Due to feeling a mild panic that’s developed regarding things I’ve been putting off and my impending loss of liberty I’ve been trying in earnest to de-clutter my home again over the last few days.
If I’m honest I normally tend to do this in bits and drabs here and there rather than in one massive sustained effort. This means that I usually never manage to finish the job – and today I have some excellent excuses to put it all temporarily to one side and go for a walk.
Firstly I’m blaming the frankly useless paper shredder that I’m trying to feed all my old bank statements into and secondly I’m looking at the well timed (it didn’t happen when I’d just started work – yay!) arrival of a head cold.
Normally I’d call this viral apocalypse flu – but at the risk of censure from my brutally hardened female friends who also seem to be ill (and somehow still juggling this on top of seeing to the needs of toddlers or teenagers) I’m downgrading the severity.
I’m hoping it’s not going to de-rail me on the scales this week – but I feel really sluggish and bloated at the moment, so what will happen is anyone’s guess.
I’m trying really hard to have lots of good food – but if I’m honest my appetite has been all over the place for two days.
I haven’t been eating much more than usual though thankfully – and despite rooting around the house and in and out of boxes whilst waiting in for parcels that never arrive I’ve still found time to fit in some exercise.
Yesterday I did around 40 mins of cardio – but today I’m already up to (a really begrudged) 69 and I’ve still got a few miles to do.
In the past if I was ill this probably wouldn’t be the case but I’m trying to develop a new normal. Although I didn’t really need motivation for this I accidentally found some anyway in a documentary on Channel 4 the other night – which made my blood run cold.
As always this will probably only be accessible to people in the U.K. – but it details what happened to lots of ‘slimmers of the year’. Many of them had dropped huge amounts of weight and ended up featuring in magazines and the media as proof that various diet plans worked.
These people managed to get to their goal weights – but then depressingly almost all of them put the vast majority of what they’d lost (in some cases with more on top) back on.
There were a number factors in their post success weight gains, but two stood out to me more than the rest.
- Many of them had become convinced that they ‘had done it’ and they could now eat ‘normally’. In most cases this simply meant a return to the foods that caused the issues originally.
- Many did little exercise either during the weight loss or afterwards.
For newer readers this isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve lost large amounts of weight before. Whilst this time is now the most I’ve ever lost in one go, in 2008 I lost around 10 stone before putting it all (and more besides) back on.
This is consequently a topic that’s never far from my mind.
However – I’m not going to succumb to a fear of inevitability because frankly if I do then I’ll just end up making it happen eventually.
There were some helpful pointers from the experts in the programme – but the one that struck me as the most profound and useful was that (amongst other things) all of the people who kept the weight off after reaching their target had two things in common. They maintained around an hour’s exercise per day and had a continued focus on health and fitness as the main driver of their lives.
There were also some slightly more downbeat suggestions that biology would screw most dieters over eventually as their bodies reacted to the loss of fat stores by ramping up the hormones that controlled hunger.
Simply put – it doesn’t get any easier. Your body is likely to ALWAYS want to overeat. That bit (if true) is somewhat depressing.
However – this time around I have motivation I didn’t before. I am lucky enough to be holding my diabetes at bay currently and it’s a huge factor in my motivation to exercise. Everywhere you look when trying to find advice about managing or avoiding diabetes there’s a ’30 mins per day’ figure for exercise that crops up all the time.
I never realised until recently that this is why my Apple Watch pushes me to do this exact amount on a daily basis – and nags me to fill my little rings.
If you do it EVERY DAY it improves your outcome. It’s not a magic bullet though – and I used the word ‘lucky’ above for a good reason.
A conversation I had with a friend (who has just become type one) reminded me starkly that when it comes to health an element of our success or failure is a genetic lottery.
Put simply – we can only do the absolute best we can and hope that it’s enough to turn the tide in our favour.
I suppose the reason I’m laser focused this time around is that my mindset (because of this) is that it’s not really about the weight alone any more.
In many respects (as strange as it sounds) diabetes was one of the best things to happen to me. It eventually helped me focus on what’s really important in life – despite it’s horrific potential consequences.
If I was just looking at numbers on scales without diabetes in the back of my head then I might have something to worry about when it comes to future failure – but I’m not doing that anymore.
I’m looking at numbers elsewhere.
Although I still want to drop pounds at Slimming World every Saturday I also need to focus hard on where this is all going.
I’m going to have a new job soon, and I feel somewhat conflicted about the fact that it’s once again sedentary and office based.
I like the type of work that I’ll be doing but I can’t for a moment let it make me blind again to what else my day needs to contain – and that’s a combination of healthy eating and continued activity.
If anything my current level of exercise needs to grow in intensity.
A different friend contacted me the other day to give his best wishes about my new job and also happened to mention that he now cycles to his job every day and loves it.
Another ex colleague separately texted me to say he has just bought a bike in a cycle to work scheme – whilst other people I know build activity into their days with gyms or park walks.
There’s ALWAYS a way.
A lifelong friend of mine proved this recently when she showed me her new home office desk – which frankly I think is flipping excellent. She’s rattled off ten thousand steps easily by the end of her working day.
This ‘must do attitude’ is filling my head at the moment – and thankfully it’s taking up more space than my cold occupies. I may be moving a bit slower than usual and feeling a bit crappier but I’m still moving and THAT’S THE WHOLE BATTLE.
So Internet – I’m going to be thinking over the coming days about food optimising and pre-preparation, as well as what I can do during my soon to be working day.
I will be considering batch cooking and freezing lunches, things I can do around an office, walks I can do in breaks and lunches, places where there are stairs or hills, locations I can park that are further away from the office – basically ANYTHING to keep the momentum going and ensure that this change is lifelong.
I want to see my future as a little mountain to climb every single day – not just a difficult but temporary road to a comfy sofa.
I’m not going backwards ever again.