In the past year I've had a definite tendency to focus on the negative. I hit a very rough patch that I wrote about here at the end of January, and even prior to that things were a bit up and down for a while. Most of this negativity was turned inwards, manifesting itself in lethargy, in frustration, in a lack of confidence and depression. In hindsight the horrible events of early this year at least helped at times to take some of the focus on me, by me, off me. So to speak.
But that was anger turned outwards, which ultimately is still negativity. (And by anger I mean moments of white hot imagining of head crushing rage.) The problem with holding onto anger towards past events and people that you no longer have any contact with, is that you can run yourself round and round in circles thinking of conversations you'd like to have, verbal smackdowns you'd like to rain down on them from a righteous high horse.
So the point in mentioning this climate of negativity is that sometimes it's so easy to focus on weakness, and much harder to recognise your own strengths. But I do have strengths and one of those is determination. Once I get to a point of resolve, I can be really self disciplined. Past determinations have involved weight loss, giving up meat for a few years, giving up alcohol for a few years, sewing interminable and intricate amounts of braid/gold cord/buttons on various costumes over the years.
Reaching the point of resolve is sometimes a difficult issue, but once I'm there I'm there.
I've been losing weight. I set my mind to do it about 5 weeks ago, and I've stuck to my guns. I just dug out some of my old Weight Watchers tools and set to it. No meetings or anything, just me and the bathroom scales. So far I've lost 7kgs, a very large portion of the belly and several belt notches, and I'm really feeling positive and much healthier. As a friend of mine once said, and it's since become my mantra... it's not rocket surgery.
The WW plan essentially boils down to a) portion control, b) reduced fat and c) reduced calories - they just give specific quantities of food a point score based on the calorie and fat content. You can blow all those daily points on something from KFC or MacDonalds and be hungry for the rest of the day (not advised), or you can eat a decent amount of lean protein, small amounts of carbohydrates and reduced fat dairy, and unlimited vegetables (highly recommended).
I've been a little bit hungry at times, but not much at all, and even that is part of the process. Not that I enjoy feeling hungry, but in the grander scheme of things it's both worth meditating on the benefits of not stuffing oneself to avoid ever feeling hungry, and on the fact that much of the world lives like this without choice or relief.
I was chatting with my co-workers today about abstinence and addiction (one of the young guys is trying to give up smoking) and one of them praised my determination. I hadn't really thought about it, but it's both a symptom and a cause of a more positive mind set I've had over the past month or so. Feeling healthier, looking better, getting that feedback from the scales, and recognising that when it comes to the crunch I can achieve even long, hard processes (full of temptations) if I put my mind to it. Resolve. Determination.
Ultimately it feels like a kindness I'm paying myself, giving myself the benefits of this both physical and emotional. And on the rare night when I've craved roast chicken and hot chips, or squidgy fatty pizza, I've worked really hard to remind myself of that!