“Moving, keep on moving Where I feel I’m home again And when it’s over I’ll see you again”
Well this was a turn up for the books!
This week, after the hell of “Shark Fortnight” my energy levels skyrocketed. I don’t know if it was a totally new lease on life, or if returning to normal after 2 weeks of nausea and exhaustion just made me feel like I was wired to the moon, but I started feeling kinda antsy. Like I really wanted to move my body more. And that’s a bit of a new thing for me, because I haven’t really felt that kind of desire to do anything movement related for years. Obviously I do have to get up and do stuff throughout the day like everyone else, but any kind of movement just for movement’s sake…nope. A lot of that has to do with the worsening of my fibro & arthritis, but I know that as the years have gone by and the weight has crept on, my inclination towards wanting to exert myself at all has definitely diminished.
So it was quite unusual when I felt the urge to just get up and go out for a walk yesterday. I know, I know: going for a walk isn’t life-altering for most people, but just feeling the desire to do so really surprised me. I’ve been doing quite a bit of research recently into safe, low-impact exercise that I can try to incorporate into my health improvement mission; but just knowing how much pain I find myself in after even the smallest amount of activity, I’ve been really scared to actually try anything. It’s probably really difficult for someone who doesn’t have the chronic conditions that I do, to really understand how much of my life is spent trying to mitigate anything that could potentially aggravate said conditions, in order to avoid an unnecessary spike in pain levels. Because as I’ve talked about before, the pain that I deal with can be excruciating; and it often lingers around for days (or weeks, or even months sometimes when a flare-up is particularly bad). It’s not that I’m just a massive wuss who can’t deal with a few aches and twinges – far from it. I’ve had kidney stones, broken bones in multiple parts of my body, and even pulled my own wisdom tooth out when pandemic nonsense made it impossible to get to see a dentist. I don’t have a particularly low threshold for pain; it’s just exhausting and demoralising to be plagued with pain that lasts for such a long time.
So yeah, exercise scares me because I know just how badly my body can react to overexertion. But I’ve been wanting to at least try to do something to move a little more for some time now. One thing I knew I didn’t want to do, was fall into the trap that so many people on weight-loss missions, seem to succumb to: overwhelm. I follow a lot of folk on various social media apps and the number of people who decide to just go from 0-100 by overhauling their eating, and embarking upon a huge new fitness regime (as well as all the other big new things) despite having not done any real exercise for years, is unreal. And more often than not, it totally overwhelms them and they end up either giving up, or resorting to some kind of binge eating to deal with the unnecessary pressure. Which is completely predictable and understandable when you think about it. If you don’t come from a fitness oriented background and suddenly decide to do a 5am workout every day, your body isn’t going to like it and your brain is going to be doing everything it can to thwart your determination. So why do so many people think that they’re going to be the exception to the rule and change ‘all the things’ all at once, rather than start off slowly and build upon smaller changes, until they become truly ingrained habits?
I think for many people it’s just impatience. They’ve decided to make big changes, so they want to see big changes. And they want to see them yesterday. Which is fine if you’re looking for a quick fix and you’re not that bothered about any permanent results. But if you’re trying to learn new, healthier habits that you can keep up with for the rest of your life, then that “one big push” ain’t gonna do it, bro #JustSaying. Obviously my own limitations mean that I was never going to go from couch-potato to iron-woman on day 1, but I still wanted to make sure that I had done a good bit of introspection and inner-work on my mindset first, before then getting a handle on my eating habits. Only once I’d taken care of all that, would I then think about the addition of any exercise into my life. And I’ve been eating this way consistently for half a year now, so I’m really comfortable with the food side of things – not to mention all the regular journaling I’ve been doing to help work on my mindset and focus. So it felt rather serendipitous to start feeling that urge to move, just as I was coming to a point where I was mentally comfortable to start working on a new habit.
I definitely think that having had these issues with movement and mobility that come from my chronic conditions, has made me appreciate those times when I am able to get up and move about. I took all that for granted for so many years, letting my weight creep up from eating so much crap, while doing very little exercise. Now I actually want to move more, but I know I have to be careful because if I overdo it, then I’m really going to suffer for it. But I knew I had to start somewhere and so when that urge hit me, I grabbed my trainers and headed out before I had time to change my mind.
So, without any plan in mind as to where I was actually going to go, I decided to start off by walking up the really steep hill I live on and see how I felt after that. And I was really pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to walk to the top without getting all out of breath. The last time I walked up that hill was way back before I began losing any weight and I remember my heart feeling like it was going to beat right out of my chest when I was only 3/4 of the way up. Huh? Well that was new and unexpected. Then I tried to figure out what would be the best route to take, while not going too far from home; because I didn’t want to find myself suddenly seizing up and having to still make my way home, hobbling like some bedraggled crone. So I decided to just kind of loop around some roads in my area that I could easily just abandon and take a short-cut back home from, should the muscle spasms start to kick in.
As you can see from the incredibly detailed map I have included here (MS Paint for the win!) I didn’t really “go” anywhere, but I figured by the end of it that I’d got about a mile in. And when I got home I didn’t feel immediately terrible. Of course, after I’d sat down for a bit and then went to get up again I could feel the seizing-up really start to kick in and today I’ve got horrible twitchy pains running down my spine and into my legs, but it’s nothing I’m not used to. I was expecting to feel a lot worse if I’m honest and I’m still waiting for the worst of it to kick in, but the main thing is, I went for a walk and I got home in one piece and it didn’t kill me, lol!
And this is a really big step for me. It isn’t going to sound like anything earth-shattering to most people, but to anyone with a chronic condition, it’s really positive. Because now I’ve done it once, I know I can do it again. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the day after, but soon…and hopefully for the rest of my life! It’s a very small change that I can not only take some comfort from, but also build upon. I just have to remember to take baby steps, not overdo it and always listen to my body so as not to overexert myself too much. I figured that a mile was a good start and I was pretty sure that I’d walked about a mile, but I wanted to know exactly how far I’d gone so I could track any progress going forward. So I found some website that allows you to plug in your journey and it calculates the distance for you. Cool. Because I don’t own a Fitbit or Apple Watch or any of those gadgets (and I have zero interest in purchasing one) but I like the idea of knowing exactly how much I’m doing.
So imagine my shock when the distance I actually walked turned out to be 2.65 miles. Like, really? Because it didn’t feel like I’d walked that far. But then I have absolutely no idea how to estimate distances. I don’t drive and I have a terrible sense of direction (the fact that I didn’t get lost is a miracle in itself) but I was also really just lost in my music. (Once those headphones go in, the rest of the world could burn to the ground around me and I’d barely register any of it.) I think it might also have been something to do with the way in which I sort of kept doubling back on myself so it didn’t feel like I’d ventured too far from home, but whatever it was, it really didn’t feel like I’d walked very far.
But yeah, 2.65 miles was the distance racked up on my first little walk out around where I live. So that’s my starting point and something that I can totally do again, with at least some regularity. The biggest take-away from doing this though was that sometimes I just need to get out of my own head, say “screw it” and make that initial leap out of my comfort zone. The fears I have around pain and triggering off a big bloody flare-up, are very real. They’re not irrational or made-up excuses that I’ve concocted to avoid doing normal stuff; they’re very much based in my life experience. But I still need to remember to push myself more and not allow fear to keep me from making the improvements I need to make to my life. I guess it’s about finding that sweet-spot; the balance between too much and not enough. But if having these conditions has taught me anything, it’s that life is short and I should never take any of it for granted. If I don’t use my body to move, I’ll lose that ability altogether…and what kind of life is that for a woman in her 40’s? I just wish someone could give me an precise prescription for the exact amount of exercise I should and could do, to get the most benefits, whilst incurring the least amount of painful side-effects.
And that’s all I’ve really got to share with y’all today folks. Just another day spent making better choices, leading to the incremental changes that add up to big benefits. Nothing crazy, desperate or unsustainable, cause we ain’t about that madness around these parts.
“It ain’t what you do it’s the way that you do it And that’s what gets results”
Props to those of you who got the reference in this blog title, before seeing the video – y’all are obviously as old and haggard as I am, lol. Well, maybe older but still in the same ball-park. I was 8 years old when my aunt (who was young and cool and really into pop-music) gave me ‘Bananarama’s Greatest Hits Collection’ on cassette for Christmas. I was totally psyched and played that album to death, either on the radio-cassette-player I had in my bedroom, or the ‘Sony Walkman’ I had practically glued to my hip wherever I went. I remember my mum telling me that this track was actually a cover of a much older song from back when she was a kid, but I didn’t care because this was new and cool and nothing like the music she and my dad listened to. It’s only as you get older that you realise how sooner or later everything comes back into fashion and what we think of as new and exciting trends really just wind up being updated versions of things gone by. My musical tastes have definitely changed since those days, but whenever I hear this song I’m back standing in front of my mirror, hairbrush in hand, singing along with all the effortlessly cool demeanour that 8 year old me could muster.
Anyway, what are we here to talk about today folks? Well, it’s something that I’ve touched on a few times before, but seems to be absolutely everywhere I look right now (always the case once you notice something, right?) and it’s people who seem hell-bent on staying in that yo-yo dieting mentality…despite trying to convince anyone who will listen to them that they’re:
“Totally about the lifestyle change – for realsies!”
Do people even bother to check that the shit coming out of their mouths is even remotely consistent with their previously spouted crap, anymore? Or are we all just hoping that in this internet era of stunted attention spans that no one’s gonna even remember anything a week or so down the line? Because there are SO MANY hypocrites, liars and self-contradicting BS-merchants out there right now, it’s a wonder any of us can keep track with reality at all.
First there are the “Flip-Floppers” who start off telling us how they could never give up sugar, then once they realise how much weight other people are able to lose by curbing the carbs make a sudden change to keto because it’s
“really so much healthier, once you realise how it all works”
…only to fail at it once they realise that it still takes quite a bit of dedication, before renouncing the entire low-carb ethos as something
“Completely unhealthy, actually!”
and declaring their return to CICO
“Because it’s the only thing that works scientifically, innit?”
Okay Karen, but excuse me if I don’t take any dietary advice from someone who changes their plan more often than they change their undercrackers. Call me old-fashioned but I like my advice to come from those with a little more experience than your average halfwit with a BTEC in ‘Home Ec’. If what you’re looking for is a “diet” then literally go pick any one of the myriad ones out there on the internet and if you follow it to the letter, it’ll work. They ALL “work” if what you’re looking for is a quick-fix; but if it’s life-long sustainable change that you’re after, then you’re gonna have to start looking to something you can actually implement for life. There are no short-cuts to sustainable weight-loss and life-long health – and flip-flopping certainly ain’t where it’s at bro.
Then there are the “All Or Nothing Over-Haulers”. These guys are always good for a laugh because you can see the inevitable car-crash coming from a mile off, but you still can’t help but stick around to witness the carnage. You know the type. Often seen making huge commitments around New Year (or after a milestone birthday or divorce) when they decide that they’re going to make the switch from being hugely overweight, eating nothing but junk-food, never exercising, drinking a bit too much booze, smoking, staying up late / not getting enough sleep, never taking their make-up off before bed, hoarding clutter, being glued to their phones for 6+ hours a day and always going overdrawn with their bank balance to…BEING ALL THE SUPER-HEALTHY, WHOLE-FOOD EATING, YOGA PRACTICING, REGULAR GYM ATTENDING, VEGAN, MEDITATING, NON-SMOKING, TEE-TOTAL, MARIE KONDO ORGANIZING, SKINCARE GURU FOLLOWING, 8-HOURS-OF-SLEEP GETTING THINGS!
Yeah, strap in baby ’cause these guys are going from 0-60 quicker than a Mitsubishi Evo with go-faster stripes. Day 1, they’re out of the starting blocks telling everyone how they’re so glad they made all these changes. Never again will junk-food pass their lips…in fact they’re never eating any animal products again and are gonna be plant based forever. Alcohol is just so bad for their skin – which they’re now looking after with a recently procured expensive and expansive range of balm cleansers, acids, serums and moisturisers (all totally vegan, naturally) – and they’re just sleeping so much better now that they knocked the evening glass of vino and all that screen-time on the head.
It’s like, they’ve become a whole new person overnight. Only they haven’t. Because whilst they’re starting out with the best of intentions, all the changes they’ve made are really just superficial and they haven’t done any work on addressing why they had accumulated all those bad habits in the first place. So little by little, the enthusiasm starts to wane as the enormity of all these readjustments to their lifestyle really hits home. First they might admit to maybe letting one or two of these changes fall by the wayside because “just so busy with work and kids and life” and maybe they’ll get a little less frequent with the status updates about how “green tea really is tons better than a venti hazelnut latte” until eventually they just sort of drop off the radar. Their “life journey” channels suddenly go dead and their Instagram has been relegated to the odd photo of the kids, the dog or some re-blogged vague quote about how “you have to find inner peace before you can bring peace to the rest of the world”.
Yep, they crash. Crash and burn. And why? Because despite them having all the best intentions regarding a complete overhaul of their lifestyle, they jumped in the deep-end before they’d even figured out how to swim. Change is hard. Making changes that last a long time is even harder; it requires a lot of self-awareness, an understanding of why you need to change a thing and a realistic plan for how you intend to implement said change. Trying to do this for more than one area of your life at a time is even harder. It involves twice the amount of inner work, twice the amount of planning and twice the amount of commitment and accountability. Suddenly attempting to change MULTIPLE areas of your life and going from a fat, lazy, junk-food eating, messy, disorganised nightmare to a 100% zen, plant-based yogi, is virtually impossible. None of us got to being hugely overweight, replete with a multitude of bad habits, overnight; we picked them up and allowed them to get worse over time. So it’s going to take a lot of time to undo all those learned behaviours and fix all the areas of our life that we’re desperate to change.
I’m not saying you can’t overhaul your life completely and become a better, fitter, healthier version of yourself. But when you try to “do all the things” at once, you’re setting yourself up for failure. And that failure will not only weigh heavy on you – either making you feel desolate and unmotivated to try again, or doomed to return to that hamster-wheel of craziness, time and again, because you “ain’t no quitter” but you also never fricking learn. It’s dull and it’s unsexy and it’s not what anyone wants to hear, but you have to be willing to take the time to address each change you want to implement on its own, and get to a point where it becomes second-nature to you, before you move onto the next issue.
Thirdly, we have “The Ratcheters”. These specimens are also real impatient, but unlike the “All Or Nothing Overhaulers” they tend to take just the one aspect that they’re hoping to change and slowly but surely, they ramp up the intensity with which they approach it. They’ll tell you
“It’s absofrickinglutely a lifestyle change!”
but what starts out looking like a sensible, long-term plan soon morphs into some hyper-wargamed need to cross the finishing-line, FAST! Of course, they’ll be saying all the right things about how much they “love this new WOE!” and that they “really do want to” do this new thing for the rest of their lives. But if you pay enough attention to them you’ll notice a bit of ‘mission creep’ start to emerge. Maybe they’ll start off by upping the frequency or intensity of their exercise regimen. Of course this alone isn’t a bad thing – progressive overload is the most popular strategy for those who want to attain continued fitness goals – but unless this new uptick is a permanently implemented change that someone intends to stick with going forward, all they’re doing is making a big push for faster results; results that won’t necessarily be something that they can expect to last once they hit goal.
Or perhaps they’ll start to shave off extra calories or carbs from their intake, not because of any natural reduction in hunger, but because they know it will help them reach their goal quicker. Maybe they’ll suddenly declare that they’re going to go zero-carb / carnivore; but not for the actual lifelong health benefits – no they just want those faster results on the scale. Sure, eating less will probably lead to faster weight-loss, but at what cost? First there’s the problem with prolonged restriction and its propensity to lead to moments of weakness and subsequent bingeing. Newsflash! Your body doesn’t like being starved and if you try to do so, it’s gonna do everything in its power to thwart even the most strong-willed dieter. And even if you DO manage to stick to your heavily restricted plan, your body will respond by lowering your metabolism so it can get by on whatever meagre rations you allow it to consume. That metabolic change isn’t just a temporary glitch either; those maladapted biological responses can stick around long after you decide to ditch the diet, potentially leading to a permanent tendency to gain weight easily and a life-long struggle to lose weight. Talk about a literal prescription for a lifetime spent yo-yo dieting.
And then there’s the “challenges”. Oof, lol. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a little gentle, supportive motivation from fellow travellers. But I don’t think that taking your own personal decision to implement permanent life changes, and making it competitive is a particularly good idea. Whether it’s something you publicly declare that you’re going to undertake by yourself, or a group-centric approach to doing better than others, by changing the focus from internal to external, you’re altering the way you view your goal. Whether you realise it or not, this shift in focus can actually cause a fragmenting of any solid mental framework you had previously worked so hard at developing. It’s no longer about you making gradual changes towards a better, healthier self for the long-term. Now it’s about making sure that you show up and provide some results (good or bad) for your audience or fellow competitors.
Whether you’re immediately aware of it or not, this level of performative success inevitably takes its toll on you, bringing about anxiety, stress, fluctuation in moods and an often subconscious adjustment to one’s eating habits in order to be seen to be doing the thing that you said you would.
“But Blue, this is what keeps me accountable, duh!”
“Based on Lewinian goal theory in general and self-completion theory in particular, four experiments examined the implications of other people taking notice of one’s identity-related behavioral intentions (e.g., the intention to read law periodicals regularly to reach the identity goal of becoming a lawyer). Identity-related behavioral intentions that had been noticed by other people were translated into action less intensively than those that had been ignored (Studies 1–3). This effect was evident in the field (persistent striving over 1 week’s time; Study 1)and in the laboratory (jumping on opportunities to act; Studies 2 and 3), and it held among participants with strong but not weak commitment to the identity goal (Study 3). Study 4 showed, in addition, that when other people take notice of an individual’s identity-related behavioral intention, this gives the individual a premature sense of possessing the aspired-to identity.”
In the results of this study and subsequent studies performed on other students, the experimenters found that the participants whose intentions were known tended to act less on their intentions than those whose intentions were unknown. The researchers concluded that telling people what you want to achieve creates a premature sense of completeness. While you feel a sense of pride in letting people know what you intend to do, that pride doesn’t motivate you and can in fact hurt you later on.
When you write down or think about your intentions, there’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be. The compelling need to close this gap helps you to act on your intentions. But when you let others know about it, the gap closes because you (artificially) feel the same way you should after completing your intentions. And we see this borne out time and again by those around us who exclaim year upon year that THIS time, THIS year, they’re totally going to get on that diet and lose all the weight…only to falter a week, month or 6 months down the line. So whilst you might think that by embarking upon a little group-challenge, you’re going to give yourself that extra push to meet your goals, chances are you’re really only going to a/ load yourself up with extra anxiety, b/ develop a sort of co-dependent relationship with your fellow contenders as the guaranteed commiseration and geeing up from them floods in any time you choose to go off-plan / fail to see a downward movement on the scale, or c/ really not get the success you want because of reasons outlined above.
“Yeah but Blue, isn’t all this ‘Intention Declaration’ thing exactly what you’re dong with THIS blog?”
Well I can see why you’d think that, but just take a minute to think over what exactly y’all know about me? Do you know my real name? Do you know what I look like? Do you know anything other than the carefully selected chosen fragments of information I’ve chosen to share with y’all on here? Yeah, there’s a reason for that. I’m actually a really private person. When I decided to lose some weight, the only 2 people I told were my doctor and my other half. Not even my family knew. Which is where the whole lockdown thing really played to my strengths, because when it comes to goal setting I’m very much a lone wolf. I set a target, figure out how to get there and then just do it. And I succeed at it. I’m not a team-player by any strength of the imagination, but if you want a task carried out to completion, then just give me a quiet corner I can sequester myself off in and I’ll do it. So being cooped up in the house and ‘socially distanced’ from everyone else was great. I could just get on with losing weight to the knowledge of virtually nobody. Which made it all the funnier come Christmas when I went to stay with my family for a few days and they were gobsmacked. The girl who had forever eschewed the idea of weight-loss suddenly turned up 40+ pounds lighter – and looking younger too, according to a couple of family members.
But yeah, I keep myself to myself for the most part. This blog isn’t a big public tell-all. It’s anonymous. It’s not connected in any way to any of the rest of my life or any of my other online activity. And that was entirely intentional. This blog is for me. It’s my way of recording my efforts and progress as I work my way towards my goal. Yes it’s out there on the internet for anyone to read – and I’m real happy if any of you find it interesting or entertaining – but I’m not remotely beholden to it. Yes I’ve “met” some really lovely other people and enjoyed the interaction, but I could walk away from this blog tomorrow, never even visiting it again, and it wouldn’t have the slightest impact on my life or my weight-loss. This blog is and always will be, primarily a place for me to record my progress and let off some steam with the odd rant ‘n ramble about whatever is currently grinding my gears. It’s not a place for me to report to anyone on how I’m doing, or somewhere I can use to compete with anyone else’s efforts. The only competition I’m in, is with myself – which is exactly how it should be when you’re undertaking a personal goal.
What appear to be very public ‘Declarations Of Intent’ are really just anonymous writings that anyone can stumble upon, without ever knowing who wrote them – or even if any of it is even true (psyche!). I have made zero public declarations regarding my weight or health in my real life and I think (for me anyway) it makes the whole thing much easier. I don’t owe anyone any updates, I don’t have to care about what anyone thinks about the reading on the scale from one day to another…plus the idea of just turning up to meet a friend once lockdown is over and blowing their goddamn minds with my how much I’ve changed, really appeals to my mischievous side, lol. So…no, I don’t have any of the baggage attached to making a public declaration of intent. Whether I blog all the way to my goal (and succeeding at that is a ‘when’ not an ‘if’) or if I just decide that I’m bored with the whole idea, it will have zero impact on the rest of my life or the way in which I achieve my goals.
Anyway, I’ve gotten a bit side-tracked there and this post is getting pretty long, but I guess I just wanted to have a little rant about the ways in which so many people seem to be hell-bent on pretending that they’re making a lifestyle change, when the reality is they’re only looking for a quick-fix. Cause that shit annoys the bejeezus out of me. I hate fakery and BS merchants and people who think that they can pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, while they try to do the exact thing they claim not to be doing. And the 3 forms of BS merchants I talked about today (‘Flip-Floppers’, ‘All-Or-Nothing-Overhaulters’, and The ‘Ratcheters’) are the ones I’m seeing the most all over the various weight-loss community. They love trying to up the ante in a desperate attempt to get faster results, which is in direct contradiction to a fundamental principle of obesity management: you do not do things to lose weight that you are unlikely to continue doing to keep the weight off.
Too many people seem to think that if only they could lose some weight now, they will somehow be able maintain that lower body weight in the long-term with less effort. “If I could just get thin I could totally then be and stay thin forever!”
Sure, Jan. That’s why it’s worked so far for you up until now, right?
If you take anything away from this post let it be this: dishonesty is a pretty shitty way to interact with other people and will inevitably, eventually lead to people losing interest in what you’ve got to say or what you’re claiming to achieve. But the person you absolutely NEED to be truly honest with, is yourself. People see whatever you show them, but you can’t lie to yourself. Not if you want to have any chance of succeeding with ANY of your goals.
Okay, so for those of y’all who have been living under a rock for the past 6 months, the young lady in the video clip above is of Laura Lynn, who has created a You Tube channel where she is documenting her progress along the way to losing 200lb. I adore her content and she’s one of a handful of You Tube creators who I follow religiously (I’m probably going to do a post featuring all my fave guys & girls in the near future in case any of you are looking for some extra inspiration and motivation during your own weight loss escapades!) because she’s just one of the realest, most honest, straight-talking, sweet, funny, intelligent, insightful chicks making content in the online ‘Weight Loss Community’.
And she’s really been through the ringer lately as various underlying health problems have conspired against her, throwing every possible spanner into the works. But she’s worked her way through them all, maturely and honestly using the skill sets she developed in her career as a mental health therapist, to help navigate her way through the really difficult and low times. I have a huge amount of respect for her; not just because of her unwavering self-awareness, but because she puts it all out there – warts and all – to share with others who may (or may not) be going through some similar issues. She’s immensely likeable and tuning in to one of her videos is like settling down for a chat with an old friend. Her determination really inspires me and her smile is utterly infectious. So if you haven’t watched any of her content before now, y’all really need to go check her out because she isn’t just entertaining, she really helps to get her viewers to approach their own weight-loss goals from a mental-health perspective too, by sharing the tools she uses both at work and in her own life; as well as her recent little series of ‘journal prompts, quotes and challenges’ to help get us all thinking about the deep-rooted reasons behind why we a/ got too overweight and b/ decided to do something about it.
And today I thought I’d respond to the prompts, quotes and challenges from this week’s video, here in a blog post for y’all to read for yourselves. I do keep my own personal, handwritten journal, but I thought it might be fun to put some more of my own thoughts and responses out there and maybe try to convince some of you to check out her channel and perhaps get involved in doing some of this introspective home-work for yourselves. So without further ado, let me start by addressing the quote of the day. (You should probably watch the video first so you can get a better idea of what it’s all about – the video is only about 7 minutes log, so I’m sure y’all can manage that, right?) Anyway today’s quote is:
“It’s time to create a body I enjoy living in.” So what does that mean to me? Well, as I’ve shared on here multiple times before, I have two conditions – fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis – which have gotten progressively worse over time, affecting my flexibility, my mobility and overall health. I’m only 40 years old and my weight had never caused any noticeable health problems for me before last year. I went from being ‘Little Miss Always On-The-Go’, to a stiff, slow, shuffling crone, wracked with daily pain throughout my body. That was not okay. I could feel how much harder it was getting to just move my limbs about with all the extra weight they were having to deal with, so I decided right then and there to do something about it. Being fat had never stopped me from enjoying living in my body up until then, so I’d never been bothered about losing any weight. But as soon as I realised that I was no longer enjoying living in my body, I knew I had a choice: do nothing and carry on letting my mobility decrease and my quality of life along with it, or, get my fat ass into gear and make the necessary changes in order to mitigate what will be permanent health problems that I will always have to work to deal with.
Yeah, that wasn’t a difficult decision. I know I’ll always have these conditions and they will always flare up for one reason or another, but there is no reason whatsoever for me to just allow the extra weight to continue to exacerbate my symptoms and further incapacitate my already exhausted body. With any luck (especially if my family’s longevity is anything to go by) I’ve got another half a century left on this mortal coil, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend it miserable and feeling like a prisoner in my own body. Thankfully, I think I implemented the necessary changes just in time, allowing me to make great inroads into the goals I need to achieve, in order to get to live that happy life.
Creating a body that I can begin to enjoy living in again, starts and ends with food. Yes, there will be exercise and fitness goals to work into my life somewhere down the line (right now I’m still just about coping with a few bursts of walking a week, which always leaves me incredibly sore and stiff the next day) but – most importantly – I have to eat in a way that not only allows me to lose weight, but also reduces the effects of insulin resistance and the subsequent inflammation, on both my arthritis and fibromyalgia. A low-carb / ketogenic WOE is the most therapeutic nutritional approach to dealing with my particular health problems, which is one of the reasons why this is “not just a diet” to me, but a lifelong approach to food & nutrition. Knowing that every time I eat, I’m making choices that are cumulatively contributing to that healthier, happier body is incredibly empowering. I get a real kick out of feeling so completely in control of what I put into my body, while also enjoying the food that I’m eating. This whole experience feels exciting. I make a decision to do the things, follow through with it and then see the results of my efforts. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle of determination —> achievement —> motivation —> further achievement. I freaking love it!
Of course I’m currently only 53lbs into my initial goal of losing 100lb, so I know I’ve still got a long way to go. My health problems haven’t magically evaporated overnight, but the improvements are already oh-so-very noticeable. I’m lighter on my feet; I have fewer pains in certain parts of my body and my knees are definitely feeling a lot better. And it’s only going to get better as I continue to move down the scale and free myself up more and more. To know that I’m the one making this happen – all through my own good choices and efforts – is awesome. Understanding that I get to own my own shit, take responsibility and create that body that I will feel happier and healthier in for many years to come? That shit just inspires me to want to do more, lose more and do better. I’ve become my own fricking role model, y’all! THAT is what it means to know that I’m creating a body that I will get to enjoy living in again.
“How Will My Life Be Different Or Change For The Better When I’ve Lost Weight? – Be Specific!” Well, I probably already covered that for the most part in my previous answer, but I’ve sat and had a think about what else I have to look forward to, aside from the improvements to my mobility. It’s a bit of a strange one really, because I have no idea what life will really be like as a much smaller person. I’ve always been overweight and the flab just kept piling on incrementally over time, without me really noticing it. I mean, obviously I knew I was getting bigger because I had to keep buying larger clothes. But when I had youth on my side (oof, that really made me feel like a wizened old harridan, lol) it didn’t impact my life at all. I worked a lot of very demanding jobs, both physically and mentally, and partied just as hard on my downtime. I did all the things I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to, and never once found it difficult to navigate the world of dating and relationships. I know I say time and again that “nobody gets fat behind their own back” but when there are no tangible negative side-effects to getting progressively larger, it’s very easy not to think or worry about it at all. I’ve had a bunch of illnesses and injuries and whatnot over the years, like any other person does; but I’ve pretty much been able to just take my health for granted up until now. And that’s something that really had to change once the fibro & arthritis started to impact on my ability to live normally.
So of course, losing all the weight I need to will also mean being more intentional with my own body. I now have to take responsibility and realise that I’m the captain of my ship – not a passenger. And so on top of the continued commitment to a low-carb WOE, I want to also work on building on my strength and flexibility with regular exercise. I want to be as active as my body will allow me, with the help of some supervised instruction from someone who knows how to help a person with my underlying health problems. I’d love to take a boxing class if at all possible. I have no idea if that will be something suitable for my body and I’ll have to start from the bottom and work my way up through the basics of strength training and some aerobic activity; but if it IS something I can do, then yeah, I wanna take up some boxing classes. Because there’s something incredibly primal and exciting about the idea getting into a (completely legal, lol) fight and using a mixture of skill, discipline & tenacity, be able to not only defend myself, but kick the other person’s arse! I used to be able to handle myself in a scrap, but these days I don’t even win the fights I get into with my damned duvet cover! I want to feel strong and capable again. And maybe, just maybe, that’s something I can achieve somewhere down the line.
But it’s just so hard to imagine myself at 170lb, 160lb or even less. I don’t know what that even looks like on my body. I saw my own reflection in a shop window recently and was really taken aback by how much smaller I look. It’s so weird. I can feel myself getting lighter and see the clothes as they get so big they fall off me, but I never truly see it when I look in the mirror. I know a lot of people have this mental block too when they’re losing weight and it will just take time for my brain to catch up with my body. But for some reason, when I was out in public, I could see my reflection for what it actually was. And I was very pleasantly surprised. This never began as a vanity project for me – not that there’s anything wrong with anyone wanting to lose weight to look good; y’all do what you gotta do, for whatever reasons you want. But there is an aspect of vanity starting to creep in to my consciousness as I move further down the scales. My cheekbones are even more defined. My face is thinning down to it’s natural heart-shape and my eyes look even bigger and prettier than they already did. I’m actually kinda cute, lol!
So again I have to ask myself, how will the weight loss affect how I feel about the way I look, once I get to my goal? And I just don’t know. I have no frame of reference to work from that can give me an idea of exactly how I’ll look at 170lb. For all I know, I could end up being one of those people who look hella ugly once they shift the flab! Maybe my “cuteness” is entirely attributable to being an absolute chunkster and with every pound I lose, I get increasingly less attractive! (That would actually be weirdly funny, in a horrible kind of way, lol!) Will I dress differently? Well, I like the style I already have, so I don’t think I’m going to suddenly go from ’emo-scene-girl’ to ‘prom queen’ or ‘sporty-spice’…and I’m never going to go the route of ‘crass-cougar hag-beast-about-the-town’. But who knows what’ll look good on a much smaller frame 6-12 months down the line. Not me; not yet.
There aren’t many things I think will change as I lose this weight. Like I said earlier, I’m already half-way there and Victoria’s Secret have yet to send out a scout to see if I’m going to be runway-ready for the 2021 Summer Swimwear Collection. I’m so focused on the health benefits from all this that I don’t really have much else to consider. Improvements in health, will mean retaining my independence, having a huge improvement in mobility and hopefully adopting a more active lifestyle that I can pursue going forward. It won’t affect my career choices which are investment related and involve sitting down for 8 hours a day. Nor will it affect my relationship with my other half, because I’m not one of those super-morbidly-obese folk on ‘My 600lb Life’ who literally become an entirely different person to the one their partners married. I never even hit 300lb. My level of fatness was a much more socially acceptable, normal level of obesity that never really raised any eyebrows or garnered me much in way of negative attention. Plus I carried my weight well, inasmuch as it was quite equally distributed all over my body, still allowing me to have a decent waist / hip / boob ratio! I wasn’t unusual enough for anyone to pay any attention to me – unless, of course I wanted them to, but that’s another story altogether, lol.
Aside from feeling healthier with every passing week and getting more fit and active as I get closer to my goal, there are no other things I actually anticipate being particularly different at 170 or 160lb. The increase in mobility will hopefully see me get to attend some more live music gigs (if we finally get let out of this lockdown bullshit and any of the bands I like are still even touring by then – ‘Iron Maiden’ I’m banking on y’all to still be selling out stadiums where I can get to the front row, after hours of standing and queueing to get in, while Bruce defies all logic and runs about the stage set like a man half his age, belting out classics and just being an absolute legend. That’d be fun.) I do miss live music shows. I’ll also be able to get out to watch some live motorcycle racing too, which always involves a lot of walking to find a good spot, then trying to get comfortable on a grotty embankment for a few hours. Haven’t been able to do that for a few years now. But aside from that? I have no plans to take up any adrenaline sports or do the utterly cliché thing of jumping out of a plane with a parachute on, like every other unimaginative ex-whopper seems to feel compelled to do, the minute they hit goal-weight.
I’ve always been confident in my abilities and assertive in all social settings, so that’s not something I have to consider. Nor do I have any desire to become more social once I hit goal; because both the other half and I became intentionally reclusive home-bodies, long before the fibro & arthritis started to slow me down. We’re pretty simple folk with our wants and needs. We don’t like banal, beach holidays where all you do is drink, swim and sunbathe – that kind of crap bores us. But we have a few little holiday breaks we’d like to take once things get back to normal: a week-long canal-boat break, with just the 2 of us stopping off at towns and villages with interesting museums / galleries, is something we’ve been looking into since before the whole palaver with the pandemic kicked off. And none of that is dependent on my being thin, merely my being more mobile, fit and healthy.
So…no, I can’t really see my life changing all that much at all when I eventually hit goal. I’ll just be in a better place health-wise and in the perfect position to ensure that I use all the knowledge and experience gained along the way, to keep on making better choices and take good care of both myself and my other half. Not the most exciting of life “transformations”, but then I haven’t had as much weigh to lose as many other people do, so the resulting impact is bound to be quite minimal. Which is exactly what I wanted and expected from this whole experience in the first place. Nothing earth-shattering, just some pretty mundane improvements to my health that will improve my life and longevity.
Is that a pretty dull answer? Probably. I’m a pretty dull, set in my ways kinda person. My ambitions have largely been intellectual pursuits and my ability to achieve them is not dependent on my being 270lb or 170lb, or any weight for that matter. But I will at the very least, hopefully be able do all the things I want to, with a slightly more sprightly spring in my step. Both physically and metaphorically. And “Woah…I’m (already over) halfway there to that (wo-oah, living on a prayer!” I’ll make it. I SWEAR! Lol
“Write A Letter To Yourself To Read On A Day You Feel Unmotivated Or Like Giving Up – Include Non-Scale Goals You Are Most Dedicated To!”
Do you remember when you wrote this? Is it all coming back to you now? Because if you thought for one minute that this was going to be some cheesy, load of old crap designed to try and make you feel good about yourself right now…well honey, you’re one damned delusional fuckwit, you know? I mean, you’re the one who wrote this freaking thing in the first place, so you know exactly what you got coming to you, boo. And it ain’t any of that ridiculous ‘rainbows & unicorns’, pat-you-on-the-hand-and-tell-you-that-you’ve-been-a-good-girl, bullshit, that’s for sure.
So why are you here, huh? Things starting to get a little more difficult for ya and you thought you deserved some magical intervention of reassurance from “Past You” because your current ass is too lazy and pathetic to figure out a way to get yourself out of that funk you’re in? HA! That is NOT the way we do things around here Blue – as well you know! And the shitty or miserable way you’re feeling right now, is nothing more than a mixture of laziness and fear; 2 things you aren’t prone to letting get the better of you. So why now? Why today?
Because if you’re just going through one of those moments of self-doubt, then bitch you better pick your chin up and shake yourself out of that funk RIGHT FREAKING NOW, ’cause there ain’t NOBODY coming to make this better for you. Only you can save yourself – and you have all the tools you need to do so. So quit acting like some poor, put-upon little victim, get your motherducking head back in the game and lets start smashing some more goals. Resting on your laurels is just wasting time – time you really don’t have. I get it though, every so often even you can fall prone to the occasional moment of self-doubt (I mean you’re only human…I think) but you’ve had your little moment of self-indulgent wallowing, okay? So quit acting like any of this is outside of your control, pick yourself up and get back to the task in hand.
Have you hit a “stall”…well, so what? You either caused that yourself with some carb-creep (and it better hadn’t be carb-creep you absolute moron, because there really is NO excuse for that kind of carelessness) or you’re at an actual plateau and just like everyone else, you’re going to have to go back over your food diary, make sure you aren’t eating ‘off-plan’ and if you still can’t see where you might have been going wrong, then it’s time to accept that plateaus happen to the best of us. All you can do is try to wait it out for a bit, allow your body some time to recalibrate itself and have a little patience. Yes I know that isn’t your strongest suit, but tough shit. This is just what happens to someone when they try to lose a significant amount of weight. Yes, even you Blue.
Just chill the frick out will you? I know you’re not used to not getting your own way, but you need to remember that you’re not superwoman (I mean you almost are, but even you have your off-days), you can’t control everything and sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. Let nature take its course for a while. But don’t think that that absolves you of any responsibility ok? You can’t just throw caution to the wind and start eating a bunch of junk, getting slack and sloth-like, just because your body is taking a break from losing fat for a while. You DO NOT get to take days off from taking good care of yourself Blue! Do you hear me? The days of taking your health for granted are long gone. Every single day counts, so you damn-well better make them count, by continuing to make good decisions, eating healthily and keeping your head in the freaking game.
You know that if you choose to veer ‘off-plan’ and start to disregard your health again, you will regret it for the rest of your life, right? You’ve hit 40, girl. Your younger days are in the rear-view mirror now. There are no second-chances or re-runs. You have to get your shit together RIGHT NOW and stop pissing your life away in a self-absorbed, cry-baby moment of weakness. Because that is NOT how we do things around here Blue. We don’t DO wallowing. You’re fucking better than that. You’re fucking indomitable, ya hear? Giving up might be an option for some people, but you ain’t “some people” Blue. You’re a cut above. When you decide to put your mind to something, you damn well follow through with it. No matter how difficult, frustrating or exhausting it gets, you keep on pushing through, because that’s how you were raised, Blue. You don’t come from a family of quitters and you sure as shit don’t come from a family of failures. You come from strong stock and if anyone is going to succeed at a challenge, then it’s gonna be you. So get that stubborn head of yours back on again and pull your fricking finger out.
Okay. Pep-talk over. You know what you got to do, so go do it. It’s how you act when times are their most difficult which test and reveal your true character. So embrace your inner INTJ, make a plan for how you’re going to move forward and then get your freaking shit together.
You’ve got this. Always have, always will.
Okay, so I’m guessing my ‘letter to myself’ probably looks a lot different to how yours or anyone else’s might do, but then I really don’t benefit from anything other than a stern talking to. Commiseration ain’t my style and I’m never going to go easy on myself when I know I can and should do better. Of course life can throw up all manner of curve-balls and it’s real easy to use those occasions as an excuse to slack off. But that’s really not me. And unless something really serious rears its ugly head, literally preventing me from continuing to stick to my plan, then I’m going to continue to use all the tools I already have at my disposal to keep on keeping on. That’s kind of the point of these tools and strategies. They’re consistently applied methods that over time become habits, so that during the inevitable struggles that we’re bound to encounter at various points throughout our lives, we can continue to rely upon them without having to think twice about them. Because when life gets tricky, the last thing I want to be having to think about is how or what I’m going to eat. Having that stuff already taken care of frees up my mind to be able to focus on whatever else it is that I need to worry about. So I’m glad I have that part of my life nailed down and good to go.
Anyway, that little exercise posed by Laura was pretty fun. It’s nice to have someone else provide a prompt or question for me to have to think about and I’ll definitely give it another go in the future. I already checked with Laura to see if it was okay to include this exercise here on the blog and she graciously gave me the go-ahead; so again, if you’re not familiar with her channel, please go check it out because she’s a brilliant creator and she’s consistently putting out great content. You won’t be disappointed.
And on that note, I shall bid y’all adieu. Tomorrow is weigh-in day, so I’ll see you back here for an update, real soon.
Well I don’t know about you guys, but I just had an awesome few days of Christmas. Spent them with the fam, had an absolutely hilarious time and ate some thoroughly good on-plan food. The other half and I stayed down at my parents house where I saw some of my cousins again and got to meet my brother’s girlfriend – who is absolutely adorable. She’s the kind of person who upon meeting her for the first time, made us feel as though we’d known her for ages and was just so lovely to hang out with. And whilst my little brother certainly doesn’t need my approval, his girlfriend definitely passes the ‘big sister test’, lol.
My parents are an absolute hoot and put on a proper spread of food, drink and warm welcome for everyone who descended upon their home over Christmas, so lots of fun was had by all. Not being someone who drinks, I got to laugh at everyone else’s hangovers, but still ended up absolutely worn out by the end of it. Staying on-plan was easy as there was just so much stuff I could still eat and not feel as though I was going without (although my mum did tell me she could have made a keto cake especially for me if I’d told her in advance, so I need to remember that for next year!) We even came home with a massive doggie-bag filled with meats, cheeses, nuts and some mince pies & cake (for the other half). I definitely ate more than I would normally, but nothing that wasn’t low-carb.
It’s always weird when Christmas is over and a couple of days later you suddenly realise that it’s all done with for another year. There’s this huge, extended period of festive-feelings leading up to it, then suddenly, it’s all over and we’re back to a semi-normal way of life again, waiting for New Year to happen. After that, it feels like we’re back at the bottom of the calendar again, ready to work our way back up the next Christmas period. At least that’s how I’ve always looked at it. Winter and autumn are the times of the year I enjoy and it feels like spring and summer are just two annoying seasons that I have to endure every year, in between the blissfully cooler months. Once the winter solstice passes and the days start to get longer again, I can’t help but feel a little sad, knowing that shorter nights, hotter days and increasingly intrusive daylight, are all on the way.
But now is not the time to dwell on the inevitable annoyance of the coming warmer months. Today is a good day. It’s cold and dark and lends itself perfectly to the ideal afternoon, spent cosily curled up on the sofa with a hot cup of coffee and a good book – which is how I intend to spend the rest of the day once I’ve finished up writing this post. But first, I need to update y’all with this week’s weigh-in.
So how do you think I did?
To be fair, this week was “Shark Week” for me, so staying on-plan wasn’t ever going to be any guarantee of my losing any weight. I knew that before I hopped onto the scale; hormonal bloat being the unmitigated pain in the arse that it always is. I was hoping to maintain at the very least, but in all honesty, seeing a brief “ghost gain” of a couple of pounds wasn’t going to upset me or leave me feeling disappointed. If these past 4 months have taught me anything, it’s that the human body is a weird and wonderful machine that really loves to hold onto its fat stores and rarely likes to do what we want it to.
But…we only went and dropped another 3lb this week, didn’t we?
Like, wut? I’m as surprised as the rest of you, trust me. I really wasn’t expecting anything more than a potential maintenance week, but a 3lb loss? Hell, I’ll happily take that result ANY day, lol. I have no idea why my body decided that this week was going to be a weight-loss week (like I said, it was “Shark Week” and I definitely ate more than usual) but I’m more than happy to be able to say that I managed to stay completely on-plan and lose weight during the week of Christmas festivities, whilst never having felt as though I was depriving myself of anything worth eating. I enjoyed my Christmas, ate A LOT and even had some nice Perlege sugar free chocolate which allowed me to feel like I was having a lovely little indulgence while everyone else was eating regular chocolate.
Seriously guys, if you’re looking for a sugar-free alternative to regular chocolate you really should try this brand out. I just found them on Amazon where they were £6.99 for 3 x 42g bars – and they’re worth EVERY penny! There’s no ‘artificial sweetener taste’ to them and they melt beautifully in the mouth like a nice Belgian chocolate. Each bar is divided into 6 chunks and I kept to having 3 pieces at a time with a cup of coffee. Of course, they’re not carb-free (3 chunks – half a bar – works out at about 5g carbohydrate) so depending on your own daily allowance, you will probably have to exercise a little self-control so as not to go off-plan, but they’re absolutely perfect to have as a little treat, consumed in moderation.
But yeah, back to the update: I’m extremely happy to have lost 3lb this past week and have had a really lovely Christmas spent enjoying the company of my family. Oh…and because I have now officially moved past the halfway point (-50lb) I also got my bottle of Tom Ford from the other half! So I’m now sat here in my pyjamas, with my hair looking like a bird’s nest, but smelling exquisitely expensive, lol. It feels great to be able to say that I’ve hit my halfway point and that I’m feeling so much lighter and healthier as a result of my efforts this year. I even had 2 family members tell me that I look a lot younger and livelier as a result of my weight-loss so far.
So while millions of people the world over will be making new year’s resolutions to “go on a diet”, change their eating habits and attempt to lose weight, I will simply be carrying on eating the same way I have been doing since August 31st and enjoying the continued benefits that come from doing so. I don’t like new year’s resolutions; they’re almost always doomed to failure. But anyone can make positive changes to their life at any time of year. You’ve just got to want it enough and be prepared to put in the hard work. Understand your “why”, formulate a plan, make it something you can adhere to for the long run and never lose sight of your goal. If I can do it, anyone can.
It’s that time of the week again folks…WEIGH IN DAY! Technically it’s only been 6 days since the last one, but last week I weighed in a day late because I wanted to sync up the results with my 100 days milestone. I’m kinda wedded to the idea of Monday being the official weigh-in day each week on here though, so this week we’re just going to go with whatever I’ve lost in the last 6 days and get these weigh-in Monday’s back on track.
It’s been a good week for me overall. No fibro flare-ups, just a little bit of joint stiffness along with the usual pain levels (I’m always in pain…but some days / weeks / months are worse than others.) I’ve had 2 epic snooze-a-thons this week that both came in at just under 24hrs a piece, but that’s just the norm for me. I get real exhausted real easily and I probably got a little too cocky strolling around town listening to all the Christmas music.
I absolutely love the Christmas season because (tacky lights and music included) things feel a bit…magical! Not in the vile Disney way that seems to permeate a lot of sentiments, but just in the way that everyone is looking for things to bring joy to other people. Be it food, presents, office parties, arranging transport for Christmas Day, or just meeting up with a friend they rarely see for a quick cup of cocoa in a cute little café, there is a definite sense of Christmas spirit in the air as we all get closer to the 25th. Add to that the gorgeous frostiness in the air and I’m completely in my element. I just have to remind myself sometimes that the extra spring in my step will actually come at a price if I don’t reign it in a little bit, lol.
So anyway, the weigh-in. Well, I’m more than happy to announce that today’s scale reading showed me currently weighing in at 15 stone 12lbs (222lbs). Which is….*insert drum roll*… a 4lb loss! Whoop! I’m now in the 15 stone and some change bracket! That’s ANOTHER milestone! In my last weigh-in-day post which can be found here, I mentioned that I was 3lb away from getting under the 16 stone mark; a weight I hadn’t seen or even been anywhere near, since my early 20’s. Well, this week I’ve smashed through that milestone with a 4lb loss, which now also means that I am 2lb away from hitting the half-way point of 50lb (100lb loss being my first goal weight – subsequent further targets may be added at a later date; watch this space!)
I have to admit: as much as I have always had faith in my ability to do this, I’m still pleasantly surprised every time the scale moves down closer to my goal; every time I hit a milestone it makes me feel incredibly proud of myself. I’m really doing this. Of course, things are going to slow down a lot more, the closer I get to my goal, but I’m still hugely motivated. And I plan to keep on topping up those reserves of motivation, through dedication, focus, intent, self discipline and with the help of all the positive elements of good food, healthy snacks, motivational reading material and the kind of good feeling that only comes from continuous improvements to ones health.
(This quote was actually shared with me by my friend Jeff who has his own blog where he cooks up some amazing low-carb meals that are perfect to serve to everyone, regardless of whether or not they’re following a low-carb WOE. Check out ‘Dinner Time With Jeff’ get some awesome recipe ideas and leave him a comment if you try any of them out. I thought it was just the perfect motivational quote to include here today.)
Next week we’ll probably see me maintain again, which is fine by me. The 4lb loss of this week will even out to a 2lb loss each week for the fortnight, meaning I’m exactly here I should be at this point in time. The week after that is possibly “Shark Week” again? I’m not sure, I gotta go check the dates for that, but if it is then I won’t be at all surprised to see a brief “ghost-gain” as “Aunt Flo” does her worst. But that’s just the way the female body works. Success at weight loss is never linear, with pauses, fits, starts, ups and downs along the way. But as long as the trend tends to be downwards overall, I am a happy woman.
“Wonder how we got so far Do you remember who you are? Wanted just to make you proud” ~ ‘A Wonderful Surprise’, The Downtown Fiction
Things are starting to feel really, really…real! I don’t know how else to describe it, but it’s as if I’ve only just become truly aware of what all this effort to lose weight, actually means. For the first time since I switched over to the low-carb WOE, weight loss has become something tangible that I can not only notice, but notice the benefits of. And that’s frickin awesome!
I started out on this path with a very basic goal: to lose 100lb, improve my health, decrease the impact that fibromyalgia & arthritis had on my mobility and head off the possibility of becoming bed-bound at worst, or house-bound at best. I’m obviously not on par weight-wise with the people you see on ‘My 600lb Life’, but I began this change to my way of eating at double the weight I should be, for someone of my Oompa Loompa stature – 5ft – and I have 2 conditions which will get progressively worse, the older I get. So I had no choice but to face up to the fact that it was my own fault, for not doing something about my weight, if my massively fat arse ended up preventing me from living a full and happy, healthy life.
And things have been plodding along exactly the way I’ve both wanted and expected them to, with me currently about 1/3 of the way along my goal to lose 100lb. I’m losing sensibly and sustainably, not too quickly (after the first month of rapid loss, it’s settled down into an average of 2lb a week, with some weeks only showing as me maintaining, which is just the body’s way of taking stock and giving itself time to recalibrate and readjust to the recent fat-loss.) I knew that if I simply stuck to the plan, the flab would shift and my health would improve, massively. But “knowing” that fact and really “understanding” what it means, are two different things altogether.
Rather than being some far-off goal that I have yet to see myself making any inroads into, I’m now getting to see and feel the results of my efforts thus far. That has catapulted the entire concept of ‘losing weight & feeling great‘ from the abstract, into the here & now – and it’s both brilliant and bewildering. Take today for instance. I’ve been waiting on a delivery from Amazon for about a week now and most days the other half goes and checks the post, which is down on the ground floor of our apartment building. We’re on the second floor, which means having to go down 2 long and 2 short flights of stairs, then back up again any time we have to check the post. Nothing major, but when you’re at least 100lbs overweight and have arthritic joints that often hurt just getting out of bed, it can be a real struggle to get up and down every day.
Today though, the other half was having a lie-in and I really wanted to see if my new journal had arrived, so I grabbed my hoodie, threw it over my nightie and dashed out of the apartment and down the stairs to see if I was in luck. Turned out I wasn’t (le sigh) so, not wanting to be caught out in the hallway, fresh out of bed, looking like some hobo harridan, I ran back up the stairs as fast as I could, desperate to avoid running into any of my neighbours.
Hang on. Roll that sentence back again would you? What did I just say I did?
“I ran back up the stairs as fast as I could…”
Yep, I ran. As in ‘the past tense of run’. As in ‘moved my fat arse at a hitherto unseen pace, up 4 flights of stairs, without being pursued by a wolf’. I ran. I did it without thinking and wasn’t remotely sore or out of breath when I got back into my apartment. That might not sound like much to some, but this time 2 months ago, I would have had to walk slowly up the stairs, getting breathless by the 3rd flight and then had to deal with cramping calf muscles for the next hour or so at least. Today though? I leapt out the front door, raced down stairs and ran back up again, without so much as thinking about it. No breathlessness, no soreness, nothing.
Is that what it feels like to be normal? Because I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty buzzed about it. But it got me to thinking: what other benefits of this weight-loss thing am I going to see and feel and experience, as the number on the scale goes down? What other things could I dare to hope to experience in time?
A common theme present in some of the books I’ve been reading recently, involves using a mixture of long AND short-term mini-goals in combination with your main goal, to help maintain your motivation through regular ‘hits’ of positive reinforcement. When you have a rather large goal to tackle and you know it’s going to take a long time to get there, it can be difficult to stay focused through willpower alone. So setting yourself a handful of other mini-goals – things you’d like to achieve or see happen as a result of striving for your main goal – can help keep you fired-up and dedicated, through the long, hard (sometimes boring) slog towards success.
Despite already knowing this, I still haven’t gotten around to coming up with my own list of mini-goals that I’d like to achieve along the way. I’ve just been so focused on shifting 100lb to feel better, that I’ve neglected to incorporate any other targets or non-scale victories into my approach. And I really ought to, because even my willpower is finite (and I’ve got hella impressive staying-power!) so creating a handful of motivation-boosting mini-goals to help keep me happy and dedicated, is something I’m going to have a think on.
Today’s wonderful little surprise after running up and down the stairs, really hit home the benefits of getting regular little hits of positive reinforcement on the way towards my main goal. So I’m setting myself some homework this week: I am going to come up with a list of at least 20 things I want to see, experience or achieve along the way to losing 100lb. They can be big or small, profound or silly, sacred or profane. But they need to be a/ something I genuinely want to achieve and b/ something I can realistically attain (so no getting to model for the Victoria’s Secret Spring Collection…not this year anyway, lol!)
Now I just need that cute new journal to arrive so I can start it afresh with my little list of mini-goals, ready to be checked off along the way.
The changes I’ve been making to my eating habits have become noticeable to my other half:
“Babe, you can really see you’ve lost weight now.”
I didn’t really know what to say. I wasn’t prepared for it. We were stood at a bus-stop and I’d just turned sideways to stop the rain getting in my eyes when he said it. And I should have been ecstatic, right? The hard work I’d been putting in had finally started to become noticeable on the outside. Good news huh?
Well…um…yeah…I guess…only…I dunno…it just sort of made this whole thing seem very real, all of a sudden. Does that make sense? I mean, of course, I knew that if I did what I was supposed to do and ate according to the plan, I would naturally lose weight. But I’m not entirely sure I was prepared mentally to actually see the results as they started to appear. So of course, me being the stroppy little madam I am, I just waved his comments away with a dismissive:
“No you can’t. Don’t be silly. It’s too soon for anyone to notice anything. You’re just imagining it because you actually know what I’ve been doing. Nobody else would be able to tell.”
And of course he’s as bull-headed as I am and won’t just give in when he thinks he’s in the right (we’re very well matched in that respect, lol):
“No, I can see it…it’s really noticeable. You’re stomach is a lot flatter. You’ve lost quite a bit of weight. Of course I’m going to be able to tell!”
Urgh…I just wanted him to totally drop the issue. I wasn’t prepared for the sudden “noticing” and subsequent conversation around me having lost weight. And definitely not at the bus-stop where I couldn’t just dip out of the room and go find something ‘super important’ to have to focus on in the kitchen. I had to stay right where I was, out there in the fresh air, with nowhere to hide and no way of escaping his “noticing”.
“For fuck’s sake babe. You’re doing great. You’ve worked hard and the results are really noticeable. You should be proud of yourself. I’m proud of you. Just get used to it and shut up complaining.”
(Did I mention how he has a real ‘way’ with words?) I knew he was right, of course – not that I was about to let HIM know that, heh heh – but it didn’t make the whole thing feel any less…weird? Yeah weird is definitely the word. This isn’t something I’m used to hearing; from anyone. Because I’ve never done this before. I’ve pretty much been big ever since I was little and just gotten progressively bigger as the years have gone by. I’ve been told I’m cute, ugly, fat, pretty, serious looking, kooky…all kinds of things throughout my life. But I’ve never gotten smaller and had someone actually notice that I’m shrinking. It just caught me off guard I guess, hearing someone tell me to my face that I looked smaller. I simply have no experience in responding to such remarks. For once, I had no “script” ready to fall back on.
Which sounds ridiculous really. I mean this a guy I’ve loved and lived with for over a decade. He’s seen me at my best, my worst, my most dolled up and my most slovenly. He. Has. Seen. It. All. And of course he’s going to notice when there are physiological changes happening right in front of him. In fact, he’s going to notice far more than anyone else, because I wear mostly nighties when I’m indoors. I change into them as soon as I get in the house. And I go to sleep with his arm around my waist pretty much every night, so he’s obviously going to be up close and personal enough to feel when the thing he’s holding onto gets a little smaller.
So why did it bother me so much that he said something? What did it trigger in me, to make me have a mini freak-out like that? I’ve sat and thought about it and I think it has something to do with my no longer being able to just happily watch the scale go down and not have to address anyone’s probing questions as to why and how I’ve suddenly gotten a bit smaller. Because once I get smaller and smaller over time, it WILL become noticeable to a lot of people. Which of course will mean the inevitable slew of questions about what “diet” I’m on and what made me decide to do it.
And when I dug a little deeper into why that bothered me so much, it brought me to a couple of somewhat uncomfortable untruths that I had to confront: 1/ I don’t want people to know that I’m doing this intentionally, because once they do, I will feel more worried about failing and them finding out that I’ve failed, and 2/ admitting to them that I’m intentionally changing something about myself, is me admitting that I haven’t been 100% happy with myself. And all of that leaves me vulnerable to the scrutiny of others, who wouldn’t previously have thought to scrutinise or view me that way.
Which is a very strange new way of feeling about myself in relation to other people. I’m generally pretty impervious to the judgement of others – that’ll be the old arrogant streak again – but one thing I don’t like to be seen as, is weak. I don’t show weakness to others because I don’t find it to be a particularly admirable quality in myself – or others. And I don’t as a rule feel weak in the presence of others, because…well…that’s just how I was raised. But as I’ve said before, this is unchartered territory for me. I’m still feeling and finding my way along this path and for once I’m unable to go about life, completely forearmed and forewarned.
I may have been as prepared as I could be before embarking upon this mission, but I am thoroughly unprepared for what it might look like to actually reach my destination. And yeah, that destination is still a long way off, but there are plenty of other little stops along my journey; milestones that will creep up on me soon enough. I have to be ready to meet them all and get used to being a little bit different at every one. A new person every time that scale goes down some more. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time.
So I’d better put my big-girl pants on and get ready to meet the new version of me. Because she’s coming.