We’ve all heard the old fable, which is meant to teach us that slow and steady wins the race.
But seriously, who wants to be the tortoise when it comes to weight loss?
No-one. Cos it’s boring, and like the hare, we all want to race to the finish line as quickly as possible.
But isn’t that the trouble?
When I was a girl, my mum gave up smoking when she was about 36 – and started to gain weight.
I remember her saying: “I’m not going to be fat and 40.”
Before she embarked on a series of fad diets which had her saying “I’m not going to be fat and 50” then “I’m not going to be fat and 60”.
She’s now 70 – and twice the size of her 30-something self.
We all do it. Race to get that horrible fat shifted as quickly as possible.
But like the hare, we tire quickly. Tire of starving ourselves. Tire of punishing bootcamps or eating nothing but cabbage soup.
And in this particular fatty fable, we never reach the finish line, because the more tired we get, the more we give up, the more weighed down we become – literally.
So now I’m being a tortoise. And I’m happy to report 6lbs off in January.
Yep, this week the scales showed another 1½ lbs off – an improvement on my little hiccup last week.
But I’m starting to realise why we don’t all go the way of the tortoise.
Progress is slow and gradual, you don’t feel any different, or see any results no matter how hard you look.
But the most difficult part is that while you’re shuffling along at a steady pace, you might just see someone dash past you. Making it even harder to resist the urge to rush things, and become that hare all over again.
I’m so determined there’s no going back on this fat-to-fit project, I was chuffed to become one of 5 diet diarists for UKMums.tv.
What I didn’t count on was the fact I’d be comparing myself to the 4 other girls taking part – all of whom happen to be thinner than me, and are dropping weight at a faster rate (oh the injustice of it all!)
It’s all very well thinking “I’m fine as I am” and “I’ll go at my own pace”.
But when you start to focus on what others are doing, it messes with your head.
I’ve lost 4lbs in the 3 weeks I’ve been writing the diary (I’d lost 2lbs the week before I started).
My fellow diarists have lost 10lbs, 9½lbs, 8lbs and 5lbs respectively.
IN THREE WEEKS.
Gimme a break girls!
But they’re doing what feels right for them, and I’ve got to stick to what’s working for me.
As much as I’m feeling like the less attractive, lumbering tortoise at the back of the line.
I can lose 5lbs in a week. Really I can. But then I’m miserable/starving/knackered and feeling like I can’t carry on for much longer.
There are 52 weeks in a year. If I lose 1lb a week, that’s 3 stones and 10lbs off – which is roughly my target to achieve this year.
Or 6lbs a month – like I’ve managed in January – is 72lbs off by the end of the year. Just over 5 stones. So I might reach my target by October or November if I keep going at this rate.
Of course I’d like to get there in 6 months. I’d like to get there tomorrow!
But I’ve spent too many Christmases miserable and angry with myself for still being the roly poly I was the year before.
This year is going to be different.
Yes, that hare is looking a very attractive prospect now.
But this tortoise is sticking to one step at a time and reminding herself of how far she’s come.
They fit me like a glove.
Consider me an ass-kicking ninja tortoise!
Or at least I will be. Just give me time.