At this weeks Slimming World group I was moved to think about the weight we all carry. Not just the actual physical weight but the emotional and mental weight we all carry. Are our mental and emotional woes mirrored by our physical weight? If this is the case then surely it makes sense to lose the weight we need to tackle the emotional issues and as a few of us agreed at group, “get our head on right.”
However, like the old epitaph, “pull yourself together,” what does it mean? How do any of us get our head on right, how do we pull it together? We all should have ways to comfort and soothe ourselves as adults, as the feeling of feeling insecure, unsure and unsafe don’t go away because you’re suddenly classed as an adult at 16. The ways in which we make ourselves feel better need to be effective and not self-destructive and if at all possible, good for us.
Thinking about things that make me feel better right at the top of my list is activity. I have never been a fan of exercise but being active undoubtedly has benefits, I wish I could tell you the studies are all wrong and it makes no difference but I’d be lying. Getting out in daylight for 10-15 minutes initially for a walk a few times a week was physically and mentally beneficial for me. I lost weight, slept well and raised my heart rate. All things that made me feel emotionally better. It surprised me how quickly the effects of exercise manifest, within weeks I felt better and lost aches and pains that had been around for years. I still have to complete my Body Magic Gold Award and really need to step it up again.
The second, or rather joint first thing, I suppose, that makes me feel better is caring for myself. This may sound a bit touchy-feely to a lot of people but its amazing how quickly we stop looking after ourselves when stressed and anxious. The worse we feel because we neglect ourselves the more we continue to neglect ourselves. From the basics of self care in brushing our teeth, washing etc. to sitting down planning our week, writing a journal to getting haircuts and getting our nails done to getting a massage, self care is a huge area in which we can neglect ourselves. Being busy over a week and neglecting ourselves to allowing it to go on indefinitely can make us down and stop us enjoying things we normally enjoy.
I noticed I didn’t enjoy watching films anymore, stopped going to the cinema which further compounded my misery. I absolutely knew I needed to act when I found I didn’t enjoy reading anymore. That was the last straw for me. I had to make a decision to actively take an interest in myself or allow myself to deteriorate. It was a make or break moment for me when I realised I was miserable, much more miserable than I had ever been and instead of looking at pictures of healthy meals my friends posted on their Facebook why wasn’t I a member of a Slimming Group making healthy meals and swapping tips? There was no valid reason, there were many benefits to go and very few good reasons to hold back.
I think since January 2013 we have saved a fortune in takeaways and fast foods. We are eating better and losing weight. I think I have enjoyed a wider range of ways to enjoy chocolate and keep on track. Some days I get wrong and discover my limits, but overall my weight loss continues as does my quest to soothe, comfort, look after and like myself. I cannot separate my weight loss from feeling better holistically and I have had to ask myself what I honestly want in life and commit to getting it.
So what I am trying to say in a rather long-winded way is that my weight loss is connected to everything else in my life. What goes on in my mind and how I feel has been dramatically influenced by my commitment to first try Slimming World and then to continue going to group for support. I have to say that staying for group is the root of getting the best out of meetings, going home with a number doesn’t work for me. I think it’s impossible to sit through group and not listen to other members and find issues that resonate within us. Our contributions, no matter how small or insignificant we think they are maybe just what someone else needed to hear to open up or try something different.
For example this week we talked about writing off entire weeks because we have a bad day and go off plan or eat too many syns, but we are allowed 15 x 7 = 105 syns a week on the standard Extra Easy plan, so there is always hope even when you indulge to use food choices to maximise our chances of losing weight or on bad weeks maintaining or even gaining a few pounds.
Group has been the strongest tool I have come across that helps me, both group therapy for my OCD and Slimming World group have allowed me to connect with other people, realise I’m not alone with my thoughts and find a safe place to express my concerns and woes. Obviously, OCD group and Slimming World tackle slightly different remits of making us feel better but the human contact, which we all are getting less and less of in this digital age of Internet etc., makes a huge undeniable difference. Relating to others has had a huge positive impact on me and was probably the most frightening aspect of attending group back in January.