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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weight loss: The Challenges

I think I've singularly failed in my quest to lose a stone by Christmas, as outlined in this post. I don't know by how much as I haven't been able to bring myself to get on the scales in the last few weeks. I don't think I've gone up (in comparison to my starting weight of 11st 8lb), so it's not too bad.

I've decided to have a think about the challenges that affect me, personally, in my goal to lose weight. They're naturally also things that have contributed to me being overweight in the first place. This post, then, will outline the main challenges as I see them. These may well be the same challenges that you're facing, or you may have others as well: please feel free to comment below with any challenges that you're facing (or have faced) in your own weight loss regime.

1. I really like food.
I mean really like it. And I don't just mean posh, unusual or seasonal food. Any food. I bought some basic, bog-standard bread today of a brand that I haven't tried before and I actually caught myself thinking semi-excitedly about the sandwiches I'd be eating during the week. Would they be nicer than other sandwiches I've had recently? What surprises would a different brand to usual have in store? Would I miss the nuttiness I liked so much in the last loaf, or would there be some different aspect to the bread that would sneak out and fill that particular space? And that first sandwich from a new loaf: soft, fresh bread with smell and texture which makes the filling almost redundant.

Yes; I can get excited about sandwiches. Just imagine the internal struggles of willpower I must be facing as we approach Christmas, traditionally the longest running and most lavishly food-laden of Western celebrations.

2. I really like beer.
I'm not an alcoholic, although the act of writing that has just made me think that that's the first thing I'd write if I was... But I'm not. I do genuinely like beer. Not lager, at least not the awful yak's piss lager favoured by many British weekend drinkers, but actual, real, proper beers and ales. Thinking further, I don't think I'm an alcoholic: put a pint of Carling in front of me and it's likely to remain a pint of Carling indefinitely. But plonk a pint of something darker, hoppier, tastier, locally brewed and possibly including a slight hint of toffee in front of me you're likely to lose your arm if you don't withdraw it quickly enough, and the pint will very quickly cease to be describable as such.

Drinking for me is not simply about the effects of taking on board alcohol. It's about the flavours, colours textures and overall experience of the process of drinking a really nice beer, so it takes an immense effort of will not to order one. I even find the action of the pump arm and seeing the beer flow into the glass and then settle an enjoyable part of the process. Again, the run up to Christmas is a part of the year that sees all those lovely new and different beers finding their way into bar pumps just begging to be sampled. By me.

3. I really don't like exercise.
I don't like sport: playing team sports annoys me, makes me uncomfortable and provides no enjoyment, and even watching them bores me to the point at which I start seriously contemplating chewing my own arms off just to see what happens. More solitary exercise opportunities, such as jogging, cycling, rowing and the rest also fail to interest me, especially as they require extended periods of repetitive actions to be effective. I also do not wish to be seen exercising in public and, even with my levels of cynicism, do not feel the general public should be subjected to my purple, sweaty and breathless form heaving its way through their lives any more than is absolutely necessary.


These are the three main challenges that affect my march towards a leaner, fitter me. I've avoided going into discussions about metabolism, genetics and big-bonedness as these are frequently used as excuses for staying overweight rather than challenges to overcome, and I don't want to stay overweight. Maybe some of these issues are making it more difficult for me to lose weight, but there's not a lot I can do about them so they can go and jump off something.

I'll update with a followup to this outlining what I've been doing to overcome these challenges. For now, though, I'd like some comments from you lot explaining what your weight loss challenges are.