Archive | March, 2013

Acceptance

20 Mar

When I was big, my self-esteem was at rock bottom, I was though very good at putting on a front to hide this. Now I’m smaller and fitter I still often struggle with this.

I’ve had to get used to looking very different, I also have the ‘scars’ of obesity, many who have been very overweight, especially for a prolonged amount of time will understand this, the loose and damaged skin is the most obvious thing that remains.  It does affect you, when you’re wearing your fabulous new smaller clothes it’s not obvious, however in summer, when swimming, or in relationships it’s on show and can need a lot of mental strength to deal with.  You may of course be lucky and have springy skin but in the majority when you lose a substantial amount of weight in your 40s you won’t magically spring back to the body you had in your 20s.

Don’t get me wrong I love my smaller body, my health is better, the awful things about being obese are no longer here but it’s hard when people do look or it affects a new relationship, all of which have happened more than once.

Lifting weights has helped, by building muscle mass into the space left by the demise of fat it does help. I also took the decision not to lose a lot more weight as it will make the situation worse, I’m now at a healthy weight and I’ve concentrated on improving my fitness levels rather than focus on what the scales say.

What happens when you lose a lot of weight isn’t talked about a lot, we should deal with it more, I have come across people who haven’t been able to deal with either the physical or emotional effects and have returned to obesity. You do have to deal with it all, there is help out there, it is important not to think that life will be the same once you’ve lost the weight, to be able to maintain it, you need to do as much work with your head as you do with your body to be successful.

To end on a very positive note I wouldn’t want to go back, I like to look on my ‘scars’ like any other, it shows what has happened in my life, everything that has happened in my life is important and has made me the woman I am today. I can’t make them disappear and hopefully those people who really matter will not be bothered and will accept them because they are part of me.

Horses, Running & Responsibility

5 Mar

There have been a lot of news stories and articles around recently to keep me occupied, this is a brain dump of my thoughts, they sort of relate to one another!

You can’t ignore the horsemeat scandal – however it made me think. We were all making a fuss about horsemeat in our food, yet the items in question included processed ready meals, we had been more than happy to consume the additives, preservatives, sugar, salt and poor quality meat that they contain for years, yet horsemeat was a step too far?

We should have all seen the Jamie Oliver programmes showing what goes into processed food, yet this was acceptable, we didn’t complain about that?  We’re still not, all we need now is an assurance that there’s no horsemeat in our food?  It all feels wrong, we should be protesting that processed food has become standard fare, that fresh food is more expensive or that cooking classes have been removed from curriculums?

So while you’re checking the ingredients on a box and wondering if there’s a risk of horse being an ingredient, check out the rest of the information, its shocking!

IMG_0688So now to running, on a couple of occasions recently while out on my speed walks I have been forced off the pavement by the local running clubs, once right into the road. I’ve talked to some people about how important keeping fit is to me however when say I don’t run (I can’t by the way, I’m preserving my cruciate ligament reconstruction and the surgeon has recommended I don’t) they turn off and lose interest.

I’m all for running if you can however if you do other things, it’s just as valid and important, please don’t treat us like second class citizens – we may not be training for marathons but we’re meeting our own challenges and working hard at changing our lives and keeping active.

My worry is that when people are thinking about getting fit, and they can’t run (and if you’re very obese, running may not be a good idea) or don’t enjoy it, that they feel there aren’t options for them. I often also hear ‘I hate the gym’ or can’t afford classes. It couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a huge range of activities that can get you fit, help you lose or control your weight and make you happy! The happy bit is very important, if you really don’t enjoy something, the odds are on you’ll give up on it, so find something or a combination of things you enjoy. I mix up what I do frequently now, from swimming, walking, fixed bike cycling, pilates, weights work…hiking, etc etc, there’s always something you can try out.

And finally an article from the BBC about the food we serve and have available in the vicinity of hospitals today. It poses the question about taking personal responsibility for the obesity crisis, if this is enough or should we be doing far more to encourage people to change their lifestyles?

Education about the effects of obesity isn’t working, shock stories about diabetes, high blood pressure, high risk pregnancies etc etc are making little difference. I do feel that we are skirting around the reality of an ever increasing obese population.

The perception of what is now ‘large’ is fascinating, I belong to a dating site and the number of men who list their build as ‘average’ when its clear from their photos that they are overweight is amazing (and disturbing). We watch programmes about extreme obesity, do we now feel that unless we are ‘supersize’ that we’re not overweight and we can go further into denial and that it doesn’t apply to us?  Or even more worryingly think that gastric surgery is the answer? Are our heads now stuck very firmly in the ground?

While I was reading this particular article I also found this one, we need to seriously consider the effect obesity will have on our NHS, how will you feel if your vital cancer treatment is not available because of the extra burden of diabetes treatment or the bill for treating high blood pressure increases (which it will), there are already news reports that lack of funding is resulting in more diabetes related amputations – that’s pretty scary stuff.

So what next?  Do we need to stop pussy footing around and be more forceful? If we can’t take personal responsibility for our own lives, should the fast food industry be forced to change, should there be programmes in schools to look seriously at our kids health?  Ultimately does the Government need to grasp the crisis by the balls and do something?

And it’s not just about what we eat, it’s about getting active too – I’ll write about that separately but while I’m doing that lets take a look at what the Taiwan Government have decided to do about their obesity crisis!

So think about what you eat, how much you move and realise that you have to take personal responsibility for your lifestyle, you can have control if you want it badly enough?

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