Weigh-in number 31 done and 5lb lost. Isn’t the body a fascinating thing? You eat without control for a couple of weeks and stop exercising, and you put on 10lb. You control what you eat and do lots of exercise, and you lose 5lb. That’s scarily like common sense!
It’s been an interesting week. It started out feeling quite difficult, as I’d been used to eating whenever and whatever I wanted for a while, so I was having to keep myself in check quite a bit initially. That in itself turned out to be a positive experience, as I was able to study what happened when I ‘denied’ myself food. Oddly enough I didn’t die, panic, fall apart or suffer in any way whatsoever. In fact, I just put that bowl of peanuts/piece of shortbread/bag of wine gums/pound of lard to the back of my mind and got on with something else. The desire to eat was clearly still there, as it would reappear from time to time, but there’s an important point in this – when it reappeared, it wasn’t any stronger than it had been before. That seems to me to be extremely significant, because it changes the worst case scenario that is often in my mind, and that often leads me to just eat. My inbuilt belief is that until I give in and eat whatever it is I’m craving, then I won’t get a moments peace, and the desire will grow stronger and stronger. So I might as well just eat. So historically, that’s what I’ve always done.
I’m starting to look at this weight loss thing as being a combination lock. If that seems a little odd, then bear with me for a while and I’ll try to explain a little better. Actually, I’ll rephrase that statement – I’m actually starting to look at this ‘keeping weight off’ thing as being a combination lock. Losing weight isn’t a problem. I’ve proved before that I can do that, and I’m proving again that I haven’t lost the knack. What I’ve so far been unable to do is keep that weight off, and that’s the part that is of most interest to me.
My initial response to the rather ridiculous 10lb that I put on over Christmas was to just accept that I would need to follow some sort of weight control method for the rest of my life. In other words, I accepted that I simply couldn’t do this on my own, as whenever I removed the external control from what I ate, I immediately ate too much. That’s not a great feeling, but I think it’s a fairly practical response, and one that would pretty much guarantee that I would keep the weight off for the long term. The more I think about what happened over the Christmas period however, the more positive I become that it’s all in my mind, and that there might just be some fairly simple misconceptions that are making this difficult for me.
I can’t remember whether I’ve mentioned this before, but over the past 12 years or so I have stopped smoking and drinking completely, and in both of those situations what made the difference for me was to ‘get it right’ in my head. I won’t go into the whole story here, but in simple terms, once I managed to understand that I didn’t actually enjoy smoking, it was rather easy to stop and stay stopped, and exactly the same applied to drinking. The comparative ease with which I managed to stop those two things has always amplified how difficult I’ve found it to stop over-eating (you wouldn’t believe how long it took me to work out that it was over-eating I actually needed to stop) and that’s always frustrated me.
So back to the combination lock – getting clear in my head that not giving in to cravings categorically does not lead to greater cravings feels like I’ve just found one of the numbers to the combination, and that therefore one of the wheels has just clicked into place. There are others that have already clicked in to place:
- Understanding that weight gain is a cumulative thing, and that something relatively insignificant in itself (like a packet of crisps) adds up over time
- Understanding that weight loss is also cumulative (that one literally just clicked into place this second!)
- Accepting that the only reason that I’m overweight is that I eat too much. Not metabolism, not hard luck or anything else
- Realising that I feel better physically and mentally when I eat sensibly
- Discovering that I genuinely enjoy exercising
- Discovering that I don’t actually enjoy the over-eating itself (not sure if that wheel has properly clicked into place yet actually!)
Each of those probably seem stupidly obvious to the thin-bloke on the street, but I’d be interested to know how commonly they’re misunderstood among the fat-blokes of the world. It might be just me of course, but that doesn’t really matter – I can state for the record that I genuinely and honestly did not know or believe any of those things until very recently. Each new wheel that clicks into place makes me feel stronger and more capable of dealing with all of this in the long term. The only issue is, I don’t know how many numbers I need to find, but I guess that’s what’s going to make this interesting :-).
I feel so much better about myself this week than I have for the last couple, and I’m pleased to have shifted 5lb of that Christmas weight. I’ve still got 5lb more to lose before I can start to make real progress again, and realistically that’s going to take a few weeks to achieve, so I just need to be a little bit patient and keep doing the right things.
Have a great week.