Monday, 26 October 2009

The lessor of two evils

Since giving up smoking last December, my weight has crept up... In the way an elephant creeps, of course. Now don't get me wrong - I was by no means a skinny minny to start with!

Yes, kids... Although smokers are - on the whole - slimmer than non-smokers, we're not all Kate Moss. For me, poor fitness combined with regular, long journeys and visits with non-smokers resulted in me going through withdrawl (and weight gain) several times a year have resulted in gains. And, to be honest, this was what sent me trading in the cigs for lollipops once and for all. What's the point in gaining 15lbs two or three times a year just because I can't smoke for a week or two. Worse still I could barely address it through physical exercise.

So, where am I now? Well, thanks to discovering a crib sheet from my previous weight-related battles, I can answer that quite confidently. And it certainly makes for interesting reading.

Forgetting the records in between (a diet which succeeded and failed thanks to non-smoking episodes), this chart shows just how many inches have been added through gaining 27lbs over the last 22 months. And, it isn't too bad all things considered.

But what the numbers don't show is the true impact all of this weight. At my age, 37, the ups and downs accompanying this yo-yo dieting has had a terrible impact on my state of health:

  • High blood pressure
  • Oedema
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Poor mood
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression

And it all goes hand-in-hand. High blood pressure, caused by carrying too much weight and eating an unhealthy diet is leaving me with puffy, swollen ankles and fingers. The strain this is causing on my respiratory system is leaving me breathless and in a poor mood. After all, wouldn't you be anxious and depressed if your body felt tight and your joints felt painful all of the time?

Yeah, you best quickly put aside any notions of those of us carrying extra poundage as 'bubbly' and 'vivacious' (surely they mean voracious)... Being fat doesn't exactly make me jolly!

But I made a promise to myself that when I gave up smoking I wouldn't beat myself up about gaining a pound here or there for the first 6 months. And I haven't...until now. These last ten months have offered the ideal opportunity to understand myself, my cues and the role that my weight has played in my life.

So, what am I going to do about it? As much as I want to adopt diet crazes, fads and pills with religious zeal, I've been around that block a few too many times. And it's taught me that - boring as it sounds - keeping it off for good boils down to two things: healthy eating and regular exercise.

And it needs a lifelong commitment. Despite this, I know I'm goal oriented. I need a goal to strive for... I normally don't do things by half, but I reckon that I need to in this instance. I have set a goal weight of 135lbs or half my current weight.

Along the way I'm hoping to learn and share a trick or two about gaining health - not pounds, so hop on for the ride.

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