I had a dawning realisation this week. I’m not sure where it came from but it suddenly hit home that, despite having achieved some of my objectives this year, not least starting this blog, I’m still essentially in a very similar position to that which I’ve found myself in for a good few years now. Nothing has fundamentally changed, certainly not to the extent I need it to. I still have the same bad habits, I still procrastinate far too much, I still get grumpy and angry far too much for my liking, and I am still overweight and out of shape. It is the final issue here that concerns me the most as I am certain it has a direct effect on not just all the other problems listed here, but every single element of my life. I am 100% certain that weight-loss is essential, for my own peace of mind but also as I believe it is the primary root cause of my anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
Right now, I would class myself as being fat. I am carrying far too much excess body fat – a simple look in a mirror tells me that, in addition to my last health-check at the doctors (a necessity during these post-40 years). My last health review (June 2019) showed that I weigh 17st10lb and my BMI is 34.8% – truly appalling figures. I’ve always had an issue with how these figures are calculated as they do not take build into account, though they clearly paint a picture I don’t necessarily want to look at. I’ve always had a fairly big frame and my ideal weight is apparently 10st2lb – 12st10lb. I probably sat in primary school the last time I fell into that bracket! I was considerably slimmer during my schooldays though. Certainly not skinny, and I did need to lose a little weight, but nowhere near to the extent that I need to now. That was the same into my late teens, at a time when I was going to the gym 3-4 times per week and looking after myself to a reasonable degree. Then, probably as I hit my twenties, things started to go wrong. I drank more, my diet became increasingly worse, and I exercised less. This was certainly the case following my wedding (I got married at the age of 26) and becoming more and more comfortable with a sedentary home-life. At my peak I weighed in at 18.5 stone and felt awful. I did lose a couple of stone in my mid-30s, when I started running. I went from barely being able to jog up the street to taking part in the Greater Manchester 10k within the space of 4 months. Without dieting, the weight still dropped off me as a result of frequent exercise. I felt much better, had been bitten by the running bug, and I intended continuing running following the 10k, though I soon stopped. I tried increasing the distances to achieve my next goal of running a half-marathon but as I reached the 7-8-mile mark, a long-standing intermittent back problem started causing problems and I needed to stop. I had some physio treatment and the problem eased over a period of months but by that stage I’d fallen back into bad habits and didn’t have the impetus or drive to run again. The weight soon piled back on and I wasn’t far off hitting previous peak levels. I lost a little a couple of years later but my weight has constantly yo-yoed between 16 – 18 stone.
And therein lies the problem. As I wrote in my post of the 2nd June ( link here ), I am ridiculously body conscious and this underpins everything I do in life. I won’t go into this in depth again as the detail is contained within that previous post. However, I’m sure many people who have never struggled with weight issues will look in and question why I didn’t simply lose the necessary amount of waste in the past and solve the problem. I’m also sure that many people who do struggle with weight issues will be reading and acknowledging that it is far, far easier said than done…
So there you go – the lightbulb has gone off in my head (it’s the ‘big light’ too – not a bedside lamp!). I’ve experienced the epiphany moment. I need to stop paying lip-service to this, crack on and shed the excess fat for good. That means a fundamental lifestyle change rather than continuing yo-yoing with my weight. There’s a need to make simple changes that will last for life. More exercise, a healthier diet, less alcohol…
I realise I’m taking a significant risk by ‘putting this out there’ but accountability is a strong motivator. I’m not at all comfortable in sharing these details though regular readers will know I’m striving to make this blog as honest as possible, plus I have to be 100% accountable for making this work. I’m going to look pretty damned stupid if I share this post and don’t shed the excess body fat. I won’t be posting weekly updates and photos though, for many reasons. Firstly, it will get boring and divert from really important topics I’d like to write about over the coming weeks/months. Secondly, I won’t be a slave to the scales. Other than the health check I mentioned earlier, I haven’t weighed myself for at least 12 months, probably considerably longer. I believe people become slaves to the scales, weighing themselves on a weekly basis (often daily) and beating themselves up if they haven’t lost weight or, God forbid, put a pound or two on. That worries me. We’re not machines; there will be minor blips along the way. It’s impossible to lose weight every week and people need to stop being so critical when this occurs. Additionally, I’m not interested in having a target weight anyway. I’ll just keep on going until I reach a point where I’m happy with my body – it doesn’t matter to me whether I’m 12st or 17st; the main thing is that I’ll be happy, content, and hopefully experiencing all the benefits that weight loss brings (increased energy, increased peace of mind, greater confidence, the ability to fit into the 50%-60% of clothes in my wardrobe which I can’t currently comfortably wear). I’ll know when I get there – I don’t need a set of scales to tell me.
Perhaps most importantly, I’m sure this will improve my feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, though I can’t say for certain. I’ll post an update during the Christmas period; 3 months from now seems appropriate to check back in on this. It’s hard to determine just how long it will take me to get to where I want to be, though I’m guessing 6-9 months. I have a couple of ‘before’ photos, taken this week, of me wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, but I’m not brave enough to share them right now. They are hideous, nauseating and embarrassing. Hopefully I’ll feel I can share them next to my ‘after’ pictures in a few months’ time but they’re certainly not ready for public consumption yet – you don’t need that image burnt into your mind right now.
Finally, and coincidentally, having already written the majority of this post, I was listening to a number of podcasts whilst doing some chores yesterday and Fearne Cotton’s interview with Gary Barlow (from her brilliant ‘Happy Place’ series) started playing. Recorded in November 2018, it focuses on many of the issues I’ve addressed here and is certainly worth a listen if you have a spare 45mins.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this, I really do appreciate it.
Until next time.