Sunday, 1 January 2012

Reflections and Realisations - 2010, 2011 and 2012

In 2012, my priorities will be finding a place to live (my landlord is selling the place so I'm currently homeless and sleeping on friend's sofas) and getting fit and healthy. After doing so well in 2008 and 2009 (losing 18kg or 40lb and going from size 20 to size 16 trousers), I completely lost it in 2010 and 2011. I'm now not very proud to say that I weight exactly what I weighed when I started back in 2008 - a whole two years of effort wiped out and another four years older. Sigh.

So, I've spent the past few days being reflective as to the reasons why.

1) Taking a *short* break in 2010.

With all of this progress, I thought I could take a break. I'd been to my cousin's wedding (the one who was a model) in December 2008, then was due a trip to São Tomé and Príncipe for work (gorgeous) in February so, knowing from past experience that there is no healthy food for vegetarians in much of Africa, I thought, why don't I take a mini break and wait until I come back? I should have known what would happen - a short break turned into loss of habits that had kept me on track before and I had completely popped out of the zone.

2) Life in 2011.

I've blogged before about how hard it was to fit in exercise, food planning and blogging - all the things I need to stay on track. It became undoable afterwards. I spent 2011 focusing on work - I doing job applications and in May started a new job. It's totally fab with a lot more responsibility (I head up the organisation - yey!) but it has meant that I've spent the last 8 months pretty much working most of the hours of the day. It has not been uncommon to find me at my desk come midnight or 1am, I spend my weekends doing catch-up reading and I can't remember the last time I took the night bus home after a night out rather than after a(nother) late night in the office. [I long for the days when 2am on a nightbus on a Tuesday night was a sign of drinks after work getting out of hand rather than I can't believe it's 2am and I'm walking to the bus stop from the office.] Not only has this meant that I've found finding gym time rather hard and that lunch and dinner happens to be whatever I can pick up around work but also that I now don't have a place to live even though our landlord gave us 3 months (!) notice because I just didn't have time to find a roof over my head.

3) Bad Experiences.

I didn't blog about it at the time because I didn't think it had any bearing on my weight loss but, in retrospect, I can trace everything that happened afterwards to this. A couple of years ago, I had an evening work dinner. Someone I really like(d) at work had a work trip for a few months coming up and I had decided that this was going to be my night to make a move. So, I spent all night with R - drinking, eating, dancing. We were buying each other drinks the whole night and having a generally all around flirtatious time. Anyway, I had had a lot to drink - we each had one pint and a cocktail beforehand, were drinking copiously from the wine bottles on the table and then bought two bottles of wine just for us. I know. And on a Thursday night with work the next day too... Fastforward to the end of the night. It's 3am and I'm still in West London where the party was and I live in the East - meaning two night buses home. To cut a long story short, I fell asleep on the second one (partly due to tiredness and partly due to alcohol) and woke up way past my stop in a very dodgy part of London. There were no other women around - just what felt like gangs of men all coming up and hitting on me. I didn't feel safe enough waiting at bus stops so I started walking home (luckily I had changed from my heels to flat shoes so I could walk really quickly) - to be followed by groups of men. Just as I left one group behind, another one would surround me. One group of men even started discussing what they would do to me in great detail. I've never been so scared.

Happy part of the I kept on walking and made it home okay. The bad part is how I felt that night and the days afterwards. I kept getting harassed by men (perhaps I just started noticing it) on the streets and on public transport. One guy even followed me home from the library. And, even though, as a badge wearing feminist, I know that rape, sexual assault and harassment has nothing to do with attractiveness but rather is about exertion of male power, I subconsciously started to equate what was happening to me with the weight I was losing. All of this also brought back memories of growing up and how I would keep getting hassled by old* men in public spaces. I blamed myself and my body for this - most particularly my over developed breasts (D cup at the age of 13). Now, I wonder how much of my gaining of weight during my teens was due to trying to stop making that happen.** I need to stop letting the fear of being attacked or harassed stop me from being healthy. I'm starting to think that perhaps I need to talk all of this through with somebody.

*30 is old to a girl of 13 so I have no idea how old they actually were.
**Check out Susie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue is you haven't already

I know I've said this many times before, but it's time to get serious now. I want all this weight gone and to be fit and healthy by my 30th birthday. I've got 1 1/2 years left. I've spent my teens and my 20s overweight and unfit - I refuse to spend my 30s like this too.