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? 🙂