Moments of Weakness

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.df-cadbury-creme-egg_300

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.

Say goodbye to the muffin top.

What a difference a day makes. I’ve spent the last couple of days feeling pretty flat with regards to keeping fit (I just wrote fat there by mistake – how telling!) and shifting this last stone of baby weight. I signed up for a 10k race which takes place on December 2nd, and I am starting to worry slightly that I may not be able to complete it, never mind improve on my PB (which was achieved approximately 10 years ago). None of this was making me feel particularly positive. Oh yes, to disconcert the healthy-lifestyle apple cart further, I seem to have gradually upped my biscuit and chocolate munching once again – this week it’s been close to the epic pregnancy portions, which is never going to make me happy. Or thin.

Not rocket science…these things have been maintaining my muffin top.

But this morning as I lay in bed at 6am with Lily gurgling next to me, I began to think about will power and positive mental attitude – how I have managed to successfully transform myself from heavy binge-drinking, manic depressive, bipolar-esque boozer, to calm, happy, level-headed person who is much nicer to be around (I hope). I didn’t switch from one persona to the other by accident, or with no effort. I did it by altering my state of mind.

Prior to giving up alcohol for good, I regularly knocked it on the head for short periods of, say, six weeks or three months. I would spend the entire duration of my wagon rides miserable as sin, drooling whenever I thought of wine. At the end of these aeons of alcohol deprivation, my spirits would lift once again as I embarked on a good old piss up by way of a reward for my abstinence. I’d give myself a good pat on the back too for not being an alcoholic – after all, if I could manage six weeks without booze then surely I couldn’t be dependent upon it?

In order to stop drinking for good and to be happy about it, I had to alter my thought processes. Without alcohol in my life, I wasn’t depriving myself of something desirable; I was giving myself the benefits of good health, happier state of mind and improved physical appearance. Without alcohol, I am able to go running whenever I want, I don’t have to worry about what I said or did the night before – ever (that is so freeing), I never suffer from a furry tongue, bad breath or dried leather-handbag skin owing to dehydration, I have more money, my fears about dying prematurely have vanished, I no longer have panic attacks, my self-confidence has improved massively, I have tonnes more energy, and I don’t hate myself. Makes me wonder why the hell I ever drank in the first place!

So, back to my ponderings this morning – in order to get back in pre-pregnancy shape, I need to apply the same state of mind alteration to my cake-munching and fitness programme. I read an article yesterday about Alzheimer’s now being regarded as Type-3 diabetes, in that recent research suggests that it is brought on by eating too many sugary and processed foods. Cakes and biscuits are bad for us; they keep us from reaching our desired weight loss goals, they’re bad for our teeth, they provide absolutely no nutritional benefit whatsoever and they cost money that could be spent on better things. Now they may even be responsible for the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. I want to lose a stone and I want to be able to run a good time when I take part in the 10k in December. Cakes ain’t gonna help me do either.

So, with cakes out of the window and a new, more positive state of mind in place, I did 100 crunches followed by a 1 minute plank this morning in my PJ’s, and I am going to take the dog for a 5 mile run shortly. I skipped my usual cake at the café and I am planning on repeating my crunches/plank regime every day. Incidentally I have never followed a fitness regime for any length of time that specifically targets one area of the body, so I am intrigued to see how effective this will be. I am feeling much happier as a result of this mind change – it’s good to discover yet another positive from giving up the booze, which is that if I can get that shit out of my life, then I can pretty much achieve anything I want – happy days! (I’ll keep you posted re the six pack).