Someone asked me recently about obesity, compulsive eating behaviours and why some people fail at diets while others succeed.
I’ve been thinking about it a lot ever since – and as regular readers know it’s a topic that’s never far from my mind.
It seems that the prevailing wisom is that ‘diets don’t work‘ and that people who go on them will never remain thin for long. Biochemically and psychologically for one reason or another they get pulled back to where they were before.
I’ve been there more times than I can count. The fear that’s always in the back of my mind (associated with my previously limitless potential for perpetual returns to a state of yo-yo dieting) is a powerful motivator.
Since I often feel less than complimentary about my own progress (and litany of past failures) I try to remind myself that I’m only human and that it’s ok to falter from time to time a lot.
My Slimming World group leader is a strong believer in the power of personal forgiveness. She, and the founder of the company are big on the need to let go of self punishment and love yourself.
I’m in complete agreement.
At other times I’m a true believer in the power of self loathing and in the past I’ve used it to get a lot done in life. I’d say though that it’s not sustainable as a way to live – and is ultimately self destructive.
You can’t hate yourself endlessly and expect a good life.
The thing is though that we all have perspective warping dark moods – and some of us more than others.
Anyone that’s seen Pixar’s wonderful film ‘Inside Out’ though will probably agree that the good times are often classified as such because we see them in context of the bad ones that preceded them.
Both are a natural state of being and part of the complex makeup of our personalities and lives.
This week at times I’ve been in my ‘dark phase’. I’ve found myself standing in the valley rather than at the summit of my metaphorical hill and looking for the sunshine as the shadows have seemed to get longer.
These times pass though.
I don’t remain down long – but it’s what I do with them that’s different these days.
In the past I drank and ate. Now I walk – and as I do I drive any anger or worry toward my feet as nervous energy.
When I’m happy (which thankfully is my state 95% of the time) and I don’t need a bad mood to motivate me – it doesn’t matter, because all the exercise I’ve engaged in while the dark clouds have been in residence has made me lighter and fitter and I can capitalise on the good times.
This week I’ve been working towards a private little objective I’ve been quietly obsessing over. My mood at times has provided the fuel for this particular fire – and today, now that I’m standing on top of another metaphorical hill looking at the valley behind me I find myself feeling thankful that I’m not relentlessly happy all the time.
I’ve decided that I like my complexity and occasional mood swings. The trick (I’ve learned all too slowly in life) is understanding them and making them work to my advantage rather than to my detriment.
This week they’ve helped and today my weigh in went well. I lost another 4.5lbs and secured my 12.5 stone award.
When that day comes it’s going to have a sense of victory associated with it that I doubt I’m ever going to be able to put into words.
I want it so much I can taste it.
As part of this objective (and others I have in the background) I have moved up a gear with my exercise this month and it’s resulted in a significant increase in both the distance I’ve walked and the amount of aerobic/cardio exercise I’ve done.
All I have to do is be focused, remain positive and remember that pain is only a stage before pleasure. By the time the 15th April hits I want to be holding my 13 stone certificate in my hand.
I want to be able to say to anyone that asks me that in the year I decided to become a better man and live a healthier life that I lost 13 stone in 12 months and kept it off.
This leads me back to the start of this post.
When I’m asked about my ‘diet’ the only answer that I can give that I’m not on one.
Whether at that moment in time I believe it or not is immaterial. Each time I vocalise it the dream becomes a reality and I reinforce the belief that something that was once impossible is now my everyday life.
I’m doing it. I did it yesterday. I’m doing it now. I’ll do it tomorrow and the day after that.
This is my new normal now internet and I love every part of it, even if occasionally I may stand in a shadow while the clouds above me make way for blue skies.
The anticipation I occasionally endure only makes them appear that much more beautiful when they finally arrive.