It’s sunny outside and I’ve just returned from a morning out. I’ve walked around the park, said hello to lots of ‘regulars’ and watched the world go by while talking with a friend. I’ve also been shopping at Aldi and filled my fridge with virtuous food of every description.
The bank holiday has now passed and I have to say that I didn’t enjoy a moment of it. I hibernated and felt sorry for myself and I’m mildly annoyed (and a little worried) about how in a really short space of time for no good reason the world temporarily came crashing down around me.
It hit on Saturday. Despite me losing weight (1.5lbs) I felt like a failure. A complete reject. I could hear the ‘voice’ in my head (or rather my inner monologue) all day long telling me that I wasn’t going to succeed – that I couldn’t keep up the momentum I’ve gathered, or that I’d back-slide and throw it all away.
It made no sense. I’d walked further than the channel tunnel the week before I weighed in, and made huge progress- but under it all I still felt like a failure. I wasn’t doing well enough – I wasn’t good enough. I was an outsider and the the rest of the world was normal.
In part this had its genesis a day before when a friend (a very kind and generous one – whom I love to bits) offered me a free ticket to an event that she knew I’d love. It was an open air event and I’d have to bring seating or sit on the floor to attend.
Despite her good intentions instantly my mind went into a spiral of fear and worry. How would I get to where we would sit – what would I sit on, what if it rained, how would my legs respond to having to stand, how would I look in front of her friends if I was struggling.
I blew it all out of proportion.
And it got worse. After weighing in I went to Leamington, thinking I should try to conquer my fear and find a portable seating solution so that I could go along with her. Instead I found seat after seat that I wouldn’t fit into or I was too heavy to sit on.
This was the biggest I found.
150kg is 23 stone 8lbs. I’m 188.4kg and 29 stone 9.5lbs.
All of a sudden EVERYTHING seemed so far away, so impossible and so unobtainable. I felt angry with myself, ashamed about who I was and just wanted to withdraw from the world. I felt like I would be letting my friend down by turning down her kind offer. In my mind I was a huge freak and I felt out of place just looking at my reflection in the shop window.
I was fat, I looked fat, and felt that my reflection was the one I deserved. I did it all to myself. I loathed what I saw.
I walked further down the high street, thinking after a walk around Jephson Gardens I may feel better. I might meet people or see things that would change my outlook when I’m in the park.
Then I pulled my calf muscle.
Less than 30 minutes after arranging to go for a walk the following morning. I felt it go at the bottom of town and it hurt enough to make me hop to a bench.
I thought I was past this. I thought that the stupid injuries that happened just strolling down the street were a thing of the past. It seemed not.
Now I suddenly felt trapped in the open again – and it took me back to the darkest moments when I started my blog. I was immediately pulled back in time six months – stuck on a garden wall in the dark behind my house, unable to move, heart pounding in my chest – calf muscles in agony and with the start of what I know now as plantar fasciitis.
I slowly hobbled back to my car, parked a mile away outside Leamington and drove home.
I cancelled my walk the following morning with my friend from SW and began to eat hi-fi bars (these are from SW and are 3 syns per bar with 6 in a packet.) Before long I’d eaten the whole box – and then limped back into the kitchen to see what else there was.
I started eating and pretty much carried on eating for the following two days.
What was the point? I kept asking myself – why was I stupid enough to think I could be successful. Deep down all I wanted to do was eat, so why should I deny myself? Before long a second box of hi-fi bars was gone. I made myself a reasonable dinner on Sunday and then rather than save the rest I ate the exact same amount all over again. Twice. And then I went hunting for desert – a big bowl of yogurt and fruit and oats. Three meals in the space of an hour and a half.
Monday was the same – all I could think about was food, and I wanted to eat anything. Can of beans straight from the tin? No problem. Can of salmon? Sure – open it up and lets eat it. Mackerel? Yep – lets use it up. Bag of apples? All gone. How about making an omelette with six eggs in it? OK lets get started. Pack of ham? Bye bye piggy wiggy.
As it stands today – If I want to lose any weight on Saturday I have a lot of work to do. It’s not going to come easy. I will need some SP days (speed food and protein in SW terms) just to maintain.
The scariest thing about this Bank Holiday period was that this was EXACTLY how I felt when I lost the plot in 2008. For no discernible reason back then something small turned into a massive and seemingly insurmountable emotional avalanche that made me eat and drink so much that I put on a stone a month.
I told my friend this as we walked around the park today. He reminded me that I could always call him or pop over for a cup of tea in such moments – but in truth it’s not that easy. I’d have had a ‘yes but’ answer for anything positive anyone had to say prepared in my head, and my internal filters would have ignored people with well meaning suggestions and re-labelled their positivity as empty platitudes.
All I wanted to do for two and a half days was hide, eat, and sulk with my hurting leg and my fat arse that doesn’t fit into normal chairs, and feel sorry for myself.
I hate this part of me – and wish I could surgically remove this sudden and inexplicable negativity that arrives without warning. It has no place in the person that I WANT to be.
Now – as I type I feel different. My calf muscle is noticeably stiff, but I’ve had a lot of Naproxen for the inflammation. I managed three laps around the park with my friend and his impossibly cute dog.
I saw the swanling (from a distance) and the super fit jaunty walking ladies with dumbbells. I also met the mum who moved to Warwick for love, with her relentlessly smiley toddler in his pram and her cute and fuzzy Finnish Laphund.
We stopped and said hello to other dog walkers and children who wanted to stroke Boris. All was right with the world this morning and now I feel good.
But my faith in myself has been shaken.
I’ve been reminded of the worst aspects of myself, and my seemingly endless capacity for inwardly dwelling on problems and my tendency to self sabotage. I need to make sense of how I turned feelings of success into feelings of failure.
I’m still struggling to do that.
Maybe I need a list to remind myself of what’s what – to put it in perspective.
(Author thinks – and stares at a blinking cursor for 20 odd minutes. Sometimes positives don’t come easy.)
- I might not be able to buy and sit in a folding chair today – but if I keep working at it I will be able to get one soon. This time next year I will go camping and walking. I’m going to make it an aim.
- I lost weight on Saturday – AND I got slimmer of the month. I need to remember that success won’t happen overnight – and stop myself wanting everything NOW.
- Last time I hurt my calf(s) I could hardly walk the 100 yards back to my house. This time I limped a mile back to my car. I couldn’t have done that if I was still my original starting weight.
- Despite my food cravings over the bank holiday I didn’t order a pizza. I didn’t buy a kebab, or drive to the fish and chip shop. Although I ate a lot the very worst thing I consumed was two boxes of hi-fi bars.
- I no longer drink alcohol – and without that even the darkest day isn’t a complete black hole that seems totally inescapable. I’ve had 216 days without a drink and I don’t ever want another.
So – that’s it internet. Warts and all. I’m feeling vulnerable and a bit shaken, but picking myself up, dealing with what I did and moving on.
I am trying to not let my dark days define me.