22 October 2008

Excited yet?

You bet I am! It's now only hours to go until we go away for our break and I can hardly contain myself. And what's even better, wait for it, wait for it... I did it! I reached my target weight of 74kg. Whoopee, and the fat lass dances for joy!

That's me down to 11 stone 9 lbs - a definite 'wow' - and it has given me a great big boost. It also provided the incentive to say a firm (if a little regretful) 'no' to the delicious looking chocolate-toffee cookies the rep brought in this morning. And boy, how I wanted one! Still, my apple tasted lovely instead, and did me a lot more good.

I'm feeling a whole lot more human today - phew, and thanks to the vitamin C maybe. Enjoyed my breakfast tea and porridge and then went for a longer walk on my way in to work. It was lovely as we had a sharp frost and the mist rising from the river drifted over sparkling stalks of grass as the early sunlight caught them. Even the knee is behaving pretty well, and the swelling is down quite a bit.

I'm having my hair cut this afternoon and will feel all tidy and prettified to go away... wearing my lovely size 14 needle-cord trousers. Again, whoopee, the fat lass dances for joy! All in all, it's a very nice Wednesday.

21 October 2008

Wellness and otherwise

Today is a teensy bit of a struggle. That cold/virus thingy that everyone around me seems either to have or have had seems to have sneaked up on me! The vitamin C didn't fend it off then. I don't really feel awful, just not great. Thumping head, slight sore throat, cold sore the size of Ailsa Craig on my top lip, could sleep for a week and that 'generally under the weather' feeling - you know the sort of thing. Just in time for our holiday too!

The knee and back are none to cheery today either - they both conspired to give me a very restless night. I phoned for the X-ray results yesterday - "great", I thought, "I can ring now and find out what's going on". Oh no. They aren't back from the hospital yet. Pooh! Keep on taking the tablets. Of course, not that I'm grumpy....

The coldy thing means that tea tastes horrible (even herbals teas just don't seem right) and, worse, I want to E*A*T - all the time. I have the appetite of horse. Not an average sized horse either, something more like a Percheron or a Clydesdale! So far I'm managing to fob it off with healthy stuff (two apples this morning!), but let's see what the rest of the day brings.

Funnily enough, what I'm craving is something hot and tasty and, above all, wet (so it doesn't annoy the throat). Aha! Lovely hubby made a super soup last night. Fabulously healthy vegetable broth with big chunky bits of carrot, leek, potato, cabbage and onion. It was so good and warmed me through. He's a smart chap alright and knows me all too well. The remains will form the basis of a chicken casserole for tonight too.

I'm trying to clear my desk of as much as possible before we go away. Amazing what I've decided to hoard, and quite amazing that I haven't actually overlooked anything vital in the heap. I've almost got a clear surface and by tomorrow.... may just do it. I picked up a couple of 'little jobs' from the boss this morning though - he's forgotten I'm away, I think. They will have to be put on hold apart from initial emails for info. Oh well, at least I won't be bored when I get back!

A gentle walk at lunch helped a lot - amazing what a bit of fresh air and sunshine does for a negative mood. No less achy etc. than before but definitely more positive.

20 October 2008

Get your oats

Breakfast today was good old-fashioned porridge. Made with a mixture of skimmed milk and water, without adding salt, or sugar, or golden syrup, or cream, or butter (oh yes, I used to do that!) or anything else, my oats were warming and delicious. I think it may become my breakfast most days from here on.

So why am I making a song and dance out of a perfectly normal breakfast?

Well, porridge oats are 100% natural (no sneaky additives here, chaps) and are naturally low in calories (that's music to the ears of a fat lass). And they are rich in soluble fibre, which has been shown to lower blood cholesterol - this gets better and better.

What's more, because the carbohydrates in oats are absorbed by the body slowly (they have a nice low score on the glycemic index), they should keep me feeling full for longer after breakfast. This'll help me sustain my energy levels and maintain good concentration (tee hee). It'll also help stop me hunting for a mid-morning biccy on bad days - not that I've been doing that recently, but you never know.

And it's certainly a good idea to 'get my oats' each day as they contain essential fatty acids and are a great source of some very useful vitamins. These include vitamin E (an antioxidant which protects bodies from free radical attack, which can cause cancer), and vitamins B1 and B2. The B vitamins are interesting ones - they are thought to assist in the production of serotonin, which is linked with good mental health (helping battle depression or SAD) - just what's needed as the days shorten.

Oh yes, the final bonus - because of the fibre they also help reduce constipation! Right now, thanks to the painkillers, that's almost reason enough to live on porridge.

For porridge oats (made with just water), assuming an average portion size of cooked oats would be about 350g (12.4 oz), that is a mere 193 cals (55 cals per 100g). Add a few more cals for the skimmed milk (34 cals per 100ml) and that'll probably push it to 300 cals maybe?

And the skimmed milk is pretty good stuff too. In 100ml of skimmed milk there is 3.37g protein, but only 0.97g of fat. A little carbohydrate, but only 4.99g, and some (well, 5.20g) sugar, enough but not too much. A nice 119mg helping of calcium and 150mg of potassium can't hurt. Good and low in sodium at only 44mg too. Add in a sprinkling of selenium (3.3 ug) and a tad of iron (0.03mg) and zinc (0.42mg). Not a bad package.

So, a bowl of porridge in the morning is good and healthy and can help with weight-loss - a good thing if ever I heard one. And, who knows, if we make it with a little soya milk (at only 35 cals per 100ml) it might be be even healthier.

17 October 2008

Blue Meanies

Today has begun with a bit of a slump. Well, sort of. It started nicely enough, with the usual morning exercises and breakfast, then an early journey to work (by car for once), then my morning walk.

I had noticed that my knee was quite swollen and the exercises were harder today (and hurt more!) but didn't take too much notice as a bit of pain and stiffness in the morning is no surprise. Most days the knee and back are not awfully co-operative first thing but ease as I get moving. But this morning, now I've got to work, the knee is telling me it is not at all happy and the back is beginning to join in the fun.

Why? Well I think it could be because I wore high heels last night! Not for long, and I did very little walking, but it was apparently a B*A*D idea. So, it's back to the painkillers... just as I was congratulating myself on things improving and having gone two days without any.

The pain is making me very tetchy this morning and my patience has gone right out the window. To be honest, I just want to curl up and cry. It's just as well it's Friday.

15 October 2008

Poverty - perspective from a fat lass

Am I living in poverty? No, categorically not!

So why is it important to me, as it is to so many others, if it doesn't affect me directly? Why try to raise awareness and do something about it?

Well, for a brief phase of my life during one winter many years ago, I found myself having a little brush with poverty, well, a form of poverty. I had no money at that stage (truly no money - not just very little) for food, for heating, or even to feed the electricity meter and precious little food stocks. It was not a pleasant time. But, and this is a big but, I had a roof over my head and clean running water.

I've never forgotten this period and hate to think I would ever repeat it. But I'm one of the lucky people - for me it was temporary and, relatively speaking, pretty mild. For others, all over the world, poverty is what they encounter every single day of their lives. Very often for them there is no way out. This isn't truly 'life' in all its fullness, but 'existence'. So, my experience of 'poverty' might seem like riches to some people and their families - and very often, like for me, it happens to them through no fault of their own.

So what can one person do do make a difference? Well, simple things like taking time to really think about poverty and what your help might mean to those living in poverty, talking to your friends and family to express your concern and plan how you can help.

Look at groups like Traidcraft, and choose their products. Small purchases like these can provide a lifeline for some impoverished individuals. Other charitable organisations like WaterAid can make a huge difference to the lives of others. There are lots of similar charities, some with a local remit and some global - just Google and see who you find.

And then there are micro-financing organisations like Kiva which, with your help, provides groups and individuals with the means to begin to lift themselves out of poverty by giving loans. This isn't a 'donation' or 'charity' in the old sense - it gives a hand up, not a hand-out. And why is this important? Because it allows people in need of assistance to retain a sense of pride - they are working to help themselves escape the poverty trap.

Whatever you do, however modest, it won't be too little to make a difference. Every tiny bit will help if enough people get involved. So, go on - do something today.

Today is Blog Action Day!

Today, October 15th, bloggers everywhere will publish posts that discuss poverty in some way. By all posting on the same day we aim to change the conversation that day, to raise awareness, start a global discussion and add momentum to an important cause.

Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can re-lend to someone else in need.

So, instead of giving your money to a regular charity and hope it does some good, lend it to someone and see it do some good. And then lend it again and really do some good!

14 October 2008

Measuring progress

Now seems like a good time to remind myself just how far I've come, but even more to keep me on track for where I eventually want to be. I'm all too aware that there's a huge potential for me to slack off, as I am so much slimmer, fitter and happier than when I began my own version of 'the incredible shrinking woman'.

But, that said, I'm still a fat lass and I need to concentrate on the last part of my journey towards 'more love per square inch'.

So, here goes:

Starting BMI was 38
Current BMI is 28
Goal is between 20 and 25, say around 23
Conclusion:- doing well, but still some way to go

Starting size 24 UK
Current size probably 14 UK (some clothes still size 16)
Goal is a size 10/12 ...comfortably!
Conclusion:- well on the way

Starting weight c.100kg (around 15 stone 10 lbs)
Current weight c.75kg (around 11 stone 11 lbs)
Goal is between 60kg and 64kg, preferably towards the lower end, say around 9 stone 8 lbs
Conclusion:- also doing pretty well, but still quite a way to go

In pretty picture terms, that's:

Then, looking over the change in shape by comparing those vital statistics between when I started and now...

45in/114.3cm at starting point, currently 39.5in/100.3cm so, lost 5.5in/14cm
(a very nice 12.25% difference, not too much disappeared from the pointy bits!)

40in/101.6cm at starting point, currently 31in/78.7cm so, lost 9in/22.9cm
(that's a whopping 22.54% difference - now that feels good)

55in/139.7cm at starting point, currently 45in/114.3cm so, lost 10in/25.4cm
(again, a very pleasing 18.18% difference - but still quite a flibbety flabbety belly to get rid of)

Upper arm:
14.5in/36.8cm at starting point, currently 12.25in/31.1cm so, lost 2.25in/5.7cm
(a 15.49% difference = slightly smaller chicken wings)

28in/71.1cm at starting point, currently 23.5in/59.7cm so, lost 4.5in/11.4cm
(a 16.03% difference - and they're definitely firmer)

Conclusion:- getting there... slowly!

13 October 2008

A reminder - Bakewell Tart

Remember - it looks absolutely irresistibly lovely, and the pastry looks divine, but you actually don't enjoy it as much as you think you will. It also gives you indigestion.

Just DON'T do it.

You'll gather from this post that it tripped me up this afternoon. I'm now regretting it... a lot. And for more than one reason.

The sugars, fats and calories are bad enough, but I now have a decidedly uncomfortable belly - just in time for my Chi Kung class.

As George Santayana would say “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”!

What makes a healthy day?

Sorry, but this is going to be a long one. I'm looking over my behavioural patterns for a whole week to pick out the good and bad (and maybe ugly too!), concentrating on recognising 'healthy' behaviours. Sort of a 'how am I doing?' check.

Monday was quite a 'good' day. Not a great day, but not too bad, all told. Although I didn't feel great first thing and it was a particularly(!) stressful day at work, it didn't get me craving naughty stuff or skipping too much on the healthy stuff. Quite a success in a lot of ways but with a small caveat, a bit like those old school reports, "could do better".

Exercise included some abs/lower body exercises first thing, walking for just over two hours (no, no, not all at once - work gets in the way!), an hour of Chi Kung, which was wonderful, and (it should go without saying) the exercises the physio has given me. What I didn't do was get on the rower in the morning. OK, I've struggled a bit recently with knee and back pain, but really need to get back to it sooner rather than later.

Food was pretty healthy, breakfast of tea (with skimmed milk) and a banana on toast (no, I didn't use any spread - I don't actually like it much anymore). A lovely apple with my cuppa for a snatched break, mid-morning - tea got cold but there you go. Lunch was lots of crispy raw veggies: broccoli stalks (don't ever waste 'em!), carrots, mangetout peas, red pepper and celery, with a little pot of cottage cheese (suitably doctored with coriander and chilli), and a small handful of summer berries. It didn't get eaten all at once, sitting sensibly and enjoying each mouthful I'm afraid, so it fails the 'healthy' test here. That's beacause lunch was interrupted by meetings and crisis management. Oh well, at least I didn't head for the vending machines.

A couple of glasses of water through the day to go with that lot. So far, so good. Hmmm, dinner could have been better... but could have been a lot worse. We were away from home after my Chi Kung class and the only place open to get something to eat was a kebab shop. So, choose wisely girl. In the end I went for the chicken shish, WITHOUT the fries please, (flame grilled chicken and nothing fried = bliss), in a pitta bread with loads of salad and two big glasses of delicious Turkish tea. Would have been perfect if not for a) the splodge of garlic mayo I spotted under the salad (it's remarkably hard to scrape it all off shredded lettuce!) and I hate mayo at the best of times, b) quite a lot of salt, and c) the rice. Nothing wrong with a little heap of rice... except that I ate it as well as the pitta bread. Should have gone for one or the other, but not both. Gave a long, lingering look at the sugary, oozing baklava and walked away feeling virtuous.

And the ugly? Well, it had been a very stressful day and a glass of rum seemed like a great idea... at the time. Indigestion and waking at 3 a.m. with a raging thirst probably meant that it wasn't! Either that or there was more salt in that chicken than I thought.

Then there's Tuesday, which didn't pan out well. Healthy, in all senses? Nah, don't think so.

I woke feeling desperately sluggish - no inclination for exercise nor for breakfast. What I wanted was to pull the covers over my head, roll over and sleep... probably for a week, or two. A cup of tea revived me a bit but I skipped the exercise (aside from the physio stuff and a half hour walk). By the time I got close to work I hurt quite a bit and 'thought' I was hungry so stopped off for painkillers, tea and... er, a chocolate chunk cookie! What happened to the sensible choices? Well, I'm waiting, what did? Halfway through the cookie it seemed unbearably sweet, so did I throw it away? No. I wrapped it up and took it away with me. Ugly? Too right! What on earth was I thinking?

I actually had a break and stopped properly in the morning. Mostly because I was so dog-tired and really needed to gather my thoughts before attempting to clear the backlog of Monday's email. Did I have my lovely apple with my cuppa? No, of course not. I ate the rest of that blasted cookie. It wasn't even terribly nice for heaven's sake - just sweet, sweet and more sweet! More ugly!

I was supposed to go walking at lunchtime - it was going to be my treat to go to the botanic gardens and enjoy the autumn colours while it isn't actually raining. Well, I walked, but not surrounded by the beauties of nature. An hour trogging through town, in and out of outdoors-type shops looking for a new pair of walking boots as mine fell apart after 15 years of good service. Didn't find anything though. The up side? It was exercise. The down side? It wasn't much fun.

I ate my healthy lunch of berries, yoghurt and muesli, and very nice is was too. Not exactly relaxed, as I sort of worked and ate, worked and ate - not the healthiest way to do it. And then the cravings came calling again... I had bought a lovely loaf of granary bread while I was out. Trouble is, I could smell it, and it called my name. It whispered for a while, but then it started shouting. Wondering if it made it home intact? Actually, yes it did, and was perfect with hubby's lovely soup (cauliflower and fennel - delicious).

Wednesday started well for food but not for exercise. A good breakfast of banana on toast and tea again, but I now have two different and time consuming sets of exercises from two different physios for two different 'problems'. A little co-ordination would be nice, but... The sets take quite a bit of time, so it looks like the rower might be on the back burner for a while. Then the morning walk was interrupted by a need for painkillers - like right now!

Break came and went with tea and an apple, a snack of four dried figs (to counteract the, er, side-effects from the painkillers - nuff said!), and lunch is a box of assorted fruit - pineapple, melon, red grapes, apple and a few orange segments. This time... the botanic gardens for an hour of walking - heaven! It did wonders for both pain and mood.

A bit ugly when I couldn't resist a couple of (OK, five) spicy tortilla chips mid-afternoon, ugly but not a hanging offence! Another short walk in the evening and a healthy (but probably a bit too big) dinner of mushroom omelette with roasted tomatoes and sweet potato chunks. Yoghurt for pud - didn't really need it, but yum!

Thursday started OK, with the swathe of exercises then a tea and small slice of toast with a teaspoon of honey (again, no spread). Did the longer, prettier walk this morning as the sun was shining. Apple and figs at break with tea. Lunch was ham & rocket wrap, tomatoes and a yoghurt. No walk at lunch - stoopid, a missed opportunity really, but I just didn't. Still that small caveat then, "could do better".

Mother Nature began taking her monthly revenge on me for being female, and had all her usual knives out. At this stage I would usually kill for chocolate, but for some reason that didn't happen this time (phew!). Just in case the cravings came, I now have emergency rations in my desk, in the form of Caffe Nero dark chocolate covered coffee beans. They taste incredibly strong and rich so one or two should suffice if I do get the urge. Even if I ate the entire 25g box it wouldn't be a huge problem.

What might a problem is my daily dose of figs. I looked up how many calories there are per average dried fig, just out of curiosity, and nearly fell off my chair - they can be from around 30kcal to nearly 50kcal per fig! I've eaten six today so think I need to find another solution, and fast, otherwise they are going to add lbs to me before they address the problem I'm asking them to.

Pulses! That's another way of upping the much needed fibre. Added a tin of haricot beans to dinner - deliciously spicy lamb mince. Great, a plus point. The bad bit? Ate way too much bread along with it. Wonder if devouring the carbs is to do with dear old Mother Nature?

Friday brought an unhealthy mental attitude - very hard to shake it off. Not a brilliant night (woke in pain a few times) and then, in the morning, another carbs crisis. Breakfast was tea... and bread - not good at all. Didn't feel great about the exercises either. They take such a chunk of time and I just can't face getting up any earlier that 5am to do more/longer. Just have to grit teeth and bear it. Hard though - I'm still struggling and still no X-ray appointment on the horizon!

Mid-morning brought more cause for depression as hubby came back from the hospital having just been diagnosed with yet another medical problem. Poor lamb has more than his fair share already. We will not let it get us down though - we'll both fight the bloody thing.

Blue skies and the botanic gardens, then Ryvita and Philly cheese with a big glass of water for lunch, in that order, made for an improvement in the day. Knee and back behaved... mostly, so that's a bonus. Another bonus - lovely hubby came to meet me from work and we had a nice walk. More mince & beans for dinner and the day ended on a more positive note than it began.

Saturday was a very good day. See post from 11th about new jeans! Lots of walking, good food choices, beautiful sunshine and spirits high. Finally found a pair of walking boots too. Paid less ( a lot less) than I'd thought I'd have to, they've got full leather uppers, but most of all... they're comfortable! So, we are all set for our break in less than two weeks time.

Sunday brought the usual chores (how can two people generate that much ironing?) but still the exercises and food choices went to plan. A treat of a date and walnut wholemeal scone mid-afternoon (no, no butter), but not a problem as I took things easy on food for the rest of the day.

So, my 'how am I doing?' check over this last week is looking reasonably good. My weight hasn't dropped, but I'm still undergoing the 'bung-'em-up' side-effects from the painkillers. It is still possible that I'll make 74kg before we go away but, even if I don't, I'm sitting happily at 75kg and that was the main aim. Yes, I could still do better and need to sharpen my act a little if I want to keep losing, but I'm seemingly more back in control and will be pretty happy if I can hang in there.

11 October 2008

Happy, happy, happy!

Partly because the sun is shining today and the sky is blue. Partly, well actually quite a lot, because the knee and back are finally beginning to ease up a bit, and the rest because I've just been out to buy a new pair of jeans.

It dawned on me that the reason I've been getting fed up with my existing pair (a size 18) is that appeared to have got longer - I'm forever hitching the waist up. Took me a while to cotton on to the fact that that meant they were probably too big for me, so were actually falling down! Yes, I know that sounds silly, but it's still a novelty when this happens, even though it is what I've been working towards.

So, off to get another pair, and to my astonishment the size 16 ones were easy to get on. Too easy in fact and they were too big at the waist. I sighed to myself and thought - here we go again, I probably fall into the gap between sizes again and I won't get any. Just on the off-chance I tried the size 14... and they fitted!

Flushed with success, I tried a pair of needle-cord trousers in a size 14. They fitted too. So, I now have two new pairs of trousers to wear, at the size which was my original planned target, way back when I started this whole weight loss business.

Am I happy? You bet! Am I going to stop here? Not on your life. But for today, at least, this little piggy is jumping for joy!

07 October 2008


A tale of numerous diets... and why they didn't work.

This one has been quite a long time in the writing. I've been doing quite a bit of thinking over the last few months, about all those times in my past when I lost weight before, and one or two things have become clearer to me. My various diets, over the years, always worked to an extent, and I'd look better, sometimes even good... for a while. Then the lbs would gradually pile back on, invariably leaving me fatter than when I started on diet X or Y or Z. Not an uncommon pattern I know. But I'd never really applied that model to me.

I guess I've actually struggled with my weight for pretty much all my adult life. Funny, but I've never really thought about it this way before. I wasn't a skinny child (not like my sister) but I wasn't fat either, just OK. I was never into competitive sport (too much of a loner, just me and my dog) but did a huge amount of walking and cycling, and I guess playing, so Mum's good healthy food, plus almost daily peanut butter sarnies with butter (by the bucketful) and big glasses of whole milk, and the chocolate as often as I could get hold of it, didn't have a chance to accumulate as flab.

Once though, when I was a teenager, I do remember a boyfriend mentioning that I'd look lovely when I shed the 'puppy fat' around my tummy. He didn't stay my boyfriend for long after that! Still, it must have made me think, as sometime around that stage I turned veggie (much to my Mum's horror!) temporarily, discovered yoghurt and calories, and morphed into a still pretty active, slinky, if sulky, and apparently normal sort of a lass. All was slender, sweetness and light until I reached my twenties.

In fact, I think reaching twenty four was the start of my fatter life. There'd been a series of difficulties in my life leading up to this age (some of them pretty darned serious) and I guess that's when I really turned to food as comfort - a prop to help me deal with the stuff going on in my head. I also became less active now I was all grown up (or so I thought). I slowly started buying larger sized clothes, often having first stuffed myself into the my usual size until it became blatantly obvious that I could no longer do that. Bust zips? Yep!

I can still clearly remember starting my first diet when I was in my twenties, having realised that I was getting podgy - working with someone with a gorgeous figure (think Marylin Monroe) opened my eyes. It was called the Big Bowlful diet and what a crock of s*** that was. I hated it! The idea was that you made a large bowl of whatever the day's recipe was and ate only from the bowl during the day. Yes, that's right - breakfast, lunch, dinner and any snacks, just from that damned bowl! One recipe I still half recall, and it put me off cottage cheese for years. It consisted of, ooh you guessed it, cottage cheese, plus shredded white cabbage and probably other enticing stuff I don't wish to bring to mind. For breakfast? Yummy! Well, I persevered and did lose the podge on the blasted diet, but of course when I went back to eating normally, the weight piled back on.

I tried a variety of other quick fix diets too, over the years. Just to list some of them, they included the F Plan diet, the 1000 calorie a day diet, the Grapefruit diet, and worst of all the Cambridge diet. With all of them I lost weight. Success right? Hmmm, for a while I'd be happy and feel I had this cracked. But every time, and I mean EVERY time, I'd put weight on afterwards and end up heavier that before I'd begun to diet. There's a theme here, by the way - even though it's taken me years to see it. In every case, when I went back to eating 'normally', the weight piled back on. You see, I really did think a quick fix diet was a fix for life. Poor sap, eh?

Kind of an aside, but the absolute worst of the diets, and I cannot damn this system more strongly (sorry if it pees you off but my opinion is just as valid as yours), was the Cambridge diet. Yes, I lost a lot of weight, and quickly too. Yes, at the time I thought this was wonderful and would have evangelised about this 'miracle' plan - appallingly hard as it was to follow. But, substituting their 'formula' meals and bars, however nutrient packed, for proper food (e.g. vegetables, fruit, lean meat, etc.) to follow their 'very low calorie diet' plan (think starvation!) was a path to disaster as far as I'm concerned. As for exercising - pah! I was always too damned tired even to think straight. Teaching you healthy eating habits for life, eh - in a pigs eye!

After a while, and numerous cycles of diet/stop/get fatter/do it again, I just plumb gave up trying to lose the weight. I had convinced myself that I wasn't meant to be thin, that there was obviously something awry with my patently slow metabolism - maybe a gland or hormone problem if only the quacks would believe me. I even told people that! Frankly though, I just plain quit and just let myself get fatter and fatter. I also got unhappier and unhappier.

My self esteem was pretty much lacking by now, and my confidence fell away year by year. I won't say much about personal relationships, other than to say they were pretty destructive. Mostly, looking back, I guess I concentrated on destroying myself, in part quite unconsciously using food to punish myself for all sorts of sins whether real or imagined. The funny part is that I thought what I was eating was my 'treat', to make me feel good.

It has taken a lot for me to admit to me that I am the person responsible for my obesity and that the only person who could truly help me combat it was me. Blaming other people, or circumstances, or just 'stuff' is so much easier than really looking at yourself. To get even as far as I have done to date, I've had to be brutally honest with myself and address why I've behaved the way I have. Comfort eating has been a big issue, however you look at it (and try to deny it). And my version of what 'normal' eating entailed was so far off beam I can scarcely believe it - and you know what, I didn't see it.

A 'diet' isn't the answer - it never was. But I hope that changing my life is. It's a long slow process, with many opportunities for getting it wrong. I've also had to commit to getting off my fat ass and keep myself moving again. It's not over yet, and I think it never will be - I will ALWAYS have to be mindful and not let myself fall back on the old, negative behaviours.

And now? Well, I'm a long way from when I started this journey back in June 2007. Around 25kg down (or 55lbs in old money), that's about a quarter of my body weight, but still with a way to go. Changed shape? Definitely, and a good deal fitter and healthier too.

Am I still fat? Yes, I am, but my habits have changed for the better and I'm getting less so. I'm no longer 'very obese' on the charts, or even just 'obese', merely 'overweight'... but I'm still a fat lass.

Can I keep it up? Yes, I think I can, and even when I do fall off the wagon (it happens!) I won't quit because I now recognise that I just have to kick my fat ass, get my attitude back on track, and start again.

Can I reach the final dream target I've had in my mind for a long time but still haven't admitted out loud? Yes, I think I can. Maybe I can even tell you what it is sometime.

But more importantly, can I keep the healthier attitudes this last sixteen months have been teaching me and keep the weight off, for good? This time, at last, I think I can say yes to that too.

You see, I like myself more now than I've done in a lot of years. No, it isn't just because there's physically less of me, but because I can finally see there is a person inside me who, if she were outside my flesh, I might actually get along with and respect. That is such a major change in me, but I couldn't have done it without some understanding of why it happened, how I got where I was, and how to go on from here to where I'd like to be.

Maybe the best way is to quote from Aaron Neville's song, 'To Make Me Who I Am'
Once my life was wretched
But why should I regret it
Cos, it took me who I was, and where I’ve been
To make me who I am

I am so very lucky to have my supportive, loving hubby - I cannot express how much he means to me. He has helped me more than he can ever know, not only in this ongoing journey but in all aspects of life. The fact that I can post like this, or better yet, tell you that I've lost lbs again and reached a mini target ahead of time is in no small part because of his support. He doesn't nag, has never moaned even when I was at my fattest, and always gives me unconditional love. He is the reason that I've begun to see that 'me' is of some worth in the world and this gives me a firm footing to fight the many years of bitterly destructive habits.

06 October 2008

Downs... and ups

Today has brought two major downs.

The first is that my head has been invaded by a group of tiny men with small hammers. They are all busily engaged in singing the 'Dig, dig, dig' song from Snow White! They kindly brought some friends along too. That bunch are sandpapering my throat. If I had to describe how I feel today, I'd probably leave it as 'bleh!'.

The second down is rather better, so it's also an up. It's down as in down to 75kg. Yep, that's the mini target I was aiming to reach in two weeks time. I noticed on Saturday but decided against believing my scales after the recent trauma. But, they says the same thing today so I'm convinced... and just a little delighted. Guess I'll have to revise my target and say 74kg in two weeks time - that would be 11 stone 9 lbs. My goodness, I haven't been anywhere near this sort of weight for at least fifteen years!

02 October 2008

What a fantastic thing this is!

Yippee! I'm celebrating something which seems to be working to defeat my craving for 'something nice'. What's more, its Wikipedia entry suggests that it could also be good for me. No, no, don't look just yet.

I really struggled with my Black Dog mood yesterday, and today didn't kick off too well either, leaving me desperate for the dreaded 'something nice', very probably a.k.a. chocolate and lots of it. Thankfully, I've been rushed off my feet enough to miss out on an opportunity to indulge... so far.

Then I thought long and hard about abandoning my healthy lunch and going for something naughty. Thank goodness I didn't.

I doctored my cottage cheese this morning to give it some kick. Half awake, I added some tomato puree and a healthy dollop of.... pul biber.

This Turkish condiment did it for me. I absolutely l*o*v*e*d my lunch, and wiped up every teeny tiny smidgen of cottage cheese with my veggie sticks. And... I felt really happy afterwards because I could have been given my absolute favourite when it comes to chocolate...
...and cheerfully said 'no thanks'!

01 October 2008

A bit of a puzzler

Alright, let's get this out in the open. I did it again this morning... purely in the interests of a proper scientific approach of course, I got back on the scales.

Today, they read just a shade under 76kg, shading towards the 75.5kg mark. Ho hum, the fat lass ponders - don't think I've suddenly dropped any flab overnight. I certainly haven't noticed any blobs lying around on the floor. Perhaps I peed more than usual? Hell, I don't know.

Domestic scales - must look up just how variable the things are and maybe stop believing them to be accurate in any way, shape or form. Three different readings over three days. Doesn't sound awfully accurate to me anymore.

Why does all this stuff matter? Well, it's because I'm having a 'fat' day. You know, one of those days where you just can't see or truly believe that you are any less of a balloon than when you started this whole weight-loss journey. You feel like a semi-mobile lump of blubber, jammed into your clothes looking awful (like a sack of pooh tied at the middle), and with your confidence levels firmly stuffed into your boots. Yep, that's me today.

I have no clear idea why this is happening. It wasn't a great start to the morning (including a rotten journey in) and things at work are a bit fraught too - don't even mention email! Even the daily exercises didn't lift my spirits this morning and I took little pleasure from my walk. The sky is blue outside, but so I am here inside. I'm probably a bit tired and it may be coming up to 'that time'. I suppose that may contribute to my feeling a bit tearful and generally crappy.

I'm craving 'something nice', but have no idea what that means so can't think what to do to turn it off. I really do not fancy my usual break-time apple and the cottage cheese and veggies I brought for lunch just don't look appealing any more. My brain isn't working at full speed today and I'm not thinking clearly at all.


I've eaten my lunch (it wasn't bad, just not what I was craving), and the work worries have calmed a little. I'm still feeling a bit down but not as bad as earlier. I think a hug from lovely hubby should put me right this evening. I still want 'something nice' - just don't let me anywhere near chocolate!

And, I've found a way to convince myself that things really have changed. This was me summer 2006. Even I can see that I do look a bit different now.

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