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LighterLife Diary Weeks 2-36
See also: LighterLife Introduction
Plus: LighterLife Week One
Then: Road to Management
And: Packsman Returns
In the middle of the week I start to notice the emotional sacrifice I have made. I love food, so I am missing her. She has been my mistress for so long that now I am suffering withdrawal from the (guilty) pleasures of a pancake roll and chips with cheese on top or of a large plate of curry feel much more exciting than they should. Ice cold king prawns in seafood sauce on a lettuce leaf have great appeal. I’m planning what to eat when I start eating again, and that will definitely include a poached egg on brown toast.
Reality bites on Saturday night. I seriously consider calling the Chinese shop to prepare a feast for me. I can almost taste it already. Then I notice that I am not hungry in my tummy; just in my mind. I’m more bored than starving. So I find something more interesting than Saturday night tv (not difficult) and distract myself. It’s negative tactics, I know, so I shall have to find something I really want to do and do that. Then I shall be positively using the extra time I have now I’m not going to Asda or cooking and consuming and washing up.
Sleep is good but fitful, and the low intake of medication seems to be a good decision.
Week Three (22st; 140kg)
The week slips by without too much pain; I’m quite simply not hungry. Anger kicks in during Saturday night, but that’s mostly because Maria has been thrown out of the X Factor by the great unwashed. I manage to survive the evening without drooling about chop suey or special fried rice.
Sunday is tricky, as there’s a family do, but I avoid the meal and just play with the nephew & niece afterwards.
Week Four (21st 9lbs; 137.5kg)
Week Five (21st 4lbs; 135.5kg)
Week Six (20st 11lbs; 132.1kg)
Week seven (20st 8lbs; 130.6kg)
The statistics keep me strong; the weight lost, the current score, the blood sugar count - all good news.
A good week, with a planned event (a time when you know you’ll be faced with eating in a social context, so you make a plan for how to deal with it). The toughest part was the travelling, which is traditionally an opportunity for sugar free gum, petrol station sandwhich and crisps, plus a stop at a Burger King. So this was rather different. Saw friends in the day and watched them chow into a distinctly unappetising pasta dish, which was no temptation at all.
Then arrived at the 25th Wedding Anniversary party, where the champers flowed and the food wasn’t quite the buffet I had anticipated; no sausage rolls and pineapple and cheese on a cocktail stick here. No, this was full-on chef prepared lamb tagine (tender meat with delicately-spiced couscous), plus a vast gammon to cut at, a whole salmon and several other dishes. I have to say, though, that the main threat to me was the crusty bread and butter, which looked quite delightful. Probably, this was because it’s commonplace, regularly accessible, and I’m still mentally addicted to carbs.
But I drove away at 1.30am pure as drifting snow, full of water, fearing the long stretch of the M25 without facilities. But made it home no problem, by which time, of course, even the Chinese shop was shut.
Week eight (20st 2lbs; 128.2kg)
Been a tricky week, with appointments to sit and watch people eating, but I got through it, thanks to St Clements and and iron will, plus the compliments of various females. Best comment so far: as she stuffed a forkful of turkey and potato into her mouth, she says ‘You’re making us feel awful.’ Not that awful, obviously. But I politely reflected the comment: ‘Please don’t feel bad for me; this is my decision, and I’m enjoying the company and the good it’s doing me.’
Then I sat in the pub while a work colleague had a mixed grill lunch with a pint (I had an espresso and a glass of water). No problem as he chewed through the beef, pork chops, gammon steak and sausage; the big hit came when the table next to us was delivered of a huge plate of natchos - crunch and cheese are the two things I miss the most.
Organising Christmas is a piece of - well, not cake, but veg soup, naturally. Except for the other people. Even my parents and sister, who are being enormously positive, if not actively supportive, found it hard to understand that I’d rather be on my own on The Day, to avoid rubbing my face in it, and then was willing to take the ‘rents to the sis, but stay in car and go for a drive or a walk or to the shops while they chow down on seconds of big juicy bird, spuds, veg, bacon and sausage rolls, stuffing and killer gravy. I had to explain this in words of one syllable (you try finding a one-syllable way of saying bacon and sausage rolls - I tried ‘hot thin pork strips wrapped round tubes of neck, brain, hoof, bone, veins, tail, ears, fat and bread’), to get them to agree a suitable arrival time, so that my sojourn in the motor didn’t turn into two hours or more, again on my own at this most family-oriented time of the year.
Hitting a pretty consistent every hour, on the quarter-past the hour, routine at night for peeing. Even though it’s an effort, I content myself with the statement ‘This is weight loss’ as I release water which cannot possibly be directly related to the intake, since I peed that hours ago, surely.
Week Nine (19st 10lbs; 125.5kg)
Just under 20stone is a real landmark (next week sees me through the 125kg mark, too). Had another pic taken at Mark’s place, to show how much less of a bloater I now am.
Slight fear that I’m becoming a slimming bore; the sort of people I used to shun.
Saw Rog tonight, who last saw me a couple of weeks before I encountered LighterLife. He was impressed and complimentary; could be hard for him to do something similar since he’s a driving instructor, and can’t spend all day peeing...
Week Nine (19st 10lbs; 125.5kg; lost this week
6lbs; total loss 4st) …continued…
I was right! I went to church and celebrated the birth of our Lord and went home to a LL soup and really, honestly, a rather dreary unending day of aloneness. I had chosen not to rub my face in other people’s indulgence, but ended up a bit miserable and prone to snacking. I didn’t. I deeply craved a bag of Kettle Chips (but I resisted) and I even considered a cigar (I haven’t smoked for 21 years!) but I resisted.
Boxing Day was different, collecting the ’rents and taking them to my sisters’ gaff in Horsham. I dropped them off for their lunch, and joined the family later (I sat in the motor and read one of the books I had been given for Christmas). Gift exchange took place and it was a fun day out, with deep respect from Debe. ‘If you can abstain on Christmas Day,’ she said with great feeling, ‘you can do anything!’ She is right and I am a focused hero of the first order, with crushed vine leaves and gold tassles on. Or something. No, I’m just a bloater on a mission.
I discuss my potential target weight of 14st (90kg, just under 200lbs) and Mark agrees this is a good target. But he agrees to everything, and is always positive, even when the other guys in my group jump ‘off the train’ and fill their faces with unplanned pork pies… I find him hard to read, as he refuses to be critical or give a lead.
New Years’ Eve is going to be a Murder Mystery Party with dear friends; I get ‘poisoned’ during the starter, and reappear as the detective after the main course. This gets me out of the room during the main course – neat, huh? In the meanwhile, Lucy, the daughter of the house (almost 3) has planned that I should be given platefuls of her plastic play food: plastic salad followed by plastic chicken and jacket spud followed by plastic cheese and crackers; which is great fun. I survive the night without even a small glass of champagne to toast the new, slimmer year ahead. Water tastes pretty ordinary when everyone else in the room is gently lubricated with a glass or two of Chablis, Chateau-Neuf, bubbly, etc.
And then Lucy’s 3rd birthday party (balloons galore and a bouncy castle) is another bit of a pressure, with sausage rolls and crisps and peanuts and lovely lovely nibbles (no twiglets) plus fizzy drinks and orange juice and good friends… Got through it, enjoyed it, felt good, rushed home for a spicy thai and nut crunch and lots of water and that mixture of having missed out and having succeeded, which is a strange feeling.
Week Eleven (19st 4lbs; 122.7kg; lost this week 2lbs; total
loss 4st 6lbs)
So, back to work this week, which is distracting and tiring. Nurse at the Doc’s does the BP test (all fine) and gets excited about the progress I’m making. She declares ‘You must be the person with the strongest willpower in Brighton!’ which is nice. Not true. I’m one of the weakest when it comes to will power; I just make black and white decisions about yes or no; what I have singularly failed to do to this point, for 47 years, is to exercise will power when it comes to choices about food. ‘Salad or double portion of chips? Er, I think I’ll have rabbit food, not.’ ‘Small glass of water or two doorsteps of bloomer with Anchor on? Er, H2O, no, no, no!’
Loads of lovely comments this week from people I haven’t seen for a while, including people I respect and admire. A great deal of interest in what I’m doing as well as nice remarks about what I have achieved.
I discover that a friend is about to have his jaw wired up; he’s always been a big man – tall and corpulent, amazingly friendly and a gentle giant. But this seems drastic, and sadly futile, as a liquid diet can be mostly warm lard if you want, and restricting access to your belly may in the short term retrain it to expect less, while failing to retrain your head will be the problem that remains after the wire is removed. Oh dear. I don’t want to turn up at his home and preach, but surely I have something worthwhile to share with him?
Week Twelve (18st 13lbs; 120.5kg; lost this week 5lbs;
total loss 4st 11lbs)
I’m in the groove, no real moments of pressure, except when I accidentally see adverts for good-looking dinners, etc. Nachos and cheese sound good, with firm, fresh tomatoes and guacamole. I also desire beans on toast with wafer-thin ham draped over.
A friend rang me to say how much he enjoyed the recipes on my website for pancake roll and chips with grated cheddar on … I think he was just joshing along.
The LL meeting was better this week, after the misery of last time. I was held up as a good example, which was kind, although one of the chaps was singularly unimpressed that I was doing so well when his weight loss wasn’t so vast: I think he’s been kidding himself about his water intake, hoping he’d swallowed enough when he had no effective way to measure.
I have noticed all of a sudden how much easier it is to get into the car, because the steering wheel has been moved further away from my body. It’s also no longer a fag to walk a few hundred yards, or to leg it up the travellator at Tescos to use the toilet. I seemed to have been given fresh lung capacity. What could have happened? Could it be that carrying six and a half stone less dead weight around is helping at all? Perhaps so.
Week Thirteen (18st 8lbs; 118.2kg; lost this week 5lbs;
total loss 5st 2lbs)
Week Fourteen (18st 4lbs; 116.3kg; lost this week 4lbs;
total loss 5st 6lbs)
Tonight I’m at an event at church which features a free meal (and they don’t give meals away lightly at my church)… but I manage to sit through it with my glass of water and some moderately fake smiles. One of the ladies enquires kindly ‘Are you going to have some?’, meaning the thai green chicken with noodles, which smells fantastic and looks glorious. ‘Not tonight,’ I say, truthfully; meaning ‘not tonight or any other night since 25th October last year, and not at least the middle of April, which is after my birthday and after Easter and a long way away and thanks for asking, but please don’t,’ which is less than polite. I take my time going out of the room for a pee, and return in time to give the talk, which is why I’m there. It goes well, and I feel light on my feet.
This was a planned event, but without it being a supported one – i.e. the people with whom I was eating were not aware (or remembering) that I was on a diet programme. Lesson learned.
This weekend I’m facing a residential conference at which I’m speaking three times. Should be straightforward enough, provided I take the right precautions and arm myself with packs and utensils etc. The pressure points will come when the traditional team dinner at the curry shop is suggested: do I go and not eat and smell the exquisite lamb balti, Bombay potatoes, peshwari naan, pilau rice, lager? (I’ve just noticed how much of a carbs addict I am, imagining bread, rice and spud with my meal…) I think not. But that’ll exclude me from some of the best fun of the conference experience this year. Oh well, worth the sacrifice.
Just tried on my leather bomber jacket, which is still fashionable, despite being nearly ten years old… it does up without too much sucking in of the stomach! Fantastic! Another three or four weeks and I can wear it without feeling like I’m in a whalebone corset. And my butcher’s apron fits okay as well (by which I mean I can do it up round the front like chefs do), and that’ll be great for the new play I’m currently rehearsing… Oh, thank you LighterLife, thank you willpower, thank you God for the strength of mind to achieve this life-changing, happy thing I have done!
And another thing: I’ve realised that for the first time since 1986 I wasn’t given a calendar by the local Chinese shop, because I wasn’t a regular customer any more. I practically financed the place single-handed until the middle of October, mind you, but I haven’t been in there since, so I didn’t get the annual gift.
Week Fifteen (18st; 114.5kg; lost this week 4lbs; total
loss 5st 10lbs)
The conference was less tiring than usual, and the walk from the hotel to the venue was much easier to manage; strolling from the main conference centre to the outbuildings where my seminars took place seemed a far less arduous journey each time than in previous years. What can account for that?
This will be a short week, because I’ve agreed to move my meeting day to Saturday, to better tie-in with other male abstainers (the rest of my current group are all now Maintaining.)
But it’s good to know that even with just a few days to achieve it, I shall be 17st something, for the first time in way too long a time. My goal is in sight, even if I’m only averaging 4lbs a week.
Week Sixteen (17st 9lb; 112.1kg; lost this week 5lbs; total
loss 6st 1lb)
Sunday was harder than usual, as I arrived after Sunday lunch while it was still going on; and so I made my soup and was quietly drinking it when the cook came into the room to check I was clear of the kitchen, carrying the cheese, which was the very item I was craving, missing, desiring and dangerously fancying. Oh well.
Week Seventeen (17st 6lb; 111kg; lost this week 3lbs; total
loss 6st 4lbs)
Tried my leather jacket on again, and it’s quite acceptable for size now. Just need to be wearing the right trousers and I shall be Jack The Lad once again.
Going to join the gym at the Grand tomorrow; this means for £6.50 a week I get use of the equipment, plus pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, etc, plus the opportunity to focus on physical exercise.
Week Eighteen (17st 2lb; 109.8kg; lost this week 4lbs;
total loss 6st 8lbs)
Hitting the Tabasco hard at the mo; discovered their website shows it can be bought not in those silly little bottles but in gallon jars!
Week Twenty (16st 8lbs; 105.4kg; lost this week: 4lbs; total loss 7st
I walked out on a cloud, proud of myself, and feeling almost sexy.
Wore my new shirt to church, as you do, and when I was trying to help take up the collection, people kept stopping me to comment on my weight loss.
Week Twenty One (16st 4lbs; 103.7kg; lost this week: 4lbs; total loss
Alex commented positively on my new clothes, and laid into me for having a straggly beard. ‘What are you trying to hide? You don’t need to hide anything anymore.’ He’s a cheeky one, but he was right, so I went home and trimmed the beard I’ve sported since it first became possible, which means since 1976. I didn’t go clean-shaven, but there’s no long dangly bits anymore. I felt great, years younger, bold, brave and like this weight loss wasn’t just a blip in my constant weight gain, but a permanent change that I’m gong to be able to maintain.
Still have a growing feeling that once I return to food I shall return to old ways and old take aways, but this has been so drastic that I’ll be motivated to maximise the benefit.
Mark called in the week and mentioned that I was the man who had lost the most under his guidance, and that I might be suitable for inclusion in the men’s programme filming for the LighterLife DVDs that we’re supposed to be watching at the group meetings. (We don’t because they’re about women and really designed for women, which is why LL are thinking of making one more suitable for blokes.)
Week Twenty Two (16st; 101.8kg; lost this week: 4lbs; total loss 7st
My driving instructor mate Rog turned up at Mark’s after our meeting, to get a briefing on doing LL himself. I’m a better evangelist for the programme than for the Lord just at the mo…
Went to see Doc at Diabetic Clinic at the hospital this week (first time in six months) and she was sure she’d got the wrong file out, because she was expecting a bloater of 150kilos with a high blood sugar reading, and she got little old me (100 kgs or so and a HBA1C reading of 5.8 – normal range is 3.5-6). She was stunned, impressed and a little non-plussed. I thanked her for her rudeness and aggression last time, which provoked my weight-loss effort, threatening me with the insulin needle which frightened me.
Week Twenty Three (15st 13lbs; 101.2kg; lost this week: 1lb; total loss
Gave me a new certificate, which shows me side-on; the reduction is quite superb.
Discussed the target weight again, and I’m beginning to mellow a little towards the 14st target I had settled upon. Originally, I was thinking about stopping this on my birthday (mid Feb); then at about Christmas I realised that wouldn’t give me enough time to do what I intended, so I pushed it to Easter (mid April). By my birthday I realised this wouldn’t be enough, so I dropped the idea of letting the calendar rule it and let the desired weight rule it. So I’ve been toying with 14st, which will take until about the end of May (Cup Final Day preferred). This should mean my BMI is 27, which is right in the middle of the overweight range. But a heck of a long way from Obese, Morbidly Obese, Super-Morbidly Obese and Empty Bottle of Mogadon on the Bedside Table Suicidally Obese, which is what I was.
If I get to 13st, I will have shed 11st, which is how much Mark weighs (skinnypins). I will try to carry him around the room on that day, just to try to remember what it was like to lumber that much blubber everywhere. That’s the remarkable thing; I haven’t lost an arm or a liver; I’ve only lost unnecessary fat – from my legs, my fingers, my earlobes…
Those calculations are a bit cold-blooded, and rely on 4lbs a week consistently.
Week Twenty Four (15st 9lbs; 99.6kg; lost this week: 4lb; total loss
Another great group meeting, followed by some shopping for L-sized clothes. And then on the Thursday, I decided to try to put on my 38” trousers, and had no trouble at all doing so. I wore them all weekend, enjoying the return to waistbanded trousers without braces or belts or other means of support.
Week Twenty Five (15st 5lbs; 97.7kg; lost this week: 4lb; total loss
Discovered the soup is hard to make up without a whisk; but got away with it. Had a bit of trouble with some coleslaw, which smelled FANTASTIC, but survived. Once again I had to turn down a couple of invites out for meals and parties with the oh-so-dangerous finger food. But was drawn into some good conversations with lovelies at church, which was nice.
Next Tuesday sees me at the Diabetic Clinic at the surgery once again, seeing the doc who signed me off for 6 months. He’s in for a shock, too. ‘Go for a walk and switch to brown bread’ indeed. I go weak.
Week Twenty Six (15st 2lbs; 96.2kg; lost this week: 3lbs; total loss
Had a funny two minutes when the lady on the radio mentioned her Chinese dinner just as I was parking outside the Chinese shop at 11.20pm when I was starting to feel peckish on account of having been a bit careless re water during the course of the evening and having had my last food pack at 5pm. So there’s a lesson.
Rog (see week 9) started LL today; we exchanged some encouragements and a little abuse as well.
Week Twenty Seven (14st 13lbs; 94.8kg; lost this week: 3lbs; total loss
Week Twenty Eight (14st 10lbs; 93.7kg; lost this week: 3lbs; total loss
Had a dreadful night of dreaming about consuming large quantities of bacon, which made me feel terribly guilty. I knew Mark wouldn’t give me a hard time, but I felt I’d let him down as well as myself. But then I woke up and realised I was pure and innocent and blameless and still walking in full righteousness. I got up, put on some new clothes and felt really rather good about myself, despite the darkness that lingers in my subconscious mind, for which I am not really responsible (discuss).
Week Twenty Nine (14st 5lbs; 91.3kg; lost this week: 5lbs; total loss
Discussed the bacon dream, and sorted out the Parent/child/ adult aspects of my reactions to it.
Did a great review/planning exercise at group this week, which I reproduce here:
Reasons to get onto the LighterLife Programme
What have I achieved so far?
Where do I want to be in
Week Thirty (14st 2lbs; 90kg; lost this week: 3lbs;
total loss 9st 8lbs)
Laser treatment again on my left eye wasn’t any fun, but at least the doctors are saying that I’ve stopped inflicting more damage on my retinas (caused by sugary, pressurised blood), now I’ve reduced the sugar levels and controlled the pressure, too. So perhaps this will be the last time.
Week Thirty One (13st 12lbs; 88.4kg; lost this week: 4lbs; total loss
Life became a little complex at the cast party for the play; going out for drinks, tapas and then more drinks made for a dull, abstaining, ascetic evening, despite the pleasure of the social aspects of the gathering. Sitting there being worried about by waiters while my friends laid into their fried potatoes, chickpeas, chicken, king prawns, rice, garlic bread, beer, wine, whitebait – almost too much to bear. But I got away with it, feeling hungry, a little discouraged and ready for a nourishing soup when I got home.
Week Thirty Two (13st 11lbs; 87.9kg; lost this week 1lb; total loss 9st
Mark invited me back for a weigh-in the next morning and we finally managed to get the reading down to 13st 10lb, which represents a ten stone weight loss. This is great news, and despite there being still a little way to go, I’m now less than 60% of the man I used to be.
Week Thirty Three (13st 7lbs; 85.9kg; lost this week 4lbs; total loss
Luke was texting me today and discovered that when he entered my name into the predictive text function on his phone, the suggestions it made, in order, were body • anew • Andy, which is completely impressive!
Week Thirty Four (13st 3lbs; 84kg; lost this week 4lbs; total loss 10st
Had a splendid time at my old office in Eastbourne (haven’t seen any of those people since end of January, some since previous year) and they were stunned and very complimentary. Lovely spontaneous hug from the delightful Gemma, and a warm reception from the blokes in the warehouse, who went over the top, which was extremely kind. But then the contrast for them must have been quite extraordinary.
Week Thirty Five (13st 3lbs; 84kg; lost this week nil; total loss 10st
Planning to move into the Road to Management course next Thursday, a couple of days before I visit Russ & Alex in Birmingham, the lovely friends I saw the weekend before I started this, and not since. They will probably have to reintroduce me to their son.
Week Thirty Six (12st 8lbs; 79.8kg; lost this week 9lbs; total loss 11st
Wonderful to see my sister-in-law Carolyn today, and to hear her comments. The contrast must be a little disconcerting for people who, like her haven’t seen me for a while.
I’ve decided to change my Fantasy Football League sign-in name - I play in a league with two of my nephews - since BigUnc is no longer a true statement. HappyUnc? ConfidentUnc? Perhaps these are a bit too philosophical. Reality of the way I play the game suggests LoserUnc would be a little more down to earth.
But I don’t feel like a loser. I feel like I’ve brutally but successfully thown a mistress out of my life; she didn’t belong, was wickedness, a drain upon me and destructive in every way. I’ve left behind a wicked puppetmaster and taken control. I am choosing to be the way I currently am. I guess we’re all choosing to be the way we are, he said in a Deep and Meaningful Way.
Trouble is, now I’ve kind of arrived at a target weight of 12 and a half stone, the real battle will begin. Now I have to face the demon food again. I’m looking forward to the mouthfeel, the flavours, the crunch, the swallowing; but not to the opening of a door which was firmly shut eight months ago. Instead of saying ‘No’ to everything, I now have to see if my head has been bent into Right Thinking as much as I’m hoping. Will I be able to refuse things I want, even when I allow myself to have some things?
Even as I’m asking myself these questions, a dear friend calls to encourage and inspire me with comments and Bible verses which relate to receiving counsel, having courage, continuing to draw on Godly willpower and are about defeat of enemies (fear) and victory/success/achieving plans.
The next few months are a huge great long planned event as much as the Children’s Ministry Christmas Dinner was way back when I first started attending planned events.
I have agreed with myself what I want to do, what my preferred goal is for the activity, and I shall work hard towards achieving that goal.
For further information on my progress, see: Road to Management