Friday, 30 July 2010

Just Nipped In For A Quickie ;-)

Har, har har.....

Just thought I'd let you know I have added a weight loss graph to this blog. You know how the weight has just been FALLING off me....not? Well, I had a smile to myself this morning looking at that graph. It doesn't go up or down much.

If I'd been a patient in a hospital bed I'd be flat-lining. The emergency crews would be rushing to my bed-side. My weight loss (har, har again) goes across in an almost straight line!!! :) Hear that machine's shrill whine!

The emergency team would have massive lipo-suction machines with them.

Doc:   "OMG. She looks terrible! Stand back! Clear a space! goes....(sticks vacuuum tube in Fat Grump's rotund stomach) And suuuck!"

Nurse:  "It's OK Doc. It's working. She is deflating...She is going down." (Wipes Doc's fevered brow)

Doc:   "Thank God. I thought we'd lost her to the great doughnut shop down the road for a minute."

OK, so it made me smile when there isn't much else to laugh about on the weight-loss front.

Man and me are going out for a Chinese tonight. I'll practice restraint. I'll drink water, suck on a noodle and lick a bit of Pak Choi...promise. (I bet Pak Choi enjoys it......)

Sorry. Normal service will be resumed tomorrow. (Hits self.)

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Living - Or Merely Existing?

Sigh. I am having a 'low' day today dear readers. You know...there is nothing awful I can put my finger on, but I feel I am merely existing and not really living. I am plodding through my days. Know what I mean?

I imagine everybody, thin, fat or at a perfect weight has 'bleugh' days when they don't feel very inspired to do much. Today everything is taking such an effort. I feel like I am wading through treacle. All I want to do is sit and wallow. Yes, sounds like depression but it's not - it's sort of a fed-upness with it all, a conscious reality-check of how I am spending my days and I KNOW only I can do something about it.

I feel I have to grab life by the shirt collar and really LIVE it - you know? I am wasting so much precious time almost preparing for how life will be when I am a thinner version of me - which is completely stupid! Today...right now in fact - is all we have for sure. There can't be a golden time when it all comes together and I am transformed. Life doesn't work like that.

I have been inspired by reading blogs about former big people who now look svelte and fit. Life has opened up for them, and every single person who has succeeded in losing weight is urging on others to make the same transformation - because they KNOW life is so much better for them as a slim person. Not only that, it's obvious from reading that they feel mentally stronger and up for challenges. (I feel mentally flabby most days) I read and am impressed, but I feel I am at the bottom of the mountain and they are up there at the top..yelling at me to come and join them. All I can think about is how difficult it is going to be for me to climb up there...Having said that, every person who has succeeded has mentioned that they've done it one day at a time, one good choice at a time...and we can all do that too. Except on days where we feel bad about ourselves. I am having one of those days...and nothing much matters. A grey fog has descended. I feel a bit of a loser.

I'll try and keep this short. (Hear the trumpet fanfare!) If my diet is good I'll feel better. If I try with real conviction to stick to a plan I'll feel better. If I move more and achieve, I'll feel better. If I go out into the fresh air I'll feel better. If I drink a glass of water instead of 'having a little treat' I'll feel better. If I have faith in myself that I can REALLY lose weight and work towards it I'll feel better.

Today I am trying very hard to find that faith in myself. I am wallowing today. I am not living. I am wasting pressure minutes, hours, moments doing nothing...merely existing.

Fat or not fat...this is my life to I am going to have a glass of water, then I'll brush my hair, put on my shoes and go for a walk. I am trying to grab back this (so far) wasted day, a day in which I have felt miserable, fat and fairly hopeless. I'll think about how I can end today on a high note.

I think we all have to aim to shake ourselcves up a bit when we feel we are coasting/wallowing. I am a thinker, not a doer...and oh how I can bring myself down by thinking too much! I get a feeling that fat people can bring themselves down quicker than slim people who are active and doing. It's perhaps not the 'fat' and 'slim' bits that matter as much as the  'active and doing.' THOSE are the key words.

Join me? Lets just DO something...and move ourselves out of the big, fat gloomy place we sometimes find ourselves in.

Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.

~ Earl Nightingale ~

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

OMG! My Scale Must Have Broken, Surely?

I know. "Don't call me Shirley!" (I love that line.) Why on earth am I larking about with a jokey opening when my scale shows a big increase in my weight???? Slap me somebody! Bloody hell! I have lost 14lbs...and it's taken me forever - at least it's come off - but this morning, when I stupidly stood on my scale after biking for 40 minutes it registered a 5lb gain!!!! FIVE pounds!

I mentioned yesterday that within the space of a week my weight can fluctuate 2 or 3lbs either way..and I have been quite good about only weighing myself once a week because of that. Weigh-day for me is supposed to be Monday...and perhaps next Monday I'll have lost those 5lbs (and 2lbs more besides, which would mean I am properly LOSING weight,) but realistically I can't see that happening given my metabolism seems to be more sluggish than that of a snail on Valium. Wail!

I think I have to set myself a challenge. Obviously what I am doing just isn't working very well.

The good news is that I have changed in many respects...and these are changes that I believe will stay with me. I am not fighting any of them. I see lots of little changes as real success..because I feel I am changing for life and doing it without too much resistance.

I don't buy biscuits or cakes any more. Those temptations aren't in the house.

I don't buy or eat things like Pringles or crisps...bags of fried potato-ey snacks or nuts etc to graze on whilst watching TV.

I have stopped buying pizzas for my boys. They'll scoff a whole one as a 'snack', so without mentioning it, I am cutting out some of their unhealthy snacks too. I never was fond enough of pizza to buy one and heat it up at home for myself. I'll eat one in a restaurant, may be, but it's not a food favourite and I can't remember when I last did that. Last year sometime?

I am buying lots and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and cooking a 'proper' evening meal rather than relying on convenience or processed foods. Again, my boys will eat whatever is there and they'll tuck into a bowl of raspberries quite happily and not moan that they're lacking a stodgy pudding. We were never big pudding eaters really. The fridge is stocked with low fat yogurts and in fact youngest son uses up strawberries and low fat yogurt on his Bran Flakes breakfast.

There hasn't been ice-cream in the freezer for months. I don't buy it.

I only buy wholegrain cereal and breads. I am starting to switch to brown rice and pasta too. long as it's covered in a tasty sauce, the boys tend not to notice.

I have stopped buying red meat..for no reason other than it's pricey and I really do prefer chicken and fish. We rarely have burgers or sausages at home anyway. They tend to be BBQ items and given the English weather....

I am cutting back on carbohydrates. I am aware of portion sizes..but I do love bread. I often substitute it with Ryvita sesame crackers and cottage cheese. (I like easy-to-prepare, snacky foods rather than all my grazing has to be on healthy items. Breakfast and lunch tend to be very small meals, so I can have two snacks either side.. I cook a proper evening meal but have a small portion. I find I get full quicker of late.)

I am not a salad eater I have discovered :(. I'll eat a salad if it's put in front of me, but far too many salad vegetables have gone soggy in the fridge recently. I can't afford to be so I am eating tomatoes (something I love) with lots of dishes. I'll only buy leaves now if I KNOW I'll use them up straight away in pitta breads or wraps. Again..the boys will eat them too and I prefer baby spinach leaves over lettuce.

I have stopped drinking wine. I don't drink alcohol any more. No real reason other than I don't want 'empty' calories. I am hooked on fizzy mineral water! Even if we go out to eat, I'll wash down my meal with water. When I last had a glass of wine I decided I preferred the clean experience of water over the sour, slightly acidic taste of wine. Calories saved. No hardship. OMG...does this mean I am now teetotal??? (My dear old Irish Mum used to be a member of a Temperance Society when she was a young woman. The motto was "Water is the best fluid to drink. Neither man, plant nor animal can live without it." I remember her quoting that...even though she happily indulged in a 'medicinal' tot of Irish whisky most nights up until the day she died in her 80s.)

I have been getting on the exercise bike and pedalling for at least 30 mins five days out of seven.

What I haven't been doing? :(

1) I haven't been walking much, or 'going for walks' for the exercise value of them. I can't seem to make myself go out of the house just to walk. No idea why. It's free exercise yet I seem a bit loathe to do it. Any tips?

2) I haven't been ignoring the late-night call of the munchies. I have always been a night owl and find I am eating at 11pm or later! Last night I had a slice of toast and honey and a mug of tea just before midnight. That's when I prowl the house in "I want to eat!" mode.

3) I am not weaning myself off my sedentary hobbies. I still spend large parts of my day sitting down...reading, computing, drawing, watching TV...which just isn't good.

I have jobs around the house to do and a garden to tend to but my favourite word seems to be mañana. That's my by-word now I have retired. Mañana. I put things off until 'tomorrow'...and I am kicking myself because even though I am aware it's a very bad habit, I can't break it.  I have read so many self-help articles about procrastination, but none seem to help. I am aware I just have to get up and DO IT, but I have become very good at completely ignoring that little voice in my head. I wrote about a Penalty Ogre a few posts back. I really do need to install one in the cupboard under the stairs so he can unleash himself and roar at me and beat me up throughout the day.

Yes, I still have the home-made posters with "Heart Attack", "Stroke", "Blood Clots" written on them, pasted up near my computer. I ignore them. ( my peril, I know.) How do I stop being so bloody blasé?

The kids have grown up and go out to work...and I have retired. (I must mention here that I am not a 'pensioner' in the proper sense of the word. I stopped working at 50...I am a 'youngish' woman still - or so I tell myself. I'd hate to be thought of as an old crone, way past her sell-by date.) I don't have a husband coming home at night, so I don't even try to be a domestic goddess. I do what has to be done. Sinks and loos are spotless, as is the kitchen floor. I have a nice home...but I am not going to wear myself out finding houswork to do even though I am not a complete slob. A once a week purge suffices. (I was brought up being aware of the Shirley - hey I got that name in again!- Conran principle for feminists of the 70s...'Life is Too Short To Stuff a Mushroom' Superwomen everywhere were looking for ways to become more efficient. Huh. Life isn't too short to eat a stuffed mushroom though - is it?

Another of her sayings was "I make no secret of the fact that I'd rather lie on the sofa than sweep beneath it."

Oh I hear you Shirley! :)

So, there we have it. I am OK with food..mostly...I have the odd small indulgence, but I am very geared up for healthy eating...but I am not burning calories very well. I burnt off 187 calories on the bike this morning. I do plan to go for a walk this afternoon. I have to pick up repeat prescriptions from the Doctor's surgery and I don't have a car - it's still being mended. (I have a great chunk of engine in my hall. Son brought it home from work. He is stripping down my car engine in the garage where he works, as it needs a new cam belt...big, big job apparently. I think many people scrap their cars when the cam belt goes..if the car is getting on a bit. I don't have that option. Anyway...I have a big rectangular chunk of metal in the hall. I think it's the 'head'...which has to be 'skimmed.'? I haven't a clue what men are on about when they talk engine talk. I pick up the vocabulary but it means nothing....selective ignorance on my part alas. My man is an engineer so he'll skim it in his workshop to save a bit of money.) Oooops. I digress.

I have to get to the doctors today so I'll walk. That's another thing...some of my prescription drugs cause weight gain. I have an underactive thyroid and both types of anaemia..iron deficiency and Pernicious I have to be injected with Vitamin B12 regularly. My auto-immune system isn't good. I have other chronic complaints too, and I have to take preventative medication as well. I rattle with drugs. I know I am so laid-back I am almost horizontal...and that's personality/character wise, even before I have pilled-up with the medicines I have to take every day. I think I'd have to live on about 600 calories a day to make any difference to my weight :(

Someone soon WILL invent a magic wand, silver bullet and super pill to instantly remove fat. They have to, and I'll be the first guinea-pig to try them out! ;-)

Yes...I must become more active. (How do you MAKE yourself go out and walk?) I may get violently active with my scale if it still registers a 5lb gain next Monday. Here's hoping your scale is being nice to you.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

From The Shoulders Up.....

I look OK. Passable, or good even for a fat woman, when I can be bothered to apply make-up, do my hair and wear a necklace and dangly earrings. It's hard convincing myself that I am still worth that effort some days though :(

Another story coming up. Bail out now if you don't have the time to read - you have been warned :)

My man and I had been invited to a 'presentation' on Saturday afternoon, at a place out in the countryside, near Warwick. Now, this presentation was a hard-sell of some holiday scheme or other...we knew that...we were aware of the tedious presentation and the sales patter we'd have to sit through for at least 90 minutes, but the carrot they dangled was a free holiday in Europe for a week, for two people, just for turning up. They needed 'mugs' to sit through a personal presentation with one ultra-friendly (and it has to be said - smarmy) sales person per couple. We'd be shown pictures of luxurious holiday resorts and then wonder at the 'marvellous' offer they could make us....which was "for one day only." What a surprise huh?

'Snooze and you lose - this promotion is for the lucky couples selected and the incredible deal we offer you is offered today and for today only' said the ultra-slick, rather over-friendly salesman, giving it all he could to make us part with our hard-earned dosh (or should I say my my man's dosh. I don't have any spare dosh these days.) For a hefty (er sorry...'reasonable') fee forked out there and then, or arranged by a finance company, (nice commission for the sales team) we could holiday for life like millionaires, at top hotels all around the world. Yeah right. The salesman conveniently forgot to remind us there were annual maintenance fees on top of the quite considerable cash lump sum he wanted us to part with, and we'd also have to purchase flights/transportation form airports etc...and find spending/food money when we got there. We'd be tied into this until we battled to get out. If we wanted out there was NO way we'd ever get a fraction of our investment back. (Are you already aware that I have an excellent built-in bull-sh*t detector? I think it's good to be aware and even downright cynical at times :)

We accidentally got caught up at one of these promotional events years ago...Once our joint income had been ascertained (via internet lists we presumed ) we were there for the taking - except we didn't cough up. We needed time to think, which wasn't part of the sales team's deal. We went along as innocents - lambs to the slaughter almost. However, for sitting through the presentation, given by an extremely jovial and glamorous woman, we did get a free weekend in London out of it...and a small portable TV and DVD player, which we thought was a good deal. My son got the free TV as he was just going away to University, and would need one in his room.

My man got the call a few weeks ago, inviting us to another holiday scheme presentation. We knew we weren't going to buy, no way were we going to part with thousands of pounds, but we also knew it was worth wasting a couple of hours listening to a sales pitch, if we got something out of it. We didn't have any other plans, so sad people that we are, we drove out to the converted barn in the middle of the countryside and steeled ourselves for the onslaught :)

(Hey, apologies to any sales people out there! I couldn't do that job for all the tea in China.You have to be a certain sort of person don't you, to convince others to part with their cash for a product you have to flog whether you believe in it or not...and usually all for commission or a bonus on top of a measly salary. That's the way it is in the UK anyway. You need balls to be able to do that...I just couldn't and I almost want to buy any product, just to give the hard-working sales person a bonus.)

Now, back to my 'making an effort'. Of late, since I stopped working I have been feeling soooooo 'poor'. I know it's all relative and I count my many blessings every day. I get by, just, but I feel the pinch often and have had to tighten the financial belt lots and lots. I can't splash the cash any more, and being a woman who loves to shop, that is sometimes very hard. Living on an occupational pension, saved for over 30 years, isn't the same as having a monthly pay cheque coming in! It doesn't go very far when all the bills have been paid. I have to count every penny and think about my budget all the time. I just don't buy clothes, shoes, make-up, toiletries etc as I used to, nor do I get my nails done or visit the hairdresser very often. I don't go on unnecessary journeys, I have to budget for food and I can't remember when I last bought a winter coat or new boots. Even things like books and newspapers I've had to fore-go. I am OK with that - mostly. I've never been 'high maintenance' but equally, when I worked, if I really wanted it, or needed it, I'd buy it! Those days have gone. I'd become a down-market version of me.

But, for this presentation I thought I'd make the effort. It was a Saturday...and style-wise it's usually an any old top day and I'll tie my hair up and wear jeans and trainers and not bother with make-up. However, I wanted to meet the slick sales team, all in suits and ties and looking 'expensive', looking good myself. I know the women selling at such events tend to go over the top - a bit like the unapproachable and ultra glamorous women on the cosmetics counters in the stores. Their hair and make up is immaculate but laid on with a trowel it's so thick. I always feel scruffy and unkempt in their presence...and that's an observation rather than an admittance of inferiority:) I wanted to make the most of myself on Saturday.Weird - yes. Unnecessary - yes. Unwarranted - yes. But an opportunity to look good, look the part...seem like a woman who would, in consultation with her partner, consider spending thousands? Oh yes. This was an opportunity to dress up, and look good.

I showered and styled my hair. I gave myself a manicure and painted my fingernails and toe-nails. I gave myself a facial...and then, with a hand held magnifying mirror (evil things!) and in a good light...right up at the window...I plucked my eyebrows and squinted to find any facial hair. Oh yes...that's one of the fruits of waning hormones and ageing! I am very fair skinned so have been lucky to have light hair anyway, but to my horror odd stray hairs sprout at the edges of my lips...and one fair hair had taken up residence on my chin!!!! They weren't obvious I don't think, but all the same, they were plucked out! Ouch. Moisturiser and foundation were applied..then eye make up...I lightly pencilled in my fair eyebrows, then applied high-lighter to my eyelids and several coats of mascara to my lashes. I added a little blush to my cheeks and then applied lipstick. I like my lips. Although not full and plump I am blessed with a perfect Cupid's Bow shape on the top I accentuated that. I piled my hair on top of my head and wore silver earrings and silvery blue beads round my neck, to go with the denim-blue blouse I wore. Yes. Making the effort was worth it. I looked good...

Bump. <~~~~ that was me coming down to Earth. No I didn't. Who was I kidding? I looked good in a small mirror..the one over the bathroom sink which reflected my head and shoulders. When I looked in the full length mirror in my bedroom I looked fine from the shoulders up....but I got wider and wider as I went down...My mid-section was still rotund and protruding, my backside still had a shelf on it and my legs looked chunky in 'smart' jeans. I didn't see the face..I saw the whole picture. I long for the day when I can look in a mirror and not feel shame. I used to enjoy preening and looking at my reflection but those days are long gone. OK, so a mirror only shows us what's on the outside. We know the inside is good...but isn't it hard to FEEL good when the outside doesn't look good?

I expect many of us have heard..."Oh you have such a lovely face" or "You'd be so pretty if you weren't so big" type comments. They really do apply..

Anyway, I am big enough and grown up enough to appreciate that despite my shape I am a decent person. My self-worth is still intact, but I just KNOW my confidence isn't what it used to be now that I am fat. Isn't it strange that we can act confidently, project confidence and serenity and seem as though we are OK with what we are...but it only takes a mirror to burst any bubbles we have about looking good. A mirror can deflate us, a mirror can bring us back down to earth and keep us there.

So we attended the sales pitch.  Fortunately, I sat behind a table, so my top half showed. There was a lot of eye-contact as the overly jolly salesman made his pitch. The focus was on us. My face looked good :) I could keep my arms on the table and hide the blubbery tyres of fat round my middle. (I won't say 'waist' because I just don't have one!) Even if I didn't look good in the full-length view, I felt good for having made an effort...for having accentuated my best bits. I decided that I would do that again...more often. We laughed later on in the car about the over-the-top bonhomie and how this ultra-friendliness - almost two hours of it - INSTANTLY dried up as we told the team we didn't want to buy. The smarminess vanished and it all became it did for other couples who'd been given the hard-sell. We were of no interest any more. It was all a false front. Even if we'd attended as innocents, we weren't being offered a good deal. We escaped with our voucher and VOWED we'd never do it again. It just wasn't worth it. 

Anyway...long story, but that outing was why I made an effort. I make the effort with my looks on other occasions too, but since I have become overweight I tend to lack confidence in myself. Isn't that strange? With ageing we aquire wisdom, self-knowledge and a certain authority, but now that I am fat I have found my self-confidence is all a's an act. In fact, it's as genuine as the salesman's friendliness.

I am going to have a long wait before I look good in a full length mirror, and although my reflection is disheartening, I can't let it dictate again and again about how I feel about myself. I am hoping that some time next year I won't feel so down when I look at myself. The damage can be repaired, to a certain extent. I'll never have an ironing board flatness, and I may remain slightly squidgy..but I can regain a shape and I can tone up even if I can't regain my youthful bloom. I can regain SOME pride in my appearance. It's easy not to make the effort when you are overweight. I know I go out and hope that I won't be noticed. I don't want to draw attention to myself. But it's also good to accentuate the positive, as I did this weekend. In fact...since  Saturday I have been trying a bit more with my face..not the full make-up palaver, but I am 'grooming' myself more and wearing bracelets and beads...and choosing different earings. My Cupid's bow lips have been glossy..and my smallish eyes have been highlighted. My blonde hair has been piled that little bit higher and it's cost me nothing except a bit of time and effort.

I am worth that time and effort. I gained two pounds at the beginning of last week, and by Sunday they had gone. It goes on, it comes off...or so it seems, whether I make much effort or not. Why can't it just stay off? I am 'maintaining' well...(sigh) and I have to be satisfied that I am not gaining. I know I need to make more effort with my diet and my exercise routine. I don't think we can feel good about ourselves if we don't try. I made the effort with my face and hands....and although it didn't fix my plump body, it helped me feel a bit better about myself.  Now I really do have to work on my body. I think I may feel better about myself for trying that little bit harder with respect to my eating and exercise..every single day. Not trying is a sure-fire way to self-loathing and further neglect.

I came across this as I was browsing and found it quite appropriate and comforting.

“God makes three requests of his children: Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have, now”  ~  African-American Proverb males and females out there...go and do a bit of grooming. Make the best of yourselves. Fat or not, it's good for our well-being to make the effort and not give up on ourselves. In fact, we have to learn to like ourselves, whatever our shapes. Go on - you are worth it - go and accentuate your good bits today! :)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Penalty Ogre - Looking For Fat People Everywhere.

I think I am a bit of a laid-back individual. I am the tortoise not the hare. I'll race but not care if I don't get a medal. I am not incentive-driven really. I am happy for others to come first...although if by chance I come first and am recognised as a winner, I am pleased to bits. For me, being a winner in some aspects of my life HAS come naturally - just because of the way I am. I just wish I were a natural winner in ALL quarters. I am not, alas.

I have seen results in my working life..I have been a winner there. I won't say they've been without effort, because I have always given 100% effort. I have worked hard, I am a bit of a perfectionist (not a good trait but anything which has my name on it has to be perfect) and with experience I have gained skills. This has been recognised by my employers without me having to compete against others or shout from the roof-tops about the good job I am doing. I just get on with things, and have been fortunate to have been recognised and promoted. I am also fairly modest. I am not good at blowing my own trumpet and drawing attention to myself...I just get on quietly with doing the best I can...and fortunately, this has brought good results.

I have worked hard..but not been all that eager to climb the career ladder. I did, but only because other people wanted me to move a few rungs up...I didn't fight for a better salary. I didn't do a good job because I wanted promotion...ever. Easily contented...that's me.

I am, sadly, not terribly ambitious. Is that a fault do you think? Should people STRIVE to be the best they can be - or is that the fast track to stress and associated illnesses? I became a career success almost by default - if that makes any sense? I am not complaining. It's just that I got on by being 'me'... laid-back, not-at-all-competitive me..not someone racing to succeed, competing to be recognised or HAVING to do well. (I acknowledge that I was lucky other people cared that I should earn more for my work, and wanted to give me more responsibility/pay but as long as I have enough, money has never been a driving force in my life.) Like I said..I am OK with coming second. It doesn't eat away at me because I am not first. Rewards don't seem to work for me or spur me on to greater things :(

I have been wondering about why some people go about losing weight with a passion...and I don't. Jack Sh*t (sorry..not sure how to do a link) mentioned a few posts back about not being able to catch the spark to light the fire and boy did that hit home with me. That's exactly where I am. This is one area where I wish I could drive myself on into caring more or wanting to be a winner. I am dawdling along, knowing all the reasons why being overweight is not good for me, knowing about the illnesses and complications being fat can cause, yet NOT doing my utmost every day, every moment, to make the fat go away. I wouldn't be sitting here typing now if I REALLY cared. I'd have been out for a long walk already this morning if fat-busting meant that much to me. Like I have said before - I spend far too much time online, sitting on my fat arse.

There are penalties for being fat that we ALL know about. We wrote the lists, didn't we? Clothes don't fit, we can't move properly, chairs aren't big enough, we get out of breath, people stare, we feel awful about ourselves, become depressed, hide away, we stop taking part, we can't take part, our reflections sadden us, and we could become very ill, and not be around for our families. All horrible attachments that come with our big, flabby bodies.

If we know all this awful stuff and we experience it too, why do we carry on being fat? Why aren't we using every single moment of our existence on fighting the flab, being active, eating like a sparrow etc? We know HOW to lose weight. Only the dedicated get the job done. Many bloggers ARE successful. I am blogging because I want to be, but without humongous (and noticeable) effort on my part, I am not going to get the rewards. My kids haven't seen me picking at salads or full of enthusiasm for a walk around the block. No one would really know I am cutting back and trying to lose weight, even though I tell them I am. No one has exclaimed "Oh Grump! You are looking good!" I am not looking good - yet.

An article in Psychology Today, says that “Rewards produce only a temporary upswing in productivity; they are strikingly ineffective at inducing lasting changes in attitudes or behaviour.”

It's true. The reward of smaller clothes tomorrow doesn't work for me. The carrot has to be dangled and dangled and dangled to get us to do more and do better for a reward. There are incentives to lose weight...all personal ones. I am reminded of my training back in the '70s, and the lectures I had regarding intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. It all makes sense. That's why I flounder. If only I did a excellent job on myself every day, without thinking - like I did with the task in hand when I worked.

Is the stick more effective than the carrot? I have been wondering - if there were penalties - serious, scary, tangible and frightening penalties - issued to us on a weekly basis if we didn't drop one pound of weight (which is do-able) wouldn't we all be working-out like demented things and living on fresh air? We'd all drop not one but two pounds or more if we were scared of the enormous, loud, green Penalty Ogre coming to visit us every Saturday with his booming voice, ugly talons, scales (weighing scales that is!) chains and a cage in which he would take us away to a hideous place if we hadn't lost a pound. If there were no hiding place...if the ferocious Penalty Ogre could seek us out, wouldn't we commit like crazy to working-out and cutting back on calories? Fear is a driving force, yet the fear of ghastly diseases and even early death can be put on the back burner most days, for slackers like me.

Isn't this true? "Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out" ~ Karl Augustus Menninger

The penalties of being fat are all the things listed above and more. Even the thought of ill health doesn't spur us laid-back types on. It might niggle away at our consciences, (it does, constantly) but for people like me, that's about all it does. The recognised, destructive penalties of being fat I can live with. I must be able to - you must be able to - because we do. I can't work myself up to being 100% committed, nor can I work out like a loony, which given I am older and post-menopausal I really need to do. I need more fear.

I think the Penalty Ogre might be a good thing. Do you need him too? Bring him on!

Monday, 19 July 2010

YAY ME.......I think?

Oooooh. Strange things are happening. Guess what I did today? It's something I've never done before and while I was doing it I thought "This is madness!" but I carried on...

Well, let me tell you the story leading up to this event first.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin :)  (That line was the intro to 'Listen With Mother' on BBC Radio way back when.)

On Saturday my man was having his family come up to the Midlands from Surrey (the other side of London.) His sister is a VERY good cook and my man was going to be doing the majority of the cooking over the weekend, given they were staying with him, in his house. He did ask me though to make the pudding which we'd have after Sunday dinner. I wanted to impress. Little did I appreciate at the time how traumatic such a simple request would become.

I am not a big dessert eater, but when we have special meals on special occasions pudding usually follows and depending on what it is, I may have some. I'd recently watched a TV programme featuring an easy to make reconstructed Banoffee Pie - and it sounded absolutely delicious. Banoffee Mess it was a called..a bit Like Eton Mess, but with Banoffee Pie ingredients. So, I went out and bought all the ingredients..which included light brown sugar, butter, two cartons of double cream, a packet of Digestive biscuits, a bag of pecan nuts, eggs and castor sugar (for meringues) and ooops..bananas. Very costly...and given I have such a low income now (I live on my occupational pension) a bit of an unusual splurge. My man offered to pay for the ingredients, but hell, I do have some pride. If I can't contribute a pudding to the weekends goings on it's a bit of a poor show. So, I went shopping on Friday and bought all these UNHEALTHY ingredients. I don't use sugar or butter at home and pecan nuts might as well be made of solid gold given the price of them! Still, I bit my lip and bought them...

We were very busy on Saturday but I reminded my man that at some point during the day I'd have to get in the kitchen and make the the toffee sauce could cool and I'd have time to cook meringues, etc. It WAS an easy recipe. However, things didn't pan out like that - we just didn't get home until very late after a restaurant meal and on Sunday morning I was panicking a bit. I'd stayed at man's house on Saturday night and on Sunday morning by the time we'd all showered and had a late breakfast it was almost midday. Lunch was at 2pm because his family had to travel back down south afterwards. THEN I discovered I'd left the (very expensive) pecan nuts at home. So, I packed up all the other ingredients and told man I'd make it at home (I prefer cooking in my own kitchen anyway...) but I'd get back for lunch. It's a good job we only live about ten miles apart. So off I whizzed, (in daughter's car which I'd borrowed while she holidays in Greece) feeling a bit stressed out. I got home and realised I'd left the recipe at his house! I couldn't for the life of me remember if the toffee sauce needed golden syrup in it - and what quantities of butter, brown sugar and cream I had to use. So - I tried to find the recipe on the internet...

The clock was ticking. I had about 45 mins to make it and then had to get back to man's place for lunch. Panic! Panic! I was going to be a big let down! I HAD to deliver a pudding! His family had said how much they all loved Banoffee Pie...yum, yum. It was up to me to serve Banoffee Pie for pudding!

I found a similar recipe online so went to the kitchen, weighed out the sugar...and a huge chunk of butter, and melted both in a pan. To this greasy, sugary mixture I had to add a LARGE amount of double cream. I did...I simmered it and stirred and slowly I created a lovely, runny toffee sauce. I tried a spoonful. Mmmm. It was sweet, rich and creamy and VERY good. (I wasn't sure it would work. I was relieved! Man's sister had said "Do you add syrup to the sugar and butter mix?" and I'd insisted that the recipe I was using didn't have syrup in it. She'd looked at me quizzically - so I HAD to get the toffee sauce right.) Such pressure. However, the sauce had to cool before it was whipped into the stiff double cream...the cream had been in the car so it was no longer icy cold..It dawned on me that with bananas and warm toffee sauce added to whipped cream and only just cooled meringues..the mixture was likely to flop and turn into a runny mess! That was NOT supposed to be the end result. It all had to be chilled in the fridge for an hour at least. Given I also had to arrange it in dishes and transport it all back to mans house...I was going to turn up with a light brown runny mess in each dish! Not the desired result! MAJOR PANIC! I phoned man and told him there'd been a change of plan. I felt such a fool. (I reckoned his sister would be gloating!) One pudding and I'd failed! I was so stressed and miserable. I couldn't even serve up a simple Banoffee Pie, which they were all looking forward to. :( Feeling flustered and angry and stressed out, I abandoned the sauce and meringues, put the cream in the fridge and headed off for the nearest supermarket where I bought punnets of strawberries and raspberries. I'd have to do fruit for pudding. (Now, why didn't I just do this in the first place? Why had I wanted to impress?)

The fruit (enough for seven adults) cost a King's ransom! Bloody hell! This was the most expensive pudding on the planet given I'd already forked out for Banoffee Pie ingredients. It would have been cheaper to eat out!

Anyway...we had pudding but I felt quite sheepish...and knackered given all the rushing about!

Last night, quite late, I came home to a big bowl of toffee sauce. Mmmm. I also came home to two big cartons of double cream, and a bag of yummy pecan nuts. These are NOT foods to have in the house of a person wishing to lose weight. I had several spoonful of the rich sauce before I went to bed. Oh it was sweet, but heavenly! This morning, the toffee sauce called me again with it's runny richness. I remembered what the melted butter looked like..I also remembered what the brown sugar looked like, piled up on the scale. Lots of both. And lo....this sauce contained almost half a pot of double cream. No wonder it was rich, velvety smooth and delicious. For breakfast this morning I had a tablespoon of toffee sauce. Then another. Then I wised up. There was enough sauce there for seven people. Enough cream for a pudding to serve to seven people. Enough pecan nuts for seven people. ..and there'd be some left over. Did I really want to eat THAT much cream? I thought I could make up the Banoffee Pie for me and my boys...but...did I want THEM to clog up their arteries with double cream when they've been trained to eat yogurts? Did I want that cream in my stomach? Did I want to eat pure fat and sugar? The answer was a resounding NO!

With that, I poured two big cartons of cream down the toilet. I know...soooooo wasteful. I wish I could have thought of another way to get rid of them but giving them away wasn't an option. My neighbours were at work...and who goes offering gifts of cream anyway? I took the bowl of toffee sauce to the sink and poured washing-up liquid into it...then hot water...and watched my toffee sauce go bubbly then thin and creamy, then go down the plughole.

As I was doing it I felt some shame, (I hate wasting food) but also lots of pride. I had decided that this unhealthy food was not going to add pounds to my frame. I was not going to clog up my body with fat and sugar..not in such huge amounts anyway. I weighed myself this morning. To my surprise I have only gained two pounds over the last two weeks. I really thought given my up and down moods I may have blown it and gained much more. In between the bad times there have been lots of sensible times...and I count the throwing away of cream and toffee sauce (enough for seven people but easily consumed by one as well!) as a sensible time. I wouldn't have eaten it all at once, but I KNOW every time I'd gone into the kitchen I'd have had to eat a little more of that runny toffee concoction.

It's gone. It's a weight off my mind, and the sewers rather than my digestive system can deal with it.

Yay me? Or not? I am not quite sure if I've just had a disaster or a victory. This morning I cycled as I watched TV and I made sure I worked up a sweat! Begone toffee sauce!

My challenge to you today? Have some self-respect. Go and get rid of any foods in your house which you REALLY don't want to eat. Think of the affect on your health and your weight. Donate them to the bin...or to a deserving cause, but not to your stomach.

"Self-respect is the root of discipline: The sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself." ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Positive Sides of Being Fat?

I reckon there MUST be a positive side to being fat - to being overweight. Now, I know, as we all do, that being obese is unhealthy. It's not good for our bodies to carry round extra weight, but before we embark on a plan to become healthy and lose weight, life is pretty comfortable, isn't it?

Now that I am attempting to do something about my size, I have become sort of uncomfortable with me - and with my existence. It's hard to explain, because losing weight, eating healthily and being active are GOOD things to do for the body. I think such activities could be listed under "Self-Love". We care about ourselves when we look after our bodies properly. So, good for the body, good for the self esteem but why am I feeling so prickly, so restless, so discontented lately?

This has happened since I have been blogging. I am ultra-aware of my days and some of my successes but mainly, lots of my failures. I am also permanently aware I am fat, whereas before, when I was eating as I pleased and doing very little, I only had the occasional thought about being a big person...and I carried on lazing around, eating what was in front of me. Yes, there was some self-disgust that I just didn't look good any more, but I wasn't focused on everything I was doing, everything I was eating. I was just living.

Now, I am a person with a campaign...(and a blog.) I have a healthy-eating, healthy living campaign, and to be perfectly honest, I am finding it hard. I am going through the motions, but mentally, I am not there? Anyone know what I mean?

It's almost as though I begrudge giving up my old 'unconscious' lifestyle.That's the only reason I can come up with for feeling the way I it's an up-hill struggle and part of me is extremely half-hearted about the climb.

Of course, to counter that I'd say my new lifestyle is GOOD. My being aware and doing something about it is GOOD. Losing weight is GOOD. But I am not flying. Does that make sense?

Some people get into this...(and yes, different personality types obviously sort out problems in different ways) but I have friends who have lost weight, are still trying to lose weight and they are REALLY INTO a way which makes me feel a bit uncomfortable..but only because I haven't embraced it the way they have. How can this mission take over their lives as it has?  Is it because I am a middle aged biddy who views life slightly differently..through perhaps slightly cynical (realistic?) eyes? Am I doomed to be the person who clings on to what's familiar and what suits me to the detriment of my health? I AM making changes - but if I am completely honest, it's because I HAVE to..not because I really want to. It has to be where is the joy, people? Is there something wrong with me??? Some people just take off and fly. I am dragging my heels.

When I started this blog I swore I wouldn't become a diet-bore in real life. I saw these enthusiastic types as slightly fanatical...becoming totally consumed by their mission. It was their life. They were enthusiastic. (This isn't bad...but it's strange - for me.)  Now, some people would say that's good, but laid-back old me? Nope. There have to be small adjustments...for life. I am not going to peruse menus and discuss the low fat merits of a meal when I am out with friends. I'll order it...and drink water with it..and I can do that. I am not going to talk about the size of the weights I lift (occasionally.) I am not a weight lifter...I am a fat woman doing weird things like lifting weights because she HAS to...not because she wants to. I am a fat woman giving over some of her day (reluctantly) to getting her arse into gear. I am a fat woman walking past the cream cakes in the supermarket because they are bad for me. I can do this...but I won't tell you it's filling me with resolve or happiness. Just being honest...

I don't think I have read a blog yet from a grumpy dieter ;)  Why are you all SO bloody positive? :)

That's it really.

Old life....fine. OK, no worries, not too much brain strain. Disliked flab but could ignore it for the most part. Avoided mirrors...not too traumatic. Food tasty. No guilt trips, no pangs of guilty conscience.

New life...hard going. Full of consciousness which is a drag. Full of little voices urging me on to do the right thing...meals becoming a headache because I have to focus, not just eat...and an awareness every single day of my rolls of flab. Having to talk myself into exercising. Feeling I am doing it reluctantly. Guilt trips galore because I have not done as well as I should have done some days.

It is easier just being fat, isn't it? But we are all here because we know being fat isn't any way, shape or form.

Let's trudge on eh? Give us a shove.

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. ~ Flora Whittemore

Monday, 12 July 2010

Putting it off...and continuing to put it off.....

I'll try and keep this post short. (I know I write too much.) I clicked on my bookmarks..and accidentally brought up something I'd saved on the subject of procrastination - putting things off. Are all would-be dieters also procrastinators? I know I am, and that my habit is affecting my weight loss.

OK, back to the beginning. I had a bad day today. I didn't binge-eat, but I just couldn't be bothered with doing the 'healthy' thing. I wanted a day off from it all. I lounged around, didn't exercise, had a trip to the shops, bought healthy foods...came back and ate. I ate reasonably healthily, but too much of it...throughout the day. I ate what I fancied, often, (good job there aren't any packets of crisps or cakes and biscuits in the house) I let house-work pile up and I just didn't care. Ugh. In quiet reflection at the end of the day (now) I feel miserable and grouchy. I have to get back on track, but part of me doesn't want to. I even opened a bottle of sparkling Pinot Grigio to go with my evening meal (a healthyish meal)...and I am on my second glass...and I just don't care. Please tell me this sounds familiar?

Tell I alone in finding it hard to live healthily EVERY SINGLE DAY? I am starting to despair of myself. I talk the talk yet get so fed up with walking the walk...and when I fail (as I have today) I dislike myself so much...and that leads to me wondering if I am worth the effort of trying to become slim and better looking. Anyone also get caught up in that vicious circle? It must be common to so many 'dieters'.

I have stalled and because tomorrow is also going to be unstructured, unless I get my head and act together I'll have another day of not liking myself much..being self-indulgent and enjoying it at the time...loving it in pressure, just a pure hedonistic do as you please' day but at the end of it, feeling quite a lot of self-hatred because time has been wasted..and precious days when I could improve myself have gone.

OK, so hatred is too strong a word but when we fail on this road we can cheerily say "Oh tomorrow will be a better day" but the realist in me hates pop-psychology. I can only fool myself for so long. (I told you I didn't do 'fluffy' very well.)

Tomorrow I have a choice. I'll get up early as usual and start my day busily, but by 9am I am at home, and can relax. Wonderful. I am alone during the day. Great. Peace, quiet and solitude. I love it, just love it after leading such a hectic and busy life. No one to bother me. No one to pressure me. However...unless I can discipline myself, my idle, and lovely care-free days will bring me down. Isn't that ironic? The pressures I absorbed during my working life - as a single parent - brought me down and made me ill eventually. Now..the lack of pressure is going to do exactly the same thing, physically and mentally unless I can somehow become my own task-master and do what has to be done. I have to structure my day and DO what has to be done. There are no punishments or sanctions for not achieving though. The only punishment is one I take. My body suffers, my head becomes wracked with guilt and I become dissatsified with myself because I just don't try hard enough.

Break the cycle. Yes. That's what has to be done, but the only person I am doing this for is me. I could walk every single day...and I do try to do that, but sometimes I don't. My life has changed for the better, but the 'off' days are still there, days when I rebel, affecting my mind and my outlook. I am 'putting off' a new healthier life every time I have 'off' days. It's self sabotage, but why? Why can't we have a plan and stick to it - forever, tweaking it (positively) as we go? I don't fall off the wagon - I almost deliberately climb off the wagon, scowling and go and hide in the barn and make myself comfortable with food. It's not for always. I'll cheer up again. I'll catch the next wagon that comes along in the morning - may be. Probably.

Here are three forms of procrastination. I recognise them all. Sounds very much like it could be labelled "Fat Person's Disease." Do any of these sound familiar?

1) Discomfort Dodging - This person avoids activities that will cause them distress, discomfort or anxiety. Rather ironically, the act of dodging the activity doesn't make it go away so tensions mount because of this avoidance.

2) Guilt-Driven - The person feels guilt over tasks undone, but rather than correct the original lack of action continues to procrastinate in order to not face up to the guilt feelings.

3) Habitual - The person has procrastinated so many times, it becomes an ingrained response. The person no longer thinks about why they do it, they feel it's just a part of themselves. It becomes an automatic response to say, "This is too hard", "I'm too tired", or to laugh it off as a character flaw.

Sigh. Tomorrow is another day. I think by at least recognising what we are doing we put something into our own personal armoury. We have to fight our own instincts. If anyone tells me it's easy I won't believe them. I do however think that with practice self-discipline DOES become easier. I shall practice some more tomorrow...I hope.

Hah. Another long post. Sorry.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Price Tag

I believe that every worthwhile accomplishment has a price tag attached to it. I am learning that weight loss most certainly does. If you could buy WEIGHT LOSS in a shop, you'd have to go to lots of different departments, to pick up different things and you'd get to the check-out with a trolley loaded up with stuff.. What do we have in the trolley?

It's full. It contains:  1) hard work, 2) determination, 3) patience, 4) self belief, 5) planning, 6) sacrifice, 7) commitment, 8) endurance, 9) acceptance, 10) resilience.

The assistant will ring up your purchases and tell you how much this lot will cost. You gulp when she tells you that the contents of your weight loss trolley require you to get out your platinum card. The price is high. You hesitate. You start to panic slightly. Ooooh. You are spending a lot. Is it really worth that amount? Do you really want to buy it? The assistant sees your discomfort and tactfully whispers.."Look...if you want to go and put these things back, that's OK."

Time to think. What do you do? Do you smile and tell her you'll call back another day? What happens when the girl at the till says "OK" and lets you off the hook, but reminds you that stock runs out quickly, the stuff in today is the real deal and may not be on the shelves if you wait? Next week's stock is likely to be sub-standard and the chances are you won't get the complete kit..just some of it.

Do you hand over your card there and then, knowing the price is high but the results obtained using the weight-loss kit are priceless? You load your purchases into bags and carry them home, feeling pleased you decided to buy and determined to try them out the minute you get in? Do you decide you don't want to pay out today, but you'll definitely call in later on - or perhaps next week or next month, you're not sure - to buy your weight-loss kit, or do you decide these things cost far too much and you aren't going to pay for them? You walk out of the weight loss shop because the cost is too great. You prefer getting something for nothing after all....

Outside the shop there are lots of overweight people. There seem to be three distinct groups coming out of the shop. Some are walking off purposefully with their purchases. The bags have a lot in them but there seems to be a spring in their step. Others are telling their friends that it was a bit of a close call - but phew...they didn't buy it. They'll think about the weight loss kit for a bit longer, and if they wait, it may go down in price. There is also a large group of people looking rather indignant. They are walking away from the shop tutting. They think the weight-loss kit is a complete rip-off. "I am not paying THAT amount!" you hear them say angrily. Most of this group head off for the fast food place on the corner. They need to sit down and eat something to recover from the shock of it all...and this is a much nicer environment. That was a scary moment and they won't be visiting that shop again in a hurry.

Which customer are you? I think I've been the second sort - waiting for a reduction for far too long. The price always remained the same.

The weight loss package almost always guarantees excellent results. The question is though, are you willing to pay the price to attain it?

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Yesterday and Thank You.

I lost heart yesterday. The road seemed too long and the progress seemed too slow. I'd convinced myself I was 'playing' at weight-loss and that unless I could change my outlook and my habits I was doomed to remain a fat woman.

Yesterday I was questioning my reasons for blogging too. I read other blogs and people seem so fired up, so determined, so steadfast...and so active. Like I said yesterday, so many bloggers are different from me in their approach and the results they are getting. I was going to throw in the towel because words like 'gym' 'work out', 'reps' 'planks', 10K, 'kilos', 'weights', 'running shoes' and 'spinning' are things that happen in a world a million miles away from my own - by choice. I was doing (and still am) what doctors and health professionals everywhere are telling us to do...examine your diet, eat fewer processed foods, eat nutritious foods with fibre, vitamins and minerals in them - like fruits and vegetables and be aware of how many calories per day a body needs to lose weight. I have attempted to eat my  five a day. I am drinking lots of water and I am moving much more. I am not running, I am not doing classes..but I am walking , lots and I am conscious of all the deliberate bending, stretching and vigorous house and garden work I have been deliberately doing. I cycle in front of the TV or to music. I have got up from the sofa, put down my books and I am moving. I time myself at the computer now. Not too much sitting..

However, I reached the conclusion that what I am doing just wasn't enough. I was a bit of a weight-loss failure...a woman who could easily, in one derailed weekend, gain back all she had lost by eating and drinking without caution.

Yesterday I REALLY needed the perspective of others. I just want to thank those who understood and took the time to comment. Knowing people can either relate, care or offer advice is sometimes a bit of a life-line, isn't it? Sounds stupid. I should be able to shake off those feelings of inadequacy myself and go on in determined mode. But yesterday wasn't one of those days. Yesterday I didn't like myself much. (Isn't it weird how that happens?)

Today I am back doing what I need to do. I was given some great advice..lots to think about. I've lost 14lbs since erm...March. Four and a bit months. I read about people who lose ENORMOUS amounts of weight in a year...and all I can lose is one stone. Still, losing is better than gaining but I did question my ability to lose. I can maintain quite easily but shifting up several gears to LOSE weight is going to require determination. I probably don't have to change much...we all have to do it our own way after all..but I must appreciate that all people undertaking this journey have days when they feel less inspired, less determined. Not giving up is what it's all about.

That's it really..Yesterday I was about to give up, to give in, but I didn't, thanks to the caring people out there in Blogosphere.

PS: Breaking news:)
Yesterday evening my man and I went for a was a very warm evening. We walked a mile or so to the pub, through woodland and a by a small lake..we went down to the waters edge to see the ducklings and the swans and then ambled on to the pub. (It's always good to have a watering hole at the end of a walk we find..) He had his pint of Guinness and I had my soda water - with a dash of lime and a lot of ice. It was so stickily hot and humid yesterday so we sat outside in the pub garden. We hadn't eaten, so we took a different route home, on the main road which would take us to the 'Chippy'...The Chip Shop. It was the only place within walking distance still serving food at 10pm. One of my favourite foods used to be fish and chips...a large cod wrapped in batter and deep fried until crisp, and a bag of chips...(or fries, as they're known elsewhere.) Chip shop chips though are big, thick sticks of potato...deep fried until soft and golden in colour. Sprinkled with salt and vinegar this meal used to be food of the Gods. It was even better when I was younger and the food was wrapped in sheets of newspaper.  Damn health and safety regulations! :)

Anyway, we bought fish and chips to take home. I suggested to man that we share a bag of we did...and guess what? This indulgence wasn't so much of an indulgence as a trial! I just couldn't finish them, and not only that, the greasiness of them was quite horrible. I felt full quickly and left half of my half portion of chips...and most of the crispy batter from the fish. I actually felt queasy because it's been a long, long time since I'd eaten fried food. What a revelation. Fried food doesn't suit wasn't there wasn't too much damage done yesterday, given I'd eaten very little during the day, (nectarines, apples, cold chicken, muesli was just too hot to cook!) and all of it, apart from the fish and chips, low calorie and healthy.

A bump in the road. I can do this....and so can you if you're reading and doubting yourself as I was yesterday. I'll keep going and I'll get there eventually. You too? More progress methinks?

"I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.’ ~ Marie Curie

Friday, 9 July 2010

Losing the Plot - Losing Heart.

I wonder if there ever was a plot. If there was, it was about a heroine who was too laid-back, too comfortable, too easy-going to strive for her goal. Things were going on around her but she was short-sighted and unable to - if this is chick-lit - get her man. If this is the story of a woman dieting she had faulty scales and faulty expectations...just to make the story interesting, you understand.

The scales are not faulty, nor are my expectations but I think my outlook is. I haven't lost the plot...I have lost one stone as of today - that's 14lbs - but I don't feel spurred on. Yes, that in itself is a success. I am one stone lighter, but my progress has been SO slow. The word 'frustration' just doesn't cover the way I feel.

I have avoided most of the things I love to eat. I have cut them out. I have made sensible choices when eating out, and if and when I have over-indulged I have recorded it. I am conscious of my eating patterns and choices.I can't remember when I last had a glass of wine or an ice cream, or a pizza or a doughnut. (You can find out when I last tucked into doughnuts - I blogged about it.)

I read this (below) a few days ago...and all I can say to whoever came up with this gem is...fuck right off.

“When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

I think my plan is sound. OK, so I could become a gym bunny - but that's not going to happen. I can't afford membership and even if I could, my past history of gym membership indicates that I probably wouldn't go. I don't feel fired up by sessions at the gym. It's a drag getting's a drag going and working through the equipment...I clock-watch and want it to be over. So shoot me down gym enthusiasts. I don't care. I am not one of you and that doesn't make me a bad person.

I could cut out carbs, but I am not going to...This has to be for life and I have cut down on them considerably. I have no car right now and fixing it is going to be a long job (son and his co workers are doing it in their own time to save me money) I have to walk and use buses to get anywhere. I don't mind. It's inconvenient, that's for sure - all those used to having a car and suddenly finding themselves without one would say the same but it's not the end of the world. It might be a blessing in disguise. I like walking. I am reasonably fit and walk fast and once I get going I can walk and walk. It doesn't bother me.

I am middle aged, I am post-menopausal, I do take lots of prescribed medication every day - some of which can cause weight gain. I am not using those things as excuses though. They are facts. I am a fat woman trying to lose her blubber, but wondering why I am bothering to blog about my life and efforts.

For months now I have been a woman acting sensibly (for the most part.) I am moving - walking more, using equipment at home, cycling on the exercise bike, dancing vigorously once a day at least (saddo that I am) and consciously keeping busy round the house and in the garden and avoiding sitting for any length of time. I am not kidding myself when I say my life has changed for the better. But the weight doesn't fall off. I am losing heart, and even though I have kind readers spurring me on with positive vibes and suggestions I really feel like giving up. Not giving up completely...but not making such a big deal of 'doing this' - ie: telling people I have a weight-loss blog. My blog is a bit of a joke. I am sort of recording the way NOT to do it. I don't have that perhaps I am a fraud. A middle aged fat woman who just likes writing.

I am not likely to inspire anyone...I'll keep on doing what I am doing but it would be SO easy to pig-out, to comfort eat and stuff my give up, and easily a couple of days or so, the 14lbs I have lost. I shan't. I am not stupid, but I do feel down. I am pleased to have lost a stone. I am a stone lighter and that has to be good...but boy, has it been a struggle to keep on keeping on. How on earth does one motivate oneself to stay on a plan when the rewards are drip-fed to me? Yeah, slow and steady wins the race, but my progress is slug-like. There HAVE to be rewards along the way...but look at when I started blogging. The rewards haven't been coming.

My fault? I'll hold up my hands if necessary, but I can't be something I am not...I am not going to become a marathon runner... and I am not going to join a gym...nor do I like the idea of WW or other slimming clubs. This is my down-fall? I feel quite indignant that these seem to be the only ways open to me. My own "live healthily" campaign is crap in terms of getting results....crap in terms of motivating a person to keep on, yet I am doing everything the health experts advise. I have to all of a sudden become something I am not? I really can understand why people remain fat. If I lost the plot, would you blame me? This is my struggle...and I am being honest, not defeatist. 'Keep going' will be the sensible advice, and keep going is what I am telling myself...but yes, today I don't like the plot. The story isn't moving along fast enough and I am losing interest. This may be a book I put down.

PS: Please don't hear a whine. I am one angry woman telling it like it is. Here - have another quotation - one I think makes sense.

"Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure”
George E. Woodberry quotes (American poet, critic, and teacher, 1855-1930)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Being Frightened Into Weight Loss

It's the best way to get started I reckon! Fear is a great motivator. How I wish medical professionals who have weighed me over the last five years - quite regularly - had been brutally honest and said "Hey - you are much fatter than you should be. In fact, you are morbidly obese. Your blood pressure is high too..and you are retaining water round your ankles. What are you going to do about it?" But they don't. They have to remain silent, in those ante-rooms at the hospital where all the height/weight/blood pressure checks take place before you get to see the consultant. So the pleasant nurses say when they've finished "OK, just take a seat. Shouldn't be long to wait..."

We KNOW we are overweight, but don't you think it helps sometimes if people - professionals or loved ones I mean - remind us of the fact every now and then? My sons very occasionally say "You shouldn't be eating that if you want to lose weight Mum" and my usual reaction is to become very defensive. Usually I'll say something like "Oh, I've had a tough day. Just leave me alone..." or I'll concur and make an excuse "Yes, I know, but I have been so GOOD for ages. I just fancied a little treat..I shan't have another for a long while." In other words I mean..."Don't question me! Leave me alone to enjoy this!"

We can kid ourselves for years and years and years that we really are going to take the problem seriously and do something about it - and once we embark, people like me become slightly resentful that I have to behave and eat differently. Madness.

I quite like it when something fires me up and reminds me that being fat is unhealthy. I watched a TV programme last night about two overweight girls - in their early 20s - who joined two massively overweight women - in their 40s - for a week, in their home, and lived their lifestyle. Now the younger women were big as a result of partying, drinking copious amounts of alcohol, eating junk food and taking no exercise at all. They watched TV for pleasure or went online, and spent hours catching up with friends on Facebook. The older women - the middle aged ones were enormous. They ate massive portions of food at home..mostly fatty and fried, and sprinkled salt over everything. They didn't eat vegetables at all, and because they were so big they were permanently out of breath and house-bound. They could just about get out of their chairs and waddle. They drove everywhere...even to places just up the road from their home.

Anyway, we watched how they ate...and the younger women were given a wake-up call. Their diets and lives were different but these older women were also ill. They communicated, chatted, laughed together but took numerous pills every day. They couldn't wash themselves effectively, or put on their own shoes. if anything fell to the floor it stayed there. One woman was so big she slept in an armchair, fully clothed. One had ruined her kidneys, and both suffered from hypertension, ulcerated legs and Type 2 diabetes (Type 2 diabetes is caused by the overweight couch-potato lifestyle, and is quite different from Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes, which usually affects children because of a defunct pancreas, and has nothing to do with lifestyle, food or lack of exercise.)

These women, who hardly ever moved still wanted syrup all over their food and butter mashed into it to make a sauce. They tucked into fried foods and went to as-much-as-you-can-eat buffets because they couldn't be bothered to cook. They chose deep-fried everthing and still wanted salt to smother their greasy food even though they knew it harmed them.

Aren't we wierd? We KNOW that being fat is unhealthy but often we live with it for years and years until we become ill or until we appreciate that only we can make the necessary changes to avoid all the health-related complications of being obese. Our comfort zones become our ruts..and didn't some wit remark that a rut is just a shallow grave? Those women lived to eat, rather than ate so they could live. They had no real quality of life, but adored their food.

Anyway, I watched that programme last night and this morning first thing I was on my bike...doing two 20 minute sessions, pedalling hard so that I was slightly out of breath. I have to be more aware and pro-active than that though. One session of exercise because I was frightened into thinking about what I could become just isn't enough. I need to carry the impact that programme made with me every single day.

Sadly, that frightening impact fades and we have to find some other way to motivate ourselves into doing the right thing, all day long, and the day after that and the day after that - from now on. Every single day. Living healthily shouldn't end while we draw breath...and that is something I have to remember. My lifestyle has to change completely, not just for now and not just for days when I embrace weight-loss enthusiastically.. but forever.

For every single day you live you have to think about loving that body of yours and treating it properly. I started today well...I have to continue in the same way, doing it for me and my future. I am sick of seeing my puffy ankles and my rolls of belly fat. If you haven't had a good day so far, get up and change it now. It's never too late to work on yourself. Today can be rescued and it can end well. (I do of course have to say this to myself all the time.)

It's never too late to be who you might have been.

George Eliot, English novelist (1819 - 1880)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Having a 'Bleugh' Day.

I am sure we all get them. I woke up this morning feeling tired and weary and thinking this could be a TV day. I could lounge around in my dressing gown all day, watch old films and eat and eat. That still sounds blissful to me, although I rarely do it. Wet, winter days when I have achieved lots and deserve a break are for indulgent days like that. They don't happen often because I always seem to have a list of 'to do' jobs as long as my arm. Sadly, I haven't achieved a lot, and eating and eating wouldn't do me any favours at all.

I suppose I am glad I have the strength to appreciate a day like that just isn't on.

I just don't want to do anything though. I don't care enough about the jobs I should be doing, and like I said in my reply to the wonderful bloggers who urge me on, I want to give up on myself. Again, I think this is only a temporary feeling. It will pass, and I know too that doing something - anything - is the best way to lift a mood. I think feeling as I do today is perfectly happens...and so far (fingers and everything else crossed) I haven't taken my feelings out on food. One tiny pro-biotic yogurt drink and two slices of low fat mackerel pate on unbuttered seeded toast so far. And tea of course. No movement as yet though..or significant, calorie-burning movement. It's been one of those get-up-from-the-sofa-or-the-computer-to-go-to-the-kitchen days. Not good, but it isn't even noon yet, so I can redeem myself.

I tired myself out yesterday. My car is likely to be in the garage for some time, given my son and other mechanics are working on it in their own time - lunch breaks and after work, bless them. I am only paying for parts, and I am enormously thankful given I am as skint as skint can be. The cam belt is broken and mending it involved something to do with the head gasket and the valves. It's a big strip-down-the engine-job apparently involving lots of new parts, and I'd be looking at a bill for £1200+ if my son didn't work in a garage and his co-workers weren't so kind.

Anyway - it means lots of getting about on Shank's pony for me..on foot. Yesterday I tried to make myself look business-like (hard to do convincingly when your fat middle means the only smart jacket that fits won't do up - sigh.) I volunteer and have been elected to sit on committees...It was something I could do when I wasn't very well, or at least recovering from major surgery. I wasn't employable, but I could talk. :) I was glad someone could use my every now and then I have to go and sit in on meetings, which I enjoy. It keeps the brain ticking over.

I had a meeting yesterday so walked to the bus stop...quite a way, and then waited and waited for it to arrive. It dropped me off in town and then I had a bit of a walk to the office where the meeting was held. It was only a short meeting so afterwards I deliberately had a long walk around the town, window shopping, planning a long route to get to given places and using the stairs instead of escalators. On my way back to the bus station and feeling rather weary, I realised we needed a few groceries, so I nipped into a supermarket and for the first time in ages, had to carry three bags of food shopping home - on the bus. Blimey. We don't miss the water till the well runs dry, as my old Mum used to say. It's true! I got off the bus at my end and then had a walk, lugging the shopping home.

Now...really, that's no big deal, but it did make me think about the work my mother used to do in the course of a day and how much easier housework and grocery-shopping is for me. My car takes me everywhere. My mother went out shopping for food - to the local shops a good twenty minutes walk away - nearly every day...and thought nothing of carrying it back. (She was still walking everywhere without a stick in her 80s.) We didn't have a car, so she had to. In fact - we didn't have a fridge in the ' Mum had to keep dairy produce cold on a stone ledge in a larder. Milk was stored in buckets of cold water when I was a little girl. We eventually got a fridge in 1963..Laundry was a physical job..washing by hand in the sink, rinsing, wringing, putting big stuff through a mangle..and then hanging it out to dry, bringing in in and ironing it all. We had to insist she had an automatic machine later in life, and she thought it was miraculous that it could wash, rinse and spin all at once! She marvelled at this time and energy saving machine, she really did. Getting a tumble drier for her would have been too much. She got a lot of satisfaction from hanging out washing and seeing it fluttering in the breeze she said :)

We have become an altogether more sedentary nation haven't we? Even our kids like to sit in front of screens. I blame the PlayStation and the X Box for a lot of our problems today. Hark at me, I sound like my Mum when she said in the 1960s, 'Watching television is very bad for you. You should make your own fun. It puts a stop to conversation and destroys family life!" :) She didn't watch much television, ever, preferring to listen to the radio. Sadly though, we probably do lounge around too much, don't we?

I know now that I have to make a CONSCIOUS effort to move...and to do more than moving, to work up a sweat, it has to be a deliberate action. Hmmm..talking of which, reminds me that I have to go and be active. Much as I like writing, I think too much computer use is also bad for us..physically and mentally. Writing as an activity doesn't exactly burn calories and whilst sitting in front of a screen we aren't enjoying fresh air or connecting face to face with anyone. Those cyber worlds aren't good for us, much as we couldn't be without them now.

OK..up and at 'em.. I am not sure if writing has made me feel better or not. I shall go and drink a big glass of water and plan what to do with the rest of the day. Perhaps I'll sit on the bike and pedal a bit while I think. Hope your day is going well, wherever you are.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Extremes Are Just Wrong!

Continuation of yesterday's rant against fatties being 'conned' (may be?)  into feeling they must become super-athletic. Surely, that notion has to be damaging, yet it's so prevalent. One of my concerns now is that couch potatoes are being drip-fed the idea that they must become runners. I see so many huge people lumbering along on pavements, red-faced and obviously distressed. Part of me thinks - well done. Another part of me thinks that bloke is going to keel over any minute. There is no joy or look of determination or satisfaction on his face...this is a penance, a punishment for being fat. OK, so he may learn to love running..or he may give up, because going from being a sedentary being to one who runs is just too great a leap. However...the very fat would-be runners are everywhere. Take a look. They are. I am wondering - why? Surely you have to be reasonably fit to RUN?

I am also wondering if running is the magic bullet of weight-loss that I have been searching for. I don't seem to be able to lose weight. I can, but my weight-loss doesn't match my efforts at all. OK, so I am a post-menopausal, middle aged woman who takes seven different prescribed medications every day, for various chronic complaints. Some have weight-gain as a side effect. I am concerned that I can maintain my weight, but not lose it.

Perhaps I am just peculiar. I know that despite my efforts, which have been genuine, I am finding it hard to lose weight. I am not  finding 1) cutting back and  2) cutting out food-wise and 3) ensuring I move more particularly hard, but I am having little success in seeing the scales show much change either way. OK, so I have lost 13lbs, but I have lost count of the months it's taken me to do that! Months! Yes, when I have had bad weeks I hold my hands up. I don't expect to see change, but when I have successfully exercised and eaten well there is also little change. Strangely, when I have had the odd bad day, the scales show no gain. It's as though my body just wants to maintain the weight I am! It's wierd. Even weeks of twice a day exercise - walking at a brisk rate and a session on the exercise bike, plus all the other things I do which involve movement in the course of a day, the scales just don't budge! OK, I know losing a pound here and a pound there, doing it (really!) slowly is GOOD, but it's also very frustrating. It's also tempting to think "Why am I doing this! It's too hard!"

I have told myself my lifestyle is so much better and losing weight is a bonus. I know slow weight gain is recommended that if it comes off slowly and steadily good habits are formed so it won't all come back quickly either. (Not sure about that theory, but it has been promoted.)

I have thought about WHY the weight is resisting saying goodbye to my body.

It could be that I am kidding myself and my portion control is way out...but with hand on heart I can say it's not.

It could be that I need to cut back on calories even further, but thanks to a blog elsewhere I was able to get a fairly scientific theory for the number of calories I should allow myself. I should be going for 1600 daily which would give me a 2lb per week weight loss. I am however not counting calories. I did initially, so I got an idea about how much food I could eat in a day. I am able to check the calories in certain foods...loads of online calorie counters to if I feel the need to, I'll check. I am however against diets per se and the counting of calories. I want to eat healthily and move more, and see weight drop off.

I don't binge eat. I do however comfort eat, but for the most part I haven't done that since I got serious.
If I am tempted beyond endurance (and that hasn't happened too much since I started this campaign) I'll taste the food which is tempting me.  A taste suffices..and has done ever since the doughnut episode, written about several weeks ago. It's hardly happening at all now...I am successfully weaning myself off so many foods -  which I believe is the way forward and a more sensible approach than total abstinance.

I don't imagine that for the remainder of my life I will eschew every single food that I enjoyed before. That's an unrealistic expectation, therefore I am learning how to exclude those foods for the most part, and becoming aware that when I want them they can be damaging, so sense is needed. They'll never be labeled 'bad' though.

I lost weight once by denying myself every single thing that I enjoyed and it really fucked up my head and yes...slowly I started indulging again without giving much thought to what I was doing. Doing that just screws us up. It's stupid. I don't want to go to that place again, therefore, "all things in moderation, some things rarely," has to be the way forward. For me. I can hear some people tutting and immediately saying "THIS is why you are not losing weight very successfully."

I'd disagree. My lifestyle today is quite different from the one I had in March of this year. Very different. I am aware of my food intake, it's planned, as is my very conscious effort to move. I am eating less, eating better, and moving more. I have the odd day off from that - the "I must exercise" part. Given I wasn't exercising at all before, I am wondering if my body has gone into shock ;-) (I jest...) I am reasonably fit. I don't huff and puff when I walk and I can climb stairs without getting out of breath...several flights of stairs...not a tower block's worth. I can walk for long distances without having to stop...always have been able to.

So what am I not doing? Given I have no truck with the diet-nazi approach and faddy diets, and the going- for-the-burn approach in exercise, I think my way forward makes sense.

I am asking myself - do I have to starve myself? (Conventional wisdom says no.) Do I have to become a running super-athlete like the huge people transformed on The Biggest Loser? I'd say no - no way.

Such extremes are used for entertainment purposes. Many fat people undertaking such arduous tasks with so much blubber on their frames would pass out or have a heart-attack. Entrants are medically checked before they take part and are monitored and supervised every step of the way. Many overweight people would not be up to going straight into those physical endurance tests. That isn't realistic. It's fascinating, and I am pleased that people change, but it's a TV programme devoted to extremes. I don't think we are expected to follow that example! To each their own, but isn't it true that you can't run before you can walk?

I am not in this so I can become an athlete or to run marathons or to punish myself. I am resisting running. I may want to run later on, who knows, but really - I'll settle for middle aged, slim and fit.

Huh. If only.....that seems beyond my reach too :(

I believe that the Good Lord gave us a finite number of heartbeats and I'm damned if I'm going to use up mine running up and down a street. ~ Neil Armstrong on jogging, in an interview with Walter Cronkite

Anyway, sorry for the moan. How do you feel about 'pushing' yourself to that extent? Am I just being contrary or do I have a point? I feel almost guilt-tripped into becoming someone who signs up for running challenges. Great if you enjoy it - if not, be a spectator and do your own thing, exercise-wise. The point is - we have to move and we have to sweat, but there's sweating and sweating - right? ;-)

Now get off that chair and move. Go on.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Fatties Should Suffer!

I have a defective metabolism, a contented body. It's so sluggish that it can maintain my weight easily. No matter how active I am, in doesn't recognise it. It's kaput. It's broken in a way that a fuel gauge might be. You can fill the tank with petrol but the gauge still registers empty.

OK, sounds like an excuse? Yes, I told myself that. However, for a while now I have had a determination to change my life. Those of you who read here will know that I don't favour starvation or cranky diets. I don't embark on them preferring instead to choose what I eat and to allow my body foods which are nutritious and mainly unprocessed, packing vitamins, minerals, fibre etc.

Now, given for the last 23 years - ie: before it became the thing to do - I have been looking at food labels and reading about nutrition because I gave birth to two children with severe health problems, I know what the experts are saying, or at least I know how the experts change their minds every few months or so, as to what we should eat and what's BAD for us. When I was younger, fat was enemy number one. So all diets cut out fatty foods. Then nutritionists and dietitians or those wanting to get rich quick by creating faddy diets told us carbs were bad and  fruits were bad. Natural fruit sugars became a no-no. Others said whole grains and foods with low glycaemic values (the GI diet) were good, some recommended giving up all carbs but stuffing ourselves with full fat fresh cream...The diet bandwagon took off and celebrities made their own exercise DVDs. Weren't we lucky people CARED so much? We all had to go for the burn. Thanks Jane Fonda.

Then of course began the rise and rise of 'Fatties are the Scourge of the Earth" TV programmes. Yes, being fat isn't healthy...but those with an eye to making a fast buck decided programmes about them would draw the viewers, and they did. They started off in an interesting and gentle 'we can show you the way' form and gradually progressed to boot-camps where screaming harpies would insist fat people just weren't trying and that they could all run and run. Those with a military bent would devise keep-fit programmes designed to ensure that the enormous people locked away with only each other, TV cameras and fitness instructors with cattle prods to keep them company would exercise like they had never exercised before. They'd drink smoothies and have tiny portions of wierd foods. All good for viewing consumption, EXCEPT....the easily manipulated viewer is led to believe that THIS is the way forward. This is what all fatties should be doing. We all have to become runners.

They can fuck right off.

Bugger...I was just getting going. Have to stop. I'll write more tonight.. Gotta shower...going out in a short while, to walk and walk and walk...and see no weight change.

'Laters' the young folk say.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Bugger! The Dark Side Rejected Me!

'The best laid plans of mice and men' and all that! I was all geared up to become a Weight Watcher this morning, but it didn't happen. I wasn't able to gain access to the Dark Side, which is held down at the local church hall, ironically. I arrived, bright, early and keen and entered the porch of the hall. There, beside the big, locked blue door was a notice - "Morning Meeting Cancelled. Members are reminded there will be a meeting here at 7.30pm. Thurs 1st July." I presume the meeting had been cancelled in advance and that other members knew about this, as there was no one about but me, and the man with his shears, attending to a grave in the church yard. It was all very peaceful. The sun shone, the birds twittered, the old weathered gravestones leaned at lazy angles and I was left wondering if my non-admittance was a sign that this wasn't a road I should take. Ah well. I'd had a walk up there and I'd have a walk back home. Exercise.

I have resisted joining organisations which 'show you the way' to lose weight. I know meetings offer encouragement and ideas and for some, that support is invaluable. It also helps people achieve weight loss, in that they are accountable and have to turn up every week, otherwise they waste their money. You really have to be keen to lose weight in earnest. I asked myself - is this where I differ from all those people who pay the fees and turn up at the church hall religiously, week after week? I want to lose weight, but I still imagine that there will be a magic bullet or a time when my whole life is dedicated to the project. It ain't going to happen unless I do the work and I focus on my goal. Now. Today. Every Day. Even my goals are rather vague. "I intend to be aware every day that I need to lose weight, that my BMI is very unhealthy and that I am doing this for me."

Hmmm. 'HOW am I doing it?' I asked myself. (These thoughts were in my head as I walked back down the long gravel drive from the church hall.)

A) Eat consciously, ensuring my diet is healthy and contains lots of fruit and veg.
B) Portion sizes have to be smaller - look at what you dish up for yourself and drink lots of glasses of cold water throughout the day to flush out my system and fill me up.
C) Cut down on bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and other carbs. Limit them, don't avoid them. Avoid too much stodge. Cakes are out, as are biscuits and ice cream. Sorry Grump. Have whole grain cereal for breakfast, and wholemeal bread in the house. (The kids have to eat, after all and both are allowed, in reasonable amounts.)
D) Try to ensure there are boiled eggs, cooked chicken, tinned fish, fresh fish, lean meats, nuts and cheese around for a protein boost. Hummus is my friend as is low fat cream cheese spread. Easy to snack on.
E) No more wine...or other alcohol. Only on special occasions. Cold, fizzy water is good.
F) Eat whenever I feel hungry. Try to recognise if it's real hunger or head hunger.
G) Ensure there are no foods in the house which I don't want in my 'diet'. No chocolate, cakes, puddings, crisps, or packets of potato snacks of any kind. Stock up on plain, low fat yogurt (which I love, with a drizzle of honey on it.)
H) Move your body..any way, any how, but avoid sitting still for long periods of time. (My downfall...)
I) Use the exercise bike now placed in front of the TV.
J) Use the home exercise equipment - the resistance bands, and portable rowing device first thing in the morning, before showering. If time doesn't allow, use it later, otherwise I have wasted my money.
K) Walk daily, even if it means walking just for the sake of it.
L) Dance when the mood takes me. Play music lots as a means to lifting the spirits and providing spontaneous bursts of jigging about. (Not a pretty sight...but needs must etc.)
M)If a craving won't go away, indulge it. Do not deny it and feel long-term frustration. Learn to love having just a taste of the food you crave. (Think I've cracked that one!)
N) No food is 'bad' or 'naughty'. If by chance I eat it, I am not to beat myself up to the extent that guilt makes me feel a failure. I carry on with this campaign no matter what happens. I carry on, starting anew, even if I have a bad moment, day or week.
O) When feelings are low, read something inspirational - a weight-loss blog or a piece on self-discipline.

As I thought about this I realised that giving foods numerical values, counting points, following a plan, having a daily limit and having to turn up to a meeting at the same time every week isn't really the way I intend to go forward. I have to try and turn my life around, forever, not just while I am paying fees and feel obliged to attend meetings where my weight can be recorded.

Now, if I have a week where I lose the way, and dislike myself for not focusing all the time, perhaps I will have to hand over some of my power to an organisation - something out there, like WW which will help me focus. The frustration of taking off a bit of weight only to put a bit back on or to merely maintain is demoralising. I have never been a particularly good personal task-master in that I refuse to get worked up about 'diets'. I am too laid back, perhaps not as disciplined in some areas as I could be. However, I am aware this is LIFE, my life...and if my life becomes TOO restricted by 'must do's then I rebel. I hate feeling trapped and obliged or compelled to behave in a certain way. It's a wierd little peccadillo of mine. I can do 'work', I can do 'good parent', I can do 'responsible family member', I can do 'sensible home owner', I can do 'meet commitments' and I can do 'dependable, responsible person'. No shirking at all in those respects. I lead a decent life and have no dreadful vices. I am an OK person.

Perhaps though I have to focus now on me a bit more? Perhaps all those other responsibilities have to run alongside the responsibility I have to take care of myself, so I can keep on being all those things above? I have to get a handle on this being important. This is something I MUST do...not something I may do, when I get my act together, someday.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon said ~ 'Must is a hard nut to crack, but it has a sweet kernel.'

I count...and perhaps I have pushed responsibility for myself to a high shelf somewhere...out of the way, out of sight. I don't want the lady with the scales at Weight Watchers to be the one to tell me I am doing well - or not. That responsibility has to be mine.

If I am not up to this job, that church hall isn't going anywhere. Those 'free meeting' vouchers of mine are still in my bag. I may become a fully paid up member of the Dark Side, who knows?

All I know is, another week begins...I have some more personal victories to claim, no matter how small. I hope anyone out there reading feels the same way. We MUST do it, whether it's with WW, a recognised diet plan, with a friend, with a gym and a personal trainer, with a skipping rope or on our own, because being overweight affects so many areas of our lives. We can't keep putting it off, and deep down we know that. Find a way forward. All progress counts, even if that progress is slow. We may falter, we may despair but we have to keep going, rejoicing perhaps in small victories. It all adds up. We MUST do it for ourselves. There is no 'perhaps' about it.