I know everybody says they don't like to look at themselves in a mirror, but in my case, it really is something I avoid if possible in a very literal sense. I have to look at my face, of course, in the morning, when shaving or combing hair or whatever, but beyond that, the rest of my body may as well not exist in the parallel universe behind those glass planes.
Every now and again, though, you get no choice. A couple of Sundays ago this happened to me, and let me tell you dear reader it was a salutary experience. I was up in Liverpool with my g/f, seeing friends of ours, and doing a bit of shopping. Needing to replace some of my increasingly worn shirts, I found myself in the changing rooms at Debenhams to try on a new one, with basically no way of avoiding seeing myself in the mirrors which entirely covered two of the four walls in the little cell in which I found myself.
My own brain decided to pass comment on what it saw in pretty forthright terms, through my inner monologue. You fat, lazy, pot-bellied, out of condition, ugly, going-to-die-young-of-a-heart-attack bastard, it basically said. Cheers, brain - give it to me straight, why don't you? I was, to say the least, displeased with what I saw. This has led to my first proper, serious attempt to lose weight for a very long time.
Now I've tried the Atkins in the past, for a few days. I've tried the soup diet, again for a few days. They're effective in the short term but, as you're always warned about during rapid weight loss, it goes back on in short order when you stop. The only time I've ever lost weight significantly over a long-ish period was the six months when I was out of work. I had, during that time, no money to buy choccy bars, cakes, muffins, creamy coffees and the like, and basically ate nothing but spaghetti tossed in olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. Delicious and slimming - I recommend joblessness for weight loss, but for absolutely nothing else.
So it seemed obvious which route to take this time - all the various named diets and regimes I'm going to fail at, because I just get angrily, ravenously, desperately hungry, and end up exhausted and unable to concentrate at work. I then cheat, eating the sugary shit to wake myself up, and inevitably give up. The way forward has therefore been to simply eliminate all that lovely stuff. No more giant cinnamon Danish for breakfast. No more chocolate flapjack with lunch. No more partaking of the home-baked cakes, Krispy Kremes and chocolate that's always (and I mean always) on offer at work. (I really do mean always - I write this on Tuesday, and so far this week there have been two-dozen Krispy Kreme original glazed yesterday, and two giant Toblerones today. There will, no doubt, be something else tomorrow. My workmates are a generous bunch with sweet teeth.)
I has been absolutely killing me to sit there and not eat these things, munching through increasingly enormous salads I've been making in an effort to fill myself up. The first few days I was consumed (no pun intended, it's the only apposite word for it) by thoughts of food, I just couldn't think of anything else. And I was bloody hungry. It's getting a bit easier, to the point where I no longer have to make a salad comprising an entire family bag of mixed leaves, an entire family bag of spinach leaves and an entire family bag of rocket just as the base to put all the other stuff on. I can get by now on really quite normal portions and have, pleasingly, only cheated once, and that was on a Sunday at my parents' house, eating a small bit of my mum's treacle pudding, the first pud she's been able to make as her recovery from a stroke continues. So I'm allowing myself that one.
The booze has all but gone, and apparently bread is a great evil to be scoured from our diets, so that's gone too. I'm missing both, needless to say. Excellent advice has been received from my friend R and my brother, both of whom suggested a similar thing - eat what the planet provides naturally, rather than a load of processed stuff with sugar added to it, and you won't go far wrong.
On that note, a thought occurred during a conversation with my brother about that very thing, just a few days into this endeavour. It may perhaps give you an insight into my current state of mind, now fifteen days in. If all that the planet provides naturally is good for you, why the hell doesn't it provide, say, Millionaire's Slice? I'd work at a Millionaire's Slice mine in a bloody heartbeat.
Mined from the deepest Millionaire's Slice mine on the planet, in unrefined form. Just as nature bloody well should have intended.