Pride is not a sin


I used to be religious – very religious, and for catholics, pride is one of the 7 deadly sins. Humility is good – be self-effacing, and don’t brag.  Ideally, sink into the background and let other people shine …

I’m not religious anymore, although I still hold onto the best parts of my ‘past’ – I appreciate silence, and the simplest goodness in life … I like the beauty of liturgical music and the art, and I like the aim of treading lightly as we go, but this is not what today’s post is about. I think overall I’ve rejected most of religion, especially the god and the rules bit … and I really reject the distain of pride.

Pride makes me stand tall … it makes me want to keep trying … and it sometimes helps others to have pride of their own. Pride doesn’t even need to be earned, in my opinion, because this isn’t about the world deciding whether you’re worthy of this feeling. I also think pride can be gained from even the smallest of successes in life – and only I can judge what those are. So I’m not embarrassed or afraid to say that I am proud of myself right now, and I haven’t even run a step since Christmas, or done any exercise at all for the last three weeks.

So is my big achievement? I’ve stuck to a diet – yes, I used that word ‘diet’ – and I’m not afraid to call it that. Its not an eating plan, or a nutrition plan, neither is it a lifestyle change – its an old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness calorie-counted diet. Well, perhaps not quite so old-fashioned, because thanks to modern technology, I can check and record all my calories online, get support from other ‘Friends’, get recipe ideas and keep a log of my progress – for free, without too much effort at all, particularly after the first couple of weeks once meals have been ‘remembered’. Those who’ve encountered My Fitness Pal will know what I’m on about. Its ace!

So I started on New Year’s Day, and no, I haven’t lost half my body weight or gone from couch to Comrades … in fact I’ve gone from couch to, well, couch … thanks to a fall on the ice and sore ribs for three weeks. I decided it wouldn’t hurt at all to have a rest from exercise for a while … and I was right. I don’t feel sluggish or guilty, just – rested.

So far this has been textbook weight loss – a pound a week, every week. This means I have lost my Christmas pounds plus a few more, and I now weigh less than I did before I started any kind of running or cycling. I am, according to the government, ‘normal’. MFP analysed my details and goals and suggested a daily calorie limit of 1410. This has basically meant fewer snacks, a smaller lunch, and a lot of discipline. Prior to this year if I felt hungry, I’d eat – usually good stuff – nuts or fruit, mainly, and if I wanted to treat myself, it wasn’t very often, so I did. Now, if I’m hungry I work out whether I have enough of my allocation left to eat, and if I’ve had my limit, I don’t. This has meant at times, going to bed hungry … hey – this is not a problem, I shall be unconscious in a few minutes and when I wake up, I’ll eat again. Being hungry and feeling hungry does not have to mean feeling miserable.

Has it been easy? No – I have a box of chocolates on my desk at work leftover from Christmas, and sometimes I have a couple instead of my usual banana (and yes, I looked up the calories on my app), but at other times I open the box and spend a moment just smelling them, counting them, even putting them into groups of which to eat next, and then I put the box back, which isn’t easy. Sometimes I walk through the snack bar near my office longing for a buttered bagel – I try not to even look at the bar as I walk past. My wife and I have been out for food and I’ve chosen water over wine … that’s not easy, at all.

How am I doing it? The answer to this is the same as when I gave up smoking – I wanted to be successful more than I wanted the food (or the fag, all those years ago). I guess you’d call that willpower, whereas I call it ‘want-power’. I want to wear smaller clothes, and I want to lose those flabby thighs, once and for all.  I’ve been overweight my whole life, and its time I put that part of me to rest. I already prefer healthy food, so for the sake of a few months of sacrifice maybe I could finally achieve a look I am proud of. For the past few years it hasn’t been that hard to maintain my weight, so, all being well, by around the summer I’ll go just back and maintain a lighter weight. Maybe, just maybe, the weight loss will help my knee rehab too – whatever the medics decide to do about that … less weight to bear on the joints has got to be beneficial, hasn’t it?

So that’s my contribution for today – I’m not even half way towards the weight I’m aiming for, but I’m dead chuffed that I’ve finally learned that actually I don’t need soup, a roll, a yoghurt with berries and granola, two apples, an orange and two coffees to get me from 12:30 to 6 o’clock – in fact, soup and a coffee is often plenty!

Enjoyment in life is all about the little things, isn’t it?

I’m proud of my little successes … are you?