Let me take you on a journey through the mind of a thirty-something, happy, anxious, loving, harsh, greedy, focused, positive, overthinker.
The last few weeks have taken me through all of the emotions of a fat loss journey.
Let’s say it how it is. If you have let yourself get so out of shape that health implications came into play (I did), then you probably have demons (I do), and your demons probably have demons (mine do).
They do not go away the minute you pick up a protein shake and a dumbbell (they haven’t).
You battle them every day, hopefully emerging victorious at the end of this brutal war…but you will never win all of the battles.
This is when you have to have a word with yourself. I have had them all; the tough love, the motivational, the kick up the arse, the laugh it off, the cry into a bottle of tequila – all of them.
Once again, I have to muster the courage to draw a line in the sand(wiches) and start again.
I was doing so well before Christmas. I had lost 3kg since the end of November to the middle of December, which is unheard of in the ‘Kel Stretton’ world of a good Christmas build-up.
The goal is right there my friends, but then along came the first Christmas Party.
I’d love to say I fell off the wagon, but it was more of a running jump. A jump that made sure I cleared any safety devices in place to catch me if I fell. Oh yes, I cleared them all right!
Christmas Party time had arrived. They say a picture paints 1000 words.
I blame Aslan. I was led astray.
And this is how I woke up after Christmas party number one.
Enough said on that matter. Repeat for the next three parties.
I then convinced myself a healthy breakfast, no lunch, and whatever I wanted when the sun went down, meant that was a nice balanced day. I was still in a calorie deficit; I was still training; I was still full of shit!
This was a one-way ticket down the rabbit hole of destruction, and the worse thing was I knew I was doing it. I had somehow convinced myself it was okay because it was Christmas.
When in Paris?
Then came five days in Paris.
I think you know what happened…lets just say I found that 3kg again.
I’d love to say I still had the ‘sod it’ mentality as “Iiiiiit’s Chrissssstmas” – the mantra of the moment.
But a week of drinking and eating the cinnamon-dusted world that is the holidays, I had already started to feel sluggish, bloated and not quite so energetic.
I also felt a little tight in the lovely Parisian chic outfits I had bought for the occasion. Not what I had in mind…so what do I do? Of course…I drank through it.
New Year’s What?
Then came New Year’s Eve. We’re not going “out-out”.
We were, in fact, meeting two fellow UP-ers and friends for a late lunch and afternoon tipple, then home for an evening on the sofa watching the bells, then an early start to the Lake District to start the new year climbing Helvellyn.
Who reckons that went to plan?
Ha ha ha ha.
We had our lunch, but we had already drunk way too much by this point, so good decision-making went out the window. I’m not entirely sure I even used my knife and fork, I just shoved down the carbs.
We finally left the bar around 10 or 11-ish, after being there from around 2 pm.
I woke up on the sofa around 3 am, fully clothed; I had missed the bells and was too sodding hungover to go anywhere on New Year’s day morning.
Fear not…if you fall seven times, they say you can get back up eight…so we did.
We headed up to The Lakes on the afternoon of January 1st and booked into a hotel to make sure we started the day early.
I had another ‘final supper’. Well, we are climbing a mountain tomorrow, energy and all that.
We woke up January 2nd (better late than never) and with positivity and determination pulsing through our veins; we set off for the mountain.
We shall start this year as we mean to go on…achieving goals. Hell yeah!
You may think that I’m about to say we didn’t make it…you would be wrong.
I am as stubborn as I am stupid, sometimes.
If any of you know Helvellyn, there is a Tarn just below the summit. This is where we reached in May last year before we headed back down, but I now have six months of training under my belt. I can do this!
What my stubborn brain did not take into account was the different variables of a winter summit to a clear, glorious summer’s day summit.
Did I care? Did I hell! We are making it up there!
Was there snow? Yes.
Was there gale-force wind? Yes.
Was there ice everywhere? Yes.
Did we have our crampons? No.
Were people turning back? Yes.
Did we? No.
I had had a bad end to the year, so I was determined to start with a win.
We summited just before 2 pm. I felt elated. I had a little emotional moment at the top, the couple in front of us gave us a high-five, and we all basked in the glory of our new year achievement.
Then everyone else seemed to descend to the right, over rolling fields.
Did we? No.
I climbed Helvellyn with my lovely man, Yorkshire’s version of Bear Grylls (so he thinks), so we descended over Striding Edge.
Remember that emotional moment I had at the top? Well, I now have another…but a very different one.
We made it to the main road with about three minutes left of twilight, then 10 minutes later arrived at the pub at the bottom in total darkness, ordered a drink and tried to remind myself why I was with this jackass.
I had pulled my knee when I caught my foot between the rocks and yanked it out in frustration, my back had gone, and my legs were exhausted from the fast decent. We got home – so glad to be home, safe and not sleeping rough on a mountain side.
I woke up the next morning, full of a cold and a broken woman.
Hitting Rock Bottom
So feeling very sorry for myself I spent a few days on the sofa cursing myself for being so overweight, as that was obviously the reason I couldn’t even climb a mountain properly.
Bear in mind, we climbed the mountain and got down in record time, but no, I forgot all the safety precautions because I’m fat and stupid (which I repeatedly told myself).
It took me another couple of days of excuses before I went back to the gym.
There is nothing quite so humbling and heart-wrenchingly soul destroying as standing in front of the mirror for an hour and being ashamed of what you see.
I thought I had moved passed this stage.
The Hard Truth
I am writing this on the January 9th, 53 minutes after leaving the gym because I don’t want to forget how raw and vulnerable I feel right now, so I can re-read this every time I feel “f**k it lets have a cheat day/week off”.
It is not worth it to fall off the wagon, so to do it voluntarily is ridiculous.
I convinced myself it was funny!
It’s Christmas, it’s New Year, etc., but today brought me back down to earth with an almighty thud.
In the spirit of being honest in this blog, I certainly wasn’t honest with myself, and when looking in a mirror, you can’t hide anymore. I was so angry with myself.
I could see I was starting to go backwards. I could feel my bottom lip going, so I bit down, stared at the floor and lifted the trap bar…10 reps.
10 – S**t this is heavy!
9 – You can do it come on.
8 – Just focus.
7 – Why did you fall off the wagon? Again?
6 – You’re never going to achieve your goal.
5 – You’re never going to achieve anything.
4 – Why are you even here wasting everyone’s time?
3 – You can’t do it you fat b*****d!
2 – Bottom lip goes. Trap bar hits the floor, and now I’m crying like a baby on the gym floor.
Poor Evil Steve had the shock of his life as for the last six months I have been confident training, so I’m usually happy and slightly gobby (so he says) in the gym.
The truth is, I’ve wanted this so bad that my entire life’s worth seems to be riding on it…so why do I keep f*****g up?
Because it’s so god damn hard.
I have spent 32 years rewarding myself, consoling myself and especially celebrating with food and drink. If you think about every time there is something to celebrate; it’s with food and drink.
Somehow I expected to join a gym and that along with the membership it also included my motivation.
Wrong…this is hard; this is an up and down rollercoaster of mental bulls**t!
I have said this before, so I apologise for repeating myself, but this is the truth of a transformation of my size. It’s not an all-in-12-week transformation. I had let myself get much more out of shape than that.
It’s something I have to accept. This is going to be a long road back to the kind of fitness I want to achieve. I have to train myself to have different habits and especially different defaults.
So back to square one. However, I read something the other day about ‘there is no such thing as back to square one’, as you have always learned something along the way; not to binge drink perhaps? Well, a lesson is a lesson.
I have also learnt not to be so harsh on myself. I tend to be all or nothing, so I flip between ‘this is it, I’ve changed my life, I’m now a clean eating, outdoor exploring, fitness fanatic’, to ‘you fat slob you’re never going to be in shape’.
So, I‘m now taking a step back, to remember how far I’ve have come, to realise it is nothing more than a setback, put my big girl pants on (as in my brave pants, not fat pants) get back in the gym. I’ll confess my sins to Evil Steve, so he knows where we are and crack back on to the goal, because I know I will get there and I know it will be difficult, but I have the best support team to help me get there.
A few days later…
The best thing about having ‘A Steve’ (my trainer, and all the trainers at UP) is that they really emphasise on getting to know the individual; what makes you tick, how to push you and then when to actually just let you know its okay to slip up.
He managed to pull me together and change my thinking from failure to realising I’m doing something that is difficult and to remember how far I have come.
That moment crying on the trap bar is without a doubt the very moment I would normally retreat home, admit failure, cry for a week singing into a bottle of wine and never go back to the gym.
This is where I would fail on my own; this is where Steve emailed every day, several times, to make sure my mindset was still in place for results (and that I hadn’t hit the bottle).
I know I have come too far to go back, I know I have the best team in place to help me get to goal, I know I want this, and I know it’s going to happen this year.
I’m ready for round 2, 10 or 11…or as many as it takes to achieve my goal.