Sometimes..... our biggest barriers to doing something we really need to do (but perhaps aren't keen to do) are the excuses we find as to why we can't do them, rather than finding the solutions to overcoming those barriers so that we can succeed.Because of my disability, this is something I've had to do all my life - attending mainstream school, training as a secretary, working, getting married, living on my own, having a baby, etc, etc. So you would have thought that I would have this skill mastered by now!!
But on this particular issue (reducing the amount I ate and increasing my exercise) the barrier was somehow bigger than anything else I had had to deal with before. It had developed over many, many years to become the size of a small skyscraper.
As determined as I am to achieve things in life, I can also be as determined to IGNORE things that I don't want to do or tackle.... or face. Fear of the unknown perhaps, and a real belief that I might fail.
So here is my message to all of you struggling out there.
You have to know from those of us who have lost weight successfully that it works. It really does. But you have to want it to work and you have to make it work. For this journey to succeed, you have to give it your all. Give it your all and you will be rewarded.
My WLR journey has so far lasted two years and three months. I started by logging and weighing food religiously. Just as the site prescribes. Slowly and surely I realised that I had been eating way too many calories and that my portion sizes were far too large for a small person of 4ft 9 inches who doesn't move much at all.
Once this realisation had dawned on me and the weight started to drop, I was determined to complete this journey.
I lost 2 stone in a year. I then started (slowly and begrudgingly) to exercise. First swimming for an hour a week, and then kitting out my garage with some cheap bits of equipment and using them. My routine consists of treadmill walking, using a stepper, using the gym ball to do stretches and twists. Nothing that is too strenuous, but it gets my heart rate up, it gets me sweating and I am MOVING MORE whilst I am doing it. I started with 30 minutes (including warm up). Now I sometimes exercise for 2 hours three or four times a week.
I have just been speaking to a journalist and am going to be recording a Podcast for the BBC's Disability "Ouch" website in London tomorrow:
I am being asked to talk about disabled people and diet/exercise. Because us disabled people find it hard to lose weight and exercise, don't we???
I was telling him about my journey and the various tools I have used to make it a successful journey (this website, logging food, portion control, calorie counting, 5:2 fasting, exercising, support from other people, recipe database, forum). These tools combine to help me along the way. But it is I who make them work for me and there is a little more to add into the mix.
But I realised that my best tool by far has been my willpower, which has slowly and steadily improved and increased. I have stopped finding excuses as to why I am overweight and why I can't lose weight. I'm disabled aren't I? I can't exercise can I? I'm in too much pain, I haven't the time, getting washed and dressed is exhausting enough.
ENOUGH!!! Enough of those excuses, enough of the pain. I have broken through the barrier of allowing these excuses from stopping me. Because they were just that. They were excuses.
It is harder for some of us for whatever reason. We're busy, old, in pain, unable to exercise, have children, too short, have an illness, work too many hours....... BUT in fact if we have additional barriers, we just have to work at it harder than most.
It's not impossible. I have proved that to myself. People who have known me for years have no choice but to believe it too. They've seen me go from 14 stone to under 10 stone. Reduce from a size 24 to a size 16.
BUT you have to work too. You just have to keep on working, keep on plodding along, not let one bad day or one calorific meal stop you in your tracks. Pick yourself up and just keep on plodding along.
You will get there. It will take months, it may take years. You may fall off the wagon completely for a time. And you will realise one day that this is a never ending journey. You will need to do what you learn to do on here FOREVER.
It will get easier. You will experience changes in the way you think about food, the way you deal with food. Food is a temptation and it will always be EVERYWHERE. You will need to learn a different way to act around food and a different way to think about the food you eat. You need to learn about mindful eating.
Stop making excuses for why you can't do this. You can do it if you really want to. But you need to overcome those barriers that are inside your head.