When your day starts with spilling hot coffee all over your back and shoulder (a feat in itself when the coffee in question is your own) it’s difficult to tell whether it’s a portent of things to come or bad luck just helpfully getting itself out of the way before the good luck arrives.
I try and be positive – so I prefer to think that it’s far more likely to be the latter and so far the day isn’t disappointing me.
The morning didn’t start too badly though – and after some food shopping I headed to an earlier Slimming World group than usual.
The weather forecast suggests that at 6pm it’s going to start raining and that it’s not going to stop again for the rest of the weekend.
I wanted therefore to make the most of the clear skies while they lasted – which is why at 10.45 (when I’d normally be on the scales) I was already on a train to Birmingham.
Before I continue though I feel that I must be completely honest.
I’ve found the last two weeks probably the hardest yet with regard to staying on plan.
My worst comfort eating impulses have been triggered over the last two weeks since I last weighed in – and I’ve known for a few days that I’ve been out of target for the first time since I reached it in February.
Up until now I’ve not had a problem maintaining – and with some small exceptions it’s been a relatively natural thing to do.
I accidentally discovered ‘maintenance’ eating before I reached my goal weight and had to dial back my eating to push myself over the finish line before going back to what I felt was a comfortable norm.
I dropped a bit more weight in the same way just before the MOTY competition, established a new 14st target with Angie and then once again just carried on as normal.
It all seemed to be working perfectly until shortly after I came back from London I hit a (totally unrelated) mood dip.
Life things (as they always do) just happened and I felt sad.
Such events (in terms of my eating plan) hadn’t been too bad before – and I’d largely moved away from guilt.
However now if I comfort ate I suddenly felt that wasn’t just letting myself down I was letting down Slimming World, all of the other people that could have won instead of me, my friends, my group, everyone that knew me and anyone that’s picked up a newspaper article about me or commented on my blog.
Before anyone tries to re-educate me I know that feeling this way is complete nonsense and that I’m putting pressure on myself to be perfect when I don’t need to.
I don’t even have to weigh in any more than once every eight weeks as a target member rather than the weekly one I aim for.
I get it.
I totally do.
Logic doesn’t always work so well in such instances though…
Rationalising what’s going on seems next to impossible inside an unsettled mind – and when you’re struggling to smile and finding it hard to lift your head off the pillow NOTHING makes any sense.
You just feel like a failure.
The difference here is that more than ever before in my life I write and I talk about these things.
I do this both with my audience here and with close friends that know me and call me out on any instances where I’m talking nonsense.
So all week I’ve been standing on the scales in the evening and sending my friend a picture of the good or bad results (it’s been up and down) as I’ve tried to pull things back round.
As well as sending me unexpected presents she’s been talking me down from my emotional ledges (as I’ve occasionally done in the past for her) during this time – and rather than not wanting to be a burden I’ve just kept telling myself that this is what friends are for.
We share the good times and the bad.
No-one is an island – and we need friends and groups to be at our best.
When we can’t see what’s in front of us they help us sort truth from the lies that we tell ourselves in dark moments and order everything so that we can move forward.
Attending group this morning was an extension of this – and even though it wasn’t my usual timeslot the same kinds of friendly faces were evident as soon as I walked through the door.
I love going to group. It never fails to cheer me up.
The relief when I stood on the scales (in my mind at least) was like a waterfall washing over me because I was back to where I needed to be.
Once again I was bang on target.
(Author gets off the train and wanders around Birmingham looking at trainers before sitting down for a little while in the museum and art gallery to continue his blog and rest his feet)
So far the weather is holding steady and the sky is blue. It’s pleasantly cool with a nice breeze and I feel good.
I still haven’t made up my mind how to spend a JD Sports voucher that’s burning a hole in my pocket but I have some ideas…
I feel like I need a treat.
Something that makes me feel… silly and vibrant.
A big, ostentatious pair of trainers designed for someone much younger than myself seems to fit the bill.
I don’t want to overplay this – but my weigh in result wasn’t easy for me to accomplish – because I spent the vast majority of my week convinced that (for some reason unbeknownst to science) I’d completely lost the ability to lose weight.
It’s nuts I know – but when you get into a strange headspace you can tell yourself any number of things that are total bobbins.
You can look in the mirror – and although ALL of your clothes fit PERFECTLY a mean voice in the back of your mind still says ‘you’re putting it all back on.’
Why we all seem to have this capacity for self torture is totally beyond me – but it’s important for me to say to everyone that’s also struggling that they aren’t strange – and they’re not at all weird.
I know this because throughout the entirety of an interview about my recent success with a local newspaper earlier this week for the article in the image below (link) I felt exactly as I’ve described above.
I didn’t feel successful at all – but the headline later in the week ultimately suggested something totally different.
Unexpectedly I’m also in the Coventry Telegraph (link) too.
Negative thoughts aside I’m back on track – and this morning, having stepped on the scales and silenced my inner demons for a while I feel more positive.
I’m also currently looking at a neon cement mixer and the sheer absurdity of it just makes me smile.
I have no idea why this cheers me up – but I guess that’s the point of modern art.
It’s meant to provoke a feeling and then challenge you to examine and understand why – which is a pretty good thing to do when you need to change your point of view.
In an art gallery you never quite know what’s around the corner.
In one room there’s a gaudy neon post-modern juxtaposition and in the one next door you’re confronted with religious iconography.
In the room following that there’s a landscape.
I guess that it’s a good metaphor for how my week has been.
One minute I’ve felt overwhelmed and unable to cope – and then when I’ve consciously stepped outside of the thought process and moved elsewhere my mood has changed.
However it’s not happened by magic and it’s required hard work.
If anything my result on the scales is a reminder that nothing occurs by accident – and that things worth having (that are truly important) require you to develop new support structures and coping mechanisms.
Ideally once you have they will be capable of recognising (and reacting to) moments when you’re slipping.
If there’s a message underlying this entire post that I’d like every reader to take away it’s that it’s OK TO FAIL and that the first step if you do should always be ask for help.
Just keep swimming.