This week I’ve been trying to keep my head down, stay focused and power through. I’ve needed to get my mind back in the game after my frankly epic gain on the scales last Saturday, and I don’t want to give any time to distractions that could potentially get me down or derail me.
I’ve seen a lot of the park this week too – sometimes in rather wonderful light…
I have good reason to be out and about a lot. I’m trying to steer clear of the scales currently.
Overall I definitely feel a little trimmer and lighter. From Monday onward I’ve also felt like a corner has been turned.
The psychology of weight loss is something that’s never far from my mind – and I’m always surprised at how easy it is to suddenly shift from a mindset where everything seems possible to one where each insignificant bump in the road appears to be an insurmountable obstacle.
I was discussing with a fellow slimmer during the week how (ridiculously) I’d begun to convince myself that I’d somehow lost the ability to lose weight altogether – and that my body (and maybe my mind) just wasn’t capable of it any more.
Oddly I’d concluded that this (totally illogical) thought process was unique to my brain – but it turned out she’d been thinking the exact same thing.
This frustrated me – because I should have known this.
I hate having to learn the same lessons twice.
When I first started writing about my weight loss experiences I felt completely broken and didn’t believe for one minute that anyone else would be quite as damaged as me. For years because of this I’d internalised almost everything that hurt and tried to hide my private shame about drinking and eating.
Then I began to share it via this blog and I realised that almost everyone that commented on my posts had similar kinds of issues.
They all varied slightly – but fundamentally I was struck by how flawed all of us were. It suddenly seemed to be the norm of the human condition rather than the exception.
This made me feel instantly closer to everyone and at the same time infinity less alone.
Suddenly our shared weaknesses made sense.
I began to notice that the same things that I’d been treating as unique personal burdens were present almost everywhere I looked and in everyone I met.
Almost overnight the weight of the problems I’d carried alone had diminished – and the the more I shared the lighter I became – both physically and emotionally.
Somewhere along the line however (probably because of my openness and honesty in this blog) I began to hear more and more of the ‘I word’.
I still don’t like it very much.
It’s really nice to know that I help people but honestly I don’t ever really feel like much of an inspiration. I just feel that I struggle as much as the next person (If not more thanks to my willingness to over analyse everything to within an inch of it’s life until I completely understand it).
I think I’ve realised though that this particular side effect of my success has been having a rather subtle and corrosive impact on me over time.
The more people looked to me for advice and guidance and used this word, the more (subconsciously) I came to feel that it was no longer OK to fail.
In contrast – when I was losing weight early on I was always learning.
I was continually trying to find ways to keep myself motivated and accomplish (what at one time I considered) the impossible.
If I screwed up then it didn’t matter because I was just one of many on the same path – and I just picked myself up, used it as fuel for the fire and carried on.
Then, in under two years I actually managed to accomplish the impossible.
Metaphorically speaking I found myself blinking in the sunlight as the clouds cleared. When everything came into focus I was standing on the top of a mountain that I’d been climbing all my life.
At the time in group I just cried.
I didn’t know what to do with that.
How do you process getting your life back – or grasp the enormity of the realisation that you’ve moved from what you considered to be a pathetic failure to a surprise success?
Mind bogglingly I ended up in the press, on the radio, was Slimming World’s third Greatest Loser of 2018 and even more unbelievably then became their Man of the Year.
At this point the avalanche of friend requests and queries about how I’d managed to do what I’d done on social media started. In the background pressure (that I heaped upon myself) started to build, and without realising it I’d started convincing myself that it was now my job to always portray an image of someone that had ‘cracked it’.
I was no longer allowed to fail.
(Author thinks for a moment)
It’s just hit me that the following has been slowly cementing in my subconscious thought processes since February.
- I must not fail.
- I must be in target every week.
- I can’t disappoint anyone.
- I can’t show weakness.
The list goes on – but you get the picture.
It’s really stupid.
I’m bound to fail here and there. I’m flipping human.
When it comes down to it life is complicated, and it brings with it emotional and sometimes physical pressures.
We all deal with them differently – and whilst I’m waaaaaaay better than I ever used to be I’m still not perfect.
Full disclosure time.
I stared fantasising about drinking alcohol about three weeks ago.
I really considered it on the way home one day.
It would have been so easy to disappear into one of the many pubs I pass on the way home.
No one would have even known. I could have hidden it and never told a soul.
But I’d have known.
Instead I took the brakes off for a while and ate myself silly.
Now the moment has passed and I’m STILL SOBER.
That is a MASSIVE VICTORY.
Yet all I saw was failure because I put weight on.
The reality is I put on half a stone and remained sober.
After almost 25 years of drinking – the last few (almost certainly) as a borderline if not full blown alcoholic I’ve now been without booze for 961 days.
It used to be highly unlikely that I’d last that amount of minutes in a day without having a drink.
My next major milestone in January is three years sober.
When you look at it like that it puts things into perspective.
A week or two on the scales a few pounds shy of an arbitrary target weight vs sobriety.
A life full of lucidity vs one of anaesthetised oblivion.
I’m not perfect and neither should I strive to be because it doesn’t exist.
We all just do the best we can.
Tomorrow I’m going in to group and I’m probably going to be a little lighter but still out of target.
In the meantime I can do this on my walk to work and arrive without breaking a sweat.
I can smash four miles in an hour.
I’m in control of the vast majority of my life and that’s enough.
It’s ok to fall and it’s ok to pick myself up, dust myself off and carry on.
I’m just trying to find my way like everyone else.