Where did January go (and a good chunk of February for that matter!)

It’s too cold!

I’ve discovered why the cold makes me miserable.

OK, so above are the ideas I jotted down for this blog post. I was going to pick one and go with it, but actually they all cover how life has been since my last post. So I’ll go over them, and then ramble on a bunch more, and then probably think of a bunch of other stuff and then start talking about that too! Which leads to the first point I’ll cover…

Fail to plan. Plan to fail.

The biggest problem I have is that I have this misguided belief that I can keep everything in my head and be organised. Well, I’m totally calling myself out on that one.

I forget stuff.

I get distracted by other stuff.

Now this is a problem that has permeated into many facets of my life, not just my fitness journey.  I won’t go into those other facets here, but I’m at a point where I can look over the last few years and see that I am paying the price for not properly planning. With regard to my fitness journey, I look back over the last year and I’ve done well to lose some weight, gain some fitness and strength, but if I’m honest, I know I could have done better.

So, first of all, Why do I do this, and why have I persisted in doing it?

One thing that you don’t often hear about from people who are on a weight loss journey is the psychological changes that you not only go through, but identifying many of the habits that led you to being overweight and unhealthy. I have spent many hours of my life beating myself up because of this self sabotaging habit. And it is only recently that I think I have truly come to understand as to why I do it.  

By keeping all my plans in my head, I know that if I kept it to myself then if nothing comes of it then I won’t be judged as a failure. Now this habit started as a self preservation tactic from a time when there was people in my life who were overly judgemental of my choices and actions (ain’t family great?!) But to survive that, I would internalise everything. I believed that was the way to a stress free existence (WRONG!)

Those people are not around anymore, and I can also look back now and know that what they thought was wrong, but that tactic became a habit and has been affecting me and my life far more than I had thought. I could always tell myself I needed to do something, but when it is totally inside your mind, you can ignore it, or forget about it.

Iain – “Wow, my jeans are getting tighter and my belly is getting rounder. I must do something about that”

Iain’s Brain – “Yeah, OK, that sounds great, but that requires a lot of work, and also what might people say? How about for now you forget about it and have a look at those cakes over there. I’m sure I’ll get back to you with a plan at some point in the future.”

With regards to my weight issues I’ve had over the years, I can look back and see that I had identified a problem years ago and there were two options. I could, like I have always done, kept it to myself, keep putting off action and then beat myself up because I hadn’t done anything about it, or I could have made a plan. Sat down and worked out what needed to be done. Written out a plan, found resources and taken action. Of course, I chose the former. Why? because it was the habit. It was the default process for doing something. It was the safer option.

So now is the time to change the habit. Time to rewire the brain. Now with all habits it isn’t solved with a click of the fingers, but the first steps forward are identifying there is a problem with the habit and being honest with yourself that it doesn’t serve you. From there, start taking action to make the change.

So, how am I going to do this? Well, funnily enough, as I wrote that last sentence I actually felt my heart race a bit and my brain have a little panic. So entrenched is that habit that my body freaks out as soon as I discuss changing it.

Iain’s brain – “IAIN, YOU ARE MAKING US ACCOUNTABLE FOR SOMETHING. STOP IT RIGHT NOW!!!”

So that is my first step, noticing when that doubt and panic set in, acknowledge it for what it is, take a second to find calm, and then soldier on. How many times have we told ourselves that “we can’t” when we really know that we could, if only we just ‘got over’ ourselves.

Second step, write down those bloody goals and make a plan to get there. I think I have convinced myself in the past not to do this because I couldn’t think of that detailed plan from the start, but I realise now that it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be a detailed map. It can just be a couple of lines, and the beauty of it is, as you think of more things you can just add to it. But the important thing is to write it down and put it somewhere It can be seen. Every day. Somewhere other people can see it if you have to. If I write it in a journal which I then lock in a box and hide under the bed, then it may as well just stay in my head.

So, my declaration now is that on my next blog post I will share what I plan for the next twelve months of my weight loss and fitness journey. And guys, you go ahead and hold me accountable, because this is something else really important that I am finally learning. You cannot do this all alone. I used to think I could, but I was wrong. I have felt the positive effects of going to various classes or doing some weight training and having others encourage you, cheer you on, support you. It is so good to know that we are all in this together. And when you have a good team supporting you, anything is possible. And for that matter, consider me part of your team. I will encourage and support you all I can, because I know how bloody hard it can be.

So, onto my next subject, which are all connected, so I’ll group them all together.

Where did January go (and a good chunk of February for that matter!)

It’s too cold!

I’ve discovered why the cold makes me miserable.

As I’ve got older my relationship to cold weather has become a frosty one (Do you like what I did there?) Now, I’ve been a person that always seems to generate a good amount of body heat, and in my younger days, I could just add a few layers of clothing and remain toasty. This is no longer the case. I get bloody cold! And when you are cold that’s when the ‘hibernation’ mode kicks in (is there any actual evidence to support this in humans, I wonder?). You know how it is, you’re cold, so you just want to snuggle up under duvets and eat big hearty stews and casseroles. Before you know it, you’ve convinced yourself that you are a farmer from the Bronze Age, living in a wooden hut, huddled up close to your family and livestock, and you are doing your best to survive a winter that may well be the start of another Ice Age!

Of course, this is rubbish, but I let myself believe it and allow it to justify why I haven’t done as much exercise. Why I haven’t been going out running and training for that obstacle run I’m doing in two months time (YIKES!!)

So that’s where January and February went, I was telling myself it was too cold! Now, if I had made a plan, set some goals to combat this, because hey, I have to be honest here, I knew I  would go into ‘winter’ mode, I could have worked out a strategy to get through this period. (You see how I’ve made the first part of this blog tie in nicely with this part. Clever that. Shame I’m only having insight after the event, but hey, lesson learned!)

But why does the cold make me miserable?

OK, so we can go with the temperature just ain’t fun, but I have noticed over the past couple of months that on the days I was really cold I wasn’t just fed up with being cold, but everything seemed wrong in life. Now bare with me on this. Since exercising and lifting weights I have found great improvements in my posture. My back is a lot more straighter, my shoulders are less rounded and further back, I hold my head higher. Now there have been studies that back up the belief that if you stand like this with a good posture you will overall psychologically feel more positive, and I have been. But on those cold days, because I was trying to protect myself from the cold, my shoulders would round, my head would drop. I was trying to curl my body up to keep warm, but what I was actually doing was putting my body into a negative psychological stance. Putting our body into that kind of position has negative effects to our emotions. If I asked you to imagine what a person looked like if they were depressed, chances are you would seem that person in that posture.

When I look back at myself when I was heavier, my posture was like that a lot. Partly because the weight of my belly was pulling on my body, but also, I think, I was ‘curling up’ because I was trying to hide myself from the world. And yes, low and behold, I felt miserable a lot of the time.

One of the great advantages of losing that weight and sorting my posture is that I’m not putting my body into that physical/emotional state anymore and it was only when I was out in those cold days that I found I was replicating that posture and that emotional state.

So, how to combat this one? Move to a warmer country? Unfortunately, my daughter won’t allow us to move far away because her school and friends are nearby. Wear even more clothing? It won’t hurt to put on a few more layers. Lose more weight and further strengthen my body? Definitely! Condition the body so it becomes increasingly hard to be able to be in that negative posture for any amount of time.

So, I leave you for now. I’m off to make plans and set goals. And I’m going to stand tall in the cold weather and not let it get me down.

my rambling have been of some use or insight for you, either looking at me or yourself?

Iain

You can also find me on Instagram –

@ian_m_transformation

This blog can also be found out –  www.thorsguns.blogspot.co.uk

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