I woke up this morning with some real surprise when I looked at my calendar. It’s the 26th of October – and time has been moving fast lately.
This week has been a little odd in terms of personal motivation. Saturday was a big day. The picture taken of me with a fridge freezer honestly will remain with me forever. It’s an absolutely huge event in my life – but like all such things it’s just a moment. While the picture will remain important I have to move on.
I’ve really only just begun my journey toward a ‘normal’ weight and have a long (and sometimes very daunting) way to go. Triumphalism leads to relaxation and I can’t do that. I need to remain focused. I have to regroup and find the motivation to continue moving forward and to push myself to the next milestone.
More importantly I have to obtain it.
I set quite a few goals in a post a while back. Most were whimsical – and when I wrote it I was having a lot of fun with the ideas and how ridiculous they seemed. The thought behind my post was that the more outlandish and bizarre they were the more enjoyment I’d have reaching them.
However – maybe I forgot something. They ALSO need to be real and understandable to me and have a frame of tangible reference in my own personal experience.
A fridge (I realised on Saturday when I stood next to it) was as tangible and every day as things get. We live with it day in and day out and understand the dimensions, weight and presence of this ubiquitous item. I think this is why so unexpectedly it meant so much to me.
The next goal I set after the fridge at 8 stone was Miley Cyrus. Apart from seeing her occasionally on TV I don’t have a similar understanding of her. I’ve never stood next to her and certainly not picked her up. She could be a cardboard cutout for all I know. She isn’t in my kitchen.
Miley’s not doing it for me at the moment. Neither are my other goals.
I need to rethink.
There are other things more personal to me that DO make an impact, but these are more difficult to work towards. I have clothing that slowly I’m beginning to be able to use again – but these items are not in themselves particularly significant to me because they’re very transient.
As soon as I begin to enjoy wearing a new shirt that I like it becomes something that I have to take to charity. I can’t form a bond with any of my clothes because of this. I’ve realised that such a situation makes them actually an irritating inconvenience rather than a badge of success.
More than anything else lately I am associating clothes with unwanted costs rather than winning. However – sometimes they can help me to look back to what has been for motivation instead of trying to imagine what will come in the future.
It was a very big day a few weeks back when I finally managed to get into an old coat again (JUST in time for the cold weather) and I can now report that both my warm leather jacket AND my lightweight raincoat fit me, meaning that I can continue walking in most conditions, although irritatingly I still can’t find my gloves.
I can find my warm hat though and it’s already come in useful. It seems that I’m feeling the cold a bit more without the winter benefits of 45kg of blubber.
I posted this picture (shortly after taking it yesterday) on Instagram and Facebook.
At the time I thought the point of the selfie was that it was amusing that I was chilly – and wearing both a coat and a hat. People who have known me for a long time will have seen me on many occasions standing outside in bitter temperatures (or even snow) in a short sleeved shirt and not feeling the chilly conditions at all.
However I realised yesterday evening that my eyes look different lately. They are glossy and white and there’s no darkness or patchiness around them like there used to be. The Xanthelasma (most often known as a cholesterol spot) which had developed by the tear duct under my right eyes is not visible any more.
The often used saying ‘that the eyes are the windows to the soul’ is probably true in my case, but they also provide a pretty good view of my lifestyle.
As you might expect I didn’t take many photos of my face when I was at my worst – but I occasionally took one when my eyes were sore (which was quite often). Although I still moisturise all the time I haven’t suffered with any majorly dry skin or eczema for a while.
I used to get it every time sunlight hit my face. My skin was generally poor and painful. The dryness and inflammation used to be particularly noticeable around the change of seasons and generally corresponded with a significant drop in temperature (which would usually be right about now).
I always thought sunlight was my skin’s biggest problem – and I know now that this was just self delusion. If you put crap in to something – you eventually get crap coming out of it. My skin and my eyes showed the consequences of my bad eating and drinking habits quicker than anything else.
Although this picture may not be a perfect direct comparison it’s an indicator (to me at least because I also remember the constant itching pain that came with it) of how far things have come in a relatively short space of time.
The 26th of October was so noticeable when I woke up because it is significant for another reason.
It’s nine months (273 days) now since I stopped drinking.
Although I would never preach to anyone about what they should do in life I will say that I doubt I would have had the same positive results with my diabetes, weight loss or fitness if I had not done this.
I’m aware though that to many I represent an extreme when it comes to alcohol consumption, and that this level of self abuse may be one that they find difficult to relate to. Many can easily self regulate such things, and I applaud those that do.
In contrast, other people (some of whom contacted me directly and in strict confidence after reading my blog) I know very much relate to my past behaviour, and still struggle in similar ways themselves at times.
In the months leading up to my mother’s death (and probably for quite a while before) I was consuming up to three bottles of wine a night. My average was probably about two and a half – but three was by no means unusual.
I drank white wine usually (but not exclusively – I used to drink cider before I got utterly sick of the volume I had to consume) and it was anywhere between the 11% and 14% abv levels in the diagram.
I estimate that a week of drinking for me would have been around 190-200 units.
I know that most will take the recommended weekly guidelines for men and women with a pinch of salt (we are after all a nation of binge drinkers in the UK) but I have never felt able to stick to what would officially be considered a healthy limit. With me it’s either do it to excess or don’t do it at all.
I came to realise nine months ago that after many many years of denial this means I shouldn’t do it at all.
The damage I was doing to my kidneys, heart and liver was no doubt bad enough – but all these extra calories meant that my diabetes was massively out of control. At one point (still unwilling to come to terms with what I had to do) I switched to vodka as a ‘healthy’ alternative.
This just meant drinking epic amounts of spirits with Diet Coke and feeling sleep deprived as well as being hung over.
The ‘syns’ that I later realised were associated with it when I joined Slimming World some three months after I became sober (I couldn’t do both at the same time) were almost MORE shocking though.
In group Angie told us some weeks ago that SW had revised up a 250ml glass of strong wine to 12 syns. Given therefore that you get around 36 syns in a 75cl bottle I was having 108 a night and 756 a week.
This is not even counting the unhealthy food that inevitably came with it.
For lots of people the reality behind drinking and the impact that it has on diets and fitness will be hard to accept. Some will never accept it, and some don’t need to because at their level of consumption it’s not a problem.
To me though it was.
After my fridge freezer post I feel that rather than preaching a message to others (I am not in the business of doing that) I am writing this down is for me – and it’s what I need to do to keep me going.
It will drive me more than a cardboard cutout of Miley Cyrus.
I’m now healthier, happier, fitter, stronger, sleep better, think more positively, walk further, am out of breath less, sweat less, worry less, talk more, open up more, meet new people all the time and am generally loving how getting better makes me feel.
At the moment THIS is the most important thing to me and my ongoing goal is that I get to have more of my life back every day.
For the moment at least I’m just thankful that I have more time to be with people that I care about and do things that I enjoy. THAT’s the reason to keep going and keep reminding myself of where I was only nine months ago.
Now if I could only find my gloves internet everything would be just peachy. My hands are really cold.