Well it’s been a while, but instead of trying to fill you all in on what’s been happening with my life, I’ll just carry on as if I haven’t been missing in action for almost a year.
All you really need to know is that I didn’t fall off the wagon as soon as I stopped posting (though one of the wagon’s wheels did get a bit wobbly at one point and nearly derailed the whole shebang). Although other things moved up the priority list and pushed weight concerns further down the list, I didn’t totally lose sight of my health, weight loss and fitness goals, and kept plugging away at them though with perhaps a somewhat reduced intensity.
So, in summary, I still have some way to go to reach my final goal, but I’m over half way there and feeling pretty damn good about my fitness levels. On my better days I even feel that this lifestyle may have already become an ingrained habit - hey, I’m cured - but then on other days I know better. The pit and the pendulum are still there, I’m just getting better at avoiding them.
I’ve been keeping myself motivated by a combination of scaring myself with dire health projections, and beating myself up for having been a self-indulgent glutton in the first place. As motivational methodologies they leave a lot to be desired because both of them make me feel like shit, but it has to be said that they ARE working.
I always knew that losing weight to look good wasn’t a big enough motivator for me. Hell, I could write the book on fat-denial, and even when zips wouldn’t meet and buttons threatened to ping off and take out someone’s eyes at thirty paces I still managed to convince myself that “I don’t look that bad”. In a world populated by skeletal women feeling suicidal because they’ve eaten one slice of cucumber too many, and Braille-reading their hipbones to see whether it’s turned into fat already, I happily ignored my expanding waistline and turned a blind eye to the emergence of yet another double chin. In fact, I went one step further and managed to convince myself that worrying about something so shallow as my external appearance was shameful, self-indulgent and vain.
Hah, that’s sort of ironic now, given how I’ve been mentally beating myself up these past few months – but more about that in a little while.
Anyway, to keep driving myself forward on this journey, I’ve needed to draw on other sources of motivation to keep me interested and to stop me from falling back into my bad old ways.
My dad’s diabetes was the first main driver for me. When he was diagnosed with type 2 in 2005 it was a bit of a wake up call for me, and motivated me enough to get me started on this journey. In the early days, when I was still trying to break the carb cravings, every time I felt tempted to reach for a biscuit or a slice of cake I imagined it being the food item that would flip my diabetes switch from OFF to ON, and that was enough to make me turn away from temptation. I deliberately scared myself by reading up on diabetes-related kidney failure, amputations, blindness etc, and as a motivator it worked a hell of a lot better than imagining myself in size 12 jeans.
Lately, though, the Fear-Of-Diabetes-Driver has been joined by the You-Are-A-Moral-Degenerate-And-Should-Be-Ashamed-Of-Yourself-Driver, and for someone with my type of personality this one is a real doozie.
Firstly, to explain my type of personality, suffice it to say that I’m an off-the-charts ISFJ and that I display two personality traits that I particularly dislike about myself, which are a) a tendency to be judgemental, and b) a tendency to asceticism.
For some unfathomable reason I’ve always WANTED to be a self-indulgent, coke-snorting, perennially late, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, irresponsible party animal type of woman, but the reality is that I’m just about the exact polar opposite of this. Let’s be honest here - I probably won’t feel fully satisfied with myself until I’ve stripped away all the surface fluff in my life and am living in a nun’s cell with only the (plain and homely) clothes I’m standing up in, and eating only dry bread and water.
Did I mention that we have lots of puritans in the family tree? Heh, but you may have guessed that already, right?
It’s difficult to reconcile this type of personality with being clinically obese – I’m only surprised it took me this long to make the mental connection between being fat and being a Bad Person.
[By the way, this is a personally applied view only. I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT BELIEVE that fat people in general are Bad People – but for some reason I have the sort of mind that says what is okay for the rest of the world is not okay for myself. In less enlightened times I’d probably have been some wild-eyed mad nun wearing a hair shirt and flaying myself with a barbed whip. Now, I just flay myself mentally, which I guess is progress.]
I started thinking about how I’d gotten fat in the first place, and whilst I’d have liked to blame genetics or dodgy glands or being cram-fed food against my will like a pate-de-fois-gras-goose, I had to acknowledge that in the past I just used to eat too much, and not just too much, but too much of the wrong things.
Not the worst crime, maybe, but big enough to turn into a big stick to beat yourself up with if you’re at all that way inclined.
So when I watched a TV show just before Christmas showing the plight of some villagers in some famine-blighted part of Africa, you can probably imagine how I reacted. I looked from their emaciated frames to my own fat rolls, and I felt a revulsion and disgust at myself that was nothing to do with my cosmetic appearance, but everything to do with my feeling about myself as a person.
So yay, lucky me! I’ve found myself another good motivational tool, as if the diabetes one wasn’t enough! I recommend it – start thinking like me and you too can feel personally responsible for kids starving to death in Africa just because you gave into temptation and ate a doughnut. It does wonders for your self esteem…