I honestly think that if I never had to spend time with other people, I'd probably weigh around 90lbs by now. With a 'new' body has come a new-found confidence and enjoyment of socialising, which for the majority of the time involves some sort of food or alcohol consumption. Even meeting a friend in town for a coffee comes with a ProPoints price-tag of 3+ most of the time (based on my signature drink of a tall skinny latte from Starbucks). Unless you have tea, and lets face, who wants to spend £1.70 on a tea bag and some hot water that you could have made yourself at home for about 0.06p instead!? Not me. No sir. If its not 3 ProPoints on a coffee, its 15+ on a meal out (if you are very restrained - which I rarely am), or Lord knows how many on drinks in a pub/bar/club. (Yes, I know that drinks are easy to point...its not my fault if I get a little bit out of control sometimes, ok!? I've got Irish blood in me somewhere, and we all know that the Paddies love a tipple. That is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.) And that is without even talking about the minefield that are family gatherings and BBQs, where the only green stuff visible is a limp salad in the top right corner of a table that is buckling under the weight of 800 sausages, 250 burgers, 4000 bread rolls in various shapes and sizes, Pork Pies, a cheese selection, crisps (or chips to my American pals), numerous pizzas, garlic bread, about 40 chickens (which admittedly wouldn't be so bad if they weren't marinated in BBQ sauce that is approximately 90% sugar), plus the inevitable cakes and desserts that make their way out afterwards.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not begrudging the times spent socialising with friends and family. But I don't care how many times the Weight Watchers magazine or the Your Weekly mag or my Leader tells me to find 'alternative' places to socialise with my nearest and dearest - no way is my arthritic old grandmother going to come out on a bike ride or go to play tennis with me. Her idea of 'catching up' if to lay on a spread worthy of HRH Liz and have us all tuck in. Which would be fine - if I had any sort of self-control or restraint at all when it came to food.
And so I come to the point of my post - If I didn't have to socialise, I can more or less guarantee that I would be able to lose 2+lbs a week, every week, without a problem. Not that I have to socialise, I could always stay home, but then I didn't work like a dog for the last two and half years to lose all this weight just so I could hide away in my room. The great irony of this whole situation of course, is that before Weight Watchers, when the caloric value and fat content of food and alcohol might as well have been written in Swahili for all I cared, you couldn't get my fat arse to a social occasion. I used any and every excuse I could come up with not to go out and see people. I basically spent the first year of university hiding in my room and only leaving for classes. Or to go buy food.
The point I'm trying to make here, very indirectly, is not a loud and long-winded condemnation of the food-and-drink-centric social traditions of this and (I'm guessing) many other countries - although I appreciate that that is how its coming off. Its more to do with my own issues when it comes to having food placed in front of me. The thing is - if its there, I'll eat it. Even if I'm full, even if I don't want it, even if I don't particularly like it. I spent last night and most of today at my grandmother's house, and she laid out a little lunchtime spread for us - including pork pies. I don't even like pork pies! But did I eat one anyway, just because it was there? You can bet your backside I did! I know that when I go to a restaurant that I don't need to eat four slices of bread from the basket that is so considerately placed there by the waiter, but I do it anyway. I know that when my stomach is full to bursting I need to stop eating whats in front of me, and that its ok to leave a few forkfuls of food on my plate. But I still finish it off. If there is food in front of me, I will eat it. This doesn't present a problem when the food is prepared by my own fair hands, and I can point and track whats on my plate without any difficulty. Its just all those other times that its a bit of a problem. And now that I'm so close to goal and am looking down the barrel of the rest of my life, its getting to be a big problem. My weight loss has stopped in its tracks and then reversed over the last month or so, and I can't quite seem to get it reined in again. I've come too far and worked too hard for too long to let it all go to waste now, and I know that it is this lack of self-control that is sabotaging all my efforts to drop this last stone and get to goal. In an ideal world I would be able to control all the food and drink that I come into contact with - but realistically this isn't going to happen. I am fully aware that when I enter the world of work there will be social occasions and food in the office and I know that it will be the little voice in my head that says 'you only live once' that will be my undoing. And yes - you do only live once. But it just so happens that I want to live once as a healthy and happy woman who is comfortable in her own skin and has the confidence to go out in the world, meet people, make friends, and live her life to the fullest that she possibly can. I don't want to live my life the way I used to be - overweight, unhappy and lonely. I've been there and done that, and its no way to live.
It has taken me a hell of a long time to overcome many of the issues that I had (or have? I may have overcome them, but I don't think they'll ever really go away) with food, but this is one that I haven't conquered just yet. I think a lot of it comes down to the attitude that I tend to have towards overeating on 'special' occasions - 'it won't hurt, just this once', 'weekends are for indulging', or 'its a special occasion, I won't point today.' But more and more things are passing as 'special' occasions in my book recently, meaning that 'just this once' is happening two or three times a week. And it has got to stop, before I undo everything that I've worked so hard for since I was 19. So as I sit here in my dad's study, after gorging myself on 'buffet food' and an (admittedly delicious) extremely hearty portion of lasagne and garlic bread laid on by my step-mum, feeling bloated, uncomfortable and disgusted with myself, I make a solemn promise - no more 'you only live once'. No more 'one more won't hurt'. No more 'its a special occasion.' From somewhere deep down in my reserve tank - the one that is pretty much running on empty after a draining last few weeks at uni, worrying myself ill over my finances and being painfully love-sick to boot - I need to find the will power to say NO, and to walk away. To leave food on my plate if I don't want it. To not open the biscuit tin 'just to look', because I know full well that I'll come away with a fistful of chocolate hobnobs. I need to master the art of will power and self-control, before its too late. I never, ever want to be that girl again. I never want to feel ashamed of my body or too shy to go out with my friends or family. I like the new me - sociable, bubbly, happy. Content. I have a long way to go and my body and mind are far from perfect, but I'm working on it. And learning to say no is just part of that learning curve.
And as of now - right now - I am back on track. Not tomorrow, not 'after the weekend' - now. Its been a long hard slog, especially for those readers who've been with me since the beginning, but I promise you with everything that I am that am going to get there. Eventually.
With love, and eternal gratitude for all your wonderful support