30 January 2009

How long is the journey?

I suppose that's the big question everyone asks themselves at some stage - the adult version of a child's "are we nearly there yet Mum?" And this peregrination, like so many other journeys we find ourselves embarking upon, is a voyage with a specific destination in mind, for all its detours. For me, the 'end point' is that I want to be 'normal'.

So, what do I consider to be 'normal'? After all, everyone has their own definition, so what is mine? It's quite simple, although this simple answer is only a part of my story.

It means that I want to be able to plug my gender, height and weight into an online BMI calculator and for it to report that I am at a 'healthy' or 'normal' weight. In fact, for it to tell me that I am NOT any longer 'overweight' or, worse still as I was when I started these travels, well into 'obese' and sitting right on the borders of the next (frightening) band.

I'd also like to 'feel' normal in my skin. I'm not there yet and, although things are better, I still have my 'Mrs Wobbly' days when I feel like a great blobby slug.

Right now I can be happy that I've come a long way towards my final destination. I've come down from that place just on the verge of the 'very obese' band, through 'obese' and am now into the 'overweight' category. In fact, I'm about halfway down this last band and heading down the home straight towards 'normal'.

That is such a wonderful feeling and I now know that when I hit the magic figure of 145 lbs, whatever dress size that happens equate to, I'll have reached my supposed destination. I also now know that I need to lose only another 15 lbs or so (a wee bit over a stone) and I'll have made it. And losing just one stone seems quite an achievable target to this new slimmer-line me... now.

So what is the other part of the story? And why is it actually more important to me?

That's also quite simple. The answer is 'health'.

I was reading Lynn's most recent post today and her point, as often, hits the nail right on the head for me too. Health is actually the most important part of the journey because good health, rather than just losing weight to become a particular size, will allow me to live the way I want to live.

My excess weight has done me no favours over the years. Like Lynn (although not to the same degree) I have knees, and some other bits 'n bobs, which don't like me much. When I was at my fattest I couldn't bend down to tie my shoelaces without holding onto something for support. The belly made me too top-heavy and not even moderately flexible. A sit up? Don't make me laugh - how the hell could I do one around a spare tyre big enough to fit a tractor, let alone perform several.

And, at my heaviest, my asthma became much, much more of an issue. So much so that lovely hubby actually bought me a Medi-Tag watch to wear... just in case I keeled over. I was also put onto additional medication - not a great moment for me!

The knees are probably going to serve as a constant reminder for the rest of my life of what I did to myself by being so heavy. The problems are pretty manageable now, but sometimes not much fun at all (blessed be the inventor of CoCodamol!). They are almost certainly not going to get much better than they are right now.

I've managed to postpone surgery, for now at least, for one of the other health issues thanks to physio exercises I do every day. Whilst carrying the excess weight I'm not sure I'd have been able to sustain this exercise regime, non-strenuous though it is.

More wonderful still is that the asthma is under control (well, mostly) and I'm not using any medication regularly at all now. OK, my peak flow could be improved, but it is at least not getting worse and I am working on it.

Losing weight makes life less of a battle in all sorts of ways. I can choose where I go to look at clothes, not just be forced to peruse the expensive 'fat lass' shops. I can contemplate looking pretty and even a bit 'girly' without a shudder, and the prospect of wearing a swimming cozzie (even with my belly) doesn't make me hide and cry any more.

But the best thing of all is to know I am healthier and that I have given my body a chance. I'm a lot less at risk of joining the growing 'non-minority' club of Type 2 diabetics, I've probably held off the prospect of a heart attack or stroke for a few more years and developing severe arthritis is not quite such an imminent fear as it once was.

The question I started with was 'how long is the journey?'.

Well, in some ways there isn't too far to go. But you could also say this is a journey without end, for I will always be mindful of the weight I carried for so long and what it has done to my body. I will always have to be careful to ensure the pounds do not start the insidious creep back on, to put me right back where I began, or worse.

I've begun to believe, at last, that I can complete my journey. Both the shorter-term BMI target and the longer-term matter of keeping myself healthy. I dare say I'll have my black dog days and go backwards from time to time. But I also know that, with the right attitude, I can get back on track and undo those lapses. So maybe, in some ways, I could say I've already arrived.

29 January 2009


Yesterday was a b*tch of a day and I actually ended up in tears at one point, I was so mad with what was going on at work. I really wanted to find a way to make myself feel better - no, rewind that, what I wanted was to eat comfort food.

Then, of course, I had the same old, well-rehearsed internal conversation I've had so many times before about 'deserving' a treat as things were so bad. This time, though, things were different.

I admit it was a struggle, but I forced myself think hard about achieving my next targets, both short-term (getting to 70kg) and longer-term (the dress) and why I wanted to get there. Then I considered how I'd feel if I made the wrong decisions, ate myself into a stupor, and wasted that opportunity. It would be MY fault. No-one else could make those decisions for me. No-one else was going to force food down my throat, were they!

It felt uncomfortable, but I was none too happy anyway, so what the hell. The day didn't get easier, but I kept nagging away at my 'inner fat lass' and saying a firm 'no'. It wasn't 'need', it was 'want' and I wasn't going to give in to it. Even though the evening brought it's own challenges (just don't mention windscreen wipers!) I kept plugging away and stayed right there in the fight.

Today I'm still busy and pretty stressed out but really happy that I was mentally strong yesterday and that I managed to keep well away from temptation. The best bit? This morning I am not kicking myself for doing any of the bad things I'd usually have done. That's going to make today's fight easier to handle.

My first reward (my 'feel good' if you like) came with a teensy tiny drop in weight visible on the scales when I stepped onto them this morning. No, it ain't much, but I'm still heading in the right direction.

What's more, someone I've always admired for having such a lovely figure - obviously not quite sure how to broach the 'weight loss' topic - complimented me on 'how well' I am looking these days. Wow! I'm going to mark this one up as a BIG success.

28 January 2009


Yes, I am angry. Yes, I am having a really crappy day. No, I do NOT need to use food as a crutch to get me through this day. I just don't!

Why? It has turned into a very taxing, stressful and busy day. Lots of reasons - all of them people-related.

But, I can and will handle it without resorting to the call of chocolate. I've just eaten (OK, wolfed) my healthy lunch and that is IT. No more.

I'd go out and stomp around the block if only I had time. As it stands, if I do that I'll have to work late and I'm in no mood to do so.

27 January 2009

That dress... mk 2

Well, the scales have started dropping again... slowly, but I need to stay focused on losing the flubber and keep my motivation firmly in place.

My last tangible target, clothes-wise, was a long black, slinky, size 14 evening gown.

And yes, apart from the fact that I'd need to be a good six inches taller (even in high heels) before it'd be the right length and that the horrid belly still shows up as a patently visible lump, I could actually wear it somewhere now. I might even get away with sitting down.

Only 'could' wear it though as I'm pretty unlikely to go anywhere requiring such dressy apparel. Lovely hubby and I just don't 'do' that sort of evening stuff, and I can't say I'm itching to change my ways to that extent... not just to wear a dress! Maybe I could get it shortened but, to be frank, I don't feel that fantastic wearing it - beautiful as it is, it really isn't me.

So, for my next tangible 'getting there' milestone this called for a change in tactic. Let's think just a tad more practically, but still keep the excitement of 'will I, won't I' wear something special.

Well, I already have a nice black skirt (in size 12) to aim for, but it isn't really all that 'special' and isn't too far off being wearable. It's lovely, and I'll be delighted to wear it, but it's actually a pretty generous sort of size 12, if you know what I mean. So what else can I aim for in a rather more demanding size 12?

Enter the 'Laura Ashley Falling Rose Hourglass Dress'.

The marketing blether describes it thus:
"This gorgeous hourglass dress is made from a luxurious silk mix fabric. Designed with a boat neck and grosgrain trimmed waistband above the pretty pleated skirt featuring a striking rose print. Fully lined. 53% silk, 47% cotton."

I think that means ' it's nicely made and very, very pretty'. And it's a light summery dress. The sort I could wear just about anywhere.

So, how close am I? Well,I can get it on. I can get the zip done up all the way (if I breathe out hard and hold my breath). What I can't do... yet... is wear it. If I tried, there'd be an awful ripping noise when I first attempted movment, closely followed by swearing and the sound of a grown woman bawling her eyes out.

The plan is to try it on again in a few weeks time, just to check progress, and to wear if for my Mum's birthday in April. Hope it doesn't snow!

22 January 2009

Sadness and celebrations

Yesterday I went out for a celebratory lunch with some friends, one of whom passed her viva for her PhD just last week. It was lovely and really nice to have some good news to celebrate for a change. Most of what I've been hearing lately, from both friends and family, seems to be bad. Health issues (some pretty serious), work worries, including likely redundancies, financial concerns, unemployment, you name it - a bit of a worry, in all sorts of ways.

And then, last night's phone call - the death of my aunt, a lovely lady. I have many happy memories of her, mostly from my childhood when she was so loving and kind. She was elderly and had been ill and pretty much housebound for a long time, indeed she's been in hospital since just before Christmas, so it was no surprise but very sad still.

Back to the lunch. I have to admit that I wasn't in the mood to be sensible, so pizza it was going to be. What's more, I wasn't even going to make a half-hearted attempt with vegetable toppings and minimum cheese. It was going to be a full-on, thin, crispy pepperoni pizza. And so it was.

It has been a while since I've eaten pizza. It's been a while since I've eaten a main meal at lunchtime. I have to admit I struggled and only the embarrassment of asking for a doggy bag, and smelling pepperoni in the office all afternoon, persuaded me to finish my meal. I did leave a little bit, but not much.

So, what was the damage? Well, somewhere in the region of 1100 calories with quite a few of those from fats (looking up some values for Pizza Express meals on the CalorieCount website). Not much of a surprise there then. The walk there and back will hardly have made a dent in that lot! Thankfully a dessert was out of the question and we had water to drink.

The good news is I was still so satisfied (or do I mean stuffed) when I got home last night that my evening meal was a natural yoghurt and a handful of blueberries. Actually, that's progress!

20 January 2009

Where's that table leg? Yummy!

Oh hell. It's been one of those days. Mother Nature (bless 'er) has landed on me, somewhat unexpectedly, and I want to eat everything in sight.

Er, rewind that. What I actually 'want' to eat is all the chocolate I can lay my mitts on! Mere 'food' is really second best.

It's lucky that my new-found willpower is in place (however shakily) or the vending machine and I would become reacquainted... big time. As it is, I've mananged to fend off the worst of the munchies with fruit, tuna salad, fruit, hot drinks, a long walk, more fruit and a few Ryvita, so far at least.

That isn't to say I haven't cast longing glances at scones, cake, biscuits, crisps and all those bad but appealing edibles. I've just managed not to buy them... yet!

A bit of an aside but what I cannot understand is why my PMS doesn't happen 'P', as in 'pre', like it does for most women. From what I can gather, most women find their cravings hit in the week before. Mine wait until the b*tch has her knife right into me before they add to the fun. Oh joy.

I do hope tomorrow is a better day.

19 January 2009

Earning my gold stars?

All in all, a pretty positive weekend, this one.

It started off with porridge on Saturday, but made with blueberry juice. Different. Nice, not too sweet and definitely different. We'll try it again, maybe with apple juice next time.

And then there was Saturday lunch with friends which turned into a mammoth session, er, actually lunch, tea and supper! I'm really delighted to report that I was sensible and made good healthy choices throughout the day and restrained my portion sizes to the bare minimum without offending the cook! Only one glass of wine too. It's left me feeling (justifiably?) proud of the fat lass.

It was really enjoyable but did, as I said, turn into a very long day. So much so that Sunday was spent, in part, sleeping off the extremely late night (wow - you mean there's more that one three thirty in a day?). The slow, sleepy start meant that I didn't get back on the rower as planned and actually, apart from the physio essentials, exercise took a bit of a back seat.

Still, the scales rewarded my efforts this morning and are hovering somewhere between 73kg and 73.5kg which means I've shed the bulk of my horrible seasonal weight gain. Only a couple of pounds at most to go before I'm back to where I was at the tail end of November. That will feel really good, and definitely be a step closer to my next goal which is to get to 70kg.

And there's some more good news to add to the pot. I had an appointment with the surgeon this morning for my 'wee problem'. He was quite an arrogant beggar, but really pleased with the progress I've made by doing the morning exercises. The best bit? He says that not only do I not currently need surgery for my 'faulty bits' but may, if I keep at the exercise diligently, not actually need surgery in the longer term. I am absolutely delighted and it motivates me to keep up the good work.

One funny thing happened over the weekend. I know I've talked before about self-image and the ability we have to delude ourselves. When we don't 'see' what we 'really' look like but have a skewed idea of our own appearance. Well, this certainly applies to me and I'm sure I've seen posts from other people along the same lines.

On Saturday I felt good about myself. I wore something new, quite brightly coloured and close-fitting and felt trim and stylish (OK, some emphasis on the 'ish') and pretty much like a 'normal' woman. But on Sunday (and I can't quite figure this one), my body-image was really, really awful. I felt like a big flabby overweight slug and all I wanted to do was hide all my fat bits under a shapeless baggy sweatshirt. Indeed I did hide, and felt miserable all day.

Today, I'm back to feeling quite OK about myself. Not fantastic, but at least OK. So, was it just tiredness? Hmmm, maybe, but I'm sure there must be more to it than that. Can't get my head around it right now.

15 January 2009

A good day

The kick-in-the-pants motivation has started to show results. I've been pretty sensible for the last week, started lunchtime walks again yesterday and today has been an interesting one too.

Usual physio stuff this morning and the porridge for breakfast. A bit of a rush, but never mind. The morning walk in (with a small detour to the supermarket to super-stock my work fruitbowl) was pacy and fine... even with a heavy bag of healthy goodies.

There was a small hitch straight after I'd eaten my apple at break. All of a sudden I was desperately hungry. Tried the cup of hot water trick - no, not working. So, some fresh blueberries to the rescue... one... by one... by one. Thankfully they took the edge off and I got bored pretty fast.

It's been quite a hectic morning - a fair bit of running around and carrying boxes of 'stuff'. So lunchtime brought a welcome relief. Time for a sit down! Enjoyed my delicious tuna salad (with yoghurt and a tiny amount of sweet chilli sauce) and started on my orange, getting just far enough to be truly messy and sticky. At that point I was invited to a celebration - my friend has just passed her PhD viva (fantastic news!) and her supervisor had brought in party food.

Lots of edible calorific naughties on offer, from sparkling wine to a variety of gooey cakes to almonds and pistachio nuts. So what did I consume? A glass of fresh apple juice and NOTHING else!

So, congratulations to my friend and a gold star for the fat lass.

13 January 2009

Green Tea KitKat

A work colleague gave me a Green Tea KitKat from Japan to try.

First surprise... it was green, actually bright green. Oh! Get the sunglasses on - I've never eaten green chocolate before.

Second surprise... it was OK. Not great, not 'must find a supplier' but OK. No noticeable taste of green tea, or much else to be honest, but it was very sweet.

And the damage? Only 69 calories but I'm guessing (as my Japanese is shaky to say the least) that most of those calories come from sugar.

Can't say I'll be looking out for another one.

12 January 2009

Back to basics

No, no, not John Major, or even as 'stolen' by Mandelson and the New Labour spin merchants.

Looking back through my recent posts, I've been saying the right sorts of things, but I'm not convinced I really believed them, maybe even as my fingers hit the keys.

Yesterday was the end of another week of 'trying', just not really trying that hard. OK, sure, I haven't been well, but out came the stock excuses, out too went any semblance of motivation to 'do' what I was saying, in (to me!) went the bigger portions and the 'questionable' food choices. I really haven't looked after the person inside and have been on the slippery slope down (er, actually up) as a result.

My poor lovely hubby. Things came to a head last night with the news that my aunt has now been in hospital since Christmas and has suffered two more strokes since she's been there. It doesn't look all that good for her, bless her. That news triggered all my buried worries over my Mum, and of course darling hubby. Buried, but apparently still festering away! Health seems such an ephemeral and fragile privilege at the moment.

So, I ended up in tears all over my darling and finally put my worries into words for him. It was a soggy experience but I needed to get things out in the open and must admit I feel a whole lot better for sharing and having his strength to lean on. Have I mentioned before what an amazing man he is? Well, he is.

Today I think a corner has been turned and I feel 'ready'. As of this morning I did the full quota of physio exercises again for the first time in an age. I'm trying again, really trying now.

The scales had me placed firmly back at that awful 75kg this morning. Did I get stressed or depressed about it? No. I got on with the exercises, ate my beautiful porridge, threw together a healthy lunch (including cottage cheese and FRUIT!) and even got off my bus early, in the pouring rain, for my morning walk. It felt good!

I'm not going to go completely crazy. Yes, this is a good start but I need to be realistic. Yes, I want to get back to the gym, but I think I need to plan in some morning rowing first to get the breathing back on track... without the damned inhaler!

Lovely hubby is already helping with food. He plans to dish up two lovely, healthy home-made soups this week. Can't wait. I've planned out what I will bring for lunches each day (the salad veg and fruit buying happens tonight!) and feel positive.

I can do this. I can lose the extra 2.5kg that's plopped on since before Christmas and I can go on from there to be a healthier me again.

07 January 2009


Just as I thought I was over the bug... it came back and flattened me again!

So, in summary:-

Food intake = varied
Exercise = non-existent
Attitude = poor
Motivation = off the scale (the wrong way)

Despite spending an unreasonable number of hours asleep in bed (and wrapped in layer upon layer just trying in vain to keep warm) the weight has dropped to 74kg which I guess is something, but I just don't feel great about doing it this way.

One shining beacon though. Lovely hubby has been wonderful and made us some great 'pick-me-up' soup. A fabulous home-made chunky vegetable broth with swede, parsnips, leeks and carrots. Oh yes, and a healthy dose of garlic. No need for bread as pearl barley added some delicious carbs. Wish I'd taken a photo. With luck, it'll keep the vampires away as well as kill off those pesky little viruses.

Let's hope I can shake it off this time. It really is getting to be rather tiresome. I want to get on with life again.

02 January 2009

Starting 2009 on a plus?

Hell, no! Today, dammit, has been a truly dreadful day - as in, not good at all... or has it?

Got on the scales as it was my first morning back at work today, you know, just to check, and the bloody needle swept right past the 73.5kg mark (yes, the very one I was so very proud of on Monday) and landed with an almost audible thump on 75kg! Huh? What the fluff?

I have to say I kept my guilty secret completely schtum and didn't mention it to lovely hubby. To be honest, I couldn't quite believe it. Even stepped on and off a few times in case the scales changed their opinion. Sadly, they didn't. So I muttered and swore to myself then brooded on my way to work.

I'm sure you'll know the way my internal conversation went... "That's really crap! This means I'm back up to 165 lbs (11 stone 11 lbs) for Gawd's sake! How can I have got it so astoundingly wrong just four short days ago? Or, worse still, how can I have gained a kilo and a half in just a couple of days?"

When I forced myself to stop and 'really' think about things I guess I have actually taken my eye off the ball in a far more self-deceiving sense than I had been admitting. Flushed with Monday's 'success' I loaded my own gun and proceeded to shoot myself in the foot for New Year. Oh yeah, big portions, puddings, cheese and alcohol. Minimal to no exercise either. Hmmm, that'd do it. Trouble is, getting to this 'logical approach' stage took some time.

What did this weighty revelation do to today's self control in the meantime? Well, I'm slinking and hiding my eyes as I write 'cos I'm mortified to admit that I let my very own pet devil take over and between us we blew 'self control' right out of the water. I bought and inhaled (really can't call it 'ate') a bar of chocolate. Yep, that's over and above the OK but not entirely healthy lunch I brought in.

Granted, I'm not a happy bunny. I guess you've figured that bit out, huh?

But, when I look back over a year, are things actually as awful as I am making out?

Last January I was congratulating myself on getting down to 85 kg. Yes, that's right. 85kg or 187 lbs (13 stone 5 lbs in old money).

Even with my balls-up in the scales department and an undeniable gain in weight over the seasonal festivities I am down twenty-two more flabby pounds from this time last year, when I was so very pleased with my progress.

That is actually a real, honest to goodness achievement and that is what I must focus on, not the short-term gain of this last few weeks. What's more, I know I can actually 'do it' and get these pounds back off. And I can get more of them off.

Hold that thought, fattie. And, better still, do something positive with it. You want to wear that size 12 skirt? Well, let this be the solid kick up the pants you need to get 2009 off to a better start.

01 January 2009

A New Look for a New Year

And I'm not talking about me. In fact I'm well overdue a haircut!

Hope you like the new design. It's thanks to Sharnee way down under in Oz.

Back to the grind tomorrow.

based on a design by suckmylolly.com