Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Postponing Life But Asking Questions.

'While we are postponing, life speeds by.'
~ Seneca
How true. Every year I have been overweight I have promised myself I will do something about it and be slim before my next birthday comes round. I will live life as a slim person and enjoy wearing lovely clothes and at last feel really good about myself. Does that sound familiar?

Just WHEN does the urge become so strong that we put into place an eating plan, exercise more and stick faithfully to our goal to lose weight? WHAT triggers that urgency, that need, to really do something about our shape? Self-loathing or determination? I started this blog in March, with 80lbs to lose. With effort I could lose 50lbs a year. With stoic determination I could go flat out and lose the lot before next April comes around. Others have done it. I read blogs and I buy books...and all spur me on to become a better me.

Then the enthusiasm fades and I stay just where I am, bemoaning the fact that losing weight takes a mammoth effort and I don't really want to have to make that effort. I am my own worst enemy. I postpone, time and time again.

I am sure that the first step is the most difficult...but I postpone taking it, and life, as Seneca so wisely said, speeds by.

As you get older I think life goes by much faster. Yesterday I was 30 (or so it seems) today I am in my fifties. My youth has passed. I am in the autumn of my life. (To cheer myself up I kid myself that I am having a very long Indian summer.) I became chunky at 40, well rounded at 46, and piled on the weight even quicker when my Mum died in 2001. I also became ill with a variety of ailments, some of which required operations - three big abdominal operations in the last four years. So as a fat woman recovering and unable to move much I became even bigger. Now I am able to move about again without pain I am the biggest version of myself I have ever been.

How about you? Did you let the weight pile on until one day what you saw in the mirror repulsed you? That's not a good way to live is it - being repulsed by your own reflection? How many of us hate having a photograph taken? How many of us shudder when we see that picture later? How many of us won't get up to dance at gatherings because we feel self-conscious? How many of us wear clothes we think will hide our podgy frames? How many of us dread going to special occasions because we can't find anything decent to wear or anything that makes us look and feel good? How many of us feel uncomfortable meeting people we haven't seen for a while because we know they'll be shocked at just how big we have become? How many of us dread the summer because we have to shed our long-sleeved tops and show our flesh? How many of us won't wear swimming costumes or shorts because we daren't expose so much blubbery and ugly flesh? How many of us feel constantly miserable because we don't like our bodies? How many of us spend time every day berating ourselves for not being strong and giving in to food temptation? How many of us know - and feel guilty - that we have spent the day lazily, doing very little?

I can hold my hand up to all of those. Can you?

How many of us pretend fat is a feminist issue (or the male version of that!) and hang on to it as a mark of defiance? How many of us laugh through our tears because we have convinced ourselves we are lovely just as we are? How many of us feign uber-confidence because after all, we are more than just a number on the scales? How many of us have defiantly said "Take me just as I am!" in an effort to convince ourselves that our overweight bodies should NOT be judged? I have tried those 'self-love' approaches too...but it's a form of denial, especially when we are bright enough to know that our fat doesn't look good, doesn't feel good, brings us down, zaps our confidence and even more importantly, that being overweight is unhealthy.

So why the f*ck don't we do something about it? Here I am blogging and I am as big a culprit as anyone. I have postponed taking that first step - but why, when all I want most days is to be slimmer and fitter?

Anyone know the answer?

Why do I feel so hopeless when yet another day goes by and I have yielded to the temptation of ice cream, cakes, biscuits, puddings, savoury snacky things etc...when I promised myself faithfully that today would be the day when I didn't cave in and allow myself  food treats? Why do I see eating bad things as a reward and a way of being 'good to myself'?

I don't binge eat..and I am getting much, much better at cutting unhealthy things like pastry and chips out of my diet. I never buy anything wrapped in pastry, nor do I use fast food joints. I am rarely swayed to go in. I can pass them by with no difficulty. I can't remember when I last ate a McDonald's or visited the fish and chip shop. I don't particularly like chocolate (although I can eat it if it's there.) I don't eat cheese much either. The chocolate and cheese avoidance is a hangover from the days (all of my 20s, 30s and most of my 40s) when I suffered three day long excruciatingly painful migraines and had to lock myself away in the dark as I threw up. I no longer suffer from migraine (what a blessing!) but I don't go mad eating those foods either. All I need to do is to get it right at home and not buy things I don't really want to eat. More importantly I need to push myself to move more. I can sit and sit and sit. I could sit down for England. I could win gold medals if the Olympic games had a 'Sitting Down For The Longest Time' event.

I am contented, sitting at home. That is my problem. I have stopped doing housework like I used to - efficiently and regularly and I have let things slide. I tidy up and clean half-heartedly. I have better things to do - like sitting down and making no effort to do anything much. Bliss! I eat more than I should out of boredom and to punctuate the long periods of sitting down (mainly at my PC.) I go to the kitchen and the fridge. I stick bread in the toaster. I make tea. That is the sum total of my exercise unless you count going up the stairs occasionally and the odd mooch around the shops in town. I have no pressure to perform at all, which is WONDERFUL given my life has been mega-stressful for the most part. (I won't bore you with the details just now, but believe me, I have cried enough tears over the years to cause global warming. It ain't the bloody ice-bergs melting that have caused sea-levels to rise. Oh no. It's been Fat Grump's tears.)

Anyway, I have written too much - again, so if you have read this far, thank you. I hope some of it made you think a little. I'll leave you with another gem from Seneca which is very appropriate. I need to take stock every single night of what I am doing with my life - the life which is passing me by. You too, eh?

"We should every night call ourselves to an account: What infirmity have I mastered today? What passions opposed? What temptation resisted? What virtue acquired? "


  1. Grumpy: I too am in my 50's and have experienced all of those things you mentioned and probably more. I started my new life plan in January, and what's different this time? Who the hell knows. I write down everything I eat and count the calories, trying to stay at or under 1,700. I have told every man, woman, and child that I know that I am on my new plan and now I blog about it where everyone can see it and help make me accountable. I had a sit-down with Husband and said the crap had to stay out of the house. And most of all, I have gathered girlfriends to walk on this rocky path with and I think they are the biggest contributors to making it different this time. Being skinny would be nice; but not nearly as nice as renewed health, being able to walk without pain, dance without embarrassment, buy cute clothes and all of the accoutrements that come with weight loss. Build up your army and you will go far. Jo

  2. Thanks Jo, and I am really pleased for you in succeeding 'to get started' this time. I hope your efforts since January have paid off. Like you, I want to be accountable so that's why I started this blog.

    As you can read, I still haven't got to grips with a proper weight-loss plan. I way-lay myself time and time again. I find resisting temptation hard. Today I am going to spend outside in the garden. The sun is shining and it promises to be a glorious day. I have plants to plant and lawns to mow but I am sort of dreading it. It's easier to sit still indoors, being self-indulgent all day, but I know I'll feel heaps better for fresh air and bending, stretching and a bit of graft. If I report tomorrow that I failed to do those things, please send someone over from the States to beat me up! Good luck to you and the girls. Hope you have another good week. I love your positivity.

  3. Grumpy: Check out our blog today, B has lost 69 pounds and looks fabulous. I am down 33, with tons to go. If we can do it, anyone can. Best of luck to you. Jo

  4. You asked "I have postponed taking that first step - but why, when all I want most days is to be slimmer and fitter? Anyone know the answer?"

    Nope, but it was the selfsame story for me, with too many tears over too many years. When I did do something it was inevitably a short-term approach so I then had all the self-recriminations when I failed yet another 'diet'. That made starting yet more weight loss attempts harder.

    Eventually the penny dropped that what I needed wasn't a 'diet' (can't stand that word) but to change my life. I was fast approaching 50 so that had a bit of an impact on reviewing my life! (grin)

    Funny thing is that this approach seems to have paid off. I started at 16 stone and am now under 10 stone - wanting to get down to just under nine and a half and stay there. But, and this is the big 'but', it's a job for life, not a short-term plan.

    Like Jo, a big motivator for me was improved health, mobility and relief from pain. That's happened (to a major extent). And a side benefit has also been the 'loss' of lifelong asthma. How fantastic is that, huh?

    You CAN do this, and you will bless yourself for doing it. Go for it gal!