I knew I wasn't going to lose weight this week. I hadn't quite anticipated gaining a whole kilogram. It is a strongly worded reminder that I can't eat whatever I like, even if I am exercising a bit. So I'm back to restricting my eating from today.
Restricting. Now there is a word. I have quite a vivid mental image about dieting. Me not dieting - I have big doors in the front of my body open to the world. Fresh air, bright streamers, freedom, all flow in and out of my body. It's a warm spring day with a light pleasant breeze. Me dieting - the doors are shut. I am cold and rigid and hunched over like the Tin Man without his oil can. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. Gloomy.
Probably not the best frame of mind to bring to a diet. I need to work on that just as much as the actual eating.
I have a big motivation at the moment, one that speaks to vanity. I just realised my cousin's wedding is just under four weeks away. I have talked about my mother's family before. Aside from me and my mum, they are all very slender, tanned, athletic. My aunts in their 60s all still play competition tennis and look fabulous. I definitely feel like the ugly duckling amongst them. I'm the smart fat one. Now we are all adults I only see them at Christmas and the occasional wedding or other big event. And every time one of these occasions looms I feel despair about my weight. I even avoid going sometimes. I am not exaggerating when I say mum and I will likely be the only overweight women at this wedding. Actually, what with the cancer mum has lost a lot of weight so it will just be me.
Just thinking about it makes me feel depressed. I'm so short and dumpy, like a hippo in a giraffe colony.
Four weeks. How much can I lose in four weeks?
So I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I went to the gym. But I went! I started with 30 mins on the elliptical. I put the resistance up to 5 (up from 3 last week) and it was much harder. It felt like I was climbing a mountain. No speed intervals today, I just slogged on. With my eyes closed some of the time. Pushing, pushing. Not giving up. Not feeling very happy about it.
Then I got on the rowing machine and did my 20 mins there. I put that up to 5 as well, but it didn't feel much different to 3. I used to row on resistance 10 and I don't know that it feels much harder. But I'll move up gradually anyway. While rowing, I started trying to turn my point of view around. First I thought about changing my picture of me "not dieting" to being bloated and sickly and sad. But then I decided not to. I don't want to demonise any kind of food. I don't want to link having a treat with feeling horrible. So instead I worked on my image of me "dieting", changing it from the very negative deprived unhappy picture I had to something more positive. Here is what I came up with:
I am standing on the top of a mountain, which I have just climbed. It is sunny and fresh with a magnificent view of nature. I am pleasantly tired, but not exhausted because my fit healthy body can climb a mountain without feeling like I'm going to die. I feel happy and calm. I am a bit hungry, and there is a picnic laid out with delicious healthy food. The fresh fruit is especially appealing to my well-deserved thirst. There are no artificial restrictions on what I can or can't eat, because I will enjoy eating the right amount of healthy food to nourish and replenish my body.
So, that is what I am trying to picture when I think of myself being "on a diet". Not restricting, but nourishing and nurturing my body so it can do the things I want it to do.
I finished at the gym with 10 mins on the treadmill, not fast but on an incline. Another mountain to climb! But by this time I was feeling quite cheerful. And they had an old repeat of a sit-com on the nearest TV and it was quite funny. So I ended on a high.