One of the side effects of doing what I’ve done with weight loss has been that I get a lot of people using the ‘I’ word when they refer to me.
It’s one of two words that have been ever present companions during my weight loss – the other beginning with ‘J’.
For different reasons I find that both cause me a certain level of discomfort depending on how I feel when I hear or write them.
‘Journey’ is my own cross to bear. The word pops up all that time when I’m writing and I have a love/hate relationship with it – often feeling like I’ve somehow been held hostage by its presence.
With the possible exception of ‘odyssey’ (which sounds somewhat grandiose) or voyage (too nautical) what do you use to describe the journey of self discovery that I’ve been on?
I’m continually frustrated by my linguistic inability to navigate around it – and now instead I’ve largely surrendered to its status as a hostage taker.
I’m even developing a level of Stockholm Syndrome and am beginning to grudgingly harbour an affinity for it.
Journey is inoffensive but irritating only because of my own idiosyncrasies.
On the other hand ‘Inspirational‘ is something I never really know what to do with.
In contrast this is a word that I have no control over and never use to describe myself – but that instead gets applied to me with increasing regularity.
There are worse things to happen of course – and to know that I inspire people is both invigorating and scary in almost equal measure.
The problem (if there is one) for me is that it seems to be applied to me at moments when I feel the weakest – and the absolute paradox of it is that I never feel particularly inspirational.
I just feel rather flawed.
It also had another dimension. When people say this to me I’m reminded that I now have a responsibility to present myself a certain way and to put across a positive message about how others can lose weight like I did.
If people are watching you and taking cues from what you’ve written then a negative and pessimistic view of life is something that (if you’re tempted to engage in this kind of thought process) is best navigated around.
I don’t shy away from genuine pain and problems – but I also don’t like to dwell on downbeat thoughts in public too much. Doing so helps no-one and ultimately it’s just maudlin naval gazing.
Eventually you just have to pick yourself up and move on after a mood has passed.
I don’t mind this self imposed requirement really – because on a slightly selfish level it keeps me focused on being the best version of me that I can be.
The only downside is that if you live, laugh and cry in public like I do with my social media presence (how on earth did this happen???) I can’t just go and hide in a corner when I feel I don’t want to do it any more.
If I try to then people come looking for me and ask me what’s wrong.
Their concern pulls me back from whatever metaphorical ledge I’ve been standing on and often allows me to see things from another perspective.
A while back I mentioned that I’d met someone online through Instagram.
He had recently been awarded his own Slimming World group’s biggest loser certificate and he too at times struggled with the weight brought to bear by the expectation of others. Being inspiring to the people that know you if you yourself are struggling is not always an easy space to inhabit.
This man has stuck in my mind because he seemed to be searching for an answer – and asked me ‘who inspires the inspirer?’
This has remained with me mostly because of the paradox of (to my mind) the only possible answer – which is ‘the inspired’.
The people themselves who look up to your achievements provide the impetus to carry on when you feel like you can’t.
Like a snake eating it’s tail the cycle becomes self perpetuating and after a while is almost like a chicken and an egg. It’s hard to imagine how one arrived without the other being there first.
Since I reached target I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me asking for help of one kind or another. Some want dietary advice and others want to know how to put lightning in a bottle – needing to understand how to find it within themselves to climb their own particular mountain.
I don’t think I can give anyone definitive answers in these respects. I can only give my own perspective (as flawed as it sometimes is) and hope that portions of it resonate with them and promote change.
It’s never been my policy to tell people how to live their lives because I know that 2 years ago if the man I am now had told the person I was then what to do then he wouldn’t have listened.
He’d probably have pretended he understood – but deep down he’d be resistant and unwilling to take on board the reality of what he would need to do.
He would need to change both mentally and physically in order to succeed and he didn’t feel like he was capable of that.
Then – out of the blue one day he was.
No-one could have been more surprised than him.
Seeing how far I’ve come people therefore naturally ask me for guidance and I feel a responsibility to respond.
When I do I genuinely want to help.
What’s really confusing is that often – despite wanting to know ‘the answer’, curiously many (not all) still don’t want to face reality and deal with the answer.
This is that what is essentially required is a complete change of perspective on many habits and beliefs that people have hidden behind (whether they realise it or not) often since they were children.
When they’ve managed that Herculean task (and realised that it will never be complete because they’re always learning about themselves) they’re faced with what comes next.
That’s continual and life long effort.
It’s a tough sell. Most want a quick answer and I don’t have one to give.
You’ve probably realised after reading my blog for a while that concise bullet points and bite sized chunks aren’t a Davey trope.
Many will not be required to lose the volume of weight that I did though – and they will be able to make little changes, lose a bit, gain a bit, lose a bit more – and carry on like this throughout their lives without ever letting the problem overwhelm them.
I’m not really speaking to them at the moment – they’ll do what they do regardless – and I’m happy for them.
If they can keep wine, kebabs and chocolate under control and still in their lives then I applaud them.
They already have things way more under control that I did.
I’m talking to the people whose lives have been detrimentally altered by habits or weight.
I’m talking to the ones who no longer feel in control.
As I write today I’m speaking to them – and because of this I’m briefly going episodic – because I’ve realised I can’t fit this into one post.
Over my next few updates I’ll be themed and looking at what I think made the difference.
Like OJ before me I’m going to examine how I did it in public (but without the implication of hypothesis).
This is self serving in some respects because I also at times need to remember myself and I’m still doing battle with my habits even as I type.
It’s never ending.
Last night I could have eaten a horse – but instead I stir fried an entire cabbage, a whole broccoli bush and a red onion with garlic to fill me up and stop my cravings.
So – if you fancy a slightly more in depths set of posts from me then you’re in luck.
Come back over the next few days Internet where I’ll be discussing amongst other things (in no particular order just as the mood takes me) the following.
- What was the catalyst – where did the spark come from?
- What did I have to realise about myself before I could move forward
- What did I discover along the way
- What I did right
- What I did wrong
- How I deal with failure
- How I feel now
I’m hoping that this will satisfy a lot of the questions that less forward people want to ask – but don’t.
I hope you come back – because (as ever) I’m going to be as absolutely honest as I possibly can be.