Stirring the competitive spirit

What started as a joke quickly turned into a competition.

Some people in my group don’t like to set a mini target. I’m not sure why. Maybe they feel they are setting themselves up for a fall. I’m sure everyone has their own reasons. However it means that my consultant is sometimes a little hesitant to ask.

Last week, however, this conversation started in group that quickly escalated. And before I knew it, there seemed to be loads of people setting mini targets to lose 4 pounds by the next week. I think most people were in a bit of a post-Easter slump, and feeling a bit rotten off the back of eating their own body weight in chocolate, and needed some kind of boost.

With so many people aiming to go for the 4 pounds, it seemed to escalate into a mini competition between people in the class. Some were aiming for their next award, and others just wanted to shift some of the gains over the last couple of weeks.

I wasn’t one of the people with a 4 pound mini target, but I seem to have got swept up in the big-loss fever and ended up losing 6 pounds, with which I was delighted. It also boosted a whole load of other people, and we seemed to have big losses right across the group. Some lost 3 pounds, two people lost 4½ pounds, and one member even lost 8 pounds in a single week!

It’s amazing what a bit of competition can do!

Slimming World Acronyms

I thought it might be useful to define a few Slimming World acronyms that are seen quite commonly on blogs and forums, for any new people that might not be sure what they mean.

CWCurrent Weight
EEExtra Easy - the name given to the standard Slimming World food optimisation plan
HEA (or HXA)Healthy Extra A - your measured allowance of dairy
HEB (or HXB)Healthy Extra B - your measured allowance of fibre
IMAGEIndividual Motivation And Group Experience - sometimes called "IMAGE Therapy" - the guided discussion that happens in group when the consultant goes from person to person
SOTMSlimmer of the Month - given out on the last week of the month
SOTWSlimming of the Week - award given to the person in class who lost the most weight (excludes new members and those who gained in previous week)
SPSpeed Protein - a variation on the food optimisation plan where you only eat Speed and Protein foods, and no Free foods - meant to boost weight loss
SWSlimming World
SWStarting Weight
TWTarget Weight

I’ll add to this list as other ones occur to me. If you know of any I’ve missed, feel free to add them to the comments.


Tonight’s concert plan of action

We realised only yesterday that we had tickets for a concert in the 3Arena tonight.

Our normal plan, when going out in the city on a week-night, would be to meet somewhere in the city and have an early-bird dinner before the event. We’d also have a couple of drinks over dinner, as the price of drinks in concert venues is often inflated.

However doing this would not exactly be syn-friendly. When you add the dinner and drinks together we’d probably be way over our syn allocation for the day – and that’s before we’ve even made it the concert!

So what’s our plan of action?

Well this morning I brought both a packed lunch and dinner with me. And so, instead of going out to eat, I’m going to stay late in the office and eat dinner there.

I’ll be having a syn-free meal – actually left-overs from yesterday’s dinner – which I already know will be tasty, delicious, and healthy. And because I’ll still be in the office, I won’t be drinking alcohol with my meal – so that’ll save on some more syns.

The idea then, is to meet up with the misses half an hour before the gig for a quick drink in a local bar, and then head on to the concert.

The misses has also planned ahead for potential post-concert munchies. She’s prepared a chicken curry that’ll be waiting at home. So should we be hungry, we’ll be able to avoid the temptation to get a take-away, as there’s a tasty and healthy alternative ready to eat.

Hopefully all this will help ensure we end up having a great night – but also a healthy night!

Crone Wood, Enniskerry, Wicklow, Ireland

Activity and reward

Saturday was a glorious day in Dublin. The sun was shining, the skies were blue, and with the delicate encouragement of my good lady wife, I felt compelled to get outside and embrace nature.

In other words, it was a nice day and my wife persuaded me to go for a walk in the hills.

In fact, we jumped in the car with the dog and drove south to County Wicklow, and to a place call Crone Woods that is next to Powerscourt Waterfall (the tallest waterfall in Ireland don’t you know?) in Enniskerry.

The trail takes you through the woods and up the Maulin Mountain. It’s about 8km long, and pretty strenuous. It certainly got my heart pumping! But as it was such a lovely day – and as there were so many places to stop and admire the view – it didn’t seem so bad. I took my camera along, so I had plenty of excuses to stop and catch my breath as a composed shots.

Even so, by the end of the walk, we both felt like we’d had a good workout. And with this feeling of virtuousness came the temptation of rewarding ourselves for all the effort. After all, we’d probably burned about 1,000 calories each, so why couldn’t we have a small treat?

So that evening, when we at a friends’ house for dinner, I indulged probably a little more than I should have – both with food and alcohol. Yes, and I know I only just recently talked about the perils of the demon drink, but I’ve never been one to follow my own advice!

I did successfully side-step the plate of garlic bread that was being passed around, but my resolve broke when the cheese board appeared. I’ve always loved a bit of smelly blue cheese, and I could hear it calling to me. So I had some, and I enjoyed it. And I told myself that I had earned it, because I had done all that strenuous walking earlier in the day.

But here’s the thing… the activity and the reward weren’t necessarily equal. In fact the reward I gave myself definitely outweighed the activity in terms of calories eaten and burnt.

I guess that’s why Slimming World doesn’t give extra syns in reward for body magic – because the temptation would always be to over-estimate the benefit of the activity and grant yourself too many syns!


The demon drink

When I fall off the wagon, there’s often an alcoholic drink involved!

Most of the time I avoid drinking any alcohol at all, because it’s high calorie, and those calories provide little or no nutrition. Alcohol doesn’t fill me up, so in effect they’re just empty calories. And I’d rather use my calories (or syns) for food!

Having said that, on occasion I’ve been known to indulge in a small tipple, and when I do it can either go one of two ways. I either stay “good” and stay within my syns for the day, but feel like I’ve missed out on having a really good night. Or I go “bad” and go way beyond my syns (often not even counting them), and have a good night, but end up feeling regretful the next day. So either way, I end up feeling bad.

There’s also the problem that drink often lowers my resolve to make healthy eating decisions. So in addition to all those empty calories, I will often eat all the wrong types of food – and not just when drunk on a night out – but also the next day when I’m hung over.

So it’s best for me not to drink at all. At least that’s what I tell myself – often just before I reach for the wine bottle!