Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Going Over To The Dark Side.

Hmmm. I am extra grouchy this afternoon. Does everyone get tired of trying do you think? I know lots of people keep going on their weight-loss quest, that's for sure. But do they still get down days when they wonder if all the effort is worthwhile? Am I just a moody cow who wants things to be easy? Today I have been picking - everything I have eaten has been OK - there is nothing in the house which could cause me to go off plan unless I decided to eat a whole loaf of bread and I certainly haven't had huge portions of anything.

Meals...or foods I have reached for when feeling I need to eat.

Breakfast: One small pro-biotic yoghurty drink thingy..raspberry flavour. One small banana. One digestive biscuit. Just couldn't be bothered do the bowl, cereal, milk thing. Two mugs of tea, each with a splash of semi-skimmed milk.

Snack 1. A clementine. Large glass of water.

Snack 2. Two oatcakes with low fat cream cheese, spread thinly. Another mug of tea.

Lunch:  A piece of cold cooked lamb's liver with a little congealed onion gravy coating it, left over from last night. (Slurp. Just call me Mrs H Lecter. No fava beans and  I went without the 'nice Chianti.') This was straight from the fridge, finger food, no plate. God, that sounds disgusting! It was tasty though. Waste not, want not. A couple of cherry tomatoes.

More water. A muesli bar..a nutty one with hazelnuts and almonds. (95 cals)

That's it so far. Now, should I be eating fresh air wrapped in lettuce leaves? Tonight we are having chicken breasts with vegetables, a tomato, pepper and onion sauce and brown rice. That's pretty balanced, isn't it? I could add more salad leaves and fruit, but I don't think I am over-doing it food wise. Admittedly, I haven't done much today in terms of movement - washing and cleaning up the kitchen..washed the bending and stretching and danced for about ten minutes to some jiggy stuff on my PC. I intend to do half an hour on the bike later but don't think I'll be walking today. I have a pile of ironing to do when I finish this. I was out yesterday with daughter and we did a fair bit of brisk walking over two hours. I walked ten miles on Monday! OK, so I could do more cardio...but I am the woman who hates gyms and formal exercise, remember? I know I have to work up a sweat. I am eating less and exercising/moving a LOT more than I used to, but it's obviously not working particularly well. I want to see results.

Is my metabolism shot to pieces or am I making excuses? I do have the odd indulgence but I plan for it. (That's my 'You will stick to a healthy eating regime' idea. No binges.) The last indulgence I allowed myself was.....ummmm...thinking....more snacky food on Sunday (watching the football match ) than I intended to have but the snacks were vegetable couscous and hummus..and bread sticks. We had a salad for dinner that evening.

Thing is, my plan is flexible. That's the way I like it and that's the way I think I might succeed. However, weight loss has been SO slow. I know it took me a while to embrace the notion that I COULD do this, and I still believe I can but I am wondering if I'll run out of steam. I mean, I might reach my target in thirty or so years. Who wants to be the slimmest, trimmest 80 year old at the pensioners' tea dance?

So, I either eat a lot less and exercise a LOT more (see me pull a face) or perhaps take myself off to the Weight Watcher's group which is held early on Thursday mornings in the church hall only a ten minute walk from my house. I found two "No registration fee and one free meeting" vouchers this morning, so I am seriously contemplating it, although I hate 'organised' anything where you have to show up at a certain place at a certain time every bloody week. And counting points as well??? Aaaargh. Now, if there is a really inspirational leader who delivers an incredibly motivating piece post weigh-in, then I may join. (I am not a joiner...this goes against my prnciples. Social occasions with friends? Plans to do things together? Night school classes which interest me? No problems. Right now, weight-loss interests me so it will be in my interests to look in. It had better be a riveting meeting though ;-) I think my boredom threshold is quite low.) The leader will have to be good...captivating and motivational. If the place is chock-full of women (or men come to that) wanting to talk about the calories/points in a half teaspoon of dried oregano or an inch-long piece of banana I'm off. You won't see my heels for the dust.

Who knows. I might even find it worth-while ;-)

I'll tell you how I get on tomorrow. I really won't be a disruptive influence...I promise...but it's true, the older you get the less likely you are to stand for time-wasting activities / nonsense. Many people swear by the Weight-Watchers plan. I am not sure I have the patience required for it, but we'll see. I truly hope tomorrows' meeting converts me. This lard layer and me are parting company - that's all I know.

I shall enter that meeting in the church hall with an open mind - honestly.

Joshua Liebman said :

"Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them."

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

I Took The Road Less Travelled, And Got Lost!

Hmmm. That was yesterday. After getting roadside assistance yesterday for my dead car I was towed into a garage. (That was a strange experience - being towed in busy traffic!) The mechanic from the AA asked me to start the car and all we got was a painful whine...straight away he knew what was wrong. The cam belt had gone. Cam belt anyone? *Shrugs in girly way and grimaces in embarrassed ignorance.* He told me it was going to be a 'big job'. Sigh. Anyway, my son is a trainee mechanic, so I phoned his boss and asked if they could do my car repair and he kindly told me to bring it in so I was towed to his garage where son's job today will be to 'strip down the engine'. (I can't believe that my little boy, my baby, is so grown up that he can now do that and get paid for it.)  I have no idea how I will pay for it, and I know my lad's lovely boss will give me a discounted price but I can't (and don't) expect them to do a big job for nothing. Wonder if I could pay in installments? No. That would embarass my son beyond belief. I know my man would pay for it but he isn't going to. No way. I shan't even tell him it's a problem. OK, so I am proud, but he is not a meal ticket or a bank...I pay my own way. I may have to ask daughter to lend me money until next month. Jeeze. In my fifties and it comes to this....I can't believe it. I hate, hate, hate being in this situation.

So car-less, I had to walk back from the garage, some two miles away from home. We are experiencing incredible temperatures all over the UK at the moment so the sun was beating down as I walked. I thought I'd try a new route home, a path I thought might be a short-cut. It wasn't. It brought me through waste land, bushes, shrubs, dusty tracks...and suddenly all the land-marks I knew had disappeared. I kept going but was aware I was probably even further away from home..but I told myself the exercise was good for me. I don't mind walking but so few people were doing anything in the sun yesterday. It was just TOO hot. I just can't walk slowly unless I am with someone. Then I can stroll, but alone - no, I have to go at a fast pace. I don't like dawdlers who block foot paths. I always over-take them. So, on the road less travelled and completely alone, one fat woman kept trudging on, sweating profusely. (OK 'perspiring' for those of a more sensitive disposition.) Do you ever feel slightly vulnerable? I was beginning to. I was in the middle of nowhere, in the countryside, on the edge of a large town and completely alone and vaguely lost. I did the 'strong woman' walk...the one where you walk purposefully, swinging arms, looking determined, in my best "don't mess with me" mode. (I always imagine that when I am out in the open and there is no one about I am in the exact location chosen by a mad axeman...and he is lurking behind a tree, sharpening his blade. Yeah. I hit myself often.) Anyway, all this 'looking purposeful' is quite exhausting, so when I finally found a road with some houses on it I was mightily relieved! I just wanted to get home. This two mile fast walk had become a much longer one..lasting about an hour and a half. Twenty minute I'd perhaps gone round in circles for four miles or more!

Phew. What a work-out. Yesterday I had to abandon my car and walk home to get all my documents, re-arrange things and phone around. I could only make a few calls in McDonalds's. I walked three miles home in the morning, and three miles back to the car later on, to wait for the AA mechanic to rescue me. Six miles, in the heat. Then another four miles back from the garage. I walked ten miles yesterday! (I am a reasonably fit fat woman.) Now, surely I melted off some of my blubber, my weight? Nope. I weighed myself last night and the scales showed no change. This morning I weigh one miserable pound less than I did last week!

So, despite my being quite active during the week...much, much more active than I was before I began this campaign, I am not shedding pounds. I have given up calorific alcohol, most sweet goodies, I don't buy biscuits and cakes, not one scrap of pastry has passed my lips, I have never liked chocolate much, and I am eating smaller portions of food. I am drinking gallons of water. Nothing is fried (but I don't fry foods at home, ever, except eggs, occasionally. I didn't ever fry food before this campaign either, as greasy foods tend to make me feel very uncomfortable since my abdominal operations.) Is my post-menopausal metabolism so sluggish that it doesn't recognise that I am trying really hard to be a healthier version of me?

I am wondering if I need to join WW or something. Am I doing it all wrong, even though I keep a food journal? OK, so I need to up the exercise, but if I have to be a woman who 'goes for the burn' I'll lose heart. I want to be fit but not an athlete. I want my body to move and it does...and it could be fitter, I know that but I am beginning to dispair that all my efforts have been in vain. I know I might see a bigger loss when I weigh myself next week, and I know I am lighter than I used to be, but losing weight SO slowly is very disheartening. I don't want to lose my way again. My lifestyle now is different from the one I used to have. I am conscious of leading a healthier life, but it looks like I am still going round in unproductive circles, like I did yesterday : (

I am reminded...when I was a student I used to laugh with friends and we'd tell each other to "Keep on truckin' baby" because the Eddie Kendricks song was in the charts at the time. (1970s) We still say "Keep on truckin' " when we say farewell at the end of our now middle-aged girly reunions.

Oh well. I have to walk to get anywhere now. I'll keep on truckin'. I shan't quit. Like I said yesterday, every cloud has a silver lining. I am off to buy some cottage cheese, more fizzy water, and milk. Hmm. Some heavy things to carry back. Walking and weight-lifting today. Let's hope I don't get lost again.

'The longest journey begins with a single step.'

- Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching <~~ (You just know he really meant 'Keep on Truckin' baby.")

Monday, 28 June 2010

I Am Tired of Things Going Wrong.

It's enough to drive a woman to food. Drive? Huh. I'd be so lucky. I was up bright and early and out on the road as usual, taking my son to work when all of a sudden my car just lost it's power. It just died as I was driving along a packed, fast-moving road in the middle of rush hour traffic. Fortunately I was able to steer it into a side road just before it stopped moving. I braked..and then realised I was partially blocking someone's drive! I put a note of apology through the letter box explaining the situation. We abandoned car and walked (and walked!) back up the busy road to a junction, where there was a McDonalds. Son decided this was the place for breakfast and somewhere he could phone his boss to explain why he was going to be very late to work. I joined him in a 'breakfast' an egg and sausage McMuffin. (I had tea with it and let son have the hash brown.) From there I made the necessary phone get my car towed to the garage. I also had to phone an old lady - a family friend who recently lost her husband. I'd been chatting to her a lot at my sister's wedding recently and promised I'd keep in touch. I'd planned to go and visit her today and I was going to take her out for lunch. I had to phone her and cancel that, so I felt bad. (Why does "My car has broken down!" always sound like a feeble excuse? )

From there, I walked home, in the warm morning sunshine. So, before 8.30am I had completed a three mile walk! I'd have enjoyed the walk if I hadn't felt so stressed and fed up...and it hadn't been during the busy rush hour when the roads are full of rtraffic as people go to work. All I need is ANOTHER bill..I just can't afford for things to go wrong now I don't have an income. I live on my occupational pension and that just about covers the house and food costs. There is not a lot left over. Last week I finished my course of dental treatment and was landed with a bill for over £230. (I am reluctant to visit the dentist these days because of the seems like an indulgence.) A few weeks before that I'd had to tax and MOT my car...There are so many things round the house that need fixing but I just leave them because of the expense. Goodness only knows how much the car repairs will cost. I am finding life tough being on a limited income. When I worked (all my adult life) if something had to be paid for it was paid for and I didn't have to deliberate over it or worry too much about it. I am a homeowner, so if anything goes wrong which the insurance doesn't cover, I have to fix it. Even the insurance companies have policy holders pay the first few hundreds of pounds of any even claiming costs a lot of money, despite monthly premiums costing more and more every time a policy is renewed. It's all very depressing.

Money worries can really eat away at a person I am finding. (And when something eats away at me, I try to counter it by eating anything!) I'll have to find myself another job. I am frightened however of being a liability to any future employer. I still have to attend several consulations at the hospital for various chronic complaints and there aren't many days that go by without me having to take pain-killers. Who am I kidding anyway? Sadly here many people are on the employment scrap-heap once they hit 50. Not many employers take on older people, and even little part-time reception/office jobs pay a pittance. From reading the job columns it seems employers want the most wonderful people possible to man the phones, sit at a reception desk and do simple clerical duties. The situations vacant ads read "Must be conversant with systems A, B and C and also have experience of astro-physics, and rocket-science. Those who have worked as brain surgeons would be considered favourably." That for a filing clerk? Mind you, people don't have to file things away any more...I could do the paper shredding? Nope. I am not qualified enough :(

It's at times like these, on stressful days that I could bury my head in the sand....not deal with troubles. I have to of course and one of my usual coping strategies was (is?) to eat...and and think. Today I stopped for breakfast at Mc Ds with my son, and that was OK. I drank a large glass of water when I got in from my long walk, and now, in the middle of writing I have just gone to the kitchen to make myself two slices of (wholemeal) toast and honey and a big mug of tea. I am in danger of over-eating today...just because. I am however aware of what I am doing so I'll control myself.

In the great scheme of things my problems are minor, but they are still problems. My Dad used to always say "Something will turn up." He lived his life going from week to week, pay packet to pay packet. The only time he didn't show up at work for his factory shifts in front of hot furnaces was when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Poor Dad. He was such a gentle, quiet, kind-hearted, giving man. He'd give his last penny to anyone with a sob story. He often did. He read his Bible before falling asleep every night. He thought every cloud had a silver lining. He died at sixty four, just two months before he was due to retire from work. Life can be grim, sh*tty, hard can't it? Mum was an incredibly cheerful lady, despite having had the most unfortunate of childhoods (Think "The Magdalene Sisters" and Irish orphanages.) One of her little sayings was "You have all the riches in the world if you have your health and strength." Bless her - those cruel women boxed her little five year old ears at night until she was left deaf. Her health wasn't the best but it didn't stop her doing anything. She was an incredibly plucky lady. She truly believed the best things in life were free, and I have to agree with her - although a Lottery win wouldn't go amiss! I am the product of two, gentle, hard-working unassuming people and I know my life has been so much easier than theirs was. They gave me a great start in life and by their examples I learnt so much. Eating all before me today won't solve my problems, it will only make me fatter and more miserable. I have to walk back to my car with the keys at some point today - another three mile walk is on the cards. Oh, make that six miles...I have to walk back home again too, unless the tow truck driver drops me off. I'll take the walk. I think lots when I walk and if this cloud has a silver lining then it's the exercise that is built in to having a car break down on me! :)

I'll get through this, even if we have to live on soup and bread for the next month or so. What did Scarlett O' Hara say in 'Gone With The Wind"?  (I love that film...I'd have snapped Rhett Butler up! Oh Clark Gable as Rhett. Drool. Drool.)

"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

I'll have put a plan in place by sometime this afternoon hopefully. I think I might be doing a lot more walking this week. It's all good. Now I have to plan a small but healthy lunch and a meal for us all to eat tonight. I shan't try to eat my troubles away because that strategy just doesn't work!

I know it, you know it.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

The Nation Grinds To A Halt, To Eat And Drink.

Sunday, and this afternoon England play Germany in the World Cup. This game has been hyped up so much and sad to say there is a still a jokey sort of "Don't mention ze war" rivalry in that we really want to beat them, for a nation's pride. Stupid huh? Germany are the BIG opponents. If we'd drawn Brazil there'd still be the excitement and still the desire to win, but not this "We're gonna stuff 'em' mentality.

The shops are full of beer and pizzas, as though it's obligatory to drink LOTS of beer and eat lots and lots of junk food...Everything that is fatty, greasy and not nutritious is on special offer - buy one pack - a super-sized pack - of artery-clogging junk, and get another pack FREE!  (When will the marketing people come up with the slogan "Your arteries don't stand a chance"?) The food and drink has to be set up before the game and then people can nosh and swig to their heart's content and not one calorie will be counted. The pubs will be overflowing if they show the match on the big screen and the police will be on red alert, as sadly, loutish, drunken behaviour often follows football matches.

So, not a lot is happening in England today..people are getting out early to cut the lawn, water their gardens, to wash the car first thing...all national pursuits it would seem on a Sunday, and I too had the hose on the garden at 8am this morning. A nation waits and the sane ones have taken off for the countryside or somewhere they can escape all this football fever. Me? I am indifferent really. I live in England but was born to Irish parents, so my heart and blood will always green. I feel sorry for the Welsh, Scottish and Irish in the UK. They are unlikely to be caught up in the frenzy surrounding this afternoon's game. However, my man is a big footy fan, so this afternoon we'll have lunch together and watch the game with friends. This being a social occasion food has to be on the agenda, and drink.

I am really pleased to say I asked him to ensure fizzy water was cooling in the fridge, (his fridge, at his house - we are together but live apart) and that we didn't have junk food around. Instead we are having a ham salad with new potatoes - I boiled and roasted a ham yesterday - and my only indulgence is likely to be a slice of fresh white crusty bread. We could have bought Pringles, peanuts, hot dogs, pizzas..or burgers and sausages for the BBQ, but we'll be eating ham salad. I suppose I could cut out the potatoes and crusty bread and butter? We'll see. Fortunately it's another extremely hot day here today. The whole of the UK is going to be sunny and former record temperatures are likely to be exceeded today. A lot of people love this sort of weather but I am not one of them. I like the sun to be gentle...I love sunny days..but I also need a breeze too otherwise I feel grim. I get headaches when the days are stickily humid and oppresive.Sadly it usually becomes really humid and unpleasant when it gets very hot here, and we all melt...and sweat profusely. It is a day for lounging around though. I am going to buck that trend by having half an hour on my bike before it gets too hot and then I have a bit of gardening to do before I shower and spend the rest of the afternoon doing very little except watching television.

I find that interesting. Sundays for me could be, lie in, get up late morning, feel groggy for an hour whilst I drink tea. Sit on sofa reading Sunday papers for an hour. Shower, dress, drink tea. Drive out to man's house, have roast dinner/pub meal with wine. Go back, watch TV, eat cake with afternoon tea. Have a pile of toast and honey with tea later on. Not a lot happened really, although it was (and still is) always quite enjoyable. Yesterday when we got together we walked and and elsewhere

and I drank water all day.

I am not sure if I have a spring in my step this Sunday, but I hope so. This is a nice, positive feeling. All I have to do now is ensure it lasts all day and that I don't over-indulge this afternoon. It's only 9.20am here, and already I have had breakfast, been out in the garden and written a post...

Have a good Sunday all. I shan't be crying if England don't succeed this afternoon, but I suspect whether we win or lose, there'll be lots of alcohol used to celebrate victory or drown sorrows.

This slimming game IS about bucking trends, isn't it? We have to say 'no' to a certain lifestyle, and it can be hard. I am glad to say I shan't be following the herd this afternoon....although if by chance we ended up elsewhere and the food in front of us was the usual pre-match obligatory junk food, I suspect I'd indulge...but reluctantly. Would I be able to say no to all of it and go hungry? Not sure. That's an interesting thought. You know what - I'd be REALLY unhappy to have unhealthy food before me. I want that temptation removed. That's progress, isn't it?

See if you can buck a trend today. Have a good 'un, wherever you are.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Like a Moth to a Flame.....

Written last night : I'll have you know I am writing this at home in the darkness. Dedication huh? Hope you appreciate it ;-) I had to switch off the light over my PC because a lovely, delicate-looking grey moth - with quite a big wing span - was fluttering around above me, drawn to the overhead light. Poor thing, it looked disorientated, and if it kept flying to the light-bulb it would surely scorch it's body and perish up there. I cupped him in my hands a couple of times to take him to an outside door, but of course the minute I let him go he flew right back in, drawn to the light. I don't know why moths do that...but it's destructive behaviour really isn't it? I am no moth expert - what do they call people who study moth-behaviour? (Geeks? Nerds?) No....I joke. Anyway...I am typing this in the gloom, and my little moth friend has settled down, after first alighting on my keyboard briefly, bless him, (to thank me for being so compassionate, I am sure ;) 

Disney people. How about a new film? I hear the trailer now. "The heart-warming story of a girl and her moth."  Makes a change from 'A boy and his dawg." I'll edit this and send it out in the morning. I might cut that last bit.

Anyway...the dark and the light. That moth, stupid thing, no brain obviously, kept fluttering towards a hot light bulb....getting it's wings and body scorched. It did it time and time and time again. Does it have a death wish??? Do we? We do things to harm ourselves too, don't we? We eat bad stuff KNOWING it will eventually clog up our arteries and if by some stoke (ha..stroke!) of luck our hearts don't suffer, our bodies are likely to break down in some other way. Yet we carry on..

THINKS: There's probably no comparison, but why are fat people drawn to the fridge? Such destructive behaviour. Is it the light inside which beckons us?  That's it!! Eureka! We aren't related to apes...we have so much in common with moths! (I shall claim that theory and write a paper on it.) I digress. Sorry.

I know people who are deeply religious and recognise a dark side...and although I no longer attend church or have much time for organised religion, I have a faith that we are intrinsically 'good'...and that we are drawn to the dark, or the light - like that moth. I remember my children singing "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.' Such a great song...and I do believe we have to shine our light while we are here...and we have to look for the light in every given situation too. That's sometimes hard to do. We also have the ability to do the right thing, to make choices, to choose between the right way and the wrong way..or even the middle way...a way of our own, which pleases us. Losing weight is a choice we make every single time we put food stuffs into our mouths, every time we remind ourselves to get off the chair and move our bodies. The dark side is the urge to sit and sit and eat without caring....and we know we have to fight that, but it's always there, isn't it? Lurking. There is always the temptation to succumb to all that's bad for us....Even now, after months of blogging, I am fighting the urge to idle my time away and let food fill the gaps in my day..any old food, and probably food which is just 'there'. Junk-type food which doesn't have to be prepared. I am fighting it, but so aware that it is a daily fight. It's hard.

Perhaps I shouldn't get too deep but when I write (and think) about losing weight I see the struggle. Losing weight isn't easy. Every single day I have to talk myself out of running amok in the bakery section of my local supermarket. I don't go there now...not often anyway, and then I'll head straight for the wholemeal bread aisle, pick up a loaf and then hot foot it like a woman with a mission to the biological washing powders or toilet roll section for some distraction. I don't dawdle, because that fresh cream cake cabinet is my own personal light bulb. If I am going to be drawn to something destructive, that's it. Forget cocaine, booze, gang warfare and strutting my (fat) stuff on street corners. Nope, if I am going to damage myself big time it will be with dairy produce. Fresh whipped cream - as seen in cakes - should be a class A drug I reckon. Bakers are my pimps.

Some people can eventually leave all their food temptations behind them. I want to get to that place.

Hmmm. Thinking...I wonder - when slim people open their fridges, does the light blind them, because after all, salad leaves, bottles of water and yogurts don't take up much room in that space?  ;-)  Now, stop being silly Grump. I am learning that my fridge light should illuminate all the good stuff I keep in there now...and it does. My fridge is a shrine to healthy eating - BUT there is a shop and a McDonald's only ten minutes down the road. I could flutter off to that big yellow M any time...We all know the insanity of deliberately going out to buy junk food because we just NEED it.

Anyway..that's it really. A post inspired by a moth. (Sorry.)

We should be having LOTS of light bulb moments on this road to a healthier body - and we get those and we learn more about ourselves as we go. Our light bulb moments don't damage us..they help us see the sense in losing weight. That poor moth. His light bulb moments aren't healthy....ours are. Look to the light...and a lighter body eh?

Now, at some point today I want you to be conscious of that light that comes on when you open your fridge door :)

Have a good day.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Not Exercise, But Activity.

I seem to be a bit up and down on this journey. One day I'll feel extremely positive and up for all the challenges, the next I'll falter, feel that having to lose weight is so unfair and that the road ahead is just too long. I've been re-reading my posts for the last few days, and smiling to myself at the contrasts in my thinking and moods. One day I am off for a route march and ready to walk round the world twice, taking you all with me, the next I am fed up with it all and the only thing I want to do is vegetate and eat cakes.

How do I stop this roller-coaster of positive and negative emotions? Is it natural to feel like this I wonder? I really want to feel good about this journey every day. I am doing it for me, after all.

Yesterday however was interesting. I think I might have mentioned before (several times) that I am prone to procrastination. I have been this way inclined since I retired and it's not good. If I don't have a reason to be somewhere I can idle away my day, even though it starts very early. I can always put things off until tomorrow, because I have every day in which to act. I can choose my moment. That's my stupid thinking. I don't feel pressure to get things done, but ironically, when I put off doing things I feel completely lousy. At the end of the day when little has been achieved my mood drops and I dislike myself for being inactive and lazy. It's then that the fat thoughts take hold and I feel hopeless and doomed to be this way forever. I promise myself that I'll tackle a task that I've put off 'tomorrow'. Was there a James Bond film called "Tomorrow Never Comes" or am I just making that up?

For me, tomorrow dawns and the whole day stretches before me, so I have convinced myself that I can drink tea to my heart's content until I've worked myself up to tackle a job around the house. When the sun streams in through the windows (floor to ceiling ones!) at the back of the house and I see how grimey they've become I tut to myself and make a mental note that I'll clean them 'later on'. Cleaning those windows has been on my 'To Do' list for the whole month of June. Blush, blush, blush. So has clearing out the big larder cupboard, sorting through the pile of holiday clothes just dumped on the bed in the guest room and doing a hundred and one gardening tasks.

The list is as long as my arm..but all I seem to do are the necessary day to day things - like providing a taxi service for my son first thing in the morning, feeding the cat, grocery shopping, cooking, washing and ironing, loading and unloading the dishwasher, with the odd bit of floor sweeping, vacuum cleaning and bathroom wiping done reluctantly. The sort of jobs that have to be done regularly. I don't make progress, I just maintain - around the house and in terms of my weight. The household stuff gets done but there is no routine. I have plenty of time to do other, extra stuff, but given I have to have rests and breaks 'because I deserve them' in between doing things, there is a lot of the day spent sitting down...and the household chores pile up and the guilty feelings take root. I go mad every now and then and clean everything that's not moving, but I do seem to have an all-or-nothing mentality.

I used to be a bit of a whirlwind - extremely energetic and house-proud. I could keep going until midnight when I was on a roll..I'd spend all day Saturday gardening/doing Mum things when I was a working woman, and Sunday I'd catch up with everything else, prepare for next week at work and cook a wonderful Sunday dinner....and although I got tired, I achieved a great sense of satisfaction in being able to tick jobs off my list. I was efficient. Extremely efficient.

Let me tell you younger people RIGHT NOW that no matter how hard working you are and no matter how organised, ageing plays nasty tricks on bodies. Your energy supplies dwindle - they really do! Both man (thin, fit and naturally active) and I say that we just can't do all the things we used to - not because we are crocked or infirm, but because our energy supplies get depleted quicker. He's 57, I am younger than him. So, when I promise myself I'll get all these jobs done and if I put my mind to them they wont take too long to complete, I am fooling myself! I just can't keep going like I used to.

Yesterday however the sun was shining (it was a glorious, hot day) and I KNEW I ought to be outside, doing all the jobs that had been piling up in the garden. I also had some chicken in the fridge I needed to cook, and some fresh vegetables that had to be used up before they wilted so I planned doing a big roast dinner for me and the boys later on. The kitchen was a mess, the fridge needed clearing out and wiping out, the floor was grubby...we all come in through the kitchen from the garden...and all the plants sitting in pots outside either needed replanting in the ground or watering/feeding. I felt a bit overwhelmed and reluctant to start. It was all uphill and I had a PC to sit at and the daily paper to read, as well as a book to finish and a crossword puzzle to complete. I could have kept myself occupied in pleasurable pursuits all day (again.) I didn't however. The state of the fridge was annoying me, so I cleared it out and cleaned it..and then I tackled all the stuff piled up in the was loaded into the dishwasher or I washed it by hand. Then with a bowl of water in front of me the next obvious step was to clean down all the work-tops, so I did...and sorted out the fruit-bowl, tossing out anything past it's best. I loaded some washing into the machine and had a tea break...then fitted the garden hose to the tap and watered the plants. Son came home early so I asked him (nagged him) to mow the lawns...which he did, eventually. I stopped gardening to hang out the washing and then started peeling vegetables for dinner. I dished up, we ate and then I went back out there again. All was quiet but I was quite happy pottering about. I'd got a few plants which were too big for their pots so I lugged them about, emptied them and created a whole new bed at the top of the garden. I dug, weeded, added manure to the soil and transplanted some greenery. Quite a work-out! It was getting dark...the light had faded so I had to call it a day. At twilight a lone blackbird perched high in the tree and started singing. I stood in the cool of the evening leaning on my spade and just listened to him, feeling all was well with the world. I felt tired but very satisfied that I'd acheived so much. I felt fired up to tackle more...but as it was late, I made a big mug of tea, had a banana and then had a bath before bed. I was in bed before midnight (which is early for me - I am a night owl by nature) and I fell straight asleep.

How different we feel when we achieve things. It's amazing, isn't it? Eating didn't cross my mind once yesterday. I nibbled on healthy things and then cooked a good dinner. I moved my body without a gym or a piece of exercise equipment being involved. If only every day could be like that. I suppose it can be? Like losing weight, the effort has to be mine. All I have to do is get the ball rolling and let it gather momentum. So, today that's what I plan to do. Less thinking, less sitting, less writing, (cough) more action. I shan't wait for the mood to hit me - I'll just start something and hope I become so involved and effective that I want to carry on achieving.

I also felt quite blessed that my body, after being out-of-service for so many years because of ill health, hospitalisation, being cut up and recovery etc, didn't let me down. It was working again...perhaps more slowly than in years gone by, but it carried me through the day. Being busy gives us less time to think negative thoughts and less time to think about food and the eating of it too. Win-win situation! I cannot bear the thought of becoming old and infirm so I know I have to use it or lose it. I am too young to spend my life sitting down for the most part...and so is every one of you out there reading this! I am going to finish and then turn off the PC for the day, get up and 'achieve' - and I wish you all a day in which you get things done too. Our bodies will thank us! :)

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Messing About With Blog Design - And Life!

Any regulars out there (or even those who pop in for a read occasionally) think their eyes were playing up? If you wondered if my blog had been taken over by a three year old hyper on food additives I apologise! It has been looking quite erm...colourful (or should that be 'garish'?) lately. Well, we were given new design templates, and a girl has to experiment. No updates, but there have been a lot of bright colours and fancy patterns over the last few days! I think I have sorted out a scheme I like now.

I wish the same could be said for my weight-loss plan.

I am still very aware and conscious that I need to lose weight. I still want to lose weight. I am not sure however that I am 100% convinced that I can or that I have the determination to make it happen.

It's up to me. No one else can do it for me, but I am still rather half-hearted about the whole thing. I have been wondering - can a person be 'too contented'? Do you have to be driven and desperate, and perhaps quite unhappy before you tackle weight loss with gusto and determination? All these questions have been running through my head, because I can't work out why I am not spending every single day a little more determined to shed pounds. I seem to have no sense of urgency...and I can only put that down to not wanting it enough? Any ideas?

Tell me, please, what was your motivation to slim?

What was behind that final "I have had enough. I am going to ensure I see a loss" day, when it all began?

Trust me, anyone out there thinking "You are too lazy, undisciplined and careless to see any success", I have had exactly those same thoughts too.

I know I go through life in a fairly optimistic, laid-back manner. I am hard-working but not particularly competitive. I have never really had the drive to want to be a winner, or top dog, but...surprisingly, I have done well, at school, then University. With examinations - I revised 'Hamlet' quotations on the bus going into school before my A level English Lit exam and passed - so I'd make the effort but it would be last-minute, desperate and determined effort. You can't lose weight like that, sadly. I didn't do an awful lot of preparation for my degree either. It was all last minute cramming. I wrote essays the night before they were due in. I burnt midnight oil to meet a deadline, and I never missed it. I've done OK at work with promotions (many I didn't seek - I was recognised to be doing a good job and 'invited' to apply for advancement - being in the right place at the right time I guess?) and luckily in life I seem to make friends quite easily. I tend not to get into bitchy falling-out situations, ever, because, well, because it's all too much effort. I like my life to be as uncomplicated as possible and I hate bad-feeling. I have always been the 'pouring oil on troubled waters' woman. I have been lucky in love too - at least initially. Not meaning to sound vain but I was blessed with having a pretty face when I was young, even though I was painfully shy and a virgin LONG after all my peers had begun having sex lives. I was shy, but probably came across as being snooty or stand-offish, but only because I really was so self-conscious (because men looked at me) and painfully shy. I didn't know how to flirt but I was a world champion at blushing, looking away, trying to hide in corners and feeling awkward. Back in the 70s 'good girls just didn't' end of. I was virtuous. (See me grin.) Thankfully a man was charmed by me and swept me off my feet or I suspect I'd still be a virgin or a Mother Superior now instead of a woman with three children :)

Sadly, the marriage wasn't a good one and we really weren't suited. No regrets though. I have worked out my sorrow over the years and bounced back. As a newly divorced woman my life was OK, although it was hard. I had friends, family and also appreciated having a strong backbone. I had to get on with it - life alone with three children, so I did. I carried on working and ploughed all my earnings into keeping us going, ensuring the bills were paid and food was on the table. I went without lots of stuff for me, because there wasn't much left over after the basics were funded, but that was OK. I didn't mind that much. I guess I am not overly materialistic either? I have enough, more than enough. I managed to do that...I got through it, and didn't waver. I also looked after my elderly mother's needs too. She was quite deaf and needed a companion and a friend, but she was such a lovely lady - always bright and cheery despite having had the grimmest of early lives. I loved her dearly. She was MY rock if only she knew it. Life was hectic and exhausting, but I didn't break. A few years after Mum died, I met a lovely man, someone who restored my faith in partnerships, someone I could trust completely, and that silly fool wants to marry me. I am amazed. And even though I have given up work, been ill, grown fat, he is still by my side. I found someone wonderful and we jog along well together. Well, not jog..I don't jog, but we er, er, walk fast together, holding hands :) OK I am still very loathe to sell my house and give up my independence. That I'll admit to. I am still Mum to my young men who can't afford to move out, so plans of cohabiting are on hold, and that's OK. We aren't going anywhere. See - things can work out  and life doesn't defeat me. (See all the above. I have just re-read it. It sounds very earnest and heroic, but I am no saint. Far from it. I often cursed my lot, alone in the darkness, and I have shed many lonely tears along the way, but realised griping and grousing didn't change things.)

So, if I am not easily defeated, why am I finding losing weight rather daunting? Again, I have quite a laid-back approach to it all, which probably doesn't help me, but why am I making it harder than it needs to be? I still grouch because I feel I WANT certain foods. I deny myself (sometimes) and give myself a good talking to about consistency and determination, but I am not happy that I have to give up cakes, and biscuits and convenience foods with little nutritional value. I am not sure I'll ever want an apple or a piece of fruit more than I desire a cake, even though I know fruits are good for me and cakes aren't.

What is my motivation for doing this? Good health I suppose. Looking better in photographs. Surprisingly I am reasonably fit. Walking has never been a problem for me. I like walking. I like swimming and have been OK with letting the world see my blubber in a swimming costume. I don't swim often but if I feel like it, this fat woman will take to the water. I do however (as explained in earlier posts) like my sedentary pastimes. I don't watch day time television - we now have our own ghastly version of the Jerry Springer show. It's has crossed the pond and programmes of that ilk have multiplied in the UK. Everyone will tell you about their dysfunctional family life and embellish it loads for payment. Yuk.

I like to read, I like to paint, I like to surf the interweb. I like to write (You noticed huh?) Such 'activities) make the old backside spread, and the waist grow and well, every other bodily part pile on the fat too. The calories going in, even though I am being sensible, aren't being burnt up and I swear it's harder to lose weight once you hit fifty! I am well and truly post-menopausal and have been for years..over a decade.

What kick up the arse do I need to truly embrace weight-loss and make it happen? OK, so I lost one pound this week. 1lb. One ell bee. It's better than putting it on but erm, I have been writing this blog for months now and haven't even lost a stone yet! I am just not getting into it properly. NOTHING seems to give me a sense of urgency or a real need to lose the flab. This chair here is the place I want to be. I should be on my feet and moving. I know that. It's fat..more than flab. I have rolls of blubbery wobbly fat all over. I seem to get along OK with the flab..The only thing is, I KNOW it's bad for me to carry this weight of a small sofa around with me every day. Would we willingly go through life with a sofa strapped to our frame every day? Or several sacks full of potatoes...or a huge lawn mower?

Sadly, I could put back on what I've already lost with a good weekend away, eating and drinking with friends. It could all go back on in a couple of days. My weight could creep upwards and upwards if I am not conscious of what I am eating and how I am moving, and if I find this amount of fat hard to shift, how on earth will I ever tackle a larger amount?

I am blowed if I can find anything or think of anything which makes me REALLY want to restrict my intake severely. Does there have to be an embarrassing incident or a health scare first? There is nothing exciting me about moving out of my comfort zone, not even the thought of the fat melting away. Being fat does make me unhappy - I don't look good no matter what I wear, and my BMI is far too high, so why can't I seek out the happiness and satisfaction attached to making myself healthier and slimmer?

Right now, slimmer and healthier doesn't seem to be motivation enough. Hit me someone. Tie me up and lock me in a boot camp.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Walking Back to Happiness...

"Walking back to happiness.....woop-pah, oh yeah yeah."

Anyone else old enough (or sad enough!) to remember that Helen Shapiro song? I like to think I am walking back to happiness. Isn't it great that when you decide to take a proper interest in yourself the days seem that bit lighter and lots of little chinks of positivity seem to hit home? Have you experienced that? I suppose it comes from moving a bit more, doesn't it? I know that both my body and my brain become really sluggish when I trudge through a day, spending more time on the sofa than I do on my feet...spending more time mulling over deep and often depressing thoughts. That's the way to depression, isn't it? And then the vicious circle takes over. The mind tells you "I am fat therefore I am down. Everything is such an effort and I don't like myself much, therefore I'll eat another biscuit, because after all, who really cares if I am fat? I am in a fat prison of my own making"....and then you can move on to all the "I am fat and unattractive" thoughts which in turn take you to the "I am pretty useless, this is the way it will always be" thoughts. Sound familiar? It's easy to go there, isn't it?

It's movement I think (or at least I am finding) that shifts me into a higher gear. I used to be busy, busy, busy (for all of my adult life) and I had little time to dwell on me and what was happening in my life. I worked hard after graduation, taking on lots of challenges, going for promotions at work, paying all the bills and raising my children alone..and I think I thrived on the pressure, strange as it seems. Then, bang - after thirty years of that life I became ill and was no longer working and pretty much incapacitated so life changed...drastically. The pressures of work were removed, and that has to be a good thing, but then I had days, weeks, months and years on a 'sick bed' of sorts and the days became long, worrying and dreary. I had no structure to my days and I had to sit around popping pills until I healed properly...and I grew fat and as I grew fat that light inside me dimmed..and when the light dims, all the world looks murky and every single thing we have to do becomes a huge, uncomfortable challenge. I know sometimes I didn't take on those challenges. They seemed too great. I couldn't find the motivation or interest and of course as I ducked out of living I began to despise myself and feel that I was completely hopeless. (Some days I wonder how my man stuck with me as I went from one debilitating illness to another..what a treasure he has been.) I grew fatter and fatter and I liked myself and my circumstances less and less as every day passed. It was like the plug on my world was pulled...everything went out.

I am reminded of that fantastic Hamlet soliloquy. I think Shakespeare was a fantastic, insightful man/ philosopher. He gave Hamlet the lines:

"How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely."

I am smiling here. I went to seed, and so did my lovely garden. I couldn't tend to it properly and as the weeds grew in the garden, weeds of depression also grew in me, strangling me, taking over, weakening the good in me, and eventually hiding it completely. That's what I am coming out of. In talking to others and reading so many interesting blogs I appreciate that so many people on this weight-loss journey were in a dark place too. We might not have had full-blown depression but life seemed difficult and unpleasant and we didn't like ourselves much.

I decided to claw back my life. I didn't want to be a fat 'pensioner' at fifty, although I took early retirement and my occupational pension. My income was severely reduced. That was another huge worry yet I was incapacitated and couldn't work. It could have been all downhill to the grave - working life over, income low, purchases and outings restricted because of lack of funds - no wonder I found myself fat and in a very dark place.

I whiled away my days on the computer whilst my arse and stomach spread. I moved very little, partly because it was painful and partly because all the drugs I had to take made me sleepy and lethargic. I had no life in me. I'd been reading the blogs of Pasta Queen...and then Diet Girl (years ago when they were determined to lose weight) and I marvelled at their determination and the way they fought back from all sorts of difficulties. They just kept going. That determination got to me, a little. (Aren't weight-loss bloggers just wonderful? I hope they know just how much their words and thoughts can help and 'move' people.) I got bigger and bigger and couldn't bear to look at myself in the mirror. Self-hatred eats away at confidence, doesn't it? Then I became rather reclusive. I didn't want to see my friends...I pretended not to be home if they called, and I made excuses to get out of social events. I did a Greta Garbo. "I vaaant to be alohhnn..."

How do you get back from that? I think I capitalised on the days when I felt a little better. I tried not to think dark thoughts...and I wrote, lots and lots in private online journals, unloading so much that was inside me. I then read somewhere the thoughts of a doctor who had to treat depressed people. His theory was that if only such people would go outside and spend some time in the fresh air, then perhaps take a walk, their depression would lift. He said fresh air and exercise would cure the depressed far more quickly than a cocktail of drugs could. Of course he recognised the chemical imbalances in the brain and of course he knew that depressed people just didn't want to venture out - that was the nature of the illness - but he said, a daily walk could work wonders and was more effective than happy pills. I suspect he is right.

I have been moving more. Not always walking but I have been consciously trying to get out more, or to ensure that every day I exercise this body of mine, even if it's only deliberately going up and down the stairs more often than I used to. Some days having to move seems a drag, but don't we always feel better when we have done it? I also know that getting out of the house is good for us too. I almost became a prisoner in my own home...a recluse. In many ways I wish I were still working. It's hard to create a structure for myself every single day. It's so easy to while away time, doing nothing much, achieving nothing much. Again, that can bring me down. I have volunteered for a few things..and because I am feeling better physically I am able to bend and stretch again, and lift things so once again my garden is looking good.

On Wednesday my man and I went to the BBC's Gardener's World show at the NEC - a huge area in the Midlands given over to exhibitions and conferences etc. From the train station we walked MILES through corridors and hallways to get to the exhibition..and we walked quickly, over-taking the dawdlers, the slower people, the chatterers and of course the elderly and infirm. We also had the same long (and fast) walk back. I was quietly rejoicing that I was fit enough to do this. Strangely, (and perhaps because of Lyn's recent post - on Escape from Obesity) I noticed SO many people in motorised scooters. SO many! I was so grateful that my legs worked and that I had the strength and energy to get walk, and walk and walk - which is what we did.

Anyway, I have sat here writing for long enough. I am going to get up and move this body. I am trying to walk my way back to happiness...I might not be losing weight at a very fast pace, but already I feel so much better about myself and so much more positive. Walking or just moving and keeping busy, one way and another, is very therapeutic. When we feel good about ourselves, we can move mountains, can't we? I need to move a mountain of flesh from this frame, but I believe now that I can do it.

I hope you are walking back to happiness too. If not, start today :)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Fighting Food Battles.

I am finding this 'going without' regime hard. I KNOW I have to go without some of the foods I love in order to lose weight, and I know after a while it becomes easier to say "NO" but every now and then the cravings make themselves known - they linger - and attack me sometimes, when I go food shopping. Do they eventually stop?

Nine times out of ten I can talk myself out of buying something that I really shouldn't eat. I tell myself how sensible I am being, and that I am treating myself well by walking away. Today however a craving that has been niggling me for some time resurfaced. It prodded me time and time again and it's message was, "If you give in now, you'll lose the urge to eat that item in future. Get it out of your system." Hmmm.

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

I like that and for me, there is some truth in it. I suspect most of you might say "WRONG! WRONG! Find some self-control!" However, I think even if it was said in jest, Oscar was right. It makes sense to me, although you have to be picky about which temptations to yield to and which to walk away from. We have to live with ourselves afterwards, after all. Is doing something that will adversely affect your life worth the temptation? I'd say no. However, I think I can look my temptor in the eye and say "Come on then..Bring it on" knowing that I CHOOSE to be tempted. It's a choice I make, (I have to be aware of that - I think it's important) and in the case of food temptation, one which I have to conquer and want to conquer, completely. That's not an excuse or a feeble get-out clause for being 'weak'.

I actually think 'a little of what you fancy' is the most sensible approach to dieting. Trying to go cold turkey sets us up for failure I think. Can we do 'cold turkey' forever? Do we want to? Will some foods ALWAYS be on a DO NOT EAT list? And if they are, isn't that slightly sad?

I appreciate that some foods are just artery-clogging rubbish if eaten frequently, but perhaps the word 'frequently' is the key to all this? Don't we have to be able to say we eat them rarely? I am musing now..
Why do some dieters (and I know the word 'diet' has been outlawed) feel like the world has caved in because they slip up? I know we all approach losing weight differently but don't you hear so many dieters talking (and writing) about how naughty they were, or how weak they were because they gave in to the temptation of some food or another?

However, I also know that for some even the smallest slip-up can lead to a complete pig-out, a binge. I was thinking about that. I think the hardest part of this weight-loss business is finding a balance.  It's the frequently/rarely balance that has to be in place I think.

I have told myself that I'll cut out obvious junk foods. That's easy and I love it that I find anything wrapped in pastry just revolting. I see pastry as pure fat now, and I have no desire to eat it at any form. I haven't eaten pastry for ages..If offered a sausage roll I'd refuse it, very easily. If offered pie for dinner, I'd leave the pastry. French fries? Put some in front of me and I won't eat them. No problem. I have also stopped drinking alcohol. I asked myself if I liked the taste of wine and the answer was "no". I don't. I did like wine to accompany food, but that was a habit more than anything. Given a glass of it is quite calorific, I now see it as calories I just don't want. Why would I drink something sharp and sour when I could have a lovely icy cold fizzy water?

Anyway, back to the being tempted thoughts. I was struggling to go past the fresh cream doughnuts in my local supermarket...even though I thought I was over the "let me dive into a gungy cake' urges. I haven't had a cream cake for months now. Months and months. I have been walking on by the cake counters quite easily. And that's the way it should be. Today however I told myself I could give in. I could have a cream doughnut. They were sold in packs of two. Yes, I came home, made tea and ate one and a half...and enjoyed every last slurp of thick cream and every sugary crumb. Afterwards I was remorseful for all of erm...half a minute. I actually feel now I have those creamy doughnuts out of my system completely. I was fully aware of the sensation of eating them, the sweetness of them, the stickiness of them and as I ate them I told myself this was a treat, not a sin.

I really feel I shan't get that craving again for a good long while....and that slowly, slowly I'll realise that they aren't THAT enjoyable - perhaps just a bit too sweet for my taste - and probably not worth my while eating them. Now...hours later, I wish I hadn't eaten them, but only because the craving has been put to bed. It's vanished. I enjoyed them at the time and now I remember what it was like to eat them, but I have no desire for any more - and I am hoping that lack of desire, now that I have quelled it, won't resurface for a long, long time. Doughnuts...sorted. Ticked off the "Oh I MUST have 'em" list. They were OK, but certainly not something I want every day.

I think I am learning lots of lessons that work for me. I have learnt that I am not a binge-eater really. Once satisfied, once the taste has been experienced that's enough...I even left half a doughnut. (OK, so I licked out the jammy, creamy bit then threw the remainder in the bin.) I could have bought two packs of doughnuts. There was a 'buy one, get one half price' offer on them. No. Not interested in FOUR cakes. I also know I don't have the iron will or excellent resolve that some people have. I wish I had, and I have tried to develop it, but it has been counter-productive for me. Complete denial just doesn't work for me. There HAS to be an escape hatch of some sort, otherwise I'd lose interest in getting my eating right. That sounds weird, I know, but all or nothing isn't my way. I know an unsatisfied craving (and they are rare, my cravings) will turn into a "This isn't fair - why can't I have a cream doughnut??!!" episode that will fester and fester until I decide I am not going to lose weight anyway, and to hell with it all. Yup. Madness, but that's how I tick.

I also know I have to live in the real world where I'll face food temptations most days. What I have to do (and am doing to some extent) is to discover and mentally note that, like wine, I really can do without some 'tastes'. The sweet taste of a doughnut has been properly explored - in an almost scientific way! I hope my desire has been satisfied, along with the knowledge that those babies really were VERY calorific...and once gone, were they worth eating? Today I enjoyed them. Tomorrow, if offered them I'd happily say "No."  I KNOW I would. The craving has gone. I no longer desire doughnuts. Now what I have to learn is that I can also do portion control. One doughnut  - one anything - will suffice..two is piggish and perhaps I ought to have put it in the fridge for later? Nah. Later means I go to a cake twice in one day. I didn't want to do that. (I also didn't want to throw a perfectly good cream doughnut in the bin either - LOL!) Would most people have got a grip and thrown the second doughnut away?

Anyway, no remorse, and I'll have oatcakes, salad and hummus tonight to try to end today well. Today I have eaten

One banana
A cereal bar.
Two hard boiled eggs
One small orange
Tuna, onions, tomatoes and watercress with the tiniest bit (really) of pesto pasta for lunch
Three glasses of water
Three mugs of tea.

Not too bad...and no doughnut regrets. I expect many would find my 'self-control' a bit dubious, but I am happy. Today I have been learning again. Fresh pineapple just wouldn't have sufficed as a sweet substitute. I told myself in the supermarket that's what I SHOULD have. I'd have STILL been thinking about doughnuts tonight and tomorrow and for days and weeks to come if I'd taken the sensible, fruit option. I yielded to the doughnut temptation, but funnily enough, if a battle was fought at all, I think I won it.

Does that make any sense at all? :)

Monday, 14 June 2010

WAIL....WAIL ! Or Should that be WHALE?

You know, I blog but it seems to be high-lighting for me what a disaster I have become. My eyes are fully opened to the shape my body is in and the hard work it's going to take to become even vaguely slim again. I am fed up (again) so please feel free to click on to another more positive, upbeat account of the life other slimmers are leading.

I appreciate that we all have down days. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. After all, for all her positivity, you'd really want to tape Pollyanna's mouth shut after a day spent in her company, wouldn't you? I'd be running to the hills screaming if everything was sugar-coated and pleasant in the world I'd have to inhabit with her. Don't get me wrong. I like positive people and those with a 'can do' attitude. I am probably one of them  and for much of my working life I was encouraging young people to do their best, with all sorts of strategies. I was a member of many teams which were trouble-shooting and aiming to iron out problems so things could move forward successfully. I can do positive and encouraging, but today I feel discouraged. I know it's only a blip but it's the sort of blip that wants me to go away and eat all sorts of yummy but fattening foods. Yes, today I want to drown in a sea of foods which really aren't good for me. Hmm. Who said I wasn't an emotional eater?

I am down rather than fired up because this morning I viewed the official album of weddings photographs. (I mentioned in an earlier post that my sister got married a few weeks ago and we all had a great day out.) The sun shone and I wore a pale turquoise top over a blue patterned skirt (with turquoise flowers). I wore my hair up and found some lovely beads to wear around my neck which complemented my outfit. My small sparkly earrings matched the blue stone in my engagement ring. I paid attention to my make-up too. I thought I looked good.

I didn't. I looked like a blue whale.

I suspect even glamorous stars dislike some of the pictures they appear in. I imagine most of us look at some photos of ourselves and find them less than flattering. However, even the head and shoulders shots of me weren't good. My face is as round as a dinner plate. I have always had a round face. We can't change the shape of our faces after all. My round face now though is a chubby round face. My eyes looked piggy, my blonde hair looked dry and slightly dishevelled, my mouth looked thin and my smiles looked self-conscious. My legs in their dark (supposedly flattering) tights were chunky and there was no definition between my calves, ankles and feet. Black cankles under a blue skirt. I am dumpy. The worse thing however was my middle. How I wished I'd worn a whale-boned corset! My middle, in all it's turquoise glory was flabby, bulging, blobby. It protruded and I didn't look good at all. How I wish I'd worn black or something patterned. The pale blue highlighted the enormous amount of flab. It was shocking. WHY don't I see it every day? Have I developed selective sight or something? I looked dreadful. Awful - and fat and out of condition. Believe me, that's not false modesty. I don't want to order one single photograph with me in it. MY partner looked smart and handsome, my children (in their early twenties) looked gorgeous and friends and family looked relaxed and happy.

I'll remember the lovely day. It was a lovely day and I was happy during it. Get over it. Here. Read this fatty.

The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way. ~ Robert Kiyosaki

Just to add to my woes I stood on the scales this morning and my weight hasn't budged. It seems to go up and down a few pounds from day to day. Mid week I was elated to see a few more pounds gone. There was no reason (other than faulty scales!) for those pounds to reappear the next day. OK, so we retain water..have bodily fluctuations, but I am now living a deliberate life and I am becoming ultra-aware of what I am eating. I am trying to incorporate more movement into my days. I am wondering why I bother. I guess I am hoping for the day to arrive when I have my photograph taken and I am pleased with the result. I want to throw in the towel, but I won't. It all seems like such a hard slog though. Those photographs have a lot to answer for. I am really like that. There is no kidding myself, and I don't feel fired up to do something about it. I feel down and ready to drown in a sea of cakes.

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

I was reminded this morning that this slimming lark is a marathon, not a sprint. I concluded if that's the case then I want to be a sprinter. I am not sure that long-distance appeals. I want the job done.

Erma Bombeck said "The only reason I would take up running is so that I could hear heavy breathing again."

What excellent thinking! :) Seriously, I must admit that long distance anything doesn't really appeal. Long distance travel? The travelling is a bind. Once I arrive I am fine. Is this how it's going to be with  losing weight and getting fit? When we 'get there' will we be glad that the journey is behind us? I get the horrible feeling that this journey will never be behind me - or any person who has gone from being a fat person to a slim one. Does life have to change for ever? At least with a marathon there is a finishing point. Do we ever finish leading a healthy life? I hope and pray that this way of being becomes automatic and so beneficial that I never want to retrace my steps, back to the sofa.

Let's face it, there are some aspects of the fat life which are bloody good. Food, food and more food being three of them. TV, sitting, sofas, food to accompany programmes and scoffing without thought or guilt aren't without their own merit either.

However, we get all fired up to slim and then all those things are BAD, BAD, BAD and what on earth were we doing wasting our lives like that? All of a sudden all our meals become healthy. Eating out becomes perilous unless we think about menus beforehand. We grow ready-reckoners in our heads, and know the nutritional values of EVERYTHING edible. Some people glue water bottles to their palms. (What IS that all about? Isn't it only people embarking on a trek across the sands of the Sahara that need to carry water??) We then become advocates of gyms (well some people do) and life is about pushing ourselves - no excuses.

You may have noticed (cough) I didn't embrace this way of being for a long time, even though I know it's the only way to lose weight. I don't think I'll ever embrace the gym but moving more DOES make one feel good. It does! What a revelation this has been!

This morning I had another appointment with the dentist and then I drove into town. I shopped and I deliberately found new ways to get to places so I could increase my walking. I walked and walked at a fast pace (for almost two hours) and bought very little. I called in at the local gallery and looked at some paintings and chatted to the owner. I went to a book shop and spent some time browsing. I sat in the coffee shop, with a cup of tea and watched the world go by for a time. I then chose to climb five flights of stairs rather than take the lift to return to the multi-story car park. I saw this as my exercise...and that sort of exercise I can cope with and quite enjoy. I didn't feel breathless but I did feel energised.

I am beginning to appreciate that every single day I am on my journey and that if I decide to drop out then my own personal race is lost. We are in a long distance's the race of life and none of us has forever to complete it. Life is finite but it could just be that we have lots of life in front of us and lots of living yet to do to. We can do it as a fat person and have a limited, slow, uncomfortable life or as a healthy, mobile fitter,slimmer person. When you think of it like that you realise that being a couch potato has very little real appeal and that really, time is of the essence and we might as well get used to the idea of a long, long time on the road.

I am not signing up for any long running races (not yet anyway) but perhaps that distance stretching out ahead of us isn't all that bad really? Fast walk anyone?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

I Want To Be PERMANENTLY Elated.

Ponder on this if you will for a minute, fellow weight-loss buddies. Don't we get a great high feeling when the scales record that we have been doing well? All our work and effort is paying off, and yesterday I felt empowered and elated. I was walking tall. I thought "Wey hey! It's all downhill from here!" and it was as though as my weight went down, I thought my moods could only go up - be good ones. I want to feel like I did yesterday - every day.

Yesterday I was thinking I was the bees knees...I'd cracked this dieting lark and it was going to be easy-peasy from now on. I was feeling good. I imagined I looked good. It doesn't work like that, does it? Today I am deflated..or rather my spirits are. If only I could deflate my body as quickly. What was I thinking? I am STILL the same fat woman. Sigmund knows where I'm at.

Illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead. We must therefore accept it without complaint when they sometimes collide with a bit of reality against which they are dashed to pieces. ~Sigmund Freud

Today I am slightly lighter than I was a week ago, but all I can see before me is weeks and months - years even - of my having to be vigilant about what I eat and mindful of how I move my body. My bubble has been burst. Today I don't feel empowered. There was a reason. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Today I have been busy. I have had a meeting to attend and a sub committee to sit on (you know what I mean :) I didn't sit on my fellow members. I would have squashed them.) I have eaten well and I have been active and my brain has been sharp. However, whilst I was getting ready for these meetings this morning I was conscious that my rushing about after showering was making me hot and bothered and that even though I'd chosen a smart and fairly sober 'working' outfit, I still looked fat and well - not good, despite my best grooming efforts. I'd done my hair and make-up, but my longish grey skirt made me look dumpy, my ankles looked swollen in my black court shoes, my darker grey blouse clung to my stomach and bust (even though it was large enough and the buttons weren't exactly straining, it didn't look good) and my grey jacket, which fitted on the shoulders and arms, just wouldn't meet in the middle, around my incredibly huge stomach. So, 'trying to look professional and failing badly' was about as good as it got :(

So my contribution to both meetings was valuable I think but what is it about a woman (men too?) on a diet that makes her aware of the way other people wear their clothes? Is it just me, or are you also ultra-conscious of how GOOD some people look when they are dressed up? It only serves to highlight our own misshapen bodies.

Now I KNOW we didn't gather to compare looks, but, the other women there..all high-fliers..a couple of solicitors and and company directors, and some men from the world of business all looked groomed and well-tailored. They looked sharp. I looked and felt like a retired middle-aged woman who'd lost the plot...who was vaguely 'past it.' I am not. All that's wrong with me is my blobby, wobbly, fat body, but it's amazing how there are times when you are SO conscious of your shape. This was one of those times.  I am OK at bigging myself up. I value my assets, my reasonable brain, my parenting skills, my sense of humour, my professional attributes, my good character and my generally optimistic disposition (Honestly - I do tend to find chinks of light in the dark!!) I am more than my shape and more than the number on the scale - I know that.

Today however, I just wanted to be able to wear one of those chic, short-waisted suit jackets. (You know the Channel look - the boxy short jacket - but trendier?) One of the other women wore one..and I was so conscious of thinking.."I want to look like that." I want to be able to wear a trim, short, fitted jacket.

OK, so that's what I am working towards, but today that dream seemed like a million years away. I know it's not, but every day I have to work towards gaining a trim waist and it seems almost these early stages of my journey.

That's it really. Felt good yesterday - as though I could move mountains. I feel less good and very fat today. I realise I am at base-camp.

Ha ha. You get Sigmund Freud AND Donny Osmond in one piece today, lucky people. Are they BOTH great thinkers? :) Who'd have known it? :)

I shan't belittle Donny - what he said makes sense. It's a cracking quotation for slimmers anyway!

If you're climbing the ladder of life, you go rung by rung, one step at a time. Don't look too far up, set your goals high but take one step at a time. Sometimes you don't think you're progressing until you step back and see how high you've really gone. ~ Donny Osmond

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

I Am In A Scary Place Of My Own Making.

Have you ever been frightened? Did something frighten you into your weight-loss campaign or did you contemplate dieting and exercise and then just get on with it? I admire people who can do that - make a life-changing decision without fear driving it - and then stick to it with determination. I know some people are like that - strong willed - but I am not one of them, alas. I need a bit of fear.

We go to work and get in on time because fear motivates us. If we stay in bed or arrive late, continually, then our performance is monitored and we face the sack. We go and see the horrible dentist with all his spiky, pokey sharp instruments because we don't want rotting teeth or toothache. We have routine medical check-ups, because we want nasty things found early on, if they exist. We try to put a little money aside each month for that rainy day when the roof leaks - we fear having no disposable income (my situation now) and we pay our insurance premiums because we worry that something awful might happen to our homes...We cover ourselves and do the sensible thing. We ensure our cars are serviced...that they have oil and good working parts, because we don't want them to let us down - to break down on us when we rely on them. We do as much as we can to alleviate the horrible happening.

Why then do we eat large amounts of greasy or sweet foods with no nutritional value? Why do we sit a lot when we do this...and why, when we become even bigger, do we allow ourselves even more rest? Isn't that a sure-fire way to have our arteries clog up? Yet we like eating. We like the taste of ( - insert names of favourite junk foods here - ) so we eat them regularly and look forward to buying them and eating them. We 'treat' ourselves to them. We also stagnate and allow it to happen, knowing our bodies were built to move, and that the whole system becomes achey, creaky, swollen, tired, painful, sluggish and completely unhealthy when we live like this, yet we carry on. Would we put salt/grit/sand/water/cream/sugar into the fuel tanks of our cars?

Early man lived on what...animal meat, nuts, fruits, berries, roots, water, vegetation? We call 'progress' the eating of microwaved meals,  fast foods, deep fried foods, sugary iced doughy/cakes, alcohol, fizzy drinks, coffee and chocolate and sweets (candy) full of chemicals, sugar and salt. My mother created meals out of 'raw' materials - fresh meat or fish and vegetables, which needed washing, peeling and preparing. It's only lately that we've woken up to the fact that this is what we have to continue doing. Some  people have seen the light, some people always walked in the light, some find that way of getting meals laborious and time-consuming. I count myself as one of that particular group...for much of the time. I can pick at things for days if I am not expected to prepare a meal for anyone, yet when my children were young I gave them good foods and lots of fruits and vegetables, almost religiously. Of late, I don't make much effort for myself. I'll cook an extremely healthy meal for a guest....but me, here alone during the day? I can pick at things.

A huge swathe of the world is hell-bent on decay, and grows fat, weak and dies early, whilst a huge part of it hasn't heard of the word 'gluttony' and starves and dies. We have got it all wrong haven't we? Sadly, an individual cannot save the world alone (unless they are called Clark Kent or Bruce Willis) but we can make our own little part of the world better..our lives healthier and we can educate our children about the dangers of a fast-food society.

Hummmph! I am a fat woman spouting off about these things. Ironic or what? However, for most fat people the light dawns eventually. (Look at how many weight-loss bloggers there are!) For some people the damage is too great. For many big people disease and illness has taken hold and they can only begin a course of damage limitation...if they decide to improve their lives at all, that is. I chose to ignore the 'pigging- out-on-crap-foods-makes-us-fat-and-fatness-and-sloth-inevitably-leads-to-ill-health-of-one-sort-or-another' equation. Many of us do, hating ourselves for continuing our piss-poor lifestyles but feeling overwhelmed and depressed and unable to stop the rot. Sound familiar?

Then we decide to stop the rot. What makes us change course? Fear? Fear of what we might become..or the lack of future we'll have if we continue living as we do.

There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart's controls. ~Aeschylus

I am not 'enormous'...but I am roly-poly, plump all over, big, flabby, rotund, much fatter than I used to be, and yes, morbidly obese. I am 16stones worth of middle-aged, morbidly obese woman. I know others are bigger than me, I know others feel discomfort long before they hit the 16 stones mark. (That's 224 lbs) We all get to a place where we say 'enough' don't we? It's a scary place. Our lives could be in the balance. We know the theory..all fat people know the theory. Eat well, eat less, exercise more - a lot more. Yet we are reluctant to do that, or have been. That's why we've become so big.

I need scaring into losing weight. I am a pretty contented woman, but, not a particularly healthy one. No fat person feels good. Even if we are fit (some big people remain fit) I'd place a bet on the fact that our fatness concerns us and causes self-esteem issues. I am in the Indian summer of my life. (I haven't hit autumn yet and feel  the same as I did at 25 inside.) I want a looooong Indian summer of life, a delightful, lengthy and colourful autumn and a winter in which I go on skiing holidays in the snow. (OK, so I embellished the winter bit. Sod the skiing. Make it sledging. I'll also do the apres ski in a chalet full of tasty young male ski instructors who will of course find me charming and witty company and be tempted to enter into a bit of granny-snatching.) I want to go out with a bang, not a sickly whimper! :)

So, I made my self some scary posters. I need to feel the fear before I get off my ample arse and do something about it. See yesterday's post. I have a very scary area around my computer, and yes, today I have been doing as much training as an Olympic athlete. (OK, so I lie...but I have perspired greatly!) I also ate a small bowl of bran flakes for breakfast, an apricot when I wanted cake, a small fistful of pumpkin seeds when I went in search of something to nibble, and a slice of wholemeal bread with sardines (in sunflower oil with lemon pieces) for lunch. I drained off the oil of course. Mmmm. Very tasty. I followed up with a low-fat yogurt, I'll have a small slice of fruity maltloaf this afternoon and I shall be having something with lots of spinach, carrots and peas for my dinner tonight - probably a bit of cooked chicken. I have seen off three large pint glasses of water...but have had three huge mugs of tea as well. I have said it before - what would life be without tea in it? I can live without coffee. Now I need fresh air. I have been on the bike (for half an hour) and doing sit-ups and floor exercises and working with stretchy elasticated band thingies as well as my mobile rowing machine. I shall shower when I come back so I hope I don't meet anyone when I go out walking, even though I have freshened up my 'bits and pits'.

I daresay every neighbourhood dog will pick up my scent - this could be embarrassing, but I have psyched myself up for a walk, and the sun is now shining. I could chicken out, fearing being something of a Pied Piper for every dog out this afternoon, but I shan't.

Determination. Today I have it. Let's hope I keep it! Oh..and somehow, beyond all my expectations, I lost two pounds this week! That was a bit of a pleasant shock! Yeah - I can see that Olympic gold medal sparkling round my neck now. There is a winners' podium somewhere, just waiting for me. Whoosh. I am off.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Only words, and words are all I have....

Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. ~ Lou Holtz

So, stuff for me to think about. I have asked myself if I am ABLE to shift weight - and the answer is, yes, I can do that. I can lose weight. I am capable of doing that. I have done it and I know the theory. Then I asked myself if I was MOTIVATED enough to lose weight, and I answered no, I think my motivation is pretty weak. What's driving me on? Nothing. My motivation is quite faulty. Nothing has scared me enough. I am not fired up enough about becoming slim, for whatever reason. Finally I thought about my ATTITUDE. It's been one of a grudging acceptance that I need to lose weight, but the thought of tackling the problem hasn't filled me with determination. I am still grousing - to you lot out there, if you happen to be reading :) I am letting you into my thought processes. You are lumbered with my griping and whining. Sorry. I do of course, with a bright smile, tell people quite cheerfully, face to face, that I am on a weight-loss campaign and yes, I am cutting back, trying to move more and doing OK but it'll be slow progress. 

I am stating the reality of it here. My partner doesn't know how I waver. My kids don't appreciate how fed up I am, how some days I just want to be done with the pretence and the struggle and lower my face into a bowl full of lard. They don't see that side of me. I am to them the upbeat woman who says  "Oh yes. I am far too fat. It's unhealthy, so slowly I'll adjust my intake of food and because I have had a fairly sedentary lifestyle over some years now, I'll ensure I move more, because after all I want to regain my fitness."

All in all I am a pretty pathetic example of a fat person going about rectifying the problems associated with being overweight. I WANT to lose weight, but I want to be able to snap my fingers and transform my body instantly. I need to see big successes immediately. Piddling little pounds lost here and there almost make me wonder if the effort involved  in burning off a pound of fat is worth it. However, because I have a working brain in my head I KNOW and appreciate that getting rid of one pound of weight every week is good..and doing that regularly is even better. One pound of fat lost per week is 52lbs a year. That sounds OK! It could however take me more than fourteen weeks to remove fourteen pounds from my frame and I am STILL despondent about that fact.

The scariest things for me about being overweight are the diseases that are often associated with being fat and not exercising. However, no doctor is standing over me as I type, telling me that being fat makes me more susceptible to certain diseases, that my arteries may be clogged with fat, that my heart is struggling to pump blood around this fat frame and that my blood might pool, clot and then that clot might travel to my heart or to my brain and kill me.

THOSE thoughts are the ones which scare me into doing something. Vanity doesn't kick in. Am I not vain enough to want to look better? I do want to look slim, to wear more fitted, smaller clothes...but how much do I want that? That thought, that image alone doesn't get me up and running. I have moaned about how podgy and out of shape I am and how I hate my reflection, but even the knowledge that I look fat to all who view me doesn't have me leap out of my chair to go for a walk or pedal on the bike. I can live with it...can't I? I have done for many years, and so have so many of us. I am too contented. Contented with life but miserable about how I look. But not miserable enough, obviously.

What gives us that jolt? What makes us say 'Enough. Shape up and behave sensibly!"? All I can say is, for me the words above, about medical conditions, scare me. What if I have a stroke and end up paralysed and unable to do anything for myself? What if my heart gives out? What if my legs swell and become painful and ulcerated? What if they don't work any more? What if I have a heart attack and die? What if my weak body becomes susceptible to all those horrible diseases? What if I end up in a wheelcahir, depending on others? What if I become so sick that life holds no joy?

So, with this in mind, today I have adopted another stategy which I hope will motivate me a bit more to remain steadfast about this weight-loss campaign. I have, in red paint, made banners for myself. I shall stick them on the walls in my study, right by my PC so I can see them when I am typing (and spending far too long on the internet.)
One banner has HEART ATTACK on it.
Another STROKE.
One has CANCER written on it. For good measure I also have BED-RIDDEN and PARALYSED on other pieces of paper.

I think it's slightly pathetic that a woman of my age should need such aide-memoires to help her keep to her plan, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I need to stop the complacency that tells me I have all the time in the world to lose weight. I mentioned in another post that a sense of urgency is, for me a good thing. It spurs me on. I don't want to lose the weight next year, or a few years from now. I want to  lose the weight before I become another year older, but if I become a contented slacker, that isn't going to happen. I want to go into 2011 having lost a substantial amount of weight. That is do-able, but I have to want to do it, with all my heart.

Life can be cruel and it can knock us down. Life can be taken from us at any time, but why on earth would we increase our chances of that happening? For every day I remain blasé about my weight and plump body I am telling myself that my health doesn't matter.

My face is's pretty even. My personality and character are OK too. I am a pretty decent sort of person, honestly. My body though, the one that serves me so well, is struggling. It is not OK. This is serious. I have to treat myself well...not by indulging myself but by getting my head around the fact that I have to deprive myself of foods and ways of existing that have taken me to where I am now.

I am off to find some blu-tack. I have some wordy wall-art to hang. I am going to start a 'brand new story' with my words.

WORDS - by the Bee Gees.

Smile an everlasting smile
A smile could bring you near to me
Don't ever let me find you gone
'Cause that would bring a tear to me

This world has lost it's glory
Let's start a brand new story
Now my love, right now, there'll be
No other time and I can show you
How my love

Talk in everlasting words
And dedicate them all to me
And I will give you all my life
I'm here if you should call to me

You think that I don't even mean
A single word I say
It's only words, and words are all
I have to take your heart away.