A loose strait jacket

Apart from Tallulah locking us out of the house yesterday during an altercation involving weeding and a ginger cat, and Tilly having to shin over the back fence and start a life of crime two weeks before her sixteenth birthday in order to break us back into our own house, it has been a remarkably quiet bank holiday weekend.

This does not make for exceptional blogging. I realise this.  On the other hand, in terms of quality of life I could not be more pleased.  We have had more than our fair share of dramas recently and I am delighted that we have had a few days where the most exciting thing I can report was thinking there was a burglar in the bathroom at half past two on Sunday morning, only to find it was Derek in a falling out with the bathroom blinds.

Were it not for feline companions, our life would have been even more tranquil this past few days. So just think on Derek. The ditch could beckon…

I am also thrilled that in between revising for her last two weeks of GCSE’s, Tilly has had her baking mojo on.  Yesterday this meant a wonderfully moist chocolate and almond cake with cream cheese frosting, and banana loaf with chocolate chips to follow.  Today we are being treated to chocolate brownies, shortbread, scones and a warm loaf, fresh from the oven.

It seems that fasting is not going to be much of an option this week.  A few weeks ago this would have completely thrown me for a loop. I am very much an all or nothing person, and usually nothing is followed by ‘and forever more’, which is one of the reasons I tend to go flat out at things with such passion, because stopping really does mean stopping.

I have been wrestling, as the weeks have progressed, with the idea of how this actually works when you adopt a lifestyle/system what you will, that you would actually like to keep doing indefinitely.  Clearly, one cannot fast and exercise at the same frantic rate week on week forever, or you would melt, or snap, or be blown away by the wind, or turn into Flat Stanley.

I feel that turning into Flat Stanley would be the worst fate. I do find him a bit of a dismal sort, considering the exciting life he could have led, but perhaps: ‘Flat Stanley gets posted to all the brothels in Europe on his gap year’ was not such a popular proposition with the publishers.

To revert to my dilemma. How does one integrate a balanced approach to diet and exercise into a life governed by erratic mood swings, passions, fads and whims such as mine, without going stark staring mad in the process?

The answer is that I am still working on this.  I remember, back in the mists of time when my ex was in a Twelve Step program, and I was immersed in the world of recovery from addiction by association, listening to someone saying that it was important to learn to wear your daily recovery like a loose robe rather than a strait jacket if you wanted to make it last.

This analogy has stuck with me down the years and I have found myself thinking about it more and more over the last few weeks. It is indeed, what I need to learn to do.

I would say, like most things that sound very simple in principle, they are not so easy to do in practice.

Firstly there is the desire to lose more weight simply because ‘I can’ and it seems ‘desirable’. It makes me realise how much more affected I am by media and magazines than I would like to be. I do not ‘need’ to be thinner. I am a healthy weight, a healthy BMI and, as I wanted when I started this journey, my clothes fit again.  Yet still there is this nagging sense of how wonderful it would be if I was ‘X’ or ‘Y’, despite the fact that this is absolute bollocks.

There is no empirical evidence to say that people who are a size zero have more fun. Judging from the agonies they have to go through to get to that size I would imagine they have significantly less fun.  Also, my own experiences of being much smaller (entirely by accident rather than design, I have to say) are that mostly I spent a lot of time feeling dizzy, nearly falling under buses, and not appreciating how ‘fabulously’ thin I was because I was forever at the Dr. thinking I might be dying. Nobody else could appreciate me either, because they were always rescuing me from under the path of oncoming buses, or fishing me out of gutters.

It is no good wearing a strait jacket. Even  if it is a size zero strait jacket. Being mad as a wasp is absolutely no fun at all, no matter how many sparkles you stick on it.

I speak from personal experience here.

The other thing I am wrestling with is the feel good factor. It feels good to be more awake. It feels good to have a body that, apart from during the evils of my time of the month, is less in pain, more flexible and feels better to live in.  My brain tells me that the logical conclusion to continuing to feel good, is to do more of everything. If I do ‘more’, better, quicker, faster, I will feel better and betterer, right?

Wrong. This is the path to exhaustion, stupid self-inflicted injury and insanity. I know this, and yet I wrestle with a brain that tells me otherwise, and is loud and insistent and sneaky.

The answer, as with most things, is moderation and balance. Two things I am spectacularly ill equipped to handle because neither of them are in my nature. Age and bitter experience have helped me to discipline myself better than I ever have in the past, but it is interesting how many times I have to relearn the same old shit.

For ‘interesting’ read ‘a gigantic pain in the behind.’

At the moment I would say that I am wearing a rather loose strait jacket, and hopefully heading in the direction of robe hood.

I will be helping myself to do this by falling face first into warm scones any second now.

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