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#‎SlimForTheSummer: Is It Just Physical Weight I Need To Lose Or Is There More To It?

"Shedding the mindset might be harder than the pounds"

So here it is…that blog…the one I’ve been threatening to write for years but never really had the inclination to actually do it. I suppose that’s a bit like “dieting”, “getting fit” and “becoming healthy” – all things many of us ‘mean’ to do but never actually get round to it.

In fact, it’s the height of laziness really, isn’t it? And probably the reason we end up considering writing one of these damn blogs in the first place.

So it starts…the vicious circle of me trying to find a reason why I haven’t bothered to do anything about this, the excuses like how it “didn’t work out” or how “life got in the way”.

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Here I am with Stuart Robinson of Cool FM judging recently at the search to find members for new girl group Sorority, at this point #SlimForTheSummer campaign was just “another” thing he was doing, I wasn’t interested. Pic: Debbie Deboo

The reason I’m writing this is because a good friend of mine Stuart Robinson, the programme controller at Downtown Radio & Cool FM as well as radio star himself, has once again started a weight loss journey and has half the country behind him…I suppose you could say it’s forced pressure so that he sees the whole thing through.

Having known Stuart for a number of years I understood how hard this was for him – given that he had yo-yo’d significantly over the decades (yes Stuart we’ve known each other over 2 decades). So I realised he was right, he had exactly the right idea…get other people to embarrass or motivate you into sticking with it.

And so Stuart’s Cool FM ‪#‎SlimForTheSummer‬ campaign was launched and now one month in he’s about to report a whopping 2 stone loss since the whole thing started. I thought nothing really of it to be honest after hearing about it. Until, that is, I randomly watched one of Stuart’s live video blog entries on Tuesday February 9, 2016 (below). There was my friend bearing his soul, telling the truth, being open and honest and…wait for it…inspirational. Something clicked.

Fast forward to today, Wednesday February 10, 2016. Here are the blunt, harsh, slap in the face facts…I’m fat and unhealthy! Now, don’t all get on your silly “you’re beautiful the way you are” high-horses because we’re not here for that. We’re here to be open, honest, frank and realistic.

I suppose this is where my biggest problem lies. This idea that if you are “fat” then you aren’t beautiful or pretty or glamorous or sexy. A person’s weight should never be directly linked to whether they are perceived as any of those things, the same way that we cannot judge someone’s personality traits by their waist size. But the sad fact is we do and so does society and as a result those of us who have crept up in weight over the years refuse to accept the reality of our weight and size because we don’t want to admit that society may now deem us ugly, dowdy, angry or whatever. We allowed our perceptions of society’s perceptions of us form our perception of ourself…how screwed right up is that?

So…back to reality. Time to admit that my weight is not directly linked to my personality or whether or not I could be considered as aesthetically pleasing by someone. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of times when I look like an enormous, unhealthy, spotty monster who would probably scare the hardest of teenagers away. I mean, we’re not all perfect. However, if I’m going to accept that there are times when I look like the back end of a burnt out Troubles bus then I also have to accept – even if with a little embarrassment – that there are probably times when I’ve scrubbed up alright.

And there you have it…on my first day I’ve shed my first chunk of psychological weight. I’ve removed the imaginary, ill-thought out idea that weight, beauty and personality are inextricably linked. I’ve separated the entities in order to let each grow or wilt of its own accord and given myself the space to concentrate on one or more at any given time. I feel lighter already.

So what weight and size am I? I have absolutely no idea. I would estimate my weight to be somewhere between 15-16st and my trouser size somewhere between 18-20, if I’m being totally realistic and not trying to delude myself. There it is, in print, in black and white. Medically I am obese, psychologically I’m fat and physically I am clearly and obviously overweight.

The big question is, is now the right time for me to address this?

One of the biggest problems I have with weight is the fact that for years many people have thought it necessary to “tell” me that I am overweight. Thinking that by telling me that it would make me more likely to do something about it. Wrong. Actually, what has held me back the most from dealing with this problem that has slowly and steadily increased over time is my absolute unwillingness to be told what to do…by anyone. By suggesting diets to me and informing me that I was getting “bigger” people were actually doing quite the opposite. To make myself feel better I would delude myself into believing that weight did not define me and that I was “happy” the way I was.

Hitting back at society’s idea of “beauty” which I subconsciously allowed myself to believe was inextricably linked to weight meant I couldn’t admit to being “too big” or “large” or “bigger” than I was before. Because to admit I was fat would be to admit I was ugly and I wasn’t prepared for the mental and psychological effects of that.

In the last couple of years I’ve been on my own journey of self-discovery. Mentally and emotionally I have been working to become healthier in my mind and spirit. I’ve come to accept that many of the problems I had with the world were not only constructed by me but also influenced by me. Ironically, my friends and family would call me a control freak, yet I could not control how I was feeling or thinking in the way in which I wanted. As a naturally positive and optimistic person who tends to be like an excitable labrador in most situations I deluded myself into believing that I was in control. I had coping mechanisms and little happy tricks that I would do to pick myself up when the going got tough. Because I wasn’t unhappy all the time I didn’t believe anything was wrong.

For me shedding weight isn’t going to be just about the loss of physical pounds of fat from my body or just seeing the inches drop off – I want to LOSE the prejudice I had about my body in the first place. The nonsensical crap that I didn’t even know I believed in the first place. Despite being body confident in certain situations I was actually masking an underlying lack of confidence altogether. Time for that crap to go too.

Maybe as I lose the stubborness to fight back against those (including my GP) who seemed to think the Atkins, Weight Watchers or Slimming World were going to be my miracle cures, I will, begin to think about me, my needs and my perceptions of my own body. Hopefully, the control I will begin to exert won’t be whether or not I listen to people who simply think I’m fat but more a control over my own perceptions of the world around me and the person I am today.

As I attempt to shed physical weight I intend to also shed emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual weight too. If I’m going to do this it has to be holistic, it has to be on my terms for the benefit of my body, my mind and my health – not because other people say so.

The question remains, is this the right time for me to address this? Who knows?  Worst case scenario is nothing will change and I will have lost nothing….I might be a bit embarrassed, but sure, that will pass.

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About Tina Calder (114 Articles)
Journalist specialising in showbiz, entertainment, business, trade, human interest and lifestyle.

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