The sun is intermittently peeping out from behind clouds today and Warwick seems to be alive with people thanks to a cycle race going right through the centre of town.
It’s causing no small amount of pedestrian and traffic confusion and I’ve overheard a few surly pensioners already questioning the marshals as to why all of a sudden they cannot cross the road due to loads of barriers.
For my part I’m not particularly fussed if I’m re-routed because I’ve already managed to cram in my morning exercise.
I’m in no rush.
I was in the pool though.
I like to think I’m not a competitive person – and I’ve told myself this pretty much all my life – but I guess what I really meant was that I didn’t like to lose.
Now things have changed physically I find that my competitive side occasionally reads its head and pushes me to be a little more ‘spirited’ around others than I otherwise would.
If I’m in a swimming lane on my own I’m quite happy to amble along at my own pace – but if there’s someone nearby I find myself trying (if it’s vaguely possible) to match their pace and stamina.
There was a guy near me in the pool today – and (to my mind at least) he looked fitter than me when he got into the water.
I know that I have a distorted image of myself at times – and I’m aware that what I really mean is that he looked normal.
By this I mean that he didn’t have any loose skin, saggy bingo wings or appear as if he needed to lose anything more than a pound or two around his love handles.
I on the other hand have all of these – and when I see someone like this I can’t help but try and match or exceed their speed.
Today I initially matched and then exceeded his pace, and by my reckoning in the twenty minute period we were in the same lane I watched him stop for a breather three times and do six less lengths than me.
He got in after I did and I was still swimming continuous lengths when he got out.
I felt pretty chuffed – and my quicker than normal time for 1km above appears to reflect the extra effort I put in.
It’s all relative mind you – and a similarly minded young girl (who was around 12 years old and with with her dad in the next lane) absolutely SMASHED ME INTO THE GROUND with her times and completed two lengths for every one that I managed.
So – I take the rough with the smooth, but it’s great to know that there’s at least someone that I can beat at sporting things as opposed to no-one, which was the way that things used to be.
If I look back at why this state of mind exists I’m sure it relates to sports at school – which were anything but inclusive in my childhood.
I’m not necessarily in agreement with children getting participation medals just for being involved (life after all has winners and losers and I think it’s a good idea to get used to that early on) but when I was young I was last in every sport possible.
Cross country? Last
Swimming? Could barely swim
Football? Never picked for a team and always ended up in goal
Basketball? Couldn’t jump so always did the scoring
Badminton? Lost every game
Cricket? Could hit the ball but couldn’t do runs between the posts
Rounders? Couldn’t hit the ball and couldn’t run around the diamond.
The list went on and and on with the humiliations cumulatively stacking on top of one another over time until they no longer registered any more.
This all just led to me choosing to no longer take part – because if I wasn’t likely to win what was the point?
Sadly I think that this attitude eventually bled into other areas of my life, and although academically I was no slouch I began to not try very hard in other areas too. The sting of failing after trying to win or do well was just too great – and when I looked around me every role model I had in life appeared to have already given up too.
It’s refreshing therefore to discover that this element of my personality is still alive and well even if it hid from view until my mid 40’s.
I’m also not a bad loser it seems – and with the possibility that I might just prevail against others if I try hard enough I find that even if I don’t win I rather enjoy taking part.
If you’d told me that sport or exercise would do this to me 10 years ago then I’d have laughed you out of the room – but there we have it! It’s infected me.
There’s also another reason I’m in the zone today – because yesterday I ended up with a rather ‘off plan’ end to my Saturday.
It all started so well – but as with all of the best laid plans of mice and men it didn’t finish with me covered in glory.
Quite the opposite in fact.
The blame lies squarely at the feet of snack food – and me not being arsed with preparing meals.
I could kick myself – as it was a really hard fought loss yesterday on the scales and I really don’t want to screw it up this week.
I’m totally sick of yo-yo’ing back and forth around 15st and I want to get back to (at least) 14st 7lbs.
I’ll be perfectly frank though. I’m conflicted about this weight.
I don’t feel uncomfortable or unhealthy. I don’t have a problem moving, exercising, fitting into my clothes or anything like that.
My partner likes me just as I am and I’m (relatively) happy with how I look.
However a letter arrived in the post the other day asking me to confirm my attendance at the Slimming World ball in November.
I’m the outgoing man of the year and it’s my last official engagement.
I replied that I am definitely going and that this time around I’ll be bringing my partner.
I paused over the email and re-worded it to emphasise what I felt was the most important part.
I would like a double room for once. Not a twin.
It’s a nice thing to be able to say finally – because all of the other events (as nice as they’ve been) have remained entirely solo affairs with friends in tow.
As great as that is though the event itself comes with no small measure of accompanying stress – because I’m a stone heavier than I feel some of my suits, waistcoats and jackets will comfortably allow – and I really don’t want to look like a muffin or buy something brand new for the occasion.
My motivations are conflicted.
Do I want to personally be thinner?
Mmmmm maybe not so much.
Do I want to feel like a success rather than a failure at the ball?
Absolutely I do.
These conflicting feelings and levels of willingness to be something different to who I am now keep colliding in my head – and so far they’ve absolutely prevented me from getting into diet mode.
Maybe that’s not a bad thing though.
I am sick to death of feeling like I’m in a boom and bust cycle – and I just want to level out so that I eat and exercise at an acceptable level.
I don’t want to feel like I need to starve myself to get anywhere in life and I don’t want to feel like I have to walk or swim a million miles to make up for shitty behaviour.
Mind you – I know that I’m reassuringly just like everyone else at the moment – because if group yesterday was anything to go by I’m not alone in struggling to find my motivation again. I’m also not the only one that’s annoyingly out of their target range – and when Angie herself is struggling with exactly the same issues you know that there’s absolutely zero point in beating yourself up.
You just have to accept things for what they are and move right along.
If yesterday was a bad day so what? Today can be different and so can the day after if you want it to be.
I’ve seen people dealing with cripplingly difficult life events, and having to support everyone around them whilst still getting up each day with a smile on their face and trying.
When there are these kind of people around you’re reminded of what gaining a pound or two really means.
Not a lot really.
There are way more important things to beat yourself up about. Pick yourself up, move along and keep on trying to be better.
You never know – you might even find yourself feeling a little competitive.
It could happen internet!