A long chat with someone yesterday left me thinking about ‘the man I was’ vs ‘the man I am now’ vs ‘the man I am becoming’.
I’m very much in a transitional phase of my life – and as happy as I am with what I’ve achieved so far I don’t in any way see it as an end point. I’m often insanely worried that at some point my focus will lapse and i’ll get ‘comfortable’ again and take my foot off the gas.
So far I’ve resisted setting myself too many specific goals, mostly because the ones that were really important to me initially seemed so far away. That and I still have an ever present fear of failure.
For an hour or so I’ve been reading some of my old posts back to myself. I use everything I write now as a diary and a self teaching aid. Whilst I may not instantly see improvement and positives when I construct something and post it, often with time the ‘reality’ behind it becomes apparent and I’m granted insight into that most confusing of things.
Sometimes it’s not profound. Sometimes it’s just a nice moment where I can say ‘you’re doing ok Dave. You’ve got this. You can make it’. Tonight I’m having one of those nice moments – having just re-read this post which I wrote on August the 2nd when I was 31 stone exactly.
At the time this represented just over three and a half stone lost and I was ONLY JUST able to get into a shirt I’d bought for my best friend’s wedding. I took this photo walking just outside Leamington. I was only just getting used to taking selfies – something I’d always avoided.
It was a really lovely day and I felt very very proud.
I know from this post that at the time I could just about do two laps of the park and had to sit down twice during these. After doing so I required sleep. I had not at that time started to walk to Leamington under my own steam and I’d parked on that day not too far away from where the photo was taken which is close to the high street.
On that day I felt like I was making huge headway – and I was.
The shirt is a distant memory now. It finally went to charity many weeks ago and now someone else is hopefully enjoying its soft silky material. The goals that I talked about in that August 2nd post suddenly no longer seem so far away. Now it’s mid November and I realise that they are within touching distance.
I first posted the above picture as both a carrot and a stick for myself here on May 6th. I was exactly 34 stone on that day and the number on the slip on the right just about seemed possible. The number on the left representing the weight I used to be in mid 2008 was a fairy tale. It referred to some fictional character from the past – not me.
I would have to loose an entire person to get there.
I am now EXACTLY TWO STONE AWAY from this figure on the left. I currently sit at exactly 26 stone 5 pounds. If I can keep up my average weight loss of 3.5 pounds a week (or even slightly less) then sometime in January I will be the lowest weight I have been since 2008.
Honestly I need to take a moment with that in my head because it’s pretty insane.
The chat that was the catalyst for this post has reminded me of all the things I struggled with as a younger man. Things that in some cases until January the 26th 2016 I still felt unable to change many many years later. I discussed candidly my failings and past inflexibility both as half of a relationship and as a single man. They were legion.
In some respects this conversation sparked a sense of pride in how far I’ve moved forward.
However I also I sit now (in the early hours of the morning) with a sense of loss when I consider what could have been if I hadn’t been so closed off to change and unwilling to make the effort to begin becoming someone new.
I’m not going to lie. There’s still a part of me that’s intensely angry with myself that I didn’t find it within me to do this before January. It really irks me that even in the past when I thought I had turned a corner I still managed to sabotage myself and undo any progress I’d made.
I can’t change any of that now though. Whenever I recognise this self loathing surfacing I try as best I can to let it go. Sometimes I find it easy – sometimes it requires the help of friends.
Tonight I’m finding it from the perspective my posts provide.
Although fundamentally regrets are a negative feeling, if they have a positive dimension it’s that they serve to remind me why I must continue to be better. I choose to embrace regrets, and accept them. Since they don’t seem to be going away any time soon they can help to provide continued impetus and bolster my resolve for progression.
But they won’t control or consume me – because I’m winning. I’m actually winning. For the first time in so many years I feel like there really is hope for the future.
And what is hope to me? Hope (at this very moment in time) comes from regret with perspective.
I failed before primarily because I chose not to learn from my mistakes and instead to repeat them in the hope that this would somehow result in change. The probably over quoted definition of insanity (according to Albert Einstein – although it’s also been attributed to Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin) is precisely this.
I didn’t write down what I did wrong and confront it because I didn’t feel strong enough to face it. I couldn’t effect change because I wasn’t willing to make the effort that change required.
Now I am.
My goal therefore is that by the end of January 2017 I will be lighter than the man I was in May 2008 and lower than 24st 5lbs.
After that the next goal is 22st 12lbs – which will be the lightest I have been this millennium by half a pound. If I keep at it then I should get there by March or April 2017 – by which time I will have been attending Slimming World for around year.
Finally – I ended my writing session re-reading this post – written on the day I joined Slimming World (April 16th 2016). It seemed like I was about to climb the north face of the Eiger that day. I felt emotionally broken after the results of standing on the scales.
Not any more internet. I might have my wobbles (this last week has been one in some respects) but I can do this and I’m NOT going back. Only forward.