Road to Management Diary

skip to RtM Part II (Packsman Returns)

Day One (Start weight: 12st 8lbs)
It was a long, long day, but eventually dinner time came around. I was having a small turkey steak with friends from church, and as the plate of steaks was presented I felt a strange mixture of guilty, excited, nervous and foolish as I relished the soft, warm succulent fibres.

I cut a small, small piece of white meat and pranged it with the fork (forgive the extreme detail, but it was a very special moment). As I lifted it to my moistened, pouting, anticipating lips, my mouth watered in anticipation, and a barrage of flashbulbs popped in my face as my dear friends captured the moment. It tasted of guilt, permission, turkey, relief, the end of the abstinence resolve and the future all at the same time. Not bad for tiny corner of a 3oz bit of grilled turkey breast!

It took a lot of concentration to get into the swing of chewing, and I laid down the knife and fork after each bite. This meant it took a while to complete the steak; during this time two of my friends ate and finished two steaks each, but I wasn’t judgemental of their speedy consumption. I felt strangely full, satisfied, happy and like a new door had opened for me.

There were no implications for sleeping or toilet visitation during the night; the water still had it’s regular effect upon me, but that was all.

Day Two
Even more exciting! I travelled to Birmingham to see dear friends, and they gave me small bits of grilled chicken, which were moist and welcome. I did fleetingly consider the salad leaves they offered, but then this was only day two, and I couldn’t face the waves of guilt which would follow if I did… So I didn’t. I’m in control. My choices determine my shape and size. I’m the boss. I don’t need you, even though I want you a little bit. I am a weight-maintainer.

Day Three
Oh, woe! Long old day waiting for dinner time to come around, with lengthy toast-heavy breakfasting in front of me, followed by lengthy, crunchy, delicious-smelling lunch, while I had a soup. But I had the evening to look forward to.

England, dismal England crashed out of favour once again, losing by 3 missed penalties, a red card and rubbish substitutions (not to mention team selection).

This made me feel peckish, and the salad leaves and celery with my hot chicken bits went down a treat! Oh, to eat green, fresh stuff! What crunching, crisp, cool, cellulose joy. Not a vast portion; not exactly what I would have previously thought of as ‘filling’ but so, so magnificent and satisfying.

Later in the evening, I was left alone and was watching the highlights of the other match when I made my soup. I ferreted in the fridge briefly, finding a bowl filled with cold chicken chunks ready for me the next day, and managed to snaffle six or seven tiny pieces of cold chicken, which were delicious. Thought process: ‘Nowt wrong with that; I’m eating again and it’s only protein. Not bad for me, just not quite all in one sitting, but it’s not a vast potion, everything will be fine.’ Lies, excuses, O tangled web!

I prepared for bed and the realisation dawned that what I’d done may not have had negative physical implications, but that it could so appropriately be described as Secret Eating – guiltily consuming, denial, not the social event I’d so craved, but a reflection of past foolish ‘keeping myself going’ with three bits of toast, a meat pie and two bags of crisps before going out for a small portion meal with friends…

Have to be careful about this. I wondered for a while and concluded that I was bored, or lonely or tired, and these are emotional states that send me to the fridge. Put it down to experience, boy, and move on, guilt-free.

Day Four
Returned home today after a sensational church meeting; nice to be complimented and have great interest shown in me.

Good, green, crisp lunch. Walk in countryside no problem in the afternoon, and enjoyed the delight of buying ice creams for everyone without remotely desiring one myself.

Planned shake, soup, savoury and water went accordingly, which was good, and had a great night’s sleep. Probably to do with the vast cheque that awaited my return as the remortgaging of my flat has finally completed, and the residue of the loan arrived, landing with 30,000 thuds on my doormat.

Day Five
Went to Asda for salad leaves and fish, prawns, turkey. It felt righteous to be planning my meals almost a week ahead and to avoid tomato, carrot, cucumber… Nice dinner with salmon in my new George Formby Lean Green Salad Leaf Glycogen Replenishing Regime Machine. Followed by Nut Crunch. Almost a meal!

Lots more encouragement and enthusiasm.

Brilliant fun tonight as two old friends passed me in the street without a second glance, and a chap I admittedly haven’t seen for perhaps seven or eight years sat down next to me, realising I knew him and he knew the people I was with, but couldn’t place me at all, until someone else pointed me out to him: ‘That’s Andy Back!’ ‘I thought it might have been!’ he said, defensively.

This is hilarious, as well as complimentary.

Day Six
Long, hot day, starting with a disappointment (literally a cancelled appointment).

Father’s non-wearing of hearing aid continues to annoy. I told him about Thursday’s event at the house group, with the cameras and the small 3oz piece of grilled meat and the long, slow chewing and the delight. But he criticised me for having something I shouldn’t have had, as he interpreted my description of ‘turkey steak’ as ‘birthday cake’. It alarms me that he genuinely believed that I would do this, as I haven’t had cake for three and a half years, and my birthday was in February. I had a flashback to Hong Kong, where almost every statement had to be made at either extreme volume with exaggerated lip movement or repeated in that manner with extreme patience…

But managed to last out until 7pm before I had my leaves, celery and fish steak with one or two prawns.

Red onions soaked in lime juice are very mellow and add crunch (thanks, Nigella, baby). Planned Sunday’s lunch arrangements (busy day: church, lunch at ‘Rents, Nephew’s Orchestral Concert, World Cup Final).

Day Seven, Eight, Nine
Getting into the salad groove. Enjoying the greenness and freshness, and the pleasures of the protein as well.

Week Two (weigh in: 12st 9lbs – 1lb up)
Great meeting with the guys. Increase is probably water or glycogen, so no worries there. Anyway, I’m content to flucuate a bit while I’m getting used to eating again.

Bit of a busy weekend, and water throughput got out of hand. Became dehydrated a little on Saturday, manning a stand at the Poets’ Corner Resident’s Society Fun Day, and then mismanaged water completely on Sunday, spending most of the day underhydrated with the tell-tale ear blockage and white-outs. Sort it out, dipstick! This feeling makes me bad-tempered, which along with feeling lethargic due to the lower carorific intake, ain’t pleasant for anyone.

Week Three (weigh in: 12st 8lbs – 1lb down)
This is great news as the weigh-in is later in the day this week, and demonstrates that while I’ve been building up the glycogen, I’ve still been losing weight!

Complex day on Saturday, being hard pressed to eat breakfast and lunch, but sticking to coffee and then my salad with a manky dried up tuna steak. And then in the evening I succumbed to a small amount of salad with a barbecued chicken thigh (no marinade) which was fine but amounted to two portions of protein.

Enjoyed the bean-flavoured soup on Monday, with more chicken thigh, but snacked on salad a little extensively as I grew a little lonely and bored with being in the house all day.

Week Four (weigh in: 12st 12lbs – 4lb up)
How bizarre, and slightly unsettling. Can this simply be water retention, glycogen gain or something more sinister? But I’ve followed the guidelines, had a salad when I eat (every time, except for the beany meals) and had no carbs or grease or grain or nuts or seeds or booze or dairy. H’mm

I guess I’ll have to take the monthly average and then be philosophical about the circumstances that the reality is I tend to sniff a lettuce and put on three pounds. It’s perhaps to do with the way I’m made.

But there seems something illogical about it, that I ought to be able to eat at least 2000 calories a day without significantly gaining weight (luckier blokes can have 2500); am I really staring into the abyss of a 1500 calorie regular everyday lifestyle? That would deny me ever being able to consider a spud or special fried rice or lamb patia with pilau and cheesy naan… of course. Forgive me for moaning, but this has been a bit of a blow. Tried not to comfort myself but couldn’t resist having an extra protein meal on one day, and rather larger portions than was wise…

Why do I resort to eating when food intake is almost certainly the devil I’m fed up about. Drink too much? Well, have a few vodkas to numb the self-disgust. Hooked on nicotine? Buy 20 Marlboros and chill. How stupid, stupid is this behaviour! But at least I know have a clue to why I want to do it.

Sugar-free jelly is the dieter’s friend. Sweet, cold, limitless, with a mouthfeel like velvet and the sort of food you can eat with a flourish. That wobbly translucence is enticing, and the damage is minimal. It probably even helps the fluid intake, and when you’re not eating much roughage, any effect it has on slackness is welcome, too. Speaking of which, it’s nice to be producing honest to goodness items the like of which I haven’t managed for many years, at least, not consistently. Hopefully that’s not too much information, but some people do ask, you know.

Fruit this week. I felt like a war child, having the first taste of banana for a long time, which was nothing short of Superb.

Friday was odd. Circumstances meant I wasn’t able to drink lorryloads, and I didn’t get anything to eat until 5.30pm. But I didn’t feel desperately hungry; I knew it would be wise to eat then as I was off out again that evening, but I could have taken it or left it, frankly. Maybe I wasn’t too excited about salad…

Week Five (weigh in: 13st 5lbs – 7lb up)
This ain’t funny at all. How can it happen that you stick religiously to salad and white meat/fish and a few apples and add half a stone? I’m now 1st heavier than I was when I finished abstinence, and I’m not happy. Fortunately, neither is Mark, and he suggests that I’m not drinking enough water, and that my body is retaining liquid for fear of dehydration. I’ve heard it before, but this time I have to take it seriously. So we agree that I should vastly up the water intake (5 litres minimum, and return for a pop in on Tuesday morning.

Powered through loads of water. Sunday was Rob’s barbecue, which meant I was eating two tired hamburgers. Later check them out and discovered that they wee probably the sort that are made with plenty of wheat rusk, which means they were chock full of carbs. Oh. And they weren’t so amazingly nice tasting that they were worth the risk. Going to have to arm myself with more knowledge. Erin educated me re Quinois (a vegetarian protein which is like cous-cous). Looks interesting.

Anyway, Tuesday proved the point, and I’ve lost 3lbs since Saturday. So we agree I should maintain the high lwater level, and while this doesn’t appeal, I don’t want to put weight on rapidly by eating lettuce, spinach, beans, chicken and sugar-free jelly. If I do, what hope I there for me next week when I get stuck into the spud?

Week Six (weigh in: 13st 3lbs – 2lb down)
Okay, so it’s in the right direction, but it’s still quite disheartening to have religiously obeyed the rigid commands and be looking at a weightwatchers’ type loss. What on earth will happen if I ever do get to have chips or a kebab or bread or even a spud (which will be next week, if I follow the course). Perhaps I should do a couple of weeks of abstinence first to get right down to 11st7lb? Perhaps not, but I’m a bit down in the mouth, and I’m afraid I let it show a little at the group meeting this morning. I think I’ll call Mark and apologise…

Agreed that I should keep a food diary; what a pain! But it has a controlling effect, since it’s a form of confession as well as a way of checking myself.

Miserable day on Sunday, feeling lightheaded, knackered, listless. Slept for many hours, and went home to bed. Slept all night except for an hour when I had major exploding bottom. This continued for the whole of the hour and left me feeling weak and foolish, somehow. Good uninterrupted sleep from 4 to 8.30, and again from 9 to 11.30! Good job it was Bank Holiday.

Do I feel like eating? All I’ve had in the past 36hrs is a SFJ and two pax.

The rest of the week was okay, but I notice that when I give in to feelings of being bored or lonely, I’m up and ferreting in the fridge to see if there’s a carrot or an SFJ… Not a crime (I’m not waking up in Burger King or having phoned the Pizza Delivery).

Week Seven (weigh in: 12st 9lbs – 8lb down)
A mixture of relief and bewilderment; but at least the relief. Kept going with the food diary, which makes alarming reading by the end of the week. Had a couple of little moments, but mostly brought on by being aware of aloneness on a couple of occasions. I’m working on it, and may be able to be clearer about what I mean if I find myself embroiled in a little while; of that more later, I hope (get my drift? If not, don’t panic, it’s deliberately obtuse).

Went for dinner out with friends on Wednesday, and coped well with a vast dish stuffed with lightly roasted potatoes; limited myself to five small ones, and had to ask them to take the dish away as they were crying out to me. It was a success, though but, for all that. Melon wasn’t a good idea as it was gloriously sweet and portion size is hard to limit.

Couple of midnight crises in the sloppy bottom dept, but that’s the SFJ, I’m sure as when I’ve cut back on them, all is calm.

Week Eight (weigh in: 13st 1lbs – 6lb up)
The fluctuation is unexplained; the spud input may have been a been enthusiastic this week, (started well, but portion control got out of hand), but there wasn’t any grease to speak of, nor sugar, chocolate, pastry (oh, pastry), quantity of carbs etc… There was, of course, lots of lettuce, spinach, raw carrot, SFJ, but they shouldn’t have this effect. So we’re going to blame water retention again and not worry too much about it.

Once again I left the meeting knowing a lot more about Matt’s issues than mine, which was a bit frustrating, but then I should have piped up earlier. It would then not be my fault if Sean didn’t get a look-in (it would be his, or Matt’s or Mark’s). I really have to make the most of the Saturday mornings, especially since Mark is away again next Saturday. Ho hum, Moan groan. Just feeling a bit let down by my body, which I thought was coming to heel, at long last. This is week 8, which means it’s cheese week. Think I’ll get myself some Parmesan (less fat than Edam, amazingly), as it’s usable with salad without demanding to be grilled on toast, like Edam or half-fat Red Leicester (sounds so bland and soapy).

Had a rotten time on Sunday – bad night followed by emotionally bankrupt time with parents, followed by completing agony-work with last year’s accounts for tax, then sorting out father’s mobile phone contract, followed by miserable evening. Woe. Feeling disheartened and that food will forever be an agonising disaster, providing merely stress and little pleasure.

Despite the disappointment, stayed on programme and just had a couple of spuds each day.

It’s cheese week, so bought 4oz of Parmesan and grated it up. Had 2oz on my hot mince, which was okay. Didn’t have much effect on me; didn’t go into a lather of desire for more.

Had VLF cottage cheese on Thurs eve, and then some stilton with blueberries on Friday. Now, that was nice. But remained steadfast. Surely I’ve lost this week? Surely? Watch this space!