30 November 2009

Fat lass 1 : Italian temptations 0

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

Doing OK

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

Weekend wobbles

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

A pre-Christmas plan

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

Quit fooling yourself

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

Back at it!

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.

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