A psychological victory is sometimes way more important than a physical result. To feel that you’ve done something that you believed not so long ago couldn’t be achieved or crossed a threshold that previously seemed insurmountable is a moment to be savoured.
People who have known me for a long time will know that I often avoided competition. It’s not that I don’t like to win, but I have often found it difficult to deal with the emotional consequences of something that I perceived as failure. It’s impossible to fail if you don’t try though – right?
Because of this approach I’m so unaccustomed to ‘winning’ that it still feels really alien to me when I realise that I actually have.
Thanks to the twin miracles of blogging (absolutely everything that passes through my head) and my Slimming World book I know that when I last saw some of the people I’ve worked with for 16 years (emotional blog here) I had lost three and a half stone.
I’m really glad that by then I’d started taking photos – because I also know exactly what I was wearing and how I looked on that day.
I can now compare that to a photo taken last week. This wasn’t snapped by me – but candidly by someone else holding a camera pointing at me while I wasn’t posing. It was in Starbucks after a walk in the cold which is why I look all rosy and flushed.
There’s definitely a lot less of me.
Honestly I couldn’t be happier with how this makes me feel. I’m drawn more than anything to the changing shape of my face, and the re-emergence of features that havent been apparent in photos or my bathroom mirror since I was in my late teens and early 20’s.
For so many years I avoided people that I cared about endlessly because of the embarrassment of appearing larger than I was the last time that I saw them in person.
Given that I was capable of putting on a stone a month at times the difference that they were eventually faced with was often profound – and although everyone was always very polite and kind you can still tell where people’s eyes linger, and it makes you feel intensely vulnerable.
Ladies aren’t the only ones who have trouble with people unable to maintain eye contact. I also apparently had quite alluring cleavage…
So – the truth behind today is significant.
If I was the same man now that I was a year ago right about now I’d be making excuses about why I couldn’t go tonight to see people I care about.
But this, powered by nothing but my own determination is what the scales said today.
On the 19th of October when my ex-colleagues started organising a Christmas get together I privately told myself (and a few select others) that by the 10th December (the date of the meal) I would have lost a total of nine stone.
If I follow the small print of the mental bargain that I made with myself I didn’t quite make my target of nine stone, but I’m not stupid enough any more to let that bother me.
I’m one pound shy of having done it and by any measure this is a colossal psychological victory.
The number I chose was honestly a bit immaterial – It was just a figure I guesstimated that I was capable of based on my average weekly losses. I’m no longer in the business of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. This aspirational aim was more related to keeping myself on track and maintaining my average weight loss during a difficult period.
Anything that I can use as a driver for this is something that I grab with both hands, and in this I’ve been drawing inspiration from fellow dieters and bloggers. My Slimming World Facebook group is very keen lately on what they call ‘non scale victories’ and I thought it would be good to outline some of them here.
These (in no particular order) have happened since I last saw my friends.
- I was unable to sleep on my right side in bed back then. Now I can sleep on whichever side I choose and no longer wake up in a panic because I think I’m suffocating.
- Through my blog and people that I have connected or re-connected with on my journey so far I’ve added many people to the list of those that I would cause friends – and I would have to say I’m pretty certain many of them will become lifelong ones.
- From the end of July to now I have walked approximately 600 miles in my efforts to shed my weight.
- I’ve overcome Plantar Fasciitis, two torn calf muscles and shin splints caused by my weight and still persisted with my walking.
- I’ve more than halved my diabetic medication – and I’m working on trying to lower this even further. My hope for the future is that I can control my type 2 diabetes from diet and exercise alone. Currently I am not even on the ‘diabetic blood sugar range’ chart in my doctor’s office. I’m consequently 43% less likely to have an amputation or death related to my condition.
- I’ve dropped from the 7xl shirt and 60in waisted trousers I was wearing on that day to a 5xl and 54in (I started in April at 8XL and 65in)
- I can now fit into other people’s cars and taxis. I couldn’t in July.
- I had a bath for the first time in about 8 years – I simply didn’t fit in one before.
- I can now walk a mile in 19 minutes exactly. A lap of the park previously took me about 40 odd minutes and in July I’d only JUST become capable of doing two laps (here).
- At seven stone I had lost AN ENTIRE FRIDGE FREEZER.
- I’ve taken an absolutely epic amount of clothes to charity and have helped other people by doing so.
- I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for 318 days – and tonight I’m the designated driver.
There are other things too – some still too personal to put into words, that are both physical and emotional.
The point is that I’m going to go out tonight and I shall be walking into a room for a meal with people I love to bits (I’m having a chicken salad – I ordered it in preparation a month and half ago!) feeling confident and for the first time in years holding my head up high.
That, internet, is why today is a massive psychological victory.
Anyway – time to go. I have to iron my shirt and I’m going to do it dancing around the ironing board while listening to this track – because I feel frikkin epic!