28 September 2009

Back to normal...

...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

Thinking positively

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

Emotional barometers

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

Random acts of kindness

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

A bit of a do

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

Shaking off the dust

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.

10 September 2009

Gym fun

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

Focusing on the good stuff

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

Plodding closer

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

Bread of Heaven!

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

A silver lining...

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

Connections and associations

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.
  1. 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.
  2. Understanding that exercise isn't just about using up calories but also about building a stronger, fitter person for the future.
  3. 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.

01 September 2009

I'm losing it

The weight, that is... thankfully.

After a holiday weekend of hard labour (OK, decorating the kitchen) the scales reported a nice little loss for me yesterday morning. I'm now at 67.5kg, which I make to be somwhere around 10 stone 9 lbs. It would probably have been a slightly bigger loss but for the exceptionally poor 'meal' choices we made while the kitchen was out of action ...chips? ...ice cream? ...beer? Silly fat lass!

But... even so, I am now firmly into long forgotten territory - when was I last at this weight? Was I happy back then? I sure am right now!

I only have another three pounds of fat to get rid of before I reach my next little aim (actually, it's quite a big one)... to be a 'normal' fat lass. Keep up that walking and rowing girl!

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