I'm looking ahead to when I've magically lost all this weight, and wondering when it'll feel right to stop. The doctor suggests I get down to 9 stone, or just below, which was what I was when he last weighed me, around 10 years ago. But, although I didn't mention it then or now, I was already on the way up by then.
When I was young, my 'natural' weight seemed to be about 8 stone 4 pounds (this was weight without clothes). But actually, I felt a bit fat then and I was awkwardly between a size 10 and 12. I'd probably not have that problem now, as clothes sizes have got bigger. I felt, and thought I looked, slim at around 7 stone 12 pounds - although I still believed I had fat legs.
What is it with body image? I remember once bringing in the clothes from the washing line, leaving them in a pile and, the next morning, grabbing a pair of jeans and putting them on. I did them up all right, but they felt wrong. I looked down and they were distinctly drainpipey. I'd put on Al's. At the time, he was in his early teens and stick thin - but this was not enough to make me realise I was skinny too.
So, shall I aim for a little under 8 and a half stone?
But there again, is it healthier to be a little fatter as you age? Have a bit more in reserve, perhaps. I know that, at my thinnest, I had to take a little care. I didn't have all that much stamina, although I was physically stronger, in that I was more muscular, than I am now. But once my strength was used up, I was useless for a few days. Now, I am resilient and recover quickly, however hard I work. And if I got up quickly, sometimes my head would swim. In fact, sometimes I felt so faint that I had to lie on the floor for several minutes. I do still have to take care of myself there and make sure I have breakfast - high blood pressure is not one of my problems - but it's much better.
I appreciate this extra resilience and it has been one of the things that had reconciled me to being overweight. Another bonus, I believed, was that eating fairly well what I wanted (I've always had a pretty healthy diet) would help to protect me against osteoporosis. My mother lost several inches in height in her 60s and more in her 70s and I'm more concerned about this than anything, including arthritis. I can have new hips but not renewed bone.
So maybe I could be sensible, and satisfied with just under 9. But if, at that weight, I still feel that I'm overweight, will I be sufficiently motivated to stay there?
Do I need a goal at all? Maybe it's best to get the eating right and let my weight settle naturally. But I've kidded myself for too long and it'd be easy to be complacent.
Damn this whole body-image thing. The truth is, I've always looked in the mirror and seen myself unrealistically. I was talking to a friend, some while ago, and we agreed that whilst, when slimmer, we thought we were fatter than we were, now we're overweight we see ourselves as much the same size we always were. That is, slightly porky.