It's time to indulge myself at Christmas. "What!?" I can hear you gasp. "Has the fat lass gone crazy?"
Well, no actually. What I plan to indulge is my passion for Brassica oleracea, or one of the cultivars in particular... the good old Brussels Sprout. Not only are they the most festive of all vegetables, but they are delicious (especially now we've had some icy conditions, which always improves their flavour). Even better, they are rich in essential nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and dietary fibre and contain high levels of a chemical called sinigrin which may help prevent bowel cancer (thanks Wikipedia!).
There is something about the humble Brussel which makes me feel Christmassy just to look at it. That tightly wrapped little bundle of green goodness just waiting quietly on your plate to deliver the crunch and subtle taste of it's own, counteracting any fattiness from the meat and roast potatoes.
So, there they are, my little green friends. They're in my fridge and calling my name. Quietly at the moment, but come tomorrow...
Merry Christmas folks.
24 December 2009
It's time to indulge myself at Christmas. "What!?" I can hear you gasp. "Has the fat lass gone crazy?"
22 December 2009
Never mind the New Year's resolution... I made myself a Christmas promise this year. So, I have been, still am, and will keep on making a really big effort not to let the seasonal eating (or offers of a glass or two of sherry!) overwhelm me and to keep my body moving - walking as much as the snow and ice will allow me to do. So far I seem to be doing reasonably well and went walking (OK, slithering) both yesterday morning and at lunchtime, and again today.
So far, so good and those lovely scales have settled back down under the milestone ten stone mark again. I have to say I am really, really pleased about that. In fact, I'm still dancing on air!
The small loss which puts me back to the right side of 'that mark' has been made a little easier by a cancelled weekend away asthe delightfully pretty, but not particularly helpful snowy weather rather got in the way of our travel plans! But, however disappointing, this meant we ate at home and I could control exactly what ended up on my plate - always a good move. Sadly, it means that the present shopping isn't done with yet and a mild but growing case of Yuletide panic is beginning to emerge.
I am now looking firmly forward to getting the annual festivities out of the way (ungrateful Scrooge-like mare that I am) and planning ahead to 2010 and getting back to salsacise and the gym. This is desperately needed to address some of the problems of the flabby belly and other bits! I really do need to firm things up a bit. Clothed, I look pretty reasonable for a fifty year old ex-fat lass, unclothed I rather remind myself of this...!
And yes, I know my belly won't ever go away completely and be smoothly flat. I won't ever look like those girls in bikini ads. Well, not without the intervention of a gowned man with a scalpel and, being a confirmed coward, I cannot contemplate that! It would be unrealistic of me to think it would as I've always had my share of the family protruding tummy. I remember being told it was 'puppy fat' when I was a teenager and my Dad used to affectionately call my Mum 'Pud' because she always had 'the tummy', however slim and elegant she was (and she was!).
On the positive side, I tried on a lovely deep red courduroy size ten (UK) skirt yesterday and it fitted me. It was cut for someone who did indeed sport a nice flat belly so was a bit too 'clingy' on the belly to wear and feel great (although the waistband wasn't tight), but trying a size ten was still a nice boost to my self esteem. Quite a Christmas present, in fact.
Good luck to all over this festive period. Hope Santa is kind and leaves those extra lbs out of the stocking!
14 December 2009
I've been doing a fair bit of thinking recently, about my long (often uphill) journey through the last couple of years from the original 'fat lass' to where I am right now. That, by the way, is a pound up from last week, so the scales are dead on the ten stone mark again. I'm not sweating this though, as last week was quite heavy on the celebration meals and I expected a little rise. However hard I tried to be as sensible as possible I still ate things I would normally avoid and more than I would eat usually. Still, ten stone is much more comfortable a place than sixteen stone used to be! Anyway, enough of that.
I know I've said something similar in the past, but it's high time I mentioned again how very grateful I have been to read comments from other bloggers which support or comfort me. And it's also been so amazingly helpful to stumble across little bits 'n bobs in other people's posts - people who are trying (and usually succeeding) to lose weight, or those who have been there, done it, got the tee-shirt and now wear a new one a size or two (or more!) smaller.
I'd say that, ninety nine times out of a hundred, these useful snippets don't take the form of 'you must do x, y or z and you'll lose lbs' but are throw-away comments which reveal what the writer happens to be doing and why they find it helpful.
Of course, I haven't tried out every single suggestion I've seen, but I have incorporated quite a few little hints and tips along the way into my plan for a new 'me'. Things like relatively insignificant (but still invaluable) ways to increase the amount exercise I do or healthy substitute foods to try out, to help to kill off the desire to nibble (or worse). Generally, these take the shape of good common sense ideas, but ones I hadn't ever thought of for myself.
The most valuable snippets, in some ways, have included the things which made me realise that my struggles are not unique. Showing me that I wasn't a complete oddball for what I was feeling or experiencing... just pretty normal really. These posts may have related incidents that made me think 'oh yeah, that's right', or things which helped to motivate (or re-motivate) me, or they may just have explained the everyday struggles the writer was going through which mirrored my own.
So I offer a heartfelt 'thank you' to all you unsung heroes out there who have helped me without ever knowing you were doing it, as well as to those of you who have sent me support via the comments. Thank you! And I send the biggest 'thanks' to my darling lovely hubby for putting up with every up and down along the way, and helping me more than he'll ever realise.
But I'd like to highlight one other thing, and it's something I've read many, many times in other people's posts but am only now finally beginning to understand properly and truly believe in. It's worth repeating.
...it is that WE each hold the power to change our lives, to embark upon, and stay on, the journey to reach where (and who) we really want to be. It is in each and every one of us. We are the only people who can truly shape our own lives and we are the ones in control of our destiny, whether that means success or failure. Others can help along the way, either directly or by offering up the sort of snippets I've been talking about, but only we can accept or decline that assistance and take action to make the changes we want to see.
I may be a bit dumb at times, but it took me a looong, long time (and many failed diets) to come to this acceptance. For a long time, a little part of me still wanted to blame someone, anyone, for the physical and emotional mess I had got into and it took quite some time for me to see that the 'someone' was only ever me. I've still not quite figured out why I was so unable/unwilling to take it on board. As I say, it took me a long time.
But I eventually 'got it' and took charge of my life making some decisions that, along with the snippets and help, initiated the changes I had to make to get where I am now. I don't regret it.
I recently read a short passage in 'The Secret Life of Bees' which really brought this acceptance of 'it's down to me' home once again.
A supporting character, August Boatwright, talks to Lily, the central character, about the power she can find in herself (in the book, she relates this to the Mary in Chains figure). August says 'You don't have to put your hand on Mary's heart to get strength and consolation and rescue, and all the other things you need to get through life... you can place it right here on your own heart. Your own heart.'
She goes on to say 'When you're unsure of yourself,... when you start pulling back into doubt, she's the one saying "Get up from there and live like the glorious girl you are." She's the power inside you, understand?'
So why not join me and tap into the power that's there inside yourself and make the changes you want to see in 2010? Who knows, if you do, it could be your best year ever.
09 December 2009
I've just looked back a year, to the short-, medium- and long-term goals I had set for myself at that point. Exactly one year ago today, on 9th December 2008, I wrote:
"the long-term goal? Well, we'll see, but if I could stretch to below 10 stone, that'd be amazing."
I'm really happy to see that the fat fairy granted my New Year's wish for 2009!
May everyone's desire for 2010 come true (and however much hard work it takes it is 'so' worth it).
Well, with Monday's dual Christmas extravaganza mealtime specials now over (phew!), it was... daytime good... evening not so good.
After a fairly sensible lunch, I didn't eat terribly badly at night either and didn't drink too much... unlike certain individuals, who were sporting rather sore heads the next day. My starter (smoked mackerel pate and watercress salad) and main course (baked fish & steamed veg) were fine. I left food on my plate for both these courses and managed to avoid a sweet, cream-filled pudding. So far, so good. Unfortunately, the Stilton on that cheese board tripped me up, she grins sheepishly. Thankfully, I didn't spread butter on the oatcakes to compound my sins!
But hey, if you believe in fate, or karma, or whatever, I got my cheese-laden comeuppance pretty fast. Indigestion meant I had a really rotten night with little sleep (there are some nights when I just love Rennies!). Even the following day I felt pretty uncomfortable in and around the vicinity of the belly, if you get my drift. It certainly felt like I overate (bloat, bloat), or ate the wrong stuff, which I guess is about right.
I took it easy on the food the next day and things seem to be back to normal today. The next meal out is Friday (and I've had to say a firm, if regretful, 'no' to lunch that day too!) so I need to stay focused. Think hard about what I'm going to eat at the event (pooh - can't decide beforehand with this one) and also for the rest of the week. Just as important is to keep myself as active as possible.
It isn't PC to say this, but I'm already getting just a wee bit tired of this whole festive season, and hate the feeling of obligation. Feeling 'obliged' to be cheery and sociable and go out to eat. I'd really prefer to be indoors in the warm, savouring a lovely hot bowl of lovely hubby's veggie soup and mutter 'bah, humbug' to myself.
Ah well. Once the season comes to an end I can breathe a sigh of relief and hang up my posh frock for a while.
One big positive. Walking is still going well with around 14,000 steps each day so far this week.
07 December 2009
This humble and well pummelled set of bathroom scales is my new best friend. Bleary eyed, and in a moment of madness at 5.30am a few days ago, I hopped onto them (after 'that' internal conversation about how I really shouldn't) and yipped with delight, then dragged lovely hubby into the bathroom to see what the fuss was about. I must admit, even at that time of the morning, he was pretty pleased too.
Yep, the needle was BELOW that 10 stone mark and... after a weekend of festivities, it still is! OK, it's only a little way below the line but it means I can put hand on heart and honestly say I'm 9 stone something. Picture me dancing and whooping and hanging coloured bunting out of the window.
I cannot even remember the last time my weight was in this category. Lovely hubby has never ever seen me at anything like this weight as I was quite a well-upholstered lass when we first met. I'm not sure he even knew I possessed bones! What I do remember is that it was a long while back, and will have happened in those brief glory days following yet another 'diet'. I also know that it wouldn't have lasted very long before I put the weight back on.
So, while I'm celebrating, and skipping around like a hyperactive kitten, at the back of my mind I'm holding firm to the idea that I still have to lose those remaining pounds and I will have to work hard to do it. That means keeping a firm grip on the food and the exercise, that vital pairing, as always. I still have several substantial 'seasonal meal' hurdles to overcome (including both a Christmas lunch and a Christmas dinner today!) and then the Christmas period itself.
But, the 'finishing line', that point I've shied away from committing myself to in writing, is now in sight. When (and that is indeed a 'when' not an 'if') I get down to my longed-for 60kg (that's around 9 stone 7lbs) I will, in all probability, call a halt to the weight 'loss' part of my journey and focus on the task of staying there. Watch out for me, maintenance, cos here I come.
Assuming I don't completely forget those hard-learned lessons I've been working on for the last two and a half years, and keep to a sensible eating plan to keep the flubber off (which I plan to!), my next goal will be to concentrate on toning this new-found body. Next year will see this fat lass refining the exercise plan, adding in more weights work to make this carcass look as good as fifty years of life and the ravages of years of misuse will allow. Right now I remind myself of a Shar Pei puppy when I undress so I shan't be modelling next season's bikinis!
I've already signed up for another term of salsacise and, although prior to Christmas is not looking likely, January 2010 will definitely see an earnest return to the gym for this fat lass.
Christmas meal no. 1 for today has just gone well. Chose the healthiest thing on the menu, which was a chargrilled vegetable wrap, with loads of peppers and onions but no mayo, dressing or other rubbish. I left 99% of the heap of string-fries which came with it. It was delicious. That, with a glass of fruit juice, was lunch. What's more, no-one batted an eyelid at my un-festive choice. Have walked some 11,500 steps so far today and plan to walk more before the day is done.
04 December 2009
Well, it has been a pretty hectic week but I didn't realise what the benefits of this were until I sat down with a calculator.
I've tried each day to do a longer walk to work by getting off my bus a few stops early. This is partly for the exercise and partly to clear my head before another busy, problem-filled day. It works out to be about half as long again as my usual walk but, unfortunately, it can't be a permanent arrangement as I can only do it when traffic is light and we get here reasonably early. It's also been a very active week at work. Much more so that is the norm and I haven't been near my desk much at all.
The results of this are:
Monday - 11,056 steps (5.5 miles)
Tuesday - 15,218 steps (7.6 miles)
Wednesday - 16,603 steps (8.3 miles)
Thursday - 18,297 steps (9.1 miles)
Friday - so far, 5795 steps (2.9 miles) and it's not yet 10 o'clock
So, over thirty miles since the week began and it ain't over yet. This is in addition to salsacise and the rowing in the mornings and I must admit I'm delighted with this as it can't help but assist in counteracting any mince pies etc. I happen encounter (although this hasn't happened yet), and may even help me lose a pound or so.
2009 may have had it's difficulties (and quite a few of them) but it is shaping up to end on a good note. Here's to a fabulous 2010!
01 December 2009
Today is one, but hey, what do I mean by that exactly - what have I eaten, what do I plan to eat, and how much exercise am I taking?
Let's kick off with the exercise, which isn't the best today, but is:
Rowing - today's stint was pretty poor at only six minutes but we lingered in a snuggly warm bed so I was running a little late. It's usually at least ten or fifteen minutes. Back to being motivated tomorrow.
Back & knee exercises from the physio - today was 60 clams with tummy muscles firmly engaged to strengthen my core, but no other exercises (bad girl). Same excuse as above.
Walking - so far today I've clocked up just about 12,000 steps and the afternoon is barely halfway through. I hope to add a good three or maybe four thousand more by the end of the day. That's pretty good so far.
But, there's bad news... I still haven't been to the gym, so the weights work is going nowhere right now!
Food (and drink) has been fine so far. In fact, I could probably do with upping the quantity a little when I reach my eventual traget, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. So far, today has seen me eat the following:
Breakfast was one small bowl of porridge (made with unsweetened, light soya milk), several cups of black tea (no milk). You are going to think I'm really eccentric... but my morning porridge is eaten from a bowl identical to this one, with a horn spoon topped with a Scottish thistle. For some reason this makes it taste super good!
During the morning I had a mug of tea and ate two small satsumas and a small handful (c.10 or 12) Shredded Wheat minis (with honey & nuts). Looked longingly at the fruit scones but decided that I'd leave it for another day.
Lunch has been sweet potato and leek soup (home-made by lovely hubby) and a Pink Lady apple. The soup was delicious and just what I needed after a very chilly walk.
Oh yes, nearly forgot... this afternoon just wouldn't have been such fun without another lovely mug of tea and two Malaco salty liquorice 'Swedish Fish' which I seem to have become addicted to! That's salt but not sodium, by the way (look it up on the link), and they taste even better than a choccy bar.
So far, I've emptied my 1.5 litre water bottle once and am halfway down bottle number two.
Dinner I'm not sure about yet but, knowing my lovely hubby, it will probably heavily favour the vegetables as we have a fridge full of plant life right now. Whatever we have, it is likely to be finished off with a little bowl of low fat yoghurt and fruit.
Yeah, I know. There are things I could do to improve. But I still think this is a pretty good day.
30 November 2009
I am delighted to report that all that planning ahead and positive thinking worked for me on Friday evening. I went out for my seasonal meal with my ex-work colleagues, had one white wine and soda, stuck with the menu choices I'd made beforehand and didn't clear my plate for any of the courses. In other words... I was a good fat lass.
There was a very funny incident at the start though. One of the ladies hasn't seen me for quite a while and, very unlike me, I was a little late getting to the Italian restaurant. She happened to be facing me as I walked in so I smiled and waved hello as I walked through the restaurant towards her. She totally ignored me, then looked behind her to see who I was waving to. When I sat down next to her she did a double-take and said "I wondered why that skinny woman was waving - I didn't know it was you". Made my night!
The rest of the weekend went well and, although any type of formal exercise was put 'on hold' as I went to my mother's (does housework count?), I ate sensibly and am happy with that. The scales are too and I'm currently a step closer to my next milestone. It's salsacise tonight and then my lovely hubby's soup! Perfect, particularly as the weather is forecast to change away from rain and get really chilly from this evening.
27 November 2009
Well, by the time the day was over, I'd walked 16600 steps - that's c.8.3 miles according to the ped. Huh? I know it was a hectic day, but honestly! Can this be right? My legs don't feel like I've walked that far and I'm sure I'd have noticed. C'mon all you boffins out there - tell me where I'm going wrong.
26 November 2009
Reading Steve's recent posts about the miles he has been walking each day made me a tad curious about the distances I clock up. I walk every day, but don't really think of it as a big deal, more that 'every little helps'. Let me start by saying that I've only got a cheap and cheerful pedometer (which I wear each day) but have set the step length, sensitivity and anything else I can set to make it as accurate as possible.
When I did the conversion (a neat little button on the pedometer does this for me, although I've never bothered to look until now) I thought it must be wildly off the wall as it tells me that for my 15000 steps yesterday I walked somewhere in the region of seven and a half miles. I found this absolutely astonishing - way more that I'd expected. I wasn't going to believe it at all and was grumbling at my poor little cheapo ped! But, I decided to check around and was pretty surprised to find that WikiAnswers seems to confirm my pedometer's estimate.
Yesterday was a particularly good day - my daily average is somewhere in the region of 12000 to 14000 steps. But that still means that, even revising the calculations down a bit to take account of shorter steps going up and down stairs and the like, I must walking between five and six miles a day.
That makes me feel good - no, more like really good. I did a longer walk on my way to work this morning and plan to be off again at lunchtime. So far today the ped tells me I've walked nearly four miles. Let's really go for it and see what I can do.
OMG, what a day! Didn't manage get out for a walk at lunchtime (pooh!) as things have been so hectic. Eating my lunch (tuna salad) was challenge enough - I've never taken three hours to polish off one small lunchbox before! The good news? I have whizzed around so much at work today that I've still clocked up 13500 steps... and this day isn't over yet.
25 November 2009
Things are going reasonably well at the moment. I've had a few good days on the trot and feel quietly confident about my next meal out, at an Italian restaurant, on Friday. I promise myself that I really WILL stick to one tall glass of white wine and soda.
I've carefully perused the menu (isn't the web a wonderful thing!) and picked out my 'good as can be' choices ahead of time to give myself a fighting chance. Not an easy task, being sensible, as the menu has cream-based sauces and cheese everywhere I look.
But, I've chosen:
Tomato & Onion Salad - to start (sounds problem free - cross fingers)
Spaghetti Puttanesca - for a main course. I can leave a good deal of the pasta and the 'wet stuff' is mushrooms, peppers and anchovies in a spicy Napolitana sauce, which appears to be mostly tomato and herb (it's usually made with oil so it won't be fantastically 'good' but at least there's no cream in sight... and no cheese either!).
I've been walking as much as I can fit in and rowing each morning. My times are getting longer... slowly and I'm beginning to enjoy it more again. I feel more in control for doing so (even though I grumble when the alarm goes off and I have to drag my butt out of a warm, cosy bed and onto the rower).
I'm drinking lots of water and hitting the fresh stuff as much as I can. Plenty of fruit (satsumas are great at the moment) and vegetables, including the delicious kale.
It's veggie soup for dinner tonight, with home-made wholemeal bread.
That brings me to another thing - I am so, so lucky. My darling lovely hubby is helping me to choose good, sensible food by filling the fridge with tempting healthy treats (peppered smoked mackerel and nectacots amongst them) and cooking up some wonderfully healthy dishes. This makes it so very much easier for the fat lass - he deserves a medal!
The scales are drifting gently to the 'yippee' side of that 65kg mark, so if I keep up the good work it shouldn't be too much longer before I reach that 63kg milestone when I can say to myself that I'm nine stone something. What a day that will be!
24 November 2009
It's been a wonderful weekend. Lovely hubby and I went away for a special event and had a great time which has given us lots of wonderful memories to treasure. The only little bit of a problem was... the food.
So what happened? Well, Friday night saw another unscheduled appearance by Mother Nature and the 'want food and want it now' horrors hit me with a vengance. I had foolishly thought that my hormone-triggered nasties would die back at some stage in life. Hmmm, looks like I was wrong.
Still, I managed to sidestep the siren call of chocolate despite having won a charity raffle prize at work which was (oh yes, you've guessed it!) a blasted box of chocolates! The box duly made it home unopened, then went straight into the 'Christmas hamper' we're making up, to be won in a raffle by somebody else. Feel proud of me. I do!
All went well until Saturday afternoon. It was cold, wet and the place we'd stopped to visit was really, really busy with soggy, bad-tempered Christmas shoppers. Mother Nature really had her knives into me at this point and I wasn't feeling too happy. We needed something hot to eat (because of our special event we didn't have time for a hot meal later in the day), but so many places were chock-full the choice was limited. We looked longingly at a busy carvery but ended up in a pub selling, and I quote, 'home cooked meals'. They had a beef stew cooked in ale on the menu, which sounded great. Good healthy stuff and nothing fried. We should have known it was too good to be true.
It takes real talent to cook something utterly devoid of even a modicum of flavour but somehow, despite the visual evidence of onions and carrots in the 'gravy', these guys managed it! The stew was appallingly bad. OK, there was plenty of meat (which could possibly have been beef), and it was hot, but it tasted of nothing, zero, zilch. The carrots were hard (er, when the meat was obviously cooked - how?) and there were two tiny chunks of carrot each, not even amounting to one complete carrot. As to the ale gravy? Well it didn't taste anything like ale... or much like anything at all for that matter. To cap it all, it was served (read slopped up here) in a shallow gratin dish, on a plate with a tablespoon-sized dollop of lumpy mashed potato alongside it, sqodged up against the outside of the gratin dish.
We should have got up and walked away. But, having paid for it already and trogged around town looking for somewhere with room for us, couldn't face another fruitless search so bit the bullet and ate the stuff... liberally dosed with pepper to give it flavour. Thankfully the portions were meagre, so I guess there is one silver lining. We were both truly dissatisfied.
Worse, I'd chosen an alcohol-free beer (thinking I was being 'good'). Oh Lord! Never, ever even think about trying Becks alcohol-free again - it is horrible, with a really bitter, unpleasant undertaste. Why, when Kaliber is actually malty and nice? I cannot abide Coke, fizzy pops and the like, but even one of those would have been preferable.
This catalogue of disasters is what tripped me up. We stopped somewhere else later in the afternoon for a cup of coffee and, being dissatisfied, I ate a cake. OK, you may be thinking that isn't too bad. No, it was naughty, but not dreadful. What was dreadful was that after our special event we stopped for a proper pint on our way home. I really should not have done this as tired, hormonal, hungry, and still dissatisfied with the days meals we then stopped off for take-away pizza.
I cannot remember the last time I ate pizza, but I still lovingly recall the pizzas I had in Italy. Delicate things they were, with thin crispy bases and vegetables and a significant lack of grease. This one wasn't like that at all. It was huge (although I'd picked their smallest size), with a thick 'thin-crust' base and was covered (no, smothered!) in a thick layer of pale yellow, greasy melted cheese. But, there it was in front of me and I was hungry (and had drunk beer!) so I started in on it. Didn't get too far, I'm glad to say, and the lion's share of it went in the bin... but too late as far as I'm concerned.
I feel really disgusted with myself for ignoring all the plans I'd sooo carefully drawn up. There are some excuses along the way in this ramble, but they don't hold much water, do they. I know what I need to do, but didn't act on logic - just let emotions and desires get the better of me. This simply will not do!
Thankfully, this has been a relatively temporary loss of all reason. If you plotted the 'good' versus 'bad' from the last few days it would look like a cross-section of the Alps! Sunday was a much better day (including just having fruit for lunch), and Monday was good too, with a healthy mixed bean salad for lunch and a large helping of gorgeous steamed kale with some minced beef stew for dinner (which tasted wonderful because my lovely hubby cooked it). Today is going pretty well to plan too and there's a crunchy salad lunch to look forward to and more wonderful kale tonight!
The scales had twitched upwards a bit yesterday but are back down again this morning. I do want to see more of a loss, and get below 10 stone (pretty please), but the exercise will help me with that. Rowing and walking each morning and salsacise last night. Out to walk at lunchtime too.
Lessons to learn:
- stay focused and positive (you can do it - remember, you resisted that chocolate)
- keep a note of your plan in your handbag and re-read it... often!
- don't choose what to eat when tired, annoyed or hungry
- don't wait until you've had alcohol before you pick your food
- keep moving (it may be your only saving grace!)
19 November 2009
I must confess I'm not in a great frame of mind at the moment. My motivation has seriously flagged and I'm permanently tired. Tired of thinking about every darned thing I eat, tired of portion control, tired of making an effort every day, tired of feeling stuck, tired of hitting obstacle after obstacle. Also bodily tired so that exercise seems a big chore, not a pleasure - even my walks. OK, yeah, I know, I'm still recovering from the blasted bugs 'n drugs (antibiotics are wonderful things... mostly!) but things just do not feel positive and rosy right now.
So, when I looked at our social diary a couple of nights ago my heart sank. In the remaining weeks before we even reach the big day I am booked to eat meals away from home, mosty of the 'festive' variety, on no less than five occasions!
My first thoughts went something along the lines of "What the hell? Oh dammit, that's me sunk, then!". I started off thinking I could never lose weight in the next few weeks and even keeping to my present weight, without a significant gain, would be one heck of a challenge. I was especially unhappy with this having only just clawed my way back down to my pre-holiday weight of 65kg. My enthusiasm for the next few weeks is not exactly high.
But, when I stopped hyperventilating and saying 'poor me', and let a teensy bit of logic creep into my internal conversation, I decided it was time for a plan. With a plan, I stand a chance. Without one? Yep - I'm sunk!
Stage one is to address the alcohol issue. For this, minimalism is the only way to go. Avoiding alcoholic drinks altogether is rather unrealistic in the run up to Chrismas, so let's adjust my expectations. Ask for nice fresh jugs of water at every possible occasion and restraint, restraint, restraint with the booze. My plan is to allow myself one drink on each occasion and muster the willpower to say no to a second. A small dry white wine and soda isn't too bad, considering the alternatives, and I like it. It's a long drink that can be made to last, so stick to that and avoid more. That means a smile and a firm 'no' to the offer of 'just a small top-up', no matter how persistent the person with the bottle. Given my patience at the moment, restraint may also mean not telling that person to *** off!
For those restaurant meals where I have to choose my food ahead of time, yes it's going to be several courses, but at least it's 'relatively' simple to handle, provided I make sensible decisons up front. Choose the healthiest things on the menu while I'm in a good frame of mind and tell the organisers my choices there and then. Then I'm committed and only (only!) have to restrain my piggish tendencies when the portions, and that blasted bread basket, are presented to me on the night. A small, healthy snack a little while before the meal will help with this (see below).
For those restaurant meals where I'm put right on the spot to choose from the menu when we sit at the table things get a wee bit more tricky. Eating an apple half an hour beforehand will help, so I'm not faced with a menu filled with tempting treats when I'm ravenous. I need to think calmly and clearly and not be rushed into making a bad choice. That means thinking carefully about what is likely to go into the dishes on offer and focus in on which ones are definitely 'bad news'. Avoid those at all costs and look out for grilled or baked and 'dry' dishes with no or minimal sauces. If choices are limited and the only possible 'something' has a sauce - ask for it on the side.
For the potential minefield of 'at home with...' meals, make 'portion control' my mantra. Keep that apple handy beforehand. Eat the veggies aplenty to fill up with (quick note to hosts - please don't slather vegetables in butter!). If I can serve myself, take small amounts and spread them across my plate to look as though I have taken a good helping. If I'm served, stress how much I enjoy vegetables and how delicious the veg looks - even if it's actually sad and overcooked.
The buffets are probably going to be my biggest challenge but even they can be managed with a little good sense. Crudites are great without the mayo-laden dips which I hate in any case. The usual leafy decoration can be good too, and fills holes on the plate. Tartlets (or anything with pastry, cheese and butter) and deep-fried nibbles are to be steered well clear of, but some cold sliced meats can make a plate look nicely laden without too many down-sides. Easy on the nuts and crisps, girl!
At this time of year I thank my lucky stars that I'm not as keen as some of my friends are on the gooey, sticky and often cream-doused pies, puddings and cakes which loom as traps for the weight conscious. Cheeses and chocolates are another matter but moderation 'should' allow me to get to January without turning into the Goodyear blimp!
And remember - there may be the aforementioned meal 'hurdles' to overcome before Christmas, but there are lots of days in between to practice 'fruit only' days or Steve's semi-fasting (thanks Steve - I'm forever in your debt for this). And the potential for taking exercise should not affected by the meals - all are evening events so I have the whole rest of each day to keep my flabby ass moving. C'mon fat lass - stick with the plan and this New Year could be a time to dance with joy, not cringe in embarrassment.
09 November 2009
What the...? Ah well, my 'fat' versus 'water retention' theory has been shot down in flames. Those couple of pounds I gained on holiday are real, I'm afraid. My scales confirmed that for me this morning and I am indeed sitting at 66kg. Somewhere deep inside me I guess that I knew that was the case but I just wanted it not to be so.
That brings me nicely to the point of today's ramble. How we hope for something to be true, then construct a completely fictional 'story' for ourselves to justify our desires and go on to use our tale to turn the hopes into firm beliefs. Or rather, because I can't speak for other people - even if I am guessing this isn't unique to me, how often I have done this to myself over the years.
Oh boy, I did this so much when I lumbered about in my fat suit. I didn't want my size (no, be honest girl - my excessive weight, or the put it another way, my fat) to be all my own fault so told myself all the comforting fictions I could dream up to justify why I was so big. Fictions along the lines of my having a 'slow metabolism', or maybe an 'undiagnosed glandular problem'. Or comfort tales that I 'carried it well' so it was OK, and I was 'meant to be' a heavier person and it was just 'my build'. Stories like I didn't overeat (yeah, right!) and what I ate was pretty healthy (oh, really?) and it was just plain unfortunate that diets 'didn't work' for me.
It took a long, long time for me to truly 'get it' and really see that this was utter codswallop, hogwash and, not to put too fine a point on it, lies! My fictions did me no good, in fact quite the opposite. All the time I told myself these tales, I was continuing to gain more weight, trashing my confidence and my health into the bargain. I didn't (couldn't?) see that the life I was leading was not making progress but I was, in effect, just marking time... wasting time and my life, really. So, when I woke up I made the changes I've been writing about for the last couple of years and stopped with the tales... or so I'd thought.
What worries me, and I am only just coming to realise this (which concerns me quite a lot), is that I am still doing it, albeit from a slightly different place. I was all too eager to pounce on a comforting story to explain away my small holiday gain. So I did just that, and told myself some lies again. That is not taking responsibility for my actions and it will not help me.
To quote just a few rather pertinent words from a song from the late, great 'Ole Blue Eyes' (and showing my grey hair here) I need to get back to understanding that when Frank sings...
"Don't you know little fool, you never can win Why not use your mentality, step up, wake up to reality"
...he is dead right!
Picture me wearing my dunces cap! Back to the drawing board for this fat lass.
05 November 2009
Wow! What a fantastic, wonderful, fabulous, brilliant and incredible break - a happy holiday indeed, with my lovely hubby by my side. Yippee!
We both had brilliant birthdays (50th and 60th) and an amazing anniversary... and that all fun happened on a single day :-)
I have to say, being 50 is not even a tiny cloud on my horizon. Pooh to those people who say it's all downhill from here. That's just not the case at all - here's to a great next decade!
We had a wonderful time - only slightly marred by both of us coming down with the lurgy the day before we flew. A couple of days soon put us right (apart from a persistent cough - grrr!) and even the rain and extremely cooooold wind (brrr!) after the first few days of sunshine didn't slow us down any. We just went out and bought woolly hats and wore sweaters.
We walked loads, which was absolutely great, and saw so much - even dolphins, on our last but one day, which was very, very special. We ate really well, and mostly healthily, (ooooh, I can still almost taste that heavenly fish!) and visited multiple marvellous museums full of delights!
What's more, I came back home carrying only a small amount of 'excess baggage' too. Just one extra kilo, to be precise, which seems amazing to me and I'm very happy indeed with that. I've decided I'll soon get shot of it - are you listening, fat cells?
Actually, having read Cranky Fitness today, I wouldn't mind betting some of that could be water retention as well, because of the increased salt in the foods we ate. Now I'm back to my much-loved fresh fruit and veggies we'll see in a few days time, eh?
Now to get back to the exercise. Let's see what the fat lass can accomplish before the end of 2009.
21 October 2009
... and without so much as a note from my mum!
For the next couple of weeks, the fat lass will be sporting designer shades and sunning herself on a yacht moored just off the Côte d'Azur.... a tall, cool, pool-side campari and soda in hand and one high-heeled, strappy gold sandal dangling nochalantly from her perfectly manicured toes.
OK, the reality is marginally less 'rock star' and just a tad more prosaic, but I will be away for a well deserved break and having lots of fun... in hiking boots!
- be mindful of the food I choose, but not be too restrictive
- walk as much as possible
- set aside a little chunk of time each morning for physio exercises
- relax my mind and think positive thoughts
- share time, love and happiness with my lovely hubby
If I gain a couple of pounds (or kilos!) I'll sigh, accept it and get busy and focused to take them off again on my return.
19 October 2009
Yippee! The fat lass seems to have her house back in order. Long may it last.
Planned and prepared a three course home-cooked celebration meal for lovely hubby on Saturday night (a tad early for our anniversary but I won't be able to do it while we are away). Although it was to be a major treat, I figured out (ahead of time) as many ways as possible to keep the fats, salt, sugar and calories lowish while getting some good healthy fresh stuff in there.
For those of you who'd like all the gory details it was seared scallops with smoked chilli 'cream' to start, home-made seafood paella for the main course, and a nice light raspberry juice and white wine jelly for dessert, again made from scratch. I bought a couple of pretty tall glasses from a charity shop to serve this in and am very, very proud of myself over this bit, which looked beautiful.
Whilst it didn't end up as an entirely non-indulgent meal (seafood = cholesterol, amongst other 'confessions'), what a wonderful boon the 'alternative' products on offer in the supermarket are for us 'health' or 'waistline' minded folks! Never mind a heavy, fat-filled, buttery, cream-based sauce for the scallops or to make the topping for the jelly - I could make something which looked sinfully indulgent but was actually pretty healthy and still tasted great.
All in all, I used just a fraction of the butter/olive oil my recipes suggested (a small rant coming up - who the heck writes those things? You do NOT need 4 fluid ounces of olive oil to cook a paella for heaven's sake!). I made good use of Splenda instead of sugar (adding some rosewater for a really decadent flavour), cut down (or out) as much salt as humanly possible (adding garlic or lime zest where needed for extra flavour), and went for fat-free fromage frais instead of double cream (OK, it's actually only 'virtually' fat-free but you get the point).
Knowing we'd be indulging in larger than normal portions in the evening (and including a bottle of bubbly into the equation!) I ate very sparingly during the day on Saturday and walked as much as possible... going in and out of town four times instead of just once, to do my shopping in little bits. Then, having indulged on Saturday night, I kept things very light yesterday and we walked for about two or three hours again. I had the ubiquitous washing and ironing to do too, so listened to music and danced around while I did it. It becomes, rather surprisingly, quite fun when you do it to a great beat. Just as well the neighbours can't hear me singing though!
All this activity means that there has been no increase in weight over the weekend, depsite the treat, and the scales have settled down happily onto the 65kg mark. That's a nice feeling and seems like a good point to get to before we set off on our holiday. Lovely hubby says I've developed hip-bones and that the belly is looking a bit smaller too (though I can't see a decrease) which is a nice thing to hear. It'll be interesting to see where I am when we get back.
It's Salsacise tonight again, and I plan another walk in my lunch break. I've brought in a nice healthy bean salad and 'light' cottage cheese to munch sometime today, alopng with my usual fruit, and it'll be 'whatever veg is left in the fridge' soup tonight (and tomorrow, probably).
16 October 2009
Well, I can't quite report a complete mental overhaul... yet, but some progress has been made and there's at least a glimmer of light on the horizon. Phew.
Exercise is still not going fantastically well, but I am making a bit more effort and have hit the road in my lunch breaks to walk, walk, walk away those blues. When no-one is looking I've been practising my salsa moves too [grin]. I am looking forward to doing a lot of walking while we are away on holiday and both lovely hubby and I vow to hit the gym regularly on our return.
I'm beginning to feel more like 'me' again. To be honest, I was quite scared I was losing it again and I'd start putting back the lbs I've worked so hard to shed. I really do not want that to happen - ever again! But, I seem to have got the worst of that awful 'want it - eat it' period under my control, thank heavens, so feel I'm slowly getting back on track. Support from those of you who know firsthand about these periods of struggling has been invaluable. Thanks guys!
Hmmm, I wonder if fighting the bug has been part of my problem. Just in case, I'm working on getting all the vitamins I can from fruit and veggies and going for 'good' oils and sources of protein (especially from fish) where I can. I'm writing this with a bowl of apples, grapes and satsumas by my side.
The little bit of motivation I've managed to muster is having a positive effect and the needle on my scales has dipped below the 66kg and is hovering just a teensy bit above the 65kg mark. This puts me at somewhere around 10 stone 4 lbs and a wee bit closer to breaking my next big barrier. That, of course, is to drop down to 9 stone something and I am quite certain I can do it in time. The key is to get myself moving and keep at it!
Diane (Fit to the Finish) recently wrote about a moment which had her waking her husband early in the morning to celebrate reaching a long dreamed of target. I think breaking this next barrier could just be one of those moments for me.
13 October 2009
That goes pretty much equally for mood, attitude, motivation, food choices, exercise and... of course... the weight!
Hmmm, my last post about my experiences at the surgery wasn't all that positive, was it. Funny, you wouldn't think one small episode (and hardly a very important one in the great scheme of things) could shift my attitude to so far down in the dumps that I am fighting a constant uphilll battle to get out again... but it seems to have done just that.
So, about a week on from the last time I wrote anything at all I'm not happy to say I'm still struggling - a lot. Although I have been trying to kick myself in the pants (not easy, I find you need to be a contortionist!) and get back to doing my best, the results have been a bit mixed to say the least.
My mood has vacillated between one stinking swamp and another, with just brief moments of the positive 'me' in there somewhere. Seems like I just about manage to haul myself out of one morass and clean up my act when along comes another thing, usually fairly minor, to tip me back into another patch of muddy, sticky, mental quicksand.
Exercise has been a similarly fluctuating story. I'm loving the salsacise class (last night was a lot of fun), but that gotcha blood-circulating 'high' isn't staying with me and I haven't been anywhere near the gym - no matter how many times I've planned it. Thank goodness I'm still walking, albeit a little reluctantly, but the rowing has completely slipped. I'm doing my 'clams' but not the other physio stuff I should be.
What the heck is wrong with me? Aside from being a real moaning minnie, that is.
It's no excuse but I'm almost always tired lately (really think I need our fast-approaching holiday!) and I seem to be fighting a slight cold. Not enough to say I feel ill, but mildly headachy and a little bit sniffy - enough to describe myself as feeling under the weather. Shame it hasn't put me off my food.
In fact, rather unusually for me, I'm feeling hungry (make that ravenous) an awful lot of the time and my standby of fresh fruit isn't satisfying me like it normally does. Hide those carbs, there's a starving fat lass about! As hard as I work at being good on the food front, along keeps coming another 'little treat' to trip me up. Whoa - where did my willpower go? If anyone has seen it, please send it on home.
07 October 2009
It's such a relief to be able to vent my feelings here. But a warning - anyone of a delicate disposition, navigate away now. The fat lass is going to rant.
It has been a trying day, up to now. Mother Nature has returned to haunt me (after rather a long absence), bless her, and the grumps have arrived in force along with the cramps. In fact, they showed up yesterday but I didn't cotton on. Little things I usually let sail by I've snapped at. Irritations which normally just, er, irritate me have sent me into a none too pretty temper tantrum. Put it down to the hormones.
Hmmm, as that subject has come up... with the way all things 'female' have been going over the last six to eight months, I went to visit my doctor earlier in the week about planning for the menopause. I'm sorry to say I was decidedly unimpressed.
I asked the doctor what to expect. Huh! I know no more now than I did beforehand. Ifs, buts and maybes were all I managed to walk away with. Seriously, every woman in the world goes through this - is it that woolly a subject?
I asked about HRT. Huh! I endured a semi-lecture about the increased risks of this and that, but concentrating on heart disease, stroke and DVT. I know it's important but c'mon, surely the increased risk of these when I was so overweight should have triggered this pep talk, not the vague prospect of maybe, possibly considering HRT?
So is the start of the menopause what's actually going on with my body? Huh! I still don't know, since the doc couldn't say, and only a blood test will confirm it.
So have I had said blood test? Like hell I have - the doc (and I quote) 'can't' do it and I have to make another appointment for a smidge-idgen of my blood to be sucked out by the 'qualified' nurse/phlebotomist. So doctors aren't qualified, eh? Why do they spend all those years as students?
Oh yes, another thing - I can only have this blood test in the morning (of course, I went to see the doc in the afternoon!), which means taking more time off work. Is it just me, or is this crazy? I've been growling ever since.
You may have noticed that I've been doing exactly the wrong thing and dwelling on all this. A tip to remember - this does not help. Not one bit.
After reacting poorly to a particularly stoopid incident this morning I went out for a bad tempered stomp at lunch. Actually, that was a good move and it served me well. My mood lightened sufficiently to recognise that I was behaving like a spoilt brat. Worse, I was in serious danger of losing my head to a bad food choice (anything at hand... and lots of it!) and then my black dog would have descended on me without a doubt.
"No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself" - Thomas Mann
OK then, time for a shift in today's version of 'reality'. The sky may be grey and tearful, but the fat lass is NOT going to be. There are good things to think about so that's what I'm going to concentrate on.
What's more, snce a good walk in the rain and fresh air helped earlier, learn the lesson and do it again after work. The worst that can happen is I get wet. So what! The best WILL happen and that includes getting a little more exercise, building up some positives and taking a different 'me' home.
06 October 2009
Well, I wasn't wrong - it certainly got the fat lass moving. This morning my shoulders are telling me they've worked and a few other bits are creaky but, amazingly, I'm not hobbling about like a pensioner as I'd half expected. It was FUN!
We were an unpretentious bunch, all ladies of a certain age and none of us (bar our young, fit, and very svelte instructor) could in any way be described as slender. There was a whole lot of flab strutting it's stuff in the dance studio last night and it was wonderful to see. Better still, there wasn't an ounce of dayglo Lycra in sight; we all turned up in ratty old jogging bottoms which had seen better days so I felt right at home.
Like almost everyone else, I left my class a delicate shade of lobster, dripping with sweat and completely exhausted after an hour of complex and exhilarating moves to some fantastic music. I'm still struggling to see the finer points of a forward salsa and a mambo move, even now. After one session I've come to the conclusion that, not only do I have two left feet but I have two left arms as well and neither set of limbs can function if the other is being asked to perform. In other words, co-ordination probably isn't my greatest strength.
Having said that, I probably used up more calories killing myself laughing at my own misadventures than I used for the dance moves. If everyone else went left, somehow I ended up going right! One lady obviously 'got it' so I ended up following her rather than trying to translate what the instructor was doing (while facing me) into which bits of the fat lass should be moving in what direction. I haven't had such a fun-filled, hilarious hour in ages and I'll definitely go back for more next week.
Maybe this is the motivation I need to get the exercise kick-started again in earnest.
05 October 2009
I'm none too impressed and I feel like I've shot myself in the foot again. My last post ended "Get walking, onto the rower, and plan for the gym tomorrow."
So what have I done, exactly? Well, some of it - I have walked. Quite a bit actually, and food over the last few days has been reasonable, but that alone just isn't enough. It's what I haven't done that's made the difference. A lack of motivation and commitment to keeping moving (with no gym visit and no rower - lazy fat lass!) is the reason I faced the dietician at the same weight as I was last week, 66kg (actually her scales reported 65.5kg but let's not split hairs).
Yeah, OK, I know, its not all that bad... and she was still happy, and I don't need to see her again so I should be too. But it isn't good either. I could have tried harder and done better. I'm rather fed up with myself that my brave words didn't translate into action. In my opinion I still have a fair chunk fat to shift (especially around that belly), I still have a variety of bits 'n bobs that are in dire need of toning up and I still need some muscle building in strategic areas. So instead of getting on with it I messed up a perfectly good opportunity. Pooh!
On a positive note, my Salsacise class begins tonight so that'll get the flabby bottom moving - just made myself remember that someone, when I mentioned the class said "oooh, you're going to get buns of steel!" which made me giggle. Then it's off to the Positive Thinking class to try and shift my head and my thinking into a better, more efficient place... then it's down to trying hard again in the couple of weeks before we go on holiday. No pain, no gain.
01 October 2009
Yesterday was a day of both. Oh? How can that be? I can almost hear some of you guys asking. Well, it was a case of thinking long and hard about 'what can I do to stay on track', knowing we were booked to go out for a three-course celebration lunch which threatened to derail me... again.
The day began with a very small, healthy breakfast. All the rules say don't skip breakfast, so I didn't. But I did keep it to a minimum. Then the fasting started in earnest about 2pm because of the wonderfully expansive meal that lovely hubby and I sat down to at midday. Last night, even though my stomach decided it might like a little something, pretty please, I restrained myself and hit the water instead. Lots of water - cold, hot and sort of warmish. After the fabulous food we'd eaten I definitely needed to steer clear of anything which would add to the calorie load I'd taken on board and give my body a good chance to get on and process the delicious food I'd eaten. I would list the gorgeous details, but I'd only drool over the keyboard!
So far today it's been lots of water and only a very small amount to eat, for similar reasons. All good, fresh foods too - a little oatmeal, fruit and veggies. Maybe I'll relax this rigid stance a bit this evening, but I will not go overboard. No way!
Yes, I've wanted to stay on track, as ever, but this time it is even more important to me than usual. You see, I have a chance to say goodbye to the dietician I've visited for the last two years... but only if I can demonstrate that I've reached a point with my weight loss where my BMI has fallen into the 'normal' bracket.
That was the case on Monday just gone, and it is still hanging in there today (but only just). I see her in a few short days and, although I am just about squeaking in there at the moment, I would really like to shed just one teensy pound more before the start of next week to make the calculations sit nice and neatly in the desired band.
So, I've just said a polite but firm 'no' to an offered hunk of chocolate marble cake and it's jog (not walk) up and down the stairs at every opportunity today. Get walking, onto the rower, and plan for the gym tomorrow.
28 September 2009
...in more than one sense.
Yep, it's back to normal. The fat lass is back after a few fabulous days in the warm autumn sunshine with her lovely hubby and her beloved Mum.
The first 'back to normal' is that lovely hubby and I have finally stopped shaking. We had a rather too close for comfort incident on our drive home when a large deer (well it looked pretty darned big to me!) bounded out of a hedgerow just in front of us. Lovely hubby is my hero as he took avoiding action (if he'd just braked we'd have hit the thing and been hit from behind by the car very close behind us looking to overtake). His good sense got us, the deer and the other driver safely away from this somewhat unanticipated problem. His ROSPA training obviously kicked in when it was needed - he really should have been given the Gold award, in my opinion, even though the Silver is great. I wonder if the deer has stopped shaking yet?
Aside from that scary incident, what a wonderful weekend it has been. On Saturday we sat by the sea and nibbled naughty but freshly-fried fish & chips, thoroughly enjoying every morsel (although Mum and I did share a portion of chips and couldn't finish more than half). As we sat, we watched the world pass us by, all enjoying the unexpectedly clement weather as much as we were to judge by the smiling faces.
I did some cooking for us too, which is quite a treat these days as lovely hubby is my main man in the kitchen. I do miss being 'domestic' at times so I made the most of my opportunity with grilled lamb chops and pasta with red pepper sauce (which Mum loved), and a very healthy vegetable, sprouting bean and prawn stir fry (which I loved). Hmmm, I can see the wok coming out of retirement again in the near future as it tasted so fresh it could quite easily have done without the prawns. I'd probably add in a bit more garlic, some fresh ginger and a nice spicy chilli or two for my tastes though.
I found myself rather idly wondering what this weekend of 'feast' not 'fast' would do to my weight, but I didn't actively worry about it. I was expecting a bit of a gain although I was relatively sensible with portion sizes and food choices. Well, I found out what the effects of this weekend were this morning...
...I'm back down to that 'normal' target of 66kg! So, let's see if I can get another pound off before I see the dietician, hopefully for the last time, next week.
Am I happy? Yep! I'd say so.
22 September 2009
I started an evening class last night at my local college. It's called 'Positive Thinking' and, in taking it, my plan is to learn ways to improve the way I handle life's little hitches and obstacles. I think the timing may have a bit to do with 'stuff' going on at work at the moment. I don't think I've always handled things as well as I could have done and that isn't a nice feeling.
Most of all, though, I'd like to find some alternatives to hitting the 'Black Dog' patches that I've experienced periodically for decades, then wallowing in the days of self-pity and negativity which so often accompanies them. The dark days are ones I'd be very happy to do without!
Through the last couple of years of weight loss I've sort of figured out small ways to do some of this by myself, but there may be better methods and I think it's about time to see what the 'experts' have to say about it. Maybe I can learn some recognised (but unknown to me) techniques which will help me more? I have an open mind and I'm willing to give it a try.
It felt quite uncomfortable last night and, looking around the class, I realised that several of the women around me (and a couple of the men) looked as edgy as I was feeling. It was a bit like reading old school reports with those supposedly 'constructive' comments like 'could try harder' or 'with more effort...' and those sinking stomach feelings that came from seeing the words. It was as though even being there was a 'let's flag it up' admission that I struggle to handle things some of the time. Well, to be honest, that is quite right - so why do I have a problem with it?
I guess it's a bit of a dent to my pride and the dawning realisation that my bad feelings are no fault of 'other people' but down to me. It is MY responsibility to see problems I've made or contributed to and MY choice to decide what to do next. Aha, that's a bit like the process I went through when wanting (and deciding) to lose the weight actually became a firm plan. Hmm, so maybe this weight loss business can bring some other benefits.
One possibility to try when I encounter a stressful situation is something the tutor calls S.O.S., which stands for:
Stand back (as in don't just jump right in there and go for the usual knee-jerk emotional reaction)
Observe (take time to really think about what's going on, trying to see other's points of view as well as your own)
Steer (telling yourself to give your mind a little nudge away from a negative reaction)
Common sense? Hell, yes! But sometimes it's worth stating the obvious. OK, let's see if the fat lass can walk the walk too!
What's that you say? What about the weight? Well, good behaviour is making a difference and the scales are gradually dropping again. That 'normal' goal is firmly back in sight.
21 September 2009
It was a wonderful weekend, spent with my sister and her husband who visited for a couple of days. We fitted in such a lot of great things. We spent time talking and walking, enjoying a little glimpse of summer again, supping the odd glass of wine and eating good food. The whole world seemed a fair-set, sun-filled and perfect place.
But, around came Monday morning and my emotional barometer dropped like a stone, to grey, cloudy and stormy. There I was, about to start singing the Mama's & Papa's "Monday Monday, can't trust that day, Monday Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way"!
Firstly, my porridge went all wrong and I ran out of time, ending up with minimal breakfast and a stodgy lump of slightly burned oatmeal in my lunchbox! Then, on arriving at work to find a less than tactful email and a 'to do' list the size of Sweden, the stresses of work hit me like a ton of bricks. Before you know it the fat lass found herself locked in the loo in tears over a selection of silly little things.
Add into the mix the fact that, together with his two secretaries, I'm acting the part of Mrs Shift-it today and populating my boss' new office with his books, papers and a whole heap of 'oh, I must keep' items!
Part of the problem will be tiredness, I'm sure. Nothing a relaxing bath and a good night's sleep won't sort out in time, eh? And, although it's taken a few hours (and a few moans along the way), some perspective has returned and I can now see that many of my work worries don't actually matter a damn. They are just that - 'silly little things'.
There has been a silver lining to this day, though, and I need to keep this 'positive' firmly in mind and nurture it until my mood improves a bit more. What is it? Well, it seems I may have finally learned to disengage that emotional barometer from food.
Despite the tears, and feelings of inadequacy, I have not gone off to find the biggest bar of chocolate I could buy. I haven't wolfed anything 'naughty' at all. But, I did take time to enjoy a lovely crisp apple and I'm now munching my cold oatmeal lunch, which actually doesn't taste half bad (lightly roasted porridge may become a trend, who knows).
This may not seem much but is, in truth, a major success of which I am very proud. It's story I could not have related a couple of years ago.
17 September 2009
Have you ever been taken by surprise by an act of kindness from a complete stranger?
It happened to me, early this morning, on my walk into work. The local market was, as always, just setting up for the day's business. The usual stallholders were getting their stands set up, filled with the fabulous range of goodies on offer. Everything from flowers, to greetings cards, to clothing, to secondhand books, to food and produce.
One of the stalls is a bread stall (imagine the wonderful smell of that on the morning air). The huge variety of different breads are both beautiful to look at and delicious, if sometimes a wee bit on the pricey side. I have bought various loaves from the stall in the past, including their olive bread and the Italian loaves, especially if we've had friends coming for dinner.
Today, he had a tray of newly-baked little granary rolls ready to be put out for sale. They were amazing so I told him they looked great and asked, although it was very early and he wasn't really set up to sell his wares, if I could please buy just one roll. He grinned, and handed me a still-warm roll saying "no problem, just take it". Backing away from me with both palms raised, he wouldn't accept a penny!
He'll doubtless never see this, but 'Thank You' anyway. It's quite made my day.
16 September 2009
In the new world order (or 'fat lass world'), there should be a large sign prominently suspended above every leaving do/birthday/celebration buffet, proclaiming 'Approach with Extreme Caution!'. Even better, like the universally recognised chemical hazard symbols, a nice little peel-off sticker which could be affixed carefully, but attractively, to the edge of every platter. Something like this...
At the very least there should be a new EU regulation introduced to define the allowable contents of said buffets (after all they seem to define every other damned thing!). It should, perhaps, read as follows...
Celebratory Buffet Directive 09/453/EEC
Directive 2009/453/EEC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 August 2009 on the right of citizens of the Union to acceptable Celebratory Buffets, amending Regulation (EEC) No 1601/69 and repealing Directives 69/541/EEC, 69/360/EEC, 70/194/EEC, 73/158/EEC, 75/44/EEC, 75/55/EEC, 90/304/EEC, 90/305/EEC and 93/46/EEC.
Celebratory buffets for the use of greater than four employees to contain freshly cut crunchy vegetable crudites with healthy dips, fresh fruit, low-fat yoghurts and baked crisps/tortilla chips. Fruit juices, diet sodas, still and fizzy water to be made available at all times.
Banned items (savoury) include, but are not limited to, cheesy but strangely pale quiche wedges, fatty and overly pink pork pie halves, floppy white-bread sandwiches filled with mayonnaise-laced, unidentifiable 'stuff' and deep-fried nibbles filled with reconstituted prawn/chicken/catfood, particularly in relation to those served with unnaturally coloured dipping sauces.
Banned items (sweet) include, but are not limited to, 'shoe'-pastry 'chocolate' eclairs filled with white goo, supermarket own brand sugar-fest fizzy drinks, non-dairy cheesecake topped with brighly coloured faux-fruit gel.
You may, by now, have gathered that the fat lass was invited to a leaving do at work this lunchtime. The astute amongst you may also have gathered that the fat lass was, as usual, unimpressed by the quality of the food available! Yeah, yeah, I know... it's a 'free' lunch.
But it isn't, is it! Every piece of the junk you a) load onto your plate and b) consume comes with a big fat price tag. And 'fat' is precisely the word I mean to use in this context.
So, a heartfelt plea to all out there charged with arranging these functions. Please, please, please don't buy the pre-prepared crap, chock-full of E numbers, that you wouldn't normally feed even to your dog. With only a little thought, it would be so much cheaper, prettier, healthier and tastier to buy a few fresh ingredients and ditch the junk!
15 September 2009
Well, I'm pleased to say that my weekend madness appears to have passed. Yesterday, despite my feeling pretty grotty, wasn't another crazy day on the food front. Today, I feel more alert and mentally stronger and it feels like I can spend the remainder of the week as a sensible fat lass once again. Phew!
I walked a lot yesterday, which has helped get me back on track, and it was back onto the rower for the full session this morning. I have a busy week ahead of me (oh boy, is it looking busy) and the weekend is a family one so the gym may have to wait a few more days, but I will be back to it as soon as I can.
I've eaten healthily and sensibly, as well as walked a fair bit today, so things seem to be on a better footing altogether (if you'll pardon the pun). Let's hope that those scales will be kind to me and begin to reflect this new leaf by next week.
In the longer term, it's a matter of remembering that I CAN lose those extra lbs. C'mon fat lass, you have learned how to do this sensibly over the past couple of years and now really do know how. It's also a matter of remembering those oh so negative effects on 'me' when I don't keep to the plan.
I AM committed again. I WILL be back to my 'normal' target before too long... and I WILL carry on to achieve the weight I would finally like to get to... and STAY THERE!
14 September 2009
In truth, this isn't a minor, accidental derailment. It's been more like a deliberate step off the rails, closely followed by turning around and determinedly marching back along the tracks in the wrong direction. I am, needless to say, disgusted with myself!
For one brief moment, on Friday morning, my weight hovered at 66kg and I had reached a 'normal' BMI. I was so, so pleased and told lovely hubby about it in delight. What happened next is as inexplicable as it is inexcusable. I embarked on a complete indulge-a-thon which lasted until last night!
It wasn't a good day on Friday - can't quite put a finger on exactly why (read 'work stress' here) but I was frustrated, down and miserable by the middle of the day. So what did I do? I hit the carbs - a large bowl of crunchy cereal for lunch (hey! it's only muesli, so it's healthy, right?). In itself, that would probably have been OK. But, I then proceeded to eat a big plate of spaghetti bolognese in the evening. Oh yes, and drank half a bottle of red wine. I slept badly (no surprise there then!), wasn't pleased with myself and vowed to do better on Saturday.
And indeed I did. I went several stages 'better' and not only ate pre-prepared sandwiches (note the plural) for lunch but consumed the whole of a stodgy, oily restaurant portion of truly awful paella in the evening, with a chunk of ciabatta. Followed... wait for it... by cheesecake and half a bag of toffee popcorn whilst watching a film! Oh yes, and that pint of beer too. Once again, I slept badly.
Sunday has to be better, right? Wrong! Breakfast was fine, but we went out and a large fruit scone caught my eye mid-morning. Lunch was a 'healthy' pre-prepared pot of vegetable chilli. Chilli, you say? Then why was it so utterly bland that it needed a whole teaspoon of Louisiana hot sauce to make it taste of anything resembling chilli?
Utterly unsatisfied I succumbed to a glass of sherry and the siren call of the Sunday supplement recipe section. Oh yes, off we trekked to the supermarket to buy the ingredients and made those blasted three-cheese muffins! Thank goodness they turned out so badly that I only ate one of them (the rest are to be fed to the poor old ducks this lunchtime). Well, I say only one, but there was the nibbling (cheese!) during the preparation, and the bowl licking - not good. As if this wasn't enough, we'd put barbecue chicken wings in the oven - enough for dinner last night and lunch today... and scoffed the lot!
Notice a pattern here? No fresh produce at all, but lots of pre-prepared, shop-bought or 'restaurant' rubbish instead. Some of it low on flavour and most not, in any way, actually satisfying. Even the things we did prepare ourselves were high in carbs, fats and salt. Alcohol... every night. Overeating in general. Is it, then, any wonder that my weight has shot up to 67.5kg again and I feel like death warmed over this morning.
What I cannot understand is why. Why did I do this at all and, worse, why when I actually recognised my appallingly poor behaviour did I not stop right there! Oh well, have wasted enough time cursing roundly and resigned myself to that fact that I cannot change the past few days. Time to pick myself up, dust myself down and...
11 September 2009
Nothing at all to do with food, exercise, weight or the like but I am absolutely stunned by this. Can it be the most beautiful modern building in the world?
I thought some of the mosques in Istanbul were pretty amazing but this one, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, leaves me breathless. I'd seen a single photograph and had thought the designs on the pillars were painted, and that was wonderful... but they are even more amazing than I'd realised.
Looks like I'll be saving my pennies to visit Abu Dhabi in the next few years.
Posted by Deniz at 09:47
10 September 2009
It was great at the gym last night. Fairly quiet for once, air-con on at full belt so beautifully cool (although I wasn't - I, er, glowed like a horse!) and it was really, really enjoyable. Felt brave enough (for the very first time) to wear a fitted sleeveless exercise top and found that everything was so much easier without a baggy old tee-shirt flapping around me. Maybe it isn't all a pose, maybe that's why those gym bunnies wear them!
Did a good cardio workout, although the knee grumbles a bit at the antiquated stepper now (which groans more than I do). Then loved my weights circuit. It felt fairly easy so I'm going to increase the reps next time. If all goes well I hope to increase to two full circuits in time. The core stuff was OK, until right at the end when my energy just slithered away from me all of a sudden... so the fat lass slithered sweatily to stretches and the showers.
No significantly creaky or achy bits this morning and the rower soon sorted out the few that there were. I feel really positive today and am looking forward to another walk at lunch and going back for another gym session at the weekend.
There was a larger lady at the gym last night who I noticed in particular (hmmm, now I wonder why that might have been). She reminded me so much of where I was a year or more ago. I felt like hugging her and telling her she's doing great. She looked as though she felt very self-conscious among the young, skinny-minnie fit folks at the gym (and, no, I don't include the fat lass in this). She kept her eyes down and spoke to no-one. There she was on the cross-trainer, bright red and sweating, but doggedly keeping at it.
I tried to smile to her but didn't speak. Maybe I should have done, but I remember (all too well) how mortified I would have been if anyone had approached me when I first started going to the gym. Silly as it was, I felt like I had no right to put my unfit flabbiness on display or squeeze my sweaty self onto the equipment. As though my very presence and use of 'oooh, er, look at that' low weights somehow 'let the side down'. Thankfully, and probably because I went with my lovely hubby, I got over it.
Now I don't give a damn if someone sees the belly or flabby upper arms and 'tut-tut's. I know there's less of them than there used to be.
Now I don't care if someone thinks that maybe I ought to be using a slightly heavier weight. I know what my body can do and how far I can push it.
I guess it's just about following the good advice of Soctrates, and various other Greek gurus, to "Know Thyself" (aha! that's what the picture is all about) and learning to accept who and what that is.
09 September 2009
Lovely hubby thought yesterday's post seemed a bit sad, so I'm going to try to be more positive today.
It's a bit easier today as I feel better. A good night's sleep has helped with that. It is also nowhere near as warm or humid this morning (thank heavens!), so the office should be more bearable today. I had a lovely walk on the way to work and that's set me up in a calm, cool, collected frame of mind to face the day.
I really enjoyed my rowing this morning and, had time permitted, would have carried on for a lot longer than I did. My usual 16 minutes first thing just didn't feel like enough today (it often doesn't) ...but work calls! Whilst I was rowing I thought about what a boon having the rower at home has been to me in helping me to lose weight... and to regain as little as possible, even in my bad times. I had previously tried an exercise bike at home but, for various reasons, that had been a complete disaster for me.
The rower was not cheap and we thought long and hard before we spent the money (typical eh, I notice the price has dropped quite a bit since we bought it). I wanted a decent, sturdy, professional-type rower (not a cheap one) as I was no lightweight! It was a big investment. But I felt it was something I might stick to, and that's proved correct, so it has actually been a great investment.
That leads me to another thought. I would strongly advise anyone wishing to lose weight and improve fitness to find a form of exercise they truly enjoy, not just one which they think they 'ought to' do. If you don't enjoy it, you will find all sorts of excuses not to do it, to put it off until 'tomorrow' or 'next week' or... Believe me, I have the tee-shirt for this!
So, on this positive note, I'm going to look forward.
Forward to the gym tonight, and forward to beginning a new form of exercise which I hope will be enjoyable - salsacise. It starts in about a month and I can hardly wait. I may not be any good at it whatsoever (my co-ordination isn't fantastic) and I'll probably never look like this (the fat lass in fishnet tights? ? ?), but I should have a lot of fun and hear some great music.
I'll also look forward to getting to a point where I can think "yep, that's fine" about my weight and appearance, and be happy to stay there. And I look forward to having even more love per square inch!
08 September 2009
I should be pretty happy... but I don't feel it today. Instead, I'm a little bit down, a tad achy and rather tired again and I'm praying that I'm not sickening for something. Added to this, I am not having a great day at work and the (non air conditioned) office is like a sauna. This 'grumpy old fat lass' attitude is exacerbated by humid, uncomfortable weather. Like yesterday, it's muggy, grey, overcast and really sticky here. So much so that I'm praying for a jolly good thunderstorm to clear the air. I don't even mind if I get caught out in it... without a coat.
OK, so why should I actually be a bouncy, cheerful, happy fat lass? Well, as of Monday morning's weigh in, I was down to 66.5kg. That's just a single pound of flab away from my 'normal' BMI band target. By this time next week (if I can keep my head and don't let my black dog bite me) I should be there.
From where I first started a couple of years ago, I have come a long way and, not wishing to sound ungrateful, I am very glad to be here. In fact, I've moved past the point I'd hoped for in my 'wildest dreams' fantasy. That was to be able to squeeze myself into a size 14 dress size and wear it in public, feeling OK about myself. Don't laugh, but I even went a bit crazy at the weekend and bought a pair of (I think seriously sexy) black leather trousers from a charity shop. My sister thinks I'm a madwoman!
You know though, it's sort of funny. I thought I'd be truly elated to have got even half this far, shouting from the rooftops, waving bunting and doing the Snoopy happy dance as an absolute minimum. But somehow all that ecstatic joy I thought I'd feel isn't materialising. To me, it simply doesn't feel like I've 'got there' yet. I have to admit that I'm not entirely clear about precisely where 'there' is, but never mind. My head is firmly tuned in to a point past the 'normal' target, and on to visualising my next little goal...
...getting myself firmly into the 'safe zone' in the middle of that BMI band. From where I am right now, another 3kg loss would be nice please... pretty please.
And then the next goal, of course, learning how to stay there. Right, off for a brisk walk now!
06 September 2009
Here it is... our very first wholemeal loaf. Just wonderful!
And that was before we tasted it.
Actually, it isn't entirely true to call it 'wholemeal' as it is made with 50% wholemeal flour and 50% white flour. Someone told us that Canadian flour was the best to use... can't say we'd argue with that!
We couldn't wait for this one to cool properly before we tried it, so we each ate a slice warm... bliss.
Once it had cooled, we sliced it thinly and toasted it. We both agreed it tasted better than any shop-bought loaf we've had in ages.
We've since made another loaf, to give away, and a third... with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. That is as good, if not better than the first two. I think our Panasonic breadmaker is a big success.
04 September 2009
For those of us with extra weight to shift or are by nature 'sturdily' built, who look somewhat enviously at the plethora of young girls/women with endless, slender legs we see in lingerie adverts and on TV, there is a glimmer of silver in the folds of our grey cloud.
A Danish study published in the British Medical Journal and reported by the BBC concludes that "men and women with thighs over 60cm (23.6in) in circumference have a lower risk of heart disease and early death".
Furthermore, this finding appears to be "independent of abdominal and general obesity and lifestyle and cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure" according to Professor Berit Heitmann, who led the research.
Before we get too enthusiastic though, this does primarily relate to muscle mass. Too little muscle is not, apparently, a good thing at all. So, if you want to do your heart a power of good (and maybe improve your chances of living to be 100!) get those legs moving and build yourself some muscle!
An aside, but very exciting to this fat lass... this morning brought the first taste of our very own home-baked wholemeal bread, now that we've invested in a Panasonic breadmaker after a lot of thought. Wow! What a revelation in flavour, and the texture was fantastic - it reminds me of the bread of my childhood. The best bit of all (apart from that heavenly crust) is that we are in complete control and know EXACTLY what went into it. The only problem? Summoning enough willpower to resist more than one slice!
03 September 2009
I think I may carry the same DNA as Pavlov's dogs!
Today is a funny old day. Summer has apparently given in to autumn... overnight, it seems. Coincidence or no, I have the first irritating symptoms of a cold - not much, as yet, just a few sniffles and a pounding headache. So, I got up this morning feeling less than enthusiastic or great.
Because I was quite chilly, I put on an old sweater - one which I used to wear in my fattest days to mask the belly. It's pretty big on me now (actually it sort of dwarfs me) but it is warm and, with a burnt orangey colour, it's pretty cheerful. Mistake... big mistake!
For one thing, I feel like the old fat lass wearing it! Almost as though the hands on the clock have turned back and I'm right back where I was two years ago, feeling dumpy and miserable. The logical part of me knows this is nonsense... but the emotions? Hmmm, they just can't seem to catch up.
The second problem is that it seems to act as a trigger for some of the old (bad) behaviour. I popped into the local supermarket on my way to work for some fruit. I was feeling a bit dazed and grotty at that point, but sort of 'woke up'... dead in front of the chocolate biscuits! What is going on here, huh? Thankfully, I realised what I was about to do, took the biscuits back out of my basket and headed for the fresh produce... pretty damned sharpish!
It may be, as Sara discusses in her post today, that being off balance in some way (emotionally or physically) is the cause of this sort of aberrant behaviour. But... it could be the associations that come as a package with wearing some of my old 'fat clothes'.
All I'm sure of is that I will not be wearing this tomorrow!
02 September 2009
That's a word which carries some fairly negative connotations, right? Well, perhaps not always! Here goes with another lo-o-o-ong post that's been a while in the writing.
Good old Wikipedia has several definitions of 're-education', including:
- Brainwashing, efforts aimed at instilling certain beliefs in people against their will
- Reeducation through labor, also called laojiao...
- Rehabilitation, therapy to remove or restore a habit or condition, usually medical or penal
- Adult education...
But wait! All of these pretty much tally with the process I feel I've gone through over the last couple of years with regard to my attitudes to food, eating and how I take care of me and my body. Negative? No siree! You can pick a big fat positive out of every one of these definitions.
To me 'Adult education' doesn't just mean the obvious, educating an adult (me, the fat lass, that is). It's also meant learning to behave as an adult, making grown-up choices and not giving in to the scared, unhappy child inside who ate for comfort and to show herself a little (misguided) 'kindness' in response to a big bad world. That's been an important step for me.
As to 'Rehabilitation', well that's pretty straightforward one to be honest. Removing the old bad habits and inserting good ones in their place is what this journey has been about. Not easy, perhaps, but absolutely fundamental. I suppose you could even view it as semi-medical... at a push. After all, the changes have surely had a huge impact on my health, both physical and mental.
Then there's laojiao, the 're-education through labour' view. The term 'labour' is another way of saying 'to put one's back into' something. And when it comes to exercise, an integral part of this weight loss journey (and, I feel, the cornerstone to success), that's just what has been required, labour. Or, to put it another way, effort! Not a token effort at that, but a steady, sustained commitment to making those long-forgotten muscles work a wee bit harder, even if it's only a little bit at a time to begin with.
- Remembering that every extra step I take, every stair I climb, every stroke on the rower, uses up a tiny bit more of the food I choose to ingest.
- Understanding that exercise isn't just about using up calories but also about building a stronger, fitter person for the future.
- Learning that exercise doesn't have to be a chore to dread, it can actually be fun, something to look forward to and a really positive feature in my life.
And finally, there's 'Brainwashing'. The part where new beliefs are instilled against my will. Beliefs which are hard to take on board - like 'I can do this' and 'I will succeed'. My track record on weight loss hadn't been great, so why should I believe in it now? And against my will? Well, it really was to begin with. Even though starting this journey was my choice, sometimes it seemed so unfair that I had to embark upon it at all. Jealously observing all the slim people around me and not, at that stage, truly understanding that they looked that way and I did not because of the choices we each made every day, I felt so much deep resentment. The only way past that hurdle was to brainwash myself by repeating over and over that this was my choice to make, only I could do it and the only way forward was to bite the bullet and just 'do' it. Seems to have worked too.
Another aspect of re-education that Wikipedia doesn't mention is re-education by example. While I have walked much of this journey alone in some senses (no formal community like WeightWatchers or Slimmer's World for this fat lass) I've learned such a lot from other people.
To begin with I was strictly an observer to other weight loss websites, eavesdropping quietly on the lives of the people I've now come to consider old friends. Picking up odd tips and trying them on for size. Some were great, some didn't work for me, but all formed part of my re-education, often by making me 'think' about what I was doing and how to approach it. I posted no comments in the early days though. No way, that might draw attention to myself and reveal the awful the shame of my obesity! The blog you are reading was meant purely as a personal record and outlet. I didn't think anyone would ever read it but me and maybe lovely hubby.
But, as time went on, I saw ongoing kindness and loving support freely given by people leaving comments for other bloggers and I began to leave the odd comment too. Only a little 'well done' here or there, but it made me start to feel part of a wider community. I drew support from that.
I've actually been blessed with a great deal of support. The support of my beloved husband, which means more to me than I think he will ever realise. The support of family members who noticed gradual changes in my appearance and began to break silence and talk to me about it. And the support I've felt in reading the daily stories other people have written about their own weight loss battles.
They gave me confirmation that I wasn't alone in the problems I faced, or in the way that I often felt. Sometimes the mental adjustments required to adapt to a changing 'me' were so scary. To feel the way I did worried me that it was somehow abnormal... until I found that other people felt exactly the same way too. That reassurance was sometimes a gift beyond words.
So, I gradually learned to understand that the problems I encountered were not just mine and mine alone. Others felt the same fears and enjoyed similar joy at our little successes. That was a type of re-education too.
And I slowly learned to accept that others could see me through the blog, to share in my ups and downs and sometimes even my shame. That went a long way to re-educating this fat lass too. I have not been judged and found wanting (a major fear in all sorts of ways through life). I have been helped and supported.
For both of these things I send heartfelt thanks to everyone who has ever bared their soul about their trials and tribulations of losing weight and to everyone stopped by to see where I am on my journey to more love per square inch.