John’s weight loss blog

For some strange reason I suddenly feel compelled to lose the irritating (and hugely stubborn) final last half a stone that has been bothering me for the last 5 years, and for some even stranger reason I feel the need to try and capture my thoughts and my feelings for the next 30 days or so. Perhaps by going public with this I will take more ownership and it may allow me to analyse my thoughts and behaviours in more detail.

Note: this is from a ‘relatively’ slim* persons perspective

(*See final observations) This diary is about me, it is a forum where I can explore my own thoughts and actions in a public space that makes me accountable for my behaviours, with a view to discovering old outdated beliefs I may have and implanting new beliefs and ways of being that may make more sense for me. I am not asking anyone to do what I do, nor am I saying that what I am doing is right or wrong.

In fact, these are the thoughts of a slim person who has always been obsessed with food, yet, for the majority of my life I have gone without it to avoid becoming overweight. I make this point because people always say “it’s alright for you because you don’t have to worry about your weight”, well, I do worry about my weight and have done all my life.

For me, it feels like I have always been formulating sensible (to me) eating strategies (diets) all my life rather than yo-yoing up and down through that whole pleasure and pain (weight gain – weight loss)  cycle, my cycle has been more about consciously avoiding nice food for the pleasure of feeling slim.

“I know this is the opposite to many people who want to lose weight, yet we all face the same constant battle in our minds. This is about what goes through my mind and my battle to lose that stubborn last 6 lbs once and for all.”

If I offend or upset anyone whilst writing about my thoughts, please know, that this is not my intention, this blog is aimed squarely at my own flaws and what I can do to change them. I will be using a lot of NLP techniques on myself, and one of the fundamental foundations of Neuro Linguistic Programming is breaking down my thinking strategies and replace them with ones that may serve me better, to do that I need to be open-minded, ready to try different things and prepared to question my own beliefs.

Finally, please bear with me, as much of the way I think falls into the categories of what is happening to me consciously and unconsciously – in my experience, it is normally the unconscious strategies that win, these are what I am trying to observe and change in myself.

Please feel free to comment on the way I think about myself, my personal strategies or offer advice that you feel might help me. You can use the open section at the foot of this page.

Why do I want to explore thoughts about my body?

Most people wouldn’t say I was fat and I never have been, just a few extra pounds around my waist, but now I am 46 it seems to be spreading and I don’t like the thought of that. Currently, I weigh 10 st 2lb (142lb or 64.5kg) which is not bad, except, I am 5′ 2″ tall (a bit like Dudley Moore or Michael J Fox except without the fame and wealth).

Perhaps it might be interesting for people who struggled with their weight to hear what slim persons attitudes to food and weight control are, who knows? Personally, I would say that although I am reasonably slim I have always had to make a very conscious effort to stay this way.

I spent some time thinking about why I wanted to lose some weight, what weight I wanted to be and what it would do for me? – and I really struggled to answer those questions. All I can say for sure is that I want to feel more comfortable in my clothes (I have been, pretty much, the same weight for many years now, so all my clothes are one size, I don’t have a fat wardrobe and a thin wardrobe, so for me it’s all or nothing), I also feel that I want to nip this slow creeping up of my weight in the bud before I suddenly realise that my health is at risk from diabetes or coronary issues.

I suppose that if I really break down the statement “to feel more comfortable in my clothes” it actually means “so I will look better in my clothes” which is my ego rearing it’s ugly head. Either way, whether it is my tight waistband or feeling more comfortably confident I do want to do something about it. I’ll keep my eye on how I feel about this as I progress.

So it is probably a little bit about confidence, a bit about what others might think of me (hard to let go of, but trying), elements of fitting into my clothes more easily, and sadly, I have just realised that the whole health aspect is at bottom of the list, surely as I get closer to 50 this needs to come to the fore? I need to ponder this a little more.

What is the right weight for me?

I don’t know. I am going to aim for 61kg (my bathroom scales are in kg’s) which is about 9st 8lb, the same as I was 10 years ago. For the sake of this blog I feel I do need a target weight, however, I am sure that I will just know when it feels right, it might end up being more or less than that, we’ll see.

Since my mid 20′s I have always weighed myself every morning and nine times out of ten times I know exactly what the scales will say, I think I unconsciously make allowances for my natural weight fluctuations so I don’t get freaked out by any gains and seem to have an unwritten mental upper and lower limit between 63kg  & 65kg that I just allow myself to float between. I think I like that way of being and don’t really want to stop that, I just want to float between some new lower weight boundaries

What do I want my body to look like and why?

Mmm that is really hard to answer, because I’m not unhappy with my body, I quite like it actually, I am happy in my relationships, happy with my work and I am a relatively confident person, I just seem to struggle with my oral fixations, it just seems that I have cravings for chocolate, alcohol and peanut butter on freshly baked bread!

Funnily, I only occasionally crave steak, fish or normal meals and when I go out to restaurants, I don’t mind where we go, as I am more looking forward to the social interaction than the food itself. Thinking about this has reminded me that I rarely spend a lot of time scanning the menu and reading about all the ingredients, I seem to go for the simple foods that I know I like and that are relatively lower in calories.

More recently I have realised that I don’t try new foods and that there is a part of me that is very cautious of trying too many rich dishes or different cheeses, in-case, I like them, because then I’d have to battle with myself even more as I counted my calories each day.

Interestingly, as I type these words, I have all sorts of new thoughts going through my mind. For instance, I was going to stop for lunch in 5 minutes time, but I have been so engrossed in my thoughts that it is now an hour later! So, I guess if you are really absorbed in something hunger is not on your mind, it is on my mind now though.

I’m back, tuna (with a dash of vinegar) on Ryvita (with swipe of Laughing Cow low fat spread) 280 calorie’s and very filling, luckily I don’t like mayonnaise and I have always felt that this aversion has been very helpful for me, as I turn my nose up at potato salad, pasta salad or any of those mayo laced calorie minefields.

(New thought Sat 24th July – I just realised that not eating anything with mayonnaise in is an unconscious strategy that has helped me to avoid calories, I don’t actually dislike the taste! I like this strategy and I am definitely going to keep it.)

(New thought Mon 26th July – Amazing, just realised I do the same thing with cream, I avoid most dishes that are creamy like spaghetti carbonara and cream cakes too. I NEVER eat anything that has squirty cream on (should be banned). I do like cream and will pour some over a desert, I am starting to realise at one level I am quite weird, yet at another, I have some really useful unconscious strategies running under the radar. Another thought has popped up, I do eat pavlova and that has lots of cream in it, but I guess that is only once or twice a year.

Over last few years I seem to have set into a routine of ‘trying’  to eat 2200 calories Monday to Thursday and eating whatever I like over the weekend. Some weeks I am better than others, but, on the whole, this has worked well for me. I favour counting calories rather than colours, points, groups etc. and realised a long time ago how easily we are fooled by not weighing foods or keeping a log of what we have actually eaten, normally in any day I know how many calories I have consumed. To me, the best book on calories is The Calorie Carb & Fat Bible and I am always amazed at how wrong I can be when I guess calories rather than really weighing things and finding out for sure.

If I look back over my life, being slim has always been more important to me than consuming fancy food and to be honest, if I lived on my own I would probably survive on toast, rice and cheese on crackers, however, as I mentioned before, I would always be obsessing about food, especially bread, chocolate and sweets, this is where my internal battles are.

(New thought Sat 24th July – Another observation has jumped into my mind, I don’t cook and I don’t want to learn how to cook either (I love watching cookery shows though!) I wonder if this is another of my unconscious strategies?  I guess this means that  I can eat an egg on toast for tea and not feel bad about what others might like to eat… and if I am not preparing food or (unconsciously) being ‘measured’ by others on my cooking, then I don’t have to contend with any secondary emotional gains that I might get from producing tasty gastronomic delights… Only day 2 and these things are already bubbling up in my mind.)

(New thought Mon 26th July – My mind is really going in over-drive today – I have been asking myself if I did cook for the family what would be important to me? For example, Conny might ask me what would I like for dinner and I usually say “I don’t mind” and mostly, I really don’t mind. I probably should come forward with more direction about what I do want to make it easier for her, or even cook myself (big step).

Do people who cook feel bad about serving up a healthy meal that the family won’t like, rather than a non-healthy one they do like? This must be a really hard decision on all sorts of emotional and beliefs driven levels? I remember when I was young I wanted to eat raw vegetables but my Mum wouldn’t let me, so she served me cooked vegetables and I didn’t eat them. I asked her a few years ago why she did that, because, surely, if I ate them raw it was better than not eating them, she said, that with hindsight it made no sense at all, but at the time, she felt like a bad Mother if her son was eating raw vegetables, a great example of an unconscious self-belief driving actions. (Sorry Mum).

(New thought Sat 24th July – Just a thought really, I am not sure if I think about my weight or food the most… No, overall, my weight is more important than the food, I feel that being overweight would make me feel more uncomfortable (in the long run) than continuing my lifelong battle to limit my calorie intake. How might this strategy differ from that of a larger person? I don’t know? Is it better to focus on what you are missing or what you want to have, I need to give this some more thought too?

( New thought Tue 27th July – From some feedback I am receiving, it seems like I may be touching a few nerves with larger people  – ‘how dare a slim person moan about food etc.’ – This blog is about me and my challenges, me analysing my thoughts and beliefs and finding new ways to behave and think that will emotionally satisfy me once and for all. You are very welcome to watch, I’m not asking you to do anything and I’m certainly not judging anybody :-)

So, I am going to record my thoughts for the next 30 days, here goes…..

Diet diary day 1 – Weight 64.5kg

Friday, July 23th 2010 – I decided to start on a Friday because in the past I always started on a Monday and I want to try different things! I hope this will already save me hundreds of calories, I don’t want to deprive myself of anything, just to use moderation and common sense to keep things under control, and as the days progress and my cravings arise, I’ll talk you through the techniques I’ll be using on myself. Hopefully, as the next few days unfold I’ll be able to honestly document my thoughts, feelings and actions. It’s 14:12 and so far I have had 630 calories….. feeling very positive.

15:51 – Have just cut the grass (apparently 4 calories per minute = 200 calories burnt off )  While I was doing that I was thinking about my own attitude to being slim and why it was so important to me,  and it struck me that it is a very similar strategy to being overweight, it is like wearing a mask, like having something to hide behind, however, instead of hiding behind a larger body I might be hiding behind a different mask, perhaps sending out messages about myself to mask deeper insecurities??  Who knows, I need to think about this in more depth.

Will take Schnuffy out for a walk now, we usually walk a couple of miles each day, I’ll think about this some more.

Day 2 – Weight 64.1kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1850 – weight loss so far 0.4kg (0.9lb)  Exercise 2 miles dog walking – Starting to sound a bit like Bridget Jones!

Saturday, July 24th 2010 – I’m still feeling positive, last night Conny made a really delicious prawn curry and instead of having ‘seconds’ I just ate my serving more slowly and tried to really enjoy each mouthful, it made me notice that I am a very fast eater. I am going to try and focus on really savouring the food in front of me, rather than getting my satisfaction from the volume of food, I’ll see how that goes for a while.

It was a bit of a struggle during the evening, as usual on a Friday night I would open a bottle of wine and enjoy a bit of snacking on Maltesers or ice cream. I did have a glass of red wine, however, I only half filled the glass and once again tried to savour the flavour and drank it more slowly, I enjoyed it, after that I switched to drinking hot filtered water from the kettle (not directly from the kettle) I prefer hot water, it fills me up and I certainly do want to drink more water each day.

Straight after dinner (19:30) I was really craving something sweet, but I thought I would just observe that feeling rather than act on it, I really focussed on what I was craving, where in my body that craving was, it was interesting to observe it as the desire waxed and wained until about 21:30 when I allowed myself a yoghurt as a reward, once again I ate this super slowly and enjoyed every single half teaspoon full. It was a Muller Light cherry and vanilla with chocolate sprinkles (well worth checking out, 52p in Tescos).

I am sure the evening snacking is as much a habit as anything else, they say you can break a habit in 30 days, we’ll see. I’ve just realised that my diary will always be lagging by one day, especially as I am going to try and write it each morning, yesterday was good and I am looking forward to today.

Day 3 – Weight 64.0kg

Calories consumed yesterday 2100* – weight loss so far 0.5kg (1.1lb)  Exercise 2 miles dog walking and endless miles around the shops at Bicester village.

Sunday July 25th 2010 – Had a great day yesterday ate out twice and still came in at around 2100 calories (the calorie books say that I need 2200 per day to stay the same, so I should be gently moving in the right direction) this is doubly good, firstly because my old strategy was to eat anything I wanted on a Saturday (starting to see what a cop-out that was) and secondly I really enjoyed what I ate and felt really full up.

Had lunch at one of my favourite food outlets Pret a Manger, one of the few shops that show the calorie content of their food on the shelf pricing labels and on their website it is really scary to see how many calories are in a loaded sandwich. Up until now, I would usually take a Hoisin Duck Wrap 433 calories and a Latte 194 – yesterday I took the vegetable sushi 277 calories and a cup of tea 20. Tasted lovely, very filling and only 297 saving me 330 calories. I’m noticeably concentrating more on what I am gaining rather than what I am missing and I like that.

I am beginning to see more clearly now that this is not a diet I am on – it is a shake-up of my thoughts and actions that I trust will serve me well in the future. It is about me focusing on what I want from my body and what erroneous beliefs I currently hold.

I think I have a few ‘silly’ justification strategies within me and I need to find them – it’s like the way our conscious mind tries to justify unconscious actions that it feels uncomfortable with, for example: A cigarette smoker would feel really uncomfortable saying “I am really stupid, I am a real Wally for putting these chemicals in my body, even the label says don’t do it.” And because our ego or conscious mind doesn’t want us to feel stupid it comes up with more palatable options, such as, “I’m addicted” or “they made me smoke by making it addictive” or “I’d put on weight if I stopped,” I think this helps us to feel less bad about ourselves and it also unconsciously abdicates a little of our responsibility for having to change, rubbish if you want to stop smoking though!

We went out to a local Indian restaurant* in the evening, once again I wanted to enjoy my food but explore some new options. I had one popadom with some onions, usually I would have had two, then for the main course I had a Chicken Tikka starter and a Pindi Chana side-order with boiled rice. I always have had boiled rice with Indian food because it all gets covered with sauce and flavours so I always thought it was a waste of calories to get a fancy higher calorie rice option. Anyway, it was delicious and very filling, I have tried to find out how many calories this was, but it is so hard, here is my estimation, let me know if I am way off the mark.

*Popadom with onions 120, a dish of boiled rice (only ate half of it) 300, Chicken Tikka starter (5 dry chunks) 200, Pindi Chana side-dish 500? (I’ll take a high guess) 2 small glasses of red wine 180 and we shared a little ice cream 150, little chocolate with the bill and mini liquorice comforts 60.

I am really beginning to notice how many useful calorie avoidance tactics I have unconsciously built up over the years and that I am quite active, I move around quite a lot. Also, it is amazing how many calories you can save by starting your diet on a Friday!!

Day 4 – Weight 64.0kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1517 – weight loss so far 0.5kg (1.1lb)  Exercise 1 mile dog walk.

Monday, July 26th 2010 – Sunday was a relaxing day and I am still feeling fully motivated. I think I am beginning to drive Conny mad by looking up the calories in everything, then weighing and measuring it all. On the scales my weight stayed the same this morning, however, when you weigh yourself every day (as I do) you soon realise that the body has its own rhythms and cycles and that’s OK as I know how regulated I have been with my calorie intake. You watch, it will jump down tomorrow.

I have been writing everything I have eaten down and if I have been unsure of the calories I’ve done a little research to find out more.

Thought I would see if I could find areas where I might be tricking myself by making assumptions about the number of calories I consume, so I measured one of my wine glasses, initially I poured in a ‘normal’ amount of wine this turned out to be 240ml, almost the same as a double pub measure (250ml) and was 160 calories.

I then poured a regular 125ml pub measure into the glass and if I have to say, it looked quite empty, however, it returned a more positive 83 calories.

This has got me thinking about what might be the best type of wine glass to drink from…. Are there ones that feel big and optically feel like they hold a lot, yet only accommodate a single measure? Is there a gap in the market for one of those?

For dinner, Conny cooked a baked chicken breast with onions and Mediterranean couscous (not the prettiest of dishes) but delicious and very filling for only 480 calories.

In the evening I resisted the urges to snack until 20:30 and had a Weight Watchers chocolate and toffee swirl mini pot, delicious, 82 calories well spent!

So, let the working week begin and I’ll see what unfolds, interestingly, I work most evenings with clients and don’t eat my tea until quite late (after 20:30) I don’t think that is very healthy, need to think about that a bit, perhaps, I should have a bigger lunch and a light snack in the evening…?

I just found an article I put together a while ago called “Whose head is in the fridge”.

Day 5 – Weight 63.2kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1410 – weight loss so far 1.3kg (2.9lb)  Exercise 2 miles dog walking.

Tuesday, July 27th 2010 – Day 5 and I am still really feeling positive. I am reading all the labels on all the food I buy and weighing everything I eat, I have done this before many times, but it seems that the passing of time makes a 100g portion slowly get bigger and bigger!! Writing my thoughts out like this (and being really honest with myself) is really quite an eye-opener.

I actually weighed out my breakfast this morning 35g of Optivita Berry Oat Crisp (131 calories) covered with 200ml of Innocent Fruit Smoothie pomegranate, blueberries and acai flavour (140 calories) absolutely lovely (to me). I don’t like milk so I use smoothie on my cereal and this breakfast easily keeps me going until 12:30.

I thought today I would explore my long-term attitudes to breakfast – After giving this a lot of thought, it seems that breakfast is just something that I do without thinking about, in reality I don’t really want to eat anything until about 9:00 but that just isn’t practical, so I just eat breakfast anyway when I get up. I probably eat flakes and smoothie 5 times a week, I probably miss breakfast once a week (I know that is bad, but I can easily go without until lunch if I know I am going out, to save calories, I do feel very hungry but I just put up with it) and might go out for breakfast once a week, as I work very early mornings a few times a month.

Even when I go out for breakfast I seem to choose a sensible option. I do absolutely love a full English breakfast, however, I probably only eat one of those 2 or 3 times a year, I am realising that if I used these meals as a treat it would just make me want them more often. This strategy, to not use food as a personal reward and to avoid rather than ‘have in moderation’  does seem to work well for me, it is very hard, yet I know that if I allowed myself a ‘treat’ I would just be fuelling an even harder battle.

Another good example would be hot sausage rolls and pasties.  I absolutely love these, every-time I walk past the pastie shop in Milton Keynes the smell drives me mad, yet I have never had one, I just looked on their website to see how many calories are in a pasty but they don’t say, I should imagine it is between 580 – 1000. This would be a very slippery slope for me to go down, I think my unconscious strategy has always been – rather than say to my self  “oh, I would like that” I say “I can’t believe how much fat and calories is in that.” That way, I feel good about not eating it, I hadn’t thought about this before. Once again, it seems like a sensible strategy for me.

As I said before my downfall is sweets, chocolate, wine etc. It looks like I am allowing myself to use them as a ‘treat’ or a ‘reward’ yet I don’t use savoury food or meals as a reward, interesting! What would I need to do to apply the same strategies to the foods that I feel obsessed by?

Just remembered a show that was on TV a few months ago (100 calorie club) that made a mock supermarket that served everything in 100 calorie portions and how shocked I was about how little confectionery you get for 100 calories.

Day 6 – Weight 63.1kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1358 – weight loss so far 1.4kg (3lb)  Exercise 2 miles dog walking.

Wednesday, July 28th 2010 – Still very focused and also very busy at work, I find that if I absorb myself in my work I hardly feel hungry at all, there seems to be a big correlation between hunger and boredom for me. All this thinking about healthy eating and writing about my feelings is also stirring some thoughts about exercise!!!! It’s been 18 months since I was last seriously exercising, I do have a cross trainer in my garage so I am going to set myself the goal of using it every other day starting this Friday (the first day of week 2). I am really finding that when I set these goals and make them public I feel so much more accountable and motivated to proceed. I find I am still focusing on how good it feels to be in control rather than ruminating about what I am missing and I am not treating this as a 30 day flash in the pan diet much more of a change in lifestyle.

Noticed another of my weird unconscious (but useful) food avoidance techniques this morning – I was buying some stationery and there was an offer where you could buy a pack of paper for £3.99 or two packs for £4.99 so I bought two packs because it was a bargain and I stored the second pack of paper away for whenever I will need it, but if I am in a supermarket (I don’t cook but I do the family food shopping) and I wanted to buy some sweets, I never take advantage of the bogofs or the ‘buy 2 for 10p more’ deals, because in my mind I only want one and if the other is in the house I’ll eat it! Bizarre but really helpful. If any of our normal food is on a deal I always take that with pleasure.

I remember buying a large Twix in a petrol station last year and the assistant said that I could have 3 for £1 rather than one for 70p and when I said I only wanted one (because I’d eat the others) she said that I was ‘stupid’ to miss such a great opportunity! I guess it depends on which way you look at it.

Someone told me today that sometimes hunger cravings are in fact thirst, I don’t know if that is true so I will check it out tomorrow, I need to drink more water anyway.

Day 7 – Weight 62.9kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1605 – weight loss so far 1.6kg (3.5lb)  Exercise 2 miles dog walking.

Yesterday was a good day as I was very busy so no time to consider food until the evening. I am consciously trying to step away from the mental duality that positions snacks as either good or bad, I want them just to be part of my daily fuel, if and when I want them.

I had some monkey nuts last night as I was relaxing watching television, I love peanuts and I learnt a long time ago that by having to shell each individual nut and then rub their skin off before eating them, it would stop me just shovelling great handfuls of peanuts into my face.

Normally, I would have had 1/2 a bag full (125g 725 calories!!!!!!) Last night I weighed out 35g (205 calories) it was a shock to see how few there were, however, it still took me 20 minutes to slowly peel them and I enjoyed every single one (rather than every single hand-full). Surprisingly felt nicely satiated after this fiddly little feast.

Had a lovely dinner last night, 3 medallions of pork (155 calories) with chilli stir-fried vegetables and mushrooms, delicious.

I am still writing down all my calories as I consume them, rather than adding them all up at the end of the day I keep a running total, this I find quite motivational too, it is like playing a game, having a little competition with myself.

Food Calories Total
Breakfast 277 277
Apple 70 347
Lunch 520 797
3 wine gums 2 cups of tea 78 875
Apple Juice 120 995
Dinner 405 1400
Monkey Nuts 205 1605

The reality that I said I would start exercising tomorrow has just dawned on me, and to be honest, if I hadn’t committed to doing it here publicly I would probably let it slip. So, it seems that deciding on a goal, setting a date, then making it public is a powerful way of moving forwards, I wonder what else I could apply this to?

Day 8 – Weight 63.0kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1580 – weight loss so far 1.5kg (3.3lb)  Exercise 1 mile dog walk.

Friday, July 30th 2010 – I have just finished 20 minutes of exercise on my cross trainer (as I promised myself I would).  I didn’t want to do too much as I have not properly exercised for a long time. It was surprisingly enjoyable and easier than I thought it would be!

We have had our dog now for nearly 2 years and I guess my finding this short workout relatively easy may be due to the walks we take each day, that quite surprises me really, that plain walking can make such a difference. I am still feeling positive and very determined, as the second weekend approaches….

I have been considering other strategies I unknowingly have with respect to food. As far back as I can remember, I have always eaten the items on my plate that I enjoy the most first, then the things I like less, finally the things I don’t much care for, I always thought it was because the things I liked would be hot and fresh, however, I am beginning to see something else.

I have no problem leaving food on my plate if I am full or don’t like it, that may be at home or in a restaurant, the only exception seems to be at dinner parties where the food is pre-plated and served to me, I somehow think it would be rude not to try and eat it all (ego again, wanting the host to be happy!) So, the strategy that is running seems to be;  eat all the food items I like first, that way, if I begin to feel full I can easily leave the things I like less with minimal temptation.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like wasting food, however, I would rather throw the excess food into the bin rather than into me.

Even as a child the whole “eat everything because there are starving children in Africa” made no sense to me, looking back it is almost like saying “eat more than you need just because you can.” Anyway, I am sure those comments were always meant well.

I am just reminded of an incident I had in school when I was about 12. I was having my school dinner and for some daft reason, you had to collect your dinner and your pudding at the same time, on this particular day the pudding was a chocolate sponge with chocolate custard (one of my favourites) it was all piping hot and ready to be consumed.

I decided I would eat the pudding before my lunch while it was hot because I didn’t like it when the custard got a skin over it, seemed like the logical thing to do especially as the school dinners were not so lovely back in 1976 (pre Jamie Oliver) Unfortunately for me  (or with hindsight fortunately) for me one teacher decided that this way of eating food was unacceptable. I used my best logic to explain that they both ended up in the same place, but it fell on deaf ears and I was ‘forced’ to eat all of the dinners including the bits I would have left and then to eat the cold pudding with the thick custard skin on it.

School really was quite cruel back then and the more I think about this, the more I feel that some of my attitudes to food may have been formed at this time, anyhow, I never ate school dinners again and lived off of peanut butter sandwiches for the next 4 years, which ironically, was much worse! There is probably a moral somewhere in there.

Day 9 – Weight 62.9kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1550 – weight loss so far 1.5kg (3.3lb)  Exercise 1 mile dog walk.

Saturday July 31st 2010 – Although things are going well I am getting more cravings for sweet things now, last night Conny opened a bar of Galaxy chocolate and she ate a couple of squares, I chose not to have any because it would just be too tempting, I feel OK about that because I do want to break the habit of thinking of chocolate as a treat, I think I will set myself the goal of not eating anything chocolate during these 30 days,  already managed 9 :-) . I’d like to be more like Conny with respect to chocolate, she can open a bar, take one square then put it back in the cupboard for 5 days before taking the second square, that is exactly the relationship I would like to have with sweet snacks.

As the cravings arise I am just sitting with them and concentrating on where those feelings are within me, after a couple of minutes they seem to pass, rather than me just reaching for a snack. I’ve noticed too that I haven’t eaten much bread this week and my intake of apples, bananas, grapes and pineapple is up, also interesting to weigh out fruit such as grapes as they can be deceptively high in calories.

I did have a couple of glasses of wine last night to gently close the working week and I kept both glasses to 125ml and drank them slowly savouring them fully, lovely.

Day 10 – Weight 62.8kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1830 – weight loss so far 1.7kg (3.7lb)  Exercise 4 miles dog walk and shopping.

Sunday, August 1st 2010 – Yesterday was a bit of a struggle as I had a lot of pain in my lower back and hips (I was born with some problems with the bones in my spine) normally I can just ignore the pain, however, yesterday was tricky.  I have never really considered if the pain and the desire for snacking are linked, I will keep an eye on that, it is much better today so I’ll see how it goes. Will write later as I need to do the house cleaning, Conny is doing upstairs, the bathroom and wet wiping the wooden floors and I am cleaning downstairs and hoovering everywhere, it all burns calories.

I will exercise again tomorrow morning, will need to get up a bit earlier to do this. This has got my mind thinking again… documenting my thoughts has got me asking myself ‘if I was going to do another 30-day challenge what would it be?’ The thought that is going around my mind is currently about getting up much earlier as I have always been more of an Owl than a Lark, we’ll see.

Day 11 – Weight 62.7kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1670 – weight loss so far 1.8kg (4lb)  Exercise none.

Monday, August 2nd 2010 – Had a nice relaxing Sunday yesterday, new healthy eating routines are under control and I am feeling very positive.

Day 12 – Weight 62.7kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1520 – weight loss so far 1.8kg (4lb)  Exercise 25 minutes on cross trainer and 1-mile dog walk.

Tuesday 3rd 2010 – Found a nice new breakfast, a single scrambled egg on dark German rye bread it’s about 210 calories and keeps me going until lunchtime. Things are all moving in the right direction and I am finding keeping to around 1650 calories a day is very achievable, I just want to gently lose these last few pounds rather than starve myself.

I truly feel that publishing my weight each day is helping me enormously, so once I am at my goal weight (61kg) and this 30-day blog is over, I think I will still publish my weight weekly so I can consciously keep an eye on trends in my weight.

That reminds me of a famous cycle of thinking that we all seem to fall into called Unconscious Incompetence and we cycle around these four phases in all aspects of our life:

  • Consciously Incompetent – You know that you don’t know something
  • Consciously Competent – Then you learn what you need to learn
  • Unconsciously Competent – Then you just do what you need to do without thinking
  • Unconsciously Incompetent – Then you take shortcuts and get a little tardy

When I started this challenge I think that, with respect to food and diet, I was in the Unconsciously Incompetent phase of the cycle. I was making assumptions about calories and just adding things up in my head. This exercise of going back to basics has forced me to progress around to the Consciously Incompetent phase, to admit that I was taking shortcuts, and it is here that I can make new adjustments to the way I think and my dealings with food.

Day 13 – Weight 62.5kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1410 – weight loss so far 2.0kg (4.4lb)  Exercise 2 miles dog walking.

Wednesday 4th 2010 – One-third of my way through my 30 challenge and I’m not sure what is harder changing my attitudes toward food or finding the time to write about my thoughts! Both are very important to me so I will make the time!

Things are going well and I am now noticing how I feel the need to finish a meal with something sweet, not a desert, just a quick nibble on some sweets, or ice gems (love them, especially the chocolate ones). I am not sure if this is just a habit or a proper craving, anyway, I have been ignoring those cravings or at worst eating one or two wine gums just to get a minor sweet taste fix. We keep the wine gums in the fridge so they are really hard, chewy and take longer to eat. More recently I have been trying to see how long I can make one wine gum last, so rather than quickly chewing it, I am just letting it move around my mouth slowly dissolving and really savouring it. I am becoming a nutter!

I am sitting in a cafe as I write this, I ate a tomato soup (190 calories) and a cup of tea. I like to write when I am out of my office as I find I can be more creative whilst amongst people and watching the world go by. It is very fascinating to watch all the people around me seeing what food they chose and what beverages they prefer, also how they eat; some people put their food down between each bite and others just seem to be on a mission to get on the outside of their food ASAP. The only people who are standing out to me today (by their food choices) are two very painfully skinny ladies who have each chosen a small bottle of water and a 1/2 sandwich,  they look happy enough though.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog I weigh myself each morning and usually I know exactly what the scales will say; because I am writing the weight down each day I can see that there is a cycle beginning to form where I lose a little weight, then sit at that weight for a day or two, then move down to the next weight. My diet stays the same and my exercise stays the same, it just seems that my body has its own way of responding, there is a kind of lag. This knowledge allows me to be more patient and not demand immediate results, to not get upset or frustrated if my weight stays the same, I can just let nature do its thing at its own pace.

To recap, so far, I have refrained from eating sweets and chocolate (except a couple of cold wine gums each day) I have switched from latte coffee to tea, I’ve stopped missing meals, I’ve hardly drunk any wine and I have upped my intake of water each day. I have kept an accurate food diary, weighed all my food and not taken any second helpings of food. I’ve refrained from having foods that tempt me in the house and I’ve made sure that there was always fruit and low-calorie snacks on hand.

It’s also interesting to see how my behaviour is influencing other people.

Day 14 – Weight 62.6kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1540 – weight loss so far 1.9kg (4.2lb)  Exercise 1  mile dog walk.

Thursday 5th 2010 – I’m just absolutely too busy today, will write double tomorrow!

Day 15 – Weight 62.7kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1820 – weight loss so far 1.8kg (4lb)  Exercise 1  mile dog walk.

Friday 6th 2010 – I’m a little disappointed with myself for not writing something yesterday, however, I am not going to dwell on it as I achieved a lot yesterday in other aspects of my job and my life. I had a case of the raving munchies yesterday evening and succumbed to 8 wine gums and a Granola bar, obviously not good for me but it filled some form of emotional need, my calorie intake was still under 2000 so I am still on track.

I have been trying to think about what has made me suddenly want to (very determinedly) be rid of these stubborn last few pounds? And I can’t find any compelling reasons except I suddenly have a very clear  (and realistic) picture in my mind of what I want my body to look like and I find this vision very compelling. It will be interesting to see how I actually feel when I get there – do the feelings match the dream, we’ll see.

I found a free app called iMapMyRun for my iPhone, it uses GPS to track where you’ve been, how far you travelled and monitors your average speed, I am going to use this when I take Schnuffy out for a walk later to see exactly how far each walk is, I am also finding that I am walking faster and faster each time.

My health is something that is now on my mind more than it was 15 days ago, I found out yesterday that I have Gilbert’s Syndrome the main symptom is apparently harmless jaundice, which does not require treatment and is caused by elevated levels of unconjugated bilirubin in the bloodstream. Not really sure what this means, so I need to do a little more research, according to my Doctor I am not going to die just yet, which is good, so it’s worth continuing with my diet.

As I mentioned a few days ago I have been trying to drink more water each day (and less tea) I am doing it, but I am finding it hard work, haven’t noticed any differences yet except I spend a lot more time in the bathroom.

A while back I spoke about it being easier for me to not worry about food as I do not cook for the family, well, I cooked a few nights ago, to be more specific I warmed a few things up for a Pasta Arrabiata with Chili Chicken, I found that I ended up eating a couple of bits of chicken, some sauce and some pasta during the process, it was all very tempting and because I’d cooked it I seemed to eat more than normal. I think cooking each day would be very bad for me, it’s made me realise that I should cook more often though! What a dichotomy, I feel a little sorry for Conny now.

Day 16 – Weight 62.5kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1710 – weight loss so far 2.0kg (4.4lb)  Exercise 2.2 miles dog walking.

Saturday 7th August 2010 – I measured the actual length of my dog walk yesterday using my GPS phone thingy and it reported that I had actually walked 2.2 miles not the 2 miles that I had guesstimated, it doesn’t sound much but over a year that would be an extra 73 miles that I would have underestimated, I had made an error of just 10% yet the impact over a year is huge.

This got me thinking about how I make estimations of things, what unconscious strategies I use to decide, how long something will take to do, how far something is away, how many calories is in a restaurant meal etc. One of the tasks I often set my clients is to listen to all the voices in their mind and begin to give them names, like the Judge and the Victim, I then ask them to look deeper and find specific voices that may be critical or belittling – I found a new voice in my mind yesterday and I am going to name it the Safety Marshall.

It seems to ‘play it safe’ when it comes to estimating things in my mind. For example, I had underestimated the length of the walk, when I go to the airport I always overestimate how long it will take (to be safe), whenever I eat things that I don’t know the calorific value of, I make an educated guess of how many calories I think are in the food and then I usually add another 100 to 150 calories ‘just in case’ I’m wrong. I wonder if this little character has always played a role in keeping me relatively slim over the years? Perhaps I was keeping a mental track of how many calories I had consumed each day and he had been ‘playing it safe’, so I thought I had eaten 2400 and in reality, I had only eaten 2250? Who knows?

I like it when I can observe small things like this within myself. I think I will try and loosen this character up a little, I feel he needs to be a little less fearful of getting things wrong!

I am still super focused, we stopped for lunch today in Pret a Manger and I had Sushi, a cup of tea and an apple (377 calories). Tonight will be interesting as we are going out to an Italian restaurant then meeting some friends in a pub for a few drinks, so far today (15:00) I have only had 667 calories, so my plan is to have a small pizza (no starter and no dessert) and then instead of drinking Guinness (210 calories a pint) I’ll stick to small glasses of red wine (80 – 100) and then just see how it goes. Will let you know tomorrow if I managed to stay strong!

Day 17 – Weight 62.4kg

Calories consumed yesterday 2200 – weight loss so far 2.1kg (4.6lb)  Exercise none.

Sunday 8th August 2010 – Succeeded at only eating a pizza and nothing else, failed at only having one or two drinks with friends!

Both Conny and I chose pizza last night in the restaurant and I noticed another of my food habits – I ate all the crust around the edge and left the middle, Conny left the crusts and ate the middle. For some strange reason I often leave the middle of restaurant type pizzas, only an area about the diameter of a cup, I don’t like the thought that it is all gooey and the oils and cheese have accumulated there and have seeped down into the base.

I have started to realise that my target of 61kg is probably a bit high and to get where I want to be, I would really need to weigh about 59kg (that sounds very low.) I just looked up the weight of the Formula One driver Filipe Massa, Google informed me that he weighs 58kg and is 2 inches taller than me. I also looked up a height v weight chart and apparently a healthy weight for my height is between 54kg – 60kg (between 8.5 and 9.5 Stone.)

I will set a new target when I get to 61kg. The target of 61kg has been a big part of my motivation strategy, I’m not just losing weight, I want to be 61kg! It is a clear goal.

Day 18 – Weight 62.2kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1270 – weight loss so far 2.3kg (5lb)  Exercise none.

Monday 9th August 2010 – I really had quite a hang-over yesterday, dieting and drinking do not mix. I should know better! I struggle with just having a glass or two and then stopping when in social situations, I just get swept along with the flow of the evening. It’s like an evil catch 22 where, when you know you should stop drinking, it’s already too late!

Maybe that can be my next 30-day challenge (no alcohol) or perhaps an even a bigger 6-month challenge, we’ll see.

Day 19 – Weight 62.1kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1360 – weight loss so far 2.4kg (5.3lb)  Exercise 2.2 miles dog walking.

Tuesday 10th August 2010 – All is going well today and still very motivated. Rather than write my thoughts here I have written a new article today called Being Rather Than Doing.

Day 20 – Weight 62.2kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1530 – weight loss so far 2.3kg (5lb)  Exercise none.

Wednesday 11th August 2010 – Didn’t take my dog out yesterday because it rained too much so I will take him out twice today, lucky little creature.

Because I have found publishing my progress quite motivating, it was suggested to me that I might like to make some pages available on this website where other people could log their own weight loss diary and make it public – if this interests you let me know and I’ll see what I can do, you could publish it daily as I do, or weekly, whatever works for you.

Day 21 – Weight 62.0kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1450 – weight loss so far 2.5kg (5.5lb)  Exercise 3 miles dog walking.

Thursday 12th August 2010 – more later… or not :-(

Day 22 – Weight 61.7kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1710 – weight loss so far 2.8kg (6.2lb)  Exercise 1 mile dog walk.

Friday 13th August 2010 – I am feeling good today as my weight has broken into the 61 kg range, I can see the changes in my body now and yesterday moved my belt in by one notch. This weekend will be challenging, however, I am determined to stay very focused, I feel it would be silly to come this far and then blow it all.

There is a huge irony becoming more visible –  that I hold back from having certain foods to be the weight I want to be, then I reward myself with those very foods! If this wasn’t about food it would be an obviously stupid strategy, for example; it would be like stopping smoking and then rewarding myself with a cigarette!

I would like to look at food as more of a fuel (that tastes good) than as a luxury feel-good reward system, where, if I can’t have it, I feel I am missing out on something –  and continue to concentrate on getting my emotional needs met through other aspects of my life.

It looks like Suzie (my web guru) has found a way to allow other people to securely access my website so they can have their own weight loss diary page, once I have tested this I’ll make the information available.

Day 23 – ? (I don’t have access to my scales today)

Calories consumed yesterday 1450 – weight loss so far 2.8kg (6.2lb)  Exercise 2.2 miles dog walk.

Saturday 14th August 2010 –  For dinner last night we had a buffet style spread of ham, cheese, salad, rolls, crackers etc. where the family just sits around the table grazing and chatting.  I was wondering how I could keep a track of my calories during this meal?

In the end I decided to fill my plate with about 200 calories of cheese, 200 calories of ham a roll, a few crackers and some salad,  that way I knew the calories in front of me. I then grazed off of my plate rather than the whole buffet, that concept worked really well for me.

Tonight my Mum is cooking my absolute favourite dinner which is sweet and sour chicken with egg and bacon fried rice (a true calorie-fest!!) What a dilemma! Have decided that I will be very careful all day today and save as many calories as I can, then savour the quality rather than to quantity tonight – we’ll see, I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Day 24 – ? (I don’t have access to my scales today)

Calories consumed yesterday approximately 1800– weight loss so far 2.8kg (6.2lb)  Exercise 4 miles dog walk.

Sunday 15th August 2010 – Managed the sweet and sour chicken meal well by saving most of my calories for the evening, I ate less than I normally would have and really enjoyed it, the food was delicious. I’ve not drunk any alcohol this weekend and I have almost talked myself into taking a 6-month sabbatical from alcohol to see what happens. I’ve never really done that before and a part of me assumes that nights out without any booze may be less fun, I guess that is an assumption that I need to put to the test?

Not being able to weigh myself for the weekend has been a little frustrating, I don’t know how people manage only weighing themselves weekly or monthly. In my own mind, I think that I would wonder if I could slip in a day of overeating and then be really good again before I weighed myself the following week. I also feel that if I didn’t weigh myself each day, I would weigh myself if I was feeling good and not weigh myself if I knew I wasn’t doing well – so I am going to stick with the daily option, I feel it makes me more accountable to myself.

Interestingly (to me) I stood on some old analogue scales yesterday, I had forgotten how variable the readings are on those and how hard it is to read exactly what you weigh from the dial and the pointer – I love my digital scales with a big digital readout.

Day 25 – 61.6kg

Calories consumed yesterday approximately 1700– weight loss so far 2.9kg (6.4lb)  Exercise 4 miles dog walk by the sea.

Monday 16th August 2010 – I am very pleased with myself for making it through a week-end at my parent’s house and losing weight! This is truly unheard of! Managed to not drink any alcohol too. I tried a glass of alcohol-free wine and it was incredibly disgusting. so won’t be doing that again.

There are just 5 more days of my 30-day challenge to get to 61kg and, so far, I feel it has been a big success on many levels, especially analysing my attitudes to food and what is more important to me my weight or my oral fixations?  This process has reconfirmed to me that being picky, fussy and avoiding certain foods (even though I love them) is worth it, because the good feelings I get from being slim last longer and are with me all day every day, not just at meal times.

I have also made my decision to abstain from all alcohol for a while (from immediate effect) don’t know how long for just yet, but certainly at least a month and hopefully longer to really test out what happens and how I feel about it.

Looking back over my entries I can see that I’ve walked 40 miles in the last 25 days (not including general moving around each day) this really surprises me – looks like owning a dog is really helping to keep me active.

Day 26 – 61.5kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1620– weight loss so far 3.0kg (6.6lb)  Exercise none.

Tuesday 17th  August 2010 – Tried something new today, thought I would play around with some protein to see how it feels. Last night I baked a couple of chicken breasts, one for my tea and another to eat for lunch today. However, I ended up eating a grapefruit and a cold chicken breast for breakfast! (247 calories) and it kept me really full until about 1:30 when I ate some baked spare ribs (no sauce) with salad (about 500 calories). It is now 17:00 and I am still quite full, however, I need to eat soon as I am working this evening – I think I will have scrambled eggs on German rye bread for my tea (around 280 calories).

Noticed another of my weird food things – I don’t like any dressing on my salad, never have and never will, it’s not that I don’t like the taste it’s just that I like my salad nude.

Day 27 – 61.4kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1430– weight loss so far 3.1kg (6.8lb)  Exercise none.

Wednesday 18th  August 2010 – My dog is not with me this week as he is on holiday down by the coast, which means I am not getting out for my walk. It’s interesting to observe that I have no inclination to go for a walk by myself!

My protein fest yesterday was really effective, I wasn’t hungry at any point yesterday, however, I don’t think I would like to eat so much meat each day, perhaps I can do this a couple of times a week.

Day 28 – 61.5kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1820– weight loss so far 3.0kg (6.6lb)  Exercise none.

Thursday 19th August 2010 – It is really interesting to see how my weight has hardly gone down this week although I have still been really good – I think it’s because I have not been taking my dog out for a walk each day. So it just goes to show how important the role of exercise is in my ability to lose weight.

Day 29 – 61.3kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1640– weight loss so far 3.2kg (7lb)  Exercise none.

Friday 20th August 2010 – My little weight loss helper (Schnuffy the dog) comes home today. At one level I am a little disappointed with myself for not taking any exercise whilst he was away, I suppose I need to explore new ways to motivate myself to take more exercise.

Each day I have been dieting I have kept a record of my progress in a spreadsheet. I like to log things and look for correlations and patterns.

If you would like to do the same, you can download my 30-day weight loss spreadsheet here Weight Loss Spreadsheet

By adding ‘trend-lines’ to the data I can see that over the last month my calorie intake has been reducing as I have become used to this way of eating. My weight loss has been very even and consistent and my exercise levels have lessened.

I like measuring these things because I know that the human mind plays so many tricks on us and it just can’t be trusted!

I looked on the NHS website for a BMI tool and found this (see above) even at 9st 8lb I am at the top end of my healthy weight range! The BMI number is probably a little distorted as I do have reasonable muscle density, however, I feel comfortable aiming for around 59kg in the next phase of my journey.

This is interesting, I haven’t even finished these 30 days and I am already setting my next goal, I like that, it seems sensible.

I have got today and tomorrow left to get down to 61.0 kg (9 stone 8lb) I am absolutely and definitely going to do it!!!

Phase 1 Final Day 30 – 61.2kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1480– weight loss so far 3.3kg (7.3lb)  Exercise 2.2 miles dog walking.

Saturday 21st August 2010 – So, this is the last day of phase one of my challenge. I have got 0.2kg which is 0.44 of a pound to go by tomorrow morning. Either way, I am really pleased with myself over this last month and I have learned so much about my unconscious thought processes by writing everything down like this.

Sue and Hannah have just joined me in writing about their thoughts, feelings and challenges in their own blogs, good for you, it takes a lot of courage to face your own demons, to look them squarely in the eyes and say “no thanks, this is not what I want.” I truly believe that freedom comes from facing your fears, accepting your flaws and making the most of your strengths, couple this with some clearly defined goals – then you are well on your way…. I am very proud of you both as I know this is a huge step forward.

It’s been a month since I ate any chocolate (apart from one Indian restaurant after dinner mint) and I feel OK with it, it is occasionally a struggle, however, it actually makes me feel good for having resisted – so I am trying to get my good feelings from not having it rather than a good feeling for eating it (which is then followed by guilt, shame, frustration etc.) I heard that it takes about 30 days of abstinence to break a typical habit, that feels about right to me.

Once the habit is broken I want to be far more neutral about chocolate and alcohol, I don’t want to have to fight it. I think in spiritual terms they call it non-attachment rather than negation. Non-attachment allows for the freedom from the attraction of projected values and anticipations such as gain. Without fear or either attraction or aversion, the neutrality would allow for participation and enjoyment whatever the choice, so life becomes less of a fight and more about just going with the flow.

Much of what I have been doing on my own personal growth journey is trying new ways of being, looking at things from new points of view and not having to fight the world, operating more from a place of acceptance of… the way people are, the way I am, the way the world is… etc. This allows me to be far less judgemental about others and myself too.

It’s also been 2 weeks since I drank any alcohol and I still feel positive about trying to take a 6-month break so I can explore what it all means to me in more depth. Interestingly, I am intrigued about going through a Christmas and New Year with no alcohol, I am curious to see if I can learn to feel comfortable ‘letting my hair down’ whilst sober. I think to do this it will take a lot of focus on consciously overcoming my ego and self-consciousness rather than letting the alcohol do it for me.

Schnuffers is back from his holiday so I managed to walk a couple of miles yesterday and I’ll take him out again this morning for my daily exercise. It has become very evident to me that just walking for 45 minutes or so each day makes a huge difference to your health, fitness and weight loss – obvious, yet, I used to overlook it and sweep it under the rug.


Finally ended up at 61.1kg

Calories consumed yesterday 1360– weight loss so far 3.4kg (7.5lb)  Exercise 2.2 miles dog walking.

What have I learned about myself so far?

This has been a really interesting 30 days for me and has been far more focusing than I had expected. One of the biggest surprises is that I have suddenly realised that I was overweight (as defined by the medical profession) when I thought I was quite slim. When I finish this I would have lost around a stone which is 10% of my body weight and I would be the right weight for my height and the right BMI. I have begun to notice that over the years I have moved the baseline of what is acceptable.

As society has got larger, it seems that what used to be called ‘a few pounds overweight’ is now called ‘slim’ and a stone overweight is now called ‘a few pounds overweight’ and anybody who is slim is now called skinny, the more I think about this the more I see it everywhere, it’s like my unconscious mind (or ego) has been giving me more freedom to become larger by saying “it’s OK because everyone else is larger too and (comparatively) you are slim” – what a load of rubbish!

I spent a lot of time working in Japan and China and I was always struck by how slim most of the people were, slim in Japan is a very different concept to slim in the UK. Anyway, just an observation, I am starting to actually feel slim now, and I like it.

If I were to try and list some of the things that stand out to me they would be:

  • Abstaining from certain foods for 30 days or more does change your view of them
  • I need to stop rewarding myself with food
  • Reward myself with feeling really good and doing more
  • Food is a fuel, if I idolise it, I will always be its slave and I don’t want that
  • I do need to eat a breakfast (even if I don’t feel like it)
  • I shouldn’t miss meals
  • If I don’t weigh food then I am just guessing at calories and that is of no value to me
  • Write down ‘all’ calories consumed – because I can’t trust my brain to ‘remember’
  • I seem to find it easier to cut things out rather than cut them down
  • Weighing myself each morning works for me
  • My body weight does just naturally fluctuate up and down regardless of food intake
  • If I don’t have tempting foods in the house it really helps me
  • If I’m hungry I have a glass of water, wait 5 minutes and then see how I feel
  • It seems that the less I eat the less I desire to eat
  • It seems that the more I eat the more I desire to eat
  • Having a clear weight goal and date is absolutely critical
  • Just walking each day makes a massive difference to me
  • I have needed to change routines – i.e. cinema does not equal popcorn
  • Alcohol adds calories and weakens my resolve
  • I need to make the focus on my health more of an important goal to me
  • Talking about my feelings has been well received and helped me enormously
  • I realise the way I look at food is very different from other people and I am OK with that
  • I have really enjoyed making the time to write, I like writing

Another observation is that although I always knew I was picky about food, I can now see why that is now, and how helpful it has always been in keeping me slim. I sat in a cafe yesterday (I ate 2 rashers of crispy bacon, scrambled eggs and mushrooms approx. 500 calories)  I didn’t order from the menu I just asked for exactly what I wanted (like I always do) and how I wanted it cooked (bacon cooked really well). I overheard a slim man on another table (Well, I didn’t really overhear – I was listening!)  he ordered his bacon and specifically asked for all the fat to be trimmed off and for it to be cooked until crispy – and then, on another table, a slim woman was asking about some of the dishes of the day, how big they were, what was in them, how they were cooked etc. Is being picky really just paying attention to what you are eating?

In addition, when my food arrived it came with 2 rounds of hot buttered toast!!! (which I love) but I left them, in fact, I purposely let them get a little soggy from the eggs and the mushrooms to take my desire off of eating them. I don’t have a problem leaving food on my plate and I am OK with that, as I mentioned before, I’d rather leftovers went into the bin rather than into me.

What is next?

Next step is to get down to 59kg to see how it feels, this is going to be harder as it really is the last few pounds. However, I need to explore some more things in my life too, certainly refraining from alcohol for a while and I would like to try and get up earlier in the morning, currently I tend to work late into the night and get up late, I’d like to get up earlier and go to bed earlier to see how this might affect me.

From now onwards I am going to publish my weight weekly each Monday morning to ensure that I keep moving forwards to 59kg and stay on track. I will move my writing focus to my new blog where I have st myself the goal of no alcohol for 6 months (probably harder than dieting!)

Day 39 – 60.8kg

9st 8lb – Average weekly calories 1700 – weight loss so far 3.7kg (8.2lb)  – Still to lose 1.8kg(3.9lb)

Monday, August 30th – I am going to blog my weight weekly now (I still weigh myself each day). Still moving in the right direction. I just looked at my food diary for the last week and my calorie intake averaged around 1700 calories a day, that’s good but not as good as when I was writing my blog every day (is this an accountability issue?). I am still very focused and haven’t eaten any chocolate for five weeks now and I am missing it less and less, my thoughts that I am ‘going without’ are subsiding too, I like that, some old belief must be on the verge of changing in my brain.

I am not really seeing this journey as a diet, more of a chance to re-evaluate and take stock of my relationship with food and old out-of-date beliefs. Had my cholesterol checked last week and it was 4.8 which is average, is it because I have eaten well for the previous month or was it always like that?

I saw in Tescos yesterday that they have already started selling the big round tins of chocolates ready for Christmas (2 for £10) but you can’t buy 1 for £5! The Government are trying to limit the purchase of alcohol by stopping cheap offers I wonder if they should do the same with chocolate? Last year Conny bought a tin or two of Celebrations (remember she can eat just one a day) and I managed to eat my way through them. I asked her not to buy them because I would eat them, she rightly pointed out that it was my problem and not hers! We decided on a compromise strategy and she kept the tin in the boot of her car and just took out what she wanted each day, worked for me.

As my body is changing I am really enjoying it and I feel really good, I like this good feeling, my shirts fit well and my jeans feel good, this helps to keep me motivated. I have gone 3 weeks without any alcohol now too, I am sure that has saved me loads of calories.

Day 46 – 60.4kg

9st 7lb – Average weekly calories 1750 – weight loss so far 4.1kg (9lb)  – Still to lose 1.4kg(3lb)

Monday, September 6th 2010 – As I get closer to my goal weight of 59kg things seem to be slowing down, which I guess is to be expected. Through most of these 6 weeks, I have aimed to consume around 1500 calories a day and that has allowed me to gently lose weight whilst still being able to eat reasonably well. I am really surprised that if you cut out sweets and sugary stuff you can eat quite a lot of food for 1500 calories if you explore recipes and plan your meals.

This week I have averaged 1750 calories a day and have still been motivated and very good, it’s becoming much more of a way of life than being on a diet. I have a feeling that once I am at my goal weight my body will need around 2000 calories per day to stay at the same weight, that should be really easy to maintain if you think about it, that could be 600 for breakfast, 600 for lunch and 800 for dinner.

As I mentioned before, I am feeling good about my body and that feeling is with me all day and is so much better than the quick hit I used to get from some chocolate (followed by guilt etc.) As I focus more my body than on food things seem to have a new ‘edge’ to them – it is as if my Locus of Control has become even more internal reminding me that it is my choice what I eat, I don’t need to eat things ‘just because they are there’ or ‘because everybody else was’ or ‘it would have been rude not to’ those are all reverting to an external locus of control, moving to a point of blame rather than ownership.

Day 53 – 60.4kg

9st 7lb – Average weekly calories 1750 – weight loss so far 4.1kg (9lb)  – Still to lose 1.4kg(3lb)

Monday, September 13th 2010 – I stayed the same weight even though I have been really good. My weight did dip around a bit and on one morning this week, it was 60.2kg. I am not too bothered by this as I am now in the phase where I am expecting these last few pounds to be hard to shift. I need to go more scientific with this weight loss program…

The calories required to maintain my current weight 9st 7lb is around 2000 calories per day and to lose weight I would need to do the following:

  • To lose ½ lb per week eat 250 calories less than required to sustain my current weigh
  • To lose 1lb per week eat 500 calories less than required to sustain my current weigh
  • To lose 1½ lb per week eat 750 calories less than required to sustain my current weigh

So, I am happy to stick with my 1750 calories a day and slowly reduce by 1/2 lb per week.

Here are some more facts I found:

  • Eat 1 sausage roll & 1 can of cola more than the calories I need each day and I’ll gain 1lb in a week
  • A female who currently weighs 10st needs about 2000 calories a day to stay that weight
  • A female who currently weighs 14st needs about 2200 calories a day to stay that weight
  • To lose ½ lb per week eat 250 calories less than the calories required to sustain your current weight
  • To lose 1 lb per week you need to eat 500 calories less
  • To lose 1½ lb per week you need to eat 750 calories less

Day 60 – 60.3kg

9st 7lb – Average weekly calories 1800 – weight loss so far 4.2kg (9.3lb)  – Still to lose 1.3kg(2.8lb)

Monday, September 20th 2010 – I am still moving forward and have remained very focused, I’m still not eating chocolate or sweets (except a couple of Conny’s wine gums each day –  just because they are in the fridge) and it’s been 6 weeks since I had any alcohol. Earlier this week my weight dipped down to 59.7kg and today it is 60.2kg. I find that publishing my weight on a Monday morning does keep me focused over the weekend!

My body is really feeling good at this weight, but I need to buy some new jeans as I have lost a couple of inches from around my waist or at least get my old ones taken in.

I know I have talked about this before; however, I am really shocked at how few calories I need to stay at this weight, it is probably only around 1900 per day. For some strange reason I thought I that once I was at my goal weight I would be able to go back to my old way of eating and just be a little more ‘sensible’ – obviously not, I guess this is another of the tricks that our mind plays on us.

Of course, if I were to exercise more then I could increase my food intake; however, I already walk a couple of miles most days.

This means I have to re-evaluate my diet to make sure that if I can only eat 1900 calories a day how can I best make use of them?

My philosophy of abstaining from certain foods rather than having them in moderation is working for me, interestingly my personality type is an Enneagram Type 4 with a 5 wing and this type of personality can be quite self-disciplined, focused, analytical and creative about making changes.

Still determined to get to 59kg to see how it feels, I am starting to think that will be the ideal weight for me – just a couple of pounds to go…

Day 67 – 60.5kg

9st 8lb – Average weekly calories about 1900 (guess) – weight loss so far 4.0kg (8.8lb)  – Still to lose 1.5kg (3.3lb)

Monday, September 27th 2010 – Last week was a strange week (regarding food), at one level I ate relatively healthily, yet at another, I was acting as if I had already got to my goal weight (which I haven’t). I wrote an article back at day 12 about becoming consciously competent and it is very obvious that this week I have fast forwarded onto becoming unconsciously incompetent again!

  • I didn’t write down my calories each day
  • I had a starter in a restaurant on Friday
  • When I had the munchies I ate something immediately without at least trying to let the moment pass
  • I actually bought a packet of Hula Hoops (170 wasted calories) could have had a whole can of tuna for less than that

Outcome – I didn’t lose any weight!

I really think that men have monthly cycles, and like women are subject to fluctuations in moods and hormones, this week was full moon too (not sure what that has to do with anything though) certainly this was my week of the month.

So, because I haven’t reached my goal yet, I need to revert back to becoming consciously incompetent and going back to basics, writing everything down and refocusing on my goals. I’m not unhappy or frustrated with myself because I am still being really good, this is just a blip and I need to remember that one of my goals is to not be so emotionally dependant on food, to treat it like a fuel rather than a primary source of happiness or comfort. It can be a fuel that I like, just not a fuel that I crave. I know this way of thinking is not for everyone, but it works for me, my goal is to get pleasure from just being me (and from what I do/feel) rather than from eating.

I haven’t bought any chocolate for weeks and weeks now and it is really becoming less and less of a problem to go without it. I really can’t do the whole ‘have things in moderation’ thing!

Day 74 – 59.8kg

9st 6lb – Average weekly calories about 1750 – weight loss so far 4.7kg (10.3lb)  – Still to lose0.8kg (1.7lb)

Monday, October 4th 2010 – I bought some new jeans with a 30″ waist!! I think I was about 15 years ago that I last had a 30″ waist – I must be honest, it feels pretty good!

Because I have really doggedly stuck at this new way of eating for so long (74 days) I am no longer seeing it as a diet, it has become the template for how I want to be. I feel I have really switched my emotional ‘hits’ from food and drink to feeling really good about my body and as I said before, I can carry this good feeling around all day, so, when I turn down some cake I feel good rather than thinking I am missing out on something. (I didn’t have this feeling at the beginning but as I have got closer to my goal weight it has really accelerated).

Cravings for chocolate have nearly gone completely. There has been a quarter of a bar of Galaxy chocolate in our cupboard for 2 weeks now and it hasn’t even crossed my mind to have some. I think that if I was ‘cutting down’ on chocolate rather than deciding to stop eating it – it would have been woofed down by now.

I have found a great (for me) 3-minute lunch – quick, tasty and very filling. Take a packet of Tescos frozen microwave rice with vegetables (167 Calories) add a tin of Tuna in brine (135 calories) stir in few drops of sweet chilli sauce, really really filling and very quick for all for around 300 calories.

Day 85 – 59.6kg

9st 5lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 4.9kg (10.6lb)  – Still to lose 0.6kg(1.5lb)

Monday October 18th 2010 – I am feeling really good about myself because I just spent 8 days in a hotel, eating in restaurants and still lost a tiny bit of weight, I really like this more moderate approach to food, just because I’m in a hotel doesn’t mean I need to eat a starter, a main and a dessert! I am sure not drinking alcohol has helped a lot too.

However, I have a new challenge – I broke my foot last week and that leaves me hobbling around on crutches so won’t be able to take my dog out for a few weeks. It will be interesting to see if I will need to reduce my daily calorie intake to compensate for this.

Regarding my sweet tooth, I was on a flight yesterday and when they served lunch there was a small bar of chocolate included, I took a bite to see how I would feel about it after excluding it from my diet for so long, it was OK but nothing special, so I left the rest of it. I really do think I have broken my old chocolate addiction.

Day 92 – 59.5kg

9st 5lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 5.0kg (11.02lb)  – Still to lose 0.5kg(1.1lb)

Monday, October 25th 2010 – My attitudes have really changed towards food and it was really noticeable this weekend. On Saturday night I went out for a meal and ate a starter, then only ate half of my main meal and Conny and I shared a dessert and I still felt very full. Then, I had a full English buffet style breakfast in a hotel and noticed that I only ate a fraction of what I would have in the past and I felt really good about it.

I thought that not being able to walk my dog (burn up calories) because of my broken foot would be a problem, however, I seem to be using loads of calories just hobbling around on crutches, I didn’t realise how much hard work using crutches is.

On that point…. Thank you, Rena, for lending me those crutches, they are so much better than the NHS ones, I really really appreciate that.

Day 99 – 59.8kg

9st 6lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 4.7kg (10.3lb)  – Still to lose 0.8kg(1.7lb)

Monday, November 1st 2010 – It’s been a busy week and we have had guests staying with us so there has been more food than normal in the house and that has been reflected in my weight this Monday morning. On the whole, I am still doing really well and my eating habits have changed quite considerably, on Saturday night after our dinner we sat at the table chatting and Conny produced a big tin of Celebrations which everyone began to feast upon and within a matter of minutes the table was festooned in shiny little wrappers. Have you ever noticed how people start off with their own pile of wrappers then everyone pushes their piles together so you can’t see who has eaten the most? I didn’t have any and 90% of the time really didn’t want one, this is amazing, I am really not sure of what has happened to me in the last 99 days, but I like it.

I had a big clear-out of my clothes yesterday as only 3 pairs of trousers still fit me (ones I hadn’t worn for quite a while!) whilst there I took the opportunity to throw out lots of old shirts that I haven’t worn for ages too, it felt good to have a clear out and I probably should have done it quite a while back, anyway, better late than never. Bought some new socks too, not because my feet have slimmed down, I just like the feel of putting on a brand new pair of socks. I think if I won the lottery one of my few excesses would be to only ever put on new pairs of socks!

Whilst we are on the subject of feet – my foot is much better this week and I can almost put my full weight back on it (although I know I mustn’t). It has been interesting to be out and about on crutches for a few weeks to see how people respond to you and I must say people have been brilliant, they have been patient, helpful and very accommodating, plus, you can go straight to the disabled counter in the bank and get served immediately (Once I am recovered I might keep the crutches just for going to the bank!)

Day 106 – 59.5kg

9st 5lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 5.0kg (11.02lb)  – Still to lose 0.5kg(1.1lb)

Monday, November 8th 2010 – All is going well with my new more moderate approach to food, although I have stopped writing down all the calories I eat, I keep a track of them in my mind (but we all know the tricks our minds play on us). I feel that I have been reasonably successful in stopping myself from using food as a reward or as a mechanism to ‘feel better.’ I saw a good example of this last night as I had some ice cream thinking it would fill some ‘need’ but it didn’t, it did taste nice, but it was obvious that whatever I needed was deeper than that. I am feeling good this morning and ready to face my week, which is a very busy one (which is good).

Day 113 – 59.5kg

9st 5lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 5.0kg (11.02lb) – Still to lose 0.5kg(1.1lb)

Monday, November 15th 2010 – Not much to report this week. Still not eating chocolate or drinking alcohol, yet life goes on (surprisingly). Conny is away for a week next week so that should be interesting as I will need to fend for myself. I really like being this weight and that compounds my focus to reinforce this new way of being around food and responding to its temptations.

Day 120 – 59.8kg

9st 6lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 4.7kg (10.3lb) – Still to lose 0.8kg(1.7lb)

Monday, November 22nd 2010 – On the whole, I have been OK this week, but it has been very hard. I have really struggled not to eat everything in sight and I don’t know why it was a full moon again this weekend perhaps that has something to do with it? Even so, I think I did well and compared with my old eating habits this was still a good week.

Still no alcohol or chocolate, but I have made a small temporary concession as a client made a chocolate cake for me (which is delicious) – this is the first piece of cake I have eaten for as long as I can remember!

I have been ‘advised’ that my blog no longer offers any words of wisdom – so here is my thought for Monday morning, it is something I have tried hard to follow and there is still much to do…..

Each path is only one of a million paths. Therefore, you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path. If you feel that you must now follow it, you need not stay with it under any circumstances. Any path is only a path. There is no affront to oneself or others in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do. But your decision to keep on the path must be free of fear or ambition. I warn you: look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself and yourself alone one question. It is this: Does this path have a heart? All paths are the same. They lead nowhere. There are paths going through the brush or into the brush or under the brush. Does this path have a heart is the only question. If it does, then the path is good. If doesn’t, it is of no use.

Day 127 – 59.8kg

9st 6lb – Average weekly calories? – weight loss so far 4.7kg (10.3lb) – Still to lose 0.8kg(1.7lb)

Monday, November 29nd 2010 – I seem to have lost a little focus on my weight as I am very busy in my practice currently, I’m happy to just stay where I am for a while.

Day 134 – 60.3kg

Monday, December 6th.

Day 141 – 60.1kg

Monday, December 13th 2010

Day 148 – 59.9kg

Monday, December 20th 2010 – I seem to have found a ‘natural’ weight for me between 60 – 61Kg, this is reasonably easy to maintain as long as I eat around 2000 calories a day and walk a couple of miles with the dog. I feel really good to be in the low 59′s, but, if I’m honest, it is quite hard for me to stay at that weight. I am going to be good for the next few days in preparation for Christmas and then I’ll just see how I feel over the holiday.

Day 159 – 60.3kg

Saturday, January 1st 2011 – So, I had a great Christmas and New Year and only gained 0.4kg – fantastic. I allowed my self to have quite a chocolate fest over Christmas and because I had not eaten any for a long time it was nice, however, that is out of my system now. We kept active over the holiday with walking the dog and being outside.

One funny thing, I didn’t have any mince pies, each time I looked at one of them I just thought 250 calories (plus calories for brandy cream) was just too much of a high price to pay for a 1-minute taste hit! In fact, I quite enjoyed the idea of not eating them. I guess not drinking any alcohol saved quite a few calories too.

In the lead up to Christmas, I paid quite a lot of attention to the commercials on TV and it was interesting to see how they are almost saying “this is how you are supposed to spend your Christmas.” Anyway, we had beef stroganoff for Christmas dinner (I hate being told what to do) and it was delicious! I had a lovely Christmas one of the nicest I can remember

Monday, January 10th 2011 – 60.4kg

Monday, January 17th 2011 – 60.2kg

Monday, January 24th 2011 – 60.3kg

Monday, January 31st 2011 – 60.5kg

Monday, February 7th 2011 – 60.4kg

Monday, February 14th 2011 – 60.2kg

Monday, February 21st 2011 – 60.3kg

Monday, February 28th 2011 – 60.6kg

Monday, March 7th 2011 – 60.4kg

Wednesday, May 4th 2011 – 2 months since my last post. I have slipped from publishing my weekly weight and…. Guess what…? My weight has slipped up to 62.2Kg! Absolute proof (if it was ever needed) that being accountable for your weight and holding the weight you want in mind – is really important. My eating hasn’t changed much just a little more snacking and because I am drinking alcohol again (at weekends) those calories do all add up. So, I am back on a focused eating regime to get back to 60Kg and I will be publishing my weight again each week, I really should know better.

Monday, May 9th 2011 – 62.2kg

Monday, May 16th 2011 – 61.7kg

2 years later…

It has been nearly 2 years now since I started this and going through this blogging process has certainly focused my mind on my weight and eating patterns – I love being slim more than food! It is something that is with me all day and I love it.

Monday, April 23rd 2012 – 60.7 kg

3 years later…

Still doing well – I have explored the Ron Rosedale diet and it works really well for me, I might write about it soon.

Wednesday, March 6th 2013 – 58.5 kg

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