The run up to Christmas

I don’t know about you, but my calendar is getting very busy on the run up to Christmas.

There are so many social events at this time of year, as every group, company and organisation decides that it wants to celebrate Christmas with a party or dinner.

For anyone doing Slimming World, the sheer number of social occasions can seem quite daunting. Many people wonder if it’s even possible to say on-plan at this time of year!

Start with a plan

For me, the very worst thing I can do is throw myself into the festive season without a plan. For instance, if I turn up at the work Christmas party in a couple of weeks time and haven’t thought about it beforehand, then the chances are that I’m going to eat and drink everything around me.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin

If I have a plan then I can at least mitigate some of the damage I might cause. I might not spend the whole night food optimising, but hopefully I won’t undo all of the good weight loss I’ve achieved throughout the year!

Of course the type of plan I need will depend very much on the type of gathering:

  • For drinks, I need to plan ahead about what I’m going to drink – if indeed I am going to drink. One of the best ways to stay on-plan at a drinks party is to stay sober, which can be reinforced by deciding to drive that night. Of course, not drinking can be a bit boring, and in that case I like to remind myself of the number of syns in alcohol, and plan ahead what (and how much) I want to drink.
  • For dinner out, I like to think ahead about what I will eat that night. It helps if I know where we’re going to be eating out in advance so that I can check out the menu online. Otherwise I’m likely to make some very bad decisions in the spur of the moment!
  • For a house party, I like to engage with the host in advance. Most of the time they are very amenable to looking after all their guest’s needs. The chances are they are looking after all the vegetarians and those with food allergies, so why not those of us who are trying to lose weight. I like to offer to bring free or low-syn food and drink as a contribution to the party – then I know it’s safe to have as much as I want.

Think about before and afterwards

Once I have a plan sorted for the upcoming event, I need to also think about before and afterwards:

  • Do I need to save up my syns from the proceeding week?
  • Do I need to eat before the party, to reduce the amount I eat when I’m out?
  • Do I need to take low-syn food or drink with me?
  • Do I need to stock up on healthy snacks for when I come in drunk, so that I don’t get a late-night kebab?
  • Do I need supplies for when I might be hungover the next day and not wanting to cook?

These (and countless others) are the questions I need to ask myself when I’m putting together my plan.

What if the plan falls apart?

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t quite work out. I may have planned a controlled night when I was only going to go out for three low-alcohol beers and then come home – but instead I end up staggering in the door at 3am completely hammered, and with the stains of a burger and chips down my front.

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

And the temptation is to think that everything is ruined, and give up entirely on Slimming World and weight loss entirely. Or at least give up until next week. Besides, I’m going to be hungover tomorrow and craving cheesy puffs and sausage rolls – so there’s no point trying.

But I know that if I continue to eat off-plan for the rest of the week then I’ll regret it, because I’ll probably put on all the weight I lost in the last month!

So I know that I need to get back on to food optimising as soon as possible – ideally as soon as I get in the door after the party. After all, I’m now back home, and am fully back in control of what I eat and drink – so any damage from now onward is entirely my own doing! 

Have a Happy Christmas

I suppose with all things, it’s about striking a balance. I don’t want to be overly restrictive and end up having a miserable time. But similarly I don’t want to go mental and regret it. I don’t want to step on those scales in January and find I’ve put on two stone!

Anyway I hope everyone that reads this also has a Happy (and well-planned) Christmas!

A day in and out of hospital

My wife and I were looking forward to a really quiet Bank Holiday Monday, but our plans didn’t quite work out.

The phone started ringing just before 7.00am. One of our family had fallen at home while carrying a glass, it had smashed, and they had cut themselves badly on the hand.

And so in the midst of calling an ambulance, throwing clothes on, and rushing around to their house, all thoughts of a good healthy breakfast flew out the window.

The rest of the day was full of activity. For my part, I ended up acting as a taxi service for various members of the family – ferrying them to and fro in and out of the hospital – and also making sure that the dogs were fed, walked and looked after.

Different members of the family were in and out of the hospital all day, and all of them had to just grab whatever food was available in the few minutes they had.

I’ve spoken about hospital food before from the perspective of a patient (spoiler: it was all bread!), but it’s not that much better as a visitor. Because it was a Bank Holiday, only some of the catering facilities were open. As such my wife’s breakfast was two slices of white toast with jam. I’m not sure how many Syns were in that, but at the time we weren’t highly motivated to work it out!

By the time we finally got home last night it was just after 11.00pm, and I contemplated trying to reheat some left-over curry from the fridge for dinner, but in the end my tiredness took precedence and I went straight to bed.

Thankfully the injuries to the patient weren’t quite as bad a we first feared. They did have a 90-minute operation to repair the damage to the hand, but they should make a full recovery and be out of hospital very soon.

So near and yet so far

If you go by my last weigh-in, I’m only 2 pounds away from my Club 10 award. And a two pound loss is easy, right? Apparently not this week!

I’ve managed to mislay my motivation. I know it’s around here somewhere, because saw it only a couple of weeks ago. But I put it down somewhere when I was so sick with my tooth thing, and now I can’t find it again. 

The up-shot is that I’ve been eating all manner of bad stuff this week. Around half my meals have been Slimming World recipes, but the other half have not. And the snacks? Don’t get me started on the thousands of calories of sweets I’ve been shovelling into my gob for the last few days.

I have weigh-in tomorrow morning, and unless all my limbs fall off overnight, then the chances of me losing this week are less than nil.

And so, the temptation is to not go to class. I’m sure we all understand that feeling. It’s easier, when we know we’ve been bad, to stay away – or to weigh and go – so that we don’t have to face the indignity of justifying our gain to the group.

I’m in that position right now. My rational brain is saying to me “Get along to group in the morning, and sort your shit out!”, while the irrational bit of the brain is saying “Sod that! Lie in and bacon sandwiches for brunch!”.

As of this second, I really don’t know if the rational or irrational side is going to win. But at least I haven’t cancelled my alarm for tomorrow morning, yet…

My horrendous tooth extraction

A little under two weeks ago I had a molar tooth surgically extracted, and I’ve been as sick as a dog ever since.

What now follows is a self-indulgent wallowing blog post about pain, drugs, and bowel movements (or the lack thereof). If you prefer not to read my tales of woe, please feel free to skip this post – which doesn’t really have much to do with weight loss.

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Two months progress

I started back at Slimming World 2 months ago, and in the last 8 weeks I’ve made great progress and managed to lose 2 stone in weight.

I wasn’t prepared to receive my 2 stone award today, as I was still 3½ away as of last week, and I didn’t think that was achievable. However I ended up losing 4 lbs in the week, which was amazing!

I wasn’t doing anything special this week – I was just following the food optimising plan as usual. And I guess it paid off!

In less good news, I’m feeling pretty ropey today, as I had a tooth surgically extracted yesterday, and it was a lot more traumatic than I had imagined it would be. I’m on a whole rake of drugs, but I still feel like I’m nursing a bad hangover – when I haven’t even had a drink!

It’s also sad that we’re losing our lovely consultant Caoimh at my Saturday morning SW group. It’s a real shame to see her go, but she’s still continuing to run her Tuesday and Wednesday groups. We don’t yet know who we’re getting to replace her on Saturdays mornings – but at least we’ve had assurances that the group will continue with somebody.