Thursday, 8 January 2009

Right. New Year and all that ...

So, as those who have followed this blog (for reasons of insan ... of their own making) will know, the question of weight loss has come up quite frequently. You'll also know that it fades relatively quickly into the background. Success came in the form of a bet with Janus, suggesting that competition really does inspire me - but I think it's about time I stopped pussy-footing around.

Jeeze, what an unpleasant expression that is in modern-day parlance.

So, here is my philosophy towards weight loss and me.

I am, by nature, a relatively comfortable person within my own skin. I recognise that I'm not at all attractive, but I'm not a hideous monster either, so I can accept my physicality quite readily.
Luckily, Fisher has some sort of brain defect that makes her think I'm pleasing to the eye (or, at least, her eye) so that's really all that matters.

The above is not false modesty. I'm sure there are psychologists out there who will say that a woman who believes herself to be unattractive externally, suffers from feelings of poor self-worth. As far as I'm concerned, this is hokum. Honestly, the superficial doesn't interest me at all. In fact, I barely notice it. There's a theory that people see things in different ways, namely:

You walk into a room. Person 1 sees the whole room at once - how it's decorated, where things lie, what's in it - and then 'zooms in' to focus on detail. Person 2 sees a chair - the chair's pattern, cushions, detail - and then gradually focuses on the room via each individual characteristic. This may be simplistic, as I haven't exactly researched this subject, but it fits with me and Fisher. Fisher definitely sees the whole room, while I definitely focus on, if not one piece of furniture, then certainly a small area of detail. It's the same with people. While others may take in the whole person at one glance, I look at the face. Yes, I'll notice their build as well, and probably sort of clock what their wearing, but as those things are totally uninteresting to me I don't really pay them much mind. I see how they smile, whether they're nervous or not, how they carry themselves - and I do not give two shits from a lamb's arse about their clothing, or whether they're pretty or ugly. Let's face it, prettiness and ugliness are relative terms anyway. I'll notice whether I like someone on sight or not, but I like some very plain people. Looking likeable is very different to being conventionally attractive.

There are some people who will judge a person by how they dress. Notes of scorn or admiration will enter their voice when they comment on the outfit in question. I don't do that; not because of some higher set of values (hell - who knows? How someone dresses might be an accurate portrayal of their inner self and I might be majorly missing a trick) but because I genuinely don't notice. Unless something really catches my eye my brain simply disregards external paraphanalia as unimportant. Before anyone thinks I believe this is a good thing, I'd like to apologise to all the friends I've disappointed by not commenting on their new haircut/skirt/14lb weight loss etc etc etc. I'm trying to get better, I really am.

My point? That when I look in the mirror I see my face. It's an ok face. It's not going to launch a thousand ships, thank god (that would be painful and almost certainly detrimental to bone structure) but it's expressive, malleable and functional. It's me. Generally speaking, I'm quite happy with me. God, there are some deep-rooted, black and festering flaws I'd like to cut out, but that's just Work in Progress. We all need to self-improve, otherwise what's there to interest us?

So the fact that I'm fat doesn't generally bother me too much. I have mornings where I wake up and feel angry and disgusted with myself because I can't wear clothes I like*, or look as graceful as I'd like to feel - but these feelings are fleeting. They're certainly not powerful enough to keep me away from the delicious ice cream at Stewart Tower (surely the finest in the land?). The only thing that really matters to me, the only thing that gets my goat and inspires me to change is very simple.

Being fat is unhealthy. It shortens your life expectancy, and weakens the body. It weakens the abdominal muscles and therefore affects posture. It causes lordosis of the spine, thus shortening of the hamstrings and any number of other muscles. It weakens the urinary bladder. It increases the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. Being fat is, in short, a fucking stupid thing to do.

I don't like looking stupid. For Christ's sake, I stopped smoking because I thought it was stupid, and every time I see someone smoking I tend to think poorly of their mental acuity. And, seeing as I'm being personally insightful here, I should admit that I'm not the world's best person at laughing at myself - unless I'm in control of it. I can tell any number of stories that make me look stupid, but if I do something stupid and people laugh, I'm not all that good at laughing along.

So, what, then?

Quite simply, this.

It's a new year; it's the time for resolutions and new goals. My only goal this year, the only one to which I will truly hold myself, is weight loss. By January 8th 2010, I will be considerably lighter. Hopefully, I'll have lost 2 stone 12 lbs - 40lbs - and be in a healthy BMI category. That's my ultimate goal, and I think it's pretty do-able. Hell, losing a pound a week would mean I'd be done in the same amount of time it's taking Blarney to grow a whole new Cheese-eater. And I've got an extra 12 weeks. I shouldn't have a problem at all.

So how shall I do it? The only way that's ever worked for me is telling myself that I will deny myself nothing - I just won't eat it as often. If I really need chocolate I'll eat chocolate - but I have to have some sort of balance system. If I eat chocolate one day, I have to have nothing sweet the next - or something equivalent. And portion sizes need adjustment. Exercise should increase - I've been too lax.

Fact 1. Medicine says I'm obese.
Fact 2. Being obese is stupid.
Fact 3. I'm not stupid.
Fact 4: I am obese.

Hmm. My logical conclusion leads me to surmise that one of the above facts is incorrect. Fact 1? Hmf. Wouldn't be the first time medicine has been wrong ... but the mirror tells its own story (the parts of me I can see in it, anyway. Not that I'm that fat - just that the mirror's small. God, I hope!). Fact 2? Stupid is a relative term, but by my own argument I have to agree with it. Fact 3? Well, as Fact 4 reiterates Fact 1, we're left with the horses/zebras scenario and I must conclued that, in this case, I'm pretty stupid. But not stupid enough to continue to be stupid.

I tried to write a food list on my blog, but that didn't work at all. I couldn't be arsed to blog every day, so the food list fell by the wayside, along with the diet. I will, however, write up a list of what I've eaten whenever I do blog, and keep a progress log of loss.

On a brief aside, there are some people who would say that calling it a 'diet' is a bad start. It's too psychologically restrictive, creating subconscious panic and obsession. Well, as far as I'm concerned semantics are semantics. I'm looking at my diet, I'm changing my diet, and so I'm calling it a diet.

A cruce salus, people. Or, as the local gym instructor might say (and thereby only avoid a swift kick in the knackers through sheer force of will) - "No pain no gain!"

*Did you just say "aha! so she doesn't completely disregard clothing"? In which case, let me make myself clear. I like clothes. I like being well dressed (not that it happens all that often). I admire excellent taste in others, as I see it rarely enough for it to be a detail my brain acknowledges. In fact I have strong opinions on style. I just don't think about it often. It's like my strong opinions of music. I have them, but I don't think about them very often. Music is everywhere, and unless I hear something striking then I'll just block it out. I don't notice it when I walk into a friend's house, or a noisy pub - there are other things that are more important. When I play music, or listen to it purposefully, it's a very different matter. Then it's a matter of passion. Same with clothing. On a broad, general scale I'll block it out. When I'm trying to dress well, or when I'm talking about it with people, it's extremely important. Does that make sense?