Sticks And Stones

Isn’t it funny, how the view you have of yourself can be disproportionately influenced by the view that other people have of you? I’ve always wanted to be one of those uber-confident people who don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people think. To be fair, advancing years and the accompanying descent into eccentricity is quite liberating in a lot of respects, although it’s less about an injection of confidence and more about feeling like fewer people notice if you wear purple and green together, or nip to Tesco in your slippers.

Someone whose opinion I’ve always respected threw some shade at my less-than-straightforward weight-loss journey this week and it’s made me turn myself inside out to try and see what they see when they look at me.  You know the old saying – feedback is a gift and all that, even when it feels like someone’s just hand-delivered a dog turd through your letterbox.

I was prepared to consider this piece of feedback from all angles, you know? The gist of it was that me putting weight back on proved I’d learned nothing at all over the last two years and therefore I was never going to achieve my goals.

I know, right? This wasn’t an internet troll, it was a proper one.

My first thought was Have you been colluding with my Asshole Voice? I mean it sounded remarkably similar to the kind of thing my inner Asshole would say on a day where shredding my confidence was the primary objective. Actually, I’m lying. My first thought was Fuck off, who the hell are you to pass judgement on me??

Come to think of it, that was my second and third thought too.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. I’m human, and I’m flawed. We don’t all shit rainbows.

Am I a failure in the Skinny Town stakes? I suppose it depends on which way you look at it. Have I successfully lost weight? Yes I have. Have I found some of it again? Also yes. Have I beaten my demons and cracked this weight-loss malarkey? No, have I fuck. I’m a work in progress, but I’m still here aren’t I? I’m still in the game. I get back up every time I fall down and I haven’t quit because it appears that for the first time in my life, I’m not a quitter. Who knew that would happen?

August. August is when the wheels came off my life. I lost one of the people I was closest to in the whole world and it knocked me for six, in fact I’m still processing it. I miss her like you wouldn’t believe. I’m here to tell you, in any other year, my grief would’ve weighed every pound of the eighty that I’ve lost, and then some. I’d have brought the diet to an end on the basis that I couldn’t focus on that right now, and I’d still be not focusing, all the way back to north of three hundred and twenty fucking pounds.

I haven’t done that. Yes, I’ve bounced around a lot. I’ve been up and down again and I’ve lost and gained the same thirty pounds on a loop over the last few months. I’ve frustrated the hell out of you guys I’m sure. Me too, as it happens. But I’m still here. I learned that getting up and pushing on with skinned knees is better than staying down.

I’ll tell you what else. Through it all, I’ve never retreated to my armchair. I’ve carried on exercising, and when I couldn’t work out after my surgery I headed for the pool. Even when my food fuckery was at its absolute worst, I stayed away from the all or nothing school of thinking and I carried on swimming for an hour every day. I still am. So that’s something else I appear to have learned.

That’s two things I’ve learned right there. Two things. Not nothing.

It’s amazing how getting angry can focus the mind. Having reflected on what was said, I’ve consigned it to the box labelled “insignificant one-dimensional perspective” and it’s no longer registering as being worthy of me giving a single fuck.

I can’t argue with the fact that if you look at net weight loss over the year I’ve averaged about half a pound per month, which is frankly pathetic. I accept that. But whilst being on it and off it again has been hell to navigate and frustrating to watch from the sidelines – sorry about that folks – I’m still here, and I’m still going.

Funnily enough, with renewed determination. After all, every day’s a lesson, right? 🙂



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21 thoughts on “Sticks And Stones

  1. Has this wonderful person that you are talking about ever lost EIGHTY pounds? I am guessing no. But they are the expert on this subject. This type of thing just infuriates me. Studies have shown that people who have lost weight also more easily regain weight than those who stayed thin. I hope that you’ve put the remarks right out of your head by this time.

  2. Heya Dee, I flew red-eye across the country and back last week to deliver the eulogy of one of my favorite people. I am crushed by the loss–though let me hasten to say my aunt lived a long and happy life; I have nothing like the grief of losing a child. But the shock and the exhaustion of two transcontinental flights in 48 hours plus wanting so much to get the speech right (it went well), I was wiped out. I say this to give the next thing I want to say context: grief and shock and exhaustion aplenty.

    The difference I see between your travels and mine is I took my travel scale with me. It slips into my carry on and while I was certainly not “dieting”, I checked my number when I woke up on the east coast just like I do in the mornings on the west coast. When I saw I was up two pounds in one day, I slammed on the breaks HARD. Because of my travel scale, I skipped the giant bag of M&M’s on the plane ride home which I really, really wanted because it turns out eulogies are hard.

    Maybe a travel scale is a worthwhile idea? Because though there is no way I condone brutality masquerading as feedback, I also frown at giving back all the hard work you did all year long in the matter of a week.

    I’m proud of you and love the blog! You are doing good work and mean more to more people than you know. xom

    1. You too Margaret? I’m so sorry for your loss.

      And I didn’t even know travel scales existed! I’m heading to amazon as we speak!

  3. This is a really tough time of year with the holidays too – especially when you’ve lost someone. I’m going on 19 years losing my Mom – Thanksgiving is not all wrapped up tidy in a bow like they show on commercials – people have a lot of baggage. I don’t say you should throw caution to the wind because of the holidays – but I do say now is the time to practice self-care. You know January is coming and that is when all of us seem to really be able to dig our heels in. You are doing great – and the consistent swimming is awesome. You’ve got all of us – don’t go anywhere!

    1. I promise I’m not going anywhere Beth! You guys are often my lifeline and writing keeps my feet on the ground. Lord knows I need that!! ?

  4. As my children say your ‘friend’ can ‘go bite a fat rat’. I’ve never been sure exactly what that means, but it always seems to sum up how I feel about that kind of situation………

  5. Okay, first of all, you get a gold medal for sticking with your exercise. This whole goal may be to be a first class resident of Skinny Town, but being healthy is not too shabby! Also, I have been reading weight loss blogs for years, have been fighting the battle for years, and it seems to me that when people’s losses slow down, it’s the same pattern: they beat themselves up, and then their blog disappears. I think our bodies are programmed to sabotage our efforts, the way the metabolism changes as we lose weight. That being said, you are on track with the attitude of not giving up, and I am hereby telling you to please keep up the good fight! I have come to terms with the fact that I will live all of my days fighting with the Raging Food Monster within, to more or less of a degree. I’m sorry about your Godmother, too. When we go through loss, everything else seems so piddly, it’s normal to overeat. Anne, I am also sorry for your loss, very sorry.

  6. Well said! No one should judge another-ever. I always appreciate your honesty. You are more open here than I am with myself at times. Kudos on keeping up the swimming. I remember your comment on how it was changing the shape of your upper body. It’s great exercise and a stress reliever. You have dealt with a lot in the last several months, and I applaud your perspective on it. Keep on getting up and pushing on! It’s a valuable lesson for all of us.

  7. I’m so glad you are still here and still going! I admire that you have kept up your exercise even when your eating hasn’t been the greatest. Don’t let the internet trolls get you down. We the posse still love you!

    1. Internet trolls don’t bother me one bit Susan, it’s when it’s someone you’ve shared vulnerabilities and confidences with it’s hurtful and crosses the line ?

  8. You mean purple and green don’t go together? Don’t tell that to us in south Louisiana, where Purple, Gold and Green are the Mardi Gras colors and go together just fine!

    You have learned plenty, you just have a new lesson you are taking right now, the “how to keep on top of your eating while grieving.” The school of life is the only one that gives the test first and the lesson after. The work you are doing to learn the lesson is most assuredly not proof that you have learned nothing, you have just been handed a new test/lesson, and it takes time to get through each one, and no two are alike.

  9. Good for you! The last thing you need is two asshole voices. It’s easy to give opinion of something and regurgitate the same shit in relation to weight loss and disappointment but when you haven’t walked in that persons shoes or even had a struggle with weight then maybe the ‘delivery’ should be thought about. Don’t judge someone because they’re having a difficult time as anyone’s successes can also change, nothing is static, it’s how it’s managed! To tell someone that they have learned or achieved nothing after they’ve laid themselves bare and been honest, I personally think is cruel and abusive. People may think we’re enabling by telling you it’s okay, I would say it’s empathy and compassion and we’re here to support you to get the wheels back on the wagon and you will! You’ve got this, like you said 2 or 3 fu*ks are not given ?? good luck honey, you’ve got this xx

  10. When you loose someone you love, and I mean really love, you are doing a hell of a job to just survive!! I lost my 21 year old son a year and a half ago …id previously lost 7 stone and regained two just before he died. His death is something I will never recover from and it’s only now, a year and a half later, that I can begin to focus enough on myself to begin to loose any of the additional four stone I put back on. But, and it’s a big but, I know I can do it. So can you! Keep getting back up! Each time you do you get stronger and more able.

    Grief is a tumultuous journey that oozes into every fiber of your life. It does just disappear over night in a puff of pixie dust. You are doing so well….dont let any gobshite ( Irish for someone who talks poo) tell you otherwise. I for one am proud of you!!

    1. Anne I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t begin to imagine. My Godmother was very special and she’d lived a long and colourful life. Your boy…well, I don’t have the words. So sad. Thankyou, your support is greatly appreciated XX

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