slimmingworld-5-0

Five stones, and then some

I wrote last week about how the idea of going for my five stones peaked my competitive spirit. Well it seems to have paid off!

I was so determined this last week, that nothing would derail me from my goal of getting to my 5 stones, and as it happened I ended up losing 4½ pounds this week, and have now lost a total of 5 stone 1½ pounds! That’s the lightest I’ve been in about 10 years!

Even on Friday night when we went to a leaving drinks party for some friends who are emigrating to Spain, I kept my determination. When everyone around me was downing pints and scoffing pizza, I nursed two gins & slimline tonic (4 syns each) over the course of the night. And that was with the rugby on!

When the misses bought me some chocolate eggs as a treat, I didn’t eat them. When there was cake at work, I didn’t have any. When everyone was having Chinese takeaway for lunch on Friday, I was happy with my salad.

I didn’t feel I was depriving myself of anything. I was making conscious decisions to avoid things that would derail the progress towards my goal. And I’m so delighted at having achieved it!

Onwards and upwards towards the 5 and a half!

willpower-determination

Willpower is not a long-term solution

I don’t like the word willpower when talking about weight loss. It has too many negative connotations for me.

The website dictionary.com defines willpower as “control of one’s impulses and actions; self-control.” To me maintaining self-control equates to fighting against my natural urges – my natural urge being to eat the face off me!

The thing is, I don’t like this idea that I need to exert willpower in order to lose weight, because that’s just setting myself up for a fall. Anyone can resist against their impulses for a short period of time, but it’s not a long-term strategy. At some point the willpower is going to fail, and I’m going to ‘fall off the wagon’.

Put a box of donuts in front of me, and my self-control will hold out for a while, but eventually I will crack and scoff the lot!

And that’s the thing about willpower – it’s only temporary. Willpower requires us to resist an impulse, but does nothing to try and change the underlying impulse itself. If I could reprogram myself to address the impulse and modify it, then I wouldn’t need willpower at all!

So instead of using the word willpower, I prefer to use the word determined. I know it’s only a change of word, but to me it’s also a change in mind-set. When I am determined I have made a conscious and positive decision to follow a certain path. I’m not fighting against an impulse, I’m not resisting temptation, and I’m not “being good”. Instead I am making positive choices in my life to achieve my goal – to lose weight.

I’ve talked before about every little decision, and I’ll be the first to admit that many of my little decisions aren’t the right ones. I lose sight of my goals just as much as the next person. It’s hard to keep focus all the time. But hopefully by harnessing the positivity of being determined I can make a few more correct decisions in the future.

So when I look at the donuts in the future, instead of thinking to myself “I would really love to eat those donuts, but I will resist” (a negative emotion) I will instead try to think “I don’t want those donuts, because it will impact my weight loss” (a positive emotion). And by doing so, I hope to end up eating a lot fewer donuts!

Every Little Decision

Every little decision

A few weeks ago I was in a bit of a slump, and not happy with my progress. But now I feel that I’ve reached a turning point.

After two weeks of getting just half-pound losses, I knocked it out of the park this week with a massive 5½ pound loss! And I couldn’t have been more delighted. Actually that’s not quite true. There was another lady in class who got a 6 pound loss, and snached the Slimmer of the Week from my grasp!

My big loss meant that not only did I get my 3½ Stone award this week, but I’m only a few pounds away from getting my 4 Stone award – which was my target for Christmas.

So how did I turn it around?

Well my new mantra of the moment is Every Little Decision. It’s the three words that I repeat to myself throughout the day, and help me make better decisions.

It’s all too easy to have a sneaky bite of something naughty. We tell ourselves “just this once” or “maybe just this little thing“, or the phase I love to use “well you’ve got to live“. But what I realised is that every sneaky bite I had was having an impact on my weight loss. I found that I couldn’t get away with having the odd little cheat every now and again. If I wanted to achieve the weight loss I desired, then I needed to question Every Little Decision.

Every time I looked in the cupboard, opened the fridge door, or walked past the sweeties in the supermarket, I had to remind myself that every little decision counts. And for me, I needed every little decision to be a right decision.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve not given up on my syns. I still have them, and enjoy them. I love to have an oat bar with a cup of tea as I’m going to bed. And so I tend to save up my syns for the latter part of the day. But I’m not going without. I’m just being careful.

The problem was that I had got complacent. As an obese man, my losses when I started doing Slimming World were fairly easy. I could have the odd deviation from food optimising, and still get some weight loss on the scales. But now that I’m almost 4 stone lighted (yay!) the weight doesn’t shift quite as easily, and I need to be a bit more strict with myself.

And so, last night for example, when I was attending a drinks reception, I decided to make good decisions. So when the plates of crisps, pastries and mince pies were put in front of me, I decided to say no thanks. They looked really tempting, and a few weeks ago I would have probably taken one or two things off the plate. But the thing is, it would have probably been on top of one or two other little treats that I would have eaten earlier in the day. And without realising it, I would have eaten probably an extra 30 syns in the day!

It’s no wonder I wasn’t losing weight!

So for now, I’m going to keep repeating my Every Little Decision mantra until it annoys the hell out of everyone I know.

By the way, did you know that a single mince pie is between 11 and 13 syns! And according to the Syns Online database, a mince pie from the Marks & Spencer in-store bakery is 19½ syns! Are they even that nice? And are they really worth all those syn? Most people I know don’t really like mince pies that much, but eat them anyway because people give them out at this time of year.

One pound a month

I went to my Slimming World class last night for the first time in 4 weeks.

We missed two meetings because we were on holiday, and then I missed last Wednesday because I was in A&E!

And so, over the course of almost a month, what did I lose? One pound! Just one tiny little pound. Or 453 grams for those who prefer metric.

Over the previous 4 weeks I had lost a stone, so I guess I was a little disappointed to weigh-in at just a pound down from the end of August. But then again, it’s been a fairly unusual few weeks.

We went totally off-plan while on holiday – eating and drinking pretty much whatever we wanted, and enjoying as many cocktails as our wallets could stand. And then, I spend two days in hospital last week, eating nothing but bread and water (I exaggerate, but I’m looking for sympathy here!).

Over that time I’ve probably put on weight, lost, put some more back on, and lost again. My diet has been very inconsistent, and my levels of exercise have been curtailed from what they normally would be. So it’s no wonder that I haven’t lost more. Indeed, some would say it’s amazing that I haven’t put on weight!

One thing it has done – it’s made me more determined to stick to my food optimising, and to aim for a decent loss for next week. I’d like to lose 4 lbs, as that would take me to my 3 stone award. Let’s see how I do…