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Promises, promises, enough of the promises....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

First off; this one is a bit more dark and a bit more personal. If you're sensitive to TMI you can give this one a miss. You've been warned.

So I'm chilling on Pinterest once more, and I'm seeing an abundance of fast result articles. You know the ones; "she lost 30lb's in a month, she's doing it RIGHT!" or "lost a dress size in a week by doing this detox diet" or the new book my 320lb friend has bought with super high hopes; "the 2 day diet." It's this idea that your goals, be they weightloss, better strength, better health or a general healthier lifestyle, can be achieved through short-term, part time work.

Now don't get me wrong; if you're already slim, fit and healthy and just need to lose that extra little bit of bloat for an event or whatever that's fine; go ahead and live on cabbage soup for a week before hand or eat nothing but vitamins and laxatives for 48 hours to clear your system, consequences be damned. But the whole point of a good and healthy lifestyle change is exactly that; it's a LIFESTYLE CHANGE. It's something you have to do 24/7/365 it's not about counting calories and restricting yourself to certain super-foods and forcing yourself to do workouts from a book for 30 minutes a day 3 times a week; it's about wanting to change and having that desire to do better always in your mind, effecting every decision. You shouldn't be forcing yourself to eat right and rewarding yourself with junk; you should WANT to eat right and HATE the junk. THAT is what will lose the weight.

A personal story now; this last week or so I've had a couple of bad days. I'm rather prone to them; days when with little or no provocation I collapse into wracking sobs, have to get my son's father to take care of him for a while, and hide in bed whilst staving off the desire to take my life. I know, I sound like an angsty teenager, and logically, even when I'm going through it, I know it's unnecessary and groundless; I don't feel that way because my life is bad enough to deserve it, I feel that way because something in my brain has mis-fired and gotten itself confused. I know that. However, whilst dealing with these feelings I wasn't interested in eating right at all. I knew what I SHOULD be eating and I forced myself to do the right things for the most part, but I just wasn't interested in it. I didn't want a slim and healthy body; I just wanted to be survive feeling like that. And if curling up on the sofa with a movie and a huge mug of chocolate was going to do that, then I was going to do that, screw the Zumba. I don't regret that; the (relatively healthy) comfort food and the time inactive gave me the chance to focus on my emotional need first and foremost, and the bad time passed, allowing me to get back to wanting the healthier physical lifestyle. But you have to want it.

That's kind of the point; if you don't want it, you'll not get it. It's like a career; if you're doing a job you hate and force yourself to go and do the minimum required amount of work to get paid at the end of each month, you'll never get a promotion or advance in that career. You have to want the promotion, the progress. You have to get up in the morning thinking "these are my goals, and this is what I will do today to make it happen" or skip out of the door thinking "yay! I get to go to work today! This is awesome!" It is NOT about finding the right short-term way to force yourself to work, it's about finding the right long term motivation that makes you WANT to work!

It's the same with healthy living. I used to think "I want to lose weight because society says I'm fat." The problem is, I'm something of an anarchistic isolationist at heart. I honestly wonder sometimes if I have something seriously wrong with me, such as psychopathy; I just don't care about most people, and honestly can't understand why we don't have death penalties and why so many people are anti-war and striving to cure cancer or end world hunger because honestly, population control needs to be more of a long-term focus for the human race. I mean, c'mon, over 100 people die worldwide every minute, half of those through poverty-related means in third world countries; can you imagine what would happen to the planet if suddenly they all had medicine, clean water, food and shelter? Wow. All I can say is I hope we crack space travel first. Don't get me wrong I love people and wish we DID live in a eutopia where we had worked out how to prevent all pain, death and suffering but I understand that it's ultimately not feasible at the moment and I would rather put my money into helping myself, my son and my immediate family and friends than I would into curing cancer because although cancer is a horrible plague on society it is necessary at the moment. But hey, that's just me being all heartless and stuff, but suffice to say if I can't create a genuine desire to help out starving African orphans and feel no response to the societal shunning that goes along with view points such as mine, I'm not going to be motivated to cut out the yummy things I enjoy 'cause that same society tells me I'm fat. I just don't care.

What I DO care about is not getting toothache so much (bye bye sugar) and not dying at 64 after 20 years of heart attacks, strokes and cancers, crippled with obesity, depression, arthritis, athsma and diabetes. That's how my nan died, and traumatic as her death was we all (her included) agreed that it was a mercy. I remember watching her laying on the bed towards the end, propped up on pillows so she could see the telly over her stomach, eating a 24 multipack of crisps and a bag of sugar free diabetic sweets a day (and nothing else) with an oxygen mask and a chemo cap on. I don't want to end my life that way. THAT is what I care about.

I also care about my son. My apathy extends to him to a degree; I often think of parents who commit suicide over the death of a child or lose the ability to function, and I don't really understand how you can respond that way. It's death, it's a part of life. It's sad, and you'll feel pain, and you'll mourn, but a healthy person should be able to move on. Is that right? Or have I gotten it the wrong way around? Should a good person be incapacitated by the loss of their child? Is it normal to want to die, or to die of a broken heart, when something like that happens to you? I don't know. But I do know I care about my little boy, I do love him; I cried when he was born and I take the time every day to make sure he knows that although I may be one of the most screwed up people to ever have a child, I love him and I would never hurt him. And above all, I want to provide him with a better role model than I had growing up. My nan and mother didn't care a whit about diet and nutrition. My dad had this idea, which he says he got from the army but I'm not convinced, that eating right and losing weight is as simple as "don't eat, stay hungry, and you'll lose weight." True to an extent, but not the healthiest advice out there. As a result, dad would often go through several months at a time of having no food in the house, meaning I had to eat at my nans house daily after school, which generally meant a microwave pizza or cheese burger since my nan couldn't cook and I didn't know how to.

I feel I have a responsibility to my son to provide him with better tools than that; to help him understand how to look after himself in case I descend into madness and can't do it anymore or succumb to my depressive moods and hit paydirt on suicide attempt #5. Sure enough, at the tender age of five, he knows the nutritional difference between peanut butter and jam/jelly, he knows that fresh fruit is better than fruit sweets, he knows that the nuts in his cereal are the good bits and that he should eat them even if he doesn't like them 'cause they're the healthiest part, he knows that the best drink in the world is water, and he knows how to make his own scrambled eggs in the microwave, how to make a PB&J sandwich, how the cardiovascular system works, how to ascertain what is happening to his body when he's doing an activity (i.e. is the muscle being stretched or worked, which muscles are you using, what's the cardio effects, etc.) and the first fledgling basics of how to monitor his health and work out what he wants to do to improve it. Right now we're learning about good fats and protein because he's naturally very, VERY active (and I mean, they're thinking he may have ADHD sort of active) and as such is extremely small and skinny for his age, so we're learning about healthy weight gain and strength training. Oh, and he diagnosed and treated dehydration in a friend a couple of days ago, accurately. So although we have a way to go I think I'm doing ok there.

Finally, I care about the things I want to do. I love bellydance, I love my partner, and I love sex. I'd love to be able to do a strip tease for him some day I feel I'm more slinky than wobbly. That's not about him; he thinks I'm gorgeous as I am. It's about me; I want to do it. I'd love to be able to work my way through the karma sutra, just to say I've done it, or be able to get some tasteful, erotic pictures of myself done professionally and not be ashamed to show them around (in the appropriate sense of the word of course). These are all things I want to do that I can't do at my current size. I also want to be able to go swimming in the sea more often. Now, I don't really care what I look like in a swimsuit; I'm a size 18 and there's always someone bigger than me at the beach/pool. However, I hate the fact that I can only wear certain swimsuits with "hidden support" because of my giant boobs. Don't get me wrong, I like having the curvy figure and all, but I'd be just as happy as a size 8 with a C cup as I am now as a size 18 with an E cup. And oh my god, if the day ever comes where I can think "ooh, that's a cute bra!" and buy it WITHOUT having to check if they have it in the big-girl sizes; I would LOVE that day. Seriously, I would marry that day and have babies with it.

Now let's go back to my friend and her 2 day diet. Don't get me wrong, it's actually not a bad book; it basically says "eat well for five days and eat REALLY well for two days." It generally advocates a healthy lifestyle 7 days a week with a little boost every so often. That's cool, I can go with that. But they have labelled it to appeal to people like her, people who don't WANT to change their lifestyles; they want a quick fix, something they can do when they feel like it and still see results. She thinks that this book will give her permission to eat junk for 5 days, and only 'diet' for the other 2. She doesn't want to change her habits, she just doesn't want to be fat anymore.

Then of course there's my personal favourite; those who tell you that you're doing it wrong. I know I do a lot of things that the majority vote is against; I weigh myself every day, I do strength training and cardio just about every day without rest days, I don't really cut anything out of my diet I just eat it in moderation, and I am a firm advocate of eggs, carbs and butter (generally going through 2 eggs, 2 slices of bread and a tablespoon of butter every morning for breakfast). However, it works for me; my "unhealthy" breakfast sets me up for a morning of productivity, activity and cardio. I am then able to ride that cardio (with the help of a home made shake for a snack) into some more productivity stuff and some strength training. I then have that lovely "I've gotten sh!t done today!" feeling which allows me to chill out for the whole afternoon and do the things I want to do, such as reading, writing, job hunting, knitting, cooking, book binding, blogging, making soaps and get the idea, I like my hobbies. By 4:00 I've had a light and healthy lunch (still being kind of full from the eggs and smoothie I've been sipping all day) and have another smoothie or a snack (often pate on toast) in hand. My son is playing with his friends and I'm still riding my energy waves so I'll plug in the Zumba again or do some bellydance or yoga, or I'll play around in the kitchen making meals to be frozen for another time or given away. I often have to throw food out because I make more than I can eat; it's annoying. I just love cooking! I can run around with the kids (and even had some of the neighbourhood children doing Zumba in my living room a few times) and get stuff done, and at 8:00 when the monster is in bed I can relax, and again I can REALLY relax because I know I've had a good day. In short, it works for me. I never say it will work for everyone, and I don't say the professionals are wrong when they disagree with me; what works for me may well be different to what works for the majority. But it works for me. Don't tell me I'm doing it "wrong" when I'm getting results.

So my question to you guys is, what's your biggest motivator, and do you feel like you have achieved or will achieve your goals, or do you feel you're struggling to stay with it? Also, what's your stance on the argument that there's a right way and a wrong way to lose weight? Are all weight loss endeavors created equally, or are some better than others? Is it all down to individual differences, or are there some things that are simply facts? Let me know in your comments below :-)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    hello yes I was there and struggle daily
    life at 67 is no picnic. Bankruptcy only 11 months left. Death of two children two sisters. I've been on every diet, contraption, drug flush your system out. starve, jenny craig, weight watchers, nutrisystem it all works but it comes down to choices. Mood swings like today not sure whats wrong yesterday on top of world. As much as I want this cheery life my daughters at least civil to me and my dog and my therapist are the ones that keep me going.
    so what can we do I wish I had the cure or at 67 carefree life. I will get through the day and move onto tomorrow, I guess the good thing is I don't blame my kids miserable lives on me as a mother or the deaths of my son and daughter on me. That's what I hold onto to survive another day.
    1777 days ago
    Its a fact, most people suck, with you on that one! Don't know your story, but after reading this blog, hope you're on some kind of medication for depression, my daughter is bipolar, was not fun calling 911 a few years ago when her current meds were not working and she thought it was a good idea to eat all her pills at one time because she was tired of dealing.

    Dr Oz, "You on a diet", great explanation on healthy weight loss.
    I believe if you eat correct portions, eat good calories (protein, carbs, fruits & veggies). Its all good as long as it's in moderation. We have to move. We have to get some form of exercise in a few times a week, walking, rolling whatever, our bodies need to move.

    Its a daily struggle to stay on the right path because it takes effort. But like you said, if we want it we can do it, just takes some of us longer emoticon

    Like you I want to lose to be healthy, but I also want to look good for my husband. I know he loves me as I am but I want to look and feel better for both of us.

    He is one of my biggest supporters besides my SP friends. He's also struggling to lose weight so we help each other stay strong and push to continue exercising and eating right.

    1777 days ago
    Well first off I don't think you are a psycho :)!! I think your son is amazing and you are teaching him things that will be great in his life. Just what a Mum does!!!

    I have been overweight all my life and got even bigger when I had my children. I starved myself and tried the 'quick fix' diets and got bigger. I was with Sparkpeople for two years learning a lot but not 'losing anything' .

    One day I found on the net an article by a body builder which struck a chord with me and I started to walk and eat what was great for MY body. I lost a kilo a week for 12 weeks. I exercised 5 days a week walking for three hours over the day ( I worked up to it from 5 mins increasing every couple of days.)

    I was taken to hospital with chest pain and found I had coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and needed medication to control it. When I came out of hospital I was stuck on a plateau for 4 months but I kept eating what worked for my body and built up to walking again and then found the love of my exercise life "Zumba".

    I eat chocolate and ice cream but only in small amounts, made changes in food--crisps to almonds and sunflower and pumpkin seeds-- milk and white chocolate to dark chocolate--bread to crackers---added heaps of water--have a large breakfast, smaller lunch and dinner if I want ice cream or chocolate that day I have it before lunch ( one square of chocolate and one tablespoon of ice cream)

    Now I am that person you want to be, buying clothes off the rack at the stores, loving life, eating well, feeling great. It does work just don't give up. I get depressed and miserable and I keep going. I read the articles on SP about depression and tell my family if I get too low. You might need to have some help I don't know but it is available out there if you think it's too much for you.

    You sound like a great person and the world needs great people to be great Mum's to the new generations. Your son has a great role model in you. I love your boyfriend, he's keeper.

    My hubby loved me when I was 110 kgs (242 lbs) just as much as he loves me now I'm 73 kgs (160.6 lbs).

    I've gone from a size 22 to a 12 (8 in US) and I'm going for a target of 56 kgs (123.6 lbs) I don't care how long it takes as long as I get there by a healthy way and can continue on as a maintenance lifestyle.

    Thanks so much for this blog...keep it up and smile you are great!!!!

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    1777 days ago
    Great blog :)
    1778 days ago
  • CANDIK48
    First off, let me say, so sorry you've had some struggles but big kudos to you for getting through them in ways that work for you! Don't know if you have depression but I do know it is crippling.

    My biggest motivator is me, myself and I. I'm also my biggest saboteur. I have solid goals in mind and I do my best every day to work toward them. And every day I do the "right" things for me I feel good. I mean good like I did something. When I see the changes, I say to myself, "I did that". And it is a great feeling. Like you I have a very supportive partner who thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am. (I tell him never to see the eye doc! He just laughs and tells me I'm being silly!)

    I also think that since we are individuals and we all respond differently to different things. Why should the exact same diet work the exact same way for everyone? The truth is, it doesn't. What I can tolerate in my eating plan may be unacceptable to another. I think we all have to experiment, find what works and tailor it from there. For example, I eat the 4 Hour Body Slow Carb way. So for 6 days a week, I eat nothing but proteins, non starchy veggies and some legumes. Any carb I eat has to be a slow carb. On the 7th day of the week, I eat whatever I want. I don't count calories or fat intake on any day other than to try to get between 1200 - 1600 calories a day. Others might need to have the option to have a treat more often than once a week, or fruit every day. Or maybe they might need the structure of a specific calorie count. People have to find what works for them and sometimes that means trying and failing and trying something else. That's life. But the biggest truth is that no one gets where they want to be unless they take the steps to get there. Being healthy and staying healthy (or not!) isn't a hand out, it's earned and it's protected by everything we do.

    I think just like anyone else, there are days I feel like I'm on the right track with the weight and inch loss and other days, I feel like I'm stalling out and not making the progress I'd like to see. But I'm not giving up anymore when I don't get where I want to be in the time frame I set. I'm tired of starting over again and again and having to make up for lost weight that doesn't stay lost. I've had my fair share of ups and downs in this journey, but the difference that's making a difference to me is simply just taking ownership of what I do.

    I wish you the best in your journey! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1778 days ago
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