they also seemed happy to see me. That was more than enough. We hugged and laughed and all walked arm in arm chatting for a while until we neared the cafe.

Then from behind me I heard ‘Happy Birthday to you!‘ being sung in unison…

I turned around and lo and behold there were more twalking buddies!

She’d only conspired to contact as many people as she could find that I regularly walked with (including all of my favourite doggies) and got them together to wish me all the best for my birthday!

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So today I’m a rich man in every respect that matters in life. I’m a target member. I’ve lost 20st. I have my health, I have a life to live and I above all else I love others unconditionally and I feel loved in return.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite this happy.

I belong in the world and I feel that people need me in it with them. I’ve gone from waiting to die to feeling needed and a part of everyone’s lives in a way that I never previously imagined would be possible.

Thanks again to all who made today possible. You’re absolutely the best people.

To those that couldn’t make it – I’ll catch up with you soon enough!

Hugs to everyone x

Davey

 

20st lost – I’m now a Slimming World Target Member!!

Normally I’m a creature of habit on a Saturday morning but today I’m more akin to a cat on a hot tin roof.

I’d generally go out shopping first thing and run errands but my stomach is turning cartwheels and I’m insanely nervous. I’m lying in bed instead trying not to think – which is impossible.

I’ve only one thing on my mind.

Will today be the day when I hit my target weight?

I have no idea. I’ve not yet stepped on my own scales and I don’t know what their ‘ultimate accuracy’ will report. Yesterday’s indications were good – but today? Who knows?

In an effort to take my mind off anything food related last night I eventually gave up twiddling my thumbs and went out to the cinema for a late showing of the Black Panther.

I’m not gonna lie. It was a chilly night for a walk to the local picture house – but if the alternative is turning my mind in knots at home then I choose frozen fantasy every time.

It did take a while before I was willing to entertain the idea of taking my thermals off however. I sat dressed like this for a full half hour before removing my woolly hat.

Usually I’m like a kid in a sweet shop with a new Marvel film – but for whatever reason I’d not been looking forward to this one in quite the same way that I normally do – and (maybe because I was rather tired) I found myself nodding off after an hour.

Maybe it was Martin Freeman’s ridiculous American accent or the lack of any character that I felt I liked or related to – but this film fell completely flat for me.

If you have to choose between this and ‘The Shape of Water’ then I would go for aquatic antics every time. Maybe if I watched it again I’d feel differently but I doubt it. I really want to like it but I don’t.

Hopefully Avengers Infinity War will come up with the goods that Black Panther didn’t.

Oh well. I guess that I better get up and do something to take my mind off weigh in. It’s two hours away and time is moving backwards.

(Author potters around the house for a while and fiddles with technology to distract himself. It doesn’t work. Instead he climbs onto the scales and realises that success today could come down to the clothes on his back)

Ok ok. I’m getting increasingly nervous. None of this should matter BUT IT DOES! My Slimming World Facebook group are linking their comments my name and posting messages of support. I can’t help but but feel excited now.

I’ve just been standing on my scales of ultimate accuracy and they suggest that this morning could either be ‘close but no cigar‘ or ‘holyflippingamazeballs!!!

I’m so stressed!!!

I’ve been trying on clothes that are really really light in my wardrobe in an effort to find a suitable outfit for standing on the scales. I think I’m wearing it now and there’s only half an hour to go until I have to be there.

(Dammit! Why is time going so slow and why is my heart pounding like a drum?!

(Author goes to group)

OK – I’ve only gone and done it – and by ‘it’ I mean burst into tears in front of everyone.

I’m now a target member (I surpassed my goal actually) and have reset my target to where I landed at 14st 7lbs. This is where I plant the flag. I’m staying right here.

I’ve now lost 20st 1.5lbs and I’m overwhelmed.

I can’t believe I’ve finally done it.

I’m kind of lost for words if I’m truthful – and after so many posts where I had more to say than I often knew how to put on the page I find myself currently at almost a complete loss.

This is enormous.

If I think I cry (happy tears) and if I type I cry (I’m crying again) so I’m instead going to just post some pretty incredible pictures of me and Angie, my Slimming World consultant – without whom I might not have made it.

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She’s wanted from the very start of my journey to join me in my trousers, and who am I to deny a girl the honour of such a request? I didn’t think I’d fit in one leg, but it seems I do.

What’s incredible is that I used to fill these…

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In contrast we can now also both get into my old shirt!

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And this is my old belt!

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She’s formed an important piece of a complex set of inter-related reasons that I’ve been able to do this and her ability to make everyone feel welcome, cared for and included in her sessions has been the social glue that has in turn enabled me to gather continual support from a group of people that have firstly changed my life and secondly never been any less than generous and encouraging.

Collectively they’ve lifted me upon their shoulders and their kindness has helped to carry me over this finish line.

To each of them, and to all of the people that read on and comment on my blog I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Each and every on of you that’s been there, clicked like, commented – followed me n Instagram, messaged me, told me that I’ve inspired you and even just reached out to say hi.

This is for you internet.

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Davey (target member)

 

Success not donuts

This morning I got out of bed after waking up early and reading for a while. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided that I’d go out for a walk that was a bit longer than my usual route to the office.

It was a nice day for it!

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There’s no denying though that it was cold today. I think Alexa’s virtual teeth were chattering when she reported to me that it was -3 degrees centigrade in Warwick this morning.

However – if teeny tiny flowers can survive then so can an increasingly skinny Davey – so I put my thickest gloves on, pulled up my thermal socks and grabbed a hot flask of coffee.

It was worth it. The park looked fantastic this morning and despite not being able to feel my face by the time I arrived at work I was in a really good mood. I actually found myself dancing along the road at one point when a particularly bouncy song popped up on my random playlist.

Now I’m really REALLY close to my target weight I have been thinking about both my progress and the steps I’ve taken on my journey. It’s a nice feeling to look back at where I started in the context of where I’ve now managed to get to, and this morning when I couldn’t sleep I was reading some of my old posts.

I have a real sense of accomplishment and pride associated with what I’ve achieved and I can honestly say some years ago that I felt the way that I look in the photo above about almost nothing in my life.

Instead of the happy man in the park taking pictures of frosty crocuses I almost never went out (aside from to go to work) and considered myself a complete failure in any context that I felt mattered.

Thankfully these days I don’t think about myself that way.

I’ve persevered – remaining almost completely on track and focused for nearly two years of my life – which is something that’s never happened before.

It makes me positive and energised when I consider the future because I’ve proven to myself (and others) that nothing is impossible.

However it can also be quite upsetting to look back at the situation that I ended up in and relive some of the associated emotions that I felt as I crawled slowly out of my predicament.

As I lay in the dark reading back over posts containing little triumphs I felt a variety of emotions. It’s both saddening and joyful to revisit moments of small (but very important) change – like suddenly realising I could mow the lawn without having to sit down several times, or having a bath instead of a shower for the first time in a decade.

I experienced again the joy of of finally being able to walk the half a mile to my diabetic eye screening whilst only having to sit down four times on the way home (a victory at the time) and once again felt the pain of being abused in public by people intent on belittling me for reasons that I still fail to understand.

However the one post that always stops me in my tracks when I re-visit it is this one.

Not so long ago when I did a talk at a local Slimming World group a man walked up to me afterwards and introduced himself. He was (it turned out) my old Dominos Pizza delivery driver – and back in the ‘bad old days’ (my words not his) he had the pretty busy task of driving back and forth to my house with tasty treats.

‘You ordered a lot of pizza.’ He said matter of factly to me after he introduced himself.

I did. It’s true.

Back in 2015 (when I first put my Apple Watch on my wrist) I needed a lot of calories just to sit in my armchair and drive to work.

Just being me required a huge amount of energy.

This ridiculous calorie burn initially made me think my watch was broken but back in that post a year ago I finally sat down and worked out what I used to consume in late 2015.

At the time it blew my mind.

It still does.

Way to work (1130kcal)

• Two double sausage and egg McMuffins – 1130kcal

Sandwiches eaten at desk (1725kcal approx)

  • 6 thick slices of hand cut bread (usually this was half of an in-store supermarket bakery 800g wholemeal loaf) (952kcal)
  • Benecol light spread – I guesstimate approx 20g (64kcal) per slice (total 384kcal)
  • Two packs of 125g ham – 290kcal
  • 3x tomatoes (67kcal each) and cucumber slices (10kcal) – (201kcal)
  • Two packets of Mccoys crisps (multipack ones are 141kcal each) (282kcal)

Evening meal (1595kcal)

Snacks and alcohol (3023kcal)

  • Sainsburys house Soave 2.25l (I would typically drink all of this – per 125ml Soave is approx 79kcal so it totals 1422kcal)
  • 200g ‘sharing’ bag of Doritos (894kcal)
  • Ginsters large Cornish pasty (707kcal)

Total (if I didn’t have an evening takeaway instead of a ready meal) – 7473kcal

If any of this needs putting into perspective I don’t think that I’ve consumed much more in the way of daily calories over the last two weeks than were in my single box of sandwiches and crisps eaten at my desk for lunch back then.

It’s incredible, and it’s a world away from who I am today.

However, while I can be temporarily transported back to the past by reading these posts, their content seems largely alien to me now given the current levels of fitness and drive that I have. When I’m so close to success the problems associated with this long and dark period in my life now seem distant and remote. The habits I indulged in belong to another man who I hope is now consigned to history.

The old moribund me consumed all of the above day after day after morbid day.

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In contrast the new me sat next to a desk that looked like the picture above for most of the afternoon, watching his team eating donut after donut without feeling even the least bit deprived. It’s nice to see them enjoying themselves.

Me? I don’t call this enjoyment or a treat any more.

My treat dear internet will either come tomorrow, or next Saturday, or the Saturday after when I stand on the scales, see the magic numbers 14st 8.5lbs and finally become a Slimming World Target Member.

There’s no donut in the world with enough frosting or succulent filling to make me feel as good as that’s going to feel – and no food or drink can ever fill the hole that’s created in anyone by emotional pain. Only facing up to problems and working day by day toward a solution can do that.

Here’s to success. Not donuts.

Davey

Diabetes and medication update – the results are in!

Although the day started in the dark with dawn bringing only rain and grey skies it’s turned into an afternoon that’s infinitely more palatable.

The sun has finally come out and I’m enjoying its warmth as I walk.

After a meeting down south this morning I’m finishing work a little early – which suits me just fine because I have somewhere to go.

I have to admit to being a little nervous about my destination though. I really don’t like visits to the diabetic nurse – but some things really can’t be avoided.

Today I get the results from my semi annual test and find out whether all of the hard work that I regularly put in has been worthwhile or whether my pancreas is once again waving a little white flag.

I’m hopeful that the results are positive – because the thing that pushed my type two into remission and enabled me to stop taking medication for the last year or so is something I’m continually focused on.

Sadly though at times the rest of the world seems to be blind to what can be achieved and conventional medical science really doesn’t help with that.

The NHS would have you believe that there’s no way out from under the rock of type two diabetes and that eventually it always turn into type one.

They prescribe instead pill after pill and largely let you get on with the ‘reality’ that they’ve sold to you.

This is bad enough – but when you combine it with a human being’s capacity for living in denial it’s a dangerous mix. Even when faced with a laundry list of changes that need to be made and a clear path to better health people often choose to ignore reality completely.

From time to time I meet someone who (like I was) is in the process of bargaining with themselves. They (like I did) avoid at all costs coming to terms with the truth of their situation – and (like I couldn’t) don’t seem able to face up to the reality of what change really requires.

I mean by this that few people grasp the (sometimes bitter but in my view unavoidable) truth that when you’re dealing with a slow death sentence like diabetes tweaking just one thing is not even close to enough.

When I meet these people I truthfully want to shake them by the shoulders and make them understand the reality of what’s going on – to save them the wasted time I experienced – but it’s often pointless.

I know I wouldn’t have listened so why should they?

In my case I thought ‘if I give up drinking my diabetes will be sorted’

It was delusion.

It got a bit better but my levels were still ridiculously high.

Then I told myself ‘ok ok – that hasn’t worked but if I give up drinking and eat healthy food then my diabetes will be sorted.’

Also delusion.

Once again there was marginal improvement but overall little happened and I still needed medication.

Then I started exercising – and almost immediately I could see the benefits. I’ve written about this a lot – but I repeat it because it’s vitally important.

My sugars dropped quicker than with any other tweak that I’d made up to that point and the last time I had it checked in August (link) my Hba1c level was 28.

I started at 94 – and exercise enabled this to change.

So – because I know that I wouldn’t have listened I choose not to preach to people who I feel are stuck in this loop.

It’s pointless and just makes them switch off or feel pressured.

Instead I write about the reality of it – in the hope that people will read it and see for themselves what can be done rather than having someone tell them what they should do.

I walk and exercise all the time – each day trying to improve – and get better so that I can instead demonstrate what’s possible.

Yesterday (with this continued progress in mind) I managed to shave another 25 seconds off my previous best walking time for a mile.

Only recently did I break through the 15 minute barrier (link) and amazingly I’ve now managed to get it down to 14 mins and 26 seconds – which I’m insanely proud of.

(Author stops drinking coffee and realises the time. He goes to his appointment)

Well – as is usual these days the nurse (who I’ve never met before) quizzically looked me up and down as I headed to her room for my diabetic review.

She clearly didn’t expect the man in front of her.

She checked my stomach area, looked at my legs, looked at my face and then looked at her notes.

‘I was expecting a much bigger man!’ she said. ‘You’ve lost even more weight…

‘Yep. Almost 20 stone now.’ I replied.

She looked at me in disbelief.

‘Wow. I wish all of my patients with diabetes were like you! Your results are amazing!

She pointed at her screen.

‘Your levels are 25… In fact I’ve recommended to the doctor that we take you off the diabetic register – however he would like to leave you on for 12 months just in case.’

‘Fine by me!’ I replied.

(As nervous as these things make me I like to be sure things are ok. I prefer to keep focus on it.)

‘Everything else is great too!’ She said.

‘How’s my cholesterol?’ I asked.

Now – this has been one thing I’ve never had much success reducing – despite my good behaviour. This time I had been expecting a telling off because if the truth be told Davey has been forgetting to take his statins regularly for a while now.

‘It’s actually really good!’ She said – sounding a little surprised.

‘Ummm… could I possibly try without the medication?’ I asked.

She looked at the results again and pondered.

‘Sure. Why not. Let’s have you back in three months for a check up. You can stop taking them.’

I was a little stunned.

Two years ago I was taking about 8-9 pills a day. I had Naproxen for my constant back or joint pain, Omeprazole to protect my stomach lining from the Naproxen, Glimepiride and Metformin for my diabetes and Simvastatin for my high cholesterol.

Now – as of today – I take no prescription medication at all!!!!

To top it all off my blood pressure was just fine (amazing since I’d had four Americanos in Wetherspoons prior to my appointment and briskly walked to my appointment) and my heart rate was 41bpm.

All in all I am supremely healthy and a world away from this guy – who now seems so distant and alien to me

So – it’s the start of a new chapter. I’m no longer a burden on the NHS for ANYTHING.

Now all I have to do is get to target internet and I’ll die a happy man 😂

Davey

Flamingo

This evening I’ve whiled away my time in a comfortable dream world – and have been snuggled up in the cinema watching the ‘The Shape of Water’.

It’s rare that something so odd, so obscure, so unusual feels so familiar and so wonderful.

There’s a truly magical world inside the fairy tale confines of this film – and as you unconsciously suspend disbelief and become drawn into the dark, yet tender world that the characters inhabit you can’t help but notice the incidental details.

Throughout the movie the main character picks different coloured shoes to wear – seemingly based on her mood and at the very end one poignantly leaves her foot in a very memorable scene.

The camera doesn’t let you forget the moment and it’s an arresting image.

Although for the most part her clothes don’t define her and what she wears is largely utilitarian there are little moments (such as her shoes) where her character and passion shine through.

It’s interesting to me because clothes and incidental details are something that’s been on my mind recently.

I’ve found myself looking at some rather colourful items of clothing as I’ve lost weight (link) – and I’ve begun to recognise that my recent fascination with looking smart and occasionally a little (ahem) ‘loud’ may not be a new phenomenon.

I’ve always rather liked a Hawaiian shirt for instance – but often felt far too ashamed to wear anything that made me stand out from the crowd any more than I already did at 35 stone.

It’s yet another part of my personality that I lost sight of – suppressed because of the crippling shame I felt in relation to my weight.

As I change and grow (and shrink) I learn more and more about myself with each passing day.

When I initially started shedding the bulk one of the first things I did was begin to wear flamboyant shirts. The only reason that I didn’t do this more was the cost of them and the availability.

As time went on and online retailers and some high street stores became an option for purchases I found more and more items that caught my eye.

I began to buy less muted colours and was drawn to items with a variety of patterns and different palettes.

I purchased one whenever I found something I liked – but sadly none of them lasted very long before they were too big.

On the plus side my continually moving target for clothing enabled me to engage in lots of experiments – and I began bit by bit to rather enjoy looking in the mirror and examining how a particular hue, pattern or cut of fabric looked on me.

I previously hated my reflection – but this enabled me to look past my own self criticism.

If I looked like an idiot – who cared? Most items that I wore were the clothing equivalents of a may flies and quickly fluttered out of my wardrobe into the hands of charity shops sooner rather than later.

Now I’ve even started to wear pink – something (that for some reason) I once vowed never to do…

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I find that rather than feeling self conscious and that I am standing out when I would prefer to blend in that I quite like looking like a flamingo…

It’s not just shirts and ties that I’m drawn to though.

On Saturday I found that I was lingering in a shop (that I’d never normally go into in the first place) looking at rather loud trainers – thinking ‘I’m waaay too old for those!’

Then I stopped for a moment.

Am I?

Am I really?

Probably not as it happens.

I have a significant birthday on the horizon – but I’ve never felt younger and more alive – so why shouldn’t I embrace every single colourful rainbow that I find?

The brutal truth is that without clothing my body clearly shows the signs of a difficult road travelled.

My stomach sags, my inner thighs wobble, my wings are bingo enabled and my butt looks like the Andrex puppy with the air let out of it.

Clothes transport me to another reality – one where I’m not a road map of excess – but instead an example of a smart, fit man who is at ease in his surroundings.

My cufflink obsession is in its infancy – but I can already see that it’s taking hold quickly. I love the fact that you can hide a teeny tiny element of flamboyance in plain sight whilst looking otherwise suited and booted.

I relate to the lady in the film. Her shoes seemed to be a reflection of her inner self and when she wore them she had a spring in her step.

I never previously related to the impulse to add little flashes of the unusual or little beautiful things to the picture of me before – but now I do and honestly I’m revelling in it!

I have limits though. So far the most I’ve paid for a pair of cufflinks is £3 – but today I pushed the boat out and bought some fo £6 from eBay! I’m quite excited! They look REALLY INSANELY COOL!!!

Those are for another day however – and I need to sleep internet.

If you see nothing else at the cinema I suggest you do your mind (and heart) a favour and go out to see this movie – and when you do, make sure you wear something a little colourful 👠

Davey

What happened when I shared

I’m sitting at home – and my house is filled with the delicate aroma of a curried beef stew that’s bubbling away in my slow cooker.

I made it with some spices that a lovely lady brought into the Slimming World food tasting session last week and I can’t wait to try it…

I plan to have a small bowl before meeting some friends and in the meantime I’ve been looking at stats.

Yep.

I’m that rock n roll!

Recently WordPress added (or I finally noticed) a statistic that I’ve been abstractly wondering about for ages.

A cumulative word count for all the blogs I’ve ever written.

It’s not completely correct however as I’ve quietly deleted a few after suddenly thinking that I’d said something that might offend someone accidentally or that without realising I’d broken my concrete rule about not identifying anyone without their express permission.

Despite my self censorship there are still five hundred and nineteen of my posts out there in the wild – and this means that in total I’ve written 554,909 words in WordPress and thrown them out into the internet.

In the process of doing this I’ve garnered 83,792 page views and 24,291 visitors from 94 different countries.

While I was looking at these numbers I realised that with all the excitement of my recent weight loss milestone I’d completely forgotten an anniversary.

It’s just over two years since I started my blog!

Initially when I clicked ‘publish’ on my first attempt (link) I expected to be trolled and abused for being fat and pathetic – but nothing could have been further from the truth.

Sharing honestly who I am and the struggles I’ve been (and sometimes still going) through has been both a transformative and healing experience. I’ve made many new friends along the way, rediscovered some old ones and learned a lot about other people’s lives as well.

It’s still astonishing to me though that people not only read what I write but that they also come back to read my words again.

I have to thank the ones that do mind you.

They’ve carried me along with their support the whole time that I’ve been losing weight and I genuinely don’t think that I’d have made it so far down the road without their continual and heartfelt support.

It’s definitely a two way street though – because one of the unintended side effects of my openness has been reciprocal honesty coming straight back at me.

From the very first post that I put up people that I knew (and didn’t know) were inspired by my willingness to let it all hang out and reached out to me. They firstly wanted to tell me how much they supported me and wanted the best for me – but then something I really didn’t expect started happening.

They all began to share with me their own private pain with arresting and disarming honesty.

People that I thought I’d known for years were often (it turned out) just as damaged as I was. They struggled too and they hid their pain just like I did – and many also self medicated and wanted to change, just like I was trying to.

Although it was initially overwhelming (I was after all really struggling myself at the time) it soon became part of my healing process.

The more I regularly talked with them and learned about their struggles the more I realised how alike we all are as a species.

There’s so much more that unites us than pushes us apart – and I came to see that a bigger tragedy than the events of my own life was unfolding. That was that so many people everywhere go through life feeling isolated and alone when in reality they’re surrounded by people just like them.

The paradox of so many of our lives is that’s we’re often mere inches away from love and companionship. All we have to do is open up, share and trust.

It’s not always that simple though – and I understand the impulse to withdraw, hold onto pain and the complex reluctances so many of us struggle with when we’re unable to admit weakness.

These weaknesses diminished me for most of my adult life – but no more.

I’m just as screwed up as the rest of you out there and I’m proud to admit it. It’s a badge of honour, rather than a source of shame and it makes me feel at one with the world rather than apart from it.

Here’s to the next two years internet! I hope you’re here to share them with me 🤗

Davey

Finally! A nineteen and a half stone certificate!!!

Amazingly – after being stuck in pretty much the same weight bracket since December – I’ve finally moved forward.

Well – it’s more than just moving forward. I’ve actually leapt ahead in a way that I’ve not done since the early days of my weight loss journey.

As I reported yesterday I’ve been essentially fasting during the day for the last five days after a ridiculous blow out on Saturday and Sunday where no food was safe in my vicinity.

It’s not only served to reduce my appetite overall but has also kickstarted my weight loss so much that (and I can’t believe I’m writing this) I’m now only TWO AND A HALF POUNDS AWAY FROM HAVING LOST 20 STONE!!!!

A couple of weeks ago I was ready to throw in the towel and call target – but to stop now – before I get to the 20st mark when it’s so close would be lunacy in my eyes. I’m so flipping near I can almost feel the certificate in my hand.

I have to carry on and I have to do it. There’s simply no option any more.

I want it in this moment more than I’ve EVER wanted ANYTHING in the world. That oblong piece of card represents to me what I consider to be the single most significant achievement of my life.

I’m tingling all over. Today I lost an astounding 7.5 pounds simply through regular exercise (around 2 hours a day) and eating approx 1700kcal per evening.

I’m pretty sure that last week’s gain was partially due to digestive transit and some bloating though – so I don’t consider this week’s loss to be the whole picture. My stomach is noticeably smaller this week and my shirts fit a lot lot better around the middle than this time two weeks ago. I’m now wearing some items that were just a smidge too snug back then and there is only one more item in my wardrobe that doesn’t fit.

My aspirational pair of 34in waist Paul Smith jeans.

Honestly though I really couldn’t give a sh*t. I’m almost there. I’m almost in a place that a couple of years ago I never thought I’d manage to reach. I’m standing just next to the finish line and I’m poised to break the tape.

Furthermore the enormity of it all is washing over me like a wave as I sit here in a coffee shop updating my blog and I honestly feel a little tearful.

It’s an emotional time.

Somehow – after being a perpetual failure of an epic magnitude I became determined enough to change my life to such a huge extent that I’ve taken the equivalent weight of a grizzly bear off each knee.

The maths behind this outrageous claim is that for every 1lb you lose you take 4lbs of pressure off your joints. (Link)

‘Every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees. So a person who is 10 pounds overweight has 40 pounds of extra pressure on his knees; if a person is 100 pounds overweight, that is 400 pounds of extra pressure on his knees. “So if you think about all the steps you take in a day, you can see why it would lead to premature damage in weight-bearing joints,” says Dr. Matteson.’

This means that in 2.5lbs when I get my 20st certificate I’ll have removed 1120lbs of pressure from my knees when I move around. Previously they were constantly painful. Now they aren’t.

(This is the calculation – 20×14=280 & 280×4=1120)

Yay for math! It tells me that I no longer have two grizzly bears to carry around!

How frikkin insane is that? I’ve lost half a grizzly bear and removed two whole ones in weight from the overall moving pressure on my joints.

It’s no wonder I don’t get back ache any more…

So – what do I plan to do next?

Well for today I plan to have a nice lunch, then go home and make a hearty chilli for tea before I top the evening off with some yogurt and frozen berries.

I haven’t felt this motivated for ages and my focus is like a laser.

However – if I happen to put some on next week (it’s a big loss and it could easily happen) then I’m not going to lose my head.

I’m going to carry on and I’m going to get there. I may not reach my goal next week and it may not even happen the week after – but I’m damn well going to do it and when I get there that’s it.

I’m stopping.

No more weight loss.

That’s the lot.

From that point onwards I begin to maintain – and honestly I still have to decide whether 14st 8.5lbs is even the right weight for me. It may fluctuate a little, it may remain static. It might need to go up a little.

It might be just right.

Who knows?

Whatever happens I’m planting my flag in that number when I get there and counting it as success – because as of today internet I am a man who is fourteen stone something or other and I did that.

I made it happen.

I’ve not been this size for nearly THIRTY YEARS.

Davey

P.S.

For those of you who wondered whether the scales of Ultimate Accuracy were in fact as advertised – I’ll let you judge for yourselves.

This is what they said this morning.

Personally I think this was £30 well spent!

Ultimate Accuracy or Ultimate Fallacy?

Now I’m close to my target weight I’ve noticed that my thoughts about getting there (and where ‘there’ actually is) are pretty much inescapable.

I just can’t get the subject out of my head.

I find that again and again I’m woken up in the middle of the night by dreams relating to this – and they’re continually racing toward one (usually unreachable) conclusion or another about where I should plant my ‘target flag’.

I’m also opening my eyes in the middle of a dream that confuses the present and the past me – which often leave me wide awake and feeling confused about who I (physically) am for a few moments.

It sometimes takes a short while to realise that I don’t need to panic when I wake up lying on my back or right side. I used to be unable to breathe in these positions and from time to time when I regain consciousness I’m immediately alarmed by my orientation and my pulse begins to race.

I lose all sense of the present in these moments and I’m instead overwhelmed by a fear that I’ll suffocate. When this happens I’m temporarily transported back to the past – which is not a nice place to be.

Yesterday I just gave up and turned the lights on at 5.30am. I had things to do anyway so I thought that I might as well make a start. It’s always a plus though – because there’s usually a nice sunrise to be enjoyed on a cold and frosty morning – and yesterday was no exception.

 

It may sound like an odd time to worry about this kind of thing. After all, being close to realising my hopes and dreams is a good place to be.

I over think a lot in life. I can’t help it.

On the plus side it means that people (who want to) get to read lots of my blogs. On the downside my brain is often so knotted up that I need to write them at a ridiculous time of the morning instead of sleeping.

Thankfully now that I’m much fitter I don’t seem to need all that much downtime.

In an effort to become a bit like the rest of the world, this week I did something that I’d previously sworn I wouldn’t do. After a minor meltdown and a long talk with my Slimming World consultant (she’s pretty great) I walked home, and then drove to Argos to buy myself a pair of bathroom scales.

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They aren’t just any bathroom scales however. They’re Weight Watchers ‘Ultimate Accuracy‘ ones – which are hopefully quite unlike the ones I purchased from a charity shop a while back.

I didn’t expect much from those (they cost a pound) but they should have come with a sticker that read ‘WARNING – these scales will deviate by a margin of one plus or minus one stone each time you step on them. Use for comedy value only.’

To be clear – my consultant didn’t suggest I buy this pair of scales (they are after all made by the enemy) and I didn’t tell her I was going to.

I didn’t know myself that I was about to buy them at the time I was talking to her.

The thought came to me as I walked home in the drizzly dark – and I decided as I strolled and thought things over that I needed to become capable of maintaining my weight in the same way that ‘naturally thin’ people do.

I use this term with my tongue firmly in my cheek because no-one is naturally anything. 

Instead what these kinds of people do far better than I ever used to is identify when they’re overdone things and take steps to address the problem. I want to use my new scales to regularly monitor my weight, and modify my eating habits based on what they report the damage to be.

I hope that I won’t use them to beat myself up or to berate myself with guilt – but only time will be tell. I instead want to be able to say ‘oooh – I went up a little bit so now I should eat a little less tomorrow’.

Wanting to prove that I’ve come this far is not the only reason though.

Not owning bathroom scales has a major downside.

I want to finally get away from the rollercoaster of thoughts that’s gone through my head on practically every Friday evening and Saturday morning since I joined Simming World.

In this period I typically turn my brain inside out trying to guess whether everything will be good or bad and I’m endlessly attempting to figure out whether I’ve eaten too much or not completed enough exercise.

I can’t sleep and it’s next to impossible to properly relax.

After a week like the one I’ve just had this is exactly what I’d already been doing by Thursday afternoon.

Last Saturday was a food tasting event at group and at the same time the scales reported that I had also gained two pounds. Usually either event can cause me to overeat (oh the irony) but when combined they managed to kick start the consumption of pretty much every nice thing in my house over a 24 hour period.

I clearly needed to get this ‘eat everything including my pillows’ impulse out of my system – and I try not to do guilt any more -but by the time my resolve had returned on Sunday evening I was convinced I’d screwed up another week.

It was at this point that I stopped myself from ruminating on feelings of failure and instead thought ‘**** this – I’m going for it. I’m cutting one meal a day out until I’m back on track.’

Although this may seem like I suddenly went into ‘diet mode’ it occurred to me in that moment that I’ve worked with plenty of very healthy people fasting for Ramadan for many years – and when they removed all food during the day it wasn’t actually a bad thing.

Fasting can have a lot of health benefits and not a single one of them seemed to suffer unduly, so I’ve been fasting all day (for five days in a row) and eating a hearty meal in the evening.

This kind of behaviour (I think) is what sets me apart from the old me that would have had a bad day and then followed it with another and another and another ad infinitum.

You know what?

My new scales say this has been successful…

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Only time will tell though whether they are indeed scales of ‘Ultimate Accuracy’ or ‘Ultimate Fallacy’. I hope that I lose the weight tomorrow that I think I’ve lost according to them…

Fingers crossed…

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In other news this week I had a photo taken by my new workplace’s resident camera jockey and got both a colour and a black and white version of it in my inbox today. Not only do I like it – but it’s a great visual reminder of how far I’ve come.

I couldn’t help but making a side by side photo comparison and tried as best I could to match the top of my head with the bottom of my chin in both the old and new pictures.

Who knew I had so much extra face back then?!

B&W sbs

Tune in tomorrow internet when I’ll reveal what the scales at group say compared to the ones of Ultimate Accuracy!!!

Davey

 

Trying to be good

So far so good.

My foot is holding up and I’m once again walking back and forth to work and getting my daily distance back up to my 20,000 step/10 mile average. I’ve just been out for an evening walk too – and whilst my heel still doesn’t feel quite right it’s not painful – just mildly irritating.

I can live with irritating. Agony – not so much, so I’m continuing to be sensible about things. I’m glad to be engaging in my refreshing walks to work again and the car is once more looking lonely and unloved.

Things aren’t all rosy however. I feel that the weekend was something of a lost cause diet wise. I misplaced the will to be good for a solid 24 hours (starting on Saturday afternoon) and since Monday I’ve been trying hard to regain my impetus and control my eating.

It’s a particularly tough time to be good at work though.

Not only am I preoccupied with lots of things that I both want and need to do in my role but on each day this week there have been a huge variety of sandwiches, biscuits, pancakes, donuts, cakes and samosas (otherwise known as Davey Kryptonite) laid out in the kitchen.

Every time I go in there a new plate of something or other has materialised and if I wanted to I could do considerable damage to my waistline on a daily basis.

It’s bad enough trying to be good at home without work also poking me in the ribs with a breadstick all day long.

My impulse in the evenings during this loooooong winter has been (if I’m absolutely truthful) to comfort eat –  and I definitely notice this tendency is more pronounced when the weather is dark and cold and I’m a bit bored.

The only saving grace thankfully is that my types of ‘go -to’ comfort food are no longer any of the above – but if you eat a lot of anything it’s worse than ‘not very much of something’.

Since I had a bit of a shaky start to the week I’ve decided to cut 1/3 out of my daily intake Mon-Friday in an effort to regain my momentum. I’m attempting to not go over 1500kcal a day and walk/burn off as much as I can so that the weekend is negated.

So far it’s going to plan and my aim for Saturday is at the very least to maintain and if I’m lucky to lose something.

Earlier this week I had a chat with my consultant about where I’m going with weight loss lately and I’ve pretty much decided (in agreement with her) to call target at around the 15st mark when I finally manage to get there.

I could lose more – but honestly at the moment I’m really happy with who I am now (apart from toning and tweaking) and for the time being I think I’m content to maintain and just see how I feel about that for a while.

If I decide to try for a lower weight after that then so be it.

I don’t think anything will change in the meantime though because I still need to maintain my focus on eating healthily and exercising regularly. I’m going to weigh in every week just like always and I’m going to have to make sure I don’t put anything back on – so soon a whole new ball game begins.

However I have to get to 15 stone first, and I’m not currently finding losing lots of weight as easy as it once was. If I’m brutally honest with myself that’s more of a mindset issue than a physical one. I don’t think there’s anything stopping me from losing more weight other than me being unwilling to slice yet more calories out of a daily intake that I’m actually quite happy with.

Over the next few days though I aim to remain both focused and determined to get back on track.

If only those samosas would go away internet… It’s like slow torture!!!

Davey

Cufflinks and the arts

I had a nice change of pace last night, and did something I don’t normally do – which is go to a live comedy gig at the Warwick Arts Centre near Coventry. I was there to see Paul Chowdhry on his ‘Live innit’ tour.

Both the comedian and a trip to this particular venue are not that something I’d have sought out or organised by myself if I’m honest. Truthfully I’d never heard of him until last week – but when you have a seriously generous mate offering you a free ticket then who can say no?

Although I’ve been to the Warwick University campus before it’s been a very long time and the whole place seems to have come on a bit since I last had a look around. I have to say the facilities are pretty darn good for the most part.

Parking was free, without hassle, and right next to the venue – although how to get to where you needed to be was a total PITA. The event was awfully signposted both inside and out.

Even when inside the building there was absolutely no way of knowing exactly how to get in to the show or even which part of the complex the show was in. You had to go up to a selection of ushers who pointed you in the vague direction of where they thought you should be going and then you dutifully trudged over to there only to be told it was a completely different door entirely.

When we finally found our seats though the show was swiftly underway – and after a (rather amusing) warm up act and a little intermission the main show started.

All I can say is this man is not afraid of taking the p**s out of his audience, and he goes after any race creed or colour with equal satirical wit. It doesn’t matter who you are, you’re going to get savaged.

Much of his act was based around the fact that recently the Daily Mirror had featured his face in relation to a Crimewatch photofit. After an act of terrorism people had likened him to the offender (link) and he was spirited in his reaction on Twitter.

(From the Mirror article regarding his social media response) The comedian posted: “Can you b****y b******s stop messaging me about Crimewatch, the b*****d looks nothing like me.”

PC terrorist

For the most part I really enjoyed the show – and I like a comedian that’s not afraid to offend occasionally. The world is too politically correct at times and I don’t think that this is something that he could be accused of.

I laughed and clapped a lot.

I have to say though the thing that I loved the most about it is the sea of colour that filled the auditorium when the lights went up. I noticed as people filed out not only how varied the ethnicity of his audience was, but how many mixed race (and faith) couples were in attendance.

We can be forgiven at times for thinking that there are so many things that divide us as a species (particularly if we get sucked into the negativity of the 24 hour news cycle) but when I sit for a few hours in a room full of people all laughing together regardless of their religion, colour or background it really warms my heart.

The UK is a diverse and tolerant place and regardless of what the media likes to tell us, for the most part we all get along just fine – and that’s a great thing to see and be a part of.

In other news yesterday and today I’ve been out walking again.

I’m taking it steady (before anyone panics) and so far my foot seems to be holding up. I’m cautiously optimistic that my more sensible than usual approach to injury is bearing fruit and that I’ve avoided a resurgence of Plantar Heel.

It probably won’t come as a surprise to readers that whilst out and about I’ve also been mooching around charity shops. Primarily I’m looking for ties and cufflinks – which are currently my new favourite things.

I found this really cool little spring loaded pair for a pound today.

They have a little gold chain hidden between the ends that’s only exposed when you pull the links away from eachother. When you let go they snap back into place.

I’ve never owned a pair like them before and really like the fact that they’re a bit worn and imperfect.

Oddly they remind me of my grandad (a rather comforting thought it seems) and for the life of me I can’t think why – because I can’t ever remember seeing him wear cufflinks.

I’m not entirely sure why all of a sudden I’m zeroing in on items that look like this. Previously I’ve been very focused on ‘baggy and scruffy’ as my go to fashion choice – and now I’m exploring ‘fitted and smart’ with a real passion.

I’ve actually got enough shirts and ties to wear a different one for pretty much every working day of the month now – which some may see as overkill, but I see as making up for lost time.

You see – I wore the shirt in this photo (and one or two others) with the same pair of huge jeans almost every day for a few years before I lost weight.

I felt completely trapped in them because there was no alternative. I couldn’t look smart even if I’d wanted to back then and I think that because of this I convinced myself that I didn’t want to because it just hurt less if I blocked the thoughts out.

Now I’m experimenting in a way I’ve never felt comfortable with before. Whereas in the past I felt that by changing any aspect of my appearance I would bring unwanted attention to my size and shape now no-one really notices.

I get an occasional ‘you look smart’ comment or ‘that’s a loud shirt’ quip – but on the whole I fly under the radar and can experiment in public without anyone thinking it’s odd or that I look strange.

If I decide that I want to look like a mint humbug for the day with bath tap cufflinks and a pink tie then why not?

The freedom to be who I want to be is here – and it’s now.

Who would have thought that a few years ago, drunk, diabetic, morbidly obese and waiting to die that today I could be a man happy to walk 3 miles to find a worn pair of cufflinks?

Times change – and they change for the better if you want it enough.

Today internet I just feel happy to be me, to be alive, to have wonderful friends, to have the love and warmth that they bring to my life and normality.

Davey

Considering targets

As a few people pointed out both in person and in the comments on my last blog it’s not my usual behaviour to happily take things easy and rest if I get ill or injure myself.

However – after hurting the plantar tendon in my right foot last Sunday I’ve chosen a different course of action to the one I normally would.

Instead of getting up early and walking to work I’ve been getting up early and spending time on my exercise bike before (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) driving to work.

The hairs stood up on the back of my neck as I wrote that sentence – but there it is. I’ve driven to work for the last few days.

I have the be honest – it’s got it’s upsides and downsides.

  • Firstly – I get to sit in a warm, air conditioned car and my hands aren’t perpetually  freezing.
  • Secondly I arrive home really early (at least compared to the time I did before) and there’s still daylight.
  • Thirdly – I can do more with the day (I’ve been able to go shopping on the way home and quickly nip to an appointment in my lunch hour.)

There are obvious (and dare I say addictive) benefits to using my car – and I’m hyper aware that they all have a pull. They’re nice things.

On the downside…

  • It’s no fun whatsoever sitting for between 20-30 minutes in the morning (in sometimes stationary traffic) to travel tiny distances from one end of Warwick to the other.
  • It’s also more expensive – even though I’m still using a tank of petrol that’s been completely full since late December…
  • I’ve really missed the flush of energy that I get immediately as I step over the threshold at work when I’ve walked there. At that precise moment my brain is filled with energy and I’m stuffed with endorphins. I’m set for the day ahead.

So – it’s been swings and roundabouts – but all of it has been necessary. I needed to get better in the short term so I can get back to my old self in the long term. Next week things will hopefully be back to normal – which I’m looking forward to, because compared to walking frankly my exercise bike just doesn’t cut it.

Sure – I sit there and I do it because I need to do something but honestly it just seems like wasted time compared to walking from A to B. I’m just pedalling and remaining stationary.

Mostly because of this I’ve done less exercise minutes this week (according to Apple Watch) than I have for a long time. I’m sure that this will have a negative impact on my weigh in results today because I genuinely feel my food intake and exercise output have been quite finely balanced for a while now.

If I don’t do all of my walking I can’t enjoy my food with the same (ahem) enthusiasm that I may otherwise do from time to time.

Sigh.

I feel like I’m taking two steps forward and two steps back lately… However – rather than feeling down I actually feel really happy because something rather nice happened when I went to my Doctor’s surgery yesterday for a blood test.

Whilst waiting for the nurse to become available I sat reading on my phone with my legs crossed under a sky light.

The sun above was warming my head and arms and I felt good. I’d left my car a little way away and had a gentle walk in before the appointment. It was just a nice place to be – and I felt quite relaxed in the waiting room.

It then occurred to me that I hadn’t been there for a while. In fact I’d avoided the main practice in Warwick like the plague and scheduled all of my appointments instead at a branch surgery nearby.

The reason?

The branch surgery has a big bench in the waiting room whereas the main one has blue fabric seats with fixed metal armrests that were an absolute misery to sit in two years ago.

I used to wedge myself between them, perching on the edge of the chair and feeling the metal painfully pushing into my thighs as they were jammed together until I was called in for my appointment.

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Not these days.

New and improved Davey just crosses his legs, sits back, chillaxes, then admires the gaps either side of him and between his legs.

Space isn’t just the final frontier. It represents comfort and happiness – and I often find myself marvelling at the absence of me and the introduction of it.

You’d think I’d be used to it by now but I’m absolutely not. It still takes me aback when I walk through a previously tight door, sit in a smaller seat, run up some stairs, climb a slope or just stand in a stationary position without constant, crippling, ever present pain and embarrassment.

So it’s all good. Life is good. Everything is good. Davey is happy.

Although Davey also has some tasty morsels to prepare before Slimming World. It’s a free food tasting day and group starts in two and a half hours.

I’ve still not decided what to make yet!!! Eeek!

(author makes food, goes to group and comes home)

I decided in the end (after staring into the fridge abstractly for a while) to just make something up for food tasting – and went with a totally impromptu thrown together ‘pie’.

The filling consisted of

  • 5 chopped up bacon medallions (unsmoked)
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 leeks
  • small bunch of broccoli chopped
  • half a punnet of mushrooms
  • quarter of a savoy cabbage
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • a vegetable stock cube

The upper layer was made with

  • half a swede
  • a large baking potato (skin on)
  • 1 tub of Aldi cottage cheese with onion and chives
  • Salt to season

I fried all the first lot together until soft – patted it down into a frittata tray, then (when boiled) mashed the potato and swede into a paste and stirred in the cottage cheese before cooking it all in the oven for a further 25-30 minutes to brown the crust off.

I would have left it in the oven longer if I could but sadly ran out of time…

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Overall though it seemed to go down quite well with the people who tried it and there wasn’t much left at the end. Thankfully it was still warm and reeking of garlic when everyone tucked in which was just perfect!

I actually forgot to take my phone with me to group today – which meant that I couldn’t capture any pictures of the other lovely food that people brought in – but there were some particularly nice dishes – such as a (flipping lush) campfire stew, a chicken curry (ohmyfrikkingawd!) and a huge variety of crustless quiches!

The lady responsible for the curry even brought in some of her homemade garam masala spice for everyone to try (she would apparently have to kill us if she told us what the ingredients were – it’s a family secret!) and I brought back a little bag with me so that I could try and make my own version during the week.

These events are always very lively and a good opportunity to catch up with everyone- although I do tend to lose track of what I’e eaten in terms of syns. However I think today pretty much everything I had to eat (with the exception of one thing) was free or speed food – which I’m very happy about.

However – as I expected it wasn’t a great week in terms of the scales. I seem to be bouncing back and forth stubbornly around the same weight, and have been pretty much stuck there since early January.

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I have mixed feelings about this.

The truth of it is I’m happy with me at the moment for the most part – and I’m really beginning to wonder whether this is actually a problem at all – or whether I’m just going to decide that this is my ‘natural’ and comfortable size.

There’s nothing in my life that’s ‘broken’ at the moment any more. I’m fit, healthy, active, satisfied, employed and getting on with every day with energy and drive. I’m really not sure any more why I’m chasing a number when many people are telling me I don’t need to lose any more weight.

The aspirational corner of my mind wants something though – and thats a 20st certificate. The problem is that in the next mental breath I immediately think ‘what’s the point of forcing myself to achieve something only to then put another half a stone back on after I get it and ultimately ending up back to where I am now.

I have a bit of thinking to do on the subject – because in some ways I consider such an attitude to be failure, whereas another part of me is beginning to think it’s instead sensible.

Ultimately it’s up to me to make my mind up about whether I’m happy or not – but I don’t seem to be able to do this currently.

Either way there’s no rush. I aim to keep trying, keep focused and keep going every single week to weigh in and not backslide. Over time I think I’ll find out whether I have further to go or whether I’m right where I need to be…

On that note internet there appears to be an over abundance of blood in my caffeine stream. I’ve heard outlandish stories of a strange drink called coffee and I was planning to try it.

See you later!

Davey

The final frontier

Maybe unsurprisingly there has been a price to pay for my enthusiastic walking exploits on Sunday.

I spent the first part of Monday morning hobbling around like a pensioner and it seemed like pretty much every muscle in the lower half of my body had seized up. On top of this sudden cramp and some rather tender blisters (which are slowly on the mend) I now realise that I’ve aggravated an old plantar tendon strain in my right foot.

It’s not as bad as the original plantar fasciitis problems that I had when I first started walking – but it’s clearly related to the weakness that had developed there before. The pain is annoyingly familiar and is a dull, aching sensation along the length of the underside of my foot that seems to be continually present.

I walked into work yesterday (which was quite a painful experience if I’m honest) and at the end of the day decided to catch a lift back home with a kind colleague so that I could rest up for the evening.

I was hoping that it would just go away and initially this morning it did seem better – so once more I set out on foot – and was feeling pretty good until just over half way.

Up until the point where a noticeable pain made me slow down I was powering along without a care in the world. Although it was bitterly cold (which probably didn’t help a cramping tendon) the universe seemed cheerful as well and was busily trying to treat me to yet more free coffee.

I’ve discovered four beans in the last week alone – and it seems that as long as I keep up my solemn promise to pick up other people’s casually discarded rubbish and put it in a bin I keep getting provided with free caffeine.

Regardless of my enthusiastic womble-esque activities however by the time I’d reached work the pain was intense. Thankfully the previous owner of my desk (apparently a sufferer of back pain) left behind lots of ibuprofen gel, and shortly after I sat down for the day I started smearing this all over the affected area.

It’s worth saying that on the plus side when I was a lot heavier things like this were a much bigger problem. Now they’re more of an irritant than a game changer because I’m putting much less pressure on any injury that I might pick up – and I’m sure it’s nothing that rest can’t fix over time.

I think I just need to stop being a complete idiot and trying to power through problems like this (as I did in 2016) and make them worse than they need to be.

It’s still annoying though because I would really like to be holding a 19.5st certificate in my hand on Saturday – and without my usual levels of exercise I fear it might not happen – but we’ll see…

In the meantime I’m comforting myself with a bowl of Weetabix in unsweetened almond milk whilst watching the latest episode of the new Star Trek series (again) on Netflix – which I have to say has been superb! It’s quite amazing how the franchise has managed to get such a new lease of life after the motion picture restarted the whole timeline a few years ago.

The really clever thing that JJ Abrahms did with his time travelling 2009 film (link) was re-invent and revitalise something that (I now realise with retrospect) came with a huge amount of baggage.

You no longer needed to know any history about the hundreds and hundreds of previous episodes and movies. This was something comfortingly familiar but at the same time new, youthful and exciting – with lens flare!

I’ve been a fan of Star Trek for many years – but it’s pretty hard to argue that the formula hadn’t been thrashed to death by the end of ‘Enterprise’, which was sadly cancelled after just four seasons because of poor ratings.

Since then it’s taken twelve long years for Star Trek to return to the small screen and boy oh boy have Netflicks and CBS done a good job on the reboot. They’ve spent a small fortune on each instalment – and their budgets are reportedly around 8-8.5 million dollars per episode!

(from Wikipedia link – ‘ …an average episode of the first season had ultimately cost US$8–8.5 million each, making it one of the most expensive television series ever and exceeding the original Netflix deal, though CBS still considered the series to be paid for already due to the number of new All Access subscribers that the show was expected to draw.’)

The jaw dropping special effects budgets are just a small part of it’s draw however – because the hard core geeks also appear to be present behind the scenes to satisfy the (much more than me) hardcore fans.

Whilst turning on subtitles to help keep the noise down last night I noticed an unexpected option in the menus….

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Wait… What?! KLINGON SUBTITLES?!

Surely not!!!

(I turned them on)

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Yep. Blinking flip. Actual subtitles. In KLINGON.

Wow. Now THAT’s how to cater for a fanatical fan base at the same time as a casual viewer.

Fair play Netflix. I take my hat off to you!

For anyone out there determined to never proceate with the opposite sex again there’s a Klingon language institute that you too can join. Once indoctrinated you can learn every nuance of what is a made up – but very real language (link).

They have your back when it comes to every possible scenario – and if you find yourself surrounded by bumpy headed aliens and need to ask the way to the toilet then this is the just place to find out how you overcome the problem (link).

For those in just such a situation, with their legs crossed and a rapidly developing sense of bladder related urgency the (made up) words you need are nuqDaq ‘oH puchpa”e’.

(you’re welcome by the way.)

So – I’m going to keep on enjoying Netflix for a few days and do a little exercise here and there, but nothing that will nail my recovery. Who knows – I might even dust off my exercise bike for a change. It’s not seen any action for a while internet and I feel that it’s been rudely ignored.

Watch this space.

(It’s the final frontier)

Davey

Warwick to Coventry AND BACK!!!

Start the day as you mean to go on I say – and with that in mind blisters appear to be the current theme developing for Sunday.

This morning I’d planned to meet up with a friend for a walk around Memorial Park in Coventry – but (as seems to regularly be the case with new and improved Davey) I woke up at ridiculous o’clock and decided that I’d make the most of Sunday and ‘pre-load’ with a warm up walk.

After a bit of pottering about around the house I decided it would be a good idea to walk the nine miles into Coventry for my stroll in the park – which is something I’ve not done previously.

Probably with good reason.

‘It’ll be fun!’ my mind said.

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It’s actually been a really nice day for it (although it was rather cold to before the sun came up) and my mind is still sure that it made the right decision – however there’s a voice of dissent from elsewhere that’s growing louder.

Currently my left little toe strongly disagrees with my mind’s course of action and is sporting an angry looking little blister on it’s tip for some unknown reason. It’s quite used to such distances so I can only assume that my boots have been laced too tight.

I’ve loosened them.

It’s a good thing that I always carry emergency plasters in my wallet. I’ve made some hasty repairs and I’m good to go!

Either way my stats seem to indicate I made pretty good time. I think an average of 17 minutes a mile for nine miles is a darn good pace!

Mostly because of this (despite setting out late) I’m also early to meet my friend so I’m sitting outside the small cafe in the centre of the park trying to keep warm.

My hands are (as they often seem to be these days) like little icicles. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that other people have better circulation than me – because no-matter what I do and what gloves I wear lately they just don’t seem to warm up.

(Author meets friend and does a couple of laps of the park, bids farewell and heads for home)

Well I have to say although I normally walk a lot of miles what I don’t regularly do any more is walk long distances in really compressed timeframes. Most of the time my 10 miles a day is well spread out and on work days I get to rest and chill out in the middle for 8 hours at my desk.

I think maybe because I got something of a second wind mentally at the SW weigh in yesterday I’m keen to push myself today.

The weather is nice too.

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I’ve had to stop for a break though.

My blister is throbbing and I can sense another appearing on the ball of my right foot.

I’m currently sipping my flask of coffee whilst sitting in a bus stop. Mentally while I’m here I’m segmenting the journey ahead. When I chop it up into chunks the thought of it seems less arduous – so I think the next pit stop will be Costa coffee in Kenilworth.

It’s a little way away though…

Sigh. It’s not that far. My blister isn’t that bad…

I better get going.

(Author heads for Kenilworth, gets sidetracked by a really nice shirt and really nice tie in a charity shop, decides to make a quick impulse purchase and then heads for Costa.)

Well Costa was jam packed and what’s more there was a queue for both of their toilets.

I’ve moved on and I’m now sitting on a bench outside Sainsburys eating a punnet of strawberries and a 6 pack of apples. My thighs and hips are flagging now and if I’m honest the soles of my feet don’t feel good at all.

Tomorrow morning’s walk to work is not going to be pleasant – but I’m determined to get home. My friend offered to come and pick me up and drive me back to my house if I wanted him to – and I’m trying to resist the temptation to call him.

I know he’d drop everything and come and get me if I called him (he’s good like that) but it’s about pride now. I’m damn well not giving in.

I’ve walked over 17 miles and I ‘only‘ have another four before I reach home.

(Author eats most of his apples and all of his strawberries, uses Sainsbury’s loo and sets off on the last leg of the journey, before grinding to an unexpected halt…)

Frikkin ouch!!!! Mother flipping mother flipper!!!

I just drew level with the Saxon Mill pub in Warwick (around a mile from home) and the blister on the little toe of my left foot burst, despite the sturdy plaster that’s been holding it together for the last 11 miles.

It hurt so much I actually hopped on the spot!

I’ve been standing still for a minute or two to let the throbbing decrease.

I can hobble on.

I can do this!

I’m not asking for a lift!!!

(Author does it. He gets home. However he has to nip out again immediately to collect a parcel and decides that since he’s driving he can hobble from his car to Starbucks on the way to have a coffee – because he absolutely deserves one.)

 

Now Dave is in his happy place.

Sort of.

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I have coffee but I daren’t take my boots off. Things feel… raw… and… damp in there and no good will come of unlacing them until I’m done for the day.

In the meantime I’m just going to sip my drink, forget my feet exist and look at my stats.

 

Not only did I walk to Coventry, but I did two laps of Memorial Park, walked back to Kenilworth, browsed the shops and then marched back to Warwick.

I’ve walked 22.25 miles today and completed 321 minutes of exercise – a new single day record it seems! I’ve also burned 3,860kcal calories today which makes up for this little piggy eating a second box of hi-fi bars late last night in front of the TV.

I feel absolutely shattered – but also very proud of myself. I don’t think I’ve ever walked this far in a day before (my previous best I think was when I walked to Solihull – which was around 17.2 miles – link) and I like to think I’ve pushed myself a bit further than I normally would.

I’m definitely going to pay for it tomorrow – but in the meantime I’ve smashed my goals for the day, and set myself up for the week ahead. I’ve walked around 33 miles over the course of Saturday and Sunday, which means that if I need to I can relax a little for a couple of days.

In the meantime I’m going to buy myself something nice to eat!

(Author goes shopping and heads home to put his food in the oven.)

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Well – you’ll have to forgive me internet. I need to eat – so this is where the post ends.

I’m really looking forward to what’s on my plate, because even if I hadn’t done an obscene amount of exercise today it would be totally on plan. I bought some butternut squash crinkle chips and some sweet potato fries and they’ve just come out of the oven, filling the house with a wonderful chippy aroma.

I’ve seasoned them with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar, and I’ve also cooked some  turkey steaks which I’ve seasoned with cajun spices.

Since I’m having chips it would be rude in the extreme to not include a healthy side of pickled onions – so I’ve chucked in half a small jar of silverskins too…

Nom nom nom!!!

Davey

Only eight pounds to go…

If there’s one thing thats remained irritatingly consistent throughout the last two years of weight loss its the fact that I really have no idea what’s going to happen when I stand on the Slimming World scales.

I’ve refused to allow myself to buy a pair of my own (maybe I will when I reach target) and probably because of this I just can’t call it and still end up stressing about nothing.

Today I lost two and a half pounds – meaning that I’ve ‘only’ got to drop another 8lbs before I get to my target.

Furthermore there’s only one pound to lose before I get my 19.5 stone certificate!

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I have to say that when it comes to Slimming World and the subject of ‘should I stay to group?‘ my opinion is ‘yes you flipping well should.’

Even when I feel a bit adrift, being in a room full of people with the same mindset and the same mountains to climb produces a warming sense of solidarity. Everyone just wants to help each other and the advice (and camaraderie) always flows freely and selflessly.

My group (and Angie my group leader) never fail to make me smile and today was no exception. If I hadn’t gone to stand on the scales and then sat with everyone chatting before and afterwards my mindset would most likely be downbeat – and that’s why I never leave and I never miss a session.

Without them I’m sure that my results week after week would be very different.

But I digress.

I’ve only eight pounds to go… How nuts is that?! 

After group I strolled into town with a fellow member and then sat chatting with her and catching up on gossip while she tucked into a Nando’s lunch.

Although I didn’t eat myself it all looked very nice.

I wasn’t in diet mode – there was just that nothing on the menu that appealed to me at that exact moment in time. I also wasn’t that hungry because (as usual) I’d just eaten an entire box of mint chock chip hi-fi bars whilst Angie went through image therapy with the members.

In truth I was more interested in the funky ceiling in the restaurant. I’ve never been in there before and it’s really cool!

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After my friend had eaten her fill we headed off for the most important part of the day.

Retail therapy.

I’m aware that I’m becoming quite addicted to clothes shopping – and at some point (just not yet) I’m really going to have to pack it in because I’m already frankly buried in shirts.

The thing is that I’m fascinated by how I look now in different styles and colours. I don’t consider myself vain (maybe I am?) but I’m trying to take a real pride in my appearance at all times these days – and I also love the challenge of trying to find quality items at rock bottom prices.

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There are some things however – like these trainers that will never see the inside of my wardrobe. Frankly I’m not surprised that they ended up in a charity shop – but I am surprised that someone actually purchased them in the first place.

Although I’m certain they match someone’s taste mine is much more conservative…

I’m pretty chuffed with my day’s haul mind you – in particular this item.

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I found this practically brand new Ralph Lauren casual shirt for the ridiculous sum of one frikkin pound!

It’s hard not to feel that the world is on your side when sitting right next to it on the £1 bargain rail is another mint condition M&S striped black (luxury range) shirt in just the style I’d been looking for (I’ve been on the hunt for one for four weeks) that also fitted perfectly.

I’ve also moved into a new area of shopping today thanks to two rather swanky shirts – and bought something that I haven’t owned in quite some time.

Cufflinks!!! Aren’t they cute?!

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In the bizarre economics of charity shopping these (at £3 a pair) actually cost more than the shirts they would be paired with… I don’t mind however. they’re going to look super swanky with my shirts and colour co-ordinated £2 M&S silk ties.

At this point there was only one way to celebrate as the rain drizzled down outside…

A steaming Americano.

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So – keep plugging away internet. You may think you’re going no-where from time to time but if you keep the faith – even if progress is slow – you’ll still edge ever closer to where you want to be.

Happy Saturday all!

Davey

More weight loss psychology…

It’s Friday – and more than I have been for a while lately I find myself both preoccupied and a little concerned about my weigh in on Saturday.

Although I don’t feel that I’ve lost my way in any significant sense I do have a lingering feeling that at the very least I’ve temporarily misplaced my mojo.

Whereas this time last year I was rattling along at a very respectable three and a half pounds a week loss on average I now feel like I’ve been becalmed.

Although I want to lose more weight and I’m doing just as much exercise as ever (slightly more actually) there hasn’t seemed to be much wind in my dietary sails over the last two weeks.

I’ve definitely not been myself emotionally – as my posts have probably periodically indicated (link) and with good reason. Some poignant anniversaries have passed recently and I’ve been a little taken aback by the tears and upset they’ve provided.

It’s been a period for reflection but I’ve hopefully begun to emerge on the other side in a (mostly) functional state.

Thankfully for the bits that still need time to heal there’s always a Boris.

I can’t help but feel better when he and his owner pop round to say hello – and I’ve noticed that the more this sweet, grunty little frenchie gets to know me the more likely he is to automatically jump onto my lap whenever he comes to visit.

Although I look like a hair bomb exploded on my jumper when he leaves I can’t deny that he really cheers me up – and manages (at least temporarily) to take my mind off the fact that for the last month I’ve gone pretty much nowhere in weight loss terms.

Part of me has been sorely tempted to just ‘call target’ as they say in Slimming World and stay right where I am.

After all – all of my clothes look great, I’ve no intention of putting any weight back on, I can walk into any high street store and buy something to wear, I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been in my entire life and I only seem to want to do more as each month passes.

So why am I looking at my target and not letting it go?

Well – I really want a 20st certificate firstly.

I also want to get lower than 15 stone – because when I do the stupid stupid pointless measure of my BMI on the NHS website finally admits that I’m no longer ‘obese’ and I instead enter the infinitely preferable boundaries of being ‘overweight

This is a screenshot of the calculator with my current weight of 15st 6lbs…

obese

….and this is at 15st exactly.

not obese

It would be really really nice to no longer be classed as obese. I’ve been medically categorised this way for the whole of my childhood and (almost) all of my adult life.

However the ridiculousness of this rigid scientific calculation isn’t lost on me.

My ‘healthy range’ starts at 9st 7lbs. At that point (if nothing else) I’d at least be more than prepared to audition as an extra in Hollywood’s (probably inevitable) remake of Jason and the Argonauts…

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It still bugs me though – and like many aspects of extreme weight loss I’m often confronted with somewhat odd and illogical internal conversations.

Why does it all matter?

Why does a number bother me?

I’ve told plenty of other fellow slimmers that it’s how you feel that counts – not an arbitrary number on a scale or a stupid BMI chart, yet I still don’t seem to be able to accept my own advice.

Becoming thin is hard…

It’s one thing to physically lose it all – but it’s quite another to address how you feel about the whole process.

I think that part of me is of the opinion that as soon as I stop losing weight that I’ve failed somehow – even if I’m already in a range that people say I look good in. I still see stopping as getting comfortable and complacent yet nothing could be further from the truth.

I finished Jan with the same ‘write everything I eat down’ mindset. I had managed to maintain it for 31 days straight.

31st Jan
Stir fry chicken with courgette, red onion, mushrooms, leek and savoy cabbage leftovers
Large salad with beans, mackerel and tuna
Yogurt and frozen berries

On top of this I just keep walking and I can’t stop.

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I don’t know anyone else in my peer group that walks 70+ miles a week, every week over and over again, yet for some reason I do. There’s something internally that’s driving this behaviour and it’s by no means a part of me that’s intent on slacking off.

In January Apple Watch set me a task that initially I thought was a joke – but when I worked it out all it was encouraging me to do was keep on with what I was doing already.

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It had been watching my exercise levels – and in an effort to keep me on an even keel decided that I’d only get an achievement if I kept up the good work.

Just to make absolutely sure I’d hit target I ended up earning this a day early (hence the number in the screenshot) and including the 31st I did 3906 minutes of exercise in January

That’s an average of 126 minutes a day!

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Back when I first joined slimming world in April 2016 I was doing a frankly pathetic 5 minutes a day. To put this into context my daily average exercise for THE WHOLE of 2016 was an average of 11 minutes a day.

For non mathematicians that’s (365 x 11= 4015) – which means that I did almost as much exercise in January 2018 as I did FOR THE WHOLE OF 2016 COMBINED!!!

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So why do I feel like my dietary mojo is ‘relaxing’ and why is it filling my thoughts?

Maybe I’m classifying it incorrectly. Maybe my mojo has actually just reached the point where it doesn’t really want to shave any more calories out of my diet just to drop a few more pounds.

Maybe I’m just happy with how I feel now and what I eat?…

Is that wrong?

Am I showing weakness at the worst possible moment – or is this (like so many other things recently) entirely in my head?

Who knows internet…

The only thing I know at the moment is that I’m still not looking forward to weighing in tomorrow…

Davey