After a few weeks where I seemed to be going nowhere fast with weight loss I decided on Saturday morning that enough was enough.
Slimming World ball or no ball in November I’ve come to the conclusion that at least for the time being I’m calling target and focusing on weight maintenance rather than trying to continually shed pounds.
I’ve therefore decided to re-set my target to 15 stone.
In some ways this feels like giving up – but in others it seems like I’m finally accepting that it’s not all about numbers on scales. As long as they don’t go up any more I think I’m happy with this weight.
Furthermore this decision reflects advice that I’ve been giving other people for quite a while (including reminding them that they should be their own best friends) but recently have utterly failed to take notice of it myself.
‘You look great at your current weight!’ I told a lady (very truthfully) at group the other day.
‘Previously I thought you lost a bit too much.’ I continued. ‘Don’t worry about clothes not quite fitting. They’re cheap as chips. Put the nice ones in storage, send the rest to charity and get a few more.’ I said.
At home, in the quiet of my bedroom, looking in a mirror it’s a different story though.
I think about myself in quite another way – and although there’s a man reflected back at me who is well over HALF the weight he used to be I frequently fail to love myself and what I see before me.
At 13.5 stone I had a lot more shirts (and jeans) that fitted me and they looked really nice.
But this was only part of the story.
I also had people remarking that I ‘looked a bit gaunt’ and that recently on some of my Instagram posts ‘I look better with some more weight’ on me.
It’s hard to take such well meaning feedback for what it’s clearly intended to be though.
Friends say ‘you look healthy’ but I hear ‘I notice you’ve put on some weight’.
The ladies at group told me this weekend they had planned to gang up on me after reading recent posts and get me to raise my target weight too!
Everyone seems to be in agreement but it’s hard to hear.
It’s not the way that they say it – because everyone that’s commented wants me to be happy and healthy – but years of hating myself for being a little bigger every time someone saw me after a few months (or a lot bigger after a couple of years) has led to some rather difficult mental hurdles to overcome if I gain even a modest amount of weight.
I’m trying to take it another way though – and this is partly why I’ve decided to stay where I am for the moment.
However setting a new target can only work if I take to heart the same advice that I’ve given to others and take my foot off the gas for a little bit.
I think I need to just enjoy the fact that I feel fit, I’m insanely active, I’m in a great relationship, I feel loved and that I have lots of good (and honest) friends.
That’s where I’m hanging my hat.
I still haven’t decided how often I will weigh in though. That’s the next mental battle…
So – what else have I been up to?
Well last week I was rather quiet mostly because I’ve had a fair bit on my mind – and it’s all been the kind of things that I don’t really feel are best discussed in public.
Nothing is wrong though – no one has a need to worry.
These thoughts didn’t stop me dropping in see Angie doing her thing at the National Slimming World golden bus tour – which is promoting SW as well as celebrating it’s FIFTY YEAR anniversary.
It finally hit Coventry city centre on Thursday last week and I felt duty bound to pop along – even if that visit was brief.
Although the PR people had formally invited me to several of these events in the Midlands I’d decided to not go along as their special guest and instead pass by and say hello.
I’ll be honest – I really don’t want the limelight at the moment, and it’s nice to just go along, wish people well and then go anonymously about my business (which in this case was going to the nearby indoor market for some cheap plums and then popping into IKEA).
The new man of the year (Ben) is a worthy successor – and he can enjoy his year without any fear of me treading on his toes.
There are many others who can step up and be fabulous at such events anyway. The crowds not only had a celebrity chef (I’ve no idea who it was) and an award winner or two that they could chat to without me boring them silly all day long.
Jodie Rigby-Mee was on the top deck (2017 ‘top target consultant’ award winner and all round fabulous lady) whilst Angie was downstairs with the crowds handing out flyers and goodie bags.
They both looked fabulous!
When I strolled away from the bus, the celebrity cooking demo and the seated crowds I was quite happy with my decision not to attend as a MOTY.
Although I’m insanely proud of all I’ve done to lose weight and change my life I really just want to be me from now on – and enjoy the life that I never thought it would be possible to have.
At the moment (whilst I’m simultaneously searching for work) that means I’m looking after the home – and taking a real pleasure in taking care of my other half.
She has a very demanding job – and since I have extra time on my hands currently it makes sense for me to do as much as I can to lighten the load.
I’ll be honest – there’s not a lot going on in the employment market (particularly as I’m trying to be a bit more picky this time around) – so to have the time to make the home a nice place to be is something of a bonus.
I think it’s fair to say that at heart I’m happiest when I have someone to look after and care about – and I’m making the absolute most of being able to prepare meals, wash up and launder while I have the free time to do so.
Doing it for myself (at times in my life when things were out of control) seemed utterly pointless – and the truth is as much as I genuinely love looking after the needs of another there is also a personal benefit to be had.
I’m far more likely to look after myself when I’m looking after someone else – and knowing I’ve made their day more pleasurable with a roast dinner or a pile of neatly folded laundry makes all the difference.
I’ve said many times to my partner in our time together that when I was on my own it was the ‘mundane things’ that I craved – and that I currently love about our life together.
It may sound rather boring to many – but the simple pleasure of making someone a cup of tea and then delivering it whilst planting a kiss on their head as they work is really all I’ve ever wanted.
It goes deeper than just being described as mundane however – because as with most things in life there are layers.
The first layer is that I care enough about that person to want to make them a cup of tea – and when I plant that kiss it reminds me how lucky I am to exist in a conflict free, reciprocally loving relationship.
When I make the dinner or turn on the washing machine I don’t do it because I have to.
I do it because I want to.
the second layer relates to my childhood view of relationships. These continually demonstrated to me that little else but endless conflict resulted in extended periods of time together – and my own initial (hamfisted) attempts to find love only seemed to underline this.
They were ultimately about often crippling compromise, disagreements, an inability to be understood, and a complex set of compromises and half truths that both parties lived with in order to remain together.
To me then the mundane is effectively life with all of the above baggage and negative expectations removed.
It’s a massive weight that’s just gone from my life and I’m unbelievably grateful for that.
A good friend said to me not so long ago that after her first significant relationship ended very badly she fought hard to not need anyone.
Being the the determined type she ultimately accomplished this – becoming independent both emotionally and financially – and then once she was randomly bumped into a man that she wanted.
‘I am not with xxxxx because I need to be with him’ she told me emphatically. ‘I’m with xxxxx because I want to be with him.’
I doubt she could have vocalised the contents of my mind better if she’d tried – because that’s exactly how I feel now.
Both myself and my partner have run our own lives independently of outside help for a long time. We’ve had our own places, our own careers and our own way of dealing with the world.
We chose to be with eachother and step away from being alone because we wanted to – and to do so with eachother instantly made our lives better.
It’s because of this that for the first time I can ask someone other than the man in the mirror what they think about me changing my target weight and get an honest answer borne out of nothing but compassion.
This person sees me for who I am, clothed and unclothed – and even laughs when I accidentally (or purposely) fart.
I can change her mood simply by saying ‘Boop’ as I gently poke her with an index finger and she can lift my spirits simply by doing her impression of ‘grumpy cat’.
I can’t cook enough meals or do enough laundry to her for that – because it’s the way I always wanted things to be but never thought that they could be.
You see – in reality I’ve not changed my target – I’ve changed my goal in life.
It’s now ceased to be simply about numbers and it’s become a need to be present in a meaningful way throughout someone else’s life – and vice versa.
Only by continually trying to be fit and healthy can either of us make that happen – and I owe it to myself and her to be the best version of myself that I can.
I try to do this every day. Some are better than others but overall this means being as fit and healthy as I can.
I accomplish this by swimming and walking as much as possible as well as cooking on plan meals and trying to avoid binge eating.
This means at the end of the day (no matter how much I’ve already done) I’m always up for walking around the park together.
There’s nothing better than talking about the day and spending quality time together doing active things that improve our lives.
It means finally living our lives the way that we always should have done.