It's the end of week twenty. Lessons have been learned over the last four months and I wish to share these with you. It's the New Year, and many, many people out there will have decided to to lose some weight and increase their general health, but the majority of these people will fail:
Christmas is done and dusted for another year. Did I eat like a saint over this period? No. Did I gain weight as a result? No. In fact, I don't eat like a saint at all any more. Making the decision to change my life for the better has indeed brought with it a sharp learning curve. The mistake that so many dieters make is self-explanatory – they're dieting. Dieting brings with it deprivation and, ultimately, resentment. The vast majority of people who crash diet, end up gaining all the weight they've lost and then some. This is a trap that many, many people fall into. Why? Because as a species, we seek quick fixes and magic spells in order to reach the goals we create for ourselves. I'm determined not to fall into this trap. If I completely deny myself the pleasures that food can provide, I will resent the process and it won't take long at all for me to quit and go back to my old ways. If you dangle a chocolate carrot in front of my face for long enough, I'll bite your fucking hand off and probably eat you for pudding. I need to allow myself to eat the food I enjoy, in moderation. What is moderation? For me, it's eating one bag of hula hoops a couple of times a week, rather than an Irish Potato Famine -inducing warehouse of Pringles. My problem has never been the types of food I've eaten, but the sheer volume of it. I cannot pretend to myself that I don't have an addiction to food, one that has manifested from emotional emptiness.
It angers me a great deal, well not a great deal, in fact, I couldn't really give that much of a fuck, but I don't like the preachy bullshit that swamps the media about food being the ultimate evil. We're being taught to see pleasure as something to feel guilty about. 'Don't eat that cake, or you'll hate yourself'. Fuck that. Eat the bloody cake but go to the gym afterwards. 'Take this pill and you'll lose weight'. Again, fuck that. There are plenty of liquids under my kitchen sink that will make me shit my lungs out, but why would I want that?
This entire process of changing my relationship with food has taught me a lot. I want to be able to maintain this for the rest of my life and the only way I will be able to do this is by eating a balanced diet, with a moderate amount of the foods I enjoy. Combined with decent levels of physical activity, that's all I need to reduce my weight to a healthy level and keep it there. I've learned that lesson well and am beginning to forgive myself for the occasional piece of chocolate or bag of crisps. There's absolutely no way I can live my life as a food Nazi. Some people can, and good for them, but I will not be one of them. I want quality of life as well as quantity. The method I adopted at the beginning of this process was the right one, but what I've come to realise is that the goal posts ultimately need to be moved in order for the change to be a permanent one.
Consequently, my weight loss will slow down and I'm prepared for this. This has long since stopped being a race for numbers for me. I lost an obscene amount of weight in the first four months of this exercise and I'm exceptionally proud of myself for doing so, but now I see the bigger picture and am feeling better about myself than I ever have. I'm here to make and attempt to fix the problems in my life one by one, and have realised how one problem solved, solves many more by default. I'm here to control the amount of food I eat, simple as. I'm here to maintain an active lifestyle, which is no longer a chore but something I truly enjoy, as the benefits are so huge. The bottom line is that I feel fantastic. I'm energetic, productive and feel a tranquillity in my previously storm-riddled mind that surprises me every day.
When I first decided that I wanted to change my life, as expected, I went in all guns blazing and made major changes to my lifestyle that were necessary for me to facilitate a healthier lifestyle, but things have changed and I've come to realise that I can enjoy life, food and things that might not be the most healthy in the world and still have a healthy lifestyle. This is somewhat of a revelation to me, as things have taken a turn. This is me now and this is how I will remain. I will continue to lose weight until I reach a point at which the charts tell me I'm not going to die of a heart attack imminently.
This no nonsense approach makes a great deal more sense to me than the calorie-counting, portion-measuring bullshit. This method will work and I will show the world that they can ignore of the propaganda in the media about weight loss and instead do it my way, which is much more fun.
It may seem to you that I'm being flippant about health, but this is not the case. I respect the need for a healthy lifestyle but have learned to pay attention to my body and recondition the way I think. Eating excessively is not good for you. Being a lazy fuck and doing no exercise is also bad for you. Therefore, a little less lard and a little more movement is all that's needed. I'm nearly three quarters of the way to my weight target and much of it has been achieved by exercising. I changed the way I ate but people around me were seeing my dinners and wondered how I was losing weight at all. The truth is, with a bit of savvy about nutrition and some common sense, it's pretty straight forward. I won't deny that I've worked hard to achieve what I have. I've worked fucking hard. I've rewired my brain and this cannot be done over night. The first couple of weeks of this lifestyle change were spent in agony from the gym and with my stomach doing somersaults of psychosomatic hunger. It was a shock tactic and it paid off. You have to listen to your body but your body also needs to listen to you. 'Oi, stomach, fuck off and get used to it. Oi, body, get a grip. This is how we're doing things from now on.' It worked.
I feel I have been offensive enough for one blog. Rest assured, I'm still taking my lifestyle seriously and the benefits are still evident for all to see, but more importantly, my body and brain both like me these days. We're getting along swimmingly. I'll be back in a week with some stats.