Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Secret Chocolate, Fat Misery.

I have had another weekend away - this time with 'the girls' - my old friends from University days, who now live in various places throughout England and like me, have aged since we were last together in the 1970s. We got together for a reunion in London and we had a great time. It was very good to catch up with them all. Facially, we all look the same as we did back then...all were easily recognisable - and it might be a sad fact, but we nattered on and laughed together as though we were still excited young women in our late teens!

I'd forgotten how busy it gets in London. Hordes of people rushing about, every pavement crowded with bodies, every street filled with cars, buses, taxis, coaches..and bicycles. And tube stations? Wow. We were like sardines packed into a can on the underground trains! It was all hustle and bustle and it was very tiring. We went to lots of places and whenever possible we walked from one tourist trap to the other, so we covered miles (and miles!) on foot. I was of course the fattest of them all. (Big sigh.) However, I was definitely as fit as they were. I climbed right up into the dome of the British Museum, where the upper galleries are, with no trouble. OK, so I was panting when I got to the top, momentarily but I took all those (marble) stairs without stopping. I enjoyed the walking too and even went off on my own for a a brisk walk through a nearby park rather than wait in an admission queue on Sunday morning. The girls laughed and reminded me we'd all done enough walking but I took myself off anyway. The sun was shining and it seemed a waste of time to be queuing up. The girls assured me they didn't mind queuing while I walked. I'd rather walk than stand still.

So with stairs (lots of them, everywhere) and almost three days of much walking I got in my 'exercise'. We had to eat too though...and we went to some fantastic restaurants and coffee shops. I can only say that I ate no more than anyone else, and because I am a slow eater, I think I left more on my plate too rather than hold them all up. I do tend to talk so I ought to concentrate on eating rather than yapping! :) Not one French fry passed my lips though, nor a burger...In fact, we didn't do fast food at all..or snacks although we did sit down mid-morning for a coffee, and some cake. We also had meal breaks in museum cafes etc, and I chose sensibly. Our evening meals were lovely and I ate sensible portions and didn't pig-out. We didn't have too many vegetables and the only fruit I had was the banana I travelled down with, (it wasn't a good companion..very quiet) and the apricots in a Turkish pudding! I had four glasses of wine over the whole weekend, so all in all, it wasn't a blow-out, in terms of eating, although it wasn't 'diet food' either.

Anyway. I have discovered that exercise begets exercise. I felt VERY tired yesterday after a busy weekend and all the walking and travelling. I was knackered in fact. I did however have the urge to get out in the fresh air. It would have been easy to have a 'duvet day' in front of the TV but I didn't. I made a shopping list and walked to the supermarket, and then with shopping bags weighed equally on both sides, walked up the long hill back home. It's very interesting that you don't see women (or men) doing the physical work of shopping any more. I was a lone walker...everyone else took their bags from their trolley and stashed the shopping in the boot of their cars. This middle aged, weighed-down woman walked back and at a reasonable pace. I quite enjoyed the outing and the incorporated 'weight-lifting'. Later, I also did half an hour on the bike whilst I watched television. Blimey! Anyone would think I was training for the Olympics! Serious stuff! ;-)

Today I gladly accepted an invitation from a friend to go for a swim. She is a member of the swanky gym I joined (and hardly used) when I was working. I do like swimming but lack the inclination to go on my own. The cost is also prohibitive. It's a luxury I just can't afford, but my friend had a guest pass, so we swam up and down, lengths and lengths of the pool and then went into the huge jacuzzi for a soak. I felt invigorated afterwards...and squeaky clean! :)

I have to get my eating in order though. Yesterday when I was sorting out clothes, I moved a box of blankets from behind the bedroom door, only to find a chocolate Easter egg, unopened, secreted inside. I always buy chocolate eggs for the youngsters I know - and my grown kids who still expect them! Last Easter I must have over-calculated how many I'd need, so stashed away a spare one. See...I can forget about hidden chocolate.

Hmm. Nice find. Would go well with a cup of tea to wash it down thought I. I didn't eat it all in one go (what a relief chocolate doesn't go off immediately because this had been there since the beginning of April!!) because I do find chocolate quite sickly. In fact, I had a nibble here, and a nibble there, and I am not sure why. It's sweetness tempted me at the time. Today there is over half a chocolate egg in the kitchen. I may keep it to have a bite now and then. I tried to think of a sweet substitute for chocolate to have instead but I found myself lured to the texture of the chocolate. Sweet meltiness....I had to tuck in.

I must be mad. It would have been easier to throw it away or to hand it over to the boys to share, but no, this was my find, my treat...my forbidden food. Fortunately I'll be able to eat it over the week...a bite here, a bite there so the damage to my calorie intake won't be massive.

No...cancel that. Last time I had a mouthful of that OLD Easter Egg the sweetness was just too cloying and over-powering. I wasn't even enjoying it!

Executive decision made. The Easter Egg is being dumped in the bin and covered with wet tea-bags and veg peelings. I shall go and throw it away now.

Job done. Egg binned. I DO want to lose this weight. I have exercised and at home I'll eat well. Why would I sabotage my own efforts?

One last thing. Today my friend emailed me and attached photos of us sitting in the cafe on Saturday morning. It was a happy time, full of laughter.

OMG. Guess who looked large and bloated? Me. Despite my hair being coloured and trimmed, and despite my wearing my best white cotton blouse and black trousers, and despite my full make-up, I looked awful. I was the token 'Big Woman'. It was nice to see my friends smiling back at me from the picture, but all I could see was the big woman with a round pink face in a white tent desperately trying to get one shoulder behind the woman to her side. Her (puffy) face was smiling but I could see the uncomfortable feelings etched on her expression and in her piggy eyes. (My eyes ARE piggy and my face is fat. I am not beating myself up. I can live with the truth.) Why did she have to be nearest to the camera? Why wasn't she half hidden by the table? Why did the stupid cafe owner taking the photograph stand near to her when he arranged us for a group shot? Would her arms arranged 'like this' cover up the fatness of her middle? Why did she have to be sitting side-on to the camera with her round fat back on display?

Hanging on to an old Easter Egg just because it's there? What's that all about? I am behaving stupidly. I have to discipline myself. THAT sort of behaviour means the day when I feel comfortable having my photograph taken remains in the distant future. Looking at that photo was PAINFUL. It took some of the gloss off the great girly weekend. On Sunday we parted, promising to get together again next year. If I am not slim by then I only have myself to blame. That's a goal which ought to be reached.

“The major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it. What it makes of you will always be the far greater value than what you get.”  ~  Jim Rohn

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Me Or The Monster?

I am getting into this. You may have noticed I don't talk about my weight much - not in terms of pounds and ounces anyway. That's because I don't weigh myself very often. I don't have a weigh day. What I tend to do is step on the scale at odd moments - usually every week or so...at random times. Often I have gained weight - a pound or two...sometimes I have lost weight..so I try to make my lowest weight my new sticking point. That guides me for my next 'loss' although in between times I can gain weight too! I have an old scale, not a digital one so it's all a bit vague, and unless I am wearing my glasses I might as well not peer at the dial because I can't make out the numbers.

It's all a bit haphazard, isn't it? :) Still, it suits me. A regular weigh in and pounds gained would play games with my head.

All I know is, for the most part I am eating sensibly. I am conscious of the food around me and I tend to go for low fat, low sugar, high fibre options. I am drinking more water and I am ensuring I am more active than usual. (I have said before, now the pressure is off me I can spend my days doing nothing much at all, and nice though it is, that doesn't burn calories!) I am conscious of the times I spend just sitting (usually at the PC.) I break up these times deliberately. I'll jump on the exercise bike, run up and down the stairs several times to get my heart racing, turn up the music and dance or find a household chore to do which involves bending, stretching, moving etc. I even go out into the garden and even if I only spend ten minutes weeding/cutting/clearing/sweeping it all adds up. Often I'll walk to the supermarket or across the nearby fields and I've planned a circular route in another direction too, just to give me some walking variety. I'll jump on a bus and walk and walk and walk around the shops....spending little, moving lots. Again, I could do more. I could go for hard work-outs at the gym, but I actually HATE doing that sort of stuff, so I have avoided it..and haven't really gotten into exercise DVDs at home either. If it's labelled 'exercise' I tend to squirm. If I call it extra daily movement, I am OK. Weird, I know.

I am feeling a little bit lighter. It's a good feeling. It's been a while since I recorded my weight but another two pounds has gone. (That's two pounds in about three weeks, during which time I gained four, which I've shed, so not earth-shattering, but it's a loss and it's OK. I am not in a race..)

I have been surprising myself these last few days. Again I have been reading the thoughts of others on this weight-loss journey and some things strike me as being so apt. One of my major problems is lack of self-control around food. Not binging, but allowing myself calorific treats, often. I can have 'sensible eating' days around the treats, so I am not going off course particularly, but I am not practicing proper restraint either. My moderation is too moderate :)

I have the option of having the goody in front of me 'because I am worth it and I fancy it' or going without and choosing a low calorie alternative. I can do this, with no great trauma involved, but nine times out of ten I'll go for the treat. What if I halved the times I allowed myself the indulgence? What if the indulgence became a once a week affair? There are so many ways I can deal with 'deprivation' issues without actually feeling deprived. This is key to my plan. NOTHING is off limits. Let's face it, I have lived for over half a century. I am not sure how long I have got left but eating and enjoying food, and treats, is going to be part of my life. There is NO WAY I am spending my remaining time on earth (who knows, I could get another 40 years or more!) practising strict restraint and telling myself 'No. You can't have it.'

That is just not going to work for me.

I am sure inside every fat person there is an eating monster which has to be tamed, brought under control. Does it have to be a life-long struggle, because let me tell you, I am here to enjoy life. Having a ready-reckoner in my head forever and a day just seems so sad...

I do know that the less you indulge in favourite foods, the weaker their influence on you becomes. I also know that one simple way of ensuring I eat healthily more than I indulge is to keep indulgences out of the house. If I have one of my raging "I am hungry - what can I eat???" episodes, (more about boredom than hunger I suspect) I'll have to grab a yogurt or a banana..because there is nothing else to satisfy my sweet tooth. The feeling is sated, and passes.

I am aware that I made the mistake of buying TWO wholemeal, seeded loaves the other day because they were on special offer. One stayed out, the other I froze. The one which stayed out was HUGE. These loaves don't stay fresh for long, so I found myself snacking on it and getting through quite a bit of delicious, tasty bread, toasted...with low fat spread and honey. (Who needs doughnuts when you can have toast and honey?) That on it's own became lunch. I was aware that I could get through a whole (huge) loaf in a couple of days, so I surprised myself yesterday by going for the hummus in the fridge and dipping whole, washed carrots in it. A lazy snack, but a healthy one. The sweet crunch of the carrot involved lots of chewing, and lo and behold, afterwards I wasn't hungry and my jaw had been sufficiently exercised! I told myself, no more bread - at least not for now. I'd been busy in the garden, getting quite a good work-out cutting back shrubs, pulling up annuals, getting rid of dead looking perennial leaves etc and shredding branches and carrying the debris to the compost bin. I was tired and (really) hungry so needed a quick, easily available bite. Carrots and hummus worked for me. I washed them down with two glasses of water because I couldn't be bothered to make tea....and I felt OK and wanted nothing more. I had two dried apricot halves later in the afternoon. Today my quick stand-by is oat cakes and cottage cheese. Grab-able, edible within seconds.

Slowly, slowly my choices (and options) are becoming sensible and I am not squealing and fighting it - I am taming my eating monster and taking back control. I know I can still have treats - I intend to - but if I have lots of healthy stuff easily to hand too that will suffice. I think we make a hobby of eating...we enjoy the activity...so when I stop to indulge my hobby the monster can take over or I can be in charge. That point is crucial. A decision has to be made. Who is in control? In a split second I could reach for the poor option, so just a minute of reflection, before preparing food has me stopping in my tracks. We all know that weight loss begins in the mind.

Crucial to weight loss I think, (this is what's dawning on me) is the belief that I CAN do it. I had been feeling annoyed that I HAD to exercise control...and  I was telling myself it was OK to just eat (given that most things in the house aren't too damaging.) I can control myself despite all the urges, after all, my food shopping is so much better these days. However, I have to practice that control. Let's face it, TWO big loaves of yummy, tasty seeded bread WILL get eaten, mainly by me, if it's there for the taking. A couple of carrots with hummus or a couple of slices of toast and honey? Guess which will win unless I challenge the monster? The eating monster takes over every time. I got a kick out of winning - beating the monster to the decision-making process. Silly, but just a little self-control  felt good. I drank water afterwards and then just got on with my day. If I play my new game every time I go to eat - 'Me or the Monster' - then it seems to be working! That brute won't win and all I have to do is stop in my tracks for a few seconds to gain an advantage and the more sensible choice is just as enjoyable.

I made some vegetable soup for dinner yesterday - or for a 'quick eat' when the boys came home from work. I served it with wedges of that lovely loaf, so it's gone. Phew! Later, we had a small garlic chicken pizza each - shop bought individual ones. (Again I'd kept busy in the evening, so bunging a pizza in the oven and serving it with salad - and jacket potatoes for hungry young men - was the extent of my culinary prowess.) I was aware of the grease on top when it was cooked. I laughed as I tried that Ben Stiller thing (as in 'Along Came Polly') when I used kitchen paper to soak up the excess fat. I ate my pizza..(with salad) but left the middle bit which was a bit soggy and doughy. I also left the crusts. As they sat in front of me for a while the Monster told me I could go back and nibble at them. I decided that the left-overs might be OK to pick at, but there was a good calorie saving still on my plate  - perhaps a third of the pizza - so I got up and binned them. OK so pizza isn't a good food choice and I didn't particularly enjoy that one, but I dealt with it and minimal damage has been done. In fact, the pizza urge is satisfied for a good few months I'd say.

Every day brings new challenges and choices, but I am getting there in my own haphazard way....slowly....and life doesn't seem limited at all. Call out your monster today, and challenge him. Know that you won't be beaten.

"Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future."  ~ Deepak Chopra

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Wow. An award...another one. (I have been awarded others before, but wasn't sure how to pick them up. I thank you so much for thinking of me. Really appreciated. You'll see not a lot award-wise is featured on my blog, purely and simply because I am still growing my technological gene and learning about linking and stuff.)

Pure serendipity at work here. Yesterday I felt misunderstood and defensive. I wrote about it and immediately afterwards I checked out some of my favourite blogs. Just when I felt like giving up - my blog writing, at least - I visited my old friends (middle aged broads, like me...although I say that with apologies to Ms M who has a few years on me and J and B) over at Two Fat Girls Take Umbrage and there they were, nominating me for a 'happy' award. There are three of them actually, and I always enjoy their blog. It's like listening in on three friends having a natter about what's going on in their lives and how they are getting on in terms of weight-loss. Go see.

Now, there is a down-side to this award. I have to tell you about ten things that make me happy! Bugger. What are they playing at? I have given my blog it's 'GRUMPY' title for a reason and now I am going to blow my cover! ; )

Lots and lots of things make me happy, believe it or not, even though I go in for a bit of self-flagellation when I write. I'll throw off my self-loathing - just for today. (*Coughs* and *winks* at readers, stupidly, for she knows that at her age such complicated multi-tasking might lead to stress incontinence.)

Here goes. I'll be in a foul mood today after being forced into doing this....mutter, mutter, grumble etc. Bah humbug.

1) The seasons. I love the way we get four distinct seasons here in the UK. We get lots of rain too, but Spring blossom, warm Summer days and blue skies, the red, golds and yellows of the trees in Autumn and the bleak, stark beauty of Winter never fail to move me. Nature is awe-inspiring.
2) My children. My best work. I adore them, even though they are no longer kids and they still give me grief in one form or another. They take my heart with them wherever they go. My man too. He is such a great bloke - we met six years ago - and he has stood by me through thick and thin, and in sickness and health. We are engaged. They make me happy. I am blessed...I know that.
3) My cat. He is ginger and totally lacking in brain cells but he is so loving and furrily friendly. I love cats.
4) The sea. I am land-locked here in Warwickshire, (God's own county) but I adore being at the water's edge, looking to the horizon. Give me a deserted beach, a good breeze and I feel at so spiritually at home.
5) Writing. I enjoy writing and write lots. Sadly my arse has become huge because I sit and indulge in this hobby - often.
6) Music. I couldn't live without music I don't think. I have eclectic tastes depending on mood. I'll weep to moving arias, sing along with the Hallelujah Chorus, feel lifted by Mendelssohn, pretend I know about mountain life when John Denver sings, jig about to Candy Man and Poker Face, step out with pretend hat and cane to Sinatra's 'New York, New York' and play air guitar to Black Sabbath and Led Zep. This I do when the kids aren't about, (I count it as a work-out) as they find their middle aged mother a complete embarrassment when she moves to music. Gits.
7) Tea. Nectar of the Gods. Served in a bone china mug. Nuff said. Hope someone is brewing up as I write...
8) Being alone. I am very gregarious but part of me NEEDS solitude. Time alone is precious...I read, think, observe, just 'be' and it's restorative. I have told man that if we buy a house together it must have an east wing for me and a west wing for him. If it doesn't, he'll be relegated to the garden shed ;-)
9) My garden. I have planted lots in it over the 28 years I have lived in this house. Every plant, bush, tree is special. It's a sun-trap too so I'll sit out and think. As I've grown larger, tending to it has become a bit of a chore. (Good reason to ensure I regain my fitness methinks.)
10) Art galleries. I used to paint, (must start again) so I enjoy looking at works of art. I like the 'feel' of galleries and museums...and bookshops. Good way to spend time.

So, there you go. Deep down inside, (despite my fat body, which has served me so well and been the 'grow-bag' for three children,) I am content. All I need is a magic wand to change one or two things, but as I know magic wands don't exist I'll carry on counting my blessings, working on changing the things I can and accepting my lot in life. It could be a whole lot worse.

Hey - make sure you do something which makes you happy today, eh? Life is fleeting and precious.

PS: I have to pass on this award too, and there are SO may bloggers I enjoy reading that picking just a few is hard. Instead, I'll cheat, and nominate The Bethany McDonald Memorial Blogroll http://memorialblogroll.blogspot.com/. Promise me you'll read a blog you haven't read before, and leave a reply of some encouragement if you can? Cheers.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Feeling Despondent.

Having read around blog-land a bit, and in particular the blog-land of those concerned with weight-loss, it would seem that I am not doing this very well. According to others I am not only a 'fat-hater' but I am 'full of self-loathing' too :(

I wasn't aware I was those things, but some people reading my words endow me with those attributes. I am shocked, I have to tell you.

I had to take a step back. Not only did I feel hurt and misunderstood, I felt slightly bewildered too.

I have said (as have thousands of people writing about their fat bodies) that I don't like the way I look. Did you like looking at your reflection or at photographs of yourself when you were at your fattest? No? Well, no surprise there. Does that mean that you are full of self-loathing and can't pick up on all that is wonderful about you too?

I also was shocked by photographs of me looking fat and lumpy. I do not like the way I look right now, nor do I like the impact my weight is having on the chronic medical conditions I have either. That's why I am trying to lose weight. Common sense dictates that it's the sensible way forward. Societal pressure and the advent of the size zero model have absolutely nothing to do with that decision. At my age (mid fifties) there is no way I intend to emulate stick-thin women, nor would I want to if I were younger.

I abhor the whole 'diet industry' (yet I am a 'fat-hater' according to some) and the rise and rise of the 'perfect woman' as depicted by those who believe realistic and informative journalism is giving us photograph after photograph of rich, wealthy and slim women with handbags which cost hundreds of pounds. Go away. Bugger right off. Vomit-inducing. Not interested.

I just want to be a healthy size, a healthy weight and to feel better about myself.

Oh...any of you out there had your confidence knocked tremendously because of your fatness?

Any of you feeling self-conscious of your rolls of fat?

Any of you made miserable by your fat shapes?

Any of you ever become slightly reclusive and less out-going because of your weight?

I'll hold my hand up. I have read such things time and time again...hundreds of times. We are all full of self-loathing apparently. I'd say we have taken stock and worked out that being overweight isn't a particularly desireable state...for a myriad of reasons. Bright people aware of all the subliminal messages, the psychological impact of the repulsive "thin is better" world in which we live can also state quite categorically that being a big person is doing them no favours.

I've also read so many stories about people who have grown fat...for all sorts of reasons...(medication included, and I know about that myself) who don't want to be fat any more. Many say they aren't fully living their lives because they are an unhealthy weight. I'll count myself in to that group too.

I sit here and look down at my belly, sitting on my thighs as I type. Because I want to rid myself of it and tell you about it I am 'full of self-loathing.' I don't like the fat look on myself, therefore I am a fat-hater? Let me tell you now..it's not pretty. Because I am honest, I am a fat-hater? I just don't get it. I am being analysed beyond belief by some methinks.

Because I respond well to messages informing me that I need to buck my ideas up, to get off my arse and move a bit more I am a fat-hater and subscribe to societal pressure where skinny is what it's all about???? Do me a favour! This laid-back woman might have been a tree-hanging sloth in another life, let me tell you! I know all about making life comfortable for myself. My comfort zones are very comfortable....and I struggle to lose weight because of them. This makes me full of self-loathing and a fat-hater?

Don't insult me.

Me being me - I can be no one else after all - find wake-up call stories quite interesting and motivating. I can relate to them! The huge knickers hanging on the line, the jeans straining at the seams, the young girl dressing in black from head to toe because she is not as thin as her out-going girl-friends who are dressed to kill. They all strike a chord with me. Painful images. I am not going to analyse all that stuff and say I've been brain-washed by thin-world pressure to conform. Way back in the 1970s when size wasn't such a pre-occupation I was the girl who was chubbier than her friends....We are aware. I know all about comparisons (odious) and feeling insecure.

Go back to the beginning of my blogging and I tell you about one intelligent woman in California who kick-started this campaign of mine to lose weight. She is now dead. Her weight and the illnesses associated with being huge killed her. Her message..one which went through me like a knife at the time was - "Just do it!"

She said that if she only had eighty, one hundred or even two hundred pounds to lose she'd be out there every day fighting weight gain...with all her might, with all her heart, with all her being. It was too late for her. Her weight gain - for whatever reason - had been steady and she didn't stop it in it's tracks.

I can't speak for her, but I know my fatness worries me and depresses me. I count my blessings. I am more than a number on the scale after all. I am not thrilled that my weight has gone up and up and up. Who is??? I can stuff my face as a way of ignoring the problem and soothing myself. The more we eat, the more we want, the more attractive food becomes. We lose sight of what we are doing to ourselves because our major passion has become the desire to eat foods which are handy, pre-prepared and sold at junk-food outlets.  Food is the drug of choice and like addicts we use it to calm ourselves and to make our world right for the few minutes or so that we indulge. It's a vicious circle. The more we eat the fatter we become. The fatter we become, the less we like ourselves and minor depression regarding our bodies grows and grows as our feelings of self-worth diminish. This problem isn't just about eating, but I suspect we all know that?

We know the theory. Every fuckin' one of us knows the theory or is aware of the patterns which impact on our lives. We lack the strength (for all sorts of reasons) to halt the decline so we eat another doughnut. If a doughnut had arms and legs and a voice it would cradle us gently and tell us everything was alright and that we really did have the strength to turn things around..that there were alternative paths to take. It would stroke our hair, rock us, and tell us what great people we were, despite our rolls of fat.

When we scoff that doughnut (and all the greasy, sugary, fattening foods that follow) we aren't talking to ourselves like that. I became fat and unhappy and I can only speak for myself - but from reading lots of blogs I KNOW there are lots and lots of people out there who are fat and that their fatness affects them.

Being overweight impacts on our lives in all sorts of ways. Now - does saying that make me sound like a woman full of self-loathing or a woman who is aware of what her fatness is doing to her? Does that sound like a person who is a fat-hater - thinking that being fat is a crime against our sensibilities - that fat is ugly and has no place in our world? I certainly hope not.

Being overweight IS affecting me....in many, many ways, some physical, some mental, despite all my talents, despite the wonderful people in my life and despite the brain of mine which abhors the 'being skinny is the only way to be' message which hits us time and time again where ever we are. I laugh, I contribute, I take part...I have problems, I have worries. That's life. I'll be the same me this weight or a smaller weight, and life will carry on, but my heart won't have to take so much strain, my blood pressure will return to normal, physical activity won't be as difficult and I won't want to hide behind other people when I have my photo taken. Where is the downside people?

My world will improve. Some problems won't vanish, many new ones will appear, but being mentally and physically stronger I know I'll cope with them better and won't want to resort to cakes because of them. That's the place I want to get to...and as I write this I hear that (huge) lovely, bed-ridden lady who is now longer with us, urging me to make it happen..telling me I CAN make it happen and that I SHOULD make it happen...not in the future, but NOW.

I want to look better. I want to feel better. End of.

I may be blunt, I may not be the sweeet, encouraging woman people want me to be, I may not be the cheer-leader full of positivity and sweet messages of hope but if my style indicates that I am full of self-loathing and that I am a fat-hater, then all I can say is - you just don't know me at all.

Self-deprecating humour is also a feature of my writing. I am often droll...and hopefully those who read me pick up on that. I laugh lots. Generally I am happy, but I want to be thinner and fitter....no happier, but proud of myself that I've tackled a problem which is worrying me, making me less than I can be. This is a personal reflection.

I was despondent when I started writing this post - I was going to stop writing - or even make my blog an 'invitation only' one, but now I feel more than a little angry that others have taken it upon themselves to label me in such a derogatory manner. Is it supposed to be constructive criticism?

I'll carry on being Fat Grump...and if you feel the messages I am sending out don't help you or other overweight people, then please feel free to ignore my blog. I remain exceedingly grateful for the feedback and encouragement I get in response to my witterings.

Have a good day folks. I intend to :)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Do We Need Competition?

I have had a bit of a jolt over the last few days.  I have felt a stir of unease...and yes, jealousy if I am being honest. People have succeeded where I have so far failed..or at least been messing around, and I have felt uncomfortable about my efforts.

Here's my get-out clause before I tell you about it.: I tend to like people generally. I wish those I know well, always. When they are happy, I am happy.  In blog-land there are lots of people I don't 'know' but their efforts and successes really thrill me. When I read blogs and people are either doing really well, are full of purpose and determination, or successfully working their way through the slimming mire, I am delighted for them - truly pleased. In my head I am wishing them all the best or thinking "You can do this. I relate to what you are going through..."

I also find it really interesting to read their thoughts. It's impossible I think to have anything but good wishes for fellow bloggers who are trying to lose weight. We are all in this together. We may approach our problems from different angles, we may find different ways of succeeding, we may go at losing weight like a bull at a gate, or a snail in a garden full of greenery, (that one describes my efforts!) or somewhere in between, but our aim is the same. When a person is delighted because their body is shrinking, I am truly pleased for them. There is no envy...the success of others in blog-land is like a kick up the behind for me. I tell myself it IS possible to lose a lot of weight. It can be done.

So....why have I had my nose put out of joint recently?

Last week I called in to see a friend (an ex colleague) I haven't seen for a while - since March - and her daughter Angie made me a cup of tea whilst her mother ran out into the garden to take the dry clothes off the line as the heavens opened and the rain came down. She is 29 and an extremely bright and talented girl, friendly and outgoing, well qualified and holds down a good job, but in the almost twelve years I have known my friend, her daughter has always been extremely big. She was obese. Lardy. She waddled rather than walked and always seemed to have to catch her breath when speaking if she'd been moving for any length of time..and by that I mean movement around the house. (Sorry if that sounds cruel, but let's not pretend that isn't as it is.)

However..last week when I saw her it was VERY obvious that she had shed LOTS of pounds! WHAT A TRANSFORMATION! Angie is a pretty girl, but isn't it incredible how people really blossom when their fat suit shrinks? Her face wasn't puffy, she had just one chin and her lovely eyes weren't stuck in deep sockets under heavy lids any more. What was really noticeable was her shoulders. They weren't rounded any more. Her 'feck' (as she herself called it...her face/neck - just one body part!) had seperated. Her neck had grown! Her upper arms weren't massive and chunky, her back wasn't rounded, and her elbows were bony. She had a waist too! Now, she was by no means 'slim' (not yet!) but wow - she looked SO different, and so much more (it has to be said because it is the case) - attractive. Now I know the sisterhood isn't supposed to compare,...to believe that our fat makes us lesser people...but hold on. This very big young woman had lost a lot of weight and she did look amazing. She also looked, for the first time I'd known her, like a young woman..not someone past their prime.  She looked so much better for losing weight. I congratulated her on her efforts. Angie was thrilled that I was so surprised. I told her she looked good. She did....and WAIL....I didn't!!!!!!

All of a sudden, I was the fattest person in the room. THUD. Horrible realisation that someone has lost weight and I haven't...well, not much. No one is noticing my missing lbs. I began to feel a bit uncomfortable......or was I jealous?

'The surest route to breeding jealousy is to compare. Since jealousy comes from feeling less than another, comparisons only fan the fires.'
~ Dorothy Corkville Briggs

Ooooh. I secretly felt some shame. Just telling it like it is. If Angie can really succeed in shedding the pounds, why haven't I? OK, so comparisons are odious, but I secretly vowed to increase my efforts. Of course, a few days later and the shock factor/shame element fades, and I continued to bumble on in my own sweet way.

Shock number two. I rushed out of the house early this morning to catch a bus. I was chairing a meeting in town. Who should be at the bus stop when I got there but my neighbour and good friend Janet. She is the same age as me. We'd become firm friends when our children were little, (we've known each other for about 28 years!) and in that time Janet and I have attended slimming clubs (I was only a little overweight - Janet had a lot of weight to lose) and together we bemoaned our less than trim figures and generally put the world to rights. She has been a wonderful, reliable friend and neighbour and although we don't see much of each other these days now the children have grown and we aren't tied to the house as much, when we do get together on rare occasions, we always have a laugh and enjoy catching up with each others news. . Janet always used to say I had very little to lose..I worked then, she was at home all day. My rushing about kept me slim(ish). Janet used to lose weight and gain it back..and then as she returned to work we didn't see each other as we usually did but when we bumped into each other we'd catch up.. but I hadn't seen her for a while..we are like ships that pass in the night of late. When I last saw her I was having a moan about my big body. Women together can do that...and we remain nice people...we always tell each other how wonderful we are too, but there is no denying our fat bodies tended to be what we would change if we could. I have gained a lot of weight this decade..most of it in the last six years and in many ways it has been beyond my control, but I didn't do anything about it either, when I was able to.

Eeek! as I approached the bus stop I was aware that Janet had lost a lot of weight too! Just like Angie, Janet was looking GOOD! (Why do people look younger when they lose weight???) Now she didn't look awful before, but all of a sudden, she looked 'transformed' and there is no other word for it! She told me her doctor had advised her to lose weight. She'd had a knee operation and had been suffering with pains in both knees and ankles for years. Her extra weight didn't help, but she found it hard to keep it off once she lost it. Now...she was looking slimmer than I'd ever seen her! I congratulated her on her efforts and told her how good she looked. She said she felt years younger for losing 40+ pounds. Like Angie, she has done it alone. There have been no special foods or slimming clubs - just sheer hard work and determination, a sensible eating plan and more exercise has brought about their smaller, trimmer figures. Janet had more weight to lose but she was much smaller than when I'd last chatted with her. She'd coloured her hair and styled it differently and I was really impressed. She said she felt like a 'new woman' and I was so pleased for her. She is a great woman and a lovely person. She glowed...she DID look like a new woman. All I know is, being fat has affected my confidence. I'd like to say it hasn't, but it has. Janet was delighted with her weight loss.

She got off the bus before I did and I was again left to reflect on my lack of loss. OK, so at least I am losing weight, and as I said before, comparisons with other women serve no purpose, but I did feel secretly jealous that they looked good and I didn't, particularly. OH life is about more than having a slim, trim body. I know that. But life in a fat body can be difficult too, as we all know. Again I resolved to grab the bull by the horns, be strict with myself, up the exercise, lower the calories....but as I write now, hours later, the initial impact of another person, a friend losing weight, has deserted me.

This is my struggle. I have to do it for me, and if anything, I have to be inspired by the efforts of Angie and Janet - two women who were bigger than me who are now smaller than me. Ouch. It stings....and makes me feel that I am lacking in some way. I am not. I just haven't given it my all as they have. Simple. My problem. The solution rests with me, and I know that and have from the day I consciously began to eat mindfully with the intention of losing weight and shaping up.

I know losing weight isn't a race and I know we all have to do it in a way which suits us, at a pace which suits us, but I really have thought about setting myself a few goals. Well, perhaps tomorrow, because erm..my daughter called round and left a packet of chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies for us as they were on special offer at her local supermarket. Did I need one with my last cup of tea? No. Did I have one - or two or three of them? Yes.

And I wonder why others are succeeding whilst I am crawling along taking off weight and putting it back on. Hey ho....no need to call Sherlock Holmes.

Anyway...these things have been on my mind today. I'll say here and now that I caught the bus today so I could go to a large government office and chair a meeting. (I am an independent member of the committee. I volunteered for the role, was interviewed and elected.) I did that successfully, even though the agenda was packed and the gathering of members loud and unsettled. I brought order to the proceedings and drew the meeting to a close skillfully. I'd done my homework, knew what were the pertinent parts up for discussion and steered the group away from the time-wasting blind alleys some were keen to go down. I felt proud and was thanked by the head of the service and the secretary taking notes. Both complimented my handling of a difficult agenda. That made me feel good and reminded me that we have to look for all the things in our lives which make up what we are. Our fat padding is temporary and doesn't alter the person inside. I do know however that two formerly fat (and lovely) women are feeling a whole lot better about themselves after shedding weight - and that I am - I really am, happy for them. I might not be where they are now, but I can get there. I know that.  

I don't know if you identify with any of my thoughts - you may have a different way of looking at things, but I am aware a friend looking so much slimmer has the ability to unsettle me. I have recently seen two fat women shed pounds. All I can say is....blimey, their efforts were worth it! I am not competing. That would be silly, but perhaps my complacency has been shaken a little. My comfort zone is far too comfortable! :)

Does anything ever make you sit up and take notice, and then work harder in your efforts to lose weight?

Things are as they are. Looking out into it the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.  ~ Alan Watts

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The Slimmer's Conscience.

I am being lazy, blog-wise today, and posting the reply (with a few bits added) I gave to those good people who commented on my last offering. I sometimes feel I am living in a weight-loss limbo-land.

Thanks for all your thoughts folks :)

Strangely enough, I mentioned Sean's blog in my "I am going to do this!" post recently. He makes sense of all the dilemmas I face, and I am sure all of us trying to lose weight face them too!

Yes, Friday night was a bit wild, but unless we walk on the wild side occasionally I suspect we might as well say 'Cheerio World" and be measured up for that big pine box :)

Happy memories, the ones we create, are priceless I think. I shall smile whenever I think about black sambuca, and so will my friends. (You'll have to read my last post about wild debauchery if you want to understand the significance of the mention of that bad boy liqueur.)

It's about getting the balance right. I am STILL finding it hard to enjoy events because of the guilt I sometimes feel over my eating and drinking. I don't want to be constantly thinking about food. Life shouldn't be like this.

However, (I tell myself frequently) I am sure once we begin to practice restraint it becomes second nature to just go for the healthy choices. (Does it? Tell me it does! LOL)

Do we ever COMPLETELY lose that love of the foods we once indulged in though? This is why I try to include them every now and then. Fighting all my instincts on a daily basis really screws me up. All I can say is..my fat body saddens and depresses me enough to make me want to stay on the straight and narrow path.

I want to lose weight, and I need to lose weight (health concerns) and I guess life has to completely change for that to happen?

The eat less, move more equation is a simple one to grasp.

Living that equation isn't as simple unless we really throw ourselves wholeheartedly into a new lifestyle. If I am honest, I am still resisting. When do I find the passion for the cause?

Do I smack myself around the head for being a stupid klutz, or give myself a soothing cuddle because I am doing OK just as I am and once I get the hang of this healthy living malarkey there'll be no stopping me?

You know that "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" quotation that caused such a furore? It sent out such a mixed message. I understand the sentiment behind it - I am sure most fat people do, but it disgusted me all the same.

However...I know myself that I do get a buzz and my confidence increases when I am more shapely and fitter. I have been there. I feel better...and that's the truth. The fat me today is a much weaker, less confident and yes, sadder version of the slim Grump that was.

Oh well, another day, another cheesecake.....or lettuce leaf ;-) <~~ that's a joke btw. I have a chili prepared for tonight's dinner.

Grump...being 'good' but aware she has the ability to be really 'bad' food-wise.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Trial By Jury - Or A Weekend Away?

Good afternoon fellow bloggers. Hope you had a good weekend. I did. I had a very enjoyable weekend which did involve lots of socialising over food and drink. Oh how I wish there were a 'blush' emoticon.

Do you find it hard to 'diet' when days and functions have been set up to focus on food, drink and enjoyment? I do. I know I should be prepared, have a plan, have a little of things I like and say no to things which can add pounds if you merely sniff them. I know alcohol is calorie-laden too.

Did I practice restraint on my weekend away? Sort of. Some of the time.

Good things: I walked and walked and walked.
Bad things: I ate and drank too much.

I am not sure what over-indulgence means to others but to me it means just not caring what I eat. I don't stuff my face. I don't binge. I don't go up for second and third helpings, but I don't make the most sensible food choices either. It wasn't too bad, but given I am trying to LOSE weight I could have had less to eat.

We stayed in a lovely hotel and on both mornings we had a buffet breakfast. There were two immediate eating challenges although one was easier than anticipated because of circumstances.

We walked into town and joined a gathering of family and friends on Friday night and later on headed back to the hotel (on foot - quite a long walk there and back...so it's all good) with my man's brother and his wife. We get along well. They are good company. We'd had a pub meal - chicken with chili noodles and vegetables for me, and a few bottles of wine between us. After our long walk on a cold September night of course going to the cosy hotel bar for a night-cap before bed was suggested, and who was I to argue? Brandy? Coffee? Yeah...sounded good. Special treat.

The small hotel bar was full of 'dressed up' people going in and out because a wedding party had taken place earlier. The bride and groom were staying the night so they were wandering around too even though it was late and most of their guests had departed. They wanted to prolong their special day. It had gone midnight and they'd had drinks...so were very chatty and friendly. They were Southerners, we were Midlanders, so our accents were different and we had all the 'Where are you from?' chat...which progressed to them telling us in turn about how they'd met. They were in and out, plonking themselves down at our table every now and then and they really were a pleasant young couple..who almost told us their life stories! A few people gathered in a hotel bar late at night become very intimate very quickly!

Across the room two other couples joined in with the general chat and it was all very convivial. There was lots of laughing and of course the men folk kept us supplied with drinks. At some point it was suggested by the couples across the room that if we hadn't tried sambuca, black sambuca, then we hadn't really lived. We were all very mellow, so middle aged and supposedly sensible people that we are, we tried shots of black sambuca on top of other drinks!

Hmmm. Interesting. Sweet. Like liquorice. Nice. There was no restraint now whatsoever. I won't lie.

So, all in all, wine, brandy and sambuca had been downed and it was 3.30am before we all departed for our rooms.

Oh dear. Not sensible. Not good. Over-indulgence. Empty calories, over-worked liver.

Very bad really. However, I have the capacity to shrug and not care much at the time. I'll go with the flow....life is short etc. :-(

I am not really a drinker. I enjoy a glass or two of wine with food, but I can take it or leave it and of late I have been washing down my food with water. I like the pureness of water. Fortunately I drank lots of water too that evening and in the morning my head wasn't TOO sore. I didn't feel wonderful but I didn't have the hangover from hell either. I felt vaguely queasy. We got up early, made our way down to breakfast and didn't eat much at all. BONUS! Yay! Let's hear it for drinking black sambuca! Great appetite suppressant!

Ooops. No. Didn't mean that. Don't try this at home boys and girls.

Tea is my friend. After a few cups of tea I livened up slightly and managed to eat a very small portion of muesli and some scrambled eggs and tomatoes on dry toast. No Danish pastry or croissant for me...although normally I wouldn't have been able to resist them.

We took paracetamol, went back to bed for the morning - what a waste of a fine day - and got up at lunchtime, ate nothing, showered and went for a long walk in the nearby woods...taking bottled water with us. The fresh air was nice.

Not a good start. That evening there was another buffet to endure - the 21st party itself, held in the function room of a swish Indian restaurant. (The room had been decorated beautifully.)

Fortunately we all felt fine when the time came to eat again. I drank water..no cals...and I had small portions of all the (Indian) foods I fancied. I was aware of that 'greedy' instinct that a buffet seems to trigger in me. However, because I was aware that I could have as much as I wanted, of anything available, and I could go back time and time again to load my plate, I became conscious of what I was doing. I avoided the creamy curries laced with butter and cream. I tried to ensure the portion of vegetable curry was the biggest and I had a small piece of naan bread rather than rice. I heaped the salad on my plate and I did eat a samosa and quite a lot of dry chicken tikka. Pudding consisted of chocolate caked laced with orange liqueur and ice cream, plus an assortment of (very sweet) Indian deserts. I took a small slice of birthday cake and one scoop of ice cream, and was glad that my "Yuk, pudding after a meal is too sweet and just too much" natural instinct kicked in. I am not a big fan of chocolate, and chocolate cake with a fudge icing is just sickly. I gave my plate to my man after two spoonfuls and he finished it off.

No beer or wine for us! We walked back again, glad of the long night walk and avoided the hotel bar..I ordered a pot of tea which was brought up to our room, kicked off my shoes and we sat on the bed drinking tea and enjoying a film on TV.

We felt bright and alert on Sunday morning and we went down to the breakfast buffet. So much food had been laid on. I chose a small bowl of grapefruit segments...(I sprinkled them with half a teaspoon of brown sugar) then I had a thick apricot yogurt. (Too creamy, but gorgeous.) I didn't have toast and butter with my main meal..everyone else seemed to. As we were helping ourselves from large trays of hot food I could pick and choose the healthiest options so I went for a spoonful of baked beans, a large portion of tomatoes, one fried egg and one rasher of bacon. I don't like fat on meat at all, so I ate only the lean meat. I could have chosen fried mushrooms, fried bread, sausages, black-pudding as well, but I didn't. Oh, I had a small glass of freshly squeezed orange juice too. I had a cup of tea and, because I'd gone without cereal, bread or toast I finished off with a warm croissant and a small cup of coffee. (Gotta go continental...) That was my treat. Yes, I have to wean myself off  'treats' I think. I saved a few calories on the cooked breakfast and deliberately spent them in a different form. A croissant isn't nutritious....when was greasy flaky pastry ever good for us? But it was nice, and I didn't feel deprived. (On reflection, this is 'maintenance mode' eating, not weight-loss eating....and that's if I can burn off the calories!)

I wouldn't eat that amount of food for breakfast when I am at home. If I really put my mind to it I could cut back even more calories because after all, I do want to SEE a weight loss even though my clothes are feeling slightly looser.

What makes resisting temptation difficult for many people is they don't want to discourage it completely. ~ Franklin P. Jones

I justified it by telling myself we would do lots of walking and we did. The hotel was on the fringes of a small town so we left the car in the visitors car-park rather than pay charges in the public car parks in town. It was a trek to the shops...and a trek back but I like walking. The shopping centre comprised of one VERY long high street with shops on either side of the road, and a big semi-circular indoor mall behind that. So we walked up one side of the street, down the other and then did the mall.There were some interesting, individual, independent retailers - art galleries, antique shops, craft shops so browsing was fun and we discovered an outdoor market at the end of the high street so as we had two sunny days we did a lot of walking and browsing, in between gathering with family and friends and eating.

We drove home last night and today I feel tired, but satisfied that we had a weekend away from it all, and it was good fun.

I shan't weigh myself this week! I might become disheartened if I jumped on the scale today. Hopefully things will even themselves out if I try to cut back a little more this week...and endeavour to exercise every day.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Ups and Downs and Home-Made Pies.

Oh to be a robot. It would be fantastic if someone could program me in the morning and set me up for the day. I'd keep moving and eat healthy foods (all prepared for me) and life would be soooooo easy.

Hmmph. Life isn't like that and I have to be my own controller. I shan't write much today because I really should be packing for a weekend away in Hampshire. (I rarely do what I SHOULD of late. It worrying how I procrastinate.) We are attending a 21st birthday party..and staying in a hotel for a weekend. What's the betting I'll eat what's on offer without question?

I have had a good few days...eating well and moving more. I walked for miles and miles yesterday and again was huffing and puffing and feeling incredibly 'moist' all over. It's horrible to get sweaty as you walk around. You know when you feel wet and clammy all over and your clothes, including underwear stick to your body? Not nice. Does this happen to slim people as well? I suppose it does, but to a lesser extent. Oh well. It was my work-out.  It was a humid day and stupidly I wore a jacket when I went out. (Changeable September weather...) I took it off  but I had to carry it and two bags of shopping and as I am bus-catching now, there was much walking here there and everywhere and I felt quite exhausted after a few hours of this. I was moving for four hours non-stop apart from two thirty minute bus journeys. I was at my man's house last night (I'd showered before I went!) and we had a lovely cottage pie and vegetables for dinner, but....he'd also been given some tiny individual home-baked gooseberry pies...and we had them for pudding - with cream.

I don't eat pastry much..so I fully intended to dig out the fruit and leave most of the pastry..but it was gorgeous, short, sweet crumbly home-made pastry that went so well with the sharpness of the gooseberries. I thoroughly enjoyed that pudding....so I undid most of the good work exercise-wise. I keep doing this. There is a mental..sensible food/exercise/weight loss dialogue going on in my head that is being hijacked by "Oh those gooseberry pies look and smell gorgeous. Rare treat. No need to resist."

Anyway...I shall endeavour to think about what I am eating this weekend. I can't promise that I'll make good choices, but if I don't, I have to live with the consequences. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak...so yes, it would be easier if I could be programmed this weekend!

I am robot - not!

Right..ironing, finding toiletries, packing. Come on woman!

Have a good weekend all.

Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. ~ Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

I Am Going To Do This!

Are you the sort of person who is lifted by motivational articles? I am. I am a sucker for straight-talking and sensible thinking :) I needed some help in that department last night.

I went into yesterday evening in a very growly mood. I was angry with myself. I didn't want to think about food any more. I didn't want to think about fat me any more. I just wanted to be.

Sod 'dieting'. Sod healthy eating. Grrr. Earlier, I'd made a pasta dish for dinner - fresh pasta with bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, mozzarella and a tomato, garlic and onion sauce. I grilled a few rashers of bacon and crumbled it over and I made wholemeal garlic bread for us too..(with light spread, lots and lots of fresh garlic and black pepper.) I was in the mood for carbs, and lots of 'em! I also opened a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and had a glass of wine. I have to say it. That was a FANTASTIC meal. Yummy.

Of course it was massively calorific too...but *shrug* I was being self-indulgent.

It's after the self-indulgence, the blow-out, that the guilty feelings creep in. I don't want to feel guilty after eating. It makes me angry that I do! Now, I have said all along that I can't be doing with the head-fucks that eating food causes, the guilt I feel when I over-do things, or when I just don't care. Last weekend and last night I just didn't care.

However, the anger doesn't come from food..and there were lots of healthy items in my pasta dish last night. It was nutritious but I had too much. I could have tweaked that dish and had a small portion, less pasta, more veg, less garlic bread and no wine. I could have saved myself at least 500 calories if I'd been sensible. I have weight to lose after all! It was almost 'defiant' eating again last night. Have you ever had the "I am having this, no one is going to stop me and I'll jolly well enjoy it!' voice urging you on to eating recklessly?

ironically, it only happens to me when I am consciously trying to cut back and make sensible choices! It's like I deliberately screw myself up!

Wow. For me, such episodes are always followed by a crashing low mood and I regret being so stupid...or rather, not treating myself well. Sound familiar?

The anger I feel comes from my own lack of self-control - my stupid, destructive impulses.

I obviously do eat impulsively, and because I know I have to lose weight I have to curb those impulses and make sensible choices. I do allow myself treats. That was always part of the bargain, but they were going to be occasional treats and I'd have small portions of them. I can do that...apart from the times when I hate the whole business of HAVING to lose weight. I want to be fat and happy, but I am not. My fat life is a good life, I am blessed in so many ways, but deep down inside I am now fighting battles in my head about food and eating, and I don't want to live like this. No way.

It's not healthy.

Before I went to bed last night I flicked through a few articles I'd saved about food, eating sensibly, losing weight etc, and they were all extremely encouraging and eminently sensible. I felt renewed. I forgave myself for having a big meal, but I didn't chastise myself for enjoying it.

Food is meant to be enjoyed, isn't it? I wasn't doing 'fast food', although my weekends eating wasn't wonderful either. I have brakes. I just don't apply them when I should. I can do healthy eating for the most part too. I have always cooked wholesome, high-fibre meals for my children...(over the last 27 years!) and kept an eye on saturated fat and sugars. They remain slim and active. We tend to eat quite healthily at home - I have no problem with healthy eating, but see how I can make a decent meal into a blow-out one when the mood takes me? It's all the unnecessary extras which add up..and I am not burning them off very well either. I need to do more exercise, for sure.

Anyway..before I fell asleep I thought about my ailments. I have several body parts which dont work well and my auto-immune system is shot to pieces. I have an under-active thyroid, pernicous anaemia - I have Vit B12 injections regularly- and iron deficiency if I don't top up my levels regularly. I also have chronic complaints as a result of a botched operation in 2006 and the operations I had afterwards to repair the damage! I take pain-killers regularly...and a whole concoction of prescription drugs every day, and I suppose they make me a bit sluggish, but I do fight 'being ill'. I don't make a good patient. I really fear being immobilised and that should be reason enough for me to lose weight.

I don't let it get me down, but I do frequently tell myself that I ought to look after myself better. As you age your body DOES slow down.  I have noticed this because after being a podgy teenager I became slim - not because I dieted, but because I had an extremely active life in my 20s, 30s and 40s. I never ever thought about what I ate. I seemed to burn everything off because I was so busy.

I slowed down and gradually became fat over the last ten years or so, and I suppose ill health and lack of movement contributed, but I sort of went into that valley of vague depression that often comes with bad times, quite willingly. The flesh was willing (or at least able!) but the spirit was weak in my case. I declined quite rapidly. My darling Mum died in 2001 and I really let myself go after that...and became sick too, so the last decade has been a foul one for me, apart from meeting a lovely man, now my fiance - just before getting really sick! (Poor bloke. He should have run for the hills then!) However, we can bounce back. Bad times tend not to last forever, but if we get into bad habits they become very hard to break.

All I can say is - if we don't look after ourselves, who else will? We have to take responsibility for our actions.

Strangely enough, when I turned on my computer this morning I checked other blogs on my list and Sean over at http://losingweighteveryday.blogspot.com/ wrote exactly what I have been thinking about. Go and have a read. The Daily Dairy of a Winning Loser. Highly recommended. Sean clarified my dilemma. He reminded me that food isn't the enemy. My lack of commitment, my regaining the weight I have lost, over and over again, is down to me and not the foods in front of me. I don't 'use' food properly. I become angry that food tempts me and I 'can't have it', but what I haven't really worked on properly is my self-control or my emotions. Food is all around us, and to be enjoyed, but we have to have a strategy when we face it. We have to work on ourselves.

Anyway, I have written too much (again!) but I really wanted to say thank you to Sean, and to so many more bloggers too. There are so many of you out there in blog land who might not know it - but you do help me. You make me think, you make me see sense and you often inspire me. I don't always comment, but when I read your blogs I feel we are all in this together. My problems aren't unique. You motivate me, but most of all I want to thank you for helping me keep going.

It's a new day. One day at a time eh?

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Monday, 6 September 2010

Determination Versus Whining.

Have just been perusing a few blogs, by people who have been (and who still are!) weight-loss successes. They rarely whine. They hold their hands up and tell it like it is...when they do well, and when they stumble. They do falter occasionally. When they do, it's a temporary blip and it can be honestly explained. They are right on course again..determined that they have a job to do and they WILL do it.

I so admire that strength. I admire it because I think I lack it.

I have been thinking...is it doing me good to read the blogs of others who are every bit as fallible as I am, yet they set goals and just know that they'll reach them?

Am I gaining strength and determination when I read about strong people who succeed or am I depressing myself because I can't emulate them?

They have a determination and a spirit I fail to muster and some times, I can feel rather deflated because I know I can give up on myself too easily and excuse it away. I could say I don't care, but I obviously do, or I wouldn't be writing this.

Oh..I lost another two pounds by the way - over the last - I dunno...few weeks? See, she says sarcastically, there's an example of how tightly executed this weight-loss campaign of mine is.

So, I have lost weight and that is good, but it's also a bit of a miracle too, given the poor food choices I have made this weekend. It's been a bad few days eating wise. I suspect that if I'd bothered to weigh myself sometime last week I'd have been pleasantly surprised by a significant loss..(That is the only way I can explain the loss of two pounds this morning....I'd lost a bit more last week and regained it by over-eating this weekend.)

Oh it's been a bad weekend. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in terms of socialising, but from my point of view it's been 'bad'...and that's because I defiantly and knowingly pigged out. No excuses. I just didn't exercise any control...or, come to that, do any exercise apart from walking around the shops.

Sheesh. One small step forward, five gigantic steps backwards. I don't want sympathy...I need to be allowed to beat myself up here, because I DO know the theory, and as the Anti-Jared said in a recent post, what is the point of knowing what you must do, if you don't bother doing it?

So true. I am hoping for that old magic wand, that silver bullet, that amazing weight-loss pill or pathetically hoping that my blubber will some how melt away overnight without any effort from me.

Looks like I can continue having good times, and go for the old "eat, drink and be merry" lifestyle and continue to mither and whine about my fatness...or I can just grab the bull by the horns and muster up some determination.

The positives I take from this are "Hey...you are two pounds down! That's a reason to be cheerful!" I could also say "You had a great weekend...and ate loads of your favourite foods, drank some incredibly good wine and met up with good friends! Lucky you!" There is no denying that we did lots, ate lots, laughed lots..it was good.

However..my weight clings to me stubbornly. I am older. My metabolism is shot to pieces. I cannot KEEP taking my foot off the pedal. What is the point of losing a small amount only to put it back on again the following weekend in hedonistic splurges? Why on earth do I do it knowingly too? It's complete self-sabotage, and it has to stop.

I just want to find that drive...the drive and determination that doesn't desert me when I am faced with socialising, eating out, and having friends round. It's my problem...and one I have to solve or otherwise suffer the consequences of my behaviour and the choices I make. If I am the captain of my own ship, I seem to be deliberately steering it on to the rocks to see what happens, whilst laughingly telling others "Oh it can be mended at the boat-yard if it doesn't sink..." How mad is that?

I need a kick up the arse. Oh if only I were double-jointed. I'd be doing it to myself right now.

I hope you've all been a bit more determined than I have these last few days. That wouldn't be at all hard!

Anyway. Recriminations over. It serves no purpose unless I decide to get my act together. THAT is my food for thought right now.

Anthony Robbins ~ "You can't always control the wind, but you can control your sails."

Friday, 3 September 2010

The Stodge Factor - I Just LOVE Bread.

Do you? It comes in so many shapes and sizes and tastes. It's yummy. When all else fails there is always a loaf of bread in the kitchen to eat! Of all the things I am not to eat so much of, I think bread is the hardest item to cut down on.

I ask you, what's a bowl of lovely homemade soup without a big chunk of bread to go with it? When hunger pangs strike, how great is a slice (or two) of toast and honey? Seeded bread and bread with nutty whole grains is gorgeous. Sandwiches are good to eat as well, and aren't crusty French sticks just fabulous, spread with butter? Oh drool!

Drool, drool, drool.

I am salivating now just thinking about crusty bread! I know I can have SOME bread in my diet but stodgy things (and alas, bread is stodgy) have to be eaten in moderation.

Moderation. That's a bloody awful word isn't it? It suggests a life on hold...one where a person has to pull back..have some control, behave moderately...do things in moderation. It's hard always being moderate. I prefer the word 'excess' or 'excessive' but I suspect most big people do. I could eat bread all day long...for breakfast, lunch and dinner. No problem.

Breakfast - poached eggs on toast. Lunch - a round of sandwiches.  Dinner - garlic bread with the main meal. In between those meals I could eat toast, or a big chunk of crusty French bread and butter. If no one's around and I don't want to cook, or don't have to cook for others, I could eat bread all day long. Easy peasy. I could even fill up on pitta bread and wraps. Bread in any form is wonderful.

Bread is the staff of life. True, it is a staple food but, it's also written that "Man shall not live by bread alone." It does make a great accompaniment to other foods though, doesn't it? ;-)

Right now I am hungry - truly hungry. This morning so far I have had two mugs of tea, a nectarine, a few sunflower and pumpkin seeds and a small pot of fromage frais. It's time to eat and all my instincts tell me that some seeded bread, toasted, with a little honey on it would be good. I do have two hard boiled eggs in the fridge and I could eat those, but they just don't have the sort of 'bite' I need, or the taste I long for. I have bacon I could grill, or low fat cheese I could have with crackers. I even have some home made hummus in the fridge...but it doesn't appeal. I've also told myself that I need a big glass of water. I am not thirsty but I have begun to enjoy drinking more plain water. I have taken today's meds..with lots of water, but now, the thought of a hard boiled egg and a glass of water seems like prison or work-house food! I am just not salivating...

I am thinking eggs = protein, and water = goodness. BORING! UNATTRACTIVE!

I want to relish my food..I want something yummy.

I have cut out cakes more or less..but cake substitutes (I have been using dried fruit in small quantities to give me a sweet taste when a cake craving calls) just don't appeal. In truth I want the STODGE FACTOR...you know, that gooey satisfying sensation of bread? Something chewy and wholesome which has your jaws chomping...and I know thats how we eat all foods, but I want the stickiness of bread and it's filling qualities. Yes, I could go and make a wrap but I want the crisp hotness of toast..the drippiness of butter, the stickiness of honey.

I could use pittas filled with salad, but in truth I don't like salad much, and I find preparing it for just me is a bit of a bore. Now I have the house to myself all day I can't be bothered to cook. I want instant, grab-able foods and bread ticks the boxes (as do eggs, cheese, hummus, carrot sticks, fruit etc..) So..I am a grouchy slimmer and a lazy one too :)

Now is an example of me 'choosing' toast. See how I have talked myself into it? I could go away and eat my eggs, I could suck a half dried apricot, I could have a big glass of water...I could make myself a salad wrap - I have the ingredients in the fridge - but now I crave toast.

I know so many of you really work to beat your cravings. I admire people who can distract themselves and substitute other things for their craving. I could go and pedal the exercise bike perhaps? Nope.

Executive decision made! I am going to have my toast. I have some seeded bread which needs using up. I am also going to have honey on it. I am indulging my sweet tooth.

If I didn't have it now, I'd STILL be wanting it at midnight. Perhaps I am not properly dealing with cravings? I dunno. I do know that I'll be thinking of bread all day long if I don't have some.

Carbs have become a dieter's no-no of late, but I just can't see how I'd eat 'normally' if I tried to cut it out of my diet. I know I'd buckle and need bread. I don't want to exclude food groups really. It's best for me to go with the way my mind and body works and try to include my beloved bread as part of a balanced diet.

I suspect if I have bread now I'll have no more today. I am guilty of not 'strictly' planning my meals - apart from the family dinner which I cook most nights and try to make as healthy as possible, even though it usually includes, potatoes, rice or pasta. I am quite happy to have very small portions of those carbohydrates. I am trying to eat 'normally' and also I am not seeing my eating as a 'diet'. I am just finding the 'moderation in all things' hard at times.

OK, tea, toast and then I'll put a load of washing in the machine and go out for a walk around the block. I need a distraction or I could gaze at the contents of the fridge and food cupboards all day long! It's one of those "Let me eat lots and lots" days!

It's not a wonderfully active plan , but some days you just have to work with the way you feel, don't you?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Just getting on with it.

Well, the weekend crisis is behind me (until the next time) and I have been reflecting. My blog isn't exactly terribly motivational or inspirational for people out there who are also overweight, is it, but a bit like my uncomplicated and basic 'slimming plan' I feel that really, writing about the basics, the day to day minutiae of my life is what I do best.

Should I write you a list...one with my menus of so many calories, so much carb, examples of wonderful protein and all for 15 calories?  I could tell you I walked twenty miles, and here are details of - heart rate, type of bottled water, timing, amount of sweat on head-band, and a description of my fabulous Nike so-and-so walking shoes.  I could report that I did six million lengths of the local swimming pool (you get timings per lap and measurements of water resistance per stroke...the pool water is definitely weakening..) before I describe the smoothie I made with damsons I picked from my own (entirely organic, natch) orchard. Then you'll learn how I tied myself into a triple lotus doing a yoga DVD in the evening and I'll stop writing after I record that just before bed I drank two gallons of purified water with an added something or other from the health food shop that everyone really ought to go out and buy if they want to lose weight healthily...

I am obviously failing miserably in slimming blog world :)

Trust me - I'd top myself if that was all I was able to offer you :)

Actually, I'd top myself if my days were spent like that and I thought it would be of interest to others! :)

Hey...I ought to apologise. Some people NEED that sort of detail and record-keeping...and to each their own etc. That's OK if you need it...but...hmmmm. I definitely don't.

I am the other extreme I suppose. I could be accused of wanting the magic wand...a way to lose weight without getting terribly involved. Oh if only! :)

All I do know is...and we all know this...I have to move heck of a lot more - and work up a sweat if I want to carry on eating as I do and not gain weight. So, my plan is ELMM...Eat less, move more, and so far it hasn't seen me lose huge amounts of weight quickly (just the opposite in fact!) but I am becoming happily (and that is the key word) aware of what I am doing to my body. My blog lacks fast weight-loss excitement I'm afraid!

It's taken very little effort to acknowledge that I have to cut down on calorific food treats. I have been more reluctant to actively engage in movement...mainly because all the sweating, laps, repetitions, weights etc loved by so many weight-watchers are an anathema to me. That was my main worry...I'll never in a million years be as active as these people who are losing weight quickly and successfully.

So...how to get round this. I have to move. I recognise that my body is designed to be moved, used, and exercised, otherwise it rots..decays, even whilst my heart is beating. Artery walls thicken, the heart has to work harder and no movement begets even more slothfulness! I've had to consciously incorporate movement into my days. I have no aims to become a sprinter or marathon runner. Those aims aren't mine, but I admire those people who have such a goal. I'll stand at the road-side and cheer them on! :)

How to move? How to remain supple? How to exercise efficiently so that my body uses it's fat stores? That was what had me...(the woman who loathes gyms) thinking. I have mentioned before that I wasted gym fees in the past. On a dark November evening after a busy day I just couldn't get my kit together and drive there. I made myself..time and time again, but there was no joy..ever. I felt some satisfaction that I'd made myself do it but hell, I wasn't enjoying it that much, even when I did become fitter and more toned..

 So..gyms were out. I borrowed my man's exercise bike. I can't say using it fills me with happiness, but I do use it - fairly regularly. My legs have to move. That monstrosity lives in the sitting room and I use it once a day...sometimes for ten minutes, sometimes for ten minutes four times a day...sometimes for 40 minutes...It varies, but it is getting used - and not just as a coat hanger :) Get this - I also dust it! :)

I am becoming conscious of 'spare' time...so in the few minutes between doing 'stuff' - ordinary housework type stuff - I make myself jig about..one way or the other. I bend, stretch, jog on the spot. Not for long..but it happens regularly. It's not the same as sweating and pounding away in a gym..or doing an exercise class..but if I join up, pay for classes and then don't stick with things like that, I feel a useless failure. I have to work with the mind-set I have.

I am a reluctant loser :) However, I am losing.

Today I had a hospital appointment. It was a glorious day so rather than wait for a bus to take me the three miles or so to the hospital, I set off on a brisk walk. That's what our bodies are designed to do...to walk. It's probably good if we can make them do more, but walking is such a great exercise on so many levels, isn't it? I had been reluctant to walk for the last few years...mainly because I was in pain and recovering from ops and generally suffering ill health. I was also drugged up on so much medication. I felt mentally and physically wiped out. Slow recovery and the sluggishness and vague depression that come from all of a sudden, limiting the world I inhabited made me fat, made me less of a person. I got out of the habit of moving and it was SO hard to get back in to deliberately exercising...because I HAD to. (The body becomes creaky and stiff and bloated SO quickly when it's not used...I know this!)

I am rediscovering what an amazing mood-lifter walking is. As I walked a chunky man in his running gear jogged past me. He had some weight to lose and I could hear him huffing and puffing. I wondered if he was enjoying his run? I know runners tell me they get a high from running...so perhaps that is something that happens, but I was getting a high from being out in the sunshine, swinging my arms, pounding the pavement. So..I am now conscious of all I do in general day-to-day activities, and if I can, I do just a bit extra..if only for a minute, here and there. One dance to a song on the radio whilst the kettle is boiling is better than flopping down in a chair until I can make tea:) I have spotted an old skipping rope in a box in the loft. I shall go out and skip on the patio one day this week. My garden isn't overlooked....so it won't be an X rated activity even though my blobby bits bobbing up and down won't be a pretty sight! ;)

So...for now I am moving more. What about food? I was digging my heels in here...resisting any sort of plan, any sort of restrictive way of eating. I am just not into it and I am old enough to know myself - to know that I can rebel, even when my rebellion is destructive.

I recognised too that if I am denied a food or a treat I go completely off the rails...I'll scoff it with a vengeance. That's stupid..I cut off my nose to spite my face, but deny me foods I want and the demon that sits on my shoulder whining "Not fair!" springs into action and encourages me to have exactly what I want, when I want it.

Then I feel weak and out of control and THAT is when I make myself feel like a miserable and stupid woman, without an ounce of self-control.

So..I have befriended that demon and I feed him morsels of the foods we know and love..occasionally. And guess what? The world hasn't caved in...I haven't blown up like a balloon and I haven't had to feel like a miserable loser for any length of time afterwards. A small amount of food 'treat' suffices...and as the days go by those food treats seem to have less hold on me. It's amazing. Knowing I can always have it actually helps me!

Now..those who deny themselves food treats will lose weight a whole lot quicker than I will, that's for sure but I am not of the belief that my life will be more worthwhile without sugar or fat in it..or because I have sacrificed all I used to love because my health depends on it. Life has to be worth living and I enjoy food. I have enjoyed junk food - we all have. I can sort of go cold turkey on that because I wasn't addicted to it. I had it rarely before, and I'll have it rarely now...with no guilt attached.

I have to limit sugar and fat, that's for sure, but my diet was never awful...it just needed a conscious tweaking. I have to eat fewer calories - I know that, because my weight is putting a strain on my heart and other vital organs as well as my limbs. I shall however not deny myself too many foods. Obvious deep fried ones and those made with fats and /or loaded with sugar I shall have rarely. Learning to have them only every now and then has been a real revelation. I can take them or leave them now. I don't crave them. I can walk past doughnuts and Danish pastries and not buy them....and that's a lovely feeling. I can also eat fish and chips, as I did last week, and just ENJOY the flaky white fish and the crisp golden batter...sprinkled with salt (yes the dreaded salt) and vinegar. I can say "That was lovely..." without too much remorse. What I have to learn to do is not turn to food as a crutch...a prop when times are hard and I don't care much about anything, least of all the shape of my body. That's where we fall down, isn't it?

I know I have repeated myself here, but I feel I am changing my relationship with food...very, very slowly. I am sorry that this isn't a whizz-bang, 'get yer trainers on and start running'  production. I can't report fantastic results, or tell you about an amazing workout, or tell you tales of incredible will-power when faced with foods that tempt me. I conclude that I just don't have a will of iron. I know I am inspired by those who commit wholeheartedly and just 'go for it'. My reluctance to change my life too much has me weighing up my options, and I opt to do this slowly and gradually - and along the way I am hoping that I too really 'get into it' - start to feel that things are getting better and that I WANT to change my life drastically....which would involve dedication to the cause and perhaps a stricter routine. I am just not sure that I could sustain such a programme long term, therefore I've opted for a 'go easy on yourself' regime which I hope I can stick to for the remainder of my days. I have to make changes...but I don't want the changes to turn my life upside down for a short time only. Mine is perhaps a 'cheats' guide to making a difference. I hope that my tales of changing things slowly but surely, of feeling that my tiny efforts, my minuscule adjustments and my greater awareness help you in some way. It's OK not to change completely and dramatically in your outlook when you determine to lose weight.

It's not the way for many, most go about losing weight with a passion I just can't muster. I lack that passion, but there is a job to be done, so I had to find a way to do it.

I have begrudgingly decided I have to lose it...so I'd better get on with it...but don't push me, or else! ;-) It's not how many people go about trying to lose weight, but it's the way for me.

Slowly but surely my body is improving and my efforts to improve are becoming slightly easier. I am resisting less.

 I know I'll have days when it all goes pear-shaped and I lose the plot, but even knowing that is somehow comforting. I acknowledge that I am human and prone to straying from the straight and narrow path.

I am not Wonder-Woman, Jane Fonda or the snarling Biggest Loser coach. I am just not THAT bothered about extremes. I am a fat middle aged woman who is coming to terms with her big body, her slow progress, and the fact that she is learning lots along the way.

Slowly, slowly I am getting there. I really hope you are too. Being a dieting failure (as so many of us have been) is so disheartening. For me, thinking differently about what I am doing is making a world of difference. Every day is a new day, a day in which I can put tiny changes into practice. One tiny change, one tiny step forward, is a step in the right direction even if the rest of the day has been a bit of a disaster.

Build on those tiny changes.....   xxx