Last Saturday afternoon I went to a gathering of Scottish bloggers. It was a ridiculously warm and sunny day in Edinburgh, why it may have even been twenty degrees. I rocked up to the pub with a friend and had a startling realisation that I wasn’t nervous.
A few years ago I’d never meet a bunch of strangers. Hell, I’d rarely meet my own friends at the pub. I used get so worked up for days beforehand, tears and tantrums at the thought of taking my fat out in public. What would I wear? Would I fit on the chairs? But now here I was strutting up to strangers, plonking down on a bench and introducing myself.
I’d soon knocked back a gin and tonic but the self-assurance was still there. It just hit me… I don’t care what these people think of me. I don’t care if they think I’m fat or badly dressed or unfunny or whatnot. I was happy to be me, so I didn’t need anyone else to be happy with me. It was such a rush to feel like this, just calm and comfortable; a million miles away from the girl who ran (waddled) away from her own graduation ball, told her friends she was "popping home for five minutes" then locked herself in her flat with the lights out and gorged on ice cream by the light of the television.
Last Monday night I got on the scales and they screamed 90.4 kilos! That’s a massive 3.5 kilos up from the last Wednesday Weigh-In. What the bloody hell? I re-weighed half a dozen times to be sure. I called in the Scottish Companion and got him to weigh himself in case the scales were wrong. He was 75kg as always. I thought of all the things I’d eaten last week, and there were a few dodgy bits. Two gin and tonics, a mozzarella and parma ham pannini, a buttered scone, plus an evil Chinese takeaway the night before. I’d got mine with boiled rice instead of fried; but it was white rice and knowing Scotland it was probably boiled in LARD.
"I still don’t see how that could make you gain eight pounds in 5 days! What about all your running?" SC protested, trying to reassure me; "Only newborn babies stack on weight that quick. Or whales, maybe."
What surprised him, and me too, was that I just laughed. No tears or tantrums. I knew it was impossible to gain 3.5 kilos of fat in five days. I knew I’d been exercising like a mofo and I’d eaten healthily apart from those social occasions. I knew I was on the right track.
"I’m not going to worry about it," I told him, "I probably just haven’t properly digested all that shite food yet. The only thing that annoys me is that I didn’t gain it eating something I really liked so it would almost be worthwhile! Like a honking huge block of chocolate!"
I’m really surprising myself lately at how sane and balanced I feel. About food, about exercise, about life in general. I am moving towards habits that are a lifestyle instead of my past extreme Feast Or Famine behaviour. I ate well during the week, but I went out for lunch with friends and enjoyed it, I had a takeaway with my hubby and enjoyed it, I had a couple drinks with the Blog Geeks and enjoyed it. And I exercised regularly. This is called living your life, folks.
I now realise this is the same approach I used earlier this year when trimming down for the wedding – I lost over 6 kilos in 6 weeks while still eating out at least once a week. At the time I thought I was being Hardcore™, but in reality I was just finally exercising regularly, being careful about what I ate without cutting out food groups or going to extremes. That way I never felt deprived or like I was missing out. After a year of yo-yoing the same five kilos, I finally got great results simply by taking a balanced approach.
And that’s what I’m doing now. By Wednesday Weigh-In the scales had calmed down to 88.4 – still 1.5 kilos up from the week before, but again I didn’t get hysterical. I resolved to make better food choices and to try looking at food as fuel rather than the centre of my universe. Example: I’d noticed my Wednesday night running sessions were always really rubbish, and realised I’d been eating extra on Wednesdays – like it "didn’t count" coz it was post-weigh in. I didn’t do that this week and the run felt so much better as a result.
Also, I need to remember that just because I trot around the park three times a week does not give me a licence to eat extra food. I’m not a bloody Olympic athlete, I’m not burning that many calories. So all week I’ve been ignoring the biscuit tin and the vending machine and feeling so much better for it.
Why the sudden zen calm on Planet Dietgirl? Why the sudden rush of self-esteem? The running has so much to do with it. It’s given me a newfound respect for my body and mind. I feel calm, in control and balanced. 5k may not seem a lot to some, but I can honestly say learning to run is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Each session still sees me moaning and whining and aching and puffing but the sense of accomplishment at the end of the run is mindblowing. I am slow and awkward, and I know I’ll need to walk/run the 5k rather than run the whole way, but I know I’ll make it over the finish line somehow.
It amazes me how much things can change in two months. Despite my constant whinging I am proud of sticking to the lovely Mistress Julia’s training schedule (thankyou!). It’s something I thought I could never do but here I am doing it!
I am in awe of the ability of my mind and body to cope (eventually) with whatever challenges I throw at it. So how can I not feel good about that? Now I’m looking at other parts of my life in a more positive light, feeling better about being me and realising how much energy I used to waste worrying what strangers thought of me. No more.