Finding my way

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’.

Inspirational. (link)

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 stupid.

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.

(Sigh)

Ok.

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.

Holy crap.

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.

Davey

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14 comments

  1. Davey, you are still an inspiration… (No pressure!) Because you are human!
    I didn’t have the amount to lose that you did, but I followed my target and reached it. Smashed it actually. That was two years ago, nearly. And as I logged my progress and thinking online, it became a motivator.
    Then I slipped.
    And my posts on weight loss or maintenance dried up..I felt like a fraud…
    But you know what?
    I’m happy.
    And I’m going to try again now to lose it the SW way, but sensibly, and not put pressure on myself.
    I won’t let a few slips affect me, but embrace them as being human, and continue on the right path. Every day is a new beginning.
    And congrats on your nearly 3 years sober!!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ritu xxx

      I know the feelings you describe only too well. Standing in front of a virtual and often real audience and feeling vulnerable is a hard thing to do.

      Sometimes it’s too much – and my words dry up because I too feel too much of a fraud and a failure to write anything.

      We’re not alone though. Our sharing of weakness makes it all surmountable.

      You can do it. We both can x

      Big hug 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Davey,
    I am happy you are sober. 🙂
    When reading this and former posts I came to think of something: There is a stage in the hero’s journey (Google) which is called ‘Return home’. When slaying a dragon it is important to go out and slay the dragon. And somehow we all have this image that ‘going out, slaying your dragon, being publicly made ‘The man of the year’ is great and fantastic. It is! But the flipside is that such highs are difficult to carry emotionally and energetically. I can only imagine that the happy chemicals ran wild inside of you and that always comes with a stage of depletion and a so called ‘blue Monday’. 🙂 I am guessing that is specially so for people like you and I who have and addictive personality/endorfine system. :-/
    Thank you for writing. 🙂
    Wishing you get some good mileage in your legs in a wonderful autumn before the rain comes. 🙂
    xx, Feeling

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The hero’s journey 🤔

      I’ve never thought of it all in those terms… probably because I don’t consider myself a hero – but I like the dragon metaphor because it’s quite apt.

      When the adrenaline fades you’re left with an odd vacuum. You used to fill it with alcohol or cigarettes or food. Then you stopped doing all that and filled it with exercise, certificates and stickers.

      I think I’m still shovelling and trying to fill it with something…

      Hmmm…
      🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think a lot of people realise with how much pressure the winning of a weight loss trophy or contest comes. I am glad that you realized that it is OK not to continuously put presure on yourself to be the perfect role-model. As I have said before, everyone who has ever even attempted a diet knows you cannot keep up the motivation 100% of the time. I am sure the scales will smile upon you today 🙂 You deserve it.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nobody every claimed it would always be easy, did they? Weight loss, weight maintenance, healthy habit maintenance… it’s all…. blummin tough. I can understand the pressure you might feel you’re under, having won your award, or having embarked upon such a rich and honest blog that is such an inspiration to people. But of all people – we fellow ‘losers’ understand only too well, that life delivers up good days and bad days, bright moods and dark moods, and nobody, but nobody is perfect. Just keep going, that’s all you have to do. And you’re not doing it for anyone else either – only for you. We’re all just hanging on to your coat-tails for the ride!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh boy, I’ve definitely struggled with ‘I’ word in the past. My group kept giving me Woman of the Year and Miss Slinky but I just wanted to hide under a rock and eat ice cream!

    But people aren’t inspirational because they have simply done amazing things.

    You inspired me to get out and see the world because you showed me in your blog how beautiful it is. You inspired me to go to back to group because you showed me how good it can be.

    It was nowt to do with ‘Davey has managed to be on plan for like, forever, so maybe I can make it through one day’. Although that is also true haha.

    What I’m trying to say is that it’s possible to inspire people without heaping a crap ton of pressure on yourself 🤗🤗🤗

    Liked by 2 people

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