Life and lofts

It’s been quite a while since I posted a blog – and in the meantime life has been rolling along at a rather sedate pace.

If I’m honest I’d prefer it to be a lot quicker – and the truth of the matter is that I’d prefer to be experiencing it whilst being gainfully employed – but that’s sadly still not the case at the moment.

In the absence of a job materialising I’ve been trying to make myself useful – and (rather out of character) have been engaging in some DIY.

In a similar way to how I used to tell myself that I hated exercise and couldn’t understand why people engaged in it (joggers are crazy right? I mean who RUNS voluntarily unless they’re about to miss a bus?) I still regularly tell myself that I dislike decorating or using power tools.

What I am actually saying in both cases is really ‘I am scared of looking silly and of making mistakes.’

The truth is that in exactly the same way that I never used to be able to swim with my head under the water or do any kind of exercise without drowning in perspiration I am woefully inexperienced when it comes to making or mending things with my hands.

To illustrate this further I’ve had a dripping tap in the bathroom for four years now because I’m terrified of changing the washer.

True story.

So – no one could have been more surprised than me when the closure of my local Homebase (and its subsequent stock clearance) catalysed me into action and I started buying (AND USING) items to improve my home.

Specifically my loft.

Although I bought and paid for this area of my house along with all the rest in 2007 (and it represents around 1/5ths of the total available space in my property) for over 12 years I’d never used it or even climbed up into it to have a look around.

Physically of course this used to be impossible.

First of all aluminium or wooden ladders typically only support up to 23st of body weight – and since I was 35st not only would it be dangerous for me to stand on them at height but I was completely incapable of doing so.

This was relatively immaterial however – because even if some temporary miracle of reversed gravity had propelled me up a pair my loft hatch above them would have been too small for me to get anything more than my head and shoulders through.

When my weight dropped I became a tiny bit more intrepid and ventured slightly closer to the rafters above my bedroom.

I purchased some sturdy stepladders, lifted the mysterious hatch, poked my head through and tentatively pushed some random planks up there next to the opening.

This enabled me to initially store one or two light boxes of cables and computer stuff.

Soon though I felt that I needed to put some more things up there so I pushed up a few extra bits of random wood I had lying around in my shed and slid a few boxes of paperwork in on top of them.

Everything up to that point was just within reach of the loft hatch, but soon after a few seasonal items like my Christmas tree and fans followed and things began to change.

It didn’t take long before I had begun to forget what I’d put up there – and since most of it had become quickly obscured from view (there was no light in the loft) I lost track of where things were.

Then – in the closing Homebase I saw these

The roofing section was labelled as 25% off – and try as I might I couldn’t find a pack of these boards cheaper online or anywhere in bulk or the same pack size.

It seemed like a bargain that was too good to pass up.

I guesstimated that 10 packs (30 boards) would probably be overkill – but that if I bought them I’d be compelled to use them and have enough to make mistakes too.

I piled them up on a flatbed trolly and went hunting for some decking screws.

However when I got everything through the checkout and home (along with several other purchases of wood, a long saw and linoleum for other jobs that needed doing) I realised that the boards would need to be cut with a circular saw if they were to fit the joists (and into eachother) successfully.

Now – this is where the panic set in because I hate using power tools.

They really scare me – and not because I’m inept or inherently clumsy but because I have no experience of using them.

No one has ever been around in my life to show me the best way to do such things and as such there’s no small level of worry associated with drilling holes, sanding things or (god forbid) cutting through stuff with motorised blades.

So I watched a few YouTube videos about how to do everything, nipped to Argos to buy what seemed like an appropriate instrument and dusted off my (unsurprisingly pristine) black and decker workmate.

The truth is that cutting wood with power tools is actually scarily simple and also rather fun!

The circular saw goes through high density chipboard like a warm knife through butter – and with some appropriate glasses and earplugs it didn’t feel like it was going to do me an injury or reduce my available digits.

I was on my way – and with my trusty partner in crime standing behind me as I made my first few cuts as well as holding the ladders when I dragged them upstairs (and occasionally pinching my ass when I had my head in the loft) I climbed up through the hatch and started to screw my trimmed boards into place.

I soon realised that ten packs of boards weren’t even close to the number I needed to do the entire loft.

My loft is split into two halves – with a big supporting beam in the middle that oddly stops half way along.

It has a total of 13 rafters end to end and on the side where the loft hatch is needs six planks per span (excluding the closed off eaves and odd places were there would be small bits of boards needed) meaning I required at least another two – three packs.

Even if I didn’t board the other half and worked around all of the random ‘sticky uppy’ bits of wood, pipes and cables that seemed to be up there under the insulation I’d need almost twice as much.

I decided in that case that I’d be sensible. I’d do only half of the loft rather than the whole thing.

After all – why go nuts? This was already way more than I felt that I was capable of.

On the other side behind the beam were the pipes from my boiler to my shower and these sat above the rafters.

I didn’t want to disturb or damage them and it terrified me that I might fall through between the rafters.

The boarded half that I felt comfortable with would be more than enough to store things and would represent a significant step in the right direction.

As the boards went in though bit by bit my confidence grew and I realised that I was rather enjoying myself!

When I embarked upon this I’d waited until the weekend to begin.

Truthfully I needed my partner around to help boost my confidence and tell me I was doing ok.

This was without a doubt the tipping point between me not doing anything and not starting and making a shaky start.

However as I progressed I quickly realised that I was more than fit and nimble enough to cut, carry, lift, nail, screw and saw things in the confined (and dangerous) spaces where I needed to bend double, and crouch or kneel on slender rafters with heavy weights.

Honestly – this was all something of a revelation.

I was doing it! I was actually boarding a loft!!!

After the first day on the job I ached all over though.

My back hurt, my hands were frozen into claws from screwing screws into wood and my thigh, calf muscles and knees were screaming with indignation about being forced to crouch and bend for so long.

The second and third days I had to take things a bit more slowly and (as I was now alone all day long) made sure I was being very careful.

Then – almost as soon as I’d begun – I had reached all the way along to the wall.

I celebrated by buying a telescopic loft ladder so that I could make sure that not only I but the infinitely foxier other occupant of my house could get up there if she needed to.

There are actually few things that feel as satisfying as working all day long, then having someone come home to see you – then for them to look both pleasantly surprised at what you’ve achieved and beam with pride at your accomplishments.

The thing that was bugging me though was what to do about the pipes on the opposite side.

Although half a loft was more than enough to pile all of our collected things that weren’t needed day to day – the fact was that to get to them when we needed to would be problematic at best if our things were all stacked on top of eachother.

What was really needed was a larger space where everything was ordered and visible so that the loft wasn’t just a complete dumping ground.

I wanted it instead to be a place where things lived temporarily or were disposed of if we decided we didn’t use them any more.

That wouldn’t happen if everything was just piled up willy nilly in giant heaps.

So I decided that the other half had to be tackled as well.

The important thing was though that the pipes needed to be accessible in an emergency with a minimum of fuss and unscrewing.

The only way this would happen it seemed (after some further research and watching of yet more YouTube videos) was to use some form of loft leg to raise the boards higher up and create a platform where things could be stored above the pipes.

These would raise the floor by 175mm – but at a cost in terms of extra effort and money because they are £14 a box (before discounts) for 12.

Up to this point I’d screwed the boards to the rafters – but if I used legs I’d have to not only cut the wood even more precisely to fit on tiny little raised anchor points but secure each of the legs to the rafters with four screws.

To add insult to injury the holes in the bases of the legs were not pre-drilled.

This meant that each leg had to have four screws forced in by hand prior to being screwed into the beams.

I calculated that I needed five boxes (60 loft legs) meaning this would have to be done 240 times.

I’d already moved away from screwing the boards in by hand and gotten over my fear of using a power drill (fatigue is a great motivator) but this was still going to make the second half of the task immensely harder and longer than the first.

The only way to do it though was make a start – and so I did. Soon the first set of legs were in place and I began to tentatively place the newly cut boards on top.

All of this ‘pre screwing’ was taking a serious toll on my hands though – and after stabbing myself in the left palm with a screwdriver and almost popping a blister that was swiftly forming on my right palm I decided that the rather swanky Kath Kidson gardening gloves that materialised in my house around the same time my beloved arrived rather suited me.

Soon my flowery little begloved hands had produced a veritable production line of pre screwed legs – and although the task at hand got no less arduous with time as I plodded on it did become a little quicker.

Since I needed five per joist I prepared them by hand in batches of ten and then screwed them in with my power drill.

After around a week of climbing in and out of the loft, cutting planks in the garden, trimming joists and planks in my roof, disposing of junk I found hidden in the eaves (I’m looking at you random poster of Elvis) I’d actually managed to board out the whole FRIKKIN roof!!!!!

This meant that (at least in my mind) I’d fulfilled a promise to my partner that I’d made when she moved in with me.

This was that everything (with the exception of some larger furniture) she wanted to keep from her flat after the move could not only be kept but would be available and close to hand at a moments notice if it was needed.

I wanted nothing she owned to be hidden away and inaccessible – but if it wasn’t frequently needed it could be stored and safe – ready for when it was.

Of course – the same is now true of all of my belongings too – and once again I’ve proven that even though my default starting point may be self doubt I am capable of doing a lot more than I give myself credit for.

To say that I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished (even though I could have done a better job in some places now that Ive gone back and looked at all the little mistakes I made) is a vast understatement.

I’ve reclaimed one fifth of my house and in the process created an easily accessible and almost inviting space for both of us.

It’s so cosy that I actually fell asleep up there one afternoon on my beanbag while taking a break!

Maybe once again my theory about the universe listening was proven to be true because although I was chuffed beyond words with my DIY I wasn’t feeling quite so happy with my adherence to healthy eating principles.

Elsewhere a wake up call was working its way to fruition.

I think that it’s safe to say that for around two months I’ve been struggling to keep a lid on my appetite as well as not using a dip in my mood (related pretty much solely to my employment status) as an excuse to overeat.

I’ve frankly failed more than I’ve succeeded in this respect and this is always noticeable in the shirt department. Things are tugging around the waist – and I need to get back to ‘Davey’s happy waistline place’.

I decided on Saturday morning that I was going to do two things.

Firstly I was going to once again focus on #onplanoctober (where I commit to writing down everything I eat) and secondly that I was not going to look at any numbers on any scales until I absolutely needed to weigh in again as a target member.

I have been nailing myself into the floor with numbers on scales and whether they mean I’m a failure or a success.

It’s stupid and I’m sick of it.

If I fit my clothes and my waistband is loose then I know if I’m on track.

Half a pound here or there doesn’t make me a success or a failure and it’s about damn time I accepted that and instead started focusing on living a guilt free life that contains no continual self condemnation.

With this in mind I made an effort and dressed up smartly for Angie’s Slimming World 50th birthday party celebration on Saturday morning.

The theme was black and gold – and it was a great excuse to deploy a jacket that I bought a year ago but never found a reason to wear.

As always the 10.30 group was lively and friendly. All of the food tasting sessions usually are – but this week Angie has made an extra special effort with the decorations.

Before leaving in the morning I’d quickly made two big Tupperware boxes full of sweet potato and potato wedges (with garlic, rock salt and paprika) but everyone else had made some smashing recipies.

Of particular note were a weetabix loaf and some cheese and quinoa bites – both of which I secured the recipes for because they were ace!

One of the things I rather like these days is that I can kind of melt into the background at these groups and just be a member again rather than an inspiration.

I know it’s all in my own head and that no-one but me has an expectation that I have to be perfect or that I am not allowed to fail – but it’s never been any less than hard work for me to go to a Slimming World group when I feel like I’ve been letting not only myself down but everyone else that’s ever seen me in the magazine and in newspapers.

As great as this photo of me at the Ritz when I won the MOTY title last year makes me feel it also represents something of a pinnacle that often I feel I can only fall down from.

I looked and felt awesome on that day even though I was stressed and sleep deprived. I was on the top of my own metaphorical mountain – having climbed higher than I’d ever thought possible.

The thing about mountains though is that when you reach the summit eventually you have to make your way back down to carry on with real life – and make sense of what it all means.

My life has since taken other turns thankfully and in every measurable sense (other than my waistline and my job hunting) I’m in a happier and more secure place now than I think I’ve ever been in my entire life.

Slimming World will always be a part of my life and remain very important to me but it’s no longer my sole focus. Learning to live with different priorities whilst not going completely off the rails has become the next major challenge I am still trying to rise to.

Imagine my surprise then when I found out that an award I made for myself many many months ago (if it doesn’t exist you have to create it) had finally became a reality.

Angie called me out in group and when I was up front with her she gave me a golden envelope!

All of a sudden I was rather glad I’d made an effort to look smart!

Inside it was a £50 voucher and FINALLY an OFFICIAL award for losing over 50% of my body weight!!!

There really are no words.

The universe does indeed seem to be listening.

When I feel low and think that I can’t do things or that I’m not good enough then something comes along to remind me that I did and can.

More than anything else it also reminds me that I can’t do things totally on my own.

Just like I needed someone to hold my ladders to begin with as I started the loft I can’t bang my dietary head against a solitary brick wall and fix everything myself.

I’m stronger when I have the support of others and I’m happier when I’m surrounded by people because it brings out the best in me.

So – I’ve got five weeks left to get ready for the Slimming World ball.

I’m going to try and use all of them wisely and make sure that when (for the final time) I present myself to the great and good in the assembled crowds of consultants and their partners I feel both upbeat and positive.

Regardless of what happens though I’m sure I will be – because I will be hand in hand with my rock.

I aim to make absolutely sure that when the last dance finishes in November that we’re the last ones still swaying back and forth together next to the stage.

The last kiss of the night will be mine.

I may struggle to see what my place in the world is sometimes – and I’ve never ever looked forward to any sort of planed future before – but now I do.

I may not know what it holds but I know who I want in it.

Sigh.

Life and lofts eh?

All you can do is your best and hope that the universe listens and that everything works out in the end!

Davey

Target goal

After a few weeks where I seemed to be going nowhere fast with weight loss I decided on Saturday morning that enough was enough.

Slimming World ball or no ball in November I’ve come to the conclusion that at least for the time being I’m calling target and focusing on weight maintenance rather than trying to continually shed pounds.

I’ve therefore decided to re-set my target to 15 stone.

In some ways this feels like giving up – but in others it seems like I’m finally accepting that it’s not all about numbers on scales. As long as they don’t go up any more I think I’m happy with this weight.

Furthermore this decision reflects advice that I’ve been giving other people for quite a while (including reminding them that they should be their own best friends) but recently have utterly failed to take notice of it myself.

‘You look great at your current weight!’ I told a lady (very truthfully) at group the other day.

‘Previously I thought you lost a bit too much.’ I continued. ‘Don’t worry about clothes not quite fitting. They’re cheap as chips. Put the nice ones in storage, send the rest to charity and get a few more.’ I said.

At home, in the quiet of my bedroom, looking in a mirror it’s a different story though.

I think about myself in quite another way – and although there’s a man reflected back at me who is well over HALF the weight he used to be I frequently fail to love myself and what I see before me.

At 13.5 stone I had a lot more shirts (and jeans) that fitted me and they looked really nice.

But this was only part of the story.

I also had people remarking that I ‘looked a bit gaunt’ and that recently on some of my Instagram posts ‘I look better with some more weight’ on me.

It’s hard to take such well meaning feedback for what it’s clearly intended to be though.

Friends say ‘you look healthy’ but I hear ‘I notice you’ve put on some weight’.

The ladies at group told me this weekend they had planned to gang up on me after reading recent posts and get me to raise my target weight too!

Everyone seems to be in agreement but it’s hard to hear.

It’s not the way that they say it – because everyone that’s commented wants me to be happy and healthy – but years of hating myself for being a little bigger every time someone saw me after a few months (or a lot bigger after a couple of years) has led to some rather difficult mental hurdles to overcome if I gain even a modest amount of weight.

I’m trying to take it another way though – and this is partly why I’ve decided to stay where I am for the moment.

However setting a new target can only work if I take to heart the same advice that I’ve given to others and take my foot off the gas for a little bit.

I think I need to just enjoy the fact that I feel fit, I’m insanely active, I’m in a great relationship, I feel loved and that I have lots of good (and honest) friends.

So.

Fifteen stone.

That’s where I’m hanging my hat.

I still haven’t decided how often I will weigh in though. That’s the next mental battle…

So – what else have I been up to?

Well last week I was rather quiet mostly because I’ve had a fair bit on my mind – and it’s all been the kind of things that I don’t really feel are best discussed in public.

Nothing is wrong though – no one has a need to worry.

These thoughts didn’t stop me dropping in see Angie doing her thing at the National Slimming World golden bus tour – which is promoting SW as well as celebrating it’s FIFTY YEAR anniversary.

It finally hit Coventry city centre on Thursday last week and I felt duty bound to pop along – even if that visit was brief.

Although the PR people had formally invited me to several of these events in the Midlands I’d decided to not go along as their special guest and instead pass by and say hello.

I’ll be honest – I really don’t want the limelight at the moment, and it’s nice to just go along, wish people well and then go anonymously about my business (which in this case was going to the nearby indoor market for some cheap plums and then popping into IKEA).

The new man of the year (Ben) is a worthy successor – and he can enjoy his year without any fear of me treading on his toes.

There are many others who can step up and be fabulous at such events anyway. The crowds not only had a celebrity chef (I’ve no idea who it was) and an award winner or two that they could chat to without me boring them silly all day long.

Jodie Rigby-Mee was on the top deck (2017 ‘top target consultant’ award winner and all round fabulous lady) whilst Angie was downstairs with the crowds handing out flyers and goodie bags.

They both looked fabulous!

When I strolled away from the bus, the celebrity cooking demo and the seated crowds I was quite happy with my decision not to attend as a MOTY.

Although I’m insanely proud of all I’ve done to lose weight and change my life I really just want to be me from now on – and enjoy the life that I never thought it would be possible to have.

At the moment (whilst I’m simultaneously searching for work) that means I’m looking after the home – and taking a real pleasure in taking care of my other half.

She has a very demanding job – and since I have extra time on my hands currently it makes sense for me to do as much as I can to lighten the load.

I’ll be honest – there’s not a lot going on in the employment market (particularly as I’m trying to be a bit more picky this time around) – so to have the time to make the home a nice place to be is something of a bonus.

I think it’s fair to say that at heart I’m happiest when I have someone to look after and care about – and I’m making the absolute most of being able to prepare meals, wash up and launder while I have the free time to do so.

Doing it for myself (at times in my life when things were out of control) seemed utterly pointless – and the truth is as much as I genuinely love looking after the needs of another there is also a personal benefit to be had.

I’m far more likely to look after myself when I’m looking after someone else – and knowing I’ve made their day more pleasurable with a roast dinner or a pile of neatly folded laundry makes all the difference.

I’ve said many times to my partner in our time together that when I was on my own it was the ‘mundane things’ that I craved – and that I currently love about our life together.

It may sound rather boring to many – but the simple pleasure of making someone a cup of tea and then delivering it whilst planting a kiss on their head as they work is really all I’ve ever wanted.

It goes deeper than just being described as mundane however – because as with most things in life there are layers.

The first layer is that I care enough about that person to want to make them a cup of tea – and when I plant that kiss it reminds me how lucky I am to exist in a conflict free, reciprocally loving relationship.

When I make the dinner or turn on the washing machine I don’t do it because I have to.

I do it because I want to.

the second layer relates to my childhood view of relationships. These continually demonstrated to me that little else but endless conflict resulted in extended periods of time together – and my own initial (hamfisted) attempts to find love only seemed to underline this.

They were ultimately about often crippling compromise, disagreements, an inability to be understood, and a complex set of compromises and half truths that both parties lived with in order to remain together.

To me then the mundane is effectively life with all of the above baggage and negative expectations removed.

It’s a massive weight that’s just gone from my life and I’m unbelievably grateful for that.

A good friend said to me not so long ago that after her first significant relationship ended very badly she fought hard to not need anyone.

Being the the determined type she ultimately accomplished this – becoming independent both emotionally and financially – and then once she was randomly bumped into a man that she wanted.

‘I am not with xxxxx because I need to be with him’ she told me emphatically. ‘I’m with xxxxx because I want to be with him.’

I doubt she could have vocalised the contents of my mind better if she’d tried – because that’s exactly how I feel now.

Both myself and my partner have run our own lives independently of outside help for a long time. We’ve had our own places, our own careers and our own way of dealing with the world.

We chose to be with eachother and step away from being alone because we wanted to – and to do so with eachother instantly made our lives better.

It’s because of this that for the first time I can ask someone other than the man in the mirror what they think about me changing my target weight and get an honest answer borne out of nothing but compassion.

This person sees me for who I am, clothed and unclothed – and even laughs when I accidentally (or purposely) fart.

I can change her mood simply by saying ‘Boop’ as I gently poke her with an index finger and she can lift my spirits simply by doing her impression of ‘grumpy cat’.

I can’t cook enough meals or do enough laundry to her for that – because it’s the way I always wanted things to be but never thought that they could be.

You see – in reality I’ve not changed my target – I’ve changed my goal in life.

It’s now ceased to be simply about numbers and it’s become a need to be present in a meaningful way throughout someone else’s life – and vice versa.

Only by continually trying to be fit and healthy can either of us make that happen – and I owe it to myself and her to be the best version of myself that I can.

I try to do this every day. Some are better than others but overall this means being as fit and healthy as I can.

I accomplish this by swimming and walking as much as possible as well as cooking on plan meals and trying to avoid binge eating.

This means at the end of the day (no matter how much I’ve already done) I’m always up for walking around the park together.

There’s nothing better than talking about the day and spending quality time together doing active things that improve our lives.

It means finally living our lives the way that we always should have done.

Davey

Little competitive

The sun is intermittently peeping out from behind clouds today and Warwick seems to be alive with people thanks to a cycle race going right through the centre of town.

It’s causing no small amount of pedestrian and traffic confusion and I’ve overheard a few surly pensioners already questioning the marshals as to why all of a sudden they cannot cross the road due to loads of barriers.

For my part I’m not particularly fussed if I’m re-routed because I’ve already managed to cram in my morning exercise.

I’m in no rush.

I was in the pool though.

I like to think I’m not a competitive person – and I’ve told myself this pretty much all my life – but I guess what I really meant was that I didn’t like to lose.

Now things have changed physically I find that my competitive side occasionally reads its head and pushes me to be a little more ‘spirited’ around others than I otherwise would.

If I’m in a swimming lane on my own I’m quite happy to amble along at my own pace – but if there’s someone nearby I find myself trying (if it’s vaguely possible) to match their pace and stamina.

There was a guy near me in the pool today – and (to my mind at least) he looked fitter than me when he got into the water.

I know that I have a distorted image of myself at times – and I’m aware that what I really mean is that he looked normal.

By this I mean that he didn’t have any loose skin, saggy bingo wings or appear as if he needed to lose anything more than a pound or two around his love handles.

I on the other hand have all of these – and when I see someone like this I can’t help but try and match or exceed their speed.

Today I initially matched and then exceeded his pace, and by my reckoning in the twenty minute period we were in the same lane I watched him stop for a breather three times and do six less lengths than me.

He got in after I did and I was still swimming continuous lengths when he got out.

I felt pretty chuffed – and my quicker than normal time for 1km above appears to reflect the extra effort I put in.

It’s all relative mind you – and a similarly minded young girl (who was around 12 years old and with with her dad in the next lane) absolutely SMASHED ME INTO THE GROUND with her times and completed two lengths for every one that I managed.

So – I take the rough with the smooth, but it’s great to know that there’s at least someone that I can beat at sporting things as opposed to no-one, which was the way that things used to be.

If I look back at why this state of mind exists I’m sure it relates to sports at school – which were anything but inclusive in my childhood.

I’m not necessarily in agreement with children getting participation medals just for being involved (life after all has winners and losers and I think it’s a good idea to get used to that early on) but when I was young I was last in every sport possible.

Cross country? Last

Swimming? Could barely swim

Football? Never picked for a team and always ended up in goal

Basketball? Couldn’t jump so always did the scoring

Badminton? Lost every game

Cricket? Could hit the ball but couldn’t do runs between the posts

Rounders? Couldn’t hit the ball and couldn’t run around the diamond.

The list went on and and on with the humiliations cumulatively stacking on top of one another over time until they no longer registered any more.

This all just led to me choosing to no longer take part – because if I wasn’t likely to win what was the point?

Sadly I think that this attitude eventually bled into other areas of my life, and although academically I was no slouch I began to not try very hard in other areas too. The sting of failing after trying to win or do well was just too great – and when I looked around me every role model I had in life appeared to have already given up too.

It’s refreshing therefore to discover that this element of my personality is still alive and well even if it hid from view until my mid 40’s.

I’m also not a bad loser it seems – and with the possibility that I might just prevail against others if I try hard enough I find that even if I don’t win I rather enjoy taking part.

If you’d told me that sport or exercise would do this to me 10 years ago then I’d have laughed you out of the room – but there we have it! It’s infected me.

There’s also another reason I’m in the zone today – because yesterday I ended up with a rather ‘off plan’ end to my Saturday.

It all started so well – but as with all of the best laid plans of mice and men it didn’t finish with me covered in glory.

Quite the opposite in fact.

The blame lies squarely at the feet of snack food – and me not being arsed with preparing meals.

I could kick myself – as it was a really hard fought loss yesterday on the scales and I really don’t want to screw it up this week.

I’m totally sick of yo-yo’ing back and forth around 15st and I want to get back to (at least) 14st 7lbs.

I’ll be perfectly frank though. I’m conflicted about this weight.

I don’t feel uncomfortable or unhealthy. I don’t have a problem moving, exercising, fitting into my clothes or anything like that.

My partner likes me just as I am and I’m (relatively) happy with how I look.

However a letter arrived in the post the other day asking me to confirm my attendance at the Slimming World ball in November.

I’m the outgoing man of the year and it’s my last official engagement.

I replied that I am definitely going and that this time around I’ll be bringing my partner.

I paused over the email and re-worded it to emphasise what I felt was the most important part.

I would like a double room for once. Not a twin.

It’s a nice thing to be able to say finally – because all of the other events (as nice as they’ve been) have remained entirely solo affairs with friends in tow.

As great as that is though the event itself comes with no small measure of accompanying stress – because I’m a stone heavier than I feel some of my suits, waistcoats and jackets will comfortably allow – and I really don’t want to look like a muffin or buy something brand new for the occasion.

My motivations are conflicted.

Do I want to personally be thinner?

Mmmmm maybe not so much.

Do I want to feel like a success rather than a failure at the ball?

Absolutely I do.

These conflicting feelings and levels of willingness to be something different to who I am now keep colliding in my head – and so far they’ve absolutely prevented me from getting into diet mode.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing though.

I am sick to death of feeling like I’m in a boom and bust cycle – and I just want to level out so that I eat and exercise at an acceptable level.

I don’t want to feel like I need to starve myself to get anywhere in life and I don’t want to feel like I have to walk or swim a million miles to make up for shitty behaviour.

Mind you – I know that I’m reassuringly just like everyone else at the moment – because if group yesterday was anything to go by I’m not alone in struggling to find my motivation again. I’m also not the only one that’s annoyingly out of their target range – and when Angie herself is struggling with exactly the same issues you know that there’s absolutely zero point in beating yourself up.

You just have to accept things for what they are and move right along.

If yesterday was a bad day so what? Today can be different and so can the day after if you want it to be.

I’ve seen people dealing with cripplingly difficult life events, and having to support everyone around them whilst still getting up each day with a smile on their face and trying.

When there are these kind of people around you’re reminded of what gaining a pound or two really means.

Not a lot really.

There are way more important things to beat yourself up about. Pick yourself up, move along and keep on trying to be better.

You never know – you might even find yourself feeling a little competitive.

It could happen internet!

Davey