I started this blog a couple of years ago with a view that by writing down what I was doing, making it public and essentially making myself accountable, it would help me to reach my goals. What goals? Well the only goal that’s ever mattered to me, if i’m brutally honest, is to lose weight and get thinner. Not to be thin – i’ll never be thin – but just less fat. Years and years and years and a few more years have gone by since I first decided I wanted to be slimmer, and yet here I am, as big as i’ve ever been. “JFDI” is what many people will shout at the computer screen as they read this, and trust me, I’ve said that to myself maaaaaaany times. Yet here I am. I’ve never really shied away from anything in life that i’ve wanted to achieve, and i’ve given some things a go even when I knew I was liable to fail (see IM Regensburg attempt 2011!). The whole weight thing is such a mind-fuck though, and to those who have never struggled with weight, well this post might make you really angry, so feel free not to read it.
If it was as simple as eat less, move more, then I wouldn’t have started this blog. Though to be fair, even I thought that was all that was needed, and used to get really annoyed at myself for not just getting a grip and sorting it out. I still have moments like that, but more out of habit than anything else. Anyway, last year I got to the point where I felt like i’d let go of a lot of negative thought processes, and reached a place where I felt really happy with myself. While that’s still true, I can see now that there were a lot of little mindset changes that I still needed to make to get to where I am now. I decided last October to sign up with a nutritionist as a last-gasp attempt to sort myself out. I thought that if I’ve not managed to do it on my own, then I needed to ask for help. It was definitely one of the best decisions i’ve made. I’m not very good at asking for help, and for some stupid reason have always thought I needed to do things on my own, with no support. When you’re on your own for so long, it feel like admitting defeat to ask for help, as if you’re not good enough, and someone needs to come in and rescue you. Ironically, i’d be the first person to advise others to seek help, but of course taking one’s own advice is never quite so easy!
Anyway, my progress (weight-wise) since working with the nutritionist has been minimal (actually i’m heavier now!). This is SOLELY down to me. I’ve got a good plan, and funnily enough when I follow it, I feel better, sleep better, and my health improves, oh and weight goes down. When I don’t follow it, my weight goes up, health gets worse etc. etc. A couple of weeks ago, on a call with the nutritionist I had a total meltdown. Life was just getting to me. My lack of ability to JFDI, my constant lack of consistency, my fears (read total terror) that if I couldn’t get this to work my options were over and I was resigning myself to being fat and unhealthy for the rest of my life. These were the thoughts that were whirring round my head for days before the call, on top of just being generally a bit hacked off with life. I have a tendancy to let little things build up until I can’t take it anymore and I have a meltdown. Luckily they don’t last long, but wouldn’t it be good if I could stop doing this? Yes! I got a lot of support on that call, and it’s really turned things around for me. I’ve spent the last two weeks really looking at why I get to this place, and keep cycling back to it. Effectively I had been trying to do everything right all at once, which I couldn’t do, so as a result I did nothing. What that has taught me is just to chill the fuck out. Generally i’m pretty chilled about a lot of stuff, but i’ve always put soooo much pressure on myself to be this wonderwoman which I am NOT, and finally i’m giving myself permission not to be. What I need to do is take one thing at time, nail it, then add something else. I had this idea that I needed to plan a week ahead, but you know what? I can’t. I’ve tried, I hate doing it and it doesn’t work for me. So my goal was to prep food for brekkie and lunch a day ahead, because if they’re sorted then everything else will be easier to manage. So i’ve done that and it has helped a lot. Admitting I was struggling saved me. I have a real built-in habit of hiding stuff when it comes to food, so i made my MFP diary open for people to see – I was only hiding from myself. The thought of doing that actually terrified me, but hey, we all have our weird fears! I think for me it was borne out of years of negativity towards myself that became so habitual, I didn’t even realise it was abnormal, or infact that I even felt that way. I don’t feel like that at all now, but hadn’t recognised the habit I needed to kick.
The biggest win i’ve had is mindset. I’ve been quite stressed lately about a lot of things which I felt were not under my control. Instead I took each situation that was stressing me out and thought about where my control of the situation started and ended. If something is not under my control, and I can have no effect on the outcome, well i’ve stopped worrying about it. For things that are under my control, but maybe i’ve been attributing to others as a way of not dealing with stuff, well i’m taking responsibility for what I can control and either doing something about it or letting it go. All simple stuff really, but I think sometimes when things get on top of you it’s easy to get angry at others or absolve yourself of responsibilty as a way of not having to deal with things. I think that also drives a culture of expectation, where we expect people to do what we want them to, even when they’ve no reason to do what we want. Even just going through that though process has left me feeling like a weight is off my shoulders. It’s helped in other unexpected ways too. I gave blood this week and in the past year doing so has left me stressed to the hilt, crying and angry and basically a huge mess. It’s something I hated doing but felt I needed to, and I was really making a bloody meal of it. Anyway, I just told myself to stop stressing, and it was fine, despite the fact it took an age because they couldn’t find a vein and I needed an extra iron test. I’m just glad i’ve gotten past the crazy fears I had so I can do it without stressing. That said i’ve been wiped out all week since, and it’s buggered up my training somewhat, but i’m feeling better tonight so will smash the training this weekend.
So now I can look forward with a bit more perspective: I am in complete control of what I do, and if I want to succeed, I’m the only one that can make that happen. I’ve asked for help, i’m getting it, but i need to action it. I’m happy with that. I don’t need to do everything right all at once. It’s taken 40 years to get to this point, and while I want change NOW, I can take it one step at a time and make actual progress, even if it takes longer to get to where I want to be. I’m also happy that I can let go of the stuff I don’t control. It’s amazing how much time we can waste worrying about what others do when we can’t do a thing about it. I think we all do that to an extent, but maybe it’s time we all just started looking after ourselves first. As they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Here’s to a happy weekend. Make it a good one 🙂