Photo of Doom!

There’s nothing quite like a photograph to make you see yourself through different eyes, and it never ceases to amaze me how vastly different the perception is from what you see in the mirror. The camera tells an unspeakable, unforgiving truth; one that you cannot argue with. Last night I faced my own mortality thanks to a certain photo taken that day.

I spent yesterday with two friends on a day trip to Southwold beach. It’s a place none of us had been before, and my bezzie and I do like to always try somewhere new. As the weather has been so gorgeous, we thought we’d capitalise on it and treat ourselves to a day out of the office. We had lunch on the pier and a Mr Whippy on the beach, paddled in the sea, soaked up the sun; the usual seaside itinerary. It was a lovely day, good fun in the car, singing, laughing, and much joviality; a very relaxing and joyful day; until I got home.

My good friend, of many years, sent me three photos from the day. Two of them were of me sitting on the beach, they were pleasant enough. I had given her strict instructions to only capture an image of me from the neck up (as I do with everyone.) The other one absolutely scared me to death. I was lying on my blanket, arms outstretched, relaxing, oblivious to all; and in this sleepy state, eyes closed……I look like I’m dead. Like a corpse. I don’t look like I’m relaxing happily; I genuinely look like I am dead. Perhaps it’s the unfortunate shadows cast across my face making my skin look grey, maybe it’s because there’s just so much of me that my face contorts when gravity takes hold. Either way, it made me sick. It made me feel like my spirit had just risen from my fleshy vessel and I was looking down at my dead self. That picture wouldn’t be out of place if it had been taken of me in my coffin. I have never felt such an intense sense of my own mortality until that point; and I have never wanted to stay alive more than in that moment.

As I sobbed, looking at my seemingly lifeless body, I suddenly thought about all those times, over bygone years, that I’ve spent in depressions, wishing my life away, wanting to die, and contemplating ending my days. In that image I had my wish and it petrified me. I no longer have any desire to end my days nor do I want my days to end; I certainly don’t want my days to end looking so oversized, or as a result of it. I’ve never had as big a kick up the arse as that single photo has given me. I’ve never seen anything so hideous in my life. If ever my motivation to change falters…..I just need to look at that picture.

It was quite a timely awakening as tonight, a friend and I are going to take part in a Bootcamp with one of my heroes, Jessie Pavelka. I love what that man does for people, the way he helps them transform their lives. In my fantasy, he takes me under his wing, his new project if you will; and keeps in touch until I am at my goal. In reality, just meeting him will give me the boost I need and I can take from it enough to reinforce my desire to lose this physical baggage whenever my resolve weakens; which it all too often does.

Apart from the weight issue, the picture wasn’t unlike Scrooge being visited by one of his ghosts; depicting what it would be like to see life after you’ve passed over. As distraught as it made me, it was also quite a gift. In that shockwave of emotions and thoughts that overwhelmed me, I was granted clairvoyance; a vision of my future that I want never to become a true eventuality. That person will not be my future. My path instantaneously altered it’s course as I opened the file on my mobile phone. When the time comes that I really do exit my body and peer down at myself it will be that of a thin, wrinkly, ancient old prune with an accomplished smile; happily at peace.

If The Table Fits…….

So I board my train at Manchester Piccadilly this afternoon, homeward bound, and already I need the loo. Anxiously I wait until the aisle is clear, just after we set off, and I make my move. I don’t like walking down the aisles of trains; there is never a great deal of room; people always spill their body parts away from the confines of their seat and arm rest causing obstructions; not to mention the tilting motion that sends you ribs first into the Mickey Mouse ear that is the hand rest on the head of the seat in front. Knowing I had only five minutes or so until the first stop I took my chance. Two carriages! I had sat in Coach C so as to be close to the shop for cups of tea at one end and near to the loo at the other; thus minimising the amount of trauma as either my belly or my arse collides with unsuspecting fellow travellers. Alas, the loo was the far end of the carriage behind; but I made it there and back to my seat in good time and, surprisingly, without human contact.

Moving on from Stockport, the aisle seat next to mine is, thankfully, still available. (Yes I know that’s very anti-social of me, but one does prefer the opportunity to spread out.) It’s now a while until our Stoke stop……time for a brew methinks. When I returned to my seat I automatically pulled down the ‘table’ of the empty seat next to me. I can never manage to lower my own as I have too much belly in the way. (Now I have always been a big girl, but even writing that creates disbelief that I have let myself increase in volume continuously for so long). I prepared my tea, leaning over to do it, and then thought, ‘I wonder?’ Looking back towards my own table, I lowered it and, would you believe? It fit! It’s true there is never a great deal of room on the trains, but there is considerably less when you have size issues; i.e. you’re a lardy like me. I’m pretty sure Virgin haven’t suddenly redesigned their Pendolinos since I was last on one, so it can only mean one thing…..my diet is working.

In fact, I have lost 15lb in the first three weeks of my plan and have lost another five since being at my mums. (Official weigh in tomorrow morning, on my own scales.) My jeans are too big, the notches on my belt are steadily moving inward. My size has visibly decreased and I couldn’t be more pleased with myself! I have been so unhappily obese for so many years and now I have found something that works. I know there are a lot of other factors involved; timing, self focus, an awakening; all these things have played a part. Just where will this go? What next?

A few years ago I went to Alton Towers. I absolutely love thrill rides, but I knew from the off that I wouldn’t fit on any. I tried one……nope, had to get off. I wasn’t humiliated; I think to be humiliated at something like that means you are grossly in denial about it. I wasn’t in denial about my size. I have known the brutal and emotional reality of it for many years, even though I could never seem to successfully change it. I was disappointed that I couldn’t enjoy the ride. I did manage to get on one though so it wasn’t a total loss. This is something I can’t wait to do. Something that is so normal for so many people. As soon as I am small enough to go on them, I’m going to book myself in for a long weekend in one of those themed hotel rooms and go on every ride, every day, twice!!!

I think when I get home I might even try some clothes on that I haven’t worn for a while, I might be pleasantly surprised!

Must dash, need the loo again.

To be continued…….

Size Does Count

It is a typically female trait to dislike things about her physical imperfections. Of course, these imperfections are only ever seen by oneself. Anybody else that sees us as being less than attractive aren’t worth any consideration. So, when these are the bodies we are given, why do so few of us accept ourselves?

I have been overweight all my life. As a child I was always told I had puppy fat and that I’d lose it in my teens. In my teens I put a stone on each year until I was 19, each stone matching my age. By the time I was 29 I weighed around 24.5stone. That was my heaviest. Over the course of the last seven years I have lost weight in spurts, in fact I’d lost five stones but now fluctuate around that fifth stone; losing, gaining, losing, gaining. I really am a human yo-yo in so many ways.

I could argue that the lack of stability in my life deems it impossible to control or regiment my diet and exercise. This is partially true; but if you are that focused on a goal you should be able to make the right choices no matter where you are or what you are doing.

I could reason that it is my love of food that prevents me from losing weight successfully. What can I tell you? I love food! The sad truth is that I’m just like every other fatty out there. Greedy. I just choose to do it in private. Guilt free…..well, to an extent. Loving food is no excuse for gluttony. We can still love our food, but in moderation.

I could blame my polycystic ovaries for the ineffectiveness of diet and exercise in my life. It does actually have some credence in that it makes weight loss more difficult. Given, also, that I am too overweight to be treated for it (due to possible side effects of the drugs) I am in a catch 22 situation.

The simple truth is that I diet and I exercise, I watch my calories and I go to the gym. I just don’t do it enough. I don’t do it consistently. The scales fluctuate because my diet fluctuates. I feel worse right now than I have done in a long time. An all inclusive holiday in May has set my hard work right back and now I am clawing away at myself to regain control.

I see more imperfections in me, physically, than just my weight; but my tractor tyre size belly is my worst accessory. I have to wear it everyday. It gets in the way both actually and metaphorically.

When these imperfections affect our wellbeing, we should make changes. I believe someone once told me that and it’s true. Of course we have to reason between what really needs to change and what is just us being overly self critical. For me it’s a no brainer. I need to change.

Last night I thought about my last lover. I felt so badly about myself that it got in the way of me being free with her. I felt so disgustingly inadequate, despite being told that she couldn’t have found me more attractive. I understood the way she looked at me, I just didn’t see it myself nor do I understand the attraction. To me, there is nothing to fancy about my size.

I, somewhat, painfully resounded that I would not even entertain the idea of allowing someone new into my life (should they even present themselves) until I had lost at least half my excess body weight. It is unfair of me to burden another with my feelings of inadequacy; and whilst I believe the right person will neither care what I look like, nor how much I bellyache over it, it is an unfair exhaustion to lay at someone else’s door.

So. The challenge is on. This weight has to become my sole focus. (Particularly difficult when there is so much one needs to do in life.) I need to be healthier in my present and my future, physically and emotionally. I know that I will have much more self respect if I achieve it. And I know I won’t let anyone near me until I do. That is surely incentive in itself?!

I have taken photos this morning of me in my underwear. I won’t share them, you won’t appreciate it. But I will keep them for myself and track my progress. Who knows? Maybe once it’s all gone I’ll release them. The before and after. To shock and amaze…! Fingers crossed….

I don’t need to be super slim, infact I prefer curves on a girl, including myself; but I have gone way beyond curves into morbid obesity and it’s got to stop. I won’t ever have the perfect body, that’s not something I am aiming for; but as anything less than I am will be an improvement, I know to be comfortable in my own skin is a complete probability.

I simply can’t accept myself as is. So maybe, having dropped a few dress sizes and earned my self-respect, I finally will.

JG

Sabotage!

weight-management-scale

I am not one who wishes to be beaten in life.   I am a fighter, I strive for a better life for myself in many ways and have overcome my share of issues; the biggest of which was probably debt. When I made that final repayment, a few years ago,  I felt like I had set myself free.  I may have got myself into that mess, but I worked hard to get myself out of it.   And yet there is one aspect of my life that persistently defeats me.  Try as I might, fight as I might, it beats me every time and I end up surrendering to it.  It  has been a life long frustration; one which threatens to prematurely end my days, cause me no end of ill health; both of which I am acutely aware of, given my profession within the NHS; yet none of which keep me on a path to overcoming the problem.

I can’t even put it down to an addiction to my vice, because I have proved to myself time and again that I can do without it; but what I think I am addicted to is sabotage.  There has always been an angel and a daemon on either side of me and the daemon has always had the bulk of control, hence the continued failure.  He is extremely manipulative, bargaining with my better judgement, justifying his wants vs the angels needs.  Why do I always let him win?  It’s so much easier to give in than to fight, but the rewards of fighting and succeeding are so much greater than the momentary daemonic pleasures.  It takes time, stamina, will, passion and ‘hunger’ to achieve one’s goals.  As a passionate person it’s hard to believe I have an inconsistent passion for my own health.

Where is this lock deep down within my psyche?  And where do I find the key to unlocking the part of me that retaliates; ruins?  If only I could find it, I could set it free; to never darken my days again; allowing me a clearer path to my successful destiny.  We are all capable of overcoming anything, if we look deep enough, uncover the fear and then just release it.

This is what I charge myself with; to go find; analyse;  burn it down and rise from its ashes.  A slim Phoenix.