Monday, 31 May 2010

How to avoid becoming a miserable, foul-tempered bitch on a diet :)

Isn't it strange. I have had a week of eating crap, but not over-eating. I've been lazy in that I haven't prepared wholesome meals for myself - I have nibbled on junky needs-no-cooking things, but because I have been blogging I am very conscious of the crap I have been eating. I have also been aware of my food brakes. They work! I can skid to a halt if I have to! I haven't stuffed myself full of crap.

The recognised and 'approved' formula for losing weight is - good, healthy food, in sensible, balanced amounts, plus exercise = weight loss. My formula this week (for most but not all days) has been  - eat crap in small amounts plus exercise a bit more than you used to a few months ago = weight loss. Woohoo! I lost 4lbs this week!

OK, so the experts would say cut out the crap. Your body doesn't need it. I ate bread and very fatty, creamy cheese (lots of bread!) for lunch one day this week. I ate two portions of chocolate covered ice-cream for lunch on Friday. I have to say, I enjoyed both 'sinful' treats. I also had a glass of dry white wine and scoffed some chocolates I found left over from Christmas. I felt lots of guilt....BUT I also told myself I am probably not a woman who'll stay off such foods forever more. I want these things (perhaps not the chocolates) to be part of my diet in the future.

It's when we pig out on junk and allow it to take over that the warning bells need to ring I think. Filling ourselves every single day with crappy foods in large amounts brings us down. Our weight goes up, but our spirits come down.

When our spirits hit rock bottom (and we've become fat from eating unhealthily) it's very hard to motivate ourselves to give up foods we have started to enjoy AND to start an exercise programme. We do it enthusiastically initially, but perhaps fail to appreciate that we have to KEEP doing it, day in and day out before our body will show the signs of improvement. After the initial burst of enthusiasm wanes, those foods are STILL out there beckoning to us. Then we have to be strong. We have to learn tactics to keep us on the straight and narrow...this path which will lead to weight-loss.

I have been a USELESS role model for anyone out there who wants to lose weight. Let me apologise now. I talk the talk but haven't been able to walk the walk. BUT...given my lapses, something is working. I have not become a Saintly Dieting Person, but, I AM losing weight. Something is working - slowly.

I am so glad that I am blogging because I am finding out what works for me. Tell me I can't have something and I immediately want it. Bear with a sore head time. When I succumb I tell myself I deserve it..fat arse or no fat arse. Weak. I am weak, but, I am also older than MOST weight-loss bloggers out there, given I am in my mid-fifties. As I see it, I don't want my life to be one of restraint and denial. I do want to be a smaller, fitter me though. Dilemma.

What IS working for me ( a woman who just doesn't do gyms) is the 'all things in moderation as long as I shift my arse every single day' method.  Or ATIMALAISMAESD. (Ha ha. It doesn't have the same ring as 'South Beach', does it?)

I would be a completely miserable, foul-tempered bitch if every food I loved was off-limits. I also know I am not a binge-eater...therefore, a little of what I fancy will satisfy me. Given I don't fancy burgers and fries, sweets and soft drinks but do fancy garlic bread and wine....I think I can live happily knowing that I won't pig-out, that I will apply my eating brakes, that I will be conscious (mindful?) of everything I eat, and that I MUST, without fail, move my body so it sweats each day. Now..that I can do. Moving more seems to be a small pay-off for having a little bit of what I fancy every now and then.

I have watched colleagues, relatives, friends embark on strict eating plans and join gyms and for some, the transformation has been amazing. We read in blogs of people who begin to LOVE exercise and loathe all the foods they used to love. I think that's great. However....I KNOW myself too well. I could do that...embark enthusiastically on a new way of living and for a while I'd be just great. Indeed, I did try becoming a gym bunny...several times. I never got into it. I have also watched SOME colleagues, relatives and friends do the deed for two years, lose excess fat, tone up......and sadly, become just the way they used to be within a few years. It happens, doesn't it?

All I know is...having lived this long, I know myself well. I know that if I can't open a bottle of wine to share with friends on a Friday night I'll be resentful. (I have learned however, in between times, that fizzy water with a tiny hint of lime cordial added, is a great substitute!) I'll have my wine on Fridays, and hell, I might even have a slice or two of garlic bread as well. I am cutting DOWN, not OUT...and for me, that is going to work, because I am going to be more active.

I think for me, the 'more active' bit is crucial. It's also great that I am finding activity seems to beget activity. Because I am doing more...more housework, more gardening, more walking, more biking (indoors) I am feeling better. I am consciously moving this body more. Given I could sit for England and that I love sedentary activities...the 'moving more' is helping me. I think those 'feel good' endorphins are being released. I have a few bits of exercise equipment at home, and some work-out DVDs and when the mood gets me, I use those. I am not doing anything religiously. I don't feel I HAVE to have an exercise session..but often now, when I am at a loose end (now that I am not working) I think..'go and pedal that bike' or 'walk to the post office and buy a stamp for that letter.' Before it would be "I'll do that tomorrow...or some time."

Given I'll eat the odd food treat and feel no guilt, I think my weight loss might be slower than most. However..I am determined to keep writing about it - even if it is only me that reads it! - because writing (and reading other blogs) is having an affect on me. (Some of you bloggers out there are SO inspirational. Thank you for being there.) My life WAS wasting away. My body was deteriorating, my mind was thinking dark thoughts, I was beginning to dislike what I had become, and all in all, living a healthier life seemed like a difficult thing to do - an uphill struggle. I want to be a successful slimmer. I want to be an active, middle aged woman..not one who has given up on herself, not one who lets her body atrophy, not one who spends her time sitting in a chair. Being that way depresses us after a while. When we feel down, we don't feel like sorting our lives out, do we? Hell, I'll sit in a chair all day (God willing) when I am in my nineties and infirm. I am not going to live that sort of life now...and that knowledge, that awareness has been SO good for me.

I have to live...and for me, living means enjoying food, enjoying socialising and enjoying my days. I shall become best friends with a bowl of salad, but I won't drop my old friend the pizza entirely. I shall however see less of the pizza, and the pizza will see less of my insides. I have learnt my days are richer and fuller when I move more....and that's been quite a startling revelation. I have perked up because I am doing more, being more physically active. You can't eat when you are moving and doing things, can you? (Well, not easily!) Don't we all get a sense of achievement because we tackle something, whether it be a junk drawer cleared out, a long over-due letter written, or a walk taken because it's good for us to move our bodies?

For me, 'all things in moderation' (ATIM) and an awareness of what I am doing at meal times and with my days seems to be working...but I know the minute I stop being aware of how life is passing me by I am lost. Each day is one to be enjoyed and cherished....whether it has cheese in it or not. If it does have cheese in it, I won't beat myself up. I will however make sure one cheese moment isn't followed by another.

This is forever folks..not just for a short while. Even when we lose weight we have to be conscious of how we are treating our bodies. I have to treat myself nicely, gently, kindly. I love myself if I aim to become healthier and remain mobile. I am doing that...slowly. No 'feel the burn' for me I am afraid. That is short-term talking. I might not be inspirational, so I aplogise if you think my way is a bit of a cop-out. It might be for you, but for me I think it's the only way to go. We have to find a way that suits us. However you are going about this, however you are walking (running?) the weight-loss road, I wish you luck.

'The choicest pleasures of life lie within the ring of moderation.' ~ Tupper

Friday, 28 May 2010

Another Day Eating Complete Junk....

Y'know, on Monday, when I attended my sister's wedding, I ate so sensibly. It was a lovely, happy day and the reception was at a very pretty country house hotel. People spilled out into the lovely gardens before the food..sitting in the sunshine, chatting, drinking pre-food Pimms, sherry or fresh orange juice. The sun shone and the whole affair went off perfectly. I cried as my handsome and gentle son, the oldest, walked my sister into the crowded room to the traditional wedding march, and down the 'aisle'. He was given the name of my dear departed Dad when he was in a way, he was there with us all. So was Mum I'm sure.. I felt very emotional. I never thought I'd see the day my sister actually married..given she has been with her man for 30 years! My daughter and youngest son signed the register...she looked so pretty..son looked handsome, even with his baby-face. We are a small family - just me, my two sisters and my three children, as Mum and Dad passed away some time ago. My middle aged sister and her middle aged groom were radiant. They looked so happy. Her beautiful flowing white summery dress, jacket and hat were just right. It was good to meet up with old friends and meet new people.

I nominated myself as driver for the day. I ferried about my man, my other sister and the boys - so the only thing I drank was a small glass of champagne as a toast to the newly weds. No calorific wine for me. I avoided the bread baskets and butter...even though the freshly baked rolls smelt SO good. The meal was good..melon and berries to start, followed by roast chicken with all the trimmings and lots of vegetables (I declined the sausage and asked for just one roast potato) and apple pie and cream was served for pudding. I am not fond of fruit pies, so asked for a small slice, ate most of the lovely chunky apples, shunned the pastry and avoided most of the cream. We were given a slice of rich, fruity iced wedding cake too...which again, does nothing for me. I gave my slice to one of the younger girls who declared it was delicious. I drank lots of water....and my man and I made a point of strolling round the grounds....(more like small fields) of the hotel.  I was aware of my size when we were asked to pose for photos...I was in so many of the formal group I breathed in as best I could and just smiled.  What the heck..I felt like smiling, despite my podgy body. So all in all, a good food day...perhaps lacking in exercise. It was a smashing day out....and my sister gave me one of the gorgeous floral arrangements from the tables to take home. I ended the day feeling happy and satisfied....with life in general and with myself.

Why then if I can restrain myself on a day when I could have pigged out, have I eaten mainly junky stuff the rest of the week? I have been in charge of the food...and the boys haven't been around much, so I have catered only for me. I just can't be bothered to prepare myself good meals, instead preferring to pick at stuff that was instantly available. See yesterday's bread and cheese debacle. Sigh.

Today I was up at 6.30am and out early, as usual, dropping my son off at work. It has been a lovely sunny day. I drove home, enjoying the country roads, singing along with music on the radio, brushed my teeth (again), stocked up on tissues and then headed off for an early appointment with the dentist. I had a long wait, so I read. (I really don't like going to the dentist. I hate my gum being injected and the whirring of drills etc...) I had my check-up, a scale and polish and then was injected, (shudder) as one of my back fillings had cracked and had to be replaced. The dentist had to insert some sort of clamp to my gum/jaw...which I was aware of but couldn't really feel. With a numb mouth I made my way home...calling first at a supermarket I don't often use, so I could get another tube of toothpaste...for sensitive teeth.  I knew we were running low at home.

Feeling a bit like a hamster with puffed cheeks and lips, I walked around the supermarket. So why did I scour all the freezers and buy a three pack of my favourite white chocolate/ice cream lollies on special offer if all I really came in for was a tube of toothpaste? Well, my reasoning was I wouldn't be able to eat anything hard today...(It didn't cross my mind to buy a carton of soup...) I did buy a bunch of bananas as well. So, I came home and read the paper whilst eating my 'lunch'..two of the lollies. 261 calories 522 calories worth of cold, creamy junk.

The anaesthetic was wearing off by mid afternoon and one side of my mouth was so painful - really idea why, but I blame that vicious clamp the dentist had wedged in my mouth..or perhaps the routine descaling made my teeth feel a little on edge..I am not sure.  I felt very out of took a couple of painkillers and before I knew it, I'd drifted off to sleep on the sofa. I awoke with a start, hours later, still in pain...a strange stinging, tingly sore mouth pain/ache. It won't go away. So the best part of the day was over. I took some washing out of the machine and pegged it to the line. I get the sunshine in the back garden for most of the day...It was a 'good day for drying' as my Mum used to say. I sat in the garden talking to the cat for a while, enjoying the peace and then went and made myself a big mug of tea...which I tried to drink on just one side of my mouth. I should have used a straw ;-)  And that has been the sum total of activities and eating for my day so far. No wonder I feel a bit droopy and washed out. I need my fibre, vitamins and minerals...

I may have a session on the bike later..and I definitely WILL have some lentil and vegetable soup and wholemeal bread for dinner tonight. I am not seeing my man tonight, and the boys are going out. (Friday night - the weekend starts and they see friends....until the early hours!) The evening is mine. I am going to take some more pain-killers soon. Even though the numbness has worn off, my mouth feels like it's been attacked by an army of sharp forks. Tonight I shall watch a film...and perhaps have a bath before bed..I don't feel like eating at all...which has to be good. I wouldn't advocate a trip to the dentist every day in order to feel like this. However, if I do get the urge to eat later - or hunger pangs - I am determined that I'll only eat good stuff...I may just have soup, but I have some cooked chicken breasts in the fridge, lots of salad items, a melon, fat-free yogurts, a bowl of sugar-free jelly and a pineapple waiting to be prepared. I also have my bananas, so all in all, I can reclaim the day, get some vitamins into this body and get back on track.

I am reminded of the quote "Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional." The day has been wasted, my mouth has been hurting and my eating patterns have been all over the place. It happens. However, I am in charge of my body. I need to inject a bit of 'good' stuff into the day before it is over. I feel I need to grab hold of it and make some sort of recover from this morning's claw back the day. I am going out to do a bit of gardening now...only because the poor plants in the borders need a drink. They've wilted in the heat of the day - a bit like me. I shall get the hose out and try and move my body a bit....and should I feel like eating I'll ensure this body of mine is given good fuel. I have suffered the usual post-dental treatment pain, but that's no reason to punish my body, to weaken it with junk food and empty calories.

I need my body to function properly. It's up to me to treat myself well. We all have the power to do that, no matter what the day throws at us. I have to remember this - every single day.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Do you have it, that overwhelming urge to.....

scoff just anything? And scoff and scoff and not really care?

That's what I want to do. I want to eat and eat and not care what I am eating. I feel I need a binge!

Today I have consumed 1133 calories. (I did an online calorie count out of interest really. I just couldn't count calories every single day.) Sadly, those 1133 calories have been made up of just two things...a left-over ham and mustard sandwich for breakfast, and for lunch at approximately 2pm, half a stick of French bread (slightly stale) again left over from yesterday..slathered with low fat spread and a creamy soft blue cheese. This is one of those "I can't be bothered to prepare healthy foods' days. Add two mugs of tea (made with a dash of semi-skimmed milk) and that's been my intake so far. How pathetic.

AND what the fuck am I doing with soft blue cheese in the house when I don't really like cheese much anyway???? OK I bought a small wedge of Cambazola because I liked it so much when we had a bit for lunch in Spain last week...with cold meats, salads, wine and fruit...a typical Mediterranean lunch outdoors. You cannot create that atmosphere back home in Blighty...(it's colder today and not sunny as I write.) I mean...stale(ish) bread...half a long French stick....(way too much!) and very fatty cheese...just because? What is that all about? Have I gone mad?

I am beating myself up....but I can still stay within a sort of 1600-ish calories allowance as I am going to my man's place tonight and he is cooking me my favourite dinner...grilled salmon with chili sauce glaze, served with sauteed onions, peppers and peas..on rice. I shan't have much rice and I'll drink water.

Some days I just don't want to be weight-watching. Do you have those days too? Just let me be fat and leave me alone. I am sick of thinking about what I should eat.

Yesterday I found a (crushed) box of chocolate sea-shells..lovely Belgian chocolate with hazelnut praline..I had shoved them in a plastic bag with left over cards and pushed it under the bed ( my preferred sort of tidying up some days) in the guest room when I was doing Christmas present wrapping last December. The bag had obviously been taken out and trodden on at some point. (Could have been on one of those rare occasions when I actually clean under beds...) Now, fortunately, the cardboard box and the contents had been crushed, but the box was sealed in cellophane, which obviously kept the chocolates fresh. You know - I opened that box like a thing possessed. Do you remember me telling you I don't really like cheese or chocolate much? It's true...but when you are weight-watching those things seem so desirable - they possess magical-lure-you-to-them properties. I haven't bought chocolate for AGES, or cake, or biscuits. They are not on my shopping list. However...that crushed box of chocolate sea-shells smelt divine! The slight hint of hazelnut (I like nuts) was enticing.

Yup....I scoffed a third of the box...loving every one. Now, two thirds of the contents still remain. I am sorely tempted to go and eat half of them. I have shown SOME control in not polishing off the lot (I couldn't. I'd throw up. Chocolate is quite sickly-sweet I think) However, wouldn't I have shown a LOT of control if I'd thrown the box into the bin and left it there? I suspect that just knowing chocolate is in the bin would have me going there and salvaging it at some point. I could have thrown tea leaves and food scrapings all over the chocolates. Throwing them away alas, has not been one of my 'What shall I do with them?' options. I should have thrown away the stale bread, the creamy blue cheese (It just wasn't as nice as it was on holiday) and the crushed box of chocolates, but I didn't. It seemed such a waste.

I hate wasting good food..I think it's sinful almost. Must be something to do with the age I was brought up in. My mother used up left-overs to feed the family, with a sort of 'waste not, want not' philosophy. I mean, you can't donate a tatty, crushed box of chocolates to a friend, can you? I wasn't going to allow my boys to have them. I want them to eat well. I want to eat well too, but does there come a point when all the foods which used to tempt you no longer have any power over you? Does that happen? It has for me with certain foods. I no longer even think about them. The weird thing is - chocolate didn't used to tempt me. Ever. It's too sweet and sickly and gave me migraines. It's only since I have consciously tried to think about what I am eating (to eat mindfully?) that it's gained a sort of desirability! Before blogging it had no real charms. Because chocolate items are a complete no-no when I shop, I have discovered a longing for it - even though it still gives me headaches. (The migraines are a thing of the past thankfully!)

Even though I have been writing I still have the urge to eat. I am having a day when I just want to give in, pig out and eat all before me, and I can't seem to distract myself. I suspect that if my earlier meals had more nutritional value I'd be feeling satisfied now. I am telling myself that I ought to go and eat a crisp, crunchy apple, and that would leave my mouth feeling sweet and clean. That can stave off food longings. So can cleaning your teeth apparently. So can a big glass of cold water. In my head I am scorning those ideas....."Give me gungy, fattening, BAD food, and lots of it!" my brain screams. I am fighting it. I know the theory. I just need the strength every single day to apply it.

Oh...breaking news. Despite my holiday eating (and drinking) and despite the lovely wedding on Monday and despite my chocolate and cheese-eating aberrations today, I have lost weight. Wow. I have just weighed myself. I think it was because I almost killed myself cleaning the house from top to bottom at the weekend, when temperatures in the UK peaked those in usually hotter Spain. It was sizzling hot with no breeze and I was indoors doing housework. It was good exercise. The sweat dripped from my brow, I can tell you! I was purple in the face. What a lovely image that is....

Anyway. I am a bit slimmer now. Hooray! I am thinking of a way to dispose of those chocolates. They have to go. "They have to be DESTROYED James Bond..." The chocolates must die. I shall go and make myself a cup of tea whilst I morph into Ruthless Chocolate Assassinator mode

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Fat Grump's Gold Medal for Procrastination.

For those of us struggling or finding it hard to get started in earnest, this post is for you (and for me!) I haven't lost my way really. I just keep looking at the path I have to travel and then decide against it and take another one. I have no idea why I don't just grab the bull by the horns and set off. I am wasting time by not fully committing to losing weight, exercising more and making myself healthier.

I am one of life's great procrastinators. I have gold medals in Procrastination. I could lecture all over the world about putting things off. I have a Doctorate in Dithering. However, the burden of guilt which comes from wasting yet another day weighs heavier than the rolls of fat round my middle, my thighs, my arse and my upper arms. Throw in an extra chin for good measure.

However, having just come back from the sunny Mediterranean I have an ally in the glorious sun shining here. The UK is sweltering. (This could be our summer, this one weekend.) However, it's a clammy heat, a humid heat and we have no breeze. The sky is blue and cloudless. I should be glad. It's a day for lazing around. It certainly ISN'T a day for eating. Neither was yesterday. In fact, I ate very little yesterday...a bowl of sugar/salt-free muesli, a scattering of sunflower seeds, an orange, a few almonds, an apple and a bowl of lentil and vegetable soup with a slice of wholemeal bread and a low fat strawberry yogurt. My sort of food really...although had there been cakes and biscuits in the house I'd have had them too. I am trying to make up for the food-fest of last week's holiday.

Today the sun bakes down again and I have just delivered my car to the local garage for it's annual MOT test. (Ministry of Transport.) I am hoping there is not too much wrong with it and that it will be road-worthy for another year. I left it there with the key and will collect it from the forecourt the heat I walked back from the garage...a 45minute walk via busy roads. This was my exercise. I'd planned this walk. I'd forgotten my sunglasses - I'd left them in the car - so I squinted all the way home and was aware of the sun's heat on my arms and neck. I hummed and smiled to myself. This is what Noel Coward meant when he wrote "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun"

I felt I was melting but walked at a reasonably swift pace, as I always I've always done. I like to walk. I was aware of my poor (huge) flat feet taking the strain and my ankles being puffy. I am carrying around the extra weight of a sofa, but I carried on.

The roads were fairly quiet - most sensible people are lazing in parks or their back gardens in this hot weather but I did watch an a middle aged woman ahead of me, on the other side of the road walk slowly to the bus stop. She was bigger than me and leant on her large wheeled shopping bag for support as she crossed the road. Big people waddle when they walk, don't they? And which comes first - immobility or fatness? She slowly lumbered from side to side with a very slight limp as though one of her hips was giving her trouble. If that wasn't a sign for me, a timely message for me about losing weight, I don't know what is. She plonked herself down on the ledge that serves for a seat in the bus shelter and as I walked by I could see her body heaving. That effort left her out of breath. Her face was bright red.

Fat people out there...why do we allow this to happen? It's SO easy to do the damage to ourselves and so difficult to shift the weight once it piles on.

Anyway..back to my point. The sun makes me hot and I like to drink fizzy cold water from the fridge with a tiny splash (the merest hint) of sugar-free lime cordial added to it. I drink lots of it as the heat makes me thirsty. It however, seems to act as a bit of an appetite suppressant. I can't be bothered to make a mug of tea...I need my cold water. So, today I don't feel hungry. The boys are out and I have the house to clean from top to bottom as my older sister is driving up from Surrey tomorrow, to stay with us, given our younger sister is getting married on Monday. I have been away for a week and the boys - who, in fairness have been working long hours every day - haven't done a scrap of cleaning. They have spilled things on the kitchen floor and not bothered wipe up their mess..The kitchen and bathrooms have to be thoroughly cleaned and I have a bedroom to sort out too....I could have made a start yesterday but I seem to need a tight deadline to scare me into action. I am after all a leading authority on procrastination.

Do I need my hips to cause problems before I realise my weight is working against me? Do I need a Doctor to tell me I have serious complaints before I am scared into doing something about my weight? Is it only when we are at rock bottom that we decide to care about our bodies? Perhaps I need a deadline to work towards - but I have known about my holiday and my sister's wedding for some time now. I could have lost weight for both, so that I'd look better in my summer clothes/wedding finery. No..nothing happened. There was no sense of urgency. I think I need to be confined to boot camp before I'll get into shape, but in reality that isn't going to happen. I have to be my own task-master. I have to crack my own whip. Even setting goals doesn't work for me...unless someone expects me to deliver at a certain time I go easy on myself.

I have a house-cleaning deadline, so I'll meet it. I'll work on the house all day even though I should be lounging about in the garden because after all, my sister will be arriving and she'll see the mess if I make no effort to clean up. Now...everyone else sees the mess I am in when I walk about in the sun...why does the state of my body not bother me to the extent that I want to get my act together? Lack of self-love? I'll meet other deadlines....yet not set one for myself.

Ah well. I am burning calories today and have no desire to eat just now...but given our climate is pretty crap and we get more grey days than sunny ones, I can't rely on the heat to keep me in line.

Right, computer polish at the ready. Look after yourselves even, where ever you are. This is the only body we have. Let's clean it up.

Friday, 21 May 2010

I Can't Decide Whether To Be A Good Example Or A Horrible Warning.

How on earth could I ever be a good dieting example? Have you seen my ticker? (Not my heart, my tracker thingy above.)

I am back to the beginning, as big as ever, because of a great week away in the sunshine, a good holiday where I ate, drank, laughed, enjoyed good company, fantastic weather and lovely surroundings. We visited some great restaurants and we cooked up some wonderful, flavoursome dishes at home. I also drank gallons of plain water, walked lots and lots and swam. But the pounds piled on, as I knew they would.

I am really interested to know if anyone else has the sort of "Oh to Hell with it..." mentality that I have? That's why I gave this piece it's title. Am I just a horrible warning? Bugger. I think I might be.

I ask because I had a friend (who lives in Scotland) email me early this morning after reading my blog..and last night's entry in particular. She was laughing she said, because I am 'so laid back' (her words) about the whole weight-loss journey. She called me "a tonic"..but then said, "I always feel so much better about my own failure to lose weight when I read your blog."

Is that a back-handed compliment or wot? Should I be pleased that I have cheered someone up, or angry that I (almost deliberately) blew it last week? Nope. I don't feel anger. Nothing there. I weighed myself this morning knowing I'd gained weight. No anger - but perhaps just a tiny feeling of relief that I wasn't another stone heavier. (Sorry, I don't do metric...)

So, for now, I am the horrible warning. If you don't eat sensibly today and fit some exercise in, I am comin' to getcha! There! Be afraid - very afraid! You could be caught by me, and I'd show you how to REALLY relax on this weight-loss journey ;-)

Oh, and today you get two quotations, you lucky people...and you can choose A or B as the best one. You can also guess which one I favour right now:)

A) 'Excess generally causes reaction, and produces a change in the opposite direction, whether it be in the seasons, or in individuals, or in governments.'  ~ Plato


B) 'Let's not quibble! I'm the foe of moderation, the champion of excess. If I may lift a line from a die-hard whose identity is lost in the shuffle, "I'd rather be strongly wrong than weakly right."  ~ Tallulah Bankhead

See, I can't even beat myself up about being a pillock. I didn't pig-out or binge on bad stuff. I merely ate and drank at the same speed as my (slim) companions. No seconds, and in some ways I had smaller portions and left more on my plate..but that's because of dental problems. More about my teeth in another post...(Calm down! I can feel your excitement building. Now there's something to look forward to, eh?) ) I am going to blame my weight gain on my sluggish metabolism...that'll do.

Oh, and on Monday my little sister (52) marries the man she has been with since 1978. They never felt the need to marry and have been perfectly faithful to each other and happy together all these years - even remaining in their own homes, across town from each other (much like me and my man do now.) He is going to retire this year after 40+ years work for the same firm and wants to ensure his (good) pension goes to his wife, should anything happen to him. Same for my sister who has worked all her life. There's romantic for you. On Monday they'll have a small wedding service in a beautiful old monastery, a blessing in church and then a reception in a lovely country hotel. Yet more fuckin' food and drink! (No prizes for knowing there'll be a fat woman trying to hide behind everyone in every soddin' wedding photograph!)

Do you reckon I should start this blog again sometime next year? See that joke about third cousin Rodney at the side of my page? Worryingly, I am becoming that woman. I am sure disciplined types reading this will be holding up their hands in horror, or disgust. Sigh.

You be a good example. Leave me to be the horrible warning, OK? For now, anyway. (I am a determined to be a 'temporary' horrible warning.)

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The Fat Woman Abroad.

Coooooeeee! I am back from my hols.

I am starting with this....  "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful!" Mae West

You can guess why. Yes, the holiday was a fabulous food-fest and I bloody well enjoyed it. We ate SO well, at home and in great restaurants. No junk food in sight. Not only that we drank every day - with wine or beer to accompany food at lunchtime (in the sun) and wine to wash down food in the evening. Sometimes we even finished with a night-cap of brandy in creamy coffee. Oh dear.

Not good when you are supposed to be losing weight, is it? I am NOT getting on the scales. It could have been worse. I drank lots and lots of water every day, I always had a healthy breakfast and we walked lots. I also dragged my man into the sea for a paddle. I love being by the sea. He was reluctant...but so what if the ends of your shorts get wet? I was rushing in and out of the sea laughing..trying to avoid the huge waves which came crashing in. It's good for the soul to be playful I think. (Typical Fat Brit abroad? All I needed was a knotted hanky on my head...) OK so the beach was full of beautifully groomed slim tiny bikinis and bronzed men in tiny trunks. I was fat and middle aged and probably laughing too loudly. The sand sticks to your feet and is a marvellous pedicure...all the hard skin I decided I WOULD brave the beach, even though I might have looked out of place and attracted stares (of repulsion probably, from all the 'beautiful people'.) I am not going to apologise for being me. Life is too short. I'll never wear a bikini again, nor do I feel the need to. Oh...and walking in the sand is also quite a strenuous activity gets the leg muscles working. (OK so I am trying to justify the over-indulgence.) I swam in the pool..twice..

It was a good break and all my pre-holiday fears proved to be in vain. The company was good too. It WAS a beach holiday...not my favourite sort really. I prefer sight-seeing, a bit of culture and the magnificent scenery of the great-outdoors, but we WERE in a great place and the sun shone all week. We've been before, because my man's sister owns a villa out there. It's a place where the wealthy congregate and go to be seen. Mere mortals like me just look on, in awe ;)

OK so I felt enormous compared to all the chic and glamorous women who holidayed in the exclusive little port in Spain..(see pic/link if it shows up...) They were obviously wealthy, but I have long since stopped envying wealth and lifestyle. The enormous white yachts moored in the harbour and the flashy cars parked in the bays nearby were stupendous. Great to look at ..just superb...and representations of wealth far removed from my lifestyle (and those of most people on this planet), but that was OK.

I was thinking : as a fat woman I envy slimmer women and wish I could look like them. I am not sure I could do (or would want to do) filthy-rich and posing as well! The women were sleek, trendy, slim (cough) and wore exquisite jewellery - to go with their even tans and huge, flashy sun-glasses. Their cars purred by, and onlookers would move out of the way to let them pass was their right, or so it seemed. All quite amusing. Ostentation does very little for me..I wanted to scorn these spoiled people, but I enjoyed looking! It's another world. All I know is, I had a fabulous week away in the sun and I was very lucky to have that break. I am really not sure whether sticking to a diet (or even healthy eating) was on the cards in reality.

I think I may have to start again....(eeek!) but at least I shall start with a tan (very slimming..yes?) and a happier, more relaxed disposition.

Where ever you are, I hope your week has been good too. Like me, you might have had a bad week, food wise, and you might have to get back in the saddle and work hard with a new-found determination. OK, so we gave in, temporarily, but all is not lost. Back to square one. The main thing is - we are not giving up on ourselves :)

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Foods, Moods, Obsession and Confession.

Have you all of a sudden become 'the man/woman on a diet'? Has the quest for a healthy body and weight loss become the most important thing in your life?

I know self-love is very important, but does your thinking change altogether when you embark on a course which is intended to improve your health and your outlook on food and exercise? I know I have become a bit preoccupied with food, that's all. I am getting the "Oh I shouldn't eat that" thoughts all day long. I also have the "Oh I must think about my lunch" thoughts every day. I suppose I have moved from mindless eating to planning and preparing for meals, but I am pretty sure naturally thin people (who may or may not do exercise) do not give too much thought to what they eat. I know some do. I know many people who have completely eschewed junk food - BUT - I am wondering if I'll ever be one of them, and even worse, wondering if I WANT to be one of them! (See me blush.)

Is that an awful confession? Am I doomed to remain podgy?

I had a conversation with both my boys last night...21 and 22. Both came in from work with food they'd bought on the way home, because they were hungry.  I commented on it - (it was all very civil - no arguments etc) because I was already cooking dinner - and made the point that they were eating fatty, sweet junk, which wasn't very good for them. I mentioned I was trying to avoid foods like that because I didn't want junk in my body. However, they made me smile. They reckoned (both of them) they'd rather live a short while having a good life with not too many restrictions than lead a long life which eventually means we end up sitting in a chair all day long with the aches and pains of old age...waiting for death and relying on others because we have become frail. How enjoyable is that - even though you're a slim old person? "You have one life. Live like a firework Mum!" one of them said. "Light the blue touch-paper. Burn brightly. Enjoy the fabulous explosion! Life has to be colourful and there have to be some risks, and we have to do what we enjoy doing, sensible or not, or we might as well be dead. Walk on the wild side!" He smiled and patted my arm then wandered off to his room. Huh? When did he become a life coach? :)

Hmmm. I paused and thought about I wondered whether to have butter on my jacket potato. I mean...what is a jacket potato without butter?

Yesterday I read on a blog that one woman, a successful slimmer (and sorry I can't remember your name) had embraced the "I'd rather eat a pizza with friends than sit alone with a perfectly balanced, pre-prepared meal." philosophy. Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind.

I think they both have a point. In this crazy world I think we have started to become slightly obsessed with health. Yes, for good reason..because enormous people are waddling round full of junk food, and that ISN'T how we are supposed to live - no way. We feel better when we nourish our bodies properly, but in nourishing our bodies, are we playing havoc with our minds and well-being? WHY are there so many weight-loss blogs? Why are we all on this course to find the body beautiful? Why do people crave expensive  acai berries all of a sudden, FFS?

I give you Linda McCartney. There was a vegetarian, non-smoking outdoorsy woman who was slim. She died young. I give you my ex colleague, a fit sporty man in this late thirties who dropped dead from a heart-attack whilst playing squash. Life isn't guaranteed to any of us, is it? I also know we increase our chances of becoming ill by being overweight.

It's a dilemma. Do any of us find losing weight and keeping trim easy? I know I don't. It's a struggle to get back to optimum condition and we have to sacrifice a lot to do that..I also know that many of us feel so much better for making an effort....but will we have to live our whole lives making an effort...and if we do, is that how we are supposed to live?

I merely ask the question. I have spent the morning deliberating about my breakfast, feeling guilty because I found a small toffee in a drawer and ate it.  Mmmm. It tasted nice. It was an unexpected treat. It might have been there a year but I opened the wrapper like a starving prisoner of war! One small toffee rendered me a guilty diet cheat. I felt a bit of a failure an hour after waking because I didn't feel satisfied after my cheese and ham breakfast, so had a bowl of cereal too...and hell's teeth - that's an ENORMOUS amount to eat. Then I think - "Go and do something so you don't feel hungry. Drink a glass of water woman." However - all I wanted to do was root through that kitchen drawer to see if I could find another toffee! What madness is this? Since then I have been thinking about what I'll have for lunch. I have been mentally preparing my fish and thinking I must check to see if the spinach leaves are still fresh. Bugger off food thoughts! Get lost!

Are we really better people for leading a deliberate life? I am merely thinking. I know I don't like myself much if I slob out for too long.

All I know is - I don't like being fat. I also know I am not naturally sporty so I have to FORCE myself to move. I love to walk, yet find it a drag just walking for the sake of it - because I HAVE to exercise. I enjoy swimming. I used to play tennis for my county. I loved to dance...but I cannot, with the best will in the world force myself to go to the boring, horrid, expensive gym again. I am NOT a gym bunny. That exercise equipment bores me to death. Exercise should not be the fat person's punishment. I suppose some people start to enjoy it. I know I get restless legs and cabin fever if I can't get outside for any reason.

Are you embarking on your campaign cheerfully and full of joy, or are you finding that not an hour goes by without a food thought or a weight thought entering your head? Now, if that's how it has to be until I have lost this weight - so be it. However, I wonder, once I get to my goal if I'll still be thinking "I can't have that..." every single day? Some people say a change happens when you eat healthily over a long period of no longer need the sweet, sticky, gungy, fatty stuff. It turns you off....

I am hoping that's going to happen to me, because I am not sure if I like being "The woman on a diet' all the time. Anyway...those are my musings for today. Perhaps I think too much? :)

I am living in the present - it's all I can do. I'll think about the future when (and if) I get there. Have an enjoyable day if you can, but remember to enjoy your here and now and to appreciate your life and the people in it, whether you are fat or slim or somewhere in between! It's all you've got.

“One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.”  ~ Ida Scott Taylor

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Summer Time, And The Livin' Ain't Easy.....

Feeling down and I shouldn't be. I just don't like myself much really, at least not today. I have so much to do before we fly off to Marbella on Thursday, (volcanic ash permitting - more flights have been cancelled today)  and I SHOULD be excited to spend time in a really lovely villa, with a big deep pool, surrounded by sub-tropical gardens with my man's sister and her husband, but I'm not. I cannot work up any enthusiasm, and I hate myself even more for being a miserable old cow. How good is it to get a holiday in the sun FFS! Cheer up!

MY feet need sorting out..hard skin removing, heels moisturised, toenails trimmed and painted.etc. My hair needs an ashy blonde rinse to hide the grey showing through. Have I done it? Nope. Have I dug out my skimpy summer clothes and ironed them? No.Toiletries sorted and packed? No. I have approximately 48 hours before we take off for the airport and I feel NO enthusiasm. Why? I even (boldly and bravely) bought myself a new swimming costume for this jaunt. Now, all I feel is a sense of dread. I'd be happier wallowing at home I think.

I bet every overweight person knows why I am not filled with enthusiasm. There are two reasons. One: It's the baring of the flesh. It's the wearing of clothes which reveal the rolls of fat, the blubber...the mottled legs, the cellulite-ridden thighs...the flabby upper arms, the puffy ankles. Winter clothes are my friends - big, baggy and covering the bod well. Reason number two : Not only am I out of shape and out of sorts but our companions for the week, my man's sister and her husband are sleek, slim, well groomed people. Man's sister isn't aware she is doing it, but she DOES run her eyes up and down people in her company. She has a good look. It all comes effortlessly to them. I feel inferior. (I know, it's stupid.) They are well paid professionals too...(he is a lawyer) and I am early-retired, and having to count every single penny I spend. I hate feeling like the poor relation. Why does this huge inferiority complex emerge when I KNOW I have lots going for me if only I could be bothered to think about all the ways in which my life is perfectly good?

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

~Eleanor Roosevelt

How true. I am thinking myself down and I find it SO easy to do. I think our confidence vanishes as our waistlines expand.

My man is paying for my flights and he'll buy meals and drinks etc when we are out there. I can't afford holidays any more, and that doesn't rest easy with me either. I am VERY proud, and since divorce (and even during marriage) I have always worked, been independent, providing for myself, paying my own way etc. I was able to do that until recently, when I was working, and my man and I always went 50-50 with expenses. I insisted we did. My man tells me it doesn't matter, he wouldn't go if I didn't accompany him etc, but it does matter to me. Pride is a stupid emotion, but I find it hard to shrug off. I find it hard to rely or depend on others...I just like to feel 'equal' - in all respects. And retain my independence too. Does that make sense?

Anyway, this fat woman is going out to the sun, to a lovely, quiet and pretty part of Spain yet can't work up any enthusiasm. Sigh. I don't want to seem ungrateful. I know it's a lovely treat but the fatness, the sleek company, the lack of money, the lack of feeling good about myself, all stand in the way of my becoming excited about having a lovely holiday. Oh another thing. MY man's sister has informed him that one night we are driving up to the mountains, to a lovely hotel ('very elegant' apparently) to have a meal with their wealthy ex-pat friends - both lawyers - who live in Spain. (I met them once - they are extremely wealthy, confident and a bit jet-setting) and knowing that has worried me. Very elegant? I can't remember the last time this dumpy middle aged woman looked elegant. Nothing I wear looks 'elegant' on me. I'll resort to wearing black again I expect. Why do I compare myself unfavourably with other people? Do most fat people do this secretly? (Oh, all these worries are internalised, never expressed, even to my man. I am grateful I can share them with you here. I hope someone understands 'where I am coming from', to coin a phrase. )

Being overweight really can bring us down, can't it? I dithered about starting a PROPER healthy lifestyle. (No reason why - perhaps I felt I couldn't do it? Perhaps, like so many of us, I have become used to hiding behind my fat shield and I have become comfortable there?) OK, so I started the healthy eating /move-more campaign (eventually!) and so far I have been reasonably successful, (I lost 2lbs this week) but that initial elation seems to have worn off. I want to lose six stones overnight. Where is that magic pill? I have so much to be grateful for, but why am I not happy? Why can't I feel enthusiastic about this holiday? I am a cheery person by nature and despite my blog title, not miserable or grumpy. I am a realist though. I long ago gave up sugar-coating life's trials and tribulations. I was able...I AM able... however to look for chinks of light in most dark situations, and as mentioned in a previous post, I am a fighter.

I think it's hit me that the whole 'becoming a different shape' business is a hard slog. Some of the struggles will remain despite my shedding pounds. It's a long journey too..and I am wondering if I am worth that effort? Am I able to keep fighting for a slim body? Will I eat healthily on holiday or will I go with the flow and eat everything that's served up, and drink wine with the rest of them? Dare I cause a fuss and play with my food, refuse the wine? Oh decisions, decisions. I remain the same me internally, and my problems remain the same no matter what my shape, no matter what the number on the scale reads. Life has thrown so many boulders in my path - over many, may years. Many of the rocks hit me too and felled me temporarily, and I won't bore you with the details, but sometimes I get sick of the 'picking myself up, healing myself, dusting myself down and faking it till I make it' process. I have done it again and again and again. I expect many of us have, but it does wear us down. I think I am looking for a quiet, easy life now, and weight-loss is yet another struggle on the road. I tell myself I am worth it - and I am - but I have never been very good at looking after my own needs.

I want nice feet, I want nice hands, I want nice hair for this holiday, and it is within my power to ensure those parts of me ARE nice before we fly out. I can't remove the tyres round my middle, or the padding/shelf on my arse or my extra chin, but I do scrub up well when I make the effort. It's making the effort that's getting me down. Anyone else have these times?

Ah. This too shall pass...this apathy, this procrastination. The holiday is booked, people are expecting us and I need to buck my ideas up. I am sure I'll have a good time once I am there. My apathetic mood had better pass quickly because I only have today and tomorrow to do EVERYTHING before we take off for the airport!! Grrrr.

I hate this bloody song.... (*laughs*)
"Oh this year i'm off to Sunny Spain, Y Viva Espana!

I'm taking the Costa Brava 'plane. Y Viva Espana!
If you'd like to chat a matador, in some cool cabana
And meet senoritas by the score, Espana por favor!
Quite by chance to hot romance I found the answer

Flamenco dancers are by far the finest bet.
There was one who whispered 'oh hasta la vista'
Each time I kissed him behind the castanet (*snort*)
He rattled his maracas close to me  (ooooer!)
In no time I was trembling at the knee

When they first arrive the girls are pink and pasty (Yeah right. Pink FAT and pasty.)
But oh so tasty as soon as they go brown (I wish...reddish and plump. Not a good look.)
I guess they know every fellow will be queuing (Ha ha ha ha! Yeah.)

to do the wooing his girlfriend won't allow.
But every dog must have his lucky day

That's why I've learnt the way to shout 'ole!'

Ole! :)  Hey - sorry for this moany post, and thanks for 'listening' to me un-load here and share my worries with anyone out there reading. I think I have cheered myself up :) Let me at my toenails!

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Doldrums, Stagnation and The Carpenters.

Feeling a bit bleugh this morning..or early afternoon. I feel listless, and not fired up. It would be so easy to sit and stuff my face. Why is food comforting?

DOLDRUMS: The dictionary definition.

a. A period of stagnation or slump.

b. A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.

a. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls, hazardous to sailing boats.

Hey, I am feeling a bit down, but I can't stagnate just yet FFS! I have only just begun. Cue Carpenters song.

Altogether now, sing along.  This one is made for us.

We've only just begun to live,

White lace and promises (insert 'white, extra strong, reinforced gusset XXL big Bridget Jones knickers' and 'promises to self')
A kiss (an eating plan) for luck and we're on our way.
And yes, We've just begun.

Before the rising sun we fly, (or huff and puff into the day)
So many roads to choose (the cake or apple roads)
We start our walking and learn to run. (Ha ha ha! ME? Run?)
And yes, We've just begun.

Sharing horizons that are new to us,
Watching the signs (scales) along the way,
Talking it over just the two of us, (and anyone else who wants to read my blog)
Working together day to day (Yeah. Your encouragement has been SO good. Thank you.)

Together. (In blog world.)

And when the evening comes we smile, (if we've had a good day and because we feel more positive)
So much of life ahead  (so true)
We'll find a place where there's room to grow, (What? Fuck off. I have done with growing!)
And yes, We've just begun. (I have.You have too and you're getting there or there already!)

I am not feeling wonderful. I have a 'can't be bothered with anything' mood. If I had a cave I'd go to it and hibernate for a while, but I don't. I have to get on with it. No pigging out to soothe a damp, chilly May day. I have housework to do. Oh deep joy.

Oh. I shunned the pastries last night. It sounds like my life is one social whirl, because I was at ANOTHER birthday party last night. Can you believe it? Trust me - this is unusual. Loads of 'functions to go to but wierd that they are coming one week after another. This time it was my man's niece's birthday. She was 30 and had a 'do' at a pub. Music - good DJ. (Are they called DJs any more? Son tells me you call 'em MC Fatz Cyan Tiffick or something silly like that. My rocker son tells me MC stands for 'Musically Challenged'...but I digress.) Anyway. Big characterless pub given over to the event and typical pub food buffet was served. Not nice really. White bread, lots of it, cheap marge, cheap tasteless cheese - not that I had more than a nibble..pork pies, sausage rolls, vol au vents, more pastry than filling, scotch eggs, crisps, cheese and pineapple on sticks, salted peanuts, a small bowl of salad and chicken drumsticks. That was about it and cakes galore to follow. Not inspiring. I chose bread - a ham sandwich - which was fatty, an egg sandwich and God only knows how the person responsible for food managed to make it SO unpalatable. It was tasteless..watery mashed egg. Ugh. Had to fold it over and leave it on my plate. That stodgy white bread was gross.  I also had two pieces of chicken (I was hungry!) and as many tomatoes, pickled onions and lettuce leaves as I could grab without looking like a fat salad thief. I also loaded my plate with sticks of celery..(only used to garnish the pastry items...I don't think whoever prepared the food imagined someone would eat it!) I took every last bit of skin/fat off the chicken (I hate fat on meat) and I drank three glasses of soda water with a dash/hint of lime cordial added..They got that right. Nice tall glasses and lots of ice. I pretended it was a gin and tonic. No cake. No dancing. (I am too fat and self-conscious to strut my ain't a pleasant sight.)

It was easy to be good. I didn't feel deprived. I actually felt sorry for the people munching down those crisps and greasy pastry items. I have been quite discerning about the food I eat for a long time. My problem is the almost unconscious nibbling of goodies and treats, cakes, sweet things offered me, savoury things I like offered me and not moving. I tend not to buy junk - well, not in huge quantities. I am guilty of buying us treats and the odd 'sweet' thing on offer. That spoils our otherwise healthy eating. Not big quantities, but every now and then there are treats in the house - bought by me - and given I don't move much, fatness follows. My boys are active and slim. They burn off bits of junk and have no food hang-ups like me. I can't afford fast food take-aways any more. I have weaned myself off them, but know if someone was having a celebration at McDonalds I'd join in. No self-discipline really. I am half-way there in a limbo-land of wanting to do the right thing but being easily tempted! My man suggested we go out for 'an Indian' - a curry - this evening. That involves buttery, oily (but tasty!) sauces, rice, huge naan breads and deep fried poppadoms to start with. It has to be washed down with lager.

I heard myself saying "Ummm. Not good for me really." Where did that come from? I really don't want to pig out any more. This morning I am feeling just plain dreary. I don't want to do what I have to do, I just want to slob out and watch TV. I shan't because if I don't clean the house no one else will...same for the laundry. Sigh. Boring. I wanted to eat and eat this morning. There was a hole to fill. I ate Weetabix, two, and sprinkled them lightly with sugar, then a banana because 'sweet' is what I wanted. If I had chocolate now, or biscuits I'd be tempted to eat them. I shall have an early lunch instead..some lean, home-cooked ham and salad. I shall drink water. I FEEL hungry, but I am not. I am bored.

I am going to sing the Carpenters' song again, and then move my lardy arse. I ought to get some fresh air. Stagnation is my modus operandi and it has been for too long.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

The Valley of Fat Gloom.

Have you been there? I bet you have. I went there because I forgot to value myself. I also stayed there far too long. It's a dark place and the scenery isn't wonderful. However, any of us can travel there. No passport required.

I went there and set up camp. No idea why I hung around, but I did. I probably waved to you when you camped out there too. I wasted time there. Look at my weight-loss progress. Look at the time I have wasted in that place..the days of my life I have given over to pitching a tent in that grim valley.

The beginning. January this year. 2010. I was going into another year as a fat person. I wanted to lose weight by my birthday in April, but I made no progress. I didn't really try. Then I decided to read weight-loss blogs again, because I know how inspiring many are for people who also have to embark on the journey back to themselves.  So, I read and made half-hearted attempts to take stock and eat properly and to get out more and move. March arrives, and I still haven't committed to an eating plan of any sort, nor had I put my arse into gear and got moving. I was wallowing, still camping out in Fat Gloom -  a place where the sun don't shine!  I had a sort of dread of committing to a weight loss plan. On my part there was lots of faffing about, lots of indecision, lots of moaning. Standstill. No progress. Days wasted, weeks wasted (years previously wasted) and pounds gained, whilst I worked myself up to a commitment, whining all the way. (How stupid is that?)

So, when I begrudgingly concluded that only I could make a difference to my shape I got a bit of a kick up the rear when Lyn at 'Escape From Obesity' created the Bethany McDonald Memorial Blogroll. I hopped on the scales, again. I decided life was precious and time was being wasted. I was going to blog myself into reality..and become accountable.

The numbers on the scale have fluctuated over the last six months..going between 217lbs and 230lbs. I didn't record my weight - I'd just sigh as I got off the scales and go and find something to eat. Why do we think eating helps? Why do we think munching on food will make our problems and the niggling self-loathing go away? I have been guilty of 'treating myself kindly' - with food. Having to deprive myself of those treats was, to my addled brain, cruel, a harsh punishment. That's why I was reluctant to embark on a 'healthy eating with exercise plan.' I wasn't going to move out of Fat Gloom Valley. It seemed a harsh, nasty, unfair way to way to live.

Being reasonably intelligent, fortunately the sensible part of me kicked in...'Looking like a walking dumpling is no way to live either' I told myself. There was a tug-of-war going on in my mind. I equated weight-loss with deprivation and self-cruelty. See my early posts. I was reluctant to get going. Very reluctant. WHY? What madness stops us treating ourselves well and loving ourselves? I was wasting time, months and years, indulging in food feasts with others - people who were slim, who worked off the food they ate and didn't pig-out, or only pigged-out occasionally. They had balance in their lives. I wanted to join in and I wanted no restrictions. I however had no balance. I had temporary immobility, and suddenly, no job to go to every day. I grew and grew. The pounds piled on to my already hefty frame. I was spending my time eating, thinking and hating being fat, but allowing it to happen.

'Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.'

M. Scott Peck

That quotation rings true for me. I am easy-going. I don't get worked up about too many things, including the way I look. However, the way I was beginning to look was depressing me, slowly..slowly, without me at first recognising it. I wasted years growing fatter, and as I grew fatter, I became sluggish. I began to dislike going to social occasions because I couldn't find anything to wear which looked good on me, and I imagined people I knew would be thinking "Blimey. She's a porker. Look how much weight she's put on!" I started to not like me. It was safer to spend my time doing little, not getting involved. It occured to me that I just didn't like myself or value myself any more. I wasted my days in depair...and eating gave me pleasure. I forgot to move my body, so days would go by and the only movement I got was going from room to room indoors. I am surprised the carpets didn't become threadbare on the route to the kitchen. I allowed myself to slide into an abyss of fat gloom. Fat Gloom became a place for me to stay.

I am not going there any more. In fact, I am burning my tent. A new day has dawned, and without 'dieting' -which drives me back down, I am climbing out of that dark valley and back into the light. I'll climb slowly and take the rocks I find easiest. I don't want to fall. I may even stop on a ridge to take stock and survey the scene. Rome wasn't built in a day after all, but I won't stop climbing. If you are down in Fat Gloom Valley right now, you can share my ropes. If you have faltered on the way out, I'll give you a shove, or a hand-up. I have decided there is a way out. I have decided to value me, and my days - my life even - so that long haul has begun. I am no expert climber, but I have devised a way to do this. I have my boots on. And you have too. Goodbye Fat Gloom!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

On The Road Paved With Good Intentions.

'People know you for what you've done, not for what you plan to do.' ~ Author Unknown
'Tis true. I am almost frightened to tell my nearest and dearest that I have a plan and intend to lose weight. I wonder why that is? Could it be that I am starting yet another half-hearted campaign, or could it be that I have no faith in my ability to do this?

I guess it matters to no one really, except my doctor, whether I remain fat or become thin - or at least get myself a decent BMI. I am lucky that I have a man who loves me just as I am, and kids who can see beyond the fat. My friends may secretly think I have become huge, but they don't mention it. I am my worst critic. I am gently encouraged by my man and my children to do more now I have retired from work. I suppose my whole reason for getting up in the morning was to go out to work. Now, even though I am still getting out of bed before 7am,  my days stretch before me and if I have too much time on my hands I can bring myself down with introspection. I don't have any cheerleaders encouraging me to do my best in anything. Too much time to think is not a good thing, and having too much time to spend is sometimes counter-productive to weight-loss in that meals or snacks can tend to become the highlight of the day!

Today I have a dilemma, again involving food. (I always remind myself that in the great scheme of things if my food worries are my only dilemmas today, I am truly lucky.)

An old and dear friend phoned me last night - we bonded when we were divorcing our husbands - suggesting we drive out to a nearby town this afternoon. She has a buy-one-get-one-free voucher for lunch - a sandwich lunch followed by a cream tea - a very English thing involving fresh scones, butter, jam and thick clotted cream, served with a pot of tea. It's something most of us try when we go on holiday - definitely not the sort of artery-clogging food treat you'd have every day. Normally I'd lick my lips and say "Good idea! I'm in!" Last night when I put the phone down I thought "Oh dear. I really shouldn't be including a cream tea in my eating plan." However, if you have read any of my other entries you'll appreciate I find self-discipline isn't the easiest thing in the world for me!

However, I am eating only healthy things. This morning I had my usual banana, a small bowl of muesli with semi-skimmed milk and a tangerine. I had a small lump of low-fat cheese with a coffee. If I had a cream tea I'd be going off my 'eat anything at anytime but make sure it is natural, healthy and nutritious' plan. I really cannot justify eating butter and clotted cream...or come to that, a scone after a sandwich.

What I shall do is have the sandwich - I'll go for a plain tuna and salad one if I can - and have a scone with jam...and drink lots of tea. Damage limitation. I could have made an excuse not to go I suppose? That wasn't an option however. My friend did want my company today.

My eating plan isn't really a problem at all. It isn't a problem because you see, she asked me to go out with her today because it is the anniversary of her daughter's death. She didn't want to be alone all day. She lost her daughter when she was hit by a taxi in Africa. The taxi mowed her down as she walked towards the airport on her way home to see her Mum. She came home in a coffin.

Being fat is no problem at all really, and if it is, it's a problem we can rectify, by making an effort. I plan to lose weight and one day in the not too distant future, I hope people will appreciate that I have done it. I shan't be bothering my friend today with my "Oh I shouldn't really have a cream tea' thoughts.

I AM going to do this.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Guilt and the Head F*ck. I refuse to allow food to bring me down.

Morning all ;)

Been know why I fail 'diets' or even give up on healthy eating plans? Guilt. That emotion which makes us feel bad for wanting something sweet, greasy and junky, and then the way it niggles away at us if we do succumb to something 'forbidden'.

I really am convinced that unless you have a will of iron, depriving yourself of things you love really messes with your head. You can keep up the 'diet' (or healthy way of eating as I prefer to see it) for AGES..months, years even, and I am sure some people never again have the need for a pudding, a biscuit, a bar of chocolate, a sweet etc once they  hit their goal weight.  Those people have retrained their taste buds. I am not sure though that all overweight people get to that stage..even when the weight is lost.

I suspect most overweight people have a real determination when starting out on a fat-busting regime - shifting the blubber. Something snaps and we decide enough is enough, and set of on a way of life involving us, the fridge, the cooker, the food cupboards and the supermarket and shedding the coat of fat that we loathe, that makes life difficult and makes us despise what we see in the mirror. 'No more' we say angrily, as we set off with determination. For about the last four years I have been building up to doing something about it - and then I found weight-loss blogs. I have read some absolutely fantastic, brilliant blogs over the years - Pasta Queen's and Diet Girl's in particular (their books sit on my coffee table!) and I have thought "They are so strong, so determined" and as they have tackled their weight issues I have marvelled at their determination to make changes. Both have been so inspiring, as has Lyn over at Escape From Obesity. They have made me think..."I can do this. I don't have to remain a fat woman." They have been influential people. I have them to thank for my decision to become a slimmer version of me.

I have also realised that I can never be that strong. I have realised I am basically weak, very easy-going, and I dislike routine. I have realised that I am made differently...that guilt, want and deprivation mess with my head...and that when I become a blob of emotional fury because of deprivation, thinking about menus and constant planning, I give up on myself. I know 'me' very well. I am a laid back soul...I dislike hassle.

'Diets' per se don't work..not for me. End of. THAT has slowly hit me. We are lead to believe that there is only one way to lose weight - and it involves movement - which is fine and sensible, but it also involves food restriction. Now...when something becomes off-limits, it's magnetic powers, it's pull increases. I know it does for me. That's where diets don't work for me.....and it is all down to 'deprivation' and 'restriction'. That is my light-bulb moment.

I can make food restriction work for me though. Some foods have no power over me fast foods. I can't remember my last takeaway meal. A McDonalds burger might as well be made of rubber. I don't want one and don't feel in the least bit deprived in not having one. I told myself every day as I drove nearby - it's on a route I frequently take - that my car couldn't make the right turn into McDonalds and I did it over and over again...I drove on by, telling myself I could have a big sandwich (of anything!) when I got home. Why waste money on junk? Perhaps the cost was the motivator - I don't know. I did this until I didn't want to steer in that direction, nor did I want to eat the grease they were serving up. I may have a burger again one day, who knows. I just see them as something I don't particularly want now. My 'healthy sandwich thought' won the might be every bit as calorific but in the 'thought' battle, the wholemeal sandwich versus burger battle, the 'sandwich thought' won.

I have no desire to count points, to weigh foods, to call food 'syns', to look up calorific values or play 'games' with this eating malarkey. I want food, I want to eat, I don't want to feel guilt or to have to pull myself back from the brink, but I also want to lose weight. I need to lose weight for the sake of my health, if nothing else.

My plan is never to get to the brink...never to feel I have failed, given in to temptation and am some sort of freaky fat failure because the taste of something I love has been enjoyed.

That is just one massive head fuck and it screws us up...or it screws me up. This I have learned. I have known so many women (my sister included) who have gone to Weight Watchers, or embarked on a diet plan, a way of eating and have lost stones. They were dedicated and disciplined. They became slim. They also became fat again.

Why does this happen? I think it happens because a) they haven't trained their palates to really enjoy good wholesome foods as a way of life, b) they have to have 'portions' and a 'plan' to succeed - life doesn't work like that, and c) they have seen so many foods as 'bad' things. Those foods have horns, red eyes, cloven hooves and a long tail with an arrow shaped end bit. Chocolate becomes Satan incarnate.

Spare me all that. I am not going down that road.

I appreciate that some people can't work like that - that a nibble of a bar of chocolate just isn't going to work...a binge will follow. That happens to me in others ways, because some foods, like chocolate, just don't tempt me.  I can eat junk though. I know that if there is a packet of biscuits in the house, I am bound to have one or two with every mug of tea I drink...and I'll finish them off in a few days...not all at once, but I will consume the lot, eventually. It's the same with cakes. I somehow have to loathe these items now? I can't have them again? I am not sure that is going to work. I feel my head immediately working it's way up to a 'Don't tell me what I can't eat woman!" tantrum. "I'll eat the lot...scoff, scoff, there! Give me some more! See the cream and crumbs round my mouth. Ha ha. You lost. You failed. "

I have had to look at how I LIKE to eat. I don't think I can plan for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I can plan for eating when I feel the urge, and satisfying that urge. Let me eat. I can stock my house full of healthy snackettes...and I can eat what I want when I any amount. I can be plain greedy with hummus and pitta breads..but I know after I have toasted the third that I have filled myself up, behaved like a pitta-bread pig, but not too much damage has been done. I become conscious that I am pigging out on pitta bread...conscious of helping myself to 'one more' and maybe tomorrow I won't do will suffice. I may learn that lesson. No recriminations, but maybe a light bulb moment in my head. I still love me. I am not full of cake.

I CAN make changes to my way of life. I can make lots of small adjustments every single day. The main adjustment I have to make is the movement one. I have to embrace calorie burning and fat burning in the form of movement, not a severe and restrictive diet which has me climbing the walls and ultimately feeling like an out-of-control fat freak if I eat something I enjoy.

If the house is just full of nutritious things I like to eat I have no need for cakes and biscuits to take up residence, or bars of chocolate. I can though have a cake, like I did yesterday. Cake CAN be my friend. I was out all day, made healthy choices with food, gave up my white wine for water...and when we all sat down for a cuppa in the afternoon I HAD the small almond cake offered to me. One cake...and I looked on the packaging...although I may not in future. My one cake cost me 113 calories...I didn't want two cakes, I didn't feel the need to make or buy my own packet of cakes. I just enjoyed a cake. I didn't crave a cake, I didn't feel gulty for eating it. I bloody well enjoyed that sweet morsel. No recriminations. I wasn't 'bad'.

It works. A small treat, if I am able to control the amount of treat I eat, which I have discovered I can, actually helps me stay on plan. I don't want to see a little cake as satanic, as an enemy. No food is my enemy. My enemy is my lack of control, my greed and my love of sweet things and savoury things with little or no nutritional value. If I allow sweet things into my life occasionally, they lose power over me. If I eat when I feel the need, I am nourishing my body. There are no restrictions to punish me.

This morning I have had a banana first thing, before rushing off in the morning traffic with son. I told a friend later and she was horrified. "Oh no! Don't choose bananas...they are so calorific" she urged. "Fuck off neurotic" I thought in return. I smiled and said "I like bananas. They are sweet and packed full of vitamins and minerals. They are good for me and they satisfy my sweet tooth. Aren't they a 'super food'?" I think she pitied  me. Madness or what?

She is a 'dieting' woman. I came home, put the washing on, drank a glass of water and opened the fridge. Normal fat person behaviour. I took out a light Baby Bel cheese. Urge for something gooey, rubbery, cheesy, chunky and flavourful fulfilled. I ate four little tomatoes with it..they were chewy and sweet...and slightly 'acidic'. They left my mouth 'clean' Hunger satisfied, need to eat soothed, easily. I like thinking about the flavours in my mouth. I have a whole range of foods to choose from when I next choose to exercise my jaw. I have to know I have good foods I can put together to make up a healthy meal, and that is as far as my planning goes.

I guess we have to accept that we over-eat, but it's really hard to stop doing that because we are on a 'diet'. I like to eat. All fat people like to eat.

Banish the goo, the junk from your house..that's all you have to do. Then eat.....pig out on good stuff, and feel virtuous about changing in that small way. See no foods as BAD. Enjoy the odd treat when it is offered - just ensure you have the control to stop at a single treat. That calls for determination, but it's do-able. It's about eating normally..and that is the lesson I must learn. My taste buds have been retrained, slowly over the I am thinking about my buying behaviour - I don't buy things I will pig out on...nor will I give them to my sons. Strength is needed in the supermarket, but when I get home with the wholemeal bread, or the gorgeous granary bread, or the pumpkin and sunflower seed oaty loaf, I may have a slice of toast and honey if I want it...right there, right then. Two slices even. No restrictions except the banishment of junk from the house. My lesson might be "OK, I have had my bread today...and my (low fat) spread. That was really good. I've had enough bread for now." Head is OK with this. No tantrums. Head might be purring and stroking the inside of my skull. Patting my neck bones...I don't know lol :)  But it isn't fighting me.

I know what works for one won't work for others...but I am finding, through blogging that all foods can be on my side. I can be on my side exercising control and choice and by learning to love myself. I refuse to screw my head up by being on a 'diet' and by constantly telling myself  'I can't have that'. Yes, it might be lax, but by doing just that and upping the exercise a bit more (no out and out sweaty sessions at the gym) ...having two episodes of eating out and going for puddings or cakes afterwards...I lost 4lbs last week. OK, so it's early days. I dare say my progress will be slow, but I want to learn to love and cherish myself along the weight-loss path. If my head is fucked up by constant denial, I am a lesser person, playing a temporary weight-loss game. There is no point in doing that.

That is me.

This is for life.

I hope you find a way of losing weight which works for you, long term, and doesn't cause you daily anguish. Isn't that the key?

Have a good Tuesday folks.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Shortest post ever. Probably, maybe.

Morning all.

I was up early to get ready for visitors. Had breakfast, tea, a yogurt and a banana, jigged madly about to two upbeat songs I had on the PC. ( Not a pretty sight, X-rated, but it always wakes me up, it's enjoyable and it's 'exercise' of a sort.)

Then I thought, "Eeek, it's Monday. I have to weigh myself." I did. I trod on those scales, ever so gingerly, and pulled a face. I squinted down at my feet - then found my glasses so I could read the numbers. I trod on the scales again, full of trepidation.

Guess what - despite my lapses, I now weigh 217lbs. Wow. That's 4lbs gone. What might I have lost if I'd not given in to temptation, twice?

I am a slightly less grumpy woman right now. If I had smileys I'd post a huge grin. Oh wow. I am a bit dumbfounded.

Got to fly...lots to do. My feet have wings :)

I'm on my way.....I'm on my way. Yeeeeessssss!  *Punches air in a fat, middle aged way*

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Slaps self in jest: I'm useless, I am rubbish and I have no backbone..blah, blah.


I wish I could REALLY berate myself and that when I did, it would have some meaning and an effect on my behaviour from there on in. I really am too Irish at times. (My parents were Irish and very laid-back, easy-going, optimistic folks.) I am able to say "Oh well, tomorrow is another day" I should have been Scarlett O'Hara.

I have had another "to hell with it" episode, and yes, it happened on Saturday night, in a restaurant. All my resolve ran out the door like an Olympic sprinter when faced with yummy things to eat. Come back resolve! We took my man's family to an upmarket 'fusion' place in town. It served 'Pan Asian' foods - so there were Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian dishes on the menu. All the foods were freshly cooked and placed in huge bowls on a massive circular bar in the middle of the restaurant. It was a 'help-yourself' fixed price menu. Entrees consisted of crab, prawns, chicken, etc etc ..all deep fried, many in batter...many skewered on sticks and all looking SO appetising.

Now, given I have been here before with girlfriends I KNOW that it is possible to eat healthily and sensibly. I KNOW scallops are available, from the griddle, as is salmon, squid, lean pork skewers, chicken pieces, plainly grilled...and cod in parcels, cooked in lemon juice and spices. I know there are many vegetable dishes to choose from, a salad bar and a stir-fry area, where I could pick and choose from light alternatives.There is a dessert area too...cakes galore, fancy little mousses, a chocolate fountain, fudge, marshmallows, meringues, whipped well as jelly cubes and fresh fruit, deliciously prepared and sliced. I love melon, grapes, oranges and pineapple served ready to eat...So why then did I dip things in chocolate? Why did I have a slice of banoffee pie?

Because it was there.

This was an adult version of Santa's grotto. Who is going to face all the delights and wonders in there and come out with a jigsaw puzzle when you can choose the latest electric gizmo, or something flashy and new-fangled?

Sigh. Does one need a halo when embarking on this journey?

All is not lost. That was one bad eating experience when I CHOSE not to exercise control. I CHOSE to eat the lovely stuff when the plainer, less calorific (and just as tasty) foods were available to me.

One blow-out. I ate well otherwise, all day. This morning I've eaten fruit, yogurt and not a lot else, only because I am home alone and can't be bothered to cook for myself.  I have also opened the gym equipment I bought with the vouchers my sisters gave me for my birthday. I have a body swivel board and a mobile rowing gadget...both with strong elasticated (pink!) ropes attached. I have laughed as I have tried them out and I've done half an hour cycling whilst watching TV.

I have also invited my man and his relatives round in the morning for coffee. This means I'll  a) have to tidy the house and load the dishwasher...and b) I'll  have to make an effort this evening. I have created a goal for myself. I could easily idle the day away otherwise, self-indulgently in books, TV and the PC. It's a bank holiday tomorrow so the shops will be shut. We'll have to mooch around, so have decided to visit a park and then go for a late pub lunch. I warned my man as we made these arrangements that there would be no cakes or biscuits to go with the coffee. I felt a bit of a useless hostess. What sort of woman am I if I can't offer my visitors something nice to go with my best china and lovely fresh coffee? (The best china comes out rarely, but really, what is the point in having it if you don't use it? I deserve pretty and delicate cups and saucers and beautiful plates! I keep nothing 'for best' any more.)

Sandwiches and cake would (in my Mum's house) always accompany tea (we didn't drink coffee) if we had visitors. I don't even have any shop-bought biscuits! How mean, how unsociable! I am just not buying them any more because I'd eat them if they were in the house. For one moment I had the wild idea that I'd bake a cake later, just so I could serve my visitors something with their coffee.

I am smiling here. I am not really a grumpy person at all. I am easy-going and soft-hearted - but don't tell anyone and blow my cover. I am quite laid-back and sometimes I WISH I could get angry with myself for doing stupid things like I did at the restaurant last night. I need guilt, remorse and lots of self-flagellation but I can't WHIP up any! Bad joke, I know :)

I am back on track. I'll be good today, and tomorrow. I have the pub lunch trial tomorrow. Gawd. What will I eat?

I wish I had a steely resolve to do this. I know I am the loser if I keep giving in to food temptation - but - part of me thinks we are a long time dead and that life should be a pleasure trip for as long as possible, given it is strewn with miserable times too. I KNOW ill-health isn't fun, I know that, I take lots of pills every day for my chronic complaints, but I am useless at denying myself things I shouldn't have. There is no way I could become a nun....Even the title of this piece is a joke. Like me?

Strangely, Vince Lombardis words make sense...

“Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority.”

WHY do I just know me and Vince wouldn't get along? :)

I am sure he is a fantastic motivator, but look at those words. SACRIFICE, HARD WORK, SELF DENIAL, PERSEVERANCE.  Phew! To a certain extent I'd say you have to put something in to a project to get anything out of it, but to live like that - every single day? No thanks. The foot has to come off the pedal occasionally unless we are set on a course of self-destruction via stress and the inability to relax and go with the flow. Yeah, clogged arteries provide another way to self-destruction, I know that. The dichotomy between fun, self-indulgence and being wonderfully self-disciplined is one I struggle with.

I am learning however that I mustn't associate food with pleasure, treats, fun and self-love. Oh, by the way, I was typing out 'hard-work' (above) and a typo caused me to write "hard wok." Given my Chinese food disaster, that made me smile.