Saturday, 24 August 2013

What will you gain?

The past few days I've been musing about the things that I have gained whilst I've been losing weight. This was brought up in my meeting on Wednesday and my leader, Sue, asked me what a difference losing 2 and a half stone has meant to my life. (Yes, in case anyone didn't get the memo, I've lost 2.5 stone, 35 lbs, 15.8757 kg. 15 lbs till 50 lbs and nearly halfway to my wall...the dreaded 75 lbs...EEK) Anyway...I sat there for a moment ruminating on what she'd just ask me. I feel different, certainly, but how do I sum that up without making it sound like I was completely unhappy before? You see, I've realised that whilst I certainly CAN and AM happy as a bigger woman, it takes losing some weight to remember that this doesn't change the fact that I'm happier slimmer. This doesn't mean that I look in the mirror and hate myself but equally doesn't mean that I am content to simply 'stay' somewhere. And this is particularly important now that I've remembered this truth. I'm happy both ways, one simply brings more happiness than the other and that is fine. This is why I'm going to keep that number going down. 

After I sat there thinking, for what felt like minutes-in reality only seconds, I answered that I have more energy now and promptly left it at that. I didn't go into the fact that I feel proud to have achieved this much, that I'm over the moon that my boots (the devil shoes that once needed two people to put on) are now too large around my calfs or that I'm finally too small for my jeans (and when I say too small, I mean I'm only just NOT falling out of them). Nor did I go into the small, but incredibly important ways, in which my life has changed. I eat 'mindfully' now. I believe that the William Morris quote can be reworded to say 'never eat something that you do not know to be useful (healthy) or believe to be truly beautiful (yummy)'. If my food doesn't go in those two sections I don't eat it and even then I still stop and think about how much I want this over that. In short I've taken back the control of my choice. Ultimately, this is one of the things I love the most about the transformation so far. I've taken back control of an important part of my life. One that can only be very slightly impacted by outside forces and others around me. What I put into and get out of my body are down to me, and I love that I now know what that means.

One of the guys in the meeting picked up on my singular 'more energy' comment and added how much more energy he has to 'DO' things and this is yet another important transformation. I exercise now. A lot. I'm active now. A lot. Most importantly, I've realised that I love to be active and do exercise. Do I still have a wobbly now and then when watching the same old nothing on the TV beckons me to put away my running shoes and plant my arse for the next 12 hours? Yes, but I almost never give in...Almost never, I AM human after all. But, some achievements in my physical activity:

I swim between 60 and 80 lengths in an hour
I began this journey running a kilometre in over 8 minutes, I now have a PB of 4:45
I can do pull ups
I can (and do) use a TRX system
I can hold a plank for well over a minute
I can row 1000m in 4:41 and 1500 in 7:36
I can benchpress 30 kg
I can squat 20 kg

Do I believe that I would be incapable of doing these things had I not lost the weight? No. Truth is I believe that had I had the motivation I would eventually have gotten where I am now and would still be making improvements week in, week out. What the weight loss has given me IS the motivation. And that is what I was SORELY lacking in. Every session I look for progress in something, even if it's just something 'feeling' better. The weight loss (and the pain of the first training session) made me want to be fitter and becoming fitter has made me strive for health. I think more about 'nourishing' my body with healthy and filling foods and the weight loss still comes as a happy reward for looking after my body.

In short, this IS the 'lifestyle change' that people are constantly talking about as a method of losing weight. Is it always easy, hell no (Jemma, I still hate the summit trainer...we're getting there, only slooooooowly) and sometimes I still do have the temptation to eat the entire world's allotment of cheese but then I think of how far I've come and all of the good habits I'm embracing, creating pathways in my brain which make it easier and easier to continue thee habits in the future. The clearest sign that I've made serious physical and mental changes came around my birthday. The menu, was the single healthiest party menu I've ever planned and when I went overboard with the sweet stuff associated with birthdays -cake, sweeties etc. I paid the price the next day. I felt sick as a reminder that my body has changed and rather than feeling annoyed or upset that I'd 'done this' to my body, I was glad to know that my body has been altered enough for this to be noticeable where before it would barely have been a blip on my radar. It can hurt now, but I'm creating a healthier future with every decision I make today.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Return of the...something or other.

Dear readers,

I would like to start this blog post with an apology. My brother Jeffrey brought to my attention the fact that I had not written a new blog post in nearly a month. A month...has it really been that long?! Well, after signing in this evening I saw that I have, indeed, not posted anything since the 22nd of July. This is not exactly the continued blog progress I had hoped to see. The truth is, I've simply had writer's block. I have not fallen off this mysterious bandwagon that people like to mention and have, in fact, continued to lose weight am past my 10% and am no longer within the 300lb bracket. YAY. I suppose, in my own special way, I didn't want to write about those things because they're just not necessarily that interesting. How quickly everyone would turn off if every post was 'today, I lost two pounds and exercised till I vomited' would make my head spin. I want to inspire people, motivate people and entertain people and so I don't really like just giving a blow by blow account of what did or didn't happen in a particular week. But finally, yesterday, a topic of genuine interest (that I know a fair bit about myself) came up.

What do you do when you just don't want to go on any more?
Now, this is not some melodramatic throwing of the arm above the head to say 'I simply can't go on' this is a very real issue, that happens to many people with many of the challenges in their life. You'll hit the wall, and it really isn't as simple as going 'Ok, wall down let's keep going'. When you hit a weight loss plateau or you simply get out of a rhythm with yourself, it can be incredibly difficult to keep going. You can start making excuses that 'next week' I'll be good or, if you're me in 2009, somehow manage to completely miss the fact that you've gained nearly 4 stone in 8 months. My best friend Sarah and I have had a few conversations about this. She wished that she had somehow managed to motivate me or give me the kick up the arse that I sorely needed but it simply isn't that way. Had I realised that I'd been undoing the good work of the last year and 2 months that probably would have been enough, but when you lose your motivation, are resentful to the plan or simply stop caring; all of the gentle prodding and motivational speeches in the world are not going to get it back.

So what do you do when someone wants to throw in the towel? I have no idea. It's not your job to motivate someone and when they get in that thunk THEY have to claw themselves out of it. And this, can be devastating to watch. I imagine it must have been borderline painful for my family and friends to see the girl who had worked so hard for over a year to lose 75lbs just stop trying. To see the things that this new lifestyle had brought me slip away into non existence as my apathy to my weight increased day by day. With every pound I gained back, I lost a little of the person I had started to become and it wasn't until months later that I clambered back on that scale and saw the damage. That, I remember vaguely, was a less than comfortable feeling. Seeing that old weight on the screen apparently caused a mass exodus of all of the healthy skills I'd developed and I went into a cycle of not eating, eating only fruit and then binge eating in one form or another. Gone was the exercise and, despite the fact that I am a generally happy person, for that brief period; gone was my self respect. I managed to recover it at the LighterLife meeting where I was told that I 'couldn't possibly be happy' but for that couple of weeks I was so disheartened and unhappy about what I'd allowed to happen that I lost my confidence. It was months before I was brave enough to start a weight loss plan again (online-I couldn't face my old leader Natasha) and, with my heart no longer fully in it, I failed.

You see, it really isn't as simple as going 'oh dear, bad slip-I'll go back to my meeting this week' it can be a total and utter debilitating blow to your pride and sense of self. I never want to get back to that point. This is why, as I've said before, simply pushing myself into meetings every week is of the utmost importance. Did I gain a pound this week after my birthday...yes, do I care. Slightly. Will that stop me from maintaining my positive mental attitude, starting again fresh and seeing what happens this meeting. No. I, for one, am tired of starting again. And the only way that I can prevent that is to STOP QUITTING.

To finish, I'll end with my two new mantras.

'If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.' Weight loss IS a challenge, it is not easy and no one (or I hope no one reading this at least!) believes it to be as simple as a couple of mathematical equations. But change does not come over night. Nor should it. This is a process of progression and change on every level of my being. This is not just a change in my mass and no one should expect it to be so.

'NEVER give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway' -Earl Nightingale
I know this seems simple but I'd never thought of it this way. The time will pass, and does pass, regardless of what you choose to do with the time. I, for one, would rather be making the changes now rather than getting to the SAME point in time three years down the line and seeing no change.

And finally, an oldy but a goody.
'Never never never give up.'- Winston Churchill