I think the only way I don’t go quietly mad sometimes over how much weight I still have to lose (about another 15 stone) is that mentally I’ve segmented it into manageable chunks.
The first of these was one stone. That went pretty quickly so then I moved the mental goalposts to five.
The Slimming World ‘interim goal’ that I’ve set in the back my book seems largely pointless sometimes as it is still seven stone away. So the question is what I now use to keep me motivated. What’s in my sights?
I’m not sure ‘another five stone’ fits the bill. It needs to be done but it just sounds depressing.
My ‘unicorn friend’ who appears to be a keen observer of my nature (and attempts at self delusion) pointed out recently to me that I am by nature an ambitious person.
‘Bol****s am I!’ I replied in my typically erudite fashion.
‘I’ve got zero ambition. Most of the jobs I’ve done have been about people and I’ve never been interested in climbing corporate ladders!’
She carried on eating her dinner, without looking up, dipping one half of a roast potato in some English mustard, and then rolling it in her apple gravy.
‘The mistake you make is not recognising that not all ambition is related to work. You can’t loose the weight you’ve lost without being ambitious.’
And there it was. She was absolutely right. How could I have not seen this before!? I sat back in my chair, my mind temporarily blown.
I thought about it more later that evening while lying in bed. I wanted things in life – and I was willing to put in the effort to get them, but what drove me wasn’t money or a career. It was something else entirely.
Over the years I’ve not been very good at understanding this (clearly I still struggle) and an internal perception of myself has taken root in this vacuum of self awareness that I’m not very good at a lot of things, particularly competitive pursuits.
I instead choose to remove myself from the field of competition entirely and engage in purely cooperative activities. This is mostly because I associate competition with sport and school (both things that harbour unpleasant memories) and I hate the feeling of being someone that continually fails.
On the plus side though it also fits in very well with my love of spending collaborative face to face time with people. I’m not the confrontational type if I can absolutely help it, so I feel at home in teams and groups.
In many ways I’m still doing this – but (now that I suddenly recognise the signs) ambition and competition have surfaced seemingly from nowhere.
This time however they have arrived with an unexpected and wiley opponent.
I’ve realised I’m now in a race with the imagined ‘other me’ to make the right decisions as often as I can and make an effort where ‘he’ would not.
To do this I need goals and ambitions though.
My whimsical post about funny items that weighed 1-5 stone (Ulrik the Cat) was ultimately really useful to me because I began to visualise the huge industrial fire extinguisher – and I wanted it GONE.
It touched a nerve with others as well. One jolly lady I know messaged me last week to say that she’d worked out she was the weight of 40 chihuahuas. She lost another diminutive pooch the other day, bringing the total to 39 and she has her sights set on a small adult male Kangeroo.
I never asked what the weight of a buck was. Not only was it terribly impolite but it’s HER goal. It’s something that gets her up in the morning and makes her work just that little bit (or a lot) harder towards her objectives. I wish her nothing but good fortune on her journey toward masculine marsupialdom.
But what’s next for me? What’s going to get me out of bed in the morning?
I allowed myself a day of relaxation and celebration after the food tasting yesterday where I ate a little more (of GOOD THINGS) than usual, and put my feet up to watch the telly while it rained outside.
Few things are nicer. I enjoyed it – and also had a decadent snooze on the sofa.
Today though is a new day and two things happened this morning.
Firstly I made another hole in my long suffering belt – approximately an inch and a half further in than the last one. The dangly bit is now getting comically long, but I can’t bring myself to trim it.
Secondly I ironed and put on my freshly laundered and SMALLEST 7x shirt.
Maybe clothes sizes could be my new goal. I have many of them all in different patterns – but it’s a bit indistinct. Going by labels (in my experience) it’s usually the case that some things fit when they shouldn’t and other don’t when they should.
No. Not clothes.
Still mulling this over I filled my slow cooker with the ingredients for a beef stew (fail to prepare and you prepare to fail) and had some berries and the rest of the fat free fromage frais from the fishcakes yesterday (with cinnamon and stevia this time) for breakfast.
I then headed off to Leamington for a round trip walk and a coffee. I decided to try and come up with a new goal while I walked.
Today I’ve been a bit nervous about exercise. My calf has again been cramping and for some reason the tendon on the bottom of my foot also feels really stiff. I’ve been stretching it at every opportunity by putting my toes on a kerb and gently leaning toward the path. It’s helping a bit – but this seems to be a problem that’s not going away easily.
For the moment though I’m OK. I’m trying to be careful.
Hmmm – for this reason I think its a bad idea to make some form of exercise my goal.
I was still really pleased about my shirt though – so my aches and pains weren’t getting me down. I originally bought it for a Christmas party at work in December 2007.
Vertical stripes are universally known to be slimming (although they have their work cut out in my case) so I’m super happy I can wear it again. When I bought it years ago I remember being really chuffed as I tried it on in the shop and it fitted.
Beardless me was a little drunk in this photo – but he looks happy as well!
Initially I lost even more weight and put it in a suitcase, as I’d only worn it a few times. Then when I started to put all the bulk back on again I had a brief couple of months on the way back up in 2009 when it was useful once more, before it again ended up in my suitcase.
It now fits perfectly.
However – the world doesn’t always recognise your accomplishments in life.
I spontaneously decided to take a selfie at the bottom of Leamington while sitting on a bench – just to record the moment so I had something to look back on that was attached to a date.
It looked quite good. The sky had gone a little blue and I didn’t come across as a sweaty turnip.
However a nearby pigeon disagreed and a moment later I felt the bitter sting of his disapproval as he surveyed me from the tree above.
Even birds are critics it seems… He didn’t like my shirt at all. Hopefully he will end up in a (crustless syn free) pie.
I wandered over to the museum nearby (the toilets were a good place to remove the bird turd) and while I was there had a look at the pump room history exhibit, which was actually quite interesting. I wish the health spa was still in operation – they might have been able to help with my many aches and pains!
As I wandered around I noticed that the curators seem to have had a problem with tactile visitors. Touchy feely tourists appear to have been handling the historical items and the museum had seen fit to take special measures to ensure that anyone with an interest in intimate cavity irrigation didn’t stroke their exhibit.
I immediately put my strong desire to get hands on with this well worn site of Victorian personal cleansing to one side. With great personal fortitude I managed to resist the temptation to touch the douche slab.
As I walked home with a slowly drying outline of pigeon crap on my shoulder I realised that I still hadn’t answered my earlier question about what my next motivating goal would be.
I’m still undecided too. Ironically I didn’t meet my goal of defining a goal. I can hear the universe laughing.
However in the meantime I’ve made a start toward the next Slimming World certificate. Today I’ve walked six miles and eaten perfectly within my plan.
Internet – tonight I’m going to spend thinking about what I want and what will motivate me. Check back with me tomorrow and I may have an answer…
For now there’s a beef stew with my name on it and I’m not going to take any prisoners!
May the pigeons of fate view the shoulders of your afternoon and evening favourably.