Lightbulb Moments

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that every good weightloss success story starts with a lightbulb moment. By this, I mean the sudden flash of realisation that change needs to happen, usually as a result of some devastatingly embarrassing event – getting stuck in a bath, having to pay for three seats on an airplane, losing the family pet in a fold of flab – that kind of thing. Thankfully, I didn’t suffer any such catastrophe; usually because I was clever enough to avoid situations where something along those lines could happen. Not clever enough to lose weight though! Anyway, there were plenty of ripped shirts, flying buttons, torn trousers etc that should have led me to the conclusion that it wasn’t in fact shoddy manufacturing that was causing these fashion disasters, it was the fact that the material isn’t designed to suffer such great stress/expansion. I ignored this, and blamed the fashion trend of ‘slim fit’ for my woes.

Despite being incredibly fat, I was actually quite fit. I remember meeting a woman I used to work with one day, after I’d lost about three or four stone. Needless to say, the conversation immediately turned to weight, and she went on to say that she had gone up to fifteen stone the year before and suffered joint pains, shortness of breath, and all round poor health. I find that hard to fathom. At my top weight of 21 stone, I was working almost seventy hours a week in a bar/restaurant, and loving every second of it. I felt great! Admittedly, I did have one complaint – a bad back. True to form, I refused to believe that this had anything to do with my rotund shape……oddly enough, since losing weight, I am no longer troubled with back pain. But my point is, fat doesn’t necessarily preclude you from having an active job. A further point would be: if I was that active and was still fat, what would I have been like if I had a desk job?

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A bit like him maybe!

Thank Christ I was spared the indignity of being disgraced into weightloss, but if there was a pseudo-moment of realisation for me, it was on a trip to London with my other half. The first ‘holiday’ as such together. We headed into what looked like a fairly arty-farty restaurant on a Saturday afternoon, the place bustling with the beautiful types that London attracts in their droves, not to mention the restaurant was bedecked with very slim and pretty hostesses – one of which led us to a table. The table was at the rear of the floor, so there was a lot of uncomfortable weaving in and out of tables and chairs en route, much to the annoyance of the diners who had to shift aside to accommodate my ignorant bulk. With the table in sight, I caught sight of something that chilled me to the core. The chair. The chair looked like some rickety piece of shit that you’d find in a skip. The venue was one of these boho-chic, mismatched furniture places, so there’s a good chance that the said chair did come from a skip! I knew to look at it that there was no way it would survive a meal with me reclining on it, so I panicked. What do I do? Do I feign illness? Do I try to let on I’m sitting on the chair, but secretly squat? Or do I say to my fairly new other half, “Here. I’m gonna break that chair, let’s go to Wagamama where they have benches”?

In the end, I think I tentatively sat on the end of the chair before shooting up and practically running out the door, bewildered partner (bllleeeeeugh at that term) in tow. I can’t even remember the explanation I gave, all I know is I was on the verge of tears – part embarrassment, part anger at myself. So we hit a bar and I hit the vodka. Sounds more dramatic than it was, but we both got sufficiently tanked to go to the theatre later that night and giggle the whole way through the performance. That was around 2006, so it was another three years before I actually joined Slimming World for the second and last time – so it was hardly a lightbulb moment. But it stuck with me, and I’m still horrified that it happened, and really horrified that it didn’t spur me on into losing weight then. I feel like by not losing weight before now, I’ve actually robbed myself of life. That sounds very enigmatic, but it’s true. Life is a lot different now, on a basic level. I don’t have a fear of breaking chairs, and I don’t have a problem negotiating tight spaces and sharp turns. I don’t rip things, and all buttons are intact. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself and I look different, randomly. Like I caught a glimpse of my hand in the wing mirror of my car yesterday – it looked like someone else’s! It looks skinny, and I can see the individuals tendons and knuckles etc. It used to just be a doughy lump. Weird.

So if that wasn’t my lightbulb moment, what was? Truth be told, I didn’t have one. I was cautiously inspired to try yet again to lose weight via Slimming World after meeting a friend who had done the same. I didn’t have any targets or expectations, I just went to try and change what I had become – a very fat and fed up 26 year old. It just worked this time, and I can’t say why. It wasn’t as if it was a new concept to me, I had been a member before – having said that, there had been changes made to the eating plan which made it (in my opinion) more manageable, but I’ll cover that in the separate Slimming World category. Like I said, it just worked this time. If I’d known that this was the way it was going to pan out, I wouldn’t have beat myself up so much in the past when I fell off the wagon of whichever diet I was on at the time! So if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t be too hard on yourself. Just keep trying. When you find the method that works for you, you probably won’t even realise it – it’ll just work, and all you have to do is keep it going. Losing weight is easy, but it’s finding a way of doing that is healthy, manageable, and enjoyable that is difficult. Remember, once the weight is off, it has to stay off! Otherwise, what was the point?!

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