Rage against the diet machine

Its nearly that time of year again.

No, not Christmas.

After that.

After all of the adverts have encouraged you to eat mince pies like they are about to be made illegal.  Buy Quality Street by the tub full.  Drink all of the Prosecco.

It’s nearly the time of the detox.  The celebrity exercise DVD.  The new year’s weight loss resolution.

The diet machine.

Consider the messaging.  Eat, drink and be merry.

Then find a quick fix for those extra pounds because of all the food you scoffed.

The stampede to the gym will commence, brand new shiny white trainers in hand.

I’m not knocking that by the way.  A few years ago, I was one of those new year new you sign ups.

But the messaging gets me.

The disconnect. The way that people are encouraged to think about food and their bodies.

Here’s the thing.  When someone loses weight, it isn’t thanks to Weight Watchers. Or Slimming World.  Or Lean in 15 (as good as I think this plan is).  It isn’t down to some celebrity who has been paid money and had plenty of help to get down to a certain size, in order to shift some diet merch.

It is because someone makes the decision to make a change in their life.

And here’s the thing. Anyone can do it.

Don’t believe me?

I was one of those people who believed that she couldn’t lose weight.  That they would always be fat.  That they would always shop in the plus size store. That they had ‘tried everything’. I was a big, big girl and I had tried most of the so-called solutions from weekly classes to juice diets to the 5:2.  Fads.  But I had never changed my mindset.

One day, on New Year’s Eve 2012 to be precise, I made the decision to make a change.  And I did.

It is still hard.  It is still a daily challenge and I know it always will be.  I don’t pretend to have this all figured out.

What I do know from my own experience is that the first step to changing your life is changing the stories that you tell yourself.

You don’t need to sign up to an expensive plan.  You don’t need to follow a guru.  Let them inspire you, yes.  But weight loss starts with you.  With a decision.  With making real change. Believing that you can and you will.

If you want to make that change don’t wait for the 1st January.  Just do it.  And I wish you all the luck in the world.

Boiling Frogs

As I’ve blogged before, I also love a weight loss TV programme. I watch them all.  Fat Families, Secret Eaters, My 600lbs life, Fat the Fight of My Life.  And so on…

As is the way with a lot of reality TV, the most extreme examples are usually featured. No one wants to watch normal people doing the washing up, feeding the kids, going to work. We want to watch the richest, poorest, drunkest, dumbest… and of course, the fattest.

The fattest possible people eating the biggest possible portions. It’s easy to watch one of these programmes, to see someone who is super morbidly obese, and to wonder how they got there.  How they allowed themselves to get quite that fat, immobile, unhappy, ill.

I know the answer to that question.

One mouthful of food at a time.

You’ve probably heard the tale of the boiling frog. In case you haven’t, apparently if you put a frog in a pan of boiling water it will jump out.  Somewhat unsurprisingly perhaps.  However, if you were so minded to put a frog in a pan of cold water and then slowly heat it up, the frog is unable to perceive the changes in temperature and will simply sit there until they are cooked all the way through.  And hence, very dead.  Trust, me this is a real theory.  Honest.  Look it up on Wikipedia.  It is used to illustrate how people just often aren’t aware of gradual creeping changes because of how slowly they occur.

That is weight gain right there. Because it’s just one biscuit, right? And one takeaway won’t hurt.  There are only 200 calories in the whole packet.  Those leftovers in the fridge need eating up.

The thing with weight gain is how slowly it takes place. You only really notice when you go up a size in clothes, or you are suddenly no longer able to do something.

Here’s the thing. If you put on ten stone overnight and tomorrow morning found yourself unable to tie your own shoe laces, get out of a chair without help, or climb the stairs without pausing for breath, you would be horrified. If in the space of a week you went from a size 8 in Top Shop to the plus size store, you would very quickly do something about it.  You’d be on a diet and down the gym.

But it doesn’t happen like that. The water slowly heats up and you don’t even notice until it is too late.  One day you look in the mirror and wonder when and how  and why it happened.

And the answers are simple.

Slowly.

Incrementally.

One mouthful at a time.

No Control

After the Christmas holidays, I had to face the horror of being weighed by my Personal Trainer.

He saw the number. And he asked me a question.  ‘What exactly did you eat?’

I thought to myself that this was a very stupid question. Because the answer was simple. ‘All of it’.

I mean what other answer is there?

Quality Street, mince pies, sausage rolls, Christmas cake, buffet food, chocolate orange, marzipan fruits, pigs in blankets, selection boxes, canapés, turkey dinners, pudding with custard, chocolate coins, crisps, dips, mashed potatoes, cheese. Chocolate for breakfast.  Chocolate for elevenses.  Chocolate just for the hell of it.

I ate all of it. Everything.

Oh, and the wine. Don’t forget the wine.

Because it was there. Because it was Christmas.  Because I wanted too. Because I was sick of eating clean, drinking vegetable juices, eating protein, protein and more protein.  Just for once, I wanted to eat whatever I fancied, without compromise.  Without making the sensible choice.

I worked out every day, only taking Christmas Day itself off. But you can’t out exercise a crappy diet.

And now I am paying the price.

This is, in truth, a form of self-sabotage.  Choosing the short term quick fix over what you want the most. Undoing all of your good work.

Things that I know:

  • It will take longer to get rid of this weight than it took me to eat all of the strawberry creams in the Quality Street tin.
  • I went too far. I ate too much. I told myself that I was having a treat, and in doing so lost control and set myself up for failure.
  • I will probably do it again, next year.
  • I will put this right, no matter how long it takes.

 

And if you too are still dealing with your Christmas indulgences, I wish you all the very best!