At the beginning of last year I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to change about my myself. It was my very first Wobbly entry. I was sad. I was frustrated. I was done with being overweight. School holidays were crowding me. I needed space and direction. So, I started this weekly journal to make me accountable to myself. I thought if I wrote down my goals, I’d be more likely to stick to them. It worked for awhile. I lost about 10 kilos, was exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and on my way to reaching some short and medium term goals.
And then life happened and I slowly stopped exercising as much, started eating more cake and donuts and chips smothered in gravy. Now I am heavier than when I first started on this path. I’m pretty sure I do this every year and slowly over time I get larger and larger. However, I am in a better place than I was this time last year. I feel stronger within and am getting better at ignoring people and things that make me feel unhappy. Life too short to stick around dealing with that shit. I’m getting better at searching out people and activities that make me feel happier about myself. I’ve also made a couple of changes to my daily life – I don’t have sugar in my tea or coffee and now I only drink decaf. And generally, despite being a bit lazy over the past few weeks, I exercise at least three times a week – whether it be a ride, walk, swim or skating. I’ve also been eating less meat. And I’ve been stopping and smelling the roses – deep breathing, simple meditation techniques.
I feel calmer.
As I’ve been saying for the past year, this process is not just about trying to get skinny it’s about getting healthier and changing my mindset. I can lose weight. I’ve done that over-and-over-again. I just can’t keep it off. I think me losing weight and keeping it off will be a long process, that starts with my emotional wellbeing and attitude, not with a strict diet plan. I am not getting all gung ho about the start of the year. I learned from past experience that it’ll only fizzle and I’ll get disheartened. I am taking little steps towards my goal.
I went to the supermarket earlier today and saw people like “me” everywhere. They are full of “start of the year enthusiasm” and resolve. They wander the shopping aisles in their gym gear or like me – my black leggings and big floppy t-shirt because I can’t find cool gym gear to fit. They’re wearing their new sports bra – it’s a little tight, but they’ll be skinnier soon. They have trolleys full of kale and coconut water. Green smoothies will be their breakfast of choice. Nuts and carrots make a great snack. They will probably throw the kale out in a week. I always do.
They’ll go home and throw out the crap food from their fridge because they saw a dietician on the Biggest Loser do that once. From now on they’ll only eat protein and salads. And never eat after 7pm. Perhaps they’ll fast two days a week or go sugar-free. Maybe they’ll get a couple of new books – Yoga for Beginners and Paleo Living. And when it comes to booze, they’ll only have two glasses of wine on a Friday night and vodka sodas for a treat.
They’ll spend their free time trawling the internet for the quickest ways to burn tummy fat and might even join Weight Watchers or Michelle Bridges – I’ve done both of them and lost over 10 kilos on each (and then put the weight straight back on again). But out of all the new members there will be success stories. They might be one of their success stories and appear on Sunrise as the Slimmer of the Year. Yes, that’s how dedicated they’ll be. They’ll even take a “before” shot, holding a sign with the date and their current weight scrawled on it. They’ve already imagined themselves in their “after” photo in a pair of jeans and a white t-shirt, looking effortlessly slim and joyful.
Everywhere they look there’ll be ads encouraging them to lose weight and change their lifestyle. They’ll download all the apps and maybe even buy a Fitbit. They’ll be tempted to join forums and start training programs. They’ll be enticed with zero membership fees at gyms and early-bird specials. So many companies feeding of people’s self esteem issues. It’s January – it’s time to finally achieve your New Year’s resolutions. They’ll fork out the cash and for the first six weeks they’ll be the best member ever. And then life will catch up with them. They’ll have too much work on to go to the gym or they’ll have a mid-week party so have to break their no drinking rule or they’ll start to feel skinnier and give themselves rewards of chocolate cake, schnitzel and creamy pasta. They’ve worked hard. They’ve earned it.
Soon, they’ll realise they’ve been paying for a gym membership that they never use. But that’s ok because it’s cold and when they’re not so busy with work and life they’ll use it way more often. If they get back into healthy eating by September they’ll have a fab body by Summer. The magazines at the shopping aisles where they stand with their trolley full of chips and ice cream will remind them it’s time to get back into shape again. And they will, next week.
I’ve been there. Over and over. Losing weight is not about overhauling your life over the period of a weekend. You have much work to do behind the scenes before you can become a committed gym junkie, health freak. You can not sustain such an aggressive change in lifestyle simply by putting on gym gear, signing up to a weight loss program and putting kale in your trolley.
Set more attainable goals. Take smaller steps towards change.
I read somewhere that a dietician simply asked one of his clients to just change one meal a day. Instead of skipping or filling up on crap for breakfast, he asked him instead to eat a healthy one. That’s it. And slowly over time more changes were introduced. It wasn’t an entire meal plan all at once. He also gave his client a 12 month weight loss goal which was split into three month periods. I think it was 20 kilos over the year. which worked out to 5 kilos every three months. That is achievable. That is what I am considering for my next 12 months. Little, sustainable, changes. Weight loss in small incremental stages. Health being the focus.
That I can do. How about you?