Sometimes Black Isn’t Always Slimming

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I genuinely thought that the photo of me in the blue t shirt from 2007 was me at my fattest. How wrong was I? I found this……..delight whilst hoking through an old USB stick earlier today.

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It’s not great is it? I can’t believe the sheer bulk of me. The breadth, the width, the spherical quality of me in general. It was 2008 and I was in New York for the first time, and I was fairly happy because I had been to Slimming World and lost a stone.

Yes. I was a stone heavier than in this photo.

With all my obsessing about what I look like now, it’s easy to forget what I looked like then; and how different things are. I should be grateful, and quit yapping! But look what happens when I ignore stuff, and pretend there isn’t a problem. If my current obsession keeps me from looking like I’m about to sink Ellis Island, then maybe that’s a good thing!

It’s all about balance.

When I’m feeling fat these days, I still retreat to black tops and jeans, which is a good idea. Black is slimming, but when you’re over twenty one stone, nothing is. Harsh, I know.

The journey to twelve stone continues.

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A Rant About Customer Service

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As any regular reader will know, this blog is about mainly marathon training, weightloss, Slimming World, and all related topics in this sphere. Today however, I am going off-topic.

Working in retail is grinding my gears something serious.

I have been serving the public in one capacity or another since I was 10. My family owned a pub, and in typical Oirish fashion, I spent my formative years behind the bar serving pints and listening to the unique brand of shite talk that defines rural hostelries. I loved it! Flash forward ten years, and I’m working in a pub/bistro/nightclub affair – loving it even moreso, and eventually ascending the ladder to become General Manager. After some five years of that, I change scene completely, with a shift to retail. Convenience store and petrol station no less, where I have been for five years.

Working with the public is rewarding in its own way, as you get to meet all manner of people from every walk of life, some with great stories to tell and some who say very little but are charming nonetheless. However. There are days when working with the public makes me want to run out in front of a bus. For all their charms, the general public are stupid, rude, unmannerly, arrogant, presumptuous, and ultimately soul-destroying. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of handy rules to follow whilst in a shop, to ensure you avoid being stabbed to death with a Drumstick lolly by an irate shop assistant.

1. Say please and thank you. Basic manners are important, but often unused.

2. Be polite. You don’t need to make love to the person serving you, but at least make eye contact and engage in a smile.

3. Speak when spoken to. There is nothing more infuriatingly rude than greeting someone who simply does not answer. Even a half hearted reply is better than nothing.

4. Don’t fire your items at the operator. If there is no basket involved, set your chosen items on the counter calmly – heaping stuff down hurriedly is very irritating and slows down the whole transaction.

5. Have your method of payment ready. Don’t stand in a daze whilst the total is being rung up, only to spend an eternity hoking through a purse/wallet/handbag for money or a card. You’re holding up the queue. If you do end up doing this, at least apologise to the other customers.

6. Know what you need. Nobody likes the person who has all their grocery items rang through and ready to go, only to start asking for top ups, bill payments etc. Ask for these first, and they’ll be complete by the time your other stuff is bagged.

7. Don’t ask questions if you don’t want to hear the answer. It’s very infuriating to be asked for advice on a product, only for the questioner to give a contradictory diatribe about how you are wrong. If you know so much, why ask?!

8. If you can’t find something – ask. Don’t walk around open mouthed looking for it. Nine times out of ten, it’s right under your nose, and it’ll save time if you ask politely for direction.

9. Don’t hand over crumpled notes. Make some sort of attempt to flatten them before handing them over. It saves time.

10. Don’t cough or sneeze over money, products, staff or other customers. Have some manners and use a hanky, or at least cover your mouth.

Like I say, a thoroughly non-exhaustive list. My basic point is – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. And before anyone gets hysterical – here is the equally important flipside.

A list of rules for shop workers to abide by:

1. Say please and thank you
2. Be polite
3. Engage with the customer – small talk costs nothing. If they don’t respond, that’s their problem. For all you know, you may be the only person your customer gets to speak to all day.
4. Smile.
5. Be well informed about what you’re selling. If you can’t answer basic queries about what you’re selling, you’re no help to anyone.
6. Similarly, know where things are. Don’t point – show the customer where it is.
7. Personal hygiene is of utmost importance – you should have clean hair, hands, and nails. Chew gum discreetly or pop a strong mint instead.
8. Get off your phone.
9. Stop talking shit to your mates at the counter.
10. If you see a customer looking lost or confused – offer help. Don’t let them walk out.

Ultimately, if you can’t adhere to these basic rules – maybe customer service isn’t the job for you. The customer may not always be right, but they pay your wages. Leave your shit at the door, smile, and be grateful for your job.

Ironically, earlier today a young man was in with me – a regular customer who is pleasant and spends a lot of money with me over the year. Unhappily, the same guy is fond of telling me about his Christian faith; a topic that doesn’t belong in the realm of smalltalk. So even though he spent a solid ten minutes giving me his views on the ‘horror’ of the gay marriage vote and how it offends his religion, I remain impartial, listen, smile and take his money for the bag of coal he’s buying.

Such is life.

Back to Basics. Again.

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By the power of the Internet, I am returning to the joyful land of Slimming World as of tomorrow! I will miss the allure of WeightWatchers, but I won’t miss indulging the part of me that enjoyed eating ready meals and processed crap. I will be throwing myself into the Extra Easy plan with the same vigour I did when I started it properly in May 2009, and hopefully the results will be every bit as impressive – relatively speaking of course. I have made myself a pot of leek and potato soup to kick start my week properly, so no excuses for falling at the first hurdle tomorrow!

I have a serious amount of things swirling around my head at the minute, so I’m going to put the blog on ice for a bit to free up some head space. I will post again when I hit 12st 4lb – Christ knows when that will be. I weighed in yesterday at 12st 9lb, but have been eating Chinese food and drinking vodka since then. I dread to think what weight I am at the minute.

Anyway. See you all at 12st 4lb.

Keep in touch

McCooey

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Horrifying. Truly horrifying.

To WeightWatch or not to WeightWatch?

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So here I am on a sunny Saturday in McCooeyville, smacking my lips and congratulating myself on the wonderful breakfast of stewed apples and porridge I just had. This stewed apple thing is going to be the death of me – I literally cannot get enough of them. I imagine this is how the Women’s Institute get their kicks; aside from doing lines of icing sugar, obviously.

I digress.

Today was weigh in day, and it would appear I have gained a half a pound. A whole 227g. Now I never enjoy seeing the numbers going up, but I find myself giving fewer fucks than usual – why? Because I have enjoyed my eating this week! I have been eating SHITE. Processed, convenient, but ultimately permitted, shite. Tortilla wraps, ready meals, instant mash snackpot things, porridge that you just chuck hot water into – you see the trend. I have been eating my usual fruit, apples aside, and making myself vegetable soup; so I’m not a total tramp. Weightwatchers really is about smaller portions of all foods, fresh or otherwise, and that doesn’t normally sit well with me but I am coping remarkably well. I had planned to go back to the old familiar Slimming World as of tomorrow, as I miss the glorious cooked breakfasts, pasta, and baked potatoes; but I will find it hard to say goodbye to the sexy convenience of the mash pots, the porridge, and most of all – the free stewed apples.

The fact I’ve eaten and enjoyed all this crap, yet only gained a small amount, is quite remarkable. I think the gain is chiefly down to me being hungover last Sunday and eating everything in sight! Maybe if I hadn’t, I would be sitting with a small loss today. Who knows?

Do I go for another week of WeightWatchers, bringing me up to an even four weeks before trotting back to Slimming World? Or do I just go now?

Your thoughts please!

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I just like this picture. It has nothing to do with weightloss, and everything to do with my brain.