Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Who Is Racing Or Competing? I Am OK With 'Eventually'.

Morning all....or good morning Fat Grump (depending on who is reading.) A thoughtful comment left on my blog yesterday made me think. Do you feel a sense of failure if you don't lose weight consistently and regularly? Do you feel pressure to lose weight? Are you secretly 'competing' against others in this weight-loss attempt? Do you feel it's imperative that you lose weight every single week and are you secretly jealous of those who seem to do it effortlessly and regularly? Does it strike you that some 'slimmers' have become a little OCD or fanatical about their new life plan?

By my own admission, I am  slow-starter, and not the most disciplined woman in the world. I am 'the horrible warning'. (See earlier post.) I am sort of smiling my way to being a smaller me..and not really chiding myself when I slip up. Look at my record. I started this blog in late March and here we are in June with only nine pounds lost. I put back all the weight I'd lost (7lbs) when I went on holiday. Ye Gods! Crap or what? So I had to begin again. I am a bit of a snail on this weight-loss path...creeping along slowly, admitting to failures, but still, in my mind, remaining a woman who will lose weight and tone up.

It's WONDERFUL to see the scales bring up a lower number when we stand on them. I get that buzz too (sometimes...) but this weight-loss malarkey isn't going me. I think this is why I rebel against conventional wisdom. I have had so many friends and colleagues over the years become completely obsessed diet bores whilst they have been 'slimming'. Their moods seem controlled by whatever the scales show them and their days are built around the food they intend to eat. OK, so planning and preparing is GOOD and necessary (I am learning this) I'd say but an obsession with going to the gym and eating to plan, and shunning all the foods you used to love is almost as wierd as remaining on the sofa all day and eating and eating. WHY do people do a complete 360 degrees and flip? Most do, don't they?

I am not criticising because there are some fantastic weight-loss stories out there and big losers who have inspired me, but do you have to be fanatical to get results? Does losing weight become a raison d'etre for some people...a justification for their existence almost? 'I am on a diet' might as well be tattooed on their foreheads...because that is what they have become, a dieting person. You all know somebody like this, I am sure. I have a friend who has joined a slimming club, and honestly, all her chat these days is about how she hates a certain flabby body part, how she won't go into certain coffee shops any more because they serve a delicious coffee creation with cream, how she is scouring the supermarkets to find the best prices for Lean Cuisine, how many ounces she has lost, how she refuses to eat potatoes any more and how many fuckin' reps she can do at the gym. losing weight has become her passion, but excuse me if I've started to shun her company. She'd become fanatical about her new life plan. Enthusiasm and reality I can bear, but fanaticism? Nope.

The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism.

John C. Calhoun

I too was once a 'dieting person' and my life revolved around what I could and couldn't eat..and how cross I'd become because I had to wait at the gym before I could use my favourite rowing machine. I gave up all the foods I used to love. Eventually, I lost the plot. That way of living just wasn't natural or healthy. I'd changed, but I couldn't sustain that change, that way of being and that level of emotion and motivation. Is this why people fail in their weight-loss attempts? Does the diet and exercise become all-consuming?

Given so many of us are blogging about our days and our weight we know that this new, healthier way of life is very important to us. It's important to me...but this time my journey is different. Earlier, the blogging was causing me turmoil, because I just couldn't get going or sign up to 'all or nothing'. Was I weird because I didn't go about losing weight like a bull at a gate? Other people were strongly disciplined and expecting to lose weight. My attempts involved an element of 'perhaps' as far as weight-loss was concerned, even though my life was changing slightly but surely for the better. My blogging really did make me think about my approach, and yes, I did feel like I was chickening out of being accountable somehow, mainly because all around me seemed so focused, disciplined and strict with themselves. They just stopped being tempted by certain foods. Had somebody hypnotised them I wondered?

I began to realise that in the world of weight-loss, one size does not fit all. (Mind you, don't you hate those one-sized garments? 'One size' never fits a fat person! 'Trades Description Act', I thought.) I digress. I realised it was my way, or no way. I just cannot cope with what a 'diet' does to me...and how it makes me change. No diet here...just a commitment to be mindful of the way I spend my time, the promise to myself that I'll move more, every single day, and an awareness of bringing mostly healthy foods back home and into the larder and the fridge when I shop. I have stopped buying doughnuts..I have stopped buying many foods that I ate regularly, but they are not off limits...they just don't figure in my days the way they used to.

Should I be at an occasion where the choice is a doughnut or a fresh cream cake...I'll have one or the other and enjoy it without feelings of guilt, without thinking I have 'cheated' or been 'naughty'. Hell's teeth! We are grown-ups! It isn't 'naughty' to eat a food which is fattening! It isn't wise to eat them all the time, and it may be wise to re-educate the taste-buds, but it isn't NAUGHTY or sinful to enjoy, in moderation, foods which might not feature in most popular diets, but taste good all the same. No going out of the room and sipping water for me. I might even train myself not to like doughnuts any more - worryingly, this is happening ;-) - but what I am shunning is the whole nasty slimming 'industry', the lifestyle, the guilt, the extortionate gym fees, the Lycra work-out clothes, the obsession, the counting, the thoughts and even to an extent, the scales.

If you are overweight and hate being overweight, take a look at your life and tweak it...that's my advice. Move more, because being even slightly more active makes us feel so much better. When we feel a little better about ourselves, we can think more clearly about what fuel we are giving our bodies. Make small changes. When all is said and done, we have to live, and living like a confused monk or nun with restrictions and daily penances isn't any way to live. Living as a fat, blobby person isn't a good idea either. Thinking that once the weight is shifted because of a strict regime is the end of all your efforts is patently wrong. Life has to change, gradually, slowly so that the changes incorporate the 'former' lifestyle and one which will bring health benefits. The people with the will of iron who can change everything and live with those changes long term are rare beings.

Don't look to me for weight-loss losses are slow and irregular, but they will be losses. Never again will I weigh 16 stones. Never. That is the only promise I have to make...My goal weight is 10 stones, so losing six stones may take some time.(Yes, I know some people can lose that amount in six months..) Doing it my way will  be slow, but life won't change drastically. I'll tweak parts, but amputate none of them. I do however like to think that I am the tortoise to my obsessed friend's hare. Slow and steady wins the race.


  1. I agree. I'm trying to get my whole life in shape—not just my body.

  2. I've lost 38 lbs over 3yrs the slow way. It's like an 80% healthy diet with portion control. No food is off limits. I gradually increased my exercise. I like cardio. I do mostly what I enjoy as far as exercise is concerned. I hate gyms,but like to exercise at home with dvds and such. I try to stay away from an all or nothing attitude. I'm 62 and not so grumpy anymore.

  3. Hi, and thanks for your comments Kathy and Anon. Even my kids have said to me "Mum - you shouldnt't eat that if you want to lose weight!" However, if I was bingeing or stuffing my face all day with bad foods of course I wouldn't lose weight. I am having the odd food treat - it's occasional and saves me all the "Oh I want it, I am craving it, let me distract myself" angst. That craving can be subdued, but it lingers and flares up from time to time. It's bound to, and I am not sure 'being strong' until we lose weight is the answer. The great thing is, because weight loss is my goal I am slowly retraining myself to enjoy substitues for the food things I like. A soft dried apricot..OK so it's sweet..has become my cake substitute. More about me needing cakes in today's post - but the only way I'll get down to ten stones is slowly making changes and making sure I move more. Good luck to you both - well done on the weight loss Anon - and oh, I am not sure I could do 'grumpy'really :) I have mellowed so much over the years. I tend to laugh at myself, but occasionally I do get angry, with things (like the whole diet 'industry') that are just plain wrong. I felt myself being suckered in - what mind games are played with us - and I know one or two people (like my fanatical slimming friend ) disapprove of my ATIM approach.