Throughout all the time that I have been keeping this blog I have had periods where my weight has gone down, periods where it has climbed back up and the odd period of maintenance. So, you could say the one thing that I have not managed to achieve is any sort of consistency.
What I do know, or rather, what this has taught me, is that in order to lose weight successfully a lot of stars need to align. Firstly, of course, you need to know how to eat properly - and by properly I mean in a way that will allow you to create a calorie deficiency while providing your body with everything it needs to function. For some people, this will mean following a programme like WW or simply calorie counting. For others, it will mean cutting out or restricting one or other food group. I say, if it allows you to eat in a way that you can imagine eating for the rest of your life and if you feel healthy on it, there is no real right or wrong.
Secondly, movement. I've read somewhere that weight loss can be divided up into something like 80% the food you eat and 20% the exercise you do (how a statistic like that is calculated I have no idea) and for someone lazy like me, there is a danger of using this as a bit of a get out clause. But 20% is 20% and also, speaking as someone who has been known to battle the odd Black Dog, I know from experience that exercise really does do something positive to one's mood.
Which leads me on to the third and, perhaps, most important thing you need and that is the right headspace. It is no good knowing everything you have to do and knowing how to do it and even wanting to do it if your head is in a "dark and twisty" place (note to self: must stop bingeing on old episodes of "Grey's Anatomy" online...) That is why the obesity crisis in this country will never be entirely solved by slapping taxes on chocolate bars and cans of Coke. There may be a very, very small percentage of the population who doesn't realise that a diet of constant takeaways, fizzy drinks and pastes will cause them to gain weight, but in these days of media awareness, that excuse is starting to sound more and more excusey.
It was this third thing that drove me into the arms of lovely doctor recently. I need, once and for all, to get my head into the place I need it to be. So I am going to see a counsellor in a couple of weeks with the very clear aim in mind of getting together a toolkit of techniques to help me put all the stuff I know inside out into practice - and perhaps also to get a bit more of an understanding as to why my relationship with food can be more than a little cockeyed. I also, at her suggestion, agreed to be referred to and to attend an eight week course run locally called "Weight Ahead". Yes, I know. The pun didn't sit well with me either. But I was willing to give it a go because, I figured, even if I didn't learn anything new I would be taking positive action.
I attended my first session yesterday. I am still not convinced I will learn anything new but I do think that going along and engaging and talking to the other people in the group will be a helpful exercise. Unlike a Weight Watchers meeting which is a) scales centric and b) tries to sell you as much Weight Watchers produce as possible, this seemed to be more about making small, positive lifestyle changes in an impressively non judgemental environment. I say impressive because I still sometimes think (and I must say this comes predominantly from reading of other peoples' experiences rather than my own) there are still those among medical professionals who are too quick to judge people with weight issues as ill educated and lazy.
And it may be coincidence, but I've definitely felt more on top of things these last few days. I've eaten well and sensibly. I've scared the mojo off before by making such proclamations. I know full well it's as easy as anything to slip backwards. But I'm going to take, and enjoy, my small victories when they occur.