Week 11 WI

Wow, the weeks are just flying by... and I didn't even get round to posting yesterday's results until now.

So, here are the results of the Norwegian jury (lol):

Week 11 loss: -0.6 kg / -1.3 lb
Total loss: -8.8 kg / -19.4 lb

I would love to get to 10 kg loss before leaving for London in 2 weeks' time, which should definitely be do-able, but it feels like I've been losing so slowly the past few weeks. Not sure I'll be able to stick to schedule and be at target by New Year, but am trying not to get discouraged and see every loss as a step in the right direction.

Hope everyone else had a good week!

Week 10 WI

I was good all week and Saturday morning I peeked at the scales and had a 0.8 kg loss...
So I am a bit disappointed, as this morning my scales only show 0.2 kg off since last Monday. Oh well, it'll be the big dinner at the in-laws last night still stuck inside somewhere.

So, results so far:
Week 10 loss: -0.2 kg / -0.4 lb
Total loss: -8.2 kg / -18.1 lb

I am absolutely nowhere on the activity front, unless balancing a PC on my belly for 12 hours a day counts as activity, lol. So I really need to get back on the exercise bike this week.

Hope everyone else had a great week and is slowly but surely getting closer to goal.

My psychopathic boss

The more distance I take from work, the more amazed I am by just how manipulative and controlling my (soon to be former) boss is. I see my colleagues suffering time and time again from his flagrant lack of respect and vicious techniques.

I am starting to think I should document the multiple incidences that prove just how noxious he - and his wife - are.

Like the time a colleague dared to ask to work 4/5th, or at least a rhythm that would allow her to go home at 5 every day and pick her kids up from school, and the boss and his wife gave her the silent treatment for weeks afterwards. Other colleagues picked up on the vibes and avoided her too. Of course, I invited her out for lunch ;) When I got back to the office, I received a mail from the boss: "Have you just been to lunch with K.?".

I mean, WTF? My first reaction was guilt. What had I done? My immediate second reaction was indignation. Why wouldn't I be allowed to go to lunch with her?!? So I answered "Yes, why?". I have to highlight that by now most of us would have been making up excuses for our behaviour and asking for forgiveness, so my response was quite bold. At the time I had already identified a lot of his techniques and wasn't prepared to let him "get to me" any more. My response was what became a typical countering technique to neutralise his attacks.

I was told by him numerous times in the first year I worked there that I was "incapable of motivating a team", "a bad people manager", "didn't have any authority over my team members"... In the beginning, I would take the blow full-on, cry, recognise my inability and suggest receiving appropriate training. This was met with a "it's not something you learn, it's something that you either have or don't".

Then one day, I was called into his office after his wife (also my superior) "ratted" on me for not doing something to her high standards (without even confronting me about it first). I got the first degree, was told I was doing a crap job, demotivating everyone, bla, bla, bla. Then he said if it continued he would have to draw his conclusions and take me off the client. I snapped. At that moment I decided I wouldn't take the abuse any longer (and it was abuse: I was doing a great job. My clients all loved me. I was juggling more projects than anyone else. The only real problem was his wife's management style and expectations).
So I snapped, and replied: "Fine, take me off this client". His response was a shocked: "Where is your implication?!?". To which I replied: "If it means being treated like this, I'd rather quit. Now I'm going to get back to work and finish what I was busy with, and when you've made a decision, you can let me know whether or not I still work here. Because if it's really as bad as you make it sound, you should fire me.". He was speechless (lol). And from that day on I slowly took back some of the dignity and self-respect they had robbed me of.

I have seen so many colleagues suffer from similar humiliations and unjust accusations.
People work their asses off - easily working 50, 60 hours a week to get more than their fair share of work done - I've worked 80 hour weeks several times over the past 3 years - and instead of praise, they get blamed for the slightest thing they don't do absolutely, perfectly right.

The easiest victims are the ones who lack self-confidence. A couple of colleagues seem more immune to their games because they have a stronger sense of self-worth, but even they are cracked after a while - a really promising young colleague has been continuously refused a promotion because he's "not ready yet" and ends up believing he has no other options because no other company would want him. Where he gets that idea from is beyond me! He's one of the best people I've worked with and is already doing the job that the refused promotion requires of him. He deserves that title!

3 years ago, just after I arrived, we were promised that if we reached our quarterly target, we would be rewarded with a long weekend in Marrakesh. We worked our butts off for the next 3 months, went way over target, but the trip never came. The excuse? They couldn't find a date that would suit everybody.

They pulled the same trick the next year. And the year after that. We pulverised every target set for us. We got no reward. No bonus. Meagre pay rises given I am convinced solely to keep us quiet - I got a 5% pay rise after 2.5 years: peanuts.

Now, it's crisis and every pay rise that was promised last year has been put on hold, indefinitely.

On Thursday September 25th 2008 I couldn't get out of bed. I had been suffering from headache, backache, acid reflux, toothache due to clenching my jaws in my sleep, high blood pressure, stomach pains and panic attacks. I had been doing the job of 4 people due to poor holiday planning - they were all on holiday at the same time, all working on at least one project with me, I needed to cover for all of them. I had been pushing myself to my limit - again.
At 10.30 a.m. the first call came, there was a problem on a project, I needed to solve it. 2 hours later the second bomb dropped. I spent the rest of the day on the phone, behind my computer, worked from home to solve all the issues - this after having called in sick.
The next morning I went to work. I opened my mailbox to discover 120 new mails received between 8 p.m. the day before and 9.30 a.m. that morning - everyone was doing overtime. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for half an hour, packed my things and went home. On the Monday I resigned.

In 2 weeks' time I will close the door on this chapter of my professional life, on some great colleagues, almost a family, on clients I've built a bond with over the years and on my boss and his wife. I can relativise everything a lot more now, especially as I'm working part time, my workload has decreased tremendously and I know I'm on my way out. And I can't help wondering how someone can get away with treating people like that for so long. How the brilliant, young, talented people I work with manage to get dragged into his games and suffer them for years and yet not have the survival instinct to get out.

I think it's a combination of seeking acceptance and recognition, poor self-worth, low self-esteem and a certain cultural stoicism that explain why most of my colleagues are still there today.
There is also the fact that my boss is an extremely charismatic person, he can be charming and funny, he likes to go out, have a few drinks, act crazy with his employees. He is someone people look up to. People want to be like him and be liked by him. And I guess that's what gives him power over them.

I've started reading the book "Snakes in Suits: Psychopaths in the Workplace", and I hope it will provide me with some insight into how his mind works and make his tricks more transparent. I want to be able to recognise people like him next time I meet one, so I can steer clear of them.

I spent years as an adolescent living with an emotionally abusive father. I knew something was wrong but couldn't put my finger on it. The manipulations and the abuse is so subtle it's difficult to put it into words. I thought I was crazy. I minimised it. One day, years later, I was able to find a name for his "illness": NPD, narcissistic personality disorder, confirmed by his oncologist several years later, a few days before he passed away.

It took me months of therapy before his death to develop coping mechanisms, to learn to build a protective barrier between us and shield myself from his attacks. I thought I could control it. I thought I would be able to protect myself from it happening again, but it happened again anyway.

The one thing I learnt that saved me is to always respect yourself. Other people will only respect you as much as you respect yourself. Give an abusive person the opportunity to abuse you and they will. Let them get away with it and they will do it again, and again, and again. And every attack takes away a little part of you, a little piece of your self-worth, until you feel you deserve no better, until you become the useless, worthless person you see reflected in your abusers eyes.

Abusers are not used to resistance. And emotional abusers will usually back off from anyone who is capable of consistently resisting them. Having said that, my advice is, no matter how strong you are, get as far away from them as you can, as quickly as you can.

Week 9 WI

Wow, can't believe it's been 9 weeks already (can't believe I've kept it up for 9 weeks!).

Well, luckily the results this week were much better than last week:

Week 9 loss: -1.0 kg / -2.2 lb
Total loss: -8.0 kg / -17.6 lb

I still don't feel like I'm completely on top of things this week, with a couple of slip ups in the evenings, sending me just over points for the day - damn Hob Nobs!
But I'm definitely doing better than last week, which is a relief.

I'd really like to lose another 2.6 kg this month so I get my 10%... fingers crossed!
And I'm getting back on the bike this afternoon, which I have been ignoring for the past 2 weeks (that is so bad of me!).

Hope everyone else has a good week!

Weekend in Bruges

I'm just back from a lovely romantic weekend in Bruges, without doubt the prettiest town in Belgium, and thought I'd share some pictures.

We arrived yesterday afternoon and went for a long walk in the town, through the shopping streets, before relaxing in front of an open fire in a local pub with a nice Belgian beer.

We had a really yummy dinner then headed back to the hotel to enjoy our "junior suite" :)

Today after breakfast we headed back into town and took a boat ride on the canals that run all through the town centre. It still amazes me how the houses can stay standing after hundreds of years of wear and tear from the canal waters.

Bruges really is a beautiful place to visit, even on a cold day like today... the houses are all so quaint and every corner you turn offers a post-card shot.

"I deserve it"

Today I came home really late after a client meeting that lasted longer than it should have.
These past 2 years this had been such a frequent occurrence that it had almost become the norm, but the last couple of months, with the reduced work pressure, it hadn't happened any more.

So today I came home, after 8, and declared I had absolutely no energy to cook, so Bart proposed take-away. So I picked up the take-away leaflet and wondered what I could order that was within points, and almost immediately a loud inner voice replied "take what you want, you've deserved it!".

And I almost did - until I realised it was a voice I hadn't heard for over 2 months and that it was its absence that had allowed me to lose the weight up till now. And that for the 2 previous years I had listened to it, and piled on the 5 stone I'm now trying to lose as a consequence.

I don't know exactly why I equate (unhealthy) food so much with rewarding myself, or why I even consider something that harms me to be something I deserve, but I'm glad I've been able to take enough distance from my over-worked, over-stressed lifestyle to escape the pressure long enough that the voice doesn't feel like such a "normal" part of my life any more.

Website creation

I really enjoy messing around with html code - does that make me a geek? lol! - so when a friend of Bart's mentioned he needed a website for his new Wedding Planner business, I proposed to give it a shot.

So yesterday, with the whole day off work, I set about finding a good (free) WYSIWYG editor and created a few pages, tweaking the result directly in html so I had at least the impression I'd actually done some of it myself :D

I'm quite pleased with the result, and so is the friend in question.
I should add that I don't think black is particularly fitting for a wedding planner site, but this was the briefing I was given, and the site had to be in line with the white on black logo

Still a day or so work to finish all the pages and get to the final version, which I'm looking forward to doing over the next week.

I would really like to look into a web design course when I get back from London. Even if I only make a couple of small websites, it'll be a nice skill to have.

Week 8 WI


I gained this week, which isn't surprising seeing as I went over points 4 days out of 7.
So I guess I didn't do too bad. It's the first gain since I started, and after 7 weeks losing it's a bit disappointing, but I mustn't give up.

So, the results are:

Gain week 8: +0.2 kg / +0.4 lb
Total loss: 7.0 kg / 15.4 lb

I still don't know why I derailed. I just felt really peckish all day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and ended up snacking all evening. Well, I know it's due to the fact I went out for lunch with my colleagues every day last week, and used up most of my points over lunch. I can't survive on 3 points from 2pm on.

So, this week: less eating out and more filling foods. It's back to soup for me...

Hope everyone else has a good week.