Y’know when you start out on a journey to a ‘new you’ – or even just pick up where you left off on an old one – it’s hard to imagine failing. You’re resolute. You’re determined. You’re totally going to kick ass and achieve your goals, because you are awesome. Heck, once you’re finished, you’ll probably take over the world, just to kill time before tea.
That feeling rocks. But as I’ve said before, it doesn’t last for ever. You have to put some serious effort into making motivation happen. And sometimes, life just pops a foot outta the bushes and trips you up for no apparent reason, because sometimes, life can be a bit of an asshole.
For instance – I have been a saint of late, with food that looks like this:
And workouts that make me look like this:
Yet on Wednesday, I got food poisoning eating out. From a salad. Needless to say I was deeply unimpressed.
Four days later, I am still hella bloated. I’m not joking – I’m pretty sure my stomach is entering rooms a good thirty seconds before I do. I’m contemplating going to hang out at Mothercare just so I fit in. Given I know for a fact that I’m smaller than I was a couple of weeks ago, this kind of discomfort just seems a bit uncalled for.
Also – drum roll please – I’ve got a new bra. When I started out, I was wearing a size 42G – and that kinda helped me in the size stakes, because it ‘balanced me out.’ I had big boobs and a big ol’ butt (still do), and so I wasn’t top or bottom heavy. For all my extra weight, I still had a kind of hourglass shape, and I made it work.
On the same day as I got poisoned, I made the switch from a 38DD to a 36C – and that’d be cause for celebration, but for the fact that it’s made quite a significant difference to my silhouette. I didn’t notice it happening, but it turns out under my layers, I’m kinda pear-shaped.
I like this – not least because it means I’m edging closer to being the same kind of shape as my sister, and she is hawt. But it’s strange, because without that (admittedly empty) bra I was wearing, in this iddy-biddy looking new one… I suddenly don’t look like me. Especially given the aforementioned bloat-baby.
Now, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Almost a year ago, I wrote that:
Psychologically, losing all of this weight is a strange thing. I’d like to say that I’m the same person I always was, fat or otherwise, but I’m not. I’m still in the position of catching my reflection and being (positively) surprised by it – and believe me, that does NOT get old. But it does throw you off centre a tad, because when you’ve spent years building up an idea of yourself and your identity, only to significantly change it – well, it’s odd.
To me, it really reinforces the reasons that this sort of drastic change needs to be a slow-burn process. Seeing yourself differently because you know you’ve put in months and years of hard work to get there has a very different impact on you than waking up after surgery or extreme, sudden weight loss having been changed by something or someone externally.
And again, about six months ago:
Mentally, though, I haven’t adjusted to my size. I don’t just mean when I’m picking things up off the rail, either – when I’m trying to squeeze between tables in a bar, or going to sit down in a tight spot, or even just walking down the street, I still think I’m bigger than I am. I don’t mean that in the sense of walking around feeling miserable about my size – I just mean that I haven’t adjusted to the difference yet, so I’m working on the assumption that there’s a wider load here than there actually is.
What I’m getting at here isn’t that I repeat myself – although it would appear I do – but that the whole body-changing journey business isn’t just a straight path. If anything, it’s more like a flight of stairs, or a mountain range, depending on how ambitious you’re feeling.
Because after each of those posts, there was a patch where I did adjust, and that size did seem normal. Right, even. And then, I’d change again – and have to readjust. And readjust again.
I think part of the reason these long-term changes fail is because nobody ever says these little wobbles – where you’re getting smaller, leaner, healthier, but you’re not sure you’re you – can kinda throw you off track. All the weight loss ads show it as one smooth transition from fat and miserable, to thin and happy, when actually, any sustainable weight loss will be a mixture of different things at different times.
That’s where perspective and proportion are important. I know I’m in a middle-ground at the moment, where my body is doing all sorts of awesome things and is changing shape accordingly. And I know that, while I’m a bit thrown by my suddenly-actually-kinda-small bust and suddenly-relatively-thin thighs (in contrast to my suddenly-rather-swollen-tum and still-resolutely-big-ass), I’m getting fitter by the day. This is a good thing. I’m just getting used to my new proportions.
If you’re starting out on a weight-loss journey – or if you’re at any stage in the process, for that matter – remember that you’re in transition. That person in the mirror might change faster than you, or slower, and those scales will tell you nothing at all – it’s the psychological side you’ve got to focus on.
Because a healthy lifestyle isn’t just a matter of waking up one morning after three months of starvation and suddenly being Jennifer Lopez.
Nope – this takes time, effort, and a commitment to carrying on, even when you get food poisoning from a salad.
But when you realise that you’re craving feeling better so that you can go for a run, rather than being able to eat a family size pizza…
Turns out, it’s all good.