Sunday, 23 December 2007

Day Six of Route to Management... Mmmm, chocolate

I took a while to get to sleep last night, there were a few neighbours up being a little rowdy. To be fair it's the first time I've heard them in two years and it is Christmas, but I hate being in bed awake when I should be catching up on my beauty sleep.

First thing this morning, although not as early as I'd have liked, I straddled the bike and headed off for the usual laps or Richmond Park. Unfortunately I didn't have enough time (bloody work) to do the usual three laps, so instead of a 30+ mile cycle it was more like 17 miles.

I actually felt a bit lethargic going out. I was surprised at this since I've been eating a bit more protein recently and have be getting my greens. Mind you, it was chilly and freezing fog hardly makes you more motivated to do the miles. Once I actually got to the park I cycled quite well. I am definitely noticing improvements week on week at the moment.

When I got home I dialed into another conference call. After that I had a quick shower and went shopping with the missus. I bought some cleaner and degreaser for the bike as well as some brushes. Even though it wasn't raining the bike got filthy today and stared making grinding noises. It's far to expensive to wear away due to bad maintenance so it was time I got the stuff to clean it with.

We then parted company so I could go an find her a Xmas present. Well, find the ingredients for a present. I bought her favourite treat foods - good chocolate, marzipan and dried apricots. I also got a bottle of Amaretto. When I got home I soaked the apricots in the booze and after a few hours melted the chocolate. I then rolled out the marzipan and wrapped it individually around the apricots before carefully dipping them in the chocolate and laying out to cool.

This was hard work. The smell of the marzipan and the chocolate were quite tempting, but I did resist. The result looks great. I have a hell of a lot of chocolates made and the mother in law will be delighted as she shares her daughter's rather eccentric tastes. The pair of them have been known to eat a jar of pickles between them watching telly and then open a packet of beetroot for desert.

I'm off to the mother in law's for Christmas tomorrow and I don't know if I'll get a chance to update the blog. If I don't Merry Xmas all.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Day Five of Route to Management... Christmas shopping

I awoke early enough to be at Brent Cross Shopping Centre at 0900 just as it was opening. I rushed in to buy the specific things the missus had hinted at for Chrstmas.

She wanted a massaging cushion and a jewelery box similar to this. I picked up the massager, bt the correct size and colour of box was not available so I knew I'd have to go into John Lewis on Oxford Street. Bugger. I also wanted to go to Lakeland as I saw a huge marzipn selection box that I knew she'd love as she has a severe marzipan addiction that resurfaces avery Christmas. I saw the exact same thing, but half the size for £30 in John Lewis but knew a larger one was available for £18.00 in Lakeland so didn't buy it. Unfortunately lakeland are now sold out and I don't want to pay the rip off prices, so I'll have to think of something else.

I returned home where I have to joind a work conference call to discuss our plans for the festive period as were are starting to heavily advertise our newest product on TV.

I then decided to brave central London and got the tube to Bond Street. I ran into John Lewis and they didn't have the large jewelery box. They only had medium and extra large. I went for the extra large. At the counter the guy only charged me half price as it was on sale, even though it wasn't advertised. I managed to save myself £65, just as well the other shop was sold out.

For tonight's meal I had two courses. We had smoked salmon on spinach with a little lemon. For my main I had Dover sole on a salad remarkably like yesterday. It was just like real posh food!

Day Four of Route to Management... Return of the packed lunch

On day three I roasted a chicken (organic free range of course) and had a breast with a few leaves. I am allowed 100 grams of chicken, which is pretty much a whole cooked breast. I'm enjoying eating real good.

The next day I cut up the remaining breast and put it in a sealable box with a salad made from shredded cabbage, spinach leaves and a dressing from balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. It sounds odd, but tasted great. I ate it at work and my colleagues looked on with some hilarity. For a number of them it was the first time they'd ever seen me eat.

This gave me a great sense of normality and was another step in the right direction.

When I got home I was greeted by the missus and my mother who'd been out shopping all day. They'd conspired to buy me a couple of food treats that they knew I was allowed. They bought a packet of Smoked Wild Scottish Salmon from Fortnum and Mason as well as some Dover Sole. The food for the next few days should be great.

The missus thinks we should spend a lot more time, effort and cash exploring new foods. This should stop us buying unhealthy crap as well as focus on smaller portions of excellence - rather than large takeaways. As a foodie, it sounds like a good idea and if it means I get to eat quality food like I'll have int he coming days, I'm all for it.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Day Two of Route to Management...

My mother arrived at Euston Station last night, so I drove in to pick her up. She was, as you can imagine, amazed to see the difference in me. She spent the whole journey back oohing and ahhing at me.

Back at my place I went in to auto-pilot and had a shake. Then I remembered I was supposed to be having a real meal. I waited for an hour of so and grilled the rest of the salmon. I was nice and tasty and I enjoyed it.

After I finished I took my mother for some late night shopping to Brent Cross Shopping Centre. She wanted to get my brother a bottle of aftershave and have a look around John Lewis. I actually found a bottle of aftershave I really liked. My mother offered to buy it for me, but it seemed weird for me to ask for it, so I got it myself.

We had a wander around some jewelers and I saw the most amazing watch, but I didn't have the guts to impulse buy a £2.5k watch in front of my mother. My mother comes from a poor background and has spent almost all her life on the breadline. Me chucking cash around in front of her always feels very strange.

When we got back in the car we decided to go for a spin around London in the car to see the Christmas lights. We went past Parliament, Westminster, Trafalgar Sq, Strand, Fleet Street, St Paul's, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Oxford Street and Regent Street. The lights were great and it was good to spend time with my mother.

When we got back to the house my mum presented the missus and I with a present each. The missus got a lovely gold and necklace set with a couple of garnets in the same style as a ring she has.

I was given a set of cuff links. However, these were no ordinary cuff links. My mother commissioned a pair of 18ct gold links with a Hare on one side and a fish on the other. The significance of these is based in Scottish mythology. My mother is a storyteller and explained that the hare was the traditional for of a shape shifter, and since that's exactly what I am this year she thought it was apt. The fish on the other side should be obvious to anyone who knows my angling obsession. The thing that is amazing about them is the huge weight. Gold is heavy!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Day Two Hundred and Twenty Four... weigh in... Day 1 of Route to Management!

I cycled to work this morning as usual. It was freezing as usual. What I have noticed recently is that my lips get cold easily, so when I arrive at work I can't speak properly for a while. It feel like when the dentist freezes your mouth.

Work was fairly normal other that it was the team Xmas party meal which I skipped. Instead I worked for a few extra hours and then bunked on an hour early. When I got home I made up a shake and did some cleaning. My mother arrives tomorrow for a couple of days and she'll expect the place to be impecable.

After a spot of housework I went to my Lighterlife class and had my final abstinence weigh in. I lost 5lbs. This brings my weight down to 13 stones and 2 pounds. THis gives me a total loss of over eleven stones. That's 158 pounds or 71.5kg.

After my class I got pack home, turned on the grill and cooked myself some wild salmon. I have to be honest I wasn't really excited about eating it, actually I was rather ambivelent. However, once I could smell it cooking and I knew it was for me I took a lot more interest.

I served it up on a plate. This as the first time I've eaten using a plate and cutlery for nearly eight months. I ate it flake by flake and enjoyed every bit of it. Afterwards I felt a bit thirsty so had a drink. It's only been just over half an hour since I had it, but I feel fine, the only sensation that is different is the fact I am a little more thirsty than normal and I can still taste the food in my mouth.

So, my journey starts now.

PS, thanks for the tips Mrs L. However, I've all but decided to have a wee dram at New Year. This will be two weeks early as it will be the start of week three rather than five, but since it will be in moderation and as a result of an adult desicion, not reactionary greed I'm guessing I'll be ok...

Monday, 17 December 2007

Day Two Hundred and Twenty Three... Route to Management starts tomorrow!

Today is the last day I will only be eating packs. Tomorrow I start to eat real food. This will be the first bit of none lighterlife food I will hve eating since the 8th of May and I'm not sure whether I'm looking forward to it or not. This part of Lighterlife is called Route to Management. It lasts 12 weeks and phases out the packs and introduces different food groups week by week.

The abstinence phase of Lighterlife is simple. You eat four foodpacks of you choice and four litres of water a day and nothing else. This is dead easy to follow and it becomes like a crutch. There is no thinking about what you are to eat for your next meal, you just eat a pack. Now however the temptation to cheat will appear. The old habbits can slip back. This is the hardest part of the whole journey. The internet is full of blogs that either end at this point or are full of tails of woe.

I am determined to get this right.

I read a statistic which showed that nearly 98% of people that lose 100lbs or more put all the weight back on within three years. 70% do it in one year. I do not want to become one of the 98%. I need to be in the 2%.

I guess the reason so many fail is that they think the diet is over. It is never over. I need to keep setting goals to stretch myself. So far I've managed to reach all the goals I set myself. As soon as I get near to completing one goal I set the next.

Surprisingly I am not particularly looking forward to tomorrow's food. Partly because of the risk that eating will bring, but I hope also that I have started to really get over any food addiction I had.

I am starting my Management programme a day early. This will mean that I will start week two on Christmas Day and week three on New Years day. This will give me a bit more choice at Xmas as well as allow me some steak on the 1st. Steak Pie is a traditional mean for us at New Year, and although I will not be having that, a nice sirloin will be a great comprimise.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Day Two Hundred and Twenty One...

It's Saturday, and that means it's time for my time trial on the bike around Richmond Park. I've not been out for a few weeks due to being on holiday, weekends away or visiting my father so I was really looking forward to getting back ont he bike.

Today's forecast was dry with light winds and a morning low temperature of -2C. I've really suffered in the cold recently with my feet feeling like ice blocks when I get home. To sort this I wore two pairs of socks and a pair of overshoes which are like socks over your shoes.

These seemed to do the job and I remained pretty warm for the entire journey. My face got a bit chilly as did my hands through the gloves, but nothing really uncomfortable.

My time was great today, I pushed a bit harder than normal and didn't change down to my lowest gears on the climbs, instead I got off the seat and powered my way to the top. It felt great not to need the 'granny gear'.

I'm not sure what has helped my cycling the most since the last trip. It couls be the fact I've been training or the fact that I'm a stone lighter than last time.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Day Two Hundred and Seventeen... weigh in.

This week's weigh in coincided with my work Christmas party. I didn't want to miss the party so I called my counsellor to ask if I could come later in the week. She suggested I should miss two weeks in a row and said she could weigh me in and give me food if I arrived early.

I'd already changed into my party gear, but decided to go to the party via my counsellor. Ever since my first weigh in I've always worn the same trainers and joggers with any old t-shirt and I do not beleive she thinks I could ever look smart. So you can imagine my counsellor got a bit of a shock when I arrived in my new suit, a fancy shirt and smart shoes.

My weigh in showed a loss of seven pounds over the last two weeks which brings me down to 13 stones and 7 pounds. I have now lost just one pound short of eleven stones. To be honest, if I was weighing in with my normal clothes I would have made it through that 11 stones mark, but I'm more than happy to wait until next week.

I also told my counsellor that this will be my last week of abstinence. Next tuesday I'll be getting my Route to Management book and will actually start to eat real food on Wednesday.

This will mean I can have some turkey and salad on Christmas day. That will mean lots to me. I despiritely wanted not to start the New Year on abstinence and I've scrapped through by th skin of my teeth.


For a while I've had a weekend in Devon planned. It is a good friend's 30th birthday and we were returning to the place of his stag weekend for another celebration - although this time the ladies were allowed.

We drove there on Friday and were the first to arrive other than our hosts. They've just bought a holiday flat with great sea views and it was our first visit. When we got there the look on their faces as I emerged from the car was hilarious. I had not told them I'd lost weight. My mate's missus declared she'd have walked right past me in the street and would never have recognised me.

This set the tome for the weekend and as every guest arrived they were all completely amazed at my transformation. I took great encouragement from this and will build on this when I start Route to Management.

Unfortunately Devon was stormbound all weekend, so we didn't get to do any of the planned surfing and kayaking, but it was still great to be away from London and relaxing.

I managed to stay off the food and drink all weekend. However, I was sorely tempted by the birthday cake which looked amazing. I did resist, but thought about it all night and most of the rest of the weekend. I htough I'd got over that, but recently I've started to think more about food again. I did that a lot when I started Lighterlife and maybe it's coming back because I know soon I'll be starting to eat again.

Day Two Hundred and Ten... weigh in.

Well, it was supposed to be a weigh in. Unfortunately I had to out this weekend up to Glasgow as my father was hospitalised. He's been having problems keeping food down and needed to go in to get sustenance and to find out what the problem is. I stayed up from Sunday to Thursday so got the missus to go and pick me up some food from the Lighterlife counsellor.

I got a nice hotel right next to the hospital and was able to spend a lot of time with my dad. We chatted for hours and played a lot of cards. It was actually very enjoyable to spend the time with him.

I drove back to London on the Thursday and went straight to bed as I had a long weekend ahead...


We got up well before dawn for our early morning flight to Madrid. We arrived early at our hotel after an uneventful flight and headed out to explore the city.

Madrid really is a stunning looking place. We wandered randomly up and down though parks a palaces just lapping the place up. However, although it was always bright and sunny it was also freezing and I was delighted to have my big jacket with me.

On the second day we wandered some more and went round Real Madrid's stadium which was enormous. It was full of other Aberdeen fans who were enjoying the beer served on the tour and we all ended up singing in the almost empty stadium. In the evening we made it to Athletico's ground and was having a great time singing with our own fans as well as drinking (water for me) with the Athletico fans.

Things were going great until a large group of Spanish fans threw flares into the crowded area setting motor bikes on fire an causing mayhem. I was able to get into the stadium and watch the episode unfold from high up. It was pretty scary as the Spanish riot police seemed to pick out random fans and beat the hell out of them with sticks. It was disgusting to watch. I was really disappointed. Scottish fans have such a good reputation and there is no need to be heavy handed with us, the worst thing we do is piss in fountains... The game was a non-event. We lost 2-0 thanks to a late first half penalty and a free kick. Other than that we held our own.

I'll probably go back to Madrid when I'm eating and drinking. It looks like a nice place to take the missus. I may go again towards the end of next summer when it's not super hot and before the cold winter sets in.

Day Two Hundred and Three... weigh in.

I was pretty disappointed to only lose three pounds in the last week. I wanted to officially break through the 14 stones barrier. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and my weigh in moved me to 14 stones exactly.

After my weigh in I went home and packed my holiday bag. First thing in the morning I'm off to Madrid to watch Aberdeen play Athletico Madrid. My mate arrived from Aberdeen but was honest enough to say thet he didn't notice any difference from a month ago, even though I've probably lost a stone and a trouser size since then.