This morning as I was getting dressed, I pulled out a top that I hadn’t worn in a while despite the fact I am fond of the colour and the fit. As I stood there, still rather bleary (it was six o clock after all), I remembered that the reason it had ended up at the back of the wardrobe was that the cut of the neck and shoulders leave my bra straps rather visible. Which isn’t really a big deal these days (sometimes it is positively de rigueur) but I had relegated the top to weekend wear only because I was concerned that the whole bra strap on display look wasn’t suitable for work. I went through the whole thought process in my mind. Then I put the top on reasoning, “I like this top, I want to wear it and that whole bra thing probably isn’t that bad. I’ll just do some subtle hoiking if it becomes a problem”.
And of course, now I’m sitting here, painfully aware that I am displaying greying bra straps to the world and his boss. And his boss too. And yes, I did not even bother to put on a nice bra at any point in this decision making process.
For those of you struggling to see the connection between whether or not my underwear is visible and food / WW then here we go. I am a supposedly intelligent person. And yet I make the same mistakes over and over and over again. Not only that, but sometimes (as this morning) the logical part of my brain chips in to say, “Hang on a minute, is that really such a good idea?” and then some other entirely irrational part notes the objection and goes ahead anyway.
Every time I’ve made a bad food decision, every time I’ve eschewed the gym in order to loll on the couch watching old episodes of “Charmed”, somewhere there has been a voice screaming “Noooooo! Don’t do it!” in a slightly melodramatic manner. But you only have to look at my recent track record (particularly in relation to exercise) to see that the voice is being well and truly drowned out.
And I don’t think it is just me. My brother was telling me about this self help book the other week which is all about instigating change. The analogy that the book uses is that your logical self is a Rider upon the Elephant of your emotional self (bear with). If the logical Rider and emotional Elephant want to go in different directions, then the Elephant will almost always win because it is stronger. The Rider therefore has to come up with strategies that will allow him to retain control and the Elephant to remain calm and biddable. For example, shaping the outside environment – in a weight loss scenario this might mean getting rid of anything in the house that will trigger overeating - or setting small, achievable goals that will not spook the Elephant but will give it something tangible to walk towards. And so on and so forth until the analogy is stretched beyond all recognition.
It’s an analogy I recognise and like. So much so that I’ve invested in a little silver elephant charm for my Pandora to remind me to keep control of my Elephant. Getting the mental stuff right is, I reckon, a good 99% of the battle.
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to nip to the ladies to rearrange my clothing. Again.