The big black dogs have finally jumped onto the bed after a week of trailing at my heels. Today I feel smothered by them. Weighted down. Exhausted yet numb. It’s been about 4 months since the last hit. And I don’t really know the reason this time around. Exhaustion? Anxiety? Change of situation? I don’t know. Maybe right now I am trying to find an explanation for something that doesn’t need a reason to bound in and ruin things every so often? At least now I know that it won’t swallow me up. That it will pass. One day at a time for now. One for in front of the other and one small task as and when. But it bloody sucks. It’s crap. And I hate it. Hello depression, old foe. Did you get lonely up there in the loft?
I am one week away from a whole year of a weight loss journey. I am 2 pounds off the 3 stone mark.
This week I want to put some effort in. I want to be able to stand on those scales next week and cheer myself for losing 3 stone in 1 year.
Of course, goals and I don’t get on too well.
I am the expert in self sabotage. The professional when it comes to finding a hundred ways to not hit a goal. I have accepted that that is a part of me, not in some self defeatist way, but in a way that means I don’t often set myself goals and targets that I will then despise myself for not hitting. “A stone by Christmas” is the current goal that many are aiming for. And that is great for the goal oriented person. But for me. Not so much. I go into a panic, and assume failure before I have even started. But this week I have a goal. And it’s for a week. And a week is just 7 days! I can do 7 days! Because 3 stone has been a long time coming. It has felt stagnant at times. May was no fun, June followed in a blur, but come July I was ready to get back in the saddle and continue my weight loss journey. But it continued to be slow, mostly non existent.
Last week I decided I needed to have a break from writing on the various facebook weight loss groups. What would happen if instead of baring my soul to others about all my thoughts and feelings I internalized those things and worked through by myself?
Monday morning came and I awoke with the feeling of dissatisfaction. 2 days before Slimming World weigh in. I felt miffed. The plan was fine enough, but I didn’t feel motivated, and I was losing at a very, very, very slow pace. The slow rate would become all the more obvious every time I went to class and the leader would be chanting on about how we could get really big losses if we did x, y and z. As I thought more about it, the more I decided it really wasn’t working for me. But what I was NOT thinking was “Gods I’m so fat and useless and I can’t lose weight and I will always be fat because I have no will power, etc, etc”. The plan was not working for me. Not this time. And as is my mantra throughout these blog posts these days; THAT IS OK. It doesn’t make me a failure. It doesn’t mean things will never change.
So what did I want to do? I enjoy a class, I enjoy following a plan at the moment. And in my head I decided enough time had lapsed since the stress fracture and depression and horrors of May that maybe it was time to revisit Weight Watchers. My class leader is a lovely lovely woman, and I had missed seeing her on a Monday. I missed the support that she really does give 100% throughout the week. And I actually missed eating a bigger range of foods. OK pointing might be faffy to some. Measuring or counting might seem an added stress, but for most of the time I didn’t mind as I lost 2 and a half stone over time.
So I texted my old class leader to see if she was still running her old class, and was happy to hear a yes! When I went to the first class, it was a proper being welcomed back with open arms and a hug type feeling.
I continued the facebook weight loss talk silence. Occasionally I would read something, but continued to internalize most of my thoughts and feelings as the week went on. Was I happy with my decision? Was it sitting right? And I realised how utterly relaxed I felt about my choices! By accepting that I was unhappy with the progress I wasn’t making, and by making a change I was in control. But I was also in control of how I reacted to the messages coming from the Slimming World leader. I could have blamed myself for lack of willpower and so on, or I could accept that it wasn’t working for me at the moment and there was no need to blame anyone or anything. Because blame is exhausting, but it’s also pretty limiting as I see it. I have spent so many years blaming someone or something for my weight issues. My mother, my school peers, the media, the diets. And in all that time of laying blame, it has not empowered me to make the changes I want to make. By blaming those things, it took away my control. My mother did what she thought was best. I can’t go back and change things. My peers were probably shallow and idiotic, and it was easy to pick on the plump girl. Dwelling on what happened at school doesn’t help me move on in my life as it is now. The media sells what people are prepared to by. There will always be ignorant idiots who see body image as the be all and end all of life. I choose not to by tittle tattle magazines, and can ignore a lot of those messages now. There is far more uplifting material to pick up and enjoy. And as far as diet clubs go, I am now in a place where I value myself. Yes diet clubs want to part us from our money, and yes we can do it without diet clubs. But I can also choose to use a diet club in a way that supports me, knowing my self worth remains in tact whether I lost or gained on the scales. So while Weight Watchers works for me and supports me in my weight loss, I will enjoy it. It is what works now. And now is where I am trying to spend more of my time.
So anyway, a week away from diet talk on facebook, and what did I learn? Well, I guess that sometimes I need that silence so I can answer my own questions and worries. If I had not had the week off I might have carried on with SW for a bit longer, thinking that at least weight was coming off, and it does work. If I had not had that silence I may well have carried on bumbling along. So sometimes, I guess, we need that silence to hear our own thoughts, properly. Sometimes we need to not listen to other peoples’ opinions or thoughts, because it can cloud our judgement, however unaware we may actually be at the time!
Anyway, think it’s time for another before and during, because I still have some way to go, but I am getting there!
When I was getting married, I lost about 6 stone in a year. It was a hard, hard year, and I remember a lot of emotion, a lot of eating foods I really did not like, and hating myself every time I didn’t follow the diet plan I was on. I didn’t it the target I had been aiming for. But I got close. I look at the wedding photos and I like them. It was a happy day.
The next few years consisted of pregnancy and breastfeeding, and a diet plan didn’t really feature. The weight came off, because of habits I had established with Slimming World, eating mostly “green” each day, but I was busy and running around, and so food wasn’t a worry. It was only after my 3rd child, when that last stone of baby weight didn’t seem to shift after a year, that I got stressed and something snapped. I look back now and realise I was fine. But changing a way of eating, and living with depression. It was not a good combination. Suddenly I was losing and lost a lot quickly.
Of course, the deprivation hit me. I had not established good long term habits, I had been starving myself for the goal of loss on the scales. It wasn’t healthy. I passed out in a restaurant once as my blood sugar was so low. Ridiculous now I look back.
But that was 7 years ago, and 7 years has taught me a lot.
For instance, when I would lose a significant amount quickly, that significant amount would return equally quickly. I would lose and gain a stone, then gain the extra weight on top. My weight increased over those years. In spite of the hypnotherapy. In spite of the herbalife. In spite of the Slimfast. In spite of the juicing. Because they all, in some way, forced a way of limiting food and restricting what or how I should eat. And since discovering Intuitive Eating, the deprivation felt all the more keen. The deprivation felt harsher when I read there was an alternative way to live.
But 7 years has allowed me to experiment, and become more in tune with myself. I am finding a way of being able to lose weight with the help of the Slimming World plan, but I am doing it with far more kindness and acceptance than ever before. A significant loss on the scales means nothing if my week has been full of deprivation and annoyance and not eating something or drinking something I wanted. And so my syns will exceed the 15 a day at times, and I will look at ways of eating more healthsome foods at mealtimes to allow myself to benefit from those to perhaps compensate for the excess. But a loss that is slow is still a loss. And 11.5 months on from starting Weight Watchers, I am nearly 3 stone lighter. I have achieved and maintained a significant loss, while still enjoying food and drink and social occasions!
I have lost nearly 3 stone in the time it takes some people to lose 6 or even 8. But in losing slowly, I am coming to terms with how different my body shape is. I can accept and get used to the different curves and abilities and it is not a drastic shock. A size 20 to a size 16 is a significant loss and and there is a significant difference. A bigger bounce in my step, a desire to look my best at nearly all times, not feeling exhausted after every little thing. No hiding under big tent like dresses and play suits and kaftans. I wear items that emphasise a waist, and show off my more shapely legs. I enjoy my body now and I enjoy dressing it.
It may take me another year to lose the next 3 stone. And I am content with that. I may not be a size 14 this Christmas. Will Christmas be drastically affected if I don’t lose a single pound between now and Christmas? Will it affect how I cook a turkey, and whether I roast the spuds in goose fat? Not a chance!
But I have found a way of losing weight that fits in to my lifestyle, and it’s the slow path, but it’s a path that works for me. And it’s progress
I still have 3 odd stone to lose, at least in my head that’s my lose, distant, where I want to be, type goal. It’s certainly been a slow progress, and I’m not going to win any prizes for extreme weight loss (thank goodness!).
In the past I have lost a significant amount through some diet or other, and then something has snapped. I have rebelled. The weight has returned.
I don’t really know what is different this time. I feel more chilled, I guess. I don’t place all my happiness on a divine number on the scales. I don’t believe I’m worthless if I can’t stick to a plan for a day. Things happen, meals out, time with friends, I’m not wasting those moments wishing to eat or drink what those around me are eating or drinking. I don’t constantly listen to the messages belittling me and telling me I need to be thin to be beautiful/clever/accomplished. I listen more to my inner voice, and my reasons for weight loss are my own and no one else’s.
So I joined Slimming World a month ago, more to help me get back to eating slightly better than I was. I know I *know* the right foods, the importance of veg and so on, but sometimes it is easier using another persons hard work and compilation of stuff! I am a realist though, and I knew the summer holidays are not the easiest to scale. Days out, holidays, lazy evenings, intravenous wine when the kids drive me to the point of despair. School Holidays are a jungle! But I wanted to keep on top. I didn’t want to end the holidays half a stone heavier, and so joining Slimming World was a way for me to keep a bit of a check on myself. And it has worked in that I weigh the same I did when I started.
The dubious non dieter may look at this result and see FAILURE. They may think “What a waste of £20”. After all, you don’t need to spend money to find diet guides and weight loss information. The internet is loaded with stuff that might have helped. So why did I go? I guess, for me, I wanted some accountability. And I wanted company. To meet other people wanting similar goals. To chat and share ideas.
One could argue that I’ve spent £20 to lose absolutely nothing. And I would have argued a similar thing a couple of years ago. But then I thought about it. And I thought about the fact that £5 is the cost of a bottle of wine. I’m cutting down on the wine, so that’s the money already covered. And it’s a week. OK, over time it will add up, but there will be weeks where I might lose 3lbs. And then I thought about how much I’d spent this time around to lose 2.5 stone and feel a bit more relaxed and a little more confident than this time last year.
I started Weight Watchers in October. It was £20 a month, but some months I got an extension, so over the time I was a paying member I got a month free. So I paid out about £160 for the 9 months I was a member. In black and white it looks a lot, and I acknowledge that. And in that 9 months I lost 35 lbs. So, each lb cost me about £4:50. But over those months I had such lovely support. I had the loveliest consultant, funny, supportive. And the meetings were a joy. There wasn’t ridicule and criticism when a gain happened, there was a friend to ask what might help. The ultimate goal was weight loss, yes, but it wasn’t an all consuming stress. It wasn’t until my stress fracture in May, and my depression returning and my disordered eating rushing at me that everything went hay wire. And so I left Weight Watchers, and managed to maintain that loss as my depression faded away again, and I relearned to say nice things to myself!
I won’t lie. I started Slimming World four weeks ago in the hope that I might lose a bit over the summer holidays. But it didn’t happen. And that is ok. It’s ok because I read so any stories of people piling on weight as they lose control over the holidays. It’s ok, because I’ve managed to pass that stage of diet thinking. It’s ok because when I do overindulge I am learning the ways to bring myself back to a kinder way of eating, without criticism and ridicule. I don’t starve myself or live on soup to compensate. I tune in and go for the stuff that will make my body happy.
So I’m seeing this summer holiday as a huge success. There isn’t a miraculous weight loss where I will go into the playground and people will be stunned by the difference. There is, however, a happy woman, who is still 2.5 stone lighter a year on in her journey. And ready to see what the next year holds.