Monday, 10 December 2012

Greetings From Off-Duty


After a frantic couple of weeks (or, let's face it, months), I am finally done with work for the year. I am now on holiday for a whole, gorgeous, lovely, self-indulgent 3 weeks.


I'm not convinced it's actually sunk in yet that I don't have to get up early and go to my office until the new year. I'm treating these weeks as time for me. Time to reset. Relax. Reflect on this year. Gather my thoughts for next year and what I want. Look after myself - lots of sleep, good food, letting go of all the stress.

That said, I have quite a lot planned for the next couple of weeks, with weekends in Brussels and London to come, and a fair few evenings of Christmas drinks and meet-ups. I've already survived my back-to-back work and surf club Christmas parties on Friday (lots of fun and highly alcoholic), and a mahooooooosive Christmas lunch with my Malvern friends yesterday.

One thing I absolutely need to work on while I have time off is my weight and my eating. Christmas is always a potential minefield for the weight-conscious person, and I really, really don't want to make the wrong choices and start the new year with regrets.

I might not have written huge amounts on here recently regarding my weight-loss efforts, but its still a case of neither forwards nor back. A couple of weeks ago I got below 13st 3lbs and then promptly went slightly back up again, but on the whole, I'm still at the bottom end of the 13st bracket.

I need to focus. I've made no secret of the fact that I've been struggling with Weightwatchers for a while now. Very occasionally I can string together a little glimpse of good and lose a bit, but on the whole it's just not really working with my lifestyle these days. It hasn't really fitted for me since they changed the plan almost 2 years now, and I've been hanging on in there hoping that either I'd change or the plan would. Clearly I haven't, and this week Weightwatchers released the latest version of their plan .... and I realised that it hadn't changed enough for me either.

Earlier in the year I tried MyFitnessPal for a short while, before quickly realising that I was making poor choices and putting weight on instead of taking it off. The problem was that, presented with just a calorie limit to work with in my food tracking, I don't make nutritionally sound choices. I eat too much processed food, especially when I'm busy. I also over-use any activity allowances that I earn - because I'm usually quite active I tend to earn quite a few extra calories or activity points .... and then I eat them, which is probably over-kill.

With Weightwatchers, I also struggle with the Flex Allowance they give you. Left to my own devices I tend to over-eat on the weekend and tone it down during the week. The Flex Allowance encouraged that behaviour in me. The tracker is set up to give you 29 points a day and an additional 49 points on top - with my tracking week starting on a Friday, I would always end up using all 49 within the first couple of days and then not-far-off-starving myself all week to catch up.

I've been looking around for an alternative plan that might guide my eating into a more even pattern. Something that will encourage me to eat more whole foods and get more balance. Less binge, more satisfaction. Exercising because the activity feels good, not because I need some extra points.

I'm not ready to go off plan and try on my own - I've proven to myself over and over again that I still don't have that discipline (or common sense!). I wasn't quite sure which way to turn, and so I'm taking a bit of inspiration from my flatmate. Krissy has been following Slimming World for about 2 months, and has done very well, losing a stone. I wasn't convinced this was the plan for me, as Slimming World focuses on a long list of completely free foods, and then everything else is assigned a Syn value (minor niggle - couldn't they have spelt sin the proper way?), of which you have about 15 a day to play with. The catch is that there is no portion control on the "free" foods which include potatoes, pasta and all the meat. The other catch is that exercise doesn't get counted at all. I was scared that my greedy guts instincts would cause me to eat far too much and I'd never lose any weight.

Sometimes you have to take risks.

I've researched on the internet, and the verdict of others is that Slimming World works better than the current Weightwatchers plan, so I've decided to try it...

I've been on the plan since Thursday (borrowing Krissy's literature so far as I haven't joined myself just yet), and it's very different. I've felt very full after meals, and haven't always cleared my plate (very unusual for me). Sugar's out, and bacon and eggs is in. Processed foods gone, and pasta and jacket potatoes have taken over. I'll update tomorrow with a proper post on how it's going, as this is getting rather long, but suffice it to say I'm still here, still fighting. And thoroughly in the Christmas spirit!!


  1. Sue, I have been following SW for 3 weeks now and find that I am eating so much better than before. Yes you have to plan and cook from scratch alot but you are eating proper whole foods and like you say not processed convenience foods. Reading your post I was going to recommend trying SW to mix it up but you beat me to it! I am unsure if you follow Gems Story but like you she struggled with WW and in 2 weeks has lost 13.5ibs since starting SW! Its only early days for all 3 of us, but have a good read through minimins SW section, there is loads of advice and tips available and some amazing weight loss! So hopefully we can all do well! Best of luck and enjoy your three weeks off. Tia x

  2. P.S Syn is short for synergy and not a *sin*