For everyone struggling with the dreaded & cruel irony of a weight loss plateau due to increasing your exercise routine this is especially for you. It doesn’t seem fair does it? You’re sticking to plan & even more so you have made a really big change and upped your activity & exercise routine immensely. You’re filled with great expectations of all the weight you are going to drop through the hard work and time you have put in only to find one week (or two) that the scales just won’t budge at all, despite your hardest & most determined efforts. It seems in your memory it moved downwards with much greater ease when you made even less effort! Continue reading
It’s about 3 years ago and I’m two stone heavier than I currently am. My pug needs the Vets again so there I am standing in reception making small talk with the lovely receptionist who is glowing in mid stage pregnancy. “Oh I see you’re in the same predicament as me” she smiles rubbing her bump. She instantly knows that I’m not expecting and she has put her foot in it, probably by the look of sheer horror on my face and the split second pause as I stand there, my mouth gaping open, grappling for something to say. She tries in vain to claw back what she just said whilst in fact digging the hole much, much deeper in her flustered state. “Oh sorry, it’s just, oh, em, the dress, oh, no, I mean that’s a lovely dress, mutter mutter mutter” I’ve stopped listening by now, I’m responding with similar babble “Oh you’re ok, don’t be worrying, blah blah blah” My teenage Son is standing there in silence, even at his tender age he is well aware of the awkwardness of the exchange occurring in front of him and in all his wisdom he stays silent. I stick my debit card in the machine to pay & stand there going redder and redder in my shame willing the machine to spit out the customer copy receipt which suddenly takes 3 billion years to happen. “Thanks” I mutter as I pull on the dog lease & spin around lunging for the door, which has metamorphosed into being 7 miles away, with the Dog and Son in tow. We climb into the car & I secure the Dog, all the time the tears of shame and embarrassment dangerously close to spilling out but I compose myself in front of my Son. “Mammy, did you hear what that lady said to you? The cheek of her” “I know Son, the cheeky, wagon” I reply with a strangled laugh, trying to brush it off as if I wasn’t bothered. “and you just after losing 10lbs recently too” he says “I know pet, what is she like” I croak vowing silently to never wear the stupid dress again (it wasn’t the dress but I never ever wore it again). I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me, the mortification was unbearable, it stung for weeks when the memory popped, uninvited, into my brain and a short while later when I was in fact expecting, I always put a protective hand across my bump in public so people would know I was pregnant and not just fat.
Today, the memory is raw, even though I’m two stone lighter. I feel just as heavy as I did that day. How can this be? How is it possible? Self perception is a fickle thing. Weight seldom has anything to do with the number on the scale (even though we get unreasonably fixated with it) and everything to do with how you feel in your own skin. Some days you can feel lovely & slim & the next feel huge and feel like you haven’t lost any weight at all even though the figure on the scale hasn’t budged. For a lot of Ladies particularly (sorry blokes) there’s a certain week every 4 weeks or so that cruelly haunts us. You feel bloated & humungous and incredibly cruelly, you also feel emotional and tearful & a strong irrepressible desire to consume the entire contents of the fridge over powers us. I waded through the contents of my wardrobe this morning & settled on a maxi dress. Everything feels wrong so it doesn’t really matter what I chose to be fair. I stand on the scales amazed that it reads slightly lighter than it did a few days ago (how can that be? Sure I’m massive today!) I put on the dress and it skims over my belly and my mind instantaneously flips the memory of the Vets forward from the far reaches of some repressed corner of my mind. In truth everything would make me feel that way today so I battle on & drive to work. As I make my way across the car park several cars are lining up to drive in, “Oh God, I have to walk across in front of them” I think, I start hobbling a bit faster (I hurt my leg a few days ago) willing myself forward to the comfort of my desk where I can wheel my chair all the way in & conceal my belly. Then the though suddenly occurs to me “Oh God my arse somehow feels more gigantic too” I want to be inside away from the perceived scrutiny when in fact nobody is passing any remarks or paying the slightest bit of attention to me at all.
The thing is I’m not any bigger than I was yesterday. The feelings I am having, that we all experience, are in fact in my own mind. They are in my head, my emotions are taking over and all rationale has promptly gone out the window. I have had friends say to me before “Oh God, I feel so massive today, I’m so bloated” I look at them perplexed “You’re not, you look lovely” I respond in all honesty and truthfulness but they don’t feel it or see it themselves. I know in my heart of hearts if anybody tells me I look nice today I simply won’t believe them “they’re just being nice” I’ll tell myself. Why we do this to ourselves & why we sometimes feel this way isn’t quite clear. You can drink all the anti bloating lemon water and green tea you like it won’t help the way you’re feeling because it’s mostly psychological. The things I have found that help me are accepting the fact you are going to feel this way sometimes. Recognising that it is in your mind & trying to think positively and quell any negative comments that you might recite to yourself, they only make you feel worse. Know that this too shall pass, in a day or two you will be back to your old self & feel more confident and motivated. Keep your chin up & try to keep perspective and know it is just self doubt crippling your thoughts. Your Self perception is playing tricks on your mind. Plaster on a smile & fake it till you make it. Try your hardest to stay on track in the knowledge that this is the most difficult time to do so but it will be over soon and you will feel much better, the feelings becoming nothing but a distant memory. Know that we all feel this way occasionally and the struggle is part of the journey. Be kind to yourself. What I have also learned is never, ever, ever, ever ask a lady if she is expecting or make any comments in that regard even if she is quite obviously heavily pregnant and about to give birth any day now! Unless, of course, they mention it first, even then proceed with extreme caution!
Next time you’re in the Supermarket pick up a pound of butter in your hands. It’s heavy am I right? That’s how much weight you lose when you lose 1lb on the scales. It sounds so little, one pound. I think we all picture it as much, much less in our own heads than it actually physically is & when we lose a pound there is some sort of inexplicable disappointment that accompanies it instead of the appropriate celebration it should get. We pass it off flippantly like it doesn’t matter but it most certainly does. We can’t always lose 5 to 7lb every week that would be absolutely impossible for anybody to sustain. A pound a week is the recommended loss on ANY weight loss programme & sure it’s a fantastic bonus if we lose more but that one pound needs it’s deserved recognition too. It’s those one pound loses that eventually add up to give you your overall total loss and get you to goal. A pound a week is 3 stone 10lb in a year. Theoretically as a rough guide you need to expend 3,500 calories in a week to lose 1lb, this is not set in stone & there are of course variables but as a rule of thumb it is deficit of 500 calories a day (3,500 a week) which is no mean feat! We can be far too hard on ourselves when it comes to those one pound losses which can ultimately lead to defeat in our weight loss battle as disappointment soon leads to giving up & giving up equates to going back to where you were to begin with, is that really the right option for you? You might have guessed by now that I lost 1lb this week. After all my hard work & exercising & putting in 100% of my very best effort I lost 1lb and I am genuinely absolutely proud, delighted & thrilled with that. I am writing this post as that most certainly wasn’t always the case, it’s only very recently I’ve learned to give 1lb the respect & recognition it deserves and made my peace with that being the result of the weeks hard work & effort as it takes hard work & effort to lose it. I’ve stood on the scales on more than one occasion and seen a pound loss before while close to tears with bitter disappointment stinging at the back of my throat ‘but I worked so hard, I did everything right, I exercised, I tracked’ these thoughts swirling in my mind. Yes I did all those things and I lost a pound! That is exactly the result you should be aiming for. That is what that hard work gets you & I’m finely fine with that. I had a right to feel that way if I had gained but certainly not for actually losing weight! It sounds absurd to me now that I have learned to celebrate my losses that I ever felt that way but I honestly did for a very long time. The moment I accepted that every week can’t be a big loss and my small losses are what get me to goal is the moment my weight loss journey became doable, easy & sustainable. I’ve been in and out of weight watchers like there was a revolving door on the place over the years, always losing & finding the same few pounds or the same few stone only to leave in utter defiance & bitterness that I didn’t somehow magically drop 2 stone in a month only to go home & put it all back on with an extra added few pounds for luck then turning up at the door of weight watchers a few weeks later, tail between my legs, with even more to lose & my confidence at an all time low. This vicious cycle continued for years with me nearly reaching goal on several occasions & having a wardrobe with more sizes of clothes than your local Penneys. This time I’ve a different mindset. I am only too delighted to see a pound come off & it’s what has pushed me along to my 40lb weight loss to date and spurs me on for the next week & the next loss. I am also delighted to be celebrating getting my next silver 7 this morning so you see those 1lbs do get you where you want to be! So here’s to a pound! My little un-championed friend because of you I am now 40 of you lighter so cheers!
Motivation can be an elusive thing. One week I seem to have it in abundance & that’s it, I tell myself I’m definitely going to reach my goals & everything seems infinitely easier, I’m organised, prepared, plan my meals & I’m raring to go & everything just clicks into place. Then Bam! A few days later all the will to go on & motivation has up & left me. My mojo has deserted me & is nowhere to be found, its gone awol! But I was so determined, I was so positive, my goals didn’t seem that far away just a few days ago & now it feels like I can’t go on, I want to quit & I’m never going to get there at all, it’s just too hard and the end is nowhere in sight, it’d be easier to just give up. What happens to us? Where does the Motivation disappear to? Nobody knows it’s one of life’s little mysteries, destined to elude us forever! But all is not lost. You can actively work on regaining that Mojo & get yourself back in the game & losing weight before you know it. Here’s some things I find help me along when I just want to curl up on the couch with a large Mars Bar & wish I could magically & without any effort become a size 8 overnight; Continue reading