Bridges Fail

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Well, Michelle Bridges was a bust. I think I have actually PUT ON weight! Probably because I couldn’t bring myself to do the exercises. I know Bridges will call all of these things I am about to tell you ‘excuses,’ but that is an extremely reductive way to describe deep-seated emotional difficulties that lead to binge eating and depressive laziness.

I gave myself the odd day off early in the program, because it was the silly season, lots of work breakups and the like, and the odd day off turned into just ditching the program altogether. Here are the main reasons I found it hard to complete:
 
Every single recipe is for 2 or more people. 
 
Halving recipes is a brain strain. You’ve all done it. You think you’re halving everything, it’s all going along well, and then you realise you’ve used the regular amount of just one ingredient, usually a really stinky one, and it throws the whole meal out of whack. Let’s not even pretend I could stomach the curry I made that tasted entirely of kaffir lime. This was a curry that I was required to eat FOUR TIMES THROUGHOUT THE WEEK.
 
When I managed to get a recipe right, or I just said ‘Fark it, I’m making the usual amount,’ I really enjoyed them. Even the quinoa tabouli. I hate quinoa and I hate tabouli, but for some reason they cancelled each other out and were delicious. The various breakfasts (which I would eat for dinner or lunch) were spectacular. Berry bruschetta, with walnuts and ricotta? Divine! Banana and cottage cheese on raisin bread? Heaven!
 
As I’ve tried to explain before, it only takes a small, infinitesimal setback during the cooking of one meal, and I am consumed with despair. That awful voice starts yelling inside my head. I’m not joking about the yelling either, it is deafening. It can bring me to tears. “You are useless! Lazy little boy! This is why you are fat! You can’t do anything right. Why do you even bother trying?” The saddest thing is, it’s my voice. Sure, I learned to say all those things from my parents, and I have done a lot of therapy to accept that they could have no idea that the way they treated me as a child would cause me to become the self-descructive whale I am today, but ultimately, treating myself like shit is my responsibility. I want to get better, but perhaps trying to prepare my own healthy food is counter-productive to my emotional well-being.
 
So, there was nothing wrong with the food itself, it was all me, but the shopping and preparation started to take up most of my days, and all of my emotional strength, leaving very little time for exercise. Not that I did any...
 
I can’t exercise alone.
 
I feel like an idiot. I tried doing Wii Fit exercises - while holding 4kg freeweights, just to make me sweat, cos those games are hardly taxing - and I was pretty puffed after the sessions. Then I attempted to do the exercises on Bridges’ website. Woah. What a mistake.
 
I live in a tiny little unit. Open plan lounge and kitchen, but not large open plan. I had to push a table in front of the fridge to give myself enough room to move, I certainly didn’t have any kind of bench to do step ups on, other than the very low Wii Fit board. I don’t know where I’m supposed to keep this bench, but it seemed to be central to over half of the exercises. Plunges, tricep thingies. I certainly wasn’t going to use my couch or anything I actually liked as a substitute. I weigh 140kg. Furniture is not made for someone of my size to do high impact work on. If you’ve heard my Talking Poofy podcast (The Poofcast) you may have heard the story of the time I was re-enacting Wicked with Wes Snelling in an Adelaide hotel room and went right through a chair as I tried to launch myself into the sky for the showstopping Defying Gravity.
 
I’d spent a significant amount of money on the Bridges program, and the crazy amount of food it required me to buy (much of which I had to throw out, because the shopping list is based on the recipes, which are all for two people - you know, in this day and age of content management systems and database driven websites, it should be a piece of piss for a coder to include a button that would instantly halve the recipes, ingredients and shopping lists for someone living alone, swap out meals due to dietary intolerances and other issues, instead of me having to spend an hour or two a week doing it). After this outlay, I couldn’t really come at spending another $70 or so a month to sign up to the gym. Also, if I feel like a dickhead doing exercises at home alone, am I really going to do them at the gym in front of other people? Nup.
 
This resistance to doing exercise is like a wall, and every time I push up against it, I feel like I want to cry. I can hear the voice again, shouting at me, calling me lazy, telling me how useless I am, that I will never be able to exercise, why would I even bother trying?
 
I did manage to at least do some physical activity. I’ve been popping into my sister’s house and taking her dog, Roky, for a walk. Usually 45mins to an hour. We walk briskly (he’s a labrador cross kelpie, so I have no choice in that) and I feel great afterward. We even walk in the rain! Then he hangs out at my place until it’s time to go home and see his mum, which goes some way to easing the jangling nerves I get from having to listen to Mister Negative shouting at me from inside my own head. Yes, it’s just like a horror movie in my brain. “THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!”
 
Obviously, I still have some way to go dealing with my emotional issues, before I can conquer the physical ones. The binge eating will have to stop, because while it seems to make me feel better in the short term, emotionally, I can't actually get to sleep with my stomach distended like John Hurt in Alien. It really can be that bad. It is painful to keep eating, but I can't stop myself. You may think it is a lack of willpower, but those of us who do it know it for what it is - something to stop the other pain, the hole inside that can never be filled, no matter how much we eat.
 
So, now that I have identified my limitations, I have decided to get back on Lite ‘n’ Easy. No more shopping, prep and aggro. Next step is doing more than just walk a dog. Can I drag myself back to the gym? I might need some internal headphones to block out the screaming of Mister Negative in there...

Comments

Sweet poison

Read your story... STRONGLY recommend you try the sweet poison diet

You can do it :)

Hey adam,
Ive been a long time fan of yours eversince hearing the poofcast thanks to a freind and seeing you live in Adelaide and i think your amazing and i understand how hard it is trying to loose weight and working ridiculous hours!

I was once 119kgs now im in between 85-88 took me 6-12months to loose 30kgs around working night shifts in security and trying to sleep during the day.

My trick was cutting out sugar and the celebrity slim diet shakes (mens version) it was damn hard! cutting sugar was like cutting alcohol had the DT's and felt terrible and getting used to having a shake instead of a burger was harder!

Felt so empty most of the time but powered through it. I had the odd occasion where i would treat myself but went 12 months with out eating my arch nemisis KFC!

I takes time and start slow walking is great exercise that was my form of exercise while i was at work and i would push myself to do a 30min walk before work did suffer from lack of sleep but felt so much better after dropping the first 10kgs.

Believe in your self :)

mwah! - J xo

I got past the exercise and

I got past the exercise and motivation thing, and the embarrassment of public exercise, by getting a recumbent exercise bike and sticking it in front of the telly. This does require a bit of space, but if you get a comfy enough bike you could always ditch a lounge chair and sit on the bike instead ;)

I then stick something on the TV that I really want to watch (new shows are best, but a box set of an old fave works too), and pedal away while I watch. I find comedies are good for this, because the more I'm laughing, the less attention I give to the exercising.

When I'm being good (I'm not at the moment...my long-distance girlfriend is in town and I refuse to get out of bed any earlier than I have to when she's in it), I do 15min every morning before my shower (another good trick - by the time I'm done in the shower, my body doesn't feel like I've exercised), and an hour once a week in front of a favourite show. When I was doing this properly (and before I went overseas and broke all my good habits), I lost 30kg, and I was actually enjoying exercise, which I never thought would happen.

The most important thing, though, isn't how you exercise, it's that you do. Finding something you can make a habit of and do all the time is the best way to make exercise "easy" (I do my morning rides before I'm properly awake, which means I don't have a chance to start making excuses).

Good luck finding ways that work for you *hugs* And remember - the people worth knowing will love you anyway, regardless of size, issues with food, and any number of voices in your head (as long as none of them are telling you to kill...)

the pooch

Hey Catherine,

When I was with my ex, we bought a cross trainer, that I would use while watching In Plain Sight on my iPad - it's both funny and a crime drama, so I had it all! I really have NO ROOM for anything other than my furniture in my unit. I could jam a bike into the office, but then I'd resent sitting at my computer and writing, staring at the bike...

I've decided to walk my sister's dog. She lives the next suburb over, so I grab him on the way home, I get to have company in the day while I'm working, and I get to do my 10k+ steps every day. I also listen to audiobooks/audio plays on my phone while walking. Today I had a long winded chat with a work colleague while walking (after yelling at her and making her cry at 7am this morning, it was a much needed chat...) As long as I don't see it as an interruption to my day, but something to look forward to, I'll be good.

My aim is to do 3-4 days of the week walking the dog, and the other days walking alone. If I do this properly, by the end of Feb, I may join the local gym.

I know that pre-work exercise is the best, but I start work as soon as I get up. Coffee, breakfast and work. To get up before that would mean getting up before 4am, and that is just not happening, I'm afraid!

Thanks so much for your reply, your insight and your suggestions.

Mwah! Give GF a squeeze for me!

ad/.

me too!

Hey Adam,
Wanted to comment as I really know what you are going through. I am currently a moderately fat poof - previously a thin/fat/then really thin/then really fat/ then a bit thinner etc etc. I have tried so many diets and exercise regimes over the years. First diet was at 15 and last one was last year. Each time I have lost a bit more of my hope and self esteem. I have wasted too much of my life obsessing about my weight and trying to stop myself from binging on chips, icecream and chocolate. I can put massive amounts of that shit away in 1 sitting. I have been known to eat litres of ice-cream with family blocks of chocolate and whole chickens in 1 sitting.

Anyway I thought I'd share that I recently joined Overeaters Anonymous (OA) which is the same as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for compulsive overeaters. Its a bit daggy and community run. It also seems a bit crazy god born again-y but it is the only thing that has helped me to change my relationship with food and my body image. I have accepted that I have an illness that means I don't have a normal relationship to food and it is my addiction. If I don't do something I will eat myself to death if I don't end it all from misery in the mean time.

There is another way apart from the crazy, even rational sounding diet and exercise route that we are all brainwashed into thinking is the only way. It might work for some but not for me and possibly not for you?

Here's the link for the Melbourne one. I go to the Adelaide one. Like I said its a bit daggy but the Melb one may be like more hip and cool or something. http://www.oa.org.au

Sending you all my love and best wishes. I know how painful it is to not be able to stop eating even though you know how bad it is. Good luck Adam.

Ash xx

Thank you Ash

What a brave and beautiful reply. Thank you ever so much, Ash. I am working through the emotional part of my eating problem with a psychiatrist. It's expensive, but it is helping me immensely in so many other areas of my life, food feels like the last hurdle. Oh, and booze... The diet / exercise thing will only ever work when we deal with the demons that cause us to resist it. I think the "higher power" of the OA/AA path can be whatever you want it to be, it doesn't just have to be Jesus. We all carry some belief in something beyond, even if it is just energy. Good luck, and once again, thank you.

I need to start exercising in

I need to start exercising in water, mostly walking. Would love for extra company for hubby and me. Otherwise i am likely to have the same problems as you and my brain stops me going. This weight loss thing is doubly hard after bad stuff in our childhoods and early adulthood and all in our situation need all the help we can get.

Exercising in water

Thanks for your reply. I used to love swimming, but now I can't bring myself to be nearly naked at the pool. I will get past this, though, as will you. Push harder, you are better than you have been led to believe.

Just found this blog - can

Just found this blog - can definitely relate. A program MUST be easy for it to work, that's for sure. Keep walking, I think 'lite n easy' will work for sure, only problem there is maintaining when you stop their program. But, that's when the gym can really kick in - you are more likely to go and do a walk/run/walk/run on the treddy when you are feeling fab/lighter. Good luck to you, and, really, thanks so much for sharing. PS I know it sounds crazy, because you are 'just sitting', but I have also found meditation as part of my day to be helpful. Clears the negative thoughts away, helps to focus on what's important....Paul Wilson's book The Quiet is great - he says all you need is 13 mins a day :)

Sitting

Once I stop eating for emotional reasons, I should be fine. I'm not hoping for miracles, just need to change why I eat. Meditating is a great idea. I'm doing mindfulness practices to stop myself bingeing, which is a kind of meditation. Thank you so much for your reply.

I wish I could just hug you

I want to preface this by saying I'm not stalking you, even if I do follow you on twitter, download The Shelf and Talking Poofy, joined the TP group on Facebook and will watch crappy quiz shows when you're on them. You make me laugh so much, and in my life at the moment, that means a lot to me. Of course having said I'm not stalking you, you're probably squealing 'Crazy lady!'

I was wondering how you were doing with the weight loss, because you'd gone very quiet on it. I wasn't expecting you to post a blog filled with despair and self-loathing.

You've already explained that you work silly hours. You get up earlier than I do with a toddler, then work again in the evening, so finding something that fits your life is what you need to do. But we'll get to that in a minute.

What are you eating to avoid? What need are you trying to fill? When you know the answers to those questions, you'll be able to begin looking at the food on your plate as fuel, instead of comfort. The only reason it quells your anxiety, is because temporarily, all the blood goes to your stomach to help begin digesting your food, as you've said, it doesn't fill that hole inside you.

Your career is your career, you're very good at what you do, you've obviously got a wide circle of friends and us listeners to your podcasts and watchers of your programs who like and admire you. Can you please try and turn a little bit of that love inside yourself?

Don't worry about the silly o'clock starts. You can shop healthily, you can make smart choices at the supermarket, you can choose Lite n Easy, because it's delivered to your door and you can grab it and go. Just don't swing past the 7Eleven on the way back home...

Mister Negative is making himself heard loud and clear, tell him to poke it. You are worth more than that. You've said you've identified your limitations. Accept them, chalk it up to experience and move on. Choose better with every mouthful, every food decision you make. Love yourself first. You owe it to you to take care of you.

You will be just as funny at 100kg as you are at 140kg. Because your humour comes from within you, it's not external. For that acerbic wit, that's not all coming from your childhood being told you're lazy, useless etc. your humour, your words come from your sharp mind. Not your belly.

I do wish I could hug you and tell you how much you've brightened my life in the past six months. I've been struggling at work, but hanging out to listen to the podcasts each week, made it more bearable.

Take one step at a time, one day at a time. You chose badly at breakfast, so what? Choose better at lunch. You know you're going out in the evening, eat the best you can all day. And Adam? Do not beat yourself up any more. You hear me?

Be strong.

m xx

Ta Maddie

Hey Maddie.

Thank you so much for all of your support, not just here, but on Twitter and with your lovey positive words about the podcast. It really means a lot. I know the self-loathing sounds horrific, but it is not as bad as it used to be, and only rears its ugly head with regard to food (it used to be a constant noise). I am dealing with it. Slowly but surely, and one day it will be gone altogether. Thank you again so much for your support.

Mwah.

I think you are fab and you

I think you are fab and you have the best laugh ever!! I did the 12wbt and it is bloody hard. I guess at least you are trying?? Hope the light and easy goes better for you and i hope you know that you have so much 'virtual' support.

Thanks Presh!

Everyone is being so ridiculously supportive. It's not virtual, it's real. If we have to accept cyber bullying as actually hurtful, then I am going accept every kind word in the spirit in which they are written. So thank you, so much, for your support. Mwah!

I lost 20kgs last year and

I lost 20kgs last year and part of my exercise program was to walk 30 mins twice a day - about 6kms a day. I did these walks listening to the back catalogue of Poofcast. I've put a bit back on and about to start walking again - I've missed my regular Poofasts so have about 20 episodes to catch up on. You'll get there mate - stay with it but as you begin to drop kgs it becomes a bit self motivating. Only good can come from it. Thinking good thoughts for you - you have given me many laughs over the years xxx

Poofcast walking

I'm glad that scurrilous podcast is good for something! I'm hoping that by saying it, it'll short circuit the resistance. It is hard to be motivated when I'm tired all the time from that 4:30am alarm!

Walking is a pretty good

Walking is a pretty good start. When I was at uni. I lost 40kgs by walking. I don't drive a car and McDonalds was at the other end of Bathurst from the uni. I used to walk to McDonalds, have a Happy Meal and walk back. Exercise and a nifty little toy to keep :) On the weekends I'd lap Mt Panorama and go and buy the Weekend papers and 2 chicken salad sandwiches.

I was totally not a gym person and I hated company when I was walking, so it worked for me.

Maybe for you, pick a favourite food place that's 20 minutes walk away and treat yourself. You're doing a 40 minute walk and enjoying a treat.

Thanks Tash!

I love walking. I listen to radio plays and audio books when I do it. Motivation is my biggest hurdle...

12wbt

Start small. Walking is great. Took at the hashtag #iwalkwithmike, you'll find more like minded people and 'Mike' Michael Moore is a brilliant follow at @MMFLINT.

I'm sorry you found 12wbt didn't work for you but have a look at www.sarah12wbt.tumblr.com (diary of an ex fattie) and see what she writes abt weight etc. Was eye opening for me. She's actually lost 65kg in 11 months.

Lastly, I think you're fabulous as you are but you're obviously unhappy abt your weight or maybe it isn't your weight its masked as something else so maybe talking to someone abt stuff might be healthy.

Lite n easy is great but its giving responsibility for your health & fitness to someone else. Plus it ain't cheap either!

Good luck Adam