There’s something in the way my (everyone’s?) brain works that means that I have a strong propensity to lie to myself. Well, not so much lie as choose to ignore; to remain in denial, avoiding opening the blinds completely in an effort to hide away in the shadows of what I know, staying tucked away in my comfort zone.
I used to do this with regards to wine – at night I would lie in bed feeling for lumps as evidence of tumours, so convinced as I was that I had developed cancer as a result of my wayward lifestyle. In the mornings, I would stare at my haggard reflection, the dark circles below my eyes and magnified pores of the skin on my face, the flushed cheeks that had nothing to thank blusher for. I would berate myself for being an irresponsible mother, a less-than-perfect girlfriend.
And then, by about 5pm, there I would be, having a perfectly reasonable little chat with myself which would, absolutely guaranteed, end in a drive to the supermarket for a bottle of cold Pinot Grigio, perhaps a Chablis if I needed to feel as though I were ‘treating’ myself, and the merry-go-round would begin again.
The fact was that the health anxieties I was experiencing, the sorry-looking reflection in the mirror, the urge to overeat carbs each morning owing to consistent, nagging hangovers, they were all factors that resulted from drinking alcohol and nothing else; the simple truth was that if I had just stopped drinking, all of the negativity in my life would have vanished – which, I am pleased to say, in the end I did, and it did.
The reason I am writing this today is because it occurred to me over the weekend that I am now doing exactly the same thing with my weight. Ok, I’m not overweight, but I would like to lose about half a stone in order to reach my ideal size. Because I don’t drink and I run regularly, I do maintain a good weight for my height, but I know that the reason those last few pounds won’t budge is because I give in to that voice in my head that tells me that the Crème Eggs (yes, plural) I eat after dinner, or the pizza we order in on a busy night, when cooking a meal somehow seems to fall by the wayside, aren’t really that bad, the voice that tells me that those extra five or six hundred calories a day aren’t really going to make a difference.
Well guess what? They do. They are the difference, just as that bottle of wine, so easily scooped up off the shelf in Waitrose and plonked down amongst the bread, yoghurts and tins of baked beans, was the difference between what I was then, and what I am today.
It’s a moment of weakness, of denial, and the efforts to achieve your goal just vanish into the air like a puff of smoke, as if they never existed in the first place. This is why I’m going to try making some visual reminders of my goals.
Writing the reasons why you want to lose weight or give up booze down on pieces of paper and sticking them all over the kitchen, or wherever you feel your trigger points are most likely to occur (in your purse maybe, so you catch a glimpse of it just before you go to pay for that bottle of wine you’ve picked up on the way home from work), is one idea. Keeping a food/booze diary is another, or sticking a picture of yourself at your ideal weight up on the bathroom mirror…Keep a list of all the reasons why you hated yourself so much the morning after your last binge, and read it nightly so that you don’t forget.
My weakness now is chocolate – I’m pretty healthy in every other respect, but I know that my weight will continue to bug me if I don’t manage to lose those last few pounds. So today, I will put some of the above strategies into practice and hope that some/all of them work. I’ll keep you informed of my progress – maybe you could try it for whatever your weakness is, and let me know if it works for you.