It’s Been A While / Weigh-In Day

“It just wasn’t like the old days anymore
No, it wasn’t like those days, am I still ill?
Oh
Am I still ill?
Oh”

Hey folks, how the hell are y’all? Things round these parts have been pretty grim for a few weeks. That most recent bout of fibro flare-up really knocked me for six and I’ve basically been curled up like the corpse of Voldemort at the end of The Deathly Hallows when Harry briefly dies and meets up with the dead wizard headmaster dude (can’t remember his name right now, because brain-fog, lol) and asks what that thing is that looks like a dead foetus lying under a bench? Yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking like lately. Super hot! It just started out the way these flare-ups usually do, but this time it started to spread all down my spine and into my legs and I’ve just been completely wiped out. There have been tears and plenty of feeling sorry for myself, but I’ve been doing my best to listen to some Stoicism on audiobook to try and pull myself out of it. Which isn’t all that easy when you’re completely off your face on pain meds and sleeping a much as possible under a chemical cosh, but it is what it is.

And I’m still not great. Better than I was, but still struggling with getting out and about. I then had a bit of a shock death of a family member come out of nowhere, which was actually really upsetting, but I pulled myself together to make the funeral (having to take off my shoes and walk barefoot to the graveside to sprinkle in the earth was a minor comedy moment, as my leg was in spasm and if I’d tried to make it there and back in my shoes I probably would’ve done an ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and toppled in onto the coffin – which in hindsight would have amused the deceased family member in question no end, because of my well-known klutziness, lol). The service was beautiful and the wake just a perfectly jubilant celebration of the life of our departed relative. She would definitely have approved!

My hands are still a bit of a mess though. My fingers are swollen and wretched. It’s hurting like hell to type this, but I really wanted to swing by and give y’all an update on Project Arse Shrink! I bet y’all thought my absence from this blog denoted some underlying shame at having wandered off-plan or given up the low-carb WOE? Well I have only one thing to say to that:

Y’all really don’t know your girl by now if that’s what you thought. I’ve been eating low-carb every single day since 31st August 2020 and there hasn’t been ANYTHING that made me deviate from that commitment. Lockdown? Big deal, I got Amazon to deliver me whatever I need to my door. Sick? No excuse. Either you’re too sick to eat or you’re well enough to eat properly. Family bereavement and subsequent wake of buffet foods? I just brought a protein bar along with me and nibbled that with a black coffee while everyone else dug in. I’m not saying that I’ve been eating the perfect, whole-food, super-clean keto way every day…because on more than a couple of days it was all I could do to dip a protein bar in some almond butter and eat some sliced ham straight outta the packet like a straight savage.

But this is just how I eat now. I said I was going to commit to a thing…and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. It really got me to thinking about all those people who come up with a multitude of excuses as to why they had to go off-plan for one reason or another. Because that’s all they are – excuses. Self-validating lies that people come up with so they can abandon their plan and not get any disapproving comments from all the people whose approval they crave. If you want to have an excuse to give you a free-pass to giving up, you’ll find one. But if you’re determined to stick to something, you’ll find a way to do that too. I’ve gone over a week without showering, been unable to walk or cook anything for myself and not been physically able to go out and do any grocery shopping. And I still managed to stay on-plan and keep on losing weight. If I was able to stick to it, anyone can. You just have to want to.

And so, as I bring today’s brief update to a close, I’ll let y’all know what my new weight is. I am 13 stone 12lb (194lb). That means in the past 4 weeks I have lost another 4lb, which is an average of 1lb a week – and that’s goddamn near perfect at this stage of the game. (Especially when “Aunt Flo” week saw me incur a 5lb “ghost-gain” literally overnight! Only to be gone a few day later when the “Crimson Tide” receded, lol!) So yeah, things are plodding along exactly as I wanted and expected them to – only now my weight is down into the 13 stone bracket, which sounds insane! I’m not far off having lost 6 stone in weight since I began this little mission…and it’s become really noticeable to all my family who I saw at the funeral recently. Obviously I now want to shock the shit out of them even more when I see them again at Christmas, so we’re just going to carry on “dropping like it’s hot” because your girl is still on a mission here!

So on that note I shall bid y’all adieu and take this moment to remind you that the only thing standing in the way of getting where you want, is you. If losing weight and improving your health is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it work…and if you don’t? Well that’s entirely on you dawg.

Stay committed folks

Blue

Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”

Before I begin, can we all just take a moment out to appreciate what an absolute banger of a tune this is? I know I post a lot of songs on here (tunes with some relevance to the topic at hand) and I doubt anyone clicks on them most of the time. But this classic from the 60’s is only 2.30 minutes long and you should totally just take a little time out to pop in your headphones and get down to some good old vintage pop music.

Okay, so what is the title of this post (and the related music link) really about today? Well, it has to do with a comment I received in a message from someone – who shall remain nameless – wherein they accused me of being “overzealous with success”, in regards to my having adopted a low-carb WOE. Which really surprised me; not in the least because the individual in question purported to have read this entire blog. Yes, this chaotic record of all the ups and downs that I’ve encountered over the past couple of months, lol.

Success? I’ve literally only just gotten started? Where are they getting THAT from? Am I presenting myself as a success? Or are other people just perceiving me as such? I’m pretty sure it’s not the former, because I’m incredibly honest about every issue, obstacle and set-back I experience along the way. So that suggests it’s the latter and that comes down to how others allow themselves to perceive my journey, through whatever lenses they happen to view the world. Which is pretty disappointing really; I’m not gonna lie.

So I thought maybe I would take the time out today to chat a little bit about exactly how I do think, when it comes to my low-carb WOE and weight-loss progress…because I’d hate for people to misinterpret my position or misrepresent my opinions.

First of all, I am – and always will be – a work in progress. Anyone who thinks otherwise of themselves, is either naïve, arrogant or just unwilling to engage in some healthy introspection. I only started down this new path of eating low-carb at the end of August. But I did spend a good few months before that, researching both the low-carb WOE and the psychology behind weight-loss and behavioural changes in general. Forewarned is forearmed after all; and I’ve always been one of life’s planners & researchers.

One of the things that really stuck out when I was looking into how to best go about pursuing a sustainable weight-loss plan, was the fact that people who were successful in the long run, treated their approach more holistically; meaning that they looked into changing their way of thinking and overhauled many of their behaviours to help give them the best chance at achieving their goals. Those who just tried to lose ‘X’ amount of weight without thinking about it in terms of an overall lifestyle adjustment, seemed much more likely to give up when things started to go awry. They hadn’t put anything else in place to bolster their efforts and attempts, so they had nothing to stop them from just throwing in the towel.

I did not want that to happen to me. In fact, scratch that: I REFUSE to let that happen to me. I will NOT be the architect of my own downfall. So I made sure – way before I even stepped onto the scale to find out my starting weight – to spend a little bit of time working out the best strategy for success, based on the choices, habits and behaviours of those who had succeeded themselves. Because why wouldn’t I? Why would anyone embark upon a serious journey to improve themselves, without first understanding a/ why they really want to achieve said goal, b/ what could thwart their attempts at success, and c/ what they could do to give themselves the best chance at negotiating all the inevitable hurdles that they will encounter along the way and be successful in pursuit of their personal goal?

I mean, it just seems like basic common sense to me, right? But if my 40 years of experience in dealing with other people has taught me anything, it’s that common sense really isn’t as common as we’d like to think it is. Do I think I’m special for thinking the way I do and being so naturally inquisitive when it comes to trying to make changes to my eating and health? Well, I’d like to say no because it doesn’t feel like a particularly special way of thinking or behaving…but after looking at the never-ending tales of woe by those who DON’T approach their goals this way and inevitably end up failing…well…maybe I do fall into that category of people who conduct themselves in a “special” kind of way. And that’s not something that necessarily comes naturally to me or anyone else; it involves making a conscious effort to really want to have the odds of success go in our favour.

So of course, I’m by no means a success when it comes to having met or maintained my goal. I really am still just coming out of the starting blocks as I progress along the path to a much lighter body and better health. But I WILL give myself credit when it comes to having successfully put the effort into researching and planning the route to my goal, as well as the amount of time I’ve spent working on trying to make sure that I have the best chance of succeeding at it. I’ve really worked hard at getting to understand my strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivations and all the potential psychological barriers to making this low-carb WOE a successful, permanent lifestyle change. So, I’ll happily take the credit for having put the effort in, before I even began my Atkins induction. Fuck false modesty; I have no problem with feeling good about having put in the hard work.

But all that planning, self-reflection and research doesn’t amount to “success”. It just means I’ve made an effort to prepare in an attempt to give myself the best chance at succeeding. You only have to read back over all my blog posts to see how many ups and downs I’ve encountered so far – AND I’VE ONLY BEEN AT THIS FOR 2 MONTHS, Y’ALL! Lol! 2 months is nothing. The first couple of months are supposed to be the easiest; the time when the weight comes off the quickest and our resolve is at its highest. So if things have been so chaotic, week-upon-week, during the time when things are at their easiest, then heaven only knows how crazy and calamitous the next 12 months are going to be!

Because things ARE going to get harder, that much is a given! I KNOW that there are going to be weeks when the scale isn’t moving and my clothes aren’t loosening any more and my fibromyalgia is making me feel as though my limbs are made of lead. That’s just how it goes when we try to lose weight. Having problems and hitting obstacles isn’t unusual or special, but how we choose to deal with those problems will make ALL the difference to whether or not we stay the path or veer off into the nearest chocolate gateau. So whilst I won’t be any different to anyone else who is attempting to lose weight, in that I too will find myself hitting plateaus, getting frustrated and wishing I could just click my fingers and get to goal…I WILL have the benefit of having spent time anticipating these moments and given myself various coping strategies, in order to help me stay the course.

Positive mental attitude, motivational quotes and recommitting to my goal every single day upon waking, are just some of the tools I use to remain dedicated and keep my willpower fully charged. I don’t care if some people find any of that cheesy or cliché; clichés are just overused statements that have at their core, a kernel of truth that many people relate to; something that resonates with them. If you’re too cool for all that, well you do you, boo. I’m 40 years old, folks. I gave up giving a shit about what it meant to be cool about 25 years ago. (Yeah, I was anti-cool, waaaay before it was cool to be anti-cool, so…like…get rekt, lol!) If hearing about personal responsibility, mental focus and staying motivated isn’t for you then this probably isn’t the blog for you; so quit reading it, stupid! I mean, I get it, I’m awesome and you simply cannot stay away, but don’t expect me to change the way I conduct myself, just because y’all don’t like it.

I’ve said it before, but I HAVE to make this work for me. My health and quality of life depends on it. I can’t just decide that losing weight is too hard, that I’m not seeing results fast enough or that I can just live my life out in some sad form of denial, pretending like obesity related illness and immobility are totally acceptable and not at all dysgenic or disabling. If I don’t lose weight and improve my health, I will likely end up completely housebound, if not bedbound. I’m by no means the heaviest person out there and I’m a far cry from the ridiculous creatures on ‘My 600lb Life’. But I have physiological issues that have already, and will continue to, effect my mobility, dexterity and basic motor skills. These health issues will get progressively worse if I don’t make the necessary changes to lose weight. So when I tell you that I AM going to succeed at this, I’m not being big-headed or arrogant. I’m making a factual statement about what needs to happen and how I intend to make that happen.

So by all means feel free to look down upon me as just another newbie to the low-carb WOE, who naively believes that everything is going to be sunshine and fucking rainbows. That ain’t me, bro. I am NOT your average first-timer or habitual dieter. I am not the kind of person who looks upon failure as an option, regardless of whatever the goal in question is. But when it comes down to my health and my quality of life, you can be damn sure that failure is even less of an option. Some people jump into weight-loss without having anything approaching a real plan as to how they’re going to go about reaching their goals. They have insubstantial, vain or vague goals of “looking hot” or “getting into THAT dress again” and whilst y’all should do whatever works for you, chances are you won’t have fully engaged in any of the psychological work needed to truly figure out your “why, what, when, where & how”…never mind any contingency plans for when the shit inevitably starts to hit the fan. Anyone with half a brain can lose weight. But staying motivated until you hit your goal weight, then maintaining that weight loss in the long term (despite all of life’s little struggles that WILL be sent to test you) takes more than just eating within your calorie count, carb allowance, or whatever other macro you focus on, under your plan of choice.

THAT level of success comes down to mental fortitude, consistent effort, making good choices and creating a mindset that is not only prepared to experience hardship, but that knows how to navigate through the really difficult moments. You will never be permanently inspired. Not naturally. so you need to work on finding out those things that DO inspire you and motivate you, so you have them ready to fall back on, when things get tough and you’re starting to get battle-fatigued. Have you even considered what other possibilities you should have on the back-burner, when what you’re currently doing, just isn’t working for you anymore? Have you even given any thought to the fact that you ARE going to hit obstacles along the way; that your weight-loss journey isn’t just going to be a simple step from A – B?

And the truth of the matter is that all too many people who claim to want to meet a weight-loss goal, simply haven’t given any of that stuff the slightest bit of thought. They find themselves “suddenly” just caving in to festive treats and then feel guilty afterwards…which is entirely unsurprising when they never took the time to sit down before they began to change their WOE and actually think about how they would approach these situations going forward. They will find excuse after excuse as to why they are eating whatever candies are on sale during every festive period, rather than work on trying to understand why they feel so compelled to periodically indulge in all that crap and find a better way to deal with it. And let’s face it: every single holiday celebration now has a selection of “treats” available for us all to indulge in, all year round. If you’re going to go off-plan every time there’s another holiday food you believe you have the right to indulge in, then you’re obviously still stuck in the mindset that has you believing that food is more important to you than your goals. And hey, you totally DO have that right to eat whatever you want, whenever you want to; it’s your body and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. But you really don’t have the right to sit and feel sorry for yourself, expecting others to sympathise with you when it was YOU who made the conscious decision to eat off plan.

I simply refuse for that to be MY story. I don’t consider myself a success at all right now…but you can take it as read, that I WILL be successful in losing the weight, improving my health and altering my behaviours and habits going forward, to ensure I don’t wind up backsliding. I don’t care if I have to tinker with every single macro, every type of food and every added ingredient. If I have to try out IF, OMAD, EF, keto, paleo, carnivore or whatever other WOE out there involves not filling one’s body with a huge number of carbohydrates…I WILL find a way to get myself to where I want to be. And I don’t think that’s arrogant or over-zealous. That’s confidence. Self-belief. Determination. Commitment.

So to anyone who reads this blog and misunderstands my focus and my passion, I ask you to think again and maybe go reread this post a couple of times, so you really get to understand what motivates me at a core level. Because the only person I have to impress in all this, is me. The only person I am in competition with, is the person I was yesterday. The main reason I write all these posts and fire up my motivation, is so that I have somewhere I can go to air my thoughts, clear my mind, let off steam, tell the truth and have a permanent record of everything I’ve done, in my attempt to get healthy. If someone else enjoys the anecdotes or is able to see the value in a lot of the things I say, then that is an added bonus. But I’m not doing any of this for anyone else. This is all about me and it’s for me.

Because I am the centre of the universe.

And so are you.

So act like it, while you still have time to do something about it.

Stay focused y’all,

Blue

All I Want For Christmas

It’s coming folks. Whether you celebrate it or not, Christmas Day is just around the corner and I’ve been thinking about what that’s going to mean to me, now that I no longer eat sugar/carbohydrate heavy foods. Every year I go down to my parents’ house on Christmas day, stay overnight and come home at the end of Boxing Day after spending the 2 days with various family members who drop in to celebrate with us. My mum is an amazing cook. I know, I know, everyone thinks that their mother is the best cook ever, but my mum is the real deal!

I grew up eating almost exclusively home cooked meals, and over the years my mum has expanded her already fantastic repertoire of recipes by travelling all over the world, getting inspired by various local cuisines and bringing home a multitude of ideas and experiences to incorporate in her home cooking. And at Christmas, she always likes to include a little something from one of her many trips away, in the vast cornucopia of foods she serves up on Christmas and Boxing Day.

On top of that, my parents also have a fruit & vegetable garden, in which they grow fresh produce along with a bunch of stuff that my mum then turns into chutneys, jams, pickles and liqueurs. As part of our Christmas gifts, she always presents us with a little bundle of these amazingly flavourful little jars, containing whatever items she decides to make the most of this year. (Her blackcurrant jam, cassis, rhubarb vodka and chilli salsa are particularly excellent.)

So as you can see, food plays a really big part in the way the family show love and celebrate this time of the year when we’re all together in one place. Over the years I have been incredibly lucky to be able to experience the fruits of my parents’ labours; both literally and metaphorically. So, it is with a heavy heart, that I finally made the decision I’m here to talk about today: to indulge in carbohydrate heavy foods, or not?

And I’ve decided that this year, I’m not going to be taking any “time off” from my low-carb WOE. There will be no “cheat days”, no “just one bite” capitulations and no excuses. I just don’t see any real point in going back to the way of eating that made me so overweight and unhealthy in the first place, just for a couple of days, only to have to work hard to get myself back on track and into ketosis after Boxing Day. Those first 3 days on Atkins induction were HARD. Withdrawal from sugar was NOT pleasant and I really don’t want to have to put myself through that again. Not without good reason – and my mother’s home cooking, as amazing as it it, just isn’t a good enough reason.

I know she’ll be cooking at least 3 different types of meat for Christmas day, along with 4 or 5 types of vegetable, so it’s not like I’m going to go hungry. There will be plenty of on-plan foods I can still eat and I already weird my family out (my mum is Scottish) by not drinking any alcohol – I’m pretty much entirely teetotal these days. Booze just ends up making me feel like crap the next day, so I don’t bother with it anymore. I’m sure that if they managed to get over me refusing the finest Champagne, wine and home-made liqueurs, they should also get over me not wanting to indulge in most of the sugary, carb-laden foods they serve up.

And besides, this is my heath we’re talking about here. My parents are incredibly intelligent, reasonable people; I know they’ll understand me wanting to do something that will improve my health and quality of life in the long run, because like all good parents, they only ever want what’s best for me. So I’m not worried about telling them that I won’t be indulging in everything they be serving up. But I do feel a little sad that I won’t be partaking in all the goodies on offer. Not because I want to eat foods that aren’t good for me, but because I know how much time and effort goes into their Christmas meal preparation…and it’ll be the first time ever that I won’t just be consuming as much as I can fit into me, with gratuitous abandon.

But I made a decision to take my health into my own hands when I switched over to the low-carb WOE. I decided that losing weight and feeling better, were far more important to me in the long run, than whatever fleeting enjoyment I may experience from eating sugary foods. And I remain committed to that decision. I hear from a lot of people about how if this is something they are going to stick with permanently, then they need to be able to give themselves the occasional “free pass” to “fall off the wagon” every so often. But it’s not “falling off the wagon” as far as I’m concerned: it’s making a conscious decision to disembark and wander off on the detour or set-back of their choice.

Everything we do comes down to us making choices, be they good or bad, at every step throughout our lives. I’ve already lived a lifetime making bad choices and I’m reaping the consequences of those bad choices today. I don’t want to keep making bad choices and then making excuses for them. I want to be healthy. I want to live long and live well and I can’t do that if I continue to make bad choices when it comes to food. Every time a person on a low-carb eating plan goes back to high-carb, sugar consumption, it doesn’t just cause us to gain weight, it puts our endocrine system and entire metabolism under strain as it struggles to deal with the huge amounts of sugar suddenly flooding our bodies again.

Then of course is the struggle to get back on plan. I read so many stories by people who veer off plan (for whatever reason they tell themselves) only to find what they intended to be a brief break, has turned into an extended binge and they’re struggling to get back into the low-carb WOE. All too many seem to end up falling by the wayside for weeks, months or even years…turning up back on the forum some time later with introductory posts titled something like “Back Again”, “Here I Go Again” or “Been Down This Road Before”.

And I’m not into that way of existing. I don’t want to live with myself knowing that I made a conscious decision to fuck up. I enjoy the feeling I get from being good to myself and staying the course. I want that feeling to continue. And it will do, as long as I keep making good choices. So my good choice this coming Yuletide season, is to put my health first. Tasty foods be damned; because I’ve got a much bigger reward in the forefront of my mind.

Yule is the Celtic/Pagan festival around the winter solstice. It is a time for coming together with our loved ones during the darkest months, looking back upon the past year and reflecting upon our blessings before the days start growing longer in the spring. That is what I will be focusing on this Christmas: the good people I have in my life, the love that I receive on a daily basis, and all of the blessings that surround me. THAT is what makes my life worth living.

Not a bloody mince pie. (Yes, even my mother’s mince pies!)

Make good choices y’all,

Blue