As tends to be the way when I have worries in the back of my mind I woke up today obsessing about something entirely different. Not unusually for me I had been dreaming of colourful video games and they were still clear in my head when I opened my eyes at 7.30am.
I think I’m concerned about my weigh in on Saturday. I’m trying not to feel pressure about how much I loose – but again and again I do it to myself, and start mentally planning how long it will take to loose X amount or how much I can do per week.
I’m thinking about it as I type.
Some people seem to do really well with goal setting and working toward targets, but I’m the opposite. If I fail it has a hugely negative impact and I can feel myself being crushed under the weight of my expectation and then my eventual failure.
Often for this reason I shy away from all competition, and absolutely avoid ambitious thoughts. I’m really trying to be better in this respect but it’s difficult and I feel quite flawed today.
I must sound like a broken record when I talk about this – but it seems to be something that I have to confront over and over again. Just when I think I’ve resolved my issues, there they are – staring back at me in the mirror.
In May 2008 I was the fittest I had ever been – and probably the happiest.
I’d lost in the region of 8-10 stone (I don’t know the original weight when I started because I refused to step onto the scales) and I was on a walking holiday in Newquay with a friend that I’d known for many many years.
We’d never gone on holiday together before, and we’d never done anything active together as our fitness levels were extremely different. Whereas she had sport almost written into her DNA I had only recently become able to walk for reasonable distances.
Oddly, despite our very different lifestyles I couldn’t ask for a better mate – and although we were (and still are) physically poles apart our thoughts have always remained remarkably connected. It was fantastic all of a sudden to almost be on a level playing field and spend time in her world, rather than mine.
Furthermore, it was also beginning to become my world.
While walking we even talked about eventually going snowboarding together. I was skeptical about whether I could do it but she was positive and her thoughts of my future were full of possibility. I could almost see myself doing it when we talked about it.
We ambled for miles and miles in Cornwall. I can’t remember the actual distance – but we put in 7-9 a day while we stayed there.
And then it all went horribly wrong.
I hadn’t realised it at the time, but for some reason depression (or just old thought patterns) kicked in on that holiday. I felt all of a sudden that I was kidding myself.
Although its not the only thought that entered my head, I remember thinking that I had no excuses any more. I wasn’t massively fat – maybe I should start thinking about looking for a partner and being ‘normal’ again.
I’d even put my profile on a dating website along with a picture that for once in my life I was semi happy with.
Then I thought ‘Who am I kidding? Who would want me? I’m not worth a relationship – look at all the failures I’ve had in the past. It’s all been my fault, and I’m safer not trying because finding someone you care about and then loosing them is harder than never having them in the first place.’
After many years I still mourned my last relationship like a bereavement. I had really struggled to get over it and blamed myself for my inability to change. Although we weren’t a perfect couple I loved her more than I could describe (part of me still does) and when the dust had settled on our breakup I had realised that I pushed her away with both arms when I started eating, smoking and drinking myself to death.
This began to repeat over and over in my head (along with other thoughts not just connected to relationships) and then this happened:
In 9 months I managed to put nearly a stone a month back on, and moved myself from mobile and self sufficient to a standstill and suffering from mobility problems.
Possibility for the future had been replaced by the chains of the past.
Currently I’m heavier still, at (on my last weigh in) exactly 34 stone, which is probably where I began a decade ago.
I’m not writing this out of self pity (although today I do feel angry at myself) but rather to remind myself where I’ve been, where I got to, and how I threw it all away.
I want to remember the pain I feel and use it for something positive – but at the same time (maybe paradoxically) get away from thoughts of self loathing and worthlessness.
I don’t want to focus on being disappointed in myself. I don’t want to be just a collection of failures in my head, when logic and other people tell me I am so much more.
Yesterday I met up with two friends from the self build group, and we sat outside in the shade at a pub near Banbury. It was an unexpected meeting – but it was welcome as I think everyone needed to talk and remember why we want to become something better than we were.
They struggle like I do with their own negative and self destructive thoughts, and we were at pains many times during conversation to remind each other to focus on the successes we’ve had and not drive ourselves into the floor focusing on our failures.
In my case every day is a day that I can decide to press the ‘f**k it’ button, but at the moment every day is a day that I choose not to.
Its been 100 days now since I had anything to drink, and I have a link on my web browser to remind me when I feel low. It makes me feel fantastic to see that number going up day by day.
I’m approaching Slimming World the same way. Piece by piece, moment by moment.
I still have the voice of my work colleague in my head (I doubt he knows how helpful he was to me at that particular moment in time) who berated me when I talked about wanting to loose a certain amount every week and how angry I would be with myself if I didn’t.
He’s still right. Even half a pound off is a win. Hell – staying the same (as hard as that would be) is at the very least not getting any worse.
So – it’s one day, and meal at a time. I need to build the days up with dieting just like I did with alcohol. Bit by bit.
In less downbeat and thoughtful news my beef rendang yesterday tasted really nice. I made more than enough for another big meal tonight – so there are no dangers of hunger pangs hitting out of the blue today. It was a mission to prepare however as one of the things I missed on the original recipe was the need for a food processor to make the curry paste.
I do happen to have a large one of these – but its unfortunately a bit broken and waaaay too big for making this kind of paste. I spent about 40 mins chopping and dicing ingredients into a pretty rustic version of what I was looking at in the picture.
In case you wondered what the yellow strips are I mistakenly bought coconut flakes, rather than desiccated, which was a minor balls up, but I think it adds some interesting texture to the dish, and looks nice next to the cinnamon sticks and lime leaves.
When I plated it up with basmati rice and some steamed mange tout I have to say I was pretty impressed at how filling it was.
To be honest though given the cooking and preparation times involved this may not be a regular occurrence! I could probably have cooked several dinners in the time it took to make this.
Anyway. I have another day of positive things ahead of me, and later I’m going for a cup of tea at yet another friend’s house.
Check me out – I’m being all sociable and living in the world, not just my front room!
Anyway – thanks for listening internet. You look really cute snoring on your pillow 🙂