Is this what my life has now become?
OK, so this post is going to be a personal one. One for great insight into the writer of TBN.
I’m fat. Pretty much always have been, with the exception of one summer, when I apparently shed a bunch of weight going from middle school to secondary school, so 12 years old (ish). I only knew I had lost a lot of weight because when I returned to school people wouldn’t shut up about how much weight I’d lost.
Four years of miserable school and the start of an unhealthy relationship later I was back to my roundish best.
And for the next 15 or 16 years my life was pretty much an evolution of the following cycle:
- Step 1: Put on weight;
- Step 2: Get sad about putting on weight;
- Step 3: Become comfortable with my new weight;
- Step 4: Maybe lose a tiny, tiny bit;
Time to Change
Then back in 2014 I made some more solid life choices, I cut all bad carbs out of my diet, allowing a sneaky dish with rice or 2 every now and again and started walking the 2 miles to work every day instead of driving.
The first 3 months of that were golden. I lost a good chunk of weight, then I started to tinker.
I Signed up to a gym and on gym days I would drive to work and walk the other 2 days – which was a big change to my routine. The weight then started coming off a lot slower. By the time I met my new girlfriend, weight loss had ground to a halt.
Looking back, I realised I was completely unprepared for dating again. At the beginning it was a Tuesday date night and a full Saturday date. Both of which usually involved food and/or drink. Now, I wouldn’t change any of that, not a jot. But before I had started dating I was coping well with being able to deny myself food groups – no carbs, no cakes, no biscuits and no chocolate.
But dating, well, you sit down with a lovely girl for a romantic meal and with plans of enjoying your evening I’m not the sort of man who will order a salad. I want to enjoy my date and enjoy my food. Sure I probably could have made better choices with food – and ask myself questions like “do you need that dessert?”, “Jacket instead of chips?” things like that (as well as not always making a bee-line for the Burger/red meat options on the menu).
A year or so later and I had undone a lot of the good work I had started in 2014 when I set about making lifestyle choices.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not weeks of eating crap that are now an issue. The vegetarian and sweet potato shepherd’s pie leftovers I have for lunch is testament to that.
I am weak willed when it comes to food. I have taken to leaving my wallet at home in an effort to curb my gluttony. Sure my food choices are more relaxed than they should be, but I just enjoy eating and the foods that I feel I enjoy are really, really bad for me. I’ve not met anyone who gets a hankering for a quinoa salad!
A football injury and what the doctors believe is a knee ligament problem has destroyed any hopes of exercise I may have. That’s not to say I couldn’t exercise, I just seem to use it as the perfect excuse not to. The flip side of that though, is that the thought of having to hobble even 20 yards these days to get to something feels like an ordeal. It’s already a mental barrier in my way and life just seems easier if I don’t.
I’m not under any misconceptions, I’m self-aware:
- I’m aware I’m fat;
- I’m aware it’s above anything approaching acceptable;
- I’m aware I made terrible food choices;
- I’m aware that left to my own devises I would probably revert to making poor food decisions;
- I’m aware I’m not exercising enough;
- I’m aware I use too many excuses ‘not to’;
- and I’m also aware my problems extend beyond diet and exercise alone.
So? How to lose weight (and stay) in a committed relationship?
Live separate food lives? – I buy the things I will eat, she hers and we cook our own meals separately every day? Errrmmm no! we would not get that time around the dinner table, it would become more expensive on the household and we would never help each other out in the kitchen preparing a meal to share. Plus, we would both feel shit about the situation.
Meal replacement? – one shake for breakfast, another for lunch and a healthy dinner? I genuinely feel this would be the best approach for me. Leave the wallet at home to avoid succumbing to temptation, especially the first week. However, the girlfriend doesn’t like the thought of me not eating proper food, which is fair enough.
A joint commitment to eating and living better? – it sounds like common sense doesn’t. this was the approach we took, less meat, more fish and more vegetarian meals.
This is what we did, we ate tasty meals, the quality of those meals were high. We were eating whole food meals, nothing processed, nothing pre-made. However, the regimen lacked overall control. For example, on days we hadn’t quite planned lunches it meant I was able to open the evil trapdoor of my appetite and buy crap to eat. More control was needed.
That brings things round to Weight Watchers. The point system.
I’ve always been sceptical of weight loss programmes, having been a 1 weigh-in wonder to Slimming World over 10 years ago. The thought of forced weigh-ins didn’t appeal and the notion of having to really restrict my diet was also something I didn’t want to connect with.
My girlfriend just sort of signed me up to it, announcing “You’re going to your first meeting tonight”. I was open to it. I knew I needed my life to change and this could be it.
The concept from Weight watchers was simple. You can eat what you want (a slight gimmick, but go with it) as long as you point it and as long as you stick within your daily points limit. You then get set your daily points target that you need to hit (+6/-3 points variance is acceptable). To assist your week, you also get an allocated weekly point total that you can use to either top your daily allowance or use in a big bang style one day.
So, I weighed-in first session, got my initial weight and my daily and weekly points set for me and was introduced to the world of Weight Watchers.
I have to say, it has helped. Knowing I have to stick within my points gives me the motivation and focus I need to remain on track. Over the coming weeks I’ll give you updates on my weight loss progress and just some musings over going to meetings, hitting my target and just the journey generally.
As a footnote, to anyone interested, I have lost 9lbs (and through my first half a stone marker) in 3 weeks of being on the Weight Watchers points plan.