Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Quote of the week:

"Losing weight is 80% mental and 20% physical. Most people spend a great deal of time debating which diet is best and arguing the merits that distinguish one plan from another. Not enough time however is spent training the brain to take on one of life's toughest journeys."
Dr. Ian K. Smith
I came across this quote this weekend and it made me think about how our conscious and unconscious thought patterns control our lives far more than we tend to acknowledge. Before I met my husband 11 years ago this March, I had really catastrophic taste in men. I attracted and selected men who were to varying degrees emotional cripples. After many failed relationships I began to fear that I would never have a healthy romantic relationship.

Around this time I stumbled across a book on relationships that caught my attention. The main point I took away from it was that I needed to make an exhaustive list of all the qualities I wanted in a mate and then, accepting that no one is perfect, I was to reduce the list to about 6 or 7 absolutely essential qualities that I absolutely was not willing to live without - deal breakers I think the author called them. I don't remember if the author suggested this next step, but as I was also reading about affirmations at the time, I turned my selected qualities into an affirmation that looked like this:
I have a loving relationship with a black man who:
is Kind
is Emotionally available and accessible
has Integrity
is Bright
is financially responsible
has non materialistic values and life goals
Every morning for about six months I would read that affirmation out aloud. I kept dating duds though and was actually dating a dud when I met the man who was to become my husband.

Before starting Graduate School, I took a temp assignment at a investment bank on Wall Street to boost my income. I started working there the month after my husband had been transferred from the London branch of the same bank. We met in the kitchen where we were both making tea one day, introduced ourselves and went back to our desks. For the next few weeks or so we just said good morning as we passed each other, but one morning he was passing my desk while I was reading the newspaper and when he said good morning, I, caught up in the article I was reading, responded by saying something like, "this is so absolutely ridiculous." He stopped to find out what was "so absolutely ridiculous" and we ended up having a short rather nice chat.

Over the following six months or so we became rather good friends. I had no idea that he was romantically interested in me and when he told me I was a little shocked. Even though I liked him immensely and found him attractive, I hadn't though about him as a potential mate mostly because I was on the look out for a black man. Once he introduced the idea though, I realised that he did have all the qualities on my list except that he wasn't a black man, so I turned him down.

He was not to be deterred however and proceeded to wooed me consistently with kindness, a ready and compassionate ear, great conversation, flowers, chocolates, perfume, lunches, dinners, concerts, operas, ballet etc. One day while I was looking at my affirmations and cursing the universe for sending me the perfect man in the "wrong" colour, I realise that the universe had given me exactly what I'd asked for. My husband's (who I refer to in my posts by his second name) first initial is A and his last name is Blackman. The universe does have a sense of humour doesn't it? The rest, as they say, is history.

Long story short, I believe that the mind is the most powerful organ we possess and I know that if I can't use mine to change my internal relationship to food and exercise permanently, it won't matter how much weight I lose, I'll just put it right back on. I know this now as clearly as I know that the only way I could have attracted a man so radically different from the others I'd dated, was to sort out my thinking about what was important to me in a life partner.

Loss 1.3kgs/2.8lbs this week to bring my weight to 74.2kgs/163.6lbs. A total loss of 20.3kgs/45lbs. so far.

On another note, a Biggest Loser contestant, Kai Hibbard has been spilling the dirt about the show in violation of all the legal documents she signed to protect the show's "secrets". Hat Tip to: The Journey of a Weight Loss *ista.

Best Quote from this interview: The Biggest Loser isn't a weight loss camp that happens to be filmed for TV, it's a TV show that's made to look like a weight loss camp.
Is anyone surprised by Kai's revelations? Of course, the Biggest Loser is about making money for various corporations by using and abusing sick people in the name of "entertainment". I think one would have to be very naive about the machinations of corporations to think otherwise.

I won't go over all the points I made in my previous rant about the Biggest Loser, suffice to say that though I completely understand why someone who is dying from this illness called obesity would sign up for the show, and though I can appreciate that there are many aspects of the show that are inspiring, we "the civilised viewer" can't pretend that we are not enjoying the ill being humiliated and competing and suffering for their "cure" in a way that we would never ever tolerate or accept any other ill person - say a smoker who had developed lung cancer - being humiliated or suffering for their chance at a cure.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

It feels like ages since I've written here or been around to read everyone's blogs. Maybe it hasn't been that long in reality but it feels like I've lived a couple of life times since my last post.

Anyway, the lovely Peridot asked me in the comments last week how I manage to lose 1.8kgs in a week. Well, I only lost .5 kgs/about 1 lb. this week and I haven't changed anything much so who knows? I thought though that since I'm almost halfway to my goal, I'd take this moment to share my strategy as I promised back in March.

As some of you who've been on this journey with me for a while know, I've been struggling since January 2005 to lose weight I gained since I began to date my husband in 2000. It has mostly been 1 step forward and 3 backward for me until March of this year when I visited my doctor. I'd been avoiding her because in spite of her best efforts to help me, I'd put on about 12kgs/28lbs. between visits, instead of losing like I was supposed to. During that visit in March, the shock of an elevated blood pressure reading combined with reaching an all time high of 94.5 kgs=208lbs=almost 15 stone combined with a stern warning from my doctor, made me super motivated to do whatever I needed to do to lose the excess weight once and for all.

  • I chose to jump start my efforts with the Cambridge weight plan which was designed by a research scientist from Cambridge University, called Dr. Alan Howard in the 1980s. The plan which was approved by my doctor and administered by a counsellor, provided the simple, uncomplicated structure and approach that I needed to get me going. It really gave me the boost I needed to get my weight moving and helped me to develop a plan for eating that works for me.
  • Next, I chose exercise that was convenient and easy to fit into my day. That involved using the elliptical trainer which lives on my patio and walking instead of taking the bus or tube when I could. Since my elliptical trainer broke I've had to rely on walking alone for my exercise. I walk every day without exception and on average cover 8 kilometers/ 5 miles a day.
  • I've also been working on readjusting my mental attitude by listening to an audio version of the book The Beck Diet Solution. This is a six week programme which employs Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to address the challenges faced by people who have battled emotional eating and/or binging their entire life. I can't say enough good about this programme. It has helped me immensely to develop strategies to overcome self-sabotage.
  • I also use the audio CD version of Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin. Paul uses the power of suggestion (hypnosis) and positive thinking to help break the self-destructive patterns with food. He is a little smarmy for my taste, but I have found his strategies really helpful and do recommend him. I really like the audio books because I can listen to them while I walk and exercise.

  • Finally, I'm currently reading Thin for Life. The author interviewed 160 people who lost lots of weight and kept if off for years and condensed these interviews into 10 keys to success. A very inspiring book indeed that I also recommend.

  • The thing that has helped me the most though is probably my attitude. When I left the Doctors office back in March I realised that I was killing myself. I acknowledged that if that was my intention then I could continue merrily on my path but if I wanted to live then I needed to get really serious. I accepted then and there that if I wanted to be at a healthy weight and feel comfortable in my own body then I'd have to put my health before everything else in my life because without that I have nothing anyway. Putting my health first has meant that I've been giving the word "NO" a serious workout. This isn't always comfortable for me, but it's often the most self-nurturing thing I do for myself in any given day.
So that's what I've been doing to lose weight, overcome self-sabotage and promote a healthier lifestyle. This may or may not be helpful to someone out there but it's been my path and has certainly been working for me. Until it stops working, it's what I'll continue to do. Now it's time to start my visiting rounds and find out what everyone has been up to.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

This Week's Eureka Moment:
"If I want to lose weight and keep it off forever I have to learn to celebrate in different ways other than with food. If I keep celebrating with food, I'll put myself at risk for gaining weight and NO celebration is worth that!"
Dr. Judith Beck
Who knew walking could be so addictive??? I have been burning up the sidewalks all over London. I used to hobble along at a snail's pace being overtaken by little children and senior citizens with canes when I started walking back at the beginning of April, now I'm leaving scorch marks behind me. Even my 6'3 86kg/190lb husband has to work to keep up with me now. LMAO!!!

Since the elliptical broke, I've had to use walking as my main source of aerobic exercise. I walk everyday, NO exceptions!!! Even if I'm not planning to go out on weekends I put on my sneakers and off I go. I love those sneakers. since I bought them I haven't worn shoes. I live in those sneakers and even though this may sound a little crazy, I think they encourage me to walk and walk and walk. I actually started to run this weekend but I stopped myself after a few minutes, because I have osteoarthritis and don't want to stress my knees more than I need to right now.

Who knew walking could be so effective??? I lost 1.8kgs/3.9lbs this week which means bye bye wretched OBESITY, hello OVERWEIGHT!!!

World Cup fever is in the air and the English flag has been popping up here and there. I'm not a huge football fan myself but the two main men in my life - my husband and my dad - are, and when they get excited I pay attention

My husband nurtured dreams of being a footballer when he was a little boy, and my dad actually works for the North, Central and Caribbean Football Association (CONCACAF) as well as the International Football Federation, (FIFA) who are the organisers of the world cup. He has attended every world cup for as far back as I can remember and is now in South Africa for this one. This will be his last World Cup he claims. He is 74 and is just not up to flying around the world constantly and staying in this country and that for sometimes months at at time. Poor him!!!

Anyway, daddy sent me this amazing video and I just had to post it here. I don't know if you have to be a football fan to appreciate it but to my mind it is the most brilliantly executed short story of the amazing talent of some of the best players in the world right now and a real testimony to how much 'the beautiful game' means to millions of fans in every corner of the globe.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

I was coping with a lot last week and just didn't have the energy to blog. I'm coming to the end of a year long course I've been doing called the Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and am swamped getting all the course work and a research paper completed in time, but more than this I've been experiencing lots of emotional turmoil.

I don't know if it's all the mind work I've been doing or if it's because I am following my food plan to the letter and not cocooning myself in any shape or form in the emotional blanket that food has been for me, but all sorts of stuff has been coming up for me lately which has been shattering my self-image.

Last week a little incident happened between my husband and I which made me realise how dependent I have become on him. I know that interdependence comes along with having relationships with others, and I do realise that in various stages of a relationship people may need to take turns being dependent on each other for various reasons, but that's not what I'm talking about. What I'm talking about is that along the road of our life together I, a bright capable able-bodied woman, have abandoned more and more of my autonomy and adulthood and retreating into a kind of infantilism, making my husband responsible for me on every level.

Being the loving supportive guy he is, he doesn't see it this way of course, but what's important is that "I" do. Over the past few years I've been sucking up all the air in our relationship with all sort of mini-crises, whingeing and whining. I've been so narcissistic and selfish that it frightens me. When and how did I become this person? I've completely been taking advantage of my husband's generosity and kindness and handicapping myself in the process. The thing is that I've never quite seen things this way before. When the scales fell from my eyes last week and I suddenly became aware of this state of affairs, I felt just devastated and disappointed in myself. I just wanted to bury my consciousness in a cheesecake ... or a chocolate cake or ... well you get the picture. That's the way I've always coped with anxiety, sadness, loneliness, bewilderment, depression, guilt, fear, etc. I assuage my anguish with sugar and thus avoid facing the challenges which engender emotional maturation. Sigh!!!

Well, I guess what matters is that I didn't retreat into the food this time. Actually, I didn't do anything at all. I was too shell shocked. I just lived with the awful feelings until they eventually passed. When they did I was able to think more clearly about my life and goals and make some plans for taking charge of my life again.

Has anyone been experiencing any such revelations and epiphanies on their weight loss journey? Please don't tell me I'm alone in this. It's like by putting down the excess calories, I've inadvertently unlocked some sort of internal Pandora's box and I'm kind of scared that there's more self-disillusioning stuff to come.

As for my weight, last week I lost 1.5kgs/3lbs and this week I lost 1.8kgs/4lbs. which brings me to 77.8kgs./171.6lbs. I'm just 1.1kg/2.6lbs away from leaving the category of obese and entering the category of overweight on the BMI scale. Can't believe how happy I am at the prospect of being overweight.