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Dieting – In a way. (Last updated on September 25th, 2013)

Posted by Pat | Posted in Observations / Life | Posted on 25-09-2013


First Published 16th September, 2012

It has not gone unnoticed by those close enough to “tell it as it is” that the lanky git that used to be Patrick has, over the years, grown to look somewhat hermaphrodite. A cross that is, between a modestly busty lady and a fat 40 year old plumber.

Quite frankly I’m not built for it. The evidence for this, in my inevitably flawed thinking is that I was always a skinny runt. When I say always, I’m patently ignoring the last 15 or so years of my life.

Denial is a curious beast because I’ve obviously known things were changing and watched this newfound shape develop. I even talk about loving lard and laziness on points 6 and 7 here if you can be arsed. The denial wasn’t really a “I’m not fat” denial, more a “Look at my amazing new bra size!” denial, sharing the joys of getting out of shape with friends and allowing it to creep into larger and larger cup sizes as the years went by. I don’t wear a bra by the way, that was a metaphor.

Anyway, last January (2011), Lizzie decided to join Slimming World and share the nuggets (mmm nuggets) of info that she picked up and soon enough she’d stop bothering going to the meetings like all good dieters, but we kept hold of the basic principles and found that, as with everything, you can find out what you need online for free anyway.

I was roped in, and as it was the first ever time in my life I’d attempted to change my intake, I was scientifically curious more than taking a diet seriously. I lost nearly 23 pounds (over 1.5 stone) in 6 weeks.

The start weight was 202 pounds and lowest I got to was 179. The useful free tracker at medhelp doesn’t quite fit it all in that picture.

Just like all these other dieters I occasionally read about, the inevitable happened. I think we rewarded ourselves with a Chinese. And the rest is an upwards history of girth.

It got bad. Lizzie wanted a badge with ‘Fat cow’ written on it. I compromised and got her a ‘Fat cow’ onesie (how we pleasingly refer to it, it does have cows on it). We grew big again. That’s the problem with couples who are happy and content. I have been given permission to tell you this, by the way.

Since then, I’ve been encouraged no less than 4 more times to start again, each time completely cheating with filth from lard houses when the protagonist (Lizzie) wasn’t looking/at work. Denialtastic.

On 26th August, I conceded again for the 6th time and tried to make it stick. First, we have a wedding to go to on 22nd September (this Saturday). The bride works for Jimmy Choo and has got lots of friends in the rugby fraternity, i.e. beautiful and well built bastards. That has become somewhat of a milestone and I thought “I’ll lose a stone in a month”.

Starting weight was 195.6 and today I’m 185.4 with 4 days to go. A pound a day. It’s unlikely, but I am having a haircut on Friday.

Either way we are going to try and make this one stick – even though Saturday and Sunday are going to be complete writeoffs. I really want to keep on the wagon.

What’s happened now is I’m in a second stage of denial about exercise. I want to see just how much weight I can lose without doing anything more, activity wise. It’s my pathetic quest to “beat the system” – the system being my human biology. All the while I lose weight while not exercising, for now, I am happy. So there. I’m still in denial, ok?

This hasn’t apparently stopped us from buying Fitbit gizmos. Firstly, the Ultra, which is a little dongle thing you clip to your person that monitors steps/floors climbed and sleep and the accompanying wifi scales, which track weight and body fat so I don’t even have to type it into a separate online tracker. Labour saving dietary gizmos, hooray!

It’s surprising how far a completely sedentary person like myself still walks in a day. OK so it’s not the 10,000 steps you’re supposed to do as a bare minimum, but it’s at least half that on most days. It’s also demonstrated that I’m a terrible sleeper, especially when servers go down in the middle of the night it seems. Lizzie and I track our ‘progress’ on the Fitbit website. Annoyingly, as a nurse she manages over 15,000 steps in a shift, while I’m sat on my arse longing for KFC.

As for the diet – Slimming World is still the chosen diet – I like it because it’s really formulaic. Syns is the name of the game. Bad foods are ‘Synful’. Some foods are just a little bit ‘Synny’. (I’m making these adjectives up). Essentially, we keep our intake to below 10 Syns a day and the weight seems to slowly drop off.

It’s a joy for someone like me who hates supermarkets to check syn values on my phone as we walk about, as it gives me something to do. When I was a child, my mother would reward me at the end with a Mars Milk because otherwise I would notoriously get my hand stuck in a chest freezer or similar. But that’s a shed load of syns, so not any more. I can just tap away on my phone to find out syns of things we don’t know.

Essentially, the things I’ve cut out are:

  • Confectionary of any kind, including chocolate, sweets, obvious stuff
  • Normal ‘full fat’ crisps. Sometimes a bag of French Fries or Quavers as they are 4 syns of fresh air basically
  • Sugary drinks. Pepsi Max all the way with all its suspiciously cancer inducing sweeteners. No fruit juice of any kind.
  • Lard of any sort. That is, no takeaways, they are all too synful to indulge at all.
  • Too much bread or dairy. Any we’re allowed is wholemeal and very low fat respectively.
  • BOOZE. I know. A single can of beer is 7 syns. A shot of gin is 2.5. It’s just not worth it.

Some things I now eat a lot of and revel in the fact I can lose weight eating a load of what seems essentially crap:

  • Mug Shots. These are pasta snacks you eat out of a mug – some of which are syn free. I have 10 sachets of the syn-free tomato and herb flavour in the cupboard right now.
  • Rice. Believe it or not. Meant to have veg with it ’till we feel full’ but our version of chicken fried rice (SYN FREE) has taken over a bit. Oops.
  • Crosse and Blackwell baked beans. Till they’re coming out of my ears. I fear running out and have almost 2 dozen tins in at any time. THEY’RE SYN FREE.
  • Jacket spuds. Oven cook only, cos they’re nice like that.
  • Home made (syn free) bolognese.
  • Shed loads of spices and herbs (all syn free) to make experiments taste of something. We’ve used marmite in burgers and ‘Tango Zero’ to try and reproduce sweet-n-sour chicken which was frankly fucking disgusting.
  • Extra lean beef, turkey mince, ham, BACON! (with fat cut off).
  • Apples, oranges, grapes and some of the other ‘normal’ fruits I can just about cope with
  • Some actual bloody vegetables, when I can be arsed. Obviously prepared in a dull way with no butter etc.
  • A worryingly large amount of Quorn in various guises – most of which are syn-free or very low syn.
  • Fry-Light is this oily spray stuff you put in your frying pan and we use that to actually ‘brown’ rather than burn mince etc. It’s a modern marvel and is 1 calorie a spray (syn free for all intents and purposes)
  • Greek ‘fat free’ yogurts and fat-free cottage cheese. ‘Normal’ cheese in the form of ‘Lighter’ cheddar, I can have 28g of a day. And I do. It looks like a pathetic amount.
  • A small amount of low syn cereal. Weetabix, in my case. I’m supposed to have 2 but often stick 4 in. What a rebel.

I’m not a cook, so this suits me well. I’ve cooked syn-free macaroni cheeses, cottage pies and shit like that. I can eat as much of the above (apart from bread and dairy basically) and it’s fine, it seems.

We’re not exactly doing Slimming World ‘properly’, as this includes exercise as time goes on, and including at least a third of every plate with ‘superfree’ fruit and veg. But, for me, this first tentative step to sounding like a right woman is working well. I have even read mumsnet about it and enjoy the success stories. Shoot me.

So I’ll report back hopefully more toward my ideal weight (161 pounds – 24.4 pounds to go) or when I need craning out of my house.

Update, 30th September 2012

So the wedding happened.

You may well be able to make out the weekend of 22nd. God knows what happened the day before – I must have been to the loo before weighing or something! This was before the haircut, and, as it turns out, walking 17,000 steps round a shopping centre while Lizzie sought out coordinating shoes, bag, fascinator etc.

So a week later, I’m 182.8lbs. My immediate goal is 181, which is a stone from the starting point.

We are carrying on! It seems it’s possible to do this without going mad. The only problem is with being sociable. Eating out is almost impossible (one can have too many carveries without yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, mash or gravy), having a drink is a no-no, so it seems to continue we have to be social lepers.

Lizzie is off with the girls for a week in the sun in October, clearly that is going to be a write-off for her. I will try and stay on the straight and narrow, as the goal after 181lbs is my ideal BMI weight, 161lbs, a full 20lbs less. It would be amazing to get anywhere near that.

I’ll update if and when I smash my previous lowest point in a decade of 179.8.

Update 26th October 2012

I’m at 174ish pounds. Nice huh. It just keeps coming off, very slowly but surely. Just less than a stone to the target. Woo!

Update 17th May 2013

Time flies doesn’t it.

I’m fat again.

We did bloody well, let me just jump to my own defence. I was at 164lbs at my lightest, that’s just THREE sodding pounds from the target. Then Christmas happened. Then New Year. Then a rediscovery of how much we love scoffing lard and drinking booze. OH WELL.

Last 10 months of weight

There’s the last 10 months.

So now I’m officially a yo-yo dieter. How exciting. What a statistic.

The good thing about being ‘on it’ again is that we knew we were ready and fell back into it really very easily. The bonus is I was starting at the 184lbs point which is over a stone lighter than my heaviest about 18 months ago. So I’ve been fatter.

This time I took before photos. I’m stood in my pants in them so there’s not much chance they’ll end up in the public domain (unless Lizzie decides to get me back for farting on her feet the other day). Either way, I’m excited and the plan is, by July, to get to that bloody target I nearly missed. The holy BMI grail of 161lbs, aka 11.5 stone. Wish me luck!

Update 27th June 2013

Believe it or not, I did it!

0.3lbs under the target weight!

0.3lbs under the target weight!

You can see where it all went a bit wrong before.

You can see where it all went a bit wrong before.

July 2012 / June 2013. I've aged.

July 2012 / June 2013. I’ve aged.

Don’t need to say a lot more.

Tomorrow, I have booze and lard for the first time in 7 weeks. Saturday, I’m having more booze and lard. Totally coincidental that I got there the day before 2 back-to-back social engagements. So essentially, it’s going to go wrong for at least a week, weight wise, but after that I am aiming for 154lbs, i.e. 11 stone.

The problem is, I’m still a bit flabby. And I still can’t be arsed to exercise.

Either way since I first wrote this blog entry, in total I’ve lost exactly 2 and a half stone (35lbs). Woo!

Another Update! September 25th, 2013

It’s a day short of a year and a month since the serious dieting started.

I’m being pretty flexible with it now, and it’s essentially the ‘default food’ when I’m not out or having a sneaky takeaway. Seems to work – I gain a bit, lose a bit, but don’t obsess over it as much.

As for targets, I got through 154lbs (11 stone) and decided just one more half stone would do me – to 147lbs.

I’ve been within a whisker – a pound – of reaching that, but have been hovering between 150-152 for the last couple of weeks. At my lowest, my total weightloss was 47lbs. (3st 5lbs). I’m happy with it, and now using 11 stone as a psychological barrier, it keeps me in check from going above it.

So it’s less about a diet now and more about it being a lifestyle. I am much more conscious of what is going down my gob, but still have the opportunity to forget it all for at least a day or two a week, which is nice. Hooray.

I’ll update this if I ever do reach 147lbs, because I’ll feel that’s pretty much where the dieting ends.

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