Love Your Vehicle

Guess what? Someone finally noticed!

Crikey, and it’s only been nearly six months. I went home to see the folks this weekend. First I saw Mum, who knows I’ve been on this health kick, but hadn’t seen me for two months. She’s the kind of woman who never shuts up, so it was amusing to see her standing on at the gate with her mouth opening and shutting like a goldfish. "Uh.. ooh… hmmm… uh.. uhh.. look at you!". She went on and on for ten minutes before she even noticed I’d got a haircut and foxy blonde streaks. Then coz she knew I’d reached the 30 kilo mark, she gave me huge bunch of flowers – white daisies with bright red and orange gerberas – to celebrate. She really has been so supportive. I love her to bits. It’s amazing how our relationship has changed over the years.

Then I went and visited my grandmother. She’s the kind of lady that doesn’t dish out compliments unless they’re really deserved. So when she said to me, "Helloooo, somebody’s lost some weight!", I grinned madly. FINALLY someone who didn’t know about my efforts ACTUALLY NOTICED! It was brilliant!

This morning I am pleased to report that the snugly fitting pants Mum gave me on my last trip home (the beginning of May) are now floating round my waist. I have to pull them up a good couple of inches above my belly button so they stay up. Woohoo!

Watched two TV shows this weekend that really got me thinking. The first was a British show that follows round some overweight folks and their struggles to lose weight. I use that evil word struggle because that’s what most of those people seemed to be doing. To me they just didn’t seem to be in that ZONE, that state of mind you reach where you quit making excuses and just start putting in the effort. Also, I was alarmed by the lack of support these people had. One big guy’s wife would roll her eyes at him and tell the camera that he "hadn’t been very good" and didn’t think he’d lose anything. How rude! A little love and support from her would have went a long way.

Another guy was REALLY big, at least 400lb I’d say. He was a really sweetie and very determined to lose his extra weight. He’d made a big decision to have surgery to reduce the size of his stomach, so desperate was he for results. He was full of determination and optimism when he went under the knife. He came out okay, but two days later he died of a massive blood clot.

He died! I couldn’t believe it!

I had this really sick feeling in my stomach after that. It hit me hard that being overweight can kill you. I know he had that surgery and it was risky, but he was so desperate that he thought it was his only chance. Just six months ago I was gaining weight so rapidly, I could have been heading for that stage. I know my health was at risk. I’m so glad I reached that point to say "enough is enough". He wasn’t even that old, he had a wife and kids, and he died.

The thought of that happening to me is terrifying. And to think I came so close, I really was out of control. I felt like I wasn’t in charge of my life one little bit. But now, oh wow. I have plans, people. I have things I want to do, places I want to see, and I am going to be healthy enough to do it all.

The second show was called Good Girls Do Swallow, a TV special by this wonderful woman who wrote a book with the same name. It was all about women and body image. I felt so good after watching it, I wish I could hug that woman and tell her what a champion she is.

The blurb about the book goes like this:

"Between the ages of 17 and 31, Rachael Oakes-Ash lost 63kg and gained 76kg on a roller-coaster of body image problems and food obsession. She went through anorexia, bulimia, bulimarexia, gym mania, strict dieting and binge eating before she finally figured out how to stop torturing herself and hating her body."

I’m sure oodles of women can relate to that. Just about all of them. Have you ever had a female friend that has never been on a diet, whined about her body, etc etc? I don’t know a single one, personally. Anyway, I think I heard this Rachael chick say on the show that’s she’s now a size 16 (US size 14) and doesn’t diet anymore. She looks just fabulous and oozes charm and sassiness and just looks nice and comfy with herself. How brilliant is that?

The show had a lot of women who’d had eating disorders. It was horrible to hear them talk about how poorly they thought of themselves. One girl even told herself she was worse than Hitler or Mussolini. Good lord.

I really don’t think there’s much difference between obesity and anorexia, except for a helluva lot of pounds. All the extreme feelings they had about themselves, I felt as an obese person. It’s sad and disturbing how much time we waste being obsessed with our body image and hating ourselves. It’s exhausting! It’s pointless! Why do we do it?

I’m not saying I don’t do that anymore. If you look back through my archives you’ll probably notice a nice pattern where once a month I seem to be totally doom and gloom about myself an my body. I don’t think there’s any avoiding that. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when it feels like someone’s taken a jackhammer to your ovaries!

But for the large part, I totally dig myself these days. Like, totally, whatever. Hehehe.

While this show was saying you should accept yourself no matter what your size, I think you can apply that philosophy to weight loss. For the sake of my health, I really do need to lose weight, I am very overweight for my height. But that does not mean I should not be happy and proud of my body RIGHT NOW.

I’m a size 24 going on 22, I am still 52 kilos + overweight, but I’m okay! I don’t think of this caper in terms of Losing Weight any more. It’s now about Feeling Good About Me. I have wasted so many years of my life telling myself how fat and ugly and useless I was, and where did it get me? Nowhere. "You’re so right, brain!" I would reply. "I’m doomed, therefore I will eat two Quarter Pounders and a family block of chocolate!"

The more I started thinking good things about myself, and the more I stopped thinking Food Is The Enemy, the easier this whole caper became. It’s really that simple. If I want to eat half a cheesecake, all I do know is think, "Is that going to make me feel good? No really. Think about it." and for the most part I realise, No, I am going to feel like a whale, a whole pod of whales stapled together in fact. So I don’t eat it. Or perhaps I will have just a small piece instead. If I do, I won’t punish myself for doing it. Food’s great, y’know? I just don’t go crazy about it anymore.

You have but one body, people, so you gotta treat it well. It’s the vehicle that carries round your brain, the brain that carries round those bad, bad thoughts about yourself. Train your brain to think nice, nice thoughts about yourself. You have to learn to love your vehicle. Food is just the fuel to keep it going, it’s not an evil demon that you need to struggle with. And don’t worry about other vehicles with better looking paint-jobs or smoother bodies. Love your vehicle as it is RIGHT NOW, spare tyres and all. Next thing you know your vehicle’s looking good, and you feel fantastic. You are cruising down the highway of life, and you are by-passing all the McDonalds drive-thrus.

(Damn. That’s an overloaded analogy if I ever heard one.)

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