Anyone who ever says that it is really simple to lose weight is lying.
It’s not easy, the basic formula of calories in to calories out and exercising is simple but the emotional and psychological journey is bloody difficult.
This week I’ve been reminded how hard it is to start and maintain this journey. I know that in writing these blogs I come across as confident and positive about the whole thing but in reality I sit here, typing away on my slowly failing iMac (I’m awaiting a shiny new macbook if Apple Sales sort themselves out), nervous that people will realise I’m a big old scaredy cat who is still very much learning all this stuff for herself, and is in fact an emotional wreck a fair chunk of the time.
It’s a hard journey that involves a LOT of soul searching and realising why you have such an emotional attachment to food. Why do we listen to the negative voice in our head that one minute tells us things are ok only to shoot us down with feelings of worthlessness and failure the next? I don’t think anyone will ever really know the answer to that. There are dark places within our minds that even angels fear to tread but in embarking on this journey we really do have to wander in there and confront our inner demons.
This last week I’ve been rather low and the feelings of worthlessness have crept in once more. Pandora is well and truly out of her box, I’ve had to personify that negative voice. In doing so I’ve made her something other, so that I learn to disassociate that voice from my positive voice, the one that encourages me. The positive voice has my name, she is me and I am her and that’s the voice I want to hear, always. She is the voice that says ‘I can do this, I am worth everything the world has to offer, I am sexy, attractive, etc etc’. It is her voice that I need to listen to, but Pandora shouts over her on times and drowns Krissie out completely.
It’s not a split personality or anything as extreme as that but giving that voice an idenity has been a valued sorce of strength in overcoming those days when I really do want to just give everything up and hide away in the hope that some overnight miracle will turn me into a young Liz Taylor. Yeah yeah, I know silly isn’t it?
Pandora is the voice that for years I listened to, thinking that my parents would never be proud of me, that I was a continuous disappointment to them and to myself, that I would never amount to anything as that boat had long sailed. I rebelled as all teenagers do, but in doing so did things that I am not proud of and things that brought my parents a lot of hurt. I was never the popular kid at school, I was bullied and I was geeky and scholarly. I guess Pandora appeared then, because I don’t recall being a negative child but an eternal optimist. Thankfully after a very long conversation with my Dad when I was about 21, he told me that he was indeed proud of me. I think it’s what every child (whether they are eleven, twenty-one or Fifty) needs to hear every once in while from their parents.
Positive affirmations from without, aid those that come from within (oh gods that’s deep from me….. eek!).
I know my parents are very proud so that is one hurdle that I have overcome and have accepted that even though they might not always vocalise it, they do feel that way. I am thankful for them and my big sister, though I might not always say that to them either.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that my own feelings of being the failure of a daughter coupled with always striving to gain approval from those around me, ended up with me listening to Pandora and not listening to my positive self. Pandora says that I am worthless, that I am never destined to be anything other than a fat, lazy failure that cannot do anything worthwile or of note. She is the voice that says ‘they don’t like you, they just humour you’. It is her whose voice screams at me when I read something that I think is being directed at me and a criticism. She is the voice I strive to extinguish.
She reared her ugly head this week because a reviewer remarked that on stage I was cutting a ‘warm motherly figure’. I was devestated. I know for many people they will read this and think, ‘oh come on, is that it? That’s nothing’ but from the former fatty perspective it is huge. I am a frontwoman in a band, the last thing I want to be seen as is motherly when singing about insanity etc (no offence meant to any mother, including my own). For many years Pandora chipped away at me, making me feel the least attractive person on the planet. The daft thing is, when that negative voice starts in the background that ‘oh god they don’t think I should be on the stage’ soon builds to the point that you are second guessing everyone’s compliments. You start to use phrases like ‘you’re biased because you’re my Husband/friend/sister etc’. Then the feelings of what’s the point creep in and you start to doubt why you are losing weight, why you are a performer, do you dress approriately for your age/size, whether it’s worth it or not etc. Sounds daft I know, but I bet it sounds familiar?
That’s when you need to really dig deep. Oh man do you have to dig deep.
That’s when you have to remind yourself of the reasons why you are doing it and solely focus on those. You have to be so single minded, that it can be scary on times. I made a list three years ago about why I wanted to lose weight and on the top of that list was the reason that I wanted to be proud of myself. It was a good idea to make that list as it gives me focus, I’ve been writing a new one of late. All these years trying to gain approval from those around me when the one person whose viewpoint mattered most was the one that was being the most derogatory and dissmissive… me. As I said in the previous blog, I had to take full responsibility that they only person who could change how I feel about myself and how things affect me, was me. That was when I named Pandora.
By making her something other, something outside of what I wanted to feel, hear and think, I have had a lot more control over the negative voice. Yes there are days where I say ‘to Hades with it all’ and walk up the shop to get a bar of chocolate but instead of 4 or 5 bars as I would have done once, now I only buy one. And then I tell myself in my positive voice that a little chocolate is good for me now and then. I could link to reams of research on why a little dark chocolate is good for you and why not depriving yourself is also good for you, mentally because healthy eating/living isn’t about deprivation. It’s about understanding, and that’s also part of losing weight.
It’s about understanding how you became 17 stone 12 pounds, what were the factors that brought a once healthy, athletic child to become an obese, lazy, lard arse weighing almost twice her healthy weight. Yes sitting on the sofa eating 5000+ calories for dinner on a Friday night was the reality of weight going on, but why did I allow that to happen? What was I hiding from emotionally? And why was I allowing that negative voice to continue to rule my head?
I’m still discovering half of this out for myself. It’s been tough writing this entry because I’m slowly realising that there are many insecurities that I have that I don’t want to admit to. I was giving a form to those insecurities because now I had something tangable to blame it on instead of a thought process. I was so desperately trying to fit in with everyone that I was always there supporting friends (not always family, probably because I thought I was viewed as a disappointment – I know better now of course). I know my husband and a number friends tried to support me through the years but I think I got so used to shutting down and allowing Pandora to eat away at me that I refused to accept their help and support. I was seen as strong, because I was the one my friends could turn to in their hour of need. Instead of asking them for help, I turned to food as it asked nothing in return. Instead of saying, I’m sorry I cannot be this person for you right now, I supported them and hit the cookie jar to eliviate whatever it was I was feeling. I would then promptly berate myself for eating to the point of being sick and make myself feel more worse than I was already feeling. I was failing at life, or so I thought. I wasn’t failing I was hiding and I didn’t want to be found. It’s taken me a long time to voice that. In fact my husband hasn’t heard half of this before and is probably in a state of shock as I read this to him before posting it.
It’s been a long, hard emotional slog and it’s far from over. I know there are many hurdles I have still to face. I know that there will be times when I will curl up in ball and wallow in self pity because she’s knocking on the inside of my skull again telling me I’m useless/worthless/pathetic/ and so on an so forth. But because I know that she’s there, because I can visualise her and I’ve given her a name, I can fight back and she’s got one hell of a battle on her hands. I’m going to take it one step at a time, and some days will be tougher than others but I’ll get there. And when I’m there, let that reviewer call me motherly 😉
I’m not writing this entry for you to think that I am looking for sympathy etc, far from it. The whole reason for starting this blog was to put how the whole journey out there in the small chance that it might help someone else from turning 30 and realising they’d pretty much had eaten their way through their 20s and missed out on so much. If anything this blog is helping me realise a lot about myself and sharing it, whilst positively scaring the bejesus out of me, is also really making me feel very proud that I’ve come this far already. The interesting part about writing this entry is that I’ve managed to gag Pandora again and have put her back in her box. I hope she stays there a bit longer this time.
Thank you to everyone who has messaged me and commented. I am deepy grateful that you have taken the time to read these ramblings and appreciate all your feedback.
As always, be kind to yourself.