Monday, 2 August 2010

Being Strong, Being Weak, Being Me.

A little kingdom I possess, where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find of governing it well.  

~ Louisa May Alcott

Hmmmm. Today has been a good-ish day in which my strength has pleased me, and my weakness has me wanting to punch myself.

Do you have to be strong all the time you aim to lose weight? I think you do. You have to have such resolve and determination, don't you? You have to get your head round the fact that you are going to do something which will involve denial. Some foods have to be avoided like the plague. Even with my 'all things in moderation' plan, I KNOW I cannot buy some things or have them in the house. If you are trying to lose weight you have to know that it will involve having a discussion with yourself every time you want to open your gob to munch something. You also have to plan and be prepared...and that means we are perpetually conscious of our eating. It's no way to live really, is it? Like I wrote yesterday, I want to return to the days when I NEVER thought about the food I was eating...and yet my weight remained fine and without thinking about it, I was active enough to burn off the calories ingested. It just happened and I remained a slim woman.

Now is now however and the goalposts have moved. I am fat now and it's up to me to do something about it..if I want to. I have a choice. No one is forcing me to address issues, although my own feeling is my poor old heart shouldn't have to pump so hard to keep me going. I mentioned in another post that I am carrying the (extra) weight of a small sofa on my back.

So today I had a hospital appointment. I have no car so how was I going to get there? Well, I could walk up the hill near my home, come out on to the main road and wait for a bus which would take me to within twenty yards of the front entrance of the hospital or I could walk the two/three miles. Stupidly, I found myself running late..I had two phone calls just as I was about to leave the house, so I decided I'd get the bus there. I didn't want to arrive all hot and bothered and flustered because I'd had to rush. I still had a steep hill walk from my house to the bus stop. I saw the vascular surgeon at the hospital who examined me then told me he'd arrange for a scan of my lower legs - so that will be another appointment in the near future. (I keep getting phlebitis which is SO painful and it's not responding to treatment or antibiotics.) I walked out of the hospital and decided I wasn't going to wait for a bus home - I'd walk it. My legs were stinging..but what's new. They sting every day, but I want to walk. I actually LIKE walking. It makes me feel good. I fear being incapacitated.

It was a pleasant afternoon and I'd bought myself a bottle of water, which I swigged at intervals. It was all uphill on the way home, apart from the last little bit which is of course down the steep hill to my front door, but I enjoyed being out in the fresh air and I know walking is good for my circulation. I stopped half way and took a bit of a detour to the supermarket. I knew we were running low on milk and bread and a few other bits and pieces so I did some food shopping and packed my purchases into two plastic bags...being careful to distribute the items evenly, according to weight.  I then walked the last mile and a bit carrying two fairly heavy bags...all uphill apart from the downward slope to my house at journeys end. I'd been walking at a steady pace for an hour. A good work-out, with weights! :)

I felt tired when I got in, but was glad I incorporated a good walk into my day. I made myself a mug of tea (there is nothing like tea when you are parched and tired imo!) and I realised I'd worked up an appetite, so I made myself a sardine sandwich and had a small salad to go with it. I love fish.. Oh, I also weighed myself this morning, and although I'd gained five pounds in the week, I'd shed two of I was able to record a three pound gain rather than a five pound one! It was all good...

Yes, it was, until I heard the chimes of the ice cream van outside.

I rarely buy ice cream. I can live without it, but son, just in from work dashed out to the van, wanting an ice lolly after his tiring day at the garage. He asked me as he rushed by..."Want an ice cream Mum?" I should have said no, but I didn't. I quite like that soft, runny, swirled ice cream from the van. Son being generous bought me a double cone...with a chocolate flake in each mound of ice cream. My heart sank when he offered it to me. All my exercise undone...but it looked soooooooo good.

Oh woe is me. What does one do? Here are the choices

A) Chuck it in the bin  B) Throw it in the sink  C) Flush it down the loo  or  D) Eat it?

I did of course choose option  D.

I am weak. End of. No excuses. I really should punch myself. It looked good, and by golly, it tasted good...right down to the last bite of the crispy cornet. I enjoyed it.

OK, so just like the toast and honey yesterday, I should have shown some restraint. I really don't fight my urges...because I don't often have strong urges..but two days running I have not put up a fight. I have fallen at the first hurdle. In fact..I didn't even attempt to jump it.

I have got to feel 'deprived' I a good way. My 'deprived' will mean I have chosen what I will and won't eat. I shan't rule out ice cream completely, but next time I have one...which could be months from will be a considered  choice and not a thoughtless, mad whim.


  1. "Do you have to be strong all the time you aim to lose weight?"

    No, you don't. You don't have to "be strong", but you do have to plan. You can have ice cream, but you can't have something else as a result.

    As you know, I don't avoid any foods at all. I can eat anything I want, just not in the quantity that I might want, or as often. Nothing is verboten, but since I calorie count, I know the consequences of a choice. That ice cream means no fruit, or cheese, or whatever later - possibly even a smaller dinner. It's all a balance.

    "If you are trying to lose weight you have to know that it will involve having a discussion with yourself every time you want to open your gob to munch something. "

    This, unfortunately, is true. Once your eating becomes disordered (that is, once your start habitually overeating or compulsively eating), it requires that you question your choices all of the time. That being said, I've found that the conversations occur with less frequency and pass more rapidly as time goes bye. Once you get used to it, it becomes less of a hassle. Also, once you train yourself to think differently about food, you don't think about food so much. Period.

    I think you're fighting harder than some people because you used to just be able to live your life not thinking about weight and food. I never lived in such a state, but I'd like to. My road is leading me where you want to be, though I don't think it'd ever be absolutely carefree. I'll always have to plan and think, but it's becoming less and less of a battle.

    I think you're struggling much as many people do. You want to simply be free, but not necessarily free to overeat. You just want to be free of the cumbersome nature of dealing with food in the manner that is necessary to lose weight. I can so understand that.

  2. Always fighting the urge to eat something can be overwhelming. As is always questioning your choices. It's tiresome. I can identify with your struggle. I'm there too. Once you hit 50, the fight becomes even harder. But,you know what? I think we can win.

  3. I think the fact that you really enjoyed your ice cream is great, even if you didn't plan on having it. Thin people don't plan out every single treat they will have. It means you were really paying attention to what you were eating.

    It's when we are eating things (usually junk) that if we were to really think about it, don't taste REALLY all that great or make us feel very good when we eat them. That is just mindless eating. I saw a bag of potato chips at my moms the other day. I was about to just reach in and grab some and stuff them in my mouth, but I took a good look at them. SOO greasy, like transparent. Gross. I did however have 3 sunchips and enjoyed them as much as you can enjoy a Sunchip I guess lol. It's all about being aware.

  4. Yes, we have to be strong all the time, that's why it's so hard! Hang in there, you will figure it out. You know you want to.

  5. "Nothing is verboten, but since I calorie count, I know the consequences of a choice. That ice cream means no fruit, or cheese, or whatever later - possibly even a smaller dinner. It's all a balance."

    SFG...I agree, and this is what's happening. The day up until the ice cream indulgence had been good at all levels...walking, eating sensibly..even more walking with weights etc. I had the ice cream but wasn't hungry for an evening meal afterwards. I cooked some chicken for the boys, saved myself a piece for lunch tomorrow...and had water, a couple of sesame crackers and low fat cream cheese later on, plus a small sugar free jelly.

    I've enjoyed an ice cream (too big a portion of ice cream!) but it didn't lead to a disastrous day. I shall go to bed with a reasonably clear conscience, I'll think about portion size and already I have meal plans in place for tomorrow :)

  6. 'It means you were really paying attention to what you were eating.'

    It does Lisa :) I was SO aware of that indugence, but yes, I did enjoy it. It wasn't part of my plan, but I don't think I completely messed up my eating. One big ice cream was the only thing I ate impulsively and dare I say it, greedily. (It was a BIG double cone!)Lessons being learned all the time...

  7. I suggest you read Paul McKenna's "I Can Make You Thin". Try it out and tell me what you think.

  8. Hi!
    I am new to your blog, but share in your angst along this journey to better health.

    You can have some treats (like an ice cream cone) and you should! Here is how I am doing it: counting calories. Yep. It is hard, but that is what is working fro me (10 pounds off). I am on a 1200-1500 calorie day budget. Most days I am in the middle ( about 1300-1400 c). But, on a recent trip to CA, I had an In and Out Burger and a few fries. How? By budgeting for them-checking the calorie counts online and then working them into the daily budget.I do not feel deprived (at least not yet!) and am slowly learning that I can go easy on the junk foods and loose weight. My motto is from Marion Nestle: Eat less, move more and go easy on the junk food.

    You can do it. And you will be walking more soon, Michele

  9. Tanks Michele, and welcome. Thanks everybody. Your comments really do help.

    I tried to work out the calorie content of that double cone, with two chocolate flakes, and I am not sure I could make an accurate calculation, although if I REALLY tried, I suppose I could come up with a decent approximation. There are so many calorie counters online and all gave different values for soft ice served at ice cream vans! :)
    I estimate that I eat approx 1500 calories a day...sometimes less, on picky days. I really have to move this body of mine more and burn some of them off. I just don't burn 1500 calories I don't think, now that I am not rushing around any more. I sort of miss my old busy life. Having TOO much time on my hands has made me that I can be self-indulgent with reading, writing...sedentary pastimes.