NB: I’m doing a very low calorie, total food-replacement diet . Other diets are available and anyway you should talk to your doctor before beginning one because (appalling Bob Marley impression) NO DOCTOR, NO DIET.
It’s my penultimate week on the diet, and I’m alternately dreading the end and wishing it would hurry up. Choking down food packs has become an endurance test, because suddenly they all taste of ash and tears and sweetener.
A constant uneasy fluttering has taken up residence behind my breastbone, and I can’t shake the conviction that I should have somehow done better. I should have drunk less Coke Zero. I should have drunk more water. I should have taken my measurements once a week. I should have learned to cook. I should have avoided the “chocolate bar” food packs because SURELY that’s bad healthy-eating psychology. I should have thought more deeply about my relationship with food.
All in all, I’m feeling pretty rubbish about my achievements for someone who’s dropped almost two dress sizes.
Then I read this brilliant Fat Girl PhD post about perfectionism in weight loss:
“I am the absolute queen of a very special form of self-torture known as Unrealistic Goal Setting [...]. As a result, I was a consistent source of disappointment to myself. And so I’d eat to cheer myself up. And then I’d gain weight, and then be even more annoyed at myself, so have to work even harder, and… You get the idea. It’s bad juju.”
I realise that I, too, may have unwittingly stumbled into perfectionism. I started this VLCD aiming to just get light enough to exercise without injuring myself. Somehow, though, I managed to convince myself that it would solve all my problems, and now I’m very uncomfortable with the thought that when I finish there will still be clothes in my cupboard that don’t fit me.
The problem with this, you see, is that I’m basically a malfunctioning robot. No, I am. I’m okay at THINKING and DOING, but less good at feeling, identifying or communicating emotions.
And whenever I experience a troubling emotion, I start beeping, steam comes out of my ears, and I flail about randomly pressing buttons that make me procrastinate; say the most inappropriate possible thing in any given situation; eat too much; sabotage myself and, occasionally, emit little farts of terror.
There is a very real possibility that – if I don’t watch myself – I could regain all the weight purely because I’m so afraid of doing so:
So I seek more inspiration, this time from the xoJane post where Lesley counsels Emily about backsliding:
“If you know you’re in a rough spot emotionally, before you eat anything, stop and ask yourself, “What do I want?” Do you want that food, really? Or do you want time to yourself for a long bath with a good book? “Or do you want an apology from someone? Do you want permission to be angry, or sad? Do you want recognition, be it of hard work, or emotional pain? Do you want to change something in your life? Do you want to take a nap, draw a picture, sit in the sunshine on a weekday afternoon and worry about nothing, just feeling that one moment?”
And suddenly…. everything is easier. I feel (no pun intended) as though a weight has been lifted. It occurs to me to look forward rather than back.
I book the last day of my diet off work, and schedule a haircut for the morning. I sign up to a bunch of post-diet early morning classes at my gym (spin, circuits, Pilates) to keep my motivation up. And I bite the bullet and book myself onto the December term of my local tribal bellydance classes, because I’m a bit like that, and I’ve always secretly wanted to:
Obviously I’ll be this brilliant after my first class. After that, either because the law of attraction IS a thing, or because I’m thinking less negatively (or, hey! Both), nice things start to happen. A lovely PR person reads last week’s entry, where I mithered about hair loss and nail breakage, and shuttles over some Imedeen hair, skin and nails supplements STAT.
Obviously I’m not a fucking mug, so this week I’d like to point out that I’m suffering a dearth of FIFTY-POUND NOTES and PUPPIES. I lose 2lbs (0.9kg) – including the one I regained last week, so I now have a total loss of 19lbs (8.6kg):
And, while I contemplate what life would be like WITHOUT the black-and-white certainties of perfection or failure, here are some pertinent words of wisdom from Katie Lowe, the blogger behind Fat Girl PhD:
“So many of us set ourselves unrealistic goals […], especially in the weight loss arena. So [...] I suggest a revolution in thinking. Don’t aim for a perfect existence. Aim for good life, well lived. If you can eat well, and stick to your workouts most of the time, but give yourself a break now and then, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to be happy, and really, truly well.”
See you next Thursday FOR MY FINAL WEEK ON THE DIET!!!