It’s early on Saturday and I’ve had a lie in. I stayed in bed until 7.30 – which (to me at least) seems disgustingly decadent.
The first thing I noticed when I decided to scrape myself off the pillow was a text from a friend asking if I would like to go for a walk after our weigh in. It couldn’t have come at a better moment – otherwise I’d have gotten up and just be pacing around thinking about the scales.
Now instead I’m thinking about twalking – which is infinitely better.
I’m also looking at my Apple Watch. I don’t like how it looks in the morning. None of the rings are filled and I instantly start thinking that I need to get the cardio one sorted ASAP. Whatever happens on the scales in a couple of hours the weekend is for EXERCISE and I need to get focused.
Time to get on my bike for a quick hill climb programme before a shower – then off to weigh in.
Busy busy busy!
(author sweats on his torture simulator, washes, weighs, walks, eats and walks some more before returning to his keyboard)
When I arrived to the usual warm hello’s at group and stood on the scales I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’d lost 2.5lbs. I hadn’t however mentally noted quite what this meant until the eagle eyed weighing in girl smiled and pointed at the readout.
It said 22st 13lbs.
I’m now in another stone bracket.
I’ll be honest – this put a bit of a lump in my throat.
I’m not exactly where I was before – but I’ve come so far now that half a pound means almost nothing to me. The lightest weight I have recorded in recent memory (barring being a teen) was in 1999, just before the millenium. I was 22st 12.5lbs.
(Have a look at my weight loss history here (link) in a post from last August. The shirt and much of the man I talk about in that blog seem like a long way in the past now…)
After some chats and coffee the group got down to the main event – which was the ‘greatest loser award’. This was a chance for the three people in the group that had lost the most weight to talk about their personal motivations, progress – and what it had meant to them.
I find the two women that talked about themselves before me genuinely amazing, and it’s not because of the amount that they’ve lost (which is a lot!) but because of their mindset.
They keep chipping away at it week after week, come to group week after week, focus on their health week after week – and never take their eye off the prize. They and others like them keep me motivated and I love to see their faces when they’ve done well. Looking at their before and after pictures and stories about how their health has improved is really heartwarming.
When it came to my turn, honestly I didn’t really want to stand up and talk about myself – but purely because I had all my old clothes with me again (and this time my old belt too, which I put a new notch in this morning to show where it needs to be to hold up my current trousers) I stepped up out front with Angie (our SW consultant) and started to talk about my journey.
(photos used with permission – those I didn’t ask were edited out!)
I sometimes think that ‘journey’ is a little corny.
I use the word often and then almost immediately regret saying it for some reason – but today it seems apt. What I’m doing IS a journey – and although whilst I’m often moving physically I’m also travelling mentally and emotionally through a new landscape every day. While I do this I’m also learning (in public) to deal with the sometimes painful realisations, memories and thoughts that are associated with great change.
Although I feel comfortable discussing my weight loss with most people – sometimes when I do I tend to reveal a lot of myself. Though I’m never really guarded (truth and honesty are very important to me) sometimes this can lead to me suddenly feeling more than I expect to as I talk about what I’ve done, why I’ve done it and what has changed in my life.
Today was no different, and at times I felt my voice break as I talked.
As many readers know this all (sort of) started in earnest with the death of my mother last January, it continued with my decision to finally face up to the fact that I used alcohol as a crutch, to eventually stop drinking, progressed with my first step through the door at slimming world, and I’m still going.
The crazy thing is that as I talked to the group and detailed why I didn’t want to have gastric surgery, how I’d stopped taking diabetes medication, how I’d slowly (and painfully) increased my exercise levels over many months to where I am now and what motivated me I felt that people most wanted to understand how I had maintained the willpower.
I’ve mentioned before I can be determined – but having thought about it further today I’m not sure its just determination. I don’t think I could maintain willpower to be something that went against my nature for a year.
It just wouldn’t happen. The cracks would have already shown and widened as time went on. The wheels would have already fallen off the bus.
I do this because I can’t fail. I can’t go back to being the man I was before. His world was shrinking every day and his options were decreasing almost in front of his eyes. He was tired of life and he was dying.
He had given up, and if I’m brutally and painfully honest he actually had decided he wanted to die but didn’t truly realise the enormity of the choice he’d made. He just didn’t see another way out.
I don’t feel I need to be determined or retain unbreakable willpower. I don’t think I possess it honestly. What I do have is the willingness to be better than I was and to finally learn from my past mistakes. To move ever forward and not backwards.
It’s also nice to get stickers though, as well as hugs and appreciation for my efforts, and today was no different.
I talked about all of this and more with my friend as we walked after group today. We delved deep into eacother’s past and motivations – sharing both the good and the bad about the events that made us who we are now, and understanding a little more with each step about why we came to be standing on the same pair of scales and going to the same meetings every week.
People are frighteningly similar when you get talking to them. You can see echoes of yourself everywhere.
The beauty of realising this is that (with this newly discovered sense of common purpose and shared pasts) we can often find the sense of belonging and camaraderie that we need to keep moving forward.
We’re never alone. Not completely. We might choose to be momentarily apart from others, or convince ourselves for a while that no-one understands our pain – but it’s self delusion.
Someone does. Most people do in fact. We’re all so painfully alike and flawed that it sometimes amazes me that world peace doesn’t spontaneously break out every day.
Sometimes common purpose isn’t profound though. Sometimes you just want to walk with someone that you like, for nothing else other than to share time, to feel good and have a bite to eat, and that’s exactly what we did as we headed to the Newbold Comyn Arms.
Although this looks like naughty food this local pub owner’s daughter is a member of Slimming World and the food on the menu (or at least some of it) is SW friendly. You’re looking at a roasted butternut squash, wild mushroom and spinach lasagne with low fat cheese and coleslaw + side salad.
It was delicious!
Furthermore by the time we had walked from group to the pub and back we’d nailed seven miles and a there were a fair few calories burned. We’d both made a really positive start to the week!
So internet – thats my slightly emotional and reflective but absolutely joyful day. As with every Saturday since last April it has been spent with absolutely the best kind of people – who are trying to improve and live better, longer, healthier and happier lives for themselves, their family and friends.
On we go together! One day at a time.