I have, for as long as I can remember, been overweight in all senses of the word. By this I mean that I have, as dictated by the traditional definition, weighed more than I ought to for someone my height and age. But beyond this definition, I have also been psychologically overweight, which is still just as heavy, but the burden of the weight is emotional. This weight has been much harder to shift than a simple combination of diet and exercise, and has required years, months, days, hours and minutes of introspection and counselling to understand. It has, over the years, ebbed away at my self confidence, eroded my belief that I’m a worthy human being, and eventually brought me to my knees last year in the form of a panic disorder.
But this story isn’t a sad one; my experience last year woke me up to the fact that I needed to take back control over this element of my life that had always evaded discipline. With the help of a very patient and kind cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) counsellor, I gradually unpicked the unhelpful thoughts that were making me scared to confront my fear of weight loss, to understand that above all else, my lack of belief in my ability to be able to do it was the single largest barrier to my success. Realising that this obstacle was psychological, rather than anything physiological that impeded me personally from losing weight, was the first step to my freedom; I could no longer hide behind excuses.
So in January this year, I pooled together everything I had learnt from CBT, battled against the voice in my head that said that I couldn’t do it, and threw myself into a dieting and exercise plan. Three and a half months into this process, I am 1 stone 8 lbs (around 10kg) lighter than when I started, feeling more positive and enjoying the freedom that combating my fears has afforded me. That is on good days. On bad days, the mountain in front of me looks so tall that it obscures the horizon, but luckily for me, on those days I have good people in my life to set me back on the right track, and the confidence that I’ve gained from the positive results so far.
My stated aim at the beginning of this was to get my BMI down to below 30 (from 37 originally), in order to be considered “overweight” in the index, rather than “extremely obese”. It struck me as an odd goal to embark on a diet aiming for overweight, but for me, the goals have to be manageable in order to avoid the paralysis that feeling overwhelmed produces. I’m now down to 33 BMI, and this blog is intended to catalogue my progress, my struggles, my tips and generally the things that have made me laugh and/or cry about the weight-loss process.
So please read on: hopefully you’ll find it funny, maybe you’ll find it helpful and probably you’ll feel sympathetic, as I’ve yet to find any person that wouldn’t like to lose or gain a few pounds, depending on their own preferences.
FYI, the photo was taken in Barcelona in October 2015. I had a familiar sinking feeling upon seeing this, in a rare moment when I was no longer able to pretend that I was happy with my weight. Above all, this image reminds me how far I’ve come, and how important this process is for me.