Titli’s Weekly Blog – February 2012
5th February 2012
I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, hence the lack of blog for the last few weeks. The underlying theme that has been distracting me has been that of Trust so I’m dedicating this blog to that very theme.
Trust is a funny thing. In my 49 years on this planet I’ve learned a few things about it. For example, there are some things we trust without question. We trust that when we put money into a bank account that the bank will not lose it. We trust our utility providers to provide us with water and electricity and gas (for most of the time), and that they will bill us the correct amount when the time comes. We trust rail companies and airlines to get us safely to where we want to go, even if it is a little late sometimes.
Then there are the kinds of people we tend to trust; doctors, nurses, teachers, solicitors, vets, undertakers, the police (maybe not everywhere in the world). We trust them because they are “trusted professions” by virtue of the extensive training they have received.
Some professions we tend not to trust. Politicians, for example. In any political election campaign there is always an element of “you can’t trust that other guy, but you sure as heck can trust me!” If you want to see that in action just follow the ongoing race for the Republican nomination for the US Presidential election. It does amuse me somewhat that the current front-runners in this race are a glove and an amphibian. However, we all know that politicians will tell us whatever they think we want to hear, then once in power they will explain why it is simply not possible to keep their election promises. I know, I’m a cynic…
Finally we get down to the level of individual relationships – family, friends, acquaintances and complete strangers. We may trust some people and not others. But what is this kind of Trust? How does it arise, and what happens when it is lost?
The more I think about this I feel it is linked to the behaviours of the people around us. If we trust someone it is because we anticipate that they will behave in certain ways. We expect that they will be truthful, honourable, and act in ways which do not conflict with our own values and beliefs. This kind of trust has to be earned over a period of time. Although I take the attitude that all people are good until they demonstrate otherwise, I don’t blindly trust people that I hardly know. I confer trust on people by gut feeling and track record. And I’m not naïve enough to think that people will trust me the first time they meet me. Trust is something that develops over time. At the individual level Trust is a not a reciprocal arrangement. Just because you trust me it doesn’t necessarily follow that I trust you! (And vice versa!)
And there are levels of trust too. We might trust a friend enough to let them look after our goldfish for a week, but that doesn’t mean that we would necessarily trust them with access to our bank account. That kind of trust takes months or years to develop.
So what happens when Trust goes wrong? What happens when someone we previously trusted behaves in a way that undermines that trust. A lot depends on the nature of the transgression. If it is a moment of carelessness or thoughtlessness then maybe we can find it in ourselves to forgive, in which case there may be minimal damage to the trust we have in that person. If the transgression is serious – and we are the ones who decide how serious it is because it affects us directly – then it will take a lot of time and effort to recover that trust. On the flip side, if we have violated the trust that others have in us then maybe we need to make some changes in our own lives to try and get that trust back, if that is what we want.
Another determining factor in our reaction to broken trust is the level of emotional investment that we have in trusting another person. It is very painful when someone we trusted implicitly and unquestioningly breaks the trust that we put in them. When the trust is broken repeatedly over a long period of time with no attempt to rebuild the trust then I am left wondering if Trust can ever be regained. And if there is no trust left in a relationship can we really continue to call it a relationship?
I’ve philosophised enough for the moment, so let me give you something a bit lighter to think about. Over the past month you may have noticed that I have changed my diet quite a bit. Thanks to this and 40 minutes a day on my Wii fit I am now 2.5 kg less-heavy. I still have quite a way to go before I reach the weight I was 2 or 3 years ago, but when the warmer weather arrives I’ll be fit enough to get back on my bicycle again. Then the weight will really start to fall off!
Technically I am obese at the moment, but you don’t notice it so much because of my height. As my weight decreases I notice that I feel better in myself – less lethargic certainly. So if anyone asks why I am trying to lose weight, the reason is simple. I want to.
22nd February 2012
Today is a landmark day. Today I can say with pride that since I started my “diet” my body has consumed 4 kg of stored blubber. This is halfway to my intended primary objective, so let me share my experiences so far.
My “diet” actually began sometime around the 2nd or 3rd of January. I can’t be more precise than that because I spent about a week planning and preparing myself for the adventure ahead. The planning had a number of elements to it: What would I eat and when would I eat it? What foods would I avoid? What foods would I eat from time to time as a “reward” for progress? Having decided on a “low fat, reduced calorie” approach I then had to find some meals which fell into this category. You have seen many of them this year under my Healthy Option playlist on YouTube and the But I’m Dieting category on this website.
I was also determined to increase my level of fitness. It’s too easy when working from home to not get any exercise. I wanted to change that and make exercise an integral part of my lifestyle. The planning boiled down to What, When, and For How Long?
This is why I keep referring to my “diet” in quotation marks – it’s about much more than simply losing weight; it’s about becoming more healthy through a change in diet and increased exercise.
At the beginning of this blog I also said that I spent time preparing myself for the “diet”. By this I mean preparing mentally. Will power and determination are extremely important in this process, or as the Captain said in that wonderful movie Cool Hand Luke, you “gotta get your mind right”. You have to accept that there are no shortcuts, no fast-tracks, no simple solutions. You have to understand that you wont go from a size 20 to a size 12 in two weeks, or even 2 months. It’s a change in lifestyle which needs time to adjust to and reap the benefits from.
On January 9th I stepped onto the scales for the initial weigh-in. Thankfully no-one was there to slap my face. I had already decided what my initial target weight would be, so I knew that 8 kg of surplus Titli had to be down-sized in Phase One.
So what changes have I made? Well, I consume somewhere around 1500 calories a day on average at the moment. I’m not counting every single calorie, but I know from the data I have that this is a reasonable approximation. I have a piece of toast with Marmite for breakfast and a Ryvita with low-fat cream cheese for lunch. Dinner is generally low-fat-low-calorie with more side salads and vegetables than before, but I do indulge in fish and chips most Friday evenings. That sounds bad, but actually Man and I share a portion from the local Chip Shop and we find it is sufficient for us. In fact I find that I now need to eat less to feel satisfied, but it was difficult at first to adjust to smaller portions. There was a certain amount of pain to overcome at the beginning!
For exercise I dusted off my Wii Fit. I spend about 40 minutes on it for at least 6 days each week. I really enjoy using it as it has a great mix of exercises/games to improve muscle tone, balance and aerobics. The daily body test on this contraption is always a source of amusement. Over the last few weeks it has declared my Wii Fit Age to be anywhere between 25 (You’re in great shape!) to 63 (Oh dear!). At the moment it’s hovering somewhere around 40 which is very pleasing.
Part of my strategy in using the Wii Fit was to improve stamina and strength in my legs with the objective of getting back cycling again. Last week the approach paid off. I went out twice for demanding 40 minute cycle rides and felt no ill effects from them, apart from a sore bum from not being in the saddle for so long! My goal now is to get out at least twice a week in addition to the work on the Wii.
The planning, the change in diet, the exercise and the change in attitude are all hard work but as time goes on they are becoming more natural. I certainly sleep better these days and clothes don’t feel quite so tight any more, but I still have a long way to go…
Tonight there are two programmes on British TV about the epidemic of obesity in this country and its consequences. I do find it frightening just how many people are seriously overweight and I guess I notice it more having lived in a country where obesity was fairly uncommon.
There are many people who claim that they are obese because they have a medical condition. That may be true in some cases and my heart goes out to those people, but for others it seems like an excuse to justify their status quo. Others will say that they are happy the way they are; that may be the case today, but when their health deteriorates ahead of time will they be quite so happy? Will they be quiet and patient when the over-stretched health service can’t correct the years of abuse they have given their bodies? The obesity epidemic presents significant costs to society which I feel that even now are not fully understood. And if anyone wishes to challenge the idea that there is a problem at all they should contact their local Health Authority and ask them how many Jumbulances (oversized ambulances) they have and how many diabetes patients they are currently treating.
We are only ever given one body and I believe we have a duty to try and look after it. Unfortunately these days it seems that there is an expectation that it doesn’t matter how much you abuse your body because the Health Service will make it all better. My weight increased when I returned to the UK and I didn’t quite adjust to my new surroundings and routines. That’s not an excuse – more a statement of failure. Right now I’m on a mission to regain the weight and fitness level that I had about 2 years ago and, God willing, I’ll get there sometime in the middle of Spring.