Thursday, 25 August 2011
The Long Haul
We’ve all been there; that realisation after the initial flurry of excitement that this regime is not going to transform you instantly. There is no switch to be flicked or wand to be waved. It’s going to take time.
I think that’s why Lighter Life was so attractive to me. I could my life on hold for a relatively short period of time – my mantra was “I can do anything for 16 weeks”. Lighter Life BECAME my life for those months. Which also explains why I didn’t see it through to the end. Oh, I lost all the weight I wanted to lose, I got to my target weight, but I didn’t see the course through the Route to Maintenance section which aims to reintroduce food gradually and reset your eating patterns. Being realistic I don’t think a diet programme which involves NOT eating can ever reset ones’ eating patterns.
I’m definitely not dissing Lighter Life though as it was, for me, a lifeline. I had so much weight to lose and so little confidence in myself that it was the only way I could approach it. The all or nothing, surrendering myself to the programme and dropping the weight incredibly quickly was all I could do at that time. I reckon that is natural - if you have 2 or 3 stone to lose ten you can face 6-8 months of gradual dieting but if it's 8 or 9 stone, the mountain becomes unsurmountable unless you are very strong-willed. Lighter Life means you can tackle the mountain knowing that it's not going to take 2 or 3 years to climb. It was not, however, the answer to my problems, just the first step for me.
And then I spent the next few years (since October 2007) increasing, decreasing, learning, learning and stabilising gradually. Looking back over the last few years I can see that the swings have become smaller, the ups more constant, the downs fewer and farther between. I’m still not at the weight I want to be but I don’t think I have “A Weight Problem” anymore.
So now, at the beginning of a new regime – Slimming World – I have experienced the initial excitement of starting; that first week when you “feel” slimmer even though you’ve only dropped a few lbs; the Zeal. But now I’m experiencing the realisation that I still have a long way to go. In the past I have characterised this as a come-down but I don’t feel that now. I genuinely feel that this time I really will be satisfied by edging down the scales slowly. That each lb is a bonus and living life well is more important than hitting artificial targets. You know the internal bargaining one does – the “if I lose 1.5 lbs a week than I’ll be X by Christmas/the wedding/summer and I’ll be able to fit into such and such a dress” etc etc Not for me this time.
I think attending the class is going to make a real difference too. I always knew that, for me, attending class rather than just nipping in to get weighed meant that I was more likely to stick to the regime. But now I feel that I will GAIN from the content of the class itself too. The leader at my former class was so downbeat that I never felt as though she had anything to do with my Pollyanna outlook on life. This one does. She’s older and still pretty large to be honest but she has a positive outlook and is sparky and energetic and funny. She genuinely inspires you and her enthusiasm is infectious. She’s also realistic but not in a wishy washy way. She’ll tell you truth about the programme, sanction some cheating from time to time but also make it clear that you have to put the effort in.
I like several of the class members as well although it’s early days and can see there being some truth to the marketing clichés about “Going to Class make all the difference; it’s so supportive” etc etc. Never felt that before but am hopeful that I will now.
And Richard’s matter-of-fact acceptance and support is so helpful in this newfound attitude. He has just taken on board the new status quo without judgement. He doesn’t whinge about changes to our food or drink and sees it as entirely my choice. He doesn’t flaunt any treats he has that I don’t but nor does he comment (even teasingly) if I choose to have a treat. He asks how I get on each week and is pleased for me when I’ve done well but I know there’ll be no cold silence or negative ramifications if I were to maintain or gain. I explained that I’m not aiming to drop the weight quickly and he hasn’t dismissed this as me “not really trying” as would have happened in the past. It is refreshing and supportive to know that he loves me with or without the weight, on or off a diet and irrespective of how much “fun” I might be in the going out stakes.
So, the upshot is that I hope to be going to SW classes for a long time to come and hopefully well after I hit my target weight, whatever that might be!!