I’m having one of those nights where my mind just refuses to switch off and after a few hours of restless sleep I’m left mulling over the events of my week and things on the horizon.
Whenever I’m like this my mind seems to be moving at a million miles an hour – and the thing that initially woke me up isn’t always the same one that ends up keeping me awake.
Although I neglected to mention it at the time an anniversary passed recently – and when it did I wasn’t sure quite how I felt about it, so I decided to let it pass quietly rather than bookending it with blog fanfare.
On the 16th of April it was the two year anniversary of the day that I joined Slimming World and first stepped on the scales to find out that I was 34st 8.5lbs (link).
The moment is indelibly etched in my memory and is unlikely to ever be dislodged by other things – but I’d be lying if i said that the feelings it provokes in the present day are exclusively to do with a sense of triumph or success.
In many respects the opposite is true – because in much the same way as it’s impossible to understand how nice daylight is without considering night – I can’t really think about who I am now without also remembering who I was then.
Feeling a flush of success in my case also sadly comes with a tangible sense of loss – and when I consider all that I’ve managed to achieve it’s often hard to forget that I also failed to do it for so long.
I could have done so much more with my life if I was driven to change much earlier.
It’s a largely negative thought process mind you and I’m absolutely 100% fully aware of the fact that the past is immutable – so why think about it at all?
The phrase that I commonly use to describe this mental loop (that so many people I know often also find themselves in) is ‘snatching defeat from the jaws of victory’ – because almost no good comes from it.
I feel like I should say absolutely no good comes from it – but if I did then I’d be lying. There’s a big part of me that allows this to happen because (rightly or wrongly) it’s of the opinion that this pain and regret is part and parcel of what enabled me to succeed.
There’s another phrase that fits with these thoughts quite nicely – which is ‘those unwilling to learn from history are doomed to repeat the failures of the past’.
Learning is one thing though. Punishing myself is another – and I try not to do this.
Maybe I’m wrong but I honestly think that it’s healthy to have these particular regrets continually in the back of my mind.
Maybe they keep me focused. Maybe I need them. Maybe without them I would be tempted to have a cigarette, open a bottle of wine and order a pizza. Maybe without these regrets I’d have neatly brushed under the carpet all of the memories associated with the pain and shame of my situation and I’d have re-enabled my ability to self destruct.
Maybe I need to hold onto this pain…
Or maybe this is fear talking and I should just let it all go – and in doing so trust that my coping mechanisms these days are radically different to what they used to be.
I suppose that this duality of thought is a reflection of who I feel I still am – because in some respects the behaviours that existed before in me – such as my capacity to over indulge and my willingness to use food for the wrong reasons are still there.
I keep them at bay with other obsessive (possibly also negative) parts of my personality for the most part and I’m hyper aware that essentially when I chose to change what I did in essence was re-purpose the worst parts of some compulsive behaviours to service me in positive ways.
Oddly I find that being addicted to something is very similar to NOT being addicted to it, because in the same way that I used the continually think about eating junk food now I continually think about eating healthy food.
‘Portion control’ in my case has never contained the word ‘control’.
To me they’ve always been just ‘portions’ – and I’m very aware that I still eat a LOT.
The wheels remain on my particular bus however because instead of thinking about intense junk food flavours all the time I’m obsessing about what kinds of wholesome and tasty things I can eat and therefore have almost completely deferred dealing with quantity as a problem.
This is (for me) where the ‘control’ lies.
If I can’t change one then I change the other and use the most stubborn, compulsive sides of my nature to hold things I don’t feel able to modify at bay.
I obsessively eat lots of good food and I also exercise a lot.
So – this is why it’s often easy (especially in the middle of the night) to convince myself that I haven’t really changed all that much.
I have though.
The expression on my face in the picture above says more about who I was than any words can hope to manage.
The truth is that whilst occasionally I’m filled with regret and sadness the rest of my life is filled with happiness – and maybe I can appreciate it all the more because I know what it’s like to live with it’s complete absence.
Two years has flown by internet and so much has changed for the better.
I can only imagine what will happen in the next two…