Tag Archives: smart points

Taking The MFP Plunge

So there was a chorus of voices following my last post, all chirruping about My Fitness Pal. I mean I’d heard of it, but I’d never really considered using it myself. I was a bit confused and thought it was something to do with a fitbit, and in any event I was comfortable doing my own thing, you know? Logging stuff in the weight watchers app, and using their barcode scanner which is the best invention ever for folk like me with lazy bones.

Everything was connected. My watch spoke to my phone and sent smoke signals about my activity to the weight watchers app and when you’re a technical muppet like I am, the thought of having to set up a different carry-on from scratch is a bit daunting. It was all very comfortable, except for the fact that I’ve been treading water on the whole evicting pounds from my pants project. Which is a drawback quite frankly, when that’s the very reason all this counting and logging is happening in the first place.

The same counting and logging that I’m at the end of my rope with, right? I’ve spent the last couple of weeks locking horns with the Asshole voice over that very issue. When I don’t have his insidious voice in my ear, I log stuff as I go through the day.

On days when I’m bombarded with you don’t need to log every little thing, it’ll save time logging it all at once later on, of course you’ll remember and by the way get a life saddo I’m more likely to do a dodgy calculation on the back of a fag packet at the end of the day which, with a strong wind behind me might be somewhere near accurate. Or not. Depending on how effectively the Asshole has wiped my memory in the meantime.

So, when I was showered with suggestions that I give MFP a try, I couldn’t think of anything less appealing. I mean seriously there was no way I was having anything to do with that. I couldn’t be parted from my Weight Watchers app, and no way was I going to do both. No way at all.

Except, what if? What if this was the kick up the backside I needed? They say a change is as good as a rest don’t they, and although Weight Watchers has been good to me, if I never count another fucking smart point as long as I live it’ll still be too soon…I’m  bored. But maybe I’m bored with the diet rather than bored with dieting per se? I’m desperate to keep the momentum going.

I think I mentioned that I switched to the No Count plan and I’ve been enjoying it actually, but I’m wary of the lack of boundaries. I’ve filled my boots with brown rice and wholewheat pasta this week because it’s free, but I can almost see those carbs jostling for position inside my pants as they weld themselves to my arse.

Besides that, I’m a food addict, and addicts don’t cope well without boundaries. It’s one thing eating a whole cauliflower because it’s free of points, but it’s something else entirely necking a massive bowl of pasta whilst wearing an innocent expression and claiming quite rightly that it’s free…it is. But it’s not, Not really.

So, change is a comin’. I’ve taken the plunge and signed up with My Fitness Pal, and I’m on board starting today. I feel excited, and although I’m not cancelling my weight watchers membership quite yet, I’ve kicked it into the long grass and I’m going to try counting calories in conjunction with MFP. Ta daaah!!

I’m still keeping my weigh-day as Sunday, so this dieting week will be a mixture of two diets but happily, I have no Asshole voice pitching to make today and tomorrow the stuff that fat-girl dreams are made of by taking my foot off the gas ‘because I’m starting again on Sunday’.

And you know he would have been all over that at one point, right? That’s head progress right there whether its reflected on the scale or not. It’s all good. No blip, no drama. Go to bed Thursday on Weight Watchers, wake up Friday counting calories.

Seamless. I’m excited to see how this works out.

And I wonder how many calories there are in gravy… 🙂


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Living On Dust

It’s all very well you know, this new way of spending my food budget but I’ve got to be honest, the days where there are no weekly points on offer are a bit bleak. I went to bed last night feeling like I hadn’t eaten for a week. Seriously, I could’ve gnawed my own arm off.

And it’s a bit of a double whammy, right? The way weight watchers allocates your points budget largely depends on what you weigh, so as you work your way down the scale, they knock the odd point off here or there. I get thirty three points to spend every day now I’ve lost a bunch of weight, but when I started it was well into the forties. And I’m here to tell you, thirty three points goes nowhere. And yet, I guarantee that there’ll be folk in the posse who are much nearer Skinny Town than I am whose eyes are out on stalks at the prospect of thirty three, because they’ll be on like twelve.

It’s weird isn’t it, it’s the only system I’ve ever know that rewards success by taking shit away. I suppose they have to, but given that I’m only halfway to Skinny Town I reckon by the time I get there I’m going to living on dust.

Having lived life as a grown-up without food boundaries for the last thirty odd years, getting my head around what a normal portion of food looks like continues to be a struggle for me every single day. Take yesterday for example. I bought a boxed salad for lunch, with ham, but I had to push it and buy a cooked chicken breast off the deli too, just to bulk it out a bit. Because, you know, a ham salad wouldn’t have been enough on it’s own. Of course it would, for a normal person. But to me it seemed stingy.

And when I cook dinner, I eat a mountain of vegetables. Which happen to be free of points, so that’s all well and good however I don’t suppose that whoever wrote the algorithm for deciding how many points are in stuff imagined for a second that anyone would ever sit down and eat a double head of broccoli and a full bag of sprouts alongside the main event when they decided to make all vegetables points-free. I can do that. Easily.

I’d probably do well to remember that although there are foods which are free of points, they’re not free of calories. And no matter how effective the points system is, if you take in more calories than you burn off, you’re knackered. Scoffing a full punnet of strawberries or a whole melon isn’t necessarily working to the spirit of what the points-free element of my food plan is all about, right? It’s taking the piss a bit, if I look myself in the eye and have a come to Jesus conversation.

I’m chasing a two pound loss this week, off the back of a sedentary week which nudged me a cock-hair in the wrong direction. So I can’t afford to take the piss.

Best stop then, dammit 🙂

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Two Things Have Happened…

There’s something distinctly weird happening in my head at the moment. This probably won’t come as a big surprise to those of you who’ve raised an eyebrow here and there over the last 18 months at some of the titter and shit that has tumbled onto this very page…lets be honest, weird stuff happening in my head is not unusual in itself. But when I say weird, I mean different.

I’m used to feeling like I have to dodge bullets on a regular basis. You all know that I regard myself as a food addict, right? Dieting is a challenge for anyone, but if you have a food addiction and you’re trying to lose weight, you are locked into a constant battle. It’s a never-ending negotiation with your own head over what you’re allowed to have, when you’re allowed to have it, and most importantly how much of it is the right amount to have.

And it’s relentless because even after the decision is made I find my asshole voice coming in hard with a rear-guard action trying to re-negotiate. Let’s be honest, what is generally considered amongst normal folk to be the right amount looks to me like it wouldn’t feed a sparrow and the injustice of not having a plate that would feed a small army leaves me seething with resentment. It’s exhausting.

Of late however, it’s felt different. Calmer somehow. And I don’t know that it’s got anything to do with being in the sweet spot, I mean I was fully locked and loaded into the sweet spot when I started this diet eighteen months ago,  for the first few months I didn’t put a foot wrong in terms of eating more than my allocated food budget but the Asshole voice was in constant communication with my willpower and it was tested on an hourly basis. Now, not so much so.

The difference? I’ve more or less excluded sugar from my diet. It’s the only thing I can put my finger on, you know? And before you worry that I’m going to turn into one of these evangelistic preachy teachy kind of bloggers who tells you what to do and how to do it, I’m not, I swear. This blog hasn’t ever been about that, it’s always been more about sharing what’s going on in my head as I try and navigate the path to Skinny Town. But it makes you think, doesn’t it?

I’ve always said that for me, I can stick to my food plan providing I can have the odd treat so I don’t feel deprived. Except my odd treat was way way out of balance with the rest of my diet. I could stick to a daily points allowance, but let’s say I had 35 points to go at, I’d start with the crap and work my way back, you know?

If I count two Mars Bars at 24 points, that means I have 11 points to spend on proper food…fruit for breakfast which is free, salad for lunch which is free and then maybe chicken for supper with a mountain of vegetables which are also free, so I get that stuffed fit to bust feeling but I can still ‘relax’ and eat two Mars Bars because technically I’m not doing anything wrong, right? I stayed within points and look at this innocent face…

Except, having eaten two Mars Bars – or hob-nobs or Daim cake or whatever, it could have been anything – I’d still feel deprived, because two wasn’t three and there were more in the fridge which I wasn’t allowed to have. And having got the taste for them, often the ones in the fridge for another day wouldn’t survive the night because I’d pay forward my food budget then wake up the next day and sulk because I was going to have to live on dust for the rest of the week.

That’s all gone. I’m 61 days food sober, and I haven’t eaten chocolate, or cookies, or crisps, or anything with refined sugar in it except things like maybe low-fat salad cream which has a trace element. Nothing processed that has added sugar, just lots of fresh food. And two things have happened.

The cravings have stopped dead. I’m no longer tortured by the relentless need to eat something sweet. If I haven’t eaten one of something, I don’t crave a second or a third, and I’m no longer even bothered by the thought of it. I mean…this is me we’re talking about. The other thing is I’ve stopped seething with resentment at the fact that I’m on on this journey to begin with.

You can’t help wondering, can you? I started this whole clean eating thing as a bit of an experiment, but actually I have a feeling it’s morphed into a bit of a game changer for me…I’m just going with it, I mean why wouldn’t I? The prospect of not living the rest of my life as a slave to my drug of choice is blowing my mind 🙂


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Nothing In A Crackly Wrapper

Forty days. Four zero. Forty.

That’s how long it is since I ate something that I shouldn’t…I have to keep pinching myself, you know? It’s a milestone I can’t quite get my head around, when you consider how much my arse was dragging in the last few months of last year. And I’ll tell you what else…I haven’t really found it hard.

I know, right? I don’t understand it either. It’s like the Asshole voice has fallen off a cliff, because he hasn’t rattled his chains in well over a month. And I’m convinced it’s down to the fact that I’m giving refined sugar a really wide berth. I haven’t gone completely sugar-free…I’m not quite ready to go the whole hog and cut it out of my diet altogether, but to be honest I’m pretty close.

For forty days I’ve eaten no processed foods at all. No chocolate. No crisps or snacks. And that means that as I’ve been watching TV in the evenings, my viewing experience has been completely binge-free. Just me, on my own and flying solo without any treats which lead to more treats which lead me directly to hell in a hand cart. I’ve eaten grapes, or melon or a handful of nuts, but nothing which comes in a crackly wrapper.

It’s a weird thing you know…I feel like I’ve been set free. Right now, in this moment and all the moments over the last forty days I haven’t had to fight with myself over every food decision. I haven’t eaten a treat within my food budget and then taken that same budget down to the wire by having one more, then one more, all the time furiously recalculating what I might be able to eat for the rest of the week so I can eat still one more in this moment.

Those mid-afternoon cravings in the office have gone. That’s traditionally where my day took a wobble – everything up to lunchtime would be measured and planned, but whatever I put into my mouth with my afternoon cuppa would pretty much dictate how the rest of the day went, you know? Skidding home in the evening with only a sparse food budget left then spending what was left of the day driving myself mad with thoughts of all the things I wanted but couldn’t have.

Sometimes I’d cave and have them anyway, paying my Weight Watchers points forward with promises that I’d have a lean day tomorrow. Sometimes I’d just think fuck it and blow the budget then spend the rest of the week feeling guilty about the fact that I had no control, and pissed off that I’d left myself no further snacking opportunities. Whichever way, there was no respite from the food thoughts playing on a loop in my head, constantly stirred by my Asshole voice.

Imagine living that way, all the time. It’s like being stalked by some malevolent food beast that you just can’t get away from. The liberation that comes from that all of a sudden not being there is hard to describe. I remember being bullied when I was quite young and feeling like it was never going to end. My meek and gentle mum found out and raised all kinds of hell at the school, and it stopped immediately. What I’m feeling now reminds me of how I felt then, when I realised I could walk through the playground without having to worry about who was hiding in wait for me around the next corner.

Now, all that said, I’m not perfect…I am eating mountains of vegetables, and my portion sizes aren’t getting smaller…I know I need to focus on that, but at the end of the day nobody ever got fat by eating too much broccoli, right? One step at a time.

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It’s Like Going Back In Time


Monday was a good day. So was Tuesday, and Wednesday and Thursday, and today’s going to be a good day…I can feel it in my water. It’s fragile, but my feet appear to be back in the sweet spot and they’ve held tight for four whole days. I nipped in through the back door when the asshole wasn’t looking and claimed squatters rights, and I can’t even tell you how good it feels at this point to have four days’ worth of skin in the game.

The week so far has been full of little victories. Yesterday I turned down a festive bakewell tart at the last minute even after I’d set up my surroundings to enjoy it, how about that? My friend had bought them at lunchtime to have with a mid-afternoon cup of tea. I’d eaten oats for breakfast, and chicken and ham salad with a banana at lunchtime so I was primed and ready for a little treat.

And they were little so I figured it’d be fine, slipping one into my food plan, you know? My tea was in the cup and my mouth was actually watering in anticipation as I picked up the box and zapped the barcode with my phone…then almost fell over when it proclaimed they were nine smart points each. Nine! I only get thirty six in a day. So I drank my cuppa and said no, thank you. Without drama. No asshole voice jumping up and down like rumplestiltskin demanding that I change my mind…just no, without a fight.

Now I’ve got to be honest, last week I would’ve had my head in that box faster than the speed of light, without a second thought about barcodes or points. I’d have vaporised the first one, and then spent the rest of the afternoon hoping for seconds, I mean who can stop at one, really?

Except yesterday I stopped before I’d even started. It wasn’t worth it. The last four nights I’ve gone to bed feeling strong, and I’ve woken up the next morning a few ounces lighter than I’d been the night before. Too many times recently it’s been the opposite way around, going to bed feeling disappointed with myself and waking up at least a few ounces heavier than the day before. It’s such a fine line between the two, right?

Putting all those reflections together earlier in the week and finding the right words to play them back so they were crystal clear in my mind was exactly what I needed to help me pull my head out of my arse, where it’s been languishing for the last few weeks. And I feel like the crisis has passed.

I’m aware that I left you hanging and never finished my jungle tales, in fact I think I only got as far as day two…sorry, I got sidetracked by the asshole in my head. I’m looking forward to filling you in on the rest of it now I’m no longer having to spend all my energy clinging on for dear life.

There are a couple of things that will test me over the next few days but I’m feeling up to the task, in fact it’s a bit like going back in time. This time last year I was feeling strong, invincible and utterly convinced that nothing would knock me off course. And right here, right now I feel the same. I could weep with relief that the storm appears to have passed…it was a nasty one, but I appear to have weathered it. I survived.

Game on 🙂

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