Lifestyle changes are hard. Mainly because you need to keep them up.
Diets, detoxes, health kicks…. They are all time bound. But weight loss is for life, not just after Christmas.
This is the reason that many diets fail and people regress to their former weight – and then some.
Two years ago I was down to my lowest ever weight. A truly fabulous, 9 stone 5 lbs. It was wonderful. I could wear anything I liked. Pick clothes up off a rack and just buy them. I could run like the wind (mainly because I didn’t weigh anything). It really was wonderful. It was also, for me, entirely unsustainable. Sustainable in the actually having a life sense anyway.
To get to that weight I exercised at least an hour a day, sometimes two. I didn’t drink alcohol, rarely ate out, and had very little sugar (e.g. nice stuff) in my diet. This was all fine in the short term but got a bit boring after a while. And you know, wine. So I eased off a bit. Now I aim to exercise 3-5 times a week. I try to limit my wine consumption (a very definite work in progress), move as much as I can, eat well (some of the time). My weight has, naturally, gone up a bit (ok a lot). But it’s okay. It’s about balance after all. The more extreme the changes you make, the harder they are to sustain. Not sustaining something is demotivating… it sets up a demotivating cycle of I can’t and I won’t ever.
Instead of big change, do small stuff. Ask yourself – could I live like this? Do I want to? if the answer is no, then just maybe you are pushing too hard, too soon.
Choose something sustainable.
I am a big fan of a weight loss TV programmes. One of my all time favourites is My 600lb Life. If you haven’t seen it, the series follows individuals who weigh over 600lbs – 42 stone for us Brits – who are trying to lose their excess weight through bariatric surgery. The programme focuses on extreme individuals. People who cannot work, cannot walk, cannot even take a shower without help. They have often reached the very end of the road and their life is at stake.
It is easy to sit on the sofa and judge. It is easy to believe that nothing like that would ever happen to you – to marvel at how anyone would ever allow themselves to get to that place.
I don’t judge. Because I know how they got there; they got there through the acceptance of small things. Minor inconveniences. Barely noticeable changes. But small things that added up to a terrible, cumulative total.
When I became obese I did so by tolerating small things. You stop wearing high heels because your ankles are sore (because of your weight of course). You stop wearing certain types of clothes (because they are for much thinner people). You never take the stairs, always the lift (because you get a bit too out of breath for comfort). You stop looking in mirrors. You give up certain hobbies and pastimes. And so on.
For some of us, there is the light-bulb moment that makes us stop. Stop eating, stop damaging our body, stop accepting those small things. But for some, this moment never comes. And a few years down the line the next small thing that you are tolerating might be an inability to stand, walk, move without help.
Weight gain is a boiling frog.
Lately, as my weight has edged over what I think is acceptable for me, I noticed that I had tolerated some small things. Nothing much. But as I said in my last post, this is the time to make change, not in another few months or years when the small things are really Very Big Things (or indeed I am a Very Big Thing).
It is zero tolerance time. I’ve done it before and I can do it again.
Easter chocolate. I’d say it is my downfall….. but it is just one of many.
Because despite all my protestations and promises to the contrary, I’m still carrying the Christmas cake weight too.
My name is Gemma and I have a problem with food.
The problem is, I like it. All of it. A bloody lot.
But. My trousers don’t fit. Again.
In the old days, I made excuses to myself (it’s the fit don’t you know, they just come up small) and got the next size up. Only experience tells me that this is the road to ruin (or at the very least, the road to a size 22). Because the next size becomes the next size becomes the next size.
So. I need to get back on it. Time for some cardio and time for some better food. I will get back into those trousers.
When I have finished all the Easter eggs though.
I mean I might be a little overweight, but I’m not crazy.