Thursday, 1 July 2010

Bugger! The Dark Side Rejected Me!

'The best laid plans of mice and men' and all that! I was all geared up to become a Weight Watcher this morning, but it didn't happen. I wasn't able to gain access to the Dark Side, which is held down at the local church hall, ironically. I arrived, bright, early and keen and entered the porch of the hall. There, beside the big, locked blue door was a notice - "Morning Meeting Cancelled. Members are reminded there will be a meeting here at 7.30pm. Thurs 1st July." I presume the meeting had been cancelled in advance and that other members knew about this, as there was no one about but me, and the man with his shears, attending to a grave in the church yard. It was all very peaceful. The sun shone, the birds twittered, the old weathered gravestones leaned at lazy angles and I was left wondering if my non-admittance was a sign that this wasn't a road I should take. Ah well. I'd had a walk up there and I'd have a walk back home. Exercise.

I have resisted joining organisations which 'show you the way' to lose weight. I know meetings offer encouragement and ideas and for some, that support is invaluable. It also helps people achieve weight loss, in that they are accountable and have to turn up every week, otherwise they waste their money. You really have to be keen to lose weight in earnest. I asked myself - is this where I differ from all those people who pay the fees and turn up at the church hall religiously, week after week? I want to lose weight, but I still imagine that there will be a magic bullet or a time when my whole life is dedicated to the project. It ain't going to happen unless I do the work and I focus on my goal. Now. Today. Every Day. Even my goals are rather vague. "I intend to be aware every day that I need to lose weight, that my BMI is very unhealthy and that I am doing this for me."

Hmmm. 'HOW am I doing it?' I asked myself. (These thoughts were in my head as I walked back down the long gravel drive from the church hall.)

A) Eat consciously, ensuring my diet is healthy and contains lots of fruit and veg.
B) Portion sizes have to be smaller - look at what you dish up for yourself and drink lots of glasses of cold water throughout the day to flush out my system and fill me up.
C) Cut down on bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and other carbs. Limit them, don't avoid them. Avoid too much stodge. Cakes are out, as are biscuits and ice cream. Sorry Grump. Have whole grain cereal for breakfast, and wholemeal bread in the house. (The kids have to eat, after all and both are allowed, in reasonable amounts.)
D) Try to ensure there are boiled eggs, cooked chicken, tinned fish, fresh fish, lean meats, nuts and cheese around for a protein boost. Hummus is my friend as is low fat cream cheese spread. Easy to snack on.
E) No more wine...or other alcohol. Only on special occasions. Cold, fizzy water is good.
F) Eat whenever I feel hungry. Try to recognise if it's real hunger or head hunger.
G) Ensure there are no foods in the house which I don't want in my 'diet'. No chocolate, cakes, puddings, crisps, or packets of potato snacks of any kind. Stock up on plain, low fat yogurt (which I love, with a drizzle of honey on it.)
H) Move your body..any way, any how, but avoid sitting still for long periods of time. (My downfall...)
I) Use the exercise bike now placed in front of the TV.
J) Use the home exercise equipment - the resistance bands, and portable rowing device first thing in the morning, before showering. If time doesn't allow, use it later, otherwise I have wasted my money.
K) Walk daily, even if it means walking just for the sake of it.
L) Dance when the mood takes me. Play music lots as a means to lifting the spirits and providing spontaneous bursts of jigging about. (Not a pretty sight...but needs must etc.)
M)If a craving won't go away, indulge it. Do not deny it and feel long-term frustration. Learn to love having just a taste of the food you crave. (Think I've cracked that one!)
N) No food is 'bad' or 'naughty'. If by chance I eat it, I am not to beat myself up to the extent that guilt makes me feel a failure. I carry on with this campaign no matter what happens. I carry on, starting anew, even if I have a bad moment, day or week.
O) When feelings are low, read something inspirational - a weight-loss blog or a piece on self-discipline.

As I thought about this I realised that giving foods numerical values, counting points, following a plan, having a daily limit and having to turn up to a meeting at the same time every week isn't really the way I intend to go forward. I have to try and turn my life around, forever, not just while I am paying fees and feel obliged to attend meetings where my weight can be recorded.

Now, if I have a week where I lose the way, and dislike myself for not focusing all the time, perhaps I will have to hand over some of my power to an organisation - something out there, like WW which will help me focus. The frustration of taking off a bit of weight only to put a bit back on or to merely maintain is demoralising. I have never been a particularly good personal task-master in that I refuse to get worked up about 'diets'. I am too laid back, perhaps not as disciplined in some areas as I could be. However, I am aware this is LIFE, my life...and if my life becomes TOO restricted by 'must do's then I rebel. I hate feeling trapped and obliged or compelled to behave in a certain way. It's a wierd little peccadillo of mine. I can do 'work', I can do 'good parent', I can do 'responsible family member', I can do 'sensible home owner', I can do 'meet commitments' and I can do 'dependable, responsible person'. No shirking at all in those respects. I lead a decent life and have no dreadful vices. I am an OK person.

Perhaps though I have to focus now on me a bit more? Perhaps all those other responsibilities have to run alongside the responsibility I have to take care of myself, so I can keep on being all those things above? I have to get a handle on this being important. This is something I MUST do...not something I may do, when I get my act together, someday.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said ~ 'Must is a hard nut to crack, but it has a sweet kernel.'

I count...and perhaps I have pushed responsibility for myself to a high shelf somewhere...out of the way, out of sight. I don't want the lady with the scales at Weight Watchers to be the one to tell me I am doing well - or not. That responsibility has to be mine.

If I am not up to this job, that church hall isn't going anywhere. Those 'free meeting' vouchers of mine are still in my bag. I may become a fully paid up member of the Dark Side, who knows?

All I know is, another week begins...I have some more personal victories to claim, no matter how small. I hope anyone out there reading feels the same way. We MUST do it, whether it's with WW, a recognised diet plan, with a friend, with a gym and a personal trainer, with a skipping rope or on our own, because being overweight affects so many areas of our lives. We can't keep putting it off, and deep down we know that. Find a way forward. All progress counts, even if that progress is slow. We may falter, we may despair but we have to keep going, rejoicing perhaps in small victories. It all adds up. We MUST do it for ourselves. There is no 'perhaps' about it.


  1. You and I have a lot of similar issues, though there are differences as well. Like you, I don't want to be totally hemmed in and my approach has allowed me to not be so. Of course, there are always trade-offs. You can eat all kinds of food (even highly caloric, tasty ones) in small portions or you can eat restricted types of food in larger portions. It's a choice, but I think that limiting portions overall tends to serve people who don't want to feel deprived better since they may resent the restriction and fall off the wagon (so to speak). Other personality types may do better with the "stuff yourself crazy with vegetables" method.

    Consistency and slow change have really been the key for me. It hasn't been about dramatic change, but slow, and absolutely constant application of small changes until I've whittled away at the habits which make me fat and slowly built the ones that are helping me get stronger and healthier. But some people can't be consistent if the changes are small and progress is relatively slow. They lose motivation.

    Good luck with working out your balance, and know that I'm pulling for you halfway around the world!

  2. Thanks SFG - your comments are really appreciated.

    You've made a really good point - it's the constant application which is key. It's amazing how a person can change deeply ingrained habits. I have slowly, slowly weaned myself off cakes and puddings for the most part. If I am honest certain types of cakes draw me to them, (The doughy jam doughnut or one with fresh cream or the flaky Danish pastry with pecans)but others have no appeal whatsoever. Cup cakes? Anything with icing or butter cream? Chocolate cakes? Muffins? Yuk to all of them. They don't entice me at all. I don't need or want a pudding after a meal either...I am not interested - there is no battle or feelings of being denied. I am slowly killing off my sweet tooth in many areas and that's only because I went without time and time again. It's the same with other foods. I am mainly eating healthy stuff and the more I do it the more I don't want to put junk of any sort into my body. I appreciate there will be weak moments, but I hope I don't turn to food for comfort or to while away the boredom. Deep down inside I think the balance is out of kilter because of my resistance to exercise. (I shall write someting about that today.) I have too many sedentary comfort zones - places where I am happiest and that is my major problem.

  3. I have joined WW fortyleven times!!! I hate it but it works if you follow the plan. I lost 30 on it one time and have gained that back + 30 more!! I know a ton of people that have lost a ton of weight on it. It is a great program.
    I love your blog...funny and inspiring! You speak to all of us who struggle with our weight. I am 4'11", over 50 and need to lose 65 lbs! Ughhh!

  4. Hello Fat Grump,

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and taking the time to post a thoughtful response.

    I admire your really taking the time to break down the process for yourself. Intense introspection doesn't work for everyone but for some (myself included), it's very helpful.

    I note what seem to be some contradictions in your plan, i.e. ridding your house of "out of control" foods and yet saying further down that you will allow yourself to eat small portions of such foods. I myself am certainly not immune to such contradictions, so don't take this as a criticism. It might be worthwhile looking at them a bit more closely, though.

    I have been struggling to wholeheartedly adopt the intuitive eating model that Screaming Fat Girl so eloquently outlines. I came to IE through the book by Paul McKenna, "I Can Make You Thin", which spoke to me in a way that no other book has ever done. I did actually lose some weight following his "rules"--a word that I totally detest but I can't think of a better one right now.

    I think that intuitive eating à la Paul McKenna has not been really successful for me, though, because it assumes that you can embrace it fully by bringing more exercise into your life. Sadly, I am unable to do so due to arthritis and back problems.

    I would highly recommend the McKenna book, however. If you are a reasonably healthy person, even being able to do 10-15 minutes of brisk walking a day and eating intuitively could make a huge difference.

    As far as WW goes, with all due respect, Katydid, going on WW 47 times and ending up doubling the weight gain means that WW does not work. It is a psychological straightjacket, like any other diet. And nobody can stay in a straightjacket forever. Diets don't work.

  5. Hey, liked your post.
    I am not a joiner either.
    When I started you couldn't get me anywhere near a gym with a cattle prod and a flame thrower.
    It took a good bit of weight loss to get to the point where I even looked around one.
    As for all that you wrote.
    That is really alot of things to look at and work on, so good on you for looking at it.
    I couldn't grab all that when I started.
    So I just started by topping my calories out at the 1800 cal mark and making sure I started the day with an apple.
    Then I ate what I wanted up to 1800.
    That being said I ditched white flour and most white sugar cause I can't stop eating once I start.
    I added a ton of veggies cause it filled me up.
    But that crowbar of calorie restriction forced me to make choices.
    If I had been too free floating with all that, I don't know if I would have ever lost all that weight.
    Sounds like you got your mind right though.
    That's the most important thing.
    Keep up the good work.