Something that’s surprised me lately is how I have begun to react to disappointment.
I could easily have been criticised in the past for using failure as an excuse to give up. I also actively shied away from competition of any kind because I knew how I felt when I lost. It left me feeling diminished somehow, and it almost never resulted in a will to do better. Instead it just confirmed my already negative feelings about my abilities and got stacked on the pile of other similar experiences labelled ‘evidence that Dave is not good enough’.
A few weeks ago I had a massive weight loss, which came as a huge surprise to me.
Don’t get me wrong – I worked for it. I mean I really really worked for it. I counted every calorie, exercised loads, ate way less than I normally did – and it all paid off in spades.
The thing that was slightly different about that week compared to others is that the Saturday before I’d put three pounds back on. It was a huge kick in the man globes at the time and I was angry with myself. Initially this began to turn into self recrimination – but then for some reason that suddenly morphed into determination.
My friend has a nickname for me. She has taken to calling me (amongst other whimsical things) a ‘determined f****r’.
It’s partially related to something she made me realise many months ago when I said to her in passing that I wasn’t an ambitious person. She poked me across the table and said ‘you’re talking crap – you’re the most ambitious person I know!’
I was more than a bit surprised.
She made me realise that evening in the pub (as she gently read me the riot act over a glass of diet coke) that ambition was not solely related to industry and that just because I didn’t want to be CEO of a fortune 500 company I was still driven in other ways.
‘I don’t know anyone else that has changed their life in the way that you have.’ She said.
‘That takes ambition. You’re AMBITIOUS!’
If you read yesterday’s post I was underwhelmed with my weight loss – despite my certificate and bothered by silly numbers in trousers. For a moment I took my eye off the prize and forgot to stand back at and look at the bigger picture.
That picture is rather lovely when viewed with a sense of perspective. I’ve lost eleven and a half stone. I don’t know anyone else in my private life or past that’s done that.
Not only have I done it once – I’ve done it twice (I lost 10st before putting it back on in 2008).
I know how to do it the wrong way and now (hopefully) I know how to do it the right way.
So – when I woke up this morning I was driven. I had a lot of plans for the day – and TOP of the list was fitting in as much exercise as I could. My Sunday morning alarm went off at 7am, and I was on my exercise bike by 7.30.
The weather was supposed to be crap today – so if my plans (walking with a friend at 10am) were derailed by rain I could at least say I’d done my bit.
By the time my friend arrived for our planned walk I’d also filled the slow cooker and was beginning to cook my lunches for the week at work. I had forgotten to buy ham slices for my mini quiches however – so (since it wasn’t yet raining and look quite nice) we decided to walk to Sainsburys two miles away and get a coffee at the same time as my ham.
After some brisk twalking there and back (along with plenty of caffeinated chatter in Starbucks) we bid each other goodbye and I carried on with my cooking – now armed with the right ingredients.
I chopped up a salad for work, ate four of the mini quiches that I’d made, boxed up the rest, and in the meantime cooked a chilli for tomorrow and the day after. I gave the slow cooker a good stir and then headed out for my next appointment.
The cinema was a mile and a half away – so I decided to go for it and see if I could beat my mile record. The last time I managed a 17.23 (my previous best) in the park on a flat surface with no roads to cross and no gradients. This was over busy roads and with hills – but what the hell. I’d give it a go.
I only managed to beat it – 17.14 and an average pace of 17.10!
This feeling of success was greatly enhanced when I was waiting outside the cinema (slightly early) for my brother and his wife to arrive.
As he rounded the corner and walked over the road I noticed he wasn’t he wasn’t paying any attention to me. I assumed he was having a bad day and was in a grim mood – until I saw a surprised look on his face as it lit up and I caught his eye.
‘I didn’t recognise you!’ he said.
As we went into the cinema and the lights went down I asked him ‘were you joking or did you really not recognise me?’
‘No – honestly! I looked right through you and didn’t recognise you!’ he said.
I was a bit stunned. My own brother no longer recognises my shape.
We watched the film (it was excellent – I highly recommend you go and see it), said our goodbyes and made our separate ways back home.
The weather had changed. It was getting cold. freezing in fact – and I was stuck waiting for the traffic to let me cross the road with a biting wind in my face.
As I stepped off the kerb I felt a spring in my gait and realised that despite having already walked a lot that I had more energy in the tank.
Despite being delayed I thought I’d go for it again and see if I could once more improve on my time. This time I’d walk as fast as I possibly could and only stop if things really started to hurt.
When Apple Watch tapped my wrist to tell me I’d done a mile I checked the time and nearly stopped dead on the spot. Despite waiting at the road to cross, despite walking up a hill afterwards, and despite the wind being against me I’d smashed it again!
I can now do a mile in 16 minutes and 33 seconds!!!
By the time I reached home I was in a supremely good mood. According to my stats today I’ve done 21,180 steps, walked 10.61 miles, burned 2080/4867 active/total calories and completed 150 minutes of cardio.
Now was the time to celebrate. With food. GOOD FOOD.
I opened the lid of the bubbling slow cooker.
Inside was a stew made with: chopped chicken breasts, a leek, a medium potato, half a swede, half a courgette, one large carrot, a carton of passata, a can of chopped tomatoes, three cloves of garlic, an inch and a half of finely chopped spanish chorizo, 3 bay leaves, a chicken stock cube, salt, ras el hanout seasoning and cinnamon.
It smelt and tasted divine.
I’ve just finished a bowl of it while I’ve been writing this.
Almost as soon as I arrived home the heavens opened and I can hear the rain hammering down outside my window. I’m warm from the exercise, full from the soup in my belly, supremely happy with my level of activity today, over the moon that my own brother didn’t recognise me.
I’m generally a bit high on life.
So – this is the way I mean to go on this week. I’m not going to think about how much exercise I can’t do – I’m going to think of ways that I CAN do it, because somehow, by hook or by crook I’m going to nail that 12 stone certificate, and I’m going to do it soon.
Do you know how I know that internet?
I know it because I’m a determined f****r, and I’m not going to take my eye off the prize this week, or the next, or the one after that. I’m going to own it and I’m going to nail it.