Spring Forward

Daylight saving has begun in the Northern Hemisphere!

Over here they have a phrase to help you remember which way to wind your clock – Spring Forward, Fall Back. I keep getting this mixed up. Firstly, it’s because I think of "springing back" after a setback. And even more so, I often Fall Forward. I am notoriously uncoordinated and can fall in any bloody direction.

Catchphrases aside, it didn’t get dark til after 7pm last night. The will to live is returning! Now I can’t wait for those wacky summer days where it’s still bright at 11pm.

. . .

Wednesday Weigh-In: 0.7 kg (1.5 lb) lost this week. Happy days. Lainey, I’m back with you in the 12 Stone Zone, woohoo!

. . .

Guess what, comrades? My size 14 trousers from Oz can now be put on without undoing the zip or buttons. There’s a good three inches of empty space when you pull them out from the waist in After Photo style. I am too stingy to buy new ones until they fall down, so I will just wear tighter tops to hold them up!

. . .

Let’s talk about happiness!

( * *  WARNING: Lengthy Rant Ahead! * * )

Over the past year or so I’ve received a few emails and comments that have touched on this subject. Some common sentiments from our correspondents:

  • I appear to be so happy and positive
  • They wish they could be like that.
  • I am so lucky. What’s my secret?

My first reaction, if channelling the Inner Fat Chick, was crushing guilt. I would feel the need to apologise for my apparent happiness. Then perhaps I’d pile on some self-deprecating comments and a bullet-point list of Unhappy Things happening in my life, just so noone thinks I am a pampered lady-of-lesiure.

But I am not going to do that anymore, because I’ve worked bloody hard to become happy!

First of all – my definition of happiness is: a general sense of well-being and contentment with ones life. Nothing to do with bank balances or the size of your thighs.

While I’d never say my life has been  harder or easier than average, many years have been dominated by various traumas/ dramas/ challenges, etcetera. And for many years these circumstances shaped my personality – the paranoia, self-doubt, anger, depression and burning self-hatred. Spend any time in the archives and you’ll find mentions of these dark and wacky times!

So when I started my fat busting journey, I wasn’t happy. I did not like myself. The journey began purely because I’d reached the lowest low — I was motivated by anger and disgust.

But the more I did things that were good for me – eating well, exercising, not trash-talking myself – the more I slowly began to feel positive.

None of this happened quickly. I now realise that my fat-busting has taken so long because changing my head takes even longer. Recently I’ve been re-reading the paper diary I kept in 2003, the year I moved to Scotland. It was unsettling to look back at how much fear, paranoia and pessimism still ruled my days. Moving to a new country was daunting – I struggled with weight, work, and social life. Reading back you can see the points where I was just about to crack up and run back to Oz!

Yet somewhere along the line I made a conscious decision to be happier. There wasn’t a particular event to trigger it, more like a resolve that grew stronger as my healthy "baby steps" accumulated over time. It was like that old adage, about faking it til it’s true. So acting like a happy, self assured person until you actually start to feel like one.

There was also a realisation that I’d wasted so much energy on unhappiness. I’d let it affect my relationships – whether that be friends, family or work. An example: my crushing self-doubt made me doubt other people’s sincerity and motives – I’ve been untrusting and paranoid. I’ve let friendships be ruined because I felt so crappy about myself — I just assumed everyone else felt the same. Being miserable was hard work and exhausting. And when your unhappiness isn’t just about you anymore, there’s even more reason to do something about it.

In summary: I just got fed up with my own mopey ass and decided to change my way of thinking.

People have also written to say my life seems "perfect". What?! Perhaps it’s because I write more about the good times rather than dwell on the bad? Or perhaps because I don’t fancy airing my dirty laundry on the net? But mostly it’s a conscious decision to be positive. I’ll talk about the lows of fat-busting, but the overall tone is optimistic, because that’s just how I want to live.

While there will always be bad times and obstacles in life, I feel better equipped to deal with them now. I cry or grieve or throw tantrums, but I bounce back more quickly. I guess after so many years living with depression and/or an overwhelming sense of doom and gloom, I want to make up for it by striving to be a cheesy cheery optimist, even when things are shitty. ESPECIALLY when things are shitty.

Finally, here’s a couple more messages I’ve received from visitors to this site:

  1. They wish they could get skinny so they could meet a man – like I did!
  2. The reason for my happiness and contentment is because I found a man.

No no no no. I was happy and content long before I met the Scottish Companion! I was also not skinny when we met. Dudes, I weighed over 100 kilos, still classified as obese in my tatty size 22 jeans. There was nothing particularly alluring about my physical appearance, so maybe I wooed him with quiet confidence or fart jokes? Who bloody knows.

In summary:

  1. My happiness is enhanced by knowing the good Doctor, but not dependent on him.
  2. Meeting a bloke wasn’t about the size of my arse.

What does happiness mean to you? I am bloody easy to please. For me happiness is sifting through the shitty bits of life and looking for the good things to latch onto. And always making sure you have something to look forward to, whether that’s a weekly choccie bar, an episode of The Avengers or an island holiday. Anything will do.

To anyone who has ever envied my so-called happiness, please remember I am just an ordinary moron muddling along like everyone else, with good days and bad. There’s no secret. I have to work as hard at staying happy as I do at getting to the gym or making sure my guts don’t explode out of my trousers. It’s a habit that I had to learn. You just have to work on it, every single day.

(Sorry this is so rambling. Thanks for letting me get this out of my system!)

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30 thoughts on “Spring Forward

  1. 100% total agreement over here. I just wish I could fake it as well as you do 🙂

    Meanwhile, please let me know your thoughts on my most recent post where I get angry and jealous and trash you for losing so much weight and being better than me at ‘dieting’. All written with the most heartfelt love and admiration, of course 🙂

  2. I have just a slightly different take on happiness than you do. A) I think that having worked as hard as you have, you DESERVE to be happy — and that pride in ones accomplishments does evoke a feeling of happiness. B) Happiness is something we “choose”. I choose to be a happy person – despite the fact that I weigh 260something pounds! I could just as easily choose to sit around and mope about it and blame it on a million different stress factors or whatever – but instead I choose to be happy – and work my butt off dieting and exercising!

    I think that’s what you did too! I think you worked your butt off — and you should be damned proud of that! I think you also chose to be happy along the way! It’s a LOT more FUN being happy than it is being a pitiful poo.

    Congratulations on your recent successes! You are really looking good!

  3. you rock so much — I’ve been moping around lately with this whole whingy “I’ve lost weight, why aren’t I happy?” attitude. But losing weight doesn’t fix things, only fixing things does. Thanks for kicking my butt 🙂

  4. Bravo, Dietgirl!

    I’ve been reading your website for a few months now, after reading “Tales from the Scale”.

    I’m a medicine resident and future endocrinologist in the US and I spend a lot of my time talking with my patients about their weight. Your blog is so inspiring to me because of both the amazing amount of weight that you’ve lost and the great attitude you’ve exhibited while doing it. Weight loss can seem like such a difficult task (as I have also struggled with my weight, I can relate) – and I have so many patients come to me feeling overwhelmed and like a failure. The media, the medical profession, and society in general make people feel like they are terrible, lazy people because they’re overweight. And with weight loss being as difficult as it is, no wonder people get discouraged and their self-esteem takes a hit with every setback. I’m so impressed by your blog – reading it I can see that your happiness isn’t tied to the number on the scale, that you are just committed to making healthy choices for yourself each day. And with that outlook, you’ve lost 77 kg! Holy crap! I can’t imagine how daunting it must have been for you to start your “lard-busting” journey – and look at what you’ve done!

    Anyway, I have rambled enough, but I just wanted to congratulate you and say thanks.

  5. This entry seemed really real.

    Not sugar coated in humour like we often do, but real to the core.

    I couldnt have said it better myself.

    I used to have people saying the same things and I had the same reaction as you. The emails that said “I have XXXlbs to lose, can you help me” just blew my mind.

    I’m flat out helping myself. Thank you very much.

    Thanks for showing a very honest, un sugar coated side to you. I loved it.

  6. I wonder if you realize just how much you help others? You’ve helped me so much I want to fly over and give you a big teary hug! Seriously.

  7. That was brilliant. Thank you for posting it. Anyone who has read through your archives should be able to see that you have worked *damn* hard to get to what you have now. You drew the good doctor to you because you chose to give heed to the happy, vibrant person inside of you. If someone feels envy or resentment for that, then that’s just really sad for them.

  8. I like hearing about your happiness. Everyone has good and bad days. I am like you, I like to stay positive. But if I am having a bad day and read your site and you are cheery it gives me a boost. If you are having a bad day I can say hey I hear ya girl and that can help too. It is all about confidence and attitude. You rock!

  9. (((HUG))) You are the best! Not because you are so darn happy 😉 but just because you are you, and because you share all the brilliantness with the rest of us!

  10. 1. They wish they could get skinny so they could meet a man – like I did!
    2. The reason for my happiness and contentment is because I found a man.

    Hahahaha saddos.

  11. I never remember either how to change the clock but that was a good tips from you.

    congrats to the loss

  12. Fantastic! I smiled the entire time I read this. Your post applies to everyone, not just people struggling with weight issues.

  13. I so enjoy reading your entries. You are a really nice source of solice and encouragement. This entry is just full of inspiration and no bullshit talk!
    Thank you for sharing your progress and thoughts!

  14. Confession: My first motive for posting is to burn five calories :).

    People from the outside looking in hardly ever grasp the scope of hard work it takes to make drastic change. I applaud you for finding your happy place on a regular basis and making the decision to operate from there. Life is too short for anything else.

  15. I have daylight savings envy – we are just about to go back to good old eastern standard time now…grrr, no more 6pm walks for me.
    Great post dude, it certainly puts things in perspective. I couldn’t help thinking of that Rogue Traders song: “Fake it baby – they won’t even know. You can make it, cause everybody knows that’s the way to go.”

  16. What a great post! It’s what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately… Only you said it better. 🙂

  17. I often think people ask for your secret for success, because they have tried every other secret out there and yours seems to be only one that worked. HA. There is no secret.

    Succinctly “shift your arse and eat less”

    That just about does it LOL
    Have a great weekend 😀

  18. Having recently lost just over 25kgs myself, and having since found a Scottish Now Aussie Companion, my ‘happiness’ has been contributed to my SNAC – I’m sure there is a little element of truth in that but it’s more like the pride I have in making good choices for running my own life ie. balance in food, exercise, attitude, values etc.
    My SNAC appeared almost 8 months after most of weight loss – no doubt my more positive attitude to life in general gave me a confidence that I had lacked before.
    Loved your post – make the most of each moment – it’s all we get!
    Love ya heaps
    Mothership 😉

  19. LOL – I made exactly the same mistake when we discussing daylight saving at work. Must be an antipodean thing.

    Re: your rant. I don’t know what led to it but I wonder if you are taking the emails the right way. You have become an inspiration for many people. The thing is that, although we all know the way to lose weight (energy in less than energy out = fat loss), it doesn’t always work out that way. We sabotage ourselves or get depressed or other things get in the way. So when someone like you is really successful, the rest of us think ‘wow – how did she do it’.

    Perhaps you’ve had a few jealous snipers but those people should be ignored. I would think the rest of us are just people trying to find our own way through and wondering how we can emulate you to a greater or lesser extent.

    I know this because I am struggling at the moment and trying not to make excuses. A positive mental attitude counts for a lot and I can testify to that because I kicked the real depression while I was at my heaviest and can honestly say I don’t hate myself now – in fact I think I’m pretty cool. But there’s still alot for me to learn from others about successfully losing the lard…

  20. hi sandra – i totally get what you mean! i mean we all know it’s about calories in/out, but it’s putting it to practice that is such a bloody struggle. so that’s why i am always happy when people write to say they find inspiration from the blog. and i write back as much as i can and try and be helpful and tell them what worked for me.

    (likewise, i still learn soo bloody much from other people’s blogs, i want to emulate them! that’s why this blogging thing cool, we can inspire each other. we all have ups and downs and if i’m down i can always find a blogger who’s feeling up to kick me up the arse!)

    the emails i was referring to were of a different tone though. there’s jealousy, yes, but also the sense that some diet angel visited me and magicked the weight away. or that i’m only happy because i found a husband. as if years and year of hard work had nothing to do with it!

    it’s just a little frustrating sometimes. this lard-busting has just taken me so bloody long and has been such an up and down struggle – i want this blog to reflect that. i just want people to know i am nothing special – i mean, seriously, i am so prone to falling off the wagon. i lost 45 kg in the first year and it’s taken four years of lose/gain/lose/gain to do the next bit!

    i wish there was a secret formula. i pour over the archives of “successful bloggers”, always looking for answers and inspiration. and the one constant in these successful losers I’ve found is that they always hang in there over a long period of time, keeping their overall goal in mind even when it seems impossibly far away.

    i dunno, i’m not being particularly helpful here am i!? but i really do appreciate your comments guys, and emails. i am sometimes slow to reply but it always means a lot when people write. it spurs me on and i know i’d not have lost half as much if i’d been doing it on my own.

  21. Amen! I’ve been thinking about this alot lately myself, how did I get here, this place called mostly-happy? Lots of work (internal and external) and a decision made somewhere along the line that becoming a joyful person mattered to me, that I was willing to do whatever it took to have that. I love your blog and think you explained this marvelously!!

  22. What another great post about happiness. I get those kind of emails too saying WOW, you are so strong, happy etc but I reckon it all comes down to how you look at life hey. I’ve got lots of stress in my life right now but I’m looking at what I’m going to learn from it. Bad days don’t last 🙂

  23. And I must comment yet again. (I’m not stalking you, honest!!) I’ve been married for 15 1/2 years now. I was a size 18 when we met, and I’ve been up and down ever since. He loves me for who I am, and yeah, he wants to see me lose weight for the sake of my health, but not for any other reason.

    You’re right about happiness coming from within. And I also loved what you say here about the journey taking you so long because it took a lot more time for your mind to change than for your body.

    You’re inspiring me! I’ve moved my weight loss stuff over to a new blog (faithsjourney.wordpress.com, if you’re interested), and even decided to try out some classes at my gym.

    Thank you!

  24. Wow this one struck home! The BOFH aka love of my life aka the hubbie met me when I was 23 stone or 146.4kg and 3 months later asked me to marry him! You do not have to be slim to get a man!