Well I’m back from a week in the sun, and I’ve put on the grand total of 3lbs. Not a glorified success by any means, but not a complete disaster either. I didn’t stick to my points, and I put on weight. That’s kind of useful in a way, because it sums up the whole thing really. Eat too much and gain weight.
I didn’t go on a massed eating frenzy, which was quite an odd feeling at times. We were on an all-inclusive deal, so technically I’d already paid for the privilege of eating and drinking from dawn till dusk, and I think it’s fairly safe to say that had I gone on holiday a couple of months earlier (in the time before I became The Shrinking Man of course) then that’s just what I would have done.
The positive things that I took from this week were firstly that I didn’t feel right unless I exercised. I swam either 30 or 40 lengths of the pool on six out of seven mornings, which I really wasn’t expecting to do. It was a fairly large pool – I’d estimate about 33m, so that’s a fairly good tally even if I wasn’t on holiday, but as I was, I think I probably deserve a medal. The other really positive thing that I did was to make notes on my phone of what I ate, and estimate a points value for it. I knew that on most days (all except one actually) I ate more than my standard points, but just simply writing it down and estimating helped keep me in check. I think.
There were a few interesting things that came out of this week. One was on the plane, where my wife had a bag of sweets. Not just any sweets mind. These were Haribo, and therefore officially classed as Jelly Sweets and therefore should be raised on a pedestal above all other confectionery. Anyway, she offered my daughter some, took some herself and then put the bag away. Now I know that on her part that was a very conscious choice not to offer me any, and that it genuinely came from the ‘right place’. She knows that I have a very close relationship with jelly sweets of all kinds, and didn’t want to throw unnecessary temptation in my path, but it was a really difficult thing to deal with. I didn’t want one. Not at that point anyway. I genuinely didn’t want one. But I still wanted to be offered one. I wanted the chance to say “no thanks – I won’t have one of those delicious jelly sweets thank you very much”. I didn’t want someone else to make that decision for me. I didn’t want someone else telling me that I wasn’t going to have them. Even though I didn’t want them myself. Does that make any sense?
I have a real problem with people telling me what I can’t do. It’s ridiculous and childish, and I think it has a lot to do with my weight problems over time. In fact it’s not just that I hate other people telling me what I can’t do – let me be more specific. I hate being told by anyone what I can’t do, especially when it’s by me. I’m sure that sentence is enough to keep my future psychiatrists in sofas for many decades, but I’m also sure that it has played a fairly major part in my life as a fat bloke.
I seem to have an ongoing battle with different parts of my own mind. I make conscious decisions to act in a certain way, and then seem to make a concerted effort to undermine and challenge those decisions. That’s left me in a situation where I’ve accepted that I don’t do well whenever I try to deny myself things, so I’ve been rather stupidly expecting to find a way that will allow me to lose weight without changing anything about the way that I eat. That really is a little odd when I read it back, but I think it’s a fairly accurate summary of my previous mindset.
One of the mental shifts that I made when I started this process was to accept, and even welcome the fact that I had to change my eating habits. Not temporarily but for good. That included a conscious acceptance that I would need to deny myself, and probably quite regularly too. That’s been a little strange to come to terms with, but I’ve been generally OK with it. It’s part of the process- if I eat everything that I want to, then I’ll get fatter. If I control what I eat, then I’ll get thinner.
Having dealt with the self-denial, it was therefore a little odd to have such a strong reaction to someone else denying me food. I’m not sure what conclusions I need to draw from this, or what I can do about it. I’ve tried to let my wife know that not only does she not need avoid offering me things, but that it’s actually counter-productive when she does, but I doubt that will actually help too much. We’ve had that conversation in the past, when I’ve noticed myself rebelling quite strongly against her attempts at control. When all is said and done, it’s my problem, and it would be easy to make it hers – “I’m putting on weight again because she tried to deny me food, and that made me want to eat it”. That’s childish and rather silly when you look at it like that.
There was one other thing that was quite entertaining, for my wife and daughter at least, that happened while we were out there. I was having my morning swim, which was normally while everyone else was at breakfast, so I was used to having the pool to myself, but I noticed someone else had got in. Not a problem – I was feeling good enough about myself that I wasn’t concerned about competition. Swimming is quite a solitary pastime, which is partly why I like it I think, but it changes the moment someone else gets in the pool. I find it impossible not to measure myself against the other person, seeing how fast they’re swimming, how smoothly, what stroke, and for how long.
Anyway, this person just flew past me, which wasn’t too unexpected really – I’m not a very fast swimmer, more of a slow and steady tortoise than a racing hare (please kids, don’t thrown your pets in the pool to see who would win – it’s not clever). What then happened was that my ego-preservation mentality kicked in and started looking for reasons as to why he was so much faster than me. The easy one is usually “well he won’t be able to keep that up for long”. But of course he did. Anyway, as he was flying past me for the umpteenth time, I caught a glimpse of him properly, and something didn’t look quite right. There was a flash of something yellow and I realised with a smirk that he was wearing a flipper. That would explain why he was swimming so quickly – it wasn’t that I was just rubbish, it was because he was wearing a flipper. Even that didn’t seem quite right though. Something was wrong, but I couldn’t work out what it was. He was wearing a flipper, and was therefore able to swim faster than I could. Flipper. Singular. Flipper. Not flippers. Not plural? Oh dear.
Just in case you’re not picking up the problem here, let me spell it out for you. While I wanted to believe that he was faster than me because he was wearing a flipper, it turns out that he was wearing a flipper because HE ONLY HAD ONE LEG! That doesn’t feel quite so good really. Just to cap it all off, a few minutes later I noticed that he only had one arm as well…
Happy Days 🙂
The Shrinking Man