Friday, 29 October 2010

Spice Up Your Life...

Hah. Gotcha! No, this isn't a kinky weight-loss post, a soft-porn edition. It's about soup and drastic weight-loss measures:)

Being virtuous (and into making soups right now) I made a big, big pot of carrot and butternut squash soup yesterday. It was for me and the boys - enough to last for two days.

I was tasting as I went. The soup was sweet, despite seasoning, but had a good, yummy 'vegetable' flavour.  I thought I'd add a bit of chili to give it an edge...take off the sweetness. I threw in a few chili flakes. Perhaps I added more than a few? Silly me. That was a mistake.

I blended it, served it up, with wholemeal bread for the boys, and took a spoonful.

Aaaaaargh! I almost spat it out. Oh yes...the taste of carrots and squash remained, but I didn't really want my insides to feel they'd been set alight as an after-shock! :)

Today I write to you with a burned tongue and gullet :) Not really, but I did ruin a big pot of soup. It was more than spicy! I may throw some boiled potatoes into it, and perhaps blend it with milk when I reheat it. That might take the burn-i-ness out of it. (I don't think burn-i-ness is a word...but 'heat' just doesn't describe it properly.) It seems a shame to throw the remainder down the plug-hole.

Ah well. Hot or not, it was healthy soup.

If all foods had an after-shock, I'd be able to avoid them like the plague. Easy-peasy. Imagine cream doughnuts tasting firey? They'd lose their appeal.

I may patent that. Slimming foods so spicy you just can't eat them. I have actually heard of people deliberately ruining their (tempting and fattening) food with peppers and spices and sauces so they wouldn't be able to eat them. You would go off food if it didn't taste nice, wouldn't you?

Just musing.

Thanks for indulging me.

Oh, one pound down this morning. Probably because I wan't able to drink my soup last night...either that or my insides have been burned out and weigh less :)

Have a good weekend.


Thursday, 28 October 2010

Putting it off, and putting it off...

Morning all. It's been so good to read that some of my favourite bloggers are doing well. They are losing weight, getting out there and enjoying life and their new found confidence rings out. What fantastic success stories. I want a bit of that for me. I can have a bit of that too. Nothing is preventing me losing weight.

So, can anyone tell me why I put off having my own success story?

Oh I know my life is about much more than losing weight, but a while ago I determined that this is what I would do, I'd lose weight, because being a fat woman was spoiling my life in many ways. I was becoming miserable, losing my enthusiasm for joining in, taking part. I'd wallow. I still do on some days. It's easy for me now to let life pass me by. I am finding it hard to make my days worthwhile. I could slob out all day. However, when I read a few blogs here I tell myself I have to make a decision. Do I really want to slob out and miss out on truly living, or do I want to be part of the game, to make today count for something?

I'd guess that with extra pounds and new rolls of fat their comes a certain sort of misery...not because we are so shallow that we believe the world is full of slim, air-brushed model types, but because our tighter clothes, our reflection in the mirror and the sight of recent photos makes us feel down. Everything we do as a fat person takes a bit more effort. Moving as others do becomes harder. We get out of breath quicker.

Let's not pretend there aren't negatives that come with the fat suit, because there are, no matter how much the fat acceptance people tell us we are being brain-washed.

This is the life we have, and if it becomes harder in many ways, then it isn't as good as it could possibly be, is it? We can laugh, we can have a jolly exterior and some people can be genuinely fat and happy. I think I am in a way. I am content and I am lucky to have a good life style but I know it's not a particularly healthy one.

On days when I have nothing much planned, (now I don't work, and my children have grown) I have the option to sit and do nothing much. Hmm. Nice. I deserve a life with fewer pressures.

However, I can go online, write, drink tea, graze all day long...and at the end of the day feel angry with myself that it's a day wasted, a day without goals, a day I have drifted through and probably gained a pound. Muscles haven't been used, brain has been engaged but the body, full of tea and grabbed snacks - all reasonably decent - is feeling sluggish. Sluggish body affects mind - and hey voila! - all of a sudden I turn from being a bright, middle aged woman who is content with her lot into a lazy, self-indulgent fat cow who deserves to grow fat and rot because she wastes life and opportunities to live.

*Laughing and shaking my head here.* Isn't it incredible how we can so easily bring ourselves down?

My dear old Mum always used to say keeping herself busy helped her to forget her cares and woes. It works. Too much time spent thinking, analysing, pondering can bring us down and have us focusing on all that isn't good with our lives.

I have a million and one jobs to do around the house, so today I have determined to tick at least one or two of those chores off my list. Win-win situation, as I'll  exercise my body too. I'll also force myself out into the fresh air. Fresh air always lifts a mood I find.

I felt good yesterday. I walked for miles around Batsford Arboretum with my man and we saw the thousands of trees in all their colourful Autumn glory.

Being out in the world and being part of it helps me. It lifts me physically and mentally.

'DOING' does that for us. It lifts us, so don't we owe it to ourselves to join in, to make our bodies move?

Sometimes, when we feel miserable about being fat all we want to do is wallow, but in wallowing we put off the day when our body becomes lighter and healthier.

Today I am working towards a slimmer and healthier life by making sure I engage with life itself. I could waste my day or do something with it, and I choose to be part of it all, fat or not.

What are you doing today? Whatever you do, move if you can. Change the scenery if you can. This is a reminder to myself too.

Have a good 'un :)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Well, There is Always Next Year....

To the right of this post there is a little saying on my page, which includes the words 'keep fighting.'

It's hard to keep fighting for a new body, a new way of eating, a new way of using your time actively, isn't it? It's SO easy to slip back into old ways. Do you find that, or has your healthy eating and exercise campaign become a breeze?

Sigh. It hasn't been a good week, mainly because people have been visiting, we've had a busy weekend and eating on the go or eating out has been part of it. I just ate what I fancied, and although there were no binges, I ate lots of calorific things. I didn't make any attempt to work off the calories either. Basically, I didn't care, I enjoyed myself and any guilt I had when ordering a pudding quickly vanished.

Oh woe is me? No. Not at all. This was my doing. I hold my hands up. I just didn't try.

Since I last weighed myself I have gained 4+ lbs. Four plus? Lets just call it five. Back into the 200lbs+ zone.

So, 'dieting' wisdom tells me I shouldn't give up, that I have to get back on track. All is not lost. I can undo the damage. I can carry on. I tell myself a transformation has to happen now, and it will only happen if I keep working on myself. I entitled this piece "Well, there is always next year..." because I really feel I keep putting off (in my head) the time when I will be a slimmer, fitter version of me.

There is no finishing line, this isn't a race, but I am like the runner who keeps falling over. I get back up and fall over again. By the time I have crossed the finishing line all the other competitors have gone home and the stadium has been locked up.  (If this were a real scenario I'd not be concerned about getting out or climbing over the gates - I'd be scouring the food outlets for left-over burgers and popcorn I expect.)

I know, I know. Nelson Mandela famously quoted Marianne Williamson, saying “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Maybe some people find achieving personal goals easy? I know I don't. Oh, I could study and pass exams, that was no trouble, and any personal obstacles in the road of life I have worked around with determination and moved on, but I don't seem to be 100% motivated to lose weight. I have good reasons for wanting to be slimmer. It's just a 'want' however, not a burning ambition, or a firm goal. Although I have lost some weight, every pound I lose involves a struggle....and what I see as 'sacrifices.' I register the struggle, rather than the victory.
I keep forgetting I HAVE a goal. I give in too easily, without much thought.

Oh well, never mind there's always next year...

It doesn't have to be like that, does it?  Not if I am determined to do what it takes. Not if I'm determined to achieve my goals. I appreciate that there is one clear truth with personal goals - no one can reach them for me. There has to be action on my part.
I have to remember why I am doing this. I have to constantly remind myself that I need to exercise the muscle of self-discipline more than any other.

The other day I read something which amused me, and which is also very apt, given I am losing weight so slowly. “By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”

Here's a drawing of a happy snail :)
(OK, OK. I liked it.)

We all have to persevere, don't we?

Are you still working at it? I hope so. I'll leave you with something written by Jim Rohn.

“How long should you try? Until.”

Friday, 22 October 2010

Some Days Are Harder Than Others.

Why is that? Why do I feel really revved up some days and full of confidence that I can follow my plan - then a few days later, feel reluctant to do so?

What happens? Today, and it's early as I type, I feel I am going through the motions. It seems like a slog. All the enthusiasm I felt a few days ago seems to have waned. It seems like an enormous task to lose this dumpy apple shape of mine - to get rid of these tyres of fat around my middle.

So far I have done the sensible thing. I have had a good, nutritious breakfast and I don't feel hungry. I've taken my daily medication. I fed the cat and later he head-butted me and purred against my arm as we had a chat.  He is now asleep on his cushion. I have a big glass of water by my side and I am sipping it as I type. I got up at 6.45am as usual, saw my boys off to work, have done some work in the kitchen and as my house is on three levels I have been up and down the stairs several times. I have loaded the dishwasher and washing machine, chopped up some ham fat and put it on the bird-table for our feathered friends, (it's getting cold in the UK - very cold!) and now I want to slump, to laze about.
I have told myself that my indulgence is my blog post and then I'll put on an exercise DVD before showering. (I might just put it on and watch it - I have done that in the past!!!)

It's all a bit half-hearted.

However, we know how to get through spells like this, when we struggle to feel motivated. You just have to do it.

I could whine to myself until the cows come home about it 'not being fair' that I have to change my lifestyle. It won't help. Action is what is needed and sometimes you DO have to fake it to make it. I am doing this FOR ME, after all. Why would I make it more difficult than it has to be? In truth, it should be easy. (I almost wrote 'a piece of cake.') It isn't though, is it? Old ways and habits can get the better of us and slip ups, even small ones can trigger a downward spiral. That seems to be a common problem.

The most important thing is to take the next step. That makes sense. For me, the next step is to get moving, even though all my instincts tell me I could catch up with episodes of The Apprentice. I could make myself a nice mug of coffee and put my feet up. However, if I get my exercise out of the way, (even if I only do 15 minutes it's better than nothing,) then shower, I may feel psyched up to tackle the day with enthusiasm and gusto, or at least feel satisfied that I have been true to myself and stayed on plan.

You have to start if you want to achieve. It's the getting started that is sometimes difficult when there are cosier options to choose from. This is why gym membership is a non-starter for me. I did become a gym member  - twice - and I wasted the (quite considerable) membership fees. Getting there was the hardest part.

I am finding that I have to KEEP planning throughout the day. A daily plan is no good. An hourly plan is better, for me. I have to keep having a 'next step' and I have to remind myself that the next step ought to be a healthy one that will bring me a little nearer to my goal. I already know what I shall be having for lunch. A soft tortilla with lots of salad and home-cooked ham...and a squirt of extra light mayo.

OK. Post done. On with the day.

Nike got it right. Sometimes, no matter what your mood, you just have to DO IT!

You are doing it for yourself today as well, aren't you? :)

Have a good one.

“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Something is Working.

Woohoo. A few days ago, on one of my random weigh-ins, I discovered I'd lost one pound. I was going to record it but didn't get round to it.

I weighed myself this morning after my shower (I'd already had breakfast so imagined the one pound lost wouldn't register.) To my surprise, I'd lost two more, so, since I last recorded my weight loss (I am not recording gains) I have lost 3lbs. I know my weight fluctuates in between random weighings, but the scale is registering lower numbers - and it's those I am interested in! I am now 198lbs! I went under 200lbs without being very aware I'd reached that point, given my weigh-ins have been sporadic. I almost expected to gain and remain over 200lbs for ever and a day! What a nice surprise. Now - I don't want to gain those pounds back. Staying under 200lbs will be my goal for now!

My clothes are feeling decidedly loose. I cannot afford new outfits so I am gathering up items that used to fit and then became too tight. They'll get another outing.

Something is working. Maybe my meal planning is helping? I can't say I have been very good about exercising regularly. In fact I stayed in all day yesterday and I didn't do any exercise except movement round the house and some light housework. Not good but sometimes I have to tell myself I am allowed to have lazy days once in a while. Life used to be extremely hectic and busy - and stressful. It still is on occasions. The odd lazy day  is what early retirement is all about - my reward for being always responsible and the sole breadwinner for many, many years! :)

I had a lazy day - because I felt like it. I think we have to give in to our moods once in a while - so yesterday was spent online, watching TV, sorting through old photos, doing puzzles, talking on the phone, reading and preparing food and drinking lots of tea. I changed the bedding, (I love having fresh clean sheets on the bed when I turn in at night) put two loads of washing out on the line to dry and did a small pile of ironing. It was a nice day. I just didn't feel like venturing out.

Today I went out with daughter. It was her day off and she drove us into town. She had some shopping to do and we had lunch together. I didn't want much so we went to the food court and eyed up all the food outlets. I decided I wasn't very hungry, so I had a tuna salad with a small slice of garlic bread. I drank diet Coke, which I don't really like, but I felt thirsty and wanted a long drink. (Should have had water.) We did lots of walking. I took the stairs instead of the lifts or escalators. (Every bit of exercise helps!) We stopped later at Starbucks for a coffee. It was amazing that this is a coffee house. So many people were spooning whipped cream and chocolate flakes from the top of their cups. Fortunately, coffee for me means medium strength freshly brewed coffee with a splash of semi-skimmed milk and nothing else. That's how it's always been. A creamy, chocolately concoction  is more like a pudding than a drink but so many seem to get their fix that way. I felt quite virtuous! :) 

Daughter visited a cake shop because she was having visitors later and she chose a selection of little cakes and had them boxed up. I watched - not feeling in the least tempted. They looked a bit sickly-sweet. What's going on???

It could be that my chewy breakfast of one Weetabix sprinkled with hemp and also seeds (flax, sesame, linseed, pumpkin and sunflower...Neal's Yard, Breakfast Sprinkle) is filling me up? I don't feel hungry until much later in the day, sometimes having a very light lunch when I am at home. A bowl of homemade soup (I am into making soups lately!) is all I need...and I tend to have whatever I cook the boys for dinner - or whatever my man prepares if I am at his house. I watch portion size but nothing much is off limits. My appetite seems to vanish at times though. That's good. I can't manage large meals any more. Now, if only I could MAKE myself take time out to exercise, I'd probably speed up the weight loss.

Having said that, I am not racing - there is no end point. I just want to tweak my life - to eat less, to eat healthily more times than not, (treats allowed occasionally, foods I love incorporated into the 'diet' - in moderation.) and move more every day. Significantly more. The lack of movement over the last few years, rather than pigging out regularly is what contributed to my weight gain.

Vigilence is what it's all about - being conscious of what I am doing with my days, being aware of the ways in which I look after myself.

I just want to feel compelled to exercise. I want to yearn for exercise, to enthuse about it - and I don't, although I do relish a walk these days. So, I am setting myself a mini-target. I am going to 'DO' exercise five days out of the next seven. I shall set time aside for biking and exercise DVDs. I am hoping that the more I do, the more I'll enjoy it and feel good for doing it. We'll see.

Hope you have a plan which is working for you.

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. ~ Foster C. McClellan

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Going Back, Moving On.

Well, feeling really gung-ho over the weekend I ate sensibly and didn't feel deprived. I counted calories - I even made myself broccoli soup, own recipe, using a whole onion, a large head of broccoli, one carrot that was skulking around and some chicken stock. Boiled up with a pinch of salt and black pepper, plus a few dried herbs, and then whizzed up with my stick blender - and that's what I ate on Saturday evening...with a slice of granary bread. Yummy and filling. I was a bit of a slacker where exercise was concerned though - not using the bike, not walking. No one to blame but me. I didn't use my time wisely. I could have fitted in some exercise but I deliberately avoided the bike, which is parked in front of my TV (a bit of an eyesore in my sitting room really, but for now it reminds me -sometimes - that I could be sitting on it pedalling instead of lounging around on the sofa when I watch the telly.)

Today (Monday) my man took a day off work because he was having his gas boiler serviced. The gas man had been and gone by 9.30am, so we went out for the day. We are members of the National Trust so we go out to visit stately homes and gardens in the vicinity. It was a cloudy day, but dry, so we drove to a grand house in the countryside, but, man being useless with instructions and directions, didn't notice that it closed on Mondays during some weeks of the year. This was one of those weeks. We drove up the long tree-lined driveway and parked anyway. Even the gardens were closed. However, just up the lane was a stile and a path to the parish church, winding over fields and through woodland. I insisted we walk it, because old churches and graveyards can be so interesting (I think!) I wanted to walk, to stretch my legs and it was good to be out in the countryside, far from the madding crowd. The path was strewn with red, gold and brown crispy autumn leaves and it wound past a stream, complete with ducks and a field full of grazing sheep. We were completely alone in the middle of nowhere...miles from the roads. All was still and quiet. At the end of the long and winding path was a gated archway and the path leading to the church door.

The old stone church was tiny but very pretty. Sadly, it's a sign of the times that it's big studded oak doors were locked. I tried to turn the big iron ring handle, but modern locks on the inside of the door were in place. Whatever happened to seeking sanctuary in a church? Shame, because I like looking round old churches in the gloom (they are always quite dark) imagining who might have worshipped in them over the years..admiring the stained glass windows, the leaded lights, the worn flagstones on the floor, the wooden pews, the amazing and intricate stone carving of the pillars.

The church yard was also fascinating. Many of the ancient tomb stones had weathered and the inscriptions couldn't be read, but some humongous Victorian stones stood proud and tall, decorated with ostentatious carvings of angels, chains, anchors AND creepily, small skulls, the eye sockets black and gloomy, the teeth fixed in a grimace. What a cruel reminder to the living that this is how we end up! :)Ooooh. They feared death did those Victorians but they knew how to mark their final resting place too.

Whole families were buried together...and sadly, not many lived to grand old ages. It was also really moving to notice that the children of the family often didn't make it into adulthood, victims of their time I suppose, struck down with incurable deadly diseases or by life's hardships. The Lord and Lady of the Parish and their relatives had massive plots, surrounded by iron railings to keep out the commoners, and their pets were buried in small graves beside them.

Wow. So much history in such a short visit...The birds sang, the sheep stared, disturbed by people walking close by. It was so peaceful and beautiful. It was also a reminder I suppose that life is fleeting and precious. We were here, all alone in the middle of a leafy patch of England, walking down the path which so many generations had walked before. This is our time on the planet. Our time and space, and really, aren't we bloody lucky that we have modern medicine, and technology which makes our lives so much easier than those of the people whose remains lie in that churchyard?

Man and I walked back to the car hand in hand...appreciating that we were in our fifties, and this was OUR time. The wierd thing is - my body may not be wonderful, but it has served me well, and inside - this is so strange - inside I am still a girl, a young woman. I have wisdom born out of living five decades and a bit but in my head I am still the person I was at 25...but a wiser, more confident, more balanced person. If only I knew then what I know now. I have experienced so much over the years...good and bad times, and times when I felt if life dealt me one more blow I'd stay down. I'd not bounce back like I had before, but strangely, we do. Life is a wonderful thing...despite it's knocks. We are made of strong stuff and I want the years ahead to be good ones. I want to be strong and healthy and I want to enjoy however much of this life I have left. Our children have grown up and become reasonably independent. We have our health (mostly!) and strength (when it doesn't run out!) and so much to be grateful for.

We jumped into our 'horseless carriage' and made our way down the long sweeping drive, away from the grand house, now empty, but which had been a home to so many people over the last centuries. I imagined the horses and riders who might have galloped up to the house, and the ladies, in their big skirts and finery, sitting in horse-drawn carriages. There'd have been weather-beaten men and women - and their children, working on the land, in the fields surrounding the house. In my mind's eye I could see them all.

Back to the here and now and an appreciation of how different life is today. How am I going to make the best of my days? The ease of modern living has made us fat. The pressures and stresses that come with it often make us ill. We have easier lives but it's ironic that we knowingly live unhealthy lives too. We weren't designed to sit around, drive everywhere, not walk, and eat and eat and eat until we feel stuffed. I need a dose of reality sometimes to remind me that I too will be pushing up daisies some day.

I have spent so much of my life in a fat suit - not all of it - I was wonderfully slim at times - and at times slightly rounded, but never obese as I am now. I have been out of shape, unfit, lazy, self-indulgent and allowed my body to become so big that I am not happy with the way I look. In the great scheme of things, that's not a lot to be truly bothered about but even though I laugh lots and have good times, this is a cloud hanging over me. It's about health and it's about vanity too. Being fat is ageing. I have aged - it comes to us all, I am past my prime, but I feel I have lost part of me along with my confidence, if that makes sense? I have become invisible, rounded, matronly. I want to stop the rot.

I could read every single book on self-esteem ever printed, every web site pronouncing we are truly beautiful inside yet still hate looking at photographs of myself. I know all the 'love yourself' stuff, yet I still feel self conscious when I walk into a room, I still feel like the fat one when I meet up with friends. I know I am much more than my size, of course I am, but if my size makes me unhappy, why have I delayed doing something about it - mending my ways?

OK so all the psychological reasons surrounding our lifestyle, mental blocks, food addiction, our over-eating and obesity can be brought into the ring too - but at the end of the day, we are the only ones who can fix the parts of ourselves which hold us back. We have to mend ourselves. All the talking, therapy, writing, self-reflection, and self-esteem courses in the world can't help us unless our thinking is clear and we decide we'll eat fewer calories and exercise more. We all know that's not as easy as it sounds either.

If I don't make the most of myself now, when will I? When I am a pensioner, sitting in an old folks home relying on carers to dress me, toilet me and feed me? It ain't gonna happen then, is it? I won't be able to hold a mirror or stand up in front of one, never mind apply make up and do my hair or care about my clothes. Will I make old bones and have an old age?

All I know is, earlier today in that ancient church yard the old cliche 'Carpe Diem' was ringing through my head. 'Carpe' translates literally as 'pluck' - it refers to the picking of fruit, so a more accurate view is 'enjoy the day, pluck the day when it is ripe'. The extended version of the phrase 'carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero' translates as (I discovered - isn't the interweb wonderful?)  'Pluck the day, trusting as little as possible in the future'. Make hay while the sun shines. Gather ye rosebuds while you may.

Who knows what the future holds? How many of us have wasted our days, months, years wallowing in fat misery? It's a hard place to move on from, I know that only too well. However, if today is all we have, don't we owe it to ourselves, fat or not, to seize it, to make the most of it? This is it folks. This is the life we have.

Don't we owe it to ourselves to do something with our days, even if the only thing we achieve is a day of healthy eating? We can do that. Life can be cruel, hard and it can knock us down. It's not always easy to think about self-care, but if we can make today a day in which we have tried to look after our bodies, isn't that a day well spent no matter what our circumstances, and an investment in our tomorrows?

My walk today had me thinking. We cannot wait until some golden age when all will be well, and we of course will be slim and fit. Don't waste today thinking about eating, and er, eating some more, and then er...snacks, followed by naps and TV and erm....more junk food, and eating and eating and um...what next...loafing about doing nothing much. That's how to waste life. Instead, plan tomorrow's healthy meals, trusting that today will end well, and tomorrow will be even better.

That's what I am trying to do. I don't always succeed fully but I am conscious that how I spend my days is how I spend my life. Sometimes we need the realisation that time is flying by. I am contented with my lot. I could tweak my life and make it healthier. That's my plan. I don't want to waste my life wishing, hoping, dreaming about a body I can be proud of. I don't want to live in Never Never Land or that place over the rainbow where dreams come true. I want to start walking towards a healthier, slimmer me today, appreciating all I have right now, enjoying life AND looking after number one while I have the days to do it. If I don't look after myself, no one else will. Same applies to you.

Seize the day. Yes?   x x x

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
 ~ Fr. Alfred D'Souza

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Planning to Succeed.

Saturday, and it's been a lovely lazy day without too much pressure. My man is at his football game, with his brother and son, following his beloved team to Manchester. One of my sons is out, the other in, and preparing to go out. (I think there is a woman on the scene. Cave man rocker boy is sprucing up, hair cut, new T shirt and smelling good. We women know the signs...) and I have the evening to myself. Daughter phoned. She and her man are going out for a meal with friends this evening. All is well. (When my kids and man are OK I tend to be too.)

I have planned an evening on the sofa with the cat and a chick-flick. (The cat tells me he prefers all action adventure films, but tough he watches what I want or goes out to hunt mice.) No wine sadly, no crispy garlic bread (oh, pine, pine and wail!) but I HAVE to be firm with myself.

Yesterday I had a bit of a personal shake up. I knew I was getting by with doing as little as possible, eating what I wanted, which wasn't excessive (less than 1900 calories) but was certainly more than I should have had if I want to lose weight - given the only 'exercise' I had was walking around doing shopping. I was being self-indulgent, sluggish and not really conscious of my weight-loss goals. It was OK - no beating up going on, but when I went to bed last night I couldn't sleep. I tried, I lay there but sleep wouldn't come.

I got up, had a big glass of water and turned on the PC and went straight to a calorie counting site, joined and totted up my food totals for yesterday.

Light Bulb Clip Art

Then I made a meal plan for today...a sensible and healthy breakfast lunch and dinner, allowing a banana and a small bag of Ryvita Minis as a snack. I turned the PC off,went back to bed and fell asleep immediately! 1300 calories is the plan plus at LEAST 40 mins exercise per day..two lots of twenty minutes if necessary but I shall do it, every day.

It's now late afternoon and I am on track..and feeling better for tightening up my plan. Every night, before bed, I shall draw up my menus for the next day...looking at the food groups and calories of my choices. I'll also ensure I have all the foods I need in the fridge or cupboard. I think planning has to be essential for me. I am planning to succeed. I have to - or be content to stay the way I am. What do the motivational speakers say?  "Fail to plan - plan to fail."

Now..all I have to do is exercise. I had ten minutes on the bike in front of the TV before I was disturbed. I have cleaned the kitchen and washed the floor, to music, so exaggerated limb extensions going on as well with my microphone mop. Lots of bending and stretching too. I am planning to go for a brisk walk in a minute before it gets dark. I'll walk down the hill and up the hill - long, steep hills, to the local supermarket. OK so I'll have to walk on a main road - it's not ideal having traffic passing by, but it's a walk. I can't use that as an excuse. It's not gym-level activity, but it is essential movement given I was turning into a house-bound slug (and enjoying every minute of it!)

I have kicked out the slug. I have my shoes on.....

Houston, we have lift off.

Stock Photography: Rocket Launching

Thursday, 14 October 2010

My Way.

Was listening to Frank Sinatra singing 'My Way' in the kitchen this morning. (Well, he wasn't in my kitchen - that would have been hard - the song was on the radio.)

I don't know anyone of my age who doesn't join in with that last, long drawn-out refrain at the end..."I Did It Myyyyyyyyyyyyy Way." (OK, so it might just be me, but I like to sing along.)

The next song to be played was The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" and that's a fantastic one for jigging around to. Good job my kitchen is a reasonable size. I was clearing up after breakfast and decided I would jog on the spot until the song finished. I hadn't realised the presenter was playing the long version of it, with all the instrumental parts, so I jogged and jogged, wondering if it would ever end. My flabby tummy was wobbling up and down, and I wasn't wearing a sports bra so I cupped my breasts as I jogged...It wasn't a pretty sight. It wasn't sleek, purposeful or athletic. I was a fat woman having fun, and getting breathless in the kitchen.

I have called this post 'My Way' because regular readers might have gathered that I cannot work up enthusiasm for workouts in the gym, nor do I want to become a runner. Now, it's pretty obvious that some of the bloggers I read enjoy their gym sessions and they have become a regular part of their lives. Some bloggers are runners, others like to get out on their bikes...some, like me, enjoy walking. Different strokes for different folks. I am sure my walking and kitchen dancing/jogging doesn't burn as many calories as a good workout in the gym, but I am OK with that.

I think my reticence comes from

a) Having to travel to the gym. My nearest one is a car ride away, expensive and very busy. Given I used to go (a few years ago when I worked full time and could afford it) because I felt I 'should' - that's what people do to keep fit - I always went reluctantly.

b)I was OK once I got there but eeek...those rooms full of machines, television screens, mirrors, people plugged in to their music, poseurs (does every gym have them?) and serious athletes....I never ever felt part of it or enjoyed it. It was BORING and a chore and as for the awful music if you didn't have head-phones.. Aaargh! It was the sort of thump-thump, bass, tinny dance racket I'd get my kids to turn down at home. (I do oldest son a disservice. He wouldn't listen to 'club' music - R&B, hip-hop, rap, house, garage, whatever it's called, if you paid him.)

c) Changing rooms. Body hang-ups and feeling it's a drag to take off clothes, put on clothes, get sweaty, shower, dry hair, get dressed again. Sounds pathetic? Yup. But that was the mind-set of a fat, unfit woman who felt pressured to be part of it. I just wasn't happy being naked in communal changing rooms. Oh I can do the 'wrap my towel around me' bit, but I feel uncomfortable. I still can't get over the super-fit who'd strut around and even pose naked. I am pretty sure some were exhibitionists. The more modest or older, flabbier women tended to lurk in the corners...drying off quickly.

I am sure things like that don't bother most people, but even when I was going regularly I never felt part of it or enjoyed it. Even when my fitness improved, it was still a huge drag taking myself off on a cold November's night to the gym when I could have been cosy and warm at home. I can be up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to walk for miles in the countryside - no bother - but ask me to go to a gym and I'd be reluctant.

So..back to the point of this post - it doesn't matter if the gym is not your thing, does it?

Yesterday I wrote that some of the overweight posted about their fatness as though it was a certain death-sentence.

OK - It's not healthy, and being 'morbidly obese' gives us a bit of a clue about the dangers too, but 'fat' and the word 'death' in the same sentence is a nasty modern phenomenon. People make television programmes about such fat people (freaks?) and we gawp at the misery of others. I've done the same.

Fat does not equal death. (I wrote too that it makes sense to lose weight for health reasons..) I was thinking as I was kitchen-jogging, about the whole diet industry and the way in which we are steered down roads we may not want to go.

Some people love working out, and that's great, but why do the majority of fat people also buy into "I must become a gym member" too? Lots do. many people become enthusiastic and love it and need their work-outs, but from speaking to others it's apparent that a lot of people don't enjoy working out at the gym.

Not 'getting into' that sort of movement and routine can be counter-productive in that we feel like the non-sporty geeks that were never picked for teams in their school days. It almost puts us off exercise when we fail to become regular gym-goers.

They reckon most gymnasiums/sports centres make their money from the people who sign up for a year and then use the facilities rarely. Guilty as charged, the first time I joined a gym - because I felt I 'should'. By the same token should we equate the words "Gym member" with "You must lose weight."? Are we in thrall to those who work out regularly and blog about it? Do they become our role models?

There is a whole lot of marketing savvy going on there methinks. The drop-out rate at my gym was incredible. So many new faces in January who'd vow to get fit but who obviously fell off the face of the earth in February. Some people get into it...loving the routine and what it does for them and I have no argument with that whatsoever. Way to go.

It's just that many, like me, NEVER get into it and feel a sense of guilt almost that they shun the gym. Do I deserve to be fat because I didn't 'feel the burn' when celebrities (making money) were telling us we should, way back in the '80s? I sort of opted out then on principle I think :)

The world has changed. We realise that activity (which we used to take for granted before cars and computers came along) is important, so we have to go to places 'to be active' which still seems a bit wierd to me.

Only professional sports people worked out when I was a child...(Professional footballers would run around the pitch, practice their kicking, passing and dribbling skills, and then go off to the pub for a lunch time pie and pints of beer. No one questioned this and they still turned out every Saturday to win matches.) Some active types took up hobbies like tennis or swimming, but just as many kept slim by walking to the shops, going to the park with the kids, throwing balls about, running, skipping.....moving, cycling to work, or catching buses. Movement was incorporated into the day, it wasn't something you had to GO and do at a certain time.

Anyway, I am bucking the trend here ;-)

I fully recommend my "Jogging to Roger Daltry in The Kitchen" warm-up, and the "Thirty Minute Walk to the Shops To Buy Bananas and Milk" work-out. Later I shall be doing the "Bending and Stretching Autumn Routine" as I collect fallen leaves on the patio and in the garden.

Just like Frank, I am doing it MY WAY, and to all those out there who know exercise is important and that they have to move more, I'd recommend it as an alternative to the gym, if that isn't your thing.

Do whatever floats your boat but do it regularly. It's important to move, and have fun doing it too. It certainly lifts my spirits and the more active I am, the more I want to do.

OK.....hands off the keyboard and move away from your computer. Go on. Now. I am watching you.

Have a good day :)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

We All Have To Die.

Now, this isn't the cheeriest of posts - but perhaps it is, in it's own way. I have been reading something in a lot of blogs lately that is annoying me.

I read so often that fat people will say they are 'dieting' because they 'don't want to die'.

Like it's inevitable. Fat = death. *Sigh.*

Bloody hell. The scaremongers out there will not let the big people exist easily, will they? We have been led to believe that extra poundage is SO dangerous that fat people (who dare to exist) are on a collision course with death. You are fat. Game over.

Can I just point out that we are ALL going to die, of something, one way or another?

I will also say right now that I am aware that being overweight does us no favours. I know it puts an extra strain on the heart. We are likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels too. I know it makes us susceptible to all manner of illnesses. I KNOW that.

You know that too.

It's not sensible to be overweight, not at all, but fat people exist!

We aren't merely great mounds of blubber on our way to meet our maker - that is the way we are portrayed so often of late - yet so many bloggers seem concerned that their fat is a death sentence. Big guilt trip that they have well and truly messed up their lives.

I'd say their way of life is more likely to be a death sentence, because fitness rather than fatness is a more crucial indicator of premature death. Fat people can be relatively fit! There were fat people around in my childhood and youth and being overweight didn't carry the stigma it does today. I guess we moved more then?

EVERYONE is going to the same place if you like - the day when we cease to exist. From the minute we are born we are heading in that direction. It's a weird and scary thought, but it's true.

A fat person may live longer than the thin person jogging down the road in front of them. Thin, healthy joggers drop down dead. Linda McCartney, right-on vegetarian died young of cancer. Footballers collapse on the field and die. An old schoolfriend of mine (thin too) died of heart disease. A colleague dropped dead in the workplace. He was slim and fit - a gym-user. Conversely, there are lots of tubby middle aged people about. I know of people who have smoked all their lives who've lived into their 90s. My rounded mother lived to be 86 - and she smoked too when she was younger. Life is a bit of a lottery. We can help ourselves, obviously, but genetics come into the equation too.

Hospitals all over the world are full of thin people on their death-beds. As you are reading this, THIN people are popping their clogs, kicking the bucket, checking out, giving up the ghost.

We die. Thinness is NOT a guarantee of long life. Thin or fat, our lives end.

Death gets us - one way or another. Sad but true.

A reliance on fast foods and sedentary lifestyles has caught up with us. Of course we are right to be concerned. Fast foods are everywhere. We drive, we have jobs that don't involve movement. We watch TV, sit at computers, play online games. We weren't designed to stagnate.

Now I'll go on to say that it is sensible to try and lose weight if we are carrying an excess of it about. We know that. We can help ourselves. We can lead healthier lives and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to do that. We owe it to our children that we bring them up to run about, move lots and teach them  to eat nutritious foods.

The point of this post is that we are what we are. We may be fat (some of us) and the chances are if you are reading this you are overweight, or have been overweight at some time.

Right now we mustn't waste our precious days fretting about illness, early death and seeing ourselves as being at the head of the queue to meet the Grim Reaper. That's my point.

We are here and this is our life.

Oh I do more than my fair share of moaning and whining about my fatness. But, despite it, I am content because my life is OK. I don't like my shape but I like my life. (* sings* I'm gonna live forever, I'm gonna learn how to fly!")

I am a fat woman, I need a kick up the arse occasionally to remind me I am being slothful, over-eating and have other options, but I have a lot going for me, one way and the other, and I'd like to bet that you have too. Right?

We are more than our weight, we are more than our flabby, waddling bodies. We exist, and we have a right to the space we take up and the air we breathe. We are not one step away from the grave - no more than our thin brothers and sisters are - and I am sick to the back teeth of that message being put about.

We know we aren't in prime condition, we know our weight holds us back, we know we get out of breath easily and we know our cholesterol levels and blood pressure might be high. That is NOT good news - let me stress that, BUT being fat is not a crime and not a certain death sentence. Every single one of us has a tale to relate. We all have mismanaged our food intakes and lifestyles for one reason or another. We aren't greedy bloaters who deserved to be scorned, deserve to die young and have to be labelled defective.

Last summer I was on holiday - 'at the seaside', as we say here. On the promenade were all sorts of adults. They came in all shapes and sizes. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and more or less every single one of them seemed to be enjoying the experience. They looked carefree...they looked as though they were really enjoying LIVING, enjoying their lives, just as they were. It was a snapshot if you like, of what it is to be alive. Some of them were fat, yet they were smiling, enjoying the experience just the same. One man licked an ice-cream cornet, a middle aged couple sat on a bench, tucking into their fish and chips. They weren't thin.

I bet the last thing on ice-cream licking man's mind was..."Oh dear. I am big and here I am eating an ice cream. Oh no. How unhealthy. I am going to die."

The other couple most definitely weren't having a discussion about the merits of a lettuce leaf as opposed to their bag of tasty fish and chips. "Oh George. We really should have had a salad you know." Were they discussing the 'Death Is Upon You' rating of a deep fried cod? I think not.

What I am saying is, fat or thin, this is it. It's our life, our short time on the planet, right now.

Life in a fat suit isn't much fun. We know that. We blog about it. It isn't particularly healthy or clever to ignore a body starting to bulge, a chin starting to multiply, thighs rubbing together painfully when we walk, or all the other discomforts we feel and know about all too well when we are overweight. It's good that we determine to lose pounds. Working towards a smaller, fitter body is a sensible thing to do.

In the meantime however, stop seeing your fat as a death sentence, stop thinking diabetes is inevitable or your life is over or coming to an end because you are big.

That's intense, nasty pressure - and in all probability a message promoted by drug companies, insurance companies or the slimming industry - with government backing. They have a lot to gain (money, money, money) by making you ultra aware of your awful 'short-comings'.

"Oh gross! Don't you feel bad about yourself, you horrible, unhealthy fat person?"

What better message to bandy about than the pernicious "Hey fatty. You'll be dead soon!"

Think about it. Misery anyone?

Cigarettes are still made and sold, dope is available if you know where to look for it. Drugs abound. Alcohol can be bought easily and is often served with food. Motor bikes have powerful engines. Cars can go fast. We can kill ourselves in so many ways, but we can also determine to lead rich lives too. Today.

Those rich lives can be enhanced further if we get our weight down with a sensible diet and tone up our bodies through movement. They might not be better lives. Problems will still find us. We will however be better equipped to deal with whatever comes our way. Do it on your terms, for you and not because the world despises fat people.

Don't let anyone slap a 'Dying - Waste of Time" sticker on your forehead because you are fat. I see that despair in so many blogs.

Don't let anyone have you believe that you are merely death warmed up. That is grossly misleading.

You shouldn't be told time and time again that you are living under a black cloud because your shape doesn't fit the modern blue-print. Where is the joy in that? "I am fat. My life is over."


That is not fair.

You may be a fat person leading life in a fat suit, but yours is just as valid as the thin person's next door. You are just as worthwhile too. One day it WILL all be over, but please make sure you enjoy the journey and appreciate your life while you have it.  Right now. Being fat does have health implications, but all manner of things can cause death. Today you have life. You will I hope be around for many, many more years to come. You increase that chance by becoming a healthy weight, but for all of us, thin or fat, like it or not, NOW is all we have.

Now, bugger off and go and enjoy your day. Go on. Have fun. x x x

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Blimey...About Those Who Stand In Judgement Out There.

In this corner of Blogland we are all writing about our wants, needs to have smaller, healthier, fitter bodies - right? We write about the methods we employ to achieve that aim too, yes?

We have that in common.

Some people have done incredibly well, some people have a plan and it's working, some feel the need for gastric band surgery, some need the framework of a tight diet, other eat intuitively and feel they've cracked it, some people have vague plans and have a bit of a whine (me) but they're heading in the right direction, others are doing well, they struggle occasionally but they SO want to lose weight, so they pick themselves up and carry on, some people join groups for support, some count calories, some count points, others need supplements and special foods, some write about how down they feel because they have lost the plot....some buzz along on a high because they have an exercise routine and have released those feel-good endorphins.

There is room for everyone.

I have been reading around a few blogs this morning and there definitely is some finger-pointing going on regarding the mentality of those who embark on weight-loss journeys....which as we know aren't really journeys at all. We learn as we go that we have to make some lifestyle changes which have to be sustainable life LONG.

What is beginning to piss me off incredibly is the small group of people who've planted their flag on the high moral ground and never tire of telling 'slimmers', in a somewhat superior way, that they really are quite pathetic.

I'll be the first to rail about 'diets' screwing me up, doing my head in. I'll also hold my hands up to having a child within who wants me to eat doughnuts...and often that child has me vent about the unfairness of being fat and what a drag it is that I really HAVE to sort myself out in terms of eating and exercise. I hate having to summon up the discipline required to exercise. That's me...but I DO want to lose weight and I do want to feel fitter. I am exploring all the avenues. I am tweaking the way I live....being conscious of what I am doing (or not doing as is sometimes the case when I have my lazy hat on) and I write about it.

I am open to constructive criticism. I am open to ideas, open to thoughts, I love debates, and it's wonderful when other bloggers throw out some words of comfort or encouragement because they 'know where I am coming from.'

Like most of us I write a sort of 'this is my day and this is what I was feeling, thinking, doing' diary or journal. If I were still fifteen this blog would be snazzy, full of doodles and day dreams, have a little lock and key on it and be hidden away at the back of my knickers drawer :)

It isn't. It's out there for the world to read, and all I know is, I have to say it like it is, for me.

I may be mentally wired differently to others but I try to be honest and open, because really, what's the point of writing otherwise? I am so anti-diet industry, but here I am, a fat woman who has to embrace some parts of the dogma, the theory, because let's face it - some of it is plain common sense, whether or not those companies, groups, firms are making money out of our misery. We buy into the whole 'losing weight' game because we want  better bodies. I want a healthier, fitter body and all my waistbands to feel comfortable. For that to happen I have to alter the way I live.

When all is said and done, this blog is here for me, to help me, and if it entertains, amuses, informs, or motivates (ha ha ha) others, then great. It's good when people can identify with your feelings and thoughts. We share our successes, we share our pain, we share our thoughts...we delve into the way we work, the ways in which we respond to situations, and it makes for interesting reading  usually. Some blogs are more readable than others, some campaigns are more disciplined than others, some writers are more philosophical than others...some writers have the knack of making the process funny, and we pick and choose our reading. if we can't identify with a writer we move on to something else...we don't pick holes in their techniques, methods, dreams.

I don't really want my writing analysed, nor do I want to be told that I am this, that or the other. I am me...a middle aged woman who has lived a bit and tends to laugh her way through life. I am cocking up my weight-loss plan left, right and centre, but I do care about me deep down, that's why I have joined this weight-loss community. I am learning SO much from reading other blogs. I am gaining comfort, motivation, encouragement, determination...all sorts of positive feelings from YOU...and I thank you for that. I am also (slowly) losing weight, but every day is a bit of a struggle. I wish it weren't but my natural instincts are to slob out and eat foods I like. I write about it...I piss myself off. It's all good though :)

I don't however want to be shot down in flames for my approach, my thinking. Do any of us?

Don't you just thank God..or whatever...that we are all so different? We can see things from different angles, we approach things differently, we behave differently and we learn as we grow that one size does NOT fit all.

There is room for all approaches..even my "I hate gyms and fucking exercise machines!" one. Some people LOVE them and need them...and that's OK. What works for you is OK. It might not work for us long term...but we'll learn from the experience and not become filled with self-hatred because we got it wrong. We might despair of our rolls of fat, but we are still in the game, knowing we can live with them or lose them. Dilemma huh, when one is naturally inclined to watch television whilst eating ;-)

We learn about ourselves as we go - that's what I am finding. We fight internal battles in ways which suit us...we fight weight loss battles differently too, and we are not wrong or misguided or demented because we choose our way and also have the capability to beat ourselves up and love ourselves at the same time.

I am a wonderful person and I have lots of friends. Positive enough?

I am pretty crap at this self-discipline lark though :)

If I am into self-flagellation, as I often am, let me be. Partly it's for artistic license anyway. I do a good line in self-deprecating misery...and sadly some take me far too seriously.

I wish I could take the lofty view that I understand all my eating demons, my slothful demons, my negative demons and I was strong enough to exclude them. Sadly, I can't banish them...not completely, but I can keep them down by writing about struggles and successes, laughing along the way (sometimes at my own hopelessness!) and hoping they balance each other out, even if I am 'doing it all wrong', 'thinking about it in a negative manner', screwing myself up and setting myself up for failure as some people out there would have me believe. I am finding my way. Nothing is set in stone.

There is room for all of us....getting it wrong or getting it right, feeling good or feeling bad. I for one like to read about your days and the way you approach the " I am obese and I don't want to be' problem.

Hope you are having a good 'un....but it's not imperative :)

Monday, 11 October 2010

Beating the Midnight Munchies!

We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Last night we went out to the theatre and when I arrived home my first thought was "What shall I eat?" It was late - about 11pm and I WAS feeling genuinely peckish.

I usually make myself a big mug of tea (whenever I come in from anywhere!) but last night I went straight to the bathroom, removed my make-up and cleaned my teeth.

Isn't it funny how we can find ourselves in "This is when I usually eat" situations? I'd always have tea and often a late night supper after a night out, but last night I consciously broke that habit.

Another habit I must break is checking my emails when I come in after a night out. For me, checking emails can lead to surfing, to finding interesting articles...and me getting my second wind and being wide awake! Then I find it hard to switch off and sleep properly. If I am online late at night I am usually thinking "FOOD" and my instincts are to make tea and and a plate of toast and honey.

Last night I could have murdered a couple of slices of thick fresh white bread, toasted, buttered and spread with honey. However, even though I couldn't get the thought out of my head I told myself eating at such a late hour was out of the question. Time and time again I felt I would break, I'd have my toast and tomorrow was another day. I'd rectify my mistake then. But - last night my thinking was..."I'll add to my daily calories, I am about to go to bed, I shan't burn it off, toast will add to my weight, and am I REALLY hungry or eating out of habit/greed? It was a real struggle until I cleaned my teeth. When I did, the temptation had vanished. I didn't succumb and when I went to bed I felt a sense of satisfaction that I hadn't ruined my 'healthy eating day' in any way - that I'd been in control even though all my instincts were screaming at me to indulge in a late night feast.

That's another target to add to my list. No eating after a night out, no snacking after 9pm...I am even toying with the idea of not drinking tea after 9pm, but that might be a step too far! I may even add no going to the PC to check emails/articles after 9pm. I'd probably be moving more if I didn't use my computer as much as I do.

Oh, I have lost another 2lbs...over...I am not sure how many days. I suspect the extra movement is making a difference.

My plan is a rather woolly one, but it is taking a shape of it's own because I am building on the small steps I am making, and I am also learning (ever so slowly!) to discipline myself. I have a wild inner child who believes in living recklessly and throwing caution to the wind. I have to tame the side of me that believes life is too short to forgo food pleasures.

This is my plan...which can be tweaked depending on what I have in the fridge.

Enjoy a healthy breakfast every morning, first thing. (Usually a very, very small portion of whole-grain muesli sprinkled with desert spoonful of hemp, sunflower seeds, pumpkins seeds, sesame seeds and flax. It fills me up, takes some chewing and rides rough-shod through my insides. (I may have to spend more on rolls of toilet paper.) I wash it down with tea (of course) but drink plain water mid-morning. Before I shower and dress I try to use the exercise bike for 30 minutes.

Lunch has to be a big salad wrap...with cold chicken/turkey/ham, lots of tomatoes and spinach, carrots, peppers, onions, black pepper and a dollop of low fat mayo. I may have a plain yogurt afterwards, or an apple.

I drink a pint of water every few hours.

I try to cut down (down, not out) on pasta, rice and potatoes in the evening, and eat whatever I fancy, ensuring I include vegetables. I never deep fry anything. The only thing I ever fry is an egg...and I do that rarely. I don't eat anything wrapped in pastry either. So dinner can consist of almost anything although I naturally go for healthy choices. Having said that last week I had a big baked potato with crispy skin, cut open and served with butter and black pepper.. Yum.

I don't need puddings. I find them too sweet..I prefer a low fat yogurt if I feel the need for 'more' and it satisfies that need. One thin slice of toast and honey (wholemeal bread) is allowed if I feel a craving coming on.

Another rule is that I have to go to bed at a decent hour. I feel so sluggish the next day if I skimp on the hours I sleep. Sadly I am an owl not a lark and I often feel weary first thing in the morning.

I still like doughnuts but I avoid them altogether. I will eat them again some day, but I may even find I don't want them at all. I will have the odd cake or biscuit and feel no guilt. It's only when I eat a large portion/too many that I beat myself up and know my weak side has gained a victory.This may be a once a week treat and I have to be in control and eat consciously.

I try to walk a few miles on most days. By the end of the week if I haven't done enough walking I am beginning to feel it. I actually feel sluggish and grumpy if I don't venture outdoors.

Now, I am going to try the old clean-your-teeth-to-stop-yourself-eating trick every single evening. I have to curb my late night snacking. It has to be a rule.

In fact, I have to have rules for myself which I enforce. I don't always enforce the rules. I am not hard enough on myself ;)  I have to remember that if I imagine I am making sacrifices (I'm not, not at all) then I am doing it for me. As Michele pointed out in her reply to my last post, I have to treat myself well and look after myself properly. It's not an indulgence to do so.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Woman Without A Coat.

For the last five years I haven't really been able to wear a winter coat. Now, I am not the sort of woman who has to buy a new coat every year. A winter coat is a good investment that should last a good few years to my way of thinking (or am I being hopelessly old-fashioned and thrifty?)

Winter 2005 and my coat had become too small for me. The buttons were straining and it felt tight across the back and under the arms. I was feeling down and had been ill for much of the year. Now, my fuller figure and increase in weight left me coat-less. I'd also resigned from my job - for health reasons and had a much reduced income. It wasn't the best of years!

I decided rather than invest in a BIGGER coat I'd wrap up in cardigans and fleeces and if the day was cold, icy and grim I could put my light spring 'mac' over the warm layers. I had a brolly and boots. I'd be OK.

And for the last five years I have been OK. Fortunately I drive, so I am not often out in the elements when the weather is bad. Every winter I delayed buying a winter coat. I like my winter coat to be a wool one, a smart tailored one, and they tend to be expensive. Because I was bigger I decided I wouldn't buy a larger coat - after all, it would go to waste when I'd slimmed down. Not only that, there wasn't the cash to splash about any more, so I continued to improvise, thinking I'd treat myself to a new winter coat when I'd lost a bit of weight.

Ha. Ha. Ha. That was five years ago.

I am bigger now than I was in 2005 and since then I have been winter coat-less.

Today I went out to town and of course the clothes shops are full of winter wear. I eyed up some very nice coats. I liked the look of them. There were two in particular that I fell in love with. They looked just right!

So, I tried them on. We all know winter coats tend to be heavier and bulkier than other coats.

WAIL! WOE IS ME! <~~~ imagine tears flowing here.

 I looked like the Incredible Hulk in both of them.

OK, so not exactly like him. I am not green-skinned.

I looked chunky and bulky and dumpy. Just huge. That's not false modesty. I didn't look good in them. They didn't feel good on me either. Those coats looked SO good on the hangers. When I looked in the mirror the coats seemed to make me look even bigger.

Today was one of those days when I really wished I was straight up and down and had no flesh on my bones. It would be so nice if clothes draped me, rather than clung to my lumps and bumps. I imagine fat people everywhere know what I mean.

I tend not to buy myself many clothes now, because no matter what I wear, if it looks good on the hanger, it doesn't look so good on me. I try to make the most of myself, and if anything, my 'cheer myself up' impulse buys these days tend to be bits of jewellery - costume jewellery - beads, bangles and sparkly things - not stuff from Cartier.

Ah well. Another year without a coat.

Next year I intend to buy one. Watch this space :)

I suppose there is some truth in this ~ "The expression a woman wears on her face is far more important than the clothes she wears on her back." ~ Dale Carnegie

Monday, 4 October 2010

How Structured Are Your Days?

Well, somewhere along the way, I've lost weight. Three pounds to be precise (or not very precise actually as I don't own a digital scale.) I feel lighter, and strangely, my shoes feel looser! I blog but like my scale I don't tend to do detail as far as weight loss goes. In fact, one day last week I lost my scale. It was hidden under a pile of fresh laundry I'd dumped in my bedroom. I have to say, I didn't start frantically searching for it! :)

I am not sure that I get much of a thrill from seeing the number go down. To my mind, jumping on a scale too often indicates a preoccupation with weight loss...and being preoccupied with what I eat and how I move does make me a bit irritable. It just doesn't seem natural. I have spent nearly half a century without being overly concerned with my weight. I'd rather not be conscious of it all, even though I am aware that it's my aim to get some of this fat off my frame. In truth, it was all the hospital weigh-ins that I had so frequently in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 which made me aware that my weight had crept up to an all-time high. (I was bed and house-bound and in pain for much of that time, so it's not surprising, but it's incredible how lack of movement can change a body so much!) Then, one Doctor mentioned heart-attacks and strokes because I was over-weight, and as my Mum used to say, "That put the willies up me!" (It was an innocent saying. I am sure there was no rude intention :) Mum never ever made reference to sexual stuff!)

Now, when did I last record my weight? I am not sure. Go back a few weeks may be? I know some people keep spread sheets and detailed records. I don't like that sort of detail. We are all different. I think my main preoccupation is that life goes on and it will not be governed by the food in front of me or the choices I have to make...nor will gym sessions be something I feel obliged to do. I have to eat and move..move lots more..and be aware that I need to lose choices have to be sensible. As I have said before, a restrictive diet and 'forbidden foods' will be my un-doing. The process has to be as natural as possible  - and you may have noticed that my progress isn't exactly speedy. I am OK with that I think. (Some days I want instant results...on others I just shrug.)

I do have all sorts of mental battles raging though, and I want to eliminate those as well. I am good at guilt-tripping myself...."I ought to, I should, I really mustn't ...etc" still figure quite largely in mental conversations with myself. I know I am capable of saying "To hell with this!" and eating all before me and not caring. I know I am not as careful as I should be when I eat out, but I want to find inner peace too. I want this weight-loss process to feel perfectly natural...and not a plan of action forever at the front of my consciousness, which I can either adopt or neglect.

If I could, I'd turn the clock back to the days when I was 'average sized' - not fat but not thin. I had a frame with flesh on it, but no bulges or spare tyres of fat. I had one firm chin, and no bat-wings below my upper arms. Then I was always rushing about. I didn't do formal exercise, ever, apart from swimming for pleasure when we went on holiday. I'd walk everywhere and not spend the hours sitting at a computer as I do now, because home computers just weren't around! I lived in the days before televisions had remote controls! I didn't pass my driving test until I was 35, so I pushed my babies everywhere in their buggies. We walked for miles. I was much more house-proud then (energy begets energy?) and I tackled the garden with gusto too. I am older now, but back then I didn't tire easily and the days were always busy. Now, I could be busy but I seem to have no motivation to be busy just for the sake of it. Does that make sense? Having too much spare time and no money can be counter-productive to those trying to lose weight! Food punctuates the long days unless I take myself away from the kitchen and the house. I know just where and how the weight piled on and now I have to reverse that process, but I am finding it hard to do other things, given my main passions are reading and writing!

Now my days are what I make them. They have very little structure. I have to create a structure or I could idle about all day. I don't have set times to do anything, except get up out of bed in the morning. Nothing is urgent any more, and with more leisure time I ought to be able to devote time to me..but....I have never been the sort of woman who went in for pampering or beauty treatments. I still hate visiting the hairdressers and making small-talk. Oh I can do it - I am very chatty, but I'd rather not be stuck in a chair and feeling obliged to discuss my weekend plans.

Son is home to keep me company. I was up bright and early as usual, listening to the radio, ironing shirts and making a packed lunch for son..(turkey sandwiches using wholemeal bread, a small box of salad, an apple, a banana, a small bunch of grapes and a cereal bar) and once number one son was out of the house I made breakfast for me and son no 2. I had mine, at 8am, in my dressing gown, with a pot of tea, watching re-runs of Frasier on TV! Bliss! I am lucky in so many ways and something that still holds so much pleasure for me is not having to rush out of the house at the crack of dawn, to drive in rush-hour traffic to a demanding job. The novelty still hasn't worn off,  after five years at home.

However, the day stretches out before me, and I have to structure it. I could set aside time for exercise, but in doing that I'd feel put out, grumpy.....angry that it has to be done. No...I do it when the feeling takes me, which I know is wrong, wrong wrong...but the feeling can come over me at any time. I'll find myself jogging on the spot whilst the kettle boils for tea, or doing overhead stretches while I listen to the radio and wait for the bread in the toaster to pop out. I have movement on my mind and even tiny spurts of it seem to invigorate this woman with a hatred of formal exercise sessions! :)

Although there are many jobs around the house demanding attention, I never feel inclined to do them! I really could laze my day away, but I'd be doing myself no favours. I need a boss! :)

Oh well, I am off out for a walk. I have done my computing for today and my writing too. I have a "Get Well Soon" card to buy for a friend in London, some medication to pick up for son just out of hospital and a couple of letters to post. I shall walk to the Post Office to buy stamps and take a long detour back home over the fields. There is a huge lake there and I'll take some crusts of bread to feed to the ducks and swans. I really ought to take my camera out with me when I walk. I love looking at pictures posted by other bloggers.

Just hope it doesn't rain! It's looking very overcast out there!

Wherever you are, I hope your day is going well and isn't too pressured.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Problems? What Problems?

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some ~ Charles Dickens.

I am not sure what to call this post. All I know is, when life comes along and pushes me over, I never want to eat. Worries consume me and I pick at food. Meals hold no joy for me. (Oh don't get me wrong. When I am bored or just feeling discontented or 'bleugh' I keep going into the kitchen looking for food. I can eat then to relieve my boredom.)

Food. It's a bugger, isn't it? We need it. We have to get our nutrients from somewhere, so in a sense, it's our fuel. A starving person - one without the 'fuel' which is readily available to us - isn't likely to be rushing around or agitated. Sigh. When I write things like that I immediately have the mental pictures of men, women and children who are bags of bones, with such sad, blank expressions on their faces - looks of hopelessness. All they can do is look without interest or curiosity at the prying cameras filming them, and I am fighting back the tears now.

It seems so selfish and self-obsessed to be writing about my conflict with food, my greed, my fatness when food isn't available to so many people. All they can do is sit and wait for compassion, for aid, when really, I am sure they'd rather be farming, producing their own foods and living in a world which is fair, where they can barter for the things they need...where medical intervention is readily available.

My own son has been in hospital this week and it was painful for me knowing he was sick. He was taken back in on Friday night and given huge doses of antibiotics and put on drips so that he wouldn't dehydrate. A fan was placed by his bed to cool him down and he was given medication to get his temperature down.

How it cuts me up when my children suffer in any way. The parent trap is always there isn't it? Kids worry about their elderly parents too. Parents worry about their children until their dying day, I am sure. How much harder must it be for those parents sitting on the parched earth, and waiting for aid, cradling their starving children and watching them slowly lose their fight for life? Those children have no parental guidance or love...just existence and the people around them who produced them, slowly fading, withering away. Life holds no joy for anyone. They haven't the energy to wail or cry out about the unfairness of it all...they can only wait and accept the inevitable.

It's an unfair world and I know individuals cannot shoulder all the ills of it or take on the global guilt, but occasionally we do need a jolt of reality to help put things into perspective.

Yesterday I walked the few miles to the hospital. I have no car right now and don't like waiting for buses so it became my exercise for the day. (Every cloud has a silver lining.) At least I didn't have to walk to the well for clean, drinkable water. I brought my son fresh clothes, a toilet bag, a magazine, some grapes, some bananas and a bottle of orange juice. In hospital he was well fed and well looked after. I could leave knowing he was in a good place. My man took me out for dinner later on and all I could do was play with the food on my plate. My mind was elsewhere, wishing I could mend my son. I didn't want wine - fizzy water was all I needed to quench my real thirst. Things were turning over in my head. I thought in the grand scheme of things, my trying to lose weight wasn't exactly a major event. It really didn't deserve to preoccupy me as it has been doing. It's no big deal really. I either lose it or live with it...and I have a choice.

In many ways, I ought to rejoice that I have fat on my body..that the fat I carry can be lost, broken down, used up. I have eyes to see, ears to hear and a body which works -  although it's not 100% good in terms of chronic complaints which need medication. It all works. I also have a good working brain. I have shelter, clean water and a supermarket down the road selling all the foods I need. My doctor's surgery is half an hours walk in the other direction. I am typing this in the comfort of my own home. I have a computer and can access places far away in the world. I can communicate with fat people globally and we can tell each other how we struggle. I can gain inspiration from people who have lost weight. We may have enormous bodies...(or ones bigger than we'd like to have) but our problems, when put into perspective are usually far from enormous.

My son came home at lunchtime today. I walked down to the hospital with my other son to collect him and we took a taxi home. (Apparently the risk of catching the MRSA bug is always a concern of late so turnover of patients is quite fast.) He is home and I can nurse him here. He'll mend.

So today I am saying - forget your fat. Stop obsessing about your weight, your shape, your food, your exercise routine. It doesn't really matter. Just do it..or don't do it. Go through the motions or choose not to, but don't make it a bigger deal than it really is.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again. We are bloody lucky if one of our major hang-ups is our shape...if we have grown big because we have eaten too much and lounged around too much.

Charles Dickens above wisely stated that we've all had misfortunes. It's part and parcel of living. Some have easier lives than others. Some will continue to struggle, some will overcome problems. Times change, life goes on - or it ends. In blogging my main preoccupation is finding the motivation to be true to the cause...and the cause in this case is losing weight. How silly is it that a reading on the scale can make me miserable? Really. Does it matter THAT much?

I tend not to think too much about the health of my boys...counting every day in which they are well and have gone about their business as good days. There are more good ones than bad ones. They really are my big worries...(show me a mother who doesn't worry) and when days are good, worry is a wasted emotion. It solves nothing and doesn't change the situation. I consciously refuse to worry.

Perhaps that's why in my blogging I seem a bit blasé about the whole 'losing weight' deal. I am not sure how much it matters to me. Having said that, I know it's a health issue, and being responsible for my well-being is what keeps me going.

I am sure we all have our problems...and some of you may be suffering in a big way. I wish you well and hope you find peace soon. Life can be cruel. However, if today is just another day and there is nothing pressing on your mind to cause you to fret and worry, count your blessings and enjoy your day. Do something with it.

I count my blessings...and when I do I gain some perspective. There is lots wrong in my life, but heck of a lot which is right, and on the whole, my problems are minor ones, or at least ones I can live with. I can also lose my fat and change my shape should I choose to. I am blessed to have that option really.

Have a good day folks. Look for all the good in your life. Live for the day. It really does help.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Highs and Lows and Losing the Momentum, etc.

Morning all. Something which features quite a lot in my blog writing is my changing moods/attitudes.
On some days I am all fired up and willing to keep working on myself, on others I want to throw in the towel and find it all too much like hard work.

Oh those mood swings. I hasten to add they are all internal. I tend to be fairly laid back in my dealings with the world and other people. No mood swings in relationships as such...just these internal memos to myself which are sometimes negative. I just don't seem able to use the good results of watching what I eat and moving more to motivate myself to carry on. I read other blogs and I discern determination, fortitude, stamina, positivity, get-up-and-go and success.

Is it an age thing I wonder? Has my cynicism about the diet industry as a whole and how it messes with our heads wormed it's way into my own plans for losing weight and becoming healthier? I know deep down I don't want to be fat any more. That's a fact. I feel fat and I see myself as fat. I can make myself miserable because of it. (That's not self-loathing either...I just don't play 'positive at any cost' mind games with myself.)

OK, so feeling down about being fat and middle aged - what should I do? The educated woman in me says accept yourself as you are, and then you have a choice. You can moan about it and carry on not really liking your body much, or you can work towards finding a solution to this problem. The solution is to look after myself better, to care about myself and to practice self-love, and I do that by planning every single meal, and gearing myself up to get out of the house, simply to move.

Sounds like a simple plan and a sensible plan...and it sounds like the recipe for success. It would be IF I could keep myself charged up with enthusiasm for it! (Isn't this a common problem? I suspect it is.)

THAT is the problem. My enthusiasm wanes...and I know why it does too I think. My enthusiasm wanes because happenings in my life suck it out of me...deplete my 'enthusiasm' and mess with the internal drive to look after myself better. If I were a computer I'd be broken because a virus has wormed it's way in and it's preventing the machine from operating properly.

In the space of five days I have gone from feeling on top of the world to being the woman at the bottom of the mountain looking up. I have become the reluctant climber. My back-pack weighs heavy and the mountain I have to climb looks enormous. I can try to climb it or find the group of people messing about in base camp.

At the weekend I was carefree. I was surrounded by friends, adventures, activity, hustle and bustle and I fully engaged in all that was going on without even thinking about it. I felt some guilt because I didn't concentrate 100% on making healthy food choices, although I didn't go mad or consume a vast amount of food. On the days that followed I felt fired up to be outside, moving and doing and eating well. So where has that feeling gone?

Today all I want to do is laze anything I want to and have no pressure on me at all, no one wanting me or needing me to do anything. The house is a mess and I don't even want to clean it up. Niggling guilt is getting to me as well. I feel 'it's all too much' and my welfare is low on my list of priorities. Know what I mean?

For the last three days I have been nursemaid to one of my sons who has been very ill. He spent a night in hospital, has antibiotics and at home he has lost his appetite and need lots of painkillers. OK, so I can cope with that....I have done when it's happened in the last 23 years. It's nothing new. Both my boys have medical conditions which can be exacerbated when they become ill. That's life and I have to get on with it, but now I am older those sucker punches knock me out, deflate me..make me want to sit and dwell on all that is unfair. He's over the worst now. I haven't turned to food, but then again, I haven't planned meals or activity either. I have mooched about feeling fed up and thinking "Why bother?" Last night my daughter and my man were going to come to dinner and I cancelled it. I just didn't want to cook or entertain.

It's like I have to wind myself up time and time again before I can operate well. I wind down and (if we want yet another metaphor,) I am like a top which has stopped spinning and has toppled to it's side.
Writing about it has helped, so if you've read this far, thanks. I am not sure if life affects us all in this way, draining us when it becomes difficult (as it surely will.) conclusion I'd say when life is good and fun we get involved and enjoy ourselves.

When life becomes difficult most of us are able to keep going and work through it, but it saps our enthusiasm for self-care and for lots of things, no matter how 'strong' we are, how resilient we are. (I exclude clinical depression here. That's a different ball-game usually needing medical intervention, drugs and counselling etc.)

When life just 'is' - ie: normal, not good, not bad, just everyday, we get on with what we have to do and don't think about it too much. We trudge on, seeing to our duties and our routine is in place. We have a life plan regarding eating and exercise and we follow it, experiencing the occasional blip, but for the most part we stay on course because we can focus some of our attention on ourselves.

Life will always have highs and lows. That's how it works...Having written this, I appreciate that we all need to have resources of self-love that we can call on when times are difficult. It shouldn't mean an end to looking after ourselves, or a lack of effort on our behalf, or indeed the throwing in of the towel.

Bad times don't hang around forever. That's all I know. I have had lots and lots of them, probably more than my fair share, but so far, I have weathered the storms. That's what we have to do I conclude. We have to go with the flow, recognising the good and the bad and sit it out if necessary. We don't always have to be 100% on plan. It's natural to have OFF days. We won't always be able to operate at peak performance and that is OK. It doesn't mean that our plans for ourselves have been destroyed. It may take a while, a very long time before we bounce back, but that's fine too. The clouds lift eventually and we have to remember that. We matter.

Hmmm. Message to myself: Thank you Grump. You've just talked (written) yourself into a better mood because you've dredged up some understanding about how you, (and perhaps most bloggers here?) function when life isn't a barrel of laughs.

Who says blogging isn't theraputic? :)

Onwards folks. Onwards. It's a new day. x x x