I was supporting a training course yesterday at work, which was centred around strategic planning for some of our senior team. I love days like that, where you go along thinking you could probably recite the content standing on your head but end up learning a bunch of stuff in the process. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?
One of the exercises really captured my imagination. As a way to drive home the importance of proper planning, the facilitator asked the guys to imagine for a moment that they’d failed to deliver one of the key things they are accountable for. He wanted them to really think about what the consequences of that failure might be. Serious stuff, right? The scenarios they fed back included us losing customers, business, revenue, jobs…the full monty.
Now, I’ve not seen that exercise done before, and as I listened, I found myself participating from the sidelines and doing that thing where my mind anchors everything right back to what’s important in my world. So I set off thinking about my journey down the scale, and the fact that I’m the one who’s accountable for whether or not I manage to shift the extra arse I’ve been carrying around in my pants for the last few years.
Losing weight is the most significant part of my life plan, and has been for the best part of two years, but what would the consequences be if I failed? I didn’t need to imagine very hard, I mean I’ve been there for real more times than I can even count.
I see myself laid in my big fat reclining armchair, peering over the top of my belly at the TV as I watch The Biggest Loser, all the while shovelling cheese balls into my mouth, three or four at a time from the third family-sized bag that I’ll share with the dog in one sitting. Well, I say share…two hundred and ninety seven for me, one for him. Come on, I’m a responsible dog owner and don’t want him to get fat.
In my mind’s eye, I see myself heave three hundred and fifty pounds of lard off the chair and waddle it to the kitchen, so I can retrieve the Daim cake which is defrosting. It’s still frozen but fuck it, I’ll eat it anyway. I don’t mind it being a bit cold.
As I shuffle back to my armchair with the whole Daim cake on a plate, I feel pissed off at the way my ankles and my knees hurt. It’s not fair. I’ve got an itch on my foot that I can’t bend down far enough to scratch because my belly gets in the way and I look like I’ve got three pillows of fat strapped around my middle. You don’t even want to imagine the rear view.
I don’t wear anything on my feet that requires more of me than shuffling my foot forward in order to put them on, because fastening any kind of strap or buckle below the knee would cause my eyes to bulge like they’re going to pop right out of my head. Along with the grunting…that happens automatically when the fat I carry on the inside forces the air out of my lungs whenever I try to bend down. I live a vertical life for that reason, or at least I would if I could stand up long enough. Two minutes is about my max, before I start looking around for somewhere to sit down.
With a bit of luck there’ll be a chair without arms, because my arse struggles with the concept of a one-arse sized seat. Chair arms dig right into my legs and my skin will turn blue with bruises. If I do manage to find a seat without arms I’ll never relax in case it’s not geared up to hold an arse the size of mine…the thought of being a fat girl flailing on an exploded chair like a turtle on it’s back fills my heart with dread.
That’s what failure looks like to me, because there’s no middle ground.
Like the sound of needle scraping across vinyl, I woke up to myself in the present day when the facilitator brought the room back, and I almost cried with sheer fucking relief that I’m just fat. On a scale of fatness, I’m still right of the midline but I’m definitely not all the way over to the fat fat fat side. Not any more.
I can walk without pain, left knee excepted from time to time. Hell, I can circuit train, I can box and I can hold a plank for almost a minute. I swing kettle bells. I can cycle, and they even make padded cycling shorts in my size, which tells you that I’m on the fat edge of fucking normal. Move along folks, nothing to see here.
Fat isn’t limiting my life in the way that it did two years ago, and fat will never limit my life again. That’s the promise that I’ve made to myself and with every step I take, I can see that old life getting more and more distanced from who I am.
Failure..? Not on your nelly 🙂