Best Laid Plans

“Tell me why all the best laid plans
Fall apart in your hands”

It’s already happening folks. The inevitable, annual dieting drop-off that happens every February, a few weeks after new year. So many people who swore up and down that THIS was going to be their year…who started a new “diet” (again), embarked upon a new fitness regime, vowed to drink a gallon of water every day and purchased a whole heap of supplements and new products that they were totally going to use every day without fail…yeah, a lot of them really aren’t doing so well. A lot of them have hit the wall and many have already given up. Of course, a lot of us knew this would be the case, because virtually every study tells us that around 80% of New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned by February. So why do so many people still carve out this arbitrary date on the calendar, as the day they’re going to make it all happen?

Well, a lot of it is just down to herd mentality and the desire to do the “good” thing on the “correct” date, like so many of our fellow friends, family and co-workers have elected to. It’s the “done thing” to commit oneself to a righteous sacrifice in the New Year, after a period of festive indulgence – and we don’t want to miss out on being a part of this mass declaration of pure intent, on what we see as a magically symbolic date. And it just feels so right to draw a line under the previous year doesn’t it, so we can start anew with a clean slate, free from who we were “last year”. New Year, New You. Amirite?

Yeah, I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions. It always seemed a bit odd to me that this one day – during the coldest, darkest time of the year – would be the exact date and time when everyone (regardless of their personal situations) went and overhauled their lives for the better. Any time I want to embark upon something new, I do a bit of research and then get on with doing it at the time most convenient to me. That could be tomorrow, next week, next month, or something I’m planning on doing a year from now, once I’ve got everything I need in place. But I sure as shit don’t pick a date that has no real bearing on my own life, just because everyone else is doing it. That just seems weird and doomed to fail.

And failing is what we’re seeing a lot of right now. We’re not even a whole month in and folk are dropping like flies, getting as creative as possible with the excuses as to why they’ve had to abandon their goals:

  • It’s too cold to go out for a run
  • I just need to eat some real, satisfying food when the weather’s like this
  • It’s so busy as work this time of year…I don’t have time to eat properly
  • I’m going to wait until the mornings start getting lighter so I can start going to the gym before work
  • I’ve still got so much Christmas food / snacks in the house. I don’t want to waste money throwing it out
  • My S.A.D. is really bad at this time of year so it’s really hard to get motivated
  • I think I might need to change plans and restart in a month or so

And that’s just a few of the reasons I’ve seen people give for quitting their diet / fitness plans for 2021. I’m not saying that those aren’t true or that they’re not valid reasons for feeling like throwing in the towel. But I think in a lot of cases there’s a much bigger underlying problem:

Overwhelm.

We humans are a curious breed. Blessed with these fabulously big, beautifully complex brains of ours, you’d think that we would have the act of goal-accomplishment down to a fine art. Yet more often than not, we over-complicate matters to the point where we no longer know how to get anything done. We like to draw up hugely complicated plans, taking solace in the notion that the more detailed and structured we make them, the less likely we are to fail. That way of thinking is often rooted in fear: we lack confidence in our own ability to do the thing we want to do, so we try to create a failsafe plan that we can have confidence in instead. And if that plan is based on something that we’ve seen other people doing, even better right?

Birds don’t stress out about all the things they need to do to build a nest. They just go out and get twig after twig, leaf after leaf, and build it bit by bit. But us? The super-intelligent, evolved species? We’re not happy unless we’ve wargamed the bejeezus out of EVERYTHING. And then, THEN we hang all of our hopes on us being able to maintain our focus and commitment to doing ALL THE THINGS…only to become demoralised and dejected when we fail to get it 100% right, 100% of the time. That’s when so many of us quit. If just one thing goes awry, that’s it. Fuck it. Might as well just jack the whole thing in and go sit in the mud and eat a cake or nine. It’s like we’re hardwired to never be able to see any of the good we have accomplished, whenever we make a single mistake.

Managed to overhaul your diet, cut out all the extra sugar and started drinking more water? Yeah but you only went to the gym twice last week, instead of three times, so you’re obviously just a big fat failure and might as well give up, right?

And y’all know I’m not even being remotely hyperbolic here. Because that mad shit is exactly the kind of bonkers garbage that goes through so many people’s heads whenever they hit a bump in the road. It’s that ‘All Or Nothing’ mentality, that again comes from having a lack of self-confidence. When we don’t have any faith in our own ability to succeed, we put all our faith in ‘The Plan’ instead. But if we can’t succeed at ‘The Plan’, then nothing is ever going to work, we were stupid for ever thinking it would, so we might as well just give up and never try to do anything else, ever ever again.

Or, there are the obstinately ridiculous ones doing the exact opposite.

Trying to cut carbs AND calories, starting a crazy new gym routine, drinking a gallon of water every day AND trying to go vegan / carnivore / whatever, all at the same time was way too much to attempt all at once and they failed…so…let’s try and do it all again starting on Feb 1st! Because THIS time, THIS month will magically and miraculously be different, right? Sigh. Some of y’all will never learn, will you? I swear some people are just so monumentally invested in the idea of “dieting” and being perpetually ON a diet, that they’re doomed to subconsciously self-sabotage any small successes they achieve, by staying in the diet / binge cycle:

I see it every day in the various weight-loss communities online and I just wish I could grab each and every one of these people, shake them and tell them to just chill the feck out. Pick one thing that you want to change. Just one to begin with – because most people are simply unable to work on changing multiple habits at the same time – and then sit down and make a realistic plan that will allow you to make small, cumulative improvements over time and then do it. I know people want all the results right now and hate the idea of having to make slow, steady progress towards a goal, but that’s the only way you’ll ever be able to make permanent, sustainable changes that will actually last. If fast-fixes and short-cuts to sustained weight-loss actually worked, we’d all be thin and never have to worry about our weight ever again.

One of the biggest hurdles that so many people face when trying to lose weight, get fit and be healthy, seems to be impatience. Never mind the fact that so many of us have been overweight, inactive and unhealthy for so long, for some reason we think that a lifetime of poor choices, ingrained habits and health problems can – and should – be fixed right now. I mean, we’ve made the decision to change, to improve, so that should be enough to make this shit happen, right? Wrong. Undoing a lifetime of shitty decisions doesn’t happen overnight. Even if you were a superhuman goal-getter who was able to implement all the right choices going forward, the effects are still going to take a long time to emerge. And most of us ain’t superhuman, y’all (not even me, lol!).

This post is getting kinda long and I was going to talk a little bit about how heuristics play a huge part in keeping us from being able to make long-term, sustained changes, but I think I’ll save that for another time, because I know it’ll take a bit of explaining for me to get my point across. But the main thing I wanted to convey today was that change is hard. It takes a lot of effort to focus our attention on improving just one aspect of our habits and behaviours, so trying to do all the things, all at once will inevitably doom you to failure, with all the added despondency and demotivation that brings along with it. So be honest with yourself when you’re trying to create change in your life. Be realistic with your goals and always remember that small, cumulative changes over time, WILL add up to greater improvements in the long run. There are no short-cuts, so stop looking for one.

Stay realistic folks.

Blue

Fail To Plan, Plan To Fail…Right?

Today’s post was inspired by my blogger-buddy Mel’s recent post, in which she look into the recent practice of ‘Intuitive Eating’ and whether or not it really stacks up as an effective, useful tool for those looking to lose weight. I’ve linked to her post below, which y’all should definitely go check out because she does a way better job than I do, at properly examining the pro’s and cons of IE. And you should totally be following her blog ‘Lighter, Brighter Me‘ too, because she does a lot of posts like this, where she critiques various weigh-loss tools & techniques (and she also uses the word ‘arse’ too, which immediately gets bonus points from me, lol!). So yeah, go read what she has to say first, before checking out my own random waffling. Enjoy!

What Is Intuitive Eating?

We’ve all heard it, the old adage: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” And I for one have always been much more of a planner than a seat-of-your-pants kinda gal; but for some reason, when it comes to one particular part of this weight-loss journey, I’ve actually stopped thinking too far ahead.

What part is that?

Meal planning. Or lack thereof, in this particular instance.

Now when I say I’m normally a planner, I mean I like to know what I’m going to be doing today, tomorrow, this week, next week and as far into the future as possible. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak, but whereas my other half is super laid back and just lets life come at him any which way regardless (something that drives me absolutely nutso at times), I feel like I need to be prepared for whatever’s going to happen, in order to stay sane.

I have a planner that I normally put together myself, which has a future log for the coming year in it, a calendar for every month and then weekly lay-outs that list everything I need to do on a particular day (as well as a separate part for recording my meals, my water intake and the time I take all my meds in a 24hr period). I also keep notebooks for separate things that need to be tackled – project based notebooks – which themselves are divided up into ideas / brainstorming / plans / timetables, and I schedule certain tasks to happen on certain days each month, well in advance too. And it’s just as well that I do, because if we left everything to the other half’s “c’est la vie” way of thinking (complete with Gallic shrug) we’d never get our prescriptions renewed, we’d forget to pay our bills and we’d probably never know when anything important needed to be dealt with. He’s an amazing man my other half, but if he has one particular peccadillo that can really piss me off, it’s his total nonchalance when it comes to planning ahead. (Babe, I love you, but omigod would it kill you to make a note of when you have a doctor’s appointment coming up?? GAH!)

But I digress…this is supposed to be about me (It’s ALL about me, duh). So yeah, like I said, I’m a natural planner and normally apply that mentality to every aspect of my life. You’d probably expect therefore, that as I’m doing my best to lose weight by switching to a low-carb WOE, I’d take that approach and plan the absolute shit out of my meal-times, snacks and overall consumption. Right?

Well you’d be wrong. And no one is more surprised at that than yours truly here. Because I went into this on day one, with a firm plan of what I was going to eat, for every meal, of every day on that first induction fortnight. I spent hours in the supermarket meticulously scrutinising every label on everything I purchased to make sure there were no hidden carbs/sugar in anything (I mean when you find out that a single serving pack of precooked chicken breast has had HFCS added to it, you learn pretty quickly not to trust ANYTHING on the face of it.)

But then reality kicked in. And by reality, I mean appetite. Which for the first 72hrs was RAMPANT! The minute I told myself I wasn’t going to be eating sugar…yeah…I wanted sugar. My brain went into the addict’s frenzied headspace – which is really just your psyche going through the 5 stages of grief with added hunger pains for good measure:

  • Denial (I’m not really a carb addict, I’m just hungry – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Anger (Why the hell can’t I just eat carbs like everyone else – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Bargaining (Well, maybe I could just reduce my carbs gradually…one bar of chocolate on my first day can’t hurt – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Depression (This is shit; I miss chocolate already – FEED ME SUGAR!)
  • Acceptance (Okay, I guess is just my life now – FEED ME WHATEVER!)

And the only way I was able to get through those first 3 days, was by constantly shovelling down any low-carb foodstuffs I could get my grubby little hands on. Those carefully planned out meals I’d spent all that time thinking out in advance? Yeah…no…they went right out the window as I did everything I could to stave off the raging hunger (which was really just cravings) consuming my every waking thought. I was stuffing fistfuls of ham and slices of cheese into my mouth whilst I was cooking a chicken and steaming some broccoli and cauliflower; I was chugging back a whey & MCT oil shake while gammon steaks were under the grill; and I was chomping down a protein bar whilst waiting for my other half to make me an omelette.

Thankfully I was able to coast through a good amount of time over those first 3 days by sleeping my way to the promised land of ketosis. But it was still pretty hairy during waking hours. No amount of Pepsi Max managed to convince this addict going through withdrawal that the sweet taste it was supplying was enough to satisfy my jonesing for sugar. But I got through it. Headaches and cravings eventually gave way to that weird moment when my body switched over to fat burning mode and all cravings went right out the window. Hallelujah!

And with the arrival of ketosis, there was of course the disappearance of my appetite. Great. Now I can just eat the meals I planned to eat in the first place, right? Well, um…no. Not really. Because now I had the exact opposite problem to the insatiable hunger of those first 72hrs. Now I didn’t want to eat ANYTHING. That roast meat & veg I had pencilled in for dinner today? No thanks. I really don’t feel like eating a big meal right now. The chicken salad I planned to have for lunch the following day? Urgh…please! I really can’t face that at the moment. And with that ALL my plans for eating certain meals at certain times and on certain days went out the window. In fact, at the end of the first week I had to throw out a bunch of fresh produce, because I simply hadn’t eaten them within their use-by date. I don’t know how much money I wasted trying to buy enough food to cater for an appetite I no longer had, but it really pissed me off to have to toss so much of it in the trash. Oy vey!

Shopping then became an arduously boring task, where I had to look for things to eat which would keep for longer (whilst still being suitable for Atkins Induction) and also figure out just how much fresh meat & veg I could realistically expect to eat in the next 7 days. I have to limit my shopping to just once a week, because my annoying health issues cause me to hurt and seize up after every trip out. I can’t just ‘nip to the shop’ multiple times a week to keep buying things I run out of, so a degree of planning is still pretty important. But actual meal planning? Fuhgeddaboudit.

I can sit and draw up all the pretty plans I want at the beginning of the week, detailing every meal and beverage and snack I intend to eat for the coming seven days. But when I get up on any given day, you can damn well guarantee it, that I am NOT going to want whatever it is I’ve got scheduled in for consumption. Some days all I want is a protein shake for lunch and a chicken salad for dinner. Other days I wake up and the only things that sounds appetising are burgers and sausages and eggs with mushrooms. And there’s no way to know before time, what it is my impaired appetite will see fit to allow me to consume. And when I think about it, maybe that’s okay. Maybe the human body is smart enough to know when it needs more of one type of thing than another. Maybe, just maybe, even my obliterated metabolism is still able to intuit what’s suitable and right for a certain time or day. And maybe I should try to learn to listen to it.

Lots of people are currently talking about ‘Intuitive Eating’ as another fad or hype beast from the ‘eating for health & wellness’ community. Numerous books are being written by a variety of authors (some of whom have actual credentials, but many others who are really just trying to capitalise on the current trends for some lovely shekels) instructing us to simply tune into our bodies’ internal sense of moderation and regulation, in order to lose weight. Moderation? Regulation? Does this 235lb lump of lard look like it knows how to moderate its own food intake? If I could regulate the amount of carbs and other macros I consumed myself, I WOULDN’T BE IN THIS STATE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grr…

But I get what they’re trying to say when they tell you to listen to what your body is telling you it wants/needs. Not because I would ever have previously been able to hear anything other than

“I need more chocolate, STAT!”

coming from my own carb-addicted carcass; but because now I’ve lowered my carb intake to fewer than 20g a day, I’ve freed up my mind to be able to think more about what it actually needs, as opposed to what my hyperinsulinaemic system thinks it wants. (Which was always, invariably…sugar.) And as I’ve been reading more about zero-carbers and carnivores, who base what they eat on any given day on how their bodies feel when they wake up in the morning, it does make sense on a very primitive level. When I was eating however many hundreds of carbs a day (I really have no idea how many and I’m kind of terrified to go work it out), what I thought was hunger was probably mostly just sugar cravings. (I mean, you can’t get to 270lb and be truly hungry for more ‘fuel’ can you?) All I’d feel is a coercive prompt from my stomach saying “FEED ME!” and I’d give it whatever I fancied. Which more often than not was small in regards to it’s portion size, but massive with regards to the carbs and calories it contained. (Box of buttery, dairy cream fudge anyone?)

But now I don’t have the carb-addict’s constant craving for sugar. I don’t even have what I can call a real appetite anymore. I can easily go 24hrs without eating and then when I do decide it’s time to consume something, I just sort of tap into what my body is telling me it wants and go with that. Today that just so happens to be sausages and salad. Would I have had that planned out on my little menu scheduler? Probably not. But then the entire concept of what actually makes a meal these days has been completely up-ended. Gone are the days of meat, potatoes and veg with gravy…in are the new-fangled combinations of chocolate protein shake and pork rinds! Or the mindblowingly dull 3 burgers and nothing else. Yep, things are a whole lot different around here now come feeding time.

And so it is with a heavy heart, that I must put away my plannerish-things (as far as food is concerned that is) because for once I have to admit that I actually don’t have complete control over what it is I’m going to eat every day. I mean obviously I’ve banished carbs (not including my 20g max daily allowance) but once that’s just accepted, there’s no craving for them and then all that’s left is what my body decides it wants on a particular day. It’s very freeing, but it’s also very strange and something I’m still getting used to. But maybe it’s good for me to not have every single moment of my life planned out to the finest detail. Perhaps it’ll do me good to let go of the reins and try living somewhat in the moment.

And right now, this moment is all about those sausages I’ve got under the grill. So on that note, I’ll bid y’all adieu.

Until next time folks

Blue

Going The Distance

“Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He’s going the distance”

This post today is dedicated to my buddy lowjax over on the lowcarber.org forums, whose consistent dedication to his own weight-loss goals inspire me to keep motivated with my own. The guy has been hit with random health-problems that came out of left-field and thwarted his attempts by forcing him to change up his eating habits again, after he’d been doing so well with keto. Many people would have just given up right there and then and relegated all of their hopes and dreams to the scrap heap. But not this guy. He’s gotten back on the horse, re-evaluated his WOE and gotten back on the horse, ready to attack his goals again.

And I LOVE that! That’s a person who isn’t taking shit lying down. He isn’t making excuses for himself, or playing the victim…he’s just getting down to the task at hand and getting the results…and that is SO motivating for someone like me to see. I know he hasn’t had it easy and even he knows that this isn’t going to be a quick-fix or an easy ride, but that’s why he’s such a positive influence on me (and why other people should also see him as such, take heed and follow his lead!)

Success is contagious. Successful people push other people to also be successful, which is why I really appreciate having people like that around. Failure is also contagious – especially the kind of failure that comes from those who won’t take responsibility for themselves and see the downfall of others as a way to offset their own guilt and apathy at not putting in any effort themselves. There is no place in my world for enablers and emotional vampires. They are beneath me. But give me a hard-working, goal-oriented role-model to look up to and I’m right there ready to let their success spur me on too.

Both lowjax and I are around the same weight and age. We’ve both had health problems that will be improved massively by our losing a fair bit of weight. I know men and women lose at different rates – and of course, no two people’s bodies are the same – but we have somewhat similar journeys ahead of us. So when he succeeds and starts to see results, that’s like a positive affirmation that I too can succeed and get results too. I’ve said it before, but I’m not the kind of person who really benefits from being patted on the head or having my hand-held through challenges. I like no-nonsense, direct action that delivers. So seeing someone else really get their head in the game and start to talk about the “hard conversations we need to have with ourselves”, is exactly the sort of motivating talk that resonates with me.

Because all of us need to be having those “hard conversations” with ourselves if we want to conquer our inner demons and work through our psychological barriers to success. We can have as many high ideas about implementing change, adopting better eating habits and achieving our goals as we wish, but unless our heads are properly in the game, we’ll never stay committed and those goals will forever remain unattainable pipe-dreams. I know I probably sound like a bit of a broken record when it comes to focus, motivation and goal oriented thinking. But that’s just how my brain functions: if I want to continue to be motivated, I need to continually make the effort to keep myself motivated. And yes, that sounds like some circular reasoning right there, but I’m aware that at some point the onus is entirely on me to make the magic happen. The buck starts and stops with me.

I’ve just started reading a book called: “Changing To Thrive: Using the Stages of Change to Overcome the Top Threats to Your Health and Happiness – James O. Prochaska & Janice M. Prochaska” It’s a recently revised version of a book the authors wrote over 20 years ago and based on something called ‘The Transtheoretical Model Of Health Behaviour Change’ which Prochaska devised along with C.C.Di Clemente. I won’t go into the full details right now (I mean, I haven’t even finished it yet) because I want to write a future blog post that better sums it up; but it involves figuring out what stage of change an individual is at, then using behavioural psychology to find ways of helping to propel the individual along the way until they reach a point where they are no longer a high risk for relapse.

It goes into the relationship between thought and action and I’m enjoying the way it tries to take hitherto unsuccessful individuals and find them a route to permanent change, through a reinforced alteration of behaviour and attitude. And attitude, as you all know, I have in spades! Lol. Today just seemed to be one of those days when the universe was sending out some kind of synergistic message to me, by having lowjax post about his recent moment of revelation regarding his own need to change, at the exact time that I was reading about that mental process in the aforementioned book. I’m not really a supernatural, spiritual person or one who goes in for the woo, but it certainly felt that the universe was trying to tell me something today, lol.

I’m just going to guess that it means our success is written in the stars!

And I’ll take that.

Blue

Damn These Vampires

“Feast like pagans
Never get enough”

That girl.

You know who I mean.

The one who’s always

“Starting tomorrow – for realsies!”

about half an hour before she slinks off to the nearest multi-outlet-food court to inhale something from every big name fast-food franchise.

“Yeah, I was going to start on Monday, but that’s the day after my niece’s Christening and my mom is making her famous 42 layer voodoo cheesecake…and if I don’t agree to take home some of the leftovers, she’ll be so offended…and there’s no way I can just throw that stuff out…that cake costs a fortune for her to make and what with her being on welfare, it’s just cruel to waste all her hard work and money.”

Why is she telling you this? I mean, you’re not even really friends…you just sort of know someone who knows her boyfriend and for some reason that now makes her think you really give a shit about whether or not she’s:

“Definitely going to begin once I’ve eaten all the junk food in my place! Pinky swear!”

She’s telling you because she knows that YOU’RE doing something about YOUR weight and every time she sees you, she’s reminded of her own inability to commit to a plan of her own. She wants you to tell her that it’s okay…that she’s fine to put it off until the twelfth of never, because your ability to knuckle down and commit already makes you a success in her eyes. In reality, she can’t be bothered to make the changes you have and deep down she knows that. So she lies. To you, to anyone else who will listen, but most of all to herself.

I hate people like her.

Yeah, yeah, we’re supposed to be “understanding” and have “empathy” for those who are struggling, but struggling means that someone is actually trying to achieve something – not perpetually whining and courting sympathy whilst doing absolutely nothing to help themselves. And we see these people everywhere, all the time. Anywhere you go, be it at work, in your family, your circle of friends or online, these energy-sapping emotional vampires are always looking for validation that they’re good…and for forgiveness for their weakness.

Which is hilarious when you think about it. Who am I to grant you absolution for your sins? Your failure does not concern me. What concerns me, is the way these vampires and their relentless attention seeking starts to wear others down; others who really are struggling as they try to navigate their own journey to a healthier weight and body. Good, decent, honest-to-god, hard-working people who despite their own struggles, will always take time out to try and offer support or words of wisdom, no matter how many times those leeches come crawling back for more.

Because they will keep coming back for more. Once an emotional vampire has their fangs into you…once you let them know that no matter how pathetic they are you’ll still give them a psychological pass for their laziness, they know they have you. You doubtlessly have nothing but the best of intentions, listening to their woes, day in day out. You have great sympathy for the misbegotten creature who has latched on to you, because you too understand what it means to have a weight problem. You equate your struggles with what you mistake to be their struggles. But you’re forgetting that they are not struggling. They are whinging, moaning, bitching, crying and making up just about any excuse they can think of, to explain away the fact that they can’t be bothered to make the changes you have. You’re not in the same boat.

I’m not a whiner, I’m a doer. I don’t really have any time or energy to waste on a whiner. If you aren’t going to help yourself, then fuck you, that’s your problem. If you really are trying to achieve something but you run up against a stumbling block, then hell yeah I’ll get right down in the mud with you to help shoulder that obstacle. But if you piss and moan about how

“It’s so unfair! Why can’t I just get back into my size 4 dresses by complaining about my weight – crying burns calories, right?”

then all I am going to do is laugh at you and get back to walking my own path, doing my own thing and saving my attention for those who deserve it – namely those who are trying hard to succeed themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I am not perfect – nor do I strive to be. But I do work hard to stay committed to my goals. Of course I, like everyone else, will struggle. I will have days when getting to my goal weight seems like something so far off and unattainable, that I falter and allow myself to mess-up. It won’t be something I plan on doing often, but being human I know that I’m not infallible. I only truly fail if I don’t get right back up and back on track immediately. Which I will do. And you can take it as read that I won’t be one of those tragic attention whores, who glom onto others for head-pats and reassurance that I’m a good girl.

Thankfully, I’m not the kind of person who really needs the support of others in order to get where I want. Sure I enjoy shooting the shit with my fellow fatties, learning from their experiences, sharing tips and passing the time, but it’s not their support I do any of that for. I like being self-reliant. But I understand those who do want the support of a group; of those who can fully empathise with their own struggles when it comes to weight loss. And like I already said, I’m more than happy to help those who truly want to help themselves.

But I will never have any time for emotional vampires. I will never let them leech off of me and try to get me to play along with their bullshit games. They serve no purpose to me, so I just look, laugh and save my pity for the victims they manage to sink their teeth into. Every day I see them sucking the life-blood out of these gentle, caring folk and it angers me to see the manipulation tactics they use, to keep their victims coming back time and again. Because losing weight is hard. The leeches know this – it’s exactly why they can’t be bothered to put in the effort themselves. But it’s made even harder for those who get sucked into the orbit of an emotional vampire as they waste the time, energy and emotional capital they could be investing in themselves, on enabling the bad behaviour and shitty choices of others.

Which is why these leeches annoy me so much. It wouldn’t be so bad if they just floated around, periodically announcing that once they get to the perfect time/day and manage to have that magically perfect moment, they’ll definitely start back on some plan they’ve barely researched for themselves, but heard how well a bunch of other people are doing on it. If they were simply whining into the ether, then most other people would be able to just ignore them and write them off as a toxic waste of energy. But they don’t. They get right up in the grill of some genuinely nice people who are simply too kind of their own good. They NEED that continuous flood of sympathy, attention and reassurance that allows them to wallow in their self-made misery, whilst making zero effort to actually improve themselves.

Being fat is hard. Losing weight is hard. Choose your hard.

But don’t bring that emotional vampire shit anywhere near me, if you don’t want me to stake your right in your cold, dead heart.

Cause I’ve got plenty of steaks to play with, bitches.

(And garlic for days and days, lol.)

Blue

Motivation Station

Today I thought I’d just put together a little motivation board made up of some of the quotes I’ve found whilst browsing Pinterest. I’m not a “softly-softly” kind of person who responds well to the “Care Bear Hugz” type of motivation or support. I like my motivation the way I like my men: tough, take-charge and free from bullshit. I already have a man just like that and now I have the corresponding motivation board to match:

People making excuses for a situation they got themselves into, annoy the bejeezus out of me; but people who continue to make excuses for not getting the results they wanted when they didn’t put in any of the work, really boil my piss. Too many people live a life full of those excuses and it’s pathetic. Everyone has life stresses, but the good, decent, hard-working ones among us, actually put in the effort to try to make the changes needed to meet our goals. I salute those people. They inspire me to succeed every day.

The rest of them…well…they’re the ones who’ll have to live with their weak-willed, lazy, piss-poor choices for the rest of their lives. Not me.

Stay motivated y’all

Blue

FEAR

Guys, I’ve got ‘The Fear‘.

That ominous, terrifying feeling in the pit of one’s stomach that signifies some impending sense of doom.

It’s not depression – I’m way too familiar with the black dog that has previously sat upon my shoulder – and it’s not really anxiety – something else I’m more than adequately acquainted with. No, this isn’t just my brain playing tricks on me with its neurochemical mischievousness, this is a genuine worry, rooted firmly in reality, about the potential for something terrible to happen in the near or not-too-distant future.

I’m afraid of failure folks.

Now before you start to guffaw that

“honey, we all worry about screwing up”

at various times in our lives and for multiple reasons…I KNOW that. I’m human too (believe it or not) I’ve faced challenges and difficulties like everyone else and I’ve had times when it’s felt as though I was skating through situations by the skin of my teeth. We all do. But this is different. This is new to me. I’m not used to doubting my own ability to achieve something I decide to put my mind to. I’m a very stubborn little madam and a lot of the time, it’s my own sense of personal pride that forces me to tune into an inner indomitable source of determination. I don’t like letting myself down – and I sure as shit don’t want other people to see me failing to meet my own standards – so it’s probably more obstinacy than tenacity, but either way, it’s served me well any time I’ve set my mind to something. My other half always laughs whenever someone provokes me into a battle of wills:

“Dude, seriously, she is never going to give up; might as well quit now and walk away, save yourself the hassle, cause she’s as stubborn as a mule!”

And he’d be right. I’ve done a bunch of moronic shit, just because someone said I couldn’t do it. And I’ve achieved some cool stuff too, because I just went out there and decided to do it. I’ve never really not had faith in my ability to do things, largely because I was raised to understand the meaning of hard work, the importance of dedication and the value of constantly learning new things. I was also raised to believe that I am utterly fucking awesome, which did actually turn up to be completely 100% true!

Joking aside though, I’ve recently found myself experiencing some genuine self doubt. And I don’t like it. What has caused this psychological-wobble in my normally steadfast psyche I hear you ask? Well it’s all down to my having spent hours on the lowcarber.org forum, reading through the journals of a few of the members on there. It’s a pretty big site, with vast archives of information, articles, recipes and whatnot, but what really “makes” the site, are the members, their experiences, their knowledge, their input and their own weight-loss stories. “Journals” are a function whereby members can create a thread of their own, in which to record anything they like, whilst having other members visit, read & comment on their entries. It’s not perfect (I do have one, but for me, having this blog gives me more room to do what I want, so I use mine for mini-musings & updates) but it’s a great way to keep the community aspect of the forum interactive, and many people find that updating theirs regularly, helps to keep them accountable. For a newbie who wants an inside view on real people living a low-carb life, it’s incredibly insightful. Members are very honest about their losses, gains, screw-ups, cheats, worries, carb-blow-outs and a whole load of other things that you might not even think about before embarking upon a new WOE. I’ve really enjoyed reading through a few of them over the past few weeks, but just recently, they’ve started to give me ‘The Fear’.

So many people start off so positively, choosing a plan, sticking to the plan, truly embracing their new way of life and the resulting weight loss. These are smart people who have taken the time to read a lot of literature on not just the various low-carb approaches, but the science behind them and various other biological/physiological processes that happen in the human body. They’ve planned their low-carb WOE out well in advance, they’ve stayed engaged with the forum and everything seemed to be going great-guns…but then, for some reason, in SO MANY instances, they just lose that motivation, stop eating on plan and end up either gaining a load of weight back that they have to re-lose (often with some extra bonus pounds because mother nature is a straight savage like that) or they disappear forever, never to be heard of again. And there are quite a lot of people who have to keep coming back and recommitting to a strict, low-carb WOE, time and time again, because for whatever reason, they just went awry.

And that fucking terrifies me.

Because what’s going to stop ME from being one of those people? How do I know that I won’t hit a stall after a couple of months and after seeing no movement on the scale, just lose my shit and go “fuck it”, headfirst into the nearest chocolate gateau? How do I know I won’t hit the bloody menopause and just randomly gain 20lbs overnight, because – again – mother nature’s a bitch (and at 40 years old, I have no idea how close that not-so-little change is for me). Obviously life is always throwing up a bunch of little emergencies and crises – for all of us – but I’m not as worried about those external issues, because I’ve never been an ’emotional eater’. I’m worried because this is something that might just be beyond my control; beyond my ability to achieve. Our bodies might be the most sophisticated machines in the known universe, but my god, they can be temperamental, unpredictable mofos at times. If the human body was a motorbike it’d be an highly-tuned, expensive Italian model: sexy AF and a lot of fun to put through its paces, but ridiculously prone to random break-downs. Okay, so my body is more like a 1970’s Fiat Punto (squat, slow & perpetually plagued with engine issues), but you know what I’m getting at.

I don’t want to be sitting at my computer, 10 years from now, recommitting to a low-carb WOE for the 5th or 6th time, hoping that this attempt will be the one that finally succeeds. That’s not me sitting in judgement of those who are on attempt 4, 5, 6 or 10 – far from it. Their honesty, their heart and their faith in getting the plan to succeed are incredibly humbling and very inspirational. No, the reason I don’t want to have to still be trying to make this work for me 10 years down the line, is because I just don’t think my body has that long to fix this issue, before my health issues cause me to lose mobility altogether and become potentially bedridden. I’m not doing this to look “hot”. I’m of average attractiveness and being slimmer isn’t going to change the fact that I already have an amazing other half, who has never made me feel anything less than perfect to him. I’m not about to go full cougar mode and start trying to bed a bunch of younger men (I mean, I’ve always had more of a thing for the older guys to be honest, but you know what I mean) if I manage to hit goal weight. Heck, I’m still going to be 50lb overweight if I hit GW, but it will have made a huge amount of difference to my health and hopefully slowed the progressive deterioration that will otherwise destroy any quality of life I may have once enjoyed.

Reading those journals…those incredibly candid real life tales of so many people who started off their low-carb WOE with much the same preparation & mindset as myself, only to fail…it’s really put the frikers on me. Sure, a lot of them got back up, dusted themselves off and got right back on the low-carb wagon (many, many times in many, many cases) but my brain has started freaking out. What if that happens to me? What am I going to do, if I just can’t make this work? What will happen to me if I get to my halfway point, mess up, gain everything back and another 30lbs into the bargain, and never manage to get my weight fully under control?

I know what most people will be thinking:

“Well you just start again. You try again. You only fail if you give up entirely!”

Yeah, I know that. That’s what I’d say to someone myself. But I’ve already put this off for far too long and my body is screaming at me to sort my shit out ASAP, because if I don’t, things are only going to get worse. I can’t afford to fail and fail and fail again. The quality of my life, as well as that of my other half, depend on me succeeding in getting my weight under control. Naturally, my immediate instinct upon approaching a problem, is to meet it head-on and engage my stubbornness, my focus; my obstinacy. I’m used to being able to apply myself and get what I want. But this particular problem has so many potential secondary problems, that may or not be within my control; which is evidenced by the sheer number of other people who fail to make it happen for themselves. Of course there are the success stories on the forum – those who have gotten down to GW and maintained it – but they are far outweighed (no pun intended) by the swathes of member profiles who have failed & quit, or failed & kept on at this, in a perpetual battle with the bulge.

Studying the journals and the testimonies of those who have faltered, fucked up and failed, I find myself scrutinising their every word. What was it that made you stop? Why did you go off-plan? Why didn’t you just succeed the first time around? I know the answers would be many and varied, but I feel as though if I could just pin down the exact reasons and understand their motivations, I’d somehow be able to better prepare myself and avoid those same pitfalls. I know, I know, I’m asking for answers that people the world over have been wanting to know for aeons – I might as well be asking someone to figure out the secrets of the universe and forward them in an email to me in their lunch-break. But I desperately want to disaster-proof my own attempt at getting to a much healthier weight AND maintaining it.

Right now, all I can do is recommit to this new, lifelong WOE, every single day when I get up. I need to begin every day with the same proactive, determined mindset that I began with a month ago and never lose sight of my goal. This is a loooong road I have ahead of me and temptations will present themselves all along the way. I need to find a way to make my resolve bulletproof and maintain my motivation going forward. I’ve found it easy enough so far, but I’m not naïve enough to believe that it will continue to be that easy for me. I just wish I knew the “secrets” behind why some people succeed and others fail. My brain wants facts; stats; explanations that it can qualify, quantify and use to keep me on track. I just want the sure-fire key to success.

Is that really too much to ask?