I have reached a critical point with my weight-loss program which, you'll note, I'm not calling a diet. Nasty word "diet", with negative connotations of cranky regimens, meal-replacement drinks and unbearable privation.
The plan I'm on is much more sensible, but there are still major hurdles in any flab-reducing endeavour and they are, I'm realising, entirely psychological. It's not about the stupid diet or whatever you want to call it - it's about your head.
The wall I hit was this: last week I put 1 kg (2 lbs) back on. After six weeks of steady losing this was a big disappointment, especially as it was brought on by my own hand. The hand and its adjoining arm, which repeatedly lifted glasses of sparkling wine to my lips at a Christmas lunch party I helped organise.
I was fine with the food. We had carefully planned the menu so it looked like lavish tucker, but there was actually plenty for me to eat without busting my resolve. Even one of the strawberry meringue puddings with a little whipped cream was fine as part of my program, but the numerous random swigs of sparkling plonk were not.
The problem was that I kept pouring myself a glass and then losing it as new guests arrived, or I had to rush off to wash up some cutlery, or cut more bread. Then I'd grab another one and have a few gulps of that before being distracted again. This meant it was absolutely impossible to keep track of how many glasses of wine I was getting down me.
There was also the issue that I don't usually help organise large lunch parties (actually, this was the first....)and I wanted to kick back and enjoy it without counting alcohol units too assiduously. I don't drink much these days either, so felt I had a little coming to me in that regard. But I sure paid the price when I got on the scales a week later.
And what reaction could there possibly be to such a crushing blow? Toast and peanut butter, of course, and after four slices of my favourite treat I felt as if it was all over. It was no surprise, then, that several cold pancakes left over from a friend's stay over then found their way into my mouth lavishly anointed with sugar and lemon juice, mmmmmmmm.....Hot chocolate, anyone? I'm making it.
Then I felt as any full-on addict must when they've fallen off the wagon: like a despicable rotten failure who needed both to seek comfort from another hit of their particular vice and simultaneously to punish themselves by giving in to having it, with full knowledge of the enduring consequences.
That's the whole complex cycle of addiction, I realised, slurping down the hot choc, when the very thing that harms you is also the thing that comforts you when you are angry with yourself for giving in to it. Not that I'm suggesting I'm an addict - big respect for people really battling with those issues - but it did give me some insight into that vicious psychological spin cycle and why it is so very hard to beat.
And using that understanding, I was able to pull myself up, I went and admired my beloved jeans which I'm so happy to be wearing again - and not as an endurance event. I don't want them filed back in the maybe-one-day section of the jeans pile: in fact, I want them to be too big!
So I have resumed my weight-loss program as though I never had this blip. I might not lose anything this week either, but I'm not giving up.
Better a blip than a blimp!
Sculpture by the Sea - November 2008 - What sparkling wine can lead to!