A return, a lady’s index finger and being outscalesed

So, I’ve rejoined WeightWatchers. I’m quite wary about it. Even though I’ve had great success with them before, it has – like a politician’s career – always ended in failure. The last try was particularly bad. I kept running out of money and so not being able to go to meetings, or going to meetings on different days of the week to optimise my weigh-in while secretly over-eating on Tuesdays. Or Fridays. Or Mondays. In fact, it was this last failed attempt at Weight Watchers in spring of 2010 that drove me to start writing this blog in desperation, the theory being that I didn’t need the support of a group of middle-aged ladies, but rather the support of my friends.

A couple of stone heavier, it’s clear, I’m afraid, that that didn’t work.

I went back on Wednesday evening, full of dread and hope in equal measure.

And sometimes, I hate hope. Sitting there, hoping that maybe this time, I’ll stick to my diet. Maybe this time, I’ll become thin. Maybe this time, I’ll get fit (not that kind of fit). Maybe this time I’ll get fit (that kind of fit). Maybe this time I’ll win. Optimism sucks.

Anyway, I would have gone to my old group on Monday but there was a bank holiday. To be honest, it was too soon after Christmas and I’m only really starting the diet tomorrow when my second weigh-in is due.

The scales gave me a bit of a shock. I was expecting bad news. In well over 100 WeightWatchers weigh-ins, the heaviest I ever weighed was 24 stone. But on Wednesday, I weighed 24 stone 6.5 pounds (342.5 pounds or 155.3 kilos). That’s nearly a quarter of a hundred stone. If I halved my weight, I’d still be classed as overweight.

I’ve always maintained that my heaviest time was the summer I graduated from UCC (2003) (I didn’t weigh myself at the time to find out) but I think I might have surpassed that now. I’m finding relatively easy things very difficult now. I know how silly this sounds, but I can’t bend over any more. Plugging things in, putting on shoes and picking things up are all exhausting for me now. I spend far more time lying down than a 30-year old should. Showering is harder as there is more and more of me and parts of me are getting increasingly inaccessible. I also feel more expansive. I don’t fit regular furniture. I can’t sit in a chair with arms any more because when I stand up the chair will come with me. My latest medical results were mostly fine. My heart is a normal size and is functioning, but it beats too fast – I’m tachycardic, like someone on ER! – and my blood pressure is too high. At least once a day, I can feel my heart pounding very fast through my chest. It’s scary.

So I’m looking forward to the new Connor that WeightWatchers is promising.

I read the new programme eagerly. They’ve made it slightly healthier than the last time and they’ve tweaked the points system considerably, but luckily you can still eat more or less anything in moderation.

Because I am a man, and because I have 13 stone to lose, I have an enormous allowance of WeightWatchers points. Most of the women at the meeting I went to on Wednesday can eat up to 26 or 27 points a day. I can eat 69 points a day. A pint of beer is 7 points, so you can imagine how much I’m allowed to eat every day.

In 2007, when I had my most successful WeightWatchers journey, I ate more or less the same thing every day for the first 6 months: For breakfast, I had a scone, a banana and a bottle of diet coke; for lunch, I had a roll (a white demi-baguette) with ham and coleslaw and maybe an apple, and for dinner I’d have two microwave WeightWatchers meals or maybe a pasta dish, followed by two diet yoghurts. I’d still have enough points to have a bag of low-fat crisps, one of those skinny Dairy Milk bars, and two or three bottles of Bulmer’s Light. And I lost substantial weight eating like that.

As the year went on, I gained more confidence around food. I started making my own brown bread sandwiches for lunch. With salad! And eating two pieces of fruit with lunch. Eventually, my morning scone was replaced by porridge and then I started cooking dinner again. I got a bit obsessed with stir-fries, but I had pastas, steaks, chops and gammons and all manner of boy-cooking-for-one type of meals.

But, for now, I’m not going to pretend that I’ll cook much. I’m not going to pretend that I’ll prepare lots. I’m going back to a scone and a banana for breakfast. It works. It’s not particularly healthy, but it works. It’s also quite dear, and I am quite broke, but I’ll manage. Also, if you saw our kitchen you wouldn’t use it much either. It has gonorrhoea. And rabies.

So, I’ve been reading the new WeightWatchers programme and it’s got a “handy” portion guide. Now, portion-size is very important, but this guide is one of the least useful things I’ve ever read. Apparently, a medium slice of bread is the thickness of a woman’s index finger. Luckily, I carry a woman’s index finger in my backpack at all times. A “large” portion of uncooked pasta is a man’s handful. Now, first of all, a handful of pasta is not a large portion. It’s just not. I don’t care how big the hand is. Also, I don’t have a man’s hand. I have the hand of a child. My fingers are small and pudgy. I once had an Italian student interrupt a lesson I was teaching to announce, before the entire class, very loudly, “Haha, Connor! You ‘ave the ‘ands of a leetle girl!” Thanks, WeightWatchers, not only is my belly too big, but you have to remind me of my little girl hands as well.

Having had portions compared to “things I don’t have”, I was half expecting to read that a portion of rice was the size of an emu’s testicle, but no, it’s about the size of a tin of tuna. Fine. Finally, a tablespoon of jam is “the size of the tip to first joint of a thumb”. Really, WeightWatchers? Really? First of all, surely a tablespoon of jam is the amount of jam that fits in a tablespoon. Secondly, you were very clear earlier on that a man’s hand is bigger than a woman’s hand. Does this not apply when measuring jam? Thirdly, surely, thumbs come in all shapes and sizes. And fourthly, the tip to first joint of a thumb is a measurement of length. Who measures jam by how long it is?

Anyway, I’m excited and trepidatious, now that I’m finally starting. Tomorrow’s weigh-in will be bad, but it’ll be the last bad one. I promise.

I’ll post my weekly WeightWatchers weigh-in results here, but once a month, I’ll post my own (nudey) weight, BMI and measurements. Here are my January results:

Neck: 17.5 inches/ 44.4 cm (up)
Arm: 16.25 inches/ 41.4 cm (up)
Chest: 52 inches/ 132.1 cm (up)
Waist: 57.75 inches/ 146.8 cm (waaay up)
Thigh: 27.25 inches/ 69.5 cm (up)

Weight: as it turns out, I can’t weigh myself. I exceed my scales’ maximum weight. It managed to register 23 stone 11 before, so I’m presumably more than that. Hopefully, by February, my scales will see me again and I’ll be able to tell you all about by BMI and body fat percentage, which I know would please you greatly.

Do keep all your fingers and toes crossed for me. I need this.

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3 Responses to A return, a lady’s index finger and being outscalesed

  1. Joan says:

    Go CONNOR!!!! You might 'ave the 'ands of a leetle girl but don't let that hold you back!

  2. "It has gonorrhoea. And rabies." – I just pee-d myself.Oh, oh, oh and http://www.myfitnesspal.com/ is my new best-friend and THEY DO APPS!

  3. Thank you, Joan and Lauren! I'll never let my leetle ands hold me back. I know myfitnesspal.com – it has loads of stuff on it.

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