The difficult second album

You might have noticed that I have been uncharacteristically quiet of late. It is true that I’ve started a new job and had a particularly busy spell in my personal life, but that’s not it. The reason that I have been so quiet, if I’m completely honest, is that I haven’t known what to say. For the very first time in my life, I have been lost for words.

You see, since hitting all my goals before my big trip to Mexico, I’ve found it exceptionally hard to get myself motivated again. Before I went away I was riding on a wave of momentum, fuelled by a steady stream of progress over the nine preceding months. I had decided in January this year that I wanted to change my life; to get healthy, to get happy and to feel authentically myself, perhaps for the first time ever. The first few months of lifestyle overhaul were the toughest by far, but once those were out of the way, I enjoyed the rhythm and the routine of dieting, and the structure it gave my every day life, particularly at a time when I was struggling to feel motivated in my job. It gave me a focus, a goal, something to aim for and prove to myself; every successful day of dieting that passed and every pound that dropped off felt like an achievement, and I was addicted.

But when I came back from Mexico, 4 lbs lighter than I went, something shifted. I was still following my diet and exercising most days, but my discipline was starting to erode. As you lose weight you find that the goal posts keep moving, and the weight gets harder and harder to shift. Being on a diet is much like a video game, the relief you feel at completing a level quickly evaporates upon realising that the next one is ten times harder, and requires much more effort. And on this occasion, I let myself get a little overwhelmed by the task ahead. I didn’t let it all go out of the window, but I let myself slip every now and then, particularly with booze. I was being more relaxed with portion sizes, less strict at inputting everything into my Weight Watchers app and generally just getting a little softer on myself. And when I’d beat myself up in bed before sleep descended (the best time to be a total wanker to yourself, tried and tested), I just couldn’t find that fire in my belly to propel me to do better. I had no sense of urgency.

I should mention at this point that I didn’t gain any weight in this period, I just wasn’t losing at a pace that I felt comfortable with. I think, looking back, what had shifted is that I was happy with my body for the first time maybe ever, and so that voice beating me into shape was starting to soften against the background noise. This would be all well and good if I’d reached my final resting weight and was just trying to maintain; the problem is, however, that I still have another stone to lose to be at my optimum weight both in terms of my physical and mental health, so it wasn’t quite time to down tools just yet.

I’m a solutions-based kinda gal; give me a problem and I’ll find ways around it, it’s who I am, it’s who I’ve always been, except (until this year) in matters concerning my weight. But I want to change that—I have achieved so much this year, and if I’m to truly believe that there’s no going back, and this total behavioural shift is irreversible, well, then I can’t let a couple of months of low morale dent my progress. This is why I have decided to keep a food diary for the next couple of weeks, which I will religiously stick to, and then publish on my blog for you all to see. Pushing myself back into being vigilant with what I’m consuming will give me that extra boost to get to the finish line (13 lbs to go, but who’s counting?) Also, it will have the added benefit of giving you all insight into my day to day eating habits, which are dull, to say the least, but many of you have asked me for meal and recipe ideas. Hopefully it will also motivate me to try to diversify my meals and be a little more creative, because I am a real creature of habit, and if push comes to shove, I will eat the same thing day in day out, because I know it’s diet-friendly, and because quite frankly I can’t be bothered to spend hours rifling through recipe books when there’s episodes of GBBO to be watched.

So wish me luck and feel free to reprimand me if you see me going astray.

PS. I save all my “overflow points” on WW for booze, so don’t be alarmed if you see an overspend, I’ve built it all in, I promise.

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